The Mahabharata Home
"Brahmana said, 'Well then, I shall declare to you what you ask. Learn what was told by a preceptor to a disciple that came unto him. Hearing it all,
do you settle properly (what it should be). Abstention from harming any creature is regarded as the foremost of all duties. That is the highest seat, free from anxiety and constituting an indication of holiness. The ancients who were beholders of the certain truth, have said that knowledge is the highest happiness. Hence, one becomes released of all sins by pure knowledge. They that are engaged in destruction and harm, they that are infidels in conduct, have to go to Hell in consequence of their being endued with cupidity and delusion. Those who, without procrastination, perform acts, impelled thereto by expectation become repeatedly born in this world and sport in joy. Those men who, endued with learning and wisdom, perform acts with faith, free from expectations, and possessed of concentration of mind, are said to perceive clearly. I shall, after this, declare how the association and the dissociation takes place of Kshetrajna and Nature. Ye best of men, listen. The relation here is said to be that between the object and the subject. 1 Purusha is always the subject; and Nature has been said to be the object. It has been explained, by what has been said in a previous portion of the discourse where it has been pointed out, that they exist after the manner of the Gnat and the Udumbara. An object of enjoyment as it is, Nature is unintelligent and knows nothing. He, however, who enjoys it, is said to know it. Kshetrajna being enjoyer, Nature is enjoyed. The wise have said that Nature is always made up of pairs of opposites (and consists of qualities). Kshetrajna is, on the other hand, destitute of pairs of opposites, devoid of parts, eternal, and free, as regards its essence, from qualities. He resides in everything alike, and walks, with knowledge. He always enjoys Nature, as a lotus leaf (enjoys) water. Possessed of knowledge, he is never tainted even if brought into contact with all the qualities. Without doubt, Purusha is unattached like the unsteady drop of water on the lotus-leaf. This is the certain conclusion (of the scriptures) that Nature is the property of Purusha. The relation between these two (viz., Purusha and Nature) is like that existing between matter and its maker. As one goes into a dark place taking a light with him, even so those who wish for the Supreme proceed with the light of Nature. 2 As long as matter and quality (which are like oil and wick) exist, so long the light shines. The flame, however, becomes extinguished when matter and quality (or oil and wick) are exhausted. Thus Nature is manifest; while Purusha is said to be unmanifest. Understand this, ye learned Brahmanas. Well, I shall now tell you something more. With even a thousand (explanations), one that has a bad understanding succeeds not in acquiring knowledge. One, however, that is endued with intelligence succeeds in attaining happiness, through only a fourth share (of explanations). Thus should the accomplishment of duty be understood as dependent on means. For the man of intelligence, having knowledge of means, succeeds in attaining
to supreme felicity. As some man travelling along a road without provisions for his journey, proceeds with great discomfort and may even meet with destruction before he reaches the end of his journey, even so should it be known that ill acts there may not be fruits. 1 The examination of what is agreeable and what is disagreeable in one's own self is productive of benefit. 2 The progress in life of a man that is devoid of the perception of truth is like that of a man who rashly journeys on a long road unseen before. The progress, however, of those that are endued with intelligence is like that of men who journey along the same road, riding on a car unto which are yoked (fleet) steeds and which moves with swiftness. Having ascended to the top of a mountain, one should not cast one's eyes on the surface of the earth. 3 Seeing a man, even though travelling on a car, afflicted and rendered insensible by pain, the man of intelligence journeys on a car as long as there is a car path. 4 The man of learning, when he sees the car path end, abandons his car for going on. Even thus proceeds the man of intelligence who is conversant with the ordinances respecting truth and Yoga (or Knowledge and Devotion). Conversant with the qualities, such a man proceeds, comprehending what is next and next. 5 As one that plunges, without a boat, into the terrible ocean, with only one's two arms, through delusion, undoubtedly wishes for destruction; while the man of wisdom, conversant with distinctions, goes into the water, with a boat equipt with oars, and soon crosses the lake without fatigue, and having crossed it attains to the other shore and casts off the boat, freed from the thought of meum. This has been already explained by the illustration of the car and the pedestrian. One who has been overwhelmed by delusion in consequence of attachment, adheres to it like a fisherman to his boat. Overcome by the idea of meum, one wanders within its narrow range. After embarking on a boat it is not possible in moving about on land. Similarly, it is not possible in moving about on water after one has mounted on a car. There are thus various actions with regard to various objects. And as action is performed in this world, so does it result to those that perform them. That which is void of smell, void of taste, and void of touch and sound, that which is meditated upon by the sages with the aid of their understanding, is said to be Pradhana. Now, Pradhana is unmanifest. A
development of the unmanifest is Mahat. A development of Pradhana when it has become Mahat is Egoism. From egoism is produced the development called the great elements. And of the great elements respectively, the objects of sense are said to be the developments. The unmanifest is of the nature of seed. It is productive in its essence. It has been heard by us that the great soul has the virtues of a seed, and that is a product. Egoism is of the nature of seed and is a product again and again. And the five great elements are of the nature of seed and products. The objects of the five great elements are endued with the nature of seed, and yield products. These have Chitta for their property. Among them, space has one quality; wind is said to have two. Light, it is said, is endued with three qualities; and water as possessed of four qualities. Earth, teeming with mobiles and immobiles, should be known as possessed of five qualities. She is a goddess that is the source of all entities and abounds with examples of the agreeable and the disagreeable. Sound, likewise touch, colour, taste, and smell numbering the fifth,--these are the five qualities of earth, ye foremost of regenerate persons. Smell always belongs to earth, and smell is said to be of various kinds. I shall state at length the numerous qualities of smell. Smell is agreeable or disagreeable, sweet, sour, pungent, diffusive and compact, oily and dry, and clear. Thus smell, which belongs to the earth, should be known as of ten kinds. 1 Sound, touch, likewise colour, and taste have been said to be the qualities of water. I shall now speak of the qualities of Taste. Taste has been said to be of various kinds. Sweet, sour, pungent, bitter, astringent, and saline likewise. Taste, which has been said to appertain to water, is thus of six varieties. Sound, touch, and likewise colour,--these are the three qualities which light is said to be possessed of. Colour is the quality of light, and colour is said to be of various kinds. White, dark, likewise red, blue, yellow, and grey also, and short, long, minute, gross, square and circular, of these twelve varieties in colour which belongs to light. These should be understood by Brahmanas venerable for years, conversant with duties, and truthful in speech. Sound and touch should be known as the two qualities of wind. Touch has been said to be of various kinds. Rough, cold and like wise hot, tender and clear, hard, oily, smooth, slippery, painful and soft, of twelve kinds is touch, which is the quality of wind, as said by Brahmanas crowned with success, conversant with duties, and possessed of a sight of truth. Now space has only one quality, and that is said to be sound. I shall speak at length of the numerous qualities of sound. Shadaja, Rishabha, together with Gandhara, Madhyama, and likewise Panchama; after this should be known Nishada, and then Dhaivata. 2 Besides these, there are agreeable sounds and disagreeable sounds, compact, and of many ingredients. Sound which is born of space should thus be known to be of ten kinds. Space is the highest of the (five) elements. Egoism is above it. Above egoism is understanding. Above understanding is the soul. Above the soul is the Unmanifest. Above the Unmanifest is Purusha. One who knows which is superior and inferior among
existent creatures, who is conversant with the ordinances in respect of all acts, and who constitutes himself the soul of all creatures, attains to the Unfading Soul.'"
85:1 The thinking or enjoying agent is subject, and that which is thought or enjoyed is object. Subject and object an two well known words in Sir W. Hamilton's philosophy. I follow Telang in adopting them.
85:2 Sattawa pradipa, rendered 'light of Nature,' implies, as Nilakantha explains, knowledge, which is a manifestation of Nature. Arjuna Misra's interpretation seems to be better. He says that knowledge,--that is, knowledge of truth,--is acquired by the self through Nature.
86:1 The sense seems to be this: one who proceeds, on a journey must provide oneself with the necessary means, otherwise one is sure to feel discomfort or meet with even destruction. So, in the journey of life, one must provide oneself with knowledge as the means. One may then avoid all discomfort and danger. Action does not constitute the proper means. It may or may not produce fruits.
86:2 i.e., one should not care for the external.
86:3 i.e., one need not do acts enjoined by the scriptures after one has attained to knowledge which is the highest seat.
86:4 The sense is this: riding on a car may not always be comfortable. As long as there is a car path, one should travel on one's car. If, however, the road be such as not to be fit for a car to proceed along it, one should avoid a car in going over it, for the car instead of conducing to comfort, would, on such a path, be productive of only discomfort.
86:5 i.e., first action with desire: then action without desire; then knowledge, according to Arjuna Misra. Nilakantha explains that action is first, then Yoga; then the state of Hansa or Paramahansa.
87:1 Katu is not bitter but pungent or sharp, as that which is attached to chillies.
87:2 These are the notes of the Hindu Gamut.
Next: Section LI