The Mahabharata Home
"Brahmana said, 'Some regard Brahman as a tree. Some regard Brahman as a great forest. Some regard Brahman as unmanifest. Some regard it as transcendant and freed from every distress. They think that all this is produced from and absorbed into the unmanifest. He who, even for the short space of time that is taken by a single breath, when his end comes, becomes equable, attaining to the self, fits himself for immortality. Restraining the self in the self, even for the space of a wink, one goes, through the tranquillity of the self, to that which constitutes the inexhaustible acquisition of those that are endued with knowledge. Restraining the life-breaths again and again by
controlling them according to the method called Pranayama, by the ten or the twelve, he attains to that which is beyond the four and twenty. Thus having first acquired a tranquil soul, one attains to the fruition of all one's wishes. 1 When the quality of Goodness predominates in that which arises from the Unmanifest, it becomes fit for immortality. They who are conversant with Goodness applaud it highly, saying that there is nothing higher than Goodness. By inference we know that Purusha is dependent on Goodness. Ye best of regenerate ones, it is impossible to attain to Purusha by any other means. Forgiveness, courage, abstention from harm, equability, truth, sincerity, knowledge, gift, and renunciation, are said to be the characteristics of that course of conduct which arises out of Goodness. It is by this inference that the wise believe in the identity of Purusha and Goodness, There is no doubt in this. Some learned men that are devoted to knowledge assert the unity of Kshetrajna and Nature. This, however, is not correct. It is said that Nature is different from Purusha: that also will imply a want to consideration. Truly, distinction and association should be known (as applying to Purusha and Nature). Unity and diversity are likewise laid down. That is the doctrine of the learned. In the Gnat and Udumbara both unity and diversity are seen. As a fish in water is different from it, such is the relation of the two (viz., Purusha and Nature). Verily, their relation is like that of water drops on the leaf of the lotus.'"
"The preceptor continued, 'Thus addressed, those learned Brahmanas, who were the foremost of men, felt some doubts and (therefore) they once more questioned the Grandsire (of all creatures).'" 2
83:1 Commentators differ about what is implied by the ten or the twelve. Nilakantha thinks that the ten mean the eight characteristics of Yoga, viz., Yama, Niyama, Asana, Pranayama, Pratyahara, Dharana, Dhyana, Samadhi, and Tarka and Vairagya. The twelve would imply the first eight, and these four, viz., Maitri, Karuna, Mudita, and Upeksha. If ten plus twelve or two and twenty be taken, then that number would be made up by the five modes of Yama, the five of Niyama, the remaining six of Yoga (beginning with Asana and ending with Samadhi), the four beginning with Maitri, and the two, viz., Tarka and Vairagya.
83:2 What is said in this Lesson seems to be this: the Unmanifest or Prakriti is that condition in which all the three qualities of Goodness, Passion, and Darkness exist in a state of combination. The unmanifest is the condition existing before creation. When one particular quality, viz., Goodness prevails over the others, there arises Purusha, viz., that from whom everything flows. The relation of Purusha and Nature is both unity and diversity. The three illustrations of the Gnat and the Udumbara the fish and water, and water drops and the lotus leaf, explain the relation between Purusha and Nature. He is in Nature, yet different from it. There is both association and dissociation.
Next: Section XLIX