17. But, of knowledge and work--as these are the leading topics.
The 'but' sets aside the view developed so far. It cannot be admitted that those also who do not perform sacrifices, and so on, reach the moon; because the path of the gods and the path of the fathers are meant for the enjoyment of the fruits 'of knowledge and work.'That is to say--as those who do not perform sacrifices cannot ascend by the path of the gods, since they are destitute of knowledge; so they also cannot go by the path of the fathers, since they are destitute of meritorious works. And that these two paths are dependent respectively on knowledge and works, we know from the fact that these two are the leading topics. For knowledge forms the leading topic with regard to the path of the gods,'Those who know this, and those who in the forest follow faith and austerities, go to light,' &c.; and works have the same position with regard to the path of the fathers,"they who living in a village perform sacrifices, &c. go to the smoke," &c. The text, 'all those who depart from this world go to the moon,' must therefore be interpreted to mean 'all those who perform sacrifices go to the moon.'--But if evil-doers do not go to the moon, the fifth oblation cannot take place, and no new body can be produced. For the text says, 'In the fifth oblation water is called man,' and, as we have shown, that fifth oblation presupposes the soul's going to the moon. In order, therefore, to understand how in their case also a new embodiment is possible, it must needs be admitted that they also ascend to the moon.--To this the next Sûtra replies.