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Chapter 215

Mahabharata English - SANTI PARVA

“Bhishma said, ‘Living creatures, by being attached to objects of thesenses which are always fraught with evil, become helpless. Thosehigh-souled persons, however, who are not attached to them, attain to thehighest end. The man of intelligence, beholding the world over-whelmedwith the evils constituted by birth, death, decrepitude, sorrow, disease,and anxieties, should exert themselves for the attainment ofEmancipation. He should be pure in speech, thought, and body; he shouldbe free from pride. Of tranquil soul and possessed of knowledge, heshould lead a life of mendicancy, and pursue happiness without beingattached to any worldly object. Again, if attachment be seen to possessthe mind in consequence of compassion to creatures, he should, seeingthat the universe is the result of acts, show indifference in respect ofcompassion itself.[755] Whatever good, acts are performed, or whateversin (is perpetrated), the doer tastes the consequences. Hence, oneshould, in speech, thought, and deed, do only acts that are good.[756] Hesucceeds in obtaining happiness who practises abstention from injuring(others), truthfulness of speech, honesty towards all creatures, andforgiveness, and who is never heedless. Hence one, exercising one’sintelligence, should dispose one’s mind, after training it, on peacetowards all creatures.[757] That man who regards the practice of thevirtues enumerated above as the highest duty, as conducive to thehappiness of all creatures, and as destructive of all kinds of sorrow, ispossessed of the highest knowledge, and succeeds in obtaining happiness.Hence (as already said), one should, exercising one’s intelligence,dispose one’s mind, after training it, on peace towards all creatures.One should never think of doing evil to others. One should not covet whatis far above one’s power to attain. One should not turn one’s thoughtstowards objects that are non-existent. One should, on the other hand,direct one’s mind towards knowledge by such persistent efforts as aresure to succeed.[758] With the aid of the declarations of the Srutis andof persistent efforts calculated to bring success, that Knowledge is sureto flow. One that is desirous of saying good words or observing areligion that is refined of all dross, should utter only truth that isnot fraught with any malice or censure. One that is possessed of a soundheart should utter words that are not fraught with dishonesty, that arenot harsh, that are not cruel, that are not evil, and that are notcharacterised by garrulity. The universe is bound in speech. If disposedto renunciation (of all worldly objects) then should one proclaim,[759]which a mind fraught with humility and a cleansed understanding, one’sown evil acts.[760] He who betakes himself to action, impelled thereto bypropensities fraught with the attribute of Passion, obtains much miseryin this world and at last sinks into hell. One should, therefore,practise self-restraint in body, speech, and mind. Ignorant personsbearing the burdens of the world are like robbers laden with their bootyof straggling sheep (secreted from herds taken out for pasture). Thelatter are always regardful of roads that are unfavourable to them (owingto the presence of the king’s watch).[761] Indeed, as robbers have tothrow away their spoil if they wish for safety, even so should a personcast off all acts dictated by Passion and Darkness if he is to obtainfelicity. Without doubt, a person that is without desire, free from thebonds of the world, contented to live in solitude, abstemious in diet,devoted to penances and with senses under control, that has burnt all hissorrows by (the acquisition of) knowledge, that takes a pleasure inpractising all the particulars of yoga discipline, and that has acleansed soul, succeeds, in consequence of his mind being withdrawn intoitself, in attaining to Brahma or Emancipation.[762] One endued withpatience and a cleansed soul, should, without doubt, control one’sunderstanding. With the understanding (thus disciplined), one should nextcontrol one’s mind, and then with the mind overpower the objects of thesenses. Upon the mind being thus brought under control and the sensesbeing all subdued, the senses will become luminous and gladly enter intoBrahma. When one’s senses are withdrawn into the mind, the result thatoccurs is that Brahma becomes manifested in it. Indeed, when the sensesare destroyed., and the soul returns to the attribute of pure existence,it comes to be regarded as transformed into Brahma. Then again, oneshould never make a display of one’s yoga power. On the other hand, oneshould always exert to restrain one’s senses by practising the rules ofyoga. Indeed, one engaged in the practice of yoga rules should do allthose acts by which one’s conduct and disposition may become pure.[763](Without making one’s yoga powers the means of one’s subsistence) oneshould rather live upon broken grains of corn, ripe beans, dry cakes ofseeds from which the oil has been pressed out, pot-herbs, half-ripebarley, flour of fried pulses, fruits, and roots, obtained in alms.[764]Reflecting upon the characteristics of time and place, one shouldaccording to one’s inclinations observe, after proper examination, vowsand rules about fasts. One should not suspend an observance that has beenbegun. Like one slowly creating a fire, one should gradually extend anact that is prompted by knowledge. By doing so, Brahma gradually shinesin one like the Sun. The Ignorance which has Knowledge for its restingground, extends its influence over all the three states (of waking,dreaming and dreamless slumber). The Knowledge, again, that follows theUnderstanding, is assailed by Ignorance.[765] The evil-hearted personfails to obtain a knowledge of the Soul in consequence of taking it asunited with the three states although in reality it transcends them all.When, however, he succeeds in apprehending the limits under which thetwo, viz., union with the three states and separation from them, aremanifested, it is then that he becomes divested of attachment and attainsto Emancipation. When such an apprehension has been attained, onetranscends the effects of age, rises superior to the consequences ofdecrepitude and death, and obtains Brahma which is eternal, deathless,immutable, undeteriorating.'”

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