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Chapter 275

Mahabharata English - SANTI PARVA

“Bhishma said, ‘In this connection is cited the old narrative of thediscourse that took place between Narada and Asita-Devala. Once on a timeNarada, beholding that foremost of intelligent men, viz., Devala ofvenerable years, seated at his ease, questioned him about the origin andthe destruction of all creatures.’

“Narada said, ‘Whence, O Brahmana, hath this universe, consisting ofmobile and immobile objects, been created? When again doth theall-embracing destruction come, into whom doth it merge? Let thy learnedself discourse to me on this.’

“Asita said, ‘Those from which the Supreme Soul, when the time comes,moved by the desire of existence in manifold, forms, creates allcreatures, are said by persons conversant with objects to be the fivegreat essences.[1309] (After this) Time, impelled by the Understandingcreates other objects from those (five primal essences).'[1310] He thatsays that there is anything else besides these (i.e., the five primalessences, Kala, and the Understanding), says what is not true. Know, ONarada, that these five are eternal, indestructible, and withoutbeginning and without end. With Kala as their sixth, these five primalessences are naturally possessed of mighty energy. Water, Space, Earth,Wind, and Heat,–these are those five essences. Without doubt, there isnothing higher or superior to these (in point of puissance or energy).The existence of nothing else (than five) can be affirmed by any oneagreeably to the conclusions derivable from the Srutis or arguments drawnfrom reason. If any one does assert the existence of anything else, thenhis assertion would verily be idle or vain. Know that these six enterinto the production of all effects. That of which are all these (whichthou perceivest) is called Asat.[1311] These five, and Kala (or Jiva),the potencies of past acts, and ignorance,–these eight eternal essencesare the causes of the birth and destruction of all creatures.[1312] Whencreatures are destroyed it is into these that they enter; and when theytake birth, it is again from them they do so. Indeed, after destruction,a creature resolves itself into those five primal essences. His body ismade of earth; his ear has its origin in space; his eye hath light forits cause; his life (motion) is of wind, and his blood is of water,without doubt. The two eyes, the nose, the two ears, the skin, and thetongue (constituting the fifth), are the senses. These, the learned know,exist for perception of their respective objects.[1313] Vision, hearing,smelling, touching, and tasting are the functions of the senses. The fivesenses are concerned with five objects in five ways. Know, by theinference of reason, their similitude of attributes.[1314] Form, scent,taste, touch, and sound, are the five properties that are (respectively)apprehended by the five senses in five different ways. These fiveproperties, viz., form, scent, taste, touch, and sound, are not reallyapprehended by the _senses_ (for these are inert), but it is the Soulthat apprehends them _through_ the senses. That which is called Chitta issuperior to the multitude of senses. Superior to Chitta is Manas.Superior to Manas is Buddhi, and superior to Buddhi is Kshetrajna.[1315]At first a living creature perceives different objects through thesenses. With Manas he reflects over them, and then with the aid of Buddhihe arrives at certitude of knowledge. Possessed of Buddhi, one arrives atcertainty of conclusions in respect of objects perceived through thesenses. The five senses, Chitta, Mind and Understanding (which is theeighth in the tale),–these are regarded as organs of knowledge by thoseconversant with the science of Adhyatma. The hands, the feet, the analduct, the membrum virile, the mouth (forming the fifth in the tale),constitute the five organs of action. The mouth is spoken of as an organof action because it contains the apparatus of speech, and that ofeating. The feet are organs of locomotion and the hands for doing variouskinds of work. The anal duct and the membrum, virile are two organs thatexist for a similar purpose, viz., for evacuation. The first is forevacuation of stools, the second for that of urine as also of the vitalseed when one feels the influence of desire. Besides these, there is asixth organ of action. It is called muscular power. These then are thenames of the six organs of action according to the (approved) treatisesbearing on the subject. I have now mentioned to thee the names of all theorgans of knowledge and of action, and all the attributes of the five(primal) essences.[1316] When in consequence of the organs beingfatigued, they cease to perform their respective functions, the owner ofthose organs, because of their suspension, is said to sleep. If, when thefunctions of these organs are suspended, the functions of the mind do notcease, but on the other hand the mind continues to concern itself withits objects, the condition of consciousness is called Dream. Duringwakefulness there are three states of the mind, viz., that connected withGoodness, that with Passion, and that with Darkness. In dream also themind becomes concerned with the same three states. Those very states,when they appear in dreams, connected with pleasurable actions, come tobe regarded with applause. Happiness, success, knowledge, and absence ofattachment are the indications of (the wakeful man in whom is present)the attribute of Goodness. Whatever states (of Goodness, Passion, orDarkness) are experienced by living creatures, as exhibited in acts,during their hours of Wakefulness, reappear in memory during their hoursof steep when they dream. The passage of our notions as they exist duringwakefulness into those of dreams, and that of notions as they exist indreams into those of wakefulness, become directly apprehensible in thatstate of consciousness which is called dreamless slumber. That iseternal, and that is desirable.[1317] There are five organs of knowledge,and five of actions; with muscular power, mind, understanding, andChitta, and with also the three attributes of Sattwa, Rajas, and Tamas,the tale, it has been said, comes up to seventeen. The eighteenth in theenumeration is he who owneth the body, Indeed, he who lives in this bodyis eternal. All those seventeen (with Avidya or Ignorance makingeighteen), dwelling in the body, exist attached to him who owns the body.When the owner disappears from the body, those eighteen (counting Avidya)cease to dwell together in the body. Or, this body made up of the five(primal) essences is only a combination (that must dissolve away). Theeighteen attributes (including Avidya), with him that owneth the body,and counting stomachic heat numbering twentieth in the tale, form thatwhich is known as the Combination of the Five. There is a Being calledMahat, which, with the aid of the wind (called Prana), upholds thiscombination containing the twenty things that have been named, and in thematter of the destruction of that body the wind (which is generallyspoken of as the cause) is only the instrument in the hands of that sameMahat. Whatever creature is born is resolved once more into the fiveconstituent elements upon the exhaustion of his merits and demerits; andurged again by the merits and demerits won in that life enters intoanother body resulting from his acts.[1318] His abodes always resultingfrom Avidya, desire, and acts, he migrates from body to body, abandoningone after another repeatedly, urged on by Time, like a person abandoninghouse after house in succession. They that are wise, and endued withcertainty of knowledge, do not give way to grief upon beholding this(migration). Only they that are foolish, erroneously supposingrelationships (where relationship in reality there is none) indulge ingrief at sight of such changes of abode. This Jiva is no one’s relation;there is none again that may be said to belong to him. He is alwaysalone, and he himself creates his own body and his own happiness andmisery. This Jiva is never born, nor doth he ever die. Freed from thebond of body, he succeeds sometimes in attaining to the highest end.Deprived of body, because freed through the exhaustion of acts frombodies that are the results of merits and demerits, Jiva at last attainsto Brahma. For the exhaustion of both merits and demerits, Knowledge hasbeen ordained as the cause in the Sankhya school. Upon the exhaustion ofmerit and demerit, when Jiva attains to the status of Brahma,[1319] (theythat are learned in the scriptures) behold (with the eye of thescriptures) the attainment of Jiva to the highest end.'”

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