Narach Philosophy

ASVAMEDHA PARVA: THE SACRIFICE OF THE HORSE


After the death of Bhishma, Yudhisthira still felt feeble and sad, and king Dhritarashtra and Krshna comforted him. Then, in order to remove his grief, Vyasa advised him to perform a Horse Sacrifice. But, as his treasury had been depleted, he bade him seek for gold in the Himalayas, left behind by the Brahmanas at the sacrifice of the great Marutta.

The Request of Arjuna: The Pandavas, with Krsna and Arjuna, then entered the beautiful Assembly Hall at Indraprastha and spent their time pleasantly. Then, as Krsna was desirous of returning to Dwarka, he sought their permission to depart. Then Arjuna beseeched him to tell him once more the Truth of Life as he had explained to him before the battle of Kurukshetra; and Krsna asked him to listen to the discourse of a Brahmana on the subject.

Anugita: "The actions, good or bad, done by the individual Soul," said the Brahmana, "are not subject to destruction. Upon attainment of body after body, those deeds yield their fruit.

On account of its subtlety, and also because it is unmanifest, the individual Soul does not become attached to anything even after coming to a body. Therefore, it is called eternal Brahma. That (individual Soul or Brahma) is the seed of all creatures.

Whatever actions exist, are done by men devoted to action. Freedom from action cannot be attained even momentarily in this world.

The indestructible is above the senses of hearing, touch, sight, taste, and smell; and the vital airs, Prana, Apana, Samana, Vyana, and Udana, all flow from him.

The nose, the tongue, the eyes, the skin, the ears, the Mind and the Understanding (Buddhi) are the seven tongues of the flame of Vaisvanara fire; and these seven are called the womb of all things. From that are produced smell, taste, colour, touch, sound, doubt, and resolution; and this is what is known as the sevenfold creation.

The ears, the skin, the two eyes, the tongue, the nose, the two feet, the two hands, speech, the genital organs, and the lower duct (organ of excretion) these are the ten sacrificing priests. Sound, touch, colour, taste, smell, motion, action, speech, the discharge of vital seed and urine, and of excreta these are the ten libations.

The points of the compass (Ether), Wind, Sun Moon, Fire, Earth, Vishnu, Indra, Prajapati and Mitra these are the ten sacrificial fires.

The ten senses of knowledge and action are the sacrificing priests. The libations are ten. The objects of the senses are the fuel that is thrown into these ten fires. The Mind is the ladle, and the wealth the good and bad actions of the sacrificer. What remains is the purest, highest knowledge.

The restrained motion of the Prana air is said to be the motion of the Mind. Hence the Mind depends upon Prana.

The Mind is superior to Speech (Word) Speech is of two kinds, with utterance and without utterance. Speech (Word) lives between Prana and Apana. When there is deep exhalation (Apana), there is no utterance.

The nose, the tongue, the eyes, the skin, the ears, the Mind, and the Understanding these are the seven sacrificing priests standing distinctly from one another. Each one apprehends its own character. The nose alone apprehends smell; taste is apprehended by the tongue alone; colour by the eye alone; the skin alone apprehends touch; and the ear sound. Doubt is apprehended by the Mind alone, and it is the Understanding alone that apprehends determination.

The nose, tongue, eyes, skin, ears, Mind, and Understanding these seven are the causes of qualities (Gunas). Smell, taste, colour, touch, sound, the objects of the Mind, and the objects of the Understanding these are the seven causes of action. As regards the Soul, it is destitute of qualities or Gunas.

There is one Ruler and there is no second beside him. He dwells in the heart. There is nothing separate from him; there is nothing smaller than that and nothing greater than that.

Sattva, Rajas, and Tamas are called the three qualities. They are connected with and depend on one another. Tamas has Night for its essence; Rajas has activity for its essence; and Sattva has for its essence light, splendour and faith.

The three qualities (Gunas) are incapable of being described as completely separate from one another. They exist in a State of union; they follow one another; they travel together and move collectively. Whatever object exists in the world, is possessed of the three qualities. The Unmanifest, consisting of the three qualities (Gunas) is said to be Tamas, unborn, womb, eternal, Prakrti, Pradhana, existent and nonexistent.

From the Unmanifest first originated the Great Soul, gifted with great intelligence, and the source of all the qualities. He is called Vishnu, Jisnu, Understanding, the means of acquiring knowledge. That being is stationed in the hearts of all.

Mahat, or the principle of Greatness, who was first produced, is called Egoism. That Egoism is said to be the source of all creatures. It is Prajapati. It is the creator of the Mind; and it creates the three worlds.

From Egoism were born the five great elements. They are Ether Air, Fire, Water, and Earth characterized by sound, touch, colour, taste, and smell respectively.

Prana, Apana, Udana, Samana, and Vyana these five vital airs are always closely attached to the Soul.

Eleven organs have originated from Egoism. They are the ears, skin, the two eyes, tongue, and nose, the two feet, two hands, speech, the organ of generation, and the lower duct, with Mind for the eleventh. Above these is Understanding, the twelfth at the top.

Ether is the first element. As connected with the Soul, it is called the ear; as connected with objects, it is sound. Wind is the second. As connected with the Soul, it is the skin, and as connected with objects, it is known as objects of touch. The third is said to be Light (Fire). As connected with the Soul, it is known as the eye; as connected with objects, it is colour. The fourth is Water. As connected with the Soul, it is said to be the tongue; and as connected with objects, it is taste. The fifth is Earth. As connected with the Soul, it is said to be the nose; and as connected with objects, it is scent.

The two feet are connected with the Soul; and, as connected with objects, they are motion. The two hands are connected with the Soul; and, as connected with objects, they are action. Speech is connected with the Soul; and, as connected with the objects, it is what is spoken. As connected with the Soul, the organ of generation is the producer of all beings; as connected with objects, it is the vital seed.

As connected with the Soul, the Mind moves within the five elements; as connected with objects, it is the mental operation, and its presiding deity is the Moon.

As connected with the Soul, Egoism is the cause of the entire course of worldly life; and, as connected with objects, it is consciousness of self.

Fourfold is the birth of beings, born of wombs, of eggs, some as trees, and some as born of germs. Those who burst through the earth, are said to be germ-born beings.

Ether has sound for its characteristic; Wind touch; Fire colour; Water taste; and Earth smell. Mind has thought for its characteristic; and thought has been said to be characteristic of the Understanding too. Things thought of by the Mind are determined with accuracy by the Understanding. The upholder of Consciousness, living in the Heart, is for apprehending the Mind. The Understanding is apprehended in the form of determination or certitude, and Mahat in that of knowledge. The unperceived (Prakrti) lives in the symbol called Ksetra (Field). The Purusha knows it; therefore he is called Ksetrajna (Knower of the Field).

Some hold that Purusha and Prakti are one; some hold that they are different. Both views are incorrect. They are both distinct and associated together at the same time.

Purusha is the subject, Prakrti the object. Prakrti is unintelligent, and knows nothing; the Soul knows. He is the enjoyer. Prakrti is his object of enjoyment. Prakrti is made up of pairs of opposites; the Soul is free from opposites, devoid of parts, devoid of qualities. He enjoys Prakrti like a lotus leaf on water.

Prakrti is the property of Purusha. The relation between them is as between matter and its maker.

Pradhana (Prakrti) is unmanifest a development of the unmanifest is Mahat a development of Pradhana, when it has become Mahat, is Egoism. From Egoism emanate the great elements.

Ether is the highest of the elements. Egoism is above it. Above Egoism is Understanding (Buddhi). Above the Understanding is the individual Soul. Above the individual Soul is the Unmanifest (Prakrti). Above the Unmanifest is the Supreme Purusha."

Then said Krshna, "If you have any love for me, 0 perpetuator of the Kuru race, do you always act, 0 you of excellent vows."

After this Krshna took leave of the Pandavas and departed for Dwarka. Arriving there, he described to his people the battle of Kurukshetra and all that had happened there.

The Horse Sacrifice: In the meanwhile Yudhisthira, as advised by Vyasa, made preparations for the Horse-Sacrifice. As, however, the treasury was empty, the Pandava brothers went to the Himalayas in search of the wealth of Marutta. Placing Vyasa in front of them, they came to the proper place; and, excavating the ground, took out all that they required and returned to their capital. Krshna too came to Hastinapura to take part in the Sacrifice.

The Birth of Pariksit: Then, because the weapon discharged by Asvatthaman had pierced the womb of Uttara, she gave birth to a stillborn child. Then Uttara, Subhadra, Kunti and others began to weep, and begged Krshna to bring the child to life even as he had promised. Thereupon Madhava (Krsna.) bade that the child should live; and, even as he spoke, the child began to move as one alive. He was Pariksit, the successor of the Pandavas.

The Initiation of Yudhisthira: Then preparations for the Sacrifice commenced, and Yudhisthira asked Krshna to initiate it. But Krshna asked him to do it himself, promising that he (Krshna) would accomplish everything for them. Then he promised to initiate Yudhisthira on the day of the full Moon in the month of Caitra.

The Horse Set Free: In the meanwhile all the articles necessary for the Sacrifice were procured, and a Horse was loosened that day to wander over the earth according to the ordinances of the Scriptures; and Arjuna, at the bidding of Vyasa, was appointed to follow the animal as its protector, to fight with anyone who should dare to challenge the universal sovereignty of Yudhisthira.

Arjuna and Babhruvahana: Arjuna followed the Horse, and fought many battles with those who ventured to stop the animal, and required all the princes he had defeated to assemble at the Sacrifice on the appointed day. At last he came to Manipura, where ruled his own son, Babhruvahana, born of Citrangada, and Arjuna. challenged him to fight with him. Thereupon the son was compelled to fight with his own father, and in the combat that took place Arjuna was thrown down unconscious and taken for dead. But he was revived by Ulupi, his serpent-wife, who took out a gem, and bade Babhruvahana place it on the breast of his father, when Arjuna came to life once more. All this had happened to Arjuna because of the curse of the Vasus for having killed Bhishma.

The Horse, followed by Arjuna, having wandered over the earth bounded by the sea, returned to Hastinapura. All the kings and princes, defeated by Arjuna, had assembled there, and all preparations for the Sacrifice were made. There also had assembled us, Brahmanas was, sages, Gandharvas and others.

The Sacrifice of the Horse: When Arjuna returned with the Horse, the priests began the Sacrifice. They cut the Horse into pieces according to the directions of the Scriptures, and caused Draupadi to sit near the divided animal. They took out the marrow of the Horse and cooked it; and Yudhisthira and his brothers smelt its smoke. The remaining limbs of the Horse were then poured into the fire by the sixteen sacrificial priests of great wisdom; and at the end of the Sacrifice Yudhisthira made great offerings to the Brahmanas.