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Chapter 255

Mahabharata English - SANTI PARVA

“Bhishma said, ‘Do thou, O son, O sinless one, listen once more, withfeelings of great pride, to the words that fell from the lips of theIsland-born Rishi on the subject of the enumeration of the entities. Likeunto a blazing fire (for having transcended all ignorance), the greatRishi said these words unto his son who resembled a fire wrapped insmoke.[1104] Instructed by what he said, I also, O son, shall againexpound to thee that certain knowledge (which dispels ignorance). Theproperties possessed by earth are immobility, weight, hardness,productiveness, scent, density, capacity to absorb scents of all kinds,cohesion, habitableness (in respect of vegetables and animals), and thatattribute of the mind which is called patience of the capacity to bear.The properties of water are coolness, taste, moisture, liquidity,softness, agreeableness, tongue, fluidity, capacity to be congealed, andpower to melt many earthly products.[1105] The properties of fire areirresistible energy, inflammability, heat, capacity t o soften, light,sorrow, disease, speed, fury, and invariably upward motion. Theproperties of the wind are touch that is neither hot nor cool, capacityto assist the organ of speech, independence (in respect of motion),strength, celerity, power to assist all kinds of emission or discharge,power to raise other objects, breaths inhaled and exhaled, life (as theattribute of Chit) and birth (including death). The properties of spaceare sound, extension, capacity of being enclosed, absence of refuge forresting upon absence of all necessity for such refuge, status of beingunmanifest, capacity for modification, incapacity for producingresistance, material cause for producing the sense of hearing, and theunoccupied portions of the human body. These are the fifty properties, asdeclared, that constitute, the essence of the five elementaryentities.[1106] Patience, reasoning or disputation, remembrance,forgetfulness or error, imagination, endurance, propensity towards good,propensity towards evil, and restlessness,–these are the properties ofthe mind. Destruction of both good and evil thoughts (i.e., dreamlessslumber), perseverance, concentration, decision, and ascertainment of allthings resting upon direct evidence, constitute the five properties ofthe understanding.’

“Yudhishthira said, ‘How can the understanding be said to have fiveproperties? How again, can the five senses be spoken of as properties (ofthe five elementary entities)? Expound to me, O grandsire, all this thatseems to be very abstruse.’

“Bhishma said, ‘The understanding is said to possess altogether sixtyproperties, for the understanding includes the five elements.[1107] Allthose properties exist in a state of union with the Soul. The Vedasdeclare, O son, that the elements, their (fifty) properties (togetherwith the mind and the understanding and their nine and five properties)are all created by Him who is above all deterioration. These (one andseventy) entities, therefore, are not eternal (like the Soul). Thetheories contradicting the Revelation that have in the previous Vedas, Oson, been placed before thee (about the origin of the Universe and itsother incidents) are all defective in the eye of reason. Carefullyattending, however, in this world to all that I have said unto thee aboutthe Supreme Brahma, do thou, after attaining to the puissance that theknowledge of Brahma offers, seek to win tranquillity of heart.'”[1108]

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