"Yudhishthira said, 'Tell me what description of hell is obtained by a Reciter? I feel, O king, a curiosity to know this. It behoveth thee to discourse on the subject.'
"Bhishma said, 'Thou hast sprung from a portion of the god of righteousness. Thou art by nature observant of righteousness. Listen, O sinless one, with undivided attention, to these words resting on righteousness as their basis. Those regions that are owned by the high-souled gods, that are of diverse aspects and colours, of diverse descriptions and productive of diverse fruits, and that are of great excellence, those ears again that: move at the will of the riders, those beautiful mansions and hells, those various pleasure-gardens embellished with golden lotuses, those regions that belong to the four Regents and Sukra and Vrihaspati and the Maruts and Viswedevas and Sadhyas and the Aswins, and the Rudras and the Adityas and the Vasus, and other denizens of heaven, are, O sire, spoken of as hells, when compared with the region of the Supreme Soul. The region last spoken of is without any fear (of change for the worse), uncreate (and therefore, in its true nature), without pain of any kind (such as ignorance and delusion), without any agreeable or disagreeable element, beyond the reach of the three attributes (of Sattwa, Rajas, and Tamas), freed from the eight incidents, (viz., the five primal elements, the senses, the: mind, and the intellect), without the three (distinctions
between the knower, the known, and act of knowing); freed also from the four attributes (seeing, hearing, thinking, and knowing), 1 without the fourfold causes (of knowledge), without joy and delight and sorrow and disease. Time (in his forms of past, present, and future) arises there for use. Time is not the ruler there. That supreme region is the ruler of Time as also of Heaven. That Reciter who becomes identified with his Soul (by withdrawing everything into it) goes thither. He has, after this, never to feel any sorrow. This region is called Supreme. The other regions (of which I have first spoken) are hell. I have not told thee of all those regions that are called hell. Indeed, in comparison with that foremost of regions all the others are called hell.'
55:1 in the Bengal texts there is a vicious line beginning with Prajna, etc, The Bombay text omits it, making both 10 and 11 couplets, instead of taking 11 as a triplet.
55:2 Na samyuktah is explained by the commentator as aviraktopi hathena tyaktabhogah.