The Brāhmaṇa said:
I have crossed beyond that very impassable place, in which fancies are the gadflies and mosquitoes, in which grief and joy are cold and heat, in which delusion is the blinding darkness, in which avarice is the beasts of prey and reptiles, in which desire and anger are the obstructors, the way to which consists in worldly objects, and is to be crossed by one singly. And I have entered the great forest.
The Brāhmaṇa's wife said:
Where is that forest, O very intelligent person! what are the trees (there), and what the rivers, and the hills and mountains; and at what distance is that forest?
The Brāhmaṇa said:
There is nothing else more delightful than that, when there is no distinction from it. There is nothing more afflicting than that, when there is a distinction from it. There is nothing smaller than that, there is nothing larger than that. There is nothing more subtle than that; there is no other happiness equal to, that. Entering it, the twice-born do not grieve, and do not exult. They are not afraid of anybody, and nobody is afraid of them. In that forest are seven large trees, seven fruits, and seven guests; seven hermitages, seven (forms of) concentration, and seven (forms of) initiation. This is the description of the forest. That forest is filled with trees producing splendid flowers and fruits of five colours. That forest is filled with trees producing flowers and fruits of four colours. That forest is filled with trees producing flowers and fruits of three colours, and mixed. That forest is filled with trees producing flowers and fruits of two colours, and of beautiful colours. That forest is filled with trees producing flowers and fruits of one colour, and fragrant. That forest is filled with two large trees producing numerous flowers and fruits of undistinguished colours. There is one fire here, connected with the Brahman, and having a good mind. And there is fuel here, (namely) the five senses. The seven (forms of) emancipation from them are the seven (forms of) initiation. The qualities are the fruits, and the guests eat the fruits. There, in various places, the great sages receive hospitality. And when they have been worshipped and have disappeared, another forest shines forth, in which intelligence is the tree, and emancipation the fruit, and which possesses shade (in the form of) tranquillity, which depends on knowledge, which has contentment for its water, and which has the Kṣetrajña within for the sun. The good who attain to that, have no fear afterwards. Its end cannot be perceived upwards or downwards or horizontally. There always dwell seven females there, with faces (turned) downwards, full of brilliance, and causes of generation. They absorb all the higher delights of people, as inconstancy (absorbs) everything. In that same (principle) the seven perfect sages, together with their chiefs, the richest, abide, and again emerge from the same. Glory; brilliance, and greatness, enlightenment, victory, perfection, and power--these seven rays follow after this same sun. Hills and mountains also are there collected together, and rivers and streams flowing with water produced from the Brahman. And there is the confluence of the rivers in the secluded place for the sacrifice, whence those who are contented in their own selfs repair to the divine grandsire himself. Those whose wishes are reduced, whose wishes are (fixed) on good vows, whose sins are burnt up by penance, merging the self in the self, devote themselves to Brahman. Those people who understand the forest of knowledge, praise tranquillity. And aspiring to that forest, they are born so as not to lose courage. Such, indeed, is this holy forest, as understood by Brāhmaṇas. And understanding it, they act (accordingly), being directed by the Kṣetrajña.
Footnotes and references:
Cf. Lalita Vistara, p. 44.
I. e. not with the help of son, wealth, &c., says Nīlakaṇṭha, as each man's salvation after having got into the course of worldly life depends on himself. Cf. Śānti Parvan (Mokṣa Dharma), chap. 193, st. 32, and Manu IV, 240; obstructor, thief, Arjuna Miśra.
I. e. the Brahman. Nīlakaṇṭha compares a text from the Śruti, 'Kim svid vanaṃ ka u sa vṛkṣa āsa;' see Rig-veda X, 31, 7.
Cf. Chāndogya, pp. 516, 517.
Cf. Sanatsujātīya, p. 180 and note there.
Cf. as to all this Gītā, p. 101.
This is not the forest spoken of before. but what has been before called the 'impassable place,' but which also at p. 286 is by implication called a forest, viz. the course of worldly life.
Viz. the eye, ear, tongue, skin, and nose, and the mind, and understanding--these are called trees, as being producers of the fruits, namely, the pleasures and pains derived from their several operations; the guests are the powers of each sense personified--they receive the fruits above described; the hermitages are the trees above mentioned, in which the guests take shelter; the seven forms of concentration are the exclusion from the self of the seven functions of the seven senses &c. already referred to; the seven forms of initiation refer to the initiation into the higher life, by repudiating as not one's own the actions of each member out of the group of seven. Cf. as to this Chāndogya, p. 219, and commentary there.
Cf. for these different numbers of colours, Yoga-sūtra II, 19, and commentary, p. 105, and Śāṅkhya-sāra, p. 18. The trees here meant are the Tanmātras, or subtle elements, and the theory is that the Gandha-tanmātra, or subtle element of smell, has five qualities, its p. 286 own special one, so to say, and the four special ones of the others; the next is taste, the next colour, the next touch, and the last sound; each has one quality less than its predecessor. See Yoga-sūtra, p. 106, and gloss; Śāṅkhya-sūtra I, 62; and Vedānta Paribhāṣā, p. 45.
These are mind and understanding; the fruits and flowers are here of 'undistinguished colours,' as the text expresses it, since they include the colours of all the fruits of all the other five sets of trees; that is to say, the subject-matter of their operations is sound, taste, &c., the subject-matters of all the senses together. 'Undistinguished colours' is, perhaps, more literally 'of colours not clear.' Arjuna Miśra paraphrases it by 'of variegated colours,' which is no doubt the true ultimate sense.
The self, Nīlakaṇṭha. See p. 279, note 7 supra.
I. e., I presume, devoted to the Brahman.
I. e. true knowledge, Arjuna Miśra.
See note 5, p. 285.
I. e. when the senses having worked, as unconnected with the self, are finally absorbed into it. Cf. Śāṅkhya-kārikā 49 and Kaṭha, p. 151.
It extends on all sides, its end cannot be perceived on any side.
These are, according to Arjuna Miśra, the Mahat, Ahaṅkāra, and five Tanmātras. Their faces are turned downwards, as they are obstacles in the way upwards, viz. the way of final emancipation; they are brilliant, as they light up the course of worldly life; and hence, too, they are 'causes of generation.' They give birth to the universe.
They conceal the higher delight of final emancipation.
I follow Arjuna Miśra, but the text is doubtful.
Viz. the Brahman.
Cf. Chāndogya, pp. 295-300. The word sages here, as before, means the various organs. See Bṛhadāraṇyaka, p. 415.
Glory = renown; brilliance = Brahmic splendour (Brahmatejas); perfection = obtaining what is desired; power = not being conquered by others, Arjuna Miśra. About the sun, see line 3 of text above.
I. e. contentment. See the second line in the text above.
I. e. the space in the heart, the sacrifice being that of 'concentration of mind,' yogayajña,--Nīlakaṇṭha. A confluence of rivers is very sacred--here the meaning intended seems to be the absorption of all desires by contentment into the heart.
I. e. the body in the soul, Arjuna Miśra.
Knowledge is Brahman, which is described as a forest here, Arjuna Miśra.
Cf. Gītā, p. 70.