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Chapter 254

Mahabharata English - SANTI PARVA

“Vyasa said, ‘There is a wonderful tree, called Desire, in the heart of aman. It is born of the seed called Error. Wrath and pride constitute itslarge trunk. The wish for action is the basin around its foot (forholding the water that is to nourish it). Ignorance is the root of thattree, and heedlessness is the water that gives it sustenance. Envyconstitutes its leaves. The evil acts of past lives supply it withvigour. Loss of judgment and anxiety are its twigs; grief forms its largebranches; and fear is its sprout. Thirst (after diverse objects) that is(apparently) agreeable forms the creepers that twine round it on everyside. Excessively greedy men, bound in chains of iron, sitting aroundthat fruit-yielding tree, pay their adorations to it, in expectation ofobtaining its fruit.[1096] He who, subduing those chains, cutteth downthat tree and seeks to cast off both sorrow and joy, succeeds inattaining to the end of both.[1097] That foolish man who nourishes thistree by indulgence in the objects of the senses is destroyed by thosevery objects in which he indulges after the manner of a poisonous pilldestroying the patient to whom it is administered.[1098] A dexterousperson, however, by the aid of Yoga, forcibly teareth up and cutteth withthe sword of samadhi, the far-reaching root of this tree.[1099] One whoknows that the end of all acts undertaken from only the desire of fruitis rebirth or chains that bind, succeeds in transcending all sorrow. Thebody is said to be a city. The understanding is said to be its mistress.The mind dwelling within the body is the minister of that mistress whosechief function is to decide. The senses are the citizen that are employedby the mind (upon the service of the mistress). For cherishing thosecitizens the mind displays a strong inclination for acts of diversekinds. In the matter of those acts, two great faults are observable,viz., Tamas and Rajas.[1100] Upon the fruits of those acts rest thosecitizens along with the chiefs of the city (viz., Mind, Understanding,and Consciousness).[1101] The two faults (already spoken of) live uponthe fruits of those acts that are accomplished by forbidden means. Thisbeing the case, the understanding, which of itself is unconquerable (byeither Rajas or Tamas), descends to a state of equality with the mind (bybecoming as much tainted as the mind that serves it). Then again thesenses, agitated by the stained mind, lose their own stability. Thoseobjects again for whose acquisition the understanding strives (regardingthem to be beneficial) become productive of grief and ultimately Meetwith destruction. Those objects, after destruction, are recollected bythe mind, and accordingly they afflict the mind even after they are lost.The understanding is afflicted at the same time, for the mind is said tobe different from the understanding only when the mind is considered inrespect of its chief function of receiving impressions about whosecertainty it is no judge. In reality, however, the mind is identical withthe understanding.[1102] The Rajas (productive of only sorrow and evil ofevery kind) that is in the understanding then overwhelms the Soul itselfthat lies over the Rajas-stained understanding like an image upon amirror.[1103] It is the mind that first unites in friendship with Rajas.Having united itself, it seizes the soul, the understanding, and thesenses (like a false minister seizing the king and the citizens afterhaving conspired with a foe) and makes them over to Rajas (with which ithas united itself).'”

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