The Mahabharata Home
"The Brahmana's wife said, 'This is incapable of being understood by a person of little intelligence as also by one whose soul has not been cleansed. My intelligence is very little, and contracted, and confused. Do thou tell me the means by which the knowledge (of which thou speakest) may be acquired. I wish to learn from thee the source from which this knowledge flows.'
"The Brahmana said, 'Know that intelligence devoted to Brahman, is the lower Arani; the preceptor is the upper Arani; penances and conversance
wit tithe scriptures are to cause the attrition. From this is produced the fire of knowledge.'
"The Brahmana's wife said, 'As regards this symbol of Brahman, which is designated Kshetrajna, where, indeed, occurs a description of it by which it is capable of being seized?'
"The Brahmana said, 'He is without symbols, and without qualities. Nothing exists that may be regarded as his cause. I shall, however, tell thee the means by which he can be seized or not. A good means may be found; viz., perception of hearing, etc. as flowers are perceived by bees. That means consists of an understanding cleansed by action. Those whose understandings have not been so cleansed, regard that entity, through their own ignorance, as invested with the properties of knowledge and others. 1 It is not laid down that this should be done, of that this should not be done, in the rules for achieving Emancipation,--those, that is, in which a knowledge of the soul arises only in him who sees and hears. 2 One should comprehend as many parts, unmanifest and manifest by hundreds and thousands, as one is capable of comprehending here. Indeed, one should comprehend diverse objects of diverse import, and all objects of direct perception. Then will come, from practice (of contemplation and self-restraint, etc.), that above which nothing exists.' 3
"The holy one continued, 'Then the mind of that Brahmana's wife, upon the destruction of the Kshetrajna, became that which is beyond Kshetrajna, in consequence of the knowledge of Kshetra.' 4
"Arjuna said, 'Where, indeed, is that Brahmana's wife, O Krishna, and where is that foremost of Brahmanas, by both of whom was such success attained. Do thou, tell me about them, O thou of unfading glory.'
"The blessed and holy one said, 'Know that my mind is the Brahmana, and that my understanding is the Brahmana's wife. He who has been spoken of as Kshetrajna is I myself, O Dhananjaya!"'
58:1 I expand this verse a little for making it intelligible. A literal version would run as follows: Good means may be seen, perceived as by bees. Action is (cleansed) understanding; through folly it is invested with the symbols of knowledge. Karmabudhhi never means 'action and knowledge' as rendered by Telang. Abudhitwatt means 'through ignorance.' This ignorance is of those persons whose understandings have not been cleansed by action.
58:2 What is stated here is this. In the matter of achieving Emancipation, no ordinances have been laid down, positive or negative, like those in respect of other things. If one wishes to attain to Heaven, he should do this and abstain from the other. For achieving Emancipation, however, only seeing and hearing are prescribed. Seeing implies contemplation, and hearing, the receiving of instructions from the preceptor. Nilakantha explains hearing as Vedantadisravanam (vide his comment on the word 'srutam' in verse 3 above).
58:3 The speaker wishes to inculcate that one should first contemplate an object of direct perception, such as earth, etc. Then on such 'unperceived' objects as operations of the mind. Such contemplation will gradually lead to that which is Supreme. The abhyasa or practice referred to in the second line is the practice of sama, dama, etc. I do not think that Telang's version of 8 and 9 brings out the meaning clearly.
58:4 The sense is that when her individual soul became merged into the Supreme soul, she became identified with Brahman. This, was, of course, due to the knowledge of Kshetra as something separate from Kshetrajna.
Next: Section XXXV