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Chapter 44

Mahabharata English - UDYOGA PARAVA

“Dhritarashtra said, ‘Excellent, O Sanat-sujata, as this thy discourseis, treating of the attainment of Brahman and the origin of the universe.I pray thee, O celebrated Rishi, to go on telling me words such as these,that are unconnected with objects of worldly desire and are, therefore,rare among men.’

“Sanat-sujata said, ‘That Brahman about which thou askest me with suchjoy is not to be attained soon. After (the senses have been restrainedand) the will hath been merged in the pure intellect, the state thatsucceeds in one of utter absence of worldly thought. Even that isknowledge (leading to the attainment of Brahman). It is attainable onlyby practising Brahmacharya.’

“Dhritarashtra said, ‘Thou sayest that the knowledge of Brahman dwellethof itself in the mind, being only discovered by Brahmacharya; that isdwelling in the mind, it requires for its manifestation no efforts (suchas are necessary for work) being manifested (of itself) during theseeking (by means of Brahmacharya). How then is the immortalityassociated with the attainment of Brahman?’

“Sanat-sujata said, ‘Though residing in and inherent to the mind, theknowledge of Brahman is still unmanifest. It is by the aid of the pureintellect and Brahmacharya that, that knowledge is made manifest. Indeed,having attained to that knowledge, Yogins forsake this world. It isalways to be found among eminent preceptors. I shall now discourse tothee on that knowledge.’

“Dhritarashtra said, ‘What should be the nature of that Brahmacharya bywhich the knowledge of Brahman might be attained without much difficulty?O regenerate one, tell me this.’

“Sanat-sujata said, ‘They, who, residing in the abodes of theirpreceptors and winning their good will and friendship, practiseBrahmacharya austerities, become even in this world the embodiments ofBrahman and casting off their bodies are united with the Supreme Soul.They that in this world desirous of obtaining the state of Brahman,subdue all desires, and endued as they are with righteousness, theysucceed in dissociating the Soul from the body like a blade projectedfrom a clump of heath. The body, O Bharata, is created by these, viz.,the father and the mother; the (new) birth, however, that is due to thepreceptor’s instructions is sacred, free from decrepitude, and immortal.Discoursing upon Brahman and granting immortality, he who wraps allpersons with (the mantle of) truth, should be regarded as father andmother; and bearing in mind the good he does, one should never do him anyinjury. A disciple must habitually salute his preceptor with respect, andwith purity (of body and mind) and well-directed attention, he mustbetake to study. He must not consider any service as mean, and must notharbour anger. Even this is the first step of Brahmacharya. The practicesof that disciple who acquires knowledge by observing the duties ordainedfor one of his class are regarded also as the first step of Brahmacharya.A disciple should, with his very life and all his possessions, inthought, word and deed, do all that is agreeable to the preceptor. Thisis regarded as the second step of Brahmacharya. He should behave towardshis preceptor’s wife and son also in the same way as towards hispreceptor himself. This also is regarded as the second step ofBrahmacharya. Bearing well in mind what has been done to him by thepreceptor, and understanding also its object, the disciple should, with adelighted heart think,–I have been taught and made great by him. This isthe third step of Brahmacharya. Without requiring the preceptor bypayment of the final gift, a wise disciple must not betake to anothermode of life; nor should he say or even think of in his mind,–I makethis gift. This is the fourth step of Brahmacharya. He attaineth thefirst step of (knowledge of Brahman which is) the object of Brahmacharyaby aid of time; the second step, through the preceptor’s prelections; thethird, by the power of his own understanding; and finally, the fourth, bydiscussion. The learned have said that Brahmacharya is constituted by thetwelve virtues, the Yoga-practices are called its Angas, and perseverancein Yoga-meditation called is its Valam and one is crowned with success inthis in consequence of the preceptor’s aid and the understanding of thesense of the Vedas. Whatever wealth a disciple, thus engaged, may earn,should all be given to the preceptor. It is thus that the preceptorobtaineth his highly praise-worthy livelihood. And thus also should thedisciple behave towards the preceptor’s son. Thus stationed (inBrahmacharya), the disciple thriveth by all means in this world andobtaineth numerous progeny and fame. Men also from all directions showerwealth upon him; and many people come to his abode for practisingBrahmacharya. It is through Brahmacharya of this kind that the celestialsattained to their divinity, and sages, highly blessed and of greatwisdom, have obtained the region of Brahman. It is by this that theGandharvas and the Apsaras acquired such personal beauty, and it isthrough Brahmacharya that Surya riseth to make the day. As the seekers ofthe philosopher’s stone derive great happiness when they obtain theobject of their search those mentioned above (the celestials and others),on completing their Brahmacharya, derive great happiness in consequenceof being able to have whatever they desire. He, O king, who devoted tothe practice of ascetic austerities, betaketh himself to Brahmacharya inits entirety and thereby purifieth his body, is truly wise, for by thishe becometh like a child (free from all evil passions) and triumphethover death at last. Men, O Kshatriya, by work, however, pure, obtain onlyworlds that are perishable; he, however, that is blessed with Knowledge,attaineth, by the aid of that Knowledge, to Brahman which is everlasting.There is no other path (than Knowledge or the attainment of Brahman)leading to emancipation.

“Dhritarashtra said, ‘The existence of Brahman, thou sayest, a wise manperceiveth in his own soul. Now, is Brahman white, or red, or black orblue, or purple? Tell me what is the true form and colour of theOmnipresent and Eternal Brahman?’

“Sanat-sujata said, ‘Indeed, Brahman as (perceived) may appear as white,red, black, brown, or bright. But neither on the earth, nor in the sky,nor in the water of the ocean, is there anything like it, Neither in thestars, nor in lightning, nor in the clouds, is its form to be seen, noris it visible in the atmosphere, nor in the deities, nor in the moon, norin the sun. Neither in the Riks, nor among the Yajus, nor among theAtharvans, nor in the pure Samans, it is to be found. Verily, O king, itis not to be found in Rathantara or Varhadratha, nor in great sacrifices.Incapable of being compassed and lying beyond the reach of the limitedintellect, even the universal Destroyer, after the Dissolution, ishimself lost in it. Incapable of being gazed at, it is subtle as the edgeof the razor, and grosser than mountains. It is the basis upon whicheverything is founded; it is unchangeable; it is this visible universe(omnipresent); it is vast; it is delightful; creatures have all sprungfrom it and are to return to it. Free from all kinds of duality, it ismanifest as the universe and all-pervading. Men of learning say that itis without any change, except in the language used to describe it. Theyare emancipated that are acquainted with That in which this universe isestablished.'”



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