BY: SUN STAFF
Coronation of Yudhishthira
Kurnool, 17th c.
The Mahabharata of Krishna-Dwaipayana Vyasa
Translated by Kisari Mohan Ganguli (published between 1883 and 1896)
Apr 16, 2011 CANADA (SUN) Santi Parva, Book 12, Part One - Mokshadharma Parva - Section 312, Part Two.
Yudhishthira said, 'O thou of immeasurable energy, what are those faults that thou seest attaching to one's body? It behoveth thee to ex-pound this doubt to me fully and truly'?
Bhishma said, 'Listen, O slayer of foes! The Sankhyas or followers of Kapila, who are conversant with all paths and endued with wisdom, say that there are five faults, O puissant one, in the human body. They are Desire and Wrath and Fear and Sleep and Breath. These faults are seen in the bodies of all embodied creatures. Those that are endued with wisdom cut the root of wrath with the aid of Forgiveness. Desire is cut off by casting off all purposes. By cultivation of the quality of Goodness (Sattwa) sleep is conquered, and Fear is conquered by cultivating Heedfulness. Breath is conquered by abstemiousness of diet O king. Truly understanding gunas by the aid of hundreds of gunas, hundreds of faults, and diverse causes by hundreds of causes, ascertaining that the world is like the froth of water, enveloped by hundreds of illusions flowing from Vishnu, like a painted edifice, and as unsubstantial as a reed, beholding it to be (as terrible as) a dark pit, or as unreal as bubbles of water, for the years that compose its age are as shortlived (compared to the duration of eternity) as bubbles, seeing it exposed to immediate destruction, bereft of happiness, having certain ruin for its end and from which it can never escape, sunk in Rajas and Tamas, and utterly helpless like an elephant sunk in mire,--noting all this--the Sankhyas, O king, endued with great wisdom, casting off all affections arising from one's relation towards one's children, by the aid, O king, of that extensive and all-embracing knowledge which their system advocates and cutting off quickly, with the weapon of knowledge and the bludgeon of penances, O Bharata, all inauspicious scents born of Rajas and all scents of a like nature arising from Tamas and all auspicious scents arising from Sattwa and all pleasures of the touch (and of the other senses) born of the same three qualities and inhering to the body, indeed, O Bharata, aided by the Yoga of knowledge, these Yatis crowned with success,--cross the Ocean of life. That Ocean, so terrible has sorrow for its waters. Anxiety and grief constitute its deep lakes. Disease and death are its gigantic alligators.
The great fears that strike the heart at every step are its huge snakes. The deeds inspired by Tamas are its tortoises. Those inspired by Rajas are its fishes. Wisdom constitutes the raft for crossing it. The affections entertained for objects of the senses are its mire. Decrepitude constitutes its region of grief and trouble. Knowledge, O chastiser of foes, is its island. Acts constitute its great depth. Truth is its shores. Pious observances constitute the verdant weeds floating on its bosom. Envy constitutes its rapid and mighty current. The diverse sentiments of the heart constitute its mines. The diverse kinds of gratification are its valuable gems. Grief and fever are its winds. Misery and thirst are its mighty eddies. Painful and fatal diseases are its huge elephants. The assemblage of bones are its flights of steps, and phlegm is its froth. Gifts are its pearl-banks. The lakes of blood are its corals. Loud laughter constitutes its roars. Diverse sciences are its impassability. Tears are its brine. Renunciation of company constitutes the high refuge (of those that seek to cross it). Children and spouses are its unnumbered leeches. Friends and kinsmen are the cities and towns on its shores. Abstention from injury, and Truth, are its boundary line. Death is its storm-wave. The knowledge of Vedanta is its island (capable of affording refuge to those that are tossed upon its waters). Acts of compassion towards all creatures constitute its life-buoys, and Emancipation is the priceless commodity offered to those voyaging on its waters in search of merchandise. Like its substantive prototype with its equine head disgorging flames of fire, this ocean too has its fiery terrors.
Having transcended the liability, that is so difficult to transcend, of dwelling within the gross body, the Sankhyas enter into pure space. Surya then bears, with his rays, those righteous men that are practicers of the Sankhya doctrines. Like the fibres of the lotus-stalk conveying water to the flower into which they all converge. Surya, drinking all things from the universe, conveys them unto those good and wise men. There attachments all destroyed, possessed of energy, endued with wealth of penances, and crowned with success, these Yatis, O Bharata, are born by that wind which is subtile, cooling, fragrant, and delicious to the touch, O Bharata! In fact, that wind which is the best of the seven winds, and which blows in regions of great felicity, conveys them, O son of Kunti, to that which is the highest end in space. Then space into which they are carried, O monarch, conveys them to the highest end of Rajas. Rajas then bear them to the highest end of Sattwa. Sattwa then bears them, O thou of pure soul, to the Supreme and puissant Narayana. The puissant and pure-souled Narayana at last, through himself, bears them to the Supreme Soul. Having reached the Supreme Soul, those stainless persons who have (by that time) become the body of (what is called). That attain to immortality, and they have never afterwards to return from that position. O King! That is the highest end, O son of Pritha, which is attained by those high-souled men who have transcended the influence of all pairs of opposites.'"
Yudhishthira said, 'O sinless one, have those persons of firm vows after they have attained to that excellent position which is fraught with puissance and felicity, any recollection of their lives including birth and death? It behoveth thee to tell me properly what the truth is in respect, O thou of Kuru's race. I do not think it proper to question any one else than thee! Observing the scriptures bearing upon Emancipation, I find this great fault in the subject (for certain scriptures on the topic declare that consciousness disappears in the emancipate state, while other scriptures declare the very reverse of this). If, having attained to this high state, the Yatis continue to live in consciousness, it would seem. O king, that the religion of Pravritti is superior. If, again, consciousness disappears from the emancipate state and one who has become emancipate only resembles a person sunk in dreamless slumber, then nothing can be more improper than to say that there is really no consciousness in Emancipation (for of all that happens in dreamless slumber is that one's consciousness is temporarily overshadowed and suspended, but never lost, for it returns when one awakes from that slumber).'
Bhishma said, 'However difficult it may be to answer it, the question which thou hast asked, O son, is proper. Verily, the question is of such a kind that even they that are possessed of great learning become stupefied in answering it, O chief of Bharata's race. For all that, hear what the truth is as expounded by me. The high-souled followers of Kapila have set their high understandings on this point. The senses of knowledge, O King, planted in the bodies of embodied creatures, are employed in their respective functions of perception. They are the instruments of the Soul, for it is through them that subtile Being perceives. Disunited with the Soul, the senses are like lumps of wood, and are without doubt, destroyed (in respect of the functions they serve) like the froth that is seen on the bosom of the ocean. When the embodied creature, O scorcher of foes, sinks into sleep along with his senses, the subtile Soul then roves among all subjects like the wind through space. The subtile Soul, during slumber, continues to see (all forms) and touch all objects of touch, O king, and taken in other perceptions, as well as when it is awake. In consequence of their inability to act without their director, the senses, during sleep, all become extinguished in their respective places (and lose their powers) like snakes deprived of poison. At such times, the subtile Soul, repairing into the respective place of all the senses, without doubt, discharges all their functions.
All the qualities of Sattwa, all the attributes of the Under-standing, O Bharata, as also those of Mind, and space, and Wind, O thou of righteous soul, and all the attributes of liquid substances, of Water, O Partha, and Of Earth,--these senses with these qualities,--O Yudhishthira, which inhere to Jiva-souls, are along with the Jiva-soul itself, overwhelmed by the Supreme Soul or Brahma. Acts also, good and bad, overwhelm that Jiva-soul. Like disciples waiting upon their preceptor with reverence, the senses too wait upon the Jiva-soul transcends Prakriti, it attains to Brahma that is without change, that is highest, that is Narayana, that is beyond all pairs of opposites, and that transcends Prakriti. Freed from both merit and demerit, the Jiva-soul entering the Supreme Soul which is divested of all attributes, and which is the home of all auspiciousness, does not return thence, O Bharata. What remains, O son, is the mind with the senses, O Bharata. These have to come back once more at the appointed season for doing the bidding of their great master. Soon after, O son of Kunti, (when this body is cast off) the Yati striving after Emancipation, endued as he is with knowledge and desirous as he is of Guna, succeeds in attaining to that Peace of Emancipation which is his who becomes bodiless.
The Sankhyas, O king, are endued with great wisdom. They succeed in attaining to the highest end by means of this kind of knowledge. There is no knowledge that is equal to this. Do not yield to any kind of doubt. The knowledge which is described in the system of the Sankhyas is regarded as the highest. That knowledge is immutable and is eternally fixed. It is eternal Brahma in fulness. It has no beginning, middle and end. It transcends all pairs of opposites. It is the cause of the creation of the universe. It stands in fulness. It is without deterioration of any kind. It is uniform, and everlasting. Thus are its praises sung by the wise. From it flow creation and destruction and all modifications. The great Rishis speak of it and applaud it in the scriptures. All learned Brahmanas and all righteous men regard it as flowing from Brahma, Supreme, Divine, Infinite, Immutable, and Undeteriorating. All Brahmanas again that are attached to objects of the senses adore and applaud it by ascribing to it attributes that belong to illusion. The same is the view of Yogins well observant of penances and meditation and of Sankhyas of immeasureable insight. The Srutis declare, O son of Kunti, that the Sankhya form of philosophy is the form of that Formless one. The cognitions (according to that philosophy) have, O chief of Bharata's race, been said to be the knowledge of Brahma.
There are two kinds of creatures on Earth, O lord of Earth, viz., mobile and immobile. Of these that are mobile are superior, That high knowledge, O king, which exists in persons conversant with Brahma, and that which occurs in the Vedas, and that which is found in other scriptures, and that in Yoga, and that which may be seen in the diverse Puranas, are all, O monarch, to be found in Sankhya philosophy. Whatever knowledge is seen to exist in high histories whatever knowledge occurs, O king, in the sciences appertaining to the acquisition of wealth as approved by the wise, whatever other knowledge exists in this world,--all these,--flow, O high-souled monarch, from the high knowledge that occurs among the Sankhyas. Tranquillity of soul, high puissance, all subtile knowledge of which the scriptures speak, penances of subtile force, and all kinds of felicity, O king, have all been duly ordained in the Sankhya system. Failing to acquire, O son of Pritha, that complete knowledge which is recommended by their system, the Sankhyas attain to the status of deities and pass many years in felicity. Lording it over the celestials as they will, they fall, upon the expiration of the allotted period, among learned Brahmanas and Yatis.
Casting off this body, those regenerate ones that follow the Sankhya system enter into the superior state of Brahma like the celestials entering into the firmament by devoting themselves wholly to that adorable system which is theirs and which is worshipped by all wise men. Those regenerate persons that are devoted to the acquisition of that knowledge which is recommended in the Sankhya system, even if they fail to attain to eminence, are never seen to fall among intermediate creatures, or to sink into the status of sinful men. That high-souled person who is fully conversant with the vast, high, ancient, ocean-like, and immeasurable Sankhya system that is pure and liberal and agreeable, becomes, O king, equal to Narayana. I have now told thee, O god among men, the truth about the Sankhya system. It is the embodiment of Narayana, of the universe as it exists from the remotest time. When the time of Creation comes, He causes the Creation to start into life, and when the time comes for destruction, He swallows up everything. Having withdrawn everything into his own body he goes to sleep,--that inner Soul of the universe.'
Thus ends Part Three, Section 312, Part Two of the Santi Parva of the Mokshadharma Parva of of Sri Mahabharata.