Yajnavalkya

  1. Life of Yajnavalkya by Swami Sivananda
  2. Yajur Veda
  3. Isa Vasya Upanishad
Yagnyavalkya and Daivarati conversationin Mahabharata : Section 311, Mahabharata Santi Parva, Moksha Dharma Parva, Translation by Kisari Mohan Ganguli : Source
‘Janaka said, ‘O regenerate Rishi, how many kinds of senses are there? How many kinds also are there of Prakriti? What is the Unmanifest and highest Brahma? What is higher than Brahma? What is birth and what is death? What are the limits of Age? It behoveth thee, O foremost of Brahmanas, to discourse on all these topics unto me that am solicitous of obtaining thy grace; I am ignorant while thou art an Ocean of knowledge. Hence, I ask thee! Verily, I desire to hear thee discourse on all these subjects!

“‘Yajnavalkya said, Hear, O monarch, what I say in an answer to these questions of thine, I shall impart to thee the high knowledge which Yogins value, and especially that which is possessed by the Sankhyas. Nothing is unknown to thee. Still thou askest me. One however, that is questioned should answer. This is the eternal practice.

“Eight principles have been called by the name of Prakriti, while sixteen have been called modifications. Of Manifest, there are seven. These are the views of those persons who are conversant with the science of Adhyatma. The Unmanifest (or original Prakriti), Mahat, Consciousness, and the five subtile elements of Earth, Wind, Space, Water, and Light,–these eight are known by the name of Prakriti. Listen now to the enumeration of those called modifications. They are the ear, the skin, the tongue, and the nose; and sound, touch, form, taste, and scent, as also speech, the two arms, the two feet, the lower duct (within the body), and the organs of pleasure. 1 Amongst these, the ten beginning with sound, and having their origin in the five great principles, 2 are called Visesha. The five senses of knowledge are called Savisesha, O ruler of Mithila. Persons conversant with the Science of Adhyatma regard the mind as the sixteenth. This is conformable to thy own views as also to those of other learned men well acquainted with the truths about principles. From the Unmanifest, O king, springs the Mahat-soul. The learned say this to be the first creation relating to Pradhana (or Prakriti): From Mahat, O king of men, is produced Consciousness. This has been called the second creation having the Understanding for its essence. 3 From Consciousness hath sprung the Mind which is the essence of sound and the others that are the attributes of space and the rest. This is the third creation, said to relate to Consciousness. From mind have sprung the great elements, (numbering five), O king! Know that this is the fourth creation called mental, as I say. Persons conversant with the primal elements say that Sound and Touch and Form and Taste and Scent are the fifth creation, relating to the Great (primal) elements. The creation of the Ear, the Skin, the Tongue, and the Scent, forms the sixth and is regarded as having for its essence multiplicity of thought. The senses that come after the Ear and the others (i.e., the senses of action) then arise, O monarch. This is called seventh creation and relates to the senses of Knowledge. Then, O monarch, come the breath that rises upward (viz., Prana) and those that have a transverse motion (viz., Saman, Udana, and Vyana). This is the eighth creation and is called Arjjava. 4 Then come those breaths that course transversely in the lower parts of the body (viz., Samana, Udana and Vyana) and also that called Apana coursing downwards. This, ninth creation, is also called Arjjava, O king. These nine kinds of creation, and these principles, O monarch, which latter number four and twenty, are declared to thee according to what has been laid down in the scriptures. After this, O king, listen to me as I tell thee durations of time as indicated by the learned in respect of these principles or attribute.’”

“Yajnavalkya said, Listen to me, O foremost of men, as I tell thee what the duration of time is in respect to the Unmanifest (or the Supreme Purusha). Ten thousand Kalpas are said to constitute a single day of his. The duration of his night is equal. When his night expires, he awakes, O monarch, and first creates herbs and plants which constitute the sustenance of all embodied creatures. He then creates Brahman who springs from a golden egg. That Brahman is the form of all created things, as has been heard by us. Having dwelt for one whole year within that egg, the great ascetic Brahman, called also Prajapati (Lord of all creatures), came out of it and created the whole Earth, and the Heaven above. The Lord then, it is read in the Vedas, O king, placed the sky between Heaven and Earth separated from each other. Seven thousand and five hundred Kalpas measure the day of Brahman. Persons conversant with the science of Adhyatma say that his night also is of an equal duration. Brahmana, called Mahan, then creates Consciousness called Bhuta and endued with excellent essence. 1 Before creating any physical bodies out of the ingredients called the Great elements, Mahan or Brahma, endued with penances, created four others called his sons. They are the sires of the original sires, O Best of kings, as heard by us. 2 It hath been also heard by us, O monarch that the senses (of knowledge) along with the four inner faculties, have sprung from the (five Great elements called) Pitris, and that the entire universe of mobile and immobile Beings has been filled with those Great

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elements. 1 The puissant Consciousness created the five Bhutas. These are Earth, Wind, Space, Water, and Light numbering the fifth. This Consciousness (who is a Great Being and) from whom springs the third creating, has five thousand Kalpas for his night, and his day is of equal duration. Sound, Touch, Form, Taste, and Scent,–these five are called Visesha. They inhere into the five great Bhutas. All creatures, O king, incessantly pervaded by these five, desire one another’s companionship, become subservient to one another; and challenging one another, transcend one another; and led by those immutable and seductive principles, creatures kill one another and wander in this world entering into numerous orders of Being. 2 Three thousands of Kalpas represent the duration of their day. The measure of their night also is the same. 3 The Mind roveth over all things, O king, led on by the Senses. The Senses do not perceive anything. It is the Mind that perceives through them. The Eye sees forms when aided by the Mind but never by itself. When the Mind is distracted, the Eye fails to perceive with even the objects fully before it. It is commonly said that the Senses perceive. This is not true, for it is the Mind that perceives through the Senses. When the cessation takes place of the activity of the Mind, the cessation of the activity of the Senses follows. That is the cessation of the activity of the Senses which is the cessation of the activity of the Mind. One should thus regard the Senses to be under the domination of the Mind. Indeed, the Mind is said to be the Lord of all the Senses. O thou of great fame, these are all the twenty Bhutas in the Universe.’”

“Yajnavalkya said, I have, one after another, told thee the order of the creation, with their total number, of the various principles, as also the extent of the duration of each. Listen now to me as I tell thee of their destruction. Listen to me how Brahman, who is eternal and undecaying, and who is without beginning and without end, repeatedly creates and destroys all created objects. When his day expires and night comes, he becomes desirous of sleep. At such a time the unmanifest and holy one urges the Being called Maharudra, who is conscious of his great powers, (for destroying the world). Urged by the unmanifest, that Being assuming the form of Surya of hundreds of thousands of rays, divides himself into a dozen portions each resembling a blazing fire. He then consumes with his energy, O monarch, without any loss of time, the four kinds of created beings, viz., viviparous, oviparous, filth-born, and vegetable. Within the twinkling of the eye all mobile and immobile creatures being thus destroyed, the Earth becomes on every side as bare as a tortoise shell. Having burnt everything on the face of the Earth, Rudra, of immeasurable might, then quickly fills the bare Earth with Water possessed of great force. He then creates the Yuga-fire which dries up that Water (into which the bare Earth has been dissolved). The Water disappearing, the great element of Fire continues to blaze fiercely. Then comes the mighty Wind of immeasurable force, in his eight forms, who swallows up quickly that blazing fire of transcendent force, possessed of seven flames, and identifiable with the heat existing every creature. Having swallowed up that fire, the Wind courses in every direction, upwards, downwards, and transversely. Then space of immeasurable existent swallowed up that Wind of transcendent energy. Then Mind cheerfully swallows up that immeasurable Space. Then that Lord of all creatures, viz., Consciousness, who is the Soul of every-thing, swallows up the Mind. Consciousness, in his turn, is swallowed up by the Mahat-soul who is conversant with the Past, the Present, and the Future. The incomparable Mahat-soul or Universe is then swallowed up by Sambhu, that Lord of all things, to whom the Yoga attributes of Anima, Laghima, Prapti, etc., naturally inhere, who is regarded as the Supreme and pure Effulgence that is Immutable. His hands and feet extend over every part; his eyes and head and face are everywhere, his ears reach every place, and he exists overwhelming all things. He is the heart of all creatures; His measure is of a digit of the thumb. That Infinite and supreme Soul, that Lord of all, thus swallows up the Universe. After this, what remains is the Undecaying and the Immutable. One who is without defect of any kind, who is the Creator of the Past, the Present, and the Future; and who is perfectly faultless, I have thus, O monarch, duly told thee of Destruction. I shall now discourse to thee on the subjects of Adhyatma, Adhibhuta, and Adhidaivata.–’”

‘Yajnavalkya said, Brahmanas conversant with the topics of enquiry speak of the two feet as Adhyatma, the act of walking as Adhibhuta, and Vishnu as Adhidaivatam (of those two limbs). The lower duct (anal canal) is Adhyatma; its function of throwing out the excreta is Adhibhuta, and Mitra (Surya) is the Adhidaivata (of that organ). The organ of generation is called Adhyatma. Its agreeable function is called Adhibhuta, and Prajapati is its Adhidaivata. The hands are Adhyatma; their function as represented by acts is Adhibhuta; and Indra is the Adhidaivata of those limbs. The organs of speech are Adhyatma; the words uttered by them are Adhibhuta; and Agni is their Adhidaivata. The eye is Adhyatma; vision or form is its Adhibhuta; and Surya is the Adhidaivata of that organ. The ear is Adhyatma; sound is Adhibhuta; and the points of the horizon are its Adhidaivata. The tongue is Adhyatma, taste is its Adhibhuta; and Water is its Adhidaivata. The sense of scent is Adhyatma; odour is its Adhibhuta; and Earth is its Adhidaivata. The skin is Adhyatma; touch is its Adhibhuta; and Wind is its Adhidaivata. Mind has been called Adhyatma; that with which the Mind is employed is Adhibhuta; and Chandramas is its Adhidaivata. Consciousness is Adhyatma; conviction in one’s identity with Prakriti is its Adhibhuta; and Mahat or Buddhi is its Adhidaivata. Buddhi is Adhyatma; that which is to be understood is its Adhibhuta; and Kshetrajna is its Adhidaivata. I have thus truly expounded to thee, O king, with its details taken individually, the puissance of the Supreme (in manifesting Himself in different forms) in the beginning, the middle, and the end, O thou that art fully conversant with the nature of the original topics or principles. Prakriti, cheerfully and of her own accord, as if for sport, O monarch, produces, by undergoing modifications herself, thousands and thousands of combinations of her original transformations called Gunahs. As men can light thousands of lamps from but a single lamp, after the same manner Prakriti, by modification, multiplies into thousands of existent objects the (three) attributes (of Sattwa and Rajas and Tamas) of Purusha. Patience, joy, prosperity, satisfaction, brightness of all faculties, happiness, purity, health, contentment, faith, liberality, compassion, forgiveness, firmness, benevolence, equanimity, truth, acquittance of obligations, mildness, modesty, calmness, external purity, simplicity, observance of obligatory practices, dispassionateness, fearlessness of heart, disregard for the appearance or otherwise of good and evil as also for past acts,–appropriation of objects only when obtained by gift, the absence of cupidity, regard for the interests of others, compassion for all creatures,–these have been said to be the qualities that attach to the attribute of Sattwa. The tale of qualities attaching to the attribute of Rajas consists of pride of personal beauty, assertion of lordship, war, disclination to give, absence of compassion, enjoyment and enduring of happiness and misery, pleasure in speaking ill of others, indulgence in quarrels and disputes of every kind, arrogance, discourtesy, anxiety, indulgence in hostilities, sorrow, appropriation of what belongs to others, shamelessness, crookedness, disunions, roughness, lust, wrath, pride, assertion of superiority, malice, and calumny. These are said to spring from the attributes of Rajas. I shall now tell thee of that assemblage of qualities which springs from Tamas. They are stupefaction of judgment, obscuration of every faculty, darkness and blind darkness. By darkness is implied death, and by blind darkness is meant wrath. Besides these, the other indications of Tamas are greediness in respect of all kinds of food, ceaseless appetite for both food and drink, taking pleasure in scents and robes and sports and beds and seats and sleep during the day and calumny and all kinds of acts proceeding from heedlessness, taking pleasure, from ignorance (of purer sources of joy) in dancing and instrumental and vocal music, and aversion for every kind of religion. These, indeed, are the indications of Tamas–’”

“‘Yajnavalkya said, These three, O foremost of men, (viz., Sattwa, Rajas, and Tamas), are the attributes of Prakriti. These attach to all things of the universe and always inhere to them. The Unmanifest Purusha endued with the six Yoga attributes transforms himself by himself into hundreds and thousands and millions and millions of forms (by embracing these three attributes). Those that are conversant with the science of Adhyatma, say that unto the attribute of Sattwa is assigned a high, unto Rajas a middling, and unto Tamas, a low place in the universe. By the aid of unmixed righteousness one attains to a high end (viz., that of the deities or other celestial beings). Through righteousness mixed with sin one attains to the status of humanity. While through unmixed sin one sinks into a vile end (by becoming an animal or a vegetable etc.). Listen now to me, O king, as I speak to thee of the intermixture or compounds of the three attributes of Sattwa, Rajas, and Tamas. Sometimes Rajas is seen existing with Sattwa. Tamas also exists with Rajas. With Tamas may also be seen Sattwa. Then also may Sattwa and Rajas and Tamas be seen existing together and in equal proportions. They constitute the Unmanifest or Prakriti. When the Unmanifest (Purusha) becomes endued with only Sattwa, he attains to the regions of the deities. Endued with both Sattwa and Rajas, he takes birth among human beings. Endued with Rajas and Tawas, he takes birth among the intermediate order of Being. Endued with all three, viz., Sattwa and Rajas and Tamas, he attains to the status of humanity. Those high souled persons that transcend both righteousness and sin, attain it is said, to that place which is eternal, immutable, undecaying, and immortal. Men of knowledge attain to births that are very superior, and their place is faultless and undecaying, transcending the ken of the senses, free from ignorance, above birth and death, and full of light that dispels all kinds of darkness. Thou hadst asked me about the nature of the Supreme residing in the Unmanifest, (viz., Purusha). I shall tell thee, Listen to me, O king, Even when residing in Prakriti, He is said to reside in His own nature without partaking of the nature of Prakriti. 1 Prakriti, O king, is inanimate and unintelligent. When presided over by Purusha, then only can she create and destroy.

“‘Janaka said, Both Prakriti and Purusha, O thou of great intelligence, are without beginning and without end. Both of them are without form. Both of them are undecaying. Both of them, again, incomprehensible. How then, O foremost of Rishis, can it be said that one of them is inanimate and unintelligent? How, again, is the other said to be animate and intelligent? And why is the latter called Kshetrajna? Thou, O foremost of Brahmanas, art fully conversant with the entire religion of Emancipation. I desire to hear in detail of the religion of Emancipation in its entirety. Do thou discourse to me then of the existence and Oneness of Purusha, of his separateness from Prakriti, of the deities which attach to the body of the place to which embodied creatures repair when they die, and that place to which they may ultimately, in course of time, be able to go. Tell me also of the Knowledge described in the Sankhya system, and of the Yoga system separately. It behoveth thee also to speak of the premonitory symptoms of death, O best of men. All these topics are well known to thee even as an (emblic) myrobalan in thy hand!’”

“‘Yajnavalkya said, That which is without attributes, O son, can never be explained by ascribing attributes to it. Listen, however, to me as I expound to thee what is possessed of attributes and what is devoid of them. High-souled Munis conversant with the truth regarding all the topics or principles say that when Purusha seizes attributes like a crystal catching the reflection of a red flower, he comes to be called as possessed of attributes; but when freed from attributes like the crystal freed from reflection, he comes to be viewed in his real nature, that is, as beyond all attributes. 1 Unmanifest Prakriti is by her nature endued with attributes. She cannot transcend them. Destitute of intelligence by nature, she becomes attached to attributes. Unmanifest Prakriti cannot know anything, while Purusha, by his nature, is possessed of knowledge,–There is nothing higher than myself,–even this is what Purusha is always conscious of. For this reason the unmanifest (or Prakriti), although naturally inanimate and unintelligent, still becomes animate and intelligent in consequence of her union with Purusha who is Eternal and Indestructible instead of remaining in her own nature due to destructibility. 2 When Purusha, through ignorance, repeatedly becomes associated with attributes, he fails to understand his own real nature and therefore he fails to attain to Emancipation. In consequence Purusha’s lordship over the principles that flow from Prakriti, he is said to partake of the nature of those principles. In consequence also of his agency in the matter of creation, he is said to possess the attribute of creation. In consequence of his agency in the matter of Yoga, he is said to possess the attribute of Yoga. For his lordship over those particular principles known by the name of Prakriti, he is said to possess the nature of Prakriti. 3 For his agency in the matter of creating the seeds (of all immobile objects), he is said to partake of the nature of those seeds. And because he causes the several principles or attributes to start into life, he is, therefore, said to be subject to decay and destruction (for those principles themselves are subject thereto). In consequence, again, of his being the witness of everything, and in consequence also of there being nothing else than he, as also for his consciousness of identity with Prakriti, Yatis crowned with ascetic success, conversant with Adhyatma, and freed from fever of every kind, regard him as existing by himself without a second, immutable, unmanifest (in the form of Cause), unstable, and manifest (in the form of effects). This is what has been heard by us. Those Sankhyas, however, that depend upon Knowledge only (for their Emancipation) and the practice of compassion for all creatures, say that it is Prakriti which is One but Purushas are many. 4 As a matter of fact, Purusha is different from Prakriti which though unstable, still appears as stable. As a blade of reed is different from its outer cover, even so is Purusha different from Prakriti. Indeed, the worm that is ensconced within the Udumvara should be known as different from the Udumvara. Though existing with the Udumvara, the worm is not to be regarded as forming a portion of the Udumvara. The fish is distinct from the water in which it lives, and the water is distinct from the fish that lives in it. Though the fish and water exist together, yet it is never drenched by water. The fire that is contained in an earthen sauce pan is distinct from the earthen sauce pan, and the sauce pan is distinct from the fire it contains. Although the fire exists in and with the sauce pan, yet it is not to be regarded as forming any part of it. The lotus-leaf that floats on a piece of water is distinct from the piece of water on which it floats. Its co-existence with water does not make it a portion of the water. The perennial existence of those objects in and with those mentioned, is never correctly understood by ordinary people. They who behold Prakriti and Purusha in any other light are said to possess a vision that is incorrect. It is certain that they have repeatedly to sink into terrible hell. I have thus told thee the philosophy of the Sankhyas that excellent science by which all things have been correctly ascertained. Ascertaining the nature of Purusha and Prakriti in this way, the Sankhyas attain to Emancipation. I have also told thee of the systems of those others that are conversant with the great principles of the universe. I shall now discourse to thee on the science of the Yogins.’”

“Yajnavalkya said, I have already spoken to thee of the science of the Sankhyas. Listen now to me as I truly discourse on the science of the Yogins as heard and seen by me, O best of kings! There is no knowledge that can compare with that of the Sankhyas. There is no puissance that compares with that of Yoga. These two ordain the same practices, and both are regarded as capable of leading to Emancipation. Those men that are not blest with intelligence regard the Sankhya and the Yoga systems to be different from each other. We, however, O king, look upon them as one and the same, according to the conclusion to which we have arrived (after study and reflection). That which the Yogins have in view is the very same which the Sankhyas also have in view. He who sees both the Sankhya and the Yoga systems to be one and the same is to be regarded as truly conversant with the topics or principles that ordain the universe. Know, O king, that the vital breaths and the senses are the chief means for practising Yoga. By only regulating those breaths and the senses, Yogins wander everywhere at their will. 1 When the gross body is destroyed, Yogins endued with subtile bodies possessed of the eight Yoga attributes of Anima, Laghima, Prapti, etc., wander over the universe, enjoying (in that body) all kinds of felicities, O sinless one. The wise have, in the scriptures, spoken of Yoga as conferring eight kinds of puissance. They have spoken of Yoga as possessed of eight limbs. 2 Indeed, O king, they have not spoken of any other kind of Yoga. It has been said that the practices of Yogins excellent as these are (for their results), are of two kinds. Those two kinds, according to the indications occurring in the scriptures, are practices endued with attributes and those freed from attributes. The concentration of the mind on the sixteen objects named, with simultaneous regulation of the breath, O king, is one kind. The concentration of the mind in such a way as to destroy all difference between the contemplator, the object contemplated, and the act of contemplation along with subjugation of the senses, is of another kind. The first kind of Yoga is said to be that possessed of attributes; the second kind is said to be that freed from attributes. 3 Then, again, Regulation of the breath is Yoga with attributes. In Yoga without attributes, the mind, freed from its functions, should be fixed. Only the regulation of the breath which is said to be endued with attributes should, in the first instance, be practised, for, O ruler of Mithila, if the breath (that is inhaled and suspended) be exhaled without mentally reflecting the while upon a definite image (furnished by a limited mantra), the wind in the neophyte’s system will increase to his great injury. 4 In the first Yama of the night, twelve ways of holding the breath are recommended. Alter sleep, in the last Yama of the night, other twelve ways of doing the same have been laid down. Without doubt, one endued with tranquillity, of subdued senses, living in retirement, rejoicing in one’s own self, and fully conversant with the import of the scriptures, should (regulating one’s breath in these four and twenty ways) fix one’s Soul (on the Supreme Soul). 1 Dispelling the five faults of the five senses, viz., (withdrawing them from their objects of) sound, form, touch, taste, and scent, and dispelling those conditions called Pratibha and Apavarga, O ruler of the Mithilas, all the senses should be fixed upon the mind. The mind should then be fixed on Consciousness, O king, Consciousness should next be fixed on intelligence or Buddhi, and Buddhi, should then be fixed on Prakriti. Thus merging these one after another, Yogins contemplate the Supreme Soul which is One, which is freed from Rajas, which is stainless, which is Immutable and Infinite and Pure and without defect, who is Eternal Purusha, who is unchangeable, who is Indivisible, who is without decay and death, who is everlasting, who transcends diminution, and which is Immutable Brahma. Listen now, O monarch, to the indications of one that is in Yoga. All the indications of cheerful contentment that are his who is slumbering in contentment are seen in the person, that is in Samadhi. The person in Samadhi, the wise say, looks like the fixed and upward flame of a lamp that is full of oil and that burns in a breezeless spot. He is like a rock which is incapable of being moved in the slightest degree by ever a heavy downpour from the clouds. He is incapable of being moved by the din of conches and drums, or by songs or the sound of hundreds of musical instruments beat or blown together. Even this is the indication of one in Samadhi. As a man of cool courage and determination, while ascending a flight of steps with a vessel full of oil in his hands, does not spill even a drop of the liquid if frightened and threatened by persons armed with weapons even so the Yogin, when his mind has been concentrated and when he beholds the Supreme Soul in Samadhi, does not, in consequence of the entire stoppage of the functions of his senses at such a time, move in the slightest degree. Even these should be known to be the indication of the Yogin while he is in Samadhi. While in Samadhi, the Yogin beholds Brahma which is Supreme and Immutable, and which is situated like a blazing Effulgence in the midst of thick Darkness. It is by this means that he attains, after many years, to Emancipation after casting off this inanimate body. Even this is what the eternal Sruti declares. This is called the Yoga of the Yogins. What else is it? Knowing it, they that are endued with wisdom regard themselves as crowned with success,–


Yajnavalkya said, Listen now to me, with attention, O king, as to what the places are to which those who die have to go. If the Jiva-soul escapes through the feet, it is said that the man goes to the region of the Vishnu. If through the calves, it has been heard by us, that the man repairs to the regions of the Vasus. if through the knees, he attains to the companionship of those deities that are called Sadhyas. If through the lower duct, the man attains to the regions of Mitra. If through the posteriors, the man returns to the Earth, and if through the thighs to the region of Prajapati. If through the flanks, the man attains to the regions of the Maruts, and if through the nostrils, to the region of Chandramas. If through arms, the man goes to the region of Indra, and if through the chest, to that of Rudra. If through the neck, the man repairs to the excellent region of that foremost of ascetics known by the name of Nara. If through the mouth, the man attains to the region of the Viswadevas and if through the ears, to the region of the deities of the several points of the horizon. If through the nose, the man attains to the region of the Windgod; and if through the eyes, to the region of Agni. If through the brows, the man goes to the region of the Aswins; and if through the forehead, to that of Pitris. If through the crown of the head, the man attains to the region of the puissant Brahman, that foremost of the gods. I have thus told thee, O ruler of Mithila, the several places to which men repair according to the manner in which their Jiva-souls escape from their bodies. I shall now tell thee the premonitory indication, as laid down by the wise of those who have but one year to live. One, who having previously seen the fixed star called Arandhati, fails to see it, or that other star called Dhruva, 1 or one that sees the full Moon or the flame of a burning lamp to be broken towards the south, has but one year to live. Those men, O king, who can no longer see images of themselves reflected in the eyes of others, have but one year to live. One, who, being endued with lustre loses it, or being endued with wisdom loses it,–indeed, one whose inward and outward nature is thus changed,–has but six months more to live. He, who disregards the deities, or quarrels with the Brahmanas, or one, who, being naturally of a dark complexion becomes pale of hue, has but six months more to live. One, who sees the lunar disc to have many holes like a spider’s web, or one, who sees the solar disc to have similar holes has but one week more to live. One, who, when smelling fragrant scents in place of worship, perceives them to be as offensive as the scent of corpses, has but one week more to live. The depression of the nose or of the ears, the discolour of the teeth or of the eye, the loss of all consciousness, and the loss also of all animal heat, are symptoms indicating death that very day. If, without any perceptible cause a stream of tears suddenly flows from one’s left eye, and if vapours be seen to issue from one’s head, that is a sure indication that the man will die before that day expires. Knowing all these premonitory symptoms, the man of cleansed soul should day and night unite his soul with the Supreme Soul (in Samadhi). Thus should he go on till the day-comes for his dissolution. If, however, instead of wishing to die he desires to live in this world, he casts off all enjoyments,–all scents and tastes,–O king, and lives on in abstinence. He thus conquers death by fixing his soul on the Supreme Soul. Indeed, the man, who is blessed with knowledge of the Soul, O monarch, practises the course of life recommended by the Sankhyas and conquers death by uniting his soul with the Supreme Soul. At last, he attains to what is entirely indestructible, which is without birth, which is auspicious, and immutable, and eternal, and stable, and which is incapable of being attained to by men of uncleansed souls.’”

“Yajnavalkya said, ‘Thou hast asked me, O monarch, of that Supreme Brahma which resides in the Unmanifest. Thy question relates to a deep mystery. Listen to me with close attention, O king! Having conducted myself with humility according to the ordinances laid down by the Rishis I obtained the Yajushes, O king, from Surya. Without the austerest penances I formerly adored the heat-giving deity. The puissant Surya, O sinless one, gratified with me, saying,–Solicit thou, O regenerate Rishi, the boon upon which thou hast set thy heart, however, difficult it may be of acquisition, I shall, with cheerful Soul, grant it to thee. It is very difficult to incline me to grace! Bowing unto him with a bend of my head, that foremost of heat-giving luminaries was addressed by me in these words, I have no knowledge of the Yajushes. I desire to know them without loss of time!–The holy one, thus solicited, told me,–I shall impart the Yajushes unto thee. Made up of the essence of speech, the goddess Saraswati will enter into thy body. The deity then commanded me to open my mouth. I did as I was commanded. The goddess Saraswati then entered into my body, O sinless one. At this, I began to burn. Unable to endure the pain I plunged into a stream. Not understanding that what the high-souled Surya had done for me was for my good, I became even angry with him. While I was burning with the energy of the goddess, the holy Surya told me,–Do thou endure this burning sensation for only a little while. That will soon cease and thou wilt be cool. Indeed I became cool. Seeing me restored to ease, the Maker of light said unto me,–The whole Vedas, with even those parts that are regarded as its appendix, together with the Upanishads, will appear in thee by inward light, O regenerate one! The entire Satapathas also thou wilt edit, O foremost of regenerate ones. After that, thy understanding will turn to the path of Emancipation. Thou wilt also attain to that end which is desirable and which is coveted by both Sankhyas and Yogins!–Having said these words unto me, the divine Surya proceeded to the Asta hills. Hearing his last words, and after he had departed from the spot where I was, I came home in joy and then remembered the goddess Saraswati. Thought of by me, the auspicious Saraswati appeared instantly before my eyes, adorned with all the vowels and the consonants and having placed the syllable Om in the van, I then, according to the ordinance, offered unto the goddess the usual Arghya, and dedicated another to Surya, that foremost of all heat-giving deities. Discharging this duty I took my seat, devoted to both those deities. Thereupon, the entire Satapatha Brahmanas, with all their mysteries and with all their abstracts as also their appendices, appeared of themselves before my mental vision, at which I became filled with great joy. 1 I then taught them to a hundred good disciples and thereby did what was disagreeable to my high-souled maternal uncle (Vaisampayana) with the disciples gathered round him. 2 Then shining in the midst of my disciples like the Sun himself with his rays, I took the management of the Sacrifice of thy high-souled sire, O king. In that Sacrifice a dispute arose between me and my maternal uncle as to who should be permitted to appropriate the Dakshina that was paid for the recitation of the Vedas. In the very presence of Devala, I took half of that Dakshina (the other half going to my maternal uncle). Thy sire and Sumantra and Paila and Jaimini and other articles all acquiesced in that arrangement. 3

‘I had thus got from Surya the five times ten Yajushes, O monarch. I then studied the Puranas with Romaharshan. Keeping before me those (original) Mantras and the goddess Saraswati I, then, O king, aided by the inspiration of Surya, set myself to compile the excellent Satapatha Brahmanas, and succeeded in achieving the task never before undertaken by any one else. That path which I had desired to take has been taken by me and I have also taught it to my disciples. Indeed, the whole of those Vedas with their abstracts have been imparted by me to those disciples of mine. Pure in mind and body, all those disciples have, in consequence of my instructions, become filled with joy. Having established (for the use of others) this knowledge consisting of fifty branches which I had obtained from Surya, I now meditate on the great object of that knowledge viz., (Brahma). The Gandharva Viswavasu, well-conversant with the Vedanta scriptures, desirous, O king, of ascertaining what is beneficial for the Brahmanas in this knowledge and what truth occurs in it, and what is the excellent object of this knowledge, one questioned me. He put to me altogether four and twenty questions, O king, relating to the Vedas. Finally, he asked me a question, numbered twenty-fifth which relates to that branch of knowledge which is concerned with the inferences of ratiocination. Those questions are as follows: What is universe and what is not-universe? What is Aswa and what Aswa? What is Mitra? What is Varuna? What is Knowledge? What is Object of knowledge? What is Unintelligent? What is Intelligent? Who is Kah? Who is possessed of the principle of change? Who is not possessed of the same? What is he that devours the Sun and what is the Sun? What is Vidya and what is Avidya? What is Immobile and what Mobile? What is without beginning, what is Indestructible, and what is Destructible? These were the excellent questions put to me by that foremost of Gandharvas. After king Viswavasu, that foremost of Gandharvas, had asked me these questions one after another, I answered them properly. At first, however, I told him, Wait for a brief space of time, till I reflect on thy questions! So be it, Gandharva said, and sat in silence. I then thought once again of the goddess Saraswati in my mind. The replies then to those questions naturally arose in my mind like butter from curds. Keeping in view the high science of inferential ratiocination, I churned with my mind, O monarch, the Upanishads and the supplementary scriptures relating to the Vedas. The fourth science then that treats of Emancipation, O foremost of kings, and on which I have already discoursed to thee, and which is based upon the twenty-fifth, viz., Jiva, I then expounded to him. 1 Having said all this, O monarch, to king Viswavasu, I then addressed him, saying, Listen now to the answers that I give unto the several questions that thou hast put to me. I now turn to the question, which, O Gandharva, thou askest, viz., What is Universe and what is not-universe? The Universe is Unmanifest and original Prakriti endued with the principles of birth and death which are terrible (to those that are desirous of Emancipation). It is, besides, possessed of the three attributes (of Sattwa, Rajas, and Tamas), in consequence of its producing principles all of which are fraught with those attributes. 1 That which is Not-universe is Purusha divested of all attributes. By Aswa and Aswa are meant the female and the male, i.e., the former is Prakriti and the latter is Purusha. Similarly, Mitra is Purusha, and Varuna is Prakriti. 2 Knowledge, again, is said to be Prakriti, while the object to be known is called Purusha. The Ignorant (Jiva), and the Knowing or Intelligent are both Purusha without attributes (for it is Purusha that becomes Jiva when invested with Ignorance). Thou hast asked what is Kah, who is endued with change and who is unendued therewith. I answer, Kah is Purusha. 3 That which is endued with change is Prakriti. He that is not endued therewith is Purusha. Similarly, that which is called Avidya (the unknowable) is Prakriti; and that which is called Vidya is Purusha. Thou hast asked me about the Mobile and the Immobile. Listen to what my answer is. That which is mobile is Prakriti, which undergoing modification, constitutes the cause of Creation and Destruction. The Immobile is Purusha, for without himself undergoing modifications he assists at Creation and Destruction. (According to a different system of philosophy) that which is Vedya is Prakriti; while that which is Avedya is Purusha. Both Prakriti and Purusha are said to be unintelligent, stable, indestructible, unborn, and eternal, according to the conclusions arrived at by philosophers conversant with the topics included in the name of Adhyatma. In consequence of the indestructibility of Prakriti in the matter of Creation, Prakriti, which is unborn, is regarded as not subject to decay or destruction. Purusha, again, is indestructible and unchangeable, for change it has none. The attributes that reside in Prakriti are destructible, but not Prakriti herself. The learned, therefore, call Prakriti indestructible. Prakriti also, by undergoing modifications, operates as the cause of Creation. The created results appear and disappear, but not original Prakriti. Hence also is Prakriti called indestructible. Thus have I told thee conclusions of the Fourth Science based on the principles of ratiocinative inference and having Emancipation for its end. Having acquired by the science of ratiocinative inference and by waiting upon preceptors, the Rich, the Samans, and the Yajushes, all the obligatory practices should be observed and all the Vedas studied with reverence, O Viswavasu! O foremost of Gandharvas, they who study the Vedas with all their branches but who do not know the Supreme Soul from which all things take their birth and into which all things merge when destruction comes, and which is the one object whose knowledge the Vedas seek to inculcate, Indeed, they, who have no acquaintance with that which the Vedas seek to establish, study the Vedas to no purpose and bear their burthen of such study in vain. If a person desirous of butter churns the milk of the she-ass, without finding what he seeks he simply meets with a substance that is as foul of smell as ordure. After the same manner, if one, having studied the Vedas, fails to comprehend what is Prakriti and what is Purusha, one only proves one’s own foolishness of understanding and bears a useless burthen (in the form of Vedic lore). 1 One should, with devoted attention, reflect on both Prakriti and Purusha, so that one may avoid repeated birth and death. Reflection upon the fact of one’s repeated births and deaths and avoiding the religion of acts that is productive at best of destructible results, one should betake oneself to the indestructible religion of Yoga. O Kasyapa, if one continuously on the nature of the Jiva-soul and its connection with the Supreme Soul, one then succeeds in divesting oneself on all attributes and in beholding the Supreme Soul. The Eternal and Unmanifest Supreme Soul is regarded by men of foolish understandings to be different from the twenty-fifth or Jiva-soul. They are endued with wisdom that behold both these as truly one and the same. Frightened at repeated births and deaths, the Sankhyas and Yogins regard the Jiva-soul and the Supreme Soul to be one and the same.’

“Viswavasu then said, ‘Thou hast, O foremost of Brahmanas, said that Jiva-soul is indestructible and truly undistinguished from the Supreme Soul. This, however, is difficult to understand. It behoveth thee to once more discourse on this topic to me. I have heard discourses on this subject from Jaigishavya, Aista, Devala, the regenerate sage Parasara, the intelligent Varshaganya, Bhrigu, Panchasikha Kapila, Suka, Gautama, Arshtisena, the high-souled Garga, Narada, Asuri, the intelligent Paulastya, Sanatkumara, the high-souled Sukra, and my sire Kasyapa. Subsequently I heard the discourses of Rudra and the intelligent Viswarupa, of several of the deities, of the Pitris. and the Daityas. I have acquired all that they say, for they generally discourse that eternal object of all knowledge. I desire, however, to hear what thou mayst say on those topics with the aid of thy intelligence. Thou art the foremost of all persons, and a learned lecturer on the scriptures, and endued with great intelligence. There is nothing that is unknown to thee. Thou art an ocean of the Srutis, as described, O Brahmana, in the world of both the deities and Pitris. The great Rishis residing in the region of Brahma say that Aditya himself, the eternal lord of all luminaries, is thy preceptor (in the matter of this branch of knowledge). O Yajnavalkya, thou hast obtained the entire science, O Brahmana, of the Sankhyas, as also the scriptures of the Yogins in particular. Without doubt, thou art enlightened, fully conversant with the mobile immobile universe. I desire to hear thee discourse on that knowledge, which may be likened to clarified butter endued with solid grains.’

“Yajnavalkya said, ‘Thou art, O foremost of Gandharvas, competent to comprehend every knowledge. As, however, thou askest me do thou hear me then discourse to thee according as I myself have obtained it from my preceptor. Prakriti, which is unintelligent, is apprehended by Jiva. Jiva, however, cannot be apprehended by Prakriti, O Gandharva. In consequence of Jiva being reflected in Prakriti, the latter is called Pradhana by Sankhyas and Yogins conversant with the original principles as indicated in the Srutis. O sinless one, the other, beholding, beholds the twenty-fourth (Prakriti) and the twenty-fifth. (Soul); not beholding, it beholds the twenty-sixth. 1 The twenty-fifth thinks that there is nothing higher than itself. In reality, however, though beholding, it does not behold that (viz., the twenty-sixth) which beholds it. 2Men possessed of wisdom should never accept the Twenty-fourth (viz., Prakriti, which is unintelligent or inert) as identifiable with the Twenty-fifth or the Soul which has a real and independent existence. The fish live in water. It goes thither impelled by its own nature. As the fish, though living in the water, is to be regarded as separate from it, after the same manner is the Twenty-fifth to be apprehended (i.e., though the Twenty-fifth exists in a state of contact with the Twenty-fourth or Prakriti, it is, however, in its real nature, separate from and independent of Prakriti). When overwhelmed with the consciousness of meum or self, and when unable to understand its identity with the Twenty-sixth, in fact, in consequence of the illusion that invests it, of its co-existence with Prakriti, and of its own manner of thinking, the Jiva-soul always skins down, but when freed from such consciousness it goes upwards. When the Jiva-soul succeeds in apprehending that it is one, and Prakriti with which it resides is another, then only does it, O regenerate one, succeed in beholding the Supreme Soul and attaining to the condition of Oneness with the universe. The Supreme is one, O king, and the Twenty-fifth (or Jiva-soul) is another. In consequence, however, of the Supreme overlying the Jiva-soul the wise regard both to be one and the same. 1 For these reasons, Yogins, and followers of the Sankhya system of philosophy, terrified by the birth and death, blessed with sight of the Twenty-sixth, pure in body and mind, and devoted to the Supreme Soul, and do not welcome the Jiva-soul as indestructible. 2 When one beholds the Supreme Soul and losing all consciousness of individuality becomes identified with the Supreme, one than becomes omniscient, and possessed of such omniscience one becomes freed from the obligation of rebirth. I have thus discoursed to thee truly, sinless one, about Prakriti which is unintelligent, and Jiva-soul which is possessed of intelligence, and the Supreme Soul which is endued with omniscience, according to the indications occurring in the Srutis. That man, who beholds not any difference between the knower or the known, is both Kevala and not-Kevala, is the original cause of the universe, is both Jiva-soul and the Supreme Soul. 3

“Viswavasu said, ‘O puissant one, thou hast duly and adequately discoursed on that which is the origin of all the deities and which is productive of Emancipation. Thou hast said what is true and excellent. May inexhaustible blessings always attend thee, and may thy mind be ever united with intelligence!’

“Yajnavalkya continued, ‘Having said those words, the prince of Gandharvas proceeded towards heaven, shining in resplendence of beauty. Before leaving me, the high-souled one duly honoured me by taking the accustomed turns round my person, and I looked upon him, highly pleased. He inculcated the science he had obtained from me unto those celestials that dwell in the regions of Brahman and other deities, unto those that dwell on Earth, unto also the denizens of the nether regions, and unto them that had adopted the path of Emancipation, O king. The Sankhyas are devoted to the practices of their system. The Yogins are devoted to the practices inculcated by their system. Others there are that are desirous of achieving their Emancipation. Unto these latter this science is productive of visible fruits, O lion among king. Emancipation flows from Knowledge. Without Knowledge it can never be attained. The wise have said it, O monarch. Hence, one should strive one’s best for acquiring true Knowledge in all its details, by which one may succeed in freeing oneself from birth and death. Obtaining knowledge from a Brahmana or a Kshatriya or Vaisya or even a Sudra who is of low birth, one endued with faith should always show reverence for such knowledge. Birth and death cannot assail one that is endued with faith. All orders of men are Brahmanas. All are sprung from Brahma. All men utter Brahma. 1Aided by an understanding that is derived from and directed to Brahma. I inculcated this science treating of Prakriti and Purusha. Indeed, this whole universe is Brahma. From the mouth of Brahma sprung the Brahmanas; from his arms, sprung the Kshatriyas; from his navel, the Vaisya; and from his feet, the Sudras. All the orders, (having sprung in this way) should not be regarded as pilfering from one another. Impelled by Ignorance, all men meet with death and attain, O king, to birth that is the cause of acts. 2 Divested of Knowledge, all orders of men, dragged by terrible Ignorance, fall into varied orders of being due to the principles that flow from Prakriti. For this reason, all should, by every means, seek to acquire Knowledge. I have told thee that every person is entitled to strive for its acquisition. One that is possessed of Knowledge is a Brahmana. Others, (viz., Kshatriyas and Vaisyas and Sudras) are possessed of knowledge. Hence, this science of Emancipation is always open to them all. This, O king has been said by the Wise. The questions thou hadst asked me have all been answered by me agreeably to the truth. Do thou, therefore, cast off all grief. Go thou to the other end of this enquiry. Thy questions were good. Blessings on thy head for ever!

“Bhishma continued–Thus instructed by the intelligent Yajnavalkya the king of Mithila became filled with joy. The king honoured that foremost of ascetics by walking round his person. Dismissed by the monarch, he departed from his court. King Daivarati, having obtained the knowledge of the religion of Emancipation, took his seat, and touching a million of kine and a quantity of gold and a measure of gems and jewels, gave them away unto a number of Brahmanas. Installing his son in the sovereignty of the Videhas, the old king began to live, adopting the practices of the Yatis. Thinking mainly of all ordinary duties and their derelictions (as laid down in the scriptures), the king began to study the science of the Sankhyas and the Yogins in their entirety. Regarding himself to be Infinite, he began to reflect on only the Eternal and Independent One. He cast off all ordinary duties and their derelictions, Virtue and Vice, Truth and Falsehood, Birth and Death, and all other things appertaining to the principles produced by Prakriti. Both Sankhyas and Yogins, agreeably to the teachings of their sciences, regard this universe to be due to the action of the Manifest and the Unmanifest. The learned say that Brahma is freed from good and evil, is self-dependent, the highest of the high, Eternal, and Pure. Do thou, therefore, O monarch, become Pure! The giver, the receiver of the gift, the gift itself, and that which is ordered to be given away, are all to be deemed as the unmanifest Soul. The Soul is the Soul’s one possession. Who, therefore, can be a stranger to one? Do thou think always in this way. Never think otherwise. He who does not know what is Prakriti possessed of attributes and what is Purusha transcending attributes, only he, not possessed as he is of knowledge, repairs to sacred waters and performs sacrifices. Not by study of the Vedas, not by penances, not by sacrifices O son of Kuru, can one attain to the status of Brahma. Only when one succeeds in apprehending the Supreme or Unmanifest, one comes to be regarded with reverence. They who wait upon Mahat attain to regions of Mahat. They who wait upon Consciousness, attain to the spot that belongs to Consciousness. They who wait upon what is higher attain to places that are higher than these. Those persons, learned in the scriptures, who succeed in apprehending Eternal Brahma who is higher than Unmanifest Prakriti, succeed in obtaining that which transcends birth and death, which is free from attributes, and which is both existent and non-existent I got all this knowledge from Janaka. The latter had obtained it from Yajnavalkya. Knowledge is very superior. Sacrifices cannot compare with it. With the aid of Knowledge one succeeds in crossing the world’s ocean which is full of difficulties and dangers. One can never cross that ocean by means of sacrifices. Birth and death, and other impediments, O king, men of knowledge say, one cannot pass over by ordinary exertion. 1Men attain to heaven through sacrifices, penances, vows, and observances. But they have again to fall down therefrom on the Earth. Do thou, therefore, adore with reverence that which is Supreme, most pure, blessed, stainless, and sacred, and which transcends all states (being Emancipation itself). By apprehending Kshetra, O king, and by performing the Sacrifice that consists in the acquisition of Knowledge, thou wilt really be wise. In former time, Yajnavalkya did that good to king Janaka which is derivable from a study of the Upanishads. The Eternal and Immutable Supreme was the topic about which the great Rishi had discoursed to the king of Mithila. It enabled him to attain to that Brahma which is auspicious, and immortal, and which transcends all kinds of sorrow.”


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