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Chapter 13

Mahabharata English - ASWAMEDHA PARVA

“Vasudeva said, “O scion of Bharata’s race, salvation is not attained byforegoing the external things (like kingdom, etc), it is only attained bygiving up things which pander to the flesh (body). The virtue andhappiness which are attainable by the person who has renounced only theexternal objects, but who is at the same time engrossed by passions andweakness of the flesh, let these be the portion of our enemies. The wordwith two letters is Mrit-yu (death of the soul or perdition), and theword with three letters is Sas-wa-ta (Brahman) or the eternal spirit. Theconsciousness that this or that thing is mine, or the state of beingaddicted to worldly objects is Mrityu and the absence of that feeling isSaswatam. And these two, Brahman and Mrityu, O king, have their seats inthe souls of all creatures, and remaining unseen, they, without doubt,wage war with each other. And if, O Bharata, it be true that no creatureis ever destroyed, then one doth not make oneself guilty of the death ofa creature by piercing (destroying) its body. What matters the world to aman, if having acquired the sovereignty of the whole earth with itsmobile and immobile creation, he does not become attached to it, orengrossed in its enjoyment. But the man who having renounced the world,has taken to the life of the recluse in the forest, living on wild rootsand edibles, if such a man, O son of Pritha, has a craving for the goodthings of the world, and is addicted to them, he may be said to bearMrityu (death) in his mouth. Do thou, O Bharata, watch and observe thecharacter of thy external and internal enemies, (by means of thyspiritual vision), And the man who is able to perceive the nature of theeternal reality is able to overreach the influence of the great fear(perdition). Men do not look with approbation upon the conduct of thosewho are engrossed in worldly desires and there is no act without having adesire (at its root) and all (Kama) desires are, as it were, the limbs(offshoots) of the mind. Therefore, wise men knowing this subjugate theirdesires. The Yogi who holds communion with the Supreme Spirit, knows Yogato be the perfect way (to salvation) by reason of the practices of hismany former births. And remembering that, what the soul desires, is notconducive to piety and virtue, but that the suppression of the desires isat the root of all true virtue, such men do not engage in the practice ofcharity, Vedic learning, asceticism and Vedic rites whose object isattainment of worldly prosperity, ceremonies, sacrifices, religious rulesand meditation, with the motive of securing any advantage thereby. By wayof illustration of this truth, the sages versed in ancient lore, recitethese Gathas called by the name of Kamagita, do thou O Yudhishthira,listen to the recital of them in detail. (Kama says) No creature is ableto destroy me without resorting to the proper methods (viz., subjugatingof all desires and practice of Yoga etc.) If a man knowing my power,strive to destroy me by muttering prayers etc., I prevail over him bydeluding him with the belief that I am the subjective ego within him. Ifhe wish to destroy me by means of sacrifices with many presents, Ideceive him by appearing in his mind as a most virtuous creature amongstthe mobile creation, and if he wish to annihilate me by mastering theVedas and Vedangas, I over reach him by seeming to his mind to be thesoul of virtue amongst the immobile creation. And if the man whosestrength lies in truth, desire to overcome me by patience, I appear tohim as his mind, and thus he does not perceive my existence, and if theman of austere religious practices, desire to destroy me by means ofasceticism, I appear in the guise of asceticism in his mind, and thus heis prevented from knowing me, and the man of learning, who with theobject of attaining salvation desires to destroy me, I frolic and laughin the face of such a man intent on salvation. I am the everlasting onewithout a compeer, whom no creature can kill or destroy. For this reasonthou too, O prince, divert thy desires (Kama) to Virtue, so that, by thismeans, thou mayst attain what is well for thee. Do thou therefore makepreparations for the due performance of the horse sacrifice withpresents, and various other sacrifices of great splendour, andaccompanied with presents. Let not therefore grief overpower thee again,on beholding thy friends lying slain on the battlefield. Thou canst notsee the men slain in this battle alive again. Therefore shouldst thouperform magnificent sacrifices with presents, so that thou mayst attainfame in this world, and reach the perfect way (hereafter).”

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