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Chapter 248

Mahabharata English - SANTI PARVA

“Vyasa said, ‘The mind creates (within itself) numerous ideas (of objectsor existent things). The Understanding settles which is which. The heartdiscriminates which is agreeable and which is disagreeable. These are thethree forces that impel to acts. The objects of the senses are superiorto the senses. The mind is superior to those objects. The understandingis superior to mind. The Soul is regarded as superior to Understanding.(As regards the ordinary purposes of man) the Understanding is his Soul.When the understanding, of its own motion, forms ideas (of objects)within itself, it then comes to be called Mind.[1049] In consequence ofthe senses being different from one another (both in respect of theirobjects and the manner of their operation), the Understanding (which isone and the same) present different aspect in consequence of itsdifferent modifications. When it hears, it becomes the organ of hearing,and when it touches, it becomes the organ of touch. Similarly, when itsees, it becomes the organ of vision, and when it tastes, it becomes theorgan of taste, and when it smells, it becomes the organ of scent. It isthe Understanding that appears under different guises (for differentfunctions) by modification. It is the modifications of the Understandingthat are called the senses. Over them is placed as their presiding chief(or overseer) the invisible Soul. Residing in the body, the Understandingexists in the three states (of Sattwa, Rajas, and, Tamas). Sometimes itobtains cheerfulness, sometimes it gives way to grief; and sometimes itscondition becomes such that it is united with neither cheerfulness norgrief. The Understanding, however, whose chief function (as already said)is to create entities, transcends those three states even as the ocean,that lord of rivers, prevails against the mighty currents of the riversthat fall into it.[1050] When the Understanding desires for anything, itcomes to be called by the name of Mind. The senses again, though(apparently different) should all be taken as included within theUnderstanding. The senses, which are engaged in bearing impressions ofform, scent etc., should all be subdued.[1051] When a particular sensebecomes subservient to the Understanding, the latter though in realitynot different (from that sense), enters the Mind in the form of existentthings. Even this is what happens with the senses one after another(separately and not simultaneously) with reference to the ideas that aresaid to be apprehended by them.[1052] All the three states that exist(viz., Sattwa, Rajas, and Tamas), inhere to these three (viz., Mind,Understanding, and Consciousness) and like the spokes of a car-wheelacting in consequence of their attachment to the circumference of thewheel, they follow the different objects (that exist in Mind,Understanding, and Consciousness).[1053] The mind must make a lamp of thesenses for dispelling the darkness that shuts out the knowledge of theSupreme Soul. This knowledge that is acquired by Yogins with the aid ofall especial agency of Yoga, is acquired without any especial efforts bymen that abstain from worldly objects.[1054] The universe is of thisnature (viz., it is only a creation of the understanding). The man ofknowledge, therefore, is never stupefied (by attachment to things of thisworld). Such a man never grieves, never rejoices, and is free from envy(at seeing another possessing a larger share of earthly objects). TheSoul is incapable of being seen with the aid of the senses whose natureis to wander among all (earthly) objects of desire. Even righteous men,whose senses are pure, fail to behold the soul with their aid, what thenshould be said of the vicious whose senses are impure? When, however, aperson, with the aid of his mind, tightly holds their reins, it is thenthat his Soul discovers itself like an object (unseen in darkness)appearing to the view in consequence of the light of a lamp. Indeed, asall things become visible when the darkness that envelopes them isdispelled, even the soul becomes visible when the darkness that covers itis removed.[1055] As an aquatic fowl, though moving on the water, isnever drenched by that element, after the same manner the Yogin of freedsoul is never soiled by the imperfections of the three attributes (ofSattwa, Rajas, and Tamas). After the same manner, the man of wisdom, byeven enjoying all earthly objects without being attached to any of them,is never soiled by faults of any kind that arise in the case of othersfrom such enjoyment. He who avoids acts after having done themduly,[1056] and takes delight in the one really existent entity, viz.,the Soul, who has constituted himself the soul of all created beings, andwho succeeds in keeping himself aloof from the three attributes, obtainsan understanding and senses that are created by the Soul. The qualitiesare incapable of apprehending the Soul. The Soul, however, apprehendsthem always. The Soul is the witness that beholds the qualities and dulycalls them up into being. Behold, this is the difference between theunderstanding and the Soul both of which are exceedingly subtile. One ofthem creates the qualities. The other never creates them. Though they aredifferent from each other by nature, yet they are always united. The fishliving in the water is different from the element in which it lives. Butas the fish and the water forming its home are always united, after thesame manner Sattwa and Kshetrajna exists in a state of union. The gnatborn within a rotten fig is really not the fig but different from it.Nevertheless, as the gnat and the fig are seen to be united with eachother, even so are Sattwa and Kshetrajna. As the blade in a clump ofgrass, though distinct from the clump, nevertheless exists in a state ofunion with it, even so these two, though different from each other, eachexisting in its own self, are to be seen in a state of constant union.'”

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