O Sanatsugâta! since you have spoken these words of highest significance, relating to the Brahman, and of numerous forms 4, give me that advice which is excellent, and difficult to obtain in the
midst of these created objects 1. Such is my request, O youth!
This Brahman, O king! about which you question me with such perseverance, is not to be attained by anybody who is in a hurry. When the mind is absorbed in the understanding 2, then can that knowledge, which must be deeply pondered over, be attained by living the life of a Brahmakârin 3. For you are speaking of that primordial knowledge 4, which consists in the truth; which is obtained by the good by living the life of Brahmakârins 5; which being obtained, men cast off this mortal world; and which knowledge, verily, is to be invariably (found) in those who have been brought up under preceptors 6.
Since that knowledge is capable of being truly acquired by living the life of a Brahmakârin, therefore tell me, O Brâhmana! of what description the life of a Brahmakârin is 7.
Those who entering (as it were) the womb 8 of a
preceptor, and becoming (as it were) a ftus, practise the life of Brahmakârins, become even in this world authors of Sâstras 1, and they repair to the highest truth 2 after casting off (this) body. They subjugate desires here in this world, practising forbearance in pursuit of the Brahmic state 3; and with courage, they even here remove the self out of the body 4, like the soft fibres from the Muñga. Father and mother, O descendant of Bharata! only form the body. But the birth 5 obtained from the preceptor, that verily is true 6, and likewise immortal. He perfects 7 (one), giving (one) immortality. Recognising what he has done (for one), one should not injure him. The disciple should always make obeisance to the preceptor 8; and, free from heedlessness, should always desire sacred instruction. When the pure man obtains knowledge by this same course of discipleship 9, that is the first quarter of his life as a Brahmakârin. As (is) his conduct
always towards his preceptor, so likewise should he behave towards the preceptor's wife, and so likewise should he act towards the preceptor's son--(that) is said to be the second quarter. What one, recognising what the preceptor has done for one, and understanding the matter 1 (taught), feels with a delighted heart regarding the preceptor--believing that one has been brought into existence 2 by him--that is the third quarter of life as a Brahmakârin. One should do what is agreeable to the preceptor, by means of one's life and riches, and in deed, thought, and word 3--that is said to be the fourth quarter. (A disciple) obtains a quarter by time 4, so likewise a quarter by associating with the preceptor, he also obtains a quarter by means of his own energy; and then he attains to a quarter by means of the Sâstras. The life as a Brahmakârin of that man, whose beauty 5 consists in the twelve beginning with knowledge, and whose limbs are the other (qualifications mentioned), and who has
strength 1, bears fruit, they say, by association with a preceptor, in (the shape of) contact with that entity--the Brahman. Whatever wealth may come to man who lives in this way, he should even pay that over to the preceptor. He would thus be adopting the conduct of the good which is of many merits; and the same conduct is (to be adopted) towards the preceptor's son. Living thus, he prospers greatly 2 on all sides in this world; he obtains sons and position; the quarters 3 and sub-quarters shower (benefits 4) on him, and men pass their lives as Brahmakârins under him. By this life as a Brahmakârin, the divinities obtained their divinity. And the sages, too, became great by living the life of Brahmakârins. By this same (means), too, the Apsarasas, together with the Gandharvas, achieved for themselves beautiful forms. And by this life as a Brahmakârin, the sun illuminates (the universe). That man of knowledge, O king! who practising penance, may by penance pierce through or tear off his body, crosses beyond childhood 5 by means of this (life as a Brahmakârin), and at the time of the termination (of life) obstructs death 6. Those who understand this (life as a Brahmakârin) attain to a
condition like that of those who as (for what they want) from the wish-giving stone 1, when they obtain the thing desired. By performing action, O Kshatriya! people conquer (for themselves only) perishable worlds 2. (But) the man of understanding attains by knowledge to the everlasting glory--for there is no other way to it 3.
Where a Brâhmana possessed of knowledge, perceives it, does it appear as white 4, as red, or again as black, or again as grey or tawny? What is the colour of that immortal, indestructible goal?
It appears not as white, as red, nor again as black, nor again as grey, nor tawny 5. It dwells not on earth, nor in the sky; nor does it bear a body in this ocean 6 (-like world). It is not in the stars, nor does it dwell in the lightning; nor is its form 7 to be seen in the clouds, nor even in the air, nor in the deities; it is not to be seen in the moon, nor in the sun. It is not to be seen in Rik texts, nor in
Yagus texts; nor yet in the Atharvan texts, nor in the pure Sâman texts; nor yet, O king, in the Rathantara or Brihadratha 1 hymns. It is seen in the self of a man of high vows 2. It is invincible, beyond darkness 3, it comes forth from within 4 at the time of destruction. Its form is minuter than the minutest (things), its form is larger even than the mountains 5. That is the support 6 (of the universe); that is immortal; (that is) all things perceptible 7. That is the Brahman, that is glory 8. From that all entities were produced 9, in that they are dissolved. All this shines forth as dwelling in it in the form of light 10. And it is perceived by means of knowledge 11 by one who understands the self; on it depends this whole universe. Those who understand this become immortal.
Grief and wrath, and avarice, desire, delusion, laziness, want of forgiveness, vanity, craving, friendship 2, censoriousness, and reviling others--these twelve great enormities are destructive of a man's life. These, O king of kings! attend on each and every man. Beset by these, a man, deluded in his understanding, acts sinfully. A man full of attachments, merciless, harsh (of speech), talkative, cherishing wrath in his heart, and boastful--these are the men of cruel qualities; (such) persons, even obtaining wealth, do not always enjoy (it) 3.
One whose thoughts are fixed on enjoyments, who is partial 1, proud 2, boastful when he makes a gift, miserly, and devoid of power 3, who esteems the group (of the senses), and who hates (his) wife--thus have been stated the seven (classes of) cruel persons of sinful dispositions. Piety, and truthfulness, and penance, and self-restraint, freedom from animosity, modesty, endurance, freedom from censoriousness, liberality, sacred learning, courage, forgiveness--these are the twelve great observances of a Brâhmana. Whoever does not swerve from these twelve may govern this whole world. And one who is possessed of three, two, or even one, of these, must be understood to have nothing of his own 4. Self-restraint, abandonment, freedom from delusion, on these immortality depends 5. These are possessed by those talented Brâhmanas to whom the Brahman is the principal 6 (thing). A Brâhmana's speaking ill of others, whether true or false, is not commended.
[paragraph continues] The men who act thus have their places in hell. Frenzy has eighteen defects--as already described here--hatred of men, factiousness 1, censoriousness, untruthful speech, lust, wrath, wand of self-control 2, speaking ill of others, backbiting, mismanagement in business 3, quarrelsomeness, animosity, troubling living creatures, want of forgiveness, delusion, flippancy, loss of reason 4, censoriousness 5; therefore a wise man should not be subject to frenzy, for it is always censured. Six characteristics should be understood as (belonging) to friendship--that one should rejoice at (anything) agreeable, and feel grieved at (anything) disagreeable; that with a pure heart one, when asked by a deserving (man), should give to him who asks what can 6 certainly be given, (though it) may be beneficial to oneself, and even though it ought not to be asked, (namely) ones favourites, sons, wealth, and one's own wife; that one should not dwell there where one has bestowed (all one's) wealth, through a desire (to get a return for one's liberality); that one should enjoy (the
fruit of one's 1 own) toils (only); and that one should forego one's own profit 2. Such a man, possessed of wealth, and possessed of merits, is a liberal man of the quality of goodness 3; such a one diverts the five elements from the five 4 (senses). This 5 pure penance, acquired out of desire 6 by those who are. fallen off from the truth, even though developed, leads upwards 7; since sacrifices are performed owing to a misapprehension of the truth 8. (The
sacrifices) of some are by the mind, of others by speech, and also by deed. The man void of fancies takes precedence over the man perfected by fancies,--especially among Brâhmanas 1. And hear this further from me. One should teach this great and glorious 2 (doctrine); (other doctrines) the wise call mere arrangements of words. On this, concentration of mind 3, all this 4 depends. Those who know this become immortal. Not by meritorious action only, O king! does one conquer the truth 5. One may offer offerings, or sacrifice. By that the child(-like man) does not cross beyond death; nor, O king! does he obtain happiness in his last moments 6. One should practise devotion quietly, and should not be active even in the mind 7; and then one should avoid delight and wrath (resulting) from praise and censure 8. I say to you, O learned person! that adhering to this 9, one attains the Brahman and perceives it, O Kshatriya! by a course (of study) of the Vedas.
174:1 This again is not clear, and the discrepancies of the MSS. make it more perplexing. The meaning, I take to be, that a man may perceive all material things, such as the worlds, Bhûr, &c. (as the commentators put it), but to be really omniscient, you must have knowledge of the truth--the Brahman. See Sabhâ Parvan, chapter V, stanza 7. And see, too, Brihadâranyaka, p. 613.
174:2 P. p. 167 supra.
174:3 Hearing the Vedântas--Upanishads,' &c,, says Sankara. See note supra, p. 173.
174:4 Does this mean referring to many aspects of the Brahman? Sankara merely says nânârûpâ. Nîlakantha takes it differently, and as meaning that in which everything is elucidated; 'relating to the Brahman' Nîlakantha takes to mean 'leading to the Brahman,' or 'instrument for attaining to the Brahman.'
175:1 In this material world, the highest knowledge is not to be got. Cf. Katha, p. 96.
175:2 I. e. withdrawn from objects and fixed on the self only. Cf. Gîtâ, p. 79, and Maitrî, p. 179, where, however, we have hrid for buddhi.
175:3 Virokana and Indra do so according to the Khândogya, p. 570 See also Mundaka, p. 311.
175:4 The object of which is the primal Brahman.
175:5 Cf. Khândogya, p. 534; and Gîtâ, pp. 78, 79, and the passage from the Katha there cited.
175:6 Khândogya, pp. 264-459.
175:7 See Khândogya, p. 553 seq.
175:8 I. e. attending closely upon him; ftus = pupil.
176:1 Learned, men of knowledge, Sankara.
176:2 The supreme, 'which is described as 'truth, knowledge,' &c. In our ancient works the truth often means the real.
176:3 The state of being absorbed in the Brahman. Cf. Gîtâ, p. 52.
176:4 Cf. Katha, p. 158.
176:5 Sankara cites Âpastamba (p. 11) in support of this, and Prasna-upanishad, p. 256. The consciousness of being one with the Brahman is a new birth. See, too, Mundaka, p. 282.
176:6 That birth is not merely delusive, and does not result in death.
176:7 Immortality or final emancipation is not to be achieved without knowledge, which can only be got from a preceptor. And one is not perfect without that immortality; one is limited by the conditions of human existence. See Nirukta (Roth's ed.), p. 41.
176:8 Sankara compares Svetâsvatara, p. 374. The necessity of having a Guru is often insisted on even in the Upanishads. Cf. Mundaka, p. 282; Khândogya, p. 264.
176:9 Stated at the beginning of this speech, Sankara.
177:1 The meaning of the Vedic texts, &c., Sankara in one copy; the highest aim of man, according to another copy.
177:2 See note on p. 176.
177:3 I keep the order of the original, though I do not translate quite literally; 'thought and word' should be literally mind and speech.' See, on the collocation, Gîtâ, p. 123 inter alia.
177:4 Time = maturity of understanding which comes by time; energy = intellectual power; Sâstras = consultation about Sâstras with fellow-students--Sankara, who adds that the order is not material as stated, and quotes a stanza which may be thus rendered, 'The pupil receives a quarter from the preceptor, a quarter by his own talent; he receives a quarter by time; and a quarter through fellow-Brahmakârins.
177:5 The body being disregarded, these qualities are attributed to the self in this way. For the twelve, see p. 167; the others are abandonment, truthfulness, &c., p. 169.
178:1 To observe the duties referred to, Sankara. But see, too, p. 167, note .
178:2 Obtains wealth, learning, and greatness,' says a commentator. For similar benefits, cf. Khândogya, p. 122.
178:3 Cf. Khândogya, p. 132.
178:4 'Wealth,' says Nîlakantha, as well as another commentator.
178:5 Ignorance; cf. note at p. 154 supra. Nîlakantha reads 'reaches' instead of 'crosses beyond,' and interprets 'bâlya' to mean 'freedom from affection, aversion,' &c. Cf. Brihadâranyaka, p. 605. As to the divinity of divinities, cf. Taitt. Âran. p. 886.
178:6 Nîlakantha reads 'vanquishes death.' The meaning is, he reaches final emancipation. Cf. p. 154 supra.
179:1 Called Kintâmani. The effect of Brahmakarya is that those who practise it can get what they desire.
179:2 Cf. Gîtâ, p. 76; Khândogya, p. 538; Mundaka, p. 279.
179:3 Cf. Svetâsvatara, p. 327.
179:4 Cf. Brihadâranyaka, p. 877.
179:5 Cf. Katha, p. 119; and Mundaka, p. 267. As to its not dwelling in earth, sky, &c., Sankara refers to Khândogya, p. 518, as implying that.
179:6 Literally, 'it bears no water in the ocean.' 'Water' is said by the commentators to mean the five elements of which the body is composed. See Manu I, 5, and Khândogya, p. 330. In the Svetâsvatara it signifies mind (See p. 388). For ocean meaning world, or samsâra; cf. Aitareya-upanishad, p. 182.
179:7 Here I do not render rûpa by colour, as before.
180:1 See Muir, Sanskrit Texts, vol. i, p. 16; Tândya-brâhmana, p. 838; Gîtâ, p. 90; and Kaushîtaki, p. 21. Brihadratha = Brihat-sâman (?).
180:2 The twelve great vows--knowledge, &c., mentioned above, see p. 167. Nîlakantha takes Mahâvrata to refer to the sacrifice of that name. It is described in the Aitareya Âranyaka.
180:3 See Gîtâ, p. 78, note .
180:4 Cf. Gîtâ, p. 82, and Îsopanishad, p. 12.
180:5 See Gîtâ, p. 78, note .
180:6 Cf. Gîtâ, p. 113; Katha p. 99.
180:7 So Nîlakantha. The original word ordinarily means 'worlds.'
180:8 Cf. Svetâsvatara, p. 347.
180:9 Cf. the famous passage in the Taittirîya, p. 123: and also Mundaka, p. 289.
180:10 The explanations of the commentators are not quite clear as to the word ahnâ, 'in the form of light.' Probably the meaning is: The universe depends on the Brahman, and is, as it were, the light of the Brahman. Sankara compares the passages referred to at Gîtâ, p. 112, note .
180:11 'Not by means of action,' says Sankara.
181:1 The whole of this chapter is wanting in one of our copies of Sankara's commentary. In the copy published in the Mahâbhârata (Madras edition) there is, however, this passage: 'Wrath &c. have been already explained, still there are some differences here and there, and those only are now explained.' The chapter is for the most part a repetition of what we have already had. For such repetitions cf. Brihadâranyaka, pp. 317-1016; 444-930. The same copy of Sankara's commentary gives this general statement of the object of this and the next chapter: 'The course of study of the science of the Brahman, in which knowledge is the principal thing, and concentration of mind &c. are subsidiary, has been. described. Now is described the course of study in which concentration of mind is principal, and knowledge subsidiary. The first mode consists in understanding the meaning of the word "you" by means of concentration of mind, and then identifying it with the Brahman by means of a study of the Upanishads; the second, in first intellectually understanding the identity of the individual self and Brahman, by such study of the Upanishads, and then realising the identity to consciousness by contemplation, &c. In both modes the fruit is the same, and the means are the same; and to show this, the merits and defects already stated are here again declared.' This explanation is verbatim the same in Nîlakantha's commentary.
181:2 The original is 'pity,' which is explained to mean 'friendship' by Sankara and Nîlakantha.
181:3 'Owing to there being in it no enjoyment for the self,' says one p. 182 copy of Sankara's commentary. Another reading, which is in the Madras edition and in Nîlakantha, may be rendered, 'even obtaining benefits, they do not respect one (from whom they obtain them).'
182:1 The commentary says the meaning is the same as that of the expression used in the corresponding place before, viz. one who prospers by injuring others.
182:2 One copy of Sankara's commentary takes this to mean one who thinks the not-self to be the self. I adopt the other meaning, however, as agreeing, with that of atimânî, which is the reading of some copies instead of abhimânî.
182:3 Nîlakantha reads durbala and does not explain it. See p. 167.
182:4 One commentator says this means that he should not be supposed to have incurred the demerit of having any attachment to this world. Nîlakantha says, he gives up everything in the pursuit of even one of these observances.
182:5 See p. 168.
182:6 I. e. the goal to be reached. The commentary takes Brahman to mean the Vedas, and the whole, phrase to mean those who devote themselves to the performance of actions stated in the Vedas.
183:1 One copy of Sankara's commentary says this means 'obstructing other people's acts of piety,' &c.
183:2 One copy of Sankara's commentary says this means 'being given up to intoxicating drinks,' &c.; another copy says, doing another's bidding without thought.'
183:3 One copy says this means 'inattention to any work undertaken.,' another renders the original by 'destruction of property, i.e. squandering it on dancers,' &c.
183:4 I. e. discrimination between right and wrong.
183:5 This seems to be some error, for censoriousness' has occurred before. But neither the texts nor the commentaries give any help to correct the error. Perhaps the latter is to be distinguished as referring to the habit, and the former only to sporadic acts, of censoriousness. These qualities, I presume, constitute frenzy; they are not the 'defects.'
183:6 I. e. where the power to give exists.
184:1 Not a friend's.
184:2 For a friend.
184:3 See Gîtâ, p. 120.
184:4 The commentators take this to mean objects of sense, and they interpret 'elements' before to mean senses.
184:5 'Viz. the turning away of the senses from their objects,' says one copy of Sankara.
184:6 Scil. to enjoy the higher enjoyments of superior worlds.
184:7 I. e. to the higher worlds; it does not lead to emancipation here.
184:8 Cf. Mundaka, p. 277. I must own that I do not quite understand this passage, nor its explanation as given in the commentaries. I do not quite see what the penance here mentioned has to do with sacrifice, and yet the commentators seem to take the words 'since sacrifices,' &c., with what precedes them, not with what follows. Taking them,. however, with what follows, it is difficult to explain the word 'since.' As far as I can understand the passage I take the sense of it to be as follows: The author having said that penance performed out of a particular motive does not lead to final emancipation, he then proceeds to point out that all 'action' or 'sacrifice' is due to an imperfect understanding of the truth (cf. p. 171 supra), being mostly due to some particular motive. Then he goes on to show the different classes of sacrifice, and finally points out that he who is free from desires as superior to one who is actuated by desires. The original for 'misapprehension' is avabodha, which commonly means 'apprehension,' but Sankara finally makes it mean moha or 'delusion.' The original for truth is rendered by Nîlakantha to mean 'fancies.' Nîlakantha says that the sacrifice by the mind is the highest; that by speech, viz. Brahmayagña, Gapa, &c., is middling; and that by deed, viz. with clarified butter and other offerings, of the lowest class. 'Perfected by fancies' = one whose fancies are always fulfilled 'through a knowledge,' says Nîlakantha, 'of the Brahma as possessing qualities.'
185:1 This also is far from clear. Should it be, 'and a Brâhmana more especially?' This might be taken as referring to one who knows the Brahman as devoid of qualities, as Nîlakantha does take it. But his construction is not quite clear.
185:2 As serviceable in attaining to 'the glory,' the Brahman; see p. 180.
185:3 See note at p. 181. As to 'arrangements of words,' cf. Maitrî, p. 179.
185:4 'Everything,' says one copy of Sankara's commentary; 'all that is good and desirable,' says another.
185:5 Cf. inter alia, Mundaka, pp. 281-314.
185:6 For he has got to undergo migration from one life to another as the result of the action. Cf. Brihadâranyaka, p. 856; Mundaka. p. 278.
185:7 Cf. Gîtâ, p. 70.
185:8 Ibid. pp. 101-110.
185:9 I. e. the yoga or concentration of mind here described. This stanza, like many others in this chapter, occurs in chapter III with slight variations.