The Mahabharata Home
"Brahmana said, 'Since the mind is the ruler of these five elements, in the matter of controlling and bringing them forth, the mind, therefore, is the soul of the elements. The mind always presides over the great elements. The understanding proclaims power, and is called the Kshetrajna. 1 The mind yokes the senses as a charioteer yokes good steeds. The senses, the mind, and the understanding are always joined to the Kshetrajna. The individual soul, mounting the chariot to which big steeds are yoked and which has the understanding for the reins, drives about on all sides. With all the senses attached to it (for steeds), with the mind for the charioteer, and the understanding for the eternal reins, exists the great Brahman-car. Verily, that man endued with learning and wisdom who always understands the Brahman-car in this way, is never overwhelmed by delusion in the midst of all entities. This forest of Brahman begins with the Unmanifest and ends with gross objects. It includes mobile and immobile entities, and receives light from the radiance of the sun and the moon, and is adorned with planets and constellations. It is decked, again, on all sides with nets of rivers and mountains. It is always embellished likewise by diverse kinds of waters. It is the means of subsistence for all creatures. It is, again, the goal of all living creatures. In that forest the Kshetrajna always moves about. Whatever entities exist in this world, mobile and immobile, are the very first to be dissolved away. After this (are dissolved) those qualities which compose all entities. After the qualities (are dissolved) the five elements. Such is the gradation of entities. Gods, men, Gandharvas, Pisachas, Asuras, and Rakshasas, have all sprung from Nature, and not from actions, not from a cause. The Brahmanas, who are creators of the universe, are born here again and again. All that springs from them dissolves, when the time comes, in those very five great elements like billows in the ocean. All the great elements are beyond those elements that compose the universe. He that is released from those five elements goes to the highest goal. The puissant Prajapati created all this by the mind only. After the same manner Rishis attained to the status of deities by the aid of penance. After the same manner, those who have achieved perfection, who were capable of the concentration of Yoga, and who subsist on fruits and roots, likewise perceive the triple world by penance. Medicines and herbs and all the diverse sciences are acquired
by means of penance alone, for all acquisition has penance for its root. Whatever is difficult of acquisition, difficult to learn, difficult to vanquish, difficult to pass through, are all achievable by penance, for penance is irresistible. One that drinks alcoholic liquors, one that slays a Brahmana, one that steals, one that destroys a foetus, one that violates one's preceptor's bed, becomes cleansed of such sin by penance well performed. Human beings, Pitris, deities, (sacrificial) animals, beasts and birds, and all other creatures mobile and immobile, by always devoting themselves to penances, become crowned with success by penance alone. In like manner, the deities, endued with great powers of illusion, have attained to Heaven. Those who without idleness perform acts with expectations, being full of egoism, approach the presence of Prajapati. Those high-souled ones, however, who are devoid of mineness and freed from egoism through the pure contemplation of Yoga, attain to the great and highest regions. Those who best understand the self, having attained to Yoga contemplation and having their minds always cheerful, enter into the unmanifest accumulation of happiness. Those persons who are freed from the idea of mineness as also from egoism and who are reborn after having attained to the fullness of Yoga contemplation, enter (when they depart from such life) into the highest region reserved for the great, viz., the Unmanifest. Born from that same unmanifest (principle) and attaining to the same once more, freed from the qualities of Darkness and Passion, and adhering to only the quality of Goodness, one becomes released from every sin and creates all things. 1 Such a one should be known to be Kshetrajna in perfection. He that knows him, knows the Veda. 2 Attaining to pure knowledge from (restraining) the mind, the ascetic should sit self-restrained. One necessarily becomes that on which one's mind is set. This is an eternal mystery. That which has the unmanifest for its beginning and gross qualities for its end, has been said to have Ne-science for its indication. But do you understand that whose nature is destitute of qualities? Of two syllables is Mrityu (death); of three syllable is the eternal Brahman. Mineness is death, and the reverse of mineness is the eternal. 3 Some men who are led by bad understanding applaud action. Those, however, that are numbered among the high-souled ancients never applaud action. By action is a creature born with body which is made up of the sixteen. 4 (True) Knowledge swallows up Purusha (Self with consciousness of
body). Even this is what is highly acceptable to eaters of Amrita. 1 Therefore, those whose vision extends to the other end (of the ocean of life) have no attachment for actions. This Purusha, however, is full of knowledge and not full of action. 2 He dies not who understands Him that is immortal, immutable, incomprehensible, eternal and indestructible--Him that is the restrained Soul and that transcends all attachments. He who thus understands the Soul to which there is nothing prior which is uncreated, immutable, unconquered, and incomprehensible even to those that are eaters of nectar, certainly becomes himself incomprehensible and immortal through these means. Expelling all impressions and restraining the Soul in the Soul, he understands that auspicious Brahman than which nothing greater exists. Upon the understanding becoming clear, he succeeds in attaining to tranquillity. The indication of tranquillity is like what takes place in a dream. 3 This is the goal of these emancipated ones who are intent on knowledge. They behold all those movements which are born of successive developments. 4 This is the goal of those who are unattached to the world, This is the eternal usage. This is the acquisition of men of knowledge. This is the uncensured mode of conduct. This goal is capable of being attained by one that is alike to all creatures, that is without attachment, that is without expectations, and that looks equally on all things. I have now declared everything to you, ye foremost of regenerate Rishis. Do you act in this way forthwith; you will then acquire success.'
"The preceptor continued, 'Thus addressed by the preceptor Brahma, those high-souled sages acted accordingly and then attained to many regions (of great felicity). Do thou also, O blessed one, duly act according to the words of Brahma as declared by me, O thou of pure soul. Thou wilt then attain to success.'
"Vasudeva said,--'Thus instructed in the principles of high religion by the preceptor, the pupil, O son of Kunti, did everything accordingly, and then attained to Emancipation. Having done all that he should have done, the pupil, O perpetuator of Kuru's race, attained to that seat repairing whither one has not to grieve.'
"Arjuna said, 'Who, indeed, was that Brahmana, O Krishna, and who the pupil, O Janarddana. Truly, if it is fit to be heard by me, do thou then tell me, O lord!'
"Vasudeva said, 'I am the preceptor, O mighty-armed one, and know that the mind is my pupil. Through my affection for thee, O Dhananjaya, I have related this mystery to thee. If thou hast any love for me, O perpetuator of Kuru's race, do thou then, after having heard these instructions relating to the Soul, always act duly (according to them), O thou of excellent vows. Then when this religion has been duly practised, O mower of foes, thou wilt become freed from all thy sins and attain to absolute emancipation. Formerly, when the hour of battle came, this very religion, O thou of mighty arms, was declared by me (to thee)! Do thou, therefore, set thy mind on it. And now, O chief of Bharata's race, it is long since that I saw the lord my sire. I wish to see him again, with thy leave, O Phalguna!'
"Vaisampayana continued, 'Unto Krishna who had said so, Dhananjaya said in reply,--We shall go to-day from this town to the city called after the elephant. Meeting king Yudhishthira of virtuous soul there, and informing him (of thy intention) thou shalt then repair to thy own city!'"
88:1 The understanding operates on what is placed before it by the mind. The understanding, therefore, is, as it were, the lord exercising power or sovereignty, being served by the mind.
89:1 Sarvan srijati i.e., creates all things by attaining to the condition of the universal cause, for the unmanifest is the universal cause. Between such a one and the Supreme Soul there is no difference. Even this is said in the last sentence.
89:2 The man who reads the book called Veda is not truly conversant with the Veda. He, however, who knows Kshetrajna, is regarded as truly knowing the Veda.
89:3 The argument is that Mrityu or death being of two syllables, the correspondence is justifiable between it and Mama or mineness which also is of two syllables. So in the case of Brahman and na-mama. Of course, what is meant by mineness being death and not-mineness being Brahman or emancipation, cannot be unintelligible to one who has carefully read the preceding sections.
89:4 i.e., the five great elements, four organs of knowledge with mind, and the four organs of action.
90:1 The word Purusha here is used in the sense of dehabhimani Jiva or individual self with consciousness of body. True knowledge destroys this condition of Jiva, for the man of knowledge identifies himself with the universe and thereby assimilates himself to Brahman. By eaters of Amrita are meant they who never take any food without offering portions thereof to the deities, Pitris, and guests. Of course, Yogins of piety are implied by it.
90:2 Purusha here implies Jiva divested of consciousness of body.
90:3 The meaning is this: in a dream what is seen is all unreal. So, when tranquillity has been attained, all the surroundings become unreal. Nilakantha gives a slightly different interpretation; it is this: when tranquillity has been attained, the Soul lives without attachment to the body and all external objects. Indeed, the Soul then lives completely in itself even as it works in course of a dream.
90:4 The sense is that they behold all worldly objects, present, past and future, which are, of course, due to development of previous causes.
Next: Section LII