mahabharata book 12 (part 2): santi parva

by Krishna Vyasa

[ see also: part 1 of this book ]

consciousness, spirituality, mind, humanity, hinduism


“Vyasa said, 'The Jiva-soul is endued with all those entities that are modifications of Prakriti. These do not know the Soul but the Soul knows them all. Like a good driver proceeding with the aid of strong, well-broken, and high-mettled steeds along the paths he selects, the Soul acts with the aid of these, called the senses, having the mind for their sixth. The objects of the senses are superior to the senses themselves. The mind is superior to those objects. The understanding is superior to the mind. The Soul, also called Mahat, is superior to the understanding. Superior to Mahat is the Unmanifest (or Prakriti). Superior to the Unmanifest is Brahma. There is nothing Superior to Brahma. That is the highest limit of excellence and the highest goal. The Supreme Soul is concealed in every creature. It is not displayed for ordinary men to behold. Only Yogins with subtile vision behold the Supreme Soul with the aid of their keen and subtile understanding. Merging the senses having the mind for their sixth and all the objects of the senses into the inner Soul by the aid of the Understanding, and reflecting upon the three states of consciousness, viz., the object thought, the act of thinking, and the thinker, and abstaining by contemplation from every kind of enjoyment, equipping his mind with the knowledge that he is Brahma's self, laying aside at the same time all consciousness of puissance, and thereby making his soul perfectly tranquil, the Yogin obtains that to which immortality inheres. That person, however, who happens to be the slave of all his senses and whose ideas of right and wrong have been confounded, already liable as he is to death, actually meets with death by such surrender of self to (the passions).[1036] Destroying all desires, one should merge the gross Understanding into one's subtile Understanding. Having thus merged the gross into the subtile Understanding, one is sure to become a second Kalanjara mountain.[1037] By purifying his heart, the Yogin transcends both righteousness and its reverse. By purifying his heart and by living in his own true nature, he attains to the highest happiness.[1038] The indication of that purity of heart (of which I speak) is that one who has attained to experiences that state of unconsciousness (with respect of all one's surroundings) which one experiences in dreamless slumber. The Yogin who has attained to that state lives like the steady flame of a lamp that burns in a place where the atmosphere is perfectly still. Becoming abstemious in diet, and having cleansed his heart, that Yogin who applies his Soul to the Soul succeeds in beholding the Soul in the Soul.[1039] This discourse, O son, intended for thy instruction, is the essence of all the Vedas. The truths herein disclosed are incapable of being understood by the aid of inference alone or by that of mere study of the scriptures. One must understand it oneself by the aid of faith. By churning the wealth that is contained in all religious works and in all discourses based on truth, as also the ten thousand Richs, this nectar hath been raised. As butter from curds and fire from wood, even hath this been raised for the sake of my son,–this that constituteth the knowledge of all truly wise men. This discourse, O son, fraught with solid instruction, is intended for delivery unto Snatakas.[1040] It should never be imparted to one that is not of tranquil soul, or one that is not self-restrained, or one that hath not undergone penances. It should not be communicated to one that is not conversant with the Vedas, or one that doth not humbly wait upon one's preceptor, or one that is not free from malice, or one that is not possessed of sincerity and candour, or one that is of reckless behaviour. It should never be communicated to one whose intellect hath been consumed by the science of disputation, or one that is vile or low. Unto that person, however, who is possessed of fame, or who deserveth applause (for his virtues), or who is of tranquil soul, or possessed of ascetic merit, unto a Brahmana who is such, unto one's son or dutiful disciple, this discourse containing the very essence of duties should be communicated, but on no account should it be communicated to others. If any person makes a gift of the whole earth with all her treasures, unto one conversant with truth, the latter would still regard the gift of this knowledge to be very much superior to that gift. I shall now discourse to thee on a subject that is a greater mystery than this, a subject that is connected with the Soul, that transcends the ordinary understandings of human beings, that has been beheld by the foremost of Rishis, that has been treated in the Upanishads, and that forms the topic of thy inquiry. Tell me what, after this is in thy mind? Tell me in what thou has still any doubt? Listen, for here I am, O son, faces turned towards all directions. The Sun and the Moon are thy two seated before thee! Upon what indeed, shall I once more speak to thee?'”


“Suka said, 'O illustrious one, O foremost of Rishis, once again discourse to me on Adhyatma more elaborately. Tell me what, indeed, is Adhyatma and whence does it come?'[1041]

“Vyasa said, 'That, O son, which is regarded as Adhyatma with reference to human beings, I shall now mention to thee, and listen to the explanation I give (of Adhyatma). Earth, water, light, wind, and space, are the great entities that form the component parts of all creatures, and, though really one, are yet regarded different like the waves of the ocean (which though identical with respect to their constituent substance are yet counted as different from one another). Like a tortoise stretching out its limbs and withdrawing them again, the great entities (already named), by dwelling in numberless small forms, undergo transformations (called creation and destruction). All this universe of mobile and immobile objects hath for its component parts these five entities. Everything, in respect of its creation and destruction, is referable to this fivefold entity. These five entities occur in all existent things. The Creator of all things, however, hath made an unequal distribution of those entities (by placing them in different things in different proportions) for serving different ends.'[1042]

“Suka said, 'How may one succeed in understanding that unequal distribution (of the five great entities of which thou speakest) in the diverse things of the universe? Which amongst them are the senses and which the attributes? How may this be understood?'

“Vyasa said, 'I shall explain thee this duly one after another. Listen with concentrated attention to the subject as I expound how what I have said actually happens. Sound, the sense of hearing, and all the cavities within the body,–these three–have space for their origin. The vital breaths, the action of the limbs and touch form the attributes of the wind. Form, eyes, and the digestive fire within the stomach, are originated by light. Taste, tongue, and all the humours,–these three,–are from water. Scent, nose, and the body,–these three,–are the attributes of earth. These, then, as I have expounded to thee, are the transformations of the five (great) entities with senses. Touch is said to be the attribute of the wind; taste of water; form of light. Sound is said to have its origin in space, and scent is said to be the property of earth. Mind, Understanding, and Nature,–these three,–spring from their own previous states, and attaining (at each rebirth) to a position higher than the attributes (which form their respective objects), do not transcend those attributes.[1043] As the tortoise stretches out its limbs and withdraws them once again within itself, even so the Understanding creates the senses and once again withdraws them into itself.[1044] The consciousness of personal identity that arises in respect of that which is above the soles of the feet and below the crown of the head, is principally due to the action of the Understanding.[1045] It is the understanding that is transformed into the (five) attributes (of form, scent, etc.). It is understanding also that is transformed into the (five) senses with the mind for the sixth. When the Understanding is absent, where are the attributes?[1046] In man there are five senses. The mind is called the sixth (sense). The Understanding is called the seventh. The Soul is the eighth. The eyes (and the other senses) are for only receiving impressions of form (and scent, etc.). The mind exists for doubting (the accuracy of those impressions). The Understanding settles those doubts. The Soul is said only to witness every operation without mingling with them. Rajas, Tamas, and Sattwa,–these three,–arise from their own counterparts. These exist equal in all creatures (viz., the deities and human beings, etc.). These are called attributes and should be known by the actions they induce.[1047] As regards those actions all such states in which one becomes conscious of oneself as united with cheerfulness or joy and which are tranquil and pure, should be known as due to the attribute of Sattwa. All such states in either the body or the mind, as are united with sorrow, should be regarded as due to the influence of the attribute called Rajas. All such states again as exist with stupefication (of the senses, the mind or the understanding) whose cause is unascertainable, and which are incomprehensible (by either reasons or inward light), should be known as ascribable to the action of Tamas. Delight, cheerfulness, joy, equanimity, contentment of heart, due to any known cause or arising otherwise, are all effects of the attribute of Sattwa. Pride, untruthfulness of speech, cupidity, stupefication, vindictiveness, whether arising from any known cause or otherwise, are indications of the quality of Rajas. Stupefaction of judgment, heedlessness, sleep, lethargy, and indolence, from whatever cause these may arise, are to be known as indications of the quality of Tamas.'”[1048]


“Vyasa said, 'The mind creates (within itself) numerous ideas (of objects or existent things). The Understanding settles which is which. The heart discriminates which is agreeable and which is disagreeable. These are the three forces that impel to acts. The objects of the senses are superior to the senses. The mind is superior to those objects. The understanding is superior to mind. The Soul is regarded as superior to Understanding. (As regards the ordinary purposes of man) the Understanding is his Soul. When the understanding, of its own motion, forms ideas (of objects) within itself, it then comes to be called Mind.[1049] In consequence of the senses being different from one another (both in respect of their objects and the manner of their operation), the Understanding (which is one and the same) present different aspect in consequence of its different modifications. When it hears, it becomes the organ of hearing, and when it touches, it becomes the organ of touch. Similarly, when it sees, it becomes the organ of vision, and when it tastes, it becomes the organ of taste, and when it smells, it becomes the organ of scent. It is the Understanding that appears under different guises (for different functions) by modification. It is the modifications of the Understanding that are called the senses. Over them is placed as their presiding chief (or overseer) the invisible Soul. Residing in the body, the Understanding exists in the three states (of Sattwa, Rajas, and, Tamas). Sometimes it obtains cheerfulness, sometimes it gives way to grief; and sometimes its condition becomes such that it is united with neither cheerfulness nor grief. The Understanding, however, whose chief function (as already said) is to create entities, transcends those three states even as the ocean, that lord of rivers, prevails against the mighty currents of the rivers that fall into it.[1050] When the Understanding desires for anything, it comes to be called by the name of Mind. The senses again, though (apparently different) should all be taken as included within the Understanding. The senses, which are engaged in bearing impressions of form, scent etc., should all be subdued.[1051] When a particular sense becomes subservient to the Understanding, the latter though in reality not different (from that sense), enters the Mind in the form of existent things. Even this is what happens with the senses one after another (separately and not simultaneously) with reference to the ideas that are said to be apprehended by them.[1052] All the three states that exist (viz., Sattwa, Rajas, and Tamas), inhere to these three (viz., Mind, Understanding, and Consciousness) and like the spokes of a car-wheel acting in consequence of their attachment to the circumference of the wheel, they follow the different objects (that exist in Mind, Understanding, and Consciousness).[1053] The mind must make a lamp of the senses for dispelling the darkness that shuts out the knowledge of the Supreme Soul. This knowledge that is acquired by Yogins with the aid of all especial agency of Yoga, is acquired without any especial efforts by men that abstain from worldly objects.[1054] The universe is of this nature (viz., it is only a creation of the understanding). The man of knowledge, therefore, is never stupefied (by attachment to things of this world). Such a man never grieves, never rejoices, and is free from envy (at seeing another possessing a larger share of earthly objects). The Soul is incapable of being seen with the aid of the senses whose nature is to wander among all (earthly) objects of desire. Even righteous men, whose senses are pure, fail to behold the soul with their aid, what then should be said of the vicious whose senses are impure? When, however, a person, with the aid of his mind, tightly holds their reins, it is then that his Soul discovers itself like an object (unseen in darkness) appearing to the view in consequence of the light of a lamp. Indeed, as all things become visible when the darkness that envelopes them is dispelled, even the soul becomes visible when the darkness that covers it is removed.[1055] As an aquatic fowl, though moving on the water, is never drenched by that element, after the same manner the Yogin of freed soul is never soiled by the imperfections of the three attributes (of Sattwa, Rajas, and Tamas). After the same manner, the man of wisdom, by even enjoying all earthly objects without being attached to any of them, is never soiled by faults of any kind that arise in the case of others from such enjoyment. He who avoids acts after having done them duly,[1056] and takes delight in the one really existent entity, viz., the Soul, who has constituted himself the soul of all created beings, and who succeeds in keeping himself aloof from the three attributes, obtains an understanding and senses that are created by the Soul. The qualities are incapable of apprehending the Soul. The Soul, however, apprehends them always. The Soul is the witness that beholds the qualities and duly calls them up into being. Behold, this is the difference between the understanding and the Soul both of which are exceedingly subtile. One of them creates the qualities. The other never creates them. Though they are different from each other by nature, yet they are always united. The fish living in the water is different from the element in which it lives. But as the fish and the water forming its home are always united, after the same manner Sattwa and Kshetrajna exists in a state of union. The gnat born within a rotten fig is really not the fig but different from it. Nevertheless, as the gnat and the fig are seen to be united with each other, even so are Sattwa and Kshetrajna. As the blade in a clump of grass, though distinct from the clump, nevertheless exists in a state of union with it, even so these two, though different from each other, each existing in its own self, are to be seen in a state of constant union.'”


“Vyasa said, 'The objects by which one is surrounded are created by the understanding. The Soul, without being connected with them, stands aloof, presiding over them. It is the understanding that creates all objects. The three primary qualities are continually being transformed (for the production of objects). The Kshetrajna or Soul, endued with puissance, presides, over them all, without, however, mingling with them.[1057] The objects which the understanding creates partake of its own nature. Indeed, as the spider creates threads (which partakes of its own material substance), the objects created by the understanding partake of the nature of the understanding. Some maintain that the qualities, when driven away by Yoga or knowledge, do not cease to exist. They say this because when once gone, the indications only of their return are not perceptible. (But that is no evidence of their actual destruction). Others say that when dispelled by knowledge, they are at once destroyed never to return.[1058] Reflecting upon these two opinions properly, one should strive one's best according to the way one thinks proper. It is by this way that one should attain to eminence and take refuge in one's own Soul alone.[1059] The Soul is without beginning and without end. Comprehending his Soul properly man should move and act, without giving way to wrath, without indulging in joy, and always free from envy. Cutting by this means the knot that is in one's heart, the knot whose existence is due to the operation of the faculties of the understanding, which is hard (to open or cut), but which nevertheless is capable of being destroyed by knowledge, one should live happily, without giving way to grief (for anything that happens), and with one's doubts dispelled. Know that they who mingle in the affairs of this world are as distressed in body and mind as persons ignorant of the art of swimming when they slip from the land and fall into a large and deep river. The man of learning, however, being conversant with the truth, is never distressed, for he feels like one walking over solid land. Indeed, he who apprehends his Soul to be such, viz., as presenting only the character of Chit which has knowledge alone for its indication, is never distressed. Indeed, a person, by thus comprehending the origin and end of all creatures, and by thus apprehending their inequalities or distinctions, succeeds in attaining to high felicity. This knowledge is the possession of a Brahmana in especial by virtue of his birth. Knowledge of the Soul, and felicity like that which has been adverted to, are each fully sufficient to lead to emancipation.[1060] By acquiring such knowledge one really becomes learned. What else is the indication of a person of knowledge? Having acquired such knowledge, they that are wise among men regard themselves crowned with success and become emancipated.[1061] Those things that become sources of fear unto men destitute of knowledge do not become sources of fear unto those that are endued with knowledge. There is no end higher than the eternal end which is obtained by a person possessed of knowledge. One beholds with aversion all earthly objects of enjoyment which are, of course, fraught with faults of every kind. Another, beholding others betake themselves with pleasure to such objects, is filled with sorrow. As regards this matter, however, they that are conversant with both objects, behold, viz., that which is fictitious and that which is not so, never indulge in sorrow and are truly happy.[1062] That which a man does without expectation of fruits destroys his acts of a former life. The acts, however, of such a person both of this and his previous life cannot lead to Emancipation. On the other hand, such destruction of former acts and such acts of this life cannot lead to what is disagreeable (viz., hell), even if the man of wisdom engages in acts.'”[1063]


“Suka said, 'Let thy reverence tell me of that which is the foremost of all duties, indeed, of that duty above which no higher one exists in this world.'

“Vyasa said, 'I shall now tell thee of duties having a very ancient origin and laid down by the Rishis, duties that are distinguished above all others. Listen to me with undivided attention. The senses that are maddening should carefully be restrained by the understanding like a sire restraining his own inexperienced children liable to fall into diverse evil habits. The withdrawal of the mind and the senses from all unworthy objects and their due concentration (upon worthy objects) is the highest penance. That is the foremost of all duties. Indeed, that is said to be the highest duty. Directing, by the aid of the understanding, the senses having the mind for their sixth, and without, indeed, thinking of worldly objects which have the virtue of inspiring innumerable kinds of thought, one should live contented with one's own self. When the senses and the mind, withdrawn from the pastures among which they usually run loose, come back for residing in their proper abode, it is then that thou wilt behold in thy own self the Eternal and Supreme Soul.[1064] Those high-souled Brahmanas that are possessed of wisdom succeed in beholding that Supreme and Universal Soul which is like unto a blazing fire in effulgence. As a large tree endued with numerous branches and possessed of many flowers and fruits does not know in which part it has flowers and in which it has fruits, after the same manner the Soul as modified by birth and other attributes, does not know whence it has come and whither it is to go. There is, however, an inner Soul, which beholds (knows) everything.[1065] One sees the Soul oneself with the aid of the lighted lamp of knowledge. Beholding, therefore, thyself with thy own self, cease to regard thy body as thyself and attain thou to omniscience. Cleansed of all sins, like unto a snake that has cast off its slough, one attains to high intelligence here and becomes free from every anxiety and the obligation of acquiring a new body (in a subsequent birth). Its current spreading in diverse directions, frightful is this river of life bearing the world onward in its course. The five senses are its crocodiles. The mind and its purposes are the shores. Cupidity and stupefaction of judgment are the grass and straw that float on it, covering its bosom. Lust and wrath are the fierce reptiles that live in it. Truth forms the tirtha by its miry banks. Falsehood forms its surges, anger its mire. Taking its rise from the Unmanifest, rapid is its current, and incapable of being crossed by persons of uncleansed souls. Do thou, with the aid of the understanding cross that river having desires for its alligators. The world and its concerns constitute the ocean towards which that river runs. Genus and species constitute its unfathomable depth that none can understand. One's birth, O child, is the source from which that stream takes its rise. Speech constitutes its eddies. Difficult to cross, only men of learning and wisdom and understanding succeed in crossing it. Crossing it, thou wilt succeed in freeing thyself from every attachment, acquiring a tranquil heart, knowing the Soul, and becoming pure in every respect. Relying them on a purged and elevated understanding, thou wilt succeed in becoming Brahma's self. Having dissociated thyself from every worldly attachment, having acquired a purified Soul and transcending every kind of sin, look thou upon the world like a person looking from the mountain top upon creatures creeping below on the earth's surface. Without giving way to wrath or joy, and without forming any cruel wish, thou wilt succeed in beholding the origin and the destruction of all created objects. They that are endued with wisdom regard such an act to be the foremost of all things. Indeed, this act of crossing the river of life is regarded by the foremost of righteous persons, by ascetics conversant with the truth, to be the highest of all acts that one can accomplish. This knowledge of the all-pervading Soul is intended to be imparted to one's son. It should be inculcated unto one that is of restrained senses, that is honest in behaviour, and that is docile or submissive. This knowledge of the Soul, of which I have just now spoken to thee, O child, and the evidence of whose truth is furnished by the Soul itself, is a mystery,–indeed, the greatest of all mysteries, and the very highest knowledge that one can attain. Brahma hath no sex,–male, female, or neuter. It is neither sorrow nor happiness. It hath for its essence the past, the future, and the present. Whatever one's sex, male or female, the person that attains to the knowledge of Brahma hath never to undergo rebirth. This duty (of Yoga) hath been inculcated for attaining to exemption from rebirth.[1066] These words that I have used for answering thy question lead to Emancipation in the same way as the diverse other opinions advanced by diverse other sages that have treated of this subject. I have expounded the topic to thee after the manner in which it should be expounded. Those opinions sometimes become productive of fruit and sometimes not. (The words, however, that I have used are of a different kind, for these are sure to lead to success).[1067] For this reason, O good child, a preceptor, when asked by a contented, meritorious, and self-restrained son or disciple, should, with a delighted heart, inculcate, according to their true import, these instructions that I have inculcated for the benefit of thee, my son!'”


“Vyasa said, 'One should not show any affection for scents and tastes and other kinds of enjoyment. Nor should one accept ornaments and other articles contributing to the enjoyment of the senses of scent and taste. One should not covet honour and achievements and fame. Even this is the behaviour of a Brahmana possessed of vision.[1068] He that hath studied all the Vedas, having waited dutifully on his preceptor and observed the vow of Brahmacharya, he that knows all the Richs, Yajuses, and Samans, is not a regenerate person.[1069] One that behaves towards all creatures as if one is their kinsman, and one that is acquainted with Brahma, is said to be conversant with all the Vedas. One that is divested of desire (being contented with knowledge of the Soul), never dies. It is by such a behaviour and such a frame of mind that one becomes a truly regenerate person.[1070] Having performed only various kinds of religious rites and diverse sacrifices completed with gift of Dakshina, one does not acquire the status of a Brahmana if he is devoid of compassion and hath not given up desire.[1071] When one ceases to fear all creatures and when all creatures cease to fear one, when one never desires for anything nor cherishes aversion for anything, then he is said to attain to the status of Brahma. When one abstains from injuring all creatures in thought, speech, and act, then he is said to acquire the status of Brahma. There is only one kind of bondage in this world, viz., the bondage of desire, and no other. One that is freed from the bondage of desire attains to the status of Brahma. Freed from desire like the Moon emerged from murky clouds, the man of wisdom, purged of all stains, lives in patient expectation of his time. That person into whose mind all sorts of desire enter like diverse streams falling into the ocean without being able to enhance its limits by their discharge, succeeds in obtaining tranquillity, but not he who cherishes desire for all earthly objects. Such a person becomes happy in consequence of the fruition of all his wishes, and not he who cherishes desire for earthly objects. The latter, even if he attains to heaven, has to fall away from it.[1072] The Vedas have truth for their recondite object. Truth hath the subjugation of the senses for its recondite object. The subjugation of the senses hath charity for its recondite object. Charity hath penance for its recondite object. Penance hath renunciation for its recondite object. Renunciation hath happiness for its recondite object. Happiness hath heaven for its recondite object. Heaven hath tranquillity for its recondite object.[1073] For the sake of contentment thou shouldst wish to obtain a serene understanding which is a precious possession, being indicative of Emancipation, and which, scorching grief and all purposes or doubts together with thirst, destroys them completely in the end.[1074] One possessed of those six attributes, viz., contentment, grieflessness, freedom from attachment, peacefulness, cheerfulness, and freedom from envy, is sure to become full or complete.[1075] They that, transcending all consciousness of body, know the Soul which resides within the body and which is understood by only persons of wisdom with the aid of the six entities (already mentioned, viz., the Vedas and truth, etc.) when endowed with only the attribute of Sattwa, and with the aid also of the other three (viz., instruction, meditation and Yoga), succeed in attaining to Emancipation.[1076] The man of wisdom, by understanding the Soul which presides within the body, which is divested of the attributes of birth and death, which exists in its own nature, which being uninvested with attributes requires no act of purification, and which is identical with Brahma, enjoys beatitude that knows no termination. The gratification that the man of wisdom obtains by restraining his mind from wandering in all directions and fixing it wholly on the Soul is such that its like cannot be attained by one through any other means. He is said to be truly conversant with the Vedas who is conversant with that which gratifies one whose stomach is empty, which pleases one who is indigent, and which invigorates one whose limbs are dry. Suspending his senses that have been duly restrained from unworthy indulgence, he who lives engaged in Yoga meditation, is said to be a Brahmana. Such a person is said to be distinguished above others. Such a person is said to derive his joys from the Soul. With reference to one who lives after having weakened desire and devoting himself to the highest topic of existence, it should be said that his happiness is continuously enhanced like the lunar disc (in the lighted fortnight).[1077] Like the Sun dispelling darkness, felicity dispels the sorrows of that Yogin who transcends both the gross and the subtile elements, as also Mahat and the Unmanifest.[1078] Decrepitude and death cannot assail that Brahmana who has got beyond the sphere of acts, who has transcended the destruction of the Gunas themselves, and who is no longer attached to worldly objects.[1079] Indeed, when the Yogin, freed from everything, lives in a state transcending both attachment and aversion, he is said to transcend even in this life his senses and all their objects. That Yogin, who having transcended Prakriti attains to the Highest Cause, becomes freed from the obligation of a return to the world in consequence of his having attained to that which is the highest.'”[1080]


“Vyasa said, 'Unto a disciple that wishes to enquire after Emancipation after having transcended all pairs of opposites and accomplished the concerns of both profit and religion, an accomplished preceptor should first recount all that has been said in the foregoing section, which is elaborate, on the topic of Adhyatma.[1081] Space, wind, light, water and earth counted as the fifth, and bhava and abhava and time, exist in all living creatures having the five for their constituent ingredients.[1082] Space is unoccupied interval. The organs of hearing consist of space. One conversant with the science of entities endued with form should know that space has sound for its attribute. The feet (that assist at locomotion) have wind for their essence. The vital breaths are made of wind. The sense of touch (skin) has wind for its essence, and touch is the attribute of wind. Heat, the digestive fire in the stomach, light that discovers all things, the warmth that is in the body, and eye counted as the fifth, are all of light which has form of diverse colours for its attribute. Liquefied discharges, solubility, and all kinds of liquid matter are of water. Blood, marrow, and all else (in the body) that is cool, should be known to have water for their essence. The tongue is the sense of taste, and taste is regarded as the attribute of water. All solid substances are of earth, as also bones, teeth, nails, beard, the bristles on the body, hair, nerves, sinews, and skin. The nose is called the sense of scent. The object of that sense, viz., scent, should be known as the attribute of earth. Each subsequent element possesses the attribute or attributes of the preceding one besides its own. [1083] In all living creatures again are the (three) supplementary entities (viz., avidya, kama, and karma).[1084] The Rishis thus declared the five elements and the effects and attributes flowing from or belonging to them. The mind forms the ninth in the calculation, and the understanding is regarded as the tenth. The Soul, which is infinite, is called the eleventh. It is regarded as this all and as the highest. The mind has doubt for its essence. The understanding discriminates and causes certainty. The Soul (which, as already said, is infinite), becomes known as Jiva invested with body (or jivatman) through consequences derived from acts.[1085] That man who looketh upon the entire assemblage of living creatures to be unstained, though endued with all these entities having time for their essence, has never to recur to acts affected by error.'”[1086]


“Vyasa said, 'Those that are conversant with the scriptures behold, with the aid of acts laid down in the scriptures, the Soul which is clothed in a subtile body and is exceedingly subtile and which is dissociated from the gross body in which it resides.[1087] As the rays of the Sun that course in dense masses through every part of the firmament are incapable of being seen by the naked eye though their existence is capable of being inferred by reason, after the same manner, existent beings freed from gross bodies and wandering in the universe are beyond the ken of human vision.[1088] As the effulgent disc of the Sun is beheld in the water in a counter-image, after the same manner the Yogin beholds within gross bodies the existent self in its counter-image.[1089] All those souls again that are encased in subtile forms after being freed from the gross bodies in which they resided, are perceptible to Yogins who have subjugated their senses and who are endued with knowledge of the soul. Indeed, aided by their own souls, Yogins behold those invisible beings. Whether asleep or awake, during the day as in the night, and during the night as in day time, they who apply themselves to Yoga after casting off all the creations of the understanding and the Rajas born of acts, as also the very puissance that Yoga begets, succeed in keeping their linga form under complete control.[1090] The Jiva that dwells in such Yogins, always endued with the seven subtile entities (viz., Mahat, consciousness, and the five tanmatras of the five elemental entities), roves in all regions of bliss, freed from decrepitude and death. I say 'always', and 'freed from death' only in accordance with the common form of speech, for in reality, that linga form is terminable.[1091] That man, however, who (without having been able to transcend them) is under the influence of his mind and understanding, discriminates, even in his dreams, his own body from that of another and experiences (even then) both pleasure and pain.[1092] Yes, in even his dreams he enjoys happiness and suffers misery; and yielding to wrath and cupidity, meets with calamities of various kinds. In his dreams he acquires great wealth and feels highly gratified: accomplishes meritorious acts, and (sees and hears, etc.) as he does in his wakeful hours. Wonderful it is to note that jiva, which has to lie within the uterus and amid much internal heat, and which has to pass a period of full ten months in that place, is not digested and reduced to destruction like food within the stomach. Men overwhelmed by the qualities of Rajas and Tamas never succeed in beholding within the gross body: the Jiva-soul which is a portion of the Supreme Soul of transcendent effulgence and which lies within the heart of every creature. They who betake themselves to the science of Yoga for the purpose of obtaining (a knowledge) of that Soul transcending the inanimate and gross body, the imperceptible linga body, and the karana body that is not destroyed on the occasion of even the universal destruction.[1093] Amongst the duties that have been laid down for the different modes of life including the fourth mode (or Sannyasa), these to which I have adverted, which have yoga for their foremost, and which imply a cessation of every operation of the Mind and the understanding, have been laid down by Sandilya (in the Chandogya Upanishad).[1094] Having comprehended the seven subtile entities (viz., the senses, the objects of the mind, Mind, Understanding, Mahat, Unmanifest or Prakriti, and Purusha), having comprehended also the Supreme cause of the universe with the six attributes (viz., omniscience, contentment, unlimited comprehension, independence, eternal wakefulness, and omnipotence), and lastly having understood that the universe is only a modification of Avidya endued with the three qualities, one succeeds in beholding (guided by the scriptures), high Brahma.'”[1095]


“Vyasa said, 'There is a wonderful tree, called Desire, in the heart of a man. It is born of the seed called Error. Wrath and pride constitute its large trunk. The wish for action is the basin around its foot (for holding the water that is to nourish it). Ignorance is the root of that tree, and heedlessness is the water that gives it sustenance. Envy constitutes its leaves. The evil acts of past lives supply it with vigour. Loss of judgment and anxiety are its twigs; grief forms its large branches; and fear is its sprout. Thirst (after diverse objects) that is (apparently) agreeable forms the creepers that twine round it on every side. Excessively greedy men, bound in chains of iron, sitting around that fruit-yielding tree, pay their adorations to it, in expectation of obtaining its fruit.[1096] He who, subduing those chains, cutteth down that tree and seeks to cast off both sorrow and joy, succeeds in attaining to the end of both.[1097] That foolish man who nourishes this tree by indulgence in the objects of the senses is destroyed by those very objects in which he indulges after the manner of a poisonous pill destroying the patient to whom it is administered.[1098] A dexterous person, however, by the aid of Yoga, forcibly teareth up and cutteth with the sword of samadhi, the far-reaching root of this tree.[1099] One who knows that the end of all acts undertaken from only the desire of fruit is rebirth or chains that bind, succeeds in transcending all sorrow. The body is said to be a city. The understanding is said to be its mistress. The mind dwelling within the body is the minister of that mistress whose chief function is to decide. The senses are the citizen that are employed by the mind (upon the service of the mistress). For cherishing those citizens the mind displays a strong inclination for acts of diverse kinds. In the matter of those acts, two great faults are observable, viz., Tamas and Rajas.[1100] Upon the fruits of those acts rest those citizens along with the chiefs of the city (viz., Mind, Understanding, and Consciousness).[1101] The two faults (already spoken of) live upon the fruits of those acts that are accomplished by forbidden means. This being the case, the understanding, which of itself is unconquerable (by either Rajas or Tamas), descends to a state of equality with the mind (by becoming as much tainted as the mind that serves it). Then again the senses, agitated by the stained mind, lose their own stability. Those objects again for whose acquisition the understanding strives (regarding them to be beneficial) become productive of grief and ultimately Meet with destruction. Those objects, after destruction, are recollected by the mind, and accordingly they afflict the mind even after they are lost. The understanding is afflicted at the same time, for the mind is said to be different from the understanding only when the mind is considered in respect of its chief function of receiving impressions about whose certainty it is no judge. In reality, however, the mind is identical with the understanding.[1102] The Rajas (productive of only sorrow and evil of every kind) that is in the understanding then overwhelms the Soul itself that lies over the Rajas-stained understanding like an image upon a mirror.[1103] It is the mind that first unites in friendship with Rajas. Having united itself, it seizes the soul, the understanding, and the senses (like a false minister seizing the king and the citizens after having conspired with a foe) and makes them over to Rajas (with which it has united itself).'”


“Bhishma said, 'Do thou, O son, O sinless one, listen once more, with feelings of great pride, to the words that fell from the lips of the Island-born Rishi on the subject of the enumeration of the entities. Like unto a blazing fire (for having transcended all ignorance), the great Rishi said these words unto his son who resembled a fire wrapped in smoke.[1104] Instructed by what he said, I also, O son, shall again expound to thee that certain knowledge (which dispels ignorance). The properties possessed by earth are immobility, weight, hardness, productiveness, scent, density, capacity to absorb scents of all kinds, cohesion, habitableness (in respect of vegetables and animals), and that attribute of the mind which is called patience of the capacity to bear. The properties of water are coolness, taste, moisture, liquidity, softness, agreeableness, tongue, fluidity, capacity to be congealed, and power to melt many earthly products.[1105] The properties of fire are irresistible energy, inflammability, heat, capacity t o soften, light, sorrow, disease, speed, fury, and invariably upward motion. The properties of the wind are touch that is neither hot nor cool, capacity to assist the organ of speech, independence (in respect of motion), strength, celerity, power to assist all kinds of emission or discharge, power to raise other objects, breaths inhaled and exhaled, life (as the attribute of Chit) and birth (including death). The properties of space are sound, extension, capacity of being enclosed, absence of refuge for resting upon absence of all necessity for such refuge, status of being unmanifest, capacity for modification, incapacity for producing resistance, material cause for producing the sense of hearing, and the unoccupied portions of the human body. These are the fifty properties, as declared, that constitute, the essence of the five elementary entities.[1106] Patience, reasoning or disputation, remembrance, forgetfulness or error, imagination, endurance, propensity towards good, propensity towards evil, and restlessness,–these are the properties of the mind. Destruction of both good and evil thoughts (i.e., dreamless slumber), perseverance, concentration, decision, and ascertainment of all things resting upon direct evidence, constitute the five properties of the understanding.'

“Yudhishthira said, 'How can the understanding be said to have five properties? How again, can the five senses be spoken of as properties (of the five elementary entities)? Expound to me, O grandsire, all this that seems to be very abstruse.'

“Bhishma said, 'The understanding is said to possess altogether sixty properties, for the understanding includes the five elements.[1107] All those properties exist in a state of union with the Soul. The Vedas declare, O son, that the elements, their (fifty) properties (together with the mind and the understanding and their nine and five properties) are all created by Him who is above all deterioration. These (one and seventy) entities, therefore, are not eternal (like the Soul). The theories contradicting the Revelation that have in the previous Vedas, O son, been placed before thee (about the origin of the Universe and its other incidents) are all defective in the eye of reason. Carefully attending, however, in this world to all that I have said unto thee about the Supreme Brahma, do thou, after attaining to the puissance that the knowledge of Brahma offers, seek to win tranquillity of heart.'”[1108]


“Yudhishthira said, 'These lords of earth that lie on the earth's surface amid their respective hosts, these princes endued with great might, are now reft of animation. Every one of these mighty monarchs was possessed of strength equal to that of ten thousand elephants. Alas! these have all been slain by men possessed of equal prowess and might. I do not behold any one else (in the world) that could slay any of these men in battle.[1109] All of them were endued with great prowess, great energy, and great strength. Possessed also of great wisdom, they are now lying on the bare ground, deprived of life. With respect to all these men that are deprived of life, the word that is used is that they are dead. Of terrible prowess, all these kings are said to be dead. On this subject a doubt has arisen in my mind. Whence is animation and whence is death? Who is it that dies? (Is it the gross body, the subtile body, or the Soul, that dies)? Whence is death? For what reason also doth death takeaway (living creatures)? O grandsire, tell me this, O thou that resemblest a celestial!'

“Bhishma said, 'In days of old, in the Krita age, O son, there was a king of the name of Anukampaka. His cars and elephants and horses and men having been reduced in number, he was brought under the sway of his foes in battle. His son named Hari, who resembled Narayana himself in strength, was in that battle slain by his foes along with all his followers and troops. Afflicted with grief on account of the death of his son, and himself brought under the sway of foes, the king devoted himself thence to a life of tranquillity. One day, while wandering without a purpose he met the sage Narada on the earth. The monarch told Narada all that had happened, viz., the death of his son in battle and his own capture by his enemies. Having heard his words, Narada, possessed of wealth of penances, then recited to him the following narrative for dispelling his grief on account of the death of his son.'

“Narada said, 'Listen now, O monarch, to the following narrative of rather lengthy details as these had occurred. I myself heard it formerly, O king! Endued with great energy, the Grandsire, at the time of the creation of the universe, created a large number of living beings. These multiplied greatly, and none of them met with death. There was no part of the universe that was not overcrowded with living creatures, O thou of unfading glory! Indeed, O king, the three worlds seemed to swell with living beings, and became as it were breathless. Then, O monarch, the thought arose in the Grandsire's mind as to how he should destroy that overgrown population. Reflecting on the subject, the Self-born, however, could not decide what the means should be by which the destruction of life was to be brought about. Thereupon, O king, Brahman gave way to wrath, and in consequence of his wrath a fire issued out of his body. With that fire born of his wrath, the Grandsire burnt all the quarters of the universe, O monarch. Indeed, that conflagration born of the Divine lord's anger, O king, burnt heaven and earth and the firmament and the whole universe with all its mobile and immobile beings. Truly, when the Grandsire thus gave way to wrath, all mobile and immobile beings began to be consumed by the irresistible energy of that passion. Then the divine and auspicious Sthanu, that slayer of hostile heroes, that lord of the Vedas and the scriptures, filled with compassion, sought to gratify Brahman. When Sthanu came to Brahman from motives of benevolence, the great God burning with energy, addressed him, saying, 'Thou deservest boons at my hands. What desire of thine shall I accomplish? I shall do thee good by accomplishing whatever is in thy breast.'”


“Sthanu said, 'Know, O lord, that my solicitations to thee are on behalf of the created beings of the universe. These beings have been created by thee. Do not be angry with them, O grandsire! By the fire born of thy energy, O illustrious one, all the created beings are being consumed. Beholding them placed in such a plight, I am penetrated with compassion. Do not be angry with them, O lord of the universe.'

“The lord of all created beings said, 'I am not angry, nor it is my wish that all the created beings should cease to exist. It is only for lightening the burthen of the earth that destruction is desirable. The goddess Earth, afflicted with the weight of creatures, solicited me, O Mahadeva, for destroying them, especially as She seemed to sink under their burthen into the water. When after exercising my intelligence for even a long while I could not hit upon the means by which to accomplish the destruction of this overgrown population, it was then that wrath took possession of my breast.'

“Sthanu said, 'Do not give way to wrath, O lord of the deities, with respect to this matter about the destruction of living creatures. Be gratified. Let not these mobile and immobile beings be destroyed. All tanks, all kinds of grass and herbs, all immobile beings, and all mobile creatures also of the four varieties, are being consumed. The whole universe is about to be denuded of beings. Be gratified, O divine lord! O thou of righteous heart, even this is the boon that I solicit at thy hands. If destroyed, these creatures would not come back. Therefore, let this energy of thine be neutralised by thy own energy. Actuated by compassion for all created beings find some means so that, O Grandsire, these living creatures may not burn. Oh, let not these living creatures perish with even their descendants thus destroyed. Thou hast appointed me as the presider over the consciousness of all living creatures, O lord of all the lords of the universe. All this mobile and immobile universe of life, O lord of the universe, hath sprung from thee. Pacifying thee, O god of gods, I beg of thee that living creatures may repeatedly come back into the world, undergoing repeated deaths.'

“Narada continued, 'Hearing these words of Sthanu, the divine Brahman of restrained speech and mind himself suppressed that energy of his within his own heart. Suppressing that fire that had been devastating the universe, the illustrious Brahman, adored of all, and possessed of illimitable puissance, then arranged for both birth and death in respect of all living creatures. After the Selfborn had withdrawn and suppressed that fire, there came out, from all the outlets of his body, a lady attired in robes of black and red, with black eyes, black palms, wearing a pair of excellent ear-rings, and adorned with celestial ornaments. Having sprung from Brahman's body, the lady took her station on his right. The two foremost of deities thereupon looked at her. Then, O king, the puissant Selfborn, the original cause of all the worlds, saluted her and said, 'O Death, slay these creatures of the universe. Filled with anger and resolved to bring about the destruction of created beings, I have called thee.[1110] Do thou, therefore, commence to destroy all creatures foolish or learned. O lady, slay all created beings without making exception in anybody's favour. At my command thou wilt win great prosperity.' Thus addressed, the goddess, Death, adorned with a garland of lotuses, began to reflect sorrowfully and shed copious tears. Without allowing her tears, however, to fall down, she held them, O king, in her joined palms. She then besought the Self-born, impelled by the desire of doing good to mankind.'”


“Narada said, 'The large-eyed lady, controlling her grief by an effort of her own, addressed the Grandsire, with joined hands and bending in an attribute of humility like a creeper. And she said, 'How, O foremost of speakers, shall a lady like me that has sprung from thee proceed to accomplish such a terrible feat,–a feat, that is, which is sure to inspire all living creatures with dread? I fear to do aught that is iniquitous. Do thou appoint such work for me as is righteous. Thou seest that I am frightened. Oh, cast a compassionate glance upon me. I shall not be able to cut off living creatures,–infants, youths, and aged ones,–who have done me no injury. O lord of all creatures, I bow to thee, be gratified with me. I shall not be able to cut off dear sons and loved friends and brothers and mothers and fathers. If these die (through my act), their surviving relatives will surely curse me. I am filled with fear at the prospect of this.[1111] The tears of the sorrow-stricken survivors will burn me for eternity. I am very much afraid of them (whose relatives I shall have to cut off). I seek thy protection. All sinful creatures (slain by me) will have to sink into the infernal regions. I seek to gratify thee, O boon-giving god! Extend to me thy grace, O puissant lord! I seek the gratification of this wish, O Grandsire, of all the worlds. O foremost of all the gods, I seek, through thy grace, even this object, viz., permission to undergo severe austerities.'

“The Grandsire said, 'O Death, thou hast been intended by me for the destruction of all creatures. Go, and set thyself to the task of slaying all. Do not reflect (upon the propriety or otherwise of this act). This must certainly be. It cannot be otherwise. O sinless one, O lady of faultless limbs, do thou accomplish the behest I have uttered.' Thus addressed, O thou of Mighty arms, the lady called Death, O conqueror of hostile cities, spoke not a word, but humbly stood there with her eyes upturned towards the puissant Lord of all creatures. Brahman addressed her repeatedly, but the lady seemed to be herself deprived of life. Beholding her thus, the god of gods, that lord of lords, became silent. Indeed, the Self-born, by an effort of his will, became gratified. Smiling, the lord of all the worlds then cast his eyes on the universe. It has been heard by us that when that unconquered and illustrious lord subdued his wrath, the lady (called Death) went away from his side. Leaving Brahman's side without having promised to accomplish the destruction of living creatures, Death quickly proceeded, O king, to the sacred spot known by the name of Dhenuka. There the goddess practised the severest austerities for five and ten billions of years, all the while standing upon one foot.[1112] After she practised such exceedingly severe austerities in that place, Brahman of great energy once more said unto her, 'Do thou accomplish my behest, O Death!' Disregarding this command, the lady once more practised penances standing upon one foot for twenty billions of years, O giver of honours! And once more, O son, she led a life in the woods with the deer for another long period consisting of ten thousand billions of years.[1113] And once, O foremost of men, she passed twice ten thousand years, living upon air only as her sustenance. Once again, O monarch, she observed the excellent vow of silence for eight thousand years, passing the whole time in water. Then that maiden, O best of kings, went to the river Kausiki. There she began to pass her days in the observance of another vow, living the while upon only water and air. After this, O monarch, the blessed maiden proceeded to the Ganges and thence to the mountains of Meru. Moved by the desire of doing good to all living creatures, she stood perfectly motionless there like a piece of wood. Proceeding thence to the summit of Himavat where the deities had performed their great sacrifice, she stood there for another hundred billions of years, supporting her weight upon only the toes of her feet with the object of gratifying the Grandsire with such an act of austerity. Wending thither, the Creator and Destroyer of the universe again addressed her saying, 'Upon what art thou engaged, O daughter? Accomplish those words of mine.' Addressing the divine Grandsire, the maiden once more said, 'I am unable to cut off living creatures, O god! I seek to gratify thee (so that I may be excused of this behest).' Frightened at the prospect of demerit she prayed the Grandsire for being excused of obedience to his command, the Grandsire silenced her, and once more addressed her, saying, 'No demerit will accrue, O Death! Do thou, O auspicious maiden, set thyself to the task of destroying living creatures. That which I have uttered, O amiable girl, cannot certainly be falsified. Eternal righteousness shall now take refuge in thee. Myself and all the deities shall always be employed in seeking thy good. This other wish that is in thy heart I grant thee. Living creatures shall be afflicted by disease, and (dying) shall cast the blame on thee. Thou shalt become a male in all male beings, a female in all female beings, and a eunuch in all those that are of the third sex.[1114] Thus addressed by Brahman, O king, the maiden at last said, with joined hands unto that high-souled and undeteriorating lord of all the deities, these words, 'I am unable to obey thy command.' The great God, without relenting, again, said unto her, 'O Death, do thou kill men. I shall so ordain that thou shalt not incur any demerit by doing this, O auspicious lady! Those tear drops that I see fallen from thy eyes, and that thou still boldest in thy joined hands, shall take the form of terrible diseases and even they shall destroy men when their hours come. When the end comes of living creatures, thou shalt despatch Desire and Wrath together against them. Immeasurable merit shall be thine. Thou shalt not incur iniquity, being thyself perfectly equal in thy behaviour.[1115] By doing this thou wilt only observe righteousness instead of sinking thyself into iniquity. Do thou, therefore, set thy heart upon the task at hand, and addressing Desire and Wrath begin to slay all living creatures.' Thus addressed, that lady, called by the name of Death, became afraid of Brahman's curse and answered him, saying, 'Yes!' From that time she began to despatch Desire and Wrath as the last hours of living creatures and through their agency to put a stop to their life-breaths. Those tears that Death had shed are the diseases by which the bodies of men become afflicted. At the destruction, therefore, of living creatures, one should not, understanding, with the aid of the intelligence (to what cause such destruction is due), give way to grief. As the senses of all creatures disappear when the latter become plunged into dreamless sleep and return once more when they awake, after the same manner all human beings, upon the dissolution of their bodies, have to go into the other world and return thence to this, O lion among kings! The element called wind, that is endued with terrible energy and mighty prowess and deafening roars, operates as the life in all living creatures. That wind, when the bodies of living creatures are destroyed, escaping from the old becomes engaged in diverse functions in diverse new bodies. For this reason, the wind is called the lord of the senses and is distinguished above the other elements constituting the gross body. The gods, without exception, (when their merits cease), have to take birth as mortal creatures on earth. Similarly, all mortal creatures also (when they acquire sufficient merit), succeed in attaining to the status of gods. Therefore, O lion among kings, do not grieve for thy son. Thy son has attained to heaven and is enjoying great happiness there! It was thus, O monarch, that Death was created by the Self-born and it is in this way that she cuts off duly all living creatures when their hours come. The tears she had shed become diseases, which, when their last hours come, snatch away all beings endued with life.'”


“Yudhishthira said, 'All men that inhabit this earth are filled with doubts in respect of the nature of righteousness. Who is this that is called Righteousness? Whence also does Righteousness come? Tell me this, O Grandsire! Is Righteousness for service in this world or is it for service in the next world? Or, is it for service both here and hereafter? Tell me this, O grandsire!'

“Bhishma said, 'The practices of the good, the Smritis, and the Vedas, are the three indications (sources) of righteousness. Besides these, the learned have declared that the purpose (for which an act is accomplished) is the fourth indication of righteousness.[1116] The Rishis of old have declared what acts are righteous and also classified them as superior or inferior in point of merit. The rules of righteousness have been laid down for the conduct of the affairs of the world. In both the worlds, that is, here and hereafter, righteousness produces happiness as its fruits. A sinful person unable to acquire merit by subtile ways, becomes stained with sin only. Some are of opinion that sinful persons can never be cleansed of their sins. In seasons of distress, a person by even speaking an untruth acquires the merit of speaking the truth, even as a person who accomplishes an unrighteous act acquires by that very means the merit of having done a righteous act. Conduct is the refuge of righteousness. Thou shouldst know what righteousness is, aided by conduct.[1117] (It is the nature of man that he neither sees nor proclaims his own faults but notices and proclaims those of others). The very thief, stealing what belongs to others, spends the produce of his theft in acts of apparent virtue. During a time of anarchy, the thief takes great pleasure in appropriating what belongs to others. When others, however, rob him of what he has acquired by robbery, he then wishes forthwith for a Icing (for invoking punishment on the head of the offenders). At even such a time, when his indignation for offended rights of property is at its highest, he secretly covets the wealth of those that are contended with their own. Fearlessly and without a doubt in his mind (when he is himself the victim of a robbery) he repairs to the king's palace with a mind cleansed of every sin. Within even his own heart he does not see the stain of any evil act.[1118] To speak the truth is meritorious. There is nothing higher than truth. Everything is upheld by truth, and everything rests upon truth. Even the sinful and ferocious, swearing to keep the truth amongst themselves, dismiss all grounds of quarrel and uniting with one another set themselves to their (sinful) tasks, depending upon truth. If they behaved falsely towards one another, they would then be destroyed without doubt. One should not take what belongs to others. That is an eternal obligation. Powerful men regard it as one that has been introduced by the weak. When, however, the destiny of these men becomes adverse, this injunction then meets with their approval. Then again they that surpass others in strength or prowess do not necessarily become happy.[1119] Therefore, do not ever set thy heart on any act that is wrong. One behaving in this way hath no fear of dishonest men or thieves or the king. Not having done any injury to any one, such a man lives fearlessly and with a pure heart. A thief fears everybody, like a deer driven from the woods into the midst of an inhabited village. He thinks other people to be as sinful as himself. One that is of pure heart is always filled with cheerfulness and hath no fear from any direction. Such a person never sees his own misconduct in others.[1120] Persons engaged in doing good to all creatures have said that the practice of charity is another high duty. They that are possessed of wealth think that this duty has been laid down by those that are indigent. When, however, those wealthy men meet with poverty in consequence of some turn of fortune, the practice of charity then recommends itself to them. Men that are exceedingly wealthy do not necessarily meet with happiness.[1121] Knowing how painful it is to himself, a person should never do that to others which he dislikes when done to him by others.[1122] What can one who becomes the lover of another man's wife say to another man (guilty of the same transgression)? it is seen, however, that even such a one, when he sees his lady with another lover, becomes unable to forgive the act.[1123] How can one who, to draw breath himself think of preventing another by a murderous act, from doing the same? Whatever wishes one entertains with respect to one's ownself, one should certainly cherish with respect to another. With the surplus wealth one may happen to own one should relieve the wants of the indigent. It is for this reason that the Creator ordained the practice of increasing one's wealth (by trade or laying it out at interest).[1124] One should walk alone that path by proceeding along which one may hope to meet with the deities; or, at such times when wealth is gained, adherence to the duties of sacrifice and gift is laudable. [1125] The sages have said that the accomplishment of the objects by means of agreeable (pacific) means is righteousness. See, O Yudhishthira, that even this is the criterion that has been kept in view in declaring the indications of righteousness and iniquity.[1126] In days of old the Creator ordained righteousness endowing it with the power of holding the world together. The conduct of the good, that is fraught with excellence, is subjected to (numerous) restraints for acquiring righteousness which depends upon many delicate considerations. The indications of righteousness have now been recounted to thee, O foremost one of Kuru's race! Do not, therefore, at any time set thy understanding upon any act that is wrong.'”


“Yudhishthira said, 'Thou sayest that righteousness or duty depends upon delicate considerations, that is indicated by the conduct of those that are called good, that it is fraught with restraints (from numerous acts), and that its indications are also contained in the Vedas. It seems to me, however, that I have a certain inward light in consequence of which I can discriminate between right and wrong by inferences.[1127] Numerous questions that I had intended to ask thee have all been answered by thee. There is one question, however, that I shall presently ask. It is not prompted, O king, by desire of empty disputation. All these embodied creatures, it seems, take birth, exist, and leave their bodies, of their own nature. Duty and its reverse, therefore, cannot be ascertained, O Bharata, by study of the scriptures alone.[1128] The duties of a person who is well off are of one kind. Those of a person who has fallen into distress are of another kind. How can duty respecting seasons of distress be ascertained by reading the scriptures alone?[1129] The acts of the good, thou hast said, constitute righteousness (or duty). The good, however, are to be ascertained by their acts. The definition, therefore, has for its foundation, a begging of the question, with the result that what is meant by conduct of the good remains unsettled. It is seen that some ordinary person commits unrighteousness while apparently achieving righteousness. Some extraordinary persons again may be seen who achieve righteousness by committing acts that are apparently unrighteous.[1130] Then, again, the proof (of what I say) has been furnished by even those that are well conversant with the scriptures themselves, for it has been heard by us that the ordinances of the Vedas disappear gradually in every successive age. The duties in the Krita age are of one kind. Those in the Treta are of another kind, and those in the Dwapara are again different. The duties in the Kali age, again, are entirely of another kind. It seems, therefore, that duties have been laid down for the respective ages according to the powers of human beings in the respective ages. When, therefore, all the declarations in the Vedas do not apply equally to all the ages, the saying that the declarations of the Vedas are true is only a popular form of speech indulged in for popular satisfaction. From the Srutis have originated the Smritis whose scope again is very wide. If the Vedas be authority for everything, then authority would attach to the Smritis also for the latter are based on the former. When, however, the Srutis and the Smritis contradict each other, how can either be authoritative? Then again, it is seen that when some wicked persons of great might cause certain portions of certain courses of righteous acts to be stopped, these are destroyed for ever.[1131] Whether we know it or know it not, whether we are able to ascertain it or not to ascertain it, the course of duty is finer than the edge of a razor and grosser than even a mountain. Righteousness (in the form of sacrifices and other religious acts) at first appears in the form of the romantic edifices of vapour seen in the distant sky. When, however, it is examined by the learned, it disappears and becomes invisible.[1132] Like the small ponds at which the cattle drink or the shallow aqueducts along cultivated fields that dry up very soon, the eternal practices inculcated in the Smritis, falling into discontinuance, at last disappear totally (in the Kali age). Amongst men that are not good some are seen to become hypocrites (in respect of the acquisition of righteousness) by suffering themselves to be urged by desire. Some become so, urged by the wishes of others. Others, numbering many, tread in the same path, influenced by diverse other motives of a similar character.[1133] It cannot be denied that such acts (though accomplished by persons under the influence of evil passions) are righteous. Fools, again, say that righteousness is an empty sound among those called good. They ridicule such persons and regard them as men destitute of reason. Many great men, again, turning back (from the duties of their own order) betake themselves to the duties of the kingly order. No such conduct, therefore, is to be seen (as observed by any man), which is fraught with universal benevolence.[1134] By a certain course of conduct one becomes really meritorious. That very course of conduct obstructs another in the acquisition of merit. Another, by practising at his pleasure that conduct, it is seen, remains unchanged.[1135] Thus that conduct by which one becomes meritorious impedes another in the acquisition of merit. One may thus see that all courses of conduct are seen to lose singleness of purpose and character. It seems, therefore, that only that which the learned of ancient times called righteousness is righteousness to this day: and through that course of conduct (which the learned so settled) the distinctions and limitations (that govern the world) have become eternal.'”[1136]


“Bhishma said, 'In this connection is cited the old narrative of the conversation of Tuladhara with Jajali on the topic of righteousness. There was once a Brahmana of the name of Jajali who lived in a certain forest, practising the ways of a forest-recluse.[1137] Of austere penances, he proceeded on a certain occasion towards the sea-shore, and having arrived there began to practise the most severe penances. Observing many vows and restraints, his food regulated by many rules of fast, his body clad in rags and skins, bearing matted locks on his head his entire person smeared with filth and clay, that Brahmana possessed of intelligence passed many years there, suspending speech (and engaged in Yoga meditation). Possessed of great energy, that regenerate ascetic, O monarch, while living within the waters (of the sea), roamed through all the worlds with the speed of the mind, desirous of seeing all things.[1138] Having beheld the whole earth bounded by the ocean and adorned with rivers and lakes and woods, the ascetic one day, while sitting under the water, began to think in this strain, 'In this world of mobile and immobile creatures there is none equal to me. Who can roam with me among the stars and planets in the firmament and dwell again within the waters.' Unseen by the Rakshasas while he repeated this to himself, the Pisachas said unto him, 'It behoves thee not to say so. There is a man, named Tuladhara, possessed of great fame and engaged in the business of buying and selling. Even he, O best of regenerate persons, is not worthy of saying such words as thou sayest.' Thus addressed by those beings, Jajali of austere penances replied unto them, saying, 'I shall see that famous Tuladhara who is possessed of such wisdom.' When the Rishi said those words, those superhuman beings raised him from the sea, and said unto him, 'O best of regenerate persons, go thou along this road.' Thus addressed by those beings, Jajali proceeded onwards with a cheerless heart. Arrived at Varanasi he met Tuladhara whom he addressed saying the following words.'

“Yudhishthira said, 'What, O sire, are those difficult feats that Jajali had performed before in consequence of which he had acquired such high success? It behoveth thee to describe them to me.'

“Bhishma said, 'Jajali had become engaged in penances of the severest austerities. He used to perform ablutions morning and evening. Carefully tending his fires, he was devoted to the study of the Vedas. Well-conversant with the duties laid down for forest recluses, Jajali (in consequence of his practices) seemed to blaze with effulgence.[1139] He continued to live in the woods, engaged all the while in penances. But he never regarded himself as one that had acquired any merit by his acts. In the season of the rains he slept under the open sky. In autumn he sat in water. In summer he exposed himself to the sun and the wind. Still he never regarded himself as one that had acquired any merit through such acts. He used to sleep on diverse kinds of painful beds and also on the bare earth. Once on a time, that ascetic, while standing under the sky in the rainy season, received on his head repeated downpours from the clouds. He had to pass through the woods repeatedly. What with exposure to the rains and what with the filth they caught, the locks of that sinless Rishi became entangled and intertwined with one another. On one occasion, that great ascetic, abstaining entirely from food and living upon air only, stood in the forest like a post of wood. Unmoved at heart, he stood there, without once stirring an inch. While he stood there like a wooden post, perfectly immovable, O Bharata, a pair of Kulinga birds, O king, built their nest on his head. Filled with compassion, the great Rishi suffered that feathery couple in building their nest among his matted locks with shreds of grass. And as the ascetic stood there like a post of wood, the two birds lived with confidence on his head happily. The rains passed away and autumn came. The couple, urged by desire, approached each other according to the law of the Creator, and in complete confidence laid their eggs, O king, on the head of that Rishi. Of rigid vows and possessed of energy, the ascetic knew it. Knowing what the birds had done, Jajali moved not. Firmly resolved to acquire merit, no act that involved the slightest injury to others could recommend itself to him. The feathery couple going away and moving every day from and to his head, happily and confidently lived there, O puissant king! When in the progress of time the eggs became mature and young ones came out, they began to grow up in that nest, for Jajali moved not in the least. Firm in the observance of his vows, the righteous-souled Rishi continued to hold and protect those eggs by standing on that very spot perfectly motionless and rapt in Yoga meditation. In course of time the young ones grew and became equipped with wings. The Muni knew that the young Kulingas had attained to that stage of development. That foremost of intelligent men, steady in the observance of vows, one day beheld those young ones and became filled with pleasure. The parent-birds, seeing their young ones equipped with wings, became very happy and continued to dwell in the Rishi's head with them in perfect safety. The learned Jajali saw that when the young birds became equipped with wings they took to the air every evening and returned to his head without having proceeded far. He still stood motionless on that spot. Sometimes, after he saw that, left by their parents, they went out by themselves and returned again by themselves. Jajali still moved not. A little while after, the young birds going away in the morning passed the whole day out of his sight, but came back in the evening for dwelling in the nest. Sometimes, after that, leaving their nest for five days at a stretch, they returned on the sixth day. Jajali still moved not. Subsequently, when their strength became fully developed they left him and returned not at all even after many days. At last, on one occasion, leaving him, they came not even after a month. Then, O king, Jajali left that spot. When they had thus gone away for good, Jajali wondered much, and thought that he had achieved ascetic success. Then pride entered his heart. Firm in the observance of vows, the great ascetic, seeing the birds thus leave him after having been reared on his head, thought highly of himself, and became filled with delight. He, then, bathed in a stream and poured libations on the sacred fire, and paid his adorations to the rising Sun indeed, having thus caused those chataka birds to grow on his head, Jajali, that foremost of ascetics, began to slap his armpits and proclaim loudly through the sky, '_I have won great merit_.' Then an invisible voice arose in the sky and Jajali heard these words, 'Thou art not equal, O Jajali, to Tuladhara in point of righteousness. Possessed of great wisdom, that Tuladhara lives at Baranasi. Even he is not fit to say what thou sayest, O regenerate one.' Hearing these words, Jajali became filled with wrath, and desirous of meeting Tuladhara, O monarch, began to roam over the whole earth, observing the vow of silence and passing the night at that spot where evening overtook him.[1140] After a considerable time he reached the city of Baranasi, and saw Tuladhara engaged in selling miscellaneous articles.[1141] As soon as the shop-keeper Tuladhara beheld the Brahmana arrived at his place, he cheerfully stood up and worshipped the guest with proper salutations.[1142]

“Tuladhara said, 'Without doubt, O Brahmana, it is known to me that thou hast come to _me_. Listen, however, O foremost of regenerate persons, to what I say. Living on a low land near the sea-shore thou underwentest very austere penances. But thou hadst no consciousness of having achieved righteousness or merit. When thou didst at last attain to ascetic success, certain birds were born on thy head. Thou tookest great care of the little creatures. When at last those birds became equipped with wings and when they began to leave thy head for going hither and thither in search of food, it was then that, in consequence of having thus assisted at the birth of those Chatakas, thou begannest to feel the impulse of pride, O Brahmana, thinking thou hadst achieved great merit.[1143] Then, O foremost of regenerate persons, thou heardest in the sky a voice that referred to me. The words thou didst hear filled thee with wrath, and as the consequence thereof thou art here. Tell me, what wish of thine I shall accomplish, O best of Brahmanas!'”


“Bhishma said, 'Thus addressed by the intelligent Tuladhara on that occasion, Jajali of great intelligence, that foremost of ascetics, said these words unto him.'

“Jajali said, 'Thou sellest all kinds of juices and scents, O son of a trader, as also (barks and leaves of) large trees and herbs and their fruits and roots. “How hast thou succeeded in acquiring a certitude or stability of understanding? Whence hath this knowledge come to thee? O thou of great intelligence, tell me all this in detail.'

“Bhishma continued, 'Thus addressed by that Brahmana possessed of I great fame, Tuladhara of the Vaisya order, well-acquainted with the truths touching the interpretations of morality and contented with knowledge, discoursed to Jajali who had undergone severe penances, upon the ways of morality.[1144]

“Tuladhara said, 'O Jajali, I know morality, which is eternal, with all its mysteries. It is nothing else than that ancient morality which is known to all, and which consists of universal friendliness, and is fraught with beneficence to all creatures.[1145] That mode of living which is founded upon a total harmlessness towards all creatures or (in case of actual necessity) upon a minimum of such harm, is the highest morality. I live according to that mode, O Jajali! This my house hath been built with wood and grass cut by other people's hands. Lac dye, the roots of Nymphaea lotus, filaments of the lotus, diverse kinds of good scents[1146] and many kinds of liquids, O regenerate Rishi, with the exception of wines, I purchase from other people's hand and sell without cheating. He, O Jajali, is said to know what morality or righteousness is, who is always the friend of all creatures and who is always engaged in the good of all creatures, in thought, word, and deed. I never solicit any one. I never quarrel with any one, I never cherish aversion for any one. I never cherish desire for anything. I cast equal eyes upon all things and all creatures. Behold, O Jajali, this is my vow! My scales are perfectly even, O Jajali, with respect to all creatures.[1147] I neither praise nor blame the acts of others, viewing this variety in the world, O foremost of Brahmanas, to be like the variety observable in the sky.[1148] Know, O Jajali, that I cast equal eye upon all creatures. O foremost of intelligent men, I see no difference between a clod of earth a piece of stone, and a lump of gold. As the blind, the deaf, and they that are destitute of reason, are perfectly consoled for the loss of their senses, after the same manner am I consoled, by their example (for the enjoyments I abstain from).[1149] As they that are overtaken by decrepitude, they that are afflicted by disease, and they that are weakened and emaciated, have no relish for enjoyments of any kind, after the same manner have I ceased to feel any relish for wealth or pleasure or enjoyments. When a person fears nothing and himself is not feared, when he cherishes no desire and hath no aversion for anything, he is then said to attain to Brahma. When a person does not conduct himself sinfully towards any creature in thought, word, or deed, then is he said to attain to Brahma. There is no past, no future. There is no morality or righteousness. He who is not an object of fear with any creature succeeds in attaining to a state in which there is no fear.[1150] On the other hand, that person who for harshness of speech and severity of temper, is a source of trouble unto all creatures even as death itself, certainly attains to a state which abounds with fear. I follow the practices of high-souled and benevolent men of advanced years who with their children and children's children live in the due observance of the ordinance laid down in the scriptures.[1151] The eternal practices (laid down in the Vedas) are entirely given up by one who suffers himself to be stupefied by some errors that he may have noticed in the conduct of those that are admittedly good and wise. One, however, that is endued with learning, or one that has subdued one's senses, or one that is possessed of strength of mind, succeeds in attaining to Emancipation, guided by that very conduct.[1152] That wise man who, having restrained his senses, practiseth, with a heart cleansed from all desire of injuring others, the conduct that is followed by those called good, is sure, O Jajali, to acquire the merit of righteousness (and Emancipation which is its fruits). In this world, as in a river, a piece of wood that is being borne away by the current as it pleases, is seen to come into contact (for some time) with another piece that is being similarly borne away. There, on the current, other pieces of wood that had been joined together, are seen again to separate from one another. Grass, sticks, and cowdung cakes are seen to be united together. This union is due to accident and not to purpose or design.[1153] He of whom no creature is frightened in the least is himself, O ascetic, never frightened by any creature. He, on the other hand, O learned man, of whom every creature is frightened as of a wolf, becomes himself filled with fear as aquatic animals when forced to leap on the shore from fear of the roaring Vadava fire.[1154] This practice of universal harmlessness hath arisen even thus. One may follow it by every means in one's power. He who has followers and he who has wealth may seek to adopt it. It is sure to lead also to prosperity and heaven.[1155] Inconsequence of their ability to dispel the fears of others, men possessed of wealth and followers are regarded as foremost by the learned. They that are for ordinary happiness practise this duty of universal harmlessness for the sake of fame; while they that are truly skilled, practise the same for the sake of attaining to Brahma.[1156] Whatever fruits one enjoys by penances, by sacrifices, by practising liberality, by speaking the truth, and by paying court to wisdom, may all be had by practising the duty of harmlessness. That person who gives unto all creatures the assurance of harmlessness obtains the merit of all sacrifices and at last wins fearlessness for himself as his reward. There is no duty superior to the duty of abstention from injuring other creatures. He of whom, O great ascetic, no creature is frightened in the least, obtains for himself fearlessness of all creatures. He of whom everybody is frightened as one is of a snake ensconced within one's (sleeping) chamber, never acquires any merit in this world or in the next. The very gods, in their search after it, become stupefied in the track of that person who transcends all states, the person, viz., who constitutes himself the soul of all creatures and who looketh upon all creatures as identical with his own self.[1157] Of all gifts, the assurance of harmlessness to all creatures is the highest (in point of merit). I tell thee truly, believe me, O Jajali! One who betakes himself to acts at first wins prosperity, but then (upon the exhaustion of his merit) he once more encounters adversity. Beholding the destruction of (the merits of) acts, the wise do not applaud acts. There is no duty, O Jajali, that is not prompted by some motive (of happiness). Duty, however, is very subtile. Duties have been laid down in the Vedas for the sake of both Brahma and heaven.[1158] The subject of duties hath many secrets and mysteries. It is so subtile that it is not easy to understand it fully. Amongst diverse conflicting ordinances, some succeed in comprehending duty by observing the acts of the good.[1159] Why dost thou not consume them that emasculate bulls and bore their noses and cause them to bear heavy burthens and bind them and put them under diverse kinds of restraint, and that eat the flesh of living creatures after slaying them? Men are seen to own men as slaves, and by beating, by binding, and by otherwise subjecting them to restraints, cause them to labour day and night. These people are not ignorant of the pain that results from beating and fastening in chains.[1160] In every creature that is endued with the five senses live all the deities. Surya, Chandramas, the god of wind, Brahman, Prana, Kratu, and Yama (these dwell in living creatures), There are men that live by trafficking in living creatures! When they earn a living by such a sinful course, what scruples need they feel in selling dead carcases? The goat is Agni. The sheep is Varuna. The horse is Surya. Earth is the deity Virat. The cow and the calf are Soma. The man who sells these can never obtain success. But what fault can attach to the sale of oil, or of Ghrita, or honey, or drugs, O regenerate one? There are many animals that grow up in ease and comfort in places free from gnats and biting insects. Knowing that they are loved dearly by their mothers, men persecute them in diverse ways, and lead them into miry spots abounding with biting insects. Many draft animals are oppressed with heavy burthens. Others, again, are made to languish in consequence of treatment not sanctioned by the scriptures. I think that such acts of injury done to animals are in no way distinguished from foeticide. People regard the profession of agriculture to be sinless. That profession, however, is certainly fraught with cruelty. The iron-faced plough wounds the soil and many creatures that live in the soil. Cast thy eyes, O Jajali, on those bullocks yoked to the plough. Kine are called in the Srutis the Unslayable. That man perpetrates a great sin who slays a bull or a cow.[1161] In days of yore, many Rishis with restrained senses addressed Nahusha, saying, 'Thou hast, O king, slain a cow which is declared in the scriptures to be like unto one's mother. Thou hast also slain a bull, which is declared to be like unto the Creator himself.[1162] Thou hast perpetrated an evil act, O Nahusha, and we have been exceedingly pained at it.' For cleansing Nahusha, however, they divided that sin into a hundred and one parts and converting the fragments into diseases cast them among all creatures.[1163] Thus, O Jajali, did those highly-blessed Rishis cast that sin on all living creatures, and addressing Nahusha who had been guilty of foeticide, said, 'We shall not be able to pour libations in thy sacrifice.' Thus said those high-souled Rishis and Yatis conversant with the truths of all things, having ascertained by their ascetic power that king Nahusha had not been intentionally guilty of that sin.[1164] These, O Jajali, are some of the wicked and dreadful practices that are current in this world. Thou practisest them because they are practised by all men from ancient times, and not because they agree with the dictates of thy cleansed understanding. One should practise what one considers to be one's duty, guided by reasons, instead of blindly following the practices of the world. Listen now, O Jajali, as to what my behaviour is towards him that injures and him that praises me. I regard both of them in the same light. I have none whom I like and none whom I dislike. The wise applauded such a course of conduct as consistent with duty or religion. Even this course of conduct, which is consistent with reasons, is followed by Yatis. The righteous always observe it with eyes possessed of improved vision.'”


“Jajali said, 'This course of duty that thou, O holder of scales, preachest, closes the door of heaven against all creatures and puts a stop to the very means of their subsistence. From agriculture comes food. That food offers subsistence even to thee. With the aid of animals and of crops and herbs, human beings, O trader, are enabled to support their existence. From animals and food sacrifices flow. Thy doctrines smack of atheism. This world will come to an end if the means by which life is supported have to be abandoned.'

“Tuladhara said, 'I shall now speak on the object of the means of sustenance. I am not, O Brahmana, an atheist. I do not blame Sacrifices. The man, however, is very rare that is truly conversant with Sacrifice. I bow to that Sacrifice which is ordained for Brahmanas. I bow also to them that are conversant with that Sacrifice. Alas, the Brahmanas, having given up the Sacrifice that is ordained for them, have betaken themselves to the performance of Sacrifices that are for Kshatriyas.[1165] Many persons of faith, O regenerate one, that are covetous and fond of wealth, without having understood the true meaning of the declarations of the Srutis, and proclaiming things that are really false but that have the show of truth, have introduced many kinds of Sacrifices, saying, 'This should be given away in this Sacrifice. This other thing should be given away in this other Sacrifice. The first of this is very laudable.' The consequence, however, of all this, O Jajali, is that theft and many evil acts spring up.[1166] It should be known that only that sacrificial offering which was acquired by righteous means can gratify the gods. There are abundant indications in the scriptures that the worship of the deities may be accomplished with vows, with libations poured on the fire, with recitations or chanting of the Vedas, and with plants and herbs. From their religious acts unrighteous persons get wicked offspring. From covetous men are born children that are covetous, and from those that are contented spring children that are contented. If the sacrificer and the priest suffer themselves to be moved by desire of fruit (in respect of the Sacrifices they perform or assist in), their children take the stain. If, on the other hand, they do not yield to desire of fruit, the children born to them become of the same kind. From Sacrifices spring progeny like clear water from the firmament. The libations poured on the sacrificial fire rise up to the Sun. From the Sun springs rain. From rain springs food. From food are born living creatures. In former days, men righteously devoted to Sacrifices used to obtain therefrom the fruition of all their wishes. The earth yielded crops without tillage. The blessing uttered by the Rishis produced herbs and plants.[1167] The men of former times never performed Sacrifices from desire of fruits and never regarded themselves as called upon to enjoy those fruits. Those who somehow perform sacrifices, doubting the while their efficacy take birth in their next lives as dishonest, wily, and greedy men exceedingly covetous of wealth. That man who by the aid of false reasoning holds up all the authoritative scriptures as fraught with evil, is certain to go, for such sinful act of his, into the regions of the sinful. Such a man is certainly possessed of a sinful soul, O foremost of Brahmanas, and always remains here, bereft of wisdom.[1168] That man who regards those acts obligatory which have been laid down in the Vedas and directed to be accomplished every day, who is penetrated with fear if he fails to accomplish them any day, who takes all the essentials of Sacrifice as identical with Brahma, and who never regards himself as the actor, is truly a Brahmana.[1169] If the acts of such a person become incomplete, or if their completion be obstructed by all unclean animals, even then those acts are, as heard by us, of superior efficacy. If, however, those acts are done from desire of fruit (and their completion be obstructed by such impediments), then expiation would become necessary. They who covet the acquisition of the highest object of life (viz., Emancipation), who are bereft of cupidity in respect of all kinds of worldly wealth, who discard all provision for the future, and who are freed from envy, betake themselves to practice of truth and self-restraint as their Sacrifice.[1170] They that are conversant with the distinction between body and soul, that are devoted to Yoga, and that meditate on the Pranava, always succeed in gratifying others.[1171] The universal Brahma (viz., Pranava), which is the soul of the deities, dwells in him who is conversant with Brahma. When, therefore, such a man eats and is gratified, all the deities, O Jajali, become gratified and are contented.[1172] As one who is gratified with all kinds of taste feels no desire for any particular taste, after the same manner one who is gratified with knowledge hath everlasting gratification which to him is a source of perfect bliss. Those wise men who are the refuge of righteousness and whose delight is in righteousness, are persons that have certain knowledge of what is to be done and what should not be done. One possessed of such wisdom always regards all things in the universe to have sprung from his own Self.[1173] Some that are endued with knowledge, that strive to reach the other shore (of this ocean of life), and that are possessed of faith, succeed in attaining to the region of Brahman, which is productive of great blessings, highly sacred, and inhabited by righteous persons,–a region which is freed from sorrow, whence there is no return, and where there is no kind of agitation or pain. Such men do not covet heaven. They do not adore Brahma in costly sacrifices. They walk along the path of the righteous. The Sacrifices they perform are performed without injury to any creature.[1174] These men know trees and herbs and fruits and roots as the only sacrificial offerings. Covetous priests, for they are desirous of wealth, never officiate at the sacrifices of these (poor) men. These regenerate men, although all their acts have been completed, still perform sacrifices from desire of doing good to all creatures and constituting their own selves as sacrificial offerings.[1175] For this reason, grasping priests officiate at the Sacrifices of only those misguided persons who, without endeavouring to attain to Emancipation, seek for heaven. As regards those, however, that are really good, they always seek, by accomplishing their own duties, to cause others to ascend to heaven. Looking at both these kinds of behaviour, O Jajali, I have (abstained from injuring any creature in the world and have) come to regard all creatures with an equal heart.[1176] Endued with wisdom, many foremost of Brahmanas perform Sacrifices (which with respect to their fruits are of two kinds, for some of them lead to Emancipation whence there is no return, and others lead to regions of bliss whence there is return). By performing those Sacrifices, they proceed, O great ascetic, along paths trodden by the gods. Of one class of Sacrificers (viz., they who sacrifice from desire of fruit) there is return (from the region which they reach). Of those, however, that are truly wise (viz., those who sacrifice without being urged thereto by desire of fruit), there is no return. Although both classes of sacrificers, O Jajali, proceed along the path trodden by the deities (in consequence of the sacrifices they perform), yet such is the difference between their ultimate ends.[1177] In consequence of the success that attends the purposes formed in the mind of such men, bulls, without being forced thereto, willingly set their shoulders to the plough for assisting at tillage and to the yoke for dragging their cars, and kine pour forth milk from udders untouched by human hands. Creating sacrificial stakes (and other necessaries of Sacrifice) by simple flats of the will, they perform many kinds of Sacrifice well-completed with abundant presents.[1178] One who is of such a cleansed soul may slaughter a cow (as an offering in Sacrifice).[1179] They, therefore, that are not of that kind should perform Sacrifices with herbs and plants (and not animals). Since Renunciation hath such merit, it is for that reason that I have kept it before my eyes in speaking to thee.[1180] The gods know him for a Brahmana who has given up all desire of fruit, who hath no exertion in respect of worldly acts, who never bows down his head unto any one, who never utters the praises of others, and who is endued with strength though his acts have all been weakened.[1181] What, O Jajali, will be the end of him who doth not recite the Vedas, unto others, who doth not perform Sacrifices (properly), who doth not make gifts unto (deserving) Brahmanas, and who followeth an avocation in which every kind of desire is indulged? By properly reverencing, however, the duties that appertain to Renunciation, one is sure of attaining to Brahma.'[1182]

“Jajali said, 'We had never before, O son of a trader, heard of these recondite doctrines of ascetics that perform only mental Sacrifices. These doctrines are exceedingly difficult of comprehension. It is for this reason that I ask thee (about them). The sages of olden days were not followers of those doctrines of Yoga. Hence, the sages that have succeeded them have not propounded them (for general acceptance).[1183] If thou sayest that only men of brutish minds fail to achieve sacrifices in the soil of the Soul, then, O son of a trader, by what acts would they succeed in accomplishing their happiness? Tell me this, O thou of great wisdom! Great is my faith in thy words.'[1184]

“Tuladhara said, 'Sometimes sacrifices performed by some persons do not become sacrifices (in consequence of the absence of faith of those that perform them). These men, it should be said, are not worthy of performing any sacrifice (internal or external). As regards the faithful, however, only one thing, viz., the cow, is fit for upholding all sacrifices by means of full libations of clarified butter, milk, and curds, the hair at end of her tail, her horns, and her hoofs.[1185] (The Vedas declare that sacrifices cannot be performed by an unmarried man). In performing sacrifices, however, according to the mode I have pointed out (viz., by abstaining from slaughter of animals and dedicating only clarified butter, etc.), one may make Faith one's wedded wife, for dedicating such (innocent) offerings to the deities. By duly reverencing such sacrifices, one is sure to attain to Brahma.[1186] To the exclusion of all animals (which are certainly unclean as offering in sacrifices), the rice-ball is a worthy offering in sacrifices. All rivers are as sacred as the Saraswati, and all mountains are sacred. O Jajali, the Soul is itself a Tirtha. Do not wander about on the earth for visiting sacred places. A person, by observing these duties (that I have spoken of and that do not involve injury to other creatures), and by seeking the acquisition of merit agreeably to his own ability, certainly succeeds in obtaining blessed regions hereafter.'[1187]

“Bhishma continued, 'These are the duties, O Yudhishthira, which Tuladhara applauded,–duties that are consistent with reason, and that are always observed by those that are good and wise.'”


“Tuladhara said, 'See with thy own eyes, O Jajali, who, viz., those that are good or those that are otherwise, have adopted this path of duty that I have spoken of. Thou shalt then understand properly how the truth stands. Behold, many birds are hovering in the sky. Amongst them are those that were reared on thy head, as also many hawks and many others of other species. Behold, O Brahmana, those birds have contracted their wings and legs for entering their respective nests. Summon them, O regenerate one! There those birds, treated with affection by thee, are displaying their love for thee that art their father. Without doubt, thou art their father, O Jajali! Do thou summon thy children.'

“Bhishma continued, 'Then those birds, summoned by Jajali, made answer agreeably to the dictates of that religion which is not fraught with injury to any creature.[1188] All acts that are done without injuring any creature become serviceable (to the doer) both here and hereafter. Those acts, however, that involve injury to others, destroy faith, and faith being destroyed, involves the destroyer in ruin. The sacrifices of those that regard acquisition and non-acquisition in the same light, that are endued with faith that are self-restrained, that have tranquil minds, and that perform sacrifices from a sense of duty (and not from desire of fruit), become productive of fruit.[1189] Faith with respect to Brahma is the daughter of Surya, O regenerate one. She is the protectress and she is the giver of good birth. Faith is superior to the merit born of (Vedic) recitations and meditation.[1190] An act vitiated by defect of speech is saved by Faith. An act vitiated by defect of mind is saved by Faith. But neither speech nor mind can save an act that is vitiated by want of Faith.[1191] Men conversant with the occurrences of the past recite in this connection the following verse sung by Brahman. The offerings in sacrifices of a person that is pure (in body and acts) but wanting in Faith, and of another that is impure (in respect of their worthiness of acceptance). The food, again, of a person conversant with the Vedas but miserly in behaviour, and that of a usurer that is liberal in conduct,[1192] the deities after careful consideration, had held to be equal (in respect of their worthiness of acceptance). The' Supreme Lord of all creatures (viz., Brahman) then told them that they had committed an error. The food of a liberal person is sanctified by Faith. The food, however, of the person that is void of Faith is lost in consequence of such want of Faith. The food of a liberal usurer is acceptable but not the food of a miser.[1193] Only one person in the world, viz., he that is bereft of Faith, is unfit to make offerings to the deities. The food of only such a man is unfit to be eaten. This is the opinion of men conversant with duties. Want of Faith is a high sin. Faith is a cleanser of sins. Like a snake casting off its slough, the man of Faith succeeds in casting off all his sin. The religion of abstention with Faith is superior to all things considered sacred. Abstaining from all faults of behaviour, he who betakes himself to Faith, becomes sanctified. What need hath such a person of penances, or of conduct, or of endurance? Every man has Faith. Faith, however, is of three kinds, viz., as affected by Sattwa, by Rajas and by Tamas, and according to the kind of Faith that one has, one is named. Persons endued with goodness and possessed of insight into the true import of morality have thus laid down the subject of duties. We have, as the result of our enquiries, got all this from the sage Dharmadarsana. O thou of great wisdom, betake thyself to Faith, for thou shalt then obtain that which is superior. He who has Faith (in the declarations of the Srutis), and who acts according to their import (in the belief that they are good for him), is certainly of righteous soul. O Jajali, he who adheres to his own path (under the influence of Faith) is certainly a superior person.'

“Bhishma continued, 'After a short while, Tuladhara and Jajali, both of whom had been endued with great wisdom, ascended to heaven and sported there in great happiness,[1194] having reached their respective places earned by their respective acts. Many truths of this kind were spoken of by Tuladhara. That eminent person understood this religion (of abstention from injury) completely. These eternal duties were accordingly proclaimed by him. The regenerate Jajali, O son of Kunti, having heard these words of celebrated energy, betook himself to tranquillity. In this way, many truths of grave import were uttered by Tuladhara, illustrated by examples for instruction. What other truths dost thou wish to hear?'”


“Bhishma said, 'In this connection is cited an old narrative of what was recited by king Vichakhy through compassion for all creatures. Beholding the mangled body of a bull, and hearing the exceedingly painful groans of the kine in a cow-slaying sacrifice, and observing the cruel Brahmanas that gathered there for assisting at the ceremonies, that king[1195] uttered these words, 'Prosperity to all the kine in the world.' When the slaughter had commenced, these words expressive of a blessing (to those helpless animals) were pronounced. And the monarch further said, 'Only those that are transgressors of defined limits, that are destitute of intelligence, that are atheists and sceptics, and that desire the acquisition of celebrity through sacrifices and religious rites speak highly of the slaughter of animals in sacrifices.[1196] The righteous-souled Manu has applauded (the observance of) harmlessness in all (religious) acts. Indeed, men slaughter animals in sacrifices, urged by only the desire of fruit.[1197] Hence, guided by authority (in respect of slaughter and abstention from slaughter or harmlessness) one conversant (with the scriptures) should practise the true course of duty which is exceedingly subtile. Harmlessness to all creatures is the highest of all duties. Living in the vicinity of an inhabited place and injuring oneself to the observance of rigid vows, and disregarding the fruits indicated of Vedic acts, one should give up domesticity, adopting a life of Renunciation. Only they that are mean are urged by the desire of fruit.[1198] Reverentially mentioning sacrifices and trees and sacrificial stakes, men do not eat tainted meat. This practice, however, is not worthy of applause.[1199] Wine, fish, honey, meat, alcohol, and preparations of rice and sesame seeds, have been introduced by knaves. The use of these (in sacrifices) is not laid down in the Vedas. The hankering after these arises from pride, error of judgment, and cupidity. They that are true Brahmanas realise the presence of Vishnu in every sacrifice. His worship, it has been laid down, should be made with agreeable Payasa. (The leaves and flowers of) such trees as have been indicated in the Vedas, whatever act is regarded as worthy and whatever else is held as pure by persons of pure hearts and cleansed natures and those eminent for knowledge and holiness, are all worthy of being offered to the Supreme Deity and not unworthy of His acceptance.'[1200]

“Yudhishthira said, 'The body and all sorts of dangers and calamities are continually at war with each other. How, therefore, will a person who is totally free from the desire of harming and who on this account will not be able to act, succeed in keeping up his body?'[1201]

“Bhishma said, 'One should, when able, acquire merit and act in such a way that one's body may not languish and suffer pain, and that death may not come.'”[1202]


“Yudhishthira said, 'Thou, O grandsire, art our highest preceptor in the matter of all acts that are difficult of accomplishment (in consequence of the commands of superiors on the one hand and the cruelty that is involved in them on the other). I ask, how should one judge of an act in respect of either one's obligation to do it or of abstaining from it? Is it to be judged speedily or with delay?'

“Bhishma said, 'In this connection is cited the old story of what occurred with respect to Chirakarin born in the race of Angirasa. Twice blessed be the man that reflects long before he acts. One that reflects long before he acts is certainly possessed of great intelligence. Such a man never offends in respect of any act. There was once a man of great wisdom, of the name of Chirakarin, who was the son of Gautama. Reflecting for a long time upon every consideration connected with proposed acts, he used to do all he had to do. He came to be called by the name of Chirakarin because he used to reflect long upon all matters, to remain awake for a long time, to sleep for a long time, and to take a long time in setting himself to the accomplishment of such acts as he accomplished. The clamour of being an idle man stuck to him. He was also regarded as a foolish person, by every person of a light understanding and destitute of foresight. On a certain occasion, witnessing an act of great fault in his wife, the sire Gautama passing over his other children, commanded in wrath this Chirakarin, saying, 'Slay thou this woman.' Having said these words without much reflection, the learned Gautama, that foremost of persons engaged in the practice of Yoga, that highly blessed ascetic, departed for the woods. Having after a long while assented to it, saying, 'So be it,' Chirakarin, in consequence of his very nature, and owing to his habit of never accomplishing any act without long reflection, began to think for a long while (upon the propriety or otherwise of what he was commanded by his sire to do). How shall I obey the command of my sire and yet how avoid slaying my mother? How shall I avoid sinking, like a wicked person, into sin in this situation in which contradictory obligations are dragging me into opposite directions? Obedience to the commands of the sire constitutes the highest merit. The protection of the mother again is a clear duty. The status of a son is fraught with dependence. How shall I avoid being afflicted by sin? Who is there that can be happy after having slain a woman, especially his mother? Who again can obtain prosperity and fame by disregarding his own sire? Regard for the sire's behest is obligatory. The protection of my mother is equally a duty. How shall I so frame my conduct that both obligations may be discharged? The father places his own self within the mother's womb and takes birth as the son, for continuing his practices, conduct, name and race. I have been begotten as a son by both my mother and my father. Knowing as I do my own origin, why should I not have this knowledge (of my relationship with both of them)? The words uttered by the sire while performing the initial rite after birth, and those that were uttered by him on the occasion of the subsidiary rite (after the return from the preceptor's abode) are sufficient (evidence) for settling the reverence due to him and indeed, confirm the reverence actually paid to him.[1203] In consequence of his bringing up the son and instructing him, the sire is the son's foremost of superiors and the highest religion. The very Vedas lay it down as certain that the son should regard what the sire says as his highest duty. Unto the sire the son is only a source of joy. Unto the son, however, the sire is all in all. The body and all else that the son owns have the sire alone for their giver. Hence, the behests of the sire should be obeyed without ever questioning them in the least. The very sins of one that obeys one's sire are cleansed (by such obedience). The sire is the giver of all articles of food, of instructions in the Vedas, and of all other knowledge regarding the world. (Prior to the son's birth) the sire is the performer of such rites as Garbhadhana and Simantonnayana.[1204] The sire is religion. The sire is heaven. The sire is the highest penance. The sire being gratified, all the deities are gratified. Whatever words are pronounced by the sire become blessings that attach to the son. The words expressive of joy that the sire utters cleanse the son of all his sins. The flower is seen to fall away from the stalk. The fruit is seen to fall away from the tree. But the sire, whatever his distress, moved by parental affection, never abandons the son. These then are my reflections upon the reverence due from the son to the sire. Unto the son the sire is not an ordinary object. I shall now think upon (what is due to) the mother. Of this union of the five (primal) elements in me due to my birth as a human being, the mother is the (chief) cause as the firestick of fire.[1205] The mother is as the fire-stick with respect to the bodies of all men. She is the panacea for all kinds of calamities. The existence of the mother invests one with protection; the reverse deprives one of all protection. The man who, though divested of prosperity, enters his house, uttering the words, 'O mother!'–hath not to indulge in grief. Nor doth decrepitude ever assail him. A person whose mother exists, even if he happens to be possessed of sons and grandsons and even if he counts a hundred years, looks like a child of but two years of age. Able or disabled, lean or robust, the son is always protected by the mother. None else, according to the ordinance, is the son's protector. Then doth the son become old, then doth he become stricken with grief, then doth the world look empty in his eyes, when he becomes deprived of his mother. There is no shelter (protection against the sun) like the mother. There is no refuge like the mother. There is no defence like the mother. There is no one so dear as the mother. For having borne him in her womb the mother is the son's Dhatri. For having been the chief cause of his birth, she is his Janani. For having nursed his young limbs into growth, she is called Amva. For bringing forth a child possessed of courage she is called Virasu. For nursing and looking after the son she is called Sura. The mother is one's own body. What rational man is there that would slay his mother, to whose care alone it is due that his own head did not lie on the street-side like a dry gourd? When husband and wife unite themselves for procreation, the desire cherished with respect to the (unborn) son are cherished by both, but in respect of their fruition more depends upon the mother than on the sire.[1206] The mother knows the family in which the son is born and the father who has begotten him. From the moment of conception the mother begins to show affection to her child and takes delight in her. (For this reason, the son should behave equally towards her). On the other hand, the scriptures declare that the offspring belongs to the father alone. If men, after accepting the hands of wives in marriage and pledging themselves to earn religious merit without being dissociated from them, seek congress with other people's wives, they then cease to be worthy of respect.[1207] The husband, because he supports the wife, is called Bhartri, and, because he protects her, he is on that account called Pati. When these two functions disappear from him, he ceases to be both Bhartri and Pati.[1208] Then again woman can commit no fault. It is man only that commits faults. By perpetrating an act of adultery, the man only becomes stained with guilt.[1209] It has been said that the husband is the highest object with the wife and the highest deity to her. My mother gave up her sacred person to one that came to her in the form and guise of her husband. Women can commit no fault. It is man who becomes stained with fault. Indeed, in consequence of the natural weakness of the sex as displayed in every act, and their liability to solicitation, women cannot be regarded as offenders. Then again the sinfulness (in this case) is evident of Indra himself who (by acting in the way he did) caused the recollection of the request that had been made to him in days of yore by woman (when a third part of the sin of Brahmanicide of which Indra himself was guilty was cast upon her sex). There is no doubt that my mother is innocent. She whom I have been commanded to slay is a woman. That woman is again my mother. She occupies, therefore, a place of greater reverence. The very beasts that are irrational know that the mother is unslayable. The sire must be known to be a combination of all the deities together. To the mother, however, attaches a combination of all mortal creatures and all the deities.[1210]–In consequence of his habit of reflecting long before acting, Gautama's son Chirakarin, by indulging in those reflections, passed a long while (without accomplishing the act he had been commanded by his sire to accomplish). When many days had expired, his sire Gautama's returned. Endued with great wisdom, Medhatithi of Gautama's race, engaged in the practice of penances, came back (to his retreat), convinced, after having reflected for that long time, of the impropriety of the chastisement he had commanded to be inflicted upon his wife. Burning with grief and shedding copious tears, for repentance had come to him in consequence of the beneficial effects of that calmness of temper which is brought about by a knowledge of the scriptures, he uttered these words, 'The lord of the three worlds, viz., Purandara, came to my retreat, in the guise of a Brahmana asking for hospitality. He was received by me with (proper) words, and honoured with a (proper) welcome, and presented in due form with water to wash his feet and the usual offerings of the Arghya. I also granted him the rest he had asked for. I further told him that I had obtained a protector in him. I thought that such conduct on my part would induce him to behave towards me as a friend. When, however, notwithstanding all this, he misbehaved himself, my wife Ahalya could not be regarded to have committed any fault. It seems that neither my wife, nor myself, nor Indra himself who while passing through the sky had beheld my wife (and become deprived of his senses by her extraordinary beauty), could be held to have offended. The blame really attaches to the carelessness of my Yoga puissance.[1211] The sages have said that all calamities spring from envy, which, in its turn, arises from error of judgment. By that envy, also, I have been dragged from where I was and plunged into an ocean of sin (in the form of wife-slaughter). Alas, I have slain a woman,–a woman that is again my wife–one, that is, who, in consequence of her sharing her lord's calamities came to be called by the name of Vasita,–one that was called Bharya owing to the obligation I was under of supporting her. Who is there that can rescue me from this sin? Acting heedlessly I commanded the high-souled Chirakarin (to slay that wife of mine). If on the present occasion he proves true to his name then may he rescue me from this guilt. Twice blessed be thou, O Chirakaraka! If on this occasion thou hast delayed accomplishing the work, then art thou truly worthy of thy name. Rescue me, and thy mother, and the penances I have achieved, as also thy own self, from grave sins. Be thou really a Chirakaraka today! Ordinarily, in consequence of thy great wisdom thou takest a long time for reflection before achieving any act. Let not thy conduct be otherwise today! Be thou a true Chirakaraka today. Thy mother had expected thy advent for a long time. For a long time did she bear thee in her womb. O Chirakaraka, let thy habit of reflecting long before acting be productive of beneficial results today. Perhaps, my son Chirakaraka is delaying today (to achieve my bidding) in view of the sorrow it would cause me (to see him execute that bidding). Perhaps, he is sleeping over that bidding, bearing it in his heart (without any intention of executing it promptly). Perhaps, he is delaying, in view of the grief it would cause both him and me, reflecting upon the circumstances of the case.' Indulging in such repentance, O king, the great Rishi Gautama then beheld his son Chirakarin sitting near him. Beholding his sire come back to their abode, the son Chirakarin, overwhelmed with grief, cast away the weapon (he had taken up) and bowing his head began to pacify Gautama. Observing his son prostrated before him with bent head, and beholding also his wife almost petrified with shame, the Rishi became filled with great joy. From that time the highsouled Rishi, dwelling in that lone hermitage, did not live separately from his spouse or his heedful son. Having uttered the command that his wife should be slain he had gone away from his retreat for accomplishing some purpose of his own. Since that time his son had stood in an humble attitude, weapon in hand, for executing that command on his mother. Beholding that his son prostrated at his feet, the sire thought that, struck with fear, he was asking for pardon for the offence he had committed in taking up a weapon (for killing his own mother). The sire praised his son for a long time, and smelt his head for a long time, and for a long time held him in a close embrace, and blessed him, uttering the words, 'Do thou live long!' Then, filled with joy and contented with what had occurred, Gautama, O thou of great wisdom, addressed his son and said these words, 'Blessed be thou, O Chirakaraka! Do thou always reflect long before acting. By thy delay in accomplishing my bidding thou hast today made me happy for ever.' That learned and best of Rishis then uttered these verses upon the subject of the merits of such cool men as reflect for a long time before setting their hands to any action. If the matter is the death of a friend, one should accomplish it after a long while. If it is the abandonment of a project already begun, one should abandon it after a long while. A friendship that is formed after a long examination lasts for a long time. In giving way to wrath, to haughtiness, to pride, to disputes, to sinful acts, and in accomplishing all disagreeable tasks he that delays long deserves applause. When the offence is not clearly proved against a relative, a friend, a servant, or a wife, he that reflects long before inflicting the punishment is applauded.' Thus, O Bharata, was Gautama pleased with his son, O thou of Kuru's race, for that act of delay on the latter's part in doing the former's bidding. In all acts a man should, in this way, reflect for a long time and then settle what he should do. By conducting himself in this way one is sure to avoid grief for a long time. That man who never nurses his wrath for a long while, who reflects for a long time before setting himself to the performance of any act, never does any act which brings repentance. One should wait for a long while upon those that are aged, and sitting near them show them reverence. One should attend to one's duties for a long time and be engaged for a long while in ascertaining them. Waiting for a long time upon those that are learned, are reverentially serving for a long time those that are good in behaviour, and keeping one's soul for a long while under proper restraint, one succeeds in enjoying the respect of the world for a long time. One engaged in instructing others on the subject of religion and duty, should, when asked by another for information on those subjects, take a long time to reflect before giving an answer. He may then avoid indulging in repentance (for returning an incorrect answer whose practical consequences may lead to sin).–As regards Gautama of austere penances, that Rishi, having adored the deities for a long while in that retreat of his, at last ascended to heaven with his son.'”


“Yudhishthira said, 'How, indeed, should the king protect his subjects without injuring anybody. I ask thee this, O grandsire, tell me, O foremost of good men!'

“Bhishma said, 'In this connection is cited the old narrative of the conversation between Dyumatsena and king Satyavat. We have heard that upon a certain number of individuals having been brought out for execution at the command of his sire (Dyumatsena), prince Satyavat said certain words that had never before been said by anybody else.[1212] 'Sometimes righteousness assumes the form of iniquity, and iniquity assumes the form of righteousness. It can never be possible that the killing of individuals can ever be a righteous act.'

“Dyumatsena said, 'If the sparing of those that deserve to be slain be righteousness, if robbers be spared, O Satyavat, then all distinctions (between virtue and vice) would disappear. 'This is mine',–'This (other) is not his'–ideas like these (with respect to property) will not (if the wicked be not punished) prevail in the Kali age. (If the wicked be not punished) the affairs of the world will come to a deadlock. If thou knowest how the world may go on (without punishing the wicked), then discourse to me upon it.'

“Satyavat said, 'The three other orders (viz., the Kshatriyas, Vaisyas, and Sudras) should be placed under the control of the Brahmanas. If those three orders be kept within the bonds of righteousness, then the subsidiary classes (that have sprung from intermixture) will imitate them in their practices. Those amongst them that will transgress (the commands of the Brahmanas) shall be reported to the king.–'This one heeds not my commands,'–upon such a complaint being preferred by a Brahmana, the king shall inflict punishment upon the offender. Without destroying the body of the offender the king should do that unto him which is directed by the scriptures. The king should not act otherwise, neglecting to reflect properly upon the character of the offence and upon the science of morality. By slaying the wicked, the king (practically) slays a large number of individuals that are innocent. Behold, by slaying a single robber, his wife, mother, father and children are all slain (because they become deprived of the means of life). When injured by a wicked person, the king should, therefore, reflect deeply on the question of chastisement.[1213] Sometimes a wicked man is seen to imbibe good behaviour from a righteous person. Then again from persons that are wicked, good children may be seen to spring. The wicked, therefore, should not be torn up by the roots. The extermination of the wicked is not consistent with eternal practice. By smiting them gently they may be made to expiate their offences. By depriving them of all their wealth, by chains and immurement in dungeons, by disfiguring them (they may be made to expiate their guilt). Their relatives should not be persecuted by the infliction of capital sentences on them. If in the presence of the Purohita and others,[1214] they give themselves up to him from desire of protection, and swear, saying, 'O Brahmana, we shall never again commit any sinful act,' they would then deserve to be let off without any punishment. This is the command of the Creator himself. Even the Brahmana that wears a deer-skin and the wand of (mendicancy) and has his head shaved, should be punished (when he transgresses).[1215] If great men transgress, their chastisement should be proportionate to their greatness. As regards them that offend repeatedly, they do not deserve to be dismissed without punishment as on the occasion of their first offence.'[1216] “Dyumatsena said, 'As long as those barriers within which men should be kept are not transgressed, so long are they designated by the name of Righteousness. If they who transgressed those, barriers were not punished with death, those barriers would soon be destroyed. Men of remote and remoter times were capable of being governed with ease.[1217] They were very truthful (in speech and conduct). They were little disposed to disputes and quarrels. They seldom gave way to anger, or, if they did, their wrath never became ungovernable. In those days the mere crying of fie on offenders was sufficient punishment. After this came the punishment represented by harsh speeches or censures. Then followed the punishment of fines and forfeitures. In this age, however, the punishment of death has become current. The measure of wickedness has increased to such an extent that by slaying one others cannot be restrained.[1218] The robber has no connection with men, with the deities, with the Gandharvas, and with the Pitris. What is he to whom? He is not anybody to any one. This is the declaration of the Srutis.[1219] The robber takes away the ornaments of corpses from cemeteries, and swearing apparel from men afflicted by spirits (and, therefore, deprived of senses). That man is a fool who would make any covenant with those miserable wretches or exact any oath from them (for relying upon it).'[1220]

“Satyavat said, 'If thou dost not succeed in making honest men of those rogues and in saving them by means unconnected with slaughter, do thou then exterminate them by performing some sacrifice.[1221] Kings practise severe austerities for the sake of enabling their subjects go on prosperously in their avocations. When thieves and robbers multiply in their kingdoms they become ashamed.. They, therefore, betake themselves to penances for suppressing thefts and robberies and making their subjects live happily. Subjects can be made honest by being only frightened (by the king). Good kings never slay the wicked from motives of retribution. (On the other hand, if they slay, they slay in sacrifices, when the motive is to do good to the slain), Good kings abundantly succeed in ruling their subjects properly with the aid of good conduct (instead of cruel or punitive inflictions). If the king acts properly, the superior subjects imitate him. The inferior people, again in their turn, imitate their immediate superiors. Men are so constituted that they imitate those whom they regard as their superiors.[1222] That king who, without restraining himself, seeks to restrain others (from evil ways) becomes an object of laughter with all men in consequence of his being engaged in the enjoyment of all worldly pleasures as a slave of his senses. That man who, through arrogance or error of judgment, offends against the king in any way, should be restrained by every means. It is by this way that he is prevented from committing offences anew. The king should first restrain his own self if he desires to restrain others that offend. He should punish heavily (if necessary) even friends and near relatives. In that kingdom where a vile offender does not meet with heavy afflictions, offences increase and righteousness decreases without doubt. Formerly, a Brahmana. endued with clemency and possessed of learning, taught me this. Verily, to this effect, O sire, I have been instructed by also our grandsire of olden days, who gave such assurances of harmlessness to people, moved by pity. Their words were, 'In the Krita age, kings should rule their subjects by adopting ways that are entirely harmless. In the Treta age, kings conduct themselves according to ways that conform with righteousness fallen away by a fourth from its full complement. In the Dwapara age, they proceed according to ways conforming with righteousness fallen away by a moiety, and in the age that follows, according to ways conforming with righteousness fallen away by three-fourth. When the Kati age sets in, through the wickedness of kings and in consequence of the nature of the epoch itself, fifteen parts of even that fourth portion of righteousness disappear, a sixteenth portion thereof being all that then remains of it. If, O Satyavat, by adopting the method first mentioned (viz., the practice of harmlessness), confusion sets in, the king, considering the period of human life, the strength of human beings, and the nature of the time that has come, should award punishments.[1223] Indeed, Manu, the son of the Self-born, has, through compassion for human beings, indicated the way by means of which men may adhere to knowledge (instead of harmfulness) for the sake of emancipation.'”[1224]


“Yudhishthira said, 'Thou hast already explained to me, O grandsire, how the religion of Yoga, which leads to the six well-known attributes, may be adopted and practised without injuring any creature. Tell me, O grandsire, of that religion which leads to both results, viz., Enjoyment and Emancipation. Amongst these two, viz., the duties of domesticity and those of Yoga, both of which lead to the same end, which is superior?'

“Bhishma said, 'Both courses of duty are highly blessed. Both are extremely difficult of accomplishment. Both are productive of high fruits. Both are practised by those that are admittedly good. I shall presently discourse to thee on the authoritativeness of both those courses of duty, for dispelling thy doubts about their true import. Listen to me with concentrated attention. In this connection is instanced the old narrative of the discourse between Kapila and the cow. Listen to it, O Yudhishthira![1225] It has been heard by us that in days of old when the deity Tvashtri came to the place of king Nahusha, the latter, for discharging the duties of hospitality, was on the point of killing a cow agreeably to the true, ancient, and eternal injunction of the Vedas. Beholding that cow tied for slaughter, Kapila of liberal soul, ever observant of the duties of Sattwa, always engaged in restraining his senses, possessed of true knowledge, and abstemious in diet, having acquired an excellent understanding that was characterised by faith, perfectly fearless, beneficial, firm, and ever directed towards truth, uttered this word once, viz.,–'Alas ye Vedas!'–At that time a Rishi, of the name of Syumarasmi, entering (by Yoga power) the form of that cow, addressed the Yati Kapila, saying, 'Hist O Kapila! If the Vedas be deserving (in consequence of those declarations in them that sanction the slaughter of living creatures), whence have those other duties (fraught with entire harmlessness to all creatures) come to be regarded as authoritative?[1226] Men devoted to penances and endued with intelligence, and who have the Srutis and knowledge for their eyes, regard the injunctions of the Vedas, which have been declared through and compiled by the Rishis, to be the words of God himself.[1227] What can anybody say (by way of censure or praise) with respect to the contents of the Vedas when these happen to be the words of the Supreme Being himself who is freed from desire of fruit, who is without the fever (of envy and aversion), who is addicted to nothing, and who is destitute of all exertion (in consequence of the immediate fruition of all his wishes)?'

“Kapila said, 'I do not censure the Vedas. I do not wish to say anything in derogation of them. It hath been heard by us that the different courses of duty laid down for the different modes of life, all lead to the same end. The Sannyasin attains to a high end. The forest-recluse also attains to a high end. Both the other two also, viz., the householder and the Brahmacharin, reach the same end. All the four modes of life have always been regarded as Deva-yana ways. The relative strength or weakness of these, as represented by their relative superiority or inferiority, hath been declared in the character of their respective ends.[1228]–Knowing these, accomplish acts which lead to heaven and other blessings,–this is a Vedic declaration.–Do not accomplish acts,–this also is another binding declaration of the Vedas. If abstention from acts be meritorious, then their accomplishment must be exceedingly reprehensible. When the scriptures stand thus, the strength or weakness of particular declarations must be very difficult to ascertain. If thou knowest of any course of duty which is superior to the religion of harmlessness, and which depends upon direct evidence instead of that of the scriptures, do thou then discourse to me upon it.'

“Syumarasmi said, 'One should perform sacrifice from desire of heaven,–this Sruti is constantly heard by us. Thinking first of the fruit (that is to be attained), one makes preparations for sacrifice. Goat, horse, cow, all species of birds, domestic or wild, and herbs and plants, are food of (other) living creatures. This is heard by us.[1229] Food again has been directed to be taken day after day morning and evening. Then again the Sruti declares that animals and grain are the limbs of Sacrifice.[1230] The Lord of the universe created them along with Sacrifice. The puissant Lord of all creatures caused the deities to perform sacrifices with their aid. Altogether seven (domestic) and seven (wild) animals are indicated as fit for sacrifice. Instead of all being equally fit, each succeeding one is inferior to each preceding one. The Vedas again declare that the whole universe is appointed for sacrifice. Him also that is called Purusha the Vedas have appointed for the same purpose.[1231] This again hath been sanctioned by men of remote and remoter times. What man of learning is there that does not select, according to his own ability, individuals from among living creatures for sacrifice?[1232] The inferior animals, human beings, trees, and herbs, all wish for the attainment of heaven. There is no means, however, except sacrifice, by which they can obtain the fruition of that desire. The deciduous herbs, animals, trees, creepers, clarified butter, milk, curds, meat and other approved things (that are poured on the sacrificial fire), land, the points of the compass, faith, and time which brings up the tale of twelve, the Richs, the Yajuses, the Samans, and the sacrificer himself bringing up the tale to sixteen, and Fire which should be known as the householder,–these seventeen are said to be the limbs of sacrifice. Sacrifice, the Sruti declares, is the root of the world and its course. With clarified butter, milk, curds, dung, curds mixed with milk, skin, the hair in her tail, horns, and hoofs, the cow alone is able to furnish all the necessaries of sacrifice. Particular ones amongst these that are laid down for particular sacrifices, coupled with Ritwijas and presents (to the priests themselves and other Brahmanas) together sustain sacrifices.[1233] By collecting these things together, people accomplish sacrifices[1234]. This Sruti, consistent with the truth, is heard that all things have been created for the performance of sacrifice. It was thus that all men of ancient time set themselves to the performance of sacrifices. As regards that person, however, who performs sacrifices because of the conviction that sacrifices should be performed and not for the sake of fruit or reward, it is seen that he does not injure any creature or bear himself with hostility to anything, or set himself to the accomplishment of any worldly task.[1235] Those things that have been named as the limbs of sacrifice, and those other things that have been mentioned as required in sacrifices and that are indicated in the ordinances, all uphold one another (for the completion of sacrifices) when used according to the approved ritual.[1236] I behold also the Smritis compiled by he Rishis, into which the Vedas have been introduced. Men of learning regard them as authoritative in consequence of their following the Brahmanas.[1237] Sacrifices have the Brahmanas for that progenitor, and truly they rest upon the Brahmanas. The whole universe rests upon sacrifice, and sacrifice rests upon the universe.[1238] The syllable Om is the root from which the Vedas have sprung. (Every rite, therefore, should commence with the utterance of that syllable of vast import). Of him who has uttered for him the syllables Om, Namas, Swaha, Svadha, and Vashat, and who has, according to the extent of his ability, performed sacrifices and other rites, there is no fear in respect of next life in all the three worlds. Thus say the Vedas, and sages crowned with ascetic success, and the foremost of Rishis. He in whom are the Richs, the Yajuses, the Samans, and the expletives necessary for completing the rhythm of the Samans according to the rules laid down in Vedic grammars, is, indeed, a Brahmana.[1239] Thou knowest, O adorable Brahmana, what the fruits are of Agnihotra, of the Soma-sacrifice, and of the other great sacrifices. I say, for this reason, one should sacrifice and assist at other people's sacrifices, without scruples of any kind. One who performs such sacrifices as lead to heaven (such as Jyotishtoma, etc.) obtains high rewards hereafter in the form of heavenly beatitude. This is certain, viz., that they who do not perform sacrifices have neither this world nor the next. They who are really conversant with the declarations of the Vedas regard both kinds of declarations (viz., those that incite to acts and those that preach abstention) as equally authoritative.'”


“Kapila said, 'Beholding that all the fruits that are attainable by acts are terminable instead of being eternal, Yatis, by adopting self-restraint and tranquillity, attain to Brahma through the path of knowledge. There is nothing in any of the worlds that can impede them (for by mere fiats of their will they crown all their wishes with success). They are freed from the influence of all pairs of opposites. They never bow down their heads to anything or any creature. They are above all the bonds of want. Wisdom is theirs. Cleansed they are from every sin. Pure and spotless they live and rove about (in great happiness). They have, in their own understandings, arrived at settled conclusions in respect of all destructible objects and of a life of Renunciation (by comparing the two together). Devoted to Brahma, already become like unto Brahma, they have taken refuge in Brahma. Transcending grief, and freed from (the equality of) Rajas, theirs are acquisitions that are eternal. When the high end that is these men's is within reach of attainment, what need has one for practising the duties of the domestic mode of life?'[1240]

“Syumarasmi said, 'If, indeed, that be the highest object of acquisition, if that be truly the highest end (which is attained by practising Renunciation) then the importance of the domestic mode of life becomes manifest, because without the domestic mode no other mode of life ever becomes possible. Indeed, as all living creatures are able to live in consequence of their dependence on their respective mothers, after the same manner the three other modes of life exist in consequence of their dependence upon the domestic mode. The householder who leads the life of domesticity, performs sacrifices, and practises penances. Whatever is done by anybody from desire of happiness has for its root the domestic mode of life. All living creatures regard the procreation of offspring as a source of great happiness. The procreation of offspring, however, becomes impossible in any other mode of life (than domesticity). Every kind of grass and straw, all plants and herbs (that yield corn or grain), and others of the same class that grow on hills and mountains, have the domestic mode of life for their root. Upon those depend the life of living creatures. And since nothing else is seen (in the universe) than life, domesticity may be looked upon as the refuge of the entire universe.[1241] Who then speaks the truth that says that domesticity cannot lead to the acquisition of Emancipation? Only those that are destitute of faith and wisdom and penetration, only those that are destitute of reputation that are idle and toil-worn, that have misery for their share in consequence of their past acts, only those that are destitute of learning, behold the plenitude of tranquillity in a life of mendicancy. The eternal and certain distinctions (laid down in the Vedas) are the causes that sustain the three worlds. That illustrious person of the highest order who is conversant with the Vedas, is worshipped from the very date of his birth. Besides the performance of Garbhadhana, Vedic mantras become necessary for enabling persons of the regenerate classes to accomplish all their acts in respect of both this and the other world.[1242] In cremating his body (after death), in the matter of his attainment of a second body, in that of his drink and food after such attainment, in that of giving away kine and other animals for helping him to cross the river that divides the region of life from that of Yama, in that of sinking funeral cakes in water–Vedic mantras are necessary. Then again the three classes of Pitris, viz., the Archishmats, the Varhishads, and the Kravyads, approve of the necessity of mantras in the case of the dead, and mantras are allowed to be efficient causes (for attainment of the objects for which these ceremonies and rites have been directed to be performed). When the Vedas say this so loudly and when again human beings are said to owe debts to the Pitris, the Rishis, and the gods, how can any one attain to Emancipation?[1243] This false doctrine (of incorporeal existence called Emancipation), apparently dressed in colours of truth, but subversive of the real purport of the declarations of the Vedas, has been introduced by learned men reft of prosperity and eaten up by idleness. That Brahmana who performs sacrifices according to the declarations of the Vedas is never seduced by sin. Through sacrifices, such a person attains to high regions of felicity along with the animals he has slain in those sacrifices, and himself, gratified by the acquisition of all his wishes succeeds in gratifying those animals by fulfilling their wishes. By disregarding the Vedas, by guile, or by deception, one never succeeds in attaining to the Supreme. On the other hand, it is by practising the rites laid down in the Vedas that one succeeds in attaining to Brahma.'

“Kapila said, '(If acts are obligatory, then) there are the Darsa, the Paurnamasa, the Agnihotra, the Chaturmasya, and other acts for the man of intelligence. In their performance is eternal merit. (Why then perform acts involving cruelty)? Those that have betaken themselves to the Sannyasa, mode of life, that abstain from all acts, that are endued with patience, that are cleansed (of wrath and every fault), and that are conversant with Brahma, succeed by such knowledge of Brahma in paying off the debts (thou speakest of) to the gods (the Rishis, and the Pitris) represented to be so very fond of libations poured in sacrifices.[1244] The very gods become stupefied in tracing the track of that trackless person who constitutes himself the soul of all creatures and who looks upon all creatures with an equal eye. Through instructions received from the preceptor one knows that which dwells within this frame to be of a four-fold nature, having besides four doors and four mouths. In consequence of (their possession of) two arms, the organ of speech, the stomach, and the organ of pleasure, the very gods are said to have four doors. One should, therefore, strive one's best to keep those doors under control.[1245] One should not gamble with dice. One should not appropriate what belongs to another. One should not assist at the sacrifice of a person of ignoble birth. One should not, giving way to wrath, smite another with hands or feet. That intelligent man who conducts himself in this way is said to have his hands and feet well-controlled. One should not indulge in vociferous abuse or censure. One should not speak words that are vain. One should forbear from knavery and from calumniating others. One should observe the vow of truthfulness, be sparing of speech, and always heedful.' By conducting oneself in this way one will have one's organ of speech well-restrained. One should not abstain entirely from food. One should not eat too much. One should give up covetousness, and always seek the companionship of the good. One should eat only so much as is needed for sustaining life. By conducting oneself in this way one succeeds in properly controlling the door represented by one's stomach. One should not, O hero, lustfully take another wife when one has a wedded spouse (with whom to perform all religious acts). One should never summon a woman to bed except in her season. One should confine oneself to one's own wedded spouse without seeking congress with other women. By conducting oneself in this way one is said to have one's organ of pleasure properly controlled. That man of wisdom is truly a regenerate person who has all his four doors, viz., the organ of pleasure, the stomach, the two arms (and two feet), and the organ of speech, properly controlled. Everything becomes useless of that person whose doors are not well-controlled. What can the penance of such a man do? What can his sacrifices bring about? What cart be achieved by his body? The gods know him for a Brahmana who has cast off his upper garment, who sleeps on the bare ground, who makes his arm a pillow, and whose heart is possessed of tranquillity.[1246] That person who, devoted to contemplation, singly enjoys all the happiness that wedded couples enjoy, and who turns not his attention to the joys and griefs of others, should be known for a Brahmana.[1247] That man who rightly understands all this as it exists in reality and its multiform transformations, and who knows what the end is of all created objects, is known by the gods for a Brahmana.[1248] One who hath no fear from any creature and from whom no creature hath any fear and who constitutes himself the soul of all creatures, should be known for a Brahmana. Without having acquired purity of heart which is the true result of all pious acts such as gifts and sacrifices, men of foolish understandings do not succeed in obtaining a knowledge of what is needed in making one a Brahmana even when explained by preceptors. Destitute of a knowledge of all this, these men desire fruits of a different kind, viz., heaven and its joys.[1249] Unable to practise even a small part of that good conduct which has come down from remote times, which is eternal, which is characterised by certitude, which enters as a thread in all our duties, and by adopting which men of knowledge belonging to all the modes of life convert their respective duties and penances into terrible weapons for destroying the ignorance and evils of worldliness, men of foolish understandings regard acts that are productive of visible fruits, that are fraught with the highest puissance, and that are deathless, as fruitless after all and as deviations (from the proper course) not sanctioned by the scriptures. In truth, however, that conduct, embracing as it does practices the very opposite of those that are seen in seasons of distress, is the very essence of heedfulness and is never affected by lust and wrath and other passions of a similar kind.[1250] As regards sacrifices again, it is very difficult to ascertain all their particulars. If ascertained, it is very difficult to observe them in practice. If practised, the fruits to which they lead are terminable. Mark this well. (And marking this, do thou betake thyself to the path of knowledge).'

“Syumarasmi said, 'The Vedas countenance acts and discountenance them. Whence then is their authority when their declarations thus contradict each other? Renunciation of acts, again, is productive of great benefit. Both these have been indicated in the Vedas. Do thou discourse to me on this subject, O Brahmana!'

“Kapila said, 'Betaking yourselves to the path of the good (viz., Yoga), do you even in this life realise its fruits by the direct evidence of your senses. What, however, are the visible results of those other objects which you (men of acts) pursue?'

“Syumarasmi said, 'O Brahmana, I am Syumarasmi by name. I have come here for acquiring knowledge. Desirous of doing good to myself I have started this conversation in artless candour and not from desire of disputation. The dark doubt has taken possession of my mind. O illustrious one, solve it to me. Thou hast said that they who take the path of the good (viz., Yoga), by which Brahma is attained, realise its fruits by the direct evidence of their senses. What, indeed, is that which is so realisable by the direct evidence of the senses and which is pursued by yourselves? Avoiding all sciences that have disputation only for their foremost object, I have so studied the Agama as to have July mastered their true meaning. By Agama I understand the declarations of the Vedas. I also include la that word those sciences based on logic which have for their object the bringing out of the real meaning of the Vedas.[1251] Without avoiding the duties laid down for the particular mode of life which one may lead, one should pursue the practices laid down in Agama. Such observance of the practices laid down in Agama crowns one with success. In consequence of the certainty of the conclusions of Agama, the success to which the latter leads may be said to be almost realisable by direct evidence. As a boat that is tied to another bound for a different port, cannot take its passengers to the port they desire to reach, even so ourselves, dragged by our acts due to past desires, can never cross the interminable river of birth and death (and reach the heaven of rest and peace we may have in view). Discourse to me on this topic, O illustrious one! Teach me as a preceptor teaches a disciple. No one can be found amongst men that has completely renounced all worldly objects, nor one that is perfectly contented with oneself, nor one that has transcended grief, nor one that is perfectly free from disease, nor one that is absolutely free from the desire to act (for one's own benefit), nor one that has an absolute distaste for companionship, nor one that has entirely abstained from acts of every kind. Even men like yourself are seen to give way to joy and indulge in grief as persons like ourselves. Like other creatures the senses of persons like yourselves have their functions and objects. Tell me, in what then, if we are to investigate the question of happiness, does pure felicity consist for all the four orders of men and all the four modes of life who and which have, as regards their inclinations, the same resting ground.'

“Kapila said, 'Whatever the Sastras according to which one performs the acts one feels inclined to do, the ordinances laid down in it for regulating those acts never become fruitless. Whatever again the school of opinion according to which one may conduct oneself, one is sure to attain to the highest end by only observing the duties of self-restraint of Yoga. Knowledge assists that man in crossing (this interminable river of life and death) who pursues knowledge. That conduct, however, which men pursue after deviating from the path of knowledge, afflicts them (by subjecting them to the evils of life and death). It is evident that ye are possessed of knowledge and dissociated from every worldly object that may produce distress. But have any of you at any time succeeded in acquiring that knowledge in consequence of which everything is capable of being viewed as identical with one Universal Soul?[1252] Without a correct apprehension of the scriptures, some there are, fond only of disputation, who, in consequence of being overwhelmed by desire and aversion, become the slaves of pride and arrogance. Without having correctly understood the meaning of scriptural declarations, these robbers of the scriptures, these depredators of Brahma, influenced by arrogance and error, refuse to pursue tranquillity and practise self-restraint.[1253] These men behold fruitlessness on every side, and if (by chance) they succeed in obtaining the puissance of knowledge they never impart it to others for rescuing them. Made up entirely of the quality of Tamas, they have Tamas only for their refuge. One becomes subject to all the incidents of that nature which one imbibes. Accordingly, of him who hath Tamas for his refuge, the passions of envy, lust, wrath, pride, falsehood, and vanity, continually grow, for one's qualities have one's nature for their spring. Thinking in this strain and beholding these faults (through the aid of instructions secured from preceptors), Yatis, who covet the highest end, betake themselves to Yoga, leaving both good and ill.'[1254]

“Syumarasmi said, 'O Brahmana, all that I have said (about the laudable character of acts and the opposite character of Renunciation) is strictly conformable to the scriptures. It is, however, very true that without a correct apprehension of the meaning of the scriptures, one does not feel inclined to obey what the scriptures really declare. Whatever conduct is consistent with equity is consistent with the scriptures. Even that is what the Sruti declares. Similarly, whatever conduct is inconsistent with equity is inconsistent with the scriptures. This also is declared by the Sruti. It is certain that no one can do an act that is scriptural by transgressing the scriptures. That again is unscriptural which is against the Vedas. The Sruti declares this. Many men, who believe only what directly appeals to their senses, behold only this world (and not what is addressed in the scriptures to Faith). They do not behold what the scriptures declare to be faults. They have, accordingly, like ourselves, to give way to grief. Those objects of the senses with which men like you are concerned are the same with which other living creatures are concerned. Yet in consequence of your knowledge of the soul and their ignorance of it, how vast is the difference that exists between you and them! All the four orders of men and all the four modes of life, however different their duties, seek the same single end (viz., the highest happiness). Thou art possessed of unquestioned talents and abilities. For ascertaining that particular course of conduct (amongst those various duties) which is well calculated to accomplish the desired end, thou hast, by discoursing to me on the Infinite (Brahma), filled my soul with tranquillity. As regards ourselves, in consequence of our inability to understand the Soul we are destitute of a correct apprehension of the reality. Our wisdom is concerned with things that are low, and we are enveloped in thick darkness. (The course of conduct, however, that thou hast indicated for enabling one to attain to Emancipation, is exceedingly difficult of practice). Only he who is devoted to Yoga, who has discharged all his duties, who is capable of roving everywhere depending only on his own body, who has brought his soul under perfect control, who has transcended the requirements of the science of morality and who disregards the whole world (and everything belonging to it), can transgress the declarations of the Vedas with respect to acts, and say that there is Emancipation.[1255] For one, however, who lives in the midst of relatives, this course of conduct is exceedingly difficult to follow. Gift, study of the Vedas, sacrifices, begetting offspring, simplicity of dealing, when by practising even these no one succeeds in attaining to Emancipation, fie on him who seeks to attain to it, and on Emancipation itself that is sought! It seems that the labour spent upon attaining to it is all fruitless. One becomes chargeable with atheism if one disregards the Vedas by not doing the acts they direct. O illustrious one, I desire to hear without delay about that (Emancipation) which comes in the Vedas after the declarations in favour of acts. Do tell me the truth, O Brahmana! I sit at thy feet as a disciple. Teach me kindly! I wish to know as much about Emancipation as is known to thee, O learned one!'


“Kapila said, 'The Vedas are regarded as authoritative by all. People never disregard them. Brahma is of two kinds, viz., Brahma as represented by sound, and Brahma as Supreme (and intangible).[1256] One conversant with Brahma represented by sound succeeds in attaining to Supreme Brahma. Commencing with the rites of Garbhadhana, that body which the sire creates with the aid of Vedic mantras is cleansed (after birth) by Vedic mantras.[1257] When the body has been cleansed with purificatory rites (performed with the aid of Vedic mantras), the owner there of come to be called a Brahmana and becomes a vessel fit for receiving knowledge of Brahma. Know that the reward of acts is purity of heart which only leads to Emancipation. I shall presently speak to thee of that. Whether purity of heart has been attained or not (by performance of acts) is what can be known to the person himself who has attained it. It can never be known with the aid of either the Vedas or inference. They that cherish no expectation, that discard every kind of wealth by not storing anything for future use, that are not covetous, and that are free from every kind of affection and aversion, perform sacrifices because of the conviction that their performance is a duty. To make gifts unto deserving persons is the end (right use) of all wealth. Never addicted at any time to sinful acts, observant of those rites that have been laid down in the Vedas, capable of crowning all their wishes with fruition, endued with certain conclusions through pure knowledge, never giving way to wrath,–never indulging in envy, free from pride and malice, firm in Yoga,[1258] of unstained birth, unstained conduct, and unstained learning, devoted to the good of all creatures, there were in days of yore many men, leading lives of domesticity and thoroughly devoted to their own duties, there were many kings also of the same qualifications, devoted to Yoga (like Janaka, etc.), and many Brahmanas also of the same character (like Yajnavalkya and others).[1259] They behaved equally towards all creatures and were endued with perfect sincerity. Contentment was theirs, and certainty of knowledge. Visible were the rewards of their righteousness, and pure were they in behaviour and heart. They were possessed of faith in Brahma of both forms.[1260] At first making their hearts pure, they duly observed all (excellent) vows. They were observant of the duties of righteousness on even occasions of distress and difficulty, without failing off in any particular. Uniting together they used to perform meritorious acts. In this they found great happiness. And inasmuch as they never tripped, they had never to perform any expiation. Relying as they did upon the true course of righteousness, they became endued with irresistible energy. They never followed their own understandings in the matter of earning merit but followed the dictates of the scriptures alone for that end. Accordingly they were never guilty of guile in the matter of performing acts of righteousness.[1261] In consequence of their observing unitedly the absolute ordinances of the scriptures without betaking themselves ever to the rites laid down in the alternative, they were never under the necessity of performing expiation.[1262] There is no expiation for men living in the observance of the ordinances laid down in the scriptures. The Sruti declares that expiation exists for only men that are weak and unable to follow the absolute and substantive provisions of the sacred law. Many Brahmanas there were of this kind in days of old, devoted to the performance of sacrifices, of profound knowledge of the Vedas, possessed of purity and good conduct, and endued with fame. They always worshipped Brahma in the sacrifices, and were free from desire. Possessed of learning they transcended all the bonds of life. The sacrifices of these men, their (knowledge of the) Vedas, their acts performed in obedience to the ordinances, their study of the scripture at the fixed hours, and the wishes they entertained, freed as they were from lust and wrath, observant as they were of pious conduct and acts notwithstanding all difficulties, renowned as they were for performing the duties of their own order and mode of life, purified as their souls were in consequence of their very nature, characterised as they were by thorough sincerity, devoted as they were to tranquillity, and mindful as they were of their own practices, were identical with Infinite Brahma. Even this is the eternal Sruti heard by us.[1263] The penances of men that were so high-souled, of men whose conduct and acts were so difficult of observance and accomplishment, of men whose wishes were crowned with fruition in consequence of the strict discharge of their duties, became efficacious weapons for the destruction of all earthly desires. The Brahmanas say that that Good Conduct, which is wonderful, whose origin may be traced to very ancient times, which is eternal and whose characteristics are unchangeable, which differs from the practices to which even the good resort in seasons of distress and represents their acts in other situations, which is identical with heedfulness, over which lust and wrath and other evil passions can never prevail, and in consequence of which there was (at one time) no transgression in all mankind, subsequently came to be distributed into four subdivisions, corresponding with the four modes of life by persons unable to practise its duties in minute detail and entirety.[1264] They that are good, by duly observing that course of Good Conduct after adoption of the Sannyasa mode of life, attain to the highest end. They also that betake themselves to the forest mode reach the same high end (by duly observing that conduct). They too that observe the domestic mode of life attain to the highest end (by duly practising the same conduct); and, lastly, those that lead the Brahmacharya mode obtain the same (end by a due observance of the same conduct).[1265] Those Brahmanas are seen to shine in the firmament as luminaries shedding beneficent rays of light all around. Those myriads of Brahmanas have become stars and constellations set in their fixed tracks. In consequence of contentment (or Renunciation) they have all attained to Infinity as the Vedas declare. If such men have to come back to the world through the wombs of living creatures, they are never stained by sins which have the unexhausted residue of previous acts for their originating cause. Indeed, one who has led the life of a Brahmacharin and waited dutifully upon his preceptor, who has arrived at settled conclusions (in respect of the soul), and who has devoted himself to Yoga thus, is truly a Brahmana. Who else would deserve to be called a Brahmana? When acts alone determine who is a Brahmana and who is not, acts (good or bad) must be held to indicate the happiness or misery of a person. As regards those that have by conquering all evil passions acquired purity of heart, we have heard the eternal Sruti that in consequence of the Infinity to which they attain (through beholding the universal soul) and of the knowledge of Brahma (they acquire through the declarations of Srutis), they behold everything to be Brahma. The duties (of tranquillity, self-restraint, abstention from acts, renunciation, devotion, and the abstraction of Samadhi) followed by those men of pure hearts, that are freed from desire, and that have Emancipation only for their object, for acquisition of the knowledge of Brahma, are equally laid down for all the four orders of men and all the four modes of life. Verily, that knowledge is always acquired by Brahmanas of pure hearts and restrained soul.[1266] One whose soul is for Renunciation based upon contentment is regarded as the refuge of true knowledge. Renunciation, in which is that knowledge which leads to Emancipation, and which is highly necessary for a Brahmana, is eternal (and comes down from preceptor to pupil for ever and ever).[1267] Renunciation sometimes exists mixed with the duties of other modes. But whether existing in that state or by itself, one practises it according to the measure of one's strength (that depends upon the degree of one's absence of worldly desires). Renunciation is the cause of supreme benefit unto every kind of person. Only he that is weak, fails to practise it. That pure-hearted man who seeks to attain to Brahma becomes rescued from the world (with its misery).'[1268]

“Syumarasmi said, 'Amongst those that are given up to enjoyment (of property), they that make gifts, they that perform sacrifices, they that devote themselves to the study of the Vedas, and they that betake themselves to a life of Renunciation after having acquired and enjoyed wealth and all its pleasures, when they depart from this world, who is it that attains to the foremost place in heaven? I ask thee this, O Brahmana! Do thou tell me truly.'

“Kapila said, 'Those who lead a life of domesticity are certainly auspicious and acquire excellence of every kind. They are unable, however, to enjoy the felicity that attaches to Renunciation. Even thou mayst see this.'[1269]

“Syumarasmi said, 'Ye depend upon knowledge as the means (for the attainment of Emancipation). Those who lead lives of domesticity have planted their faith in acts. It has, however, been said that the end of all modes of life is Emancipation.[1270] No difference, therefore, is observable between them in respect of either their superiority or inferiority of puissance. O illustrious one, do thou tell me then how stands the matter truly.'

“Kapila said, 'Acts only cleanse the body. Knowledge, however, is the highest end (for which one strives).[1271] When all faults of the heart are cured (by acts), and when the felicity of Brahma becomes established in knowledge, benevolence, forgiveness, tranquillity, compassion, truthfulness, and candour, abstention from injury, absence of pride, modesty, renunciation, and abstention from work are attained. These constitute the path that lead to Brahma. By those one attains to what is the Highest. That the cure of all faults of the heart is the result of acts becomes intelligible to the wise man when these are attained. That, indeed, is regarded as the highest end which is obtained by Brahmanas endued with wisdom, withdrawn from all acts, possessed of purity and the certitude of knowledge. One who succeeds in acquiring a knowledge of the Vedas, of that which is taught by the Vedas (viz., Brahma as represented in acts), and the minutiae of acts, is said to be conversant with the Vedas. Any other man is only a bag of wind.[1272] One who is conversant with the Vedas knows everything, for everything is established on the Vedas. Verity, the present, past, and future all exist in the Vedas.[1273] This one conclusion is deducible from all the scriptures, viz., that this universe exists and does not exist. To the man of knowledge this (all that is perceived) is both sat and asat. To him, this all is both the end and the middle.[1274] This truth rests upon all the Vedas, viz., that when complete Renunciation takes place one obtains what is sufficient. Then again the highest contentment follows and rests upon Emancipation,[1275] which is absolute, which exists as the soul of all mortal and immortal things, which is well-known as such universal soul, which is the highest object of knowledge as being identical with all mobile and immobile things, which is full, which is perfect felicity, which is without duality, which is the foremost of all things, which is Brahma, which is Unmanifest and the cause also, whence the Unmanifest has sprung, and which is without deterioration of any kind.[1276] Ability to subdue the senses, forgiveness, and abstention from work in consequence of the absence of desire,–these three are the cause of perfect felicity. With the aid of these three qualities, men having understanding for their eyes succeed in reaching that Brahma which is uncreate, which is the prime cause of the universe, which is unchangeable and which is beyond destruction. I bow to that Brahma, which is identical with him that knows it.'”[1277]


“Yudhishthira said, 'The Vedas, O Bharata, discourse of Religion. Profit, and Pleasure. Tell me, however, O grandsire, the attainment of which (amongst these three) is regarded as superior.'

“Bhishma said, 'I shall, in this connection, recite to thee the ancient narrative of the benefit that Kundadhara in days of old had conferred upon one who was devoted to him. Once on a time a Brahmana destitute of wealth sought to acquire virtue, induced by the desire of fruit. He continually set his heart upon wealth for employing it in the celebration of sacrifices. For achieving his purpose he set himself to the practice of the austerest penances. Resolved to accomplish his purpose, he began to worship the deities with great devotion. But he failed to obtain wealth by such worship of the deities. He thereupon began to reflect, saying unto himself, 'What is that deity, hitherto unadored by men, who may be favourably disposed towards me without delay?' While reflecting in this strain with a cool mind, he beheld stationed before him that retainer of the deities, viz., the Cloud called Kundadhara. As soon as he beheld that mighty-armed being, the Brahmana's feelings of devotion were excited, and he said unto himself, 'This one will surely bestow prosperity upon me. Indeed, his form indicates as much. He lives in close proximity to the deities. He has not as yet been adored by other men. He will verily give me abundant wealth without any delay.' The Brahmana, then, having concluded thus, worshipped that Cloud with dhupas and perfumes and garlands of flowers of the most superior kind, and with diverse kinds of offerings. Thus worshipped, the Cloud became very soon pleased with his worshipper and uttered these words fraught with benefit to that Brahmana, 'The wise have ordained expiation for one guilty of Brahmanicide, or of drinking alcohol or of stealing, or of neglecting all meritorious vows. There is no expiation, however, for one that is ungrateful.[1278] Expectation hath a child named Iniquity. Ire, again, is regarded to be a child of Envy. Cupidity is the child of Deceit. Ingratitude, however, is barren (and hath no offspring). After this, that Brahmana, stretched on a bed of Kusa grass, and penetrated with the energy of Kundadhara, beheld all living beings in a dream. Indeed, in consequence of his absence of passion, penances, and devotion, that Brahmana of cleansed soul, standing aloof from all (carnal) enjoyments, beheld in the night that effect of his devotion to Kundadhara. Indeed, O Yudhishthira, he beheld the high-souled Manibhadra of great effulgence stationed in the midst of the deities, employed in giving his orders. There the gods seemed to be engaged in bestowing kingdoms and riches upon men, induced by their good deeds, and in taking them away when men fell off from goodness.[1279] Then, O bull of Bharata's race, Kundadhara of great effulgence, bending himself low, prostrated himself on the ground before the gods in the presence of all the Yakshas. At the command of the gods the high-souled Manibhadra addressed the prostrate Kundadhara and said, 'What does Kundadhara want?' Thereupon Kundadhara replied, 'If, indeed, the gods are pleased with me, there, that Brahmana reverences me greatly. I pray for some favour being shown to him, something, that is, that may bring him happiness.' Hearing this, Manibhadra, commanded by the gods, once more said unto Kundadhara of great intelligence these words, 'Rise, rise up, O Kundadhara! Thy suit is successful. Be thou happy. If this Brahmana be desirous of wealth, let wealth be given to him, that is, as much wealth as this thy friend desires. At the command of the gods I shall give him untold wealth.' Kundadhara, then, reflecting upon the fleeting and unreal character of the status of humanity, set his heart, O Yudhishthira, upon inclining the Brahmana to penances. Indeed, Kundadhara said, 'I do not, O giver of wealth, beg for wealth on behalf of this Brahmana. I desire the bestowal of another favour upon him. I do not solicit for this devotee of mine mountains of pearls and gems or even. the whole earth with all her riches. I desire, however, that he should be virtuous. Let his heart find pleasure in virtue. Let him have virtue for his stay. Let virtue be the foremost of all objects with him. Even this is the favour that meets with my approval.' Manibhadra said, 'The fruits of virtue are always sovereignty and happiness of diverse kinds. Let this one enjoy those fruits, always freed from physical pain of every kind.'

“Bhishma continued, 'Thus addressed, Kundadhara, however, of great celebrity, repeatedly solicited virtue alone for that Brahmana. The gods were highly pleased at it. Then Manibhadra said, 'The gods are all pleased with thee as also with this Brahmana. This one shall become a virtuous-souled person. He shall devote his mind to virtue.' The Cloud, Kundadhara, became delighted, O Yudhishthira, at thus having been successful in obtaining his wish. The boon that he had got was one that was unattainable by anybody else. The Brahmana then beheld scattered around him many delicate fabrics of cloth. Without minding them at all (although so costly), the Brahmana came to disrelish the world.'

“The Brahmana said, 'When this one doth not set any value upon good deeds, who else will? I had better go to the woods for leading a life of righteousness.'[1280]

“Bhishma continued, 'Cherishing a distaste for the world, and through the grace also of the gods, that foremost of Brahmanas entered the woods and commenced to undergo the austerest of penances. Subsisting upon Such fruits and roots as remained after serving the deities and guests, the mind of that regenerate person, O monarch, was firmly set upon virtue. Gradually, the Brahmana, renouncing fruits and roots, betook himself to leaves of trees as his food. Then renouncing leaves, he took to water only as his subsistence. After that he passed many years by subsisting upon air alone. All the while, his strength did not diminish. This seemed exceedingly marvellous. Devoted to virtue and engaged in the practice of the severest austerities, after a long time he acquired spiritual vision. He then reflected, saying unto himself, 'If, being gratified with anybody, I give him wealth, my speech would never be untrue.'[1281] With a face lighted up by smiles, he once more began to undergo severer austerities. And once more, having won (higher) success, he thought that he could, by a fiat of the will, then create the very highest objects. 'If, gratified with any person whatsoever I give him even sovereignty, he will immediately become a king, for my words will never be untrue.' While he was thinking in this way, Kundadhara, induced by his friendship for the Brahmana and no less by the ascetic success which the Brahmana had achieved, showed himself, O Bharata (unto his friend and devotee). Meeting with him the Brahmana offered him worship according to the observances ordained. The Brahmana, however, felt some surprise, O king. Then Kundadhara addressed the Brahmana, saying, 'Thou hast now got an excellent and spiritual eye. Behold with this vision of thine the end that is attained by kings, and survey all the worlds besides.' The Brahmana then, with his spiritual vision, beheld from a distance thousands of kings sunk in hell.'

“Kundadhara said, 'After having worshipped me with devotion thou didst get sorrow for thy share, what then would have been the good done to thee by me, and what the value of my favour? Look, look for what end men desire the gratification of carnal enjoyments. The door of heaven is closed unto men.'

“Bhishma continued, 'The Brahmana then beheld many men living in this world, embracing lust, and wrath, and cupidity, and fear, and pride, and sleep and procrastination, and inactivity.'

“Kundadhara said, 'With these (vices) all human beings are enchained. The gods are afraid of men. These vices, at the command of the gods, mar and disconcert on every side.[1282] No man can become virtuous unless permitted by the gods. (In consequence of their permission) thou hast become competent to give away kingdoms and wealth through thy penances.'

“Bhishma continued, 'Thus addressed, the righteous-souled Brahmana, bending his head unto that Cloud, prostrated himself on the ground, and said, 'Thou hast, indeed, done me a great favour. Unconscious of the great affection shown by thee towards me, I had through the influence of desire and cupidity, failed to display good will towards thee.' Then Kundadhara said unto that foremost of regenerate persons, 'I have forgiven thee,' and having embraced him with his arms disappeared there and then. The Brahmana then roamed through all the worlds, having attained to ascetic success through the grace of Kundadhara. Through the puissance gained from virtue and penances, one acquires competence to sail through the skies and to fructify all one's wishes and purposes, and finally attain to the highest end. The gods and Brahmanas and Yakshas and all good men and Charanas always adore those that are virtuous but never those that are rich or given up to the indulgence of their desires. The gods are truly propitious to thee since thy mind is devoted to virtue. In wealth there may be a very little happiness but in virtue the measure of happiness is very great.'”


“Yudhishthira said, 'Amongst the diverse kinds of sacrifices, all of which, of course, are regarded to have but one object (viz., the cleansing of the heart or the glory of God), tell me, O grandsire, what that sacrifice is which has been ordained for the sake only of virtue and not for the acquisition of either heaven or wealth!'[1283]

“Bhishma said, 'In this connection I shall relate to thee the history, formerly recited by Narada, of a Brahmana who for performing sacrifices, lived according to the unchha mode.'

“Narada said, 'In one of the foremost of kingdoms that was distinguished again for virtue, there lived a Brahmana. Devoted to penances and living according to the unchha mode, that Brahmana was earnestly engaged in adoring Vishnu in sacrifices.[1284] He had Syamaka for his food, as also Suryaparni and Suvarchala and other kinds of potherbs that were bitter and disagreeable to the taste. In consequence, however, of his penances, all these tasted sweet.[1285] Abstaining from injuring any creature, and leading the life of a forest recluse, he attained to ascetic success. With roots and fruits, O scorcher of foes, he used to adore Vishnu in sacrifices that were intended to confer heaven upon him.[1286] The Brahmana, whose name was Satya, had a wife named Pushkaradharini. She was pure-minded, and had emaciated herself by the observance of many austere vows. (Herself having been of a benevolent disposition, and her husband being thus addicted to sacrifices that were cruel), she did not approve of the conduct of her lord. Summoned, however, to take her seat by his side as his spouse (for the performance of a sacrifice), she feared to incur his curse and, therefore, comforted herself with his conduct. The garments that invested her body consisted of the (cast off) plumes of peacocks. Although unwilling, she still performed that sacrifice at the command of her lord who had become its Hotri. In that forest, near to the Brahmana's asylum, lived a neighbour of his, viz., the virtuous Parnada of Sukra's race, having assumed the form of a deer. He addressed that Brahmana, whose name was Satya, in articulate speech and said unto him these words, 'Thou wouldst be acting very improperly,[1287] if this sacrifice of thine were accomplished in such a manner as to be defective in mantras and other particulars of ritual. I, therefore, ask thee to slay and cut me in pieces for making libations therewith on thy sacrificial fire. Do this and becoming blameless ascend to heaven.' Then the presiding goddess of the solar disc, viz., Savitri, came to that sacrifice in her own embodied form and insisted upon that Brahmana in doing what he desired by that deer to do. Unto that goddess, however, who thus insisted, the Brahmana replied, saying, 'I shall not slay this deer who lives with me in this same neighbourhood.'[1288] Thus addressed by the Brahmana, the goddess Savitri desisted and entered the sacrificial fire from desire of surveying the nether world, and wishing to avoid the sight of (other) defects in that sacrifice.[1289] The deer, then, with joined hands, once more begged of Satya (to be cut in pieces and poured into the sacrificial fire). Satya, however, embraced him in friendship and dismissed him, saying, 'Go!'[1290] At this, the deer seemed to leave that place. But after he had gone eight steps he returned, and said, 'Verily, do thou slay me. Truly do I say, slain by thee I am sure to attain to a righteous end. I give thee (spiritual) vision. Behold the celestial Apsaras and the beautiful vehicles of the high-souled Gandharvas.' Beholding (that sight) for a protracted space of time, with longing eyes, and seeing the deer (solicitous of sacrifice), and thinking that residence in heaven is attainable by only slaughter, he approved (of the counsels the deer had given). It was Dharma himself who had become a deer that lived in those woods for many years. (Seeing the Brahmana tempted by the prospect he beheld), Dharma provided for his salvation and counselled him, saying, 'This (viz., slaughter of living creatures) is not conformable to the ordinances about Sacrifices.[1291] The penances, which had been of very large measure, of that Brahmana whose mind had entertained the desire of slaying the deer, diminished greatly in consequence of that thought itself. The injuring of living creatures, therefore, forms no part of sacrifice.[1292] Then the illustrious Dharma (having assumed his real form), himself assisted that Brahmana, by discharging the priestly office, to perform a sacrifice. The Brahmana, after this, in consequence of his (renewed) penances, attained to that state of mind which was his spouse's.[1293] Abstention from injury is that religion which is complete in respect of its rewards. The religion, however, of cruelty is only thus far beneficial that it leads to heaven (which has a termination). I have spoken to thee of that religion of Truth which, indeed, is the religion of those that are utterers of Brahma.'”[1294]


“Yudhishthira said, 'By what means doth a man become sinful, by what doth he achieve virtue, by what doth he attain to Renunciation, and by what doth he win Emancipation?'

“Bhishma said, 'Thou knowest all duties. This question that thou askest is only for confirmation of thy conclusions. Listen now to Emancipation, and Renunciation, and Sin, and Virtue to their very roots. Perceiving any one of the five objects (viz., form, taste, scent, sound, and touch), desire runs after it at first. Indeed, obtaining them within the purview of the senses, O chief of Bharata's race, desire or aversion springs up.[1295] One, then, for the sake of that object (i.e., for acquisition of what is liked and avoidance of what is disliked) strives and begins acts that involve much labour. One endeavours one's best for repeatedly enjoying those forms and scents (and the three other objects of the remaining three senses) that appear very agreeable. Gradually, attachment, and aversion, and greed, and errors of judgment arise. The mind of one overwhelmed by greed and error and affected by attachment and aversion is never directed to virtue. One then begins with hypocrisy to do acts that are good. Indeed, with hypocrisy one then seeks to acquire virtue, and with hypocrisy one likes to acquire wealth. When one succeeds, O son of Kuru's race, in winning wealth with hypocrisy, one sets one's heart to such acquisition wholly. It is then that one begins to do acts that are sinful, notwithstanding the admonitions of well-wishers and the wise, unto all which he makes answers plausibly consistent with reason and conformable to the injunctions of the scriptures. Born of attachment and error, his sins, of three kinds, rapidly increase, for he thinks sinfully, speaks sinfully, and acts sinfully. When he fairly starts on the way of sin, they that are good mark his wickedness. They, however, that are of a disposition similar to that of the sinful man, enter into friendship with him. He succeeds not in winning happiness even here. Whence then would he succeed in winning happiness hereafter? It is thus that one becomes sinful. Listen now to me as I speak to thee of one that is righteous. Such a man, inasmuch as he seeks the good of others, succeeds in winning good for himself. By practising duties that are fraught with other people's good, he attains at last to a highly agreeable end. He who, aided by his wisdom, succeeds beforehand in beholding the faults above adverted to, who is skilled in judging of what is happiness and what is sorrow and how each is brought about, and who waits with reverence upon those that are good, makes progress in achieving virtue, both in consequence of his habit and such companionship of the good. The mind of such a person takes delight in virtue, and he lives on, making virtue his support. If he sets his heart on the acquisition of wealth, he desires only such wealth as may be acquired in righteous ways. Indeed, he waters the roots of only those things in which he sees merit. In this way, doth one become righteous and acquires friends that are good. In consequence of his acquisition of friends, of wealth, and of children, he sports in happiness both here and hereafter. The mastery (in respect of enjoyment) that a living creature attains over sound, touch, taste, form, and scent, O Bharata, represents the fruit of virtue.[1296] Remember this. Having obtained the fruit of virtue, O Yudhishthira, such a man does not give himself up to joy. Without being contented with such (visible) fruits of virtue he betakes himself to Renunciation, led on by the eye of knowledge. When, having acquired the eye of knowledge, he ceases to take pleasure in the gratification of desire, in taste and in scent, when he does net allow his mind to run towards sound, touch and form, it is then that he succeeds in freeing himself from desire.[1297] He does not, however, even then cast off virtue or righteous acts. Beholding then all the worlds to be liable to destruction, he strives to cast off virtue (with its rewards in the form of heaven and its happiness) and endeavours to attain to Emancipation by the (well-known) means.[1298] Gradually abandoning all sinful acts he betakes himself to Renunciation, and becoming righteous-souled succeeds at last in attaining to Emancipation. I have now told thee, O son, of that about which thou hadst asked me, viz., the topics of Sin, Righteousness, Renunciation, and Emancipation, O Bharata! Thou shouldst, therefore, O Yudhishthira, adhere to virtue in all situations. Eternal is the success, O son of Kunti, of thee that adherest to righteousness.'”[1299]


“Yudhishthira said, 'Thou hast said, O grandsire, the Emancipation is to be won by means and not otherwise. I desire to hear duly what those means are.'

“Bhishma said, 'O thou of great wisdom, this enquiry that thou hast addressed to me and that is connected with a subtle topic, is really worthy of thee, since thou, O sinless one, always seekest to accomplish all thy objects by the application of means. That state of mind which is present when one sets oneself to make an earthen jar for one's use, disappears after the jar has been completed. After the same manner, that cause which urges persons who regard virtue as the root of advancement and prosperity ceases to operate with them that seek to achieve Emancipation.[1300] That path which leads to the Eastern Ocean is not the path by which one can go to the Western Ocean. There is only one path that leads to Emancipation. (It is not identical with any of those that lead to arty other object of acquisition). Listen to me as I discourse on it to thee in detail. One should, by practising forgiveness, exterminate wrath, and by abandoning–all purposes, root out desire. By practising the quality of Sattwa[1301] one should conquer sleep. By heedfulness one should keep off fear, and by contemplation of the Soul one should conquer breath.[1302] Desire, aversion, and lust, one should dispel by patience; error, ignorance, and doubt, by study of truth. By pursuit after knowledge one should avoid insouciance and inquiry after things of no interest.[1303] By frugal and easily digestible fare one should drive off all disorders and diseases. By contentment one should dispel greed and stupefaction of judgment, and all worldly concerns should be avoided by a knowledge of the truth.[1304] By practising benevolence one should conquer iniquity, and by regard for all creatures one should acquire virtue. One should avoid expectation by the reflection that it is concerned with the future; and one should cast off wealth by abandoning desire itself. The man of intelligence should abandon affection by recollecting that everything (here) is transitory. He should subdue hunger by practising Yoga. By practising benevolence one should keep off all ideas of self-importance, and drive off all sorts of craving by adopting contentment. By exertion one should subdue procrastination, and by certainty all kinds of doubt, by taciturnity, loquaciousness, and by courage, every kind of fear.[1305] Speech and mind are to be subdued by the Understanding, and the Understanding, in its turn, is to be kept under control by the eye of knowledge. Knowledge, again, is to be controlled by acquaintance with the Soul, and finally the Soul is to be controlled by the Soul.[1306] This last is attainable by those that are of pure-acts and endued with tranquillity of soul,[1307] the means being the subjugation of those five impediments of Yoga of which the learned speak. By casting off desire and wrath and covetousness and fear and sleep, one should, restraining speech, practise what is favourable to Yoga, viz., contemplation, study, gift, truth, modesty, candour, forgiveness, purity of heart, purity in respect of food, and the subjugation of the senses. By these one's energy is increased, sins are dispelled, wishes crowned with fruition, and knowledge (of diverse kinds) gained. When one becomes cleansed of one's sins and possessed of energy and frugal of fare and the master of one's senses, one then, having conquered both desire and wrath, seeks to attain to Brahma. The avoidance of ignorance (by listening to and studying the scriptures), the absence of attachment (in consequence of Renunciation) freedom from desire and wrath (by adoption of contentment and forgiveness), the puissance that is won by Yoga, the absence of pride and haughtiness, freedom from anxiety (by subjugation of every kind of fear), absence of attachment of anything like home and family,–these constitute the path of Emancipation. That path is delightful, stainless, and pure. Similarly, the restraining of speech, of body, and of mind, when practised from the absence of desire, constitutes also the path of Emancipation.'”[1308]


“Bhishma said, 'In this connection is cited the old narrative of the discourse that took place between Narada and Asita-Devala. Once on a time Narada, beholding that foremost of intelligent men, viz., Devala of venerable years, seated at his ease, questioned him about the origin and the destruction of all creatures.'

“Narada said, 'Whence, O Brahmana, hath this universe, consisting of mobile and immobile objects, been created? When again doth the all-embracing destruction come, into whom doth it merge? Let thy learned self discourse to me on this.'

“Asita said, 'Those from which the Supreme Soul, when the time comes, moved by the desire of existence in manifold, forms, creates all creatures, are said by persons conversant with objects to be the five great essences.[1309] (After this) Time, impelled by the Understanding creates other objects from those (five primal essences).'[1310] He that says that there is anything else besides these (i.e., the five primal essences, Kala, and the Understanding), says what is not true. Know, O Narada, that these five are eternal, indestructible, and without beginning and without end. With Kala as their sixth, these five primal essences are naturally possessed of mighty energy. Water, Space, Earth, Wind, and Heat,–these are those five essences. Without doubt, there is nothing higher or superior to these (in point of puissance or energy). The existence of nothing else (than five) can be affirmed by any one agreeably to the conclusions derivable from the Srutis or arguments drawn from reason. If any one does assert the existence of anything else, then his assertion would verily be idle or vain. Know that these six enter into the production of all effects. That of which are all these (which thou perceivest) is called Asat.[1311] These five, and Kala (or Jiva), the potencies of past acts, and ignorance,–these eight eternal essences are the causes of the birth and destruction of all creatures.[1312] When creatures are destroyed it is into these that they enter; and when they take birth, it is again from them they do so. Indeed, after destruction, a creature resolves itself into those five primal essences. His body is made of earth; his ear has its origin in space; his eye hath light for its cause; his life (motion) is of wind, and his blood is of water, without doubt. The two eyes, the nose, the two ears, the skin, and the tongue (constituting the fifth), are the senses. These, the learned know, exist for perception of their respective objects.[1313] Vision, hearing, smelling, touching, and tasting are the functions of the senses. The five senses are concerned with five objects in five ways. Know, by the inference of reason, their similitude of attributes.[1314] Form, scent, taste, touch, and sound, are the five properties that are (respectively) apprehended by the five senses in five different ways. These five properties, viz., form, scent, taste, touch, and sound, are not really apprehended by the _senses_ (for these are inert), but it is the Soul that apprehends them _through_ the senses. That which is called Chitta is superior to the multitude of senses. Superior to Chitta is Manas. Superior to Manas is Buddhi, and superior to Buddhi is Kshetrajna.[1315] At first a living creature perceives different objects through the senses. With Manas he reflects over them, and then with the aid of Buddhi he arrives at certitude of knowledge. Possessed of Buddhi, one arrives at certainty of conclusions in respect of objects perceived through the senses. The five senses, Chitta, Mind and Understanding (which is the eighth in the tale),–these are regarded as organs of knowledge by those conversant with the science of Adhyatma. The hands, the feet, the anal duct, the membrum virile, the mouth (forming the fifth in the tale), constitute the five organs of action. The mouth is spoken of as an organ of action because it contains the apparatus of speech, and that of eating. The feet are organs of locomotion and the hands for doing various kinds of work. The anal duct and the membrum, virile are two organs that exist for a similar purpose, viz., for evacuation. The first is for evacuation of stools, the second for that of urine as also of the vital seed when one feels the influence of desire. Besides these, there is a sixth organ of action. It is called muscular power. These then are the names of the six organs of action according to the (approved) treatises bearing on the subject. I have now mentioned to thee the names of all the organs of knowledge and of action, and all the attributes of the five (primal) essences.[1316] When in consequence of the organs being fatigued, they cease to perform their respective functions, the owner of those organs, because of their suspension, is said to sleep. If, when the functions of these organs are suspended, the functions of the mind do not cease, but on the other hand the mind continues to concern itself with its objects, the condition of consciousness is called Dream. During wakefulness there are three states of the mind, viz., that connected with Goodness, that with Passion, and that with Darkness. In dream also the mind becomes concerned with the same three states. Those very states, when they appear in dreams, connected with pleasurable actions, come to be regarded with applause. Happiness, success, knowledge, and absence of attachment are the indications of (the wakeful man in whom is present) the attribute of Goodness. Whatever states (of Goodness, Passion, or Darkness) are experienced by living creatures, as exhibited in acts, during their hours of Wakefulness, reappear in memory during their hours of steep when they dream. The passage of our notions as they exist during wakefulness into those of dreams, and that of notions as they exist in dreams into those of wakefulness, become directly apprehensible in that state of consciousness which is called dreamless slumber. That is eternal, and that is desirable.[1317] There are five organs of knowledge, and five of actions; with muscular power, mind, understanding, and Chitta, and with also the three attributes of Sattwa, Rajas, and Tamas, the tale, it has been said, comes up to seventeen. The eighteenth in the enumeration is he who owneth the body, Indeed, he who lives in this body is eternal. All those seventeen (with Avidya or Ignorance making eighteen), dwelling in the body, exist attached to him who owns the body. When the owner disappears from the body, those eighteen (counting Avidya) cease to dwell together in the body. Or, this body made up of the five (primal) essences is only a combination (that must dissolve away). The eighteen attributes (including Avidya), with him that owneth the body, and counting stomachic heat numbering twentieth in the tale, form that which is known as the Combination of the Five. There is a Being called Mahat, which, with the aid of the wind (called Prana), upholds this combination containing the twenty things that have been named, and in the matter of the destruction of that body the wind (which is generally spoken of as the cause) is only the instrument in the hands of that same Mahat. Whatever creature is born is resolved once more into the five constituent elements upon the exhaustion of his merits and demerits; and urged again by the merits and demerits won in that life enters into another body resulting from his acts.[1318] His abodes always resulting from Avidya, desire, and acts, he migrates from body to body, abandoning one after another repeatedly, urged on by Time, like a person abandoning house after house in succession. They that are wise, and endued with certainty of knowledge, do not give way to grief upon beholding this (migration). Only they that are foolish, erroneously supposing relationships (where relationship in reality there is none) indulge in grief at sight of such changes of abode. This Jiva is no one's relation; there is none again that may be said to belong to him. He is always alone, and he himself creates his own body and his own happiness and misery. This Jiva is never born, nor doth he ever die. Freed from the bond of body, he succeeds sometimes in attaining to the highest end. Deprived of body, because freed through the exhaustion of acts from bodies that are the results of merits and demerits, Jiva at last attains to Brahma. For the exhaustion of both merits and demerits, Knowledge has been ordained as the cause in the Sankhya school. Upon the exhaustion of merit and demerit, when Jiva attains to the status of Brahma,[1319] (they that are learned in the scriptures) behold (with the eye of the scriptures) the attainment of Jiva to the highest end.'”


“Yudhishthira said, 'Cruel and sinful that we are, alas, we have slain brothers and sires and grandsons and kinsmen and friends and sons. How, O grandsire, shall we dispel this thirst for wealth. Alas, through that thirst we have perpetrated many sinful deeds.'

“Bhishma said, 'In this connection is cited the old narrative of what was said by the ruler of the Videhas unto the enquiring Mandavya. The ruler of the Videhas said, 'I have nothing (in this world), yet I live in great happiness. If the whole of Mithila (which is said to be my kingdom) burn in a conflagration, nothing of mine will be burnt down. Tangible possessions, however valuable, are a source of sorrow to men of knowledge; while possessions of even little value fascinate the foolish.[1320] Whatever happiness exists here, derivable from the gratification of desire, and whatever heavenly happiness exists of high value, do not come up to even a sixteenth part of the felicity that attends the total disappearance of desire. As the horns of a cow grow with the growth of the cow itself, after the same manner the thirst for wealth increases with increasing acquisitions of wealth. Whatever the object for which one feels an attachment, that object becomes a source of pain when it is lost. One should not cherish desire. Attachment to desire leads to sorrow. When wealth has been acquired, one should apply it to purposes of virtue. One should even then give up desire.[1321] The man of knowledge always looks upon other creatures even as he looks upon himself. Having cleansed his soul and attained to success, he casts off everything here.[1322] By casting off both truth and falsehood, grief and joy, the agreeable and disagreeable, fearlessness and fear, one attains to tranquillity, and becomes free from every anxiety. That thirst (for earthly things) which is difficult of being cast off by men of foolish understanding, which wanes not with the wane of the body, and which is regarded as a fatal disease (by men of knowledge), one who succeeds in casting off is sure to find felicity. The man of virtuous soul, by beholding his own behaviour that has become bright as the moon and free from evil of every kind, succeeds in happily attaining to great fame both here and hereafter.' Hearing these words of the king, the Brahmana became filled with joy, and applauding what he heard, Mandavya betook himself to the path of Emancipation.'”


“Yudhishthira said, 'Time, that is fraught, with terror unto all creatures, is running his course. What is that source of good after which one should strive? Tell me this, O grandsire!'

“Bhishma said, 'In this connection is cited the old narrative of a discourse between a sire and a son. Listen to it, O Yudhishthira! Once on a time, O son of Pritha, a regenerate person devoted only to the study of the Vedas had a very intelligent son who was known by the name of Medhavin. Himself conversant with the religion of Emancipation, the, son one day asked his father who was not conversant with that religion and who was engaged in following the precepts of the Vedas, this question.'

“The son said, 'What should a man of intelligence do, O sire, knowing that the period of existence allotted to men runs fast away? Tell me this truly and in proper order, O father, so that, guided by thy instructions I may set myself to the acquisition of virtue.'

“The sire said, 'Having studied the Vedas all the while observing the duties of Brahmacharya, O son, one should then desire for offspring for the sake of rescuing one's sires. Having established one's fire then and performing the sacrifices that are ordained, one should then retire into the woods and (having lived as a forest-recluse) one should then become a Muni (by casting off everything and calmly waiting for dissolution).'

“The son said, 'When the world is thus assailed and thus besieged on all sides, and when such irresistible (bolts) are falling in every direction, how can you speak so calmly?'

“The sire said, 'How is the world assailed? By what is it besieged? What are those irresistible bolts that are falling on every side? Dost thou frighten me with thy words?'

“The son said, 'The world is assailed by Death. It is besieged by what is it besieged? What are those irresistible bolts that are falling on every side? Dost thou frighten me with thy words?'

“The son said, 'The world is assailed by Death. It is besieged by Decrepitude. Days and Nights are continually falling (like bolts). Why do you not take heed of these? When I know that Death does not wait here for any one (but snatches all away suddenly and without notice), how can I possibly wait (for his coming) thus enveloped in a coat of Ignorance and (heedlessly) attending to my concerns? When as each night passes away the period of every one's life wears away with it, when, indeed, one's position is similar to that of a fish in a piece of shallow water, who can feel happy? Death encounters one in the very midst of one's concerns, before the attainment of one's objects, finding one as unmindful as a person while engaged in plucking flowers.[1323] That which is kept for being done tomorrow should be done today; and that which one thinks of doing in the afternoon should be done in the forenoon. Death does not wait, mindful of one's having done or not done one's acts. Do today what is for thy good (without keeping it for tomorrow). See that Death, who is irresistible, may not overcome thee (before you accomplish thy acts). Who knows that Death will not come to one this very day? Before one's acts are completed, Death drags one away. One should, therefore, commence to practise virtue while one is still young (without waiting for one's old age). for life is uncertain. By acquiring virtue one is sure to eternal happiness both here and hereafter. Overpowered by folly one girds up one's loins for acting on behalf of one's sons and wives. By accomplishing acts foul or fair, one gratifies these (relatives). Him possessed of sons and animals, and with mind devotedly attached to them, Death seizes and runs away like a tiger bearing away a sleeping deer.[1324] While one is still engaged in winning diverse objects of desire, and while still unsatiated with one's enjoyment, Death seizes one and runs away like a she-wolf seizing a sheep and running away with it. 'This has been done',–'this remains to be done',–'this other is half done',–one may say thus to oneself; but Death, unmindful of one's desire to finish one's unfinished acts, seizes and drags one away. One that has not yet obtained the fruit of what one has already done, amongst those attached to action, one busied with one's field or shop or house, Death seizes and carries away. The weak, the strong; the wise, the brave, the idiotic, the learned, or him that has not yet obtained the gratification of any of his desires, Death seizes and bears away. Death, decrepitude, disease, sorrow, and many things of a similar kind, are incapable of being avoided by mortals. How, then, O father, canst thou sit so at thy ease? As soon as a creature is born, Decrepitude and Death come and possess him for his destruction. All these forms of existence mobile and immobile, are possessed by these two (viz., Decrepitude and Death). When the soldiers that compose Death's army are on their march, nothing can resist them, except that one thing, viz., the power of Truth, for in Truth alone Immortality dwells. The delight that one feels of residing in the midst of men is the abode of Death. The Sruti declares that that which is called the forest is the true fold for the Devas, while the delight one feels in dwelling in the midst of men is, as it were, the cord for binding the dweller (and making him helpless).[1325] The righteous cut it and escape. The sinful do not succeed in cutting it (and freeing themselves). He who does not injure other creatures in thought, word and deed, and who never injures others by taking away their means of sustenance, is never injured by any creature.[1326] For these reasons, one should practise the vow of truth, be steadily devoted to the vow of truth, and should desire nothing but the truth. Restraining all one's senses and looking upon all creatures with an equal eye, one should vanquish Death with the aid of Truth. Both Immortality and Death are planted in the body. Death is encountered from folly, and Immortality is won by Truth. Transcending desire and wrath, and abstaining from injury, I shall adopt Truth and happily achieving what is for my good, avoid Death like an Immortal. Engaged in the Sacrifice that is constituted by Peace, and employed also in the Sacrifice of Brahma, and restraining my senses, the Sacrifices I shall perform are those of speech, mind, and acts, when the sun enters his northerly course.[1327] How can one like me perform an Animal Sacrifice which is fraught with cruelty? How can one like me, that is possessed of wisdom, perform like a cruel Pisacha, a Sacrifice of Slaughter after the manner of what is laid down for the Kshatriyas,–a Sacrifice that is, besides, endued with rewards that are terminable? In myself have I been begotten by my own self. O father, without seeking to procreate offspring, I shall rest myself on my own self. I shall perform the Sacrifice of Self, I need no offspring to rescue me.[1328] He whose words and thoughts are always well-restrained, he who has Penances and Renunciation, and Yoga, is sure to attain to everything through these. There is no eye equal to Knowledge. There is no reward equal to Knowledge. There is no sorrow equal to attachment. There is no happiness equal to Renunciation. For a Brahmana there can be no wealth like residence in solitude, an equal regard for all creatures, truthfulness of speech, steady observance of good conduct, the total abandonment of the rod (of chastisement), simplicity, and the gradual abstention from all acts.[1329] What need hast thou with wealth and what need with relatives and friends, and what with spouses? Thou art a Brahmana and thou hast death to encounter. Search thy own Self that is concealed in a cave. Whither have thy grandsires gone and whither thy sire too?'[1330]

“Bhishma said, 'Hearing these words of his son, the sire acted in the way that was pointed out, O king! Do thou also act in the same way, devoted to the religion of Truth.'”


“Yudhishthira said, 'Of what behaviour must a man be, of what acts, of what kind of knowledge, and to what must he be devoted, for attaining to Brahma's place which transcends Prakriti and which is unchangeable?'

“Bhishma said, 'One that is devoted to the religion of Emancipation, frugal in fare, and the master of one's senses, attains to that high place which transcends Prakriti and is unchangeable.[1331] Retiring from one's home, regarding gain and loss in the same light, restraining the senses, and disregarding all objects of desire even when they are ready (for enjoyment), one should adopt a life of Renunciation.[1332] Neither with eye, nor with word, nor in thought, should one disparage another. Nor should one speak evil of any person either in or out of his hearing. One should abstain from injuring any creature, and conduct oneself observing the course of the Sun.[1333] Having come into this life, one should not behave with unfriendliness towards any creature. One should disregard opprobrious speeches, and never in arrogance deem oneself as superior to another. When sought to be angered by another, one should still utter agreeable speeches. Even when calumniated, one should not calumniate in return. One should not behave in a friendly or an unfriendly way in the midst of human beings. One should not go about visiting many houses in one's round of mendicancy. Nor should one go to any house having received a previous invitation (to dinner).[1334] Even when bespattered with filth (by others), one should, resting firmly in the observance of one's duties, refrain from addressing such bespatterers in disagreeable speeches. One should be compassionate. One should abstain from returning an injury. One should be fearless; one should refrain from self-laudation. The man of restrained senses should seek his dole of charity in a householder's abode when the smoke has ceased to rise from it, when the sound of the husking rod is hushed, when the hearth-fire is extinguished, when all the inmates have finished their meals, or when the hour is over for setting the dishes.[1335] He should content himself with only as much as is barely necessary for keeping body and soul together. Even that much of food which produces gratification should not be coveted by him. When he fails to obtain what he wants, he should not suffer himself to cherish discontent. Success, again, in obtaining what he wants, should not make him glad.[1336] He should never wish for such things as are coveted by ordinary men. He should never eat at anybody's house when respectfully invited thereto. One like him should reprobate such gains as are obtained with honour.[1337] He should never find fault (on account of staleness, etc.) with the food placed before him, nor should he applaud its merits. He should covet a bed and a seat that are removed from the haunts of men. The places he should seek are such as a deserted house, the foot of a tree, a forest, or a cave. Without allowing his practices to be known by others, or concealing their real nature by appearing to adopt others (that are hateful or repulsive), he should enter his own Self.[1338] By association with Yoga and dissociation from company, he should be perfectly equable, steadily fixed, and uniform. He should not earn either merit or demerit by means of acts.[1339] He should be always gratified, well-contented, of cheerful face and cheerful senses, fearless, always engaged in mental recitation of sacred mantras, silent, and wedded to a life of Renunciation. Beholding the repeated formation and dissolution of his own body with the senses that result from and resolve into the elemental essences, and seeing also the advent and departure of (other) creatures, he should become free from desire and learn to cast equal eyes upon all, subsisting upon both cooked and uncooked food. Frugal in respect of his fare, and subjugating his senses, he achieves tranquillity of Self by Self.[1340] One should control the (rising) impulses of words, of the mind, of wrath, of envy, of hunger, and of lust. Devoted to penances for cleansing his heart, he should never allow the censures (of others) to afflict his heart. One should live, having assumed a status of neutrality with respect to all creatures, and regard praise and blame as equal. This, indeed, is the holiest and the highest path of the Sannyasa mode of life. Possessed of high soul, the Sannyasin should restrain his senses from all things and keep himself aloof from all attachments. He should never repair to the places visited by him and the men known to him while leading the prior modes of life. Agreeable to all creatures, and without a fixed home, he should be devoted to the contemplation of Self. He should never mingle with house-holders and forest-recluses. He should eat such food as he may obtain without effort (and without having thought of it beforehand).[1341] He should never suffer joy to possess his heart. To those that are wise such a life of Renunciation is the means for the attainment of Emancipation. To those, however, that are fools the practice of these duties is exceedingly burthensome. The sage Harita declared all this to be the path by which Emancipation is to be achieved. He who sets forth from his home, having assured all creatures of his perfect harmlessness, attains to many bright regions of felicity which prove unending or eternal.'”


“Yudhishthira said, 'All men speak of ourselves as highly fortunate. In truth, however, there is no person more wretched than ourselves. Though honoured by all the world, O best of the Kurus, and though we have been born among men, O grandsire, having been begotten by the very gods, yet when so much sorrow has been our lot, it seems, O reverend chief, that birth alone in an embodied form is the cause of all sorrow. Alas, when shall we adopt a life of Renunciation that is destructive of sorrow?[1342] Sages of rigid vows freed from the seven and ten (i.e., the five breaths, mind, understanding, and the ten organs of knowledge and action), from the five faults of Yoga (viz., desire, wrath, covetousness, fear, and sleep) that constitute the chief causes (for binding man to repeated rounds of earthly life), and from the other eight, viz., the five objects of the senses and the three attributes (of Sattwa, Rajas, and Tamas), have never to incur rebirth. When, O scorcher of foes, shall we succeed in abandoning sovereignty for adopting a life of renunciation?'

“Bhishma said, 'Everything, O great monarch, hath an end. Everything hath bounds assigned to it. Even rebirth, it is well-known, hath an end. In this world there is nothing that is, immutable. Thou thinkest, O king, that this (viz., the affluence with which thou art invested is a fault). That it is not so is not true, in regard to our present topic of disquisition. Ye, however, are conversant with virtue, and have readiness. It is certain, therefore, that ye shall attain to the end of your sorrow, (viz., Emancipation) in time.[1343] Jiva equipped with body, O king, is not the author of his merits and demerits (or their fruits as represented by happiness and misery). On the other hand, he becomes enveloped by the Darkness (of Ignorance having attachment and aversion for its essence) that is born of his merits and demerits.[1344] As the wind impregnated with dust of antimony once again seizes the efflorescence of realgar and (though itself destitute of colour) assumes the hues of the substances which it has seized and tinges the different points of the compass (which represent its own hueless progenitor, viz., space), after the same manner, Jiva, though himself colourless, assumes a hue in consequence of being enveloped by Darkness and variegated by the fruits of action, and travels from body to body (making his own stainless and immutable progenitor appear as stained and changeful).[1345] When Jiva succeeds in dispelling by means of Knowledge, the Darkness that invests him in consequence of Ignorance, then Immutable Brahma becomes displayed (in all His glory). The Sages say that reversion to Immutable Brahma is incapable of being achieved by Acts. Thyself, others in the world, and the deities too, should reverence them that have achieved Emancipation. All the great Rishis never desist from culture of Brahma.[1346] In this connection is cited that discourse which was sung (by the preceptor of the Daityas) in days of old. Listen, O monarch, with undivided attention to the course of conduct that was followed by the Daitya Vritra after he became divested of all his prosperity. Depending only upon his intelligence, he did not indulge in sorrow, in the midst of his enemies, although he was deprived of sovereignty, O Bharata! Unto Vritra, when in days of old he was reft of sovereignty, (his preceptor) Usanas said, 'I hope, O Danava, that in consequence of thy defeat thou dost not cherish any grief?'

“Vritra said, 'Without doubt, having understood, by the aid of truth and penances, the advent and departure of all living creatures, I have ceased to indulge in either grief or joy. Urged by Time creatures sink helplessly in hell. Some again, the sages say, go to heaven. All these pass their time in contentment. Passing their allotted periods in heaven and hell, and with some portion of their merits and demerits unexhausted (by enjoyment and suffering), they repeatedly take birth, impelled by Time. Chained by the bonds of Desire, creatures pass through myriads of intermediate life and fall helplessly into hell.[1347] I have seen that creatures come and go even thus. The lesson inculcated in the Scriptures is that one's acquisitions correspond with one's acts.[1348] Creatures take birth as men or as intermediate animals or as gods and go to hell. Having acted in lives, that are past in such a way as to deserve them, all creatures, subject to the ordinances of the Destroyer, meet with happiness and misery, the agreeable and the disagreeable. Having enjoyed the measure of weal or woe that corresponds with their acts, creatures always come back by the old path,[1349] which is measured by the measure of acts.' Then the illustrious Usanas addressed the Asura Vritra who was thus talking of the highest refuge of the creation, saying, 'O intelligent Daitya, why, O child, dost thou utter such foolish rhapsodies?'

“Vritra said, 'The severe penances which I underwent from greed of victory are well-known to thee as also to other sages. Appropriating diverse scents and diverse kinds of tastes that other creatures had for enjoying, I swelled up with my own energy, afflicting the three worlds. Decked with myriads of effulgent rays I used to rove through the skies (on my celestial car), incapable of being defeated by any creature and fearing none. I achieved great prosperity through my penances and lost it again through my own acts. Relying on my fortitude, however, I do not grieve for this change. Desirous (in days of yore) of fighting the great Indra, the high-souled ruler of the heavens, I beheld in that battle the illustrious Hari, the puissant Narayana.[1350] He who is called Vaikuntha, Purusha, Ananta, Sukla, Vishnu, Sanatana, Munjakesa, Harismasru, and the Grandsire of all creatures.[1351] Without doubt, there is still a remnant (to be enjoyed by me) of the rewards attaching to that penance represented by a sight of the great Hari. It is in consequence of that unexhausted remnant that I have become desirous of asking thee, O illustrious one, about the fruits of action![1352] Upon which order (of men) hath been established high Brahma prosperity? In what mariner, again, doth high prosperity fall off? From whom do creatures spring and live? Through whom again do they act? What is that high Fruit by attaining to which a creature succeeds in living eternally as Brahma? By what Act or by what Knowledge can that fruit be achieved? It behoveth thee, O learned Brahmana, to expound these to me.'

“Recapitulated by me, O lion among kings, listen with undivided attention, O bull of men, with all thy brothers, to what the sage Usanas then said after he had been thus addressed by that prince of Danavas.'”


“Usanas said, 'I bow to that divine and illustrious and puissant Being who holds this earth with the firmament in his arms. I shall speak to thee of the pre-eminent greatness of that Vishnu whose head, O best of the Danavas, is that Infinite place (called Emancipation).'

“While they were thus conversing with each other there came unto them the great sage Sanatkumara of righteous soul for the purpose of dispelling their doubts. Worshipped by the prince of Asuras and by the sage Usanas, that foremost of sages sat down on a costly seat. After Kumara of great wisdom had been seated (at his ease), Usanas said unto him, 'Discourse to this chief of the Danavas on the pre-eminent greatness of Vishnu.' Hearing these words, Sanatkumara uttered the following, fraught with grave import, upon the pre-eminent greatness of Vishnu unto the intelligent chief of the Danavas, 'Listen, O Daitya, to everything about the greatness of Vishnu. Know, O scorcher of foes, that the entire universe rests on Vishnu. O thou of mighty arms, it is He who creates all creatures mobile and immobile. In course of Time it is He, again, who withdraws all things and in Time it is He who once more casts them forth from Himself. Into Hari all things merge at the universal destruction and from Him all things again come forth. Men possessed of scriptural lore cannot obtain him by such lore. Nor can He be obtained by Penances, nor by Sacrifices. The only means by which He can be attained is by restraining the Senses. Nor that sacrifices are entirely useless towards such an end. For one, by relying upon both external and internal acts, and upon one's own mind, can purify (them) by one's own understanding. By such means, one succeeds in enjoying infinity in the world.[1353] As a goldsmith purifies the dross of his metal by repeatedly casting it into the fire with very persistent efforts of his own, after the same manner Jiva succeeds in cleaning himself by his course through hundreds of births. Some one may be seen to purify himself in only one life by mighty efforts. As one should with care wipe stains from off one's person before they become thick, after the same manner one should, with vigorous efforts, wash off one's faults.[1354] By mixing only a few flowers with them, grains of sesame cannot be made to cast off their own odour (and become at once fragrant). After the same manner, one cannot, by cleansing one's heart only a little, succeed in beholding the Soul. When, however, those grains are perfumed repeatedly with the aid of a large quantity of flowers, it is then that they cast off their own odour and assume that of the flowers with which they are mixed. After this manner, faults, in the form of attachments to all our environments, are dispelled by the understanding in course of many lives, with the aid of a large dose of the attribute of the Sattwa, and by means of efforts born of practice.[1355] Listen, O Danava, by what means creatures attached to acts and those unattached to them attain the causes that lead to their respective states of mind.[1356] Listen to me with undivided attention. I shall, in their due order, discourse to thee, O puissant Danava, as to how creatures betake themselves to action and how they give up action.[1357] The Supreme Lord creates all creatures mobile and immobile. He is without beginning and without end. Unendued with attributes of any kind, he assumes attributes (when he chooses to create). He is the universal Destroyer, the Refuge of all things, the Supreme Ordainer, and pure Chit.[1358] In all creatures it is He who dwells as the mutable and the immutable. It is He who, having eleven modifications for His essence, drinketh this universe with His rays.[1359] Know that the Earth is His feet. His head is constituted by Heaven. His arms, O Daitya, are the several points of the compass or the horizon. The intermediate space is His ears. The light of His eye is the Sun, and His mind is in the Moon. His understanding dwells always in Knowledge, and His tongue is in Water.[1360] O best of Danavas, the Planets are in the midst of His brows. The starts and constellations are from the light of His eyes. The Earth is in His feet. O Danava! Know also that the attributes of Rajas, Tamas, and Sattwa are of Him. He is the fruit (or end) of all the modes of life, and He it is who should be known as the fruit (or reward) of all (pious) acts (such as Japa and Sacrifice, etc.).[1361] The Highest and Immutable, He is also the fruit of abstention from all work. The Chandas are the hair on His body, and Akshara (or Pranava) is His word. The diverse orders (of men) and the modes of life are His refuge. His mouths are many. Duty (or religion) is planted in his heart. He is Brahma; He is the highest Righteousness; He is Sat and He is Asat;[1362] He is Sruti; He is the scriptures; He is the Sacrificial vessel; He is the six and ten Ritwijes; He is all the Sacrifices; He is the Grandsire (Brahman); He is Vishnu; He is the twin Aswins; and He is Purandara;[1363] He is Mitra; He is Varuna; He is Yama; He is Kuvera the lord of treasures. Although the Ritwijes seem to behold Him as separate, He is, however, known to them as one and the same. Know that this entire universe is under the control of One divine Being.[1364] The Veda that is in the soul, O prince of Daityas, regards the unity of various creatures. When a living creature realises this unity in consequence of true knowledge, he is then said to attain to Brahma. The period of time for which one creation exists or for which if ceases to exist is called a Kalpa. Living creatures exist for a thousand millions of such Kalpas. Immobile creatures also exist for an equal period. The period for which a particular creation exists is measured by many thousands of lakes (in the following way), O Daitya! Conceive a lake that is one Yojana in width, one Krosa in depth, and five hundred Yojanas in length. Imagine many thousands of such lakes. Seek then to dry up those lakes by taking from them, only once a day, as much water as may be taken up with the end of a single hair. The number of days would pass in drying them up completely by this process represents the period that is occupied by the life of one creation from its first start to the time of its destruction.[1365] The highest Evidence (for all things) says that creatures have six colours, viz., Dark, Tawny, Blue, Red, Yellow, and White. These colours proceed from mixtures in various proportions of the three attributes of Rajas, Tamas, and Sattwa. Where Tamas predominates, Sattwa falls below the mark, and Rajas keeps to the mark, the result is the colour called Dark. When Tamas predominates as before, but the relations between Sattwa and Rajas are reversed, the result is the colour called Tawny. When Rajas predominates, Sattwa falls below the mark, and Tamas keeps to the mark, the result is the colour called Blue. When Rajas predominates as before and the proportion is reversed between Sattwa and Tamas, the result is the intermediate colour called Red. That Colour is more agreeable (than the preceding one). When Sattwa predominates, Rajas falls below the mark and, Tamas keeps to the mark, the result is the colour called Yellow. It is productive of happiness. When Sattwa predominates and the proportion is reversed between Rajas and Tamas, the result is the colour called White. It is productive of great happiness.[1366] The White is the foremost colour. It is sinless in consequence of its being free from attachment and aversion. It is without grief, and free from the toil involved in Pravritti. Hence, White, O prince of Danavas, leads to success (or Emancipation). Jiva, O Daitya, having undergone thousands of births derived through the womb, attains to success.[1367] That success is the identical end which the divine Indra declared after having studied many auspicious spiritual treatises and which has for its essence the apprehension of the Soul. The end again that creatures obtain is dependent oil their colour, and colour, in its turn, depends upon the character of the Time that sets in, O Daitya![1368] The stages of existence, O Daitya, through which Jiva must pass are not unlimited. They are fourteen hundreds of thousands ill number. In consequence of them Jiva ascends, stays, and falls down as the case may be.[1369] The end that is attained by a Jiva of dark flue is very low, for he becomes addicted to acts that lead to hell and then has to rot in hell.[1370] The learned say that in consequence of his wickedness, the continuance (in such form) of a Jiva is measured by many thousands of Kalpas.[1371] Having passed many hundred thousands of years in that condition, Jiva then attains to the colour called Tawny (and becomes born as an intermediate creature). In that condition he dwells (for many long years), in perfect helplessness. At last when his sins are exhausted (in consequence of his having endured all the misery they are capable of bringing), his mind, casting off all attachments, cherishes Renunciation.[1372] When Jiva becomes endued with the quality of Sattwa, he then dispels everything connected with Tamas by the aid of his intelligence, and exerts (for achieving what is for his good). As the result of this, Jiva attains to the colour called Red. If the quality of Sattwa, however, be not gained, Jiva then travels in a round of rebirths in the world of inert, having attained to the colour called Blue.[1373] Having attained to that end (viz., Humanity) and having been afflicted for the duration of one creation by the bonds born of his own acts, Jiva then attains to the colours called Yellow (or becomes a Deity). Existing in that condition for the space of a hundred creations, he then leaves it (for becoming a human being) to return to it once more.[1374] Having attained to the Yellow colour, Jiva exists for thousands of Kalpas, sporting as a Deva. Without, however, being emancipated (even then), he has to stay in hell, enjoying or enduring the fruits of his acts of past Kalpas and wandering through nine and ten thousand courses.[1375] Know that Jiva becomes freed from the hell (of acts) as represented by heaven or godship. After the same manner, Jiva gets, off from the other births (corresponding with the other colours). Jiva sports for many long Kalpas in the world of Devas. Falling thence, he once more obtains the status of Humanity. He then stays in that condition for the space of a hundred and eight Kalpas. He then attains once more to the status of a Deva. If while in the status of humanity (for the second time) he falleth through (evil acts as represented by) Kala (in the form of Kali), he then sinks into the Dark colour and thus occupies the very lowest of all stages of existence.

“I shall tell thee now, O foremost of Asuras, how Jiva succeeds in effecting his Emancipation. Desirous of Emancipation, Jiva, relying upon seven hundred kinds of acts every one of which is characterised by a predominance of the attribute of Sattwa, gradually courses through Red and Yellow and at last attains to White. Arrived here, Jiva travels through several regions that are most adorable and that have the Eight well-known regions of felicity beneath them, and all the while pursues that stainless and effulgent form of existence which is Emancipation's self.[1376] Know that the Eight (already referred to and) which are identical with the Sixty (subdivided into) hundreds, are, unto those that are highly effulgent, only creations of the mind (without having any real or independent existence). The highest object of acquisition with one that is White of hue, is that condition (called Turiya) which transcends the three other states of consciousness, viz., Wakefulness and Dream and Dreamless slumber.[1377] As regards that Yogin who is unable to abandon the felicities that Yoga-puissance brings about, he has to dwell (in one and the same body) for one century of Kalpas in auspiciousness and after that in four other regions (called Mahar, Jana, Tapas, and Satya). Even that is the highest end of one belonging to the sixth colour, and who is Unsuccessful though crowned with success, and who has transcended all attachments and passions.[1378] That Yogin, again, who falls off from Yoga practices after having attained the measure of eminence described already resides in heaven for a century of Kalpas with the, unexhausted remnant of his past acts (to be exhausted by enjoyment or endurance as the case may be), and with the seven (viz., the five senses of knowledge and mind and understanding) purged of all stains in consequence of their predisposition or proneness towards the attribute of Sattwa. And the expiry of that period, such a person has to come to the world of men where he attains to great eminence.[1379] Turning back from the world of men, he departs for attaining to new forms of existence that run higher and higher in the upward scale. While engaged in this, he courseth through seven regions for seven times, his puissance being always increased in consequence of his Samadhi and the re-awakening from it.[1380] The Yogin who is desirous of final Emancipation suppresses by Yoga-knowledge the seven, and continues to dwell in the world of life, freed from attachments; and taking those seven for certain means of grief, he casts them off and attains afterwards to that state which is Indestructible and Infinite. Some say that that is the region of Mahadeva; some, of Vishnu; some, of Brahman; some, of Sesha; some, of Nara; some, of the effulgent Chit; and some, of the All-pervading.[1381] When universal destruction comes, those persons who have succeeded in completely consuming by Knowledge their gross and subtle and karana bodies, always enter into Brahma. All their Senses also which have action for their essence and which are not identical with Brahma, merge into the same. When the time of universal destruction comes, those Jivas who have attained to the position of Devas and who have an unexhausted remnant of the fruits of acts to enjoy or endure, revert to those stages of life in the subsequent Kalpa which had been theirs in the previous one. This is due to the similarity of every successive Kalpa to every previous one. Those again whose acts, at the time of universal destruction, have been exhausted by enjoyment or endurance in respect of their fruits, falling down from heaven, take birth among men, in the subsequent Kalpa, for without Knowledge one cannot destroy one's acts in even a hundred Kalpas. All superior Beings again, endued with similar powers and similar forms, revert to their respective destinies at a new creation after a universal destruction, ascending and descending precisely in the same manner as during the creation that is dissolved.[1382] As regards, again, the person who is conversant with Brahma, as long as he continues to enjoy and endure the unexhausted remnant of his acts of previous Kalpas, it is said that all creatures and the two stainless sciences live in his body. When his Chitta becomes cleansed by Yoga, and when he practises Samyama, this perceptible universe appears to him as only his own fivefold senses.[1383] Enquiring with a cleansed mind, Jiva attains to a high and stainless end. Thence he attains to a spot which knows no deterioration, and thence attains to eternal Brahma that is so difficult of acquisition.[1384] Thus, Of thou of great might, I have discoursed to thee of the eminence of Narayana!'

“Vritra said, 'These words of thine, I see, perfectly according with the truth. Indeed, when this is so, I have no (cause of grief). Having listened to thy words, O thou of great powers of mind, I have become freed from sorrow and sin of every kind. O illustrious Rishi, O holy one, I see this wheel of Time, endued with mighty energy, of the most effulgent and Infinite Vishnu, has been set in motion. Eternal is that station, from which all kinds of creation spring. That Vishnu is the Supreme Soul. He is the foremost of Beings. In Him this entire universe rests.'

“Bhishma continued, 'Having said these words, O son of Kunti, Vritra cast off his life-breaths, uniting his soul (in Yoga, with the supreme Soul), and attained to the highest station.'

“Yudhishthira said, 'Tell me, O grandsire, whether this Janardana (Krishna) is that illustrious and puissant Lord of whom Sanatkumara spoke unto Vritra in days of old.'

“Bhishma said, 'The Highest Deity, endued with the six attributes of (puissance, etc.) is at the Root. Staying there, the Supreme Soul, with his own energy, creates all these diverse existent things.[1385] Know that this Kesava who knows no deterioration is from His eighth portion. Endued with the highest Intelligence, it is this Kesava who creates the three worlds with an eighth portion (of His energy). Coming immediately after Him who lies at the Root, this Kesava who is eternal (compared with all other existent things), changes at the end of each Kalpa. He, however, who lies at the Root and who is endued with supreme might and puissance, lies in the waters when universal destruction comes (in the form of the potential Seed of all things). Kesava is that Creator of pure Soul who courseth through all the eternal worlds.[1386] Infinite and Eternal as He is, He fills all space (with emanations from Himself) and courseth through the universe (in the form of everything that constitutes the universe). Freed as He is from limitations of every kind such as the possession of attributes would imply, he suffers himself to be invested with Avidya and awakened to Consciousness, Kesava of Supreme Soul creates all things. In Him rests this wondrous universe in its entirety.'

“Yudhishthira said, 'O thou that art conversant with the highest object of knowledge, I think that Vritra saw beforehand the excellent end that awaited him. It is for this, O grandsire, that he was happy and did not yield to grief (in view of his coming Death). He who is White of hue, who has taken birth in a pure or stainless race, and who has attained to the rank of a Sadhya, doth not, O sinless one, come back (into the world for re-birth). Such a person, O grandsire, is freed from both hell and the status of all intermediate creatures. He, however, who has attained to either the Yellow or the Red hue, is seen sometimes to be overwhelmed by Tamas and fall among the order of Intermediate creatures. As regards ourselves, we are exceedingly afflicted and attached to objects that are productive of sorrow or indifference or joy. Alas, what will the end be to which we shall attain? Will it be the Blue or the Dark which is the lowest of all hues?'

“Bhishma continued, 'Ye are Pandavas. Ye have been born in a stainless race. Ye are of rigid vows. Having sported in joy in the regions of the gods, ye shall come back to the world of men. Living happily as long as the creation lasts, all of you at the next new creation will be admitted among the gods, and enjoying all kinds of felicities ye will at last be numbered among the Siddhas. Let no fear be yours. Be you cheerful.'”


“Yudhishthira said, 'How great was the love of virtue possessed by Vritra of immeasurable energy, whose knowledge was incomparable and whose devotion to Vishnu was so great. The status occupied by Vishnu of immeasurable energy is exceedingly difficult of apprehension. How, O tiger among kings, could Vritra (who was an Asura) comprehended it (so well)? Thou hast spoken of Vritra's acts. I too have listened to thee in full faith. In consequence, however, of my seeing that one point (in thy discourse) is unintelligible (and that, therefore, it requires explanation), my curiosity has been roused for questioning thee again.[1387] How, indeed, was Vritra, who was virtuous, devoted to Vishnu, endued with knowledge of truth derivable from a just comprehension of the Upanishads and Vedanta, vanquished by Indra, O foremost of men? O chief of the Bharatas, resolve me this doubt. Indeed, tell me, O tiger among kings, how Vritra was vanquished by Sakra![1388] O grandsire, O thou of mighty arms, tell me in detail how the battle took place (between the chief of the deities and the foremost of Asuras). My curiosity to hear it is very great.'

Bhishma said, 'In days of yore, Indra, accompanied by the celestial forces, proceeded on his car, and beheld the Asura Vritra stationed before him like a mountain. He was full five hundred Yojanas in height, O chastiser of foes, and three hundred Yojanas in circumference. Beholding that form of Vritra, which was incapable of being vanquished by the three worlds united together, the celestial became penetrated with fear and full of anxiety. Indeed, suddenly seeing that gigantic form of his antagonist, O king, Indra was struck with palsy in the lower extremities. Then, on the eve of that great battle between the deities and the Asuras, there arose loud shouts from both sides, and drums and other musical instruments began to beat and blow. Beholding Sakra stationed before him, O thou of Kuru's race, Vritra felt neither awe nor fear, nor was he disposed to muster all his energies for the fight.[1389] Then the encounter commenced, inspiring the three worlds with terror, between Indra, the chief of the deities, and Vritra of high soul. The entire welkin was enveloped by the combats of both sides with swords and axes and lances and darts and spears and heavy clubs and rocks of diverse sizes and bows of loud twang and diverse kinds of celestial weapons and fires and burning brands. All the celestials with Grandsire at their head, and all the highly-blessed Rishis, came to witness the battle, on their foremost of cars; and the Siddhas also, O bull of Bharata's race, and the Gandharvas, with the Apsaras, on their own beautiful and foremost of cars, came there (for the same purpose). Then Vritra, that foremost of virtuous persons, quickly overwhelmed the welkin and the chief of the deities with a thick shower of rocks. The celestials, at this, filled with rage, dispelled with their showers of arrows that thick downpour of rocks showered by Vritra in battle. Then Vritra, O tiger among the Kurus, possessed of mighty strength and endued with large powers of illusion, stupefied the chief of the deities by fighting wholly with the aid of his powers of illusion. When he of a hundred sacrifices, thus afflicted by Vritra. was overcome by stupefaction, the sage Vasishtha restored him to his senses by uttering Somanas.'[1390]

“Vasishtha said, 'Thou art the foremost of the gods, O chief of the deities, O slayer of Daityas and Asuras! The strength of the three worlds is in thee! Why, then, O Sakra, dost thou languish so! There, Brahman, and Vishnu, and Siva, that lord of the universe, the illustrious and divine Soma, and all the highest Rishis (stand, beholding thee)! Do not, O Sakra, yield to weakness, like an ordinary person! Firmly resolved on battle, slay thy foes, O chief of the celestials! There, that Master of all the worlds, viz., the Three-eyed (Siva), the adored of all the worlds, is eyeing thee! Cast off this stupefaction, O chief of the celestials! There, those regenerate Rishis, headed by Vrihaspati, are praising thee, for thy victory, in celestial hymns.'[1391]

“Bhishma continued, 'While Vasava of great energy was thus being restored to consciousness by the high-souled Vasishtha, his strength became greatly enhanced. The illustrious chastiser of Paka then, relying upon his intelligence, had recourse to high Yoga and with its aid dispelled these illusions of Vritra. Then Vrihaspati, the son of Angiras, and those foremost of Rishis possessed of great prosperity, beholding the prowess of Vritra, repaired to Mahadeva, and impelled by the desire of benefiting the three worlds, urged him to destroy the great Asura. The energy of that illustrious lord of the universe thereupon assumed the character of a fierce fever and penetrated the body of Vritra the lord of Asuras.[1392] The illustrious and divine Vishnu, adored of all the worlds, bent upon protecting the universe, entered the thunderbolt of Indra. Then Vrihaspati of great intelligence and Vasishtha of exceeding energy, and all the other foremost of Rishis, repairing to Him of a hundred sacrifices, viz., the boon-giving Vasava, the adored of all the worlds, addressed him, saying, 'Slay Vritra, O puissant one, without delay!'

“Maheswara said, 'Yonder, O Sakra, stands the great Vritra, accompanied by a great force. He is the soul of the universe, capable of going everywhere, endued with large powers of illusion, and possessed of great celebrity. This foremost of Asuras is, therefore, incapable of being vanquished by even the three worlds united together. Aided by Yoga, do thou slay him, O chief of the deities. Do not disregard him. For full sixty thousand years, O chief of the celestials, Vritra practised the severest penances for obtaining strength. Brahman gave him the boons he had solicited, viz., the greatness that belongs to Yogins, large powers of illusion, excess of might, and superabundant energy. I impart to thee my energy, O Vasava! The Danava has now lost his coolness. Do thou, therefore, slay him now with thy thunderbolt!'

“Sakra said, 'Before thy eyes, O foremost of gods, I shall, through thy grace, slay with my thunderbolt this invincible son of Diti.'

“Bhishma continued, 'When the great Asura or Daitya was overtaken by that fever (born of Mahadeva's energy), the deities and the Rishis, filled with joy, uttered loud cheers, At the same time drums, and conchs of loud blare, and kettle drums and tabors began to beat and blow by thousands. Suddenly all the Asuras became afflicted with the loss of memory. In a trice, their powers of illusion also disappeared. The Rishis and the deities, ascertaining the foe to be thus possessed, uttered the praises of both Sakra and Isana, and began to urge the former (to make no delay in destroying Vritra). The form that Indra assumed on the eve of the encounter, while seated on his car and while his praises were being hymned by the Rishis, became such that none could look at it without awe.'”[1393]


“Bhishma said, 'Listen, O king, to me as I tell thee the symptoms that appeared on the body of Vritra when he was overtaken by that fever (born of the energy of Mahadeva). The heroic Asura's mouth began to emit flames of fire. He became exceedingly pale. His body began to tremble all over. His breath became hard and thick. His hairs stood on end. His memory, O Bharata, issued out of his mouth in the form of a fierce, dreadful, and inauspicious jackal. Burning and blazing meteors fell on his right and left. Vultures and kanakas and cranes, gathering together, uttered fierce cries, as they wheeled over Vritra's head. Then, in that encounter, Indra, adored by the gods, and armed with the thunderbolt, looked hard at the Daitya as the latter sat on his car. Possessed by that violent fever, the mighty Asura, O monarch, yawned and uttered inhuman cries.[1394] While the Asura was yawning Indra hurled his thunderbolt at him. Endued with exceedingly great energy and resembling the fire that destroys the creation at the end of the Yuga, that thunderbolt overthrew in a trice Vritra of gigantic form. Loud shouts were once more uttered by the gods on all sides when they beheld Vritra slain, O bull of Bharata's race! Having slain Vritra, Maghavat, that foe of the Danavas, possessed of great fame, entered heaven with that thunderbolt pervaded by Vishnu. Just then, O thou of Kuru's race, the sin of Brahmanicide (in her embodied form), fierce and awful and inspiring all the worlds with dread, issued out of the body of the slain Vritra. Of terrible teeth and awful, hideous for ugliness, and dark and tawny, with hair dishevelled, and dreadful eyes, O Bharata, with a garland of skulls round her neck, and looking like an (Atharvan) Incantation (in its embodied form), O bull of Bharata's race, covered all over with blood, and clad in rags and barks of trees, O thou of righteous soul, she came out of Vritra's body. Of such dreadful form and mien, O monarch, she sought the wielder of the thunderbolt (for possessing him). A little while after, O thou of Kuru's race, the slayer of Vritra, on some purpose connected with the good of the three worlds, was proceeding towards heaven. Beholding Indra of great energy thus proceeding on his mission, she seized the chief of the deities and from that moment stuck to him.[1395] When the sin of Brahmanicide thus stuck to his person and inspired him with terror, Indra entered the fibres of a lotus-stalk and dwelt there for many long years. But the sin of Brahmanicide pursued him closely. Indeed, O son of Kuru, seized by her, Indra became deprived of all his energies. He made great efforts for driving her from him, but all those efforts proved abortive. Seized by her, O bull of Bharata's race, the chief of the deities at last presented himself before the Grandsire and worshipped him by bending his head low. Understanding that Sakra was possessed by the sin of Brahmanicide,[1396] Brahman began to reflect, O best of the Bharatas, (upon the means of freeing his suppliant). The grandsire at last, O thou of mighty arms, addressed Brahmanicide in a sweet voice as if from the desire of pacifying her, and said, 'O amiable one, let the chief of the celestials, who is a favourite of mine, be freed from thee. Tell me, what I shall do for thee. What wish of thine shall I accomplish?'

“Brahmanicide said, 'When the Creator of the three worlds, when the illustrious god adored by the universe, hath been pleased with me, I regard my wishes as already accomplished. Let my residence be now appointed. Desirous of preserving the worlds, this rule had been made by thee. It was thou, O lord, that didst introduced this important ordinance.[1397] As thou hast been gratified with me, O righteous Lord, O puissant Master of all the worlds, I shall certainly leave Sakra! But grant me an abode to dwell in.'

“Bhishma continued, 'The Grandsire replied unto Brahmanicide, saying, 'So be it!' Indeed, the Grandsire discovered means for dispelling Brahmanicide from the person of Indra. The Self-create recollected the high-souled Agni. The latter immediately presented himself to Brahman and said these words, 'O illustrious and divine Lord, O thou that are without any defect, I have appeared before thee. It behoveth thee to say what I shall have to accomplish.'

“Brahman said, 'I shall divide this sin of Brahmanicide into several portions. For freeing Sakra from her, do thou take a fourth portion of that sin.'

“Agni said, 'How shall I be rescued from her, O Brahman? O puissant Lord, do thou appoint the way. I desire to know the means (of my own rescue) in detail, O adored of all the worlds!'

“Brahman said, 'Unto that man who, overwhelmed by the quality of Tamas, will abstain from offering thee as an oblation, when he beholds thee in thy blazing form, seeds, herbs, and juices, that portion of Brahmanicide which thou wilt take upon thyself shall immediately enter, and leaving thee shall dwell in him. O carrier off oblations, let the fever of thy heart be dispelled.'

“Bhishma said, 'Thus addressed by the Grandsire the eater of oblations and sacrificial offerings accepted his command. A fourth of that sin then entered his person, O king! The Grandsire then summoned the trees, the herbs, and all kinds of grass to him, and solicited them to take upon themselves a fourth of that sin. Addressed by him, the trees and herbs and grasses became as much agitated as Agni had been at the request, and they replied unto Grandsire, saying, 'How shall we, O Grandsire of all the worlds, be ourselves rescued from this sin? It behoveth thee not to afflict us that have already been afflicted by the fates. O god, we have always to endure heat and cold and the showers (of the clouds) driven by the winds, in addition to the cutting and the tearing (that we have to suffer at the hands of men). We are willing, O Lord of the three worlds, to take at thy command (a portion of) this sin of Brahmanicide. Let the means, however, of our rescue be pointed out to us.'

“Brahman said, 'This sin that you shall take shall possess the man who through stupefaction of judgment will cut or tear any of you when Parva days come.'

“Bhishma said, 'Thus addressed by the high-souled Brahman, the trees and herbs and grasses adored the Creator and then went away without tarrying there. The Grandsire of all the worlds then summoned the Apsaras and gratifying them with sweet words, O Bharata, said, 'This foremost of ladies, viz., Brahmanicide, has come out of Indra's person. Solicited by me, do you take a fourth portion of her into your own persons (for saving the Chief of the deities).'

“The Apsaras said, 'O Lord of all the gods, at thy command we are fully willing to take a portion of this sin. But, O Grandsire, do thou think of the means by which we ourselves may be freed from (the effects of) this understanding (that we make with thee).'

“Brahman said, 'Let the fever of your hearts be dispelled. The portion of this sin that you will take upon yourselves shall leave you for instantly possessing that man who will seek congress with women in their menstrual season!'

“Bhishma continued, 'Thus addressed by the Grandsire, O bull of Bharata's race, the diverse tribes of the Apsaras, with cheerful souls, repaired to their respective places and began to sport in delight. The illustrious Creator of the three worlds, endued with great ascetic merit, then recollected the Waters which immediately came to him. Arrived at the presence of Brahman of immeasurable energy, the Waters bowed unto him and said these words, 'We have come before thee, O chastiser of foes, at thy command. O puissant Master of all the worlds, tell us what we are to accomplish.'

“Brahman said, 'This dreadful sin hath taken possession of Indra, in consequence of his having slain Vritra. Take ye a fourth part of Brahmanicide.'

“The Waters said, 'Let it be as thou commandest, O master of all the worlds. It behoveth thee, however, O puissant Lord of ours, to think of the means by which we may (in our turn) be rescued from (the consequence of) this understanding. Though art the Lord of all the deities, and the supreme refuge of the universe. Who else is there to whom we may pay our adorations so that he may relieve us from distress.'

“Brahman said, 'Unto that man who stupefied by his understanding and regarding you lightly will cast into you phlegm and urine and excreta, this one shall immediately go and thenceforth reside in him. It is in this way, verily I say unto ye, that your rescue shall be accomplished.'

“Bhishma continued, 'Then the sin of Brahmanicide, O Yudhishthira, leaving the chief of the deities, proceeded to the abodes that were ordained for her at the Grandsire's command. It was thus, O ruler of men, that Indra had become afflicted by that dreadful sin (and it was thus that he got rid of her). With the Grandsire's permission Indra then resolved to perform a Horse-sacrifice. It is heard, O monarch, that Indra having been thus possessed by the sin of Brahmanicide afterwards became cleansed of her through that Sacrifice. Regaining his prosperity and slaying thousands of foes, great was the joy that Vasava obtained, O lord of Earth! From the blood of Vritra, O son of Pritha, were born high-crested cocks. For this reason, those fowls are unclean (as food) for the regenerate classes, and those ascetics that have undergone the rite of initiation. Under all circumstances, O king, do thou accomplish what is agreeable to the twice-born, for these, O monarch, are known as gods on earth. It was in this way, O thou of Kurds race, that the mighty Asura Vritra was slain by Sakra of immeasurable energy by the aid of subtle intelligence and through the application of means. Thou also, O son of Kunti, unvanquished on earth, wilt become another Indra and the slayer of all thy foes. Those men who, on every Parva day, will recite this sacred narrative of Vritra in the midst of Brahmanas shall never be stained by any sin. I have now recited to thee one of the greatest and most wonderful feats of Indra connected with Vritra. What else dost thou wish to hear?'”


“Yudhishthira said, 'O grandsire, thou art possessed of great wisdom and thoroughly conversant with every branch of learning. From this very narrative of the slaughter of Vritra the wish has arisen in my mind of asking thee a question. Thou hast said, O ruler of men, that Vritra was (first) stupefied by Fever, and that then, O sinless one, he was slain by Vasava with the thunderbolt. How did this Fever, O thou of great wisdom, arise? O lord, I desire to hear in detail of the origin of Fever.'

“Bhishma said, 'Listen, O king, to the origin, celebrated over all the world, of Fever. I shall speak in detail on this topic, fully explaining how Fever first sprang into existence, O Bharata! In days of yore, O monarch, there was a summit, named Savitri, of the mountains of Meru. Worshipped by all the worlds, it was endued with great splendour and adorned with every kind of jewels and gems. That summit was immeasurable in extent and thither no one could go.[1398] On that mountain summit the divine Mahadeva used to sit in splendour as if on a bed-stead adorned with gold. The daughter of the king of mountains, sitting by his side, shone in brilliance.[1399] The high-souled deities, the Vasus of immeasurable energy, the high-souled Aswins, those foremost of physicians, and king Vaisravana waited upon by many a Guhyaka,–that lord of the Yakshas, endued with prosperity and puissance, and having his abode on the summit of Kailasa,–all waited upon the highsouled Mahadeva. And the great sage Usanas, and the foremost of Rishis having Sanatkumara for their first, and the other celestial Rishis headed by Angiras, and the Gandharva Viswavasu, and Narada and Parvata, and the diverse tribes of Apsaras, all came there to wait upon the Master of the universe. A pure and auspicious breeze, bearing diverse kinds of perfumes, blew there. The trees that stood there were adorned with the flowers of every season. A large number of Vidyadharas and Siddhas and ascetics too, O Bharata, repaired thither for waiting upon Mahadeva, the Lord of all creatures. Many ghostly beings, also, of diverse forms and aspects, and many dreadful Rakshasas and mighty Pisachas, of diverse aspects, mad with joy, and armed with diverse kinds of uplifted weapons, forming the train of Mahadeva, were there, every one of whom resembled a blazing fire in energy. The illustrious Nandi stood there at the command of the great god, blazing with his own energy and armed with a lance that resembled a flame of fire. Ganga also, that foremost of all Rivers and born of all sacred waters in the universe, waited there in her embodied form, O son of Kuru's race, upon that illustrious deity. Thus adored by the celestial Rishis and the gods, the illustrious Mahadeva of immeasurable energy dwelt on that summit of Meru.

“After some time had passed away, the Prajapati Daksha[1400] commenced to perform a Sacrifice according to the ancient rites (laid down in the Vedas). Unto the Sacrifice of Daksha, all the deities headed by Sakra, assembling together, resolved to repair. It hath been heard by us that the high-souled deities, with the permission o f Mahadeva, mounted their celestial cars resembling the fire or the Sun in splendour, and proceeded to that spot (on the Himavat) whence the Ganges is said to issue. Beholding the deities depart, the excellent daughter of the king of mountains, addressed her divine spouse, viz., the Lord of all creatures, and said, 'O illustrious one, whither are those deities headed by Sakra going? O thou that art conversant with the truth, tell me truly, for a great doubt has filled my mind.'

“Maheswara said, 'O lady that art highly blessed, the excellent Prajapati Daksha is adoring the gods in a Horse-sacrifice. These denizens of heaven are proceeding even thither.'

“Uma said, 'Why, O Mahadeva, dost thou not proceed to that Sacrifice? What objection is there of thy going to that place?'

“Maheswara said, 'O highly blessed lady, the deities in days of yore made an arrangement in consequence of which no share was assigned to me of offerings in all Sacrifices. Agreeably to the course that was sanctioned in consequence of that arrangement, O thou of the fairest complexion, the deities do not give me, following the old custom, any share of the sacrificial offerings.'

“Uma said, O illustrious one, among all beings thou art the foremost in puissance. In merit, in energy, in fame, and in prosperity, thou yieldest to none, and thou art, indeed, superior to all. In consequence, however, of this disability in respect of a share (in the Sacrificial offerings) I am filled with great grief, O sinless one, and a tremor overtakes me from head to foot.'

“Bhishma continued, 'The goddess (Parvati), having said these words unto her divine spouse, the Lord of all creatures, O monarch, remained silent, her heart burning the while in grief. Then Mahadeva, understanding what was in her heart and what her thoughts were (for wiping off that disgrace), addressed Nandi, saying, 'Wait here (by the goddess). Summoning all his Yoga force, that Lord of all lords of Yoga, that god of gods, that wielder of Pinaka, possessed of mighty energy, quickly proceeded to the place (where Daksha was sacrificing) accompanied by all his terrible followers and destroyed that Sacrifice. Amongst these followers of his, some uttered loud cries, and some laughed terribly, and some, O king, extinguished the (Sacrificial) fires with blood; and some, possessed of awful faces, pulling up the sacrificial stakes, began to whirl them. Others began to devour those that were ministering to the Sacrifice. Then that sacrifice, thus afflicted on every side, assumed the form of a deer and sought to fly away through the skies. Ascertaining that the Sacrifice was running away in that form, the puissant Mahadeva began to pursue him with bow and arrow. In consequence of the wrath that then filled the heart of that foremost of all gods, possessed of immeasurable energy, a dreadful drop of sweat appeared on his forehead. When that drop of sweat fell down on the earth, there forthwith appeared a blazing fire resembling the (all-destructive) conflagration that appears at the end of a Yuga. From that fire issued a dreadful being, O monarch, of very short stature, possessed of blood-red eyes and a green beard. His body was covered entirely with hair like a hawk's or an owl's and his hair stood erect. Of dreadful aspect, his complexion was dark and his attire blood-red. Like a fire burning a heap of dry grass or straw, that Being of great energy quickly consumed the embodied form of Sacrifice. Having accomplished that feat, he then rushed towards the deities and the Rishis that had assembled there. The deities, filled with fear, fled in all directions. In consequence of that Being's tread, the earth, O monarch began to tremble.[1401] Exclamations of Oh and Alas arose throughout the universe. Marking this, the puissant Grandsire, showing himself unto Mahadeva, addressed him in the following words.'

“Brahman said, 'O puissant one, the deities will henceforth yield thee a share of the sacrificial offerings! O Lord of all the deities, let this wrath of thine be withdrawn by thee! O scorcher of foes, there, those gods, and the Rishis, in consequence of thy wrath, O Mahadeva, have become exceedingly agitated. This Being also, that hath sprung from thy sweat, O foremost of gods, shall wander among creatures, O righteous-souled one, under the name of Fever. O puissant one, if the energy of this Being remains all collected together, then the entire earth herself will not be able to bear him. Let him, therefore, be distributed into many parts.' When Brahman had said these words, and when his proper share was appointed of the sacrificial offerings, Mahadeva replied unto the Grandsire of great energy, saying, 'So be id' Indeed, the wielder of Pinaka, viz., Bhava, smiled a little and became filled with joy. And he accepted the share that the Grandsire appointed of the offerings in sacrifices. Conversant with the properties of everything, Mahadeva then distributed Fever into many portions, for the peace of all creatures. Listen, O son, as to how he did this. The heat that is perceptible in the heads of elephants, the bitumen of mountains,[1402] the moss that floats on water, the slough of snakes, the sores that appear in the hoofs of bulls, the sterile tracts of earth that are full of saline matter, the dullness of vision of all animals, the diseases that appear in the throats of horses, the crests appearing on the heads of peacocks, the eye-disease of the koel,[1403] each of these was named Fever by the high-souled Mahadeva. This is what has been heard by us. The liver-disease also of sheep, and the hiccup of parrots are also each known as forms of Fever. To this must be added the toil that tigers undergo, for that also, O, righteous king, is known as a from of Fever. Besides these, O Bharata, amongst men, Fever enters all bodies at the time of birth, of death, and on other occasions. This then that is called Fever is known to be the dreadful energy of Maheswara. He is endued with authority over all creatures and should, therefore, be held in respect and worshipped by all. It was by him that Vritra, that foremost of virtuous persons, was overtaken when he yawned. It was then that Sakra hurled his thunderbolt at him. Thunderbolt, penetrating the body of Vritra, O Bharata, divided him in twain. Divided in twain by the thunderbolt, the mighty Asura possessed of great Yoga powers, proceeded to the region of Vishnu of immeasurable energy. It was in consequence of his devotion to Vishnu that he had succeeded in overwhelming the whole universe. And it was in consequence of his devotion to Vishnu that he ascended, when slain, to the region of Vishnu. Thus, O son, adverting: to the story of Vritra have I recited to thee the narrative in detail of Fever. Upon what else shall I speak to thee? That man who will read this account of the origin of Fever with close attention and cheerful heart shall become free from disease and shall always have happiness for his share. Filled with gladness, he shall have all the wishes accomplished upon which he may set his heart.'”


“Janamejaya said, 'How O Brahmana, was the Horse-sacrifice of the Prajapati Daksha, the son of Prachetas, destroyed during the age of Vaivaswata Manu? Understanding that the goddess Uma had become filled with rage and grief, the puissant Mahadeva, who is the soul of all things, gave way to wrath. How, again, through his grace, was Daksha enable to reunite the divided limbs of that Sacrifice? I desire to know all this. Tell me all this, O Brahmana, truly as it occurred.'

“Vaisampayana said, 'In days of yore Daksha made arrangements for performing a Sacrifice on the breast of Himavat in that sacred region inhabited by Rishis and Siddhas where the Ganges issues out of the mountains. Overgrown with trees and creepers of diverse kinds that spot abounded with Gandharvas and Apsaras. Surrounded by crowds of Rishis, Daksha, that foremost of virtuous men, that progenitor of creatures, was waited upon by the denizens of the earth, the firmament, and the heavens, with their hands joined together in reverence. The gods, the Danavas, the Gandharvas, the Pisachas, the Snakes, the Rakshasas, the two Gandharvas named Haha and Huhu, Tumvuru and Narada, Viswavasu, Viswasena, the Gandharvas and the Apsaras, the Adityas, the Vasus, the Rudras, the Sadhyas, the Maruts, all came there with Indra for sharing in the Sacrifice. The drinkers of Soma, the drinkers of smoke, the drinkers of Ajya, the Rishis, and the Pitris came there with the Brahmanas. These, and many other living creatures belonging to the four orders, viz., viviparous and oviparous and filth-born and vegetable, were invited to that Sacrifice. The gods also, with their spouses, respectfully invited thereto, came on their celestial cars and seated thereon shone like blazing fires. Beholding them, the Rishi Dadhichi became filled with grief and wrath, and said, 'This is neither a Sacrifice nor a meritorious rite of religion, since Rudra is not adored in it. Ye are certainly exposing yourselves to death and chains. Alas, how untoward is the course of time. Stupefied by error you do not behold that destruction awaits you. A terrible calamity stands at your door in course of this great Sacrifice. Ye are blind to it!' Having said these words, that great Yogin saw into the future with eyes of (Yoga) contemplation. He beheld Mahadeva, and his divine spouse, viz., that giver of excellent boons (seated on the summit of Kailasa) with the highsouled Narada sitting beside the goddess. Conversant with Yoga, Dadhichi became highly gratified, having ascertained what was about to happen. All the deities and others that had come there were of one mind with reference to the omission to invite the Lord of all creatures. Dadhichi alone, desirous of leaving that spot, then said, 'By worshipping one who should not be worshipped, and by refusing to worship him who should be worshipped, a man incurs the sin of homicide for ever. I have never before spoken an untruth, and an untruth I shall never speak. Here in the midst of the gods and the Rishis I say the truth. The Protector of all creatures, the Creator of the universe, the Lord of all, the Puissant master, the taker of sacrificial offerings, will soon come to this Sacrifice and you all shall see him.'

“Daksha said, 'We have many Rudras armed with lances and bearing matted locks on their heads. They are eleven in number. I know them all, but I do not know who this (new Rudra) Maheswara is.'

“Dadhichi said, 'This seems to be the counsel of all that are here, viz., that Maheswara should not be invited. As, however, I do not behold any god that can be said to be superior to him. I am sure that this proposed Sacrifice of Daksha will certainly be overtaken by destruction.'

“Daksha said, 'Here, in this vessel of gold, intended for the Lord of all Sacrifices, is the sacrificial offering sanctified by mantras and (rites) according to the ordinance. I intend to make this offering unto Vishnu who is beyond compare. He is puissant and the Master of all, and unto Him should sacrifices be performed.'

'Meanwhile,' continued Vaisampayana, 'the goddess Uma, sitting with her lord, said these words.'

“Uma said, 'What are those gifts, what those vows, and what are those penances, that I should make or undergo by means of which my illustrious husband may be able to obtain a half or a third share of the offerings in sacrifices. Unto his wife who was agitated with grief and who repeated these words the illustrious Mahadeva said with a joyous countenance, 'Thou dost not know me, O goddess! Thou knowest not, O thou of delicate limbs and low belly, what words are proper to be addressed to the Lord of Sacrifices. O lady of large eyes, I know that it is only the sinful, who are bereft of contemplation, that do not understand me.[1404] It is through thy power of illusion that the deities with Indra at their head and the three worlds all become stupefied.[1405] It is to me that the chanters utter their praises in Sacrifices. It is to me that the Saman-singers sing their Rathantaras. It is to me that Brahmanas conversant with the Vedas perform their Sacrifices. And it is to me that the Adhvaryus dedicate the shares of sacrificial offerings.'

“The goddess said, 'Persons of even ordinary abilities applaud themselves and indulge in the presence of their spouses. There is no doubt in this.'

“The holy one said, 'O Queen of all the gods, I do not certainly applaud my ownself. Behold now, O lady of slender waist, what I do. Behold the Being that I will create, O thou of the fairest complexion, for (destroying) this Sacrifice (that has displeased thee), O my beautiful spouse.

“Having said these words unto his spouse Uma who was dearer to him than his own life, the puissant Mahadeva created from his mouth a terrible Being whose very sight could make one's hair stand on its end. The blazing flames that emanated from his body rendered him exceedingly awful to behold. His arms were many in number and in each was a weapon that struck the beholder with fear. That Being, thus created, stood before the great god, with joined hands, and said, 'What commands shall I have to accomplish?' Maheswara answered him, saying, 'Go and destroy the Sacrifice of Daksha.' Thus ordered, that Being of leonine prowess who had issued from the mouth of Mahadeva, desired to destroy the Sacrifice of Daksha, without putting forth all his energy and without the assistance of any one else, for dispelling the wrath of Uma. Urged by her wrath, the spouse of Maheswara, herself assuming a dreadful form that is known by the name Mahakali, proceeded in the company of that Being who had issued from Mahadeva's mouth, for witnessing with her own eyes the act of destruction which was her own (for it was she who had impelled her lord to accomplish it for her sake). That mighty Being then set out, having obtained the permission of Mahadeva and having bowed his head unto him. In energy, strength, and form, he resembled Maheswara himself who had created him. Indeed, he was the living embodiment of (Mahadeva's) wrath. Of immeasurable might and energy, and of immeasurable courage and prowess, he came to be called by the name of Virabhadra–that dispeller of the goddess's wrath. He then created from the pores of his body a large number of spirit chiefs known by the name of Raumyas. Those fierce bands of spirits, endued with terrible energy and prowess and resembling Rudra himself on that account, rushed with the force of thunder to that place where Daksha was making preparations for his sacrifice, impelled by the desire of destroying it. Possessed of dreadful and gigantic forms, they numbered by hundreds and thousands. They filled the sky with their confused cries and shrieks. That noise filled the denizens of heaven with fear. The very mountains were riven and the earth trembled. Whirl winds began to blow. The Ocean rose in a surge. The fires that were kindled refused to blaze up. The Sun became dimmed. The planets, the stars, and constellations, and the moon, no longer shone. The Rishis, the gods, and human beings, looked pale. A universal darkness spread over earth and sky. The insulted Rudras began to set fire to everything. Some amongst them of terrible form began to smite and strike. Some tore up the sacrificial stakes. Some began to grind and others to crush. Endued with the speed of wind or thought, some began to rush close and far. Some began to break the sacrificial vessels and the celestial ornaments. The scattered fragments strewed the ground like stars bespangling the firmament. Heaps of excellent viands, of bottles of drink, and of eatables there were that looked like mountains. Rivers of milk ran on every side, with clarified butter and Payasa for their mire, creamy curds for their water, and crystalised sugar for their sands. Those rivers contained all the six tastes. There were lakes of treacle that looked very beautiful. Meat of diverse kinds, of the best quality, and other eatables of various sorts, and many excellent varieties of drink, and several other kinds of food that might be licked and sucked, began to be eaten by that army of spirits with diverse mouths. And they began to cast off and scatter those varieties of food in all directions. In consequence of Rudra's wrath, every one of those gigantic Beings looked like the all-destructive Yuga-fire. Agitating the celestial troops they caused them to tremble with fear and fly away in all directions. Those fierce spirits sported with one another, and seizing the celestial damsels shoved and hurled them on all sides. Of fierce deeds, those Beings, impelled by Rudra's wrath, very soon burnt that Sacrifice although it was protected with great care by all the deities. Loud were the roars they uttered which struck every living creature with dread. Having torn off the head of Sacrifice they indulged in glee and shouts. Then the gods headed by Brahman, and that progenitor of creatures, viz., Daksha, joining their hands in reverence, addressed that mighty Being, saying, 'Tell us, who thou art.'

“Virabhadra said, 'I am neither Rudra nor his spouse, the goddess Uma. Nor have I come here for partaking of the fare (provided in this Sacrifice). Knowing the fact of Uma's wrath, the puissant Lord who is the soul of all creatures has given way to wrath. I have not come here for seeing these foremost of Brahmanas. I have not come here urged by curiosity. Know that I have come here for destroying this Sacrifice of yours. I am known by the name of Virabhadra and I have sprung from the wrath of Rudra. This lady (who is my companion), and who is called Bhadrakali, hath sprung from the wrath of the goddess. We have both been despatched by that god of gods, and we have accordingly come here. O foremost of Brahmanas, seek the protection of that Lord of the deities, the spouse of Uma. It is preferable to incur even the wrath of that foremost of gods than to obtain boons from any other Deity.' Hearing the words of Virabhadra, Daksha, that foremost of all righteous persons, bowed down unto Maheswara and sought to gratify him by uttering the following hymn, 'I throw myself at the feet of the effulgent Isana, who is Eternal, Immutable, and Indestructible; who is the foremost of all gods, who is endued with high soul, who is the Lord of all the universe.' [Here follow five and half slokas which appear to be interpolations]. His praises having thus been hymned, the great god, Mahadeva, suspending both Prana and Apana (the two foremost of the five life-breaths) by shutting his mouth properly, and casting (benignant) glances on every side, showed himself there. Possessed of many eyes, that vanquisher of all foes, that Lord of even the gods of all gods, suddenly arose from within the pit in which was kept the sacrificial fire. Possessed of the effulgence of a thousand Suns, and looking like another Samvartaka, the great god smiled gently (at Daksha) and addressing him, said, 'What, O Brahmana, shall I do for you?' At this juncture, the preceptor of all the deities adored Mahadeva with the Vedic verses contained in the Moksha sections. Then that progenitor of all creatures, viz., Daksha, joining his hands in reverence, filled with dread and fear, exceedingly agitated, and with face and eyes bathed in tears, addressed the great god in the following words.'

“Daksha said, 'If the great god has been gratified with me,–'if indeed, I have become an object of favour with him,–if I have deserved his kindness,–if the great Lord of all creatures is disposed to grant me boons,–then let all these articles of mine that have been burnt, eaten, drunk, swallowed, destroyed, broken, and polluted,–let all these articles, collected in course of these articles be of use to me. Even this is the boon I crave.' Unto him the many long years, and with great care and effort, go not for nothing. Let illustrious Hara, the tearer of Bhaga's eyes, said, 'Let it be as thou sayest!' Even these were the words of that illustrious progenitor of all creatures, that god of three eyes, that protector of righteousness.[1406] Having obtained that boon from Bhava, Daksha knelt down to him and adored that deity having the bull for his mark, by uttering his thousand and eight names.'


“Yudhishthira said, 'It behoveth thee, O sire, to tell me those names by which Daksha, that progenitor of creatures, adored the great deity. O sinless one, a reverent curiosity impels me to hear them.'

“Bhishma said, 'Hear, O Bharata, what the names, both secret and proclaimed, are of that god of gods, that deity of extraordinary feats, that ascetic of secret vows.'

“Daksha said, 'I bow to thee, O lord of all the gods to the destroyer of the forces of the Asuras. Thou art the paralyser of the strength of the celestial chief himself. Thou art adored by both gods and Danavas. Thou art thousand-eyed, thou art fierce-eyed, and thou art three-eyed. Thou art the friend of the ruler of the Yakshas. Thy hands and feet extend in all directions to all places. Thy eyes also and head and mouth are turned on all sides. Thy ears too are everywhere in the universe, and thou art thyself everywhere, O Lord! Thou art shaft-eared, thou art large-eared, and thou art pot-eared. Thou art the receptacle of the Ocean. Thy ears are like those of the elephant, or of the bull, or like extended palms. Salutations to thee! Thou hast a hundred stomachs, a hundred revolutions, and a hundred tongues. I bow to thee! The utterers of the Gayatri sing thy praises in uttering the Gayatri, and the worshippers of the Sun adore thee in adoring the Sun. The Rishis regard thee as Brahmana, as Indra, and as the (illimitable) firmament above. O thou of mighty form, the Ocean and the Sky are thy two forms. All the deities dwell in thy form even as kine dwell within the fold. In thy body I behold Soma, and Agni, and the lord of the Waters, and Aditya, and Vishnu, and Brahmana, and Vrihaspati. Thou, O illustrious one, art Cause and Effect and Action and Instrument of everything unreal and real, and thou art Creation and Destruction. I bow unto thee that art called Bhava and Sarva and Rudra. I bow unto thee that art the giver of boons. I bow always unto thee that art the Lord of all creatures. Salutations to thee that art the slayer of Andhaka. Salutations to thee that hast three matted locks, to thee that hast three heads, to thee that art armed with an excellent trident; to thee that hast three eyes and that art, therefore, called Tryamvaka and Trinetra! Salutations to thee that art the destroyer of the triple city! Salutations to thee that art called Chanda, and Kunda; to thee that art the (universal) egg and also the bearer of the (universal) egg; to thee that art the holder of the ascetic's stick, to thee that hast ears everywhere, and to thee that art called Dandimunda! Salutations to thee whose teeth and hair are turned upwards, to thee that art stainless and white, and that art stretched all over the universe; to thee that art red, to thee that art tawny, and to thee that hast a blue throat! Salutations to thee that art of incomparable form, that art of dreadful form, and that art highly auspicious! To thee that art Surya, that hast a garland of Suryas round thy neck, and that hast standards and flags bearing the device of Surya. Salutations to thee that art the Lord of spirits and ghosts, to thee that art bull-necked, and that art armed with the bow; to thee that crushest all foes, to thee that art the personification of chastisement, and to thee that art clad in leaves (of trees) and rags. Salutations to thee that bearest gold in thy stomach, to thee that art cased in golden mail, to thee that art gold-crested, to thee that art the lord of all the gold in the world! Salutations to thee that hast been adored, that deservest to be adored, and that art still being adored; to thee that art all things, that devourest all things, and that art the soul of all things! Salutations to thee that art the Hotri (in sacrifices), that art the (Vedic) mantras uttered (in sacrifices), and that ownest white flags and standards. Salutations to thee that art the navel of the universe, that art both cause and effect in the form of the five primal elements, and that art the coverer of all covers. Salutations to thee that art called Krisanasa, that art of thin limbs, and that art thin. Salutations to thee that art always cheerful and that art the personification of confused sounds and voices. Salutations to thee that art about to be stretched on the earth, that art already stretched, and that standing upright. Salutations to thee that art fixed, that art running, that art bald, and that bearest matted locks on thy head. Salutation to thee that art fond of dancing and that strikest thy puffed cheeks making thy mouth a drum.[1407] Salutations to thee that art fond of lotuses that blow in rivers, and that art always fond of singing and playing on musical instruments. Salutations to thee that art the eldest-born, that art the foremost of all creatures, and that art the crusher of the Asura Vala. Salutations to thee that art the Master of Time, that art the personification of Kalpa; that art the embodiment of all kinds of destruction, great and small. Salutations to thee that laughest awfully and as loud as the beat of a drum, and that observest dreadful vows! Salutations for ever to thee that art fierce, and that hast ten arms. Salutations to thee that art armed with bones and that art fond of the ashes of funeral pyres. Salutations to thee that art awful, that art terrible to behold, and that art an observer of dreadful vows and practices. Salutations to thee that ownest an ugly mouth, that hast a tongue resembling a scimitar, and that hast large teeth. Salutations to thee that art fond of both cooked and uncooked meat, and that regardest the gourded Vina as highly dear. Salutations to thee that causest rain, that helpest the cause of righteousness, that art identifiable with the form of Nandi, and that art Righteousness' self! Salutations to thee that art ever moving like wind and the other forces, that the controller of all things, and that art always engaged in cooking all creatures (in the cauldron of Time).[1408] Salutations to thee that art the foremost of all creatures, that art superior, and that art the giver of boons. Salutations to thee that hast the best of garlands, the best of scents, and the best of robes, and that givest the best of boons to the best of creatures. Salutations to thee that art attached, that art freed from all attachments, that art of the form of Yoga contemplation, and that art adorned with a garland of Akshas. Salutations to thee that art united as cause and disunited as effects, and that art the form of shadow and of light. Salutations to thee that art amiable, and that art frightful, and that art exceedingly so. Salutations to thee that art auspicious, that art tranquil, and that art most tranquil. Salutations to thee that art of one leg and many eyes, and that hast only one head; to thee that art fierce, to thee that art gratified with little offerings, and thee that art fond of equity. Salutations to thee that art the artificer of the universe, and that art ever united with the attribute of tranquillity. Salutations to thee that bearest a foe-frightening bell, that art of the form of the jingle made by a bell, and that art of the form of sound when it is not perceptible by the ear.[1409] Salutations to thee that art like a thousand bells jingled together, and that art fond of a garland of bells, that art like the sound that the life-breaths make, that art of the form of all scents and of the confused noise of boiling liquids. Salutations to thee that art beyond three Huns, and that art fond of two Huns. Salutations to thee that art exceedingly tranquil, and that hast the shade of mountain trees for thy habitation.[1410] Thou art fond of the heart-flesh of all creatures, that cleansest from all sins, and that art of the form of sacrificial offerings. Salutations to thee that art of the form of Sacrifice, that art the Sacrificer himself, that art the Brahmana into whose mouth is poured the sacrificial butter, and that art the fire into which is poured the butter inspired with mantras[1411] Salutations to thee that art of the form of (sacrificial) Ritwijes, that hast thy senses under control, that art made of Sattwa, and that hast Rajas also in thy make. Salutations to thee that art of the banks of Rivers, of Rivers themselves, and of the lord of all Rivers (viz., the Ocean)! Salutations to thee that art the giver of food, that art the lord of all food, and that art identical with him that takes food! Salutations to thee that hast a thousand heads and a thousand feet-, to thee that hast a thousand tridents uplifted in thy hands, and a thousand eyes! Salutations to thee that art of the form of the rising Sun, and that art of the form of a child, that art the protector of attendants all of whom are of the form of children,[1412] and that art, besides, of the form of children's toys. Salutations to thee that art old, that art covetous, that art already agitated, and that art about to be agitated. Salutations to thee that hast locks of hair marked by the current of the Ganges, and that hast locks of hair resembling blades of Munja grass! Salutations to thee that art gratified with the six (well-known) acts, and that art devoted to the performance of the three acts.[1413] Salutations to thee that hast assigned the duties of the respective modes of life. Salutations to thee that deservest to, be praised in sounds, that art of the form of sorrow, and that art of the form of deep and confused noise. Salutations to thee that hast eyes both white and tawny, as also dark and red. Salutations to thee that hast conquered thy vital breaths, that art of the form of weapons, that rivest all things, and that art exceedingly lean. Salutations to thee that always discoursest of Religion, Pleasure, Profit, and Emancipation. Salutations to thee that art a Sankhya, that art the foremost of Sankhyas, and that art the introducer of the Sankhya-Yoga.[1414] Salutations to thee that hast a car and that art without a car (for thy journeys).[1415] Salutations to thee that hast the intersections of four roads for thy car; to thee that hast the skin of a black deer for thy upper garments, and that hast a snake for thy sacred thread. Salutations to thee that art Isana, that art of body as hard as thunderbolt, and that art of green locks. Salutations to thee that art of three eyes, that art the lord of Amvika, that art Manifest, and that art Unmanifest.[1416] Salutations to thee that art Desire, that art the Giver of all desires, that art the Killer of all desires, and that art the discriminator between the gratified and the ungratified. Salutations to thee that art all things, the Giver of all things, and the Destroyer of all things. Salutations to thee that art the hues which appear in the evening sky. Salutations to thee that art of mighty strength, that art of mighty arms, that art a mighty Being, and that art of great effulgence. Salutations to thee that lookest like a mighty mass of clouds, and that art the embodiment of eternity! Salutations to thee that art of well-developed body, that art of emaciated limbs, that bearest matted locks on thy head, and that art clad in barks of trees and skins of animals. Salutations to thee that hast matted locks as effulgent as the Sun or the Fire, and that hast barks and skins for thy attire. Salutations to thee that art possessed of the effulgence of a thousand Suns, and that art ever engaged in penances. Salutations to thee that art the excitement of Fever and that art endued with matted locks drenched with the waters of the Ganges characterised by hundreds of eddies. Salutations to thee that repeatedly revolvest the Moon, the Yugas, and the clouds.[1417] Thou art food, thou art he who eats that food, thou art the giver of food, thou art the grower of food, and thou art the creator of food. Salutations to thee that cookest food and that eatest cooked food, and that art both wind and fire! O lord of all the lords of the gods, thou art the four orders of living creatures, viz., the viviparous, the oviparous, the filth-born, and plants. Thou art the Creator of the mobile and immobile universe, and thou art their Destroyer! O foremost of all persons conversant with Brahma, they that are conversant with Brahma regard thee as Brahma! The utterers of Brahma say that thou art the Supreme source of Mind, and the Refuge upon which Space, Wind, and Light rest. Thou art the Richs and the Samans, and the syllable Om. O foremost of all deities, those utterers of Brahma that sing the Samans constantly sing thee when they utter the syllables Hayi-Hayi, Huva-Hayi, and Huva-Hoyi.[1418] Thou art made up of the Yajuses, of the Richs, and of the offerings poured on the sacrificial fire. The hymns contained in the Vedas and the Upanishads adore thee![1419] Thou art the Brahmanas and the Kshatriyas, the Vaisyas, and the Sudras, and the other castes formed by intermixture. Thou art those masses of clouds that appear in the sky; thou art Lightning; and thou art the roar of thunder. Thou art the year, thou art the seasons, thou art the month, and thou art the fortnight. Thou art Yuga, thou art the time represented by a twinkle of the eye, thou art Kashtha, thou art the Constellations, thou art the Planets, thou art Kala. Thou art the tops of all trees, thou art the highest summits of all mountains. Thou art the tiger among the lower animals, thou art Garuda among birds, and thou art Ananta among snakes. Thou art the ocean of milk among all oceans and thou art the bow among instruments for hurling weapons. Thou art the thunder among weapons, and thou art Truth among vows. Thou art Aversion and thou art Desire: thou art attachment and thou art stupefaction (of judgment): thou art Forgiveness and thou art Unforgiveness. Thou art Exertion, and thou art Patience: thou art Cupidity: thou art Lust and thou art Wrath: thou art Victory and thou art Defeat. Thou art armed with mace, and thou art armed with shaft: thou art armed with the bow, and thou bearest the Khattanga and the Jharjhara in thy hands. Thou art he who cuttest down and piercest and smitest. Thou art he who leads (all creatures) and he who gives them pain and grief. Thou art Righteousness which is marked by ten virtues; thou art Wealth or Profit of every kind; and thou art Pleasure. Thou art Ganga, thou art the Oceans, thou art the Rivers, thou art the lakes, and thou art the tanks. Thou art the thin creepers, thou art the thicker creeping plants, thou art all kinds of grass, and thou art the deciduous herbs. Thou art all the lower animals and thou art the birds. Thou art the origin of all objects and acts, and thou art that season which yields fruits and flowers. Thou art the beginning and thou art the end of the Vedas; thou art the Gayatri, and thou art Om. Thou art Green, thou art Red, thou art Blue, thou art Dark, thou art of Bloody hue, thou art of the colour of the Sun, thou art Tawny, thou art Brown, and thou art Dark blue.[1420] Thou art without colour, thou art of the best colour, thou art the maker of colours, and thou art without comparison. Thou art of the name of Gold, and thou art fond of Gold. Thou art Indra, thou art Yama, thou art the Giver of boons, thou art the Lord of wealth, and thou art Agni. Thou art the Eclipse, thou art the Fire called Chitrabhanu, thou art Rahu, and thou art the Sun. Thou art the fire upon which sacrificial butter is poured. Thou art He who pours the butter. Thou art He in honour of whom the butter is poured, thou art the butter itself that is poured, and thou art the puissant Lord of all. Thou art those sections of the Brahmans that are called Trisuparna, thou art all the Vedas; and thou art the sections called Satarudriya in the Yajuses. Thou art the holiest of holies, and the auspicious of all auspicious things. Thou animatest the inanimate body. Thou art the Chit that dwellest in the human form. Invested with attributes, thou becomest subject to Destruction. Thou art Jiva, that is He who is never subject to destruction when uninvested with attributes. Thou art full yet thou becomest liable to decay and death in the form of the body which is Jiva's accompaniment. Thou art the breath of life, and thou art Sattwa, thou art Rajas, thou art Tamas, and thou art not subject to error. Thou art the breaths called Prana, Apana, Samana, Udana, and Vyana. Thou art the opening of the eye and shutting of the eye. Thou art the act of Sneezing and thou art the act of Yawning. Thou art of red eyes which are ever turned inwards. Thou art of large mouth and large stomach.[1421] The bristles on thy body are like needles. The beard is green. Thy hair is turned upwards. Thou art swifter than the swiftest. Thou art conversant with the principles of music both vocal and instrumental, and fond of both vocal and instrumental music.[1422] Thou art a fish roving in the waters, and thou art a fish entangled in the net. Thou art full, thou art fond of sports, and thou art of the form of all quarrels and disputes. Thou art Time, thou art bad time, thou art time that is premature, and thou art time that is over-mature.[1423] Thou art the killing, thou art the razor (that kills), and thou art that which is killed. Thou art the auxiliary and thou art the adversary, and thou art the destroyer of both auxiliaries and adversaries. Thou art the time when clouds appear, thou art of large teeth, and thou art Samvartaka and Valahaka.[1424] Thou art manifest in the form of splendour. Thou art concealed in consequence of being invested with Maya (or illusion). Thou art He who connects creatures with the fruits of their acts. Thou hast a bell in thy hand. Thou playest with all mobile and immobile things (as with thy toys). Thou art the cause of all causes. Thou art a Brahma (in the form of Pranava), thou art Swaha; thou art the bearer of the Danda, thy head is bald, and thou art he who has his words, deeds and thoughts under control.[1425] Thou art the four Yugas, thou art the four Vedas, thou art He from whom the four (Sacrificial) fires have flowed.[1426] Thou art the Director of all the duties of the four modes of life. Thou art the maker of the four Orders. Thou art always fond of dice. Thou art cunning. Thou art the chief of the spirits distributed into ganas (clans), and their ruler. Thou art adorned with red garlands and attired in robes that are red. Thou sleepest on the mountain-breast, and thou art fond of the red hue. Thou art the artisan; thou art the foremost of artists; and it is thou from whom all arts have flowed. Thou art the tearer of the eyes of Bhaga; thou art Fierce, and thou art He who destroyed the teeth of Pushan.[1427] Thou art Swaha, thou art Swadha, thou art Vashat, thou art Salutation's form, and thou art the words Namas-Namas uttered by all worshippers. Thy observances and thy penances are not known to others. Thou art Pranava; thou art the firmament bespangled with myriads of stars. Thou art Dhatri, and Vidhatri, and Sandhatri, Vidhatri, and the Refuge of all things in the form of the Supreme cause, and thou art independent of all Refuge. Thou art conversant with Brahma, thou art Penance, thou art Truth, thou art the soul of Brahmacharya, and thou art Simplicity.[1428] Thou art the soul of creatures, thou art the Creator of all creatures, thou art absolute Existence, and thou art the Cause whence the Past, the Present, and the Future, have sprung. Thou art Earth, thou art Firmament, and thou art Heaven. Thou art Eternal, thou art Self-restrained, and thou art the great god. Thou art initiated, and thou art not initiated. Thou art forgiving; thou art unforgiving; and thou art the chastiser of all who are rebellious. Thou art the lunar month, thou art the cycle of the Yugas (i.e., Kalpa), thou art Destruction, and thou art Creation. Thou art Lust, thou art the vital seed, thou art subtile, thou art gross, and thou art fond of garlands made of Karnikara flowers. Thou hast a face like that of Nandi, thou hast a face that is terrible, thou hast a handsome face, thou hast an ugly face, and thou art without a face. Thou hast four faces, thou hast many faces, and thou hast a fiery face when engaged in battles. Thou art gold-stomached (i.e., Narayana), thou art (unattached to all things like) a bird (unattached to the earth whence it derives its food and to which it belongs), thou art Ananta (the lord of mighty snakes), and thou art Virat (hugest of the huge). Thou art the destroyer of Unrighteousness, thou art called Mahaparswa, thou art Chandradhara, and thou art the chief of the spirit-clans. Thou lowedst like a cow, thou wert the protector of kine, and thou hast the lord of bulls for thy attendant.[1429] Thou art the protector of the three worlds, thou art Govinda, thou art the director of the senses, and thou art incapable of being apprehended by the senses. Thou art the foremost of all creatures, thou art fixed, thou art immobile, thou tremblest not, and thou art of the form of trembling![1430] Thou art incapable of being resisted, thou art the destroyer of all poisons, thou art incapable of being borne (in battle), and thou art incapable of being transcended, thou canst not be made to tremble, thou canst not be measured, thou canst not be vanquished, and thou art victory.[1431] Thou art of swift speed, thou art the Moon, thou art Yama (the universal destroyer), thou bearest (without flinching) cold and heat and hunger and weakness and disease. Thou art all mental agonies, thou art all physical diseases, thou art the curer of all diseases, and thou art those diseases themselves which thou curest. Thou art the destroyer of my Sacrifice which had endeavoured to escape in the form of deer. Thou art the advent and the departure of all diseases. Thou hast a high crest. Thou hast eyes like lotus-petals. Thy habitation is in the midst of a forest of lotuses. Thou bearest the ascetic's staff in thy hands. Thou hast the three Vedas for thy three eyes. Thy chastisements are fierce and severe. Thou art the destroyer of the egg (whence the universe springs). Thou art the drinker of both poison and fire, thou art the foremost of all deities, thou art the drinker of Soma, thou art the lord of the Maruts.[1432] Thou art the drinker of Nectar. Thou art the Master of the universe. Thou shinest in glory, and thou art the lord of all the shining ones. Thou protectest from poison and death, and thou drinkest milk and Soma. Thou art the foremost of the protectors of those that have fallen off from heaven, and thou protectest him who is the first of the deities.[1433] Gold is thy vital seed. Thou art male, thou art female, thou art neuter. Thou art an infant, thou art a youth, thou art old in years with thy teeth worn out, thou art the foremost of Nagas, thou art Sakra, thou art the Destroyer of the universe, and thou art its Creator. Thou art Prajapati, and thou art adored by the Prajapatis, thou art the supporter of the universe, thou hast the universe for thy form, thou art endued with great energy, and thou hast faces turned towards all directions. The Sun and the Moon are thy two eyes, and the Grandsire is thy heart. Thou art the Ocean. The goddess Saraswati is thy speech and Fire and Wind are thy might. Thou art Day and Night. Thou art all acts including the opening and the shutting of the eye. Neither Brahman, nor Govinda, nor the ancient Rishis, are competent to understand thy greatness, O auspicious deity, truly. Those subtile forms which thou hast are invisible to us. Rescue me and, O, protect me as the sire protects the son of his loins. O, protect one! I deserve thy protection. I bow to thee, O sinless one! Thou, O illustrious one, art full of compassion for thy devotees. I am always devoted to thee. Let him be always my protector who stayeth alone on the other side of the ocean, in a form that is difficult to be apprehended, and overwhelming many thousands of persons![1434] I bow to that Soul of Yoga who is beheld in the form of an effulgent Light by persons that have their senses under control, that are possessed of the attribute of Sattwa, that have regulated their breaths, and that have conquered sleep.[1435] I bow to him who is endued with matted locks, who bears the ascetic's staff in his hand, who is possessed of a body having a long abdomen, who has a kamandalu tied to his back, and who is the Soul of Brahman. I bow to Him who is the soul of water, in whose hair are the clouds, in the joints of whose body are the rivers, and in whose stomach are the four oceans. I seek the protection to Him who, when the end of the Yuga comes, devours all creatures and stretches himself (for sleep) on the wide expanse of water that covers the universe. Let him who entering Rahu's mouth drinketh Soma in the night and who becoming Swarbhanu devoureth Surya also, protect me![1436] The deities, who are mere infants and who have all sprung from thee after Brahman's creation, enjoy their respective shares (in sacrificial offerings). Let them (peacefully) enjoy those offerings made with Swaha and Swadha, and let them derive pleasure from those presents. I bow to them.[1437] Let those Beings that are of the stature of the thumb and that dwell in all bodies, always protect and gratify me.[1438] I always bow to those Beings who dwelling within embodied creatures make the latter cry in grief without themselves crying in grief, and who gladden them without themselves being glad. I always bow to those Rudras who dwell in rivers, in oceans, in hills and mountains, in mountain-caves, in the roots of trees, in cow-pens, in inaccessible forests, in the intersections of roads, in roads, in open squares, in banks (of rivers and lakes and oceans), in elephant-sheds, in stables, in car-sheds, in deserted gardens and houses, in the five primal elements, and in the cardinal and subsidiary directions. I bow repeatedly unto them that dwell in the space amidst the Sun and the Moon, as also in rays of the Sun and the Moon, and them that dwell in the nether regions, and them that have betaken themselves to Renunciation and other superior practices for the sake of the Supreme.[1439] I bow always unto them that are unnumbered, that are unmeasured, and that have no form, unto those Rudras, that is, that are endued with infinite attributes. Since thou, O Rudra, art the Creator of all creatures, since, O Hara, thou art the Master of all creatures, and since thou art the indwelling Soul of all creatures, therefore wert thou not invited by me (to my Sacrifices). Since thou art He who is adored in all sacrifices with plentiful gifts, and since it is Thou that art the Creator of all things, therefore I did not invite thee. Or, perhaps, O god, stupefied by thy subtile illusion I failed to invite thee. Be gratified with me, blessed by thyself, O Bhava, with me possessed by the quality of Rajas. My Mind, my Understanding, and my Chitta all dwell in thee, O god!

“Hearing these adorations, that Lord of all creatures, viz., Mahadeva, ceased (to think of inflicting further injuries on Daksha). Indeed, highly gratified, the illustrious deity addressed Daksha, saying, 'O Daksha of excellent vows, pleased have I been with these adorations of thine. Thou needst not praise me more. Thou shalt attain to my companionship. Through my grace, O progenitor of creatures, thou shalt earn the fruit of a thousand horse-sacrifices, and a hundred Vajapeyas (in consequence of this one incomplete sacrifice of thine).

“Once more, Mahadeva, that thorough master of words, addressed Daksha and said unto him these words fraught with high consolation, 'Be thou the foremost of all creatures in the world. Thou shouldst not, O Daksha, entertain any feelings of grief for these injuries inflicted on thy Sacrifice. It has been seen that in former Kalpas too I had to destroy thy Sacrifice.[1440] O thou of excellent vows, I shall grant thee again some more boons. Take them from me. Dispelling this cheerlessness that overspreads thy face, listen to me with undivided attention. With the aid of arguments addressed to reason the deities and the Danavas have extracted from the Vedas consisting of six branches and from the system of Sankhya and Yoga a creed in consequence of which they have practised the austerest penances for many long years. The religion, however, which I have extracted, is unparalleled, and productive of benefits on every side. It is open to men in all modes of life to practise it. It leads to Emancipation. It may be acquired in many years or through merit by persons who have restrained their senses. It is shrouded in mystery. They that are divested of wisdom regard it as censurable. It is opposed to the duties laid down in respect of the four orders of men and the four modes of life, and agrees with those duties in only a few particulars. They that are well-skilled in the science of (drawing) conclusions (from premises) can understand its propriety: and they who have transcended all the modes of life are worthy of adopting it. In days of yore, O Daksha, this auspicious religion called Pasupata had been extracted by me. The proper observance of that religion produces immense benefits. Let those benefits be thine, O highly blessed one! Cast off this fever of thy heart.' Having said these words, Mahadeva, with his spouse (Uma) and with all his attendants disappeared from the view of Daksha of immeasurable prowess. He who would recite this hymn that was first uttered by Daksha or who would listen to it when recited by another, would never meet with the smallest evil and would attain to a long life. Indeed, as Siva is the foremost of all the deities, even so is this hymn, agreeable with the Srutis, is the foremost of all hymns. Persons desirous of fame, kingdom, happiness, pleasure, profit, and wealth, as also those desirous of learning, should listen with feelings of devotion to the recital of this hymn. One suffering from disease, one distressed by pain, one plunged into melancholy, one afflicted by thieves or by fear, one under the displeasure of the king in respect of his charge, becomes freed from fear (by listening or reciting this hymn). By listening to or reciting this hymn, one, in even this earthly body of his, attains to equality with the spirits forming the attendants of Mahadeva. One becomes endued with energy and fame, and cleansed of all sin (through the virtue of this hymn). Neither Rakshasas, nor Pisachas, nor ghosts, nor Vinayakas, create disturbances in his house where this hymn is recited. That woman, again, who listens to this hymn with pious faith, observing the while the practices of Brahmacharya, wins worship as a goddess in the family of her sire and that of her husband.[1441] All the acts of that person become always crowned with success who listens or recites with rapt attention to the whole of this hymn. In consequence of the recitation of this hymn all the wishes one forms in one's mind and all the wishes one clothes in words become crowned with fruition. That man obtains all objects of enjoyment and pleasure and all things that are wished for by him, who, practising self-restraint, makes according to due rites offerings unto Mahadeva, Guha, Uma, and Nandi, and after that utters their names without delay, in proper order and with devotion. Such a man, departing from this life, ascends to heaven, and has never to take birth among the intermediate animals or birds. This was said even by the puissant Vyasa, the son of Parasara.'”


“Yudhishthira said, 'Tell me, O grandsire, what is Adhyatma with respect to man and whence it arises.'

“Bhishma said, 'Aided by the science of Adhyatma one may know everything. It is, again, superior to all things. I shall, with the help of my intelligence, explain to thee that Adhyatma about which thou askest me. Listen, O son, to my explanation. Earth, Wind, Space, Water, and Light forming the fifth, are the great essences. These are (the causes of) the origin and the destruction of all creatures. The bodies of living creatures (both subtile and gross), O bull of Bharata's race, are the result of the combination of the virtues of these five. Those virtues (whose combinations produce the bodies of creatures) repeatedly start into existence and repeatedly merge into the original cause of all things, viz., the Supreme Soul.[1442] From those five primal essences are created all creatures, and into those five great elements all creatures resolve themselves, repeatedly, like the infinite waves of the Ocean rising from the Ocean and subsiding into that which causes them. As a tortoise stretches forth its legs and withdraws them again into itself, even so the infinite number of creatures spring from (and enter) these five great fixed essences. Verily, sound springs from Space, and all dense matter is the attribute of earth. Life is from Wind. Taste is from Water. Form is said to be the property of Light. The entire mobile and immobile universe is thus these five great essences existing together in various proportions. When Destruction comes, the infinite diversity of creatures resolve themselves into those five, and once more, when Creation begins, they spring from the same five. The Creator places in all creatures the same five great essences in proportions that He thinks proper. Sound, the ears, and all cavities,–these three,–have Space for their producing cause. Taste, all watery or juicy substances, and the tongue, are said to be the properties of water. Form, the eye, and the digestive fire in the stomach, are said to partake of the nature of Light. Scent, the organ of smelling, and the body, are the properties of earth. Life, touch, and action are said to be the properties of Wind. I have thus explained to thee, O king, all the properties of the five primal essences. Having created these, the Supreme Deity, O Bharata, united with them Sattwa, Rajas, Tamas, Time, Consciousness of functions, and Mind forming the sixth.[1443] That which is called the Understanding dwells in the interior of what thou seest above the soles of the feet and below the crown of the head. In man the senses (of knowledge) are five. The sixth (sense) is the Mind. The seventh is called the Understanding. The Kshetrajna or Soul is the eighth. The senses and that which is the Actor should be ascertained by apprehension of their respective functions. The conditions or states called Sattwa, Rajas, and Tamas, depend upon the senses for their refuge or formation. The senses exist for simply seizing the impressions of their respective objects. The Mind has doubt for its function. The Understanding is for ascertainment. The Kshetrajna is said to be only an inactive witness (of the functions of the others). Sattwa, Rajas, Tamas, Time, and Acts, O Bharata, these attributes direct the Understanding. The Understanding is the senses and the five fore-mentioned attributes.[1444] When the Understanding is wanting, the senses with the mind, and the five other attributes (viz., Sattwa, Rajas, Tamas, Time, and Acts) cease to be. That by which the Understanding sees is called the eye. When the Understanding hears, it is called the ear. When she smells, she becomes the sense of scent; and when she tastes the various objects of taste, she comes to be called by the name of tongue. When again she feels the touch of the various objects of touch, she becomes the sense of touch. It is the Understanding that becomes modified diversely and frequently. When the Understanding desires anything, she becomes Mind. The five senses with the Mind, which separately constitute the foundations (of the Understanding), are the creations of the Understanding. They are called Indriyas. When they become stained, the Understanding also becomes stained.[1445] The Understanding, dwelling in Jiva, exists in three states. Sometimes she obtains joy; sometimes she indulges in grief; and sometimes she exists in a state that is neither pleasure nor pain. Having for her essence these conditions or states (viz., Sattwa, Rajas, and Tamas), the Understanding resolves through these three states.[1446] As the lord of rivers, viz., the surging Ocean, always keeps within his continents, even so the Understanding, which exists in connection with the (three) states, exists in the Mind (including the senses). When the state of Rajas is awakened, the Understanding becomes modified into Rajas. Transport of delight, joy, gladness, happiness, and contentedness of heart, these, when somehow excited, are the properties of Sattwa. Heart-burning, grief, sorrow, discontentedness, and unforgivingness,[1447] arising from particular causes, are the result of Rajas. Ignorance, attachment and error, heedlessness, stupefaction, and terror, meanness, cheerlessness, sleep, and procrastination,–these, when brought about by particular causes, are the properties of Tamas. Whatever state of either body or mind, connected with joy or happiness, arises, should be regarded as due to the state of Sattwa. Whatever, again, is fraught with sorrow and is disagreeable to oneself should be regarded as arising from Rajas. Without commencing any such act, one should turn one's attention to it (for avoiding it). Whatever is fraught with error or stupefaction in either body or mind, and is inconceivable and mysterious, should be known as connected with Tamas. Thus, have I explained to thee that things in this world dwell in the Understanding. By knowing this one becomes wise. What else can be the indication of wisdom? Know now the difference between these two subtile things, viz., Understanding and Soul. One of these, viz., the Understanding, creates attributes. The other, viz., the Soul, does not create them. Although they are, by nature, distinct from each other, yet they always exist in a state of union. A fish is different from the water in which it dwells, but the fish and the water must exist together. The attributes cannot know the Soul. The Soul, however, knows them. They that are ignorant regard the Soul as existing in a state of union with the attributes like qualities existing with their possessors. This, however, is not the case, for the Soul is truly only an inactive Witness of everything. The Understanding has no refuge.[1448] That which is called life (involving the existence of the Understanding) arises from the effects of the attributes coming together. Others (than these attributes which are created by the Understanding), acting as causes, create the Understanding that dwells in the body. No one can apprehend the attributes in their real nature or form of existence. The Understanding, as already said, creates the attributes. The Soul simply beholds them (as an inactive Witness). This union that exists between the Understanding and the Soul is eternal. The indwelling Understanding apprehends all things through the Senses which are themselves inanimate and unapprehending. Really the senses are only like lamps (that throw their light for discovering objects to others without themselves being able to see them). Even this is the nature (of the Senses, the Understanding, and the Soul). Knowing this, one should live cheerfully, without yielding to either grief or joy. Such a man is said to be beyond the influence of pride. That the Understanding creates all these attributes is due to her own nature,–even as a spider weaves threads in consequence of her own nature. These attributes should be known as the threads the spider weaves. When destroyed, the attributes do not cease to exist; their existence ceases to be visible. When, however, a thing transcends the ken of the senses, its existence (or otherwise) is affirmed by inference. This is the opinion of one set of persons. Others affirm that with destruction the attributes cease to be. Untying this knotty problem addressed to the understanding and reflection, and dispelling all doubt, one should cast off sorrow and live in happiness.[1449] As men unacquainted with its bottom become distressed when they fall upon this earth which is like a river filled with the waters of stupefaction, even so is that man afflicted who falls away from that state in which there is a union with the Understanding.[1450] Men of knowledge, however, conversant with Adhyatma and armed with fortitude, are never afflicted, because they are capable of crossing to the other shore of those waters. Indeed, Knowledge is an efficient raft (in that river). Men of knowledge have not to encounter those frightful terrors which alarm them that are destitute of knowledge. As regards the righteous, none of them attains to an end that is superior to that of any other person amongst them. Indeed, the righteous show, in this respect, an equality. As regards the man of Knowledge, whatever acts have been done by him in past times (while he was steeped in Ignorance) and whatever acts fraught with great iniquity he does (after attainment of Knowledge), he destroys both by Knowledge as his sole means. Then again, upon the attainment of Knowledge he ceases to perpetrate these two evils, viz., censuring the wicked acts of others and doing any wicked acts himself under the influence of attachment.'”[1451]


“Yudhishthira said, 'Living creatures always stand in fear of sorrow and death. Tell me, O grandsire, how the occurrence of these two may be prevented.'

“Bhishma said, 'In this connection, O Bharata, is cited the old narrative of the discourse between Narada and Samanga.'

“Narada said, '(While others salute their superiors by only a bend of the head) thou salutest thy superiors by prostrating thyself on the ground till thy chest comes into contact with the ground. Thou seemest to be engaged in crossing (the river of life) with thy hands.[1452] Thou seemest to be always free from sorrow and exceedingly cheerful. I do not see that thou hast the least anxiety. Thou art always content and happy and thou seemest to sport (in felicity) like a child.'

“Samanga said, 'O giver of honours, I know the truth about the Past, the Present, and the Future. Hence I never become cheerless.[1453] I know also what the beginning of acts is in this world, what the accession of their fruits, and how varied are those fruits. Hence I never yield to sorrow.[1454] Behold, the illiterate, the destitute, the prosperous, O Narada, the blind, idiots and madmen, and ourselves also, all live.[1455] These live by virtue of their acts of past lives. The very deities, who exist freed from diseases, exist (in that state) by virtue of their past acts. The strong and the weak, all, live by virtue of past acts. It is fitting, therefore, that thou shouldst hold us in esteem. The owners of thousands live. The owners of hundreds also live. They that are overwhelmed with sorrow live. Behold, we too are living! When we, O Narada, do not give way to grief, what can the practice of the duties (of religion) or the observance of (religious) acts do to us? And since all joys and sorrows also are not unending, they are, therefore, unable to agitate us at all.[1456] That for which men are said to be wise, indeed, the very root of wisdom, is the freedom of the senses from error. It is the senses that yield to error and grief. One whose senses are subject to error can never be said to have attained wisdom. That pride which is indulged in by a man subject to error is only a form of the error to which he is subject. As regards the man of error, he has neither this world nor the next. It should be remembered that griefs do not last for ever and that happiness cannot be had always.[1457] Worldly life with all its vicissitudes and painful incidents, one like me would never adopt. Such a one would not care for desirable objects of enjoyments, and would not think at all of the happiness their possession may bring about, or, indeed, of the griefs that present themselves.[1458] One capable of resting on one's own self would never covet the possessions of others; would not think of gains unacquired, would not feel delighted at the acquisition of even immense wealth; and would not yield to sorrow at the loss of wealth. Neither friends, nor wealth, nor high birth, nor scriptural learning, nor mantras, nor energy, can succeed in rescuing one from sorrow in the next world. It is only by conduct that one can attain to felicity there. The Understanding of the man unconversant with Yoga can never be directed towards Emancipation. One unconversant with Yoga can never have happiness. Patience and the resolution to cast off sorrow, these two indicate the advent of happiness. Anything agreeable leads to pleasure. Pleasure induces pride. Pride, again, is productive of sorrow. For these reasons, I avoid all these. Grief, Fear, Pride,–these that stupefy the heart,–and also Pleasure and Pain, I behold as (an unconcerned) witness since my body is endued with life and moves about.[1459] Casting off both wealth and pleasure, and thirst and error, I wander over the earth, freed from grief and every kind of anxiety of heart. Like one that has drunk nectar I have no fear, here or hereafter, of death, or iniquity, or cupidity, or anything of that kind. I have acquired this knowledge, O Brahmana, as the result of my severe and indestructible penances. It is for this reason, O Narada, that grief, even when it comes to me, does not succeed in afflicting me.'”


“Yudhishthira said, 'Tell me, O grandsire, what is beneficial for one that is unconversant with the truths of the scriptures, that is always in doubt, and that abstains from self-restraint and the other practices having for their object the knowledge of the Soul.'

“Bhishma said, 'Worshipping the preceptor, always waiting reverentially on those that are aged, and listening to the scriptures (when recited by up competent Brahmanas),–these are said to be of supreme benefit (to a person like the one thou hast described). In this connection also is cited the old narrative of the discourse between Galava and the celestial Rishi Narada. Once on a time Galava, desirous of obtaining what was for his benefit, addressed Narada freed from error and fatigue, learned in the scriptures, gratified with knowledge, a thorough master of his senses, and with soul devoted to Yoga, and said, 'Those virtues, O Muni, by the possession of which a person becomes respected in the world, I see, dwell permanently in thee. Thou art freed from error and, as such, it behoveth thee to remove the doubts that fill the minds of men like ourselves that are subject to error and that are unacquainted with the truths of the world. We do not know what we should do, for the declarations of the scriptures generate an inclination for (the acquisition of) Knowledge simultaneously with the inclination for acts. It behoveth thee to discourse to us on these subjects.[1460] O illustrious one, the different asramas approve different courses of conduct.–_This_ is beneficial,–_This_ (other) is beneficial–the scriptures exhort us often in this wise.[1461] Beholding the followers of the four asramas, who are thus exhorted by the scriptures and who fully approve of what the scriptures have laid down for them, thus travelling in diverse courses, and seeing that ourselves also are equally content with our own scriptures, we fail to understand what is truly beneficial. If the scriptures were all uniform, then what is truly beneficial would have become manifest. In consequence, however, of the scriptures being multifarious, that which is truly beneficial becomes invested with mystery. For these reasons, that which is truly beneficial seems to me to be involved in confusion. Do thou then, O illustrious one, discourse to me on the subject. I have approached thee (for this), O, instruct me!'

“Narada said, 'The Asramas are four in number, O child! All of them serve the purposes for which they have been designed; and the duties they preach differ from one another. Ascertaining them first from well-qualified preceptors, reflect upon them, O Galava![1462] Behold, the announcements of the merits of those Asramas are varied in respect of their form, divergent in respect of their matter, and contradictory in respect of the observances they embrace.[1463] Observed with gross vision, verily, all the Asramas refuse to clearly yield their true intent (which, of course, is knowledge of Self). Others, however, endued with subtle sight, behold their highest end.[1464] That which is truly beneficial, and about which there is no doubt, viz., good offices to friends, and suppression of enemies, and the acquisition of the aggregate of three (viz., Religion, Profit, and Pleasure), has been declared by the wise to be supreme excellence.[1465] Abstention from sinful acts, constancy of righteous disposition, good behaviour towards those that are good and pious,–these, without doubt, constitute excellence. Mildness towards all creatures, sincerity of behaviour, and the use of sweet words,–these, without doubt, constitute excellence. An equitable apportionment of what one has among the deities, the Pitris, and guests, and adherence to servants,–these, without doubt, constitute excellence. Truthfulness of speech is excellent. The knowledge, however, of truth, is very difficult of acquisition. I say that that is truth which is exceedingly beneficial to creatures.[1466] The renunciation of pride, the suppression of heedlessness, contentment, living by one's own self,–these are said to constitute supreme excellence. The study of the Vedas, and of their branches, according to the well-known rules, and all enquiries and pursuits having for their sake the acquisition of knowledge,–these, without doubt, are excellent. One desirous of achieving what is excellent should never enjoy sound and form and taste and touch and scent, to excess and should not enjoy them for their sake alone. Wandering in the night, sleep during the day, indulgence in idleness, roguery, arrogance, excessive indulgence and total abstention from all indulgence in objects of the senses, should be relinquished by one desirous of achieving what is excellent.[1467] One should not seek self-elevation by depreciating others. Indeed, one should, by one's merits alone, seek distinction over persons that are distinguished but never over those that are inferior. Men really destitute of merit and filled with a sense of self-admiration depreciate men of real merit, by asserting their own virtues and affluence. Swelling with a sense of their own importance, these men, when none interferes with them (for bringing them to a right sense of what they are), regard themselves to be superior to men of real distinction. One possessed of real wisdom and endued with real merits, acquires great fame by abstaining from speaking ill of others and from indulging in self-praise. Flowers shed their pure and sweet fragrance without trumpeting forth their own excellence. Similarly, the effulgent Sun scatters his splendours in the firmament in perfect silence. After the same manner those men blaze in the world with celebrity who by the aid of their intelligence, cast off these and similar other faults and who do not proclaim their own virtues. The fool can never shine in the world by bruiting about his own praise. The man, however, of real merit and learning obtains celebrity even if he be concealed in a pit. Evil words, uttered with whatsoever vigour of voice die out (in no time). Good words, uttered however softly, blaze forth in the world. As the Sun shows his fiery form (in the gem called Suryakanta), even so the multitude of words, of little sense, that fools filled with vanity utter, display only (the meanness of) their hearts. For these reasons, men seek the acquisition of wisdom of various kinds. It seems to me that of all acquisitions that of wisdom is the most valuable. One should not speak until one is asked; nor should one speak when one is asked improperly. Even if possessed of intelligence and knowledge, one should still sit in silence like an idiot (until one is asked to speak and asked in proper form). One should seek to dwell among honest men devoted to righteousness and liberality and the observance of the duties of their own order. One desirous of achieving what is excellent should never dwell in a place where a confusion occurs in the duties of the several orders.[1468] A person may be seen to live who abstains from all works (for earning the means of his living) and who is well-content with whatever is got without exertion. By living amid the righteous, one succeeds in acquiring pure righteousness. After the same manner, one by living amid the sinful, becomes stained with sin.[1469] As the touch of water or fire or the rays of the moon immediately conveys the sensation of cold or heat, after the same manner the impressions of virtue and vice become productive of happiness or misery. They that are eaters of Vighasa eat without taking any notice of the flavours of the edibles placed before them. They, however, that eat carefully discriminating the flavours of the viands prepared for them, should be known as persons still tied by the bonds of action.[1470] The righteous man should leave that place where a Brahmana discourses on duties unto disciples desirous of acquiring knowledge, as based on reasons, of the Soul, but who do not enquire after such knowledge with reverence.[1471] Who, however, will leave that spot where exists in its entirety that behaviour between disciples and preceptors which is consistent with what has been laid down in the scriptures? What learned man desirous of respect being paid to himself will dwell in that place where people bruit about the faults of the learned even when such have no foundation to stand upon?[1472] Who is there that will not leave that place, like a garment whose end has caught fire, where covetous men seek to break down the barriers of virtue? One should remain and dwell in that place, among good men of righteous disposition, where persons endued with humility are engaged in fearlessly practising the duties of religion. There where men practise the duties of religion for the sake of acquiring wealth and other temporal advantages, one should not dwell, for the people of that place are all to be regarded as sinful. One should fly away with all speed from that place, as if from a room in which there is a snake, where the inhabitants, desirous of obtaining the means of life, are engaged in the practice of sinful deeds. One desirous of what is beneficial should, from the beginning, relinquish that act in consequence of which one becomes stretched, as it were, on a bed of thorn and in consequence of which one becomes invested with the desires born of the deeds of past lives.[1473] The righteous man should leave that kingdom where the king and king's officers exercise equal authority and where they are given to the habit of eating before feeding their relatives (when the latter come as guests).[1474] One should dwell in that country where Brahmanas possessed of a knowledge of the scriptures are fed first: where they are always devoted to the due observance of religious duties, and where they are engaged in teaching disciples and officiating at the sacrifices of others. One should unhesitatingly dwell in that country where the sounds Swaha, Swadha, and Vashat are duly and continuously uttered.[1475] One should leave that kingdom, like poisoned meat, where one sees Brahmanas obliged to betake themselves to unholy practices, being tortured by want of the means of life. With a contented heart and deeming all his wishes as already gratified a righteous man should dwell in that country whose inhabitants cheerfully give away before even they are solicited. One should live and move about, among good men devoted to acts of righteousness, in that country where chastisement falleth upon those that are wicked and where respect and good offices are the portion of those that are of subdued and cleansed souls. One should unhesitatingly dwell in that country whose king is devoted to virtue and which the king rules virtuously, casting off desires and possessed of prosperity, and where severe chastisement is dealt to those that visit self-controlled men with the consequences of their wrath, those that act wickedly towards the righteous, those that are given to acts of violence, and those that are covetous.[1476] Kings endued with such a disposition bring about prosperity to those that dwell in their kingdoms when prosperity is on the point of leaving them.[1477] I have thus told thee, O son, in answer to thy enquiry, what is beneficial or excellent. No one can describe, in consequence of its exceedingly high character, what is beneficial or excellent for the Soul.[1478] Many and high will the excellences be, through the observance of the duties laid down for him, of the man who for earning his livelihood during the time of his sojourn here conducts himself in the way indicated above and who devotes his soul to the good of all creatures.'”[1479]


“Yudhishthira said, 'How, O grandsire, should a king like us behave in this world, keeping in view the great object of acquisition? What attributes, again, should he always possess so that he may be freed from attachments?'

“Bhishma said, 'I shall in this connection recite to thee the old narrative that was uttered by Arishtanemi unto Sagara who had sought his counsel.'

“Sagara said, 'What is that good, O Brahmana, by doing which one may enjoy felicity here? How, indeed, may one avoid grief and agitation? I wish to know all this!'

“Bhishma continued, 'Thus addressed by Sagara, Arishtanemi of Tarkshya's race, conversant with all the scriptures, regarding the questioner to be every way deserving of his instructions, said these words,[1480] 'The felicity of Emancipation is true felicity in the world. The man of ignorance knows it not, attached as he is to children and animals and possessed of wealth and corn. An understanding that is attached to worldly objects and a mind suffering from thirst,–these two baffle all skilful treatment. The ignorant man who is bound in the chains of affection is incapable of acquiring Emancipation.[1481] I shall presently speak to thee of all the bonds that spring from the affections. Hear them with attention. Indeed, they are capable of being heard with profit by one that is possessed of knowledge. Having procreated children in due time and married them when they become young men, and having ascertained them to be competent for earning their livelihood, do thou free thyself from all attachments and rove about in happiness. When thou seest thy dearly-cherished wife grown old in years and attached to the son she has brought forth, do thou leave her in time, keeping in view the highest object of acquisition (viz., Emancipation). Whether thou obtainest a son or not, having during the first years of thy life duly enjoyed with thy senses the objects that are addressed to them, free thyself from attachments and rove about in happiness. Having indulged the senses with their objects, thou shouldst suppress the desire of further indulging them. Freeing thyself then from attachments, thou shouldst rove in felicity, contenting thyself with what is obtained without effort and previous calculation, and casting an equal eye upon all creatures and objects.[1482] Thus, O son, have I told thee in brief (of what the way is for freeing thyself from attachments). Hear me now, for I shall presently tell thee, in detail, the desirability of the acquisition of Emancipation.[1483] Those persons who live in this world freed from attachments and fear, succeed in obtaining happiness. Those persons, however, who are attached to worldly objects, without doubt, meet with destruction. Worms and ants (like men) are engaged in the acquisition of food and are seen to die in the search. They that are freed from attachments are happy, while they that are attached to worldly objects meet with destruction. If thou desirest to attain to Emancipation thou shouldst never bestow thy thoughts on thy relatives, thinking,–How shall these exist without me?–A living creature takes birth by himself, and grows by himself, and obtains happiness and misery, and death by himself. In this world people enjoy and obtain food and raiment and other acquisitions earned by their parents or themselves. This is the result of the acts of past lives, for nothing can be had in this life which is not the result of the past. All creatures live on the Earth, protected by their own acts, and obtaining their food as the result of what is ordained by Him who assigns the fruits of acts. A man is but a lump of clay, and is always himself completely dependent on other forces. One, therefore, being oneself so, in firm, what rational consideration can one have for protecting and feeding one's relatives? When thy relatives are carried away by Death in thy very sight and in spite of even thy utmost efforts to save them, that circumstance alone should awaken thee. In the every lifetime of thy relatives and before thy own duty is completed of feeding and protecting them, thyself mayst meet with death and abandon them. After thy relatives have been carried away from this world by death, thou canst not know what becomes of them there,–that is, whether they meet with happiness or misery. This circumstance ought to awaken thee. When in consequence of the fruits of their own acts thy relatives succeed in maintaining themselves in this world whether thou livest or diest, reflecting on this thou shouldst do what is for thy own good.[1484] When this is known to be the case, who in the world is to be regarded as whose? Do thou, therefore, set thy heart on the attainment of Emancipation. Listen now to what more I shall say unto thee. That man of firm Soul is certainly emancipated who has conquered hunger and thirst and such other states of the body, as also wrath and cupidity and error. That man is always emancipated who does not forget himself, through folly, by indulging in gambling and drinking and concubinage and the chase. That man who is really touched by sorrow in consequence of the necessity there is of eating every day and every night for supporting life, is said to be cognisant of the faults of life. One who, as the result of careful reflection, regards his repeated births to be only due to sexual congress with women, is held to be freed from attachments. That man is certainly emancipated who knows truly the nature of the birth, the destruction, and the exertion (or acts) of living creatures. That man becomes certainly freed who regards (as worthy of his acceptance) only a handful of corn, for the support of life, from amidst millions upon millions of carts loaded with grain, and who disregards the difference between a shed of bamboo and reeds and a palatial mansion.[1485] That man becomes certainly freed who beholds the world to be afflicted by death and disease and famine.[1486] Indeed, one who beholds the world to be such succeeds in becoming contented; while one who fails to behold the world in such a light, meets with destruction. That man who is contented with only a little is regarded as freed. That man who beholds the world as consisting of eaters and edibles (and himself as different from both) and who is never touched by pleasure and pain which are born of illusion, is regarded as emancipate. That man who regards a soft bed on a fine bedstead and the hard soil as equal, and who regards good sali rice and hard thick rice as equal, is emancipated. That man who regards linen and cloth made of grass as equal, and in whose estimation cloth of silk and barks of trees are the same, and who sees no difference between clean sheep-skin and unclean leather, is emancipated That man who looks upon this world as the result of the combination of the five primal essences, and who behaves himself in this world, keeping this notion foremost, is emancipated. That man who regards pleasure and pain as equal, and gain and loss as on a par, in whose estimation victory and defeat differ not, to whom like and dislike are the same, and who is unchanged under fear and anxiety, is wholly emancipated. That man who regards his body which has so many imperfections to be only a mass of blood, urine and excreta, as also of disorders and diseases, is emancipated. That man becomes emancipated who always recollects that this body, when overtaken by decrepitude, becomes assailed by wrinkles and white hairs and leanness and paleness of complexion and a bending of the form. That man who recollects his body to be liable to loss of virility, and weakness of sight, and deafness, and loss of strength, is emancipated. That man who knows that the very Rishis, the deities, and the Asuras are beings that have to depart from their respective spheres to other regions, is emancipated. That man who knows that thousands of kings possessed of even great offence and power have departed from this earth, succeeds in becoming emancipated. That man who knows that in this world the acquisition of objects is always difficult, that pain is abundant, and that the maintenance of relatives is ever attended with pain, becomes emancipated.[1487] Beholding the abundant faults of children and of other men, who is there that would not adore Emancipation? That man who, awakened by the scriptures and the experience of the world, beholds every human concern in this world to be unsubstantial, becomes emancipated. Bearing in mind those words of mine, do thou conduct thyself like one that has become emancipated, whether it is a life of domesticity that thou wouldst lead or pursue emancipation without suffering thy understanding to be confounded.'[1488] Hearing these words of his with attention, Sagara, that lord of earth, acquired those virtues which are productive of Emancipation and continued, with their aid to rule his subjects.'”


“Yudhishthira said, 'This curiosity, O sire, is always dwelling in my mind. O grandsire of the Kurus, I desire to hear everything about it from thee. Why was the celestial Rishi, the high-souled Usanas, called also Kavi engaged in doing what was agreeable to the Asuras and disagreeable to the deities? Why was he engaged in diminishing the energy of the deities? Why were the Danavas always engaged in hostilities with the foremost of the deities? Possessed of the splendour of an immortal, for what reason did Usanas obtain the name of Sukra? How also did he acquire such superior excellence? Tell me all about these things. Though possessed of great energy, why does he not succeed in travelling to the centre of the firmament? I desire, O grandsire, to learn everything about all these matters.'[1489]

“Bhishma said, 'Listen, O king, with attention to all this as it occurred actually. O sinless one, I shall narrate these matters to thee as I have heard and understood them. Of firm vows and honoured by all, Usanas, that descendant of Bhrigu's race, became engaged in doing what was disagreeable to the deities for an adequate cause.[1490] The royal Kuvera, the chief of the Yakshas and the Rakshasas, is the lord of the treasury of Indra, that master of the universe.[1491] The great ascetic Usanas, crowned with Yoga-success, entered the person of Kuvera, and depriving the lord of treasures of his liberty by means of Yoga, robbed him of all his wealth.[1492] Seeing his wealth taken away from him, the lord of treasures became highly displeased. Filled with anxiety, and his wrath also being excited, he went to that foremost of gods, viz., Mahadeva. Kuvera, represented the matter unto Siva of immeasurable energy, that first of gods, fierce and amiable, and possessed of various forms. And he said, 'Usanas, having spiritualised himself by Yoga entered my form and depriving myself of liberty, has taken away all my wealth. Having by Yoga entered my body he has again left it.' Hearing these words, Maheswara of supreme Yoga-powers became filled with rage. His eyes, O king, became blood-red, and taking up his lance he waited (ready to strike down Usanas). Indeed, having taken up that foremost of weapons, the great god began to say, 'Where is he? Where is he?' Meanwhile, Usanas, having ascertained the purpose of Mahadeva (through Yoga-power) from a distance, waited in silence. Indeed, having ascertained the fact of the wrath of the high-souled Maheswara of superior Yoga-power, the puissant Usanas began to reflect as to whether he should go to Maheswara or fly away or remain where he was. Thinking, with the aid of his severe penances, of the high-souled Mahadeva, Usanas of soul crowned with Yoga-success, placed himself on the point of Mahadeva's lance. The bow-armed Rudra, understanding that Usanas, whose penances had become successful and who had converted himself into the form of pure Knowledge, was staying at the point of his lance (and finding that he was unable to hurl the lance at one who was upon it), bent that weapon with hand. When the fierce-armed and puissant Mahadeva of immeasurable energy had thus bent his lance (into the form of a bow), that weapon came to be called from that time by the name of Pinaka.[1493] The lord of Uma, beholding Bhargava thus brought upon the palm of his hand, opened his mouth. The chief of the gods then threw Bhargava into his mouth and swallowed him at once. The puissant and high-souled Usanas of Bhrigu's race, entering the stomach of Maheswara, began to wander there.'

“Yudhishthira said, 'How, O king, could Usanas succeed in wandering within the stomach of that foremost of superior intelligence? What also did that illustrious god do while the Brahmana was within his stomach?'[1494]

“Bhishma said, 'In days of yore (having swallowed up Usanas), Mahadeva of severe vows entered the waters and remained there like an immovable stake of wood, O king, for millions of years (engaged in Yoga-meditation). His Yoga penances of the austerest type having been over, he rose from the mighty lake. Then that primeval god of the gods, viz., the eternal Brahman, approached him, and enquired after the progress of his penances and after his welfare. The deity having the bull for his emblem answered, saying, 'My penances have been well-practised.' Of inconceivable soul, possessed of great intelligence, and ever devoted to the religion of truth, Sankara saw that Usanas within his stomach had become greater in consequence of those penances of his.[1495] That foremost of Yogins (viz., Usanas), rich with that wealth of penances and the wealth (he had appropriated from Kuvera), shone brightly in the three worlds, endued with great energy.[1496] After this, Mahadeva armed with Pinaka, that soul of Yoga, once more betook himself to Yoga-meditation. Usanas, however, filled with anxiety, began to wander within the stomach of the great god. The great ascetic began to hymn the praises of the god from where he was, desirous of finding an outlet for escape. Rudra, however, having stopped all his outlets, prevented him from coming out. The great ascetic Usanas, however, O chastiser of foes, from within Mahadeva's stomach, repeatedly addressed the god, saying, 'Show me thy kindness!' Unto him Mahadeva said, 'Go out through my urethra.' He had stopped up all other outlets of his body. Confined on every side and unable to find out the outlet indicated, the ascetic began to wander hither and thither, burning all the while with Mahadeva's energy. At last he found the outlet and issued through it. In consequence of this fact he came to be called by the name of Sukra, and it is in consequence of that fact he also became unable to attain (in course of his wandering) the central point of the firmament. Beholding him come out of his stomach and shining brightly with energy, Bhava, filled with anger, stood with lance uplifted in his hand. The goddess Uma then interposed and forbade the angry lord of all creatures, viz., her spouse, to slay the Brahmana. And in consequence of Uma's having thus prevented her lord from accomplishing his purpose the ascetic Usanas (from the day) became the son of the goddess.'

“The goddess said, 'This Brahmana no longer deserves to be slain by thee. He has become my son. O god, one who comes out of thy stomach does not deserve slaughter at thy hands.'

“Bhishma continued, 'Pacified by these words of his spouse, Bhava smiled and said repeatedly these words, O king, 'Let this one go whithersoever he likes.' Bowing unto the boon-giving Mahadeva and to also his spouse the goddess Uma, the great ascetic Usanas, endued with superior intelligence, proceeded to the place he chose. I have thus narrated to thee, O chief of the Bharatas, the story of the high-souled Bhargava about which thou didst ask me.'”


“Yudhishthira said, 'O thou of mighty arms, tell me, after this what is beneficial for us. O grandsire, I am never satiated with thy words which seem to me like Amrita. What are those good acts, O best of men, by accomplishing which a man succeeds in obtaining what is for his highest benefit both here and hereafter, O giver of boons!'

“Bhishma said, 'In this connection I shall narrate to thee what the celebrated king Janaka had enquired, in days of yore, of the high-souled Parasara, 'What is beneficial for all creatures both in this world and the next! Do thou tell me what should be known by all this connection.' Thus questioned, Parasara, possessed of great ascetic merit and conversant with the ordinances of every religion,[1497] said these words, desirous of favouring the king.'

“Parasara said, 'Righteousness earned by acts is supreme benefit both in this world and the next. The sages of the old have said that there is nothing higher than Righteousness. By accomplishing the duties of righteousness a man becomes honoured in heaven. The Righteousness, again, of embodied creatures, O best of kings, consists in the ordinance (laid down in the scriptures) on the subject of acts.[1498] All good men belonging to the several modes of life, establishing their faith on that righteousness, accomplish their respective duties.[1499] Four methods of living, O child, have been ordained in this world. (Those four methods are the acceptance of gifts for Brahmanas; the realisation of taxes for Kshatriyas; agriculture for Vaisyas; and service of the three other classes for the Sudras). Wherever men live the means of support come to them of themselves. Accomplishing by various ways acts that are virtuous or sinful (for the purpose of earning their means of support), living creatures, when dissolved into their constituent elements attain to diverse ends.[1500] As vessels of white brass, when steeped in liquefied gold or silver, catch the hue of these metals, even so a living creature, who is completely dependent upon the acts of his past lives takes his colour from the character of those acts. Nothing can sprout forth without a seed. No one can obtain happiness without having accomplished acts capable of leading to happiness. When one's body is dissolved away (into its constituent elements), one succeeds in attaining to happiness only in consequence of the good acts of previous lives. The sceptic argues, O child, saying, I do not behold that anything in this world is the result of destiny or the virtuous and sinful acts of past lives. Inference cannot establish the existence or operation of destiny.[1501] The deities, the Gandharvas and the Danavas have become what they are in consequence of their own nature (and not of their acts of past lives). People never recollect in their next lives the acts done by them in previous ones. For explaining the acquisition of fruits in any particular life people seldom name the four kinds of acts alleged to have been accomplished in past lives.[1502] The declarations having the Vedas for their authority have been made for regulating the conduct of men in this world, and for tranquillizing the minds of men. These (the sceptic says), O child, cannot represent the utterances of men possessed of true wisdom. This opinion is wrong. In reality, one obtains the fruits of whatever among the four kinds of acts one does with the eye, the mind, the tongue, and muscles.[1503] As the fruit of his acts, O king, a person sometimes obtains happiness wholly, sometimes misery in the same way, and sometimes happiness and misery blended together. Whether righteous or sinful, acts are never destroyed (except by enjoyment or endurance of their fruits).[1504] Sometimes, O child, the happiness due to good acts remains concealed and covered in such a way that it does not display itself in the case of the person who is sinking in life's ocean till his sorrows disappear. After sorrow has beep exhausted (by endurance), one begins to enjoy (the fruits of) one's good acts. And know, O king, that upon the exhaustion of the fruits of good acts, those of sinful acts begin to manifest themselves. Self-restraint, forgiveness, patience, energy, contentment, truthfulness of speech, modesty, abstention from injury, freedom from the evil practices called vyasana, and cleverness,–these are productive of happiness. No creature is eternally subject to the fruits of his good or bad acts. The man possessed of wisdom should always strive to collect and fix his mind. One never has to enjoy or endure the good and bad acts of another. Indeed, one enjoys and endures the fruits of only those acts that one does oneself. The person that casts off both happiness and misery walks along a particular path (the path, viz., of knowledge). Those men, however, O king, who suffer themselves to be attached to all worldly objects, tread along a path that is entirely different. A person should rot himself do that act which, if done by another, would call down his censure. Indeed, by doing an act that one censures in others, one incurs ridicule. A Kshatriya bereft of courage, a Brahmana that takes every kind of food, a Vaisya unendued with exertion (in respect of agriculture and other moneymaking pursuits), a Sudra that is idle (and, therefore, averse to labour), a learned person without good behaviour, one of high birth but destitute of righteous conduct, a Brahmana fallen away from truth, a woman that is unchaste and wicked, a Yogin endued with attachments, one that cooks food for one's own self, an ignorant person employed in making a discourse, a kingdom without a king and a king that cherishes no affection for his subjects and who is destitute of Yoga,–these all, O king, are deserving of pity!'”[1505]


“Parasara said, 'That man who, having obtained this car, viz., his body endued with mind, goes on, curbing with the reins of-knowledge the steeds represented by the objects of the senses, should certainly be regarded as possessed of intelligence. The homage (in the form of devotion to and concentrated meditation on the Supreme) by a person whose mind is dependent on itself and who has cast off the means of livelihood is worthy of high praise,–that homage, namely, O regenerate one, which is the result of instructions received from one who has succeeded in transcending acts but not obtained from the mutual discussion of men in the same state of progress.[1506] Having obtained the allotted period of life, O king, with such difficulty, one should not diminish it (by indulgence of the senses). On the other hand, man should always exert, by righteous acts for his gradual advancement.[1507] Among the six different colours that Jiva attains at different periods of his existence, he who falls away from a superior colour deserves obloquy and censure. Hence, one that has attained to the result of good acts should conduct oneself in such a way as to avoid all acts stained by the quality of Rajas.[1508] Man attains to a superior colour by righteous acts. Unable to acquire a superior hue, for such acquisition is extremely difficult, a person, by doing sinful acts only slays himself (by sinking into hell and falling down into an inferior colour). All sinful acts that are committed unconsciously or in ignorance are destroyed by penances. A sinful act, however, that is committed knowingly, produces much sorrow. Hence, one should never commit sinful acts which have for their fruit only sorrow. The man of intelligence would never do an act that is sinful in character even if it leads to the greatest advantage, just as a person that is pure would never touch a Chandala.[1509] How miserable is the fruit I see of sinful acts! Through sin the very vision of the sinner becomes perverse, and he confounds his body and its unstable accompaniments with the Soul.[1510] That foolish man who does not succeed in betaking himself to Renunciation in this world becomes afflicted with great grief when he departs to the next world.[1511] An uncoloured cloth, when dirty, can be cleaned, but not a piece of cloth that is dyed with black; even so, O king, listen to me with care, is it the case with sin. That man who, having knowingly committed sin, acts righteously for expiating that sin, has to enjoy and endure the fruits of his good and bad acts separately.[1512] The utterers of Brahma maintain, under the authority of what has been laid down in the Vedas, that all acts of injury committed in ignorance are cancelled by acts of righteousness. A sin, however, that is committed consciously is never cancelled by righteousness. Thus say the regenerate utterers of Brahma who are conversant with the scriptures of Brahmana. As regards myself, my view is that whatever acts are done, be they righteous or sinful, be they done knowingly or otherwise, remain (and are never destroyed unless their fruits are enjoyed or endured).[1513] Whatever acts are done by the mind with full deliberation, produce, according to their grossness or subtility, fruits that are gross or subtile.[1514] Those acts, however, O thou of righteous soul, which are fraught with great injury, if done in ignorance, do without fail produce consequences and even consequences that lead to hell, with this difference that those consequences are disproportionate in point of gravity to the acts that produce them.[1515] As to those acts (of a doubtful or unrighteous nature) that may be done by the deities or ascetics of reputation, a righteous man should never do their like or, informed of them, should never censure them.[1516] That man who, reflecting with his mind, O king, and ascertaining his own ability, accomplishes righteous acts, certainly obtains what is for his benefit. Water poured into an unbaked vessel gradually becomes less and finally escapes altogether. If kept, however, in a baked vessel, it remains without its quantity being diminished. After the same manner, acts done without reflection with the aid of the understanding do not become beneficial; while acts done with judgment remain with undiminished excellence and yield happiness as their result. If into a vessel containing water other water be poured, the water that was originally there increases in quantity; even so all acts done with judgment, be they equitable or otherwise, only add to one's stock of righteousness. A king should subjugate his foes and all who seek to assert their superiority, and he should properly rule and protect his subjects. One should ignite one's sacred fires and pour libations on them in diverse sacrifices, and retiring in the woods into either one's middle or old age, should live there (practising the duties of the two last modes of life). Endued with self-restraint, and possessed of righteous behaviour, one should look upon all creatures as on one's own self. One should again reverence one's superiors. By the practice of truth and of good conduct, O king, one is sure to obtain happiness.'”


“Parasara said, 'Nobody in this world does good to another. Nobody is seen to make gifts to others. All persons are seen to act for their own selves. People are seen to cast off their very parents and their uterine brothers when these cease to be affectionate. What need be said then or relatives of other degrees?[1517] Gifts to a distinguished person and acceptance of the gifts made by a distinguished person both lead to equal merit. Of these two acts, however, the making of a gift is superior to the acceptance of a gift.[1518] That wealth which is acquired by proper means and increased also by proper means, should be protected with care for the sake of acquiring virtue. This is an accepted truth. One desirous of acquiring righteousness should never earn wealth by means involving injury to others. One should accomplish one's acts according to one's power, without zealously pursuing wealth. By giving water, whether cold or heated by fire, with a devoted mind, unto a (thirsty) guest, according to the best of one's power, one earns the merit that attaches to the act of giving food to a hungry man. The high-souled Rantideva obtained success in all the worlds by worshipping the ascetics with offerings of only roots and fruits leaves. The royal son of Sivi also won the highest regions of felicity by having gratified Surya along with his companion with offerings of the same kind. All men, by taking birth, incur debts to gods, guests, servants, Pitris, and their own selves. Everyone should, therefore, do his best for freeing himself from those debts. One frees oneself from one's debt to the great Rishis by studying the Vedas. One pays off one's debts to the gods by performing sacrifices. By performing the rites of the Sraddha one is freed from one's debts to the Pitris. One pays off one's debt to one's fellowmen by doing good offices to them. One pays off the debts one owes to one's own self by listening to Vedic recitations and reflecting on their import, by eating the remnants of sacrifices, and by supporting one's body. One should duty discharge all the acts, from the beginning, that one owes to one's servants. Though destitute of wealth, men are seen to attain to success by great exertions.[1519] Munis by duly adoring the deities and by duty pouring libations of clarified butter on the sacred fire, have been seen to attain to ascetic success. Richika's son became the son of Vishwamitra. By adoring the deities who have shares in sacrificial offerings, with Richs (he attained to success in after life). Usanas became Sukra by having gratified the god of gods. Indeed., by hymning the praises of the goddess (Uma), he sports in the firmament, endued with great splendour.[1520] Then, again, Asita and Devala, and Narada and Parvata, and Karkshivat, and Jamadagni's son Rama, and Tandya possessed of cleansed soul, and Vasishtha, and Jamadagni, and Viswamitra and Atri, and Bharadwaja, and Harismasru, and Kundadhara, and Srutasravas,–these great Rishis, by adoring Vishnu with concentrated minds with the aid of Richs, and by penances, succeeded in attaining to success through the grace of that great deity endued with intelligence. Many undeserving men, by adoring that good deity, obtained great distinction. One should not seek for advancement by achieving any wicked or censurable act. That wealth which is earned by righteous ways is true wealth. Fie on that wealth, however, which is earned by unrighteous means. Righteousness is eternal. It should never, in this world, be abandoned from desire of wealth. That righteous-souled person who keeps his sacred fire and offers his daily adorations to the deities is regarded as the foremost of righteous persons. All the Vedas, O foremost of kings, are established on the three sacred fires (called Dakshina, Garhapatya, and Ahavaniya). That Brahmana is said to possess the sacred fire whose acts exist in their entirety. It is better to at once abandon the sacred fire than to keep it, abstaining the while from acts. The sacred fire, the mother, the father who has begotten, and the preceptor, O tiger among men, should all be duly waited upon and served with humility. That man who, casting off all feelings of pride, humbly waits upon and serves them that are venerable for age, who is possessed of learning and destitute of lust, who looketh upon all creatures with an eye of love, who has no wealth, who is righteous in his acts, and who is destitute of the desire of inflicting any kind of harm (upon any one), that truly respectable man is worshipped in this world by those that are good and pious.'”[1521]


“Parasara said, 'The lowest order, it is proper, should derive their sustenance from the three other orders. Such service, rendered with affection and reverence, makes them righteous.[1522] If the ancestors of any Sudra were not engaged in service, he should not still engage himself in any other occupation (than service). Truly, he should apply himself to service as his occupation. In my opinion, it is proper for them to associate, under all circumstances, with good men devoted to righteousness, but never with those that are wicked. As in the Eastern hills, jewels and metals blaze with greater splendour in consequence of their adjacence to the Sun, even so the lowest order blazes with splendour in consequence of their association with the good. A piece of white cloth assumes that hue with which it is dyed. Even such is the case with Sudras.[1523] Hence also, one should attach oneself to all good qualities but never to qualities that are evil. The life of human beings in this world is fleeting and transitory. That wise man who, in happiness as also in misery, achieves only what is good, is regarded as a true observer of the scriptures. That man who is endued with intelligence would never do an act which is dissociated from virtue, however high may the advantages be of that act. Indeed, such an act is not regarded as truly beneficial. That lawless king who, snatching thousands of kine from their lawful owners, gives them away (unto deserving persons), acquires no fruit (from that act of giving) beyond an empty sound (expressive of the act he does). On the other hand, he incurs the sin of theft. The Self-born at first created the Being called Dhatri held in universal respect. Dhatri created a son who was engaged in upholding all the worlds.[1524] Worshipping that deity, the Vaisya employs himself, for the means of his support, in agriculture and the rearing of cattle. The Kshatriyas should employ themselves in the task of protecting all the other classes. The Brahmanas should only enjoy. As regards the Sudras, they should engage themselves in the task of humbly and honestly collecting together the articles that are to be offered in sacrifices, and in cleaning altars and other places where sacrifices are to be performed. If each order acts in this way, righteousness would not suffer any diminution. If righteousness is preserved in its entirety, all creatures inhabiting the earth would be happy. Beholding the happiness of all creatures on earth, the deities in heaven become filled with gladness. Hence, that king who, agreeably to the duties laid down for his order, protects the other classes, becomes worthy of respect. Similarly, the Brahmana that is employed in studying the scriptures, the Vaisya that is engaged in earning wealth, and the Sudra that is always engaged in serving the three other classes with concentrated attention, become objects of respect. By conducting themselves in the other ways, O chief of men, each order is said to fall away from virtue. Keeping aside gifts by thousands, even twenty cowries that one may give painfully, having earned them righteously, will be productive of the great benefit. Those persons, O king, who make gifts unto Brahmanas after reverencing them duly, reap excellent fruits commensurate with those gifts. That gift is highly prized which the donor makes after seeking out the donee and honouring him properly. That gift is middling which the donor makes upon solicitation. That gift, however, which is made contemptuously and without any reverence, is said to be very inferior (in point of merit). Even this is what those utterers of the truth, viz., the sages, say. While sinking in this ocean of life, man should always seek to cross that ocean by various means. Indeed, he should so exert himself that he might be freed from the bonds of this world. The Brahmana shines by self restraint; the Kshatriya by victory; the Vaisya by wealth; while the Sudra always shines in glory through cleverness in serving (the three other orders).'”


“Parasara said, 'In the Brahmana, wealth acquired by acceptance of gifts, in the Kshatriya that won by victory in battle, in the Vaisya that obtained by following the duties laid down for his order, and in the Sudra that earned by serving the three other orders, however small its measure, is worthy of praise, and spent for the acquisition of virtue is productive of great benefits. The Sudra is said to be the constant servitor of the three other classes. If the Brahmana, pressed for a living, betakes himself to the duties of either the Kshatriya or the Vaisya, he does not fall off from righteousness. When, however, the Brahmana betakes himself to the duties of the lowest order, then does he certainly fall off. When the Sudra is unable to obtain his living by service of the three other orders, then trade, rearing of cattle, and the practice of the mechanical arts are lawful for him to follow. Appearance on the boards of a theatre and disguising oneself in various forms, exhibition of puppets, the sale of spirits and meat, and trading in iron and leather, should never be taken up for purposes of a living by one who had never before been engaged in those professions every one of which is regarded as censurable in the world. It hath been heard by us that if one engaged in them can abandon them, one then acquires great merit. When one that has become successful in life behaves sinfully in consequence of one's mind being filled with arrogance, one's acts under such circumstances can never pass for authority. It is heard in the Puranas that formerly mankind were self-restrained; that they held righteousness in great esteem; that the practices they followed for livelihood were all consistent with propriety and the injunctions laid down in the scriptures: and that the only punishment that was required for chastising them when they went wrong was the crying of fie on them.[1525] At the time of which we speak, O king, Righteousness, and nothing else, was much applauded among men. Having achieved great progress in righteousness, men in those days worshipped only all good qualities that they saw. The Asuras, however, O child, could not bear that righteousness which prevailed in the world. Multiplying (in both number and energy), the Asuras (in the form of Lust and Wrath) entered the bodies of men. Then was pride generated in men that is so destructive of righteousness. From pride arose arrogance, and from arrogance arose wrath. When men thus became overwhelmed with wrath, conduct implying modesty and shame disappeared from them, and then they were overcome by heedlessness. Afflicted by heedlessness, they could no longer see as before, and as the consequence thereof they began to oppress one another and thereby acquire wealth without any compunction. When men became such, the punishment of only crying fie on offenders failed to be of any effect. Men, showing no reverence for either the gods or Brahmanas, began to indulge their senses to their fill.[1526] At that time the deities repaired to that foremost of gods, viz., Siva, possessed of patience, of multiform aspect, and endued with the foremost of attributes, and sought his protection. The deities imparted unto him their conjoined energy, and thereupon the great god, with a single shaft, felled on the earth those three Asuras, viz., Desire, Wrath, and Cupidity, who were staying in the firmament, along with their very habitations.[1527] The fierce chief of those Asuras possessed of fierce, prowess, who had struck the Devas with terror, was also slain by Mahadeva armed with the lance.[1528] When this chief of the Asuras was slain, men once more obtained their proper natures, and once more began to study the Vedas and the other scriptures as was in former times. Then the seven ancient Rishis came forward and installed Vasava as the chief of the gods and the ruler of heaven. And they took upon themselves the task of holding the rod of chastisement over mankind. After the seven Rishis came king Viprithu (to rule mankind), and many other kings, all belonging to the Kshatriya order for separately ruling separate groups of human beings. (When Mahadeva dispelled all evil passions from the minds of creatures) there were, in those ancient times, certain elderly men from whose minds all wicked feelings did not fly away. Hence, in consequence of that wicked state of their minds and of those incidents that were connected with it, there appeared many kings of terrible prowess who began to indulge in only such acts as were fit for Asuras. Those human beings that are exceedingly foolish adhere to those wicked acts, establish them as authorities, and follow them in practice to this day.[1529] For this reason, O king, I say unto thee, having reflected properly with the aid of the scriptures, that one should abstain from all acts that are fraught with injury or malice and seek to acquire a knowledge of the Soul.[1530]The man possessed of wisdom would not seek wealth for the performance of religious rites by ways that are unrighteous and that involve an abandonment of morality. Wealth earned by such means can never prove beneficial. Do thou then become a Kshatriya of this kind. Do thou restrain thy senses, be agreeable to thy friends, and cherish, according to the duties of thy order, thy subjects, servants, and children. Through the union of both prosperity and adversity (in man's life), there arise friendships and animosities. Thousands and thousands of existences are continually revolving (in respect of every Jiva), and in every mode of Jiva's existence these must occur.[1531] For this reason, be thou attached to good qualities of every kind, but never to faults. Such is the character of good qualities that if the most foolish person, bereft of every virtue, hears himself praised for any good quality, he becomes filled with joy. Virtue and sin exist, O king, only among men. These do not exist among creatures other than man. One should therefore, whether in need of food and other necessaries of life or transcending such need, be of virtuous disposition, acquire knowledge, always look upon all creatures as one's own self, and abstain totally from inflicting any kind of injury. When one's mind becomes divested of desire, and when all Darkness is dispelled from it, it is then that one succeeds in obtaining what is auspicious.'”


“Parasara said, 'I have now discoursed to thee on what the ordinances are of the duties in respect of one that leads the domestic mode of life. I shall now speak to thee of the ordinances about penances. Listen to me as I discourse on the topic. It is generally seen, O king, that in consequence of sentiments fraught with Rajas and Tamas, the sense of meum, born of attachment, springs up in the heart of the householder. Betaking oneself to the domestic mode of life, one acquires kine, fields, wealth of diverse kinds, spouses, children, and servants. One that becomes observant of this mode of life continually casts one's eye upon these objects. Under these circumstances, one's attachments and aversions increase, and one ceases to regard one's (transitory) possessions as eternal and indestructible. When a person becomes overwhelmed by attachment and aversion, and yields himself up to the mastery of earthly objects, the desire of enjoyment then seizes him, taking its rise from heedlessness, O king. Thinking that person to be blessed who has the largest share of enjoyments in this world, the man devoted to enjoyment does not, in consequence of his attachment thereto, see that there is any other happiness besides what waits upon the gratification of the senses. Overwhelmed with cupidity that results from such attachment, he then seeks to increase the number of his relatives and attendants, and for gratifying these latter he seeks to increase his wealth by every means in his power. Filled with affection for children, such a person commits, for the sake of acquiring wealth, acts that he knows to be evil, and gives way to grief if his wealth be lost. Having earned honours and always guarding against the defeat of his plans, he betakes himself to such means as would gratify his desire of enjoyment. At last he meets with destruction as the inevitable consequence of the conduct he pursues. It is well-known, however, that true felicity is theirs that a e endued with intelligence, that are utterers of the eternal Brahma, that seek to accomplish only acts that are auspicious and beneficial, and that abstain from all acts that are optional and spring from desire alone.[1532] From loss of all such objects in which are centred our affections, from loss of wealth, O king, and from the tyranny of physical diseases add mental anguish, a person falls into despair. From this despair arises art awakening of the soul. From such awakening proceeds study of the Scriptures. From contemplation of the import of the scriptures, O king, one sees the value of penance. A person possessed of the knowledge of what is essential and what accidental, O king, is very rare,–he, that is, who seeks to undergo penances, impressed with the truth that the happiness one derives from the possession of such agreeable objects as spouses and children leads ultimately to misery.[1533] Penances, O child, are for all. They are ordained for even the lowest order of men (viz., Sudras). Penances set the self-restrained man having the mastery over all his senses on the way to heaven. It was through penances that the puissant Lord of all creatures, O, king, observing vows at particular intervals created all existent objects. The Adityas, the Vasus, the Rudras, Agni, the Aswins, the Maruts, the Viswedevas, the Saddhyas, the Pitris, the Maruts, the Yakshas, the Rakshasas, the Gandharvas, the Siddhas and the other denizens of heaven, and, indeed, all other celestials whatever, O child, have all been crowned with success through their penances. Those Brahmanas whom Brahmana created at the outset, succeeded through their penances in honouring not the Earth alone but the heaven also in which they roved at pleasure. In this world of mortals, they that are kings, and those others that are householders born in high families, have all become what they are only in consequence of their penances.[1534] The silken robes they wear, the excellent ornaments that adorn their persons, the animals and vehicles they ride, and the seats they use are all the result of their penances. The many charming and beautiful women, numbering by thousands, that they enjoy, and their residence in palatial mansions, are all due to their penances. Costly beds and diverse kinds of delicious viands become theirs that act righteously. There is nothing in the three worlds, O scorcher of foes, that penances cannot attain. Even those that are destitute of true knowledge win Renunciation as the consequence of their penances.[1535] Whether in affluent circumstances or miserable, a person should cast off cupidity, reflecting on the scriptures, with the aid of his Mind and understanding, O best of kings. Discontent is productive of misery. (Discontent is the result of cupidity). Cupidity leadeth to the stupefaction of the senses. The senses being stupefied, one's wisdom disappears like knowledge not kept up by continued application. When one's wisdom disappears, one fails to discriminate what is proper from what is improper. Hence, when one's happiness is destroyed (and one becomes subject to misery) one should practise the austerest of penances.[1536] That which is agreeable is called happiness. That which is disagreeable is said to be misery. When penances are practised, the result is happiness. When they are not practised, the result is misery. Behold the fruits of practising and abstaining from penances![1537] By practising stainless penances, people always meet with auspicious consequences of every kind, enjoy all good things, and attain to great fame.[1538] He, however, who by abandoning (stainless penances), betakes himself to penances from desire of fruit, meets with many disagreeable consequences, and disgrace and sorrow of diverse kinds, as the fruits thereof, all of which have worldly possessions for their cause.[1539] Notwithstanding the desirability of practising righteousness, penances, and gifts, the wish springs up in his mind of accomplishing all kinds of forbidden acts. By thus perpetrating diverse kinds of sinful acts, he goes to hell.[1540] That person, O best of men, who, in both happiness and misery, does not fall away from the duties ordained for him, is said to have the scriptures for his eye. It is said that the pleasure one derives from the gratification of one's senses of touch, tongue, sight, scent, and hearing, O monarch, lasts only so long as a shaft urged from the bow takes in falling down upon the earth. Upon the cessation of that pleasure, which is so short-lived, one experiences the most keen agony. It is only the senseless that do not applaud the felicity of Emancipation that is unrivalled. Beholding the misery that attends the gratification of the senses, they that are possessed of wisdom cultivate the virtues of tranquillity and self-restraint for the purpose of attaining to Emancipation. In consequence of their righteous behaviour, wealth, and pleasure can never succeed in afflicting them.[1541] Householders may, without any compunction, enjoy wealth and other possessions that are obtained without Exertion. As regards, however, the duties of their order that are laid down in the scriptures, these, I am of opinion, they should discharge with the aid of Exertion.[1542] The practice of those that are honoured, that are born in high families, and that have their eyes always turned towards the import of the scriptures, is incapable of being followed by those that are sinful and that are possessed of unrestrained minds. All acts that are done by man under the influence of vanity, meet with destruction. Hence, for them that are respectable and truly righteous there is no other act in this world to do than penance.[1543] As regards, those house-holders, however, that are addicted to acts, they should, with their whole hearts, set themselves to acts. Following the duties of their order, O king, they should with cleverness and attention perform sacrifices and other religious rites. Indeed, as all rivers, male and female, have their refuge in the Ocean, even so men belonging to all the other orders have their refuge in the householder.'”


“Janaka said, 'Whence, O great Rishi, does this difference of colour arise among men belonging to the different orders? I desire to know this. Tell me this, O foremost of speakers! The Srutis say that the offspring one begets are one's own self. Originally sprung from Brahmana, all the inhabitants of the earth should have been Brahmanas. Sprung from Brahmanas, why have men betaken themselves to practices distinguished from those of Brahmanas.'

“Parasara said, 'It is as thou sayst, O king! The offspring procreated are none else than the procreator himself. In consequence, however, of falling away from penance, this distribution into classes of different colours has taken place. When the soil becomes good and the seed also is good, the offspring produced become meritorious. If, however, the soil and seed become otherwise or inferior, the offspring that will be born will be inferior. They that are conversant with the scriptures know that when the Lord of all creatures set himself to create the worlds, some creatures sprang from his mouth, some from his arms, some from his thighs, and some from his feet. They that thus sprang from his mouth, O child, came to be called Brahmanas. They that sprang from his arms were named Kshatriyas. They, O king, that sprang from his thighs were the wealthy class called the Vaisyas. And, lastly, they that were born of his feet were the serving class, viz., the Sudras. Only these four orders of men, O monarch, were thus created. They that belong to classes over and other than these are said to have sprung from an intermixture of these. The Kshatriyas called Atirathas, Amvashthas, Ugras, Vaidehas, Swapakas, Pukkasas, Tenas, Nishadas, Sutas, Magadhas, Ayogas, Karanas, Vratyas, and Chandalas, O monarch, have all sprung from the four original orders by intermixture with one another.'

“Janaka said, 'When all have sprung from Brahmana alone, how came human beings to have diversity in respect of race? O best of ascetics, an infinite diversity of races is seen in this world. How could men devoted to penances attain, to the status of Brahmanas, though of indiscriminate origin? Indeed, those born of pure wombs and those of impure, all became Brahmanas.'

“Parasara said, 'O king, the status of high-souled persons that succeeded in cleansing their souls by penances could not be regarded as affected by their low births. Great Rishis, O monarch, by begetting children in indiscriminate wombs, conferred upon them the status of Rishis by means of their power of asceticism. My grandfather Vasishtha, Rishyasringa, Kasyapa, Veda, Tandya, Kripa, Kakshivat, Kamatha, and others, and Yavakrita, O king, and Drona, that foremost of speakers, and Ayu, and Matanga, and Datta, and Drupada, and Matsya, all these, O ruler of the Videhas, obtained their respective positions through penance as the means. Originally only four Gotras (races) arose, O monarch, viz., Angiras, Kasyapa, Vasishtha, and Bhrigu. In consequence of acts and behaviour, O ruler of men, many other Gotras came into existence in time. The names of those Gotras have been due to the penances of those that have founded them. Good people use them.'

“Janaka said, 'Tell me, O holy one, the especial duties of the several orders. Tell me also what their common duties are. Thou art conversant with everything.'

“Parasara said, 'Acceptance of gifts, officiation at the sacrifices of others, and the teaching of pupils, O king, are the especial duties of the Brahmanas. The protection of the other orders is proper for the Kshatriya. Agriculture, cattle-rearing, and trade are the occupations of the Vaisyas. While service of the (three) regenerate classes is the occupation, O king, of the Sudras. I have now told thee what the especial duties are of the four orders, O monarch. Listen now to me, O child, as I tell thee what the common duties are of all the four orders. Compassion, abstention from injury, heedfulness, giving to others what is due to them, Sraddhas in honour of deceased ancestors, hospitality to guests, truthfulness, subjugation of wrath, contentedness with one's own wedded wives, purity (both internal and external), freedom from malice, knowledge of Self, and Renunciation,–these duties, O king, are common to all the orders. Brahmanas, Kshatriyas, and Vaisyas,–these are the three regenerate orders. All of them have an equal right to the performance of these duties, O foremost of men. These three orders, betaking themselves to duties other than those laid down for them, come to grief, O monarch (and fall down from their own status), even as they go up and acquire great merit by taking for their model some righteous individual of their respective classes who is duly observant of his own duties. The Sudra never falls down (by doing forbidden acts); nor is he worthy of any of the rites of regeneration. The course of duties flowing from the Vedas is not his. He is not interdicted, however, from practising the three and ten duties that are common to all the orders. O ruler of the Videhas, Brahmanas learned in the Vedas, O monarch, regard a (virtuous) Sudra as equal to Brahmana himself. I, however, O king, look upon such a Sudra as the effulgent Vishnu of the universe, the foremost one in all the worlds.[1544] Persons of the lowest order, desiring to exterminate the evil passions (of lust and wrath, etc.) may betake themselves to the observance of the conduct of the good; and, indeed, while so acting, they may earn great merit by performing all rites that lead to advancement, omitting the mantras that are utterable by the other orders while performing the self-same ceremonies. Wherever persons of the lowest order adopt the behaviour of the good, they succeed in attaining to happiness in consequence of which they are able to pass their time in felicity both here and hereafter.'

“Janaka said, 'O great ascetic, is man stained by his acts or is he stained by the order or class in which he is born? A doubt has arisen in my mind. It behoveth thee to expound this to me.'

“Parasara said, 'Without doubt, O king, both, viz., acts and birth, are sources of demerit. Listen now to their difference. That man who, though stained by birth, does not commit sin, abstains from sin notwithstanding birth and acts. If, however, a person of superior birth perpetrates censurable acts, such acts stain him. Hence, of the two, viz., acts and birth, acts stain man (more than birth).[1545]

“Janaka said, 'What are those righteous acts in this world, O best of all regenerate persons, the accomplishment of which does not inflict any injury upon other creatures?'

“Parasara said, 'Hear from me, O monarch, about what thou askest me' viz., those acts free from injury which always rescue man. Those who, keeping aside their domestic fires, have dissociated themselves from all worldly attachments, become freed from all anxieties. Gradually ascending step by step, in the path of Yoga, they at last behold the stage of highest felicity (viz., Emancipation).[1546] Endued with faith and humility, always practising self-restraint, possessed of keen intelligence, and abstaining from all acts, they attain to eternal felicity. All classes of men, O king, by properly accomplishing acts that are righteous, by speaking the truth, and by abstaining from unrighteousness, in this world, ascend to heaven. In this there is no doubt.'”


“Parasara said, 'The sires, the friends, the preceptor, and the spouses of the preceptors of men that are destitute of devotion are unable to give to those men the merits that attach to devotion. Only they that are firmly devoted to such seniors, that speak what is agreeable to them, that seek their welfare, and that are submissive to them in behaviour, can obtain the merit of devotion. The sire is the highest of deities with his children. It is said that the sire is superior to the mother. The attainment of Knowledge is regarded as the highest acquisition. They that have subjugated the objects of the senses (by attainment of Knowledge), acquire what is highest (viz., Emancipation). That Kshatriya prince who, repairing to the field of battle, receives wounds amid fiery shafts flying in all directions and burns therewith, certainly repairs to regions that are unattainable by the very deities and, arrived there, enjoys the felicity of heaven in perfect contentment. A Kshatriya should not, O king, strike one that is fatigued, or one that is frightened, or one that has been disarmed, or one that is weeping, or one that is unwilling to fight, or one that is unequipped with mail and cars and horse and infantry, or one that has ceased to exert oneself in the fight, or one that is ill, or one that cries for quarter, or one that is of tender years, or one that is old. A Kshatriya should, in battle, fight one of his order who is equipped with mail and cars and horse and infantry, who is ready for exertion and who occupies a position of equality. Death at the hands of one that is equal or of a superior is laudable, but not that at the hands of one that is low, or of one that is a coward, or of one that is a wretch. This is well-known. Death at the hands of one that is sinful, or of one that is of low birth and wicked conduct, O king, is inglorious and leads to hell. One whose period of life has run out cannot be rescued by anybody. Similarly, one whose period of life has not been exhausted can never be slain by any one.[1547] One should prevent one's affectionate seniors from doing unto one (for one's benefit) such acts as are done by menials, as also all such acts as are fraught with injury to others. One should never desire to extend one's own life by taking the lives of others.[1548] When they lay down their lives, it is laudable for all householders observant of the duties of men living in sacred places to lay down their lives on the banks of sacred streams.[1549] When one's period of life becomes exhausted, one dissolves away into the five elements. Sometimes this occurs suddenly (through accidents) and sometimes it is brought about by (natural) causes.[1550] He who, having obtained a body, brings about its dissolution (in a. sacred place by means of some inglorious accident), becomes invested with another body of a similar kind. Though set on the path of the Emancipation, he yet becomes a traveller and attains to another body like a person repairing from one room into another.[1551] In the matter of such a man's attainment of a second body (notwithstanding his death in a sacred spot) the only cause is his accidental death. There is no second cause. That new body which embodied creatures obtain (in consequence of the accidental character of their deaths in sacred places) comes into existence and becomes attached to Rudras and Pisachas.[1552] Learned men, conversant with Adhyatma, say that the body is a conglomeration of arteries and sinews and bones and much repulsive and impure matter and a compound of (primal) essences, and the senses and objects of the senses born of desire, all having an outer cover of skin close to them. Destitute (in reality) of beauty and other accomplishments, this conglomeration, through force of the desires of a previous life, assumes a human form.[1553] Abandoned by the owner, the body becomes inanimate and motionless. Indeed, when the primal ingredients return to their respective natures, the body mingles with the dust. Caused by its union with acts, this body reappears under circumstances determined by its acts. Indeed, O ruler of the Videhas, under whatever circumstances this body meets with dissolution, its next birth, determined by those circumstances, is seen to enjoy and endure the fruits of all its past acts. Jiva, after dissolution of the body it inhabited, does not, O king, take birth in a different body immediately. It roves through the sky for some time like a spacious cloud. Obtaining a new receptacle, O monarch, it then takes birth again. The soul is above the mind. The mind is above the senses. Mobile creatures, again, are foremost of all created objects. Of all mobile creatures those that have two legs are superior. Amongst two-legged creatures, those that are regenerate are superior. Amongst those that are regenerate they that are possessed of wisdom are superior. Amongst them that are possessed of wisdom they that have succeeded in acquiring a knowledge of the soul are superior. Amongst those that are possessed of a knowledge of the soul, they that are endued with humility are superior. Death follows birth in respect of all men. This is settled. Creatures, influenced by the attributes of Sattwa, Rajas, and Tamas, pursue acts which have an end.[1554] That man is regarded as righteous who meets with dissolution when the Sun is in the northern declension, and at a time and under a constellation both of which are sacred and auspicious. He. is righteous who., having cleansed himself of all sins and accomplished all his acts according to the best of his power and having abstained from giving pain to any man, meets with death when it comes. The death that one meets with by taking poison, by hanging, by burning, at the hands of robbers, and at the teeth of animals, is said to be an inglorious one.[1555] Those men that are righteous never incur such or similar deaths even if they be afflicted with mental and physical diseases of the most agonising kind. The lives of the righteous, O king, piercing through the Sun, ascend into the regions of Brahma. The lives of those that are both righteous and sinful rove in the middle regions. The lives of those that are sinful sink into the lowest depths. There is only one foe (of man) and not another. That foe is identifiable with ignorance, O king. Overwhelmed by it, one is led to perpetrate acts that are frightful and exceedingly cruel. That foe for resisting which one should put forth one's power by waiting upon the aged according to the duties laid down in the Srutis–that foe which cannot be overcome except by steady endeavours,–meets with destruction., O king, only when it is crushed by the shafts of wisdom.[1556] The man desirous of achieving merit should at first study the Vedas and observe penances, becoming a Brahmacharin. He should next, entering the domestic mode of life, perform the usual Sacrifices. Establishing his race, he should then enter the forest, restraining his senses, and desirous of winning Emancipation. One should never emasculate oneself by abstaining from any enjoyment. Of all births, the status of humanity is preferable even if one has to become a Chandala. Indeed, O monarch, that order of birth (viz., humanity) is the foremost, since by becoming a human being one succeeds in rescuing one's self by meritorious acts. Men always perform righteous acts, O lord, guided by the authority of the Srutis, so that they may not fall away from the status of humanity. That man who, having attained to the status of humanity that is so difficult of attainment, indulges in malice, disregards righteousness and yields himself up to desire, is certainly betrayed by his desires.[1557] That man who looks upon all creatures with eyes guided by affection, regarding them worthy of being cherished with loving aid, who disregards all kinds of wealth, who offers them consolation, gives them food, address them in agreeable words, and who rejoices in their happiness and grieves in their griefs, has never to suffer misery in the next world, Repairing to the Saraswati, the Naimisha woods, the Pushkara waters, and the other sacred spots on earth, one should make gifts, practise renunciation, render one's aspect amiable, O king, and purify one's body with baths and penances. Those men who meet with death within their houses should have the rites of cremation performed upon their persons. Their bodies should be taken to the crematorium on vehicles and there they should be burnt according to the rites of purification that have been laid down in the scriptures. Religious rites, beneficial ceremonies, the performance of sacrifices, officiation at the sacrifices of others, gifts, the doing of other meritorious acts, the performance, according to the best of one's power, of all that has been ordained in the case of one's deceased ancestors,–all these one does for benefiting one's own self. The Vedas with their six branches, and the other scriptures, O king, have been created for the good of him who is of stainless acts.'

“Bhishma continued, 'All this was said by that high-souled sage unto the ruler of the Videhas, O king, in days of old for his benefit.'”


“Bhishma said, 'Once again Janaka, the ruler of Mithila, questioned the high-souled Parasara endued with certain knowledge in respect of all duties.'

“Janaka said, 'What is productive of good? What is the best path (for living creatures)? What is that which being accomplished is never destroyed? What is that spot repairing whither one has not to come back? Tell me all this, O thou of high intelligence!'

“Parasara said, 'Dissociation (from attachments) is the root of what is good.[1558] Knowledge is the highest path. Penances practised are never destroyed, Gifts also, made to deserving persons, are not lost. When one, breaking the bonds of sin, begins to take pleasure in righteousness, and when one makes that highest of all gifts, viz., the pledge of harmlessness unto all creatures, then does one achieve success. He who gives away thousands of kine and hundreds of horses (to deserving persons), and who gives unto all creatures the pledge of harmlessness, receives in return the pledge of harmlessness from all. One may live in the midst of all kinds of wealth and enjoyment, yet, if blessed with intelligence, one does not live in them: while he that is destitute of intelligence lives wholly in objects of enjoyment that are even unsubstantial.[1559] Sin cannot attach to a man of wisdom even as water cannot drench the leaves of the lotus. Sin adheres more firmly to him who is without attachment even as lac and wood adhere firmly to each other. Sin, which cannot be extinguished except by endurance of its fruits, never abandons the doer. Verily, the doer, when the time comes, has to endure the consequences arising from it.[1560] They, however, that are of cleansed souls and that realise the existence of Brahma, are never afflicted by the fruits of their acts. Heedless in respect of one's senses of knowledge and of action, one that is not conscious of one's wicked acts, and whose heart is attached to both good and bad, becomes afflicted with great fear. One who at all times becomes entirely freed from attachments and who completely subjugates the passion of wrath, is never stained by sin even if he lives in the enjoyment of worldly objects. As a dyke built across a river, if not washed away, causes the waters thereof to swell up, even so the man who, without being attached to objects of enjoyments, creates the dyke of righteousness whose materials consist of the limitations set down in the scriptures, has never to languish. On the other hand, his merits and penances increase. As the pure gem (called Suryakanta) absorbs and attracts to itself, the rays of the Sun, even so, O tiger among kings, does Yoga proceed by help of concentrated attention.[1561] As sesame seeds, in consequence of their repeated intermingling with (fragrant) flowers, become in respect of quality very agreeable, even so the quality of Sattwa arises in men in proportion to the measure of their association with persons of cleansed souls.[1562] When one becomes desirous of dwelling in heaven, one casts off one's spouses and wealth and rank and vehicles and diverse kinds of good acts. Indeed, when one attains to such a frame of mind, one's understanding is said to be dissociated from the objects of the senses. That man (on the other hand) who, with understanding attached to the objects of the senses, becomes blind to what is for his real good, is dragged (to his ruin) by his heart which runs after all worldly objects, like a fish (dragged to its ruin) by the bait of meat. Like unto the body that is made up of different limbs and organs, all mortal creatures exist depending upon one another. They are as destitute of vigour as the pith of the banana plant. (Left to themselves) they sink in the world's ocean like a boat (made of weak materials). There is no fixed time for the acquisition of righteousness. Death waits for no man. When man is constantly running towards the jaws of Death, the accomplishment of righteous acts is proper at all times. Like a blind man who, with attention, is capable of moving about his own house, the man of wisdom, with mind set on Yoga, succeeds in proceeding along the track (he should follow).[1563] It has been said that death arises in consequence of birth. Birth is subject to the sway of death. One unacquainted with the course of the duties of Emancipation revolves like a wheel between birth and death, unable to free oneself from that fate. One who walketh along the track recommended by the understanding earns happiness both here and hereafter. The Diverse are fraught with misery, while the Few are productive of happiness. Fruits represented by the not-Soul are said to constitute the Diverse. Renunciation is (said to constitute the Few and that is) productive of the soul's happiness.[1564] As the lotus stalk quickly leaves the mire attached to it, even so the Soul can speedily cast off the mind.[1565] It is the mind that at first inclines the Soul to Yoga. The latter then merges the former into itself. When the Soul achieves success in Yoga, it then beholds itself uninvested with attributes.[1566] Engaged amid the objects of the senses, one who regards such engagement to be one's employment falleth away from one's true employment in consequence of such devotion to those objects. The soul of the wise man attains, through its righteous acts, to a state of high felicity in heaven, while that of the man who is not possessed of wisdom sinks very low or obtains birth among intermediate creatures. As a liquid substance, if kept in a baked earthen vessel, does not escape therefrom but remains undiminished, after the same manner one's body with which one has undergone austerities enjoys (without rejecting) all objects of enjoyment (up to what are contained in the region of Brahma himself). Verily, that man who enjoys worldly objects can never be emancipated. That man, on the other hand, who casts off such objects (in this world), succeeds in enjoying great happiness hereafter. Like one afflicted with congenital blindness and, therefore, incapable of seeing his way, the sensualist, with soul confined in an opaque case, seems to be surrounded by a mist and fails to see (the true object for which he should strive). As merchants, going across the sea, make profits proportioned to their capital, even so creatures, in this world of mortals, attain to ends according to their respective acts. Like a snake devouring air, Death wanders in this world made up of days and nights in the form of Decrepitude and devours all creatures. A creature, when born, enjoys or endures the fruits of acts done by him in his previous lives. There is nothing agreeable or disagreeable which one enjoys or endures without its being the result of the acts one has done in one's previous lives. Whether lying or proceeding, whether sitting idly engaged in his occupations, in whatever state a man may be, his acts (of past lives) good or bad always approach him. One that has attained to the other shore of the ocean, wishes not to cross the main for returning to the shore whence he had sailed.[1567] As the fisherman, when he wishes, raises with the help of his chord his boat sunk in the waters (of a river or lake), after the same manner the mind, by the aid of Yoga-contemplation, raises Jiva sunk in the world's ocean and unemancipated from consciousness of body.[1568] As all rivers running towards the ocean, unite themselves with it, even so the mind, when engaged in Yoga, becomes united with primal Prakriti.[1569] Men whose minds become bound by diverse chains of affection, and who are engulfed in ignorance, meet with destruction like houses of sand in water.[1570] That embodied creature who regards his body as only a house and purity (both external and internal) as its sacred water, and who walks along the path of the understanding, succeeds in attaining to happiness both here and hereafter.[1571] The Diverse are productive of misery; while the Few are productive of happiness. The Diverse are the fruits represented by the not-Soul. Renunciation (which is identical with Few) is productive of the soul's benefit.[1572] One's friends who spring up from one's determination, and one's kinsmen whose attachment is due to (selfish) reasons, one's spouses and sons and servants, only devour one's wealth. Neither the mother, nor the father, can confer the slightest benefit upon one in the next world. Gifts constitute the diet upon which one can subsist. Indeed, one must have to enjoy the fruits of one's own acts.[1573] The mother, the son, the sire, the brother, the wife, and friends, are like lines traced with gold by the side of gold itself.[1574] All acts, good and bad, done in past lives come to the doer. Knowing that everything one enjoys or endures at present is the result of the acts of past lives, the soul urges the understanding on different directions (so that it may act in such a way as to avoid all unpleasant fruits). Relying on earnest endeavour, and equipped with proper aids, he who sets himself to accomplish his tasks never meets with failure. As the rays of light never abandon the Sun, even so prosperity never abandons one who is endued with undoubting faith. That act which a man of stainless soul does with faith and earnestness, with the aid of proper means, without pride, and with intelligence, becomes never lost. A creature obtains from the very time of his abode in the mother's womb all his own acts good and bad that were achieved by him in his past lives. Death, which is irresistible, aided by Time which brings about the destruction of life, leads all creatures to their end like wind scattering the dust of sawed timber.[1575] Through acts good and bad performed by himself in his past lives, man obtains gold and animals and spouses, and children, and honour of birth, and possessions of value, and his entire affluence.'

“Bhishma continued, 'Thus addressed conformably to the truth by the sage, Janaka, that foremost of righteous persons, O king, heard everything the Rishi said and obtained great happiness from it.'”


“Yudhishthira said, 'O grandsire, learned men praise truth, self-restraint, forgiveness, and wisdom. What is thy opinion of these virtues?'

“Bhishma said, 'In this connection I shall recite to thee an old narrative, O Yudhishthira, of the discourse between the Sadhyas and a Swan. Once on a time the Unborn and eternal Lord of all creatures (viz., Brahman), assuming the form of a golden Swan, wandered through the three worlds till in course of his wanderings he came upon the Sadhyas.'

“The Sadhyas said, 'O ford, we are the deities called Sadhyas. We like to question thee. Indeed, we would ask thee about the religion of Emancipation. Thou art well-acquainted with it. We have heard, O bird, that thou art possessed of great learning, and eloquent and wise of speech. O bird, what dost thou think is the highest of all objects? O high-souled one, in what does thy mind find pleasure? Do thou, therefore, O foremost of birds, instruct us as to what that one act is which thou regardest as the foremost of all acts, and by doing which, O chief of the feathery creation, one may soon be freed from all bonds.'

“The Swan said, 'Ye who have drunk Amrita, I have heard that one should have recourse to these, viz., penances, self-restraint, truth, and subjugation of the mind. Untying all the knots of the heart, one should also bring under one's control both what is agreeable and what is disagreeable.[1576] One should not wound the vitals of others. One should not be an utterer of cruel speeches. One should never take scriptural lectures from a person that is mean. One should never utter such words as inflict pain on others, as cause others to burn (with misery), and as lead to hell. Wordy shafts fall from the lips. Pierced therewith one (to whom they are directed) burns incessantly. Those shafts do not strike any part other than the very vitals of the person aimed. Hence he that is possessed of learning should never aim them at others. If a person deeply pierces a man of wisdom with wordy shafts, the wise mart should then adopt peace (without giving way to wrath). The man who, though sought to be angered, rejoices without yielding to anger, taketh away from the provoker all his merits. That man of righteous soul, who, full of joy and freed from malice, subdues his blazing wrath which, if indulged, would lead him to speak ill of others and verily become his foe, takes away the merits of others. As regards myself, I never answer I when another speaks ill of me. If assailed, I always forgive the assault. The righteous are of opinion that forgiveness and truth and sincerity and compassion are the foremost (of all virtues). Truth is the arcanum of the Vedas. The arcanum of Truth is self-restraint. The arcanum of self-restraint is Emancipation. This is the teaching of all the scriptures. I regard that person to be Brahmana and Muni who subjugates the rising impulse of speech, the impulse of wrath appearing in the mind, the impulse of thirst (after unworthy things), and the impulses of the stomach and the organ of pleasure. One who does not yield to wrath is superior to one who does. One who practises renunciation is superior to one who does not. One who possesses the virtues of manhood is superior to one who has them not. One who is endued with knowledge is superior to one who is destitute of it. Assailed with harsh speeches one should not assail in return. Indeed, one who, under such circumstances, renounces wrath, succeeds in burning the assailant and taking away all his merits.[1577] That person who when assailed with harsh speeches does not utter a harsh word in reply, who when praised does not utter what is agreeable to him that praises, who is endued with such fortitude as not to strike in return when struck and not to even wish evil to the striker, finds his companionship always coveted by the gods. He that is sinful should be forgiven as if he were righteous, by one that is insulted, struck, and calumniated. By acting in this way one attains to success. Though all my objects have been fulfilled, yet I always wait reverentially on those that are righteous. I have no thirst. My wrath hath been suppressed. Seduced by covetousness I do not fall away from the path of righteousness. I do not also approach any one (with solicitations) for wealth.[1578] If cursed, I do not curse in return. I know that self-restraint is the door of immortality. I disclose unto you a great mystery. There is no status that is superior to that of humanity. Freed from sin like the Moon from murky clouds, the man of wisdom, shining in resplendence, attains to success by patiently waiting for his time. A person of restrained soul, who becomes the object of adoration with all by becoming the foremost of the supporting pillars of the universe, and towards whom only agreeable words are spoken by all, attains to the companionship of the deities. Revilers never come forward to speak of the merits of a person as they speak of his demerits. That person whose speech and mind are properly restrained and always devoted to the Supreme, succeeds in attaining to the fruits of the Vedas, Penances, and Renunciation. The man of wisdom should never revile (in return) those that are destitute of merit, by uttering their dispraise and by insults. He should not extol others (being extolled by them) and should never injure themselves. The man endued with wisdom and learning regards revilement as nectar. Reviled, he sleeps without anxiety. The reviler, on the other hand, meets with destruction. The sacrifices that one performs in anger, the gifts one makes in anger, the penances one undergoes in anger, and the offerings and libations one makes to the sacred fire in anger, are such that their merits are robbed by Yama. The toil of an angry man becomes entirely fruitless. Ye foremost of immortals, that person is said to be conversant with righteousness whose four doors, viz., the organ of pleasure, the stomach, the two arms, and speech, are well-restrained. That person who, always practising truth and self-restraint and sincerity and compassion and patience and renunciation, becomes devoted to the study of the Vedas, does not covet what belongs to others, and pursues what is good with a singleness of purpose, succeeds in attaining to heaven. Like a calf sucking all the four teats of its dam's udders, one should devote oneself to the practice of all these virtues. I do not know whether anything exists that is more sacred than Truth. Having roved among both human beings and the deities, I declare it that Truth is the only means for reaching heaven even as a ship is the only means for crossing the ocean. A person becomes like those with whom he dwells, and like those whom he reverences, and like to what he wishes to be. If a person waits with reverence on him who is good or him who is otherwise, if he waits with reverence on a sage possessed of ascetic merit or on a thief, passes under his way and catches his hue like a piece of cloth catching the dye in which it is steeped. The deities always converse with those that are possessed of wisdom and goodness. They, therefore, never entertain the wish for even seeing the enjoyments in which men take pleasure. The person who knows that all objects of enjoyment (which human beings cherish) are characterised by vicissitudes, has few rivals, and is superior to the very Moon and the Wind.[1579] When the Purusha that dwells in one's heart is unstained, and walks in the path of the righteous, the gods take a pleasure in him. The gods from a distance cast off those that are always devoted to the gratification of their organs of pleasure and the stomach, that are addicted to thieving, and that always indulge in harsh speeches, even if they expiate their offences by performing the proper rites. The gods are never pleased with one of mean soul, with one who observes no restrictions in the matter of food, and with one who is of sinful deeds. On the other hand, the gods associate with those men that are observant of the vow of truth, that are grateful, and that are engaged in the practice of righteousness. Silence is better than speech. To speak the truth is better than silence. Again to speak truth that is connected with righteousness is better than to speak the truth. To speak that which, besides being true and righteous, is agreeable, is better than to speak truth connected with righteousness.'

“The Sadhyas said, 'By what is this world covered? For what reason does one fail to shine? For what cause do people cast off their friends? For what reason do people fail to attain to heaven?'

“The Swan said, 'The world is enveloped by (the darkness of) Ignorance. Men fail to shine in consequence of malice. People cast off friends, induced by covetousness. Men fail to attain to heaven in consequence of attachment.'

“The Sadhyas said, 'Who alone among the Brahmanas is always happy? Who alone amongst them can observe the vow of silence though dwelling in the midst of many? Who alone amongst them, though weak, is still regarded as strong? And who alone amongst them does not quarrel?'

“The Swan said, 'He alone amongst the Brahmanas that is possessed of wisdom is always happy. He alone amongst the Brahmanas that is possessed of wisdom succeeds in observing the vow of silence, though dwelling in the midst of many. He alone amongst the Brahmanas who is possessed of wisdom, though actually weak, is regarded as strong. He alone amongst them that has wisdom succeeds in avoiding quarrel.'[1580]

“The Sadhyas said, 'in what consists the divinity of the Brahmanas? In what their purity? In what their impurity? And in what their status of humanity?'

“The Swan said, 'In the study of the Vedas is the divinity of the Brahmanas. In their vows and observances is their purity. In obloquy is their impurity. In death is their humanity.'[1581]

“Bhishma continued, 'Thus have I recited to thee excellent narrative of the discourse between the Sadhyas (and the Swan). The body (both gross and subtile) is the origin of acts, and existence or Jiva is truth.'


“Yudhishthira said, 'It behoveth thee to explain to me, O sire, what the difference is between the Sankhya and the Yoga system of philosophy. O foremost one of Kuru's race, everything is known to thee, O thou that art conversant with all duties!'

“Bhishma said, 'The followers of Sankhya praise the Sankhya system and those regenerate persons that are Yogins praise the Yoga system. For establishing the superiority of their respective systems, each calls his own system to be the better. Men of wisdom devoted to Yoga assign proper and very good reasons, O crusher of foes, for showing that one that does not believe in the existence of God cannot attain to Emancipation. Those regenerate persons, again, that are believers in the Sankhya doctrines advance good reasons for showing that one, by acquiring true knowledge of all ends, becomes dissociated from all worldly objects, and, after departing from this body, it is plain, becomes emancipated and that it cannot be otherwise. Men of great wisdom have thus expounded the Sankhya philosophy of Emancipation. When reasons are thus balanced on both sides, those that are assigned on that side which one is otherwise inclined to adopt as one's own, should be accepted. Indeed, those words that are said on that side should be regarded as beneficial. Good men may be found on both sides. Persons like thee may adopt either opinion. The evidences of Yoga are addressed to the direct ken of the senses; those of Sankhya are based on the scriptures. Both systems of philosophy are approved by me, O Yudhishthira. Both those systems of science, O king, have my concurrence and are concurred in by those that are good and wise. If practised duly according to the instructions laid down, both would, O king, cause a person to attain to the highest end. In both systems purity is equally recommended as also compassion towards all creatures, O sinless one. In both, again, the observance of vows has been equally laid down. Only the scriptures that point out their paths are different.'

“Yudhishthira said, 'If the vows, the purity, the compassion, and the fruits thereof recommended in both systems be the same, tell me, O grandsire, for what reason then are not their scriptures (in respect of the paths recommended) the same?'

“Bhishma said, 'By casting off, through the aid of Yoga, these five faults, viz., attachment, heedlessness, affection, lust, and wrath, one attains to Emancipation. As large fishes, breaking through the pet, pass into their own element (for ranging in felicity), after the same manner, Yogins (breaking through lust and wrath, etc.) become cleansed of all sins and attain to the felicity of Emancipation. As powerful animals, breaking through the nets in which hunters enmesh them, escape into the felicity of freedom, after the same manner, Yogins, freed from all bonds, attain to the sinless path that leads to Emancipation. Truly, O king, breaking through the bonds born of cupidity, Yogins, endued with strength, attain to the sinless and auspicious and high path of Emancipation. Feeble animals, O monarch, entangled in nets, are without doubt, destroyed. Even such is the case with persons destitute of the puissance of Yoga. As weak fishes, O son of Kunti, fallen into the net, become entangled in it, even so, O monarch, men destitute of the puissance of Yoga, encounter destruction (amid the bonds of the world). As birds, O chastiser of foes, when entangled in the fine nets of fowlers (if weak) meet with their ruin but if endued with strength effect their escape, after the same manner does it happen with Yogins, O chastiser of foes. Bound by the bonds of action, they that are weak meet with destruction, while they that are possessed of strength break through them. A small and weak fire, O king, becomes extinguished when large logs of timber are placed upon it. Even so the Yogin that is weak, O king, meets with ruin (when brought in contact with the world and its attachments). The same fire, however, O monarch, when it becomes strong, would (without being extinguished) burn with the aid of the wind, the whole Earth. After the same manner, the Yogin, when grown in strength, burning with energy, and possessed of might, is capable of scorching the entire Universe like the Sun that rises at the time of 'the universal dissolution. As a weak man, O king, is swept away by a current, even so is a weak Yogin helplessly carried away by objects of the senses. An elephant withstands a mighty current. After the same manner, a Yogin, having acquired Yoga-puissance, withstands all objects of the senses. Independent of all things, Yogins, endued with Yoga-puissance and invested with lordship, enter into (the hearts of) the very lords of creation, the Rishis, the deities, and the great Beings in the universe. Neither Yama, nor the Destroyer, nor Death himself of terrible prowess, when angry, ever succeeds in prevailing over the Yogin, O king, who is possessed of immeasurable energy. The Yogin, acquiring Yoga-puissance, can create thousands of bodies and with them wander over the earth. Some amongst them enjoy objects of the senses and then once more set themselves to the practice of the austerest penances, and once again, like the Sun (withdrawing his rays), withdraw themselves from such penances.[1582] The Yogin, who is possessed of strength and whom bonds bind not, certainly succeeds in attaining to Emancipation. I have now discoursed to thee, O monarch, on all these powers of Yoga. I shall once more tell thee what the subtile powers of Yoga are with their indications. Rear, O chief of Bharata's race, the subtile indications of the Dharana and the Samadhi of the Soul (such as Yoga brings about).[1583] As a bowman who is heedful and attentive succeeds in striking the aim, even so the Yogin. with absorbed soul, without doubt, attains to Emancipation. As a man fixing his mind on a vessel full of some liquid (placed on his head) heedfully ascends a flight of steps, even so the Yogin, fixed and absorbed in his soul, cleanses it and makes it as effulgent as the Sun. As a boat, O son of Kunti, that is tossed on the bosom of the sea is very soon taken by a heedful boatman to the other shore, even so the man of knowledge by fixing his soul in Samadhi, attains to Emancipation, which is so difficult to acquire, after casting off his body, O monarch. As a heedful charioteer, O king, having yoked good steeds (unto his car) takes the car-warrior to the spot he wishes, even so the Yogin, O monarch, heedful in Dharana, soon attains to the highest spot (viz., Emancipation) like a shaft let off from the bow reaching the object aimed at. The Yogin who stays immovably after having entered his self into the soul, destroys his sins and obtains that indestructible spot which is the possession of those that are righteous. That Yogin who, heedfully observant of high vows, properly unites O king, his Jiva-soul with the subtile Soul in the navel, the throat, the head, the heart, the chest, the sides, the eye, the ear, and the nose, burns all his acts good and bad of even mountain-like proportions, and having recourse to excellent Yoga, attains to Emancipation.'

“Yudhishthira said, 'It behoveth thee to tell me, O grandsire, what the kinds of diet are by taking which, and what the things are by conquering which, the Yogin, O Bharata, acquires Yoga-puissance.'

“Bhishma continued, 'Engaged, O Bharata, in subsisting upon broken grains of rice and sodden cakes of sesame, and abstaining from oil and butter, the Yogin acquires Yoga-puissance. By subsisting for a long time on powdered barley unmixed with any liquid substance, and by confining himself to only one meal a day, the Yogin, of cleansed soul, acquires Yoga-puissance. By drinking only water mixed with milk, first only once during the day, then once during a fortnight, then once during a month, then once during three months, and then once during a whole year, the Yogin acquires Yoga-puissance. By abstaining entirely from meat, O king, the Yogin of cleansed soul acquires puissance.[1584] By subjugating lust, and wrath, and heat, and cold and rain, and fear, and grief, and the breath, and all sounds that are agreeable to men, and objects of the senses, and the uneasiness, so difficult to conquer, that is born of abstention from sexual congress, and thirst that is so terrible, O king, and the pleasures of touch, and sleep, and procrastination that is almost unconquerable, O best of kings, high-souled Yogins, divested of attachments, and possessed of great wisdom, aided by their understandings, and equipped with wealth of contemplation and study, cause the subtile soul to stand confessed in all its glory. This high (Yoga) path of learned Brahmanas is exceedingly difficult to tread. No one can walk along this path with ease. That path is like a terrible forest which abounds with innumerable snakes and crawling vermin, with (concealed) pits occurring every where, without water for slaking one's thirst, and full of thorns, and inaccessible on that account. Indeed, the path of Yoga is like a road along which no edibles occur, which runs through a desert having all its trees burnt down in a conflagration, and which has been rendered unsafe by being infested with bands of robbers. Very few young men can pass safely through it (for reaching the goal). Like unto a path of this nature, few Brahmanas can tread alone the Yoga-path with ease and comfort. That man who, having betaken himself to this path, ceases to go forward (but turns back after having made some progress), is regarded as guilty of many faults. Men of cleansed souls, O lord of Earth, can stay with ease upon Yoga-contemplation which is like the sharp edge of a razor. Persons of uncleansed souls, however, cannot stay on it. When Yoga-contemplation becomes disturbed or otherwise obstructed, it can never lead the Yogin to an auspicious end even as a vessel that is without a captain cannot take the passengers to the other shore. That man, O son of Kunti, who practises Yoga-contemplation according to due rites, succeeds in casting off both birth and death, and happiness and sorrow. All this that I have told thee has been stated in the diverse treatises bearing upon Yoga. The highest fruits of Yoga are seen in persons of the regenerate order. That highest fruit is identification with Brahma. The high-souled Yogin, possessed of greatness, can enter into and come out of, at his will, Brahma himself who is the lord of all deities, and the boon-giving Vishnu, and Bhava, and Dharma, and the six-faced Kartikeya, and the (spiritual) sons of Brahmana, the quality of Darkness that is productive of much pain, and that of Passion, and that of Sattwa which is pure, and Prakriti which is the highest, and the goddess Siddhi who is the spouse of Varuna, and all kinds of energy, and all enduring patience, and the bright lord of stars in the firmament with the stars twinkling all around, and the Viswas. and the (great) snakes, and the Pitris, and all the mountains and hills, and the great and terrible oceans, and all the rivers, and the rain-charged clouds, and serpents, and trees, and Yakshas, and the cardinal and subsidiary points of the compass, and the Gandharvas, and all male persons and all female ones also. This discourse, O king, that is connected with the Supreme Being of mighty energy should be regarded as auspicious. The Yogin has Narayana for his soul. Prevailing over all things (through his contemplation of the Supreme deity), the high-souled Yogin is capable of creating all things.'”

The end of the Santi Parva [, Part two of three].


YUDHISHTHIRA SAID, 'O king thou hast duly propounded unto me, in the way in which it should be, the path of Yoga which is approved by the wise, after the manner of a loving preceptor unto his pupil. I ask now about the principles of the Sankhya philosophy. Do thou discourse to me on those principles in their entirety. Whatever knowledge exists in the three worlds is known to thee!'

“Bhishma said, 'Listen now to what the subtile principles are of the followers of the Sankhya doctrine have been established by all the great and puissant Yatis having Kapila their first. In that doctrine O chief of men, no errors are discoverable. Many, indeed, are its merits. In fact, there is no fault in it. Comprehending with the aid of knowledge that all objects exist with faults, indeed, understanding that the objects–so difficult to cast off–with which human beings and Pisachas and Rakshasas and Yakshas and snakes and Gandharvas and pitris and those that are wandering in the intermediate orders of beings (such as birds and animals) and great birds (such as Garuda and others) and the Maruts and royal sages and regenerate sages and Asuras and Viswedevas and the celestial Rishis and Yogins invested with supreme puissance and the Prajapatis and Brahman himself are engaged, and understanding truly what the highest limit is of one's period of existence in this world, and apprehending also the great truth. O foremost of eloquent men, about what is called felicity here, having a clear knowledge of what the sorrows are that overtake when the hour comes all those that are concerned with (transitory) objects and knowing full well the sorrows of those that have fallen into the intermediate orders of being and of those that have sunk into hell, perceiving all the merits and all the faults of heaven, O Bharta, and all the demerits that attach to the declarations of the Vedas and all the excellencies that are connected with them recognising the faults and merits of the Yoga and the Sankhya systems of philosophy, realizing also that the quality of Sattwa has ten properties, that of Rajas has nine, and that of Tamas has eight, that the Understanding has seven properties, the Mind has six, and Space has five, and once more conceiving that the Understanding has four properties and Tamas has three, and the Rajas has two and Sattwa has, one, and truly apprehending the path that is followed by all objects when destruction overtakes them and what the course is of self knowledge, the Sankhyas, possessed of knowledge and experience and exalted by their perceptions of causes, and acquiring thorough auspiciousness, attain to the felicity of Emancipation like the rays of the Sun, or the Wind taking refuge in Space.[1585] Vision is attached to form; the sense of scent to smell, the ear to sound, the tongue to juices, and the skin (or body) to touch. The wind has for its refuge Space. Stupefaction has Tamas (Darkness) for its refuge. Cupidity has the objects of the senses for its refuge. Vishnu is attached to (the organs of) motion. Sakra is attached to (the organs of) strength. The deity of fire is attached to the stomach, Earth is attached to the Waters. The Waters have Heat (or fire) for their refuge. Heat attaches itself to the Wind; and the wind has Space for its refuge; and Space has Mahat for its refuge, and Mahat has the Understanding for its foundation. The Understanding has its refuge in Tamas; Tamas has Rajas for its refuge; Rajas is founded upon Sattwa; and Sattwa is attached to the Soul. The soul has the glorious and puissant Narayana for its refuge. That glorious deity has Emancipation for his refuge. Emancipation is independent of all refuge. Knowing that this body, that is endued with six and ten possessions, is the result of the quality of Sattwa, understanding fully the nature of the physical organism and the character of the Chetana that dwells within it, recognising the one existent Being that live in the body viz., the Soul, which stands aloof from every concern of the body and in which no sin can attach, realising the nature of that second object, viz.; the acts of persons attached to the objects of the senses, understanding also the character of the senses and the sensual objects which have their refuge in the Soul, appreciating the difficulty of Emancipation and the scriptures that bear upon it knowing fully the nature of the vital breaths called Prana, Apana, Samana, Vyana, and Udana, as also the two other breaths, viz., the one going downward and the other moving upward indeed, knowing those seven breaths ordained to accomplish seven different functions, ascertaining the nature of the Prajapatis and the Rishis and the high paths, many in number, of virtue or righteousness, and the seven Rishis and the innumerable royal Rishis, O scorcher of foes, and the great celestial Rishis and the other regenerate Rishis endued with the effulgence of the Sun, beholding all these falling away from their puissance in course of many long ages, O monarch, hearing of the destruction of even of all the mighty beings in the universe, understanding also the inauspicious end that is attained, O king, by creatures of sinful acts, and the miseries endured by those that fall into the river Vaitarani in the realms of Yama, and the inauspicious wanderings of creatures through diverse wombs, and the character of their residence in the unholy uterus in the midst of blood and water and phlegm and urine and faeces, all of foul smell, and then in bodies that result from the union of blood and the vital seed, of marrow and sinews, abounding with hundreds of nerves and arteries and forming an impure mansion of nine doors, comprehending also what is for his own good what those divers combinations are which are productive of good beholding the abominable conduct of creatures whose natures are characterised by Darkness or Passion or Goodness, O chief of Bharata's race–conduct that is reprehended, in view of its incapacity to acquire Emancipation, by the followers of the Sankhya doctrine who are fully conversant with the Soul, beholding the swallowing up of the Moon and the Sun by Rahu, the falling of stars from their fixed positions and the diversions of constellations from their orbits, knowing the sad separation of all united objects and the diabolical behaviour of creatures in devouring one another, seeing the absence of all intelligence in the infancy of human beings and the deterioration and destruction of the body, marking the little attachment creatures have to the quality of Sattwa in consequence of their being overwhelmed by wrath and stupefaction, beholding also only one among thousands of human beings resolved to struggle after the acquisition of Emancipation, understanding the difficulty of attaining to Emancipation according to what is stated in the scriptures, seeing the marked solicitude that creatures manifest for all unattained objects and their comparative indifference to all objects that have been attained marking the wickedness that results from all objects of the senses O king and the repulsive bodies, O son of Kunti, of persons reft of life, and the residence, always fraught with grief, of human beings, O Bharata, in houses (in the midst of spouses and children), knowing the end of those terrible and fallen men who become guilty of slaying Brahmanas, and of those wicked Brahmanas that are addicted to the drinking of alcoholic stimulants, and the equally sad end of those that become criminally attached to the spouses of their preceptors, and of those men, O Yudhishthira, that do not properly reverence their mothers, as also of those that have no reverence and worship to offer to the deities, understanding also, with the help of that knowledge (which their philosophy imparts), the end that of all perpetrators of wicked acts, and the diverse ends that overtake those who have taken birth among the intermediate orders, ascertaining the diverse declarations of the Vedas, the courses of seasons, the fading of years, of months, of fortnights, and of days, beholding directly the waxing and the waning of the Moon, seeing the rising and the ebbing of the seas, and the diminution of wealth and its increase once more, and the separation of united objects, the lapse of Yugas, the destruction of mountains, the drying up of rivers, the deterioration of (the purity of) the several orders and the end also of that deterioration occurring repeatedly, beholding the birth, decrepitude, death, and sorrows of creatures, knowing truly the faults attaching to the body and the sorrows to which human beings are subject, and the vicissitudes to which the bodies of creatures are subject, and understanding all the faults that attach to their own souls, and also all the inauspicious faults that attach to their own bodies (the followers of the Sankhya philosophy succeed in attaining to Emancipation).

“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.[1586] 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.[1587] 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,[1588] 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.[1589] 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.[1590] 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.[1591] Then space into which they are carried, O monarch, conveys them to the highest end of Rajas.[1592] 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).'[1593]

“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.[1594] 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.[1595] 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.[1596] 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.[1597] At such times, the subtile Soul, repairing into the respective place of all the senses, without doubt, discharges all their functions.[1598] 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.[1599] 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.[1600] [1601] 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.[1602] 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.[1603]

“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.[1604] 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.[1605] 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.[1606] 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.'”[1607]


“Yudhishthira said, 'What is that which is called Undeteriorating and by attaining to which no one has to come back? What, again, is that which is called Deteriorating, and by attaining to which one has to return once more? O slayer of foes, I ask thee the distinction that exists, O thou of mighty arms, between the Deteriorating and the Undeteriorating ones for understanding them both truly, O delighter of the Kurus, Brahmanas conversant with the Vedas speak of thee as an Ocean of knowledge. Highly-blessed Rishis and Yatis of high souls do the same. Thou hast very few days to live. When the Sun turns from the southern path for entering into the northern, thou shalt attain to thy high end. When thou shalt leave us, from whom shall we hear of all that is beneficial for us? Thou art the lamp of Kuru's race. Indeed thou art always blazing with the light of knowledge. O perpetuator of Kuru's race, I desire, therefore to hear all this from thee. Listening to thy discourses that are always sweet like nectar, my curiosity, without being satiated is always increasing!'

“Bhishma said, 'I shall, in this connection, relate to thee the old narrative of the discourse that took place between Vasishtha and king Karala of Janaka's race. Once on a time when that foremost of Rishis, viz., Vasishtha, endued with the effulgence of the Sun, was seated at his ease, king Janaka asked him about that highest knowledge which is for our supreme good. Highly proficient in that department of knowledge which is concerned with the Soul and possessed of certain conclusions in respect of all branches of that science,[1608] as Maitravaruni, that foremost of Rishis, was seated the king approaching him with joined hands, asked him in humble words, well pronounced and sweet and destitute of all controversial spirit, the question,–O holy one, I desire to hear, of Supreme and Eternal Brahma by attaining to which men of wisdom have not to come back. I desire also to know that which is called Destructible and That into which this universe enters when destroyed. Indeed, what is That which is said to be indestructible, suspicious, beneficial and free from evil of every kind?

“Vasishtha said, Hear, O lord of Earth, as to haw this universe is destroyed, and, of That which was never destroyed and which will never be destroyed at any time. Twelve thousand years, (according to the measure of the celestials), make a Yuga, four such Yugas taken a thousand times, make a Kalpa which measures one day of Brahman.[1609] Brahman's night also, O king, is of the same measure. When Brahman himself is destroyed[1610]. Sambhu of formless soul and to whom the Yuga attributes of Anima, Laghima, &c, naturally inhere, awakes, and once more creates that First or Eldest of all creatures, possessed of vast proportions of infinite deeds, endued with form, and identifiable with the universe. That Sambhu is otherwise called Isana (the lord of everything). He is pure Effulgence, and transcends all deterioration, having his hands and feet stretching in all directions, with eyes and head and mouth everywhere, and with ears also in every place. That Being exists, overwhelming the entire universe. The eldest-born Being is called Hiranyagarbha. This holy one has (in the Vedanta) been called the Understanding. In the Yuga scriptures He is called the Great, and Virinchi, and the Unborn. In the Sankhya scriptures, He is indicated by diverse name, and regarded as having Infinity for his Soul. Of diverse forms and constituting the soul of the universe. He is regarded as One and Indestructible. The three worlds of infinite ingredients have been created by Him without assistance from any source and have been overwhelmed by him. In consequence of His manifold forms, He is said to be of universal form. Undergoing modifications He creates Himself by Himself. Endued with mighty energy, He first creates Consciousness and that Great Being called Prajapati endued with Consciousness. The Manifest (or Hiranyagarbha) is created from the Unmanifest. This is called by the learned the Creation of Knowledge. The creation of Mahan (or Virat) and Consciousness, by Hiranyagarbha, is the creation of Ignorance.[1611] Ascription of attributes (worthy of worship) and the destruction thereof, called respectively by the names of Ignorance and Knowledge by persons learned by the interpretation of the Srutis, then arose, referring to this, that, or the other of the three (viz., Akshara, Hiranyagarbha, or Virat).[1612] Know, O king, that the creation of the (subtile) elements from consciousness is the third.[1613] In all kinds of consciousness is the fourth creation which flows modification of the third. This fourth creation comprises Wind and Light and Space and Water and Earth, with their properties of sound, touch, form, taste and scent. This aggregate of ten arose, without doubt, at the same time. The fifth creation, O monarch, is that which has arisen from combination of the primal elements (named above). This comprises the ear, the skin, the eyes, the tongue, and the nose forming the fifth, and speech, and the two hands, and the two legs, and the lower duct, and the organs of generation. The first five of these constitute the organs of knowledge, and the last five the organs of action. All these, with mind, arose simultaneously O king. These constitute the four and twenty topics that exist in the forms of all living creatures. By understanding these properly, Brahmanas possessed of insight into the truth have never to yield to sorrow. In the three worlds a combination of these, called body, is possessed by all embodied creatures. Indeed, O king a combination of those is known as such in deities and men and Danavas, and Yakshas and spirits and Gandharvas and Kinnaras and great snakes, and Charanas and Pisachas, in celestial Rishis and Rakshasas, in biting flies, and worms, and gnats, and vermin born of filth and rats, and dogs and Swapakas and Chaineyas and Chandalas and Pukkasas in elephants and steeds and asses and tigers, and trees and kine. Whatever other creatures exist in water or space or on earth, for there is no other place in which creatures exist as we have heard, have this combination. All these, O sire, included within the class called Manifest, are seen to be destroyed day after day. Hence, all creatures produced by union of these four and twenty are said to be destructible.

“This then is the Indestructible. And since the universe, which is made up of Manifest and Unmanifest, meet with destruction, therefore, it is said to be Destructible. The very Being called Mahan who is the eldest-born is always spoken of as an instance of the Destructible. I have now told thee, O monarch, all that thou hadst asked me. Transcending the four and twenty topics already adverted to is the twenty-fifth called Vishnu. That Vishnu in consequence of the absence of all attributes, is not a topic (of knowledge) though as then which pervades all the topics, he has been called so by the wise. Since that which is destructible has caused all this that is Manifest, therefore, all this is endued with form. The twenty-fourth, which is Prakriti, is said to preside over all this (which has sprung from her modifications). The twenty-fifth, which is Vishnu, is formless and, therefore, cannot be said to preside over the universe.[1614] It is that Unmanifest (Prakriti), which, when endued with body (in consequence of union with Chit) dwells in the hearts of all creatures endued with body. As regards eternal Chetana (the Indestructible), although he is without attributes and without form, yet he (in consequence of a union with Prakriti) assumes all forms. Uniting with Prakriti which has the attributes of birth and death, he also assumes the attributes of birth and death. And in consequence of such union he becomes an object of perception and though in reality divested of all attributes yet he comes to be invested therewith. It is in this way that the Mahan-Soul (Hiranyagarbha), becoming united with Prakriti and invested with Ignorance, undergoes modifications and becomes conscious of Self. Uniting with the attributes of Sattwa and Rajas and Tamas, he becomes identified with diverse creatures belonging to diverse orders of Being, in consequence of his forgetfulness and his waiting upon Ignorance. In consequence of his birth and destruction arising from the fact of his dwelling in upon with Prakriti, he thinks himself to be no other than what he apparently is. Regarding himself as this or that, he follows the attributes of Sattwa, Rajas, and Tamas. Under the influence of Tamas, he attains to diverse kinds of conditions that are affected by Tamas. Under the influence of Rajas and Sattwa, he attains similarly to conditions that are affected by Rajas and Sattwa. There are three colours in all, viz., White, Red, and Dark. All those colours appertain to Prakriti (so that He it is who becomes White or Red or Dark according as the nature of the Prakriti with which is He becomes identified for the time being). Through Tamas one goes to hell. Through Rajas one attains to and remains in the status of humanity. Through Sattwa, people ascend to the regions of the deities and become sharers of great felicity. By adhering to sin continuously one sinks into the intermediate order of beings. By acting both righteously and sinfully one attains to the status of the deities. In this way the twenty-fifth, viz., Akshara (the Indestructible), the wise say, by union with the unmanifest (Prakriti), becomes transformed into Kshara (destructible). By means of knowledge however, the Indestructible becomes displayed in His true nature–”


”'Vasishtha said, 'Thus in consequence of his forgetfulness the Soul follows ignorance and obtains thousands of bodies one after another. He attains to thousands of births among the intermediate orders and sometimes among the very gods in consequence of his union with (particular) attributes and the puissance of attributes.[1615] From the status of humanity, he goes to heaven and from heaven he comes back to humanity, and from humanity he sinks into hell for many long years. As the worm that fabricates the cocoon shuts itself, completely on every side by means of the threads it weaves itself, even so the Soul, though in reality transcending all attributes, invests himself on every side with attributes (and deprives himself of liberty).[1616] Though transcending (in his real nature) both happiness and misery, it is thus that he subjects himself to happiness and misery. It is thus also that, though transcending all diseases, the Soul regards himself to be afflicted by headache and opthalmia and toothache and affections of the throat and abdominal dropsy, and burning thirst, and enlargement of glands, and cholera, and vitiligo, and leprosy, and burns, and asthma and phthisis, and epilepsy, and whatever other diseases of diverse kinds are seen in the bodies of embodied creatures. Regarding himself, through error, as born among thousands of creatures in the intermediate orders of being, and sometimes among the gods, he endures misery and enjoys the fruits of his good deeds. Invested with Ignorance he regards himself as robed sometimes in white cloth and sometimes in full dress consisting of four pieces or as lying on floors (instead of on beds or bedsteads) or with hands and feet contracted like those of frogs or as seated upright in the attitude of ascetic contemplation, or as' clad in rags or as lying or sitting under the canopy of heaven or within mansions built of bricks and stone or on rugged stones or on ashes or bare stones or on the bare earth or on beds or on battlefields or in water or in mire or on wooden planks or on diverse kinds of beds; or impelled by desire of fruits, he regards himself as clad in a scant piece of cloth made of grass or as totally nude or as robed in silk or in skin of the black antelope or in cloth made of flax or in sheep-skin or in tiger-skin or in lion-skin or in fabric of hemp, or in barks of birch or in cloths made of the produce of prickly plants, or in vestures made of threads woven by worms or of torn rags or in diverse other kinds of cloth too numerous to mention. The soul regards himself also as wearing diverse kinds of ornaments and gems, or as eating diverse kinds of food. He regards himself as sometimes eating at intervals of one night, or once at the same hour every day, or as at the fourth, the sixth, and the eighth hour every day, or as once in six or seven or eight nights, or as once in ten or twelve day, or as once in a month, of as eating only roots, or fruits, or as subsisting upon air or water alone, or on cakes of sesame husk, or curds or cowdung, or the urine of the cow or potherbs or flowers or moss or raw food, or as subsisting on fallen leaves of trees or fruits that have fallen down and lay scattered on the ground, or diverse other kinds of food, impelled by the desire of winning (ascetic) success. The Soul regards himself as adopting the observance of Chandrayana according to the rites ordained in the scriptures, or diverse other vows and observance, and the courses of duty prescribed for the four modes of life, and even derelictions of duty, and the duties of other subsidiary modes of life included in the four principal ones, and even diverse kinds of practices that distinguish the wicked and sinful. The Soul regards himself as enjoying retired spots and delightful shades of mountains and the cool vicinity of spring and fountain and solitary river banks and secluded forests, and sacred spots dedicated to the deities, and lakes and waters withdrawn from the busy hunts of men, and lone mountain caves affording the accommodation that houses and mansions afford. The Soul regards himself as employed in the recitation of different kinds of hidden Mantras or as observing different vows and rules and diverse kinds of penances, and sacrifices of many kinds, and rites of diverse sorts. The Soul regards himself as adopting sometimes the way of traders and merchants and the practices of Brahmanas and Kshatriyas and Vaisyas and Sudras, and gifts of diverse kinds unto those that are destitute or blind or help-less. In consequence of his being invested with Ignorance, the Soul adopts different attributes of Sattwa and Rajas and Tamas, and Righteousness and Wealth and pleasure. Under the influence of Prakriti the Soul, undergoing modification himself, observes and adopts and practices all these and regards himself as such. Indeed, the Soul regards himself as employed in the utterance of the sacred mantras Swaha and Swadha and Vashat, and in bowing unto those he regards as his Superiors; in officiating in the sacrifices of others, in teaching pupils, making gifts and accepting them; in performing sacrifices and studying, the scriptures, and doing all other acts and rites of this kind. The Soul regards himself as concerned with birth and death and disputes and slaughter. All these, the learned say, constitute the path of acts good and bad. It is the goddess Prakriti who causes birth and death. When the time approaches for universal Destruction, all existent objects and attributes are withdrawn by the Supreme Soul which then exists alone like the Sun withdrawing at evening all his rays; and when the time comes for Creation He once more creates and spreads them out like the Sun shedding and spreading out his rays when morning comes. Even thus the Soul, for the sake of sport, repeatedly regards himself invested with all these conditions, which are his own forms and attributes, infinite in number, and agreeable to himself. It is this way that the Soul, though really transcending the three attributes, becomes attached to the path of acts and creates by modification Prakriti invested with the attributes of birth and death and identical with all acts and conditions which are characterised by the three attributes of Sattwa, Rajas, and Tamas. Arrived at the path of action, the Soul regards particular acts to be endued with particular characteristics and productive of particular ends. O monarch, the whole of this universe has been blinded by Prakriti and all things have been diversely overwhelmed (through Prakriti) by the attributes of Rajas and Tamas. It is in consequence of the Soul being invested by Prakriti that these pairs of opposites productive of happiness and woe, repeatedly come. It is in consequence of this Ignorance that Jiva regards these sorrows to be his and imagines them as pursuing him. Indeed, O monarch, through that Ignorance it is that Jiva imagines he should anyhow cross those sorrows, and that he should, going into the regions of the gods, enjoy the felicity that awaits all his good acts. It is through Ignorance that he thinks he should enjoy and endure these delights and these woes here in this world Through Ignorance Jiva thinks,–I should secure my happiness. By continually doing good acts, I may have happiness in this life till its close and I shall be happy in all my future lives. Though, again the (evil) acts I do in this life unending sorrow may become mine. The status of humanity is fraught with great misery, for from it one sinks into hell. From hell, it will take many long years before I can come back to the status of humanity. From humanity I shall attain to the status of the gods. From that superior status I shall have to come back again to humanity and thence to sink into hell once more!–One who always regards this combination of the primal elements and the senses, with the Chit's reflection in it, to be thus invested with the characteristics of the Soul, has repeatedly to wander among gods and human beings and to sink into hell. Being always invested with the idea of meum, Jiva has to make a round of such births. Millions upon millions of birth have to be gone through by Jiva in the successive forms he assumes, all of which are liable to death. He who does acts in this way, which are all fraught with good and bad fruits, has in the three worlds to assume successive form and to enjoy and endure fruits corresponding therewith. It is Prakriti that cause acts fraught with good and bad acts; and it is Prakriti that enjoys and endures the fruits thereof in the three worlds. Indeed, Prakriti follows the course of acts. The status of the intermediate beings, of humanity, and of the gods as well,–these three fields,–should be known as originating in Prakriti and has been said to be destitute of all attributes. Her existence is affirmed only in consequence of her acts (beginning with Mahat). After the same manner, Purusha (or Soul), though without attributes himself, has his existence affirmed in consequence of the acts which the body does when it receives his reflection. Although the Soul is not subject to modifications of any kind and is the active principle that sets Prakriti in motion, yet entering a body that is united with the senses of knowledge and action, he regards all the acts of those senses as his own. The five senses of knowledge beginning with the ear, and those of action beginning with speech, uniting with the attributes of Sattwa and Rajas and Tamas, become engaged in numerous object. Jiva imagines that it is he who does the acts of his life and that the senses of knowledge and acts belong to him, although in reality he has no senses. Indeed, though unequipt with body, he imagines that he has a body. Though destitute of attributes, he regards himself as endued therewith, and though transcending Time, imagines himself to be under Time's control. Though destitute of understanding, he still regards himself as endued therewith, and though transcending the (four and twenty) topics, regards himself as one included among them. Though deathless, he still regards himself as liable to death, and though motionless regards himself to be endued with motion. Though not possessed of a material case, he still regards himself as possessed of one; and though unborn, he still regards himself as in-vested with birth. Though transcending penances, he still regards as engaged in penances, and though he has no end (after which to strive), he still regards himself as liable to attain to ends (of diverse kinds). Though not endued with motion and birth, he still regards himself as endued with both, and though transcending fear, still regards himself as liable to fear. Though Indestructible, he still regards himself Destructible. Invested with Ignorance, the Soul thus thinks of himself.”


”'Vasishtha said, 'It is thus, in consequence of his Ignorance and his association with others that are invested with Ignorance, that Jiva has recourse to millions and millions of births every one of which has dissolution in the end. In consequence of his transformation into Chit invested with Ignorance, Jiva betakes himself to millions of abodes one of which is liable to end in destruction, among intermediate beings and men and the deities. In consequence of Ignorance, Jiva, like Chandramas, has to wax and wane thousands and thousands of times. This is truly the nature of Jiva when invested with ignorance. Know that Chandramas has in reality full sixteen portions. Only fifteen of these are subject to increase and decrease. The sixteenth (i.e., that portion which remains invisible and which appears on the night of the New-moon) remains constant. After the manner of Chandramas, Jiva too has full sixteen portions. Only fifteen of these, (viz., Prakriti with Chit's reflection, the ten senses of knowledge and action, and the four inner faculties) appear and disappear. The sixteenth (viz., Chit in its purity) is subject to no modification. Invested with Ignorance, Jiva repeatedly and continually takes birth in the fifteen portions named above. With the eternal and immutable portion on Jiva primal essence become united and this union takes place repeatedly. That sixteenth portion is subtile. It should be known as Soma (eternal and immutable). It is never upheld by the senses. On the other hand, the senses are upheld by it. Since those sixteen portions are the cause of the birth of creatures, creatures can never, O monarch, take birth without their aid. They are called Prakriti. The destruction of Jiva's liability to be united with Prakriti is called Emancipation. The Mahat-Soul, which is the twenty-fifth, if it regards that body of sixteen portions called the Unmanifest,[1617] has to assume it repeatedly. In consequence of not knowing, That which is stainless and pure, and for its devotion to what is the result of a combination of both Pure and Impure, the Soul, which is in reality pure, becomes, O king Impure. Indeed, in consequence of its devotion to Ignorance, Jiva, though characterised by Knowledge becomes repeatedly associated with Ignorance. Though, O monarch, free from error of every kind, yet in consequence of its devotion to the three attributes of Prakriti, it becomes endued with those attributes.'”


'“Janaka said, O holy one, it has been said that the relation between male and female is like that which subsists between the Indestructible and the destructible (or Purusha and Prakriti). Without a male, a female can never conceive. Without a female a male also can never create form. In consequence of their union with each other, and each depending upon the attributes of the other, forms (of living creatures) are seen to flow. This is the case with all orders of being. Through each other's union for purposes of (sexual) congress, and through each depending upon the attributes of the others, forms (of living creatures) flow in menstrual seasons. I shall tell to thee the indications thereof. Hear what the attributes are that belong to the sire and what those are that belong to the mother. Bones, sinews and marrow, O regenerate one, we know, are derived from the sire. Skin, flesh, and blood, we hear are derived from the mother. Even this, O foremost of regenerate persons, is what may be read of in the Vedas and other scriptures. Whatever is read as declared in the Vedas and in other scriptures is regarded as authority. The authority, again, of the Vedas and other scriptures (not inconsistent with the Vedas), is eternal. If Prakriti and Purusha be always united together in this way by each opposing and each depending on the other's attributes, I see, O holy one, that Emancipation cannot exist. Thou, O holy one, art possessed of spiritual vision so that thou seest all things as if they are present before thy eyes. If, therefore, there be any direct evidence of the existence of Emancipation, do thou, speak of it to me. We are desirous of attaining to Emancipation. Indeed, we wish to attain to That which is auspicious, bodiless, not subject to decrepitude, eternal beyond the ken of the senses, and having nothing superior to it.

'“Vasishtha said, What thou sayest about the indications of the Vedas and the other scriptures (in respect of the matter) is even so. Thou takest those indications in the way in which they should be taken. Thou bearest, however, in thy understanding, only the texts of the Vedas and the other scriptures. Thou art not, O monarch, truly conversant with the real meaning of those texts. That person who bears in his understanding merely the texts of the Vedas and the other scriptures without being conversant with the true sense or meaning of those texts, bears them fruitlessly. Indeed, one who holds the contents of a work in memory without comprehending their meaning is said to bear an useless burden. He, however, who is conversant with the true meaning of a treatise, is said to have studied that treatise to purpose. Questioned regarding the meaning of a text, it behoveth one to communicate that meaning which he has comprehended by a careful study. That person of dull intelligence who refuses to expound the meanings of texts in the midst of a conclave of the learned, that person of foolish understanding, never succeeds in expounding the meaning correctly.[1618] An ignorant person, going to expound the true meaning of treatises, incurs ridicule. Even those possessed of a knowledge of the Soul have to incur ridicule on such occasions (if what they go to explain has not been acquired by study). Listen now to me, O monarch, as to how the subject of Emancipation has been explained (by preceptors to disciple from days of old) among highsouled persons conversant with the Sankhya and the Yoga systems of philosophy. That which the Yogin, behold is precisely that which the Sankhyas arrive after to attain. He who sees the Sankhya and the Yoga systems to be one and the same is said to be endued with intelligence. Skin, flesh, blood, fat, bile, marrow, and sinews, and these senses (of both knowledge and action), about which thou wert speaking unto me, exist. Objects flow from objects; the senses from the senses. From body one obtains a body, as a seed is obtained from seed. When the Supreme Being is without senses, without seed, without matter, without body, He must be divested of all attributes! and in consequence of His being so, how, indeed, can He have attributes of any kind? Space and other attributes arise from the attributes of Sattwa and Rajas and Tamas, and disappear ultimately in them. Thus the attributes arise from Prakriti. Skin, flesh, blood, fat, bile, marrow, bones, and sinews,–these eight that are made of Prakriti, know, O king, may sometimes be produced by the vital seed alone (of the male). The Jiva-soul and the universe are said to both partake of Prakriti characterised by the three attributes of Sattwa, Rajas, and Tamas. The Supreme Soul is different from both the Jiva-soul and the universe. As the seasons though unendued with forms, are nevertheless inferred from the appearance of particular fruits and flowers, after the same manner, Prakriti, though formless, is inferred from the attributes of Mahat and the rest that spring from it. In this way from the existence of Chaitanya in the body, the Supreme Soul, divested of all attributes whatever and perfectly stainless, is inferred. Without beginning and destruction, without end, the overseer of all things, and auspicious, that Soul, only in consequence of its identifying itself with the body and other attributes, comes to be taken as invested with attributes. Those persons that are truly conversant with attributes know that only objects endued with attributes can have attributes but that That which transcends all attributes can have none. When the Jiva-soul conquers all attributes born of Prakriti and which it assumes under error, only then does it behold the Supreme Soul. Only the highest Rishis conversant with the Sankhya and the Yoga systems know that Supreme Soul which Sankhya and Yogins and believers in all other systems say is beyond the Understanding, which is regarded as Knower and endued with the highest wisdom in consequence of its casting off all consciousness of identification with Prakriti, which transcends the attribute of Ignorance or Error, which is Unmanifest, which is beyond all attributes, which is called the Supreme, which is dissociated from all attributes, which ordains all things, which is Eternal and Immutable, which overrules Prakriti and all the attributes born of Prakriti, and which, transcending the four and twenty topics of enquiry, forms the twenty-fifth. When men of knowledge, who stand in fear of birth, of the several conditions of living consciousness, and of death, succeed in knowing the Unmanifest, they succeed in understanding the Supreme Soul at the same time. An intelligent man regards the unity of Jiva-soul with the Supreme Soul as consistent with the scriptures and as perfectly correct, while the man destitute of intelligence looks upon the two as different from each other. This forms the distinction between the man of intelligence and man that is destitute of it. The indications of both Kshara and Akshara (destructible and indestructible) have now been said unto thee. Akshara is Oneness or Unity, while multiplicity or variety is said to be Kshara. When one begins to study and understands properly the five and twenty topics of enquiry, one then comprehends that the Oneness of the Soul is consistent with the scriptures and its multiplicity is what is opposed to them. These are the several indications of what is included in the tale of topics or principles created and what transcends that tale. The wise have said that the tale of topics numbers only five and twenty. That which transcends the topics is beyond that number and forms the twenty-sixth. The study or comprehension of created things (numbered five and twenty) according to their aggregates (of five) is the study and comprehension of topics. Transcending these is That which is eternal.'”


'“Janaka said, Thou hast, O foremost of Rishis, said that Unity is the attribute of that which is Akshara (Indestructible) and variety or multiplicity is the attribute of what is known as Kshara (Destructible). I have not, however, clearly understood the nature of these two. Doubts are still lurking in my mind. Ignorant men look upon the Soul as endued with the incident of multiplicity. They, however that are possessed of knowledge and wisdom regard the Soul to be one and the same. I how-ever, have a very dull understanding. I am, therefore, unable to comprehend how all this can happen. The causes also that thou hast assigned for the unity and the multiplicity of Akshara and Kshara I have almost forgotten in consequence of the restlessness of my understanding. I therefore, desire to hear thee once more discourse to me on those same incidents of unity and multiplicity, on him who is knowing, on what is destitute of knowledge, on Jiva-soul, Knowledge, Ignorance. Akshara, Kshara, and on the Sankhya and the Yoga systems, in detail and separately and agreeable to the truth.

”'Vasishtha said, I shall tell thee what thou askest! Listen however, to me, O monarch, as I expound to thee the practices of Yoga separately. Contemplation, which constitutes an obligatory practices with Yogins, is their highest puissance[1619]. Those conversant with Yoga say that Contemplation is of two kinds. One is the concentration of the mind, and the other is called Pranayama (regulation of breath). Pranayama is said to be endued with substance; while concentration of mind is unendued with it.[1620] Excepting the three times when a man passes urine and stools and eats, one should devote the whole of his time to contemplation. With-drawing the senses from their objects by the aid of the mind, one possessed of intelligence, having made oneself pure, should agreeably to the two and twenty modes of transmitting the Prana breath, unite the Jiva-soul with That which transcends the four and twentieth topic (called Ignorance or Prakriti)[1621] which is regarded by the wise as dwelling in every part of the body and as transcending decay and destruction. It is by means of those two and twenty methods that the Soul may always be known, as heard by us. It is certain that this practice of Yoga is his whose mind is never affected by evil passions. It is not any other person's. Dissociated from all attachments, abstemious in diet, and subduing all the senses, one should fix one's mind on the Soul, during the first and the last part of the night, after having, O king of Mithila, suspended the functions of the senses, quieted the mind by the understanding, and assumed a posture as motionless as that of a block of stone. When men of knowledge, conversant with the rules of Yoga, become as fixed as a stake of wood, and as immovable as a mountain, then are they said to be in Yoga. When one does not hear, and smell, and taste, and see; when one is not conscious of any touch; when one's mind becomes perfectly free from every purpose; when one is not conscious of any thing, when one cherishes no thought; when one becomes like a piece of wood, then is one called by the wise to be in perfect Yoga. At such a time one shines like a lamp that burns in a place where there is no wind; at such a time one becomes freed even from one's subtile form, and perfectly united with Brahma. When one attains to such progress, one has no longer to ascend or to fall among intermediate beings. When persons like ourselves say that there has been a complete identification of the Knower, the Known, and K now-ledge, then is the Yogin said to behold the Supreme Soul.[1622] While in Yoga, the Supreme Soul displays itself in the Yogin's heart like a blazing fire, or like the bright Sun, or like the lightning's flame in the sky. That Supreme Soul which is Unborn and which is the essence of nectar, that is seen by high-souled Brahmanas endued with intelligence and wisdom and conversant with the Vedas, is subtiler than what is subtile and greater than what is great. That Soul, though dwelling in all creatures, is not seen by them. The creator of the worlds, He is seen only by a person endued with wealth of intelligence when aided by the lamp of the mind. He dwells on the other share of thick Darkness and transcends him called Iswara.[1623] Persons conversant with the Vedas and endued with omniscience call Him the dispeller of Darkness, stainless, transcending Darkness, without attributes and endued therewith.

”'This is what is called the Yoga of Yogins. What else is the indication of Yoga? By such practices do Yogins succeeded in beholding the Supreme Soul that transcends destruction and decay. This much that I have told thee in detail concerns about the science of Yoga. I shall now discourse to thee of that Sankhya philosophy by which the Supreme Soul is seen through the gradual destruction of errors.[1624] The Sankhyas, whose system is built on Prakriti, say that Prakriti, which is Unmanifest, is the foremost. From Prakriti, they say, O monarch, the second principle called Mahat, is produced. It is heard by us that from Mahat flows the third principle called Consciousness. The Sankhyas blessed with sight of the Soul say that from Consciousness flow the five subtile essence of sound, form, touch, taste, and scent. All these eight they call by the name of Prakriti. The modifications of these eight are sixteen in number. They are the five gross essence of space, light, earth, water, and wind, and the ten senses of action and of knowledge including the mind. Men of wisdom devoted to the Sankhya path and conversant with all its ordinances and dispensations regard these four and twenty topics as embracing the whole range of Sankhya enquiry. That which is produced becomes merged in the producing. Created by the Supreme Soul one after another, these principles are destroyed in a reverse order. At every new Creation, the Gunas start into existence in the lateral order (as stated above), and (when Destruction comes) they merge, (each into its progenitor) in a reverse order, like the waves of the ocean disappearing in the ocean that gives them birth. O best of kings, this is the manner in which the Creation and the Destruction of Prakriti takes place. The Supreme Being is all that remains when Universal Destruction takes place, and it is He that assumes multifarious forms when Creation starts into life. This is even so, O king, as ascertained by men of knowledge. It is Prakriti that causes the Overpresiding Purusha to thus assume diversity and revert back to unity. Prakriti also herself has the same indications. Only fully conversant with the nature of the topics of enquiry knows that Prakriti also assumes the same kind of diversity and unity, for when Destruction comes she reverts into unity and when Creation flows she assumes diversity of form. The Soul makes Prakriti, which contains the principles of production or growth, to assume manifold forms. Prakriti is called Kshetra (or soil). Transcending the four and twenty topics or principles is the Soul which is great. It presides over that Prakriti or Kshetra. Hence, O great king, the foremost of Yatis say that the Soul is the Presider. Indeed, it has been heard by us that in consequence of the Soul's presiding over all Kshetras He is called the Presider. And because He knows that Unmanifest Kshetra, He is, therefore, also called Kshetrajna (Knower of Kshetra). And because also the Soul enters into Unmanifest Kshetra (viz., the body), therefore he is called Purusha. Kshetra is something quite different from Kshetrajna. Kshetra is Unmanifest. The Soul, which transcends the four and twenty principles, is called the Knower. Knowledge and the object known are different from each other. Knowledge, again, has been said to be Unmanifest, while the object of knowledge is the Soul which transcends the four and twenty principles. The Unmanifest is called Kshetra. Sattwa (understanding), and also Iswara (the supreme Lord), while Purusha, which is the twenty-fifth principle has nothing superior to it and is not a principle (for it transcends all principles and is only called a principle conventionally). This much O king, is an account of the Sankhya philosophy. The Sankhyas called the cause of the universe, and merging all the grosser principles into the Chit behold the Supreme Soul. Rightly studying the four and twenty topics along with Prakriti, and ascertaining their true nature, the Sankhyas succeed in beholding That which transcends the four and twenty topics or principles.[1625] Jiva in reality is that very Soul which transcends Prakriti and is beyond the four and twenty topics. When he succeeds in knowing that Supreme Soul by dissociating himself from Prakriti, he then becomes identifiable with the Supreme Soul. I have now told thee every thing about the Sankhya System truly. Those who are conversant with this philosophy succeed in attaining are subject to error have direct cognisance of Brahma. They that succeed in attaining to tranquillity. Indeed, as men whose understanding are subject to error have direct cognisance of Brahma. They that succeed in attaining to that state have never to come back to this world after the dissolution of their bodies; while as regards those that are said to be emancipate in this life, puissance, and that indescribable felicity which attaches itself to Samadhi, and immutability, become theirs, in consequence of their having attained to the nature of the Indestructible.[1626] They who behold this universe as many (instead of seeing it as one and uniform) are said to see incorrectly. These men are blind to Brahma. O chastiser of foes, such persons have repeatedly to come back into the world and assume bodies (in diverse orders of Being). They who are conversant with all that has been said above become possessed of omniscience, and accordingly when they pass from this body no longer become subject to the control of any more physical frames. All things, (or the entire universe), have been said to be the result of the Unmanifest. The Soul, which is the twenty-fifth, transcends all things. They who know the Soul have no fear of returning to the world.'”


”'Vasishtha said, I have thus far discoursed to thee on the Sankhya philosophy. Listen now to me as I tell thee what is Vidya (knowledge) and what is Avidya (Ignorance), one after the other. The learned say that that Prakriti, which is fraught with the attributes of Creation and Destruction, is called Avidya; while Purusha, who is freed from the attributes of Creation and Destruction and who transcends the four and twenty topics or principles, is called Vidya. Listen to me first as I tell thee what is Vidya among successive sets of other things, as expounded in the Sankhya philosophy. Among the senses of knowledge and those of action, the senses of knowledge are said to constitute what is known as Vidya. Of the senses of knowledge and their object, the former constitute Vidya as has been heard by us. Of objects of the senses and the mind, the wise have said that the mind constitute Vidya. Of mind and the five subtile essences, the five subtile essences constitutes Vidya. Of the five subtile essences and Consciousness, Consciousness constitutes Vidya. Of Consciousness and Mahat, Mahat, O king, is Vidya. Of all the topics or principles beginning with Mahat, and Prakriti, it is Prakriti, which is unmanifest and supreme, that is called Vidya. Of Prakriti, and that called Vidhi which is Supreme, the latter should be known as Vidya. Transcending Prakriti is the twenty-fifth (called Purusha) who should be known as Vidya. Of all knowledge that which is the Object of Knowledge has been said to be the Unmanifest, O king.[1627] Again, Knowledge has been said to be Unmanifest and the Object of knowledge to be that which transcends the four and twenty. Once more, Knowledge has been said to be Unmanifest, and the Knower is that which transcends the four and twenty. I have now told thee what is truly the import of Vidya and Avidya. Listen now to me as I tell thee all that has been said about the Indestructible, and the Destructible. Both Jiva and Prakriti have been said to be Indestructible, and both of them have been said to be Destructible. I shall tell thee the reason of this correctly as I have understood it. Both Prakriti and Jiva are without beginning and without end or destruction. Both of them are regarded as supreme (in the matter of Creation). Those that are possessed of knowledge say that both are to be called topics or principles. In consequence of its attributes of (repeated) Creation and Destruction, the Unmanifest (or Prakriti) is called Indestructible. That Unmanifest becomes repeatedly modified for the purpose of creating the principle. And because the principles beginning with Mahat are produced by Purusha as well, and because also Purusha and the Unmanifest are mutually dependant upon each other, therefore is Purusha also, the twenty-fifth, called Kshetra (and hence Akshara or Indestructible).[1628] When the Yogin withdraws and merges all the principles into the Unmanifest Soul (or Brahma) then the twenty-fifth (viz., Jiva or Purusha) also, with all those principles disappears into it. When the principles become merged each into its progenitor, then the one that remains is Prakriti. When Kshetrajna too,[1629] O son, becomes merged into his own producing cause then (all that remains is Brahma and, therefore) Prakriti with all the principles in it becomes Kshara (or meets with destruction), and attains also to the condition of being without attributes in consequence of her dissociation from all the principles. Thus it is that Kshetrajna, when his knowledge of Kshetra disappears, becomes, by his nature, destitute of attributes, as it has been heard by us. When he becomes Kshara he then assumes attributes. When, however, he attains to his own real nature, he then succeeds in understanding his own condition of being really destitute of attributes. By casting off Prakriti and beginning to realise that he is different from her, the intelligent Kshetrajna then comes to be regarded as pure and stainless. When Jiva ceases to exist in a state of union with Prakriti, then does he become identifiable with Brahma. When, however, he exists united with Prakriti, he then, O king, seems to be different from Brahma. Indeed, when Jiva shows no affection for Prakriti and her principles, he then succeeds in beholding the Supreme and having once beheld Him wishes not to fall away from that felicity. When the knowledge of truth dawns upon him, Jiva begins to lament in this strain: Alas, how foolishly have I acted by falling through ignorance, into this frame composed of Prakriti like a fish entangled in a net! Alas, through ignorance, I have migrated from body to body like a fish from water to water thinking that water is the element in which alone it can live. Indeed, like a fish that does not know anything else than water to be its element, I also have never known anything else than children and spouses to be my own! Fie on me that through ignorance, I have been repeatedly migrating from body to body in forgetfulness (of the Supreme Soul)! The Supreme Soul alone is my friend. I have capacity for friendship with Him. Whatever be my nature and whoever I may be, I am competent to be like Him and to attain an identity with Him. I see my similarity with Him. I am indeed, like Him. He is stainless. It is evident that I am of the same nature. Through ignorance and stupefaction, I have become associated with inanimate Prakriti. Though really without attachments, I have passed this long time in a state of attachment with Prakriti. Alas, by her was I so long subdued without having been able to know it. Various are the forms–high, middling, and low, that Prakriti assume. Oh, how shall I dwell in those forms?[1630] How shall I live conjointly with her? In consequence only of my ignorance I repair to her companionship. I shall now be fixed (in Sankhya or Yoga). I shall not longer keep her companionship. For having passed so long a time with her, I should think that I was so long deceived by her, for myself being really exempt from modification, how could I keep company with one that is subject to modification? She cannot be held to be responsible for this. The responsibility is mine, since turning away from the Supreme Soul I become of my own accord attached to her. In consequence of that attachment, myself, though formless in reality, had to abide in multifarious forms. Indeed, though formless by nature I become endued with forms in consequence of my sense of meum, and thereby insulted and distressed. In consequence of my sense of meum, concerning the result of Prakriti, I am forced to take birth in diverse orders of Being. Alas, though really destitute of any sense of meum, yet in consequence of affecting it, what diverse acts of an evil nature have been committed by me in those orders which I took birth while I remained in them with a soul that had lost all knowledge! I have no longer anything to do with him who, with essence made up of consciousness, divides herself into many fragments and who seeks to unite me with them. It is only now that I have been awakened and have understood that I am by nature without any sense of meum and without that consciousness which creates the forms of Prakriti that invests me all around. Casting off that sense of meum which I always have with respect to her and whose essence is made up of consciousness, and casting off Prakriti herself, I shall take refuge in Him who is auspicious. I shall be united with Him, and not with Prakriti which is inanimate. If I unite with Him, it will be productive of my benefit. I have no similarity of nature with Prakriti!–The twenty-fifth, (viz., Jiva), when he thus succeeds in understanding the Supreme, becomes able to cast off the Destructible and attain to identity with that which is Indestructible and which is the essence of all that is auspicious, Destitute of attributes in his true nature and in reality Unmanifest, Jiva becomes invested with what is Manifest and assumes attributes. When he succeeds in beholding that which is without attributes and which is the origin of the Unmanifest, he attains, O ruler of Mithila, to identify the same.

”'I have now told thee what the indications are of what is Indestructible and what is Destructible, according to the best of my knowledge and according to what has been expounded in the scriptures. I shall now tell thee, according to what I have heard, as to how Knowledge that is subtile, stainless, and certain arises. Do thou listen to me. I have already discoursed to thee what the Sankhya and the Yoga systems are according to their respective indications as expounded in their respective scriptures. Verily, the science that has been expounded in Sankhya treatises is identical with what has been laid down in the Yoga scriptures. The knowledge, O monarch, which the Sankhya preach, is capable of awakening every one. In the Sankhya scriptures, that Knowledge has been inculcated very clearly for the benefit of disciples. The learned say that this Sankhya system is very extensive. Yogin have great regard for that system as also for the Vedas. In the Sankhya system no topic or principle transcending the twenty-fifth is admitted. That which the Sankhyas regard-as their highest topic of principles has been duly described (by me). In the Yoga philosophy, it is said that Brahma, which is the essence of knowledge without duality, becomes Jiva only when invested with Ignorance. In the Yoga scriptures, therefore, both Brahma and Jiva are spoken of,–'”


”'Vasishtha said, Listen now to me as I discourse to thee on Buddhas (Supreme Soul) and Abuddha (Jiva) which is the dispensation of attributes of Sattwa, Rajas, and Tamas. Assuming many forms (under the influence of illusion) the Supreme Soul, becoming Jiva, regards all those forms as real,[1631] In consequence of (his regarding himself identical with) such transformations, Jiva fails to understand the Supreme Soul, for he bears the attributes (of Sattwa and Rajas and Tamas) and creates and with-draws into himself what he creates. Ceaselessly for his sport, O monarch, does Jiva undergo modifications, and because he is capable of understanding the action of the Unmanifest, therefore is he called Budhyamana (the Comprehender).[1632] The Unmanifest or Prakriti can at no time comprehend Brahma which is really without attributes even when it manifests itself with attributes. Hence is Prakriti called Unintelligent. There is a declaration of the Srutis to the effect that if ever Prakriti does succeed in knowing the twenty-fifth (i.e., Jiva) Prakriti then (instead of being something differentiated from Jiva) becomes identified with Jiva who is united with her. (As regards, however, the Supreme Soul, which is ever disunited and dissociated, and which transcends the twenty-fifth Prakriti can never comprehend it). In consequence of this (viz., his attachment to or union with Prakriti), Jiva or Purusha, who is not manifest and which in his real nature is not subject to modifications, comes to be called as the Unawakened or Ignorant. Indeed because the twenty-fifth can comprehend the Unmanifest, he is therefore, called Budhyamana (or Comprehender). He cannot, however, readily comprehend the twenty-sixth, which is stainless, which is Knowledge without duality, which is immeasurable, and which is eternal. The twenty-sixth, however, can know both Jiva and Prakriti, numbering the twenty-fifth and the twenty-fourth respectively. O thou of great effulgence, only men of wisdom succeed in knowing that Brahma which is Unmanifest, which inheres in its real nature to all that is seen and unseen, and which, O son is the one independent essence in the universe.[1633] When Jiva considers himself different from what he truly is (i.e. when he regards himself as fat or lean, fair or dark a Brahmana or a Sudra), it is only then that he fails to know the Supreme Soul and himself and Prakriti with which he is united. When Jiva succeeds in understanding Prakriti (and knowing that she is something different from him) then he is said to be restored to his true nature and then does he attain to that high understanding which is pure and stainless and which is concerned with Brahma. When Jiva succeeds, O tiger among kings, in attaining to that excellent understanding, he then attains to that Pure Knowledge (without duality) which is called the twenty-sixth or (Brahma). He then casts off the Unmanifest or Prakriti which is fraught with the attributes of Creation and Destruction. When Jiva succeeds in knowing Prakriti which is unintelligent and subject to the action of the three attributes of Sattwa, and Rajas and Tamas, he then becomes destitute of attributes himself. In consequence of his thus understanding the Unmanifest (to be something different from him), he succeeds in acquiring the nature of the Supreme Soul. The learned say that when he is freed from the attributes of Sattwa and Rajas and Tamas and united in the nature with the Supreme Soul then does Jiva become identified with that Soul. The Supreme Soul is called Tattwa as well as Not-Tattwa, and transcends decay and destruction.[1634] O giver of honours, the Soul, though it has the manifest principles (viz. the body) for its resting place, yet it cannot be said to have acquired the nature of those principles. The wise say that including the Jiva soul there are five and twenty principles in all. Indeed, O son, the Soul is not to be regarded as possessed of any of the principles (Mahat and the rest). Endued with Intelligence, it transcends the principles. It casts off quickly even that principle which is the indication of the Knowing or awakened one.[1635] When Jiva comes to regard himself as the twenty-sixth which is divested of decay and destruction, it is then that, without doubt, he succeeds by his own force in attaining to similarity with the twenty-sixth. Though awakened by the twenty-sixth which is Pure Intelligence, Jiva still becomes subject to Ignorance. This is the cause of Jiva, multifariousness (in respect of forms) as explained in the Srutis and the Sankhya scriptures. When Jiva, who is endued with Chetana and Unintelligent Prakriti, loses all Consciousness of a distinct or individual Self, then does he, losing his multifariousness, resumes his Oneness. O ruler of Mithila, when Jiva, who is found to be in union with happiness and misery and who is seldom free from the consciousness of Self, succeeds in attaining to a similarity with the Supreme Soul which is beyond the reach of the understanding, then does he becomes freed from virtue and vice. Indeed, when Jiva, attaining to the twenty-sixth which is Unborn and Puissant and which is dissociated from all attachments, succeeds in comprehending it thoroughly, he himself becomes possessed of puissance and entirely casts off the Unmanifest or Prakriti. In consequence of understanding the twenty-sixth, the four and twenty principles seems to Jiva to be unsubstantial or of no value. I have thus told thee, O sinless one, according to the indication of the Srutis, the nature of the Unintelligent or Prakriti, and of Jiva, so also of that which is Pure Knowledge viz., the Supreme Soul, agreeable to the truth. Guided by the scriptures, variety and oneness are thus to be understood. The difference between the gnat and the Udumvara, or that between the fish and water, illustrates the difference between the Jiva-soul and the Supreme Soul.[1636] The Multiplicity and Oneness of these two are then understood in this way. This is called Emancipation, viz., this comprehension or knowledge of oneself as something distinct from Unintelligent or Unmanifest Prakriti. The twenty-fifth, which resides in the bodies of living creatures, should be emancipated by making him know the Unmanifest or the Supreme Soul which transcends the understanding. Indeed, that twenty-fifth is capable of attaining to Emancipation in this way only and not through any other means, it is certain. Though really different from the Kshetra in which he resides for the time being, he partakes of the nature of that Kshetra in consequence of his union with it.[1637] Uniting with what is Pure, he becomes Pure. Uniting with the Intelligent, he becomes Intelligent. By uniting, O foremost of men, with one that is Emancipate, he becomes Emancipated. By uniting with one that has been freed from attachments of every kind, he becomes freed from all attachments. By uniting with one striving after Emancipation, he himself, partaking of the nature of his companion, strives after Emancipation. By uniting with one of pure deeds he becomes pure and of pure deeds and endued with blazing effulgence. By uniting with one of unstained soul, he becomes of unstained soul himself. By uniting with the One independent Soul, he becomes One and Independent. Uniting with One that is dependent on One's own Self, he becomes of the same nature and attains to Independence.

”'–O monarch, I have duly told thee all this that is perfectly true. Candidly have I discoursed to thee on this subject, viz., the Eternal and Stainless and Primeval Brahma. Thou mayst impart this high knowledge, capable of awakening the soul, unto that person, O king, who though not conversant with the Vedas is nevertheless, humble and has a keen desire for acquiring the knowledge of Brahma. It should never be imparted unto one that is wedded to falsehood, or one that is cunning or roguish, or one that is without any strength of mind or one that is of crooked understanding, or one that is jealous of men of knowledge, or one that gives pain to others. Listen to me as I say who they are unto whom this knowledge may safely be communicated. It should be given to one that is endued with faith, or one that is possessed of merit, or one that always abstains from speaking ill of others, or one that is devoted to penances from the purest of motives, or one that is endued with knowledge and wisdom, or one that is conversant of the sacrifices and other rites laid down in the Vedas, or one that is possessed of a forgiving disposition, or one that is inclined to take compassion on and do good to all creatures; or one that is fond of dwelling in privacy and solitude, or one that is fond of discharging all acts laid down in the scriptures, or one that is averse to quarrels and disputes, or one that is possessed of great learning or one endued with wisdom or one possessed of forgiveness and self-restraint and tranquillity of soul. This high knowledge of Brahma should never be communicated to one that is not possessed of such qualifications. It has been said that by imparting this knowledge to one that cannot be regarded as fit receptacle for holding it no advantage or good fruit can arise. Unto one that is not observant of any vows and restraints, this high knowledge should never be communicated even if he gives in exchange the whole Earth full of gems and wealth of every kind. Without doubt, however, O king, this knowledge should be given to one that has conquered one's senses. O Karala, let no fear be thine any longer, since thou halt heard all this regarding high Brahma from me today! I have discoursed to thee duly about high and holy Brahma that is without beginning and middle (and end) and that is capable of dispelling all kinds of grief. Beholding Brahma whose sight is capable of dispelling both birth and death, O king which is full of auspiciousness, which removes all fear, and which benefit, and having acquired this essence of all knowledge, cast off all error and stupefaction today! I had acquired this knowledge from the eternal Hiranyagarbha himself, O king, who communicated it to me for my having carefully gratified that great Being of every superior Soul. Asked by thee today, I have, O monarch, communicated the knowledge of eternal Brahma to the just as I had myself acquired it from my teacher. Indeed, this high knowledge that is the refuge of all persons conversant with Emancipation has been imparted to thee exactly as I had it from Brahman himself!'

“Bhishma continued, I have thus told thee of high Brahma agreeably to what the great Rishi (Vasishtha) had said (unto king Karala of Janaka's race), by attaining to which the Twenty-fifth (or Jiva) has never to return. Jiva, in consequence of his not knowing truly the Supreme Soul which is not subject to decay and death, is obliged to frequently come back into the world. When, however, Jiva succeeds in acquiring that high knowledge, he has no longer to come back. Having heard it, O king from the celestial Rishi, I have, O son, communicated to thee high knowledge productive of the highest good. This knowledge was obtained from Hiranyagarbha by the high-souled Rishi Vasishtha. From that foremost of Rishis, viz., Vasishtha, it was acquired by Narada. From Narada I have acquired that knowledge which is truly identifiable with the eternal Brahma. Having heard this discourse of high import, fraught with excellent words, do not, O foremost of the Kurus, yield any longer to grief. That man who knows Kshara and Akshara becomes freed from fear. He, indeed, O king, is obliged to cherish fear who is destitute of this knowledge. In consequence of Ignorance (of Brahma), the man of foolish soul hath repeatedly to come back into this world. Indeed, departing from this life, he has to be born in thousands and thousands of orders of Being every one of which hath death in the end. Now in the world of the deities, now among men, and now among intermediate orders of Being, he has to appear again and again. If in course of time he succeeds in crossing that Ocean of Ignorance in which he is sunk, he then succeeds in avoiding rebirth altogether and attaining to identity with the Supreme Soul. The Ocean of Ignorance is terrible. It is bottomless and called the Unmanifest. O Bharata, day after day, creatures are seen to fall and sink in that Ocean. Since thou, O king, hast been freed from that eternal and limitless Ocean of Ignorance, thou, hast, therefore become freed from Rajas and also Tamas.'”


“Bhishma said, 'Once on a time a king of Janaka's race, while ranging the uninhabited forests in pursuit of deer, saw a superior Brahmana or Rishi of Bhrigu's race. Bowing with his head unto the Rishi who was seated at his ease, king Vasuman took his seat near him and obtaining his permission put to him this question: O holy one, what is productive of the highest benefit, both here and hereafter, to man who is endued with an unstable body and who is the slave of his desires? Properly honoured by the king, and thus questioned, that high-souled Rishi possessed of ascetic merit then said these words unto him that were highly beneficial.

“The Rishi said, If thou desirest both here and hereafter what is agreeable to thy mind, do thou then, with restrained senses, abstain from doing what is disagreeable to all creatures. Righteousness is beneficial unto them that are good. Righteousness is the refuge of those that are good. From Righteousness have flowed the three worlds with their mobile and immobile creatures. O thou that art eagerly desirous of enjoying all agreeable objects, how is it that thou art not yet satiated with objects of desire? Thou seest the honey, O thou of little understanding, but art blind to the fall[1638]. As one desirous of earning the fruits of knowledge should set oneself to the acquisition of knowledge, even so one desirous of earning the fruits of Righteousness should set oneself to the acquisition of Righteousness. If a wicked man from desire of virtue, strives to accomplish an act that is pure and stainless, the fulfilment of his desire becomes impossible. If, on the other hand, a good man, impelled by the desire of earning virtue, strives to accomplish an act that is even difficult, its accomplishment becomes easy for him. If, while residing in the woods, one acts in such a way as to enjoy all the pleasures of a residence amidst men in towns, one comes to be looked upon not as a forest recluse but as a denizen of towns. Similarly, if one, while residing in towns, acts in such a way as to enjoy the felicity that attaches to the life of a forest recluse, once comes to be looked upon not as a denizen of towns but as a forest recluse. Ascertaining the merits of the religion of Acts and that of Abstention from acts, do thou, with concentrated senses, be devoted to the practices of righteousness that appertain to thought, words, and deed. Judging of the propriety of time and place, purified by the observance of vows and other cleansing rites, and solicited (by them), do thou, without malice, make large gifts unto them that are good.[1639] Acquiring wealth by righteous means, one should give it away unto those that are deserving. One should make gifts, casting off anger; and having made gifts one should never give way to sorrow nor proclaim those gifts with one's own mouth. The Brahmana who is full of compassion, who is observant of candour, and whose birth is pure, has been regarded as a person deserving of gifts. A person is said to be pure in birth when he is born of mother that has only one husband and that belongs to the same order to which her husband belongs. Indeed, such a Brahmana, conversant with the three Vedas, viz., Rich, Yajush, and Saman, possessed of learning, duly observant of the six duties (of sacrificing on his own account, officiating at the sacrifices of others, learning, teaching, making gifts, and receiving gifts), has been regarded as deserving of gifts. Righteousness becomes unrighteousness, and unrighteousness becomes righteousness, according to the character of the doer, of time, and of place.[1640] Sin is cast off like the filth on one's body,–a little with a little exertion and a greater quantity when the exertion is greater. A person, after purging his bowels, should take ghee, which operates most beneficially on his system (as a healthy tonic). After the same manner, when one has cleansed oneself of all faults and sets oneself to the acquisition of righteousness, that righteousness, in the next world, proves to be productive of the highest happiness. Good and evil thoughts exist in the minds of all creatures. Withdrawing the mind from evil thoughts, it should always be directed towards good thoughts. One should always reverence the practices of one's own order. Do thou strive, therefore, to act in such a way that thou mayst have faith in the practices of thy own order. O thou that art endued with an impatient soul, betake thyself to the practice of patience. O thou that art of a foolish understanding, seek thou to be possessed of intelligence! Destitute of tranquillity, seek thou to be tranquil, and bereft of wisdom as thou art, do thou seek to act wisely! He who moves in the companionship of the righteous succeeds, by his own energy, in acquiring the means of accomplishing what is beneficial for him both in this and the next world. Verily, the root of the benefit (which thus becomes his here and hereafter) is unwavering firmness. The royal sage Mahabhisha, through want of this firmness, fell from heaven. Yayati, also, though his merits had become exhausted (in consequence of his boastfulness and thought was hurled down from heaven) succeeded in regaining regions of felicity through his firmness. Thou art sure to attain to great intelligence, as also to what is for thy highest good, by paying court to virtuous and learned persons possessed of ascetic merit.'

“Bhishma continued, 'Hearing these words of the sage, king Vasuman, possessed of a good disposition, withdrawing his mind from the pursuits of desire, set it upon the acquisition of Righteousness.'”


“Yudhishthira said, 'It behoveth thee, O grandsire, to discourse to me on that which is freed from duty and its reverse, which is freed from every doubt, which transcends birth and death, as also virtue and sin, which is auspiciousness, which is eternal fearlessness, which is Eternal and Indestructible, and Immutable, which is always Pure, and which is ever free from the toil of exertion.'

“Bhishma said, 'I shall in this connection recite to thee the old narrative, O Bharata, of the discourse between Yajnavalkya and Janaka. Once on a time the famous king Daivarati of Janaka's race, fully conversant with the import of all questions, addressed this question to Yajnavalkya, that foremost of Rishis.

”'Janaka said, 'O regenerate Rishi, how many kinds of senses are there? How many kinds also are there of Prakriti? What is the Unmanifest and highest Brahma? What is higher than Brahma? What is birth and what is death? What are the limits of Age? It behoveth thee, O foremost of Brahmanas, to discourse on all these topics unto me that am solicitous of obtaining thy grace; I am ignorant while thou art an Ocean of knowledge. Hence, I ask thee! Verily, I desire to hear thee discourse on all these subjects!

”'Yajnavalkya said, Hear, O monarch, what I say in an answer to these questions of thine, I shall impart to thee the high knowledge which Yogins value, and especially that which is possessed by the Sankhyas. Nothing is unknown to thee. Still thou askest me. One however, that is questioned should answer. This is the eternal practice. Eight principles have been called by the name of Prakriti, while sixteen have been called modifications. Of Manifest, there are seven. These are the views of those persons who are conversant with the science of Adhyatma. The Unmanifest (or original Prakriti), Mahat, Consciousness, and the five subtile elements of Earth, Wind, Space, Water, and Light,–these eight are known by the name of Prakriti. Listen now to the enumeration of those called modifications. They are the ear, the skin, the tongue, and the nose; and sound, touch, form, taste, and scent, as also speech, the two arms, the two feet, the lower duct (within the body), and the organs of pleasure.[1641] Amongst these, the ten beginning with sound, and having their origin in the five great principles,[1642] are called Visesha. The five senses of knowledge are called Savisesha, O ruler of Mithila. Persons conversant with the Science of Adhyatma regard the mind as the sixteenth. This is conformable to thy own views as also to those of other learned men well acquainted with the truths about principles. From the Unmanifest, O king, springs the Mahat-soul. The learned say this to be the first creation relating to Pradhana (or Prakriti): From Mahat, O king of men, is produced Consciousness. This has been called the second creation having the Understanding for its essence.[1643] From Consciousness hath sprung the Mind which is the essence of sound and the others that are the attributes of space and the rest. This is the third creation, said to relate to Consciousness. From mind have sprung the great elements, (numbering five), O king! Know that this is the fourth creation called mental, as I say. Persons conversant with the primal elements say that Sound and Touch and Form and Taste and Scent are the fifth creation, relating to the Great (primal) elements. The creation of the Ear, the Skin, the Tongue, and the Scent, forms the sixth and is regarded as having for its essence multiplicity of thought. The senses that come after the Ear and the others (i.e., the senses of action) then arise, O monarch. This is called seventh creation and relates to the senses of Knowledge. Then, O monarch, come the breath that rises upward (viz., Prana) and those that have a transverse motion (viz., Saman, Udana, and Vyana). This is the eighth creation and is called Arjjava.[1644] Then come those breaths that course transversely in the lower parts of the body (viz., Samana, Udana and Vyana) and also that called Apana coursing downwards. This, ninth creation, is also called Arjjava, O king. These nine kinds of creation, and these principles, O monarch, which latter number four and twenty, are declared to thee according to what has been laid down in the scriptures. After this, O king, listen to me as I tell thee durations of time as indicated by the learned in respect of these principles or attribute.'”


“Yajnavalkya said, Listen to me, O foremost of men, as I tell thee what the duration of time is in respect to the Unmanifest (or the Supreme Purusha). Ten thousand Kalpas are said to constitute a single day of his. The duration of his night is equal. When his night expires, he awakes, O monarch, and first creates herbs and plants which constitute the sustenance of all embodied creatures. He then creates Brahman who springs from a golden egg. That Brahman is the form of all created things, as has been heard by us. Having dwelt for one whole year within that egg, the great ascetic Brahman, called also Prajapati (Lord of all creatures), came out of it and created the whole Earth, and the Heaven above. The Lord then, it is read in the Vedas, O king, placed the sky between Heaven and Earth separated from each other. Seven thousand and five hundred Kalpas measure the day of Brahman. Persons conversant with the science of Adhyatma say that his night also is of an equal duration. Brahmana, called Mahan, then creates Consciousness called Bhuta and endued with excellent essence.[1645] Before creating any physical bodies out of the ingredients called the Great elements, Mahan or Brahma, endued with penances, created four others called his sons. They are the sires of the original sires, O Best of kings, as heard by us.[1646] It hath been also heard by us, O monarch that the senses (of knowledge) along with the four inner faculties, have sprung from the (five Great elements called) Pitris, and that the entire universe of mobile and immobile Beings has been filled with those Great elements.[1647] The puissant Consciousness created the five Bhutas. These are Earth, Wind, Space, Water, and Light numbering the fifth. This Consciousness (who is a Great Being and) from whom springs the third creating, has five thousand Kalpas for his night, and his day is of equal duration. Sound, Touch, Form, Taste, and Scent,–these five are called Visesha. They inhere into the five great Bhutas. All creatures, O king, incessantly pervaded by these five, desire one another's companionship, become subservient to one another; and challenging one another, transcend one another; and led by those immutable and seductive principles, creatures kill one another and wander in this world entering into numerous orders of Being.[1648] Three thousands of Kalpas represent the duration of their day. The measure of their night also is the same.[1649] The Mind roveth over all things, O king, led on by the Senses. The Senses do not perceive anything. It is the Mind that perceives through them. The Eye sees forms when aided by the Mind but never by itself. When the Mind is distracted, the Eye fails to perceive with even the objects fully before it. It is commonly said that the Senses perceive. This is not true, for it is the Mind that perceives through the Senses. When the cessation takes place of the activity of the Mind, the cessation of the activity of the Senses follows. That is the cessation of the activity of the Senses which is the cessation of the activity of the Mind. One should thus regard the Senses to be under the domination of the Mind. Indeed, the Mind is said to be the Lord of all the Senses. O thou of great fame, these are all the twenty Bhutas in the Universe.'”


“Yajnavalkya said, I have, one after another, told thee the order of the creation, with their total number, of the various principles, as also the extent of the duration of each. Listen now to me as I tell thee of their destruction. Listen to me how Brahman, who is eternal and undecaying, and who is without beginning and without end, repeatedly creates and destroys all created objects. When his day expires and night comes, he becomes desirous of sleep. At such a time the unmanifest and holy one urges the Being called Maharudra, who is conscious of his great powers, (for destroying the world). Urged by the unmanifest, that Being assuming the form of Surya of hundreds of thousands of rays, divides himself into a dozen portions each resembling a blazing fire. He then consumes with his energy, O monarch, without any loss of time, the four kinds of created beings, viz., viviparous, oviparous, filth-born, and vegetable. Within the twinkling of the eye all mobile and immobile creatures being thus destroyed, the Earth becomes on every side as bare as a tortoise shell. Having burnt everything on the face of the Earth, Rudra, of immeasurable might, then quickly fills the bare Earth with Water possessed of great force. He then creates the Yuga-fire which dries up that Water (into which the bare Earth has been dissolved). The Water disappearing, the great element of Fire continues to blaze fiercely. Then comes the mighty Wind of immeasurable force, in his eight forms, who swallows up quickly that blazing fire of transcendent force, possessed of seven flames, and identifiable with the heat existing every creature. Having swallowed up that fire, the Wind courses in every direction, upwards, downwards, and transversely. Then space of immeasurable existent swallowed up that Wind of transcendent energy. Then Mind cheerfully swallows up that immeasurable Space. Then that Lord of all creatures, viz., Consciousness, who is the Soul of every-thing, swallows up the Mind. Consciousness, in his turn, is swallowed up by the Mahat-soul who is conversant with the Past, the Present, and the Future. The incomparable Mahat-soul or Universe is then swallowed up by Sambhu, that Lord of all things, to whom the Yoga attributes of Anima, Laghima, Prapti, etc., naturally inhere, who is regarded as the Supreme and pure Effulgence that is Immutable. His hands and feet extend over every part; his eyes and head and face are everywhere, his ears reach every place, and he exists overwhelming all things. He is the heart of all creatures; His measure is of a digit of the thumb. That Infinite and supreme Soul, that Lord of all, thus swallows up the Universe. After this, what remains is the Undecaying and the Immutable. One who is without defect of any kind, who is the Creator of the Past, the Present, and the Future; and who is perfectly faultless, I have thus, O monarch, duly told thee of Destruction. I shall now discourse to thee on the subjects of Adhyatma, Adhibhuta, and Adhidaivata.–'”


'Yajnavalkya said, Brahmanas conversant with the topics of enquiry speak of the two feet as Adhyatma, the act of walking as Adhibhuta, and Vishnu as Adhidaivatam (of those two limbs). The lower duct (anal canal) is Adhyatma; its function of throwing out the excreta is Adhibhuta, and Mitra (Surya) is the Adhidaivata (of that organ). The organ of generation is called Adhyatma. Its agreeable function is called Adhibhuta, and Prajapati is its Adhidaivata. The hands are Adhyatma; their function as represented by acts is Adhibhuta; and Indra is the Adhidaivata of those limbs. The organs of speech are Adhyatma; the words uttered by them are Adhibhuta; and Agni is their Adhidaivata. The eye is Adhyatma; vision or form is its Adhibhuta; and Surya is the Adhidaivata of that organ. The ear is Adhyatma; sound is Adhibhuta; and the points of the horizon are its Adhidaivata. The tongue is Adhyatma, taste is its Adhibhuta; and Water is its Adhidaivata. The sense of scent is Adhyatma; odour is its Adhibhuta; and Earth is its Adhidaivata. The skin is Adhyatma; touch is its Adhibhuta; and Wind is its Adhidaivata. Mind has been called Adhyatma; that with which the Mind is employed is Adhibhuta; and Chandramas is its Adhidaivata. Consciousness is Adhyatma; conviction in one's identity with Prakriti is its Adhibhuta; and Mahat or Buddhi is its Adhidaivata. Buddhi is Adhyatma; that which is to be understood is its Adhibhuta; and Kshetrajna is its Adhidaivata. I have thus truly expounded to thee, O king, with its details taken individually, the puissance of the Supreme (in manifesting Himself in different forms) in the beginning, the middle, and the end, O thou that art fully conversant with the nature of the original topics or principles. Prakriti, cheerfully and of her own accord, as if for sport, O monarch, produces, by undergoing modifications herself, thousands and thousands of combinations of her original transformations called Gunahs. As men can light thousands of lamps from but a single lamp, after the same manner Prakriti, by modification, multiplies into thousands of existent objects the (three) attributes (of Sattwa and Rajas and Tamas) of Purusha. Patience, joy, prosperity, satisfaction, brightness of all faculties, happiness, purity, health, contentment, faith, liberality, compassion, forgiveness, firmness, benevolence, equanimity, truth, acquittance of obligations, mildness, modesty, calmness, external purity, simplicity, observance of obligatory practices, dispassionateness, fearlessness of heart, disregard for the appearance or otherwise of good and evil as also for past acts,–appropriation of objects only when obtained by gift, the absence of cupidity, regard for the interests of others, compassion for all creatures,–these have been said to be the qualities that attach to the attribute of Sattwa. The tale of qualities attaching to the attribute of Rajas consists of pride of personal beauty, assertion of lordship, war, disclination to give, absence of compassion, enjoyment and enduring of happiness and misery, pleasure in speaking ill of others, indulgence in quarrels and disputes of every kind, arrogance, discourtesy, anxiety, indulgence in hostilities, sorrow, appropriation of what belongs to others, shamelessness, crookedness, disunions, roughness, lust, wrath, pride, assertion of superiority, malice, and calumny. These are said to spring from the attributes of Rajas. I shall now tell thee of that assemblage of qualities which springs from Tamas. They are stupefaction of judgment, obscuration of every faculty, darkness and blind darkness. By darkness is implied death, and by blind darkness is meant wrath. Besides these, the other indications of Tamas are greediness in respect of all kinds of food, ceaseless appetite for both food and drink, taking pleasure in scents and robes and sports and beds and seats and sleep during the day and calumny and all kinds of acts proceeding from heedlessness, taking pleasure, from ignorance (of purer sources of joy) in dancing and instrumental and vocal music, and aversion for every kind of religion. These, indeed, are the indications of Tamas–'”


”'Yajnavalkya said, These three, O foremost of men, (viz., Sattwa, Rajas, and Tamas), are the attributes of Prakriti. These attach to all things of the universe and always inhere to them. The Unmanifest Purusha endued with the six Yoga attributes transforms himself by himself into hundreds and thousands and millions and millions of forms (by embracing these three attributes). Those that are conversant with the science of Adhyatma, say that unto the attribute of Sattwa is assigned a high, unto Rajas a middling, and unto Tamas, a low place in the universe. By the aid of unmixed righteousness one attains to a high end (viz., that of the deities or other celestial beings). Through righteousness mixed with sin one attains to the status of humanity. While through unmixed sin one sinks into a vile end (by becoming an animal or a vegetable etc.). Listen now to me, O king, as I speak to thee of the intermixture or compounds of the three attributes of Sattwa, Rajas, and Tamas. Sometimes Rajas is seen existing with Sattwa. Tamas also exists with Rajas. With Tamas may also be seen Sattwa. Then also may Sattwa and Rajas and Tamas be seen existing together and in equal proportions. They constitute the Unmanifest or Prakriti. When the Unmanifest (Purusha) becomes endued with only Sattwa, he attains to the regions of the deities. Endued with both Sattwa and Rajas, he takes birth among human beings. Endued with Rajas and Tawas, he takes birth among the intermediate order of Being. Endued with all three, viz., Sattwa and Rajas and Tamas, he attains to the status of humanity. Those high souled persons that transcend both righteousness and sin, attain it is said, to that place which is eternal, immutable, undecaying, and immortal. Men of knowledge attain to births that are very superior, and their place is faultless and undecaying, transcending the ken of the senses, free from ignorance, above birth and death, and full of light that dispels all kinds of darkness. Thou hadst asked me about the nature of the Supreme residing in the Unmanifest, (viz., Purusha). I shall tell thee, Listen to me, O king, Even when residing in Prakriti, He is said to reside in His own nature without partaking of the nature of Prakriti.[1650] Prakriti, O king, is inanimate and unintelligent. When presided over by Purusha, then only can she create and destroy.

”'Janaka said, Both Prakriti and Purusha, O thou of great intelligence, are without beginning and without end. Both of them are without form. Both of them are undecaying. Both of them, again, incomprehensible. How then, O foremost of Rishis, can it be said that one of them is inanimate and unintelligent? How, again, is the other said to be animate and intelligent? And why is the latter called Kshetrajna? Thou, O foremost of Brahmanas, art fully conversant with the entire religion of Emancipation. I desire to hear in detail of the religion of Emancipation in its entirety. Do thou discourse to me then of the existence and Oneness of Purusha, of his separateness from Prakriti, of the deities which attach to the body of the place to which embodied creatures repair when they die, and that place to which they may ultimately, in course of time, be able to go. Tell me also of the Knowledge described in the Sankhya system, and of the Yoga system separately. It behoveth thee also to speak of the premonitory symptoms of death, O best of men. All these topics are well known to thee even as an (emblic) myrobalan in thy hand!'”


”'Yajnavalkya said, That which is without attributes, O son, can never be explained by ascribing attributes to it. Listen, however, to me as I expound to thee what is possessed of attributes and what is devoid of them. High-souled Munis conversant with the truth regarding all the topics or principles say that when Purusha seizes attributes like a crystal catching the reflection of a red flower, he comes to be called as possessed of attributes; but when freed from attributes like the crystal freed from reflection, he comes to be viewed in his real nature, that is, as beyond all attributes.[1651] Unmanifest Prakriti is by her nature endued with attributes. She cannot transcend them. Destitute of intelligence by nature, she becomes attached to attributes. Unmanifest Prakriti cannot know anything, while Purusha, by his nature, is possessed of knowledge,–There is nothing higher than myself,–even this is what Purusha is always conscious of. For this reason the unmanifest (or Prakriti), although naturally inanimate and unintelligent, still becomes animate and intelligent in consequence of her union with Purusha who is Eternal and Indestructible instead of remaining in her own nature due to destructibility.[1652] When Purusha, through ignorance, repeatedly becomes associated with attributes, he fails to understand his own real nature and therefore he fails to attain to Emancipation. In consequence Purusha's lordship over the principles that flow from Prakriti, he is said to partake of the nature of those principles. In consequence also of his agency in the matter of creation, he is said to possess the attribute of creation. In consequence of his agency in the matter of Yoga, he is said to possess the attribute of Yoga. For his lordship over those particular principles known by the name of Prakriti, he is said to possess the nature of Prakriti.[1653] For his agency in the matter of creating the seeds (of all immobile objects), he is said to partake of the nature of those seeds. And because he causes the several principles or attributes to start into life, he is, therefore, said to be subject to decay and destruction (for those principles themselves are subject thereto). In consequence, again, of his being the witness of everything, and in consequence also of there being nothing else than he, as also for his consciousness of identity with Prakriti, Yatis crowned with ascetic success, conversant with Adhyatma, and freed from fever of every kind, regard him as existing by himself without a second, immutable, unmanifest (in the form of Cause), unstable, and manifest (in the form of effects). This is what has been heard by us. Those Sankhyas, however, that depend upon Knowledge only (for their Emancipation) and the practice of compassion for all creatures, say that it is Prakriti which is One but Purushas are many.[1654] As a matter of fact, Purusha is different from Prakriti which though unstable, still appears as stable. As a blade of reed is different from its outer cover, even so is Purusha different from Prakriti. Indeed, the worm that is ensconced within the Udumvara should be known as different from the Udumvara. Though existing with the Udumvara, the worm is not to be regarded as forming a portion of the Udumvara. The fish is distinct from the water in which it lives, and the water is distinct from the fish that lives in it. Though the fish and water exist together, yet it is never drenched by water. The fire that is contained in an earthen sauce pan is distinct from the earthen sauce pan, and the sauce pan is distinct from the fire it contains. Although the fire exists in and with the sauce pan, yet it is not to be regarded as forming any part of it. The lotus-leaf that floats on a piece of water is distinct from the piece of water on which it floats. Its co-existence with water does not make it a portion of the water. The perennial existence of those objects in and with those mentioned, is never correctly understood by ordinary people. They who behold Prakriti and Purusha in any other light are said to possess a vision that is incorrect. It is certain that they have repeatedly to sink into terrible hell. I have thus told thee the philosophy of the Sankhyas that excellent science by which all things have been correctly ascertained. Ascertaining the nature of Purusha and Prakriti in this way, the Sankhyas attain to Emancipation. I have also told thee of the systems of those others that are conversant with the great principles of the universe. I shall now discourse to thee on the science of the Yogins.'”


“Yajnavalkya said, I have already spoken to thee of the science of the Sankhyas. Listen now to me as I truly discourse on the science of the Yogins as heard and seen by me, O best of kings! There is no knowledge that can compare with that of the Sankhyas. There is no puissance that compares with that of Yoga. These two ordain the same practices, and both are regarded as capable of leading to Emancipation. Those men that are not blest with intelligence regard the Sankhya and the Yoga systems to be different from each other. We, however, O king, look upon them as one and the same, according to the conclusion to which we have arrived (after study and reflection). That which the Yogins have in view is the very same which the Sankhyas also have in view. He who sees both the Sankhya and the Yoga systems to be one and the same is to be regarded as truly conversant with the topics or principles that ordain the universe. Know, O king, that the vital breaths and the senses are the chief means for practising Yoga. By only regulating those breaths and the senses, Yogins wander everywhere at their will.[1655] When the gross body is destroyed, Yogins endued with subtile bodies possessed of the eight Yoga attributes of Anima, Laghima, Prapti, etc., wander over the universe, enjoying (in that body) all kinds of felicities, O sinless one. The wise have, in the scriptures, spoken of Yoga as conferring eight kinds of puissance. They have spoken of Yoga as possessed of eight limbs.[1656] Indeed, O king, they have not spoken of any other kind of Yoga. It has been said that the practices of Yogins excellent as these are (for their results), are of two kinds. Those two kinds, according to the indications occurring in the scriptures, are practices endued with attributes and those freed from attributes. The concentration of the mind on the sixteen objects named, with simultaneous regulation of the breath, O king, is one kind. The concentration of the mind in such a way as to destroy all difference between the contemplator, the object contemplated, and the act of contemplation along with subjugation of the senses, is of another kind. The first kind of Yoga is said to be that possessed of attributes; the second kind is said to be that freed from attributes.[1657] Then, again, Regulation of the breath is Yoga with attributes. In Yoga without attributes, the mind, freed from its functions, should be fixed. Only the regulation of the breath which is said to be endued with attributes should, in the first instance, be practised, for, O ruler of Mithila, if the breath (that is inhaled and suspended) be exhaled without mentally reflecting the while upon a definite image (furnished by a limited mantra), the wind in the neophyte's system will increase to his great injury.[1658] In the first Yama of the night, twelve ways of holding the breath are recommended. Alter sleep, in the last Yama of the night, other twelve ways of doing the same have been laid down. Without doubt, one endued with tranquillity, of subdued senses, living in retirement, rejoicing in one's own self, and fully conversant with the import of the scriptures, should (regulating one's breath in these four and twenty ways) fix one's Soul (on the Supreme Soul).[1659] Dispelling the five faults of the five senses, viz., (withdrawing them from their objects of) sound, form, touch, taste, and scent, and dispelling those conditions called Pratibha and Apavarga, O ruler of the Mithilas, all the senses should be fixed upon the mind. The mind should then be fixed on Consciousness, O king, Consciousness should next be fixed on intelligence or Buddhi, and Buddhi, should then be fixed on Prakriti. Thus merging these one after another, Yogins contemplate the Supreme Soul which is One, which is freed from Rajas, which is stainless, which is Immutable and Infinite and Pure and without defect, who is Eternal Purusha, who is unchangeable, who is Indivisible, who is without decay and death, who is everlasting, who transcends diminution, and which is Immutable Brahma. Listen now, O monarch, to the indications of one that is in Yoga. All the indications of cheerful contentment that are his who is slumbering in contentment are seen in the person, that is in Samadhi. The person in Samadhi, the wise say, looks like the fixed and upward flame of a lamp that is full of oil and that burns in a breezeless spot. He is like a rock which is incapable of being moved in the slightest degree by ever a heavy downpour from the clouds. He is incapable of being moved by the din of conches and drums, or by songs or the sound of hundreds of musical instruments beat or blown together. Even this is the indication of one in Samadhi. As a man of cool courage and determination, while ascending a flight of steps with a vessel full of oil in his hands, does not spill even a drop of the liquid if frightened and threatened by persons armed with weapons even so the Yogin, when his mind has been concentrated and when he beholds the Supreme Soul in Samadhi, does not, in consequence of the entire stoppage of the functions of his senses at such a time, move in the slightest degree. Even these should be known to be the indication of the Yogin while he is in Samadhi. While in Samadhi, the Yogin beholds Brahma which is Supreme and Immutable, and which is situated like a blazing Effulgence in the midst of thick Darkness. It is by this means that he attains, after many years, to Emancipation after casting off this inanimate body. Even this is what the eternal Sruti declares. This is called the Yoga of the Yogins. What else is it? Knowing it, they that are endued with wisdom regard themselves as crowned with success,–


'Yajnavalkya said, Listen now to me, with attention, O king, as to what the places are to which those who die have to go. If the Jiva-soul escapes through the feet, it is said that the man goes to the region of the Vishnu. If through the calves, it has been heard by us, that the man repairs to the regions of the Vasus. if through the knees, he attains to the companionship of those deities that are called Sadhyas. If through the lower duct, the man attains to the regions of Mitra. If through the posteriors, the man returns to the Earth, and if through the thighs to the region of Prajapati. If through the flanks, the man attains to the regions of the Maruts, and if through the nostrils, to the region of Chandramas. If through arms, the man goes to the region of Indra, and if through the chest, to that of Rudra. If through the neck, the man repairs to the excellent region of that foremost of ascetics known by the name of Nara. If through the mouth, the man attains to the region of the Viswadevas and if through the ears, to the region of the deities of the several points of the horizon. If through the nose, the man attains to the region of the Windgod; and if through the eyes, to the region of Agni. If through the brows, the man goes to the region of the Aswins; and if through the forehead, to that of Pitris. If through the crown of the head, the man attains to the region of the puissant Brahman, that foremost of the gods. I have thus told thee, O ruler of Mithila, the several places to which men repair according to the manner in which their Jiva-souls escape from their bodies. I shall now tell thee the premonitory indication, as laid down by the wise of those who have but one year to live. One, who having previously seen the fixed star called Arandhati, fails to see it, or that other star called Dhruva,[1660] or one that sees the full Moon or the flame of a burning lamp to be broken towards the south, has but one year to live. Those men, O king, who can no longer see images of themselves reflected in the eyes of others, have but one year to live. One, who, being endued with lustre loses it, or being endued with wisdom loses it,–indeed, one whose inward and outward nature is thus changed,–has but six months more to live. He, who disregards the deities, or quarrels with the Brahmanas, or one, who, being naturally of a dark complexion becomes pale of hue, has but six months more to live. One, who sees the lunar disc to have many holes like a spider's web, or one, who sees the solar disc to have similar holes has but one week more to live. One, who, when smelling fragrant scents in place of worship, perceives them to be as offensive as the scent of corpses, has but one week more to live. The depression of the nose or of the ears, the discolour of the teeth or of the eye, the loss of all consciousness, and the loss also of all animal heat, are symptoms indicating death that very day. If, without any perceptible cause a stream of tears suddenly flows from one's left eye, and if vapours be seen to issue from one's head, that is a sure indication that the man will die before that day expires. Knowing all these premonitory symptoms, the man of cleansed soul should day and night unite his soul with the Supreme Soul (in Samadhi). Thus should he go on till the day-comes for his dissolution. If, however, instead of wishing to die he desires to live in this world, he casts off all enjoyments,–all scents and tastes,–O king, and lives on in abstinence. He thus conquers death by fixing his soul on the Supreme Soul. Indeed, the man, who is blessed with knowledge of the Soul, O monarch, practises the course of life recommended by the Sankhyas and conquers death by uniting his soul with the Supreme Soul. At last, he attains to what is entirely indestructible, which is without birth, which is auspicious, and immutable, and eternal, and stable, and which is incapable of being attained to by men of uncleansed souls.'”


“Yajnavalkya said, 'Thou hast asked me, O monarch, of that Supreme Brahma which resides in the Unmanifest. Thy question relates to a deep mystery. Listen to me with close attention, O king! Having conducted myself with humility according to the ordinances laid down by the Rishis I obtained the Yajushes, O king, from Surya. Without the austerest penances I formerly adored the heat-giving deity. The puissant Surya, O sinless one, gratified with me, saying,–Solicit thou, O regenerate Rishi, the boon upon which thou hast set thy heart, however, difficult it may be of acquisition, I shall, with cheerful Soul, grant it to thee. It is very difficult to incline me to grace! Bowing unto him with a bend of my head, that foremost of heat-giving luminaries was addressed by me in these words, I have no knowledge of the Yajushes. I desire to know them without loss of time!–The holy one, thus solicited, told me,–I shall impart the Yajushes unto thee. Made up of the essence of speech, the goddess Saraswati will enter into thy body. The deity then commanded me to open my mouth. I did as I was commanded. The goddess Saraswati then entered into my body, O sinless one. At this, I began to burn. Unable to endure the pain I plunged into a stream. Not understanding that what the high-souled Surya had done for me was for my good, I became even angry with him. While I was burning with the energy of the goddess, the holy Surya told me,–Do thou endure this burning sensation for only a little while. That will soon cease and thou wilt be cool. Indeed I became cool. Seeing me restored to ease, the Maker of light said unto me,–The whole Vedas, with even those parts that are regarded as its appendix, together with the Upanishads, will appear in thee by inward light, O regenerate one! The entire Satapathas also thou wilt edit, O foremost of regenerate ones. After that, thy understanding will turn to the path of Emancipation. Thou wilt also attain to that end which is desirable and which is coveted by both Sankhyas and Yogins!–Having said these words unto me, the divine Surya proceeded to the Asta hills. Hearing his last words, and after he had departed from the spot where I was, I came home in joy and then remembered the goddess Saraswati. Thought of by me, the auspicious Saraswati appeared instantly before my eyes, adorned with all the vowels and the consonants and having placed the syllable Om in the van, I then, according to the ordinance, offered unto the goddess the usual Arghya, and dedicated another to Surya, that foremost of all heat-giving deities. Discharging this duty I took my seat, devoted to both those deities. Thereupon, the entire Satapatha Brahmanas, with all their mysteries and with all their abstracts as also their appendices, appeared of themselves before my mental vision, at which I became filled with great joy.[1661] I then taught them to a hundred good disciples and thereby did what was disagreeable to my high-souled maternal uncle (Vaisampayana) with the disciples gathered round him.[1662] Then shining in the midst of my disciples like the Sun himself with his rays, I took the management of the Sacrifice of thy high-souled sire, O king. In that Sacrifice a dispute arose between me and my maternal uncle as to who should be permitted to appropriate the Dakshina that was paid for the recitation of the Vedas. In the very presence of Devala, I took half of that Dakshina (the other half going to my maternal uncle). Thy sire and Sumantra and Paila and Jaimini and other articles all acquiesced in that arrangement.[1663]

'I had thus got from Surya the five times ten Yajushes, O monarch. I then studied the Puranas with Romaharshan. Keeping before me those (original) Mantras and the goddess Saraswati I, then, O king, aided by the inspiration of Surya, set myself to compile the excellent Satapatha Brahmanas, and succeeded in achieving the task never before undertaken by any one else. That path which I had desired to take has been taken by me and I have also taught it to my disciples. Indeed, the whole of those Vedas with their abstracts have been imparted by me to those disciples of mine. Pure in mind and body, all those disciples have, in consequence of my instructions, become filled with joy. Having established (for the use of others) this knowledge consisting of fifty branches which I had obtained from Surya, I now meditate on the great object of that knowledge viz., (Brahma). The Gandharva Viswavasu, well-conversant with the Vedanta scriptures, desirous, O king, of ascertaining what is beneficial for the Brahmanas in this knowledge and what truth occurs in it, and what is the excellent object of this knowledge, one questioned me. He put to me altogether four and twenty questions, O king, relating to the Vedas. Finally, he asked me a question, numbered twenty-fifth which relates to that branch of knowledge which is concerned with the inferences of ratiocination. Those questions are as follows: What is universe and what is not-universe? What is Aswa and what Aswa? What is Mitra? What is Varuna? What is Knowledge? What is Object of knowledge? What is Unintelligent? What is Intelligent? Who is Kah? Who is possessed of the principle of change? Who is not possessed of the same? What is he that devours the Sun and what is the Sun? What is Vidya and what is Avidya? What is Immobile and what Mobile? What is without beginning, what is Indestructible, and what is Destructible? These were the excellent questions put to me by that foremost of Gandharvas. After king Viswavasu, that foremost of Gandharvas, had asked me these questions one after another, I answered them properly. At first, however, I told him, Wait for a brief space of time, till I reflect on thy questions! So be it, Gandharva said, and sat in silence. I then thought once again of the goddess Saraswati in my mind. The replies then to those questions naturally arose in my mind like butter from curds. Keeping in view the high science of inferential ratiocination, I churned with my mind, O monarch, the Upanishads and the supplementary scriptures relating to the Vedas. The fourth science then that treats of Emancipation, O foremost of kings, and on which I have already discoursed to thee, and which is based upon the twenty-fifth, viz., Jiva, I then expounded to him.[1664] Having said all this, O monarch, to king Viswavasu, I then addressed him, saying, Listen now to the answers that I give unto the several questions that thou hast put to me. I now turn to the question, which, O Gandharva, thou askest, viz., What is Universe and what is not-universe? The Universe is Unmanifest and original Prakriti endued with the principles of birth and death which are terrible (to those that are desirous of Emancipation). It is, besides, possessed of the three attributes (of Sattwa, Rajas, and Tamas), in consequence of its producing principles all of which are fraught with those attributes.[1665] That which is Not-universe is Purusha divested of all attributes. By Aswa and Aswa are meant the female and the male, i.e., the former is Prakriti and the latter is Purusha. Similarly, Mitra is Purusha, and Varuna is Prakriti.[1666] Knowledge, again, is said to be Prakriti, while the object to be known is called Purusha. The Ignorant (Jiva), and the Knowing or Intelligent are both Purusha without attributes (for it is Purusha that becomes Jiva when invested with Ignorance). Thou hast asked what is Kah, who is endued with change and who is unendued therewith. I answer, Kah is Purusha.[1667] That which is endued with change is Prakriti. He that is not endued therewith is Purusha. Similarly, that which is called Avidya (the unknowable) is Prakriti; and that which is called Vidya is Purusha. Thou hast asked me about the Mobile and the Immobile. Listen to what my answer is. That which is mobile is Prakriti, which undergoing modification, constitutes the cause of Creation and Destruction. The Immobile is Purusha, for without himself undergoing modifications he assists at Creation and Destruction. (According to a different system of philosophy) that which is Vedya is Prakriti; while that which is Avedya is Purusha. Both Prakriti and Purusha are said to be unintelligent, stable, indestructible, unborn, and eternal, according to the conclusions arrived at by philosophers conversant with the topics included in the name of Adhyatma. In consequence of the indestructibility of Prakriti in the matter of Creation, Prakriti, which is unborn, is regarded as not subject to decay or destruction. Purusha, again, is indestructible and unchangeable, for change it has none. The attributes that reside in Prakriti are destructible, but not Prakriti herself. The learned, therefore, call Prakriti indestructible. Prakriti also, by undergoing modifications, operates as the cause of Creation. The created results appear and disappear, but not original Prakriti. Hence also is Prakriti called indestructible. Thus have I told thee conclusions of the Fourth Science based on the principles of ratiocinative inference and having Emancipation for its end. Having acquired by the science of ratiocinative inference and by waiting upon preceptors, the Rich, the Samans, and the Yajushes, all the obligatory practices should be observed and all the Vedas studied with reverence, O Viswavasu! O foremost of Gandharvas, they who study the Vedas with all their branches but who do not know the Supreme Soul from which all things take their birth and into which all things merge when destruction comes, and which is the one object whose knowledge the Vedas seek to inculcate, Indeed, they, who have no acquaintance with that which the Vedas seek to establish, study the Vedas to no purpose and bear their burthen of such study in vain. If a person desirous of butter churns the milk of the she-ass, without finding what he seeks he simply meets with a substance that is as foul of smell as ordure. After the same manner, if one, having studied the Vedas, fails to comprehend what is Prakriti and what is Purusha, one only proves one's own foolishness of understanding and bears a useless burthen (in the form of Vedic lore).[1668] One should, with devoted attention, reflect on both Prakriti and Purusha, so that one may avoid repeated birth and death. Reflection upon the fact of one's repeated births and deaths and avoiding the religion of acts that is productive at best of destructible results, one should betake oneself to the indestructible religion of Yoga. O Kasyapa, if one continuously on the nature of the Jiva-soul and its connection with the Supreme Soul, one then succeeds in divesting oneself on all attributes and in beholding the Supreme Soul. The Eternal and Unmanifest Supreme Soul is regarded by men of foolish understandings to be different from the twenty-fifth or Jiva-soul. They are endued with wisdom that behold both these as truly one and the same. Frightened at repeated births and deaths, the Sankhyas and Yogins regard the Jiva-soul and the Supreme Soul to be one and the same.'

“Viswavasu then said, 'Thou hast, O foremost of Brahmanas, said that Jiva-soul is indestructible and truly undistinguished from the Supreme Soul. This, however, is difficult to understand. It behoveth thee to once more discourse on this topic to me. I have heard discourses on this subject from Jaigishavya, Aista, Devala, the regenerate sage Parasara, the intelligent Varshaganya, Bhrigu, Panchasikha Kapila, Suka, Gautama, Arshtisena, the high-souled Garga, Narada, Asuri, the intelligent Paulastya, Sanatkumara, the high-souled Sukra, and my sire Kasyapa. Subsequently I heard the discourses of Rudra and the intelligent Viswarupa, of several of the deities, of the Pitris. and the Daityas. I have acquired all that they say, for they generally discourse that eternal object of all knowledge. I desire, however, to hear what thou mayst say on those topics with the aid of thy intelligence. Thou art the foremost of all persons, and a learned lecturer on the scriptures, and endued with great intelligence. There is nothing that is unknown to thee. Thou art an ocean of the Srutis, as described, O Brahmana, in the world of both the deities and Pitris. The great Rishis residing in the region of Brahma say that Aditya himself, the eternal lord of all luminaries, is thy preceptor (in the matter of this branch of knowledge). O Yajnavalkya, thou hast obtained the entire science, O Brahmana, of the Sankhyas, as also the scriptures of the Yogins in particular. Without doubt, thou art enlightened, fully conversant with the mobile immobile universe. I desire to hear thee discourse on that knowledge, which may be likened to clarified butter endued with solid grains.'

“Yajnavalkya said, 'Thou art, O foremost of Gandharvas, competent to comprehend every knowledge. As, however, thou askest me do thou hear me then discourse to thee according as I myself have obtained it from my preceptor. Prakriti, which is unintelligent, is apprehended by Jiva. Jiva, however, cannot be apprehended by Prakriti, O Gandharva. In consequence of Jiva being reflected in Prakriti, the latter is called Pradhana by Sankhyas and Yogins conversant with the original principles as indicated in the Srutis. O sinless one, the other, beholding, beholds the twenty-fourth (Prakriti) and the twenty-fifth. (Soul); not beholding, it beholds the twenty-sixth.[1669] The twenty-fifth thinks that there is nothing higher than itself. In reality, however, though beholding, it does not behold that (viz., the twenty-sixth) which beholds it.[1670] Men possessed of wisdom should never accept the Twenty-fourth (viz., Prakriti, which is unintelligent or inert) as identifiable with the Twenty-fifth or the Soul which has a real and independent existence. The fish live in water. It goes thither impelled by its own nature. As the fish, though living in the water, is to be regarded as separate from it, after the same manner is the Twenty-fifth to be apprehended (i.e., though the Twenty-fifth exists in a state of contact with the Twenty-fourth or Prakriti, it is, however, in its real nature, separate from and independent of Prakriti). When overwhelmed with the consciousness of meum or self, and when unable to understand its identity with the Twenty-sixth, in fact, in consequence of the illusion that invests it, of its co-existence with Prakriti, and of its own manner of thinking, the Jiva-soul always skins down, but when freed from such consciousness it goes upwards. When the Jiva-soul succeeds in apprehending that it is one, and Prakriti with which it resides is another, then only does it, O regenerate one, succeed in beholding the Supreme Soul and attaining to the condition of Oneness with the universe. The Supreme is one, O king, and the Twenty-fifth (or Jiva-soul) is another. In consequence, however, of the Supreme overlying the Jiva-soul the wise regard both to be one and the same.[1671] For these reasons, Yogins, and followers of the Sankhya system of philosophy, terrified by the birth and death, blessed with sight of the Twenty-sixth, pure in body and mind, and devoted to the Supreme Soul, and do not welcome the Jiva-soul as indestructible.[1672] When one beholds the Supreme Soul and losing all consciousness of individuality becomes identified with the Supreme, one than becomes omniscient, and possessed of such omniscience one becomes freed from the obligation of rebirth. I have thus discoursed to thee truly, sinless one, about Prakriti which is unintelligent, and Jiva-soul which is possessed of intelligence, and the Supreme Soul which is endued with omniscience, according to the indications occurring in the Srutis. That man, who beholds not any difference between the knower or the known, is both Kevala and not-Kevala, is the original cause of the universe, is both Jiva-soul and the Supreme Soul.[1673]

“Viswavasu said, 'O puissant one, thou hast duly and adequately discoursed on that which is the origin of all the deities and which is productive of Emancipation. Thou hast said what is true and excellent. May inexhaustible blessings always attend thee, and may thy mind be ever united with intelligence!'

“Yajnavalkya continued, 'Having said those words, the prince of Gandharvas proceeded towards heaven, shining in resplendence of beauty. Before leaving me, the high-souled one duly honoured me by taking the accustomed turns round my person, and I looked upon him, highly pleased. He inculcated the science he had obtained from me unto those celestials that dwell in the regions of Brahman and other deities, unto those that dwell on Earth, unto also the denizens of the nether regions, and unto them that had adopted the path of Emancipation, O king. The Sankhyas are devoted to the practices of their system. The Yogins are devoted to the practices inculcated by their system. Others there are that are desirous of achieving their Emancipation. Unto these latter this science is productive of visible fruits, O lion among king. Emancipation flows from Knowledge. Without Knowledge it can never be attained. The wise have said it, O monarch. Hence, one should strive one's best for acquiring true Knowledge in all its details, by which one may succeed in freeing oneself from birth and death. Obtaining knowledge from a Brahmana or a Kshatriya or Vaisya or even a Sudra who is of low birth, one endued with faith should always show reverence for such knowledge. Birth and death cannot assail one that is endued with faith. All orders of men are Brahmanas. All are sprung from Brahma. All men utter Brahma.[1674] Aided by an understanding that is derived from and directed to Brahma. I inculcated this science treating of Prakriti and Purusha. Indeed, this whole universe is Brahma. From the mouth of Brahma sprung the Brahmanas; from his arms, sprung the Kshatriyas; from his navel, the Vaisya; and from his feet, the Sudras. All the orders, (having sprung in this way) should not be regarded as pilfering from one another. Impelled by Ignorance, all men meet with death and attain, O king, to birth that is the cause of acts.[1675] Divested of Knowledge, all orders of men, dragged by terrible Ignorance, fall into varied orders of being due to the principles that flow from Prakriti. For this reason, all should, by every means, seek to acquire Knowledge. I have told thee that every person is entitled to strive for its acquisition. One that is possessed of Knowledge is a Brahmana. Others, (viz., Kshatriyas and Vaisyas and Sudras) are possessed of knowledge. Hence, this science of Emancipation is always open to them all. This, O king has been said by the Wise. The questions thou hadst asked me have all been answered by me agreeably to the truth. Do thou, therefore, cast off all grief. Go thou to the other end of this enquiry. Thy questions were good. Blessings on thy head for ever!

“Bhishma continued–Thus instructed by the intelligent Yajnavalkya the king of Mithila became filled with joy. The king honoured that foremost of ascetics by walking round his person. Dismissed by the monarch, he departed from his court. King Daivarati, having obtained the knowledge of the religion of Emancipation, took his seat, and touching a million of kine and a quantity of gold and a measure of gems and jewels, gave them away unto a number of Brahmanas. Installing his son in the sovereignty of the Videhas, the old king began to live, adopting the practices of the Yatis. Thinking mainly of all ordinary duties and their derelictions (as laid down in the scriptures), the king began to study the science of the Sankhyas and the Yogins in their entirety. Regarding himself to be Infinite, he began to reflect on only the Eternal and Independent One. He cast off all ordinary duties and their derelictions, Virtue and Vice, Truth and Falsehood, Birth and Death, and all other things appertaining to the principles produced by Prakriti. Both Sankhyas and Yogins, agreeably to the teachings of their sciences, regard this universe to be due to the action of the Manifest and the Unmanifest. The learned say that Brahma is freed from good and evil, is self-dependent, the highest of the high, Eternal, and Pure. Do thou, therefore, O monarch, become Pure! The giver, the receiver of the gift, the gift itself, and that which is ordered to be given away, are all to be deemed as the unmanifest Soul. The Soul is the Soul's one possession. Who, therefore, can be a stranger to one? Do thou think always in this way. Never think otherwise. He who does not know what is Prakriti possessed of attributes and what is Purusha transcending attributes, only he, not possessed as he is of knowledge, repairs to sacred waters and performs sacrifices. Not by study of the Vedas, not by penances, not by sacrifices O son of Kuru, can one attain to the status of Brahma. Only when one succeeds in apprehending the Supreme or Unmanifest, one comes to be regarded with reverence. They who wait upon Mahat attain to regions of Mahat. They who wait upon Consciousness, attain to the spot that belongs to Consciousness. They who wait upon what is higher attain to places that are higher than these. Those persons, learned in the scriptures, who succeed in apprehending Eternal Brahma who is higher than Unmanifest Prakriti, succeed in obtaining that which transcends birth and death, which is free from attributes, and which is both existent and non-existent I got all this knowledge from Janaka. The latter had obtained it from Yajnavalkya. Knowledge is very superior. Sacrifices cannot compare with it. With the aid of Knowledge one succeeds in crossing the world's ocean which is full of difficulties and dangers. One can never cross that ocean by means of sacrifices. Birth and death, and other impediments, O king, men of knowledge say, one cannot pass over by ordinary exertion.[1676] Men attain to heaven through sacrifices, penances, vows, and observances. But they have again to fall down therefrom on the Earth. Do thou, therefore, adore with reverence that which is Supreme, most pure, blessed, stainless, and sacred, and which transcends all states (being Emancipation itself). By apprehending Kshetra, O king, and by performing the Sacrifice that consists in the acquisition of Knowledge, thou wilt really be wise. In former time, Yajnavalkya did that good to king Janaka which is derivable from a study of the Upanishads. The Eternal and Immutable Supreme was the topic about which the great Rishi had discoursed to the king of Mithila. It enabled him to attain to that Brahma which is auspicious, and immortal, and which transcends all kinds of sorrow.”


“Yudhishthira said, 'Having acquired great power and great wealth, and having obtained a long period of life, how may one succeed in avoiding death? By which of these means, viz., penances, or the accomplishment of the diverse acts (laid down in the Vedas), or by knowledge of the Srutis, or the application of medicines, can one succeed in avoiding decrepitude and death?'

“Bhishma said, 'In this connection is cited the old narrative of Panchasikha who was a Bhikshu in his practices and Janaka. Once on a time Janaka, the ruler of the Videhas, questioned the great Rishi Panchasikha, who was the foremost of all persons conversant with the Vedas and who had all his doubts removed in respect of the purpose and import of all duties. The King said,–By what conduct, O holy one may one transcend decrepitude and death? It is by penances, or by the understanding, or by religious acts (like sacrifices, and vows), or by study and knowledge of the scriptures?–Thus addressed by the ruler of the Vedas the learned Panchasikha, conversant with all invisible things, answered, saying,–There is no prevention of these two (viz., decrepitude and death); nor is it true that cannot be prevented under any circumstances. Neither days, nor nights, nor months, cease to go on. Only that man, who, though transitory, betakes himself to the eternal path (of the religion of Nivritti or abstention from all acts) succeeds in avoiding birth and death. Destruction overtakes, all creatures. All creatures seem to be ceaselessly borne along the infinite current of time. Those that are borne along the infinite current of time which is without a raft (to rescue) and which is infested by those two mighty alligators, viz., decrepitude and death, sink down without anybody coming to their assistance. As one is swept along that current, one fails to find any friend for help and one fails to be inspired with interest for any one else. One meets with spouses and other friends only on one's road. One had never before enjoyed this kind of companionship with any one for any length of time. Creatures, as they are borne along the current of time, become repeatedly attracted towards one another like masses of clouds moved by the wind meeting one another with loud sound. Decrepitude and death are devourers of all creatures, like wolves. Indeed, they devour the strong and the weak, the short and the tall. Among creatures, therefore, which are all so transitory, only the Soul exists eternally. Why should he, then, rejoice when creatures are born and why should he grieve when they die? Whence have I come. Who am I? Whither shall I go? Whose am I? Before what do I rest? What shall I be? For what reason then dost thou grieve for what? Who else then thou wilt behold heaven or hell (for what thou doest)? Hence, without throwing aside the scriptures, one should make gifts and perform sacrifices!–”


“Yudhishthira said, 'Without abandoning the domestic mode of life, O royal sage of Kuru's race, who ever attained to Emancipation which is the annihilation of the Understanding (and the other faculties)? Do tell me this! How may the gross and the subtile form be cast off? Do thou also, O grandsire, tell me what the supreme excellence of Emancipation is.'

“Bhishma said, 'In this connection is cited the old narrative of the discourse between Janaka and Sulabha, O Bharata! In days of yore there was a king of Mithila, of the name of Dharmadhyaja, of Janaka's race. He was devoted to the practices of the religion of Renunciation. He was well conversant with the Vedas, with the scriptures on Emancipation, and with the scriptures bearing on his own duty as a king. Subjugating his senses, he ruled his Earth. Hearing of his good behaviour in the world, many men of wisdom, well-conversant with wisdom, O foremost of men, desired to imitate him. 'In the same Satya Yuga, a woman of the name of Sulabha, belonging to the mendicant order, practised the duties of Yoga and wandered over the whole Earth. In course of her wanderings over the Earth, Sulabha heard from many Dandis of different places that the ruler of Mithila was devoted to the religion of Emancipation. Hearing this report about king Janaka and desirous of ascertaining whether it was true or not, Sulabha became desirous of having a personal interview with Janaka. Abandoning, by her Yoga powers, her former form and features, Sulabha assumed the most faultless features and unrivalled beauty. In the twinkling of an eye and with the speed of the quickest shaft, the fair-browed lady of eyes like lotus-petals repaired to the capital of the Videhas. Arrived at the chief city of Mithila teeming with a large population, she adopted the guise of a mendicant and presented herself before the king. The monarch, beholding, her delicate form, became filled with wonder and enquired who she was, whose she was, and whence she came. Welcoming her, he assigned her an excellent seat, honoured her by offering water to wash her feet, and gratified her with excellent refreshments. Refreshed duly and gratified with the rites of hospitality offered unto her, Sulabha, the female mendicant, urged the king, who was surrounded by his ministers and seated in the midst of learned scholars, (to declare himself in respect of his adherence to the religion of Emancipation). Doubting whether Janaka had succeeded in attaining to Emancipation, by following the religion of Nivritti, Sulabha, endued with Yoga-power, entered the understanding of the king by her own understanding. Restraining, by means of the rays of light that emanated from her own eyes, the rays issuing from the eyes of the king, the lady, desirous of ascertaining the truth, bound up king Janaka with Yoga bonds.[1677]' That best of monarch, priding himself upon his own invincibleness and defeating the intentions of Sulabha seized her resolution with his own resolution.[1678] The king, in his subtile form, was without the royal umbrella and sceptre. The lady Sulabha, in hers, was without the triple stick. Both staying then in the same (gross) form, thus conversed with each other. Listen to that conversation as it happened between the monarch and Sulabha.

“Janaka said, O holy lady, to what course of conduct art thou devoted? Whose art thou? Whence hast thou come? After finishing thy business here, whither wilt thou go? No one can, without questioning, ascertain another's acquaintance with the scriptures, or age, or order of birth. Thou shouldst, therefore, answer these questions of mine, when thou has come to me. Know that I am truly freed from all vanity in respect of my royal umbrella and sceptre. I wish to know thee thoroughly. Thou art deserving I hold, of my respect.[1679] Do thou listen to me as I speak to thee on Emancipation for there is none else (in this world) that can discourse to thee on that topic. Hear me also I tell thee who that person is from whom in days of old I acquired this distinguishing knowledge.[1680] I am the beloved disciple of the high-souled and venerable Panchasikha, belonging to the mendicant order, of Parasara's race. My doubts have been dispelled and am fully conversant with the Sankhya and the Yoga systems, and the ordinances as in respect of sacrifices and other rites, which constitutes the three well-known paths of Emancipation.[1681] Wandering over the earth and pursuing the while the path that is pointed out by the scriptures, the learned Panchasikha formerly dwelt in happiness in my abode for a period of four months in the rainy season. That foremost of Sankhyas discoursed to me, agreeably to the truth, and in an intelligible manner suited to my comprehension, on the several kinds of means for attaining to Emancipation. He did not, however, command me to give up my kingdom. Freed from attachments, and fixing my Soul on supreme Brahma, and unmoved by companionship, I lived, practising in its entirety that triple conduct which is laid down in treatises on Emancipation. Renunciation (of all kinds of attachments) is the highest means prescribed for Emancipation. It is from Knowledge that Renunciation, by which one becomes freed is said to flow. From Knowledge arises the endeavour after Yoga, and through that endeavour one attains to knowledge of Self or Soul. Through knowledge of Self one transcends joy and grief. That enables one to transcend death and attain to high success. That high intelligence (knowledge of Self) has been acquired by me, and accordingly I have transcended all pairs of opposites. Even in this life have I been freed from stupefaction and have transcended all attachments. As a soil, saturated with water and softened thereby, causes the (sown) seed to sprout forth, after the same manner, the acts of men cause rebirth. As a seed, fried on a pan or otherwise, becomes unable to sprout forth although the capacity for sprouting was there, after the same manner my understanding having been freed from the productive principle constituted by desire, by the instruction of the holy Panchasikha of the mendicant order, it no longer produces its fruit in the form of attachment to the object of the senses. I never experience love for my spouse or hate for my foes. Indeed, I keep aloof from both, beholding the fruitlessness of attachment and wrath. I regard both persons equally, viz., him that smears my right hand with sandal-paste and him that wounds my left. Having attained my (true) object, I am happy, and look equally upon a clod of earth, a piece of stone, and a lump of gold. I am freed from attachments of every kind, though am engaged in ruling a kingdom. In consequence of all this I am distinguished over all bearers of triple sticks. Some foremost of men that are conversant with the topic of Emancipation say that Emancipation has a triple path, (these are knowledge, Yoga, and sacrifices and rites). Some regard knowledge having all things of the world for its object as the means of emancipation. Some hold that the total renunciation of acts (both external and internal) is the means thereof. Another class of persons conversant with the scriptures of Emancipation say that Knowledge is the single means. Other, viz. Yatis, endued with subtile vision, hold that acts constitute the means. The high-souled Panchasikha, discarding both the opinion about knowledge and acts, regarded the third as the only means of Emancipation. If men leading the domestic mode of life be endued with Yama and Niyama, they become the equals of Sannyasins. If, on the other hand, Sannyasins be endued with desire and aversion and spouses and honour and pride and affection, they become the equals of men leading domestic modes of life.[1682] If one can attain to Emancipation by means of knowledge, then may Emancipation exist in triple sticks (for there is nothing to prevent the bearers of such stick from acquiring the needful knowledge). Why then may Emancipation not exist in the umbrella and the sceptre as well, especially when there is equal reason in taking up the triple stick and the sceptre?[1683] One becomes attached to all those things and acts with which one has need for the sake of one's own self for particular reasons.[1684] If a person, beholding the faults of the domestic mode of life, casts it off for adopting another mode (which he considers to be fraught with great merit), be cannot, for such rejection and adoption be regarded as one that is once freed from all attachments, (for all that he has done has been to attach himself to a new mode after having freed himself from a previous one).[1685] Sovereignty is fraught with the rewarding and the chastising of others. The life of a mendicant is equally fraught with the same (for mendicants also reward and chastise those they can). When, therefore, mendicants are similar to kings in this respect, why would mendicants only attain to Emancipation, and not kings? Notwithstanding the possession of sovereignty, therefore, one becomes cleansed of all sins by means of knowledge alone, living the while in Supreme Brahma. The wearing of brown cloths, shaving of the head, bearing of the triple stick, and the Kamandalu,–these are the outward signs of one's mode of life. These have no value in aiding one to the attainment of Emancipation. When, notwithstanding the adoption of these emblems of a particular mode of life, knowledge alone becomes the cause of one's Emancipation from sorrow, it would appear that the adoption of mere emblems is perfectly useless. Or, if, beholding the mitigation of sorrow in it, thou hast betaken thyself to these emblems of Sannyasi, why then should not the mitigation of sorrow be beheld in the umbrella and the sceptre to which I have betaken myself? Emancipation does not exist in poverty; nor is bondage to be found in affluence. One attains to Emancipation through Knowledge alone, whether one is indigent or affluent. For these reasons, know that I am living in a condition of freedom, though ostensibly engaged in the enjoyments of religion, wealth, and pleasure, in the form of kingdom and spouses, which constitute a field of bondage (for the generality of men). The bonds constituted by kingdom and affluence, and the bondage to attachments, I have cut off with the sword of Renunciation whetted on the stone of the scriptures bearing upon Emancipation. As regards myself then, I tell thee that I have become freed in this way. O lady of the mendicant order, I cherish an affection for thee. But that should not prevent me from telling thee that thy behaviour does not correspond with the practices of the mode of life to which thou hast betaken thyself! Thou hast great delicacy of formation. Thou hast an exceedingly shapely form. The age is young. Thou hast all these, and thou hast Niyama (subjugation of the senses). I doubt it verily. Thou hast stopped up my body (by entering into me with the aid of the Yoga power) for ascertaining as to whether I am really emancipated or not. This act of thine ill corresponds with that mode of life whose emblems thou bearest. For Yogin that is endued with desire, the triple stick is unfit. As regards thyself, thou dost not adhere to thy stick. As regards those that are freed, it behoves even them to protect themselves from fall.[1686] Listen now to me as to what thy transgression has been in consequence of thy contact with me and thy having entered into my gross body with the aid of thy understanding. To what reason is thy entrance to be ascribed into my kingdom or my palace? At whose sign hast thou entered into my heart?[1687] Thou belongest to the foremost of all the orders, being, as thou art, a Brahmana woman. As regards myself, however, I am a Kshatriya. There is no union for us two. Do not help to cause an intermixture of colours. Thou livest in the practice of those duties that lead to Emancipation. I live in the domestic mode of life, This act of thine, therefore, is another evil thou hast done, for it produces an unnatural union of two opposite modes of life. I do not know whether thou belongest to my own gotra or dost not belong to it. As regards thyself also, thou dost not know who I am (viz., to what gotra I belong). If thou art of my own gotra, thou hast, by entering into my person, produced another evil,–the evil, viz., of unnatural union. If, again, thy husband be alive and dwelling in a distant place, thy union with me has produced the fourth evil of sinfulness, for thou art not one with whom I may be lawfully united. Dost thou perpetrate all these sinful acts, impelled by the motive of accomplishing a particular object? Dost thou do these from ignorance or from perverted intelligence? If, again, in consequence of thy evil nature thou hast thus become thoroughly independent or unrestrained in thy behaviour, I tell thee that if thou hast any knowledge of the scriptures, thou wilt understand that everything thou hast done has been productive of evil. A third fault attaches to thee in consequence of these acts of thine, a fault that is destructive of peace of mind. By endeavouring to display thy superiority, the indication of a wicked woman is seen in thee. Desirous of asserting thy victory as thou art, it is not myself alone whom thou wishest to defeat, for it is plain that thou wishest to obtain a victory over even the whole of my court (consisting of these learned and very superior Brahmanas), by casting thy eyes in this way towards all these meritorious Brahmanas, it is evident that thou desirest to humiliate them all and glorify thyself (at their expense). Stupefied by thy pride of Yoga-puissance that has been born of thy jealousy (at sight of my power,) thou hast caused a union of thy understanding with mine and thereby hast really mingled together nectar with poison. That union, again, of man and woman, when each covets the other, is sweet as nectar. That association, however, of man and woman when the latter, herself coveting, fails to obtain an individual of the opposite sex that does not covet her, is, instead of being a merit, only a fault that is as noxious as poison. Do not continue to touch me. Know that I am righteous. Do thou act according to thy own scriptures. The enquiry thou hadst wished to make, viz., whether I am or I am not emancipated, has been finished. It behoves thee not to conceal from me all thy secret motives. It behoves thee not, that thus disguisest thyself, to conceal from me what thy object is, that is whether this call of thine has been prompted by the desire of accomplishing some object of thy own or whether thou hast come for accomplishing the object of some other king (that is hostile to me). One should never appear deceitfully before a king; nor before a Brahmana; nor before one's wife when that wife is possessed of every wifely virtue. Those who appear in deceitful guise before these three very soon meet with destruction. The power of kings consists in their sovereignty. The power of Brahmanas conversant with the Vedas is in the Vedas. Women wield a high power in consequence of their beauty and youth and blessedness. These then are powerful in the possession of these powers. He, therefore, that is desirous of accomplishing his own object should always approach these three with sincerity and candour, insincerity and deceit fail to produce success (in these three quarters). It behoveth thee, therefore, to apprise me of the order to which thou belongest by birth, of thy learning and conduct and disposition and nature, as also of the object thou hast in view in coming to this place!–”

“Bhishma continued, 'Though rebuked by the king in these unpleasant, improper, and ill-applied words, the lady Sulabha was not at all abashed. After the king had said these words, the beautiful Sulabha then addressed herself for saying the following words in reply that were more handsome than her person.

”'Sulabha said, O king, speech ought always to be free from the nine verbal faults and the nine faults of judgment. It should also, while setting forth the meaning with perspicuity, be possessed of the eighteen well-known merits.[1688] Ambiguity, ascertainment of the faults and merits of premises and conclusions, weighing the relative strength or weakness of those faults and merits, establishment of the conclusion, and the element of persuasiveness or otherwise that attaches to the conclusion thus arrived at,–these five characteristics appertaining to the sense–constitute the authoritativeness of what is said. Listen now to the characteristics of these requirements beginning with ambiguity, one after another, as I expound them according to the combinations. When knowledge rests on distinction in consequence of the object to be known being different from one another, and when (as regards the comprehension of the subject) the understanding rests upon many points one after another, the combination of words (in whose case this occurs) is said to be vitiated by ambiguity.[1689] By ascertainment (of faults and merits), called Sankhya, is meant the establishment, by elimination, of faults or merits (in premises and conclusions), adopting tentative meanings.[1690] Krama or weighing the relative strength or weakness of the faults or merits (ascertained by the above process), consists in settling the propriety of the priority or subsequence of the words employed in a sentence. This is the meaning attached to the word Krama by persons conversant with the interpretation of sentences or texts. By Conclusion is meant the final determination, after this examination of what has been said on the subjects of religion, pleasure, wealth, and Emancipation, in respect of what is particularly is that has been said in the text.[1691] The sorrow born of wish or aversion increases to a great measure. The conduct, O king, that one pursues in such a matter (for dispelling the sorrow experienced) is called Prayojanam.[1692] Take it for certain, O king, at my word, that these characteristics of Ambiguity and the other (numbering five in all), when occurring together, constitute a complete and intelligible sentence.[1693] The words I shall utter will be fraught with sense, free from ambiguity (in consequence of each of them not being symbols of many things), logical, free from pleonasm or tautology, smooth, certain, free from bombast, agreeable or sweet, truthful, not inconsistent with the aggregate of three, (viz., Righteousness, Wealth and Pleasure), refined (i.e., free from Prakriti), not elliptical or imperfect, destitute of harshness or difficulty of comprehension, characterised by due order, not far-fetched in respect of sense, corrected with one another as cause and effect and each having a specific object.[1694] I shall not tell thee anything, prompted by desire or wrath or fear or cupidity or abjectness or deceit or shame or compassion or pride. (I answer thee because it is proper for me to answer what thou hast said). When the speaker, the hearer, and the words said, thoroughly agree with one another in course of a speech, then does the sense or meaning come out very clearly. When, in the matter of what is to be said, the speaker shows disregard for the understanding of the hearer by uttering words whose meaning is understood by himself, then, however good those words may be, they become incapable of being seized by the hearer.[1695] That speaker, again, who, abandoning all regard for his own meaning uses words that are of excellent sound and sense, awakens only erroneous, impressions in the mind of the hearer. Such words in such connection become certainly faulty. That speaker, however, who employs words that are, while expressing his own meaning, intelligible to the hearer, as well, truly deserves to be called a speaker. No other man deserves the name. It behoveth thee, therefore, O king, to hear with concentrated attention these words of mine, fraught with meaning and endued with wealth of vocables. Thou hast asked me who I am, whose I am, whence I am coming, etc. Listen to me, O king, with undivided mind, as I answer these questions of thine. As lac and wood, as grains of dust and drops of water, exist commingled when brought together, even so are the existences of all creatures.[1696] Sound, touch, taste, form, and scent, these and the senses, though diverse in respect of their essences, exist yet in a state of commingling like lac and wood. It is again well known that nobody asks any of these, saying, who art thou? Each of them also has no knowledge either of itself or of the others. The eye cannot see itself. The ear cannot hear itself. The eye, again, cannot discharge the functions of any of the other senses, nor can any of the senses discharge the functions of any sense save its own. If all of them even combine together, even they fail to know their own selves as dust and water mingled together cannot know each other though existing in a state of union. In order to discharge their respective functions, they await the contact of objects that are external to them. The eye, form, and light, constitute the three requisites of the operation called seeing. The same, as in this case, happens in respect of the operations of the other senses and the ideas which is their result. Then, again, between the functions of the senses (called vision, hearing, etc.,) and the ideas which are their result (viz., form, sound, etc.), the mind is an entity other than the senses And is regarded to have an action of its own. With its help one distinguishes what is existent from what is non-existent for arriving at certainty (in the matter of all ideas derived from the senses). With the five senses of knowledge and five senses of action, the mind makes a total of eleven. The twelfth is the Understanding. When doubt arises in respect of what is to be known, the Understanding comes forward and settles all doubts (for aiding correct apprehension). After the twelfth, Sattwa is another principle numbering the thirteenth. With its help creatures are distinguished as possessing more of it or less of it in their constitutions.[1697] After this, Consciousness (of self) is another principle (numbering the fourteenth). It helps one to an apprehension of self as distinguished from what is not self. Desire is the fifteenth principle, O king. Unto it inhere the whole universe.[1698] The sixteenth principle is Avidya. Unto it inhere the seventeenth and the eighteenth principles called Prakriti and Vyakti (i.e., Maya and Prakasa). Happiness and sorrow, decrepitude and death, acquisition and loss, the agreeable end the disagreeable,–these constitute the nineteenth principle and are called couples of opposites. Beyond the nineteenth principle is another, viz., Time called the twentieth. Know that the births and death of all creatures are due to the action of this twentieth principle. These twenty exist together. Besides these, the five Great primal elements, and existence and non-existence, bring up the tale to seven and twenty. Beyond these, are three others, named Vidhi, Sukra, and Vala, that make the tale reach thirty.[1699] That in which these ten and twenty principles occur is said to be body. Some persons regard unmanifest Prakriti to be the source or cause of these thirty principles. (This is the view of the atheistic Sankhya school). The Kanadas of gross vision regard the Manifest (or atoms) to be their cause. Whether the Unmanifest or the Manifest be their cause, or whether the two (viz., the Supreme or Purusha and the Manifest or atoms) be regarded as their cause, or fourthly, whether the four together (viz., the Supreme or Purusha and his Maya and Jiva and Avidya or Ignorance) be the cause, they that are conversant with Adhyatma behold Prakriti as the cause of all creatures. That Prakriti which is Unmanifest, becomes manifest in the form of these principles. Myself, thyself, O monarch, and all others that are endued with body are the result of that Prakriti (so far as our bodies are concerned). Insemination and other (embryonic) conditions are due to the mixture of the vital seed and blood. In consequence of insemination the result which first appears is called by the name of 'Kalala.' From 'Kalala' arises what is called Vudvuda (bubble). From the stage called 'Vudvuda' springs what is called 'Pesi.' From the condition called 'Pesi' that stage arises in which the various limbs become manifested. From this last condition appear nails and hair. Upon the expiration of the ninth month, O king of Mithila, the creature takes its birth so that, its sex being known, it comes to be called a boy or girl. When the creature issues out of the womb, the form it presents is such that its nails and fingers seem to be of the hue of burnished copper. The next stage is said to be infancy, when the form that was seen at the time of birth becomes changed. From infancy youth is reached, and from youth, old age. As the creature advances from one stage into another, the form presented in the previous stage becomes changed. The constituent elements of the body, which serve diverse functions in the general economy, undergo change every moment in every creature. Those changes, however, are so minute that they cannot be noticed.[1700] The birth of particles, and their death, in each successive condition, can not be marked, O king, even as one cannot mark the changes in the flame of a burning lamp.[1701] When such is the state of the bodies of all creatures,–that is when that which is called the body is changing incessantly even like the rapid locomotion of a steed of good mettle,–who then has come whence or not whence, or whose is it or whose is it not, or whence does it not arise? What connection does there exist between creatures and their own bodies?[1702] As from the contact of flint with iron, or from two sticks of wood when rubbed against each other, fire is generated, even so are creatures generated from the combination of the (thirty) principles already named. Indeed, as thou thyself seest thy own body in thy body and as thou thyself seest thy soul in thy own soul, why is it that thou dost not see thy own body and thy own soul in the bodies and souls of others? If it is true that thou seest an identity with thyself and others, why then didst thou ask me who I am and whose? If it is true that hast, O king been freed from the knowledge of duality that (erroneously) says–this is mine and this other is not mine,–then what use is there with such questions as Who art thou, whose art thou and whence dost thou come? What indications of Emancipation can be said to occur in that king who acts as others act towards enemies and allies and neutrals and in victory and truce and war? What indications of Emancipation occur in him who does not know the true nature of the aggregate of three as manifested in seven ways in all acts and who, on that account, is attached to that aggregate of three?[1703] What indications of Emancipation exist in him who fails to cast an equal eye on the agreeable, on the weak, and the strong? Unworthy as thou art of it, thy pretence of Emancipation should be put down by thy counsellers! This thy endeavour to attain to Emancipation (when thou hast so many faults) is like the use of medicine by a patient who indulges in all kinds of forbidden food and practices. O chastiser of foes, reflecting upon spouses and other sources of attachment, one should behold these in one's own soul. What else can be looked upon as the indication of Emancipation? Listen now to me as I speak in detail of these and certain other minute sources of attachment appertaining to the four well known acts (of lying down for slumber, enjoyment, eating, and dressing) to which thou art still bound though thou professest thyself to have adopted the religion of Emancipation. That man who has to rule the whole world must, indeed, be a single king without a second. He is obliged to live in only a single palace. In that palace he has again only one sleeping chamber. In that chamber he has, again, only one bed on which at night he is to lie down. Half that bed again he is obliged to give to his Queen-consort. This may serve as an example of how little the king's share is of all he is said to own. This is the case with his objects of enjoyment, with the food he eats, and with the robes he wears. He is thus attached to a very limited share of all things. He is, again, attached to the duties of rewarding and punishing. The king is always dependent on others. He enjoys a very small share of all he is supposed to own, and to that small share he is forced to be attached (as well as others are attached to their respective possessions). In the matter also of peace and war, the king cannot be said to be independent. In the matter of women, of sports and other kinds of enjoyment, the king's inclinations are exceedingly circumscribed. In the matter of taking counsel and in the assembly of his councillors what independence can the king be said to have? When, indeed, he sets his orders on other men, he is said to be thoroughly independent. But then the moment after, in the several matters of his orders, his independence is barred by the very men whom he has ordered.[1704] If the king desires to sleep, he cannot gratify his desire, resisted by those who have business to transact with him. He must sleep when permitted, and while sleeping he is obliged to wake up for attending to those that have urgent business with him–bathe, touch, drink, eat, pour libations on the fire, perform sacrifices, speak, hear,–these are the words which kings have to hear from others and hearing them have to slave to those that utter them. Men come in batches to the king and solicit him for gifts. Being, how-ever, the protector of the general treasury, he cannot make gifts unto even the most deserving. If he makes gifts, the treasury becomes exhausted. If he does not, disappointed solicitors look upon him with hostile eyes. He becomes vexed and as the result of this, misanthropical feelings soon invade his mind. If many wise and heroic and wealthy men reside together, the king's mind begins to be filled with distrust in consequence. Even when there is no cause of fear, the king entertains fear of those that always wait upon and worship him. Those I have mentioned O king, also find fault with him. Behold, in what way the king's fears may arise from even them! Then again all men are kings in their own houses. All men, again, in their own houses are house-holders. Like kings, O Janaka, all men in their own houses chastise and reward. Like kings others also have sons and spouses and their own selves and treasuries and friends and stores. In these respects the king is not different from other men.–The country is ruined,–the city is consumed by fire,–the foremost of elephants is dead,–at all this the king yields to grief like others, little regarding that these impressions are all due to ignorance and error. The king is seldom freed from mental griefs caused by desire and aversion and fear. He is generally afflicted also by headaches and diverse diseases of the kind. The king is afflicted (like others) by all couples of opposites (as pleasure and pain, etc). He is alarmed at everything. Indeed, full of foes and impediments as kingdom is, the king, while he enjoys it, passes nights of sleeplessness. Sovereignty, therefore, is blessed with an exceedingly small share of happiness. The misery with which it is endued is very great. It is as unsubstantial as burning flames fed by straw or the bubbles of froth seen on the surface of water. Who is there that would like to obtain sovereignty, or having acquired sovereignty can hope to win tranquillity? Thou regardest this kingdom and this palace to be thine. Thou thinkest also this army, this treasury, and these counsellers to belong to thee. Whose, however, in reality are they, and whose are they not? Allies, ministers, capital, provinces, punishment, treasury, and the king, these seven which constitute the limbs of a kingdom exist, depending upon one another, like three sticks standing with one another's support. The merits of each are set off by the merits of the others. Which of them can be said to be superior to the rest? At those times those particular ones are regarded as distinguished above the rest when some important end is served through their agency. Superiority, for the time being, is said to attach to that one whose efficacy is thus seen. The seven limbs already mentioned, O best of kings, and the three others, forming an aggregate of ten, supporting one another, are said to enjoy the kingdom like the king himself.[1705] That king who is endued with great energy and who is firmly attached to Kshatriya practices, should be satisfied with only a tenth part of the produce of the subject's field. Other kings are seen to be satisfied with less than a tenth part of such produce. There is no one who owns the kingly office without some one else owning it in the world, and there is no kingdom without a king.[1706] If there be no kingdom, there can be no righteousness, and if there be no righteousness, whence can Emancipation arise? Whatever merit is most sacred and the highest, belongs to kings and kingdoms.[1707] By ruling a kingdom well, a king earns the merit that attaches to a Horse-sacrifice with the whole Earth given away as Dakshina. But how many kings are there that rule their kingdoms well? O ruler of Mithila, I can mention hundreds and thousands of faults like these that attach to kings and kingdoms. Then, again, when I have no real connection with even my body, how then can I be said to have any contact with the bodies of others? Thou canst not charge me with having endeavoured to bring about an intermixture of castes. Hast thou heard the religion of Emancipation in its entirety from the lips of Panchasikha together with its means, its methods, its practices, and its conclusion?[1708] If thou hast prevailed over all thy bonds and freed thyself from all attachments, may I ask thee, O king, who thou preservest thy connections still with this umbrella and these other appendages of royalty? I think that thou hast not listened to the scriptures, or, thou hast listened to them without any advantage, or, perhaps, thou hast listened to some other treatises looking like the scriptures. It seems that thou art possessed only of worldly knowledge, and that like an ordinary man of the world thou art bound by the bonds of touch and spouses and mansions and the like. If it be true that thou Met been emancipated from all bonds, what harm have I done thee by entering thy person with only my Intellect? With Yatis, among all orders of men, the custom is to dwell in uninhabited or deserted abodes. What harm then have I done to whom by entering thy understanding which is truly of real knowledge? I have not touched thee, O king, with my hands, of arms, or feet, or thighs, O sinless one, or with any other part of the body. Thou art born in a high race. Thou hast modesty. Thou hast foresight. Whether the act has been good or bad, my entrance into thy body has been a private one, concerning us two only. Was it not improper for thee to publish that private act before all thy court? These Brahmanas are all worthy of respect. They are foremost of preceptors. Thou also art entitled to their respect, being their king. Doing them reverence, thou art entitled to receive reverence from them. Reflecting on all this, it was not proper for thee to proclaim before these foremost of men the fact of this congress between two persons of opposite sexes, if, indeed, thou art really acquainted with the rules of propriety in respect of speech. O king of Mithila, I am staying in thee without touching thee at all even like a drop of water on a lotus leaf that stays on it without drenching it in the least. If, notwithstanding instructions of Panchasikha of the mendicant order, thy knowledge has become abstracted from the sensual objects to which it relates? Thou hast, it is plain, fallen off from the domestic mode of life but thou hast not yet attained to Emancipation that is so difficult to arrive at. Thou stayest between the two, pretending that thou hast reached the goal of Emancipation. The contact of one that is emancipated with another that has been so, or Purusha with Prakriti, cannot lead to an intermingling of the kind thou dreariest. Only those that regard the soul to be identical with the body, and that think the several orders and modes of life to be really different from one another, are open to the error of supposing an intermingling to be possible. My body is different from thine. But my soul is not different from thy soul. When I am able to realise this, I have not the slightest doubt that my understanding is really not staying in thine though I have entered into thee by Yoga.[1709] A pot is borne in the hand. In the pot is milk. On the milk is a fly. Though the hand and pot, the pot and milk, and the milk and the fly, exist together, yet are they all distinct from each other. The pot does not partake the nature of the milk. Nor does the milk partake the nature of the fly. The condition of each is dependent on itself, and can never be altered by the condition of that other with which it may temporarily exist. After this manner, colour and practices, though they may exist together with and in a person that is emancipate, do not really attach to him. How then can an intermingling of orders be possible in consequence of this union of myself with thee? Then, again, I am not superior to thee in colour. Nor am I a Vaisya, nor a Sudra. I am, O king, of the same order with the, borne of a pure race. There was a royal sage of the name of Pradhana. It is evident that thou hast heard of him. I am born in his race, and my name is Sulabha. In the sacrifices performed by my ancestors, the foremost of the gods, viz., Indra, used to come, accompanied by Drona and Satasringa, and Chakradwara (and other presiding geniuses of the great mountains). Born in such a race, it was found that no husband could be obtained for me that would be fit for me. Instructed then in the religion of Emancipation, I wander over the Earth alone, observant of the practices of asceticism. I practise no hypocrisy in the matter of the life of Renunciation. I am not a thief that appropriates what belongs to others. I am not a confuser of the practices belonging to the different orders. I am firm in the practices that belong to that mode of life to which I properly belong. I am firm and steady in my vows. I never utter any word without reflecting on its propriety. I did not come to thee, without having deliberated properly, O monarch! Having heard that thy understanding has been purified by the religion of Emancipation, I came here from desire of some benefit. Indeed, it was for enquiring of thee about Emancipation that I had come. I do not say it for glorifying myself and humiliating my opponents. But I say it, impelled by sincerity only. What I say is, he that is emancipated never indulges in that intellectual gladiatorship which is implied by a dialectical disputation for the sake of victory. He, on the other hand, is really emancipate who devotes himself to Brahma, that sole seat of tranquillity.[1710] As a person of the mendicant order resides for only one night in an empty house (and leaves it the next morning), even after the same manner I shall reside for this one night in thy person (which, as I have already said, is like an empty chamber, being destitute of knowledge). Thou hast honoured me with both speech and other offers that are due from a host to a guest. Having slept this one night in thy person, O ruler of Mithila, which is as it were my own chamber now, tomorrow I shall depart.

“Bhishma continued, 'Hearing these words fraught with excellent sense and with reason, king Janaka failed to return any answer thereto.'”[1711]


“Yudhishthira said, 'How was Suka, the son of Vyasa, in days of old, won over to Renunciation? I desire to hear thee recite the story. My curiosity in this respect is irrepressible. It behoveth thee, O thou of Kuru's race, to discourse to me on the conclusions in respect of the Unmanifest (Cause), the Manifest (Effects), and of the Truth (or Brahma) that is in, but unattached to them, as also of the acts of the self-born Narayana, as they are known to thy understanding.

“Bhishma said, 'Beholding his son Suka living fearlessly as ordinary men do in practices that are considered harmless by them, Vyasa taught him the entire Vedas and then discoursed to him one day in these words: 'Vyasa said, O son, becoming the master of the senses, do thou subdue extreme cold and extreme heat, hunger and thirst, and the wind also, and having subdued them (as Yogins do), do thou practise righteousness. Do thou duly observe truth and sincerity, and freedom from wrath and malice, and self-restraint and penances, and the duties of benevolence and compassion. Rest thou on truth, firmly devoted to righteousness, abandoning all sort of insincerity and deceit. Do thou support thy life on what remains of food after feeding gods and guests. Thy body is as transitory as the froth on the surface of water. The Jiva-soul is sitting unattached in it as a bird on a tree. The companionship of all agreeable object is exceedingly short-lived. Why then, O son, dost thou sleep in such forgetfulness? Thy foes are heedful and awake and ever ready (to spring on thee) and always watchful of their opportunity. Why art thou so foolish as not to know this?[1712] As the days are going one after another, the period of thy life is being lessened. Indeed when thy life is being incessantly shortened, why dost thou not run to preceptors (for learning the means of rescue)? Only they that are destitute of faith (in the existence of next life) set their hearts on things of this world that have the only effect of increasing flesh and blood. They are totally unmindful of all that is concerned with the next world. Those men that are stupefied by erroneous understandings display a hatred for righteousness. The man who walks after those misguided persons that have betaken themselves to devious and wrong paths is afflicted equally with them. They however, that are contented, devoted to the scriptures, endued with high souls, and possessed of great might, betake themselves to the part of righteousness. Do thou wait upon them with reverence and seek instruction from them. Do thou act according to the instructions received from those wise men whose eyes are set upon righteousness. With understanding cleansed by such lessons and rendered superior, do thou then restrain thy heart which is ever ready to deviate from the right course. They whose understandings are always concerned with the present, who fearlessly regard the tomorrow as something quite remote,–they who do not observe any restrictions in the matter of food,–ate really senseless persons that fail to understand that this world is only a field of probation.[1713] Repairing to the fight of steps constituted by Righteousness, do thou ascend those steps one after another. At present thou art like a worm that is employed in weaving its cocoon round itself and thereby depriving itself of all means of escape. Do thou keep to thy left, without any scruple, the atheist who transgresses all restraints, who is situated like a house by the side of a fierce and encroaching current, (for the destruction he courts), and who (to others) seems to stand like a bamboo with its tall head erected in pride.[1714] Do thou with the raft of Yoga, cross the ocean of the world whose waters are constituted by thy five senses. Having Desire and Wrath and Death for its fierce monsters, and owning birth for its vortex. Do thou cross, with the raft of Righteousness, the world that is affected by Death and afflicted by Decrepitude, and upon which the thunder-bolts constituted by days and nights are falling incessantly. When death is seeking thee at all moments, viz., when thou art sitting or lying down, it is certain that Death may get thee for his victim at any time. Whence art thou to obtain thy rescue! Like the she-wolf snatching away a lamb. Death snatches away one that is still engaged in earning wealth and still unsatisfied in the indulgence of his pleasures. When thou art destined to enter into the dark, do thou hold up the blazing lamp made of righteous understanding and whose flame has been well-husbanded out. Failing into various forms one after another in the world of men, a creature obtains the status of Brahmanhood with great difficulty. Thou hast obtained that status. Do thou then, O son endeavour to maintain it (properly).[1715] A Brahman hath not been born for the gratification of desire. On the other hand, his body is intended to be subjected to mortification and penances in this world so that incomparable happiness may be his in the next world. The status of Brahmanhood is acquired with the aid of long-continued and austere penances. Having acquired that status, one should never waste one's time in the indulgence of one's senses. Always engaged in penances and self-restraint and desirous of what is for thy good, do thou live and act, devoted to peace and tranquillity. The period of life, of every man, is like a steed. The nature of that steed is unmanifest. The (sixteen) elements (mentioned before) constitute its body. Its nature is exceedingly subtile. Kshanas, and Trutis, and Nimeshas are the hair on its body. The twilights constitute its shoulder joints; The lighted and the dark fortnights are its two eyes of equal power. Months are its other limbs. That steed is running incessantly. If thy eyes be not blind, beholding then that steed incessantly moving forward in its invisible course, do thou set thy heart on righteousness, after hearing what thy preceptors have to say on the question of the next world. They that fall away from righteousness and that conduct themselves recklessly, that always display malice towards others and betake themselves to evil ways are obliged to assume (physical) bodies in the regions of Yama and suffer diverse afflictions, in consequence of their unrighteous acts of diverse kind.[1716] That king who is devoted to righteousness and who protects and chastises the good and the wicked with discrimination, attains to those regions that belong to man of righteous deeds. By doing diverse kinds of good acts, he attains to such felicity as is faultless and as is incapable of being attained to by undergoing even thousands of births.[1717] Furious dogs of frightful mien, crows of iron beaks, flocks of ravens and vultures and other birds, and blood-sucking worms, assail the man who transgresses the commands of his parents and preceptors when he goes to hell after death.[1718] That sinful wretch who, in consequence of his recklessness, transgresses the ten boundaries that have been fixed by the Self-born himself, is obliged to pass his time in great affliction in the wild wastes that occur in the dominions of the king of Pitris.[1719] That man who is tainted with cupidity, who is in love with untruth, who always takes a delight in deception and cheating, and who does injuries to others by practising hypocrisy and deception, has to go to deep hell and suffer great woe and affliction for his acts of wickedness. Such a man is forced to bathe in the broad river called Vaitarani whose waters are scalding, to enter into a forest of trees whose leaves are as sharp as swords, and then to lie down on a bed of battle-axes. He has thus to pass his days in frightful hell in great affliction. Thou beholdest only the regions of Brahman and other deities, but thou art blind to that which is the highest (viz., Emancipation). Alas, thou art ever blind also to that which brings Death on its train (viz., decrepitude and old age).[1720] Go (along the path of Emancipation)! Why tarriest thou? A frightful terror, destructive of thy happiness, is before thee! Do thou take prompt steps for achieving thy Emancipation! Soon after death thou art sure to be taken before Yama at his command. For obtaining felicity in the next world, strive to attain to righteousness through the practice of difficult and austere vows. The puissant Yama, regardless of the sufferings of others, very soon takes the lives of all persons, that is of thyself and thy friends. There is none capable of resisting him. Very soon the wind of Yama will blow before thee (and drive thee to his presence). Very soon wilt thou be taken to that dread presence all alone. Do thou achieve what will be for thy good there. Where now is that Death-wind which will blow before thee very soon? (Art thou mindful of it?) Very soon will the points of the compass, when that moment arrives, begin to whirl before thy eyes. (Art thou mindful of that?) O son, soon (when that moment comes) will thy Vedas disappear from thy sight as thou goest helplessly into that dread presence. Do thou, therefore, set thy heart on Yoga abstraction which is possessed of great excellence.[1721] Do thou seek to attain that one only treasure so that thou mayst not have to grieve at the recollection (after Death) of thy former deeds good and bad all of which are characterised by error.[1722] Decrepitude very soon weakens thy body and robs thee of thy strength and limbs and beauty. Do thou, therefore, seek that one only treasure. Very soon the Destroyer, with Disease for his charioteer, will with a strong hand, for taking thy life, pierce and break thy body. Do thou, therefore practise austere penance. Very soon will, those terrible wolves that reside within thy body, assail thee from every side. Do thou endeavour, therefore, to achieve acts of righteousness.[1723] Very soon wilt thou, all alone, behold a thick darkness, and very soon wilt thou behold golden trees on the top of the hill. Do thou, therefore, hasten to achieve acts of righteousness.[1724] Very soon will those evil companions and foes of thine, (viz., the senses), dressed in the guise of friends, swerve thee from correct vision. Do thou, then, O son, strive to achieve that which is of the highest good. Do thou earn that wealth which has no fear from either kings or thieves, and which one has not to abandon even at Death. Earned by one's own acts, that wealth has never to be divided among co-owners. Each enjoys that wealth (in the other world) which each has earned for himself. O son, give that to others by which they may be able to live in the next world. Do thou also set thyself to the acquisition of that wealth which is indestructible and durable. Do not think that thou shouldst first enjoy all kinds of pleasures and then turn thy heart on Emancipation, for before thou art satiated with enjoyment thou mayst be overtaken by Death. Do thou, in view of this, hasten to do acts of goodness.[1725] Neither mother, nor son, nor relatives, nor dear friends even when solicited with honours, accompany the man that dies. To the regions of Yama one has to go oneself, unaccompanied by any one. Only those deeds, good and bad, that one did before death accompany the man that goes to the other world. The gold and gems that one has earned by good and bad means do not become productive of any benefit to one when one's body meets with dissolution. Of men that have gone to the other world, there is no witness, better than the soul, of all act done or undone in life. That when the acting-Chaitanya (Jiva-soul) enters into the witness-Chaitanya the destruction of the body takes place, is seen by Yoga-intelligence when Yogins enter the firmament of their hearts.[1726] Even here, the god of Fire, the Sun and the Wind,–these three reside in the body. These, beholding as they do all the practices of one's life become one's witnesses. Days and Nights,–the former characterised by the virtue of displaying all things and the latter characterised by the virtue of concealing all things,–are running incessantly and touching all things (and thereby lessening their allotted periods of existence). Do thou, therefore, be observant of the duties of thy own order.[1727] The road in the other world (that leads to the regions of Yama), is infested by many foes (in the form of iron-beaked birds and wolves) and by many repulsive and terrible insects and worms. Do thou take care of thy own acts, for only acts will accompany you along that road. These one has not to share one's acts with others, but every one enjoys or endures the fruits of those acts which every one has himself performed. As Apsaras and great Rishis attain to fruits of great felicity, after the same manner, men of righteous deeds, as the fruits of their respective righteous acts, obtain in the other world cars of transcendent brightness that move everywhere at the will of the riders. Men of stainless deeds and cleansed souls and pure birth obtain in the next world fruits that correspond with their own righteous acts in this life. By walking along the high road constituted by the duties of domesticity, men acquire happy ends by attaining to the region of Prajapati or Vrihaspati or of him of a hundred sacrifices. I can give thee thousands and thousands of instructions. Know, however, that the puissant cleanser (viz., Righteousness), keeps all foolish persons in the Dark.[1728] Thou hast passed four and twenty years. Thou art now full five and twenty years of age. Thy years are passing away. Do thou beg in to lay thy store of righteousness. The Destroyer that dwells within error and heedlessness will very soon deprive thy senses of their respective powers. Do thou before that consummation is brought about, hasten to observe thy duties, relying on thy body alone.[1729] When it is thy duty to go along that road in which thyself only shalt be in front and thyself only in the rear, what need then hast thou with either thy body or thy spouse and children?[1730] When men have to go individually and without companions to the region of Yama, it is plain that in view of such a situation of terror, thou shouldst seek to acquire that one only treasure (viz., Righteousness or Yogasamadhi). The puissant Yama, regardless of the afflictions of others, snatches, away the friends and relatives of one's race by the very roots. There is no one that can resist him. Do thou, therefore, seek to acquire a stock of righteousness I impart to thee these lessons, O son, that are all agreeable with the scriptures I follow. Do thou observe them by acting according to their import. He who supports his body by following the duties laid down for his own order, and who makes gifts for earning whatever fruits may attach to such acts, becomes freed from the consequences that are born of ignorance and error.[1731] The knowledge which a man of righteous deeds acquires from Vedic declarations leads to omniscience. That omniscience is identical with the science of the highest object of human acquisition (viz., Emancipation). Instruction, imparted to the grateful, became beneficial (in consequence of their leading to the attainment of that highest object of human acquisition).[1732] The pleasure that one takes in living amidst the habitations of men is truly a fast-binding cord. Breaking that cord, men of righteous deeds repair to regions of great felicity. Wicked men, however, fail to break that bond. What use hast thou of wealth, O son, or with relatives, or with children, since thou hast to die: Do thou employ thyself in seeking for thy soul which is hidden in a cave. Where have all thy grandsires gone? Do that today which thou wouldst keep for tomorrow. Do that in the forenoon which thou wouldst keep for the afternoon. Death does not wait for any one, to see whether one has or has not accomplished one's task. Following the body after one's death (to the crematorium), one's relatives and kinsmen and friends come back, throwing it on the funeral pyre. Without a scruple do thou avoid those men that are sceptics, that are destitute of compassion, and that are devoted to wicked ways, and do thou endeavour to seek, without listlessness or apathy, that which is for thy highest good. When, therefore, the world is thus afflicted by Death, do thou, with thy whole heart, achieve righteousness, aided all the while by unswerving patience. That man who is well conversant with the means of attaining to Emancipation and who duly discharges the duties of his order, certainly attains to great felicity in the other world. For thee that dost not recognise death in the attainment of a different body and that dost not deviate from the path trod by the righteous, there is no destruction. He that increases the stock of righteousness is truly wise. He, on the other hand, that falls away from righteousness is said to be a fool. One that is engaged in the accomplishment of good deeds attains to heaven and other rewards as the fruits of those deeds; but he that is devoted to wicked deeds has to sink in hell. Having acquired the status of humanity, so difficult of acquisition, that is the stepping-stone to heaven, one should fix one's soul on Brahma so that one may not fall away once more. That man whose understanding, directed to the path of heaven, does not deviate therefrom, is regarded by the wise as truly a man of righteousness and when he dies his friends should indulge in grief. That man whose understanding is not restless and which is directed to Brahma and who has attained to heaven, becomes freed from a great terror (viz., hell). They that are born in retreats of ascetics and that die there, do not earn much merit by abstaining all their life from enjoyments and the indulgence of desire. He, however, who though possessed of objects of enjoyment casts them off and engages himself in the practice of penances, succeeds in acquiring everything. The fruits of the penances of such a man are, I think, much higher. Mothers and sires and sons and spouses, by hundreds and thousands, every one had and will have in this world. Who, however, were they and whose are we? I am quite alone. I have no one whom I may call mine. Nor do I belong to any one else. I do not see that person whose I am, nor do I see him whom I may call mine. They have nothing to do with thee. Thou hest nothing to do with them.[1733] All creatures take birth agreeably to their acts of past lives. Thou also shalt have to go hence (for taking birth in a new order) determined by thy own acts. In this world it is seen that the friends and followers of only those that are rich behave towards the rich with devotion. The friends and followers of those, however, that are poor fall away during even the life-time of the poor. Man commits numerous evil acts for the sake of his wife (and children). From those evil acts he derives much distress both here and hereafter. The wise man beholds the world of life devastated by the acts performed by every living being. Do thou, therefore, O son, act according to all the instructions I have given thee! The man possessed of true vision, beholding this world to be only a field of action, should, from desire of felicity in the next world, do acts that are good. Time, exerting his irresistible strength, cooks all creatures (in his own cauldron), with the aid of his ladle constituted by months and seasons, the sun for his fire, and days and nights for his fuel, days and nights, that is that are the witnesses of the fruits of every act done by every creature. For what purpose is that wealth which is not given away and which is not enjoyed? For what purpose is that strength which is not employed in resisting or subjugating one's foes? For what purpose is that knowledge of the scriptures which does not impel one to deeds of righteousness? And for what purpose is that soul which does not subjugate the senses and abstain from evil acts? “Bhishma continued, 'Having heard these beneficial words spoken by the Island-born (Vyasa), Suka, leaving his sire, proceeded to seek a preceptor that could teach him the religion of Emancipation.'”[1734]


“Yudhishthira said, 'If there is any efficacy in gifts, in sacrifices, in penances well-performed, and in dutiful services rendered to preceptors and other reverend seniors, do thou, O grandsire, speak of the same to me. “Bhishma said, 'An understanding associated with evil causes the mind to fall into sin. In this state one stains one's acts, and then falls into great distress. Those that are of sinful acts have to take birth as persons of very indigent circumstances. From famine to famine, from pain to pain, from fear to fear, is their change. They are more dead than those that are dead. Possessed of affluence, from joy to joy, from heaven to heaven, from happiness to happiness, proceed they that are possessed of faith, that are self-restrained, and that are devoted to righteous deeds. They that are unbelievers have to pass, with groping hands, through regions infested by beasts of prey and elephants and pathless tracts teeming with snakes and robbers and other causes of fear. What more need be said of these? They, on the other hand, that are endued with reverence for gods and guests, that are liberal, that have proper regard for persons that are good, and that make gifts in sacrifices, have for theirs the path (of felicity) that belongs to men of cleansed and subdued souls. Those that are not righteous should not be counted among men even as grains without kernel are not counted among grain and as cockroaches are not counted among birds. The acts that one does, follow one even when one runs fast. Whatever acts one does, lie down with the doer who lays himself down. Indeed, the sins one does, sit when the doer sits, and run when he runs. The sins act when the doer acts, and, in fact follow the doer like his shadow. Whatever the acts one does by whatever means and under whatever circumstances, are sure to be enjoyed and endured (in respect of their fruits) by the doer in his next life. From every side Time is always dragging all creatures, duly observing the rule in respect of the distance to which they are thrown and which is commensurate with their acts.[1735] As flowers and fruits, without being urged, never suffer their proper time to pass away without making their appearance, even so the acts one has done in past life make their appearance at the proper time. Honour and dishonour, gain and loss, destruction and growth, are seen to set in. No one can resist them (when they come). One of them is enduring, for disappear it must after appearance. The sorrows one suffers is the result of one's acts. The happiness one enjoys flows from one's acts. From the time when one lies within the mother's womb one begins to enjoy and endure one's acts of a past life. Whatever acts good and bad one does in childhood, youth, or old age, one enjoys and endures their consequences in one's next life in similar ages. As the calf recognises its dam even when the latter may stand among thousands of her species, after the same manner the acts done by one in one's past life come to one n one's next life (without any mistake) although one may live among thousands of one's species. As a piece of dirty cloth is whitened by being washed in water, after the same manner, the righteous, cleansed by continuous exposure unto the fire of fasts and penances, at last attain to unending happiness. O thou of high intelligence, the desires and purposes of those whose sins have been washed off by long-continued penances well-performed, become crowned with fruition. The track of the righteous cannot be discerned even as that of birds in the, sky or that of fishes in the water. There is no need of speaking ill of others, nor of reciting the instances in which others have tripped. On the other hand, one should always do what is delightful, agreeable, an beneficial to one's own self.'”[1736]


“Yudhishthira said, 'Tell me, O grandsire, how the high-souled Suka of austere penances took birth as the son of Vyasa, and how did he succeed in attaining to the highest success? Upon what woman did Vyasa, endued with wealth of asceticism, beget that son of his? We do not know who was Suka's mother, nor do we know anything of the birth of that high-souled ascetic. How was it that, when he was a mere boy, his mind became directed to the knowledge of the subtile (Brahma)? Indeed, in this world no second person can be seen in whom such predilections could be marked at so early an age. I desire to hear all this in detail, O thou of great intelligence. I am never satiated with hearing thy excellent and nectar-like words. Tell me, O grandsire in their proper order, of the greatness, and the knowledge of Suka and of his union with the (Supreme) Soul!”

“Bhishma continued, 'The Rishis did not make merit depend upon years or decrepitude or wealth or friends. They said that he amongst them was great that studied the Vedas. All this that thou enquirest bout has penances for its root. That penance, again, O son of Pandu, rises from the subjugation of the senses. Without doubt, one incurs fault by giving one's senses the reins. It is only by restraining them that one succeeds in earning success. The merit that attaches to a thousand Horse-sacrifices or a hundred Vajapeyas cannot come up to even a sixteenth portion of the merit that arises from Yoga, I shall, on the present occasion, recite to thee the circumstances of Suka's birth, the fruits he won f his penances, and the foremost end he achieved (by his acts), topics that are incapable of being understood by persons of uncleansed soul. Once on a time on the summit of Meru adorned with karnikara flowers, Mahadeva sported, accompanied by the terrible spirits that were his associates. The daughter of the king of mountains, viz., the goddess Parvati, was also there. There at the close vicinity of that summit, the Island-born (Vyasa) underwent extraordinary austerities. O best of the Kurus, devoted to the practices of Yoga, the great ascetic withdrawing himself by Yoga into his own Soul, and engaged in Dharana, practised many austerities for the sake of (obtaining) a son. The prayer he addressed to the great God was,–O puissant one, let me have a son that will have he puissance of Fire and Earth and Water and Wind and Space. Engaged in the austerest of penances, the Island-born Rishi begged of that at God who is incapable of being approached by persons of uncleansed souls, (not by words but) by his Yoga-resolution. The puissant Vyasa remained there for a hundred years, subsisting on air alone, engaged in adoring Mahadeva of multifarious form, the lord of Uma. Thither all the regenerate Rishis and royal sages and the Regents of the world and the Sadhyas along with the Vasus, and the Adityas, the Rudras, and Surya and Chandramas, and the Maruts, and the Oceans, and the Rivers and the Aswins, the Deities, the Gandharvas, and Narada and Parvata and the Gandharva Viswavasu, and the Siddhas, and the Apsaras. There Mahadeva, called also by the name of Rudra, sat, decked with an excellent garland of Karnikara flowers, and blazed with effulgence like the Moon with his rays. In those delightful and celestial woods populous with deities and heavenly Rishis, the great Rishi remained, engaged in high Yoga-contemplation, from desire of obtaining a son. His strength suffered no diminution, nor did he feel any pain. At this the three worlds were much amazed. While the Rishi, possessed of immeasurable energy, sat in Yoga, his matted locks, in con-sequence of his energy, were seen to blaze like flames of fire. The illustrious Markandeya it was from whom I heard of this. He used always to recite to me the acts of the deities. It is for this that the matted locks of the high-souled and (Island-born) Krishna, thus emblazed by his energy on that occasion, seem to this day to be endued with the complexion of fire. Gratified with such penances and such devotion, O Bharata, of the Rishi, the great God resolved (to grant him his wish). The Three-eyed deity, smiling with pleasure, addressed him and said,–O Island-born one, thou shalt get a son like to what thou wishest! Possessed of greatness, he shall be as pure as Fire, as Wind, as Earth, as Water, and as Space! He shall be possessed of the consciousness of his being Brahma's self; his understanding and soul shall be devoted to Brahma, and he shall completely depend upon Brahma so as to be identifiable with it!'”


“Bhishma said. 'The son of Satyavati having obtained this high boon from the great God, was one day employed in rubbing his sticks for making a fire. While thus engaged, the illustrious Rishi, O king, beheld the Apsara Ghritachi, who, in consequence of her energy, was then possessed of great beauty. Beholding the Apsara in those woods, the illustrious Rishi Vyasa, O Yudhishthira, became suddenly smitten with desire. The Apsara (Ghritachi), seeing the Rishi's heart troubled by desire, transformed herself into a she-parrot and came to that spot. Although he beheld the Apsara disguised in another form, the desire that had arisen in the Rishi's heart (without disappearing) spread itself over every part of his body. Summoning all his patience, the ascetic endeavoured to suppress that desire; with all his effort, however, Vyasa did not succeed in controlling his agitated mind. In consequence of the inevitability of what was to happen, the Rishi's heart was attracted by Ghritachi's fair form. He set himself more earnestly to the task of making a fire for suppressing his emotion, but in spite of all his efforts his vital seed came out. That best of regenerate ones, however, O king, continued to rub his stick without feeling any scruples for what had happened. From the seed that fell, was born a son unto him, called Suka. In consequence of his circumstance attending his birth, he came to be called by name of Suka. Indeed, it was thus that great ascetic that foremost of Rishis and highest of Yogins, took birth from the two sticks (his father had for making fire). As in a sacrifice a blazing fire shed its effulgence all around when libations of clarified butter are poured upon it, after the same manner did Suka take his birth, blazing with effulgence in consequence of his own energy. Assuming the excellent form and complexion that were his sire, Suka, O son of Kuru, of cleansed Soul, shone like a smokeless fire. The foremost of rivers, viz., Ganga. O king, coming to the breast of Meru, in her own embodied form, bathed Suka (after his birth) with her waters. There fell from the welkin, O son of Kuru, an ascetic's stick and a dark deer-skin for the use, O monarch, of the high-souled Suka. The Gandharvas sang repeatedly and the diverse tribes of Apsaras danced; and celestial kettledrums of loud sound began to beat. The Gandharva Viswavasu, and Tumvuru and Varada, and those other Gandharvas called by the names of Haha, and Huhu, eulogised the birth of Suka. There the regents of the world with Sakra at their head came, as also the deities and the celestial and the regenerate Rishis. The Wind-god poured showers of celestial flowers upon the spot. The entire universe, mobile, and immobile, became, filled with joy. The high-souled Mahadeva of great effulgence, accompanied by the Goddess, and moved by affection, came there and soon after the birth of the Muni's son invested him with the sacred-thread. Sakra, the chief of the gods, gave him, from affection, a celestial Kamandalu of excellent form, and some celestial robes. Swans and Satapatras and cranes by thousands, and many parrots and Chasas, O Bharata, wheeled over his head. Endued with great splendour and intelligence, Suka, having obtained his birth from the two sticks, continued to live there, engaged the while in the attentive observance of many vows and fasts. As soon as Suka was born, the Vedas with all their mysteries and all their abstracts, came for dwelling in him, O king, even as they dwell in his sire. For all that, Suka selected Vrihaspati, who was conversant with all the Vedas together with their branches and commentaries, for his preceptor, remembering the universal practice.[1737] Having studied all the Vedas together with all their mysteries and abstracts, as also all the histories and the science of government, O puissant monarch, the great ascetic returned home, after giving his preceptor the tuition fee. Adopting the vow of a Brahmacharin, he then commenced to practise the austerest penances concentrating all his attention thereon. In even his childhood, he became an object of respect with the gods and Rishis for his knowledge and penances. The mind of the great ascetic, O king, took no pleasure in the three modes of life with the domestic among them, keeping in view, as he did, the religion of Emancipation.'”


“Bhishma said, 'Thinking of Emancipation, Suka approached his sire and possessed as he was of humility and desirous of achieving his highest good, he saluted his great preceptor and said,–Thou art well versed in the religion of Emancipation. Do thou O illustrious one, discourse to me upon it, so that supreme tranquillity of mind, O puissant one, may be mine!–Hearing these words of his son, the great Rishi said unto him,–Do thou study, O son, the religion of Emancipation and all the diverse duties of life!–At the command of his sire, Suka, that foremost of all righteous men, mastered all the treatises on Yoga, O Bharata. as also the science promulgated by Kapila. When Vyasa behind his son to be possessed of the resplendence of the Vedas, endued with the energy of Brahma, and fully conversant with the religion of Emancipation, he addressed him, saying,–Go thou to Janaka the ruler of Mithila. The king of Mithila will tell thee everything for thy Emancipation.–Bearing the command of his sire, O king, Suka proceeded to Mithila for enquiring of its king about the truth of duties and the Refuge of Emancipation. Before he set out, his sire further told him,–Do thou go thither by that path which ordinary human beings take. Do not have recourse to thy Yoga-puissance for proceeding through the skies–At this Suka was not at all surprised (for he was humble by nature). He was further told that he should proceed thither with simplicity and not from desire of pleasure.–Along your way do not seek for friends and spouses, since friends and spouses are causes of attachment to the world. Although the ruler of Mithila is one in whose sacrifices we officiate, still thou shouldst not indulge in any feeling of superiority while living with him. Thou shouldst live under his direction and in obedience to him. Even he will dispel all thy doubts.[1738] That king is well versed in all duties and well acquainted with the scriptures on Emancipation. He is one for whom I officiate in sacrifices. Thou shouldst, without any scruple, do what he bids.–Thus instructed, the righteous-souled Suka proceeded to Mithila on foot although he was able to traverse through the skies over the whole Earth with her seas. Crossing many hills and mountains, many rivers, many waters and lakes, and many woods and forests abounding with beasts of prey and other animals, crossing, the two Varshas of Meru and Hari successively and next the Varsha of Himavat, he came at last to the Varsha known by the name of Bharata. Having seen many countries inhabited by Chins and Huns, the great ascetic at last reached Aryavarta. In obedience to the commands of his sire and bearing them constantly in his mind, he gradually passed along his way on the Earth like a bird passing through the air. Passing through many delightful towns and populous cities, he saw diverse kinds of wealth without waiting to observe them. On his way he passed through many delightful gardens and planes and many sacred waters. Before much time had passed he reached the country of the Videhas that was protected by the virtuous and high-souled Janaka. There he beheld many populous villages, and many kinds of food and drink and viands and habitations of cowherds swelling with men and many herds of cattle. He beheld many fields abounding with paddy and barley and other grain, and many lakes and waters inhabited by swans and cranes and adorned with beautiful lotuses. Passing through the Videha country teeming with well-to-do people, he arrived at the delightful gardens of Mithila rich with many species of trees. Abounding with elephants and horses and cars, and peopled by men and women, he passed through them without waiting to observe any of the things that were presented to his eye. Bearing that burthen in his mind and ceaselessly dwelling upon it (viz., the desire of mastering the religion of Emancipation), Suka of cheerful soul and taking delight in internal survey only, reached Mithila at last. Arrived at the gate, he sent word through the keepers. Endued with tranquillity of mind, devoted to contemplation and Yoga, he entered the city, having obtained permission. Proceeding along the principal street abounding with well-to-do men, he reached the king's palace and entered it without any scruples. The porters forbade him with rough words. Thereat, Suka, without any anger, stopped and waited. Neither the sun nor the long distance he had walked had fatigued him in the least. Neither hunger, nor thirst, nor the exertion he had made, had weakened him. The heat of the Sun had not scorched or pained or distressed him in any degree. Among those porters there was one who felt compassion for him, beholding him staying there like the midday Sun in his effulgence. Worshipping him in due form and saluting him properly, with joined hands he led him to the first chamber of the palace. Seated there, Suka, O son, began to think of Emancipation only. Possessed of equable splendour he looked with an equal eye upon a shaded spot and one exposed to the Sun's rays. Very soon after, the king's minister, coming to that place with joined hands, led him to the second chamber of the palace. That chamber led to a spacious garden which formed a portion of the inner apartments of the palace. It looked like a second Chaitraratha. Beautiful pieces of water occurred here and there at regular intervals. Delightful trees, all of which were in their flowering season, stood in that garden. Bevies of damsels, of transcendent beauty, were in attendance. The minister led Suka from the second chamber to that delightful spot. Ordering those damsels to give the ascetic a seat, the minister left him there. Those well-dressed damsels were of beautiful features, possessed of excellent hips, young in years, clad in red robes of fine texture, and decked with many ornaments of burnished gold. They were well-skilled in agreeable conversation and maddening revelry, and thorough mistresses of the arts of dance and singing. Always opening their lips with smiles, they were equal to the very Apsaras in beauty. Well-skilled in all the acts of dalliance, competent to read the thoughts of men upon whom they wait, possessed of every accomplishment, fifty damsels, of a very superior order and of easy virtue, surrounded the ascetic. Presenting him with water for washing his feet, and worshipping him respectfully with the offer of the usual articles, they gratified him with excellent viands agreeable to the season. After he had eaten, those damsels then, one after another, singly led him through the grounds, showing him every object of interest, O Bharata. Sporting and laughing and singing, those damsels, conversant with the thoughts of all men, entertained that auspicious ascetic of noble soul. The pure-souled ascetic born in the fire-sticks, observant without scruples of any kind of his duties, having all his senses under complete control, and a thorough master of his wrath, was neither pleased nor angered at all this. Then those foremost of beautiful women gave him an excellent seat. Washing his feet and other limbs, Suka said his evening prayers, sat on that excellent seat, and began to think of the object for which he had come there. In the first part of the night, he devoted himself to Yoga. The puissant ascetic, passed the middle portion of the night in sleep. Very soon waking up from his slumber, he went through the necessary rites of cleansing his body, and though surrounded by those beautiful women, he once again devoted himself to Yoga. It was in this way, O Bharata, that the son of the Island-born Krishna passed the latter part of that day and the whole of that night in the palace of king Janaka.'”


“Bhishma said, The next morning, king Janaka, O Bharata, accompanied by his minister and the whole household, came to Suka, placing his priest in the van. Bringing with him costly seats and diverse kinds of jewels and gems, and bearing the ingredients of the Arghya on his own head, the monarch approached the son of his reverend preceptor. The king, taking with his own hands, from the hands of his priest, that seat adorned with many gems, overlaid with an excellent sheet, beautiful in all its parts, and exceedingly costly, presented it with great reverence to his preceptor's son Suka. After the son of (the Island-born) Krishna had taken his seat on it, the king worshipped him according to prescribed rites. At first offering him water to wash his feet, he then presented him the Arghya and kine. The ascetic accepted that worship offered with due rites and mantras. That foremost of regenerate persons, having thus accepted the worship offered by the king, and taking the kine also that were presented to him, then saluted the monarch. Possessed of great energy, he next enquired after the king's welfare and prosperity. Indeed, O king, Suka embraced in his enquiry the welfare of the monarch's followers and officers also. Receiving Suka's permission, Janaka sat down with all his followers. Endued with a high soul and possessed of high birth, the monarch, with joined hands, sat down on the bare ground and enquired after the welfare and unabated prosperity of Vyasa's son. The monarch then asked his guest the object of his visit.

“Suka said, Blessed be thou, my sire said unto me that his Yajamana, the ruler of the Videhas, known all over the world by the name of Janaka, is well-versed in the religion of Emancipation. He commanded me to come to him without delay, if I had any doubts requiring solution in the matter of the religion of either Pravritti or Nivritti. He gave me to understand that the king of Mithila would dispel all my doubts. I have, therefore, come hither, at the command of my sire, for the purpose of taking lessons from thee. It behoveth thee, O foremost of all righteous persons, to instruct me! What are the duties of a Brahmana, and what is the essence of those duties that have Emancipation for their object. How also is Emancipation to be obtained? Is it obtainable by the aid of knowledge or by that of penances?

'Janaka said, Hear what the duties are of a Brahmana from the time of his birth. After his investiture, O son, with the sacred-thread, he should devote his attention to the study of the Vedas. By practising penances and dutifully serving his preceptor and observing the duties of Brahmacharyya, O puissant one, he should pay off the debt he owes to the deities and the Pitris, and cast off all malice. Having studied the Vedas with close attention and subjugated his senses, and having given his preceptor the tuition fee, he should, with the permission of his preceptor, return home. Returning home, he should betake himself to the domestic mode of life and weeding a spouse confine himself to her, and live freeing himself from every kind of malice, and having established his domestic fire. Living in the domestic mode, he should procreate sons and grandsons. After that, he should retire to the forest, and continue to worship the same fires and entertain guests with cordial hospitality. Living righteously in the forest, he should at last establish his fire in his soul, and freed from all pairs of opposites, and casting off all attachments from the soul, he should pass his days in the mode called Sannyasa which is otherwise called the mode of Brahma.

”'Suka said, If one succeeds in attaining to an understanding cleansed by study of the scriptures and to true conceptions of all things, and if the heart succeeds in freeing itself permanently from the effects of all pairs of opposites, is it still necessary for such a person to adopt, one after another, the three modes of life called Brahmacharyya, Garhastya, and Vanaprastha? This is what I ask thee. It behoveth thee to tell me. Indeed, O ruler of men, do tell me this according to the true import of the Vedas!

”'Janaka said, Without the aid of an understanding cleansed by study of the scriptures and without that true conception of all things which is known by the name of Vijnana, the attainment of Emancipation is impossible. That cleansed understanding, again, it is said, is unattainable without one's connection with a preceptor. The preceptor is the helmsman, and knowledge is the boat (aided by whom and which one succeeds in crossing the ocean of the world). After having acquired that boat, one becomes crowned with success. Indeed, having crossed the' ocean, one may abandon both. For preventing the destruction of all the worlds and for preventing the destruction of acts (upon which the world depend), the duties appertaining to the four modes of life were practised by the wise of old. By abandoning acts, good and bad, agreeably to this order of acts one succeeds, in course of many birth, in attaining to Emancipation.[1739] That man who, through penances performed in course of many births, succeeds in obtaining a cleansed mind and understanding and soul, certainly becomes able to attain to Emancipation (in a new birth) in even the very first mode viz., Brahmacharyya.[1740] When, having attained to a cleansed understanding, Emancipation becomes his and in consequence thereof he becomes possessed of knowledge in respect of all visible things, what desirable object is there to attain by observing the three other modes of life?[1741] One should always cast off faults born of the attributes of Rajas and Tamas. Adhering to the path of Sattwa, one should know Self by Self.[1742] Beholding one's self in all creatures and all creatures in one's self, one should live (without being attached to anything) like aquatic animals living in water without being drenched by that element. He who succeeds in transcending all pairs of attributes and resisting their influence, succeeds in casting off all attachments, and attains to infinite felicity in the next world, going thither like a bird soaring into the sky from below. In this connection, there is a saying sung of old by king Yayati and borne in remembrance, O sire, by all persons conversant with the scriptures bearing upon Emancipation. The effulgent ray (i.e., the Supreme Soul) exists in one's Soul and not anywhere else. It exists equally in all creatures. One can see it oneself if one's heart be devoted to Yoga. When a person lives in such a way that another is not inspired with fear at his sight, and when a person is not himself inspired with fear at the sight of others, when a person ceases to cherish desire and hate, he is then said to attain to Brahma. When a person ceases to entertain a sinful attitude towards all creatures in thought, word, and deed, he is then said to attain to Brahma.[1743] By restraining the mind and the soul, by casting off malice that stupefies the mind, and by throwing off desire and stupefaction, one is said to attain to Brahma. When a person assumes an equality of attitude in respect of all objects of hearing and vision (and the operations of the other senses) as also in respect of all living creatures, and transcends all pairs of opposites, he is then said to attain to Brahma. When person casts an equal eye upon praise and dispraise, gold and iron, happiness and misery, heat and cold, good and evil, the agreeable and the disagreeable, life and death, he is then said to attain to Brahma. One observing the duties of the mendicant orders should restrain one's senses and the mind even like a tortoise withdrawing its out-stretched limbs.[1744] As a house enveloped in darkness is capable of being seen with the aid of a lighted lamp, after the same manner can the soul be seen with the aid of the lamp of the understanding. O foremost of intelligent persons, I see that all this knowledge that I am communicating to thee dwells in thee. Whatever else should be known by one desirous of learning the religion of Emancipation is already known to thee. O regenerate Rishi, I am convinced that through the grace of thy preceptor and through the instructions thou hast received, thou hast already transcended all objects of the senses.[1745] O great ascetic, through the grace of that sire of thine, I have attained to omniscience, and hence I have succeeded in knowing thee. Thy knowledge is much greater than what thou thinkest thou hast. Thy perceptions also that result from intuition are much greater than what thou thinkest thou hast. Thy puissance also is much greater than thou art conscious of. Whether in consequence of thy tender age, or of the doubts thou hast not been able to dispel, or of the fear that is due to the unattainment of Emancipation, thou art not conscious of that knowledge due to intuition although it has arisen in thy mind. After one's doubts have been dispelled by persons like us, one succeeds in opening the knots of one's heart and then, by a righteous exertion one attains to and becomes conscious of that knowledge. As regards thyself, thou art one that hast already acquired knowledge. Thy intelligence is steady and tranquil. Thou art free from covetousness. For all that, O Brahmana, one never succeeds in attaining to Brahma, which is the highest object of acquisition, without exertion. Thou seest no distinction between happiness and misery. Thou art not covetous. Thou hast no longing for dancing and song. Thou hast no attachments. Thou hast no attachment to friends. Thou hast no fear in things that inspire fear. O blessed one, I see that thou castest an equal eye upon a lump of gold and a clod of earth. Myself and other persons possessed of wisdom, behold thee established in the highest and indestructible path of tranquillity. Thou stayest, O Brahmana, in those duties which obtain for the Brahmana that fruit which should be his and which is identical with the essence of the object represented by Emancipation. What else hast thou to ask me?'”


“Bhishma said, 'Having heard these words of king Janaka, Suka of cleansed soul and settled conclusions began to stay in his Soul by his Soul, having of course seen Self by Self.[1746] His object being accomplished, he became happy and tranquil, and without putting further questions to Janaka, he proceeded northwards to the mountains of Himavat with the speed of the wind and like the wind.[1747] These mountains abounded with diverse tribes of Apsaras and echoed with many lofty sounds. Teeming with thousands of Kinnaras and Bhringarajas[1748] it was adorned, besides, with many Madgus and Khanjaritas and many Jivajivakas of variegated hue. And there were many peacocks also of gorgeous colours, uttering their shrill but melodious cries. Many bevies of swans also, and many flights of gladdened Kokilas too, adorned the place. The prince of birds, viz., Garuda, dwelt on that summit constantly. The four Regents of the world, the deities, and diverse classes of Rishis, used always to come there from the desire of doing good to the world. It was there that the high-souled Vishnu had undergone the severest austerities for the object of obtaining a son. It was there that the celestial generalissimo named Kumara, in his younger days, disregarding the three worlds with all the celestial denizens, threw down his dart, piercing the Earth therewith. Throwing down his dart, Skanda addressing the universe, said,–If there be any person that is superior to me in might, or that holds Brahmanas to be dearer, or that can compare with me in devotion to the Brahmanas and the Vedas, or that is possessed of energy like unto me, let him draw up this dart or at least shake it!–Hearing this challenge, the three worlds become filled with anxiety, and all creatures asked one another, saying,–Who will raise this dart?–Vishnu beheld all the deities and Asuras and Rakshasas to be troubled in their senses and mind. He reflected upon what should be the best to be done under the circumstances. Without being able to bear that challenge in respect of the hurling of the dart, he cast his eyes on Skanda, the son of the Fire-god. The pure-souled Vishnu caught hold of the blazing dart, with his left hand, and began to shake it. When the dart was being thus shaken by Vishnu possessed of great might, the whole Earth with her mountains, forests, and seas, shook with the dart. Although Vishnu was fully competent to raise the dart, still he contented himself with only shaking it. In this, the puissant lord only kept the honour of Skanda intact. Having shaken it himself, the divine Vishnu, addressing Prahlada, said,–Behold the might of Kumara! None else in the universe can raise this dart! Unable to bear this, Prahlada resolved to raise the dart. He seized it, but was unable to shake it at all, Uttering a loud cry, he fell down on the hill-top in a swoon. Indeed, the son of Hiranya-kasipu fell down on the Earth. Repairing towards the northern side of those grand mountains, Mahadeva, having the bull for his sign, had undergone the austerest penances. The asylum where Mahadeva had undergone those austerities is encompassed on all sides with a blazing fire. Unapproachable by persons of uncleansed souls, that mountain is known by the name of Aditya. There is a fiery girdle all around it, of the width of ten Yojanas, and it is incapable of being approached by Yakshas and Rakshasas and Danavas. The illustrious god of Fire, possessed of mighty energy, dwells there in person employed in removing all impediments from the side of Mahadeva of great wisdom who remained there for a thousand celestial years, all the while standing on one foot. Dwelling on the side of that foremost of mountains, Mahadeva of high vows (by his penances) scorched the deities greatly.[1749] At the foot of those mountains, in a retired spot, Parasara's son of great ascetic merit, viz., Vyasa, taught the Vedas unto his disciples. Those disciples were the highly blessed Sumantra, Vaisampayana, Jaimini of great wisdom, and Paila of great ascetic merit. Suka proceeded to that delightful asylum where his sire, the great ascetic Vyasa, was dwelling, surrounded by his disciples. Seated in his asylum, Vyasa beheld his son approach like a blazing fire of scattered flames, or resembling the sun himself in effulgence. As Suka approached, he did not seem to touch the trees or the rocks of the mountain. Completely dissociated from all objects of the senses, engaged in Yoga, the high-souled ascetic came, resembling, in speed, a shaft let from a bow. Born on the fire-sticks, Suka, approaching, his sire, touched his feet. With becoming formalities he then accosted the disciples of his sire. With great cheerfulness he then detailed to his father all the particulars of his conversation with king Janaka. Vyasa the son of Parasara, after the arrival of his puissant son, continued to dwell there on the Himavat engaged in teaching his disciples and his son. One day as he was seated, his disciples, all well-skilled in the Vedas, having their senses under control, and endued with tranquil souls, sat themselves around him. All of them had thoroughly mastered the Vedas with their branches. All of them were observant of penances. With joined hands they addressed their preceptor in the following words.

“The disciples said, We have, through thy grace, been endued with great energy. Our fame also has spread. There is one favour that we humbly solicit thee to grant us. Hearing these words of theirs, the regenerate Rishi answered them, saying, “Ye sons, tell me what that boon is which ye wish I should grant you! Hearing this answer of their preceptor, the disciples became filled with joy. Once more bowing their heads low unto their preceptor and joining their hands, all of them in one voice said, O king, these excellent words: If our preceptor has been pleased with us, then, O best of sages, we are sure to be crowned with success! We all solicit thee, O great Rishi, to grant us a boon. Be thou inclined to be graceful to us. Let no sixth disciple (besides us five) succeed in attaining to fame! We are four. Our preceptor's son forms the fifth. Let the Vedas shine in only as five! Even this is the boon that we solicit;–Hearing these words of his disciples, Vyasa, the son of Parasara, possessed of great intelligence, well-conversant with the meaning of the Vedas, endued with a righteous soul, and always engaged in thinking of objects that confer benefits on a person in the world hereafter, said unto his disciples these righteous words fraught with great benefit: The Vedas should always be given unto him who is a Brahmana, or unto him who is desirous of listening to Vedic instructions, by him who eagerly wishes to attain a residence in the region of Brahman! Do ye multiply, Let the Vedas spread (through your exertions). The Vedas should never be imparted unto one that has not formally become a disciple. Nor should they be given unto one who is not observant of good vows. Nor should they be given for dwelling in one that is of uncleansed soul. These should be known as the proper qualifications of persons that can be accepted as disciples (for the communication of Vedic knowledge). No science should be imparted unto one without a proper examination of one's character, as pure gold is tested by heat, cutting and rubbing, after the same manner disciples should be tested by their birth and accomplishments. Ye should never set your disciples to tasks to which they should not be set, or to tasks that are fraught with danger. One's knowledge is always commensurate with one's understanding and diligence in study. Let all disciples conquer all difficulties, and let all of them meet with auspicious success. Ye are competent to lecture on the scriptures unto persons of all the orders. Only ye should, while lecturing, address a Brahmana, placing him in the van. These are the rules in respect of the study of the Vedas. This again is regarded as a high task. The Vedas were created by the Self-born for the purpose of praising the deities therewith. That man who, through stupefaction of intellect, speaks ill of a Brahmana well-conversant with the Vedas, is certain to meet with humiliation in consequence of such evil-speaking. He who disregarding all righteous rules, solicits knowledge, and he who, disregarding the rules of righteousness, communicates knowledge, either of them falls off and instead of that affection which should prevail between preceptor and disciple, such, questioning and such communication are sure to produce distrust and suspicion. I have now told ye everything about the way in which the Vedas should be studied and taught. Ye should act in this way towards your disciples, bearing these instructions in your minds.'”


“Bhishma said, 'Hearing these words of their preceptor, Vyasa's disciples endued with energy, became filled with joy and embraced one another. Addressing one another, they said,–That which has been said by our illustrious preceptor in view of our future good, will live in our remembrance and we shall certainly act according to it.–Having said this unto one another with joyful hearts, the disciples of Vyasa, who were thorough masters of words, once more addressed their preceptor and said,–If it pleases thee, O puissant one, we wish to descend from this mountain to the Earth, O great ascetic, for the purpose of subdividing the Vedas!–Hearing these words of his disciples, the puissant son of Parasara replied unto them in these beneficial words that were fraught, besides, with righteousness and profit,–You may repair to the Earth or to the regions of the celestials, as ye like. You should always be heedful, for the Vedas are such that they are always liable to be misunderstood![1750]–Permitted by their preceptor of truthful speech, the disciples left him after circumambulating him and bowing their heads unto him. Descending upon the Earth they performed the Agnishtoma and other sacrifices; and they began to officiate at the sacrifices of Brahmanas and Kshatriyas and Vaidyas. Happily passing their days in the domestic mode of life, they were treated by the Brahmanas with great respect. Possessed of great fame and prosperity, they were employed in teaching and officiating in sacrifices. After his disciples had gone away, Vyasa remained in his asylum, with only his son in his company. Passing his days in anxious thoughtfulness, the great Rishi, possessed of wisdom, kept silent, sitting in a retired corner of the asylum. At that time Narada of great ascetic merit came to that spot for seeing Vyasa, and addressing him, said these words of melodious sound.

”'Narada said, O regenerate Rishi of Vasishtha's race, why are Vedic sounds silent now? Why art thou sitting silent and alone engaged in meditation like one taken up with an engrossing thought? Alas, shorn of Vedic echoes, this mountain hath lost its beauty, even as the Moon shorn of splendour when assailed by Rahu or enveloped in dust.[1751] Though inhabited by the celestial Rishis, yet shorn of Vedic sounds, the mountain no longer looks beautiful now but resembles a hamlet of Nishadas.[1752] The Rishis, the deities, and the Gandharvas, too, no longer shine as before in consequence of being deprived of Vedic sound!–Hearing these words of Narada, the Island-born Krishna answered, saying,–O great Rishi, O thou art conversant with the declarations of the Vedas, all that thou hast said is agreeable to me and it truly behoves thee to say it unto me! Thou omniscient, thou hast seen everything. Thy curiosity also embraces all things within its sphere. All that has ever occurred in the three worlds is well known to thee. Do thou then, O regenerate Rishi, set thy commands on me. O, tell me what I am to do! Tell me, O regenerate Rishi, what should now be done by me. Separated from my disciples, my mind has become very cheerless now.

'Narada said, The stain of the Vedas is the suspension of their recitation. The stain of the Brahmanas is their non-observance of vows. The Valhika race is the stain of the Earth. Curiosity is the stain of women. Do thou with thy intelligent son recite the Vedas, and do thou with the echoes of Vedic sounds dispel the fears arising from Rakshasas:

“Bhishma continued, 'Hearing these words of Narada, Vyasa, the foremost of all persons conversant with duties and firmly devoted to Vedic recitation, became filled with joy and answered Narada, saying,–So be it–With his son Suka, he set himself to recite the Vedas in a loud sonorous voice, observing all the rules of orthoepy and, as it were, filling the three worlds with that sound. One day as sire and son, who were well-conversant with all duties, were engaged in reciting the Vedas, a violent wind arose that seemed to be impelled by the gales that blow on the bosom of the ocean. Understanding from this circumstance that the hour was suited to sacred recitation. Vyasa immediately bade his son to suspend the recitation. Suka, thus forbidden by his sire, became filled with curiosity. He asked his sire, saying,–O regenerate one, whence is this wind? It behoveth thee to tell me everything about the conduct of the Wind.–Hearing this question of Suka, Vyasa became filled with amazement. He answered Suka, by telling him that an omen which indicated that the recitation of the Vedas should be suspended.–Thou hast obtained spiritual vision. Thy mind too has, of itself, become cleansed of every impurity. Thus hast been freed from the attributes of Passion and Darkness. Thou stayest now in the attributes of Goodness. Thou beholdest now thy Soul with thy Soul even as one beholds one's own shadow in a mirror. Staying thyself on thy own Soul, do thou reflect on the Vedas. The path of the Supreme Soul is called Deva-yana (the path of the gods). The path that is made up of the attribute of Tamas is called Pitri-yana (the path of Pitris). These are the two paths in the world hereafter. By one, people go to heaven. By the other, people go to hell. The winds blow on the Earth's surface and in the welkin. There are seven courses in which they blow. Listen to me as I recount them one after another. The body is furnished with the senses are dominated over by the Sadhyas and many great beings of mighty strength. These gave birth to an invincible son named Samana. From Samana sprang a son called Udana. From Udana sprang Vyana arose Apana, and lastly from Apana sprung the wind called Prana. That invincible scorcher of all foes, viz., Prana, became childless. I shall now recite to thee the different functions of those winds. The wind is the cause of the different functions of all living creatures, and because living creatures are enabled to live by it, therefore is the wind called Prana (or life). That wind which is the first in the above enumeration and which is known by the name of Pravaha (Samana) urges, along the first course, masses of clouds born of smoke and heat. Coursing through the welkin, and coming into contact with the water contained in the clouds, that wind displays itself in effulgence among the darts of lightning.[1753] The second wind called Avaha blows with a loud noise. It is this wind that causes Soma and the other luminaries to rise and appear. Within the body (which is a microcosm of the universe) that wind is called Udana by the wise. That wind which sucks up water from the four oceans, and having sucked it up imparts it to the clouds in the welkin, and which, having imparted it to the clouds present them to the deity of rain, is third in the enumeration and known by the name of Udvaha. That wind which supports the clouds and divided them into diverse portions, which melts them for pouring rain and once more solidifies them, which is perceived as the sound of the roaring clouds, which exists for the preservation of the world by itself assuming the form of the clouds, which bears the cars of all celestial beings along the sky, is known by the name of Samvaha. The fourth in the enumeration, it is endued with great strength so that it is capable of ending the very mountains. The fifth wind is fraught with great force and speed. It is dry and uproots and breaks down all trees. Existing with it, the clouds come to be called by the name of Valahaka. That wind causes calamitous phenomena of many kinds, and produces roaring sounds in the firmament. It is known by the name of Vivaha. The sixth wind bears all celestial waters in the firmament and prevents them from falling down. Sustaining the sacred waters of the celestial Ganga, that wind blows, preventing them from having a downward course. Obstructed by that wind from a distance, the Sun, which is really the source of a thousand rays, and which enlightens the world, appears as a luminous body of but one ray. Through the action of that wind, the Moon, after waning, wanes again till he displays his full disc. That wind is known, O foremost of ascetics, by the name Parivaha.[1754] That wind which takes away the life of all living creatures when the proper hour comes, whose track is followed by Death and Surya's son Yama, which becomes the source of that immortality which is attained by Yogins of subtile sight who are always engaged in Yoga meditation, by whose aid the thousands of grandsons of Daksha, that lord of creatures, by his ten sons, succeeded in days of old in attaining to the ends of the universe, whose touch enables one to attain to Emancipation by freeing oneself from the obligation of returning so the world,–that wind is called by the name of Paravaha. The foremost of all winds, it is incapable of being resisted by anybody. Wonderful are these winds all of whom are the sons of Diti. Capable of going everywhere and upholding all things, they blow all around thee without being attached to thee at any time. This, however, is exceedingly wonderful viz., that this foremost of mountains should thus be suddenly shaken by that wind which has begun to blow. This wind is the breath of Vishnu's nostrils. When urged forth with speed, it begins to blow with great force at which the whole universe becomes agitated. Hence, when the wind begins to blow with violence, persons conversant with the Vedas do not recite the Vedas. The Vedas are a form of wind. If uttered with force, the external wind becomes tortured.”

“Having said these words, the puissant son of Parasara bade his son (when the wind had ceased) to go on with his Vedic recitation. He then left that spot for plunging into the waters of the celestial Ganga.'”[1755]


“Bhishma said, 'After Vyasa had left the spot, Narada, traversing through the sky, came to Suka employed in studying the scriptures. The celestial Rishi came for the object of asking Suka the meaning of certain portions of the Vedas. Beholding the celestial Rishi Narada arrived at his retreat, Suka worshipped him by offering him the Arghya according to the rites laid down in the Vedas. Pleased with the honours bestowed upon him, Narada addressed Suka, saying,–Tell me, O foremost of righteous persons, by what means, O dear child, may I accomplish what is for thy highest good!–Hearing these words of Narada, Suka, said unto him, O Bharata, these words:–It behoveth thee to instruct me in respect of that which may be beneficial to me:

'Narada said, In days of yore the illustrious Sanatkumara had said these words unto certain Rishis of cleansed souls that had repaired to him for enquiring after the truth. There is no eye like that of knowledge. There is no penance like renunciation. Abstention from sinful acts, steady practice of righteousness, good conduct, the due observance of all religious duties,–these constitute the highest good. Having obtained the status of humanity which is fraught with sorrow, he that becomes attached to it, becomes stupefied: such a man never succeeds in emancipating himself from sorrow. Attachment (to things of the world) is an indication of sorrow. The understanding of person that is attached to worldly things becomes more and more enmeshed in the net of stupefaction. The man who becomes enmeshed in the net of stupefaction attains to sorrow, both here and hereafter. One should, by every means in one's power, restrain both desire and wrath if one seeks to achieve what is for one's good. Those two (viz., desire and wrath) arise for only destroying one's good.[1756] One should always protect one's penances from wrath, and one's prosperity from pride. One should always protect one's knowledge from honour and dishonour and, one's soul from error.[1757] Compassion is the highest virtue. Forgiveness is the highest might. The knowledge of self is the highest knowledge. There is nothing higher than truth. It is always proper to speak the truth. It is better again to speak what is beneficial than to speak what is true. I hold that that is truth which is fraught with the greatest benefit in all creatures.[1758] That man is said to be truly learned and truly possessed of wisdom who abandons every act, who never indulges in hope, who is completely dissociated from all worldly surroundings, and who has renounced everything that appertains to the world. That person who, without being attached thereto, enjoys all objects of sense with the aid of senses that are completely under his control, who is possessed of a tranquil soul, who is never moved by joy of sorrow, who is engaged in Yoga-meditation, who lives in companionship with the deities presiding over his senses and dissociated also from them, and who, though endued with a body, never regards himself as identifiable with it, becomes emancipated and very soon attains to that which is highest good. One who never sees others, never touches others, never talks with others, soon, O ascetic, attains to what is for one's highest good. One should not injure any creature. On the other hand, one should conduct oneself in perfect friendliness towards all. Having obtained the status of humanity, one should never behave inimically towards any being. A complete disregards for all (worldly) things, perfect contentments, abandonment of hope of every kind, and patience,–these constitute the highest good of one that has subjugated one's senses and acquired a knowledge of self. Casting off all attachments, O child, do thou subjugate all thy senses, and by that means attain to felicity both here and hereafter. They that are free from cupidity have never to suffer any sorrow. One should, therefore, cast off all cupidity from one's soul. By casting off cupidity, O amiable and blessed one, thou shalt be able to free thyself from sorrow and pain. One who wishes to conquer that which is unconquerable should live devoting oneself to penances, to self-restraint, to taciturnity, to a subjugation of the soul. Such a person should live in the midst of attachments without being attached to them.[1759] That Brahmana who lives in the midst of attachments without being attached to them and who always lives in seclusion, very soon attains to the highest felicity. That man who lives in happiness by himself in the midst of creatures who are seen to take delight in leading lives of sexual union, should be known to be a person whose thirst has been slaked by knowledge. It is well known that that man whose thirst has been slaked by knowledge has never to indulge in grief. One attains to the status of the deities by means of good acts; to the status of humanity by means of acts that are good and bad; while by acts that are purely wicked, one helplessly falls down among the lower animals. Always assailed by sorrow and decrepitude and death, a living creature is being cooked in this world (in the cauldron of Time). Dost thou not known it? Thou frequently regardest that to be beneficial which is really injurious; that to be certain which is really uncertain; and that to be desirable and good which is undesirable and not good. Alas, why dost thou not awake to a correct apprehension of these? Like a silkworm that ensconces itself in its own cocoon, thou art continually ensconcing thyself in a cocoon made of thy own innumerable acts born of stupefaction and error. Alas, why chest thou not awake to a correct apprehension of thy situation? No need of attaching thyself to things of this world. Attachment to worldly objects is productive of evil. The silk-worm that weaves a cocoon round itself is at last destroyed by its own act. Those persons that become attached to sons and spouses and relatives meet with destruction at last, even as wild elephants sunk in the mire of a lake are gradually weakened till overtaken by Death. Behold, all creatures that suffer themselves to be dragged by the net of affection become subject to great grief even as fishes on land, dragged thereto by means of large nets! Relatives, sons, spouses, the body itself, and all one's possessions stored with care, are unsubstantial and prove of no service in the next world. Only acts, good and bad, that one does, follow one to the other world. When it is certain that thou shalt have to go helplessly to the other world, leaving behind thee all these things alas, why dost thou then suffer thyself to be attached to such unsubstantial things of no value, without attending to that which constitutes thy real and durable wealth? The path which thou shalt have to travel through is without resting places of any kind (in which to take rest). There is no support along that way which one may catch for upholding oneself. The country through which it passes is unknown and undiscovered. It is, again enveloped in thick darkness. Alas, how shalt thou proceed along that way without equipping thyself with the necessary expenses? When thou shalt go along that road, nobody will follow thee behind. Only thy acts, good and bad, will follow behind thee when thou shalt depart from this world for the next. One seeks one's object of objects by means of learning, acts, purity (both external and internal), and great knowledge. When that foremost of objects is attained, one becomes freed (from rebirth). The desire that one feels for living in the midst of human habitations is like a binding cord. They that are of good acts succeed in tearing that bond and freeing themselves. Only risen of wicked deeds do not succeed in breaking them. The river of life (or the world) is terrible. Personal beauty or form constitutes its banks. The mind is the speed of its current. Touch forms its island. Taste constitutes its current. Scent is its mire. Sound is its waters. That particular part of it which leads towards heaven is attended with great difficulties. Body is the boat by which one must cross that river. Forgiveness is the oar by which it is to be propelled. Truth is the ballast that is to steady that boat. The practice of righteousness is the string that is to be attached to the mast for dragging that boat along difficult waters. Charity of gift constitutes the wind that urges the sails of that boat. Endued with swift speed, it is with that boat that one must cross the river of life. Cast off both virtue and vice, and truth and falsehood. Having cast off truth and falsehood, do thou cast off that by which these are to be cast off. By casting off all purpose, do thou cast off virtue; do thou cast off sin also by casting off all desire. With the aid of the understanding, do thou cast off truth and falsehood; and, at last, do thou cast off the understanding itself by knowledge of the highest topic (viz., the supreme Soul). Do thou cast off this body having bones for its pillars; sinews for its binding strings and cords; flesh and blood for its outer plaster; the skin for its outer case; full of urine and faeces and, therefore, emitting a foul smell; exposed to the assaults of decrepitude and sorrow; forming the seat of disease and weakened by pain; possessed of the attribute of Rajas in predominance: not permanent or durable, and which serves as the (temporary) habitation of the indwelling creature. This entire universe of matter, and that which is called Mahat or Buddhi, are made up of the (five), great elements. That which is called Mahat is due to the action of the Supreme. The five senses, the three attributes of Tamas, Sattwa, and Rajas,–these (together with those which have been mentioned before) constitute a tale of seventeen. These seventeen, which are known by the name of the Unmanifest, with all those that are called Manifest, viz., the five objects of the five senses, (that is to say, form, taste, sound, touch, and scent), with Consciousness and the Understanding, form the well-known tale of four and twenty. When endued with these four and twenty possessions, one comes to be called by the name of Jiva (or Puman). He who knows the aggregate of three (viz., Religion, Wealth, and Pleasure), as also happiness and sorrow and life and death, truly and in all their details, is said to know growth and decay. Whatever objects exist of knowledge, should be known gradually, one after another. All objects that are apprehended by the senses are called Manifest. Whatever objects transcend the senses and are apprehended by means only of their indications are said to be Unmanifest. By restraining the senses, one wins great gratification, even like a thirsty and parched traveller at a delicious shower of rain. Having subjugated the senses one beholds one's soul spread out for embracing all objects, and all objects in one's soul. Having its roots in knowledge, the puissance is never lost of the man who (thus) beholds the Supreme in his soul,–of the man, that is to say, who always beholds all creatures in all conditions (in his own soul).[1760] He who by the aid of knowledge, transcends all kinds of pain born of error and stupefaction, never catches any evil by coming into contact with all creatures.[1761] Such a man, his understanding being fully displayed, never finds fault with the course of conduct that prevails in the world. One conversant with Emancipation says that the Supreme Soul is without beginning and without end; that it takes birth as all creatures; that it resides (as a witness) in the Jiva-soul; that it is inactive, and without form. Only that man who meets with grief in consequence of his own misdeeds, slays numerous creatures for the purpose of warding off that grief.[1762] In consequence of such sacrifices, the performers have to attain to rebirths and have necessarily to perform innumerable acts on every side. Such a man, blinded by error, and regarding that to be felicity which is really a source of grief, is continually rendered unhappy even like a sick person that eats food that is improper. Such a man is pressed and grinded by his acts like any substance that is churned. Bound by his acts, he obtains re-birth, the order of his life being determined by the nature of his acts. Suffering many kinds of torture, he travels in a repeated round of rebirths even like a wheel that turns ceaselessly. Thou, however, hast cut through all thy bonds. Thou, abstainest from all acts! Possessed of omniscience and the master of all things, let success be thine, and do thou become freed from all existent objects. Through subjugation of their senses and the power of their penances, many persons (in days of yore), having destroyed the bonds of action, attained to high success and uninterrupted felicity.'”


”'Narada said, By listening to such scriptures as are blessed, as bring about tranquillity, as dispel grief, and as are productive of happiness, one attains to (a pure) understanding, and having attained to it obtains to high 'felicity. A thousand causes of sorrow, a hundred causes of fear, from day to day, afflict one that is destitute of understanding, but not one that is possessed of wisdom and learning. Do thou, therefore, listen to some old narratives as I recite them to you, for the object of dispelling thy griefs. If one can subjugate one's understanding, one is sure to attain to happiness. By association of what is undesirable and dissociation from what is agreeable, only men of little intelligence, become subject to mental sorrow of every kind. When things have become past, one should not grieve, thinking of their merits. He that thinks of such past things with affection can never emancipate himself. One should always seek to find out the faults of those things to which one begins to become attached. One should always regard such things to be fraught with much evil. By doing so, one should soon free oneself therefrom. The man who grieves for what is past fails to acquire either wealth or religious merit or fame. That which exists no longer cannot be obtained. When such things pass away, they do not return (however keen the regret one may indulge in for their sake). Creatures sometimes acquire and sometimes lose worldly object. No man in this world can be grieved by all the events that fall upon him. Dead or lost, he who grieves for what is past, only gets sorrow for sorrow. Instead of one sorrow, he gets two.[1763] Those men who, beholding the course of life and death in the world with the aid of their intelligence, do not shed tears, are said to behold properly. Such persons have never to shed tears, (at anything that may happen). When any such calamity comes, productive of either physical or mental grief, as is incapable of being warded off by even one's best efforts, one should cease to reflect on it with sorrow. This is the medicine for sorrow, viz., not to think of it. By thinking of it, one can never dispel it; on the other hand, by thinking upon sorrow, one only enhances it. Mental griefs should be killed by wisdom; while physical grief should be dispelled by medicines. This is the power of knowledge. One should not, in such matters, behave like men of little understandings. Youth, beauty, life, stored wealth, health, association with those that are loved,–these all are exceedingly transitory. One possessed of wisdom should never covet them. One should not lament individually for a sorrowful occurrence that concerns an entire community. Instead of indulgence in it when grief comes, one should seek to avert it and apply a remedy as soon as one sees the opportunity for doing it. There is no doubt that in this life the measure of misery is much greater than that of happiness. There is no doubt in this that all men show attachment for objects of the senses and that death is regarded as disagreeable. That man who casts off both joy and sorrow, is said to attain to Brahma. When such a man departs from this world, men of wisdom never indulge in any sorrow on his account. In spending wealth there is pain. In protecting it there is pain. In acquiring it there is pain. Hence, when one's wealth meets with destruction, one should not indulge in any sorrow for it. Men of little understanding, attaining to different grades of wealth, fail to win contentment and at last perish in misery. Men of wisdom, however, are always contented. All combinations are destined to end in dissolution. All things that are high are destined to fall down and become low. Union is sure to end in disunion anti life is certain to end in death. Thirst is unquenchable. Contentment is the highest happiness. Hence, persons of wisdom regard contentment to be the most precious wealth. One's allotted period of life is running continually. It stops not in its course for even a single moment. When one's body itself is not durable, what other thing is there (in this world) that one should reckon as durable? Those persons who, reflecting on the nature of all creatures and concluding that it is beyond the grasp of the mind, turn their attention to the highest path, and, setting out, achieve a fair progress in it, have not to indulge in sorrow.[1764] Like a tiger seizing and running away with its prey, Death seizes and runs away with the man that is employed in such (unprofitable) occupation and that is still unsatiated with objects of desire and enjoyment. One should always seek to emancipate oneself from sorrow. One should seek to dispel sorrow by beginning one's operations with cheerfulness, that is, without indulging in sorrow the while, having freed oneself from a particular sorrow, one should act in such a way as to keep sorrow at a distance by abstaining from all faults of conduct.[1765] The rich and the poor alike find nothing in sound and touch and form and scent and taste, after the immediate enjoyment thereof.[1766] Before union, creatures are never subject to sorrow. Hence, one that has not fallen off from one's original nature, never indulges in sorrow when that union comes to an end.[1767] One should restrain one's sexual appetite and the stomach with the aid of patience. One should protect one's hands and feet with the aid of the eye. One's eyes and ears and the other senses should be protected by the mind. One's mind and speech should be ruled with the aid of wisdom. Casting off love and affection for persons that are known as well as for those that are unknown, one should conduct oneself with humility. Such a person is said to be possessed of wisdom, and such a one surely finds happiness. That man who is pleased with his own Soul[1768] who is devoted to Yoga, who depends upon nothing out of self, who is without cupidity, and who conducts himself without the assistance of anything but his self, succeeds in attaining to felicity.'”


”'Narada said, When the vicissitudes of happiness and sorrow appear or disappear, the transitions are incapable of being prevented by either wisdom or policy or exertion. Without allowing oneself to fall away from one's true nature, one should strive one's best for protecting one's own Self. He who betakes himself to such care and exertion, has never to languish. Regarding Self as something dear, one should always seek to rescue oneself from decrepitude, death, and disease. Mental and physical diseases afflict the body, like keen-pointed shafts shot from the bow by a strong bowman. The body of a person that is tortured by thirst, that is agitated by agony, that is perfectly helpless, and that is desirous of prolonging his life, is dragged towards destruction.[1769] Days and nights are ceaselessly running bearing away in their current the periods of life of all human beings. Like currents of rivers, these flow ceaselessly without ever turning back.[1770] The ceaseless succession of the lighted and the dark fortnights is wasting all mortal creatures without stopping for even a moment in this work. Rising and setting day after day, the Sun, who is himself undecaying, is continually cooking the joys and sorrows of all men. The nights are ceaselessly going away, taking with them the good and bad incidents that befall man, that depend on destiny, and that are unexpected by him. If the fruits of man's acts were not dependent on other circumstances, then one would obtain whatever object one would desire. Even men of restrained senses, of cleverness, and of intelligence, if destitute of acts, never succeed in earning any fruits.[1771] Others, though destitute of intelligence and unendued with accomplishments of any kind, and who are really the lowest of men, are seen, even when they do not long after success, to be crowned with the fruition of all their desires.[1772] Some one else, who is always ready to do acts of injury to all creatures, and who is engaged in deceiving all the world, is seen to wallow in happiness. Some one that sits idly, obtains great prosperity; while another, by exerting earnestly, is seen to miss desirable fruits almost within his reach.[1773] Do thou ascribe it as one of the faults of man! The vital seed, originating in one's nature from sight of one person, goes to another person. When imparted to the womb, it sometimes produces an embryo and sometimes fails. When sexual congress fails, it resembles a mango tree that puts forth a great many flowers without, however, producing a single fruit.[1774] As regards some men who are desirous of having offspring and who, for the fruition of their object, strive heartily (by worshipping diverse deities), they fail to procreate an embryo in the womb. Some person again, who fears the birth of an embryo as one fears a snake of virulent poison, finds a long-lived son born unto him and who seems to be his own self come back to the stages through which he has passed. Many persons with ardent longing for offspring and cheerless on that account, after sacrificing to many deities and undergoing severe austerities, at last beget children, duly borne for ten long months (in the wombs of their spouses), that prove to be veritable wretches of their race. Others, who have been obtained through virtue of such blessed rites and observances, at once obtain wealth and grain and diverse other sources of enjoyment earned and stored by their sires. In an act of congress, when two persons of opposite sexes come into contact with one another, the embryo takes birth in the womb, like a calamity afflicting the mother. Very soon after the suspension of the vital breaths, other physical forms possess that embodied creature whose gross body has been destroyed but whose acts have all been performed with that gross body made of flesh and phlegm.[1775] Upon the dissolution of the body, another body, which is as much destructible as the one that is destroyed, is kept ready for the burnt and destroyed creature (to migrate into) even as one boat goes to another for transferring to itself the passengers of the other.[1776] In consequence of an act of congress, a drop of the vital seed, that is inanimate, is cast into the womb. I ask thee, through whose or what care is the embryo kept alive? That part of the body into which the food that is eaten goes and where it is digested, is the place where the embryo resides, but it is not digested there. In the womb, amid urine and faeces, one's sojourn is regulated by Nature. In the matter of residence therein or escape therefrom, the born creature is not a free agent. In fact, in these respects, he is perfectly helpless. Some embryos fall from the womb (in an undeveloped state). Some come out alive (and continue to live). While as regards some, they meet with destruction in the womb, after being quickened with life, in consequence of some other bodies being ready for them (through the nature of their acts).[1777] That man who, in an act of sexual congress, injects the vital fluid, obtains from it a son or daughter. The offspring thus obtained, when the time comes, takes part in a similar act of congress. When the allotted period of a person's life is at its close, the five primal elements of his body attain to the seventh and the ninth stages and then cease to be. The person, however, undergoes no change.[1778] Without doubt, when persons are afflicted by diseases as little animals assailed by hunters, they then lose the powers of rising up and moving about. If when men are afflicted by diseases, they wish to spend even vast wealth, physicians with their best efforts fail to alleviate their pain. Even physicians, that are well-skilled and well-up in their scriptures and well-equipt with excellent medicines, are themselves afflicted by disease like animals assailed by hunters. Even if men drink many astringents and diverse kinds of medicated ghee, they are seen to be broken by decrepitude like trees by strong elephants. When animals and birds and beasts of prey and poor men are afflicted by ailments, who treats them with medicines? Indeed, these are not seen to be ill. Like larger animals assailing smaller ones, ailments are seen to afflict even terrible kings of fierce energy and invincible prowess. All men, reft of the power of even uttering cries indicate of pain, and overwhelmed by error and grief, are seen to be borne away along the fierce current into which they have been thrown. Embodied creatures, even when seeking to conquer nature, are unable to conquer it with the aid of wealth, of sovereign power, or of the austerest penances.[1779] If all attempts men make were crowned with success, then men would never be subject to decrepitude, would never come upon anything disagreeable, and lastly would be crowned with fruition in respect of all their wishes. All men wish to attain to gradual superiority of position. To gratify this wish they strive to the best of their power. The result, however, does not agree with wish.[1780] Even men that are perfectly heedful, that are honest, and brave and endued with prowess, are seen to pay their adorations to men intoxicated with the pride of affluence and with even alcoholic stimulants.[1781] Some men are seen whose calamities disappear before even these are marked or noticed by them. Others there are who are seen to possess no wealth but who are free from misery of every kind. A great disparity is observable in respect of the fruits that wait upon conjunctions of acts. Some are seen to bear vehicles on their shoulders, while some are seen to ride on those vehicles. All men are desirous of affluence and prosperity. A few only have cars (and elephants and steeds) dragged (or walking) in their processions. Some there are that fail to have a single spouse when their first-wedded ones are dead; while others have hundreds of spouses to call their own. Misery and happiness are the two things that exist side by side. Men have either misery or happiness. Behold, this is a subject of wonder! Do not, however, suffer thyself to be stupefied by error at such a sight! Cast off both righteousness and sin! Cast off also truth and falsehood! Having cast off truth and falsehood, do thou then cast off that with whose aid thou shalt cast off the former! O best of Rishis, I have now told thee that which is a great misery! With the aid of such instructions, the deities (who were all human beings) succeeded in leaving the Earth for becoming the denizens of heaven!

”'Hearing these words of Narada Suka, endued with great intelligence and possessed of tranquillity of mind, reflected upon the drift of the instructions he received, but could not arrive at any certainty of conclusion. He understood that one suffers great misery in consequence of the accession of children and spouses; that one has to undergo great labour for the acquisition of science and Vedic lore. He, therefore, asked himself, saying,–What is that situation which is eternal and which is free from misery of every kind but in which there is great prosperity?–Reflecting for a moment upon the course ordained for him to run through, Suka, who was well acquainted with the beginning and the end of all duties, resolved to attain to the highest end that is fraught with the greatest felicity. He questioned himself, saying,–How shall I, tearing all attachments and becoming perfectly free, attain to that excellent end? How, indeed, shall I attain to that excellent situation whence there is no return into the ocean of diverse kinds of birth! I desire to obtain that condition of existence whence there is no return! Casting off all kinds of attachments, arrived at certainty by reflection with the aid of the mind, I shall attain to that end! I shall attain to that situation in which thy Soul will nave tranquillity, and when I shall be able to dwell for eternity without being subject to decrepitude or change. It is, however, certain that that high end cannot be attained without the aid of Yoga. One that has attained to the state of perfect knowledge and enlightenment never receives an accession of low attachments through acts.[1782] I shall, therefore, have recourse to Yoga, and casting off this body which is my present residence, I shall transform myself into wind and enter that mass of effulgence which is represented by the sin.[1783] When Jiva enters that mass of effulgence, he no longer suffers like Shoma who, with the gods, upon the exhaustion of merit, falls down on the Earth and having once more acquired sufficient merit returns to heavens.[1784] The moon is always seen to wane and once more wax. Seeing this waning and waxing that go on repeatedly, I do not wish to have a form of existence in which there are such changes. The Sun warms all the worlds by means of his fierce rays. His disc never undergoes any diminution. Remaining unchanged, he drinks energy from all things. Hence, I desire to go into the Sun of blazing effulgence.[1785] There I shall live, invincible by all, and in my inner soul freed from all fear, having cast off this body of mine in the solar region. With the great Rishis I shall enter the unbearable energy of the Sun. I declare unto all creatures, unto these trees, these elephants, these mountains, the Earth herself, the several points of the compass, the welkin, the deities, the Danavas, the Gandharvas, the Pisachas, the Uragas, and the Rakshasas, that I shall, verily, enter all creatures in the world.[1786] Let all the gods with the Rishis behold the prowess of my Yoga today!–Having said these words, Suka, informed Narada of world wide celebrity of his intention. Obtaining Narada's permission, Suka then proceeded to where his sire was. Arrived at his presence, the great Muni, viz., the high-souled and Island-born Krishna, Suka walked round him and addressed him the usual enquiries. Hearing of Suka's intention, the highsouled Rishi became highly pleased. Addressing him, the great Rishi said,–O son, O dear son, do thou stay here to-day so that I may behold thee for some time for gratifying my eyes,–Suka, however, was indifferent to that request. Freed from affection and all doubt, he began to think only of Emancipation, and set his heart on the journey. Leaving his sire, that foremost of Rishis then proceeded to the spacious breast of Kailasa which was inhabited by crowds of ascetics crowned with success.'”


“Bhishma said, Having ascended the summit of the mountain, O Bharata, the son of Vyasa sat down upon a level spot free from blades of grass and retired from the haunts of other creatures. Agreeably to the direction of the scriptures and to the ordinances laid down, that ascetic, conversant with the gradual order of the successive processes of Yoga, held his soul first in one place and then in another, commencing from his feet and proceeding through all the limbs. Then when the Sun had not risen long, Suka sat, with his face turned Eastwards, and hands and feet drawn in, in an humble attitude. In that spot where the intelligent son of Vyasa sat prepared to address himself to Yoga, there were no flocks of birds, no sound, and no sight that was repulsive or terror-inspiring. He then beheld his own Soul freed from all attachments. Beholding that highest of all things, he laughed in joy.[1787] He once more set himself pre-pared to Yoga for attaining to the path of Emancipation. Becoming the great master of Yoga, he transcended the element of space. He then circumambulated the celestial Rishi Narada, and represented unto that foremost of Rishis the fact of his having addressed himself to the highest Yoga.

“Suka said,–I have succeeded in beholding the path (of Emancipation), I have addrest myself to it. Blessed be thou, O thou of wealth of penances! I shall, through thy grace, O thou of great splendour, attain to an end that is highly desirable!”

“Bhishma said,–'Having received the permission of Narada, Suka the son of the Island-born Vyasa saluted the celestial Rishi and once more set himself to Yoga and entered the element of space. Ascending then from the breast of the Kailasa mountain, he soared into the sky. Capable of traversing through the welkin, the blessed Suka of fixed conclusion, then identified himself with the element of Wind. As that foremost of regenerate ones, possessed of effulgence like that of Garuda, was traversing through the skies with the speed of the wind or thought, all creatures, cast their eyes upon him. Endued with the splendour of fire or the Sun, Suka then regarded the three worlds in their entirety as one homogenous Brahma, and proceeded along that path of great length. Indeed, all creatures mobile and immobile, cast their eyes upon him as he proceeded with concentrated attention, and a tranquil and fearless soul. All creatures, agreeably to the ordinance and according to their power, worshipped him with reverence. The denizens of heaven rained showers of celestial flowers upon him. Beholding him, all the tribes of Apsaras and Gandharvas became filled with wonder. The Rishis also, that were crowned with success, became equally amazed. And they asked themselves,–who is this one that has attained to success by his penances?–With gaze with-drawn from his own body but turned upwards he is filling us all with pleasure by his glances!–Of highly righteous soul and celebrated through-out the three worlds, Suka proceeded in silence, his face turned towards the East and gaze directed towards the sun. As he proceeded, he seemed to fill the entire welkin with an all-pervading noise. Beholding him coming in that way, all the tribes of the Apsaras, struck with awe, O king, became filled with amazement. Headed by Panchachuda and others, they looked at Suka with eyes expanded by wonder. And they asked one another, saying;–What deity is this one that has attained to such a high end? Without doubt, he comes hither, freed from all attachments and emancipated from all desires!–Suka then proceeded to the Malaya mountains where Urvasi and Purvachitti used to dwell always. Both of them beholding the energy of the son of the great regenerate Rishi, became filled with wonder. And they said,–Wonderful is this concentration of attention (to Yoga) of a regenerate youth who was accustomed to the recitation and study of the Vedas! Soon will he traverse the entire welkin like the Moon. It was by dutiful service and humble ministrations towards his sire that he acquired this excellent understanding. He is firmly attached to his sire, possessed of austere penances, and is very much loved by his sire. Alas, why has he been dismissed by his inattentive father to proceed (thus) along a way whence there is no return?–Hearing these words of Urvasi, and attending to their import, Suka, that foremost of all persons conversant with duties, cast his eyes on all sides, and once more beheld the entire welkin, the whole Earth with her mountains and waters and forests, and also all the lakes and rivers. All the deities also of both sexes, joining their hands, paid reverence to the son of the Island-born Rishi and gazed at him with wonder and respect. That foremost of all righteous men, Suka, addressing all of them, said these words,–If my sire follow me and repeatedly call after me by my name, do all of you together return him an answer for me. Moved by the affection all of you bear for me, do you accomplish this request of mine!–Hearing these words of Suka, all the points of the compass, all the forest, all the seas, all the rivers, and all the mountains, answered him from every side, saying,–We accept thy command, O regenerate one! It shall be as thou sayst! It is in this way that we answer the words spoken by the Rishi!


“Bhishma said, 'Having spoken in this way (unto all things), the regenerate Rishi of austere penances, viz., Suka, stayed on his success casting off the four kinds of faults. Casting off also the eight kinds of Tamas, he dismissed the five kinds of Rajas. Endued with great intelligence, he then cast off the attribute of Sattwa. All this seemed exceedingly wonderful. He then dwelt in that eternal station that is destitute of attributes, freed from every indication, that is, in Brahma, blazing like a smokeless fire. Meteors began to shoot. The points of the compass seemed to be ablaze. The Earth trembled. All those phenomena seemed exceedingly wonderful. The trees began to cast off their branches and the mountains their summits. Loud-reports (as of thunder) were heard that seemed to rive the Himavat mountains. The sun seemed at that moment to be shorn of splendour. Fire refused to blaze forth. The lakes and rivers and seas were all agitated. Vasava poured showers of rain of excellent taste and fragrance. A pure breeze began to blow, bearing excellent perfumes. Suka as he proceeded through the welkin, beheld two beautiful summits, one belonging to Himavat and another to Meru. These were in close contact with each other. One of them was made of gold and was, therefore yellow; the other was white, being made of silver. Each of them, O Bharata, was a hundred yojanas in height and of the same measure in breadth. Indeed, as Suka journeyed towards the north, he saw those two beautiful summits. With a fearless heart he dashed against those two summits that were united with each other. Unable to bear the force, the summits were suddenly rent in twain. The sight they thereupon presented, O monarch, was exceedingly wonderful to behold. Suka pierced through those summits, for they were unable to stop his onward course. At this a loud noise arose in heaven, made by the denizens thereof. The Gandharvas and the Rishis also and others that dwelt in that mountain being rent in twain and Suka passing through it. Indeed, O Bharata, a loud noise was heard everywhere at that moment, consisting of the words–Excellent, Excellent!–He was adored by the Gandharvas and the Rishis, by crowds of Yakshas and Rakshasas, and all tribes of the Vidyadharas. The entire firmament became strewn with celestial flowers showered from heaven at that moment when Suka thus pierced through that impenetrable barrier, O monarch! The righteous-souled Suka then beheld from a high region the celestial stream Mandakini of great beauty, running below through a region adorned by many flowering groves and woods. In these waters many beautiful Apsaras were sporting. Beholding Suka who was bodiless, those unclad aerial beings felt shame. Learning that Suka had undertaken his great journey, his sire Vyasa, filled with affection, followed him behind along the same aerial path. Meanwhile Suka, proceeding through that region of the firmament that is above the region of the wind displayed his Yoga-prowess and identified himself with Brahma.[1788] Adopting the subtile path of high Yoga, Vyasa of austere penances, reached within the twinkling of the eye that spot whence Suka first undertook his journey. Proceeding along the same way, Vyasa beheld the mountain summit rent in twain and through which Suka has passed. Encountering the Island-born ascetic, the Rishis began to represent to him the achievements of his son. Vyasa, however, began to indulge in lamentations, loudly calling upon his son by name and causing the three worlds to resound with the noise he made. Meanwhile, the righteous-souled Suka, who had entered the elements, had become their soul and acquired omnipresence, answered his sire by uttering the monosyllable Bho in the form of an echo. At this, the entire universe of mobile and immobile creatures, uttering the monosyllable Bho, echoed the answer of Suka. From that time to this, when sounds are uttered in mountain-caves or on mountain-breasts, the latter, as if in answer to Suka still echo them (with the monosyllable Bho). Having cast off all the attributes of sound, etc., and showing his Yoga-prowess in the manner of his disappearance, Suka in this way attained to the highest station. Beholding that glory and puissance of his son of immeasurable energy, Vyasa sat down on the breast of the mountain and began to think of his son with grief. The Apsaras were sporting on the banks of the celestial stream Mandakini, seeing the Rishi seated there, became all agitated with grave shame and lost heart. Some of them, to hide their nudity, plunged into the stream, and some entered the groves hard by, and some quickly took up their clothes, at beholding the Rishi. (None of them had betrayed any signs of agitation at sight of his son). The Rishi, beholding these movements, understood that his son had been emancipated from all attachments, but that he himself was not freed therefrom. At this he became filled with both joy and shame. As Vyasa was seated there, the auspicious god Siva, armed with Pinaka, surrounded on all sides by many deities and Gandharvas and adored by all the great Rishis came thither. Consoling the Island-born Rishi who was burning with grief on account of his son, Mahadeva said these words unto him.–Thou hadst formerly solicited from me a son possessed of the energy of Fire, of Water, of Wind, and of Space; Procreated by thy penances, the son that was born unto thee was of that very kind. Proceeding from my grace, he was pure and full of Brahma-energy. He has attained to the highest end–an end which none can win that has not completely subjugated his senses, nor can be won by even any of the deities. Why then, O regenerate Rishi, dost thou grieve for that son? As long as the hills will last, as long as the ocean will last, so long will the fame of thy son endure undiminished! Through my grace, O great Rishi thou shalt behold in this world a shadowy form resembling thy son, moving by the side and never deserting thee for a single moment!–Thus favoured by the illustrious Rudra himself, O Bharata, the Rishi beheld a shadow of his son by his side. He returned from that place, filled with joy at this. I have now told thee, O chief of Bharata's race, everything regarding the birth and life of Suka about which thou hadst asked me. The celestial Rishi Narada and the great Yogin Vyasa had repeatedly told all this to me in days of yore when the subject was suggested to him in course of conversation. That person devoted to tranquillity hears this sacred history directly connected with the topic of Emancipation is certain to attain to the highest end.”[1789]


“Yudhishthira said, 'If a man be a house-holder or a Brahmacharin, a forest-recluse or a mendicant, and if he desires to achieve success, what deity should he adore? How can he certainly acquire heaven and attain that which is of the highest benefit (viz., Emancipation)? According to what ordinances should he perform the homa in honour of the gods and the Pitris? What is the region to which one goes when one becomes emancipated? What is the essence of Emancipation? What should one do so that one, having attained to heaven, would not have to fall down thence? Who is the deity of the deities? And who is the Pitri of the Pitris? Who is he that is superior to him, who is the deity of the deities and the Pitri of the Pitris? Tell me all this, O Grandsire!'

“Bhishma said, O thou that art well acquainted with the art of questioning, this question that thou hast asked me, O sinless one, is one that touches a deep mystery. One cannot answer it with the aid of the science of argumentation, even if one were to strive for a hundred years. Without the grace of Narayana, O king, or an accession of high knowledge, this question of thine is incapable of being answered. Connected though this topic be with a deep mystery, I shall yet, O slayer of foes, expound it to thee![1790] In this connection is cited the old history of the discourse between Narada and the Rishi Narayana. I heard it from my sire that in the Krita age, O monarch, during the epoch of the Self-born Manu, the eternal Narayana, the Soul of the universe, took birth as the son of Dharma in a quadruple form, viz., as Nara, Narayana, Hari, and the Self-create Krishna.[1791] Amongst them all, Narayana and Nara underwent the severest austerities by repairing to the Himalayan retreat known by the name of Vadari, by riding on their golden ears. Each of those cars was furnished with eight wheels, and made up of the five primal elements, and looked exceedingly beautiful.[1792] Those original regents of the world who had taken birth as the sons of Dharma, became exceedingly emaciated in person in consequence of the austerities they had undergone. Indeed, for those austerities and for their energy, the very deities were unable to look at them. Only that deity with whom they were propitiated could behold them. Without doubt, with his heart devoted to them, and impelled by a longing desire to be-hold them, Narada dropped down on Gandhamadana from a summit of the high mountains of Meru and wandered over all the world. Possessed of great speed, he at last repaired to that spot whereon was situated the retreat of Vadari. Impelled by curiosity he entered that retreat at the hour of Nara's and Narayana's, performing their daily rites. He said unto himself.–This is truly the retreat of that Being in whom are established all the worlds including the deities, the Asuras, the Gandharvas, the Kinnaras, and the great snakes! There was only one form of this great Being before. That form took birth in four shapes for the expansion of the race of Dharma which have been reared by that deity. How wonderful it is that Dharma has thus been honoured by these four great deities viz., Nara, Narayana, and Hari and Krishna! In this spot Krishna and Hari dwelt formerly. The other two, however, viz., Nara and Narayana, are now dwelling here engaged in penances for the object of enhancing their merit. These two are the highest refuge of the universe. What can be the nature of the daily rites these two perform? They are the sires of all creatures, and the illustrious deities of all beings. Endued with high intelligence, what is that deity whom these two worship? Who are those Pitris whom these two Pitris of all beings adore?–Thinking of this in his mind, and filled with devotion towards Narayana, Narada suddenly appeared before those two gods. After those two deities had finished their adoration to _their_ deities and the Rishis, they looked at the celestial Rishi arrived at their retreat. The latter was honoured with those eternal rites that are ordained in the scriptures. Beholding that extraordinary conduct of the two original deities in themselves worshipping other deities and Pitris, the illustrious Rishi Narada took his seat there, well pleased with the honours he had received. With a cheerful soul he cast his eyes then on Narayana, and bowing unto Mahadeva he said these words.

“Narada said, In the Vedas and the Puranas, in the Angas and the subsidiary Angas thou art sung with reverence, thou art unborn and eternal. Thou art the Creator. Thou art the mother of the universe. Thou art the embodiment of Immortality and thou art the foremost of all things. The Past and the Future, indeed, the entire universe has been established on thee! The four modes of life, O lord, having the domestic for their first, ceaselessly sacrifice to thee that art of diverse forms. Thou art the father and the mother and the eternal preceptor of the universe. We know not who is that deity or that Pitri unto whom thou art sacrificing to-day!

“The holy one said, This topic is one about which nothing should be said. It is an ancient mystery. Thy devotion to me is very great. Hence, O regenerate one, I shall discourse to thee on it agreeably to the truth. That which is minute, which is inconceivable, unmanifest, immobile, durable, destitute of all connection with the senses and the objects of the senses, that which is dissociated from the (five) elements–that is called the in-dwelling Soul of all existent creatures. That is known by the name of Kshetrajna. Transcending the three attributes of Sattwa, Rajas, and Tamas, that is regarded as Purusha in the scriptures. From Him hath followed the unmanifest, O foremost of regenerate ones, possessed of the three attributes of Sattwa, Rajas, and Tamas. Though really unmanifest, she is called indestructible Prakriti and dwell in all manifest forms. Know that She is the source whence we two have sprung. That all-pervading Soul, which is made up of all existent and non-existent things, is adored by us. Even He is what we worship in all those rites that we perform in honour of the deities and the Pitris. There is no higher deity or Pitri than He. O regenerate one, He should be known as our Soul. It is him that we worship. This course of duties followed by men has, O regenerate one, been promulgated by Him. It is His ordinance that we should duly perform all the rites laid down in respect of the deities and the Pitris. Brahman, Sthanu, Manu, Daksha, Bhrigu, Dharma, Yama, Marichi, Angiras, Atri, Pulastya, Pulaha, Kratu, Vasishtha, Parameshthi, Vivaswat, Shoma, he that has been called Karddama, Krodha, Avak, and Krita,–these one and twenty persons, called Prajapatis, were first born. All of them obeyed the eternal law of the Supreme God Observing all the rites, in detail, that were ordained in honour of the deities and the Pitris, all those foremost of regenerate persons acquired all those objects which they sought. The incorporeal denizens of Heaven itself bow to that Supreme deity and through His grace they attain to those fruits and that end which He ordains for them. This is the settled conclusion of the scriptures that these persons freed from these seven and ten attributes, (viz., the five senses of knowledge, the five senses of action, the five vital breaths, and mind and understanding), who have cast off all acts, and are divested of the five and ten elements which constitute the gross body, are said to be Emancipate. That which the Emancipate attain to as their ultimate end is called by the name of Kshetrajna. He is regarded (in the scriptures) as both possessed of and free from all the attributes. He can be apprehended by Knowledge alone. We two have sprung from Him. Knowing him in that way, we adore that eternal Soul of all things. The Vedas and all the modes of life, though characterised by divergences of opinion, all worship Him with devotion. It is He who, speedily moved to grace, confers on them high ends fraught with felicity. Those persons in this world who, filled with His spirit, become fully and conclusively devoted to Him, attain to ends that are much higher, for they succeed in entering Him and becoming merged in his Self. I have now, O Narada, discoursed to thee on what is high mystery moved by the love I bear to thee for thy devotion to me. Indeed, in consequence of that devotion which thou professest towards me, thou hast succeeded in listening to this my discourse!”


“Bhishma said, 'Addressed by Narayana, that foremost of beings, in these words, Narada, the foremost of men, then said these words unto Narayana for the good of the world.

“Narada said, Let that object be accomplished for which thou, O self-born Being, hast taken birth in four forms in the house of Dharma! I shall now repair (to the White Island) for beholding thy original nature. I always worship my seniors. I have never divulged the secrets of others. O lord of the universe, I have studied the Vedas with care. I have undergone austere penances. I have never spoken an untruth. As ordained in the scriptures, I have always protected the four that should be protected.[1793] I have always behaved equally towards friends and foes. Wholly and conclusively devoted to Him, that first of deities, viz., the Supreme Soul, I incessantly adore Him. Having cleansed my soul by these acts of special merit, why shall I not succeed in obtaining a sight of that Infinite Lord of the universe?–Hearing these words of Parameshthi's son, Narayana, that protector of the scriptures, dismissed him, saying,–Go, O Narada!–Before dismissing him, however, the great deity worshipped the celestial Rishi with those rites and ceremonies which have been laid down in the scriptures by himself. Narada also gave due honours to the ancient Rishi Narayana. After such honours had been mutually given and received, the son of Parameshthi departed from that spot. Endued with high Yoga-puissance, Narada suddenly soared into the firmament and reached the summit of the mountains of Meru. Proceeding to a retired spot on that summit, the great ascetic took rest for a short while. He than cast his eyes towards the north western direction and beheld an exceedingly wonderful sight. Towards the north, in the ocean of milk, there is a large island named the White Island. The learned say that its distance from the mountains of Meru is greater than two and thirty thousand Yojanas. The denizens of that realm have no senses. They live without taking food of any kind. Their eyes are winkless. They always emit excellent perfumes. Their complexions are white. They are cleansed from every sin. They blast the eyes of those sinners that look at them. Their bones and bodies are as hard as thunder. They regard honour and dishonour in the same light. They all look as if they are of celestial origin. Besides, all of them are endued, with auspicious marks and great strength. Their heads seem to be like umbrellas. Their voices are deep like that of the clouds. Each of them has four Mushkas.[1794] The soles of their feet are marked by hundreds of lines. They have sixty teeth all of which are white (and large), and eight smaller ones. They have many tongues. With those tongues they seem to lick the very Sun whose face is turned towards every direction. Indeed, they seem to be capable of devouring that deity from whom hath sprung the entire universe, the Vedas, the deities, and the Munis wedded to the attribute of tranquillity.

“Yudhishthira said,–'O grandsire, thou hast said that those beings have no senses, that they do not eat anything for supporting their lives; that their eyes are winkless; and that they always emit excellent perfumes. I ask, how were they born? What also is the superior end to which they attain? O chief of Bharata's race, are the indications of those men that become emancipate the same as those by which the denizens of the White Island are distinguished? Do thou dispel my doubts? The curiosity I feel is very great. Thou art the repository of all histories and discourses. As regards ourselves, we entirely depend on thee for knowledge and instruction!

“Bhishma continued,–'This narrative, O monarch, which I have heard from my sire, is extensive. I shall now recite it to thee. Indeed, it is regarded as the essence of all narratives. There was, in times past, a king on Earth of the name of Uparichara. He was known to be the friend of Indra, the chief of the celestials. He was devoted to Narayana known also by the name of Hari. He was observant of all the duties laid down in the scriptures. Ever devoted to his sire, he was always heedful and ready for action. He won the sovereignty of the world in consequence of a boon he had obtained from Narayana. Following the Sattwata ritual that had been declared in days of yore by Surya himself, king Uparichara used to worship the God of gods (Narayana), and when his worship was over, he used to adore (with what remained) the grandsire of the universe.[1795] After worshipping the Grandsires (Pitris), he worshipped the Brahmanas. He then divided the offerings among those that were dependent on him. With what remained after serving those, the king satisfied his own hunger. Devoted to truth, the monarch abstained from doing any injury to any creature. With his whole soul, the king was devoted to that God of gods, viz., Janarddana, who is without beginning and middle and end, who is the Creator of the universe, and who is without deterioration of any kind. Beholding the devotion to Narayana of that slayer of foes, the divine chief of the celestials himself shared with him his own seat and bed. His kingdom and wealth and spouses and animals were all regarded by him as obtained from Narayana. He, therefore, offered all his possessions to that great deity.[1796] Adopting the Sattwata ritual, king Uparichara, with concentrated soul, used to discharge all his sacrificial acts and observances, both optional and obligatory. In the place of that illustrious king, many foremost Brahmanas, well conversant with the Pancharatra ritual, used to eat before all others the food offered to the god Narayana. As long as that slayer of foes continued to rule his kingdom righteously, no untruth ever escaped his lips and no evil thought ever entered his mind. With his limbs he never committed even the slightest sin. The seven celebrated Rishis, viz., Marichi, Atri, Angiras, Pulastya, Pulaha, Kratu, and Vasishta of great energy, who came to be known by the name of Chitra-sikhandins, uniting together on the breast of that foremost of mountains, viz., Meru, promulgated an excellent treatise on duties and observances that was consistent with the four Vedas. The contents of that treatise were uttered by seven mouths, and constituted the best compendium of human duties and observances. Known, as already stated, by the name of Chitra-sikhandins, those seven Rishis constitute the seven (Pravriti) elements (of Mahat, Ahankara, etc.) and the Selfborn Manu, who is the eighth in the enumeration, constituted original Prakriti. These eight uphold the universe, and it was these eight that promulgated the treatise adverted to. With their senses and minds under complete control, and ever devoted to Yoga, these eight ascetics, with concentrated souls, are fully conversant with the Past, the Present and the Future, and are devoted to the religion of Truth.–This is good this is Brahma,–this is highly beneficial,–reflecting in their minds in this way, those Rishis created the worlds, and the science of morality and duty that governs those worlds. In that treatise the authors discoursed on Religion and Wealth and Pleasure, and subsequently on Emancipation also. They also laid down in it the various restrictions and limitations intended for the Earth as also for Heaven. They composed that treatise after having worshipped with penances the puissant and illustrious Narayana called also Hari, for a thousand celestial years, in company with many other Rishis. Gratified with their penances and worship, Narayana commanded the goddess of speech, viz. Saraswati, to enter into the person of those Rishis. The goddess, for the good of the worlds did what she was ordered. In consequence of the entrance of the goddess of speech into their persons, those Rishis, well conversant with penances, succeeded in composing that foremost of treatises in respect of vocables, import, and reason.[1797] Having composed that treatise sanctified with the syllable Om, the Rishis first of all read it to Narayana who became highly pleased with what he heard. The foremost of all Beings then addressed those Rishis in an incorporeal voice and said,–Excellent is this treatise that ye have composed consisting of a hundred thousand verses. The duties and observances of all the worlds will flow from this your work! In complete accordance with the four Vedas, viz., the Yajushes, the Samans, and the Atharvans of Angiras, the treatise of yours will be an authority in all the worlds in respect of both Pravritti and Nivritti.[1798] Agreeably to the authority of the scriptures I have created Brahman from the attribute of Grace, Rudra from my Wrath, and yourselves, Ye Brahmanas, as representing the Pravriti-elements (of Mahat, Ahankara, etc.), Surya, and Chandramas, Wind, and Earth, and Water and Fire, all the stars and planets and constellations, all else that is called by the name of creatures, and utterers of Brahma (or the Vedas), they all live and act in their respective spheres and are all respected as authorities. Even this treatise that ye have composed shall be regarded by all persons in the same light, viz., as a work of the highest authority. This is my command. Guided by this treatise, the Self-born Manu himself will declare to the world its course of duties and observances. When Usanas and Vrihaspati will arise, they also will promulgate their respective treatises on morality and religion, guided by and quoting from this your treatise.[1799] After the publication of his treatise by the Self-born Manu and of that by Usanas, and after the publication of the treatise also by Vrihaspati, this science composed by you will be acquired by king Vasu (otherwise known by the name of Uparichara). Indeed ye foremost of regenerate ones, that king will acquire this knowledge of this work from Vrihaspati. That King, filled with all good thoughts, will become deeply devoted to me. Guided by this treatise, he will accomplish all his religious acts and observances. Verily, this treatise composed by you will be the foremost of all treatise on morality and religion. Possessed of the excellence, this treatise is fraught with instructions for acquiring both Wealth and Religious merit, and is full of mysteries. In consequence of the promulgation of this treatise of yours, ye will be progenitors of an extensive race. King Uparichara also will become endued with greatness and prosperity. Upon the death, however, of that king, this eternal treatise will disappear from the world. I tell you all this.–Having said these words unto all those Rishis, the invisible Narayana left them and proceeded to some place that was not known to them. Then those sires of the world, those Rishis that bestowed their thoughts on the ends pursued by the world, duly promulgated that treatise which is the eternal origin of all duties and observances. Subsequently, when Vrihaspati was born in Angiras's race in the first or the Krita age, those seven Rishis charged him with the task of promulgating their treatise which was consistent with the Upanishads and the several branches of the Vedas. They themselves who were upholders of the universe and the first promulgators of duties and religious observances, then proceeded to the place they chose, resolved to devote themselves to penances.'”


“Bhishma said, 'Then upon the expiration of the great Kalpa, when the celestial Purohita Vrihaspati was born in the race of Angiras, all the deities became very happy. The words, Vrihat, Brahma, and Mahat all bear the same sense.[1800] The celestial Purohita, O king came to be called Vrihaspati because he was endued with all these attributes. King Uparichara, otherwise called Vasu, became a disciple of Vrihaspati and soon became the foremost of his disciples. Admitted as such, he began to study at the feet of his preceptor that science which was composed by the seven Rishis who were (otherwise) known by the name of Chitrasikhandins. With soul cleansed from all sorts of evil by sacrifices and other religious rites, he ruled the Earth like Indra ruling the Heaven. The illustrious king performed a great Horse-sacrifice in which his preceptor Vrihaspati became the Hota. The sons of Prajapati (Brahman) themselves, viz., Ekata, Dwita, and Trita, became the Sadasyas in that sacrifice.[1801] There were others also who became Sadasyas in that sacrifice, viz., Dhanusha, Raivya, Arvavasu, Parvavasu, the Rishi Medhatithi, the great Rishi Tandya, the blessed Rishi Santi, otherwise called Vedasiras, the foremost of Rishis, viz., Kapila, who was the father of Salihotra, the first Kalpa, Tittiri the elder brother of Vaisampayana, Kanwa, and Devahotra, in all forming sixteen. In that great sacrifice, O monarch, all the requisite articles were collected. No animals were slain in it. The king had ordained it so. He was full of compassion. Of pure and liberal mind, he had cast off all desires, and was well-conversant with all rites. The requisites of that sacrifice all consisted of the products of the wilderness. The ancient God of gods (viz., Hari), became highly gratified with the king on account of that sacrifice. Incapable of being seen by any one else, the great God showed himself to his worshipper. Accepting by taking its scent, the share offered to him he himself took up the Purodasa.[1802] The great God took up the offerings without being seen by any one. At this, Vrihaspati became angry. Taking up the ladle he hurled it with violence at the sky, and began to shed tears in wrath. Addressing king Uparichara he said,–Here, I place this as Narayana's share of the sacrificial offerings. Without doubt, he shall take it before my eyes.

“Yudhishthira said, 'In the great sacrifice of Uparichara, all the deities appeared in their respective forms for taking their shares of the sacrificial offerings and were seen by all. Why is it that the puissant Hari only acted otherwise by invisibly taking his share?'

“Bhishma continued, 'When Vrihaspati gave way to wrath, the great king Vasu and all his Sadasyas sought to pacify the great Rishi. With cool heads, all of them addressed Vrihaspati, saying,–It behoveth thee not to give way to anger. In this Krita age, this anger to which thou hast given way, should not be the characteristic of any one. The great deity for whom the share of the sacrificial offerings was designed by thee, is himself free from anger. He is incapable of being seen either by ourselves or by thee, O Vrihaspati! Only he can see Him to whom He becomes gracious.–Then the Rishis Ekata, Dwita, and Trita, who were well conversant with the science of morality and duties compiled by the seven Rishis, addressed that conclave and began the following narration.–We are the sons of Brahman, begotten by a fiat of his will (and not in the ordinary way). Once on a time we repaired to the north for obtaining what is for our highest good. Having undergone penances for thousands of years and acquired great ascetic merit, we again stood on only one foot like fixed stakes of wood. The country where we underwent the austerest of penances, lies to the north of the mountains of Meru and on the shores of the Ocean of Milk. The object we had in mind was how to behold the divine Narayana in his own form. Upon the completion of our penances and after we had performed the final ablutions, an incorporeal voice was heard by us, O puissant Vrihaspati, at once deep as that of the clouds and exceedingly sweet and filling the heart with joy. The voice said,–Ye Brahmanas, well have ye performed these penances with cheerful souls. Devoted unto Narayana, ye seek to know how ye may succeed in beholding that god of great puissance! On the northern shores of the Ocean of Milk there is an island of great splendour called by the name of White Island. The men that inhabit that island have complexions as white as the rays of the Moon and that are devoted to Narayana. Worshippers of that foremost of all Beings, they are devoted to Him with their whole souls. They all enter that eternal and illustrious deity of a thousand rays.[1803] They are divested of senses. They do not subsist on any kind of food. Their eyes are winkless. Their bodies always emit a fragrance. Indeed, the denizens of White Island believe and worship only one God. Go thither, ye ascetics, for there I have revealed myself!–All of us, hearing these incorporeal words, proceeded by the way indicated to the country described. Eagerly desirous of beholding Him and our hearts full of Him, we arrived at last at that large island called White Island. Arrived there, we could see nothing. Indeed, our vision was blinded by the energy of the great deity and accordingly we could not see Him.[1804] At this, the idea, due to the grace of the great God Himself, arose in our minds that one that had not undergone sufficient penances could not speedily behold Narayana. Under the influence of this idea we once more set ourselves to the practice of some severe austerities, suited to the time and place, for a hundred years. Upon the completion of our vows, we beheld a number of men of auspicious features. All of them were white and looked like the Moon (in colour) and possessed of every mark of blessedness. Their hands were always joined in prayer. The faces of some were turned towards the North and of some towards the East. They were engaged in silently thinking on Brahma.[1805] The Yapa performed by those high-souled persons was a mental yapa (and did not consist of the actual recitation of any mantras in words). In consequence of their hearts having been entirely set upon Him, Hari became highly pleased with them. The effulgence that was emitted by each of those men resembled, O foremost of ascetics, the splendours which Surya assumes when the time comes for the dissolution of the universe. Indeed, we thought that Island was the home of all Energy. All the inhabitants were perfectly equal in energy. There was no superiority or inferiority there among them.[1806] We then suddenly beheld once more a light arise, that seemed to be the concentrated effulgence of a thousand Suns, O Vrihaspati. The inhabitants, assembling together, ran towards that light, with hands joined in reverential attitude, full of joy, and uttering the one word Namas (we bow thee!) We then heard a very loud noise uttered by all of them together. It seemed that those men were employed in offering a sacrifice to the great God. As regards ourselves, we were suddenly deprived of our senses by his Energy. Deprived of vision and strength and all the senses, we could not see or feel anything.[1807] We only heard a loud volume of sound uttered by the assembled inhabitants. It said,–Victory to thee, O thou of eyes like lotus-petals! Salutations to thee, O Creator of the universe! Salutations to thee, O Hrishikesa, O foremost of Beings, O thou that art the First-born! Even this was the sound we heard, uttered distinctly and agreeably to the rules of orthoepy.[1808] Meanwhile, a breeze, fragrant and pure, blew, bearing perfumes of celestial flowers, and of certain herbs and plants that were of use on the occasion. Those men, endued with great devotion, possessed of hearts full of reverence, conversant with the ordinances laid down in the Pancharatra, were then worshipping the great deity with mind, word, and deed.[1809] Without doubt, Hari appeared in that place whence the sound we heard arose. As regards ourselves, stupefied by His illusion, we could not see him. After the breeze had ceased and the sacrifice had been over, our hearts became agitated with anxiety, O foremost one of Angira's race. As we stood among those thousands of men all of whom were of pure descent, no one honoured us with a glance or nod. Those ascetics, all of whom were cheerful and filled with devotion and who were all practising the Brahma-frame of mind, did not show any kind of feeling for us.[1810] We had been exceedingly tired. Our penances had emaciated us. At that time, an incorporeal Being addressed us from the sky and said unto us these words–These white men, who are divested of all outer senses, are competent to behold (Narayana). Only those foremost of regenerate persons whom these white men honoured with their glances, become competent to behold the great God.[1811] Go hence, ye Munis, to the place whence ye have come. That great Deity is incapable of being ever seen by one that is destitute of devotion. Incapable of being seen in consequence of his dazzling effulgence, that illustrious Deity can be beheld by only those persons that in course of long ages succeed in devoting themselves wholly and solely to Him. Ye foremost of regenerate one, ye have a great duty to per-form. After the expiration of this the Krita age, when the Treta age comes in course of the Vivaswat cycle, a great calamity will overtake the worlds. Ye Munis, ye shall then have to become the allies of the deities (for dispelling that calamity).–Having heard these wonderful words that were sweet as nectar, we soon got back to the place we desired, through the grace of that great Deity. When with the aid of even such austere penances and of offerings devoutly given in sacrifices, we failed to have a sight of the great Deity, how, indeed, can you expect to behold Him so easily? Narayana is a Great Being, He is the Creator of the universe. He is adorned in sacrifices with offerings of clarified butter and other food dedicated with the aid of Vedic mantras. He has no beginning and no end. He is Unmanifest. Both the Deities and the Danavas worship Him.–Induced by these words spoken by Ekata and approved by his companions, viz., Dwita and Trita, and solicited also by the other Sadasyas, the high-minded Vrihaspati brought that sacrifice to a completion after duly offering the accustomed adorations to the Deities. King Uparichara also, having completed his great sacrifice, began to rule his subjects righteously. At last, casting off his body, he ascended to heaven. After some time, through the curse of the Brahmanas, he fell down from those regions of felicity and sank deep into the bowels of the Earth. King Vasu, O tiger among monarchs, was always devoted to the true religion. Although sunk deep into the bowels of the Earth, his devotion to virtue did not abate. Ever devoted to Narayana, and ever reciting sacred mantras having Narayana for their deity, he once more ascended to heaven through Narayana's grace. Ascending from the bowels of the Earth, king Vasu in consequence of the very highest end that he attained, proceeded to a spot that is even higher than the region of Brahman himself.'”[1812]


“Yudhishthira said, 'When the great king Vasu was so wholly devoted to Narayana, for what reason then did he fall down from heaven and why again had he to sink beneath the surface of the Earth?”

'Bhishma said, 'In this connection is cited an old narrative, O Bharata, of a discourse between the Rishis and the gods. The gods, once on a time, addressing many foremost of Brahmanas, said unto them that sacrifices should be performed by offering up Ajas as victims. By the word Aja should be understood the goat and no other animal.'

The Rishis said, The Vedic Sruti declares that in sacrifices the offerings should consist of (vegetable) seeds. Seeds are called Ajas. It behoveth you not to slay goats. Ye deities, that cannot be the religion of good and righteous people in which slaughter of animals is laid down. This, again, is the Krita age. How can animals be slaughtered in this epoch of righteousness?'

“Bhishma continued, While this discourse was going between the Rishis and the deities, that foremost of kings, viz., Vasu, was seen to come that way. Endued with great prosperity, the king was coming through the welkin, accompanied by his troops and vehicles and animals. Beholding king Vasu coming to that spot through the skies, the Brahmanas addressing the deities, said,–This one will remove our doubts. He performs sacrifices. He is liberal in making gifts. He always seeks the good of all creatures. How, indeed, will the great Vasu, speak otherwise,–Having thus spoken unto each other, the deities and the Rishis quickly approached king Vasu and questioned him, saying,–O king, with what should one perform sacrifices? Should one sacrifice with the goat or with herbs and plants? Do thou dispel this doubt of ours. We constitute thee our judge in this matter.–Thus addressed by them, Vasu joined his hands in humility and said unto them.–Tell me truly, ye foremost of Brahmanas, what opinion is entertained by you in this matter?

”'The Rishis said, The opinion entertained by us, O king, is that sacrifices should be performed with grain. The deities, however, maintain that sacrifices should be performed with animals. Do thou judge between us and tell us which of these opinions is correct.'

“Bhishma continued, 'Learning what the opinion was that was entertained by the deities, Vasu, moved by partiality for them, said that sacrifices should be performed with animals. At this answer, all the Rishis, endued with the splendour of the Sun, became very angry. Addressing Vasu who was seated on his car and who had (wrongly) taken up the side of the deities, they said unto him,–Since thou hast (wrongly) taken up the side of the deities, do thou fall down from heaven. From this day, O monarch, thou shalt lose the power of journeying through the sky. Through our course, thou shalt sink deep below the surface of the Earth. After the Rishis had said these words, king Uparichara immediately fell down, O monarch, and went down a hole in Earth. At the command, however, of Narayana, Vasu's memory did not leave him. To the good fortune of Vasu, the deities, pained at the course denounced on him by the Brahmanas, began to think anxiously as to how that course might be neutralised. They said, This high-souled king hath been cursed for our sake. We, denizens of heaven, should unite together for doing what is good to him in return for that which he has done to us. Having quickly settled this in their minds with the aid of reflection, the deities proceeded to the spot where the king Uparichara was. Arrived, at his presence, they addressed him, saying, Thou art devoted to the great God of the Brahmanas (viz., Narayana). That great Lord of both the deities and the Asuras, gratified with thee, will rescue thee from the course that has been denounced upon thee. It is proper, however, that the high-souled Brahmanas should be honoured. Verily, O best of kings, their penances should fructify.[1813] Indeed, thou hast already fallen down from the sky on the Earth. We desire, however, O best of kings, to show thee a favour in one respect. As long as thou, O sinless one, shalt dwell in his hole, so long shalt thou receive (due sustenance, through our boon)! Those streaks of clarified butter which Brahmans with concentrated minds pour in sacrifices in accompaniment with sacred mantras, and which are called by the name of Vasudhara, shall be thine, through our care for thee! Indeed weakness or distress shall not touch thee.[1814] While dwelling, O king of kings, in the hole of the Earth, neither hunger nor thirst shall afflict thee for thou shalt drink those streaks of clarified butter called Vasudhara. Thy energy also shall continue unabated. In consequence also of this our boon that we grant thee, the God of gods, viz., Narayana will be gratified with thee, and He will bear thee hence to the region of Brahman!–Having granted these boons unto the king, the denizens of heaven, as also all those Rishis possessed of wealth of penances, returned each to his respective place. Then Vasu, O Bharata, began to adore the Creator of the universe and to recite in silence those sacred mantras that had come out of Narayana's mouth in days of yore.[1815] Although dwelling in a pit of the Earth, the king still worshipped Hari, the Lord of all the deities, in the well-known five sacrifices that are performed five times every day, O slayer of foes! In consequence of these adorations, Narayana, otherwise called Hari, became highly pleased with him who thus showed himself to be entirely devoted to Him, by wholly relying upon Him as his sole refuge, and who had completely subjugated his senses. The illustrious Vishnu, that giver of boons, then addressing Garuda of great speed, that foremost of birds, who waited upon Him as his servant, said these desirable words:–O foremost of birds, O thou that art highly blessed, listen to what I say! There is a great king of the name of Vasu who is of righteous soul and rigid vows. Through the wrath of the Brahmanas, he has fallen into a pit of the Earth. The Brahmans, have been sufficiently honoured (for their curse has fructified). Do thou go to that king now. At my command, O Garuda, go to that foremost of kings, viz., Uparichara who is now dwelling in a whole of the Earth and incapable of any longer sailing through the sky, and bring him up without delay into the welkin. Hearing these words of Vishnu, Garuda, spreading his wings and rushing with the speed of the wind, entered that hole in the Earth in which king Vasu was living. Suddenly taking the king up, the son of Vinata soared into the sky and there released the king from his beaks. At that moment, king Uparichara once more acquired his celestial form and re-entered the region of Brahman. It was in this way, O son of Kunti, that great king first fell down through the curse of the Brahmanas for a fault of speech, and once more ascended to heaven at the command of the great God (Vishnu). Only the puissant Lord Hari, that foremost of all Beings, was devoutly worshipped by him. It was for this devout worship that the king succeeded very soon in escaping from the curse denounced upon him by the Brahmanas and in regaining the felicitous regions of Brahman.

“Bhishma continued, 'I have thus told thee everything respecting the origin of the spiritual sons of Brahman. Listen to me with undivided attention, for I shall now narrate to thee how the celestial Rishi Narada proceeded in days of yore to White Island.'”


“Bhishma said, 'Arrived at the spacious realm called White Island, the illustrious Rishi beheld those same white men possessed of lunar splendour (of whom I have already spoken to thee). Worshipped by them, the Rishi worshipped them in return by bending his head and reverencing them in his mind.[1816] Desirous of beholding Narayana, he began to reside there, attentively engaged in the silent recitation of mantras, sacred to him, and observant of vows of the most difficult kind, with concentrated mind, the regenerate Rishi, with arms upraised, stood in Yoga, and then sang the following hymn unto the Lord of the universe, Him, viz., who is at once the soul of attributes and divested of all attributes.

“Narada said, Salutations to thee, O God of gods, O thou that art freed from all acts! Thou art he who is divested of all attributes, who is the Witness of all the worlds, who is called Kshetrajna, who is the foremost of all Beings, who is Infinite, who is called Purusha, who is the great Purusha, who is the foremost of all Purushas, who is the soul of the three attributes, who is called the Foremost, who is Amrita (nectar), who is called Immortal, who is called Ananta (Sesha), who is Space,[1817] who is without beginning, who is both Manifest and Unmanifest as existent and not-existent things, who is said to have his home in Truth,[1818] who is the first of gods (Narayana), who is the giver of wealth (or of the fruits of acts), identified with Daksha and other Lords of the Creation, who is the Aswattha and other big trees, who is the four-headed Brahman, who is the Lord of all created Beings, who is the Lord of Speech,[1819] who is the Lord of the universe (or Indra), who is the all-pervading Soul, who is the Sun, who is the breath called Prana, who is the Lord of the waters (viz., Varuna), who is identifiable with the Emperor or the King, who is identifiable with the Regents of the several points of the compass, who is the refuge of the universe when it is dissolved in the final destruction,[1820] who is Undisplayed (unrevealed), who is the giver of the Vedas unto Brahman, who is identifiable with the sacrifices and Vedic studies achieved by Brahmanas with the aid of their bodies, who is identifiable with the four principal orders of the deities, who is every one of those four orders, who is possessed of effulgence, who is possessed of great effulgence, who is he unto whom the seven largest offerings in sacrifices are presented with the Gayatri and other sacred mantras, who is Yama, who is Chitragupta and the other attendants of Yama, who is called the wife of Yama, who is that order of the deities called Tushita, who is that other order called Mahatushita, who is the universal grinder (Death), who is desire and all diseases that have been created for aiding the advent of Death, who is health and freedom from disease, who is subject to desire and passions, who is free from the influence of desire and passions, who is Infinite as exhibited in species and forms, who is he that is chastised, who is he that is the chastiser, who is all the lesser sacrifices (like Agnihotra and others), who is all the larger sacrifices (like those called Brahma, etc.), who is all the Ritwijas, who is the origin of all sacrifices (viz., the Vedas), who is fire, who is the very heart of all sacrifices (viz., the mantras and hymns uttered in them), who is he that is hymned in sacrifices, who takes those shares of the sacrificial offerings that are presented to him, who is the embodiment of the five sacrifices, who is the maker of the five sections or divisions of time (viz., day, night, month, season and year), who is incapable of being understood except by those scriptures that are called Pancharatra, who never shrinks from anything, who is unvanquished, who is only Mind (without a physical frame), who is known only by name, who is the Lord of Brahman himself, who has completed all the vows and observances mentioned in the Vedas,[1821] who is the Hansa (bearer of the triple stick), who is the Parama-hansa (divested of stick), who is the foremost of all sacrifices, who is Sankhya-yoga, who is the embodiment of the Sankhya philosophy, who dwells in all Jivas, who lives in every heart, who resides in every sense, who floats on the ocean-water, who lives in the Vedas, who lies on the lotus (the image of the egg whence the universe has sprung), who is the Lord of the universe, and whose troops go everywhere for protecting his worshippers. Thou takest birth as all creatures. Thou art the origin of the universe (of all creatures). Thy mouth is fire. Thou art that fire which courses through the waters of the ocean, issuing out all the while from an Equine head. Thou art the sanctified butter that is poured into the sacrificial fire. Thou art the car-driver (fire or heat that impels the body and causes it to live and grow). Thou art Vashat. Thou art the syllable Om. Thou art Penances. Thou art Mind. Thou art Chandramas. Thou sanctifiest the sacrificial butter. Thou art the Sun. Thou art the Dikgajas (Elephants) that are sanctioned in the four cardinal points of the compass. Thou illuminest the cardinal points of the compass. Thou illuminest the subsidiary points also. Thou art the Equine head. Thou art the first three mantras of the Rig Veda. Thou art the protector of the several orders of men (viz., Brahmanas, Kshatriyas, Vaisyas, and Sudras). Thou art the five fires (beginning with Garhapatya). Thou art He who has thrice ignited the sacrificial fire called Nachi.[1822] Thou art the refuge of the six limbs (viz., the Vedas).[1823] Thou art the foremost of those Brahmanas that are employed in singing the Samans in sacrifices and other religious rites. Thou art Pragjyotish, and thou art he who sings the first Saman.[1824] Thou art the observer of those vows that depend upon the Vedas and that are observed by singers of Samanas. Thou art the embodiment of the Upanishad, called by the name of Atharvasiras. Thou art he who is the topic of the five foremost of scriptures (viz., those that appertain to the worship of Surya, of Sakti, of Ganesa, of Siva, and of Vishnu). Thou art called the preceptor that subsists only on the froth of water. Thou art a Valikhilya.[1825] Thou art the embodiment of him who has not fallen away from Yoga. Thou art the embodiment of correctness of judgment of reasoning. Thou art the beginning of the Yugas, thou art the middle of the Yugas and thou art their end. Thou art Akhandala (Indra). Thou art the two Rishis Prachina-garbha and Kausika. Thou art Purusthuta, thou art Puruhuta, thou art the artificer of the universe. Thou hast the universe for thy form. Thy motions are infinite. Thy bodies are infinite; thou art without end and without beginning, and without middle. Thy middle is unmanifest. Thy end is unmanifest. Thou hast vows for thy abode. Thou residest in the ocean. Thou hast thy home in Fame, in Penances, in Self-restraint, in Prosperity, in Knowledge, in grand Achievements, and in Everything belonging to the universe. Thou art Vasudeva. Thou art the grantor of every wish. Thou art Hanuman that bore Rama on his shoulders. Thou art the great Horse-sacrifice. Thou takest thy share of offerings made in great sacrifices.[1826] Thou art the grantor of boons, of happiness, of wealth. Thou art devoted to Hari., Thou art Restraint of the senses. Thou art vows and observances. Thou art mortifications, thou art severe mortifications, thou art very severe mortifications.[1827] Thou art he who observes vows and religious and other pious rites. Thou art freed from all errors. Thou art a Brahmacharin. Thou tookest birth in the womb of Prisni. Thou art he from whom have flowered all Vedic rites and acts. Thou art unborn. Thou pervadest all things. Thy eyes are on all things. Thou must not be apprehended by the senses. Thou art not subject to deterioration. Thou art possessed of great puissance. Thy body is inconceivably vast. Thou art holy, thou art beyond the ken of logic or argument. Thou art unknowable. Thou art the foremost of Causes. Thou art the Creator of all creatures and thou art their destroyer. Thou art the possessor of vast powers of illusion. Thou art called Chittrasikhandin. Thou art the giver of boons. Thou art the taker of thy share of the sacrificial offerings. Thou hast obtained the merit of all sacrifices. Thou art he who has been freed from all doubts, Thou art omnipresent. Thou art of the form of a Brahmana. Thou art fond of Brahmanas. Thou hast the universe for thy form. Thy form is very vast. Thou art the greatest friend. Thou art kind to all thy worshippers. Thou art the great deity of the Brahmanas. I am thy devoted disciple. I am desirous of beholding thee. Salutations to thee that art of the form of Emancipation.'”


“Bhishma said, 'Thus hymned with names that were not known to others, the Divine Narayana having the universe for his form showed himself to the ascetic Narada. His form was somewhat purer than the moon and differed from the moon in some respects. He somewhat resembled a blazing fire in complexion. The puissant Lord was somewhat of the form of Vishti.[1828] He resembled in some respects the feathers of the parrot, and in some a mass of pure crystal. He resembled in some respects a hill of antimony and in some a mass of pure gold. His complexion somewhat resembled the coral when first formed, and was somewhat white. In some respects that complexion resembled the hue of gold and in some that of the lapis lazuli. In some respects it resembled the hue of the blue lapis lazuli and in some that of sapphire. In some respects it resembled the hue of the peacock's neck, and in some that of a string of pearls. Bearing these diverse kinds of hues on his person, the eternal Deity appeared before Narada. He had a thousand eyes and was possessed of great beauty. He had a hundred heads and a hundred feet. He had a thousand stomachs and a thousand arms. He seemed to be still inconceivable to the mind. With one of his mouths he uttered the syllable Om and then the Gayatri following Om. With mind under complete control, the great Deity, called by the names of Hari and Narayana, by his other mouths, multitudinous in number, uttered many mantras from the four Vedas which are known by the name of Aranyaka. The Lord of all the deities, the great God who is adorned in sacrifices, held in his hands a sacrificial altar, a Kamandalu, few white gems, a pair of sandal, a bundle of Kusa blades, a deer-skin, a toothstick, and a little blazing fire.[1829] With cheerful soul, that foremost of regenerate persons, viz., Narada of restraining speech, bowed unto the great God and adored Him. Unto him whose head was still bent low in veneration, the first of all the deities, who is free from deterioration, said the following words.

”'The Holy one said, The great Rishis, Ekata, Dwita, and Trita, came to this realm from desire of obtaining a sight of me. They, however, were unable to have the fruition of their wishes. Nor can any one have a sight of me save those persons that are devoted to me with their whole hearts. As regards thee, thou art verily the foremost of all persons devoted to me with all their souls. These are my bodies, the best ones that I assume. These were born, O regenerate one, in the house of Dharma. Do thou worship them always, and do thou perform those rites that are laid down in the ordinances with respect to that worship. O Brahmana, do thou ask of me the boons thou desirest. I am gratified with thee to-day, and I appear unto thee now in my universal form as freed from decay and deterioration.

“Narada said, Since, O holy one, I have today succeeded in obtaining a sight of thee. I regard that I have won without any delay the fruits of my penances, O God, of my self-restraint, and of all the vows and observances that I have gone through. This, indeed, is the highest boon thou hast granted me for thou hast shown thyself to me today. O Eternal Lord, Thou, O holy one, hast the universe for thy eye. Thou art the Lion. Thy form is identifiable with everything. Possessed of puissance, thou, O Lord, art vast and infinite.

Bhishma continued, 'Having thus shown Himself unto Narada, the son of Parameshthi, the great God addressed that ascetic and said,–Go hence, O Narada, and do not delay! These worshippers of mine, possessed of lunar complexions, are divested of all senses and do not subsist upon any kind of food. They are, again, all Emancipate; with minds wholly concentrated upon Me, people should think of Me. Such worshippers will never meet with any impediments. These men are all crowned with ascetic success and are highly blessed. In ancient times they became entirely devoted to me. They have been freed from the attributes of Rajas and Tamas. Without doubt, they are competent to enter me and become merged into my Self.–He that cannot be seen with the eye, touched with the sense of touch, smelt with the sense of scent, and that is beyond the ken of the sense of taste. He whom the three attributes of Sattwa, Rajas, and Tamas do not touch, who pervades all things and is the one Witness of the universe, and who is described as the Soul of the entire universe; He who is not destroyed upon the destruction of the bodies of all created things, who is unborn and unchangeable and eternal, who is freed from all attributes, who is indivisible and entire; He who transcends the twice twelve topics of enquiry and is regarded the Twenty-fifth, who is called by the name of Purusha, who is inactive, and who is said to be apprehended by Knowledge alone, He into whom the foremost of the regenerate persons enter and become emancipate. He who is the eternal Supreme Soul and is known by the name of Vasudeva. Behold, O Narada, the greatness and puissance of God. He is never touched by acts good or bad. Sattwa, Rajas and Tamas, are said to be the three (original) attributes. These dwell and act in the bodies of all creatures. The Jiva-soul, called Kshetrajna, enjoys and endorse the action of these three attributes. He, however, transcends them and they cannot touch Him. Freed from these attributes, He is again their enjoyer and endorser. Having created them Himself, He is above them all. O celestial Rishi, the Earth, which is the refuge of the universe, disappears[1830] (when the hour for universal dissolution comes) into water, Water disappears into Light, and Light into Wind, Wind disappears into Space, and Space into Mind. Mind is a great creature, and it disappears into Unmanifest Prakriti. Unmanifest Prakriti, O Brahmana, disappears into inactive Purusha. There is nothing higher than Purusha which is Eternal. There is nothing among mobile and immobile things in the universe that is immutable, except Vasudeva, the eternal Purusha. Endued with great puissance, Vasudeva is the Soul of all creatures. Earth, Wind, Space, Water, and Light forming the fifth, the primal elements of great puissance. Mingling together they form what is called the body. Possessed of subtile prowess and invisible to all eyes, O Brahmana, the puissant Vasudeva then enter that combination of the five primal elements, called body. Such entrance is called his birth, and taking birth. He causes the body to move about and act. Without a combination of the five primal elements, no body can ever be formed. Without, again, the entrance of Jiva into the body, the mind dwelling within it cannot cause it to move and act. He that enters the body is possessed of great puissance and is called Jiva. He is known also by other names, viz., Sesha and Sankarshana. He that takes his rise, from that Sankarshana, by his own acts, Sanatkumara, and in whom all creatures merge when the universal dissolution comes, is the Mind of all creatures and is called by the name of Pradyumna. From Him (i.e., Pradyumna), arises He who is the Creator, and who is both Cause and Effect. From this last, everything, viz., the mobile and immobile universe, takes its rise. This one is called Aniruddha. He is otherwise called Isana, and He is manifest in all acts.[1831] That illustrious one, viz., Vasudeva, who is called Kshetrajna, and who is freed from attributes, should, O king of kings, be known as the puissant Sankarshana, when he takes birth as Jiva.[1832] From Sankarshana arises Pradyumna who is called 'He that is born as Mind.' From Pradyumna is He who is Aniruddha. He is Consciousness, He is Iswara (Supreme Lord). It is from me, that the entire mobile and immobile universe springs. It is from me, O Narada, that the indestructible and destructible, the existent and the non-existent, flow. They that are devoted to me enter into me and become emancipate. I am known as Purusha. Without acts, I am the Twenty-fifth. Transcending attributes, I am entire and indivisible. I am above all pairs of opposite attributes and freed from all attachments. This, O Narada, thou wilt fail to understand. Thou beholdest me as endued with a form. In a moment, if the wish arises, I can dissolve this form. I am the Supreme Lord and the Preceptor of the universe. That which thou beholdest of me, O Narada, is only an illusion of mine. I now seem to be endued with the attributes of all created things. Thou art not competent to know me. I have disclosed to thee duly my quadruple form. I am, O Narada, the Doer, I am Cause, and I am Effect. I am the sum-total of all living creatures. All living creatures have their refuge in me. Let not the thought be thine that thou hast seen the Kshetrajna. I pervade all things. O Brahmana, and am the Jiva-Soul of all creatures. When the bodies of all creatures, however, are destroyed, I am not destroyed. Those highly blessed men who, having won ascetic success, become wholly devoted to me, become freed from the attributes of both Rajas and Tamas and succeeds, on that account, in entering me, O great ascetic. He who is called Hiranyagarbha, who is the beginning of the world, who has four faces, who cannot be understood with the aid of Nirukta, who is otherwise called Brahman, who is an eternal deity, is employed in attending to many of my concerns. The deity Rudra, born of my wrath, is sprung from my forehead. Behold, the eleven Rudras are swelling (with might) on the right side of my body. The twelve Adityas are on the left side of my body. Behold, the eight Vasus, those foremost of deities, are in my front, and see, Nasatya and Dasra, those two celestial physicians (Aswini Kumars), are in my rear. Behold also in my body all the Prajapatis and behold the seven Rishis also. Behold also the Vedas, and all the Sacrifices numbering by hundreds, the Amrita (nectar), and all the (medicinal) herbs and plants, and Penances, and vows and observances of diverse kinds. Behold also in me the eight attributes indicative of puissance, viz., those particularly called the attributes of Lordship, all dwelling together in my body in their united and embodied form. Behold also Sree and Lakshmi, and Kirti, and the Earth with her hump as also the goddess, Saraswati, that mother of the Vedas, dwelling in me. Behold, O Narada, Dhruva, that foremost of luminaries ranging the firmament, as also all the Oceans those receptacles of water, and lakes, and rivers, dwelling in me. Behold also, O best of men, the four foremost ones amongst the Pitris in their embodied forms, as also, the three attributes (of Sattwa, Rajas, and Tamas) which are formless dwelling in me. The acts done in honour of the Pitris are superior (in point of merit) to those done in honour of the deities. I am the Pitri of both the deities and the Pitris, and am existing from the beginning (that is, from a time when they were not). Becoming the Equine-head I rove through the Western and the Northern ocean and drink sacrificial libations duly poured with mantras and solid sacrificial food offered with reverence and devotion. In days of yore I created Brahman who himself adored me in sacrifices. Gratified with him on that account I granted him many excellent boons. I said unto him that in the beginning of the Kalpa he would be born unto me as my son, and the sovereignty of all the worlds would vest on him, coupled with diverse names being bestowed on diverse objects in consequence of the starting of Ahankara into existence.[1833] I also told him that none would ever violate the limits and boundaries he would assign (for the observance of creatures) and, further, that he would be the giver of boons unto persons that would (in sacrifices and by proper acts) solicit him for them. I further assured him that he would be an object of adoration with all the deities and Asuras, all the Rishis and Pitris, and the diverse creatures forming the creation. I also gave him to understand that I would always manifest myself for accomplishing the business of the deities and that for that matter I would suffer myself to be commanded by him even as a son by his sire.[1834] Granting these and other highly agreeable boons unto Brahman of immeasurable energy in consequence of my being gratified with him I (once more) adopted the course dictated by Nivritti. The highest Nivritti is identical with the annihilation of all duties and acts. Hence, by adopting Nivritti one should conduct oneself in complete felicity. Learned preceptors, with settled convictions deducted from the truths of the Sankhya philosophy, have spoken of me as Kapila endued with the puissance of Knowledge, dwelling within the effulgence of Surya, and concentrated in Yoga.[1835] In Chcchandas (Vedas) I have been repeatedly hymned as the illustrious Hiranyagarbha. In the Yoga scriptures, O Brahmana, I have been spoken of as one who takes a delight in Yoga. I am eternal. Assuming a form that is manifest, I dwell, at present, in the heavens. At the end of a thousand Yugas I shall once more with-draw the universe into myself. Having withdrawn all creatures, mobile and immobile into myself, I shall exist all alone with knowledge only for my companion. After the lapse of ages I shall again create the universe, with the aid of that knowledge. That which is my fourth form creates the indestructible Sesha. That Sesha is called by the name of Sankarshana. Sankarshana creates Pradyumna. From Pradyumna I take birth myself as Aniruddha. I create (myself) repeatedly. From Aniruddha springs Brahman. The latter takes birth from Aniruddha's navel. From Brahman spring all creatures mobile and immobile. Know that Creation springs in this way repeatedly at the beginning of every Kalpa. Creation and destruction succeed each other even as sunrise and sunset in this world. Then, again, as Time, endued with immeasurable energy, forcibly brings back the Sun after his disappearance, after the same manner I shall, assuming the form of boar and putting forth my strength, bring back the Earth with her belt of seas to her own position for the good of all creatures when she becomes submerged in water. I shall then slay the son of Diti, named Hiranyaksha, filled with pride of strength.[1836] Assuming the form then of a Man-lion (Narsingha), I shall, for benefiting the deities, slay Hiranyakasipu the son of Diti, who will be a great destroyer of sacrifices. Unto Virochana (the son of Prahlada) will be born a mighty son of the name of Vali. That great Asura will be unslayable in the whole universe consisting of deities, Asuras and Rakshasas. He will hurl Sakra from the sovereignty of the universe. When after routing the Lord of Sachi, that Asura will take unto himself the sovereignty of the three worlds, I shall take birth in Aditi's womb, by Kasyapa, as the twelfth Aditya. I shall (taking the sovereignty of the three worlds Vali) restore it to Indra of immeasurable splendour, and replace the deities, O Narada, in their respective stations. As regards Vali, that foremost of Danavas, who is to be unslayable by all the deities, I shall cause him to dwell in the nether regions. In the Treta age I shall take birth as Rama in the race of Bhrigu, and exterminate the Kshatriyas who will become proud of their strength and possessions. Towards the close of Treta and the beginning of Dwapara, I shall take birth as Rama, the son of Dasaratha in Iskshaku's royal line. At that time, the two Rishis viz., the two sons of Prajapati, called by the names of Ekata and Dwita, will in consequence of the injury done by them unto their brother Trita, have to take birth as apes, losing the beauty of the human form. Those apes that shall take birth in the race of Ekata and Dwita, shall become endued with great strength and mighty energy and will equal Sakra himself in prowess. All those apes, O regenerate one, will become my allies for accomplishing the business of the deities. I shall then slay the terrible lord of the Rakshasas, that wretch of Pulastya's race, viz., the fierce Ravana, that throne of all the worlds, together with all his children and followers. Towards the close of the Dwapara and beginning of the Kali ages, I shall again appear in the world taking birth in the city of Mathura for the purpose of slaying Kansa. There, after slaying innumerable Danavas that will be thorns in the side of the deities, I shall take up my residence in Kusasthali at the city of Dwaraka. While residing in that city I shall slay the Asura Naraka, the son of 'the Earth,–him, that is, who will do an injury to Aditi, as also some 'other Danavas of the names of Muru and Pitha. Slaying also another foremost of Danavas, viz., the lord of Pragjyotisha, I shall transplant his delightful city furnished with diverse kinds of wealth into Dwaraka. I shall then subjugate the two gods worshipped of all the deities, viz., Maheshwara and Mahasena, who will become fond of the Danava Vana and do him diverse good offices and who will exert themselves vigorously for that worshipper of theirs.[1837] Vanquishing next the son of the Danava Vali, viz., Vana, who will be endued with a thousand arms, I shall next destroy all the inhabitants of the Danava city called Saubha.[1838] I shall next, O foremost of Brahmanas, compass the death of Kalayavana, a Danava who will be endued with great might in consequence of his being equipt with the energy of Gargya.[1839] A proud Asura will appear as a king at Girivraja, of the name of Jarasandha, who will quarrel with all the other kings of the world. His death will be compassed by me through some one else guided by my intelligence. I shall next slay Sisupala in the sacrifice of king Yudhishthira, the son of Dharma, which sacrifice all the kings of the world will bring tribute. In some of these feats, only Arjuna, the son of Vasava, will become my assistant. I shall establish Yudhishthira with all his brothers in his ancestral kingdom. People will call me and Arjuna as Narayana and Nara, when, endued with puissance, we two, exerting our strength, shall consume a large number of Kshatriyas, for doing good to the world. Having lightened the burthen of the Earth according to our pleasure, I shall absorb all the principal Sattwatas as also Dwaraka, my favourite city, into my own self, recollecting my all-embracing Knowledge. Endued with four forms, I shall, in this way, achieve many feats of great prowess, and attain at last to those regions of felicity created by me and honoured by all the Brahmanas. Appearing in the forms of a swan, a tortoise, a fish, O foremost of regenerate ones, I shall then display myself as a boar, then as a Man-lion (Nrisingha), then as a dwarf, then as Rama of Bhrigu's race, then as Rama, the son of Dasaratha, then as Krishna the scion of the Sattwata race, and lastly as Kalki. When the auditions in the Vedas disappeared from the world, I brought them back. The Vedas with the auditions in them, were re-created by me in the Krita age. They have once more disappeared or may only be partially heard here and there in the Puranas. Many of my best appearances also in the world have become events of the past. Having achieved the good of the worlds in those forms in which I appeared, they have re-entered into my own Prakriti. Brahman (the Creator) himself never obtained a sight of me in this form of mine, which thou, O Narada, hast seen today in consequence of thy entire devotion to me. I have now said everything, O Brahmana,–unto thee that art devoted to me wholly, I have disclosed to thee my ancient appearances and future ones also, O Best of men, together with all their mysteries. “Bhishma continued, The holy and illustrious deity, of universal and immutable form, having said these words unto Narada, disappeared there and then. Narada also, endued with great energy, having obtained the high favour that he had solicited, then proceeded with great speed to the retreat called Vadari, for beholding Nara and Narayana. This great Upanishad, perfectly consist with the four Vedas, in harmony with Sankhya-yoga, and called by him by the name of the Pancharatra scriptures, and recited by Narayana himself with his own mouth, was repeated by Narada in the presence of many hearers in the abode of Brahman (his sire) in exactly the same way in which Narayana (while that great god had showed himself unto him) had recited it, and in which he had heard it from his own lips.

“Yudhishthira said, 'Was not Brahman, the Creator of all things, acquainted with this wonderful narrative of the glory of Narayana endued with intelligence that he heard it from the lips of Narada? Is the illustrious Grandsire of all the worlds any way different from or inferior to the great Narayana? How then is it that he was unacquainted with the puissance of Narayana of immeasurable energy?'

Bhishma continued, 'Hundreds and thousands of great-Kalpas, hundreds and thousands of Creation and Dissolutions, O king of kings, have been over and have become incidents of the past.[1840] In the beginning of every cycle of Creation, Brahman, endued with great puissance and who creates all things, is remembered (by Narayana). Brahman knows well, O king, that Narayana, that foremost of all gods is very much superior to him. He knows that Narayana is the Supreme Soul, that he is the Supreme Lord, that He is the Creator of Brahman himself. It was only unto that conclave of Rishis, crowned with ascetic success, that came to the abode of Brahman, that Narada recited his narrative which is a very ancient one, and which is perfectly consistent with the Vedas. The deity Surya, having heard that narrative from those Rishis crowned with ascetic success,[1841] repeated it to the six and sixty thousands of Rishis, O king, of cleansed souls, that follow in his train. And Surya, the deity that imparts heat unto all worlds, repeated that narrative unto those Beings also, of cleansed souls, that have been created (by Brahman) for always journeying in the van of Surya.[1842] The high-souled Rishis that follow in Surya's train, O son, repeated that excellent narrative unto the deities assembled on the breast of Meru. That best of ascetics, viz., the regenerate Asita, then having heard the narrative from the deities, repeated it unto the Pitris, O king of kings. I heard it from my sire Santanu, O son, who recited it to me formerly. Myself having heard it from my sire. I have repeated it to thee, O Bharata. Deities and Munis, who have heard this excellent old narrative, which is a Purana–all adore the Supreme Soul. This narrative, belonging to the Rishis and thus handed down from one to another, should not, O king, be communicated by thee to any one that is not a worshipper of Vasudeva. This narrative, O king, is really the essence of the hundreds of other narratives that thou hast heard from me. In days of yore, O monarch, the deities and the Asuras, uniting together, churned the Ocean and t wised the Amrita. After the same manner, the Brahmanas, uniting together in days of yore, churned all the scriptures and raised this narrative which resembles nectar. He who frequently reads this narrative, and he who frequently listens to it, with concentrated attention, in a retired spot, and filled with devotion, succeeds in becoming a denizen, possessed of lunar complexion, of the spacious island known by the name of White Island. Without doubt, such a man succeeds in entering into Narayana of a thousand rays. A sick person, by listening to this narrative from the beginning, becomes freed from his illness. The man that simply desires to read or listen to this narrative obtains the fruition of all his wishes. To devoted worshipper, by reading or listening to it, attains to the high end that is reserved for devoted worshippers. Thou also, O monarch, shouldst always adore and worship that foremost of all Beings. He is the father and the mother of all creatures, and He is an object of reverence with the entire universe. Let the illustrious and Eternal God of the Brahmans, viz., Janarddana of high intelligence, be gratified with thee, O Yudhishthira of mighty arms!'”

Vaisampayana continued, “Having listened to the best of narratives, O Janamejaya, king Yudhishthira the just and all his brothers became devoted to Narayana. And all of them, O Bharata, betaking themselves to the practice of silently meditating upon Narayana (from that day), uttered these words for His glorification, viz., 'Victory to that holy and illustrious Being.' He, again, who is our best of preceptors, viz., the Island-born Krishna, devoted to penances, sung uttering the word Narayana that high mantra which is worthy of being recited in silence. Sojourning through the welkin to the Ocean of Milk which is always the abode of nectar, and worshipping the great God there, he came back to his own hermitage.

“Bhishma continued, '1 have now repeated to thee the narrative that was recited by Narada (unto the conclave of Rishis assembled in the abode of Brahman). That narrative has descended from one person to another from very ancient times. I heard it from my sire who formerly repeated it to me.'”

Suta continued, I have now told you all that Vaisampayana recited to Janamejaya. Having listened to Vaisampayana's narration, king Janamejaya properly discharged all his duties according to the ordinances laid down in the scriptures. Ye have all undergo very severe penances and observed many high and excellent vows. Residing in this sacred forest that is known by the name of Naimisha, ye are foremost of all persons conversant with the Vedas. Ye foremost of regenerate ones, ye all have come to this great sacrifice of Saunaka. Do ye all adore and worship that Eternal and Supreme Lord of the universe in excellent sacrifices, properly pouring libations of clarified butter into the fire with the aid of mantras and dedicating the same unto Narayana. As regards myself, I heard this excellent narrative that has descended from generation to gene-ration, from my sire who recited it to me in former times.


Saunaka said, How is that illustrious god, viz., the puissant Narayana who is fully conversant with the Vedas and their branches, at once the doer and the enjoyer of sacrifices? Endued with forgiveness, he has adopted, again, the religion of Nivritti (abstention). Indeed, it is that holy and puissant one who has himself ordained the duties of Nivritti. Why then has he made many of the deities the takers of shares in sacrifices which, of course, are all due to the disposition of Pravritti? Why has he again created some with a contrary disposition, for they follow the ordinances of the religion of abstention? Do thou O Suta, dispel this doubt, of ours. This doubt seems to be eternal and is connected with a great mystery. Thou hast heard all discourses on Narayana, discourses that are consistent with the (other) scriptures.[1843]

Sauti said, O excellent Saunaka, I shall recite to thee what Vaisampayana, the disciple of the intelligent Vyasa, said when questioned on these very topics by king Janamejaya. Having heard the discourse on the glory of Narayana who is the Soul of all embodied creatures, Janamejaya, endued with great intelligence and wisdom, questioned Vaisampayana on these very subjects.

Janamejaya said, “The whole world of Beings, with Brahma, the deities, the Asuras and human beings, are seen to be deeply attached to actions which have been said to be productive of prosperity. Emancipation has, O regenerate one, been said by thee to be the highest felicity and to consist of the cessation of existence. They who, being divested of both merit and demerit, become emancipate, succeed, we hear, in entering the great God of a thousand rays. It seems to be, O Brahmana, that the eternal religion of Emancipation is exceedingly difficult of observance. Turning away from it, all the deities have become enjoyers of the libations of clarified butter poured with mantras on sacrificial fires and other offerings presented to them by the same or similar means. Then, again, Brahman, and Rudra, the puissant Sakra the slayer of Vala, Surya, Chandramas (the Lord of the stars), the Wind-god, the Deity of fire, the Deity of the Waters, Infinite Space (as living Being), the Universe too (as a conscious agent), and the rest of the denizens of heaven,–they, it seems, are ignorant of the way of securing annihilation of conscious existence, that is capable of being brought about by self-realisation.[1844] Hence, perhaps, they have not be taken themselves to the path that is certain, indestructible, and immutable. Hence perhaps, turning away from that path they have adopted the religion of Pravritti which leads to conscious existence that is measured by time. This, indeed, is one great fault that attaches to those that are wedded to actions, for all their rewards are terminable. This doubt, O regenerate one, is planted in my heart like a dagger. Remove it out by reciting to me some discourses of old on this topic. Great is my curiosity to listen to thee. For what reason, O regenerate one, have the deities been said to be takers of their respective shares of sacrificial offerings presented to them with the aid of mantras in sacrifices of diverse kinds? Why again are the denizens of heaven adored in sacrifices? And, O best of regenerate persons, to whom do they, that take their shares of offerings in sacrifices performed to their honour, themselves make offerings when they perform great sacrifices?”

Vaisampayana said, “The question thou has asked me, O ruler of men, relates to a deep mystery. No man that has not undergone penances, and that is not acquainted with the Puranas, can speedily answer it. I shall, however, answer thee by reciting to thee what my preceptor the Island-born Krishna, otherwise called Vyasa, the great Rishi who has classified the Vedas, had said unto us on a former occasion when questioned by us. Sumanta, and Jaimini, and Paila of firm vows, and myself numbering the fourth, and Suka forming the fifth, were disciples of the illustrious Vyasa. We numbering five in all, endued with self-restraint and purity of observances, had completely subjugated wrath and controlled our senses. Our preceptor used to teach us the Vedas, having the Mahabharata for their fifth. Once on a time, while we were engaged in studying the Vedas on the breast of that foremost of mountains, viz., the delightful Meru, inhabited by Siddhas and Charanas, this very doubt arose in our minds that has been expressed by thee today. We, therefore, questioned our preceptor about It. It heard the answer that our preceptor made. I shall now recite that answer to thee, O Bharata. Hearing these words that were addressed to him by his disciples that dispeller of all kinds of darkness represented by ignorance, viz., the blessed Vyasa, the son of Parasara, said these words: have undergone very severe, in fact, the austerest of penances. Ye best of men, I am fully conversant with the Past, the Present, and the Future. In consequence of those penances of mine and of the restraint under which I kept my senses while I dwelt on the shores of the Ocean of milk, Narayana became gratified with me. As the result of the great God's gratification, this omniscience with respect to the Past, the Present, and the Future, that was desired by me, arose in my mind. Listen now to me as I discourse to you, in due order, on this great doubt that has disturbed your minds. I have, with the eye of knowledge, beheld all that occurred in the beginning of the Kalpa. He whom both the Sankhyas and those conversant with Yoga call by the name of Paramatma (the Supreme Soul) comes to be regarded as Mahapurusha (the Great Purusha) in consequence of his own acts. From Him springs forth Abyakta (the Unmanifest), whom the learned call Pradhana. From the puissant Unmanifest sprang, for the creation of all the words, the Manifest (Byakta). He is called Aniruddha. That Aniruddha is known among all creatures by the name of the Mahat Atma. It is that Aniruddha who, becoming manifest, created the Grandsire Brahman. Aniruddha is known by another name, viz., Ahankara (consciousness) and is endued with every kind of energy. Earth, Wind, Space, Water, and Light numbering the fifth, these are the five Mahabhutas (elements) that have sprung from Ahankara. Having created the Mahabhutas (five in number), he then created their attributes.[1845] Combining the Mahabhutas, he then created diverse embodied Being. Listen to me as I recount them to you. Marichi, Angiras, Atri, Pulastya, Pulaha, Kratu, the high-souled Vasishtha, and the Self-born Mann, these should be known as the eight Prakritis. Upon these rest all the worlds. Then the Grandsire of all the world, viz., Brahman, created, for the fulfilment of all creatures, the Vedas with all their branches, as also the Sacrifices with their limbs. From these eight Prakritis have sprung this vast universe. Then sprang Rudra from the principle of wrath, starting into life, he created ten others that were like him. These eleven Rudras are called by name of Vikara-Purushas. The Rudras, the (eight) Prakritis, and the several celestial Rishis, having started into life, approached Brahman with the object of upholding the universe and its operations. Addressing the Grandsire, they said, We have been created, O holy one, by thee, O thou of great puissance. Tell each of us, O Grandsire, the respective jurisdiction we shall be vested with. What particular jurisdictions have been created by thee for supervising the different affairs? We, each, should be endued with what kind of consciousness and shall take charge of which of these? Do thou ordain also unto each of us the measure of strength that we are to have for discharging the duties of our respective jurisdictions.' Thus addressed by them, the great god replied unto them in the following way.

“Brahman said, You have done well, ye deities, in speaking to me of this matter. Blessed be you all! I was thinking of this very subject that has engaged your attention. How should the three worlds be upheld and kept agoing? How should your strength and mine be utilized towards that end? Let all of us, leaving this place, repair to that unmanifest and foremost of Beings who is the witness of the world, for seeking his protection. He will tell us what is for our good. After this, those deities and Rishis, with Brahman, proceeded to the northern shores of the Ocean of milk, desirous of doing good to the three worlds. Arrived there, they began to practise those austere penances that are declared by Brahman in the Vedas. Those austerest of penances are known by the name of Mahaniyama (the foremost vows and observances). They stood there with mind fixed, immovable as posts of wood, and with eyes upturned and arms raised upwards. For a thousand celestial years they were engaged in those severe penances. At the conclusion of that period they heard these sweet words in harmony with the Vedas and their branches.

”'The blessed and holy one said, Ye deities and Rishis possessed of wealth of asceticism, with Brahman in your company, after according you all welcome, I say unto you these words. I know that is in your hearts. Verily, the thoughts that engage you are for the good of the three worlds. I shall increase your energy and strength investing the same with Pravritti (predilection for acts). Ye gods, well have you undergone these penances from desire of adoring me. Ye foremost of Beings, enjoy now the excellent fruits of austerities which ye have gone through. This Brahman is the Lord of all the worlds. Endued with puissance, he is the Grandsire of all creatures. Ye also are foremost of deities. Do ye all, with concentrated minds perform sacrifices for my glory. In the sacrifices which you will perform, do ye always give me a portion of the sacrificial offerings. I shall then, ye lord of creation, assign to each of you your respective jurisdictions and ordain what will be for your good!”'

Vaisampayana continued, “Hearing these words of that God of gods, all those deities and great Rishis and Brahman became filled with such delight that the hair on their bodies stood on its end. They forthwith made arrangements for a sacrifice in honour of Vishnu according to the ordinances laid down in the Vedas. In that sacrifice, Brahman himself dedicated a portion of the offerings to Vishnu. The deities and the celestial Rishis also, after the manner of Brahman, dedicated similar portions each unto the great God. The portions, thus offered with great reverence unto Vishnu, were, in respect of both the measure and the quality of the articles used, according to the ordinances laid down for the Krita age. The deities and the Rishis and Brahman, in that sacrifice, adored the great God as one endued with the complexion of the Sun, as the foremost of Beings, situate beyond the reach of Tamas, vast, pervading all things, the Supreme Lord of all, the giver of boons, and possessed of puissance. Thus adored by them, the boon-giving and great God, invisible and bodiless, addressed those assembled celestials from heaven and said unto them:–“The offerings dedicated by you in this sacrifice have all reached me. I am gratified with all of you. I shall bestow rewards on you that will however, be fraught with ends whence there will be return.[1846] This shall be your distinctive feature, ye gods, from this day, in consequence of my grace and kindness for you. Performing sacrifices in every Yuga, with large presents, ye will become enjoyers of fruits born of Pravritti. Ye gods, those men also that will perform sacrifices according to the ordinances of the Vedas, will give unto all of you shares of their sacrificial offerings. In the Veda-sutras I make him the receiver (in such sacrifices) of a share similar to that which he has himself offered one in this sacrifice. Created to look after those affairs that appertain to your respective jurisdictions, do ye uphold the worlds according to the measures of your strength as dependent on the shares you receive on those sacrifices. Indeed, drawing strength from those rites and observances that will be current in the several worlds, taking their rise from the fruits of Pravritti, do ye continue to uphold the affairs of those worlds.[1847] Strengthened by the sacrifices that will be performed by men, ye will strengthen me. These are the thoughts that I entertain for you all. It is for this purpose that I have created the Vedas and sacrifices and plants and herbs. Duly served with these by human beings on Earth, the deities will be gratified. Ye foremost of deities, till the end of this Kalpa, I have ordained your creation, making your constitution depend upon the consequence of the religion of Pravritti. Ye foremost of Beings, do ye then, as regards your respective jurisdictions, engage yourselves in seeking the good of the three worlds. Marichi, Angiras, Atri, Pulastya, Pulaha, Kratu, and Vasishtha,–these seven Rishis have been created by a fiat of the will. These will become the foremost of persons conversant with the Vedas. In fact, they will become the preceptors of the Vedas. They will be wedded to the religion of Pravritti, for they have been intended to devote themselves to the act of procreating offspring. This is the eternal path that I disclose of creatures engaged in acts and observances. The puissant Lord who is charged with the creation of all the worlds is called Aniruddha, Sana, Sanatsujata, Sanaka, Sanandana, Sanatkumara, Kapila, and Sanatana numbering the seventh,–these seven Rishis are known as the spiritual sons of Brahman. Their knowledge comes to them of itself (without being dependant on study or exertion). These seven are wedded to the religion of Nivritti. They are the foremost of all persons conversant with Yoga. They are possessed also of deep knowledge of the Sankhya philosophy. They are preceptors of the scriptures on duty and it is they that introduce the duties of the religion of Nivritti and cause them to flow in the worlds. From Unmanifest (Prakriti) has flowed Consciousness and the three great attributes (of Sattwa, Rajas, and Tamas). Transcending Prakriti is he called Kshetrajna. That Kshetrajna is myself. The path of those that are wedded to Karma emerging out of Ahankara is fraught with return. One cannot, by that path, reach the spot whence there is no return. Different creatures have been created with different ends. Some are intended for the path of Pravritti and some for that of Nivritti. According to the path that a creature follows is the reward that he enjoys. This Brahman is the master of all the worlds. Endued with puissance it is he that creates the universe.[1848] He is your mother and father, and he is your grandfather. At my command, he will be the giver of boons unto all creatures. His son Rudra, who has sprung from his brow at his command, will, endued with puissance, uphold all created beings. Go ye to your respective jurisdictions, and seek, according to the ordinances, the good of the worlds. Let all the scriptural acts flow in all the worlds. Let there be no delay in this. Ye foremost of celestials, do ye ordain the acts of all creatures and the ends that they are to attain therefore. Do ye appoint also the limits of the periods for which all creatures are to live. This present epoch that has been set to run is the foremost of all epochs and should be known by the name of Krita. In this Yuga living creatures should not be slain in the sacrifices that may be performed. It should be as I ordain and let it not be otherwise. In this age, ye celestials, Righteousness will flourish in its entirety.[1849] After this age will come the epoch called Treta. The Vedas, in that Yuga, will lose one quarter. Only three of them will exist. In the sacrifice that will be performed in that age, animals, after dedication with the aid of sacred mantras, will be slain. As regards Righteousness again, it will lose one quarter; only three quarters thereof will flourish. On the expiration of the Treta will come the mixed Yuga known by the name of Dwapara. In that Yuga, Righteousness will lose two quarters and only two quarters thereof will flourish. Upon the expiration of Dwapara the Yuga that will set in will be called Kali yuga which will come under the influence of Tisya constellation. Righteousness will lose full three quarters. Only a quarter thereof will exist in all places.

”'When the great God said these words, the deities and the celestial Rishis addressed him and said, If only a fourth part of Righteousness is to exist in that age in every place, tell us O holy one, whither shall we then go and what shall we do!

”'The blessed and holy one said, Ye foremost of celestials, ye should, in that age, repair to such places where the Vedas and sacrifices and Penances and Truth and Self-restraint, accompanied by duties fraught with compassion for all creatures, will still continue to flourish. Sin will never be able to touch you at all!

”'Vyasa continued, 'Thus commanded by the great God, the deities with all the Rishis bowed their heads unto him and then proceeded to the places they desired. After the Rishis and denizens of heaven had left that place, Brahman remained there, desirous of beholding the great Deity eminent in the form of Aniruddha. The foremost of deities then manifested himself to Brahmana, having assumed a form that had a vast equine head. Bearing a bowl (Kamandalu) and the triple stick, he manifested himself before Brahman, reciting the while the Vedas with all their branches. Beholding the great Deity of immeasurable energy in that form crowned with an equine head, the puissant Brahman, the Creator of all the worlds.. moved by the desire of doing good to his Creation, worshipped that boon-giving Lord with a bend of his head, and stood before him with hands joined in reverence. The great Deity embraced Brahman and then told him these words.

”'The holy one said, Do thou, O Brahman, duly think of the courses of acts which creatures are to follow. Thou art the great ordainer of all created Beings. Thou art the master and the lord of the universe. Placing this burthen on thee I shall soon be free from anxiety. At such times, how-ever, when it will be difficult for thee to accomplish the purposes of the deities I shall then appear in incarnate forms according to my self-knowledge. Having said these words, that grand form with the equine head disappeared then and there. Having received his command, Brahman too proceeded quickly to his own region. It is for this, O blessed one, that the eternal Deity, with the lotus in his navel, became the acceptor of the first share offered in sacrifices and hence it is that He came to be called as the eternal upholder of all Sacrifices. He himself adopted the religion of Nivritti, the end after which those creatures strive that are desirous of indestructible fruits. He ordained at the same time the religion of Pravritti for others, with the view to giving variety to the universe. He is the beginning, He is the middle, and He is the end of all created Beings. He is their Creator and He is their one object of meditation. He is the actor and He is the act. Having withdrawn the universe into Himself at the end of the Yuga, He goes to sleep, and awakening at the commencement of another Yuga, He once more creates the universe, Do you all bow unto that illustrious one who is possessed of high soul and who transcends the three attributes, who is unborn, whose form is the universe, and who is the abode or refuge of all the denizens of heaven, Do you bow unto Him who is the Supreme Lord of all creatures, who is the Lord of the Adityas, and of the Vasus as well. Do you bow unto Him who is the Lord of the Aswins, and the Lord of the Maruts, who is the lord of all the Sacrifices ordained in the Vedas, and the Lord of the Vedangas. Bow unto Him who always resides in the Ocean, and who is called Hari, and whose hair is like the blades of the Munja grass. Bow unto Him who is Peace and Tranquillity, and who imparts the religion of Moksha unto all creatures. Bow unto Him who is the Lord of Penances, of all kinds of energy, and of Fame, who is ever the Lord of Speech and the Lord of all the Rivers also. Bow unto Him who is called Kaparddin (Rudra), who is the Great Boar, who is Unicorn, and who is possessed of great intelligence: who is the Sun, who assumed the well-known form with the equine head; and who is always displayed in a four-fold form. Bow unto Him who is unrevealed, who is capable of being apprehended by knowledge only, who is both indestructible and destructible. The supreme Deity, who is immutable, pervadeth all things. He is the Supreme Lord who can be known with the aid of the eye of knowledge alone. It was thus that, aided by the eye of Knowledge, I beheld in days of yore that foremost of deities. Asked by you, I have told you everything in detail, ye disciples, and do you act according to my words and dutifully serve the Supreme Lord called Hari. Do you hymn His praises in Vedic words and adore and worship Him also according to due rites!'”

Vaisampayana continued, “It was thus that the arranger of the Vedas, endued with great intelligence, discoursed to us, questioned by us on that occasion. His son, the highly righteous Suka, and all his disciples (viz., ourselves) listened to him while he delivered that discourse. Our preceptor, with ourselves, O king, then adored the great Deity with Richs extracted from the four Vedas. I have thus told thee everything about what thou hadst asked me. It was thus, O king, that our Island-born preceptor discoursed to us. He who, having uttered the words–I bow unto the holy Lord,–frequently listens, with concentrated attention, to this discourse or reads or recites it to others, becomes endued with intelligence and health, and possessed of beauty and strength. If ill, he becomes freed from that illness, bound, freed from his bonds. The man who cherishes desires obtains (be this) the fruition of all his desires, and easily attains to a long life also. A Brahmana, by doing this, becomes conversant with all the Vedas, and a Kshatriya becomes crowned with success. A Vaisya, by doing it, makes considerable profits, and a Sudra attains to great felicity. A sonless man obtains a son. A maiden obtains a desirable husband. A woman that has conceived brings forth a son. A barren woman conceives and attains to wealth of sons and grandsons. He who recites this discourse on the way succeeds in passing happily and without impediments of any kind along his way. In fact, one attains to whatever objects one cherishes, if one reads or recites this narrative. Hearing these words of the great Rishi, fraught with certainty of conclusion, and embodying a recital of the attributes of that high-souled one who is the foremost of all beings, hearing this narrative of the great conclave of Rishis and other denizens of heaven,–men who are devoted to the supreme Deity derive great happiness.'”


Janamejaya said, “O holy one, it behoveth thee to tell me the significance of those diverse names uttering which the great Rishi Vyasa with his disciples hymned the praises of the illustrious slayer of Madhu. I am desirous of hearing those names of Hari, that Supreme Lord of all creatures. Indeed, by listening to those names, I shall be sanctified and cleansed even like the bright autumnal moon.

Vaisampayana said, Listen, O king, to what the significances are of the diverse names, due to attributes and acts, of Hari as the puissant Hari himself of cheerful soul explained them to Phalguna. That slayer of hostile heroes, viz., Phalguna, had at one time asked Kesava, enquiring after the imports of the some of the names by which the high-souled Keshva is adored.

“Arjuna said, “O holy one, O Supreme ordainer of the Past and the Future. O Creator of all Beings, O immutable one, O Refuge of all the worlds, O Lord of the universe, O dispeller of the fears of all persons, I desire to hear from thee in detail, O Kesava, the significance of all those names of thine, O God, which have been mentioned by the great Rishis in the Vedas and the Puranas in consequences of diverse acts of thine. None else than thee, O Lord, is competent to explain the significations of those names.'”

“The holy one said, 'In the Rigveda, in the Yajurveda, in the Atharvans and the Samans, in the Puranas and the Upanishads, as also in the treatises on Astrology, O Arjuna, in the Sankhya scriptures, in the Yoga scriptures, and in the treatises also on the Science of Life, many are the names that have been mentioned by the great Rishis. Some of those names are derivable from my attributes and some of them relate to my acts. Do thou hear, with concentrated attention, O sinless one, what the import is of each off those names (in particular) that have reference to my acts. I shall recite them to you. It is said that in days of yore you were half my body. Salutations unto Him of great glory, Him, viz., that is the Supreme Soul of all embodied creatures.[1850] Salutations unto Narayana, unto Him that is identifiable with the universe, unto Him that transcends the three (primal) attributes (of Sattwa, Rajas and Minas), unto Him that is, again, the Soul of those attributes. From His grace 'lath arisen Brahman and from His wrath hath arisen Rudra. He is the source whence have sprung all mobile and immobile creatures. O foremost of all persons endued with Sattwa, the attribute of Sattwa consists of the eight and ten qualities.[1851] That attribute is Supreme Nature having for her soul the Sky and Earth and succeeding by her creative forces in upholding the universe. That Nature is identical with the fruit of all acts (in the form of the diverse regions of felicity to which creatures attain through their acts). She is also the pure Chit. She is immortal, and invincible, and is called the Soul of the universe. From her flows all the modifications of both Creation and Destruction. (She is identical with my Prakriti or Nature). Divested of sex, She or He is the penances that people undergo. He is both the sacrifice that is performed and the sacrificer that performs the sacrifice. He is the ancient and the infinite Purusha. He is otherwise called Aniruddha and is the source of the Creation and the Destruction of the universe. When Brahma's night wore off, through the grace of that Being of immeasurable energy, a lotus made its appearance first, O thou of eyes like lotus petals. Within that lotus was born Brahma, springing from Aniruddha's grace. Towards the evening of Brahma's day, Aniruddha became filled with wrath, and as a consequence of this, there sprang from his forehead a son called Rudra vested with the power of destroying everything (when the hour for destruction comes). These two, viz., Brahma and Rudra, are the foremost of all the deities, having sprung respectively from the Propitiousness and the Wrath (of Aniruddha). Acting according to Aniruddha's direction, these two deities create and destroy. Although capable of granting boons unto all creatures, they are, however, in the matter of the concerns to which they attend (viz., Creation and Destruction), merely instruments in the hands of Aniruddha. (It is Aniruddha that does everything, making Brahma and Rudra the visible agents in respect of the universe). Rudra is otherwise called Kaparddin. He has matted locks on his head, and sometimes displays a head that is bald. He loves to dwell in the midst of crematoriums which constitute his home. He is an observer of the austerest vows. He is Yogin of mighty puissance and energy. He is the destroyer of Daksha's sacrifice and the tearer of Bhaga's eyes. O son of Pandu, Rudra should be known to have always Narayana for his Soul. If that deity of deities, viz., Maheswara, be worshipped, then O Partha, is the puissant Narayana also worshipped. I am the Soul, O son of Pandu, of all the worlds, of all the universe. Rudra, again, is my Soul. It is for this that I always adore him. If I do not adore the auspicious and boon-giving Isana nobody would then adore my own self. The ordinances I set are followed by all the worlds. Those ordinances should always be adored, and it is, therefore, that I adore them. He who knows Rudra knows myself, and he who knows myself knows Rudra. He who follows Rudra follows me, Rudra is Narayana. Both are one; and one is displayed in two different forms. Rudra and Narayana, forming one person, pervade all displayed things and cause them to act. No one else than Rudra is competent to grant me a boon. O son of Pandu. Having settled this in my mind, I adored in days of yore the ancient and puissant Rudra, for obtaining the boon of a son. In adoring Rudra thus I adored my own self. Vishnu never bows his head unto any deity except his own self. It is for this reason that I adore Rudra, (Rudra being, as I have already told thee, my own self). All the deities, including Brahma and Indra and the deities and the great Rishis, adore Narayana, that foremost of deities, otherwise called by the name of Hari. Vishnu is the foremost of all Beings past, present, or future, and as such should always be adored and worshipped with reverence. Do thou bow thy head unto Vishnu. Do thou bow thy head unto Him who gives protection to all. Do thou bow, O son of Kunti, unto that great boon-giving deity, that foremost of deities, who eats the offerings made unto him in sacrifices. I have heard that there are four kinds of worshippers, viz., those who are eager for a religious life, those who are enquirers, those who strive to comprehend what they learn and those who are wise. Among them all, they that are devoted to realising the self and do not adore any other deity, are the foremost. I am the end they seek, and though engaged in acts, they never seek the fruits thereof. The three remaining classes of my worshippers are those that are desirous of the fruits of their acts. They attain to regions of great felicity, but then they have to fall down therefrom upon the exhaustion of their merits. Those amongst my worshippers, therefore, that are fully awakened (and, as such, that know that all happiness is terminable except what is attainable by persons that become identified with me) obtain what is foremost (and invaluable).[1852] Those that are awakened and whose conduct displays such enlightenment, may be engaged in adoring Brahman or Mahadeva or the other deities that occur in heaven but they succeed at least in attaining to myself. I have thus told thee, O Partha, what the distinctions are between my worshippers. Thyself, O son of Kunti, and myself are known as Nara and Narayana. Both of us have assumed human bodies only for the purpose of lightening the burden of the Earth. I am fully cognisant of self-knowledge. I know who I am and whence I am, O Bharata. I know the religion of Nivritti, and all that contributes to the prosperity of creatures. Eternal as I am, I am the one sole Refuge of all men. The waters have been called by the name of Nara, for they sprang from Him called Nara. And since the waters in former times, were my refuge, I am, therefore, called by the name of Narayana. Assuming the form of the Sun I cover the universe with my rays. And because I am the home of all creatures, therefore, am I called by the name of Vasudeva. I am the end of all creatures and their sire, O Bharata. I pervade the entire firmament on high and the Earth, O Partha, and my splendour transcends every other splendour. I am He, O Bharata, whom all creatures wish to attain to at the time of death. And because I pervade all the universe, I have come to be called by the name of Vishnu. Desirous of attaining to success through restraint of their senses, people seek to attain to me who am heaven and Earth and the firmament between the two. For this am I called by the name of Damodara. The word Prisni includes food, the Vedas, water, and nectar. These four are always in my stomach. Hence am I called by the name of Prisnigarbha. The Rishis have said that once on a time when the Rishi Trita was thrown into a well by Ekata and Dwiti, the distressed Trita invoked me, saying,–O Prisnigarbha, do thou rescue the fallen Trita! That foremost of Rishis, viz., Trita, the spiritual son of Brahma, having called on me thus, was rescued from the pit. The rays that emanate from the Sun who gives heat to the world, from the blazing fire, and from the Moon, constitute my hair. Hence do foremost of learned Brahmanas call me by the name of Kesava. The high-souled Utathya having impregnated his wife disappeared from her side through an illusion of the gods. The younger brother Vrihaspati then appeared before that high-souled one's wife. Unto that foremost of Rishis that had repaired thither from desire of congress, the child in the womb of Utathya's wife, O son of Kunti, whose body had already been formed of the five primal elements, said,–O giver of boons, I have already entered into this womb. It behoveth thee not to assail my mother. Hearing these words of the unborn child, Vrihaspati, became filled with wrath and denounced a curse on him, saying,–Since thou obstructest me in this way when I have come hither from desire of the pleasures of congress, therefore shalt thou, by my curse, be visited by blindness, without doubt! Through this curse of that foremost of Rishis. the child of Utathya was born blind, and blind he remained for a long time. It was for this reason that, that the Rishi, in days of yore, came to be known by the name of Dirghatamas. He, however, acquired the four Vedas with their eternal limbs and subsidiary parts. After that he frequently invoked me by this secret name of mine. Indeed, according to the ordinance as laid down, he repeatedly called upon me by the name of Kesava. Through the merit he acquired by uttering this name repeatedly, he became cured of his blindness and then came to be called by the name of Gotama. This name of mine, therefore, O Arjuna is productive of boons unto them that utter it among all the deities and the high-souled Rishis. The deity of Fire (Appetite) and Shoma (food) combining together, become transfused into one and the same substance. It is for this reason that the entire universe of mobile and immobile creatures is said to be pervaded by those two deities.[1853] In the Puranas, Agni and Soma are spoken of as complementary to one another. The deities also are said to have Agni for their mouth. It is in consequence of these two beings endued with natures leading to the unification that they are said to be deserving of each other and upholders of the universe.'”


“Arjuna said, 'How did Agni and Shoma, in days of yore, attain to uniformity in respect of their original nature? This doubt has arisen in my mind. Do thou dispel it, O slayer of Madhu!'

“The highly and holy one said, 'I shall recite to thee, O son of Pandu, an ancient story of incidents originating from my own energy. Do thou listen to it with rapt attention! When four thousand Yugas according to the measure of the celestials elapse, the dissolution of the universe comes. The Manifest disappears into the Unmanifest. All creatures, mobile and immobile, meet with destruction. Light, Earth, Wind, all disappear. Darkness spreads over the universe which becomes one infinite expanse of water. When that infinite waste of water only exists like Brahma without second, it is neither day nor night. Neither aught nor naught exists; neither manifest nor unmanifest. Then only undifferentiated Brahman existed. When such is the condition of the universe, the foremost of Beings, viz., springs from Tamas, the eternal and immutable Hari that is the combination of the attributes (of omnipotence and the rest), belonging to Narayana, that is indestructible and immortal, that is without senses, that is inconceivable and unborn, that is Truth's self fraught with compassion, that is endued with the form of existence which the rays of the gem called Chintamani have, that causes diverse kinds of inclinations to flow in diverse directions, that is divested of the principles of hostility and deterioration and mortality and decay, that is formless and all-pervading, and that is endued with the principle of universal Creation and of Eternity without beginning, middle, or end. There is authority for this assertion. The Sruti declares,–Day was not. Night was not. Aught was not. Naught was not. In the beginning there was only Tamas[1854] in the form of the universe, and she is the night of Narayana of universal form. Even this is the meaning of the word Tamas. From that Purusha (called Hari), thus born of Tamas and having Brahman for his parent, started into existence the Being called Brahman. Brahman, desiring to create creatures, caused Agni and Shoma to spring from his own eyes. Afterwards when creatures came to be created, the created persons came out in their due order as Brahmanas and Kshatriyas. He who started into life as Shoma was none else than Brahma; and they that were born as Brahmanas were all Shoma in reality. He who started into being as Kshatriyas were none else than Agni. The Brahmanas became endued with greater energy than the Kshatras. If you ask the reason why, the answer is that this superiority of the Brahmanas to the Kshatriyas is an attribute that is manifest to the whole world. It occurred as follows. The Brahmanas represent the eldest creation as regards men. None were created before, that was superior to the Brahmanas. He who offers food into the mouth of a Brahmana is regarded as pouring libations into a blazing fire (for gratifying the deities). I say that having ordained things in comprising this way, the creation of creatures was accomplished by Brahma. Having established all created Beings in their respective positions, he upholds the three worlds. There occurs a declaration to the same effect in the Mantras of the Srutis. Thou, O Agni, art the Hotri in sacrifices, and the benefactor of the universe. Thou art the benefactor of the deities, of men, and of all the worlds. There is (other) authority also for this. Thou art, O Agni, the Hotri of the universe and of sacrifices. Thou art the source through which the deities and men do good to the universe. Agni is truly the Hotri and the performer of sacrifices. Agni is again the Brahma of the sacrifice. No libations can be poured into sacrificial fire without uttering mantras; there can be no penances without a person to perform them; the worship of the deities and men and the Rishis is accomplished by the libations poured with mantras. Hence, O Agni, thou hast been regarded as the Hotri in sacrifices.[1855] Thou art, again, all the other mantras that have been declared in respect of the Homa rites of men. For the Brahmanas the duty is ordained of officiating for others in the sacrifices they perform. The two other orders, viz., Kshatras and Vaisyas, that are included within the regenerate or twice-born class, have not the same duty prescribed for them. Hence, Brahmanas are like Agni, who uphold sacrifices. The sacrifices (which the Brahmanas perform) strengthen the deities. Strengthened in this way, the deities fructify the Earth (and thereby support all living creatures). But the result that may be achieved by the foremost of sacrifices may as well be accomplished through the mouth of the Brahmanas. That learned person who offers food into the mouth of a Brahmana is said to pour libations into the sacred fire for gratifying the deities. In this way the Brahmanas have come to be regarded as Agni. They that are possessed of learning adore Agni. Agni, is again, Vishnu. Entering all creatures, he upholds their life-breaths. In this connection there is a verse sung by Sanatkumara. Brahman, in creating the universe, first created the Brahmanas. The Brahmanas become immortal by studying the Vedas, and repair to heaven through the aid of such study. The intelligence, speech, acts and observances, faith, and the penances of the Brahmanas uphold both the Earth and the heaven like slings of strings upholding bovine nectar.[1856] There is no duty higher than Truth. There is no superior more worthy of reverence than the mother. There is none more efficient than the Brahmana for conferring felicity both here and hereafter. The inhabitants of those realms where Brahmanas have no certain means of support (from lands or other kinds of property assigned to them) become very miserable. There the oxen do not carry the people or draw the plough, nor do vehicles of any kind bear them. There milk kept in jars is never churned for yielding butter. On the other hand, the residents become divested of prosperity of every kind, and betake themselves to the ways of robbers (instead of being able to enjoy the blessings of peace)[1857] In the Vedas, the Puranas, the histories, and other authoritative writings, it is said that Brahmanas, who are the souls of all creatures, who are the creators of all things, and who are identifiable with all existent objects, sprang from the mouth of Narayana. Indeed, it is said that the Brahmans first came at the time when the great boon-giving god had restrained his speech as a penance and the other orders have originated from the Brahmanas. The Brahmanas are distinguished above the deities and Asuras, since they were created by myself in my indescribable form as Brahma. As I have created the deities and the Asuras and the great Rishis so I have placed the Brahmanas in their respective situations and have to punish them occasionally. In consequence of his licentious assault on Ahalya, Indra was cursed by Gautama, her husband, through which Indra got a green beard on his face. Through that curse of Kausika Indra lost, also, his own testicles, which loss was afterwards (through the kindness of the other deities) made up by the substitution of the testicles of a ram. When in the sacrifice of king Sarjiati, the great Rishi Chyavana became desirous of making the twin Aswins sharers of the sacrificial offerings, Indra objected. Upon Chyavana insisting, Indra sought to hurl his thunderbolt at him. The Rishi paralysed Indra's arms. Incensed at the destruction of his sacrifice by Rudra, Daksha once more set himself to the practice of severe austerities and attaining to high puissance caused something like a third eye to appear on the forehead of Rudra for the destruction of Tripurasura.[1858] When Rudra addressed himself for the destruction of the triple city belonging to the Asuras, the preceptor of the Asuras, viz., Usanas, provoked beyond endurance, tore a matted lock from his own head and hurled it at Rudra. From that matted lock of Usanas sprang many serpents. Those serpents began to bite Rudra, at which his throat became blue. During a bygone period, viz., that connected with the Self-born Manu,[1859] it is said that Narayana had seized Rudra by the throat and hence did Rudra's throat become blue. On the occasion of churning the Ocean for raising the amrita, Vrihaspati of Angiras race sat on the shores of the Ocean for performing the rite of Puruscharana. When he took up a little water for the purpose of the initial achamana, the water seemed to him to be very muddy. At this Vrihaspati became angry and cursed the Ocean, saying,–Since thou continuest to be so dirty regardless of the fact of my having come to thee for touching thee, since thou hast not become clear and transparent, therefore from this day thou shalt be tainted with fishes and sharks and tortoises and other aquatic animals. From that time, the waters of the ocean have become infested with diverse kinds of sea-animals and monsters. Viswarupa, the son of Tashtri, formerly became the priest of the deities. He was, on his mother's side, related to the Asuras, for his mother was the daughter of an Asura. While publicly offering unto the deities their shares of sacrificial offerings, he privately offered shares thereof unto the Asuras. The Asuras, with their chief Hiranyakasipu at their head, then repaired to their sister, the mother of Viswarupa, and solicited a boon from her, saying,–The son Viswarupa by Tashtri, otherwise called Trisiras, is now the priest of the deities. While he gives unto the deities their shares of sacrificial offerings publicly, he gives us our shares of the same privately. In consequence of this, the deities are being aggrandised, and we are being weakened. It behoveth thee, therefore, to prevail upon him that he may take up our cause. Thus addressed by them, the mother of Viswarupa repaired to her son who was then staying in the Nandana woods (of Indra) and said unto him,–How is it, O son, that thou art engaged in aggrandising the cause of thy foes and weakening that of thy maternal uncles? It behoveth thee not to act in this way.–Viswarupa, thus solicited by his mother, thought that he should not disobey her words, and as the consequence of that reflection he went over to the side of Hiranyakasipu, after having paid proper respects to his mother. King Hiranyakasipu, upon the arrival of Trisiras, dismissed his old Hotri, viz., Vasishtha, the son of Brahma, and appointed Trisiras to that office. Incensed at this, Vasishtha cursed Hiranyakasipu, saying,–Since thou dismissest me and appointest another person as thy Hotri, this sacrifice of thine shall not be completed, and some Being the like of whom has not existed before will slay thee!–In consequence of this curse, Hiranyakasipu was slain by Vishnu in the form of a man-lion, Viswarupa, having adopted the side of his maternal relations, employed himself in severe austerities for aggrandising them. Impelled by the desire of causing him to swerve from his vows, Indra despatched to him many beautiful Apsaras. Beholding those celestial nymphs of transcendent beauty, the heart of Viswarupa became agitated. Within a very short time he became exceedingly attached to them. Understanding that he had become attached to them, the celestial nymphs said unto him one day,–We shall not tarry here any longer. In fact, we shall return to that place whence we came. Unto them that said so, the son of Tashtri replied,–Where will you go? Stay with me. I shall do you good. Hearing him say so, the Apsaras rejoined,–We are celestial nymphs called Apsaras. We chose in days of old the illustrious and boon-giving Indra of great puissance, Viswarupa then said unto them. This very day I shall so ordain that all the deities with Indra at their head shall cease to be. Saying this, Trisiras began to recite mentally certain sacred Mantras of great efficacy. By virtue of those Mantras he began to increase in energy. With one of his mouths he began to drink all the Soma that Brahmanas engaged in Sacrifices poured on their sacred fires with due rites. With a second mouth he began to eat all food (that was offered in sacrifices). With his third mouth he began to drink up the energy of all the deities with Indra at their head. Beholding him swelling with energy in every part of his body that was strengthened by the Soma he was drinking, all the deities, then, with Indra in their company, proceeded to the Grandsire Brahma. Arrived at his presence, they addressed him and said,–All the Soma that is duly offered in the sacrifices performed everywhere is being drunk by Viswarupa. We no longer obtain our shares. The Asuras are being aggrandised, while we are being weakened. It behoveth thee, therefore, to ordain what is for our good.–After the deities ceased, the Grandsire replied,–The great Rishi Dadhichi of Bhrigu's race is now engaged in performing severe austerities. Go, ye deities, unto him and solicit a boon from him. Do ye so arrange that he may cast off his body. With his bones let a new weapon be created called the Thunderbolt. Thus instructed by the Grandsire, the deities proceeded to that place where the holy Rishi Dadhichi was engaged in his austerities. The deities with Indra at their head addressed the sage, saying,–O holy one, your austerities, we hope, are being well performed and uninterrupted.–Unto them the sage Dadhichi said,–Welcome to all of you. Tell me what I should do for you. I shall certainly do what you will say. They then told him,–It behoveth thee to cast off thy body for benefiting all the worlds. Thus solicited, the sage Dadhichi, who was a great Yogin and who regarded happiness and misery in the same light, without being at all cheerless, concentrated his Soul by his Yoga power and cast off his body. When his Soul left its temporary tenement of clay, Dhatri, taking his bones, created an irresistible weapon called the Thunder-bolt. With the Thunder-bolt thus made with the bones of a Brahmana, which was impenetrable by other weapons and irresistible and pervaded by the energy of Vishnu, Indra struck Viswarupa the son of Tashtri. Having slain the son of Tashtri thus, Indra severed his head from the body. From the lifeless body, however, of Viswarupa, when it was pressed, the energy that was still residing in it gave birth to a mighty Asura of the name of Vritra. Vritra became the foe of Indra, but Indra slew him also with the Thunder-bolt. In consequence of the sin of Brahmanicide, being thus doubled Indra became overcome with a great fear and as the consequence thereof he had to abandon the sovereignty of heaven. He entered a cool lotus stalk that grew in the Manas lake. In consequence of the Yoga attribute of Anima, he became very minute and entered the fibres of that lotus stalk.[1860] When the lord of the three worlds, the husband of Sachi, had thus disappeared from sight through fear of the sin of Brahmanicide, the universe became lordless. The attributes of Rajas and Tamas assailed the deities. The Mantras uttered by the great Rishis lost all efficacy. Rakshasas appeared everywhere The Vedas were about to disappear. The inhabitants of all the worlds, being destitute of a king, lost their strength and began to fall an easy prey to Rakshasas and other evil Beings. Then the deities and the Rishis, uniting together, made Nahusha, the son of Ayusha, the king of the three worlds and duly crowned him as such. Nahusha had on his forehead full five-hundred luminaries of blazing effulgence, which had the virtue of despoiling every creature of energy. Thus equipt Nahusha continued to rule heaven. The three worlds were restored to their normal condition. The inhabitants of the universe once more became happy and cheerful. Nahusha then said,–Everything that Indra used to enjoy is before me. Only, his spouse Sachi is not by. Having said this, Nahusha proceeded to where Sachi was and, addressing her, said,–O blessed lady, I have become the lord of the deities. Do thou accept me. Unto him Sachi replied, saying–Thou art, by nature, wedded to righteousness of behaviour. Thou belongest, again, to the race of Shoma. It behoveth thee not to assail another person's wife.–Nahusha, thus addressed by her, said,–The position of Indra is now being occupied by me. I deserve to enjoy the dominions and all the precious possessions of Indra. In desiring to enjoy thee there can be no sin. Thou wert Indra's and, therefore, should be mine. Sachi then said unto him,–I am observing a vow that has not yet been completed. After performing the final ablutions I shall come to thee within a few days. Extracting this promise from Indra's spouse, Nahusha left her presence. Meanwhile Sachi, afflicted with pain and grief, anxious to find her lord and assailed by her fear of Nahusha proceeded to Vrihaspati (the chief priest of the celestials). At the first sight Vrihaspati understood her to be struck with anxiety. He immediately had recourse to Yoga-meditation and learnt that she was intent upon doing what was necessary for restoring her husband to his true position. Vrihaspati then addressed her, saying,–Equipt with penances and the merit that will be thine in consequence of this vow that thou art observing, do thou invoke the boon-giving goddess Upasruti. Invoked by thee, she will appear and show thee where thy husband is dwelling.–While in the observance of that very austere vow, she invoked with the aid of proper Mantras the boon-giving goddess Upasruti. Invoked by Sachi, the goddess presented herself before her and said,–I am here at thy bidding. Invoked by thee I have come. What cherished wish of thine shall I accomplish? Bowing unto her with a bend of the head, Sachi said,–O blessed lady, it behoveth thee to show me where my husband is. Thou art Truth. Thou art Rita. Thus addressed, the goddess Upasruti took her to the lake Manasa. Arrived there, she pointed out to Sachi her lord Indra residing within the fibres of a lotus stalk. Beholding his spouse pale and emaciated, Indra became exceedingly anxious. And the lord of heaven said unto himself, Alas, great is the sorrow that has overtaken me. I have fallen off from the position that is mine. This my spouse, afflicted with grief on my account, finds out my lost self and comes to me here. Having reflected in this strain, Indra addressed his dear spouse and said,–In what condition art thou now? She answered him,–Nahusha invites me to make me his wife. I have obtained a respite from him, having fixed the time when I am to go to him. Unto her Indra then said, Go and say unto Nahusha that he should come to thee on a vehicle never used before, viz., one unto which some Rishis should be harnessed, and arriving at thine in that state he should wed thee. Indra has many kinds of vehicles that are all beautiful and charming. All these have borne thee. Nahusha, however, should come on such a vehicle that Indra himself had not possessed. Thus counselled by her lord, Sachi left that spot with a joyous heart. Indra also once more entered the fibres of that lotus-stalk. Beholding the Queen of Indra come back to heaven, Nahusha addressed her saying, The time thou hadst fixed is over. Unto him Sachi said what Indra had directed her to say. Harnessing a number of great Rishis unto the vehicle he rode, Nahusha set out from his place for coming to where Sachi was living. The foremost of Rishis, viz., Agastya, born within a jar, of the vital seed of Maitravaruna, beheld those foremost of Rishis insulted by Nahusha in that way. Him Nahusha struck with his foot. Unto him, Agastya said,–Wretch, as thou hast betaken thyself to a highly improper act, do thou fall down on the Earth. Be transformed into a snake and do thou continue to live in that form as long as the Earth and her hills continue. As soon as these words were uttered by the great Rishi, Nahusha fell down from that vehicle. The three worlds once more became master-less. The deities and the Rishis then united together and proceeded to where Vishnu was and appealed to him for bringing about the restoration of Indra. Approaching him, they said,–O holy one, it behoveth thee to rescue Indra who is overwhelmed by the sin of Brahmanicide. The boon-giving Vishnu replied unto them, saying,–Let Sakra perform a Horse-sacrifice in honour of Vishnu. He will then be restored to his former position. The deities and the Rishis began to search for Indra, but when they could not find him, they went to Sachi and said unto her,–O blessed lady, go unto Indra and bring him here. Requested by them, Sachi once more proceeded to the lake Manasa. Indra, rising from the lake, came to Vrihaspati. The celestial priest Vrihaspati then made arrangements for a great Horse-sacrifice, substituting a black antelope for a good steed every way fit to be offered up in sacrifice. Causing Indra, the lord of the Maruts, to ride upon that very steed (which was saved from slaughter) Vrihaspati led him to his own place. The lord of heaven was then adored with hymns by all the deities and the Rishis. He continued to rule in heaven, cleansed of the sin of Brahmanicide which was divided into four portions and ordained to reside in woman, fire, trees, and kine. It was thus that Indra, strengthened by the energy of a Brahmana, succeeded in slaying his foe (and when, as the result of that act of his, he had been overpowered by sin, it was the energy of another Brahmana that rescued him). It was thus that Indra once more regained his position.

”'In days of yore, while the great Rishi Bharadwaja was saying his prayers by the side of the celestial Ganga, one of the three feet of Vishnu, when he assumed his three-footed form, reached that spot.[1861] Beholding that strange sight, Bharadwaja assailed Vishnu with a handful of water, upon which Vishnu's bosom received a mark (called Sreevatsa)[1862]. Cursed by that foremost of Rishis, viz., Bhrigu, Agni was obliged to become a devourer of all things. Once on a time, Aditi, the mother of the deities, cooked some food for her sons. She thought that, eating that food and strengthened by it, the deities would succeed in slaying the Asuras. After the food had been cooked. Vudha (the presiding deity of the luminary known by that name), having completed the observance of an austere vow, presented himself before Aditi and said unto her,–Give me alms. Aditi, though thus solicited for food gave him none, thinking that no one should eat of the food she had cooked, before her sons, the deities, had first taken it. Incensed at the conduct of Aditi who thus refused to give him alms, Vudha, who was Brahma's self through the austere vow he had completed, cursed her, saying that as Aditi had refused him alms she would have a pain in her womb when Vivaswat, in his second birth in the womb of Aditi, would be born in the form of an egg. Aditi reminded Vivaswat at that time of the curse of Vudha, and it is for that reason that Vivaswat, the deity who is adorned in Sraddhas, coming out of the womb of Aditi, came to be called by the name of Martanda. The Prajapati Daksha became the father of sixty daughters. Amongst them, three and ten were bestowed by him upon Kasyapa; ten upon Dharma; ten upon Mann; and seven and twenty upon Shoma. Although all the seven and twenty that were called Nakshatras and bestowed upon Shoma were equal in respect of beauty and accomplishments, yet Shoma became more attached to one, viz., Rohini, than the rest. The rest of his spouses, filled with jealousy, leaving him, repaired to their sire and informed him of this conduct of their husband, saying,–O holy one, although all of us are equal in point of beauty, yet our husband Shoma is exclusively attached to our sister Rohini.–Incensed at this representation of his daughters, the celestial Rishi Daksha cursed Shoma, saying, that thenceforth the disease phthisis should assail his son-in-law and dwell in him. Through this curse of Daksha, phthisis assailed the puissant Shoma and entered into his body. Assailed by phthisis in this way, Shoma came to Daksha. The latter addressed him, saying,–I have cursed thee because of thy unequal behaviour towards thy wives. The Rishi then said unto Shoma,–Thou art being reduced by the disease phthisis that has assailed thee. There is a sacred water called Hiranyasarah in the Western ocean. Repairing to that sacred water, do thou bathe there.–Counselled by the Rishi, Shoma proceeded thither. Arrived at Hiranyasarah, Soma bathed in that sacred water. Performing his oblations he 'cleansed himself from his sin. And because that sacred water was illumined (abhasita) by Shoma, therefore was it from that day called by the name of Prabhasa. In consequence, however, of the curse denounced upon him in days of old by Daksha, Shoma, to this day, begins to wane from the night of the full moon till his total disappearance on the night of the new moon whence he once more begins to wax till the night of full moon. The brightness also of the lunar disc from that time received a stain, for the body of Shoma, since then, has come to present certain dark spots. In fact, the splendid disc of the moon has, from that day, come to exhibit the mark of a hare. Once on a time, a Rishi of the name of Sthulasiras was engaged in practising very severe austerities on the northern breasts of the mountains of Meru. While engaged in those austerities, a pure breeze, charged with all kinds of delicious perfumes, began to blow there and fan his body. Scorched as his body was by the very severe austerities he was undergoing, and living as he did upon air alone to the exclusion of every kind of food, he became highly gratified in consequence of that delicious breeze which blew around him. While he was thus gratified with the delicious breeze that fanned him, the trees around him (moved by jealousy) put forth their flowers for making a display and extorting his praise. Displeased at this conduct of the trees because it was dictated by jealousy, the Rishi cursed them, saying,–Henceforth, ye shall not be able to put forth your flowers at all times.–In days of yore, for doing good to the world, Narayana took birth as the great Rishi Vadavamukha. While engaged in practising severe austerities on the breast of Meru, he summoned the Ocean to his presence. The Ocean, however, disobeyed his summons. Incensed at this, the Rishi, with the heat of his body, caused the waters of the Ocean to become as saltish in taste as the human sweat. The Rishi further said.–Thy waters shall henceforth cease to be drinkable. Only when the Equine-head, roving within thee, will drink thy waters, they will be as sweet as honey. It is for this curse that the waters of the Ocean to this day are saltish to the taste and are drunk by no one else than the Equine-head.[1863] The daughter, named Uma, of the Himavat mountains, was desired by Rudra in marriage After Himavat had promised the hand of Uma to Mahadeva, the great Rishi Bhrigu, approaching Himavat, addressed him, saying,–Give this daughter of thine unto me in marriage. Himavat replied unto him, saying,–Rudra is the bridegroom already selected by me for my daughter.–Angry at this reply, Bhrigu said,–Since thou refusest my suit for the hand of thy daughter and insultest me thus, thou shalt no longer abound with jewels and gems. To this day, in consequence of the Rishi's words, the mountains of Himavat have not any jewels and gems. Even such is the glory of the Brahmanas. It is through the favour of the Brahmanas that the Kshatriyas are able to possess the eternal and undeteriorating Earth as their wife and enjoy her. The power of the Brahmanas, again, is made up of Agni and Shoma. The universe is upheld by that power and, therefore, is upheld by Agni and Shoma united together. It is said that Surya and Chandramas are the eyes of Narayana. The rays of Surya constitute my eyes. Each of them, viz., the Sun and the Moon, invigorate and warm the universe respectively. And because of the Sun and the Moon thus warming and invigorating the universe, they have come to be regarded as the Harsha (joy) of the universe. It is in consequence of these acts of Agni and Shoma that uphold the universe that I have come to be called by the name of Hrishikesa, O son of Pandu. Indeed, I am the boon-giving Isana, the Creator of the universe.[1864] Through virtue of the Mantras with which libations of clarified butter are poured on the sacred fire, I take and appropriate the (principal) share of the offerings made in sacrifices. My complexion also is of that foremost of gems called Harit. It is for these reasons that I am called by the name of Hari. I am the highest abode of all creatures and am regarded by persons conversant with the scriptures to be identical with Truth or Nectar. I am, for this reason, called by learned Brahmanas by the name of Ritadhama (abode of Truth or Nectar). When in days of yore the Earth became submerged in the waters and lost to the view, I found her out and raised her from the depths of the Ocean. For this reason the deities adore me by the name of Govinda. Sipivishta is another name of mine. The word Sipi indicates a person that has no hair on his body. He who pervades all things in the form of Sipi is known by the name of Sipivishta. The Rishi Yaksha, with tranquil soul, in many a sacrifice invoked me by the name Sipivishta. It is for this reason that I came to bear this secret name. Yaksha of great intelligence, having adored me by the name Sipivishta, succeeded in restoring the Niruktas which had disappeared from the surface of the Earth and sunk into nether regions. I was never born. I never take birth. Nor shall I ever be born. I am the Kshetrajna of all creatures. Hence am I called by the name of Aja (unborn).[1865] I have never uttered anything base or anything that is obscene. The divine Saraswati who is Truth's self, who is the daughter of Brahma and is otherwise called by the name of Rita, represents my speech and always dwells in my tongue. The existent and the non-existent have been merged by me in my Soul. The Rishis dwelling in Pushkara, which is regarded as the abode of Brahman, called me by the name of Truth. I have never swerved from the attribute of Sattwa, and know that the attribute of Sattwa has flowed from me. In this birth also of mine, O Dhananjaya, my ancient attribute of Sattwa has not left me, so that in even this life, establishing myself on Sattwa, I set myself to acts without ever wishing for their fruits. Cleansed of all sins as I am through the attribute of Sattwa, which is my nature, I can be beheld by the aid of that knowledge only which arises from adoption of the attribute of Sattwa. I am reckoned also among those that are wedded to that attribute. For these reasons am I known by the name of Sattwata.[1866] I till the Earth, assuming the form of a large plough-share of black iron. And because my complexion is black, therefore am I called by the name of Krishna. I have united the Earth with Water, Space with Mind, and Wind with Light. Therefore ant I called Vaikuntha.[1867] The cessation of separate conscious existence by identification with Supreme Brahman is the highest attribute or condition for a living agent to attain. And since I have never swerved from that attribute or condition, I am, therefore, called by the name of Achyuta.[1868] The Earth and the Firmament are known to extend in all directions. And because I uphold them both, therefore am I called by the name of Adhokshaja. Persons conversant with the Vedas and employed in interpreting the words used in those scriptures adore me in sacrifices by calling upon me by the same name. In days of yore, the great Rishis, while engaged in practising severe austerities, said,–No one else in the universe than the puissant Narayana, is capable of being called by the name of Adhokshaja. Clarified butter which sustains the lives of all creatures in the universe constitutes my effulgence. It is for this reason that Brahmanas conversant with the Vedas and possessed of concentrated souls call me by the name of Ghritarchis.[1869] There are three well-known constituent elements of the body. They have their origin in action, and are called Bile, Phlegm, and Wind. The body is called a union of these three. All living creatures are upheld by these three, and when these three become weakened, living creatures also become weakened. It is for this reason that all persons conversant with the scriptures bearing on the science of Life call me by the name of Tridhatu.[1870] The holy Dharma is known among all creatures by the name of Vrisha, O Bharata. Hence it is that I am called the excellent Vrisha in the Vedic lexicon called Nighantuka. The word 'Kapi' signifies the foremost of boars, and Dharma is otherwise known by the name of Vrisha. It is for this reason that that lord of all creatures, viz., Kasyapa, the common sire of the deities and the Asuras, called me by the name Vrishakapi. The deities and the Asuras have never been able to ascertain my beginning, my middle, or my end. It is for this reason that I am sung as Anadi, Amadhya and Ananta. I am the Supreme Lord endued with puissance, and I am the eternal witness of the universe (beholding as I do its successive creations and destructions). I always hear words that are pure and holy, O Dhananjaya, and never hold anything that is sinful. Hence am I called by the name of Suchisravas. Assuming, in days of old, the form of a boar with a single tusk, O enhancer of the joys of others, I raised the submerged Earth from the bottom of the ocean. From this reason am I called by the name of Ekasringa. While I assumed the form of mighty boar for this purpose, I had three humps on my back. Indeed, in consequence of this peculiarity of my form at that time that I have come to be called by the name of Trikakud (three-humped). Those who are conversant with the science propounded by Kapila call the Supreme Soul by the name of Virincha. That Virincha is otherwise called the great Prajapati (or Brahman). Verily I am identical with Him, called Virincha, in consequence of my imparting animation to all living creatures, for I am the Creator of the universe. The preceptors of Sankhya philosophy, possessed of definite conclusions (regarding all topics), call me the eternal Kapila staying in the midst of the solar disc with but Knowledge for my companion.[1871] On Earth I am known to be identical with Him who has been sung in the Vedic verses as the effulgent Hiranyagarbha and who is always worshipped by Yogins. I am regarded as the embodied form of the Rich Veda consisting of one and twenty thousand verses. Persons conversant with the Vedas also call me the embodiment of the Samans of a thousand branches. Even thus do learned Brahmans that are my devoted worshippers and that are very rare sing me in the Aranyakas.[1872] In the Adhyaryus I am sung as the Yajur-Veda of six and fifty and eight and seven and thirty branches.[1873] Learned Brahmans conversant with the Atharvans regard me as identical with the Atharvans consisting of five Kalpas and all the Krityas.[1874] All the sub-divisions that exist of the different Vedas in respect of branches and all the verses that compose those branches, and all the vowels that occur in those verses, and all the rules in respect of pronunciation, know, O Dhananjaya, are my work. O Partha, he that rises (at the beginning of Creation from the Ocean of Milk at the earnest invocation of Brahmana and all the deities) and who gives diverse boons unto the diverse deities, is none else than myself. I am He who is the repository of the science of syllables and pronunciation that is treated of in the supplementary portions of the Vedas. Following the path pointed out by Vamadeva, the high-souled Rishi Panchala, through my grace, obtained from that eternal Being the rules in respect of the division of syllables and words (for reading the Vedas). Indeed, Galava, born in the Vabhravya race, having attained to high ascetic success and obtained a boon from Narayana, compiled the rules in respect of the division of syllables and words (for reading the Vedas). Indeed, Galava, born in the Vabhravya race, having attained to the high ascetic success and obtained a boon from Narayana, compiled the rules in respect of the division of syllables and words, and those about emphasis and accent in utterance, and shone as the first scholar who became conversant with those two subjects. Kundrika and king Brahmadatta of great energy,[1875] repeatedly thinking of the sorrow that attends birth and death, attained to that prosperity which is acquired by persons devoted to Yoga, in course of seven births, in consequence of my favour. In days of yore, O Partha, I was, for some reason, born as the son of Dharma, O chief of Kuru's race, and in consequence of such birth of mine I was celebrated under the name of Dharmaja. I took birth in two forms, viz., as Nara and Narayana. Riding on the vehicle that helps towards the performance of scriptural and other duties, I practised, in those two forms, undying austerities on the breast of Gandhamadana[1876] At that time the great sacrifice of Daksha took place. Daksha, however, in that sacrifice of his, refused to give a share unto Rudra, O Bharata, of the sacrificial offerings. Urged by the sage Dadhichi, Rudra destroyed that sacrifice. He hurled a dart whose flames blazed up every moment. That dart, having consumed all the preparations of Daksha's sacrifice, came with great force towards us (Nara and Narayana) at the retreat of Vadari. With great violence that dart then fell upon the chest of Narayana. Assailed by the energy of that dart, the hair on the head of Narayana became green. In fact, in consequence of this change in the hue of my hair I came to be called by the name of Munjakesa.[1877] Driven off by an exclamation of Hun which Narayana uttered, the dart, its energy being lost, returned to Sankara's hands. At this, Rudra became highly angry and as the result thereof he rushed towards the Rishis Nara and Narayana, endued with the puissance of severe austerities. Narayana then seized the rushing Rudra with his hand by the throat. Seized by Narayana, the lord of the universe, Rudra's throat changed colour and became dark. From that time Rudra came to be called by the name of Sitikantha. Meanwhile Nara, for the purpose of destroying Rudra, took up a blade of grass, and inspired it with Mantras. The blade of grass, thus inspired, was converted into a mighty battle-axe. Nara suddenly hurled that battle-axe at Rudra but it broke into pieces. In consequence of that weapon thus breaking into pieces, I came to be called by the name of Khandaparasu.'[1878]

“Arjuna said, 'In that battle capable of bringing about the destruction of the three worlds, who obtained the victory, O Janarddana, do thou tell me this!'”

“The blessed and holy one said, 'When Rudra and Narayana became thus engaged in battle, all the universe became suddenly filled with anxiety. The deity of fire ceased to accept libations of even the purest clarified butter duly poured in sacrifices with the aid of Vedic Mantras. The Vedas no longer shone by inward light in the minds of the Rishis of cleansed souls. The attributes of Rajas and Tamas possessed the deities. The Earth trembled. The vault of the firmament seemed to divide in twain. All the luminaries became deprived of their splendour. The Creator, Brahman, himself fell from his seat. The Ocean itself became dry. The mountains of Himavat became riven. When such dire omens appeared everywhere, O son of Pandu, Brahma surrounded by all the deities and the high-souled Rishis, soon arrived at that spot where the battle was raging. The four-faced Brahma, capable of being understood with the aid of only the Niruktas, joined his hands and addressing Rudra, said,–Let good happen to the three worlds. Throw down thy weapons, O lord of the universe, from desire of benefiting the universe. That which is unmanifest, indestructible, immutable, supreme, the origin of the universe, uniform, and the supreme actor, that which transcends all pairs of opposites, and is inactive, has, choosing to be manifested, been pleased to assume this one blessed form, (for though double, the two but represent the same form). This Nara and Narayana (the displayed forms of Supreme Brahman) have taken birth in the race of Dharma. The foremost of all deities, these two are observers of the highest vows and endued with the severest penances. Through some reason best known to Him, I myself have sprung from the attribute of His Grace. Eternal as thou art, for thou hast ever existed since all the past creations, thou too hast sprung from His Wrath. With myself then, these deities, and all the great Rishis, do thou adore this displayed form of Brahma, and let peace be unto all the worlds without any delay.–Thus addressed by Brahma, Rudra forthwith cast off the fire of his wrath, and set himself to gratify the illustrious and puissant God Narayana.[1879] Indeed, he soon placed himself at the disposal of the adorable boon-giving and puissant God Narayana. That boon-giving God Narayana, who hath his wrath and the senses under control, soon became gratified and reconciled with Rudra. Well-adored by the Rishis, by Brahma, and by all the deities, that great God, the Lord of the universe, otherwise called by the name of Hari, then addressed the illustrious Isana and said these words:–He that knows thee, knows me. He that follows thee, follows me. There is no difference between thee and me. Do thou never think otherwise. The mark made by thy lance on my chest will from this day assume the form of a beautiful whirl, and the mark of my hand on thy throat will also assume a beautiful shape in consequence of which thou shalt, from this day, be called by the name of Sreekantha.'”

“The blessed and holy one[1880] continued. 'Having mutually caused such marks on each other's person, the two Rishis Nara and Narayana thus made friends with Rudra. and dismissing the deities, once more set themselves to the practice of penances with a tranquil soul. I have thus told thee, O son of Pritha, how in that battle which took place in days of yore between Rudra and Narayana, the latter got the victory. I have also told thee the many secret names by which Narayana is called and what the significations are, O Bharata, of one of those names, which, as I have told thee, the Rishis, have bestowed upon the great God. In this way, O son of Kunti, assuming diverse forms do I rove at will through the Earth, the region of Brahma himself, and that other high and eternal region of felicity called Goloka. Protected by me in the great battle, thou hast won a great victory. That Being whom, at the time of all thy battles, thou beheldest stalking in thy van, know, O son of Kunti, is no other than Rudra, that god of gods, otherwise called by the name of Kaparddin. He is otherwise known by the name of Kala,[1881] and should be known as one that has sprung from my wrath. Those foes whom thou hast slain were all, in the first instance, slain by him.[1882] Do thou bend thy head unto that god of gods, that lord of Uma, endued with immeasurable puissance With concentrated soul, do thou bend thy head unto that illustrious Lord of the universe, that indestructible deity, otherwise called by the name of Hari. He is none else than that deity who, as I have repeatedly told thee, has sprung from my wrath. Thou hast, before this, heard, O Dhananjaya, of the puissance and energy that reside in him!'”


Saunaka said, “O Sauti, excellent is this narrative which thou hast recited. Verily, these ascetics, having heard it have all been filled with wonder. It is said, O Sauti, that a discourse that has Narayana for its topic, is more fruitful of merit than sojourns unto all the sacred retreats and ablutions performed in all the sacred waters on the Earth. Having listened to this discourse of thine that has Narayana for its topic, that is sacred and capable of cleansing one of every sin, all of us have certainly become holy. Adored of all the worlds, that illustrious and foremost of deities is incapable of being beheld by the deities with Brahma numbering among them and all the Rishis. That Narada was able to obtain a sight of the God Narayana, otherwise called Hari, was due, O son of Suta, to the special grace of that divine and puissant Lord. When, however, the celestial Rishi Narada had succeeded in obtaining a sight of the Supreme Lord of the universe, a residing in the form of Aniruddha, why did he again proceed so quickly (to the retreat of Vadari on the breast of Himavat) for beholding those two foremost of godly of Rishis viz., Nara and Narayana? Do you, O Sauti, tell us the reason of such conduct on the part of Narada.”

Sauti said, During the continuance of his snake-sacrifice, Janamejaya, the royal son of Parikshit, availing himself of an interval in the sacrificial rites, and when all the learned Brahmanas were resting. O Saunaka, that king of kings, addressed the grandfather of his grandfather, viz., the Island-born Krishna, otherwise called Vyasa, that ocean of Vedic lore, that foremost of ascetics endued with puissance, and said these words.

Janamejaya said, “After the celestial Rishi Narada had returned from White Island, reflecting, as he came, on the words spoken to him by the holy Narayana, what indeed, did the great ascetic next do? Arrived at the retreat known by the name of Vadari on the breast of the Himvat mountains, and seeing the two Rishis Nara and Narayana who were engaged in severe austerities at that spot, how long did Narada dwell there and what were the topics of conversation between him and the two Rishis? This discourse on Narayana, that is really an ocean of knowledge, has been raised by thy intelligent self by churning that vast history called Bharata which consists of a hundred thousand verses. As butter is raised from curds, sandal-wood from the mountains of Malaya, the Aranyakas from the Vedas, and nectar from all the medicinal herbs, after the same manner, O ocean of austerities, hath this discourse that is like nectar and that has Narayana for its object, been raised by thee, O Brahmana, from diverse histories and Puranas existing in the world, Narayana is the Supreme Lord. Illustrious and endued with great puissance, He is the soul of all creatures. Indeed, O foremost of regenerate ones, the energy of Narayana is irresistible. Into Narayana, at the end of the Kalpa, enter all the deities having Brahman for their foremost, all the Rishis with the Gandharvas, and all things mobile and immobile. I think, therefore, that there is nothing holier on earth or in heaven, and nothing higher, than Narayana. A sojourn unto all the sacred retreats on Earth, and ablutions performed in all the sacred waters, are not productive of as much merit as a discourse that has Narayana for its topic. Having listened from the beginning to this discourse on Hari, the lord of the universe, that destroys all sins, we feel that we have been cleansed of all our sins and sanctified entirely. Nothing wonderful was accomplished by my ancestor Dhananjaya who was the victor in the great battle on Kurukshetra, for it should be remembered that he had Vasudeva for his ally. I think that, person could have nothing unattainable in the three worlds, who had for his ally Vishnu himself, that great Lord of the universe. Exceedingly fortunate and commendable were those ancestors of mine, since they had Janarddana himself for looking after their temporal and spiritual prosperity. Adored of all the worlds, the holy Narayana is capable of being beheld with the aid of austerities alone. They, however, succeeded in beholding Narayana, adorned with the beautiful whirl on his chest. More fortunate than my ancestors was the celestial Rishi Narada, the son of Pramesthi. Indeed, I thank that Narada, who transcends all destruction, was endued with an energy that was not little, for repairing to White-Island he had succeeded in beholding the person of Hari. Indeed, it is evident that the sight he had obtained of the Supreme Lord was due to only the grace of that Being. Fortunate was Narada inasmuch as he had succeeded in beholding Narayana as existing in the form of Aniruddha. Having beheld Narayana in that form, why did Narada hasten once more to the retreat of Vadari for the purpose of beholding Nara and Narayana? What was the reason, O ascetic, of this step taken by Narada? How long also did Narada the son of Pramesthi, after his return from White Island and arrival at Vadari and meeting with the two Rishis Nara and Narayana, live there, and what conversations had he with them? What did those two high-souled and foremost of Rishis say unto him? It behoveth thee to say all this unto me!'”

Vaisampayana said,[1883] “Salutations unto the holy Vyasa of immeasurable energy. Through his grace I shall recite this narrative having Narayana for its topic. Arrived at White Island, Narada beheld the immutable Hari. Leaving that spot he quickly proceeded, O king, to the mountains of Meru, bearing in his mind those weighty words that Paramatma (the Supreme Lord) had said unto him. Arrived at Meru he became filled with wonder at the thought, O king, of what he had achieved. And he said unto himself, 'How wonderful is it! The journey I have performed is a long one. Having proceeded to such a distance, I have come back safe and sound. From the mountains of Meru he then proceeded towards Gandhamadana. Traversing through the skies he quickly alighted upon that extensive retreat known by the name of Vadari. There he beheld those ancient deities, viz., those two foremost of Rishis, (called Nara and Narayana), engaged in the practice of penances, observing high vows, and devoted to the worship of their own selves. Both of those adorable persons bore on their chests the beautiful whirls called Sreevatsa, and both had matted locks on their heads. And in consequence of the effulgence with which they illumined the world they seemed to transcend the very Sun in energy. The palms of each bore the mark called the swan's foot. The soles of their feet bore the mark of the discus. Their chests were very broad; their arms reached down to their knees. Each of them had four 'Mushkas'.[1884] Each of them had sixty teeth and four arms.[1885] The voice of each was as deep as the roar of the clouds. Their faces were exceedingly handsome, their foreheads broad, their brows fair, their cheeks well-formed, and their noses aquiline. The heads of those two deities were large and round, resembling open umbrellas. Possessed of these marks, they were certainly very superior persons in appearance. Beholding them, Narada became filled with joy. He saluted them with reverence and was saluted by them in return. They received the celestial Rishi, saying 'Welcome', and made the ordinary enquiries. Beholding those two foremost of Beings, Narada began to reflect within himself,–'These two foremost of Rishis seem to be very like, in appearance, unto those Rishis respected by all, whom I have seen in White-island. Thinking in this way, he circumambulated them both and then sat down on the excellent seat made of Kusa grass that had been offered unto him. After this, those two Rishis that were the abode of penances, of famous achievements, and of energy,–and were endued with tranquillity of heart and self-restraint, went through their morning rites. They then, with controlled hearts, worshipped Narada with water to wash his feet and the usual ingredients of the Arghya. Having finished their morning rites and the observances necessary for receiving their guest, they sat down on two seats made of wooden planks.[1886] When those two Rishis took their seats, that place began to shine with peculiar beauty even as the sacrificial altar shines with beauty in consequence of the sacred fires when libations of clarified butter are poured upon them. Then Narayana, seeing Narada refreshed from fatigue and seated at his ease and well-pleased with the rites of hospitality he had received, addressed him, saying these words.

“Nara and Narayana said, 'Hast thou seen in white Island the Paramatma (Supreme Soul), who is eternal and divine, and who is the high source whence we have sprung?'

“Narada said, 'I have seen that beautiful Being who is immutable and who has the universe for his form. In Him dwell all the worlds, and all the deities with the Rishis. Even now I behold that immutable Being, in beholding you two. Those marks and indications that characterise Hari himself of undisplayed form, characterise you two that are endued with forms displayed before the senses.[1887] Verily, I behold both of you by the side of that great God. Dismissed by the Supreme Soul, I have today come hither. In energy and fame and beauty, who else in the three worlds can equal Him than you two that have been born in the race of Dharma? He has told me the entire course of duties having reference to Kshetrajna. He has also told me of all those incarnations which he will, in the future, have in this world. The inhabitants of White Island, whom I have seen, are all divested of the five senses that are owned by ordinary persons. All of them are of awakened souls, endued as they are with true knowledge. They are, again, entirely devoted to the foremost of Beings, viz., the Supreme Lord of the universe. They are always engaged in worshipping that great Deity, and the latter always sports with them. The holy and Supreme Soul is always fond of those that are devoted to him. He is fond also of the regenerate ones. Always fond of those that are devoted to Him, He sports with those worshippers of His. Enjoyer of the universe, pervading everything, the illustrious Madhava is ever affectionate towards his worshippers. He is the Actor; He is the Cause; and He is the effect. He is endued with omnipotence and immeasurable splendour. He is the Cause whence all things spring. He is the embodiment of all the scriptural ordinances. He is the embodiment of all the topics. He is possessed of great fame. Uniting Himself with penances, He has illumined Himself with a splendour that is said to represent an energy that is higher than (what occurs in) White Island. Of soul cleansed by penances, He has ordained Peace and Tranquillity in the three worlds. With such an auspicious understanding, he is engaged in the observance of a very superior vow which is the embodiment of holiness. That realm where he resides, engaged in tie austerest penances, the Sun does not warm and the Moon does not shine. There the wind does not blow. Having constructed an altar measuring eight fingers' breadth, the illustrious Creator of the universe is practising penances there, standing on one foot, with arms upraised, and with face directed towards the East, reciting the Vedas with their branches, he is engaged in practising the severest austerities. Whatever libations of clarified butter or meat are poured on the sacrificial fire according to the ordinances of Brahma, by the Rishis, by Pasupati himself, by the rest of the principal deities, by the Daityas, the Danavas, and the Rakshasas, all reach the feet of that great divinity. Whatever rites and religious acts are performed by persons whose souls are entirely devoted to him, are all received by that great Deity on his head. No one is dearer to him in the three worlds than those persons that are awakened and possessed of high souls. Dearer even than those persons is one that is entirely devoted to him. Dismissed by him who is the Supreme Soul, I am coming here. This is what the illustrious and holy Hari has himself said unto me. I shall henceforth reside with you two, devoted to Narayana in the form of Aniruddha.'”


“Nara and Narayana said, 'Deserving art thou of the highest praise, and highly favoured hast thou been, since thou hast beheld the puissant Narayana himself (in the form of Aniruddha). None else, not even Brahma himself who was sprung from the primal lotus, has been able to behold him. That foremost of Purushas, endued with puissance and holiness, is of unmanifest origin and incapable of being seen. These words that we say unto thee are very true, O Narada. There exists no one in the universe that is dearer to him than one that adores him with devotion. It is for this, O best of regenerate ones, that he showed himself unto thee. No one can repair to that realm where the Supreme Soul is engaged in the observance of penances, except we two, O foremost of regenerate persons. In consequence of that spot being adorned by Him, its splendour resembles the effulgence of a thousands Suns collected together.[1888] From that illustrious Being, O Brahmana, from Him who is the origin of the Creator of the universe, O foremost of all persons endued with forgiveness, springs the attribute of forgiveness which attaches to the Earth.[1889] It is from that illustrious Being who seek the welfare of all beings, that Rasa (Taste) hath arisen. The attribute of Rasa attaches to the waters which are, again, liquid. It is from Him that Heat or Light having the attribute of form or vision has arisen. It attaches itself to the sun in consequence of which the Sun becomes able to shine and give heat. It is from that illustrious and foremost of Beings that Touch also has arisen. It is attached to the Wind, in consequence of which the Wind moves about in the world producing the sensation of touch. It is from that puissant Lord of the entire universe that Sound has arisen. It attaches to Space, which, in consequence thereof, exists uncovered and unconfined. It is from that illustrious Being that Mind, which pervades all Beings, has arisen. It attaches to Chandramas, in consequence of which Chandramas comes to be invested with the attribute of displaying all the things. That spot where the divine Narayana, that partaker of the libations and other offerings made in sacrifices, resides with Knowledge alone for his companion, has in the Vedas, been called by the name of the productive cause of all things or Sat.[1890] The path that is theirs, O foremost of regenerate persons, that are stainless and that are freed from both virtue and sin, is fraught with auspiciousness and felicity. Aditya, who is the dispeller of the darkness of all the worlds, is said to be the door (through which the Emancipate must pass). Entering Aditya, the bodies of such persons become consumed by his fire. They then become invisible for after that they cannot be seen by anybody at any time. Reduced into invisible atoms, they then enter (Narayana in manifested form and residing in the middle of the region covered by Aditya) into the form of Aniruddha. Losing all physical attributes and being altogether and transformed into Mind alone, they then enter into Pradyumna. Passing out of Pradyumna, those foremost of regenerate persons, including both those that are conversant with Sankhya philosophy and those that are devoted to the Supreme deity, then enter Sankarsana who is otherwise called Jiva. After this, divested of the three primal attributes of Sattwa, Rajas, and Tamas, those foremost of regenerate beings quickly enter the Paramatma (Supreme Soul) otherwise called Kshetrajna and which itself transcends the three primal attributes. Know that Vasudeva is He when called Kshetrajna. Verily shouldst thou know that, that Vasudeva is the abode or original refuge of all things in the universe. Only they whose minds are concentrated, who are observant of all kinds of restraint, whose senses are controlled, and who are devoted to One, succeed in entering Vasudeva. We two, O foremost of regenerate ones, have taken birth in the house of Dharma. Residing in this delightful and spacious retreat we are undergoing the austerest penances. We are thus engaged, O regenerate one, being moved by the desire of benefiting those manifestations of the Supreme Deity, dear to all the celestials, that will occur in the three worlds (for achieving diverse feats that are incapable of being achieved by any other Being). In accordance with such ordinances as are uncommon and as apply to us two only, O best of regenerate persons, we are duly observing all excellent and high vows fraught with the austerest penances. Thou, O celestial Rishi, endued with wealth of penances wert beheld by us in White Island when thou wert there. Having met with Narayana, thou hast made a particular resolution, which is known to us. In the three worlds consisting of mobile and immobile Beings, there is nothing that is unknown to us. Of good or evil that will occur or has occurred or is occurring, that God of gods, O great ascetic, has informed thee!'”

Vaisampayana continued, “Having heard these words of Nara and Narayana both of whom were engaged in the practice of the austerest penances, the celestial Rishi Narada joined his hands in reverence and became entirely devoted to Narayana. He employed his time in mentally reciting, with due observances, innumerable sacred Mantras that are approved by Narayana. Worshipping the Supreme Deity Narayana, and adoring those two ancient Rishis also that had taken birth in the house of Dharma, the illustrious Rishi Narada, endued with great energy, continued to reside, thus employed, in that retreat, called Vadari, on the breast of Himavat, belonging to Nara and Narayana, for a thousand years as measured by the standard of the celestials.'”


Vaisampayana said, “On one occasion, while residing in the retreat of Nara and Narayana, Narada the son of Pramesthi, having duly accomplished the rites and observances in honour of the deities, set himself to perform thereafter the rites in honour of the Pitris. Beholding him thus prepared, the eldest son of Dharma, viz., the puissant Nara addressed him, saying, 'Whom art thou worshipping, O foremost of regenerate persons, by these rites and observances in connection with the deities and the Pitris? O foremost of all persons endued with intelligence, tell me this, agreeably to the scriptures. What is this that thou art doing? What also are the fruits desired by thee of those rites thou hast addrest thyself in performing?'

“Narada said, “Thou saidst unto me on a former occasion that rites and observances in honour of the deities should be accomplished. Thou saidst that the rites in honour of the deities constitute the highest sacrifice and are equivalent to the worship of the eternal Supreme Soul. Instructed by that teaching, I always sacrifice in honour of the eternal and immutable Vishnu, through these rites that I perform in worshipping the deities. It is from that Supreme Deity that Brahma, the Grandsire of all the worlds, took his rise in days of yore. That Brahma, otherwise called Prameshthi, filled with cheerfulness, caused my sire (Daksha) to start into being. I was the son of Brahma, created before all others, by a fiat of his will (although I had to take birth afterwards as the son of Daksha through a curse of that Rishi). O righteous and illustrious one, I am per-forming these rites in honour of the Pitris for the sake of Narayana, and agreeable to those ordinances that have been laid down by himself. The illustrious Narayana is the father, mother, and grandfather (of all creatures). In all sacrifices performed in honour of the Pitris, it is that Lord of the universe who is adored and worshipped. On one occasion, the deities, who were sires, taught their children the Srutis. Having lost their knowledge of the Srutis, the sires had to acquire it again from those sons unto whom they had communicated it. In consequence of this incident, the sons, who had thus to communicate the Mantras unto their sires, acquired the status of sires (and the sire, for having obtained the Mantras from their sons, acquired the status of sons).[1891] Without doubt, what the deities did on that occasion is well known to you two. Sons and sires (on that occasion) had thus to worship each other. Having first spread some blades of Kusa grass, the deities and the Pitris (who were their children) placed three Pindas thereon and in this way worshipped each other. I wish to know, however, the reason why the Pitris in days of yore acquired the name of Pindas.'

“Nara and Narayana said, 'The Earth, in days of yore, with her belt of seas, disappeared from the view. Govinda, assuming the form of a gigantic boar, raised her up (with his mighty tusk), Having replaced the Earth in her former position, that foremost of Purushas, his body smeared with water and mud, set himself to do what was necessary for the world and its denizens. When the sun reached the meridian, and the hour, therefore, came for saying the morning prayers, the puissant Lord, suddenly shaking off three balls of mud from his tusk, placed them upon the Earth, O Narada, having previously spread thereon certain blades of grass. The puissant Vishnu dedicated those balls of mud unto his own self, according to the rites laid down in the eternal ordinance. Regarding the three balls of mud that the puissant Lord had shaken off from his tusks as Pindas, he then, with sesame seeds of oily kernel that arose from the heat of his own body, himself performed the rite of dedication, sitting with face turned towards the East. That foremost of deities then, impelled by the desire of establishing rules of conduct for the denizens of the three worlds, said these words:

“Vrishakapi said, I ant the Creator of the worlds. I am resolved to create those that are to be called Pitris.–Saying these words, he began to think of those high ordinances that should regulate the rites to be gone through in honour of the Pitris. While thus engaged, he saw that the three balls of mud, shaken off his tusk, had fallen towards the South. He then said unto himself,–These balls, shaken off my tusk, have fallen on the Earth towards the southern direction of her surface. Led by this, I declare that these should be known henceforth by the name of Pitris. Let these three that are of no particular shape, and that are only round, come to be regarded as Pitris in the world. Even thus do I create the eternal Pitris. I am the father, the grandfather, and the great grandfather, and I should be regarded as residing in these three Pindas. There is no one that is superior to me. Who is there whom I myself may worship or adore with rites? Who, again, is my sire in the universe? I myself am my grandfather. I am, indeed, the Grandsire and the Sire. I am the one cause (of all the universe).–Having said these words, that God of gods, Vrishakapi by name, offered those Pindas, O learned Brahmana, on the breast of the Varaha mountains, with elaborate rites. By those rites He worshipped His own self, and having finished the worship, disappeared there and then. Hence have the Pitris come to be called by the name of Pinda. Even this is the foundation of the designation. Agreeably to the words uttered by Vrishakapi on that occasion, the Pitris receive the worship offered by all. They who perform sacrifices in honour of and adore the Pitris, the deities, the preceptor or other reverend senior guests arrived at the house, kine, superior Brahmanas, the goddess Earth, and their mothers, in thought, word, and deed, are said to adore and sacrifice unto Vishnu himself. Pervading the bodies of all existent creatures, the illustrious Lord is the Soul of all things. Unmoved by happiness or misery, His attitude towards all is equal. Endued with greatness, and of great soul, Narayana has been said to be the soul of all things in the universe.'”


Vaisampayana said, 'Having heard these words of Nara and Narayana, the Rishi Narada became filled with devotion towards the Supreme Being. Indeed, with his whole soul he devoted himself to Narayana. Having resided for a full thousand years in the retreat of Nara and 'Narayana, having beheld the immutable Hari, and heard the excellent discourse having Narayana for its topic, the celestial Rishi repaired to his own retreat on the breast of Himavat, Those foremost of ascetics viz., Nara and Narayana, however continued to reside in their delightful retreat of Vadari, engaged in the practice of the severest austerities. Thou art born in the race of the Pandavas. Thou art of immeasurable energy. O perpetuator of the race of the Pandavas, having listened to this discourse on Narayana from the beginning, thou hast certainly been cleansed of all thy sins and thy soul has been sanctified. His is neither this world nor the world hereafter, O best of kings, who hates instead of loving and reverencing the immutable Hari. The ancestors of that person who hates Narayana, who is the foremost of deities, and is otherwise called Hari, sink into hell for eternity. O tiger among men, Vishnu is the soul of all beings. How, then, can Vishnu be hated, for in hating him one would hate one's own self. He who is our preceptor, viz., the Rishi Vyasa, the son of Gandhavati, has himself recited this discourse unto us on the glory of Narayana, that glory which is the highest and which is immutable. I heard it from him and have recited it to thee exactly as I heard it, O sinless one. This cult, with its mysteries and its abstract of details, was obtained by Narada, O king, from that Lord of the universe, viz., Narayana himself. Even such are the particulars of this great cult. I have, before this, O foremost of kings, explained it to thee in the Hari-Gita, with a brief reference to its ordinances.[1892] Know that the Island-born Krishna, otherwise called Vyasa, is Narayana on Earth. Who else than he, O tiger among kings, could compile such a treatise as the Mahabharata? Who else than that puissant Rishi could discourse upon the diverse kinds of duties and cults for the observance and adoption of men? Thou hast resolved upon performing a great sacrifice. Let that sacrifice of thine proceed as determined by thee. Having listened to the diverse kinds of duties and cults, let thy Horse-sacrifice go on.”

Sauti continued, That best of kings, having heard this great discourse, began all those rites that are laid down in the ordinance, for the completion of his great sacrifice. Questioned by thee, O Saunaka, I have duly recited to thee and all these Rishis that are denizens of the Naimisha forest, that great discourse having Narayana for its topic. Formerly Narada had recited it to my preceptor in the hearing of many Rishis and the sons of Pandu and in the presence of Krishna and Bhishma also.[1893] The Supreme deity Narayana is the Lord of all the foremost of Rishis, and of the three worlds. He is the upholder of Earth herself of vast proportions. He is the receptacle of the Srutis and of the attribute of humility. He Is the great receptacle of all those ordinances that should be practised for attaining to tranquillity of heart, as also of all those that go by the name of Yama. He is always accompanied by the foremost of regenerate persons. Let that great deity be thy refuge. Hari ever does what is agreeable and beneficial to the denizens of heaven. He is always the slayer of such Asuras (as become troublesome to the three worlds). He is the receptacle of penances. He is possessed of great fame. He is the slayer of the Daityas known by the name of Madhu and Kaitabha. He is the ordainer of the ends that are attained to by persons acquainted with and observant of scriptural and other duties. He dispels the fears of all persons. He takes the foremost of those offerings that are dedicated in sacrifices. He is thy refuge and protection. He is endued with attributes. He is freed from attributes. He is endued with a quadruple form. He shares the merits arising from the dedication of tanks and the observance of similar religious rites. Unvanquished and possessed of great might, it is He that always ordains the end approachable by the Soul alone, of Rishis of righteous deeds. He is the witness of the worlds. He is unborn. He is the one ancient Purusha. Endued with the complexion of the Sun, He is the Supreme Lord, and he is the refuge of all. Do all of you bow your heads unto Him since He who sprang from the waters (viz., Narayana himself) bends his head unto Him.[1894] He is the origin of the universe. He is that Being who is called Amrita. He is minute. He is the refuge upon whom all things depend. He is the one Being to whom the attribute of immutability attaches. The Sankhyas and Yogins, of restrained souls, hold Him who is eternal in their understandings.


Janamejaya said, 'I have heard from thee the glory of the divine and Supreme Soul. I have heard also of the birth of the Supreme Deity in the house of Dharma, in the form of Nara and Narayana. I have also heard from thee the origin of the Pinda from the mighty Baraha (Boar) (which form the supreme Deity had assumed for raising by the submerged Earth). I have heard from thee about those deities and Rishis that were ordained for the religion of Pravritti and of those that were ordained for the religion of Nivritti. Thou hast also, O regenerate one, discoursed to us on other topics. Thou hast said also unto us of that vast form, with the Equine head, of Vishnu, that partaker of the libations and other offerings made in sacrifices,–.the form, viz., that appeared in the great ocean on the North-East. That form was beheld by the illustrious Brahman, otherwise known by the name of Parameshthi. What, however, were the exact features, and what the energy, the like of which among all great objects, had never appeared before, of that form which Hari, the upholder of the universe, displayed on that occasion? What did Brahman do, O ascetic, after having seen that foremost of deities, him whose likeness had never been seen before, him who was of immeasurable energy, him who had the Equine head, and him who was Sacredness itself? O regenerate one, this doubt hath arisen in our mind about this ancient subject of knowledge. O thou of foremost intelligence, for what reason did he supreme Deity assume that form and display himself in it unto Brahman? Thou hast certainly sanctified us by discoursing unto us on these diverse sacred subjects!'[1895]

Sauti said, I shall recite to thee that ancient history, which is perfectly consistent with the Vedas, and which the illustrious Vaisampayana recited unto the son of Parikshit on the occasion of the great Snake-sacrifice. Having heard the account of the mighty form of Vishnu, equipt with the horse-head, the royal son of Parikshit too had entertained the same doubt and put the same questions to Vaisampayana.

Janamejaya said, “Tell me, O best of men, for what reason did Hari appear in that mighty form equipt with a horse-head and which Brahma, the Creator, beheld on the shores of the great northern Ocean on the occasion referred to by yourself?”

Vaisampayana said, “All existent objects, O king, in this world, are the result of a combination of the five primal elements, a combination due to the intelligence of the Supreme Lord. The puissant Narayana, endued with infinity, is the supreme Lord and Creator of the universe. He is the inner Soul of all things, and the giver of boons. Divested of attributes, he is again possessed of them. Listen now, O best of kings, to me as I narrate to thee how the Destruction is brought about of all things. At first, the element of Earth becomes merged in Water and nothing then is seen save one vast expanse of Water on all sides. Water then merges into Heat, and Heat into Wind. Wind then merges into Space, which in its turn, merges into Mind. Mind merges into the Manifest (otherwise called Consciousness or Ego). The Manifest merges into the Unmanifest (or Prakriti). The Unmanifest (or Prakriti) merges into Purusha (Jivatman) and Purusha merges into the Supreme Soul (or Brahman). Then Darkness spreads over the face of the universe, and nothing can be perceived. From that primal Darkness arises Brahma (endued with the principle of Creation). Darkness is primeval and fraught with immortality. Brahma that arises from primeval Darkness develops (by its own potency) into the idea of the universe, and assumes the form of Purusha. Such Purusha is called Aniruddha. Divested of sex, it is called otherwise by the name of Pradhana (Supreme or Primary). That is also known by the name of Manifest, or the combination of the triple attribute, O best of kings. He exists with Knowledge alone for his companion. That illustrious and puissant Being is otherwise called by the name of Viswaksena or Hari. Yielding to Yoga-sleep, he lays himself down on the waters. He then thinks of the Creation of the Universe of diversified phenomena and fraught with immeasurable attributes. While engaged in thinking of Creation, he recollects his own high attributes. From this springs the four-faced Brahma representing the Consciousness of Anirudha. The illustrious Brahma, otherwise called Hiranyagarbha, is the Grandsire of all the worlds. Endued with eyes like lotus petals, he takes birth within the Lotus that springs from (the navel of) Anirudha. Seated on that Lotus, the illustrious, puissant, and eternal Brahma of wonderful aspect saw that the waters were on all sides. Adopting the attribute of Sattwa Brahma, otherwise called Parameshthi, then commenced to create the universe. In the primeval Lotus that was endued with the effulgence of the Sun, two drops of water had been cast by Narayana that were fraught with great merit. The illustrious Narayana, without beginning and without end, and transcending destruction, cast his eyes on those two drops of water. One of those two drops of water, of very beautiful and bright form, looked like a drop of honey. From that drop sprang, at the command of Narayana, a Daitya of the name of Madhu made up of the attribute of Tamas (Dullness). The other drop of water within the Lotus was very hard. From it sprang the Daitya Kaitabha made up of the attribute of Rajas. Endued thus with the attributes of Tamas and Rajas, the two Daityas possessed of might and armed with maces, immediately after their birth, began to rove within that vast primeval Lotus. They beheld within it Brahma of immeasurable effulgence, engaged in creating the four Vedas, each endued with the most delightful form. Those two foremost of Asuras, possessed of bodies, beholding the four Vedas, suddenly seized them in the very sight of their Creator. The two mighty Danavas, having seized the eternal Vedas, quickly dived into the ocean of waters which they saw and proceeded to its bottom. Seeing the Vedas forcibly taken away from him, Brahma became filled with grief. Robbed of the Vedas in this way, Brahma then addressed the Supreme Lord in these words.

“Brahma said, 'The Vedas are my great eyes. The Vedas are my great strength. The Vedas are my great refuge. The Vedas are my high Brahman. All the Vedas, however, have been forcibly taken away from me by the two Danavas. Deprived of the Vedas, the worlds I have created have become enveloped in darkness. Without the Vedas (beside me), how shall I succeed in causing my excellent Creation to start into existence? Alas, great is the grief I suffer in consequence of the loss of the Vedas (through such agency). My heart is very much pained. It has become the abode of a great sorrow. Who is there that will rescue me from this ocean of grief in which I am sunk for the loss I have endured? Who is there that will bring me the Vedas I have lost? Who is there that will take compassion on me?–While Brahma was uttering these words, O best of kings, the resolution suddenly arose in his mind, O foremost of intelligent persons, for hymning the praises of Hari in these words. The puissant Brahma then, with hands joined in reverence, and seizing the feet of his progenitor, sang this highest of hymns in honour of Narayana.'”

“Brahma said, 'I bow to thee, O heart of Brahman. I bow to thee that hast been born before me. Thou art the origin of the universe. Thou art the foremost of all abodes. Thou, O puissant one, art the ocean of Yoga with all its branches. Thou art the Creator of both what is Manifest and what is Unmanifest. Thou treadest along the path whose auspiciousness is of inconceivable extent. Thou art the consumer of the universe. Thou art the Antaralock (Inner Soul) of all creatures. Thou art without any origin. Thou art the refuge of the universe. Thou art self-born; for origin thou hest none that is not thyself. As regards myself, I have sprung through thy Grace. From thee have I derived my birth. My first birth from thee, which is regarded sacred by all regenerate persons, was due to a fiat of thy Mind. My second birth in days of yore was from thy eyes. Through thy Grace, my third birth was from thy speech. My fourth birth. O puissant Lord, was from thy ears. My fifth birth, excellent in all respects, was from thy nose. O Lord, My sixth birth was, through thee, from an egg. This is my seventh birth. It has occurred, O Lord, within this Lotus, and it is meant to stimulate the intellect and desires of all the beings. At each Creation I take birth from thee as thy son, O thou that art divested of the three attributes. Indeed, O lotus-eyed one, I take birth as thy eldest son, made up of Sattwa the foremost of three attributes. Thou art endued with that nature which is Supreme. Thou springest from thyself. I have been created by thee. The Vedas are my eyes. Hence, I transcend Time itself. Those Vedas, which constitute my eyes, have been taken away from me. I have, therefore, become blind. Do Thou awake from this Yoga-sleep. Give me back my eyes. I am dear to thee and thou art dear to me. Thus praised by Brahma, the illustrious Purusha, with face turned towards every side, then shook off his slumber, resolved to recover the Vedas (from the Daityas that had forcibly snatched them away). Applying his Yoga-puissance, he assumed a second form. His body, equipt with an excellent nose, became as bright as the Moon. He assumed an equine head of great effulgence, which was the abode of the Vedas. The firmament, with all its luminaries and constellations, became the crown of his head. His locks of hair were long and flowing, and had the splendour of the rays of the Sun. The regions above and below became his two ears. The Earth became his forehead. The two rivers Ganga and Saraswati became his two hips. The two oceans became his two eye-brows. The Sun and the Moon became his two eyes. The twilight became his nose. The syllable Om became his memory and intelligence. The lightning became his tongue. The Soma-drinking Pitris became, it is said, his teeth. The two regions of felicity, viz., Goloka and Brahmaloka, became his upper and lower lips. The terrible night that succeeds universal destruction, and that transcends the three attributes, became his neck. Having assumed this form endued with the equine head and having diverse things for its diverse limbs, the Lord of the universe disappeared then and there, and proceeded to the nether regions. Having reached those regions, he set himself to high Yoga. Adopting a voice regulated by the rules of the science called Siksha, he began to utter loudly Vedic Mantras. His pronunciation was distinct and reverberated through the air, and was sweet in every respect. The sound of his voice filled the nether region from end to end. Endued with the properties of all the elements, it was productive of great benefits. The two Asuras, making an appointment with the Vedas in respect of the time when they would come back to take them up again, threw them down in the nether region, and ran towards the spot whence those sounds appeared to come. Meanwhile, O king, the Supreme Lord with the equine head, otherwise called Hari, who was himself in the nether region, took up all the Vedas. Returning to where Brahma was staying, he gave the Vedas unto him. Having restored the Vedas unto Brahma, the Supreme Lord once more returned to his own nature. The Supreme Lord also established his form with the equine head in the North-Eastern region of the great ocean. Having (in this way) established him who was the abode of the Vedas, he once more became the equine-headed form that he was.[1896] The two Danavas Madhu and Kaitabha, not finding the person from whom those sounds proceeded, quickly came back to that spot. They cast their eyes around but beheld that the spot on which they had thrown the Vedas was empty. Those two foremost of mighty Beings, adopting great speed of motion, rose from the nether region. Returning to where the primeval Lotus was that had given them birth, they saw the puissant Being, the original Creator, staying in the form of Aniruddha of fair complexion and endued with a splendour resembling that of the Moon. Of immeasurable prowess, he was under the influence of Yoga-sleep, his body stretched on the waters and occupying a space as vast as itself. Possessed of great effulgence and endued with the attribute of stainless Sattwa, the body of the Supreme Lord lay on the excellent hood of a snake that seemed to emit flames of fire for the resplendence attaching to it. Beholding the Lord thus lying, the two foremost of Danavas roared out a loud laugh. Endued with the attributes of Rajas and Tamas, they said.–'This is that Being of white complexion. He is now lying asleep. Without doubt, this one has brought the Vedas away from the nether region. Whose is he? Whose is he? Who is he? Why is he thus asleep on the hood of a snake: Uttering these words, the two Danavas awakened Hari from his Yoga-slumber. The foremost of Beings, (viz., Narayana), thus awakened, understood that the two Danavas intended to have an encounter with him in battle. Beholding the two foremost of Asuras prepared to do battle with him, he also set his mind to gratify that desire of theirs. Thereupon an encounter took place between those two on one side and Narayana on the other. The Asuras Madhu and Kaitabha were embodiments of the attributes of Rajas and Tamas. Narayana slew them both for gratifying Brahma. He thence came to be called by the name of Madhusudana (slayer of Madhu). Having compassed the destruction of the two Asuras and restored the Vedas to Brahma, the Supreme Being dispelled the grief of Brahma. Aided then by Hari and assisted by the Vedas, Brahma created all the worlds with their mobile and immobile creatures. After this, Hari, granting unto the Grandsire intelligence of the foremost order relating to the Creation, disappeared there and then for going to the place he had come from. It was thus that Narayana, having assumed the form equipt with the horse-head, slew the two Danavas Madhu and Kaitabha (and disappeared from the sight of Brahma). Once more, however, he assumed the same form for the sake of causing the religion of Pravritti to flow in the universe.'

“Thus did the blessed Hari assume in days of old that grand form having the equine head. This, of all his forms, endued with puissance, is celebrated as the most ancient. That person who frequently listens or mentally recites this history of the assumption by Narayana of the form equipt with the equine head, will never forget his Vedic or other lore. Having adored with the austerest penances the illustrious deity with the equine head, the Rishi Panchala (otherwise known as Galava) acquired the science of Krama by proceeding along the path pointed out by the deity (Rudra).[1897] I have thus recited to thee, O king the old story of Hayasiras, consistent with the Vedas about which thou hadst asked me. Whatever forms, the Supreme Deity desires to assume with a view to ordaining the various affairs of the universe, he assumes those forms immediately within himself by exercise of his own inherent powers. The Supreme Deity, endued with every prosperity, is the receptacle of the Vedas. He is the receptacle of Penances also. The puissant Hari is Yoga. He is the embodiment of the Sankhya philosophy. He is that Para Brahman of which we hear. Truth has Narayana for its refuge. Rita has Narayana for its soul. The religion of Nivritti, in which there is no return, has Narayana for its high abode. The other religion which has Pravritti for its basis, has equally Narayana for its soul. The foremost of all the attributes that belong to the element of Earth is scent. Scent has Narayana for its soul. The attributes of Water, O king, are called the Tastes (of the various kinds). These Tastes have Narayana for their soul. The foremost attribute of Light is form. Form also has Narayana for its soul. Touch, which is the attribute of Wind, is also said to have Narayana for its soul. Sound, which is an attribute of space, has like the others, Narayana for its soul. Mind also, which is the attribute of the unmanifest (Prakriti), has Narayana for its soul. Time which is computed by the motion of the celestial luminaries has similarly Narayana for its soul. The presiding deities of Fame, of Beauty, and of Prosperity have the same Supreme Deity for their soul. Both the Sankhya philosophy and Yoga have Narayana for their soul. The Supreme Being is the cause of all this, as Purusha. He is, again the cause of everything, as Pradhana (or Prakriti). He is Swabhaba (the basis on which all things rest). He is the doer or agent, and is the cause of that variety that is witnessed in the universe. He is the diverse kinds of energy that act in the universe. In these five ways he is that all-controlling invisible influence of which people speak. Those employed in investigating the several topics of enquiry with the aid of such reasons as are of wide application, regard Hari to be identical with the five reasons adverted to above and as the final refuge of all things. Indeed, the puissant Narayana, endued with the highest Yoga puissance, is the one topic (of enquiry). The thoughts of the denizen of all the worlds including Brahma and the high-souled Rishis, of those that are Sankhyas and Yogins, of those that are Yatis, and of those, generally, that are conversant with the Soul are fully known to Kesava, but none of these can know what is thoughts are. Whatever acts are performed in honour of the gods or the Pitris, whatever gifts are made, whatever penances are performed, have Vishnu for their refuge,–who is established upon his own supreme ordinances. He is named Vasudeva because of his being the abode of all creatures. He is immutable. He, is Supreme. He is the foremost of Rishis. He is endued with the highest puissance. He is said to transcend the three attributes. As Time (which runs smoothly without any sign) assumes indications when it manifests itself in the form of successive seasons, even so He, though really divested of attributes (for manifesting Himself). Even they that are high-souled do not succeed in understanding his motions. Only those foremost of Rishis that have knowledge of their Souls, succeed in beholding in their hearts that Purusha who transcends all attributes.”


Janamejaya said, “The illustrious Hari becomes gracious unto them that are devoted to him with their whole souls. He accepts also all worship that is offered to Him agreeably to the ordinance. Of those persons that have burnt off their fuel,[1898] and that are divested of both merit and demerit, that have attained the Knowledge as handed down from preceptor to preceptor–such persons always attain to that end which is called the fourth, viz., the essence of the Purushottama or Vasudeva,[1899]–through the three others. Those persons, however, that are devoted to Narayana with their whole souls at once attain to the highest end[1900] Without doubt, the religion of devotion seems to be superior (to that of Knowledge) and is very dear to Narayana. These, without going through the three successive stages (of Aniruddha, Pradyumna, and Sankarshana), at once attain to the immutable Hari. The end that is attained by Brahmanas, who, attending to due observances, study the Vedas with the Upanishads according to the rules laid down for regulating such study, and by those that adopt the religion of Yatis, is inferior, I think, to that attained by persons devoted to Hari with their whole souls. Who first promulgated this religion of Devotion? Was it some deity or some Rishi that declared it? What are the practices of those that are said to be devoted with their whole souls? When did those practices begin? I have doubts on these topics. Do thou remove those doubts. Great is nay curiosity to hear thee explain the several points.”[1901]

Vaisampayana said, “When the diverse divisions of the Pandava and the Kuru armies were drawn up in the array for the battle and when Arjuna became cheerless, the holy one himself explained the question of what is the end and what is not the end attained by persons of different characters. I have before this recited to thee the words of the holy one. The religion preached by the holy one on that occasion is difficult of comprehension. Men of uncleansed souls cannot apprehend it at all. Having created this religion in days of yore, viz., in the Krita age, in perfect consonance with the Samans, it is borne, O king, by the Supreme Lord, viz., Narayana, himself. This very topic was raised by the highly blessed Partha to Narada (for the latter's discourse) in the midst of the Rishis and in the presence of Krishna and Bhishma. My preceptor, viz., the Island-born Krishna heard what Narada said. Receiving it from the celestial Rishis, O best of kings, my preceptor imparted it to me in exactly the same way in which he had obtained it from the celestial Rishi. I shall now recite it to thee, O monarch, in the same way as it has been received from Narada. Listen, therefore, to me. In that Kalpa when Brahma the Creator, O king, took his birth in the mind of Narayana and issued from the latter's mouth, Narayana himself performed, O Bharata, his Daiva and Paitra rites in accordance with this religion. Those Rishis that subsist upon the froth of water then obtained it from Narayana. From the froth-eating Rishis, this religion was obtained by those Rishis that go by the name of Vaikanasas. From the Vaikanasas, Shoma got it. Afterwards, it disappeared from the universe. After the second birth of Brahma, viz., when he sprang from the eyes of Narayana, O king, the Grandsire (that is. Brahma) then received this religion from Shoma. Having received it thus, Brahma imparted this religion, which has Narayana for its soul, unto Rudra. In the Krita age of that ancient Kalpa, Rudra, devoted to Yoga, O monarch, communicated it to all those Rishis that are known by the name of Valikhilyas. Through the illusion of Narayana, it once more disappeared from the universe. In the third birth of Brahma, which was due to the speech of Narayana, this religion once more sprang up, O king, from Narayana himself. Then a Rishi of the name of Suparna obtained it from that foremost of Beings. The Rishi Suparna used to recite this excellent religion, this foremost of cults, three times during the day. In consequence of this, it came to be called by the name of Trisauparna in the world. This religion has been referred to in the Rigveda. The duties it inculcates are exceedingly difficult of observance. From the Rishi Suparna, this eternal religion was obtained, O foremost of men, by the God of wind, that sustainer of the lives of all creatures in the universe. The God of wind communicated it unto such Rishis as subsist upon what remains of sacrificial offerings after feeding guests and others. From those Rishis this excellent religion was obtained by the Great Ocean. It once more disappeared from the universe and became merged into Narayana. In the next birth of the high-souled Brahman when he Sprang from the ear of Narayana, listen, O chief of men, to what happened in that Kalpa. The illustrious Narayana, otherwise called Hari, when he resolved upon Creation, thought of a Being who would be puissant enough to create the universe. While thinking of this, a Being sprang from his ears competent to create the universe. The Lord of all called him by the name of Brahma. Addressing Brahma, the Supreme Narayana said unto him,–Do thou, O son, create all kinds of creatures from thy mouth and feet. O thou of excellent vows, I shall do what will be beneficial for thee, for I shall impart to thee both energy and strength sufficient to render thee competent for this task. Do thou receive also from me this excellent religion known by the name of Sattwata. Aided by that religion do thou create the Krita age and ordain it duly. Thus addressed, Brahma bowed his head unto the illustrious Hari, the god of the gods and received from him that foremost of all cults with all its mysteries and its abstract of details, together with the Aranyakas,–viz., that cult, which sprang from the mouth of Narayana. Narayana then instructed Brahma of immeasurable energy in that cult, and addressing him, said,–Thou art the creator of the duties that are to be observed in the respective Yugas. Having said this unto Brahma, Narayana disappeared and proceeded to that spot which is beyond the reach of Tamas, where the Unmanifest resides, and which is known by the men of acts without desire of fruits. After this, the boon-giving Brahma, the Grandsire of the worlds, created the different worlds with their mobile and immobile creatures. The age that first commenced was highly auspicious and came to be called by the name of Krita. In that age, the religion of Sattwa existed, pervading the entire universe.[1902] With the aid of that primeval religion of righteousness, Brahma, the Creator of all the worlds, worshipped the Lord of all the deities, viz., the puissant Narayana, otherwise called Hari. Then for the spread of that religion and desirous of benefiting the worlds, Brahman instructed that Manu who is known by the name of Swarochish in that cult. Swarochish-Manu, that Lord of all the worlds, that foremost of all persons endued with puissance, then cheerfully imparted the knowledge of that cult to his own son, O king, who was known by the name of Sankhapada. The son of Manu, viz., Sankhapada, communicated the knowledge of that to his own son Suvarnabha who was the Regent of the cardinal and subsidiary points of the compass. When, upon the expiration of the Kriti Yuga, the Treta came, that cult once more disappeared from the world. In a subsequent birth of Brahman, O best of kings, viz., that which was derived from the nose of Narayana. O Bharata, the illustrious and puissant Narayana or Hari with eyes like lotus petals, himself sang this religion in the presence of Brahma. Then the son of Brahma, created by a fiat of his will, viz., Sanatkumara, studied this cult. From Sanatkumara, the Prajapati Virana, in the beginning of the Krita age, O tiger among Kurus, obtained this cult. Virana having studied it in this way, taught it to the ascetic Raivya. Raivya, in his turn, imparted it to his son of pure soul, good vows, and great intelligence, viz., Kukshi, that righteous Regent of the cardinal and subsidiary points of the compass. After this, that cult, born of the mouth of Narayana, once more disappeared from the world. In the next birth of Brahma, viz., that which he was derived from an egg which sprang from Hari, this cult once more issued from the mouth of Narayana. It was received by Brahma, O king, and practised duly in all its details by him. Brahma then communicated it, O monarch, to those Rishis that are known by the name of Varhishada. From the Varhishadas it was obtained by a Brahmana well-versed in the Sama-Veda, and known by the name of Jeshthya. And because he was well-versed with the Samans, therefore was he known also by the name of Jeshthya-Samavrata Hari.[1903] From the Brahmana known by the name of Jeshthya, this cult was obtained by a king of the name of Avikampana. After this, that cult, derived from the puissant Hari, once more disappeared from the world. During the seventh birth of Brahma due to the lotus, O king, that sprang from the navel of Narayana, this cult was once more declared by Narayana himself, unto the Grandsire of pure soul, the Creator of all the worlds, in the beginning of this Kalpa. The Grandsire gave it in days of yore to Daksha (one of his sons created by a fiat of his will). Daksha, in his turn, imparted it to the eldest of all the sons of his daughters, O monarch, viz., Aditya who is senior in age to Savitri. From Aditya, Vivaswat obtained it. In the beginning of the Treta Yuga, Vivaswat imparted the knowledge of this cult to Manu. Manu, for the protection and support of all the worlds, then gave it to his son Ikshaku.[1904] Promulgated by Ikshaku, that cult over-spreads the whole world. When the universal destruction comes, it will once more return to Narayana and be merged in Him. The religion which is followed and practised by the Yatis, has, O best of kings, been narrated to thee before this in the Hari Gita, with all its ordinances in brief. The celestial Rishi Narada got it from that Lord of universe, viz., Narayana himself, O king, with all its mysteries and abstract of details. Thus, O monarch, this foremost of cults is primeval and eternal. Incapable of being comprehended with ease and exceedingly difficult of being practised, it is always upheld by persons wedded to the attribute of Sattwa. It is by means of acts that are well-performed and accomplished with a full knowledge of duties and in which there is nothing of injury to any creature,–that Hari the Supreme Lord becomes gratified. Some persons adore Narayana as possessed of only one form, viz., that of Aniruddha. Some adore Him as endued with two forms, viz., that of Aniruddha and Pradyumna. Some adore Him as having three forms, viz., Aniruddha, Pradyumna, and Sankarshana. A fourth class adore him as consisting of four forms, viz., Aniruddha, Pradyumna, Sankarshana, and Vasudeva. Hari is Himself the Kshetrajna (Soul). He is without parts (being ever full). He is the Jiva in all creatures, transcending the five primal elements. He is the Mind, O monarch, that directs and controls the five senses. Endued with the highest intelligence. He is the Ordainer of the universe, and the Creator thereof. He is both active and inactive. He is both Cause and the Effect. He is the one immutable Purusha, who sports as He likes, O king. Thus have I recited to thee the religion of desireless Devotees, O best of kings, incapable of being comprehended by persons of uncleansed souls but this I acquired through the grace of my preceptor. Persons are very rare, O king, that are devoted to Narayana with whole souls. If, O son of Kuru's race the world had been full of such persons, that are full of universal compassion, that are endued with knowledge of the soul, and that are always employed in doing good to others, then the Krita age would have set in. All men would have betaken themselves to the accomplishment of acts without desire of fruit. It was even in this way, O monarch, that, that foremost of regenerate persons, (viz., the illustrious Vyasa), my preceptor, fully conversant with all duties, discoursed unto king Yudhishthira the just on this religion of Devotion, in the presence of many Rishis and in the hearing of Krishna and Bhishma. He had obtained it from the celestial Rishi Narada endued with wealth of penances. Those persons that are devoted to Narayana with their whole souls and are desireless succeed in attaining to the region of that highest of deities, identical with Brahma, pure in complexion, possessed of the effulgence of the moon and endued with immutability.

Janamejaya said, “I see that those regenerate persons whose souls have been awakened practise diverse kinds of duties. Why is it that other Brahmanas instead of practising those duties betake themselves to the observance of other kinds of vows and rites?”

Vaisampayana said, “Three kinds of disposition, O monarch, have been created in respect of all embodied creatures, viz., that which relates to the attribute of Sattwa, that which relates to the attribute of Rajas, and lastly that which relates to the attribute of Tamas, O Bharata. As regards embodied creatures, O perpetuator of Kuru's race, that person is the foremost who is wedded to the attribute of Sattwa, for, O tiger among men, it is certain that he will attain to Emancipation. It is with the aid of this very attribute of Sattwa that one endued therewith succeeds in understanding the person that is conversant with Brahma. As regards Emancipation, it is entirely dependent upon Narayana. Hence it is that persons striving after Emancipation are regarded as made up of the attribute of Sattwa. By thinking of Purushottama the foremost of Beings, the man that is devoted with his whole soul to Narayana, acquires great wisdom. Those persons that are endued with wisdom, that have betaken themselves to the practices of Yatis and the religion of Emancipation,–those persons of quenched thirst, always find that Hari favours them with the fruition of their desire.[1905] That man subject to birth (and death) upon whom Hari casts a kind eye should be known as endued with the attribute of Sattwa and devoted to the acquisition of Emancipation. The religion followed by a person that is devoted with his whole soul to Narayana is regarded as similar or equal in merit to the system of the Sankhyas. By adopting that religion one attains to the highest end and attains to Emancipation which has Narayana for its soul. That person upon whom Narayana looks with compassion succeeds in becoming awakened.[1906] No one, O king, can become awakened through his own wishes. That nature which partakes of both Rajas and Tamas is said to be mixed. Hari never casts a kind eye upon the person subject to birth (and death) that is endued with such a mixed nature and that has, on that account, the principle of Pravritti in him. Only Brahma, the Grandsire of the worlds, looks upon the person that is subject to birth and death because of his mind being overwhelmed with the two inferior attributes of Rajas and Tamas.[1907] Without doubt, the deities and the Rishis are wedded to the attributes of Sattwa, O best of kings. But then they that are divested of that attribute in its subtile form are always regarded to be of mutable nature”.[1908]

Janamejaya said, “How can one that is fraught with the principle of change succeed in attaining to that Purushottama (the foremost of Purusha)? Do tell me all this, which is, no doubt, known to thee. Do thou discourse to me also of Pravritti in due order.”

Vaisampayana said, “That which is the twenty-fifth (in the enumeration of topics as made in the Sankhya system) viz., when it becomes able to abstain entirely from acts, succeeds in attaining to the Purushottama which is exceedingly subtile, which is invested with the attribute of Sattwa (in its subtile form), and which is fraught with the essences symbolised by three letters of the alphabet (viz., A, U, and M). The Sankhya system, the Aranyaka-Veda, and the Pancharatra scriptures, are all one and the same and form parts of one whole. Even this is the religion of those that are devoted with their whole souls to Narayana, the religion that has Narayana for its essence.[1909] As waves of the ocean, rising from the ocean, rush away from it only to return to it in the end, even so diverse kinds of knowledge, springing from Narayana, return to Narayana in the end. I have thus explained to thee, O son of Kuru's race, what the religion of Sattwa is. If thou beest competent for it, O Bharata, do thou practise that religion duly. Even thus did the highly-blessed Narada explain to my preceptor,–the Island-born Krishna–the eternal and immutable course, called Ekanta, (ending in One) followed by the Whites[1910] as also by the yellow-robed Yatis. Vyasa gratified with Dharma's son Yudhishthira, imparted this religion to king Yudhishthira the just who was possessed of great intelligence. Derived from my preceptor I have also communicated it to thee! O best of kings, this religion is for these reasons, exceedingly difficult of practice. Others, hearing it, become as much confounded as thou hast suffered thyself to be. It is Krishna who is the protector of the universe and its beguiler. It is He who is the destroyer and the cause, O monarch.”


Janamejaya said, “The Sankhya system, the Pancharatra scriptures, and the Aranyaka-Vedas,–these different systems of knowledge or religion,–O regenerate Rishi, are current in the world. Do all these systems preach the same course of duties, or are the courses of duties preached by them, O ascetic, different from one another? Questioned by me, do thou discourse to me on Pravritti in due order!”

Vaisampayana said, “I bow unto that great Rishi who is the dispeller of darkness, and whom Satyavati bore to Parasara in the midst of an island, who is possessed of great knowledge and who is endued with great liberality of soul. The learned say that he is the origin of the Grandsire Brahma; that he is the sixth form of Narayana; that he is the foremost of Rishis; that he is endued with the puissance of Yoga; that as the only son of his parents he is an incarnate portion of Narayana; and that, born under extraordinary circumstances on an Island, he is the inexhaustible receptacle of the Vedas. In the Krita age, Narayana of great puissance and mighty energy, created him as his son. Verily, the high-souled Vyasa is unborn and ancient and is the inexhaustible receptacle of the Vedas!”

Janamejaya said, “O best of regenerate persons, it was thou that saidst before this that the Rishi Vasishtha had a son of the name of Saktri and that Saktri had a son of the name of Parasara, and that Parasara begot a son named the Island-born Krishna endued with great ascetic merit. Thou tellest me again that Vyasa is the son of Narayana. I ask, was it in some former birth that Vyasa of immeasurable energy had sprung from Narayana? O thou of great intelligence, do tell me of that birth of Vyasa which was due to Narayana!”

Vaisampayana said, “Desirous of understanding the meaning of the Srutis, my preceptor, that ocean of penances, who is exceedingly devoted to the observance of all scriptural duties and the acquisition of knowledge, dwelt for some time in a particular region of the Himavat mountains. Endued with great intelligence, he became fatigued with his penances in consequence of the great strain on his energies occasioned by the composition of the Mahabharata. At that time, Sumanta and Jaimini and Paila of firm vows and myself numbering the fourth, and Suka his own son, attended on him. All of us, O king, in view of the fatigue our preceptor felt, waited dutifully upon him, engaged in doing all that was necessary for dispelling that fatigue of his. Surrounded by these disciples of his, Vyasa shone in beauty on the breast of the Himavat mountains like the Lord of all the ghostly beings, viz., Mahadeva, in the midst of those ghostly attendants of his. Having recapitulated the Vedas with all their branches as also the meanings of all the Verses in the Mahabharata, one day, with rapt attention, all of us approached our preceptor who, having controlled his senses, was at time rapt up in thought. Availing ourselves of an interval in the conversation, we asked that foremost of regenerate persons to expound to us the meanings of the Vedas and the Verses in the Mahabharata and narrate to us the incidents as well of his own birth from Narayana. Conversant as he was with all topics of enquiry, he at first discoursed to us on the interpretations of the Srutis and the Mahabharata, and then set himself to narrate to us the following incidents relating to his birth from Narayana.

“Vyasa said, 'Listen, ye disciples, to this foremost of narratives, to this best of histories that relates again to the birth of a Rishi. Appertaining to the Krita age, this narrative has become known to me through my penances, ye regenerate ones. On the occasion of the seventh creation, viz., that which was due to the primeval Lotus, Narayana, endued with the austerest penances, transcending both good and ill, and possessed of unrivalled splendour, at first created Brahma, from his navel. After Brahma had started into birth, Narayana addressed him, saying; Thou halt sprung from my navel. Endued with puissance in respect of creation, do thou set thyself to create diverse kinds of creatures, rational and irrational. Thus addressed by the author of his being, Brahma with his mind penetrated by anxiety, felt the difficulty of his task and became unwilling to do what he was commenced to do. Bowing his head unto the boon-giving and illustrious Hari, the Lord of the universe, Brahma said these words unto him,–I bow to thee, O Lord of the deities, but I ask what puissance have I to create diverse creatures? I have no wisdom. Do thou ordain what should be ordained in view of this. Thus addressed by Brahma, the Lord of the universe, viz., Narayana, disappeared there and then from Brahma's sight. The Supreme Lord, the god of gods, the chief of those endowed with intelligence, then began to think. The Goddess of Intelligence forthwith made her appearance before the puissant Narayana. Himself transcending all Yoga, Narayana then, by dint of Yoga, applied the Goddess of Intelligence properly. The illustrious and puissant and immutable Hari, addressing the Goddess of Intelligence who was endued with activity and goodness and all the puissance of Yoga, said unto her these words:–For the accomplishment of the task of creating all the worlds do thou enter into Brahma. Commanded thus by the Supreme Lord, Intelligence forthwith entered Brahma. When Hari beheld that Brahma had become united with Intelligence. He once more addressed him, saying–Do thou now create diverse kinds of creatures.–Replaying unto Narayana by uttering the word 'Yes,' Brahma reverently accepted the command of his progenitor. Narayana then disappeared from Brahma's presence, and in a moment repaired to his own place, known by the name of Deva (Light or Effulgence). Returning to His own disposition (of Uumanifestness), Hari remained in that state of oneness. After the task of creation, however, had been accomplished by Brahma, another thought arose in the mind of Narayana. Indeed, he reflected in this strain:–Brahma, otherwise called Parameshthi, has created all these creatures, consisting of Daityas and Danavas and Gandharvas and Rakshasas. The helpless Earth has become burthened with the weight of creatures. Many among the Daityas and Danavas and Rakshasas on Earth will become endued with great strength. Possessed of penances, they will at diverse times succeed in acquiring many excellent boons. Swelling with pride and might in consequence of those boons that they will succeed in obtaining, they will oppress and afflict the deities and the Rishis possessed of ascetic might. It is, therefore, meet that I should now and then lighten the burthen of the Earth, by assuming diverse forms one after another as occasion would require. I shall achieve this task by chastising the wicked and upholding the righteous. (Thus looked after by me), the Earth, which is the embodiment of Truth, will succeed in bearing her load of creatures. Assuming the form of a mighty snake I myself have to uphold the Earth in empty space. Upheld by me thus, she will uphold the entire creation, mobile and immobile. Incarnated on the Earth, therefore, in different forms, I shall have to rescue her at such times from peril. Having reflected in this way, the illustrious slayer of Madhu created diverse forms in his mind in which to appear from time to time for accomplishing the task in view. Assuming the form of a Boar, of Man-lion, of a Dwarf, and of human beings, I shall quell or slay such enemies of the deities as will become wicked and ungovernable. After this, the original Creator of the universe once more uttered the syllable, Bho, causing the atmosphere to resound with it. From this syllable of speech (Saraswati) arose a Rishi of the name Saraswat. The son, thus born of the Speech of Narayana, came to be, also called by the name of Apantara-tamas. Endued with great puissance, he was fully conversant with the past, the present, and the future. Firm in the observance of vows, he was truthful in speech.[1911] Unto that Rishi who, after birth, had bowed his head unto Narayana, the latter, who was the original Creator of all the deities and possessed of a nature that was immutable, said those words: Thou shouldst devote thy attention to the distribution of the Vedas, O foremost of all persons endued with intelligence.[1912] Do thou, therefore, O ascetic, accomplish what I command thee.–In obedience to this command of the Supreme Lord from whose Speech the Rishi Apantaratamas sprang into existence, the latter, in the Kalpa named after the Self-born Manu, distributed and arranged the Vedas. For that act of the Rishi, the illustrious Hari became gratified with him, as also for his well-performed penances, his vow and observances, and his restraint of the senses or passions. Addressing him,–Narayana said,–At each Manwantara, O son, thou wilt act in this way with respect to the Vedas. Thou shalt, in consequence of this act of thine, be immutable, O regenerate one, and incapable of being transcended by any one. When the Kali age will set in, certain princes of Bharata's line, to be called by the name of Kauravas, will take their birth from thee. They will be celebrated over the Earth as high-souled princes ruling over powerful kingdoms. Born of thee, dissensions will break out among them ending in their destruction at one another's hands excepting yourself. O foremost of regenerate persons,[1913] in that age also, endued with austere penances, thou wilt distribute the Vedas into diverse classes. Indeed, in that dark age, thy complexion will become dark. Thou shalt cause diverse kinds of duties to flow and diverse kinds of knowledge also. Although endued with austere penances, yet thou shalt never be able to free thyself from desire and attachment to the world. Thy son, however, will be freed from every attachment like unto the Supreme Soul, through the grace of Madhava. It will not be otherwise. He whom learned Brahmanas call the mind-born son of the Grandsire, viz., Vasishtha endued with great intelligence and like unto an ocean of penances, and whose splendour transcends that of the Sun himself, will be the progenitor of a race in which a great Rishi of the name of Parasara, possessed of mighty energy and prowess, will take his birth. That foremost of persons, that ocean of Vedas, that abode of penances, will become thy sire (when thou wilt take birth in the Kali age). Thou shalt take thy birth as the son of a maiden residing in the house of her sire, through an act of congress with the great Rishi Parasara. Doubts thou wilt have none with respect to the imports of things past, present, and future. Endued with penances and instructed by me, thou wilt behold the incidents of thousands and thousands of ages long past away. Thou wilt see through thousands and thousands of ages also in the future. Thou shalt, in that birth, behold me, O ascetic,–me that am without birth and death,–incarnated on Earth (as Krishna of Yadu's race), armed with the discus. All this will happen to thee, O ascetic, through the merit that will be thine in consequence of thy ceaseless devotion to me. These words of mine will never be otherwise. Thou shalt be one of the foremost of creatures. Great shall be thy fame. Surya's son Sani (Saturn) will, in a future Kalpa, take birth as the great Manu of that period. During that Manwantara, O son, thou shalt, in respect of merits, be superior to even the Manus of the several periods. Without doubt, thou shalt be so through my grace. Whatever exists in the world represents the result of my exertion. The thoughts of others may not correspond with their acts. As regards myself, however, I always ordain what I think, without the least impediment![1914] Having said these words unto the Rishi Apantaratamas, otherwise called by the name of Saraswat, the Supreme Lord dismissed him, saying unto him.–Go. I am he that was born as Apantaratamas through the command of Hari. Once more have I taken birth as the celebrated Krishna-Dwaipayana, a delighter of the race of Vasishtha.[1915] I have thus told you, my dear disciples, the circumstances, of my own former birth which was due to the grace of Narayana in so much that I was a very portion of Narayana himself. Ye foremost of intelligent persons, I underwent, in days of yore, the austerest penances, with the aid of the highest abstraction of the mind. Ye sons, moved by my great affection for yourselves that are devoted to me with reverence, I have told you everything relating to what you wished to know from me, viz., my first birth in days of remote antiquity and that other birth subsequent to it (viz., the present one)!”

Vaisampayana continued, “I have thus narrated to thee, O monarch, the circumstances connected with the former birth of our revered preceptor, viz., Vyasa of unstained mind, as asked by thee. Listen to me once again. There are diverse kinds of cults, O royal sage, that go by diverse names such as Sankhya, Yoga, the Pancha-ratra, Vedas, and Pasupati. The promulgator of Sankhya cult is said to be the great Rishi Kapila. The primeval Hiranyagarbha, and none else, is the promulgator of the Yoga system. The Rishi Apantaratamas is said to be the preceptor of the Vedas, some call that Rishi by the name of Prachina-garbha. The cult known by the name of Pasupata was promulgated by the Lord of Uma, that master of all creatures, viz., the cheerful Siva, otherwise known by the name of Sreekantha, the son of Brahma. The illustrious Narayana is himself the promulgator of the cult, in its entirety, contained in the Pancharatra scriptures. In all these cults, O foremost of kings, it is seen that the puissant Narayana is the one sole object of exposition. According to the scriptures of these cults and the measure of knowledge they contain, Narayana is the one sole object of worship they inculcate. Those persons whose visions, O king, are blinded by darkness, fail to understand that Narayana is the Supreme Soul pervading the entire universe. Those persons of wisdom who are the authors of the scriptures say that Narayana, who is a Rishi, is the one object of reverent worship in the universe. I say that there is no other being like Him. The Supreme Deity, called by the name of Hari, resides in the hearts of those that have succeeded (with the aid of the scriptures and of inference) in dispelling all doubts. Madhava never resides in the hearts of those that are under the sway of doubts and that would dispute away everything with the aid of false dialectics. They that are conversant with the Pancharatra scriptures, that are duly observant of the duties laid down therein, and that are devoted to Narayana with their whole souls, succeed in entering into Narayana. The Sankhya and the Yoga systems are eternal. All the Vedas, again, O monarch, are eternal. The Rishis, in all these systems of cult, have declared that this universe existing from ancient times is Narayana's self. Thou shouldst know that whether acts, good or bad, are laid down in the Vedas and occurrence in heaven and Earth, between the sky and the waters, are all caused by and flow from that ancient Rishi Narayana.


Janamejaya said, “O regenerate one, are there many Purushas or is there only one? Who, in the universe, is the foremost of Purushas? What, again, is said to be the source of all things?”

Vaisampayana said, In the speculations of the Sankhya and the Yoga systems many Purushas have been spoken of, O jewel of Kuru's race. Those that follow these systems do not accept that there is but one Purusha in the universe.[1916] In the same manner in which the many Purushas are said to have one origin in the Supreme Purusha, it may be said that this entire universe is identical with that one Purusha of superior attributes. I shall explain this now, after bowing to my preceptor Vyasa, that foremost of Rishis, who is conversant with the soul, endued with penances, self-restrained, and worthy of reverent worship. This speculation on Purusha, O king, occurs in all the Vedas. It is well known to be identical with Rita and Truth. The foremost of Rishis, viz., Vyasa, has thought upon it. Having occupied themselves with reflection on what is called Adhyatma, diverse Rishis, O king, having Kapila for their first, have declared their opinions on the topic both generally and particularly. Through the grace of Vyasa of immeasurable energy, I shall expound to thee what Vyasa has said in brief on this question of the Oneness of Purusha. In this connection is cited the old narrative of the discourse between Brahma, O king, and the Three-eyed Mahadeva. In the midst of the Ocean of milk, there is a very high mountain of great effulgence like that of gold, known, O monarch, by the name of Vaijayanta. Repairing thither all alone, from his own abode of great splendour and felicity, the illustrious deity Brahma used very often to pass his time, engaged in thinking on the course of Adhyatma. While the four-faced Brahma of great intelligence was seated there, his son Mahadeva, who had sprung from his forehead encountered him one day in course of his wanderings through the universe. In days of yore, the Three-eyed Siva endued with puissance and high Yoga, while proceeding along the sky, beheld Brahma seated on that mountain and, therefore, dropped down quickly on its top. With a cheerful heart he presented him before his progenitor and worshipped his feet. Beholding Mahadeva prostrated at his feet, Brahma took him up with his left hand. Having thus raised Mahadeva up, Brahma, that puissant and one Lord of all creatures, then addressed his son, whom he met after a long time, in these words.

“The Grandsire said, 'Welcome art thou, O thou of mighty arms. By good luck I see thee after such a long time come to my presence. I hope, O son, that everything is right with thy penances and thy Vedic studies and recitations. Thou art always observant of the austerest penances. Hence I ask thee about the progress and well-being of those penances of thine!'

“Rudra said, 'O illustrious one, through thy grace, all is well with my penances and Vedic studies. It is all right, again, with the universe. I saw thy illustrious self a long while ago in thy own home of felicity and effulgence. I am coming thence to this mountain that is now the abode of thy feet.[1917] Great is the curiosity excited in my mind by this withdrawal of thyself into such a lone spot from thy usual region of felicity and splendour. Great must the reason be, O Grandsire, for such an act on thy part. Thy own foremost abode is free from the pains of hunger and thirst, and inhabited by both deities and Asuras, by Rishis of immeasurable splendour, as also by Gandharvas and Apsaras. Abandoning such a spot of felicity, thou residest alone in this foremost of mountains. The cause of this cannot but be grave.

“Brahma said, 'This foremost of mountains, called Vaijayanta, is always my residence. Here, with concentrated mind, I meditate on the one universal Purusha of infinite proportions.'

“Rudra said, 'Self-born thou art. Many are the Purushas that have been created by thee. Others again, O Brahma, are being created by thee. The Infinite Purusha, however, of whom thou speakest, is one and single. Who is that foremost of Purushas, O Brahma, that is being meditated by thee? Great is the curiosity I feel on this point. Do thou kindly dispel the doubt that has taken possession of my mind.

“Brahma said, 'O son, many are those Purushas of whom thou speakest. The one Purusha, however, of whom I am thinking, transcends all Purushas and is invisible. The many Purushas that exist in the universe have that one Purusha as their basis; and since that one Purushas is said to be the source whence all the innumerable Purushas have sprung, hence all the latter, if they succeed in divesting themselves of attributes, become competent to enter into that one Purusha who is identified with the universe, who is supreme, who is the foremost of the foremost, who is eternal, and who is himself divested of and is above all attributes.”


'Brahma said,–'Listen, O son, as to how that Purusha is indicated. He is eternal and immutable. He is undeteriorating and immeasurable. He pervades all things.[1918] O best of all creatures, that Purusha cannot be seen by thee, or me, or others. Those that are endued with the understanding and the senses but destitute of self-restraint and tranquility of soul cannot obtain a sight of him. The Supreme Purusha is said to be one that can be seen with the aid of knowledge alone. Though divested of body, He dwells in every body. Though dwelling, again, in bodies, He is never touched by the acts accomplished by those bodies. He is my Antaratma (inner soul). He is thy inner soul. He is the all-seeing Witness dwelling within all embodied creatures and engaged in marking their acts. No one can grasp or comprehend him at any time. The universe is the crown of his head. The universe is his arms. The universe is his feet. The universe is his eyes. The universe is his nose. Alone and single, he roves through all Kshetras (Bodies) unrestrained by any limitations on his will and as he likes. Kshetra is another name for body. And because he knows all Kshetras as also all good and bad deeds, therefore he, who is the soul of Yoga, is called by the name of Kshetrajna.[1919] No one succeeds in perceiving how he enters into embodied creatures and how he goes out of them. Agreeably to the Sankhya mode, as also with the aid of Yoga and the due observance of the ordinances prescribed by it, I am engaged in thinking of the cause of that Purusha, but alas, I am unable to comprehend that cause, excellent as it is. I shall, however, according to the measure of my knowledge, discourse to thee upon that eternal Purusha and his Oneness and supreme greatness. The learned speak of him as the one Purusha. That one eternal Being deserves the appellation of Mahapurusha (the great supreme Purusha). Fire is an element, but it may be seen to blaze up in a thousand places under thousand different circumstances. The Sun is one and single, but his rays extend over the wide universe. Penances are of diverse kinds, but they have one common origin whence they have flowed. The Wind is one, but it blows in diverse forms in the world. The great Ocean is the one parent of all the waters in the world seen under diverse circumstances. Divested of attributes, that one Purusha is the universe displayed in infinitude. Flowing from him, the infinite universe enters into that one Purusha again who transcends all attributes, when the time of its destruction comes. By casting off the consciousness of body and the senses, by casting off all acts good and bad, by casting off both truth and falsehood, one succeeds in divesting oneself of attributes. The person who realises that inconceivable Purusha and comprehends his subtile existence in the quadruple form of Aniruddha, Pradyumna, Sankarshana, and Vasudeva, and who, in consequence of such comprehension, attains to perfect tranquillity of heart, succeeds in entering into and identifying himself with that one auspicious Purusha. Some persons possessed of learning speak of him as the supreme soul. Others regarded him as the one soul. A third class of learned men describe him as the soul.[1920] The truth is that he who is the Supreme Soul is always divested of attributes. He is Narayana. He is the universal soul, and he is the one Purusha. He is never affected by the fruits of acts even as the leaf of the lotus is never drenched by the water one may throw upon it. The Karamta (acting Soul) is different. That Soul is sometimes engaged in acts and when it succeeds in casting off acts attains to Emancipation or identity with the Supreme Soul. The acting Soul is endued with the seven and ten possessions.[1921] Thus it is said that there are innumerable kinds of Purushas in due order. In reality, however, there is but one Purusha. He is the abode of all the ordinances in respect of the universe. He is the highest object of knowledge. He is at once the knower and the object to be known. He is at once the thinker and the object of thought. He is the eater and the food that is eaten. He is the smeller and the scent that is smelled. He is at once he that touches and the object that is touched. He is the agent that sees and the object that is seen. He is the hearer and the object that is heard. He is the conceiver and the object that is conceived. He is possessed of attributes and is free from them. What has previously, O son, been named Pradhana, and is the mother of the Mahat tattwa is no other than the Effulgence of the Supreme Soul; because He it is who is eternal, without destruction and any end and ever immutable. He it is who creates the prime ordinance in respect of Dhatri himself. Learned Brahmanas call Him by the name of Aniruddha. Whatever acts, possessed of excellent merits and fraught with blessings, flow in the world from the Vedas, have been caused by Him.[1922] All the deities and all the Rishis, possessed of tranquil souls, occupying their places on the altar, dedicate to him the first share of their sacrificial offerings.[1923] I, that am Brahma, the primeval master of all creatures, have started into birth from Him, and thou hast taken thy birth from me. From me have flowed the universe with all its mobile and immobile creatures, and all the Vedas, O son, with their mysteries. Divided into four portions (viz., Aniruddha, Pradyumna, Sankarshana, and Vasudeva), He sports as He pleases. That illustrious and divine Lord is even such, awakened by His own knowledge. I have thus answered thee, O son, according to thy questions, and according to the way in which the matter is expounded in the Sankha system and the Yoga philosophy.”


“Sauti said, 'After Vaisampayana had explained to king Janamejaya in this way the glory of Narayana, he began to discourse on another topic by reciting the question of Yudhishthira and the answer that Bhishma gave in the presence of all the. Pandavas and the Rishis as also of Krishna himself. Indeed, Vaisampayana began by saying what follows.[1924]

“Yudhishthira said, 'Thou hast, O grandsire discoursed to us on the duties appertaining to the religion of Emancipation. It behoveth thee now to tell us what the foremost duties are of persons belonging to the several modes of life!'[1925]

“Bhishma said, 'The duties ordained in respect of every mode of life are capable, if well performed, of leading to heaven and the high fruit of Truth. Duties which are as so many doors, to great sacrifices and gifts and none of the practices inculcated by them are futile in respect of consequence. One who adopts particular duties with steady and firm faith, praises these duties adopted by him to the exclusion of the rest, O chief of Bharata's race. This particular topic, however, on which thou wishest me to discourse was in days of yore the subject of conversation between the celestial Rishi Narada and the chief of the deities, viz., Indra. The great Rishi Narada, O king, revered by all the world is a siddha i.e., his sadhana has met fulfilment. He wanders through all the worlds unobstructed by anything, like the all-pervading wind itself. Once upon a time he repaired to the abode of Indra. Duly honoured by the chief of the deities, he sat close to his host. Beholding him seated at his ease and free from fatigue, the lord of Sachi addressed him, saying,–O great Rishi, is there any thing wonderful that has been beheld by thee, O sinless one? O regenerate Rishi, crowned with ascetic success, thou rovest, moved by curiosity, through the universe of mobile and immobile objects, witnessing all things. O celestial Rishi, there is nothing in the universe that is unknown to thee. Do thou tell me, therefore, of any wonderful incident which thou may t have seen or heard of or felt. Thus questioned, Narada, that foremost of speakers, O king, then commented to recite unto the chief of the celestials the extensive history that follows. Listen now to me as I recite that story which Narada told before Indra. I shall narrate it in the same manner in which the celestial Rishi had narrated it, and for the same purpose that he had in view!'”


“Bhishma said, 'In an excellent town called by the name of Mahapadma which was situate on the southern side of the river Ganga, there lived,

O, best of men, a Brahmana of concentrated soul. Born in the race of Atri, he was endued with amiability. All his doubts had been dispelled (by faith and contemplation) and he was well conversant with the path he was to follow. Ever observant of the religious duties, he had his anger under perfect control. Always contented, he was the, complete master of his senses. Devoted to penances and study of the Vedas, he was honoured by all good men. He earned wealth by righteous means and his conduct in all things corresponded with the mode of life he led and the order to which he belonged. The family to which he belonged was large and celebrated. He had many kinsmen and relatives, and many children and spouses. His behaviour was always respectable and faultless. Observing that he had many children, the Brahmana betook himself to the accomplishment of religious acts on a large scale. His religious observances, O king, had reference to the customs of his own family.[1926] The Brahmana reflected that three kinds of duties have been laid down for observances. There were first, the duties ordained in the Vedas in respect of the order in which he was born and the mode of life he was leading (viz., a Brahmana in the observance of domesticity). There were secondly, the duties prescribed in the scriptures, viz., those especially called the Dharmasastras. And, thirdly, there were those duties that eminent and revered men of former times have followed though not occurring either in the Vedas or the scriptures.[1927] Which of these duties should I follow? Which of them, again, followed by me, are likely to lead to my benefit? Which, indeed, should be my refuge?–Thoughts like these always troubled him. He could not solve his doubts. While troubled with such reflections, a Brahmana of concentrated soul and observant of a very superior religion, came to his house as a guest. The house-holder duly honoured his guest according to those ordinances of worship that are laid down in the scriptures. Beholding his guest refreshed and seated at ease, the host addressed him in the following words.”

“The Brahmana said, 'O sinless one, I have become exceedingly attached to thee in consequence of the sweetness of thy conversation. Thou hast become my friend. Listen to me, for I wish to say something unto thee. O foremost of Brahmanas, after making over the duties of a householder to my son, I wish to discharge the highest duties of man. What, O regenerate one, should be my path? Relying upon the Jiva soul, I wish to achieve existence in the one (supreme) soul. Alas, bound up in the ties of attachment, I have not the heart to actually set myself to the accomplishment of that task.[1928] And since the best portion of my life has passed away in the observance of domesticity, I desire to devote the remnant of my life in earning the means of defraying the expenses of my journey in respect of the time to come. The desire has arisen in my mind of crossing the ocean of the world. Alas, whence shall I get the raft of religion (with which to accomplish my purposes)? Hearing that even the very deities are persecuted and made to endure the fruits of their acts, and beholding the rows of Yama's standards and flags floating over the heads of all creatures, my heart fails to derive pleasure from the diverse objects of pleasure with which it comes into contact. Beholding also that the Yatis depend for their sustenance upon alms obtained in course of their rounds of mendicancy, I have no respect for the religion of the Yatis as well. O my reverend guest, do thou, aided by that religion which is founded upon the basis of intelligence and reason, set me to the observance of a particular course of duties and observance![1929]'

“Bhishma continued, 'Endued with great wisdom, the guest, hearing this speech of his host which was consistent with righteousness, said these sweet words in a melodious voice.'

“The guest said, 'I myself also am confounded with respect to this topic. The same thought occupies my mind. I am unable to arrive at definite conclusions. Heaven has many doors. There are some that applaud Emancipation. Some regenerate persons praise the fruits attainable by the performance of sacrifices. Some there are that take refuge in the forest mode of life. Some, again, betake themselves to the domestic mode of life. Some rely upon the merits attainable by an observance of the duties of kings. Some rely upon the fruits of that culture which consists in restraining the soul. Some think that the merits resulting from a dutiful obedience to preceptors and seniors are efficacious. Some betake themselves to restraints imposed on speech. Some by waiting dutifully upon their mothers and fathers, have gone to heaven. Some have ascended to heaven by practising the duty of compassion, and some by practising Truth. Some rush to battle, and after laying down their lives, have attained to heaven. Some, again, attaining to success by practising the vow called Unccha, have betaken themselves to the path of heaven. Some have devoted themselves to the study of the Vedas. Endued with auspiciousness and wedded to such study, these men, possessed of intelligence, with tranquil souls, and having their senses under complete control, attain to heaven. Others characterised by simplicity and truth, have been slain by men of wickedness. Endued with pure souls, such men of truth and simplicity, have become honoured denizens of heaven. In this world, it is seen, that men betake themselves to heaven, through a thousand doors of duty, all standing wide open. My understanding has been troubled by thy question, like a fleecy cloud before the wind.'”


“The guest continued, 'For all that, O Brahmana, I shall endeavour to instruct thee duly. Listen to me as I recite to thee that which I have heard from my preceptor. In that place whence, in course of a former creation, the wheel of righteousness was set in motion, in that forest which is known by the name of Naimisha, and which is situate on the banks of the Gomati, there is a city called after the Nagas. There, in that region, all the deities, being assembled together, had in days of old performed a grand sacrifice. There the foremost of earthly kings, Mandhatri, vanquished Indra, the chief of the celestials. A mighty Naga, of righteous soul, dwells in the city that stands in that region. That great Naga is known by the name of Padmanabha or Padma. Walking in the triple path (of acts, knowledge, and adoration) he gratifies all creatures in thought, word, and deed. Reflecting upon all things with great care, he protects the righteous and chastises the wicked by adopting the quadruple policy of conciliation, provoking dissensions, making gifts or bribes, and using force. Repairing thither, thou shouldst put to him the questions thou wishest. He will show thee truly what the highest religion is. That Naga is always fond of guests. Endued with great intelligence, he is well conversant with the scriptures. He is possessed of all desirable virtues the like of which are not to be noticed in any other person. By disposition he is always observant of those duties which are performed with or in water.[1930] He is devoted to the study of the Vedas. He is endued with penances and self-restraint. He has great wealth. He performs sacrifice, makes gifts, abstains from inflicting injury and practises forgiveness. His conduct in all respects is excellent. Truthful in speech and freed from malice, his behaviour, is good and his senses are under proper control. He eats after feeding all his guests and attendants. He is kind of speech. He has knowledge of what is beneficial and what is simple and right and what is censurable. He takes stock of what he does and what he leaves undone. He never acts with hostility towards any one. He is always engaged in doing what is beneficial to all creatures. He belongs to a family that is as pure and stainless as the water of a lake in the midst of the Ganges.'”


“The host replied, 'I have heard these words of thine, that are so consoling, with as much gratification as is felt by a person heavily loaded when that load is taken off his head or shoulders. The gratification that a traveller who has made a long journey on foot feels when he lies down on a bed, that which a person feels when he finds a seat after having stood for a long while for want of room, or that which is felt by a thirsty person when he finds a glass of cool water, or that which is felt by a hungry man when he finds savoury food set before him, or that which a guest feels when a dish of desirable food is placed before him at the proper time, or that which is felt by an old man when after long coveting he gets a son, or that which is experienced by one when meeting with a dear friend or relative about whom one had become exceedingly anxious, resembles that with which I have been filled in consequence of these words uttered by thee.[1931] Like a person with upturned gaze I have heard what has fallen from thy lips and am reflecting upon their import. With these wise words of thine thou hast truly instructed me! Yes, I shall do what thou hast commanded me to do. Thou mayst go tomorrow at dawn, passing the night happily with me and dispelling thy fatigue by such rest. Behold, the rays of the divine Surya have been partially dimmed and the god of day is proceeding in his downward course!”

“Bhishma continued, 'Hospitably waited upon by that Brahmana, the learned guest, O slayer of foes, passed that night in the company of his host. Indeed, both of them passed the night happily, conversing cheerfully with each other on the subject of the duties of the fourth mode of life, viz., Sannyasa (Renunciation). So engrossing was the nature of their conversation that the night passed away as if it were day. When morning came, the guest was worshipped with due rites by the Brahmana whose heart had been eagerly set upon the accomplishment of what (according to the discourse of the guest) was regarded by him to be beneficial for himself. Having dismissed his guest, the righteous Brahmana, resolved to achieve his purpose, took leave of his kinsmen and relatives, and set out in due time for the abode of that foremost of Nagas, with heart steadily directed towards it.'”


“Bhishma said, 'Proceeding by many delightful forests and lakes and sacred waters, the Brahmana at last arrived at the retreat of a certain ascetic. Arrived there, he enquired of him, in proper words, about the Naga of whom he had heard from his guest, and instructed by him he pursued his journey. With a clear idea of the purpose of his journey, the Brahmana then reached the house of the Naga. Entering it duly, he proclaimed himself in proper words, saying,–Ho! who is there!' I am a Brahmana, come hither as a guest!–Hearing these words, the chaste wife of the Naga, possessed of great beauty and devoted to the observance of all duties, showed herself. Always attentive to the duties of hospitality, she worshipped the guest with due rites, and welcoming him, said, 'What can I do for you?'

“The Brahmana said, 'O lady, I am sufficiently honoured by thee with the sweet words thou hast said unto me. The fatigue of my journey has also been dispelled. I desire, O blessed lady, to see thy excellent lord. This is my high object. This is the one object of my desire. It is for this reason that I have come today to the residence of the Naga, thy husband.'

“The wife of the Naga said, 'Reverend sir, my husband has gone to drag the car of Surya for a month. O learned Brahmana, he will be back in fifteen days, and will, without doubt show himself unto thee. I have thus told thee the reason of my husband's absence from home. Be that as it may, what else is there that I can do for thee? Tell me this!'

“The Brahmana said, 'O chaste lady, I have come hither with the object of seeing thy husband. O reverend dame, I shall dwell in the adjacent forest, waiting for his return. When thy husband comes back, do kindly tell him that I have arrived at this place impelled by the desire of seeing him. Thou shouldst also inform me of his return when that event occurs. O blessed lady, I shall, till then, reside on the banks of the Gomati, waiting for his return and living all the while upon frugal fare. Having said this repeatedly unto the wife of the Naga, that foremost of Brahmanas proceeded to the banks of the Gomati for residing there till the time of the Naga's return.'”


“Bhishma continued, 'The Nagas of that city became exceedingly distressed when they saw that that Brahmana, devoted to the practice of penances, continued to reside in the forest, entirely abstaining all the while from food, in expectation of the arrival of the Naga chief. All the kinsmen and relatives of the great Naga, including his brother and children and wife, assembling together, repaired to the spot where the Brahmana was staying. Arrived on the banks of the Gomati, they beheld that regenerate person seated in a secluded spot, abstaining from food of every kind, observant the while of excellent vows, and engaged in silently reciting certain Mantras. Approaching the presence of the Brahmana and offering him due worship, the kinsmen and relatives of the great Naga said unto him these words fraught with candour:–O Brahmana, endued with wealth of asceticism, this is the sixth day of thy arrival here, but thou sayest no word about thy food, O regenerate one, thou art devoted to righteousness. Thou hast come to us. We two are here in attendance upon thee. It is absolutely necessary that we should do the duties of hospitality to thee. We are all relations of the Naga chief with whom thou hast business. Roots or fruits, leaves, or water, or rice or meat, O best of Brahmanas, it behoveth thee to take for thy food. In consequence of thy dwelling in this forest under such circumstances of total abstention from food, the whole community of Nagas, young and old, is being afflicted, since this thy fast implies negligence on our part to discharge the duties of hospitality. We have none amongst us that has been guilty of Brahmanicide. None of us has ever lost a son immediately after birth. No one has been born in our race that has eaten before serving the deities or guests or relatives arrived at his residence.

“The Brahmana said, 'In consequence of these solicitations of you all, I may be regarded to have broken my fast. Eight days are wanting for the day to come when the chief of the Nagas will return.[1932] If, on the expiry of the eighth night hence, the chief of the Nagas does not come back, I shall then break this fast by eating. Indeed, this vow of abstaining from all food that I am observing is in consequence of my regard for the Naga chief. You should not grieve for what I am doing. Do you all return to whence you came. This my vow is on his account. You should not do anything in consequence of which this my vow may be broken.–The assembled Nagas, thus addressed by the Brahmana, were dismissed by him, whereupon, O foremost of men, they returned to their respective residences.'”


“Bhishma said, 'Upon the expiry of the period of full fifteen days, the Naga chief (Padmanabha), having finished his task of dragging the car of Surya and obtained the latter's permission, came back to his own house. Beholding him come back, his spouse approached him quickly for washing his feet and dutifully discharging other tasks of a similar nature. Having gone through these tasks, she took her seat by his side, The Naga then, refreshed from fatigue, addressed his dutiful and chaste wife, saying, I hope, my dear wife, that during my absence thou hast not been unmindful of worshipping the deities and guests agreeably to the instructions I gave thee, and according to the ordinances laid down in the scriptures. I hope, without yielding to that uncleansed understanding which is natural to persons of thy sex, thou hast, during my absence from home, been firm in the observance of the duties of hospitality. I trust that thou hast not transcended the barriers of duty and righteousness.'

“The wife of the Naga said, 'The duty of disciples is to wait with reverence upon their preceptor accomplishing his bidding; that of Brahmanas is to study the Vedas and bear them in memory; that of servants is to obey the commands of their masters; that of the king is to protect his people by cherishing the good and chastising the wicked. It is said that the duties of a Kshatriya embrace the protection of all creatures from wrong and oppression. The duty of the Sudra is to serve with humility persons of the three regenerate orders, viz., Brahmanas, Kshatriyas and Vaisyas. The religion of the house-holder, O chief of the Nagas, consists in doing good to all creatures. Frugality of fare and observance of vow in due order, constitute merit (for persons of all classes) in consequence of the connection that exists between the senses and the duties of religion.[1933] Who am I? Whence have I come? What are others to me and what am I to others?–these are the thoughts to which the mind should ever be directed by him who lea