The Mahabharata Home
"The Brahmana said, 'There are three foes in the world. They are said to be ninefold, agreeably to their qualities. Exultation, satisfaction, and joy,--these three qualities appertain to Goodness. 1 Cupidity, wrath, and hatred, these three qualities are said to appertain to Passion. Lassitude, procrastination, and delusion, these three qualities appertain to darkness. Cutting these with showers of arrows, the man of intelligence, free from procrastination, possessed of a tranquil soul, and with his senses under subjection, ventures to vanquish others. 2 In this connection, persons conversant with (the occurrence of) ancient cycles recite some verses which were sung in days of old by king Amvarisha who had acquired a tranquil soul. When diverse kinds of faults were in the ascendant and when the righteous were afflicted, Amvarisha of great fame put forth his strength for assuming sovereignty. 3 Subduing his own faults and worshipping the righteous, he attained to great success and sang these verses.--I have subdued many faults. I have killed all foes. But there is one, the greatest, vice which deserves to be destroyed but which has not been destroyed by me! Urged by that fault, this Jiva fails to attain to freedom from desire. Afflicted by desire, one runs into ditches without knowing it. Urged by that fault, one indulges in acts that are forbidden. Do thou cut off, cut off, that cupidity with sharp-edged swords. From cupidity arise desires. From desire flows anxiety. The man who yields to desire acquires many qualities that appertain to passion. When these have been acquired, he gets
many qualities that appertain to Darkness. In consequence of those qualities, he repeatedly takes birth, with the bonds of body united, and is impelled to action. Upon the expiration of life, with body becoming dismembered and scattered, he once meets with death which is due to birth itself. 1 Hence, duly understanding this, and subduing cupidity by intelligence, one should desire for sovereignty in one's soul. This is (true) sovereignty. There is no other sovereignty here. The soul, properly understood, is the king. Even these were the verses sung by king Ambarisha of great celebrity, on the subject of sovereignty which he kept before him,--that king who had cut off the one foremost fault viz., cupidity.'"
54:1 Praharsha, rendered 'exultation', is explained by Nilakantha as the joy that is felt at the certainty of attaining what is desired. Priti is that satisfaction which is felt when the object desired is attained. Ananda is what arises while enjoying the attained object.
54:2 The sense seems to be this. Having first conquered the internal foes mentioned, the man of intelligence, bent on effecting his deliverance, should then seek to vanquish all external foes standing in his way.
54:3 Nilakantha explains that dosha here refers to attachment, cupidity and the rest; while Sadhu implies not men but the virtues of tranquillity and the rest.
Next: Section XXXII