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Chapter 35

Mahabharata English - ASWAMEDHA PARVA

“Arjuna said, ‘It behoveth thee to expound Brahma to me,–that which isthe highest object of knowledge. Through thy favour, my mind is delightedwith these subtle disquisitions.’

“Vasudeva said,–‘In this connection is recited the old history of thediscourse between a preceptor and his disciple on the subject of Brahman.Once on a time, O scorcher of foes, an intelligent disciple questioned acertain Brahmana of rigid vows who was his preceptor, as he was seated(at his ease), saying,–What, indeed, is the highest good? Desirous ofattaining to that which constitutes the highest good, I throw myself atthy feet, O holy one. O learned Brahmana, I solicit thee, bending myhead, to explain to me what I ask.–Unto that disciple, O son of Pritha,who said so, the preceptor said,–O regenerate one, I shall explain tothee everything about which thou mayst have any doubts.–Thus addressed,O foremost one of Kuru’s race, by his preceptor, that disciple who wasexceedingly devoted to his preceptor, spoke as follows, with joinedhands. Do thou hear what he said, O thou of great intelligence.’

“The Disciple said, ‘Where am I? Whence art thou? Explain that which isthe highest truth. From what source have sprung all creatures mobile andimmobile? By what do creatures live? What is the limit of their life?What is truth? What is penance, O learned Brahmana? What are calledattributes by the good? What paths are to be called auspicious? What ishappiness? What is sin? O holy one, O thou of excellent vows, it behovesthee to answer these questions of mine, O learned Rishi, correctly,truly, and accurately. Who else is there in this world than thee that iscapable of answering these questions? Do thou answer them, O foremost ofall persons conversant with duties. My curiosity is great. Thou artcelebrated in all the worlds as one well skilled in the duties relatingto Emancipation. There is none else than thou that is competent to removeall kinds of doubts. Afraid of worldly life, we have become desirous ofachieving Emancipation.’

“Vasudeva said, ‘Unto that disciple who had humbly sought his instructionand put the questions duly, who was devoted to his preceptor andpossessed of tranquillity, and who always behaved in a manner that wasagreeable (to his instructor), who lived so constantly by the side of hisinstructor as to have almost become his shadow, who was self-restrained,and who had the life of a Yati and Brahmacharin, O son of Pritha, thatpreceptor possessed of intelligence and observant of vows, duly explainedall the questions, O foremost one of Kuru’s race, O chastiser of allfoes.’

“The preceptor said, ‘All this was declared (In days of old) by Brahmahimself (the Grandsire of all the worlds). Applauded and practised by theforemost of Rishis, and depending on a knowledge of the Vedas, itinvolves a consideration of what constitutes the real entity. We regardknowledge to be the highest object, and renunciation as the best penance.He who, with certainty, knows the true object of knowledge which isincapable of being modified by circumstances, viz., the soul abiding inall creatures, succeeds in going whithersoever he wishes and comes to beregarded as the highest. That learned man who beholds the residence ofall things in one place and their severance as well, and who sees unityin diversity, succeeds in freeing himself from misery. He who does notcovet anything and does not cherish the idea of mineness with regard toanything, comes to be regarded, although residing in this world, asidentifiable with Brahman, He who is conversant with the truth about thequalities of Pradhana (or Nature), acquainted with the creation of allexistent objects, divested of the idea of mineness, and without pride,succeeds, without doubt, in emancipating himself. Understanding properlythat great tree which has the unmanifest for its seed sprout, and theunderstanding for its trunk, and high consciousness of self for itsbranches, and the senses for the cells whence its twigs issue, and the(five) great elements for its flower-buds, and the gross elements for itssmaller boughs, which is always endued with leaves, which always putsforth flowers, and upon which all existent objects depend, whose seed isBrahman, and which is eternal,–and cutting all topics with the sharpsword of knowledge, one attains to immortality and casts off birth anddeath. The conclusions with regard to the past, present, and future, etc,and religion, pleasure and wealth, which are all well known to conclavesof Siddhas, which appertain to remote cycles, and which are, indeed,eternal, I shall declare to thee, O thou of great wisdom. Theseconstitute what is called Good. Men of wisdom, understanding them in thisworld, attain to success. In days of old, the Rishis Vrihaspati andBharadwaja, and Gautama and Bhargava, and Vasishtha and Kasyapa, andViswamitra, and Atri, assembled together for the purpose of asking oneanother. They thus assembled together after having travelled over allpaths and after they had got tired with the acts each of them had done.Those regenerate persons, placing the sage son of Angiras at their head,proceeded to the region of the Grandsire. There they beheld Brahmaperfectly cleansed of all sin. Bowing their heads unto that high-souledone who was seated at his ease, the great Rishis, endued with humility,asked him this grave question regarding the highest good. How should agood man act? How would one be released from sin? What paths areauspicious for us? What is truth, and what is sin? By what action are thetwo paths, northern and southern, obtained? What is destruction? What isEmancipation? What is birth and what is death of all existent objects? Ishall tell thee, O disciple, what the Grandsire, thus addressed, saidunto them, conformably to the scriptures. Do thou listen.’

“Brahma said, ‘It is from Truth that all creatures, mobile and immobile,have been born. They live by penance (of action). Understand this, O yeof excellent vows. In consequence of their own actions they live,transcending: their own origin.[101] For Truth, when united withqualities, becomes always possessed of five indications. Brahman isTruth. Penance is truth. Prajapati is truth. It is from Truth that allcreatures have sprung. Truth is the universe of being. It is for thisthat Brahmanas who are always devoted to Yoga, who have transcended wrathand sorrow, and who always regard Religion as the causeway (along whichevery one must pass for avoiding the morass below), take refuge in Truth.I shall now speak of those Brahmanas who are restrained by one anotherand possessed of knowledge, of the orders, and of those who belong to thefour modes of life. The wise say that Religion or duty is one, (though)having four quarters. Ye regenerate ones, I shall speak to ye now of thatpath which is auspicious and productive of good. That path has constantlybeen trod over by men possessed of wisdom in order to achieve an identitywith Brahman. I shall speak now of that path which is the highest andwhich is exceedingly difficult of being understood. Do you understand, inall its details, ye highly blessed ones, what is the highest seat. Thefirst step has been said to be the mode of life that appertains toBrahmacharins. The second step is domesticity. After this is theresidence in the woods. After that it should be known is the higheststep, viz., that relating to Adhyatma.[102] Light, ether (or space), sun,wind, Indra, and Prajapati,–one sees these as long as one does notattain to Adhyatma. I shall declare the means (by which that Adhyatma maybe attained). Do ye first understand them. The forest mode of life thatis followed by ascetics residing in the woods and subsisting upon fruitsand roots and air is laid down for the three regenerate classes. Thedomestic mode of life is ordained for all the orders. They that arepossessed of wisdom say that Religion or duty has Faith for its (chief)indication. Thus have I declared to you the paths leading to the deities.They are adopted by those that are good and wise by their acts. Thosepaths are the causeways of piety. That person of rigid vows who adoptsany one of these modes separately, always succeeds in time to understandthe production and destruction of all creatures. I shall now declare,accurately and with reasons, the elements which reside in parts in allobjects. The great soul, the unmanifest, egoism (consciousness ofidentity), the ten and one organs (of knowledge and action), the fivegreat elements, the specific characteristics of the five elements,–theseconstitute the eternal creation. The number of elements has been said tobe four and twenty, and one (more). That person of wisdom who understandsthe production and destruction of all these elements, that man among allcreatures, never meets with delusion. He who understands the elementsaccurately, all the qualities, all the deities, succeeds in cleansinghimself of all sin. Freed from all bonds, such a man succeeds in enjoyingall regions of spotless purity.'”[103]

Chapter 36
Chapter 3
🙏 धर्म और आध्यात्म को जन-जन तक पहुँचाने में हमारा साथ दें| 🙏