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Chapter 247

Mahabharata English - SANTI PARVA

“Suka said, ‘O illustrious one, O foremost of Rishis, once againdiscourse to me on Adhyatma more elaborately. Tell me what, indeed, isAdhyatma and whence does it come?'[1041]

“Vyasa said, ‘That, O son, which is regarded as Adhyatma with referenceto human beings, I shall now mention to thee, and listen to theexplanation I give (of Adhyatma). Earth, water, light, wind, and space,are the great entities that form the component parts of all creatures,and, though really one, are yet regarded different like the waves of theocean (which though identical with respect to their constituent substanceare yet counted as different from one another). Like a tortoisestretching out its limbs and withdrawing them again, the great entities(already named), by dwelling in numberless small forms, undergotransformations (called creation and destruction). All this universe ofmobile and immobile objects hath for its component parts these fiveentities. Everything, in respect of its creation and destruction, isreferable to this fivefold entity. These five entities occur in allexistent things. The Creator of all things, however, hath made an unequaldistribution of those entities (by placing them in different things indifferent proportions) for serving different ends.'[1042]

“Suka said, ‘How may one succeed in understanding that unequaldistribution (of the five great entities of which thou speakest) in thediverse things of the universe? Which amongst them are the senses andwhich the attributes? How may this be understood?’

“Vyasa said, ‘I shall explain thee this duly one after another. Listenwith concentrated attention to the subject as I expound how what I havesaid actually happens. Sound, the sense of hearing, and all the cavitieswithin the body,–these three–have space for their origin. The vitalbreaths, the action of the limbs and touch form the attributes of thewind. Form, eyes, and the digestive fire within the stomach, areoriginated by light. Taste, tongue, and all the humours,–thesethree,–are from water. Scent, nose, and the body,–these three,–are theattributes of earth. These, then, as I have expounded to thee, are thetransformations of the five (great) entities with senses. Touch is saidto be the attribute of the wind; taste of water; form of light. Sound issaid to have its origin in space, and scent is said to be the property ofearth. Mind, Understanding, and Nature,–these three,–spring from theirown previous states, and attaining (at each rebirth) to a position higherthan the attributes (which form their respective objects), do nottranscend those attributes.[1043] As the tortoise stretches out its limbsand withdraws them once again within itself, even so the Understandingcreates the senses and once again withdraws them into itself.[1044] Theconsciousness of personal identity that arises in respect of that whichis above the soles of the feet and below the crown of the head, isprincipally due to the action of the Understanding.[1045] It is theunderstanding that is transformed into the (five) attributes (of form,scent, etc.). It is understanding also that is transformed into the(five) senses with the mind for the sixth. When the Understanding isabsent, where are the attributes?[1046] In man there are five senses. Themind is called the sixth (sense). The Understanding is called theseventh. The Soul is the eighth. The eyes (and the other senses) are foronly receiving impressions of form (and scent, etc.). The mind exists fordoubting (the accuracy of those impressions). The Understanding settlesthose doubts. The Soul is said only to witness every operation withoutmingling with them. Rajas, Tamas, and Sattwa,–these three,–arise fromtheir own counterparts. These exist equal in all creatures (viz., thedeities and human beings, etc.). These are called attributes and shouldbe known by the actions they induce.[1047] As regards those actions allsuch states in which one becomes conscious of oneself as united withcheerfulness or joy and which are tranquil and pure, should be known asdue to the attribute of Sattwa. All such states in either the body or themind, as are united with sorrow, should be regarded as due to theinfluence of the attribute called Rajas. All such states again as existwith stupefication (of the senses, the mind or the understanding) whosecause is unascertainable, and which are incomprehensible (by eitherreasons or inward light), should be known as ascribable to the action ofTamas. Delight, cheerfulness, joy, equanimity, contentment of heart, dueto any known cause or arising otherwise, are all effects of the attributeof Sattwa. Pride, untruthfulness of speech, cupidity, stupefication,vindictiveness, whether arising from any known cause or otherwise, areindications of the quality of Rajas. Stupefaction of judgment,heedlessness, sleep, lethargy, and indolence, from whatever cause thesemay arise, are to be known as indications of the quality of Tamas.'”[1048]

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