Then the talented king, Dhritarâshtra, bowed 2 to those words uttered by Vidura, and, in a secluded place 3, interrogated Sanatsugâta regarding the highest knowledge 4, wishing to become (a) high-souled (man) 5.
O Sanatsugâta! which of the two is correct, your teaching 6, about which I have heard, that death exists not, or that 7 the gods and demons practised
the life of Brahmakârins 1, for freedom from death?
Some (say), that freedom from death (results) from action 2; and others that death exists not. Hear me explain (this), O king! have no misgiving about it 3. Both truths, O Kshatriya! have been current from the beginning 4. The wise maintain what (is called) delusion (to be) death. I 5 verily call heedlessness death, and likewise I call freedom from heedlessness immortality. Through heedlessness, verily, were the demons 6 vanquished; and through freedom
from heedlessness the gods attained to the Brahman. Death, verily, does not devour living creatures like a tiger; for, indeed, his form is not to be perceived. Some 1 say that death is different from this, (named) Yama, who dwells in the self 2 the (practice of the) life of Brahmakârins (being) immortality. That god governs his kingdom in the world of the Pitris, (being) good to the good, and not good to (those who are) not good. That death, (or) heedlessness, develops in men as desire, and afterwards as wrath, and in the shape of delusion 3. And then travelling in devious paths 4 through egoism, one does not attain to union 5 with the self. Those who are deluded by it 6, and who remain under its influence, depart from this (world), and there again fall down 7. Then, the deities 8 gather around them. And then he undergoes death after death 9. Being attached to the fruit of action, on action presenting itself, they follow after it 10, and do not cross
beyond death. And the embodied (self), in consequence of not understanding union 1 with the real entity, proceeds on all hands 2 with attachment to enjoyments. That 3, verily, is the great source of delusion to the senses; for by contact 4 with unreal entities, his migrations 5 are (rendered) inevitable; because having his inner self contaminated by contact with unreal entities, he devotes himself to objects of sense on all sides, pondering on them (only). (That) pondering, verily, first. ruins 6 him; and soon afterwards desire and wrath, after attacking him. These 7 lead children to death. But sensible men cross beyond death by their good sense. He who pondering (on the self) destroys 8 (the) fugitive (objects of sense), not even thinking of them through contempt (for them), and who being possessed of knowledge destroys desires in this way, becomes, as it were, the death of death (itself), and swallows (it) up 9. The being who
pursues desires, is destroyed (in pursuing) after the desires 1. But casting away desires, a being gets rid of all taint 2 whatever, This body, void of enlightenment 3, seems (to be) a hell for (all) beings. Those who are avaricious run about 4, going headlong to a ditch. A man, O Kshatriya! who contemns everything else 5 learns nothing. To him (the body is) like a tiger made of straw 6. And this internal self (joined to) delusion and fear 7 in consequence of wrath and avarice, within your body, that verily is death 8. Understanding death 9 to be thus produced, and adhering to knowledge, one is not afraid of death 10 in this (world). In his province death is destroyed, as a mortal (is destroyed) on arriving in the province of death.
The good, eternal, and most holy worlds 11, which
are mentioned (as attainable) by the twice-born by means of worship 1, those, say the Vedas, are the highest aim 2. How is it, then, that one who understands this does not resort to action?
(Thinking) so, an ignorant man does resort to action. The Vedas likewise do lay down various benefits 3 (for him). But that 4 (man) comes not hither 5. (Becoming) the supreme self 6, he attains the supreme, by the (right) path destroying the wrong paths 7.
Who 8 is it that constrains this unborn primeval (self), if it is (itself). all this severally 9? And what
has it to do, or what is its unhappiness 1? Tell me all that accurately, O learned person!
There is great danger 2 in attributing distinctions to it. The everlasting 3 (principles) exist by connexion with the beginningless 4 (principle). So that his greatness is not lost at all 5, and beings exist by connexion with the beginningless 4 (principle). That which is the real--the supreme Being 6--is eternal. He creates the universe by means of changes 7, for such is his power held to be; and for such connexions of things the Vedas are (authority) 8.
Since some practise piety 1 in this world, and some likewise practise impiety in this world; is the piety destroyed by the sin, or else. does the piety destroy sin?
Whichever 2 he adheres to, the man of understanding always destroys both by means of knowledge; (that is) settled 3. Likewise, in the other case 4, the embodied (self) obtains merit; and to such a one sin (also) accrues; (that too is) settled 3. Departing (from this world), he enjoys by his actions both (kinds of) fruit, which are not enduring 5--of actions (which are) pure, and of (those which are) sinful. The man of understanding casts aside sin by piety in this (world), for know that his piety is more powerful 6. Those Brâhmanas, in whom there is emulation 7 about (their) piety, as there is in strong men about (their) strength, after departing from this world, become glorious in heaven 8. And
to those in whom there is no emulation about (their) piety, that (piety) is a means of (acquiring) knowledge 1. Such Brâhmanas released from this (world), go to the heaven which is free from the threefold source of pain 2. People who understand the Vedas call his conduct good. (But) people closely connected 3, as well as strangers, do not pay much regard to him. Wherever he may believe food and drink for a Brâhmana to exist in abundance, like water on grass in the autumn, there would he live and not be vexed 4. (To him) only that person is good, and no other (as a companion), who does nothing in excess, and who occasions fear and injury to a taciturn man 5. And his food is acceptable to the good, who does not vex the self of a taciturn man, and who does not destroy the property of a Brâhmana 6. A Brâhmana should hold, that living in the midst of kinsmen, his actions should be always unknown 7; and he should not
think 1 (about them). What Brâhmana ought to think of the inner self, which is void of symbols 2, immovable, pure, and free from all pairs of opposites, in this way 3? What sin is not committed by that thief, who steals away his own self 4, who regards his self as one thing, when it is a different thing. The far-seeing Brâhmana, who knows the Brahman, is not wearied 5, he receives nothing 6; he is honoured, free from trouble 7, and wise, but acts as if he was not wise 8. As dogs eat what is vomited, so do they, enjoying their own bravery 9, eat what is vomited, always with disaster (to themselves). Those twice-born persons, who are not
first 1 in respect of human wealth, but who are first in the Vedas 2, are unconquerable, not to be shaken 3; they should be understood to be forms of the Brahman. Whosoever may in this (world) know all the gods 4---doers of favours--he is not equal to a Brâhmana, (nor even) he, 5 for whom he exerts himself. The man who makes no efforts 6, and is respected, does not, being respected, think himself. respected 7, nor does he become vexed in consequence of disrespect. One who is respected 8 should think it to be a natural operation of people, like their opening or closing of the eyelids, that the learned respect him in this world. One who is not respected should think, that the deluded people who do not understand piety, and who are devoid of (knowledge of) the world and the Sâstras, will never respect one who is worthy of respect. Respect and taciturnity 9, verily, never dwell together; for this world is (the field) for respect, the next for taciturnity, as is understood 10. For worldly wealth dwells in the
sphere of respect 1, and that, too, is an obstacle 2. While the Brahmic wealth 3, O Kshatriya! is difficult to be attained by any one devoid of knowledge. The ways (to it) are stated by the good to be of various descriptions, and difficult to reach--truth, straightforwardness, modesty 4, restraint (of senses), purity, knowledge, which are the six impediments (in the way) of respect and delusion.
151:1 Comp. Gîtâ passim; disgust, scil. that resulting from a general dissatisfaction with everything. As to 'ruin and prosperity,' Nîlakantha adds, 'and their causes, sin and merit.'
151:2 Literally 'respected.' Nîlakantha says it means rejoiced over, for Dhritarâshtra thought, that, in spite of his treachery he was safe, as death was taught by Sanatsugâta to have no existence.
151:3 I. e. free from the presence of ignorant and vulgar people. Cf. Gîtâ, p. 68 supra.
151:4 I. e. knowledge concerning the supreme Self.
151:5 Sankara's construction seems different, but is not quite clear. He says, 'wishing to become--Brahman--the meaning is wishing to acquire the self lost through ignorance.'
151:6 I. e. imparted to your pupils, Sankara adds; 'heard,' scil. from Vidura.
151:7 The construction is imperfect, but the sense is clear: is your p. 152 view correct, or the view involved in the practice of gods and demons?
152:1 See Gîtâ, p. 69 supra; Kathopanishad, p. 102; Prasna, p. 162. As to the gods being afraid of death, see Khândogya, p. 50; and Nrisimha Tâpinî, p. 32; and as to gods and demons practising the life of Brahmakârins, see Khândogya, p. 571; and cf. Brihadâranyaka, p. 964.
152:2 I. e. action prescribed in the Vedas.
152:3 I. e. as to how I shall be able to reconcile the seeming contradiction between the 'two truths.'
152:4 I. e. of creation.
152:5 Sanatsugâta says he differs from 'the wise;' delusion = thinking the not-self to be the self; heedlessness = falling off from one's natural condition as the Brahman--which is the cause of delusion (Sankara). See p. 153 infra; Katha, 152; and Taittirîya-upanishad, p. 80.
152:6 Sankara suggests that demons might mean creatures attached to worldly objects; and gods those who are pleased in their own self; and he cites a stanza in support of this suggestion. The allusion, however, seems to be plainly to the story at Khândogya, p. 571 seq., where the idea and expression of 'being vanquished' also occurs (p. 583). That word Sankara interprets in connexion with his suggested interpretation to mean 'are born in lower species.' See Khândogya, p. 585, and Maitrî, p. 211, about asuras or demons. It is interesting to note that in the Introduction to the Mahâbhâshya, there is an allusion to a story of the 'demons' being 'vanquished' in consequence of their grammatical blunders.
153:1 Those deluded by worldly objects; 'this' means 'heedlessness.'
153:2 Sankara cites a stanza from Manu, which says that king Yama Vaivasvata dwells in the heart of every one. Cf. Aitareya-upanishad, p. 187. The following clause he understands to contain two epithets of Yama, meaning 'immortal, and intent on the Brahman.' I follow Nîlakantha, but not very confidently.
153:3 Here we have the developments, the varying forms, of death or heedlessness.
153:4 Cf. Gîtâ, p. 57. I. e. paths contrary to Srutis and Smritis.
153:5 Concentration of mind on the self or Brahman.
153:6 I. e. the egoism spoken of before.
153:7 I. e. to this mortal world. Cf. Gîtâ, p. 84, and Brihadâranyaka, pp. 855, 856. There = from the next world. Sankara says, 'having lived there.'
153:8 I.e. the senses. Cf. Gîtâ, p. 123, and inter alia Îsopanishad, p. 10.
153:9 Cf. Katha, p. 129, and Brihadâranyaka, p. 889.
153:10 I. e. the fruit. Cf. Katha, p. 155, and Mundaka, p. 317.
154:1 I. e. its identity with the Brahman.
154:2 I. e. in various forms of life, Nîlakantha.
154:3 The going about in search of enjoyments.
154:4 The contact leads to pondering on them, and that to desire, &c., as described further on.
154:5 Through various lives. Birth and death are certain for him.
154:6 I. e. causes oblivion of his real nature, Sankara. Cf. the whole train of cause and effect at Gîtâ, p. 50 supra.
154:7 I. e. the pondering, desire, wrath, &c. As to I children,' cf. Katha, pp. 96 and 123, where bâla is contrasted with dhîra, as here. The 'good sense' is of help in withstanding the temptations of worldly objects.
154:8 Destroys = abandons; pondering, just before this, is rendered by Sankara to mean 'thinking of the objects as transient, impure,' &c.
154:9 Sankara cites on this a stanza of unknown authorship, which says, 'The learned and clever man who knows the self, and by discrimination destroys all objects of sense, is said to be the death of death.' See too p. 178 infra.
155:1 On this Nîlakantha quotes these lines, 'The antelope, elephant, butterfly, bee, and fish--these five are destroyed by the five,' i. e. the five objects of sense, sound, &c. See Sânti Parvan (Moksha Dharma), chap. 174, st. 45.
155:2 I. e. misery, Nîlakantha; merit or sin, Sankara.
155:3 I. e. void of discrimination between the real and unreal, Nîlakantha; result of ignorance, Sankara. 'A hell, as being full of filth,' says Sankara, 'such as, phlegm, blood, excretions.' Cf. Maitrî, p. 48.
155:4 As blind men groping about fall into a ditch, so do these, Sankara.
155:5 I. e. other than the sensuous objects he loves; 'learns nothing' about the supreme Self which he disregards.
155:6 Useless for any good purpose.
155:7 Cf. Taittirîya-upanishad, p. 102.
155:8 As being ruinous to oneself. Sankara compares Gîtâ, p. 68. Cf. also Taittirîya-upanishad, p. 103, and see Brihadâranyaka, p. 61.
155:9 I. e. heedlessness and its developments as stated.
155:10 Sankara cites on this Taittirîya-upanishad, p. 78
155:11 Such as Satyaloka, &c.
156:1 Gyotishtoma, Asvamedha, and other rites.
156:2 As leading to final emancipation.
156:3 I. e. objects for which various ceremonies (or 'actions') should be performed.
156:4 I. e. the man of knowledge.
156:5 I. e. into the sphere of action. Cf. Gîtâ, p. 48.
156:6 Knowing the supreme self is identical with becoming the supreme self, Mundaka, p. 323.
156:7 I. e. getting rid of the paths which keep one away from the Brahman by means of contemplation of the Brahman, &c. Nîlakantha renders 'right path' to mean the Sushumnâ passage by which the soul proceeds to final emancipation, see Khândogya, p. 570; Katha, p. 157.
156:8 Sankara says: 'Having shown that true death is heedlessness, and having shown that heedlessness in its forms of anger &c. is the cause of all evil, and having also shown that death is destroyed by true knowledge, and having shown further that heaven &c. are really not man's highest goal; the author has also implied the unity of the supreme and individual self. On that arises a doubt, which is stated in this passage.'
156:9 All this = all the developments of the Brahman, i. e. space, wind, fire, water, earth, vegetation, food, living creatures; see Taittirîyopanishad, p. 68.
157:1 What is the purpose of its existence, and what misery does it undergo on entering the course of worldly life?
157:2 'The danger,' says Sankara, 'is that of contravening Vedic texts such as "I am the Brahman," "Thou art that," &c.' May it not rather be that pointed out at Kathopanishad, p. 129, viz. never attaining final emancipation? Cf. also Nrisimha Tâpinî, p. 223.
157:3 The individual selfs, Sankara.
157:4 Nature or mâyâ.
157:5 The appearance of degradation to an inferior state being delusive.
157:6 The original word implies the possession of aisvarya, dharma, yasas, srî, vairâgya, moksha. See Svetâsvatara, p. 329 (where the list is slightly different). For another definition, see Maitrî, p. 6 (gloss).
157:7 See note , p. 156.
157:8 Sankara says: 'The question of Dhritarâshtra having suggested a difference between two principles, one of which constrains, and the other of which is constrained, the answer is--Such a difference ought not to be alleged, as it involves "danger." Then the question arises, How is the difference, which does appear to be explained? The reply is, It is due to the beginningless principle--delusion or ignorance. The next sentence shows that the universe as it appears is also a result of delusion.' Nîlakantha says expressly, changes = delusion. He renders the original which we have translated by 'beginningless' first, to mean 'collection of objects of enjoyments.' Sankara's explanation seems tautological as regards the words 'connexion with the beginningless,' which occur twice in the above. Nîlakantha's p. 158 is not quite clear. May the expression on the second occasion mean, that the connexion by which beings are stated before to exist has had no beginning--has existed from eternity? The translation should then run thus: 'And beings exist by a connexion which had no beginning;' (see Sâriraka Bhâshya, p. 494.) Connexions of things = creation of universe by his power.
158:1 E. g. Agnishtoma, &c., Sankara.
158:2 I. e. impiety or piety, sin or merit.
158:3 In Srutis and Smritis, which Sankara quotes. Khândogya, p. 622; Mundaka, p. 309; Brihadâranyaka, p. 911. See, too, Maitrî, p. 131.
158:4 Of the man devoid of knowledge.
158:5 Cf. Gîtâ, p. 76, and Brihadâranyaka, p. 636.
158:6 See p. 164, note 9 infra.
158:7 The feeling of one's own superiority over others in piety.
158:8 In the shape of Nakshatras,' says Sankara, which is not quite intelligible. See Khândogya, p. 258, and Anugîtâ infra, p. 240.
159:1 According to the Vedântic theory, the acts of piety purify the inner man, and are thus a stepping-stone to knowledge. See Introduction, p. 147 supra. Cf. Gîtâ, p. 122; and Brihadâranyaka, p. 899.
159:2 I. e. physical, mental, and such as is caused by superhuman agency. This is Sankara's explanation. It is somewhat far fetched, but I can find none better. Cf. Gîtâ, p. 49. And see also Brihadâranyaka, p. 876, and the commentary of Sankara there with Ânandagiri's gloss.
159:3 E. g. wife, children, &c.
159:4 I. e. vexed as to how his livelihood is to be earned, &c.
159:5 Excess, e.g. too much obsequiousness towards a 'taciturn man,' owing to his holiness, &c. Taciturn man = ascetic. Injury = disrespect, &c. Perhaps the protest against worldliness is here carried to an extreme. Sankara cites Manu as a parallel, 'A Brâhmana should be afraid of (worldly) respect as of poison.'
159:6 E.g. the Kusa grass, deerskin, &c., mentioned at Gîtâ, p. 68.
159:7 I. e. he should not parade his actions. Sankara compares Vasishtha and a Vedic text. See, too, the quotation at Taitt. Âran. p. 902.
160:1 Cf. Gîtâ, p. 103. Sankara suggests an alternative explanation of this stanza, which will make it mean that one performing the operations of the senses, should devote oneself nevertheless to the unknown principle, and not consider the senses to be the self.
160:2 I. e. beyond the reach of inference; 'subtle,' says Sankara. Cf. Svetâsvatara, p. 364; Brihadâranyaka, p. 855; Maitrî, p. 182; and Katha, p. 149, where Sankara suggests a somewhat different meaning. As to immovable, cf. Îsa, p. 10, and Gîtâ, p. 104. Sankara renders it by 'void of activity;' and pure he paraphrases by 'free from ignorance and other taints.'
160:3 It is difficult to say what 'in this way' refers to. Sankara renders it by 'as possessing qualities appertaining to the two kinds of body.' On Sankara's suggested meaning of the stanza preceding (see note 1), it would refer to the confusion of the senses with the self.
160:4 Such a person is called a destroyer of his own self at Îsopanishad, p. 9.
160:5 I. e. by the troubles of worldly life.
160:6 Cf. 'without belongings' at Gîtâ, p. 128.
160:7 Anger and other obstacles to concentration of mind.
160:8 I. e. unintelligent. The text of Vasishtha referred to in note 7, p. 159, says he should act like an unintelligent man. Cf. also Gaudapâda-kârikâs, p. 443, and Sâriraka Bhâshya, p. 1041.
160:9 I. e. singing the praises of their own greatness and worth, instead of keeping their 'conduct unknown.'
161:1 Highly esteemed for or strongly attached to, Sankara. Human wealth = wife, offspring, property, &c. Cf. Khândogya, p. 319; Brihadâranyaka, p. 262.
161:2 I. e. veracity and other duties taught by the Vedas.
161:3 'They need fear nought,' says Nîlakantha.
161:4 I. e. may sacrifice to them, Sankara.
161:5 Not even the deity to whom the sacrifice is offered is equal to one who knows the Brahman. Cf. Taittirîya, p. 23, and. Anugîtâ, p. 250.
161:6 I. e. one who is 'taciturn' and does not parade his greatness.
161:7 He does not care for the respect shown him.
161:8 Because he knows the Brahman.
161:9 I. e. restraint of all senses, not of speech only. For the contrast compare that between sreya and preya at Katha, p. 92.
161:10 I. e. by all men of understanding. Sankara's rendering is different: 'The next, which is known as Tad, is for taciturnity.' He cites for this Gîtâ, p. 120.