I will state truly all about that which has a beginning, middle, and end 3, and about the means for its comprehension, together with names and characteristics 4. It is stated that day was first and then night; that months have the bright 5 first, the Nakshatras Sravana 6 as the first (among them), and the seasons the winter as the first (among them). The earth is the source 7 of smells, water of tastes, the light (of) the sun is the source of colours, the wind is stated to be the source of (the feelings of) touch; likewise space is the source of sound. These are the qualities of the elements. Now I shall proceed to state the highest and first of all entities. The sun is
the first among shining bodies 1; fire is said to be the first of the elements 2; Sâvitrî 3 of all branches of learning; Pragâpati of deities; the syllable Om of all the Vedas; and the Prâna life-wind, of all words 4; whatever is prescribed in this world, all that is called Sâvitrî 5. The Gâyatrî is the first among metres; among (sacrificial) animals, the goat 6 is mentioned (as the first). Cows are the first among quadrupeds, and the twice-born among men 7. The Syena is first among birds; among sacrifices, the offering (into the fire) is the best; and among all reptiles, O best of the twice-born! the snake 8 is the highest. Of all ages the Krita is the first, there is no doubt of that., Among all precious things, gold (is the first),and among vegetable (products) likewise the barley seed 9. Among all things to. be eaten or swallowed food is the highest; and of
all liquid substances which are to be drunk, water is the best. And among all immovable entities, without distinction, the Plaksha, the ever holy field of Brahman 1, is stated to be the first. I, too, (am the first) among all the patriarchs 2, there is no doubt of that. And the unthinkable, self-existent Vishnu is stated to be my own self. Of all mountains, the great Meru is stated to be the first-born. And among all quarters and sub-quarters, likewise, the eastern quarter 3 is the first. Likewise the Gangâ going in three paths is stated to be the first-born among rivers. And likewise of all wells and reservoirs of water, the ocean is the first-born. And of all gods, Dânavas, Bhûtas, Pisâkas, snakes, and Rakshases, and of men, Kinnaras, and Yakshas, Îsvara 4 is the lord. The great Vishnu, who is full of the Brahman, and than whom there is no higher being in these three worlds, is the source of all the universe. Of all orders 5, that of householders (is the first), there is no doubt of that. The unperceived is the source of the worlds; and the same is also the end of everything. Days end with (the sun's) setting 6; the night ends with (the sun's) rising; the end of pleasure is ever grief;
the end of grief ever pleasure. All accumulations end in exhaustion; all ascents end in falls; all associations end in dissociations; and life ends in death. All action ends in destruction; death is certain for whatever is born 1; (everything) movable or immovable in this world is ever transient. Sacrifice, gift, penance, study, observances, and regulations, all this ends in destruction 2. There is no end for knowledge. Therefore one whose self is tranquil, whose senses are subjugated, who is devoid of (the idea that this or that is) mine, who is devoid of egoism, is released from all sins by pure knowledge.
352:1 See p. 324 supra.
352:2 See Gîtâ, p. 101. Unmoving probably means 'not perturbed by the qualities' (Gîtâ, p. 110), or perhaps the same thing as 'of steady mind' at Gîtâ, p. 101. The sense is pretty much the same in both places.
352:3 Which has birth &c., Nîlakantha, i.e. all the creation, I presume.
352:4 The names, that is to say, of the various elements, and their qualities.
352:5 This must mean fortnights.
352:6 This is specified, says Arguna Misra, as the six months of the northern solstice are caused by the sun being at this Nakshatra. As to those six months, cf. Gîtâ, p. 81. For the same reason, Arguna Misra adds, the winter season is mentioned as the best.
352:7 The word âdi, literally beginning, is used in the whole of this passage in different senses; it means the source, it means the best, and it means the first in order.
353:1 This should be compared with the enumeration at p. 345 supra, and that in the Gîtâ there referred to.
353:2 Cf. p. 346 supra. Nîlakantha takes fire to mean the gastric fire, and bhûta, rendered by us elements, to mean the species of beings born from eggs and wombs.
353:3 The famous verse 'Tat savitur,' &c. See inter alia Brihadâranyaka, p. 999; Âpastamba I, 1, 1, 9; Manu II, 77 seq., 104-170.
353:4 See pp. 264, 265 supra.
353:5 Here he turns back to the Sâvitrî, 'looking back in the manner of the lion,' says Nîlakantha, and for purposes of upâsanâ. He does not give up the thread of his discourse entirely, but simply interjects this little clause. Nîlakantha adds, Sâvitrî here includes every mode of worship prescribed for Brâhmanas, &c., and even for Mlekkhas. Cf. note 3, and Gautama.(Bühler's ed.), p. 74 note.
353:6 Cf. Khândogya, p. 109, and Sankara's commentary. Arguna Misra compares this text, Tasmâdesha eteshâm pasunâm sreshthatamogab. Where it occurs I know not.
353:7 Cf. Sânti Parvan (Râgadharma), chap. II, st. 11.
353:8 I. e. Vâsuki, Nîlakantha. More probably it refers to the species.
353:9 As it is used in various ceremonies.
354:1 I. e. the Creator; his field means, I presume his special seat.
354:2 Beings from whom all creatures were born. See inter alia Sânti Parvan (Moksha Dharma), chap. 208, st. 5; Manu I, 34.
354:3 At p. 347 the north is mentioned. Arguna Misra has 'ûrdhva,' or upward here, and yet 'north' before. Is the north the best as the seat of the higher world mentioned at Sânti Parvan (Moksha Dharma), chap. 192, st. 8 seq.?
354:4 I. e. Rudra, says Nîlakantha.
354:5 Viz. Brahmakârin, householder, forester, and Samnyâsin. Cf. Sânti Parvan (Moksha),ch. 191, st. 10; Manu VI, 89; Gautama, p. 190.
354:6 These stanzas also occur in the Sânti Parvan, chap. 27, st. 31 seq. (Râgadharma). A part of them appears to be quoted in Sânkhya-sûtra V, 80. And the commentator Vigñâna Bhikshu introduces it with the expression 'iti srûyate.' But it is not a Vedic text.