Chapter 38

Mahabharata English - BHISHMA PARVA

“The Holy One said, ‘I will again declare (to thee) that supernal scienceof sciences, that excellent science, knowing which all the munis haveattained to the highest perfection from (the fetters of) this body.[273]Resorting to this science, and attaining to my nature, they are notreborn even on (the occasion of) a (new) creation and are not disturbedat the universal dissolution. The mighty Brahma is a womb for me. ThereinI place the (living) germ. Thence, O Bharata, the birth of all beingstaketh place. Whatever (bodily) forms, O son of Kunti, are born in allwombs, of them Brahma is the mighty womb, (and) I the seed-impartingSire.[274] Goodness, passion, darkness, these qualities, born of nature,bind down, O thou of mighty arms, the eternal embodied [soul] in thebody.[275] Amongst these, Goodness, from its unsullied nature, beingenlightening and free from misery, bindeth (the soul), O sinless one,with the attainment of happiness and of knowledge. Know that passion,having desire for its essence, is born of thirst and attachment. That, Oson of Kunti, bindeth the embodied (soul) by the attachment of work.Darkness, however, know, is born of ignorance, (and) bewilders allembodied [soul]. That bindeth, O Bharata, by error, indolence, and sleep.Goodness uniteth (the soul) with pleasure; Passion, O Bharata, unitethwith work; but darkness, veiling knowledge, uniteth with error. Passionand darkness, being repressed, Goodness remaineth, O Bharata. Passion andgoodness (being repressed), darkness (remaineth); (and) darkness andgoodness (being repressed), passion (remaineth). When in this body, inall its gates, the light of knowledge is produced, then should one knowthat goodness hath been developed there. Avarice, activity, performanceof works, want of tranquillity, desire,–these, O bull of Bharata’s race,are born when passion is developed. Gloom, inactivity, error, anddelusion also,–these, O son of Kuru’s race, are born when darkness isdeveloped. When the holder of a body goeth to dissolution while goodnessis developed, then he attaineth to the spotless regions of those thatknow the Supreme. Going to dissolution when passion prevails, one is bornamong those that are attached to work. Likewise, dissolved duringdarkness, one is born in wombs that beget the ignorant. The fruit of goodaction is said to be good and untainted. The fruit, however, of passion,is misery; (and) the fruit of Darkness is ignorance. From goodness isproduced knowledge; from passion, avarice; (and) from darkness are errorand delusion, and also ignorance. They that dwell in goodness go on high;they that are addicted to passion dwell in the middle; (while) they thatare of darkness, being addicted to the lowest quality, go down. When anobserver recognises none else to be an agent save the qualities, andknows that which is beyond (the qualities), he attaineth to my nature.The embodied [soul], by transcending these three qualities whichconstitute the source of all bodies, enjoyeth immortality, being freedfrom birth, death, decrepitude, and misery.'[276]

“Arjuna said, ‘What are indications, O Lord, of one who hath transcendedthese three qualities? What is his conduct? How also doth one transcendthese three qualities?”

“The Holy One said, ‘He who hath no aversion for light, activity, andeven delusion, O son of Pandu, when they are present, nor desireth themwhen they are absent,[277] who, seated as one unconcerned, is not shakenby those qualities; who sitteth and moveth not, thinking that it is thequalities (and not he) that are engaged (in their respective functions);to whom pain and pleasure are alike, who is self-contained, and to whom asod of earth, a stone, and gold are alike; to whom the agreeable and thedisagreeable are the same; who hath discernment; to whom censure andpraise are the same; to whom honour and dishonour are the same; whoregardeth friend and foe alike; who hath renounced all exertion–is saidto have transcended the qualities. He also who worshippeth Me withexclusive devotion, he, transcending those qualities, becometh fit foradmission into the nature of Brahma. For I am the stay of Brahma, ofimmortality, of undestructibility, of eternal piety, and of unbrokenfelicity.'[278]

Chapter 39
Chapter 37
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