The Mahabharata Home
"The Brahmana said, 'Having crossed that impassable fastness (the world) which has purposes for its gadflies and mosquitoes, grief and joy for its cold and heat, heedlessness for its blinding darkness, cupidity and diseases for its reptiles, wealth for its one danger on the road, and lust and wrath its robbers, I have entered the extensive forest of (Brahman)'.
"The wife of the Brahmana said, 'Where is that foremost, O thou of great
wisdom? What are its trees? What its rivers? What its mountains and hills? How far is that forest?'
"The Brahmana said, 'There exists nothing that is separate from it. There is nothing more delightful than it. There is nothing that is unseparated from it. There is nothing more afflicting than it. There is nothing smaller than that. There is nothing vaster than that. There is nothing minuter than that. There is no happiness that can resemble it. Regenerate persons, entering into it, at once transcend both joy and sorrow. They (then) never stand in fear of any creature, nor does any creature stand in fear of them. In that forest are seven large trees, seven fruits, and seven guests. There are seven hermitages, seven (forms of) Yoga concentration, and seven (forms) of initiation. Even this a description of that forest. 1 The trees which stand filling that forest, produce excellent flowers and fruits of five colours. The trees which stand there filling that forest, produce flowers and fruits that are of excellent colours and that are, besides, of two kinds. The trees which stand there filling that forest, produce flowers and fruits that are endued with fragrance and that are, besides, of two colours. The trees which stand there filling that forest, produce flowers and fruits that are possessed of fragrance and that are, besides, of one colour. The two trees which stand filling that forest, produce many flowers and fruits that are of unmanifest colours. There is one fire here, possessed of a good mind. That is connected with Brahmana. The five senses are the fuel here. The seven forms of Emancipation flowing from them are the seven forms of Initiation. The qualities are the fruits, and the guests eat those fruits. There, in diverse places, the great Rishis accept hospitality. When they, having been worshipped, become annihilated, then another forest shines forth. In that forest, Intelligence is the tree; Emancipation is the fruit; Tranquillity is the shade of which it is possessed. It has knowledge for its resting house, contentment for its water, and the Kshetrajna for its sun. Its end cannot be ascertained upwards, downwards, or horizontally. Seven females always dwell there, with faces downwards, possessed of effulgence, and endued with the cause of generations. They take up all the different tastes from all creatures, even as inconstancy sucks up truth. In that itself dwell, and from that emerge, the seven Rishis who are crowned with ascetic success, with those seven having Vasishtha for their foremost. Glory, effulgence, greatness, enlightenment, victory, perfection, and energy, these seven always follow this same like rays following the sun. Hills and mountains also exist there, collected together; and rivers and streams bearing waters in their course, waters that are born of Brahma. And there happens a confluence also of streams in the secluded spot for sacrifice. Thence those that are contented with their own souls proceed to the Grandsire. Those whose wishes have been reduced, whose wishes have
been directed to excellent vows, and whose sins have been burnt off by penances, merging themselves in their souls, succeed in attaining to Brahman. Tranquillity is praised by those who are conversant with the forest of knowledge. Keeping that forest in view, they take birth so as not to lose courage. Even such is that sacred forest that is understood by Brahmanas, and understanding it, they live (in accordance with the ordinance), directed by the Kshetrajna.'"
48:1 The seven large trees are the five senses, the mind, and the understanding. The fruits are the pleasures and pains derived from or through them. The guests are the powers of each sense, for it is they that receive those pleasures and pains. The hermitages are those very trees under which the guests take shelter. The seven forms of Yoga are the extinctions of the seven senses. The seven forms of initiation are the repudiation, one after another, of the actions of the seven senses.
Next: Section XXVIII