“Bhishma said, The next morning, king Janaka, O Bharata, accompanied byhis minister and the whole household, came to Suka, placing his priest inthe van. Bringing with him costly seats and diverse kinds of jewels andgems, and bearing the ingredients of the Arghya on his own head, themonarch approached the son of his reverend preceptor. The king, takingwith his own hands, from the hands of his priest, that seat adorned withmany gems, overlaid with an excellent sheet, beautiful in all its parts,and exceedingly costly, presented it with great reverence to hispreceptor’s son Suka. After the son of (the Island-born) Krishna hadtaken his seat on it, the king worshipped him according to prescribedrites. At first offering him water to wash his feet, he then presentedhim the Arghya and kine. The ascetic accepted that worship offered withdue rites and mantras. That foremost of regenerate persons, having thusaccepted the worship offered by the king, and taking the kine also thatwere presented to him, then saluted the monarch. Possessed of greatenergy, he next enquired after the king’s welfare and prosperity. Indeed,O king, Suka embraced in his enquiry the welfare of the monarch’sfollowers and officers also. Receiving Suka’s permission, Janaka sat downwith all his followers. Endued with a high soul and possessed of highbirth, the monarch, with joined hands, sat down on the bare ground andenquired after the welfare and unabated prosperity of Vyasa’s son. Themonarch then asked his guest the object of his visit.
“Suka said, Blessed be thou, my sire said unto me that his Yajamana, theruler of the Videhas, known all over the world by the name of Janaka, iswell-versed in the religion of Emancipation. He commanded me to come tohim without delay, if I had any doubts requiring solution in the matterof the religion of either Pravritti or Nivritti. He gave me to understandthat the king of Mithila would dispel all my doubts. I have, therefore,come hither, at the command of my sire, for the purpose of taking lessonsfrom thee. It behoveth thee, O foremost of all righteous persons, toinstruct me! What are the duties of a Brahmana, and what is the essenceof those duties that have Emancipation for their object. How also isEmancipation to be obtained? Is it obtainable by the aid of knowledge orby that of penances?
‘Janaka said, Hear what the duties are of a Brahmana from the time of hisbirth. After his investiture, O son, with the sacred-thread, he shoulddevote his attention to the study of the Vedas. By practising penancesand dutifully serving his preceptor and observing the duties ofBrahmacharyya, O puissant one, he should pay off the debt he owes to thedeities and the Pitris, and cast off all malice. Having studied the Vedaswith close attention and subjugated his senses, and having given hispreceptor the tuition fee, he should, with the permission of hispreceptor, return home. Returning home, he should betake himself to thedomestic mode of life and weeding a spouse confine himself to her, andlive freeing himself from every kind of malice, and having establishedhis domestic fire. Living in the domestic mode, he should procreate sonsand grandsons. After that, he should retire to the forest, and continueto worship the same fires and entertain guests with cordial hospitality.Living righteously in the forest, he should at last establish his fire inhis soul, and freed from all pairs of opposites, and casting off allattachments from the soul, he should pass his days in the mode calledSannyasa which is otherwise called the mode of Brahma.
“‘Suka said, If one succeeds in attaining to an understanding cleansed bystudy of the scriptures and to true conceptions of all things, and if theheart succeeds in freeing itself permanently from the effects of allpairs of opposites, is it still necessary for such a person to adopt, oneafter another, the three modes of life called Brahmacharyya, Garhastya,and Vanaprastha? This is what I ask thee. It behoveth thee to tell me.Indeed, O ruler of men, do tell me this according to the true import ofthe Vedas!
“‘Janaka said, Without the aid of an understanding cleansed by study ofthe scriptures and without that true conception of all things which isknown by the name of Vijnana, the attainment of Emancipation isimpossible. That cleansed understanding, again, it is said, isunattainable without one’s connection with a preceptor. The preceptor isthe helmsman, and knowledge is the boat (aided by whom and which onesucceeds in crossing the ocean of the world). After having acquired thatboat, one becomes crowned with success. Indeed, having crossed the’ocean, one may abandon both. For preventing the destruction of all theworlds and for preventing the destruction of acts (upon which the worlddepend), the duties appertaining to the four modes of life were practisedby the wise of old. By abandoning acts, good and bad, agreeably to thisorder of acts one succeeds, in course of many birth, in attaining toEmancipation. That man who, through penances performed in course ofmany births, succeeds in obtaining a cleansed mind and understanding andsoul, certainly becomes able to attain to Emancipation (in a new birth)in even the very first mode viz., Brahmacharyya. When, havingattained to a cleansed understanding, Emancipation becomes his and inconsequence thereof he becomes possessed of knowledge in respect of allvisible things, what desirable object is there to attain by observing thethree other modes of life? One should always cast off faults bornof the attributes of Rajas and Tamas. Adhering to the path of Sattwa, oneshould know Self by Self. Beholding one’s self in all creatures andall creatures in one’s self, one should live (without being attached toanything) like aquatic animals living in water without being drenched bythat element. He who succeeds in transcending all pairs of attributes andresisting their influence, succeeds in casting off all attachments, andattains to infinite felicity in the next world, going thither like a birdsoaring into the sky from below. In this connection, there is a sayingsung of old by king Yayati and borne in remembrance, O sire, by allpersons conversant with the scriptures bearing upon Emancipation. Theeffulgent ray (i.e., the Supreme Soul) exists in one’s Soul and notanywhere else. It exists equally in all creatures. One can see it oneselfif one’s heart be devoted to Yoga. When a person lives in such a way thatanother is not inspired with fear at his sight, and when a person is nothimself inspired with fear at the sight of others, when a person ceasesto cherish desire and hate, he is then said to attain to Brahma. When aperson ceases to entertain a sinful attitude towards all creatures inthought, word, and deed, he is then said to attain to Brahma. Byrestraining the mind and the soul, by casting off malice that stupefiesthe mind, and by throwing off desire and stupefaction, one is said toattain to Brahma. When a person assumes an equality of attitude inrespect of all objects of hearing and vision (and the operations of theother senses) as also in respect of all living creatures, and transcendsall pairs of opposites, he is then said to attain to Brahma. When personcasts an equal eye upon praise and dispraise, gold and iron, happinessand misery, heat and cold, good and evil, the agreeable and thedisagreeable, life and death, he is then said to attain to Brahma. Oneobserving the duties of the mendicant orders should restrain one’s sensesand the mind even like a tortoise withdrawing its out-stretchedlimbs. As a house enveloped in darkness is capable of being seenwith the aid of a lighted lamp, after the same manner can the soul beseen with the aid of the lamp of the understanding. O foremost ofintelligent persons, I see that all this knowledge that I amcommunicating to thee dwells in thee. Whatever else should be known byone desirous of learning the religion of Emancipation is already known tothee. O regenerate Rishi, I am convinced that through the grace of thypreceptor and through the instructions thou hast received, thou hastalready transcended all objects of the senses. O great ascetic,through the grace of that sire of thine, I have attained to omniscience,and hence I have succeeded in knowing thee. Thy knowledge is much greaterthan what thou thinkest thou hast. Thy perceptions also that result fromintuition are much greater than what thou thinkest thou hast. Thypuissance also is much greater than thou art conscious of. Whether inconsequence of thy tender age, or of the doubts thou hast not been ableto dispel, or of the fear that is due to the unattainment ofEmancipation, thou art not conscious of that knowledge due to intuitionalthough it has arisen in thy mind. After one’s doubts have beendispelled by persons like us, one succeeds in opening the knots of one’sheart and then, by a righteous exertion one attains to and becomesconscious of that knowledge. As regards thyself, thou art one that hastalready acquired knowledge. Thy intelligence is steady and tranquil. Thouart free from covetousness. For all that, O Brahmana, one never succeedsin attaining to Brahma, which is the highest object of acquisition,without exertion. Thou seest no distinction between happiness and misery.Thou art not covetous. Thou hast no longing for dancing and song. Thouhast no attachments. Thou hast no attachment to friends. Thou hast nofear in things that inspire fear. O blessed one, I see that thou castestan equal eye upon a lump of gold and a clod of earth. Myself and otherpersons possessed of wisdom, behold thee established in the highest andindestructible path of tranquillity. Thou stayest, O Brahmana, in thoseduties which obtain for the Brahmana that fruit which should be his andwhich is identical with the essence of the object represented byEmancipation. What else hast thou to ask me?'”