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       =======  Understanding Hinduism  =======

From The Mahabharata
Aswamedha Parva, Section XVII
Translated by Sri Kisari Mohan Ganguli

Vasudeva said: Touching the feet of that sage (Brahmana), Kasyapa asked him some questions that were exceedingly difficult to answer. That foremost of all righteous persons then discoursed on those duties that were referred to.

Kasyapa said:

How does one become emancipated after passing through a repeated round of painful births?

How does Jiva (embodied soul), freed from the body, attain to what is different from it (viz., Brahman or Supreme Reality)?

Where do the acts exist of one that is devoid of body?

Urged by Kasyapa, the emancipated sage answered those questions one after another.

The Brahmana said:
Whatever acts, good or bad, Jiva does in a former body, have certainly to be enjoyed or endured by him. By such enjoyment and endurance former acts are exhausted, and other acts, again, accumulate, till Jiva has succeeded in acquiring a knowledge of the duties included in that contemplation which leads to Emancipation. Regarding this, I shall tell thee those acts by which Jiva, while coursing through a repeated round of re-births, becomes happy.

Gifts, observances of austerity, Brahmacharya (celibacy), bearing Brahman according to the ordinances laid down, self-restraint, tranquillity, compassion for all creatures, restraint of passions, abstentions from cruelty as from appropriating what belongs to others, refraining from doing even mentally all acts that are false and injurious to living creatures on earth, reverently serving mother and father, honouring deities and guests, worship of preceptors, pity, purity, constant restraint of all organs, and causing of all good acts, are said to constitute the conduct of the good.

From observance of such conduct arises Righteousness which protects all creatures eternally. Such conduct, one would always behold among persons that are good. Verily, such conduct resides there eternally. That course of practices to which persons of tranquil souls adhere indicates Righteousness. Among them is thrown that course of practices which constitutes eternal Righteousness. He who would betake himself to that righteousness would never have to attain to a miserable end. It is by the conduct of the good that the world is restrained in the paths of Righteousness when it falls away. He that is a Yogi is Emancipated, and is therefore, distinguished above these (viz., the good).

Deliverance from the world takes place, after a long time, of one who acts righteously and well in every occasion as he should. A living creature thus always meets with the acts done by him in a former life. All these acts constitute the cause in consequence of which he comes into this world in a state different from his true form.

There is a doubt in the world as regards the question: ‘By what was the acceptance by Jiva of a body first determined’? The Grandsire of all the worlds, viz., Brahma having first formed a body of his own, then created the three worlds, in their entirety, of mobile and immobile creatures. Having first himself assumed a body, he then created Pradhana. That Pradhana is the material cause of all embodied creatures, by whom is all this covered and whom all came to know as the highest. This that is seen is said to be destructible; while the other is immortal and indestructible. This that (is seen) is said to be Kshara (the destructible); that, however, which is Para (the other) is the Immortal, (as also) Akshra (the indestructible).

Of each Purusha taken distributively, the whole is duality among these three. Seen first (to appear in an embodied form) Prajapati (then) created all the primal elements and all immobile creatures. Even this is the ancient audition. Of that (acceptance of body), the Grandsire ordained a limit in respect of time, and migrations among diverse creatures and return or rebirth. All that I say is proper and correct, like to what a person who is endued with intelligence and who has seen his soul, would say on this topic of previous births.

That person who looks upon pleasure and pain as inconstant, which, indeed, is the correct view, who regards the body as an unholy conglomeration, and destruction as ordained in action, and who remembers that what little of pleasure there is, is really all pain, will succeed in crossing this terrible ocean of worldly migration that is so difficult to cross. Though assailed by decrepitude and death and disease, he that understands Pradhana beholds with an equal eye that Consciousness which dwells in all beings endued with consciousness. Seeking the supreme seat, he then becomes utterly indifferent to all other things. O best of men, I shall now impart instruction to thee, agreeably to truth, concerning this. Do thou, O learned Brahmana, understand in completeness that which constitutes the excellent knowledge, as I declare it, of that indestructible seat.

The Brahmana said: He who become absorbed in the one receptacle (of all things), freeing himself from even the thought of his own identity with all things, - indeed, ceasing to think of even his own existence, - gradually casting off one after another, will succeed in crossing his bonds.

[Note: Without even retaining the consciousness of his own identity with everything. Not even thinking that he is existing. The Sanskrit wordings ‘purvam purvam parityajya’ implies the gradual merging of the grosser in the subtler, i.e., the successive stages of Yoga before absorption into Brahman.]

That man who is the friend of all, who endures all, who is attached to tranquillity, who has conquered all his senses, who is divested of fear and wrath, and who is of restrained soul, succeeds in emancipating himself. He who behaves towards all creatures as towards himself, who is restrained, pure, free from vanity and divested of egoism is regarded as emancipated from everything.

He also is emancipated who looks with an equal eye upon life and death. Pleasure and pain, gain and loss, agreeable and disagreeable. He is in every way emancipated who does not covet what belongs to others, who never disregards any body, who transcends all pairs of opposites, and whose soul is free from attachment. He is emancipated who has no enemy, no kinsman and no child, who has cast off religion, wealth and pleasure (Dharma, Artha, Kama), and who is freed from desire or cupidity.

He becomes emancipated who acquires neither merit nor demerit, who casts off the merits and demerits accumulated in previous births, who wastes the elements of his body for attaining to a tranquillised soul, and who transcends all pairs of opposites. He who abstains from all acts, who is free from desire or cupidity, who looks upon the universe as unenduring or as like an Aswattha tree, ever endued with birth, death and decrepitude, whose understanding is fixed on renunciation, and whose eyes are always directed towards his own faults, soon succeeds in emancipating himself from the bonds that bind him.

He that sees his soul void of smell, of taste and touch, of sounds, of belongings, of vision, and unknowable, becomes emancipated.

[Note: The Soul being destitute of these Chinmatra, i.e., a pure Chit without the attributes superinduced upon it by Nescience or ignorance.]

He who sees his soul devoid of the attributes of the five elements to be without form and cause, to be really destitute of attributes though enjoying them, becomes emancipated.

[Note: Formlessness implies subtlety. ‘Without cause’ implies increate or as identical with eternal Brahman. Dissociation from attributes while enjoying them implies an emancipate condition,]

Abandoning with the aid of understanding, all purposes relating to body and mind, one gradually attains to cessation of separate existence, like a fire unfed with fuel.

[Note: The Sanskrit word Nirvana, according to orthodox commentators, implies the annihilation or cessation of separate or individual existence by absorption into universal and external Brahman.]

One who is freed from all impressions, who transcends all pairs of opposites, who is destitute of all belongings, and who uses all his senses under the guidance of penances, becomes emancipated.

[Note: The impressions caused by objects outside self are destroyed by those belonging to contemplation. The latter, again, should be destroyed before absorption into Brahman can occur.]

Having become freed from all impressions, one then attains to Brahman which is eternal and supreme, and tranquil, and stable, and enduring, and indestructible.

After this I shall declare the science of Yoga to which there is nothing superior, or how Yogis, by concentration, behold the perfect soul. I shall declare the instructions regarding it duly. Do thou learn from me, those doors by which directing the soul within the body one beholds that which is without beginning and end.

Withdrawing the senses from their objects, one should fix the mind upon the soul; having previously undergone the severest austerities, one should practice that concentration of mind that leads to Emancipation.

[Note: ‘Fixing the mind upon the soul’ is that concentration which leads to Emancipation. This becomes possible in consequence of severe austerities undergone previously.]

Observant of penances and always practising concentration of mind, the learned Brahmana, endued with intelligence, should observe the precepts of the science of Yoga, beholding the soul in the body. If the good man succeeds in concentrating the mind on the soul, he then, habituated to exclusive meditation, beholds the Supreme Soul in his own soul. Self-restrained and always concentrated, and with all his senses completely conquered, the man of cleansed soul, in consequence of such complete concentration of mind, succeeds in beholding the soul by the soul. As a person beholding some unseen individual in a dream recognizes him, saying – This is he,- when he sees him after waking, after the same manner the good man having seen the Supreme Soul in the deep contemplation of Samadhi recognises it upon waking from samadhi.

[Note: Having seen the Supreme Soul in Samadhi, upon waking from it, he recognises it in the universe, i.e., regards the universe to be nothing else than the Supreme Soul.]

As one beholds the fibrous pith after extracting it from a blade of the Saccharum Munja, even so the Yogi beholds the soul, extracting it from the body. The body has been called the Saccharum munja, and the fibrous pith is said to stand for the soul. This is the excellent illustration propounded by persons conversant with Yoga. When the bearer of a body adequately beholds the soul in Yoga, he then has no one that is master over him, for he then becomes the lord of the three worlds. He succeeds in assuming diverse bodies according as he wishes. Turning away decrepitude and death, he neither grieves nor exults. The self-restrained man, concentrated in Yoga, can create (for himself) the godship of the very gods. Casting off his transient body he attains to immutable Brahman.

No fear springs up in him at even the sight of all creatures falling victims to destruction (before his eyes). When all creatures are afflicted, - he can never be afflicted by any one. Devoid of desire and possessed of tranquil mind, the person in Yoga is never shaken by pain and sorrow and fear, the terrible effects that flow from attachment and affection. Weapons never pierce him; death does not exist for him. Nowhere in the world can be seen any one that is happier than he. Having adequately concentrated his soul, he lives steadily on himself. Turning off decrepitude and pain and pleasure, he sleeps in comfort. Casting off this human body he attains to (other) forms according to his pleasure. While one is enjoying the sovereignty that Yoga bestows, one should never fall away from devotion to Yoga

[Note: One should not fall away from the practice of Yoga, tempted by the puissance that Yoga brings.]

When one, after adequate devotion to Yoga, beholds the Soul in oneself, one then ceases to have any regard for even him of a hundred sacrifices (Indra).

[Note: The scholar and commentator Nilakantha notes that this indicates that only that Yogi who has not advanced much may be tempted by the desire of enjoyment. He, however, who has adequately devoted himself to Yoga feels no regard for Indra (the king of gods) himself.]

Hear now how one, habituating oneself to exclusive meditation, succeeds in attaining to Yoga. Thinking of that point of the compass that has the sun behind it, the mind should be fixed, not outside, but in the interior of that mansion in which one may happen to live. Residing within that mansion, the mind should then, with all its outward and inward (operations), behold in that particular room in which one may stay. At that time, when, having deeply meditated, one beholds the All (viz., Brahman, the Soul of the universe), there is then nothing external to Brahman where the mind may dwell. Restraining all the senses in a forest that is free from noise and that is uninhabited, with mind fixed thereon, one should meditate on the All (or universal Brahman) both outside and inside one’s body. One should meditate on the teeth, the palate, the tongue, the neck likewise; one should also meditate on the heart and the ligatures of the heart.

{Note: ‘That point of the compass which has the Sun behind it’ means the instructions laid down in the Vedanta as based upon Srutis. Sanskrit words such as Pura implies a city, a citadel, or a mansion. Here it refers to the body. The Avastha within the pura refers to the Chakra or nervous centres beginning with what is called Muladhara. At the time when Brahman is realised, the whole universe appears as Brahman and so nothing exists, besides Brahman, upon which the mind can then dwell.]

The Brahmana continued: thus addressed by me, that intelligent disciple once more asked me about this religion of Emancipation that is so difficult to explain. How does this food that is eaten from time to time become digested in the stomach? How does it become transformed into juice? How, again, into blood? How does it nourish the flesh, the marrow, the sinews, the bones? How do all these limbs of embodied creatures grow? How does the strength grow of the growing man? How occurs the escape of all such elements as are not nutritive, and of all impurities separately? How does this one inhale and again, exhale? Staying upon what particular part does the Soul dwell in the body? How does Jiva, exerting himself, bear the body? Of what colour and of what kind is the body in which he dwells again (leaving a particular body)? O holy one, it behoveth thee to tell me all this accurately. O sinless one, - even thus was I interrogated by that learned Brahmana. I replied unto him after the manner I myself had heard.

As one placing some precious object in one’s store-room should keep one’s mind on it, so, placing the mind within one’s own body, one should then, restraining all the senses, seek after the Soul, avoiding all heedlessness. One would, becoming always assiduous in this way and gratified with one’s own self, within a very short time attain to that Brahman by beholding which one would become conversant with Pradhana (that from which the entire universe has been created.)

He is not capable of being seized by the eye; nor even by all the senses. It is only with the lamp of the mind that great Soul can be seen. He has hands and feet on all sides; he has ears on all sides; he dwells, pervading all things in the world.

{Note: This answers the question respecting the form of the soul.]

Jiva (embodied soul) beholds the Soul as extracted from the body (like the stalk from a blade of Saccharum Munja, when knowledge comes). Then casting off Brahman invested with form, by holding the mind in the body, he beholds Brahman as freed from all attributes.

[Note: The ascension of the Yogi from Brahman vested with attributes to Brahman divested of all attributes. The Tam refers Brahma as endued with hands and feet on all sides, etc.]

He sees the Soul with his mind, smiling as it were at the time. Depending upon that Brahman, he then attains to Emancipation in Supreme Brahman.

Addressing Arjuna, Vasudeva (Krishna) said:

That best of Brahmana, O son of Pritha, having said these words unto me, on that occasion, properly relating to the religion of Emancipation, disappeared then and there.

Has this discourse been heard by thee, O son of Pritha, with mind directed solely towards it? Even this was what thou didst hear on that occasion while thou wert on the chariot (in the middle of the two armies in the battle-field of Kurukshetra). It is my opinion, O son of Pritha (Arjuna), that this is difficult of being comprehended by one whose understanding is confused, or who has acquired no wisdom by study, or who eats food incompatible with his body, or whose soul is not purified.

O chief of Bharata’s race, this is a great mystery among the deities that has been declared (to thee). At no time or place, O son of Pritha, has this been heard by man in this world. O sinless one, no other man than thyself is deserving of hearing it. It is not, at this time, capable of being easily understood by one whose inner soul is confused. The world of the deities is filled, O son of Kunti, with those who follow the religion of actions. The cessation of the mortal form (by practising the religion of inaction) is not agreeable to the deities.

[Note: Heaven is the reward for those who follow the religion of Pravritti or acts, such as sacrifices, religious observances, etc. The followers, however, of the religion of Nivritti or inaction, i.e., they who betake themselves to the path of knowledge, become emancipated. The deities derive their sustenance from the former and become even jealous of the latter, for the emancipate state is higher than that of the deities themselves. For more details on ‘Pravritti-Nivritti’ see the column on the left]

That goal, O son of Pritha, is the highest which is constituted by eternal Brahman where, one, casting off the body, attains to immortality and becomes always happy. By adhering to this religion, even they who are of sinful birth, such as women and Vaisyas and Sudras, attain to the highest goal. What need be said then, O son of Pritha, of Brahmanas and Kshatriyas possessed of great learning, always devoted to the duties of their own orders and who are intent on (the acquisition of) the religion of Brahman? This has been laid down with the reasons (on which it rests); and also the means for its acquisition; and its complete attainment and fruit, viz., Emancipation and ascertainment of the truth regarding pain.

O chief of Bharata’s race, there is nothing else that is fraught with happiness greater than this. That mortal, O son of Pandu, who, endued with intelligence, and faith, and prowess, renounces as unsubstantial what is regarded as substantial by the world, succeeds within a short time in obtaining the Supreme by these means. This is all that is to be said,- there is nothing else that is higher than this. Yoga takes place in his case, O son of Pritha, who devotes himself to its constant practice for a period of six months.

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From Isa Upanishad

All this, whatever exists in this changing universe, should be covered by the Lord. Protect the Self by renunciation. Do not covet anybody's wealth.

From the Bhagavad Gita
Explanations by Swami Shivananda
The Divine Life Society, Rishikesh

To the Brahmana who has known the Self, all the Vedas are of as much use as is a reservoir of water in a place where there is a flood.   Gita, Ch.2, Verse 46

Far lower than the Yoga of wisdom is action, O Arjuna. Seek thou refuge in wisdom; wretched are they whose motive is the fruit.
- Gita, Ch.2, Verse 49
[Note: Action done with evenness of mind is Yoga of wisdom. The Yogi who is established in the Yoga of wisdom is not affected by success or failure. He does not seek fruits of his actions. He has poised reason. His reason is rooted in the Self. Action performed by one who expects fruits for his actions is far inferior to the Yoga of wisdom wherein the seeker does not seek fruit; because the former leads to bondage and is the cause of birth and death.]

Endowed with wisdom (evenness of mind), one casts off in this life both good and evildeeds; therefore, devote thyself to Yoga; Yoga is skill in action.   -Gita, Ch.2, Verse 50

The wise, possessed of knowledge, having abandoned the fruits of their actions, and being freed from the fetters of birth, go to the place which is beyond all evil.  
-Gita, Ch.2, Verse 51

When thy intellect crosses beyond the mire of delusion, then thou shalt attain to indifference as to what has been heard and what has yet to be heard.  
-Gita, Ch.2, Verse 52
[Note: The mire of delusion is the identification of the Self with the not-Self. The sense of discrimination between the Self and the not-Self is confounded by the mire of delusion and the mind runs towards the sensual objects and the body is taken as the pure Self. When you attain purity of mind, you will attain to indifference regarding things heard and are yet to be heard. They will appear to you to be of no use.]

When thy intellect, perplexed by what thou hast heard, shall stand immovable and steady in the Self, then thou shalt attain Self-realisation. -Gita, Ch.2, Verse 53
[Note: When your intellect which is tossed about by the conflict of opinions regarding the Pravritti marga (the path of action) and the Nivritti marga (the path of renunciation) has become immovable without distraction and doubt and firmly established in the Self, then thou shalt attain Self-realisation or knowledge of the Self (Atma-jnana). For more details on 'Pravritti- Nivritti', see the column on the left.]

(Of steady wisdom)

Arjuna said:
What, O Krishna, is the description of him who has steady wisdom, and is merged in the superconscious state? How does one of steady wisdom speak, how does he sit, how does he walk?    -Gita,Ch.2, Verse 54

The Blessed Lord said:
When a man completely casts off, O Arjuna, all the desires of the mind and is satisfied in the Self by the Self, then is he said to be one of steady wisdom.
-Gita,Ch.2, Verse 55

He whose mind is not shaken by adversity, who does not hanker after pleasures, and is free from attachment, fear and anger, is called a sage of steady wisdom.  
-Gita, Ch.2, Verse 56

[The mind of a sage of steady wisdom is not distressed in calamities. He is not affected by the three afflictions - Adhyatmika (arising from diseases or disorders in one's own body), Adhidaivika (arising from thunder, lightning, storm, floods etc.), and Adhibhautika (arising from tiger, cobra snakes, scorpions, etc.) When he is placed in an affluent condition he does not long for sensual pleasures.]

When a man thinks of the objects, attachment for them arises; from attachment desire is born; from desire anger arises.
-Gita, Ch.2, Verse 62

From anger comes delusion; from delusion loss of memory; from loss of memory the destruction of discrimination; from destruction of discrimination he perishes. -Gita, Ch.2, Verse 63

But the self-controlled man, moving among the objects with the senses under restraint and free from attraction and repulsion, attains to peace.  -Gita, Ch.2, Verse 64

In that peace all pains are destroyed; for the intellect of the tranquil-minded soon becomes steady.
- Gita, Ch.2, Verse 65

There is no knowledge of the Self to the unsteady and to the unsteady no meditation is possible, and to the unmeditative there can be no peace, and to the man who has no peace, how can there be happiness? 
-Gita,Ch.2, Verse 66

For the mind, which follows in the wake of the wandering senses, carries away his discrimination, as the wind (carries away) a boat on the waters.
-Gita, Ch.2, verse 67

Therefore, O mighty- armed Arjuna, his knowledge is steady whose senses are completely restrained from sense-objects.
-Gita, Ch.2, Verse 68

That which is night to all beings, then the self-controlled man is awake; when all beings are awake that is night for the muni (sage) who sees.  -Gita, Ch.2, Verse 69

[Note: That which is real for the worldly-minded people is illusion for the sage, and vice versa. The sage lives in the Self. This is DAY for him. He is unconscious of the worldly phenomena. They are NIGHT for him, as it were. The ordinary man is unconscious of his real nature. Life in the spirit is night for him. He is experiencing the objects of sensual enjoyment. This is day for him. The Self is a non-entity for him! For a sage this world is a non-entity.

The worldly-minded people are in utter darkness as they have no knowledge of the Self. What is darkness for them is all light for the sage. The Self, Atma or Brahman is night for the worldly-minded persons. But the sage is fully awake. He is directly cognising the Supreme Reality, the light of lights. He is full of illumination and Atma-jnana or knowledge of the Self.]

He attains peace into whom all desires enter as waters enter the ocean which, filled from all sides, remains unmoved; but not the man who is full of desires, 
-Gita, Ch.2, Verse 70

The man attains peace who abandoning all desires, moves about without longing, without the sense of mine and without egoism.   -Gita, Ch.2, Verse 71

This is the Brahmic seat (eternal state), O son of Pritha. Attaining to this, none is deluded. Being established therein, even at the end of life, one attains to oneness with Brahman.  -Gita,Ch2., Verse 72

From The Mahabharata
Santi Parva, Section CCXIX
Translated by Sri Kisari Mohan Ganguli

Bhishma said: Janadeva of the race of Janaka, instructed by the great Rishi Panchasikha, once more asked him about the topics of existence or non-existence after death.

Janadeva said: O illustrious one. if no person retains any knowledge after departing from this state of being, if, indeed, this is true, where then is the difference between Ignorance and Knowledge? What do we gain then by knowledge and what do we lose by ignorance?

Behold, O foremost of regenerate persons, that if Emancipation be such, then all religious acts and vows end only in annihilation. Of what avail would then the distinction be between heedfulness and heedlessness? If Emancipation means dissociation from all objects of pleasurable enjoyment or an association with objects that are not lasting, for what then would men cherish a desire for action, or, having set themselves to action, continue to devise the necessary means for the accomplishment of desired ends? What then is the truth (in connection with this topic)?

Bhishma continued: Beholding the king enveloped in thick darkness, stupefied by error, and become helpless, the learned Panchsikha tranquillised him by once more addressing him in the following words.

Janadeva said: In this Emancipation the consummation is not Extinction. Nor is that consummation any kind of Existence (that one can readily conceive). This that we see is a union of body, senses, and mind. Existing independently as also controlling one another, these go on acting. The materials that constitute the body are water, space, air, fire and earth. These exist together (forming the body) according to their own nature. They disunite again according to their own nature. Space, air, fire, water and earth, - these five objects in a state of union constitute the body. The body is not one element. Intelligence, stomachic heat, and the vital breaths called Prana, etc., that are air, - these three are said to be organs of action. The senses, the objects of the senses (viz., sound, form, etc.), the power (dwelling in those objects) in consequence of which they become capable of being perceived, the faculties (dwelling in the senses) in consequence of which they succeed in perceiving them, the vital breaths called Prana, Apana, and the rest, and the various juices and humours that are the results of the digestive organs, flow from the three organs already named. [Note: The first five are the effects of intelligence; the vital breaths, of air, and the juices and humours, of stomachic heat].

Hearing, touch, taste, vision and scent,- these are the five senses. They have derived their attributes from the mind which, indeed, is their cause. The mind, existing as an attribute of Chit (consciousness) has three states, viz., pleasure, pain, and absence of both pleasure and pain. Sound, touch, form, taste, scent, and the objects to which they inhere,- these till the moment of one’s death are causes for the production of one’s knowledge. Upon the senses rest all acts (that lead to heaven), as also renunciation (leading to the attainment of Brahma or the Supreme Reality), and also the ascertainment of truth in respect of all topics of enquiry.

The learned say that ascertainment of truth is the highest object of existence, and it is the seed or root of Emancipation; and with respect to Intelligence, they say that leads to Emancipation and Brahma. That person who regards this union of perishable attributes (called the body and the objects of the senses) as the Soul, feels, in consequence of such imperfection of knowledge, much misery that proves again to be unending. Those persons, on the other hand, who regard all worldly objects as not-soul, and who on that account cease to have any affection or attachment for them, have never to suffer any sorrow, for sorrow, in their case stands in need of some foundation upon which to rest. In this connection there exists the unrivalled branch of knowledge which treats of Renunciation. It is called Samyagvadha. I shall discourse to thee upon it. Listen to it for the sake of thy Emancipation.

(Continued below)

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Renunciation of acts is laid down for all persons who strive earnestly for Emancipation. They, however, who have not been taught correctly (and who on that account think that tranquillity may be attained without renunciation) have to bear a heavy burden of sorrow. Vedic sacrifices and other rites exist for renunciation of wealth and other possessions. For renunciation of all enjoyments exist vows and fasts of diverse kinds. For renunciation of pleasure and happiness, exist penances and Yoga. Renunciation, however, of everything, is the highest kind of renunciation. This that I shall presently tell thee is the one path pointed out by the learned for that renunciation of everything. They that betake themselves to that path (the path of Yoga) succeed in driving off all sorrows. They, however, that deviate from it reap distress and misery.

First speaking of the five organs of knowledge having the mind for the sixth, and all of which dwell in the understanding, I shall tell thee of the five organs of action having strength for their sixth. The two hands constitute two organs of action. The two legs are the two organs for moving from one place to another. The sexual organ exists for both pleasure and the continuation of the species. The lower duct, leading from the stomach downwards, is the organ for expulsion of all used-up matter. The organs of utterance exist for the expression of sounds. Know that these five organs of action appertain or belong to the mind. There are the eleven organs of knowledge and of action (counting the mind).

One should quickly cast off the mind with the understanding. [Note: By casting of the mind one casts off the five organs of action. By casting off the understanding, one casts off the organs of knowledge with the mind].

In the act of hearing, three causes must exist together, viz., two ears, sound, and the mind. The same is the case with the perception of touch; the same with that of form; the same with that of taste and smell. These fifteen accidents or attributes are needed for the several kinds of perception indicated. Every man, in consequence of them, becomes conscious of three separate things in respect of those perceptions (viz., a material organ, its particular function, and the mind upon which that function acts).

There are again (in respect of all perceptions of the mind) three classes, viz., those that appertain to Goodness, those that appertain to Passion, and those that appertain to Darkness. Into them run, three kinds of consciousness, including all feelings and emotions. Raptures, satisfaction, joy, happiness, and tranquillity, arising in the mind from any perceptible cause or in the absence of any apparent cause, belong to the attribute of Goodness. Discontent, regret, grief, cupidity, and vindictiveness, causeless or occasioned by any perceptible cause, are the indications of the attribute known as Passion. Wrong judgment, stupefaction, heedlessness, dreams, and sleepiness, however caused, belong to the attribute of Darkness.

Whatever state of consciousness exists, with respect to either the body or the mind, united with joy or satisfaction, should be regarded as due to the quality of Goodness. Whatever state of consciousness exists united with any feeling of discontent or cheerlessness should be regarded as occasioned by an accession of the attribute of Passion into the mind. Whatever state, as regards either the body or the mind, exists with error or heedlessness, should be known as indicative of Darkness which is incomprehensible and inexplicable.

The organ of hearing rests on space; it is space itself (under limitations; Sound has that organ for its refuge. Sound, therefore, is a modification of space). In perceiving sound, one may not immediately acquire a knowledge of the organ of hearing and of space. But when sound is perceived, the organ of hearing and space do not long remain unknown. (By destroying the ear, sound and space, may be destroyed; and, lastly, by destroying the mind all may be destroyed). The same is the case with the skin, the eyes, the tongue, and the nose constituting the fifth. They exist in touch, form, taste, and smell. They constitute the faculty of perception and they are the mind. Each employed in its own particular function, all the five organs of action and five others of knowledge exist together, and upon the union of the ten dwells the mind as the eleventh and upon the mind the understanding as the twelfth.

If it be said that these twelve do not exist together, then the consequence that would result would be death in dreamless slumber. But as there is no death in dreamless slumber, it must be conceded that these twelve exist together as regards themselves but separately from the Soul. The co-existence of those twelve with the Soul that is referred to in common speech is only a common form of speech with the vulgar for ordinary purposes of the world. The dreamer, in consequence of the appearance of past sensual impressions, becomes conscious of his senses in their subtle forms, and endued as he already is with the three attributes (of goodness, passion and darkness), he regards his senses as existing with their respective objects and, therefore, acts and moves about with an imaginary body after the manner of his own self while awake.

That dissociation of the Soul from the understanding and the mind with the senses, which quickly disappears, which has no stability, and which the mind causes to arise only when influenced by Darkness, is felicity that partakes, as the learned say, of the nature of darkness and is experienced in this gross body only. (The felicity of Emancipation certainly differs from it).
[Note: The Sanskrit word ‘Uparamam’ or the extinction of the state of association of the Soul with the understanding, the mind, and the senses. This dissociation of the Soul from the understanding, etc., is, of course, Emancipation. Emancipation, however, being eternal, the temporary dissociation of the soul from the understanding etc., which is the consequence of dreamless sleep, is the result of Tamas or Darkness. That dissociation is certainly a kind of felicity, but then it differs from the felicity of Emancipation, which is everlasting, and which is not experienced in the gross body].

Over the felicity of Emancipation also, the felicity, viz., which is awakened by the inspired teaching of the Vedas and in which no one sees the slightest tincture of sorrow,- the same indescribable and truth-concealing darkness seems to spread itself (but in reality the felicity of Emancipation is unstained by darkness). [Note; The kind of sorrow referred to is the sorrow of duality or consciousness of knower and known. In Emancipation, of course, there cannot be any consciousness of duality]. Like again to what occurs in dreamless slumber, in Emancipation also, subjective and objective existences (from Consciousness to objects of the senses, all included), which have their origin in one’s acts, are all discarded. In some, that are overwhelmed by Avidya (ignorance), these exist, firmly grafted with them. Unto others, who have transcended Avidya and have won knowledge, they never come at any time.

They that are conversant with speculations about the character of the Soul and not-soul, say that this sum total (of the senses etc.) is body (Kshetra). That existent thing which rests upon the mind is called Soul (Kshetrajna). When such is the case, and when all creatures, in consequence of the well-known cause (which consists of ignorance, desire, and acts whose beginning cannot be conceived), exist, due also to their primary nature (which is a state of union between Soul and body), (of these two) which then is destructible, and how can that (the Soul), which is said to be eternal, suffer destruction?

[Note: The sense of this verse is this: All creatures are perceived to exist. That existence is due to the well-known cause constituted by Avidya or ignorance and desire and acts. They exist also in such a way as to display a union between the body and the Soul. For all common purposes of life we treat creatures that we perceive to be really existing. The question then that arises is – which (the body or the Soul) is destructible? How can the Soul, which is said by the learned to be Eternal, be regarded as destructible]?

As small rivers falling into larger ones lose their forms and names, and the larger ones (thus enlarged) rolling into the ocean, lose their forms and names too, after the same manner occurs that form of extinction of life called Emancipation. [Note: The gross body disappears in the subtle; the subtle into the potential (karana) form of existence; and this last into the Supreme Soul].

This being the case, when Jiva (individual soul) which is characterised by attributes, is received into the Universal Soul, and when all its attributes disappear, how can it be the object of mention by differentiation? One who is conversant with that understanding which is directed towards the accomplishment of Emancipation and who heedfully seeks to know the Soul, is never soiled by the evil fruits of his acts even as the lotus leaf though dipped in water is never soaked by it. When one becomes freed from the very strong bonds, many in number, occasioned by affection for children and spouses and love for sacrifices and other rites, when one casts off both joy and sorrow and transcends all attachments, one then attains to the highest end and entering into the Universal Soul becomes incapable of differentiation.

When one has understood the declarations of the Srutis (Vedas) that lead to correct inferences (about Brahma) and has practised those auspicious virtues which the same and other scriptures inculcate, one may lie down at ease, setting at nought the fears of decrepitude and death. When both merits and sins disappear, and the fruits, in the form of joy and sorrow, arising therefrom, are destroyed, men, unattached to everything, take refuge at first on Brahma invested with personality, and then behold impersonal Brahman in their understanding.

[Note: Merit and sin, and with them their effects in the form of happiness and misery both here and hereafter, are said to be destroyed when men become unattached to everything and practise the religion of abstention or Nivritti. (See article ‘Pravritti-Nivritti’ see pages column on the left].

Jiva (individual soul) in course of its downward descent under the influence of Avidya lives here (within its cell formed by acts) after the manner of the silk-worm residing within its cell made of threads woven by itself. Like the freed silk-worm again that abandons its cell, Jiva also abandons its house generated by its acts. The final result that takes place is that its sorrows are then destroyed like a clump of earth falling with violence upon a rocky mass. As the Ruru casting off its old horns or the snake casting off its slough goes on without attracting any notice, after the same manner a person that is unattached casts off all his sorrows. As a bird deserts a tree that is about to fall down upon a piece of water and thus severing itself from it alights on a new resting place, after the same manner the person freed from attachments casts off both joy and sorrow and dissociated even from his subtle and subtler forms attains to that end which is fraught with the highest prosperity.

Their own ancestor King Janaka, the chief of Mithila, beholding his city burning in a conflagration, himself proclaimed, "In this conflagration nothing of mine is burning". King Janadeva, having listened to these words capable of yielding immortality and uttered by Panchsikha, and arriving at the truth after carefully reflecting upon everything that the latter had said, cast off his sorrows and lived on in the enjoyment of great felicity. He who reads this discourse, O king, that treats of Emancipation and who always reflects upon it, is never pained by any calamity, and is freed from sorrow, attains to Emancipation like Janadeva, the ruler of Mithila after his meeting with Panchsikha.

Related articles:
Empty Chamber
Direct Path

Self- Atma
Mind Q & A

Nature of Reality
Consciousness-the three states

Freedom and Bondage

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