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Chapter 31

Mahabharata English - BHISHMA PARVA

“The Holy One said, ‘Listen, O son of Pritha, how, without doubt, thoumayst know me fully, fixing thy mind on me, practising devotion, andtaking refuge in me. I will now, without leaving anything speak to theeabout knowledge and experience, knowing which there would be left nothingin this world (for thee) to know. One among thousands of men striveth forperfection. Of those even that are assiduous and have attained toperfection, only some one knoweth me truly.[203] Earth, water, fire, air,space, mind, also understanding, and consciousness,–thus hath my naturebeen divided eight-fold. This is a lower (form of my) nature. Differentfrom this, know there is a higher (form of my) nature which is animate, Othou of mighty arms, and by which this universe is held.[204] Know thatall creatures have these for their source. I am the source of evolutionand also of the dissolution of the entire universe. There is nothingelse, O Dhananjaya, that is higher than myself. Upon me is all this likea row of pearls on a string. Taste I am in the waters, O soil of Kunti,(and) I am the splendour of both the moon and the sun, I am the Om in allthe Vedas, the sound in space, and the manliness in men. I am thefragrant odour in earth, the splendour in fire, the life in all (living)creatures, and penance in ascetics. Know me, O son of Pritha, to be theeternal seed of all beings. I am the intelligence of all creatures enduedwith intelligence, the glory of all glorious objects. I am also thestrength of all that are endued with strength, (myself) freed from desireand thirst, and, O bull of Bharata’s race, am the desire, consistent withduty, in all creatures.[205] And all existences which are of the qualityof goodness, and which are of the quality of passion and quality ofdarkness, know that they are, indeed, from me. I am, however, not inthem, but they are in me. This entire universe, deluded by these threeentities consisting of (these) three qualities knoweth not me that ambeyond them and undecaying; since this illusion of mine, depending on the(three) qualities, is exceedingly marvellous and highly difficult ofbeing transcended. They that resort to me alone cross this illusion.[206]Doers of evil, ignorant men, the worst of their species, robbed of theirknowledge by (my) illusion and wedded to the state of demons, do notresort to me. Four classes of doers of good deeds worship me, O Arjuna,viz., he that is distressed, that is possessed of knowledge, being alwaysdevoted and having his faith in only One, is superior to the rest, forunto the man of knowledge I am dear above everything, and he also is dearto me. All these are noble. But the man of knowledge is regarded (by me)to be my very self, since he, with soul fixed on abstraction, takethrefuge in me as the highest goal. At the end of many births, the manpossessed of knowledge attaineth to me, (thinking) that Vasudeva is allthis. Such a high-souled person, however, is exceedingly rare. They whohave been robbed of knowledge by desire, resort to their godheads,observant of diverse regulations and controlled by their own nature.[207]Whatever form, (of godhead or myself) any worshipper desireth to worshipwith faith, that faith of his unto that (form) I render steady. Enduedwith that faith, he payeth his adorations to that (form), and obtainethfrom that all his desire, since all those are ordained by me.[208] Thefruits, however, of those persons endued with little intelligence areperishable. They that worship the divinities, go to the divinities,(while) they that worship me come even to me.[209] They that have nodiscernment, regard me who am (really) unmanifest to have becomemanifest, because they do not know the transcendent and undecaying stateof mine than which there is nothing higher.[210] Shrouded by the illusionof my inconceivable power, I am not manifest to all. This deluded worldknoweth not me that I am unborn and undecaying. I know, O Arjuna, allthings that have been past, and all things that are present, and allthings that are to be. But there is nobody that knoweth me. Allcreatures, O chastiser of foes, are deluded at the time of their birth bythe delusion, O Bharata, of pairs of opposites arising from desire andaversion. But those persons of meritorious deeds whose sins have attainedtheir end, being freed from the delusion of pairs of opposites, worshipme, firm in their vow (of that worship). Those who, taking refuge in me,strive for release from decay and death, know Brahman, the entireAdhyatma, and action.[211] And they who know me with the Adhibhuta, theAdhidaiva, and the Adhiyajna, having minds fixed on abstraction, know meat the time of their departure (from this world).[212]

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