The Mahabharata Home
"The Brahmana said, 'In this connection is cited the following ancient story. Do thou understand, of what kind the institution is of the ten Hotris (sacrificing priests). The ear, the skin, the two eyes, the tongue, the nose, the two feet, the two hands, the genital organ, the lower duct, and speech,--these, O beautiful one, are the ten sacrificing priests. Sound and touch, colour and taste, scent, speech, action, motion, and the discharge of vital seed, of urine and of excreta, are the ten libations. The points of the compass, Quarters, Wind, Sun, Moon, Earth, Fire, Vishnu, Indra, Prajapati, and Mitra,--these, O beautiful one, are the ten (sacrificial) fires. The ten organs (of knowledge and action) are the sacrificing priests. The libations, O beautiful one, are ten. The objects of the senses are the fuel that are cast into these ten fires, 2 as also the mind, which is the ladle, and the wealth (viz., the good and bad acts of the
sacrificer). What remains is the pure, highest knowledge. We have heard that all this universe was well differentiated (from Knowledge). All objects of knowledge are Mind. Knowledge only perceives (i.e., discovers the Mind without being attached to it). The knower (or Jiva), encased in subtle form, lives within the gross body that is produced by the vital seed. The bearer of the body is the Garhapatya fire. From that is produced another. Mind is the Ahavaniya fire. Into it is poured the oblation. From that was produced the Veda (or Word); (then was born Mind); Mind (desirous of creation) sets itself on the Veda (or the Word). Their arises form (or colour) undistinguished by particular colours. It runs towards the Mind.'" 1
"The Brahmana's wife said, 'Why did Word first arise and why did Mind arise afterwards, seeing that Word starts into existence after having been thought upon by Mind? Upon that authority can it be said that Mati (Prana) takes refuge in Mind. Why, again, in dreamless slumber, though separated from Mind, does not Prana apprehend (all objects)? What is that which restrains it then?'" 2
"The Brahmana said, 'The Apana breath, becoming the lord (i.e., bringing the Prana under its control), in consequence of such lordship over it, makes it identical with itself. That restrained motion of the Prana breath (which for the time becomes identical with that of the Apana) has been said to be the motion of the mind. Hence the mind is dependent upon Prana, not Prana upon the mind. Therefore, in dreamless slumber, upon the disappearance of mind, Prana does not disappear. But since thou askest me a question about word and mind, I shall, therefore, relate to thee a discourse between them. Both Word and Mind, repairing to the Soul of matter, 3 asked him,--Do thou say who amongst us is superior. Do thou, O puissant one, dispel our doubt.--On that occasion, the holy one made this answer.--The mind undoubtedly (is superior). Unto him Word said,--'I yield to thee the fruition of all thy desires!' 4
"The Brahmana said, 'Know that I have two minds, immovable and movable.
[paragraph continues] That which is immovable is, verily, with me; the movable is in your dominion. 1 That mind is verily called movable which, in the form of Mantra, letter, or voice, is referable to your dominion. Hence, thou art superior (to the other mind which concerns itself with only the external world). But since, coming of thy own accord, O beautiful one, thou enterest into the engagement (about the fruition of all wishes), therefore, filling myself with breath, I utter thee. 2 The goddess Word used always to dwell between Prana and Apana. But, O blessed one, sinking into Apana, though urged upwards, in consequence of becoming dissociated from Prana, she ran to Prajapati and said,--Be gratified with me, O holy one.--The Prana appeared, once more fostering Word. Hence, Word, encountering deep exhalation, never utters anything. Word always flows as endued with utterance or unendued with it. 3 Amongst those two, Word without utterance is superior to Word with utterance. Like a cow endued with excellent milk, she (Word without utterance) yields diverse kinds of meaning. This one always yields the Eternal (viz., Emancipation), speaking of Brahman. O thou of beautiful smiles, Word is a cow, in consequence of her puissance which is both divine and not divine. Behold the distinction of these two subtle forms of Word that flow.'" 4
"The Brahmana's wife said, 'What did the goddess of Word then say, in days of old, when, though impelled by the Wish to speak, Speech could not come out?'"
"The Brahmana said, 'The Word that is generated in the body by Prana, then attains to Apana from Prana. Then transformed into Udana and issuing out of the body, envelops all the quarters, with Vyana. After that, she dwells in Samana. Even in this way did Word formerly speak. Hence Mind, in consequence of being immovable, is distinguished, and the goddess Word, in consequence of being movable, is also distinguished."'
38:1 The meaning seems to be this: they who renounce sensuous objects can create them when they like. One casting off smell that has earth for its object can create earth when he likes.
38:2 What is stated in this passage is, shortly, this: the ear, etc, are the Hotris or sacrificing priests who are to pour libations on the sacrificial fire. The perceptions and functions of those organs constitute the Havi or libations that are to be poured. The points, wind, etc, are the Agni or sacred fires on which they are to be poured. These statements are recapitulated in verse 5. The objects of the senses, of the same as those in verse 3, are the fuel, previously described as Havi or libations, which are to be burnt off by being cast into the fires.
39:1 The Hridaya or heart is the Garhapatya fire. From it is produced another fire, the Ahavaniya, viz., the mind. 'The heart was pierced. From the heart arose mind, for the mind arose Chandramas,' is the declaration of the Sruti cited by Nilakantha. The Ahavaniya fire or mind is the mouth. Asyam ahavaniya is the Sruti. Annamayam hi Somya manas, apomayah pranah, tejomayi vak is the Sruti that bears upon this. Food or fire, poured into the mouth develops into speech or word. Vachaspati implies the Veda or word. First arises the word, the mind sets itself upon it, desirous of creation. This corresponds with the Mosaic Genesis.--'God said; let there be light, and there was light.' The word was first.
39:2 The last question seems to be this: in dreamless slumber, the mind disappears totally. If it is the mind upon which Prana rests, why does not Prana also disappear? It is seen to separate itself from mind, for it continues to exist while mind does not exist. If so, i.e., if existing, as it must be admitted to do, why does it not apprehend objects? What is it that restrains its powers of apprehension?
39:3 Bhutatmanam is ordinary Prajapati. Nilakantha takes it to mean here individual Jiva or self.
39:4 It is, through words that desirable fruits, visible and invisible, are acquired. Of course, word means both ordinary speech and Vedic Mantras.
40:1 The speaker is the Brahmana, which Nilakantha explains to mean 'the Brahmana named Manas or Mind'. Instead of such a learned interpretation, we may take it as implying that the Brahmana is repeating the answer which Bhutatman, i.e., Prajapati or Jiva, made to Word. The Brahmana is the real speaker. He recites the words of Jiva. Immovable, according to Nilakantha, means 'that which is seizable by the external senses'; and 'movable', that which is beyond the ken of the senses, such as heaven, etc. The external world being only a manifestation of the mind, it is spoken of here as identical with it. So, the ideas in the mind which are not due to the senses, are only the mind. This is the movable mind. That mind depends on word or the scriptures.
40:2 Telang gives a different version of this verse. I offer a verbal tendering, without attempting to explain it.
40:3 i.e., as noisy or noiseless.
40:4 I have given as close a verbal rendering of the passage as possible. The sense, however, is not very intelligible to me. The gloss of Nilakantha is as unintelligible as the text. Telang also has given a verbal rendering which differs from the above slightly. His foot-notes do not, I think, bring out the meaning at all. As regards the two vernacular versions, both are useless.
Next: Section XXII