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Chapter 309

Mahabharata English - SANTI PARVA

“‘Vasishtha said, Listen now to me as I discourse to thee on Buddhas(Supreme Soul) and Abuddha (Jiva) which is the dispensation of attributesof Sattwa, Rajas, and Tamas. Assuming many forms (under the influence ofillusion) the Supreme Soul, becoming Jiva, regards all those forms asreal,[1631] In consequence of (his regarding himself identical with) suchtransformations, Jiva fails to understand the Supreme Soul, for he bearsthe attributes (of Sattwa and Rajas and Tamas) and creates and with-drawsinto himself what he creates. Ceaselessly for his sport, O monarch, doesJiva undergo modifications, and because he is capable of understandingthe action of the Unmanifest, therefore is he called Budhyamana (theComprehender).[1632] The Unmanifest or Prakriti can at no time comprehendBrahma which is really without attributes even when it manifests itselfwith attributes. Hence is Prakriti called Unintelligent. There is adeclaration of the Srutis to the effect that if ever Prakriti doessucceed in knowing the twenty-fifth (i.e., Jiva) Prakriti then (insteadof being something differentiated from Jiva) becomes identified with Jivawho is united with her. (As regards, however, the Supreme Soul, which isever disunited and dissociated, and which transcends the twenty-fifthPrakriti can never comprehend it). In consequence of this (viz., hisattachment to or union with Prakriti), Jiva or Purusha, who is notmanifest and which in his real nature is not subject to modifications,comes to be called as the Unawakened or Ignorant. Indeed because thetwenty-fifth can comprehend the Unmanifest, he is therefore, calledBudhyamana (or Comprehender). He cannot, however, readily comprehend thetwenty-sixth, which is stainless, which is Knowledge without duality,which is immeasurable, and which is eternal. The twenty-sixth, however,can know both Jiva and Prakriti, numbering the twenty-fifth and thetwenty-fourth respectively. O thou of great effulgence, only men ofwisdom succeed in knowing that Brahma which is Unmanifest, which inheresin its real nature to all that is seen and unseen, and which, O son isthe one independent essence in the universe.[1633] When Jiva considershimself different from what he truly is (i.e. when he regards himself asfat or lean, fair or dark a Brahmana or a Sudra), it is only then that hefails to know the Supreme Soul and himself and Prakriti with which he isunited. When Jiva succeeds in understanding Prakriti (and knowing thatshe is something different from him) then he is said to be restored tohis true nature and then does he attain to that high understanding whichis pure and stainless and which is concerned with Brahma. When Jivasucceeds, O tiger among kings, in attaining to that excellentunderstanding, he then attains to that Pure Knowledge (without duality)which is called the twenty-sixth or (Brahma). He then casts off theUnmanifest or Prakriti which is fraught with the attributes of Creationand Destruction. When Jiva succeeds in knowing Prakriti which isunintelligent and subject to the action of the three attributes ofSattwa, and Rajas and Tamas, he then becomes destitute of attributeshimself. In consequence of his thus understanding the Unmanifest (to besomething different from him), he succeeds in acquiring the nature of theSupreme Soul. The learned say that when he is freed from the attributesof Sattwa and Rajas and Tamas and united in the nature with the SupremeSoul then does Jiva become identified with that Soul. The Supreme Soul iscalled Tattwa as well as Not-Tattwa, and transcends decay anddestruction.[1634] O giver of honours, the Soul, though it has themanifest principles (viz. the body) for its resting place, yet it cannotbe said to have acquired the nature of those principles. The wise saythat including the Jiva soul there are five and twenty principles in all.Indeed, O son, the Soul is not to be regarded as possessed of any of theprinciples (Mahat and the rest). Endued with Intelligence, it transcendsthe principles. It casts off quickly even that principle which is theindication of the Knowing or awakened one.[1635] When Jiva comes toregard himself as the twenty-sixth which is divested of decay anddestruction, it is then that, without doubt, he succeeds by his own forcein attaining to similarity with the twenty-sixth. Though awakened by thetwenty-sixth which is Pure Intelligence, Jiva still becomes subject toIgnorance. This is the cause of Jiva, multifariousness (in respect offorms) as explained in the Srutis and the Sankhya scriptures. When Jiva,who is endued with Chetana and Unintelligent Prakriti, loses allConsciousness of a distinct or individual Self, then does he, losing hismultifariousness, resumes his Oneness. O ruler of Mithila, when Jiva, whois found to be in union with happiness and misery and who is seldom freefrom the consciousness of Self, succeeds in attaining to a similaritywith the Supreme Soul which is beyond the reach of the understanding,then does he becomes freed from virtue and vice. Indeed, when Jiva,attaining to the twenty-sixth which is Unborn and Puissant and which isdissociated from all attachments, succeeds in comprehending itthoroughly, he himself becomes possessed of puissance and entirely castsoff the Unmanifest or Prakriti. In consequence of understanding thetwenty-sixth, the four and twenty principles seems to Jiva to beunsubstantial or of no value. I have thus told thee, O sinless one,according to the indication of the Srutis, the nature of theUnintelligent or Prakriti, and of Jiva, so also of that which is PureKnowledge viz., the Supreme Soul, agreeable to the truth. Guided by thescriptures, variety and oneness are thus to be understood. The differencebetween the gnat and the Udumvara, or that between the fish and water,illustrates the difference between the Jiva-soul and the SupremeSoul.[1636] The Multiplicity and Oneness of these two are then understoodin this way. This is called Emancipation, viz., this comprehension orknowledge of oneself as something distinct from Unintelligent orUnmanifest Prakriti. The twenty-fifth, which resides in the bodies ofliving creatures, should be emancipated by making him know the Unmanifestor the Supreme Soul which transcends the understanding. Indeed, thattwenty-fifth is capable of attaining to Emancipation in this way only andnot through any other means, it is certain. Though really different fromthe Kshetra in which he resides for the time being, he partakes of thenature of that Kshetra in consequence of his union with it.[1637] Unitingwith what is Pure, he becomes Pure. Uniting with the Intelligent, hebecomes Intelligent. By uniting, O foremost of men, with one that isEmancipate, he becomes Emancipated. By uniting with one that has beenfreed from attachments of every kind, he becomes freed from allattachments. By uniting with one striving after Emancipation, he himself,partaking of the nature of his companion, strives after Emancipation. Byuniting with one of pure deeds he becomes pure and of pure deeds andendued with blazing effulgence. By uniting with one of unstained soul, hebecomes of unstained soul himself. By uniting with the One independentSoul, he becomes One and Independent. Uniting with One that is dependenton One’s own Self, he becomes of the same nature and attains toIndependence.

“‘–O monarch, I have duly told thee all this that is perfectly true.Candidly have I discoursed to thee on this subject, viz., the Eternal andStainless and Primeval Brahma. Thou mayst impart this high knowledge,capable of awakening the soul, unto that person, O king, who though notconversant with the Vedas is nevertheless, humble and has a keen desirefor acquiring the knowledge of Brahma. It should never be imparted untoone that is wedded to falsehood, or one that is cunning or roguish, orone that is without any strength of mind or one that is of crookedunderstanding, or one that is jealous of men of knowledge, or one thatgives pain to others. Listen to me as I say who they are unto whom thisknowledge may safely be communicated. It should be given to one that isendued with faith, or one that is possessed of merit, or one that alwaysabstains from speaking ill of others, or one that is devoted to penancesfrom the purest of motives, or one that is endued with knowledge andwisdom, or one that is conversant of the sacrifices and other rites laiddown in the Vedas, or one that is possessed of a forgiving disposition,or one that is inclined to take compassion on and do good to allcreatures; or one that is fond of dwelling in privacy and solitude, orone that is fond of discharging all acts laid down in the scriptures, orone that is averse to quarrels and disputes, or one that is possessed ofgreat learning or one endued with wisdom or one possessed of forgivenessand self-restraint and tranquillity of soul. This high knowledge ofBrahma should never be communicated to one that is not possessed of suchqualifications. It has been said that by imparting this knowledge to onethat cannot be regarded as fit receptacle for holding it no advantage orgood fruit can arise. Unto one that is not observant of any vows andrestraints, this high knowledge should never be communicated even if hegives in exchange the whole Earth full of gems and wealth of every kind.Without doubt, however, O king, this knowledge should be given to onethat has conquered one’s senses. O Karala, let no fear be thine anylonger, since thou halt heard all this regarding high Brahma from metoday! I have discoursed to thee duly about high and holy Brahma that iswithout beginning and middle (and end) and that is capable of dispellingall kinds of grief. Beholding Brahma whose sight is capable of dispellingboth birth and death, O king which is full of auspiciousness, whichremoves all fear, and which benefit, and having acquired this essence ofall knowledge, cast off all error and stupefaction today! I had acquiredthis knowledge from the eternal Hiranyagarbha himself, O king, whocommunicated it to me for my having carefully gratified that great Beingof every superior Soul. Asked by thee today, I have, O monarch,communicated the knowledge of eternal Brahma to the just as I had myselfacquired it from my teacher. Indeed, this high knowledge that is therefuge of all persons conversant with Emancipation has been imparted tothee exactly as I had it from Brahman himself!’

“Bhishma continued, I have thus told thee of high Brahma agreeably towhat the great Rishi (Vasishtha) had said (unto king Karala of Janaka’srace), by attaining to which the Twenty-fifth (or Jiva) has never toreturn. Jiva, in consequence of his not knowing truly the Supreme Soulwhich is not subject to decay and death, is obliged to frequently comeback into the world. When, however, Jiva succeeds in acquiring that highknowledge, he has no longer to come back. Having heard it, O king fromthe celestial Rishi, I have, O son, communicated to thee high knowledgeproductive of the highest good. This knowledge was obtained fromHiranyagarbha by the high-souled Rishi Vasishtha. From that foremost ofRishis, viz., Vasishtha, it was acquired by Narada. From Narada I haveacquired that knowledge which is truly identifiable with the eternalBrahma. Having heard this discourse of high import, fraught withexcellent words, do not, O foremost of the Kurus, yield any longer togrief. That man who knows Kshara and Akshara becomes freed from fear. He,indeed, O king, is obliged to cherish fear who is destitute of thisknowledge. In consequence of Ignorance (of Brahma), the man of foolishsoul hath repeatedly to come back into this world. Indeed, departing fromthis life, he has to be born in thousands and thousands of orders ofBeing every one of which hath death in the end. Now in the world of thedeities, now among men, and now among intermediate orders of Being, hehas to appear again and again. If in course of time he succeeds incrossing that Ocean of Ignorance in which he is sunk, he then succeeds inavoiding rebirth altogether and attaining to identity with the SupremeSoul. The Ocean of Ignorance is terrible. It is bottomless and called theUnmanifest. O Bharata, day after day, creatures are seen to fall and sinkin that Ocean. Since thou, O king, hast been freed from that eternal andlimitless Ocean of Ignorance, thou, hast, therefore become freed fromRajas and also Tamas.'”



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