“Yudhishthira said, ‘It behoveth thee, O grandsire, to discourse to me onthat which is freed from duty and its reverse, which is freed from everydoubt, which transcends birth and death, as also virtue and sin, which isauspiciousness, which is eternal fearlessness, which is Eternal andIndestructible, and Immutable, which is always Pure, and which is everfree from the toil of exertion.’
“Bhishma said, ‘I shall in this connection recite to thee the oldnarrative, O Bharata, of the discourse between Yajnavalkya and Janaka.Once on a time the famous king Daivarati of Janaka’s race, fullyconversant with the import of all questions, addressed this question toYajnavalkya, that foremost of Rishis.
“‘Janaka said, ‘O regenerate Rishi, how many kinds of senses are there?How many kinds also are there of Prakriti? What is the Unmanifest andhighest Brahma? What is higher than Brahma? What is birth and what isdeath? What are the limits of Age? It behoveth thee, O foremost ofBrahmanas, to discourse on all these topics unto me that am solicitous ofobtaining thy grace; I am ignorant while thou art an Ocean of knowledge.Hence, I ask thee! Verily, I desire to hear thee discourse on all thesesubjects!
“‘Yajnavalkya said, Hear, O monarch, what I say in an answer to thesequestions of thine, I shall impart to thee the high knowledge whichYogins value, and especially that which is possessed by the Sankhyas.Nothing is unknown to thee. Still thou askest me. One however, that isquestioned should answer. This is the eternal practice. Eight principleshave been called by the name of Prakriti, while sixteen have been calledmodifications. Of Manifest, there are seven. These are the views of thosepersons who are conversant with the science of Adhyatma. The Unmanifest(or original Prakriti), Mahat, Consciousness, and the five subtileelements of Earth, Wind, Space, Water, and Light,–these eight are knownby the name of Prakriti. Listen now to the enumeration of those calledmodifications. They are the ear, the skin, the tongue, and the nose; andsound, touch, form, taste, and scent, as also speech, the two arms, thetwo feet, the lower duct (within the body), and the organs ofpleasure. Amongst these, the ten beginning with sound, and havingtheir origin in the five great principles, are called Visesha. Thefive senses of knowledge are called Savisesha, O ruler of Mithila.Persons conversant with the Science of Adhyatma regard the mind as thesixteenth. This is conformable to thy own views as also to those of otherlearned men well acquainted with the truths about principles. From theUnmanifest, O king, springs the Mahat-soul. The learned say this to bethe first creation relating to Pradhana (or Prakriti): From Mahat, O kingof men, is produced Consciousness. This has been called the secondcreation having the Understanding for its essence. FromConsciousness hath sprung the Mind which is the essence of sound and theothers that are the attributes of space and the rest. This is the thirdcreation, said to relate to Consciousness. From mind have sprung thegreat elements, (numbering five), O king! Know that this is the fourthcreation called mental, as I say. Persons conversant with the primalelements say that Sound and Touch and Form and Taste and Scent are thefifth creation, relating to the Great (primal) elements. The creation ofthe Ear, the Skin, the Tongue, and the Scent, forms the sixth and isregarded as having for its essence multiplicity of thought. The sensesthat come after the Ear and the others (i.e., the senses of action) thenarise, O monarch. This is called seventh creation and relates to thesenses of Knowledge. Then, O monarch, come the breath that rises upward(viz., Prana) and those that have a transverse motion (viz., Saman,Udana, and Vyana). This is the eighth creation and is calledArjjava. Then come those breaths that course transversely in thelower parts of the body (viz., Samana, Udana and Vyana) and also thatcalled Apana coursing downwards. This, ninth creation, is also calledArjjava, O king. These nine kinds of creation, and these principles, Omonarch, which latter number four and twenty, are declared to theeaccording to what has been laid down in the scriptures. After this, Oking, listen to me as I tell thee durations of time as indicated by thelearned in respect of these principles or attribute.'”