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Chapter 224

Mahabharata English - SANTI PARVA

“Bhishma said, ‘Once more, laughing at Vali who was sighing like a snake,Sakra addressed him for saying something more pointed than what had saidbefore.[837]

“Sakra said, ‘Formerly, attended by a train consisting of thousands ofvehicles and kinsmen, thou usedst to make thy progresses, scorching allthe worlds with thy splendour and regarding us as nought. Thou art now,however, deserted by both kinsmen and friends. Beholding this miserableplight that has overtaken thee, dost thou or dost thou not indulge ingrief? Formerly, all the worlds were under thy sway and great was thyjoy. I ask, dost thou or dost thou not indulge in grief now, for thisfall of thine in respect of external splendour?’

“Vali said, ‘Considering all this to be transitory,–due, indeed, to thecourse of time,–I do not, O Sakra, indulge in grief. These things havean end. These bodies that creatures have, O chief of celestials, are alltransitory. For that reason, O Sakra, I do not grieve (for this asinineform of mine). Nor is this form due to any fault of mine. The animatingprinciple and the body come into existence together, in consequence oftheir own nature. They grow together, and meet with destruction together.Having obtained this form of existence I have not been permanentlyenslaved by it. Since I know this, I have no cause for sorrow inconsequence of that knowledge. As the final resting-place of all riversis the ocean, even so the end of all embodied creatures is death. Thosepersons that know this well are never stupefied, O wielder of thethunderbolt! They, however, who are overwhelmed with Passion and loss ofjudgment, do not know this, they whose understanding is lost, sink underthe weight of misfortune. A person who acquires a keen understandingsucceeds in destroying all his sins. A sinless person acquires theattribute of Goodness, and having acquired it becomes cheerful. They,however, that deviate from the attribute of Goodness, and obtain repeatedrebirths, are obliged to indulge in sorrow and grief, led on by desireand the objects of the senses. Success or the reverse, in respect of theattainment of all objects of desire, life or death, the fruits of actionthat are represented by pleasure or pain, I neither dislike nor like.When one slays another, one slays only that other’s body. That man, whothinks that it is he who slays another, is himself slain. Indeed, both ofthem are ignorant of the truth, viz., he who slays and he who isslain.[838] That person, O Maghavat, who having killed or vanquished anyone brags of his manliness, should know that he is not the actor but theact (of which he boasts) has been accomplished by a real agent (who isdifferent). When the question comes as to who is it that causes thecreation and the destruction of things in the world, it is generallyregarded that some person (who has himself been caused or created) hascaused the act (of creation or destruction). Know, however, that theperson who is so regarded has (as already said) a creator. Earth, lightor heat, space, water, and wind constituting the fifth–from these do allcreatures spring. (When this is known to me) what sorrow can I feel (forthis change in my condition)? one that is possessed of great learning,one that has not much of learning, one that is possessed of strength, onethat is destitute of strength, one that is possessed of personal beauty,and one that is very ugly, one that is fortunate and one that is notblessed by fortune, are all swept away by Time, which is too deep to befathomed, by its own energy. When I know that I have been vanquished byTime, what sorrow can I feel (for this alteration in my circumstances)?One that burns anything burns a thing that has been already burnt. Onethat slays, only slays a victim already slain. One that is destroyed hasbeen before destroyed. A thing that is acquired by a person is that whichis already arrived and intended for his acquisition. This Time is like anocean. There is no island in it. Where, indeed, is its other shore? Itsboundary cannot be seen. Reflecting even deeply, I do not behold the endof this continuous stream that is the great ordainer of all things andthat is certainly celestial. If I did not understand that it is Time thatdestroys all creatures, then, perhaps, I would have felt the emotions ofjoy and pride and wrath, O lord of Sachi! Hast thou come here to condemnme, having ascertained that I am now bearing the form of an ass thatsubsists upon chaff and that is now passing his days in a lonely spotremote from the habitations of men? If I wish, even now I can assumevarious awful forms beholding any one of which thou wouldst beat a hastyretreat from my presence. It is Time that gives everything and againtakes away everything. It is Time that ordains all things. Do not, OSakra, brag of thy manliness. Formerly, O Purandara, on occasions of mywrath everything used to become agitated. I am acquainted, however, OSakra, with the eternal attributes of all things in the world. Do thoualso know the truth. Do not suffer thyself to be filled with wonder.Affluence and its origin are not under one’s control. Thy mind seems tobe like that of a child. It is the same as it was before. Open thy eyes,O Maghavat, and adopt an understanding established on certitude andtruth. The gods, men, the Pitris, the Gandharvas, the snakes, and theRakshasas, were all under my sway in days gone by. Thou knowest this, OVasava! Their understandings stupefied by ignorance, all creatures usedto flatter me, saying, ‘Salutations to that point of the compass whitherVirochana’s son Vali may now be staying!’ O lord of Sachi, I do not atall grieve when I think of that honour (which is no longer paid to me). Ifeel no sorrow for this fall of mine. My understanding is firm in thisrespect, viz., that I will live obedient to the sway of the Ordainer. Itis seen that some one of noble birth, possessed of handsome features, andendued with great prowess, lives in misery, with all his counsellors andfriends. This happens because of its having been ordained.[839]Similarly, some one born in an ignoble race, devoid of knowledge, andwith even a stain on his birth, is seen, O Sakra, to live in happinesswith all his counsellors and friends.

This also happens because of its having been ordained. An auspicious andbeautiful woman, O Sakra, is seen to pass her life in misery. Similarly,an ugly woman with every inauspicious mark is seen to pass her days ingreat happiness. That we have now become so is not due to any act ofours, O Sakra! That thou art now so is not due, O wielder of thethunderbolt, to any act of thine. Thou hast not done anything, O thou ofhundred sacrifices, in consequence of which thou art now enjoying thisaffluence. Nor have I done anything in consequence of which I have nowbeen divested of affluence, Affluence and its reverse come one afteranother. I now behold thee blazing with splendour, endued withprosperity, possessed of beauty, placed at the head of all the deities,and thus roaring at me. This would never be but for the fact of Timestanding near after having assailed me. Indeed, if Time had not assailedme I would have today killed thee with only a blow of my fistsnotwithstanding the fact of thy being armed with the thunder. This,however, is not the time for putting forth my prowess. On the other hand,the time that has come is for adopting a behaviour of peace andtranquillity. It is Time that establishes all things. Time works upon allthings and leads them to their final consummation.[840] I was theworshipped lord of the Danavas. Burning all with my energy, I used toroar in strength and pride. When Time hath assailed even myself, who isthere whom he will not assail? Formerly, O chief of the deities, singly Ibore the energy of all the twelve illustrious Adityas with thyselfamongst them. It was I that used to bear up water and then to shower itas rain, O Vasava! It was I that used to give both light and heat untothe three worlds. It was I that used to protect and it was I that used todestroy. It was I that gave and it was I that took. It was I that used tobind and it was I that used to unbind. In all the worlds I was the onepuissant master. That sovereign sway which I had, O chief of thecelestials, is no more. I am now assailed by the forces of Time. Thosethings, therefore, are no longer seen to shine in me. I am not the doer(of acts that are apparently done by me). Thou art not the doer (of actsdone by thee). None else, O lord of Sachi, is the doer (of those acts).It is Time, O Sakra, that protects or destroys all things.[841] Personsconversant with the Vedas say that Time (Eternity) is Brahma. Thefortnights and months are his body. That body is invested with days andnights as its robes. The seasons are his senses. The year is his mouth.Some people, in consequence of their superior intelligence, say that allthis (the entire universe) should be conceived as Brahma. The Vedas,however, teach, that the five sheaths that invest the Soul should beregarded as Brahma. Brahma is deep and inaccessible like a vast ocean ofwaters. It hath been said that it hath neither beginning nor end, andthat it is both indestructible and destructible.[842] Though it iswithout attributes by itself, yet it enters all existent objects and assuch assumes attributes. Those persons that are conversant with truthregard Brahma as eternal. Through the action of Ignorance, Brahma causesthe attributes of materiality to invest the Chit or Soul which isimmaterial spirit (having knowledge only for its attribute). Thatmateriality, however, is not the essential attribute of the Soul, forupon the appearance of a knowledge of the true cause of everything, thatmateriality ceases to invest the Soul.[843] Brahma in the form of Time isthe refuge of all creatures. Where wouldst thou go transcending thatTime? Time or Brahma, indeed, cannot be avoided by running nor by stayingstill. All the five senses are incapable of perceiving Brahma. Some havesaid that Brahma is Fire; some that he is Prajapati; some that he is theSeasons; some that he is the Month; some that he is the Fortnight; somethat he is the Days; some that he is the Hours; some that he is theMorning; some that he is the Noon; some that he is the Evening; and somethat he is the Moment. Thus diverse people speak diversely of him who issingle. Know that he is Eternity, under whose sway are all things. Manythousands of Indras have passed away, O Vasava, each of whom waspossessed of great strength and prowess. Thou also, O lord of Sachi,shalt have to pass away after the same manner. Thee, too, O Sakra, thatart possessed of swelling might and that art the chief of the deities,when thy hour comes, all-powerful Time will extinguish! Time sweeps awayall things. For this reason, O Indra, do not brag. Time is incapable ofbeing quieted by either thee or me or by those gone before us. This regalprosperity that thou hast attained and that thou thinkest to be beyondcomparison, had formerly been possessed by me. It is unsubstantial andunreal. She does not dwell long in one place. Indeed, she had dwelt inthousands of Indras before thee, all of whom, again, were very muchsuperior to thee. Unstable as she is, deserting me she hath nowapproached thee, O chief of the deities! Do not, O Sakra, indulge in suchbrag again. It behoveth thee to become tranquil. Knowing thee to be fullof vanity, she will very soon desert thee.'”



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