“Yajnavalkya said, ‘Thou hast asked me, O monarch, of that Supreme Brahmawhich resides in the Unmanifest. Thy question relates to a deep mystery.Listen to me with close attention, O king! Having conducted myself withhumility according to the ordinances laid down by the Rishis I obtainedthe Yajushes, O king, from Surya. Without the austerest penances Iformerly adored the heat-giving deity. The puissant Surya, O sinless one,gratified with me, saying,–Solicit thou, O regenerate Rishi, the boonupon which thou hast set thy heart, however, difficult it may be ofacquisition, I shall, with cheerful Soul, grant it to thee. It is verydifficult to incline me to grace! Bowing unto him with a bend of my head,that foremost of heat-giving luminaries was addressed by me in thesewords, I have no knowledge of the Yajushes. I desire to know them withoutloss of time!–The holy one, thus solicited, told me,–I shall impart theYajushes unto thee. Made up of the essence of speech, the goddessSaraswati will enter into thy body. The deity then commanded me to openmy mouth. I did as I was commanded. The goddess Saraswati then enteredinto my body, O sinless one. At this, I began to burn. Unable to endurethe pain I plunged into a stream. Not understanding that what thehigh-souled Surya had done for me was for my good, I became even angrywith him. While I was burning with the energy of the goddess, the holySurya told me,–Do thou endure this burning sensation for only a littlewhile. That will soon cease and thou wilt be cool. Indeed I became cool.Seeing me restored to ease, the Maker of light said unto me,–The wholeVedas, with even those parts that are regarded as its appendix, togetherwith the Upanishads, will appear in thee by inward light, O regenerateone! The entire Satapathas also thou wilt edit, O foremost of regenerateones. After that, thy understanding will turn to the path ofEmancipation. Thou wilt also attain to that end which is desirable andwhich is coveted by both Sankhyas and Yogins!–Having said these wordsunto me, the divine Surya proceeded to the Asta hills. Hearing his lastwords, and after he had departed from the spot where I was, I came homein joy and then remembered the goddess Saraswati. Thought of by me, theauspicious Saraswati appeared instantly before my eyes, adorned with allthe vowels and the consonants and having placed the syllable Om in thevan, I then, according to the ordinance, offered unto the goddess theusual Arghya, and dedicated another to Surya, that foremost of allheat-giving deities. Discharging this duty I took my seat, devoted toboth those deities. Thereupon, the entire Satapatha Brahmanas, with alltheir mysteries and with all their abstracts as also their appendices,appeared of themselves before my mental vision, at which I became filledwith great joy. I then taught them to a hundred good disciples andthereby did what was disagreeable to my high-souled maternal uncle(Vaisampayana) with the disciples gathered round him. Then shiningin the midst of my disciples like the Sun himself with his rays, I tookthe management of the Sacrifice of thy high-souled sire, O king. In thatSacrifice a dispute arose between me and my maternal uncle as to whoshould be permitted to appropriate the Dakshina that was paid for therecitation of the Vedas. In the very presence of Devala, I took half ofthat Dakshina (the other half going to my maternal uncle). Thy sire andSumantra and Paila and Jaimini and other articles all acquiesced in thatarrangement.
‘I had thus got from Surya the five times ten Yajushes, O monarch. I thenstudied the Puranas with Romaharshan. Keeping before me those (original)Mantras and the goddess Saraswati I, then, O king, aided by theinspiration of Surya, set myself to compile the excellent SatapathaBrahmanas, and succeeded in achieving the task never before undertaken byany one else. That path which I had desired to take has been taken by meand I have also taught it to my disciples. Indeed, the whole of thoseVedas with their abstracts have been imparted by me to those disciples ofmine. Pure in mind and body, all those disciples have, in consequence ofmy instructions, become filled with joy. Having established (for the useof others) this knowledge consisting of fifty branches which I hadobtained from Surya, I now meditate on the great object of that knowledgeviz., (Brahma). The Gandharva Viswavasu, well-conversant with the Vedantascriptures, desirous, O king, of ascertaining what is beneficial for theBrahmanas in this knowledge and what truth occurs in it, and what is theexcellent object of this knowledge, one questioned me. He put to mealtogether four and twenty questions, O king, relating to the Vedas.Finally, he asked me a question, numbered twenty-fifth which relates tothat branch of knowledge which is concerned with the inferences ofratiocination. Those questions are as follows: What is universe and whatis not-universe? What is Aswa and what Aswa? What is Mitra? What isVaruna? What is Knowledge? What is Object of knowledge? What isUnintelligent? What is Intelligent? Who is Kah? Who is possessed of theprinciple of change? Who is not possessed of the same? What is he thatdevours the Sun and what is the Sun? What is Vidya and what is Avidya?What is Immobile and what Mobile? What is without beginning, what isIndestructible, and what is Destructible? These were the excellentquestions put to me by that foremost of Gandharvas. After king Viswavasu,that foremost of Gandharvas, had asked me these questions one afteranother, I answered them properly. At first, however, I told him, Waitfor a brief space of time, till I reflect on thy questions! So be it,Gandharva said, and sat in silence. I then thought once again of thegoddess Saraswati in my mind. The replies then to those questionsnaturally arose in my mind like butter from curds. Keeping in view thehigh science of inferential ratiocination, I churned with my mind, Omonarch, the Upanishads and the supplementary scriptures relating to theVedas. The fourth science then that treats of Emancipation, O foremost ofkings, and on which I have already discoursed to thee, and which is basedupon the twenty-fifth, viz., Jiva, I then expounded to him. Havingsaid all this, O monarch, to king Viswavasu, I then addressed him,saying, Listen now to the answers that I give unto the several questionsthat thou hast put to me. I now turn to the question, which, O Gandharva,thou askest, viz., What is Universe and what is not-universe? TheUniverse is Unmanifest and original Prakriti endued with the principlesof birth and death which are terrible (to those that are desirous ofEmancipation). It is, besides, possessed of the three attributes (ofSattwa, Rajas, and Tamas), in consequence of its producing principles allof which are fraught with those attributes. That which isNot-universe is Purusha divested of all attributes. By Aswa and Aswa aremeant the female and the male, i.e., the former is Prakriti and thelatter is Purusha. Similarly, Mitra is Purusha, and Varuna isPrakriti. Knowledge, again, is said to be Prakriti, while theobject to be known is called Purusha. The Ignorant (Jiva), and theKnowing or Intelligent are both Purusha without attributes (for it isPurusha that becomes Jiva when invested with Ignorance). Thou hast askedwhat is Kah, who is endued with change and who is unendued therewith. Ianswer, Kah is Purusha. That which is endued with change isPrakriti. He that is not endued therewith is Purusha. Similarly, thatwhich is called Avidya (the unknowable) is Prakriti; and that which iscalled Vidya is Purusha. Thou hast asked me about the Mobile and theImmobile. Listen to what my answer is. That which is mobile is Prakriti,which undergoing modification, constitutes the cause of Creation andDestruction. The Immobile is Purusha, for without himself undergoingmodifications he assists at Creation and Destruction. (According to adifferent system of philosophy) that which is Vedya is Prakriti; whilethat which is Avedya is Purusha. Both Prakriti and Purusha are said to beunintelligent, stable, indestructible, unborn, and eternal, according tothe conclusions arrived at by philosophers conversant with the topicsincluded in the name of Adhyatma. In consequence of the indestructibilityof Prakriti in the matter of Creation, Prakriti, which is unborn, isregarded as not subject to decay or destruction. Purusha, again, isindestructible and unchangeable, for change it has none. The attributesthat reside in Prakriti are destructible, but not Prakriti herself. Thelearned, therefore, call Prakriti indestructible. Prakriti also, byundergoing modifications, operates as the cause of Creation. The createdresults appear and disappear, but not original Prakriti. Hence also isPrakriti called indestructible. Thus have I told thee conclusions of theFourth Science based on the principles of ratiocinative inference andhaving Emancipation for its end. Having acquired by the science ofratiocinative inference and by waiting upon preceptors, the Rich, theSamans, and the Yajushes, all the obligatory practices should be observedand all the Vedas studied with reverence, O Viswavasu! O foremost ofGandharvas, they who study the Vedas with all their branches but who donot know the Supreme Soul from which all things take their birth and intowhich all things merge when destruction comes, and which is the oneobject whose knowledge the Vedas seek to inculcate, Indeed, they, whohave no acquaintance with that which the Vedas seek to establish, studythe Vedas to no purpose and bear their burthen of such study in vain. Ifa person desirous of butter churns the milk of the she-ass, withoutfinding what he seeks he simply meets with a substance that is as foul ofsmell as ordure. After the same manner, if one, having studied the Vedas,fails to comprehend what is Prakriti and what is Purusha, one only provesone’s own foolishness of understanding and bears a useless burthen (inthe form of Vedic lore). One should, with devoted attention,reflect on both Prakriti and Purusha, so that one may avoid repeatedbirth and death. Reflection upon the fact of one’s repeated births anddeaths and avoiding the religion of acts that is productive at best ofdestructible results, one should betake oneself to the indestructiblereligion of Yoga. O Kasyapa, if one continuously on the nature of theJiva-soul and its connection with the Supreme Soul, one then succeeds indivesting oneself on all attributes and in beholding the Supreme Soul.The Eternal and Unmanifest Supreme Soul is regarded by men of foolishunderstandings to be different from the twenty-fifth or Jiva-soul. Theyare endued with wisdom that behold both these as truly one and the same.Frightened at repeated births and deaths, the Sankhyas and Yogins regardthe Jiva-soul and the Supreme Soul to be one and the same.’
“Viswavasu then said, ‘Thou hast, O foremost of Brahmanas, said thatJiva-soul is indestructible and truly undistinguished from the SupremeSoul. This, however, is difficult to understand. It behoveth thee to oncemore discourse on this topic to me. I have heard discourses on thissubject from Jaigishavya, Aista, Devala, the regenerate sage Parasara,the intelligent Varshaganya, Bhrigu, Panchasikha Kapila, Suka, Gautama,Arshtisena, the high-souled Garga, Narada, Asuri, the intelligentPaulastya, Sanatkumara, the high-souled Sukra, and my sire Kasyapa.Subsequently I heard the discourses of Rudra and the intelligentViswarupa, of several of the deities, of the Pitris. and the Daityas. Ihave acquired all that they say, for they generally discourse thateternal object of all knowledge. I desire, however, to hear what thoumayst say on those topics with the aid of thy intelligence. Thou art theforemost of all persons, and a learned lecturer on the scriptures, andendued with great intelligence. There is nothing that is unknown to thee.Thou art an ocean of the Srutis, as described, O Brahmana, in the worldof both the deities and Pitris. The great Rishis residing in the regionof Brahma say that Aditya himself, the eternal lord of all luminaries, isthy preceptor (in the matter of this branch of knowledge). O Yajnavalkya,thou hast obtained the entire science, O Brahmana, of the Sankhyas, asalso the scriptures of the Yogins in particular. Without doubt, thou artenlightened, fully conversant with the mobile immobile universe. I desireto hear thee discourse on that knowledge, which may be likened toclarified butter endued with solid grains.’
“Yajnavalkya said, ‘Thou art, O foremost of Gandharvas, competent tocomprehend every knowledge. As, however, thou askest me do thou hear methen discourse to thee according as I myself have obtained it from mypreceptor. Prakriti, which is unintelligent, is apprehended by Jiva.Jiva, however, cannot be apprehended by Prakriti, O Gandharva. Inconsequence of Jiva being reflected in Prakriti, the latter is calledPradhana by Sankhyas and Yogins conversant with the original principlesas indicated in the Srutis. O sinless one, the other, beholding, beholdsthe twenty-fourth (Prakriti) and the twenty-fifth. (Soul); not beholding,it beholds the twenty-sixth. The twenty-fifth thinks that there isnothing higher than itself. In reality, however, though beholding, itdoes not behold that (viz., the twenty-sixth) which beholds it. Menpossessed of wisdom should never accept the Twenty-fourth (viz.,Prakriti, which is unintelligent or inert) as identifiable with theTwenty-fifth or the Soul which has a real and independent existence. Thefish live in water. It goes thither impelled by its own nature. As thefish, though living in the water, is to be regarded as separate from it,after the same manner is the Twenty-fifth to be apprehended (i.e., thoughthe Twenty-fifth exists in a state of contact with the Twenty-fourth orPrakriti, it is, however, in its real nature, separate from andindependent of Prakriti). When overwhelmed with the consciousness of meumor self, and when unable to understand its identity with theTwenty-sixth, in fact, in consequence of the illusion that invests it, ofits co-existence with Prakriti, and of its own manner of thinking, theJiva-soul always skins down, but when freed from such consciousness itgoes upwards. When the Jiva-soul succeeds in apprehending that it is one,and Prakriti with which it resides is another, then only does it, Oregenerate one, succeed in beholding the Supreme Soul and attaining tothe condition of Oneness with the universe. The Supreme is one, O king,and the Twenty-fifth (or Jiva-soul) is another. In consequence, however,of the Supreme overlying the Jiva-soul the wise regard both to be one andthe same. For these reasons, Yogins, and followers of the Sankhyasystem of philosophy, terrified by the birth and death, blessed withsight of the Twenty-sixth, pure in body and mind, and devoted to theSupreme Soul, and do not welcome the Jiva-soul as indestructible.When one beholds the Supreme Soul and losing all consciousness ofindividuality becomes identified with the Supreme, one than becomesomniscient, and possessed of such omniscience one becomes freed from theobligation of rebirth. I have thus discoursed to thee truly, sinless one,about Prakriti which is unintelligent, and Jiva-soul which is possessedof intelligence, and the Supreme Soul which is endued with omniscience,according to the indications occurring in the Srutis. That man, whobeholds not any difference between the knower or the known, is bothKevala and not-Kevala, is the original cause of the universe, is bothJiva-soul and the Supreme Soul.
“Viswavasu said, ‘O puissant one, thou hast duly and adequatelydiscoursed on that which is the origin of all the deities and which isproductive of Emancipation. Thou hast said what is true and excellent.May inexhaustible blessings always attend thee, and may thy mind be everunited with intelligence!’
“Yajnavalkya continued, ‘Having said those words, the prince ofGandharvas proceeded towards heaven, shining in resplendence of beauty.Before leaving me, the high-souled one duly honoured me by taking theaccustomed turns round my person, and I looked upon him, highly pleased.He inculcated the science he had obtained from me unto those celestialsthat dwell in the regions of Brahman and other deities, unto those thatdwell on Earth, unto also the denizens of the nether regions, and untothem that had adopted the path of Emancipation, O king. The Sankhyas aredevoted to the practices of their system. The Yogins are devoted to thepractices inculcated by their system. Others there are that are desirousof achieving their Emancipation. Unto these latter this science isproductive of visible fruits, O lion among king. Emancipation flows fromKnowledge. Without Knowledge it can never be attained. The wise have saidit, O monarch. Hence, one should strive one’s best for acquiring trueKnowledge in all its details, by which one may succeed in freeing oneselffrom birth and death. Obtaining knowledge from a Brahmana or a Kshatriyaor Vaisya or even a Sudra who is of low birth, one endued with faithshould always show reverence for such knowledge. Birth and death cannotassail one that is endued with faith. All orders of men are Brahmanas.All are sprung from Brahma. All men utter Brahma. Aided by anunderstanding that is derived from and directed to Brahma. I inculcatedthis science treating of Prakriti and Purusha. Indeed, this wholeuniverse is Brahma. From the mouth of Brahma sprung the Brahmanas; fromhis arms, sprung the Kshatriyas; from his navel, the Vaisya; and from hisfeet, the Sudras. All the orders, (having sprung in this way) should notbe regarded as pilfering from one another. Impelled by Ignorance, all menmeet with death and attain, O king, to birth that is the cause ofacts. Divested of Knowledge, all orders of men, dragged by terribleIgnorance, fall into varied orders of being due to the principles thatflow from Prakriti. For this reason, all should, by every means, seek toacquire Knowledge. I have told thee that every person is entitled tostrive for its acquisition. One that is possessed of Knowledge is aBrahmana. Others, (viz., Kshatriyas and Vaisyas and Sudras) are possessedof knowledge. Hence, this science of Emancipation is always open to themall. This, O king has been said by the Wise. The questions thou hadstasked me have all been answered by me agreeably to the truth. Do thou,therefore, cast off all grief. Go thou to the other end of this enquiry.Thy questions were good. Blessings on thy head for ever!
“Bhishma continued–Thus instructed by the intelligent Yajnavalkya theking of Mithila became filled with joy. The king honoured that foremostof ascetics by walking round his person. Dismissed by the monarch, hedeparted from his court. King Daivarati, having obtained the knowledge ofthe religion of Emancipation, took his seat, and touching a million ofkine and a quantity of gold and a measure of gems and jewels, gave themaway unto a number of Brahmanas. Installing his son in the sovereignty ofthe Videhas, the old king began to live, adopting the practices of theYatis. Thinking mainly of all ordinary duties and their derelictions (aslaid down in the scriptures), the king began to study the science of theSankhyas and the Yogins in their entirety. Regarding himself to beInfinite, he began to reflect on only the Eternal and Independent One. Hecast off all ordinary duties and their derelictions, Virtue and Vice,Truth and Falsehood, Birth and Death, and all other things appertainingto the principles produced by Prakriti. Both Sankhyas and Yogins,agreeably to the teachings of their sciences, regard this universe to bedue to the action of the Manifest and the Unmanifest. The learned saythat Brahma is freed from good and evil, is self-dependent, the highestof the high, Eternal, and Pure. Do thou, therefore, O monarch, becomePure! The giver, the receiver of the gift, the gift itself, and thatwhich is ordered to be given away, are all to be deemed as the unmanifestSoul. The Soul is the Soul’s one possession. Who, therefore, can be astranger to one? Do thou think always in this way. Never think otherwise.He who does not know what is Prakriti possessed of attributes and what isPurusha transcending attributes, only he, not possessed as he is ofknowledge, repairs to sacred waters and performs sacrifices. Not by studyof the Vedas, not by penances, not by sacrifices O son of Kuru, can oneattain to the status of Brahma. Only when one succeeds in apprehendingthe Supreme or Unmanifest, one comes to be regarded with reverence. Theywho wait upon Mahat attain to regions of Mahat. They who wait uponConsciousness, attain to the spot that belongs to Consciousness. They whowait upon what is higher attain to places that are higher than these.Those persons, learned in the scriptures, who succeed in apprehendingEternal Brahma who is higher than Unmanifest Prakriti, succeed inobtaining that which transcends birth and death, which is free fromattributes, and which is both existent and non-existent I got all thisknowledge from Janaka. The latter had obtained it from Yajnavalkya.Knowledge is very superior. Sacrifices cannot compare with it. With theaid of Knowledge one succeeds in crossing the world’s ocean which is fullof difficulties and dangers. One can never cross that ocean by means ofsacrifices. Birth and death, and other impediments, O king, men ofknowledge say, one cannot pass over by ordinary exertion. Menattain to heaven through sacrifices, penances, vows, and observances. Butthey have again to fall down therefrom on the Earth. Do thou, therefore,adore with reverence that which is Supreme, most pure, blessed,stainless, and sacred, and which transcends all states (beingEmancipation itself). By apprehending Kshetra, O king, and by performingthe Sacrifice that consists in the acquisition of Knowledge, thou wiltreally be wise. In former time, Yajnavalkya did that good to king Janakawhich is derivable from a study of the Upanishads. The Eternal andImmutable Supreme was the topic about which the great Rishi haddiscoursed to the king of Mithila. It enabled him to attain to thatBrahma which is auspicious, and immortal, and which transcends all kindsof sorrow.”