The Mahabharata Home
'Brahmana said, From Egoism were verily born the five great elements. They are earth, air, ether, water, and light numbering the fifth. In these five
great elements, in the matter of the sound, touch, colour, taste, and smell, all creatures become deluded. When at the close of the destruction of the great elements, the dissolution of the universe approaches, ye that are possessed of wisdom, a great fear comes upon all living creatures. Every existent object is dissolved into that from which it is produced. The dissolution takes place in an order that is the reverse of that in which creation takes place. Indeed, as regards birth, they are born from one another. Then, when all existent objects, mobile and immobile, become dissolved, wise men endued with powerful memory never dissolve. Sound, touch, colour, taste, and smell numbering the fifth, are effects. They are, however, inconstant, and called by the name of delusion. Caused by the production of cupidity, not different from one another, without reality, connected with flesh and blood, and depending upon one another, existing outside the soul, these are all helpless and powerless. Prana and Apana, and Udana and Samana and Vyana,--these five winds are always closely attached to the soul. Together with speech, mind, and understanding, they constitute the universe of eight ingredients. He whose skin, nose, ear, eyes, tongue, and speech are restrained, whose mind is pure, and whose understanding deviates not (from the right path), and whose mind is never burnt by those eight fires, succeeds in attaining to that auspicious Brahman to which nothing superior exists. Those which have been called the eleven organs and which have sprung from Egoism, I shall now, ye regenerate ones, mention particularly. They are the ear, the skin, the two eyes, the tongue, the nose numbering the fifth, the two feet, the lower duct, the organ of generation, the two hands, and speech forming the tenth. These constitute the group of organs, with mind numbering as the eleventh. One should first subdue this group. Then will Brahman shine forth (in him). Five amongst these are called organs of knowledge, and five, organs of action. The five beginning with the ear are truly said to be connected with knowledge. The rest, however, that are connected with action, are without distinction. The mind should be regarded as belonging to both. The understanding is the twelfth in the top. Thus have been enumerated the eleven organs in due order. Learned men, having understood these, think they have accomplished everything. I shall, after this, enumerate all the various organs. Space (or Ether) is the first entity. As connected with the soul, it is called the ear. As connected with objects, that is sound. The presiding deity (of this) is the quarters. The Wind is the second entity. As connected with the soul, it is known as the skin. As connected with objects, it is known as objects of touch; and the presiding deity there is touch. The third is said to be Light. As connected with the soul, it is known as the eye. As connected with objects, it is colour; and the sun is its deity. The fourth (entity) should be known as Water. As connected with the soul, it is said to be the tongue. As connected with objects, it is taste, and the presiding deity there is Soma. The fifth entity is Earth. As connected with the soul, it is said to be the nose. As connected with objects, it is scent; and the presiding deity there is the wind. Thus has the manner been declared of how the five entities are divided into sets of three. After this I shall declare everything about the diverse (other) organs. Brahmanas conversant with the truth say that the two
feet are mentioned as connected with the soul. As connected with objects, it is motion; and Vishnu is there the presiding deity. The Apana wind, whose motion is downward, as connected with the soul, is called the lower duct. As connected with objects, it is the excreta that is ejected; and the presiding deity there is Mitra. As connected with the soul, the organ of generation is mentioned, the producer of all beings. As connected with objects, it is the vital seed; and the presiding deity is Prajapati. The two hands are mentioned as connected with the soul by persons conversant with the relations of the soul. As connected with objects, it is actions; and the presiding deity there is Indra. Next, connected with the soul is speech which relates to all the gods. As connected with objects, it is what is spoken. The presiding deity there is Agni. As connected with the soul, the mind is mentioned, which moves within the soul of the five elements. 1 As connected with objects, it is the mental operation; and the presiding deity is Chandramas (moon). As connected with the soul is Egoism, which is the cause of the whole course of worldly life. As connected with objects, it is consciousness of self; and the presiding deity there is Rudra. As connected with the soul is the understanding, which impels the six senses. As connected with objects, it is that which is to be understood, and the presiding deity there is Brahma. Three are the seats of all existent objects. A fourth is not possible. These are land, water, and ether. The mode of birth is fourfold. Some are born of eggs; some are born of germs which spring upwards, penetrating through the earth; some are born of filth; and some are born of fleshy balls in wombs. Thus is the mode of birth seen to be of four kinds, of all living creatures. Now, there are other inferior beings and likewise those that range the sky. These should be known to be born of eggs as also those which crawl on their breasts. Insects are said to be born of filth, as also other creatures of a like description. This is said to be the second mode of birth and is inferior. Those living creatures that take birth after the lapse of some time, bursting through the earth, are said to be germ-born beings, ye foremost of regenerate persons. Creatures of two feet or of many feet and those which move crookedly, are the beings born of wombs. Among them are some that are deformed, ye best of men. The eternal womb of Brahma should be known to be of two kinds, viz., penance and meritorious acts. Such is the doctrine of the learned. 2 Action should be understood to be of various kinds, such as sacrifice, gifts made at sacrifices, and the meritorious duty of study for every one that is born; such is the teaching of the ancients. He who duly understands this, comes to be regarded as possessed of Yoga, ye chief of regenerate persons. Know also that such a man becomes freed too from all his sins. I have thus declared to you duly the doctrine of Adhyatma. 3 Ye Rishis conversant with all duties, a knowledge of this is acquired by those who are regarded as persons of knowledge. Uniting all these together, viz., the
senses, the objects of the senses, and the five great entities, one should hold them in the mind. 1 When everything is attenuated (by absorption) in the mind, one no longer esteems the pleasures of life. Learned men, whose understandings are furnished with knowledge, regard that as true happiness. 2 I shall after this, tell thee of renunciation with respect to all entities by means, gentle and hard, which produces attachment to subtle topics and which is fraught with auspiciousness. That conduct which consists in treating the qualities is not qualities, which is free from attachment, which is living alone, which does not recognise distinctions, and which is full of Brahman, is the source of all happiness. 3 The learned man who absorbs all desires into himself from all sides like the tortoise withdrawing all its limbs, who is devoid of passion, and who is released from everything, becomes always happy. Restraining all desires within the soul, destroying his thirst, concentrated in meditation, and becoming the friend of good heart towards all creatures, he succeeds in becoming fit for assimilation with Brahman. Through repression of all the senses which always hanker after their objects, and abandonment of inhabited places, the Adhyatma fire blazes forth in the man of contemplation. As a fire, fed with fuel, becomes bright in consequence of the blazing flames it puts forth, even so, in consequence of the repression of the senses, the great soul puts forth its effulgence. When one with a tranquil soul beholds all entities in one's own heart, then, lighted by one's own effulgence, one attains to that which is subtler than the subtle and which is unrivalled in excellence. It is settled that the body has fire for colour, water for blood and other liquids, wind for sense of touch, earth for the hideous holder of mind (viz., flesh and bones, etc.), space (or ether) for sound; that it is pervaded by disease and sorrow; that it is overwhelmed by five currents; that it is made up of the five elements; that it has nine doors and two deities; 4 that it is full of passion; that it is unfit to be seen (owing to its unholy character); that it is made up of three qualities; that it has three constituent elements, (viz., wind, bile and phelgm); that it is delighted with attachments of every kind, that it is full of delusions. 5 It is difficult of being moved in this mortal world, and it rests on the understanding as its support. That body is, in this world, the wheel of Time that is continually revolving. 6 That (body), indeed, is a terrible and unfathomable ocean and is
called delusion. It is this body which stretches forth, contracts, and awakens the (whole) universe with the (very) immortals. 1 By restraining the senses, one casts off lust, wrath, fear, cupidity, enmity, and falsehood, which are eternal and, therefore, exceedingly difficult to cast off. 2 He who has subjugated these in this world, viz., the three qualities and the five constituent elements of the body, has the Highest for his seat in Heaven. By him is Infinity attained. Crossing the river, that has the five senses for its steep banks, the mental inclinations for its mighty waters, and delusion for its lake, one should subjugate both lust and wrath. Such a man freed from all faults, then beholds the Highest, concentrating the mind within the mind and seeing self in self. Understanding all things, he sees his self, with self, in all creatures, sometimes as one and sometimes as diverse, changing form from time to time. 3 Without doubt he can perceive numerous bodies like a hundred lights from one light. Verily he is Vishnu, and Mitra, and Varuna, and Agni, and Prajapati. He is the Creator and the ordainer: he is the Lord possessed of puissance, with faces turned in all directions. In him, the heart of all creatures, the great soul, becomes resplendent. Him all conclaves of learned Brahmanas, deities and Asuras, and Yakshas, and Pisachas, the Pitris, and birds, and bands of Rakshasas, and bands of ghostly beings, and all the great Rishis, praise.'"
70:1 This probably implies that the mind, through the aid of the senses, enters into all things or succeeds in knowing them.
70:2 The sense seems to be that through these one succeeds in taking birth as a Brahmana.
70:3 A repetition occurs here of about 5 verses. The passage is evidently an interpolation originally caused by carelessness.
71:1 Nilakantha explains that this implies that one should regard these as really undistinguished from the mind. Indeed, created by the mind itself, these should always be taken as having no real existence beyond the mind.
71:2 'That' here refers to the attenuation of all things by absorption into the mind.
71:3 Gunagunam is treating the qualities as not qualities; i.e., regarding bravery, magnanimity, etc, as really not merits, for these lead to pride. Ekacharyyam is ekantavasam, i.e., life in seclusion, or living without depending upon others. Anantaram is nirastasamastabheda or non-recognition of all distinctions. Some texts read Brahmamatah meaning 'existing among Brahmanas'. Ekapadam sukham is samastasukhagarbham, i.e., the source or fountain of all happiness.
71:4 The two deities are Jiva and Iswara.
71:5 The correct reading, in 53 seems to be samsargabhiratam and not samsayabhiratam.
71:6 In the second line, the correct words are martya and sarva. The sense of the second line seems to be that this body is ceaselessly revolving, for Emancipation is difficult to achieve. Hence this body is, as it were, the wheel of Time. Nilakantha's explanation does not seem to be satisfactory.
Next: Section XLIII