The Mahabharata Home
"The Brahmana said, 'I do not smell scents. I do not perceive tastes. I do not see colours. I do not touch. I do not likewise hear the diverse sounds (that arise). Nor do I entertain purposes of any kind. It is Nature that desires such objects as are liked; it is Nature that hates such objects as are disliked. Desire and aversion spring from Nature, after the manner of the upward and the downward life-winds when souls have entered animate bodies. Separated from them are others; in them are eternal dispositions; (these as also) the soul of all creatures, Yogins would behold in the body. Dwelling in that, I am never attached to anything through desire and wrath, and decrepitude and death. Not having any desire for any object of desire, and not having any aversion for any evil, there is no taint on my natures, as there is no taint of a drop of water on (the leaves of) the lotus. Of this constant (principle) which looks upon diverse natures, they are inconstant possessions. 1 Though actions are performed, yet the assemblage of enjoyments does not attach itself to them, even as the assemblage of rays of the sun does not attach to the sky. In this connection is recited an ancient story of a discourse between an Adhwaryu and a Yati. Do thou hear it, O glorious lady. Beholding an animal sprinkled with water at a sacrificial ceremony, a Yati said unto the Adhwaryu seated there these words in censure,--This is destruction of life! unto him the Adhwaryu said in reply,--This goat will not be destroyed. The animal (sacrificed) meets with great good, if the Vedic declaration on this subject be true. That part of this animal which is of earth will go to earth. That part of this one which is born of water, will enter into water. His eye will enter the sun; his ear will enter the different points of the horizon; his life-winds will enter the sky. I who adhere to the scriptures incur no fault (by assisting at the killing of this animal).'
"The Yati said, 'If thou beholdest such good to the goat in this dissociation with (his) life-winds, then this sacrifice is for the goat. What need hast thou for it? Let the brother, father, mother, and friend (of this goat) give thee their approval in this. Taking him (to them) do thou consult them. This goat is especially dependent. It behoveth thee to see them who can give their consent in this. After hearing their consent; the matter will become fit for consideration. The life-winds of this goat have been made to return to
their respective sources. Only the inanimate body remains behind. This is what I think. Of those who wish to enjoy felicity by means of the inanimate body (of an animal) which is comparable with fuel, the fuel (of sacrifice) is after all the animal himself. Abstention from cruelty is the foremost of all deities. Even this is the teaching of the elders. We know this is the proposition, viz.,--No slaughter (of living creatures).--If I say anything further, (it will then appear that) diverse kinds of faulty actions are capable of being done by thee. Always abstaining from cruelty to all creatures is what meets with our approbation. We establish this from what is directly perceptible. We do not rely on what is beyond direct perception.'
"The Adhwaryu said, 'Thou enjoyest the properties of smell which belong to the earth. Thou drinkest the tastes which appertain to water. Thou seest colours which belong to lighted bodies. Thou touchest the properties which, have their origin in wind. Thou hearest the sounds which have their origin in space (or ether). Thou thinkest thoughts with the mind. All these entities, thou art of opinion, have life. Thou dost not then abstain from taking life. Really, thou art engaged in slaughter. There can be no movement without slaughter. Or, what dost thou think, O regenerate one.'
"The Yati said, 'The Indestructible and the Destructible constitute the double manifestation of the soul. Of these the Indestructible is existed. The Destructible is said to be exceedingly non-existent. 1 The life-wind, the tongue, the mind, the quality of goodness, along with the quality of passion, are all existent. The Atman is above these forms and hence is without duality and hope. As regards one that is freed from these existent objects, that transcends all pairs of opposites, that does not cherish any expectation, that is alike to all creatures, that is liberated from the idea of meum, that has subjugated his self, and that is released from all his surroundings,--for him no fear exists from any source!' 2
"The Adhwaryu said, 'O foremost of intelligent men, one should reside with those that are good. Hearing thy opinion my understanding shines with light. O illustrious one, I come to thee, believing thee to be a god; and I say I have no fault, O regenerate one, by performing these rites with the aid of Mantras!' 3
"The Brahmana continued, 'With this conclusion, the Yati remained silent after this. The Adhwaryu also proceeded with the great sacrifice, freed from delusion. The Brahmanas understand Emancipation, which is
exceedingly subtle, to be of this kind and having understood it, they live accordingly directed by the Kshetrajna, that beholder of all topics.'"
49:1 The correct reading is bhavantyanityah and vahuswabhavan.
50:1 Swabhava is explained by Nilakantha as sutaram abhava.
50:2 The sense seems to be this; the life-winds indicate the operations of the several organs of action: the tongue, which stands here for all the organs of perception, of the sensual perceptions; the mind, of all the internal operations; the quality of goodness, of all pleasure; and the quality of passion, of all kinds of pain. These, therefore include the whole external and the internal worlds. He that is free from these, transcends sin, for sin is destroyed by freedom from these, knowledge being the means of attaining to that freedom.
50:3 'I have no fault etc.'--The sense seems to be that by doing these rites with the aid of Mantras I have done that which has been approved from ages past by those who have always been regarded wise. My eyes, however, have now been opened by thee. I should not be held responsible for what I did while I was ignorant.
Next: Section XXIX