After King Yudhisthira had performed the water rites, many Rishis and sages came to see the king, and they all consoled and comforted him. But his mind was still heavy with grief, and it was in vain that his brothers and Draupadi counselled him to be an active ruler of the earth. "I know both the Vedas and the Scriptures that lead to the attainment of Brahma," said he. "In the Vedas there are both kinds of precepts, viz., those that teach action, and those that teach the renunciation of action. The Scriptures are conflicting, and their conclusions are based on reason. Having made the Soul gradually come towards itself, having controlled all mental desires, and having cast off all kinds of action, one may become perfectly independent and happy. When there is such a path that is followed by the Righteous, and is attainable by Knowledge, why, O Arjuna, do you speak highly of wealth that is full of danger?"
The Opinion of Devasthana and Vyasa: Thereupon the great ascetic, Devasthana, replied, "O Bharata, you must know that even the ascetics are devoted to action;" and Vyasa informed him that the highest religion, as sanctioned by the Scriptures, consisted in the duties of a householder. "You know," said he, "the duties of a king a Kshatriya must always have strength, and upon that depends his power to chastise a battle has been described as a Sacrifice for a king; and by governing his kingdom with intelligence and policy, kindness and impartiality, a great king sports in the regions of the celestials after death. 0 son of Kunti, you have been created by your Maker to engage in action. Success arises from action. You cannot, O king, avoid action."
But Yudhisthira was still disconsolate; and so Krshna comforted him, and said, "O foremost of men, do not grieve. They who have been, slain in battle, will never come back again. They are like objects that one gets in a dream, which disappear when he awakes." Then again Vyasa tried to console him whereupon Yudhisthira wished to know in detail the duties of a king, and the paths of morality. If, O king said Vyasa, "you wish to hear of duties and morality at length, ask Bhishma, that old grandfather of the Kurus. He alone can remove your doubts." Then again, counselled by Krshna, Yudhisthira shook off his grief; and, accompanied by Kesava, Rishis, Brahmanas, and his brothers, he mounted his car and entered the city of Hastinapura.
The citizens gave them a great welcome as they came; the Brahmanas blessed them, and Yudhisthira ruled as king.
The Advice of Krshna: One day Yudhisthira saw Krshna, rapt in meditation, and asked him the cause. "That foremost of men, Bhishma," said Krsna, "who is lying on a bed of arrows, is thinking of me, my mind was therefore concentrated on him. Controlling all his senses, and concentrating his Mind by means of his Understanding (Buddhi), he sought my refuge; and so I too had fixed my mind on him. He knows the present, future, and the past: therefore, O Yudhisthira, humbly approaching him, ask him about all you wish to learn." Hearing these words of Krsna, Yudhisthira and his brothers, headed by Krshna, went where Bhima lay, he who was to pass when the Sun turned its course towards the north.
Bhishma Worships Krshna: The grandfather of the Bharatas lay on his bed of arrows, surrounded by Vyasa and other Rishis, Brahmanas, and sages; and, with a pure heart and folded hands, he was thinking of Krshna in mind, word, and deed. "O Krshna," said he, "O universal Soul, O Lord of all creatures, I seek your refuge with all my heart. You are without beginning and without end. You have the universe for your work; and this universe, consisting of matter and mind, exists in your eternal and all-pervading Soul like flowers strung together on a thread. You are worshipped under four forms and secret names, Vasudeva, Sankarsana, Pradyumna, and Aniruddha. You are beyond the perception of the senses and Buddhi; you have many forms; you are self-born; you are gold hued; you are the Soul of the Sun. Salutations to you in the form of Soma; salutations to you in the form of Sacrifice; salutations to you in the form of Desire; salutations to you in your form of Maya; salutations to you in your form of Water; salutations to you in your form of Action; salutations to you in your form as Air; salutations to you in your form as the Universe. You are life, you are power, you are knowledge, and you are all. I seek your refuge and am devoted to you, desirous of obtaining a happy end."
Krshna Asks Bhishma to Teach Yudhisthira: Then Krshna, Yudhisthira and his brothers, and all those persons headed by Krpa, proceeded to Kurukshetra and came to where Bhishma lay on his bed of arrows, shining like the evening sun covered with his own rays. They all saluted him and took their seats around him; and then Kesava asked him to dispel the doubts of Yudhisthira. "All the Scriptures," said Krshna, "treating of duty and practice, are centred in your memory, and there is no one else who can drive out the sorrow of the son of Pandu. O you of pure heart, fifty-six days still remain for you to live. Do you speak words of truth, containing morality, profit and Yoga to Yudhisthira, who is firm in truth, but whose learning has been clouded by grief."
But Bhishma hesitated: "I have not the power to tell anything," said he. "Do you speak to Yudhisthira yourself. Now can one like me, a disciple before his preceptor, speak, when you, the eternal Creator of the universe, are present?" But Krshna blessed him with unclouded perception and memory and a clear understanding, and Bhishma agreed. Then Krshna and the Pandavas retired for the night.
Bhishma's Discourse: The next morning they came once more to where the hero lay. At the sight of Krshna his burning, exhaustion, and pain disappeared; and by his grace he saw distinctly the past, present and the future, and remembered the duties laid down in the Vedas and Vedangas. Then, having saluted Krshna and Bhishma, and taken permission of all elders assembled there, Yudhisthira questioned Bhishma about Religion, Profit and Pleasure (Dharma, Artha, and Karna), and the latter discoursed on the eternal duties of men. "O son," said he, "you should always exert yourself. Exertion and Destiny are said to be equal; but I consider exertion to be superior a king should always address himself to action."
Thereafter Bhishma described to him the duties of a king to his people and others, the organization and prosperity of the state, and the art of peace and war. He told him of the duties of the four castes and the four modes of life, and the merit accruing to each. He said that the king was a father to his people, and explained to him the science and art of government; how to protect a kingdom, vanquish a foe, and succeed in advancing one's own subjects. He told him how a king's ministers should act, how he should win the hearts of friends and foes, and how he should satisfy the law-makers, courtiers, commanders, and counsellors. Further, he described to him the kind of city in which a king should live, how a kingdom may be firmly established and protected, how to lead troops in battle and succeed in war, and how to treat a foe. Then Bhishma explained what is Truth, Righteousness, and the way to be happy; what is Hope and how it is born; what is Morality, Religion, Profit and Pleasure. Again he told him how a depleted treasury may be filled, how ministers won over, and secrets preserved. He further explained to him the cause of sin, and said that covetousness is the root of all evil. He dwelt on the importance of penance, described the marks of truth and malevolence, and the cause of anger and lust.
Then, turning to higher things, Yudhisthira asked about the origin of the universe, the nature of life, and all about this and the next world. "Regarding this," said Bhishma, "the great sage Bhrgu spoke to Bharadvaja as follows, "There is a primeval Being, known to the great Rishis by the name of Manas (Mind). He is without beginning and without end. He is without decay and is immortal. He is unmanifest, he is eternal. By him are all creatures made, and through him they die."
He first created a Divine Being, called Mahat. Mahat created Consciousness (Ahankara), who created Ether or Space. Self-born Manas created a divine Lotus of energy, and from that Lotus sprang the first Omniscient Lord, Brahma, the creator of all mobile and immobile things. The Srutis say that as soon as he was born he said, "I am he," and so he is called by the name of Consciousness or Ahankara (I-ness).
Water is the life of all creatures. All things which have a form are all transformations of life. They have all been produced by Water solidified. This Water originated like something darker within Darkness, when the universe was asleep at the beginning of creation, without sun or moon, stars or, wind. From the pressure of Water, when the latter filled all Space (Ether), rose Wind; from the friction of Water and Wind rose Fire (Light) which dispelled the darkness which covered all Space. Then Fire was turned into a liquid (Water); and the liquid portion of Fire, being solidified again, became what is known as Earth.
Everything which is infinite or vast is spoken of as great, and so are the five Elements called Great Creatures. Activity is associated with Wind; Sound with Space; Heat with Fire; the liquid juices are described as Water; flesh and bones form the Earth. Thus are all bodies made of the five elements. The five senses are also made of the five elements. The Ear is formed of the property of Ether; Nose of Earth; Tongue of Water; Touch of Wind; and the Eyes of Fire.
Trees also have Space (Ether) within them; they have heat within them; they have perception of touch; they have vision; they have scent; they draw water by their roots; they catch all sorts of disease; they can be cured; they have perception of taste; they are subject to pleasure and pain; they have life; they are not inanimate.
Through the vital breath, called Prana, is a living creature able to move about; through that, called Vyana, he acts; that, called Apana goes downwards; that, called Samana, lives within the heart; and through that, called Udana, one is enabled to speak. These are the live vital airs that cause an embodied creature to live and move.
Through the element Earth, an embodied creature perceives the properties of Scent; from Water he perceives Taste; from Fire, as represented by the Eyes, he perceives Form; from the Wind he perceives Touch; and from Ether Sound. Scent, Taste, Vision, Touch and Sound are the common properties of all mobile and immobile objects.
Sound pervades the entire Space (Ether). The learned describe Sound as born of Ether. When related to the various kinds of Touch, which is a property of Wind, it may be heard. It cannot however, be heard when the different kinds of Touch are not used.
Heat lives within the head and protects the body. The vital air, called Prana, living within the head and the heat that is there, creates all kinds of exertion. That Prana is the living creature, the universal Self, the. eternal Being, the Mind, Intellect (Buddhi) and Consciousness of all living creatures and all the objects of the senses. It is Prana that makes the living creature move about and act. Heat dwells in the vital airs; and the Yogis succeed in attaining to Brahma by drawing the Soul (Atman) within the brain.
No living creature is ever destroyed. The death of a creature is only a change of form. The body alone is dissolved.
The whole universe is made of Water. Water is the form of all embodied creatures. In that Water lives the Soul, which is seen in the Mind. That Soul is the creator Brahman, who exists in all things.
When the Soul is endued with ordinary attributes (Gunas), it is called Ksetrajna (Knower of the Field or the body). When freed from these attributes, it is designated Paramatman or supreme Self.
The Soul lives in the body like a drop of water on a lotus. The learned hold that it has Consciousness and the attributes of life. It acts and causes everything to act.
There is no distinction between the different castes. The whole world at first consisted of Brahmanas.
The Earth gives birth to all creatures. Females partake of her nature. The male animal is like Prajapati himself. The seminal fluid is the creative energy.
Towards the north, on the other side of the Himalayas, is a sacred region, called the other world. This region, where we live, is the Field of Action. One reaps the fruits of actions according to the life he has led."
The Discourse of Bhishma: Asked by Yudhisthira again, Bhishma said, "Earth, Air, Space, Water and Light are the Great Creatures. These form both the origin and destruction of all created beings. As a tortoise extends his limbs and withdraws them again, so the Supreme Soul creates all objects and again withdraws them into himself.
Sound, the organ of hearing (Ears) and all holes originate from Ether; Touch, Skin, and action are the three attributes of Wind; Form, Eye, and digestion are the attributes of Fire; Taste, Tongue, and all liquid secretions are the attributes of Water; and Smell, Nose, and the body are the three qualities of Earth.
The great elements are five; the Mind is the sixth; the seventh is understanding (Buddhi), and the eighth is the Soul.
The Senses are for perceiving; the Mind creates uncertainty; the Understanding brings all knowledge to certainty; the Soul exists as a witness.
The three qualities, Sattva, Rajas, and Tamas, depend on the senses, the Mind, and the Understanding. They lead the Understanding to worldly attachments; and, in this, the Understanding is identical with the senses and the Mind. When the Understanding is destroyed, the three Qualities cannot produce action.
The universe of mobile and immobile objects consists of Intelligence (Buddhi) It is from Intelligence that everything originates, and into it everything subsides. The Scriptures declare that everything is a manifestation of Intelligence. When Intelligence desires anything, it is called the Mind. The five senses are its foundation, and on them it depends.
Mark the difference between the two subtle things: Intelligence and the, Soul. Intelligence displays Gunas, the Soul does not. They (Intelligence and the Soul) exist in a state of union, and are yet different from each other. The Qualities (Gunas) do not know the Soul, but the Soul knows them all. The Soul is a spectator of the Gunas, and considers them as emanating from itself. Acting through the senses, the Mind, and the Understanding all of which are inactive and have no self-consciousness, the Soul discovers all objects like a lamp showing all things around."
The Opinion of Manu: Then Bhishma cited the opinion of Manu, who and Action. Actions have the three Gunas for their soul, and the fruits of action depend on the Mind.
He from whom the universe has sprung, is neither female, nor male, nor of the neuter gender. He is neither existent, nor non-existent, nor existent-non-existent. Only those who are acquainted with Brahma can see him.
"From that eternal and undecaying One first originated Space (Ether). From Space came Wind; from Wind came Light (Fire); from Light came Water; and from Water the Universe.
The bodies of all objects enter after dissolution into Water, thence into Light or Heat; thence into Wind; and thence into Space. They who seek liberation have not to return from Space. They attain to Brahma.
The Skin perceives touch the Tongue taste, the Nose scent, the Eye forms, and the Ear sounds.
Having withdrawn the tongue from tastes, the nose from scents, the eye from forms, and the ear from sounds, one sees his own Self;
It has been said that that which is the cause of the actor, act, and the material of action, is called the Self or the Soul. The Soul does not undergo birth, growth, decay, and destruction. With the senses, the Soul yet performs no acts. The senses do not apprehend the Soul. The Soul, however, apprehends them all.
The five attributes (Sound, Touch, Sight, Taste, and Smell) dwell in the five principal elements (Ether, Air, Fire, Water, and Earth). The fivefold objects of the senses dwell in the senses. All these again follow the Mind. The Mind follows the Understanding (Buddhi); and the Understanding follows the Soul.
From the Unmanifest originates the Soul; from the Soul Buddhi (Understanding); from Buddhi Mind; and when the Mind is united with the senses, it apprehends Sound and the other objects of the senses. All objects that the Mind apprehends through the senses can be withdrawn into the Mind; the Mind can be withdrawn into Buddhi; Buddhi into the Soul; and the Soul into the Supreme. The senses cannot know the Mind; the Mind cannot apprehend Buddhi; Buddhi cannot apprehend the Soul. The Soul, however, sees them the all.
When the Understanding (Buddhi), though endued with the quality of Certainty lives in the Mind, it is nothing but the Mind. When Buddhi becomes freed from the three Gunas, then only can it attain to Brahma.
From Knowledge originates Desire; from Desire Resolution; from Resolution Action; and from Action arises its fruit. Fruits therefore have actions for their cause. Actions have Understanding for their root; Understanding has Knowledge for its root; and Knowledge has the Soul for its cause.
Water is superior to Earth; Light (Fire) is superior to Water; Wind is superior to Light. Ether is superior to Wind; Mind is superior to Ether; Understanding is superior to the Mind; Time (Sun energy) is superior to Understanding; and the divine Vishnu, who is identical with this universe, is superior to Time. He is without beginning, middle or end."
The Discourse of Bhishma: Then, on further inquiry from Yudhisthira, Bhishma said : "Govinda (Krshna) is the lord of all creatures. He lay on the surface of the Waters; and, while thus floating on the Waters, he created Consciousness, the first born of all beings in the universe. Consciousness gave rise to a beautiful Lotus, effulgent like the Sun, out of the navel of the Supreme. Then the illustrious and divine Brahman, the Grandfather of all creatures, came into being from that Lotus, and he brought into existence the whole world."
"Vasudeva (Krshna) is the Wheel of Time, without beginning and without end. Existence and non-existence are the qualities by which his real nature is known. Having reduced everything to nothing, he once more, in the beginning of a new cycle, creates Prakrti; and when Prakrti creates through the action of Purusha, the Universe, with all its potencies, springs forth.
From the Unmanifest arises Buddhi (Understanding); Buddhi creates Consciousness (Egoism or Ahankara). From Ahankara arises Space; from Space Wind; from Wind Heat; from Heat Water; and from Water Earth. These Eight form Primordial Prakrti and the whole Universe rests on them. From these eight have originated the five senses of knowledge, the five senses of action, the five objects of the senses, and the Mind, forming the sixteenth. The Ear, the Skin, the two Eyes, the Tongue, and the Nose are the five senses of knowledge. The two Feet, the Anus, the organ of generation, the two Arms, and the Tongue (Speech) are the five senses of action. Sound, Touch, Form, Taste, and Smell are the five objects of the senses. The Mind lives upon all the senses and their objects. In the perception of Taste, the Mind becomes the Tongue; and in Speech the Mind becomes words. Covered by the different senses, the Mind becomes all the objects which exist in its apprehension.
Existence springs from Prakrti, which exists in that which is the Soul of all existent things. These existences, resting on the Supreme Being, who is above Prakrti, who is inactive, comprehend the entire universe of mobile and immobile objects.
This sacred building of nine doors (body) is endued with all these existences. That which is high above them, viz., the Soul, lives within it (the body). Therefore it is called Purusha. The Soul is not subject to decay and death. It has knowledge of what is manifest and what is unmanifest. It is all-pervading, endued with qualities (Gunas), and the refuge of all forms of existence. Making the Ear to hear what it hears, it is the Soul that hears. Making the Eye to act, it is the Soul that sees. The bodily organs are not the actors; it is the Soul that is the doer of all deeds.
Women must be considered as instruments which set going the stream of creation. By their nature they are Ksetra (Field), and men Ksetrajna (Knowers of the Field).
What is called Brahmacharya is considered as the means of attaining to Brahma. That pure state can be attained by means of the Understanding alone.
Both Prakrti and Purusha are without beginning and without end. Prakrti is endued with the three Qualities (Gunas), and is engaged in creation. Purusha apprehends all the changes of Prakrti; he transcends all qualities. The divine Purusha has been described to be like a flash of lightning and is indestructible."
The Discourse of Vyasa: Bhishma then cited the following views of Vyasa:
The Measure of Time, Five and ten winks of the eye make what is called a Kastha. Thirty Kasthas make a Kala. Thirty Kalas, together with a tenth part of a Kala, make one Muhurta. Thirty Muhurtas make one Day and Night. Thirty Days and Nights make a Month; and twelve Months make a Year.
The Year is made up of two solar motions, the northern and the southern. The Sun makes the day and night for men, a month of human beings is equal to a day and night of the departed manes a year of men is equal to a day and night of the gods.
Four thousand celestial years is the duration of the first or Krta (Satya) Age; the morning of that cycle (Age) consists of four hundred years, and the evening also of four hundred years (making in all 4800 celestial years). Regarding the other cycles Treta, Dvapara, and Kali the duration of each gradually decreases by a quarter in respect of both the principal period and the period of morning and evening time. Thus Treta consists of 3600, Dvapara of 2400, and Kali of 1200 celestial years. These twelve yousand celestial years, made up of 4800, 3600, 2400, and 1200 years of the four Ages, form what is called a Cycle; and a thousand such Cycles form a single Day of Brahma. The same is the duration of his Night. With the beginning of his Day, the Universe comes into being; and the period of universal dissolution is his Night. But on the expiry of his Night he awakes, modifies Buddhi, and causes Consciousness to arise; whence originates Mind, and the whole Universe becomes manifest once more.
At the dawn of his Day he creates the Universe. Mahat or the principle of Greatness springs up first. Then Mahat is speedily changed into Mind. Urged by the desire of creating, Mind, which has Desire and Doubt for its leading signs, begins to create various kinds of objects by modifications of itself. Ether first originates from the Mind; know that its property is Sound. From Ether, by modification, originates Wind, and its property is Touch. From Wind, also by modification, arises Light (Fire), and it possesses the attribute of Form. From Light, by modification, arises Water, having Taste for its attribute and from Water originates Earth, having Smell for its attribute. These are said to represent primary creation; and all these great entities form the constituent parts of the body. The Supreme Creator of all beings having, by his Maya, divided himself, enters into the subtle part of everything. It is he who creates all things, mobile and immobile.
But when his Day is gone, and comes his Night, he withdraws all things into himself. Then Agni with his seven flames, begins to blaze. All things disappear into the Earth, and the Earth becomes shorn of its attribute, Smell. Then Water takes up the Earth and its attribute, Smell, and fills all space. Then the attribute of Water is taken up by Heat. Then the Wind takes up the attribute of Heat; and then Ether takes up the attribute of Wind. Then Ether, with Sound for its attribute, is swallowed up by the Mind, which is unmanifest; and this withdrawal of the manifest into the unmanifest Mind is called the destruction of the external Universe. Then the Moon, which makes the Mind, withdraws its attribute into itself. The Moon, characterized by Knowledge, is then brought under the Creator's sway; then Time swallows up this Knowledge; and, possessed of greater Knowledge, the Creator brings Time under his sway, and swallows up non-existence itself into his Soul, That is the Unmanifest, and Supreme Brahma. That is the Eternal, and the Highest of all.
All created beings have four kinds of birth. They are viviparous, oviparous, vegetables, and those born of filth.
The gods know him as a Brahmana who is devoted to the knowledge of Brahma.
Regarding actions, some men hold that Exertion is their root. Others say that Necessity is their cause. Others again hold that Nature (Prakti) is their cause. The Yogins, however, see Brahma as the universal cause of all.
The bodies of all embodied creatures are from Earth. Their humours originate from Water; their eyes from Light (Fire); Prana, Apana and other vital breaths depend on Air; and all apertures within them originate from Space (Ether).
The Ears, Skin, Eyes, Tongue, and the Nose are the five senses of knowledge. Sound, Touch, Form, Taste, and Smell, are the objects of the senses. Like a charioteer driving his well-trained horses, the Mind moves the senses. Likewise the Understanding (Buddhi) is the lord of the Mind. The senses, the objects of the senses, the attributes of the objects of Nature, Mind, Understanding, the vital airs, and the individual Soul dwell in the bodies of all embodied ones.
Transcending all things, the Soul lives in all creatures, mobile and immobile. All these worlds exist within the Supreme. His hands and feet are everywhere. His eyes, head, face and ears are everywhere. He is minuter than the minute, and he is the heart of all things. He enters the house of nine doors (body) and becomes engaged in action. The Supreme Soul becomes endued with the attribute of Action on account of motion, pleasure and pain, and variety of forms; and that indestructible Soul, which is said to be endued with the attribute of Action, is nothing else than the indestructible Soul which is said to be inactive.
The injunctions of the Vedas are twofold. They lay down the command, 'Do all acts;' and again declare, 'Renounce actions.' Corresponding to this there are two paths, the path of Action and the path of Knowledge a Brahmavarin, a householder, a hermit, and a mendicant, all reach the same highest end by performing the duties of their respective modes of life.
This Universe of mobile and immobile objects has the five elements for its component parts. The great Creator of all things has, however, made an unequal distribution of these elements for serving different ends.
Sound, the sense of hearing, and all cavities within the body, these three originate from Ether. The vital airs, the action of the limbs, and touch, are the attributes of Wind. Form, eyes, and the digestive fire within the stomach, originate from Light (Fire) Taste, tongue, and all the humours originate from Water. Scent, nose, and the body form the attributes of Earth. Mind, Understanding (Buddhi) and Nature (Prakti), these three arise from their own previous states.
As a tortoise extends its limbs and withdraws them once again within itself, even so the Understanding creates the senses, and once again withdraws them into itself.
The Consciousness of Ego, which arises about what is above the soles of the feet and below the crown of the head, is mainly due to the action of the Understanding.
It is the Understanding that is transformed into the five attributes (Sound, Touch, etc.). It is the Understanding that is transformed into the five senses, with the Mind for the sixth. There are five senses in man. The Mind is called the sixth. The Understanding is called the seventh. The Soul is the eighth.
The eyes and the other senses are only for receiving impressions of form, etc. The Mind exists for doubting. The Understanding determines those, doubts. The Soul is said only to see the work of each without mingling with them.
The Mind creates innumerable ideas. The Understanding differentiates between things and ascertains their true nature. The Heart discriminates which is pleasant and which unpleasant. These are the forces which produce action.
The objects of the senses are superior to the senses. The Mind is superior to the objects. The Understanding is superior to the Mind. The Soul is superior to the Understanding.
Ordinarily the Understanding is the man's Soul. When the Understanding, by itself, forms ideas (of objects) within itself, it is called the Mind.
When it (Understanding) hears, it becomes the organ of hearing. When it touches it becomes the organ of touch. When it sees, it becomes the organ of vision: when it tastes, it becomes the organ of taste; and when it smells, it becomes the organ of smell. These modifications of the Understanding are called the senses. The invisible Soul is placed over them as their presiding chief. Living in the body, the Understanding exists in the three states (of Gunas). When the Understanding desires for anything, it is called by the name of Mind. The senses, again, should all be considered as contained within the Understanding.
All the three Gunas attach to the Mind, Understanding and Consciousness (Ahankara or Egoism). The Gunas cannot apprehend the Soul. The Soul, however, apprehends them all. The Soul is a witness which sees the Gunas and works them up. This is the difference between the Understanding and the Soul. The one creates the Gunas, the other does not.
The objects by which we are encircled are all created by the Understanding. Without being connected with them, the Soul stands aloof, lording over them. The Understanding creates all objects. The objects created by the Understanding partake of its own nature.
"The Soul is without beginning and without end. Knowing his Soul properly, a man should move and act, without yielding to anger, without indulging in joy, and always shorn of envy."
The Names of Mahadeva: Then Bhishma, at the request of Yudhisthira, recited to him the names of Mahadeva by which Daksha worshipped that Deity.
Daksha said, "I bow to you, O lord of all the gods. You are everywhere in the universe. You are the receptacle of the Ocean. The worshippers of the Sun worship you in adoring the Sun. In your body I see Soma, Agni, the king of Waters, Vishnu, Brahman, and all. You are cause, effect, and action, the creation and destruction of the universe. You are the Sun; you have gold in your stomach; you are the lord of all the gold in the world. You are indentified with the form of Nandi, and you are Righteousness itself. You are the form of Yoga; you are the maker of the universe; you are the form of Sacrifice; you are the form of the rivers and the sea. You are the giver and lord of Food; your locks of hair carry the currents of the Ganga; you are the promulgator of Sankhya and Yoga. You are the husband of Ambika; you are manifest and unmanifest; you are Desire, and the giver and killer of all Desire; you are the giver and destroyer of all things. You have the effulgence of a thousand Suns; you are the lord of the four orders of living creatures, the viviparous, the oviparous, the vegetables and the filth born. You are the creator as well as destroyer of the mobile and immobile universe; you are the root of the Mind, the refuge on which the elements rest. You are Time, you are Penance, you are Desire, you are Victory. You are rivers, you are Ocean, you are the origin of all objects and acts. You are Indra, you are Agni, you are Brahma; you are Gunas, you are Cit, and you are invested with Maya. You are the creator of all, the Soul of all, and you are the Lord of the universe. You are male, you are female, you are neuter. You are the Ocean; you are the Soul of Waters; you are master and creator of all."
The Difference between Sankhya and Yoga: Thereafter Bhima explained to Yudhisthira the difference between the Sankhya and Yoga systems of thought. "Wise men, devoted to Yoga," said he, "point out that one who does not believe in the existence of God, cannot acquire liberation. Believers in the Sankhya, on the other hand, forward good reason to show that a person, by acquiring true knowledge of all objects, becomes liberated after death. The evidences of Yoga are addressed to the direct perception of the senses; those of the Sankhya are based on the Scriptures; and in both systems purity and mercy are equally recommended. The principles of the Sankhya have been laid down by the great and powerful Kapila. The Srutis say that the Sankhya system of philosophy is the form of that Formless one."
The Discourse of Vasistha: Bhishma then narrated the discourse of Vasistha, who said, "The eldest being is called Hiranyagarbha. This holy one has been called the Understanding. In the Yoga Scriptures he is called the Great and the unborn. In the Sankhya system he is considered as having Infinity for his Soul, and as constituting the Soul of the universe. The Manifest is created from the Unmanifest.
Undergoing changes, he (Hiranyagarbha) creates Consciousness, from which arise the elements, with their properties of Sound, Touch, Form, Taste, and Smell. This aggregate of ten arose at the same time. Then the five senses of knowledge, and five of action, together with the Mind, arose simultaneously. These form the twenty- four topics which exist in the forms of all living creatures. Above the twenty four topics is the twenty-fifth, called Vishnu. That Vishnu, on account of the absence of all Qualities (Gunas), is not a topic.
The twenty-fourth, which is Nature (Prakrti), is said to lord over all this. The twenty-fifth, which is Vishnu, is formless, and so cannot be said to lord over the universe.
"The following question," continued Bhishma, "was asked by king Janaka from Vasistha, "It has been said that the relation between the male and the female is like that which exist between the Indestructible and the Destructible. Without a male a female can never conceive. Without a female a male also can never create a form. If Nature (Prakrti) and Soul be always united together in this way, each opposing and each depending on the other's qualities, I see that Liberation cannot exist."
To this Vasistha replied, "O king, the subject of Liberation has been explained by the great ones conversant with the Sankhya and Yoga systems of philosophy. That which the Yogins behold is exactly what the Sankhyas strive after to attain. He who sees the Sankhya and the Yoga systems to be one and the same, is said to be gifted with intelligence. Objects originate from objects, the senses from the senses. When the Supreme Being is without senses, without seed, without matter, without body, he must be divested of all qualities. Hence, how can he have qualities of any kind? The qualities arise from Nature (Prakrti) and disappear in Nature (Prakrti)."
The individual Soul and the universe are said both to partake of Nature (Prakrti), characterized by the three qualities of Sattva, Rajas, and Tamas. The Supreme Soul is different from both the individual Soul and the universe.
Without beginning and without end, the individual Soul on account of its oneness with the body and other qualities, comes to be taken as invested with the qualities (Gunas). When its conquers all qualities born of Prakrti, which it assumes under a mistake, then only does it see the Supreme.
An intelligent man considers the unity of the individual Soul with the Supreme Soul as consistent with the Scriptures and as perfectly correct; while the man shorn of intelligence considers the two as different from each other. When one understands the twenty-five topics of inquiry, he understands that the oneness of the Soul is consistent with the Scriptures, and its multiplicity is opposed to them. That which is above the topics, is beyond that number (twenty-five), and is the twenty-sixth.
When there is a complete identification between the Knower, the Known, and Knowledge, then is the Yogin said to see the Supreme Self. This much have I told you about the science of Yoga. I shall now describe to you the Sankhya system of philosophy.
"The Sankhyas, whose system is built on Nature (Prakrti), say that Nature, which is unmanifest, is the foremost. From Nature is produced Mahat or the principle of Greatness. From Mahat originates Consciousness (Ahankara or Egoism), and from Consciousness the five subtle essences of Sound, Touch, Form, Taste, and Scent. All these are called by the name of Nature (Prakrti). The changes of these eight are sixteen in number. They are the five gross essences Ether, Air, Fire, Water, and Earth and the ten senses of knowledge and action, and the Mind. These twenty-four topics include the whole range of the Sankhya.
What is produced becomes merged in the producing cause. Created by the Supreme Soul, one after another, these principles are destroyed in the reverse order.
This is the manner in which the creation and destruction of Nature (Prakrti) takes place. The Supreme Being is all that remains when universal destruction takes place; and it is He who assumes various forms when creation begins.
It is Nature (Prakti) that causes the over-presiding Soul to assume diversity and revert back to unity. Nature itself has the same marks; for when destruction comes, it reverts into unity, and when creation takes place, it assumes diversity of form.
The Soul makes Prakrti, which contains the principles of production, to assume different forms. Prakrti is called Ksetra (Field). Above the twenty-four topics is the Soul, which presides over Prakrti or Ksetra. Hence the Soul is called the presider or Ksetrajna (Knower of the Field). Ksetra is something quite different from Ksetrajna. Ksetra is unmanifest; the Soul, which is above the twenty-four topics, is called the Knower.
The Sankhyas call Nature (Prakrti) the cause of the universe; and, merging the grosser principles into Intelligence (Buddhi), behold the Supreme Soul.
The individual Soul is in reality that very Soul which is above Nature (Prakrti) and the four and twenty topics. When he succeeds in knowing the Supreme Soul, by dissociating himself from Nature (Prakrti), he then becomes at one with the Supreme Soul.
Both Prakrti and the individual Soul are without beginning and without end. Both of them are considered as supreme and because the principles, beginning with Mahat (Greatness or Buddhi), are produced by Purusha as well, and because Purusha and Prakrti depend upon each other, therefore is the Purusha too, the twenty-fifth, called Ksetra.
But when the Soul shakes off Nature (Prakrti) and begins to realize that he is different from her, he comes to be regarded as pure and stainless. When the individual Soul ceases to exist in a state of union with Prakrti, then does he become at one with Brahma. When, however, he exists united with Prakrti, he seems to be different from Brahma.
In the Sankhya system no topic or principle above the twenty-fifth is admitted. In the Yoga philosophy it is said that Brahma, the essence of knowledge, without a second, becomes the individual Soul. In the Yoga scriptures, therefore, both Brahma and the individual Soul are spoken of.
The twenty-fifth principle (individual Soul) can comprehend the Unmanifest (Prakti). The twenty-sixth (Supreme Soul) can know both the individual Soul and Prakrti, numbering twenty-fifth and twenty-fourth respectively.
When the individual Soul succeeds in understanding Prakrti, he is said to be restored to his true nature and attains to that pure Knowledge which is called the twenty-sixth. When he knows Prakrti, which is subject to the action of the three Gunas, he becomes shorn of Gunas himself, and so becomes one with the Supreme."
Narada's Hymn to Narayana: Thereafter Bhishma spoke to Yudhisthira of the adoration of Narada to Narayana, who worshipped that Lord of the universe as God of all gods, divested of all attributes, witness of the world, and the Soul of the universe. "Salutations to you," he said, "who are infinite, the Supreme Purusha, and both manifest and unmanifest. You are Sun, you are Prana, you are the king of the Waters. You are Desire, you are Sacrifice, you live in every heart. You float on the waters, you lie on the lotus, you are the origin of the universe. You are Sun, you are Moon; you are Mind, you are Maya; you are Om, you are Cause; you are Creator, you are Death; and you are of the form of liberation for all."
The Vision of Narada: Then Narayana appeared to Narada, and described to him the greatness of Vasudeva (Krshna) "Endued with great power," said he, "Vasudeva is the Soul of all creatures. Earth, Water, Fire, Air, and Ether are the primal elements; and, mingling together, they form the body. Vasudeva enters their combination, and his entrance into them is called his birth. Without the combination of the five elements, nobody can ever be formed. Without, again, the entrance of the individual Soul into the body, the Mind, living within it, cannot cause it to move and act. He that enters the body is called the individual. He is also known by other names Sesa and Sankarsana."
He that takes his rise from that Sankarsana is the Mind of all creatures, and is called by the name of Pradyumna. From him originates he who is the Creator, and who is both effect and cause; he is called Aniruddha.
It is from me (Narayana) that the entire mobile and immobile universe originates. Without actions and above the Gunas, I am yet the actor the effect and the cause. I pervade all things. I am the inner Soul of all creatures.
"See within me the eleven Rudras, the twelve Adityas, the eight Vasus, and Nasatya and Dasra, the two physicians. See the goddess Sarasvati; see all the oceans, rivers, and the lakes; and see the three Gunas too."
Brahman's Hymn to Narayana: Bhima then narrated the following hymn of the Grandfather Brahman addressed to Narayana. "I bow to you," said he, "who are the creator of both the Manifest and the Unmanifest. You are self-create, without origin, and the inner self of all."
"The Supreme Being," said Brahman, "is the cause of all this, as Soul. He is again the cause of everything, as Prakrti. He is the agent or doer of deeds. He is the cause of everything in the universe; and he is the various kinds of power which act in the universe. Whatever acts are performed, whatever gifts are made, whatever penances are done, have Vishnu for their refuge."