The ancients who perceived the established (truth) call renunciation penance; and the Brāhmaṇas dwelling in the seat of the Brahman understand knowledge to be concerned with the Brahman. The highest Brahman is very far off, and (the attainment of it) depends on Vedic knowledge; it is free from the pairs of opposites, devoid of qualities, everlasting, of unthinkable qualities, and supreme. The men of talent, who are pure, and whose minds are refined, transcending passion, and being untainted, perceive that supreme (principle) by means of knowledge and penance. Those who are constantly devoted to renunciation, and understand the Brahman and wish for the supreme, go to the happy path by penance. Penance is said to be a light; (correct) conduct is the means to piety; knowledge verily should be understood to be the highest, and renunciation the best penance. He who understands determinately the self which is unperturbed, which abides in all entities, and which is the essential element in knowledge, he is laid down (as being able) to move everywhere. The learned man who perceives, association and dissociation, and likewise unity and diversity, is released from misery. He who desires nothing, and despises nothing, becomes eligible, even dwelling in this world, for assimilation with the Brahman. He who knows the truth about the qualities of Pradhāna, and understands the Pradhāna of all entities, who is free from (the thought that this or that is) mine, and free from egoism, is emancipated, there is no doubt of that. One who is free from the pairs of opposites, free from the (ceremonies of) salutation, free from (the ceremony of) svadhā, attains to that everlasting (principle) which is free from the pairs of opposites, and devoid of qualities, by tranquillity only. Abandoning all action, whether agreeable or disagreeable, developed from the qualities, and abandoning both truth and falsehood, a creature is emancipated, there is no doubt of that. The great tree of Brahman is eternal; a tree which is produced from the unperceived as the seed, which consists of the understanding as its trunk, whose collection of boughs is the great egoism, the sprouts within which are the senses, the great branches of which are the great elements, and the side branches the objects of sense, which is always possessed of leaves, always possessed of flowers, in which agreeable and disagreeable fruits are always produced, and which is fed upon by all creatures. Cutting and piercing this (tree) with the sword of knowledge of the truth, and abandoning the bonds in the shape of attachment, which cause birth, death, and old age, a wise man who is free from (the thought that this or that is) mine, and who is devoid of egoism, is emancipated, there is no doubt of that. There are these two birds, (which are) unchanging, and which should also be known to be unintelligent. But as to that other who is above them, he is called intelligent. (When) the inner self, devoid of knowledge of nature, and (as it were) non-intelligent, understands that which is beyond nature, then understanding the Kṣetra, and with an understanding comprehending all, and transcending the qualities he is released from all sins.
Footnotes and references:
Abandoning of fruit, Arjuna Miśra. Cf. Gītā, p. 121.
Cf. p. 339 supra, note 4, dwelling in = adhering to.
See Gītā, p. 104.
Cf. Sanatsujātīya, p. 158 seq.
Viz. the three famous ones.
Pure, refined, and untainted are not easily distinguished. Probably 'pure' refers to external cleanliness; untainted, 'to freedom from sin and such taints; and 'refined' to freedom from error.
I. e. who have no 'belongings,--'Arjuna 'Miśra.
Action without desire, Arjuna Miśra, who adds that it is called a light, as it leads to knowledge. See too p. 166, and p. 247, note 11, and p. 340 supra.
'Laid down' is literally 'wished.'
I presume this means the real fact underlying the appearances of association and so forth, namely, that there is but one reality, and all appearances of difference &c. are unreal. Cf. Gītā, p. 124. See also p. 313 supra, note 1, and p. 374 infra.
Cf. Gītā, p. 65, and see Kaṭha, p. 155.
Cf. Gītā, p. 65.
The qualities, viz. the three, of Pradhāna, i. e. constituting Prakṛti, or nature.
See Gītā, p. 106, and note 3 there.
For this whole expression which occurs so frequently, cf. Maitrī, p. 44, and comment there.
See p. 324 supra, note 8.
Cf. Gītā, p. 48; Śvetāśvatara, p. 360.
I. e., I presume, what is real and unreal in a worldly view,--the great truth is not to be 'abandoned.' Cf. Taittirīya, p. 97-99; p. 191 supra; Śānti Parvan (Mokṣa), chap. 174, st. 53; Āpastamba II, 9, 21, 13.
I. e., says Arjuna Miśra, the tree of worldly life produced from the Brahman. Compare chapter XII supra.
Cf. Gītā, p. 111; and Muṇḍaka, p. 307, and commentary there.
So I render the original, though the sense at first sight appears to be 'which are caused by birth,' &c.
Viz. the understanding and egoism, which dwell in the 'tree,' Arjuna Miśra. Nīlakaṇṭha says, 'the great and the individual self.'
Cf. Sāṅkhya-kārikā II, and comment of Vācaspati Miśra. The self is not unintelligent; and as the birds are so described, they must stand for some manifestation of Prakṛti, which understanding and egoism are. Otherwise 'bird' does stand for 'self.' See p. 189 supra.
The original word here is sattva, on which see p. 351 supra. Arjuna Miśra renders it here by Prakṛti.
So Nīlakaṇṭha; 'the only intelligent principle,'--Arjuna Miśra. On Nīlakaṇṭha's interpretation 'inner self' must be the same thing as Bhūtātman at Maitrī, p. 41.
See p. 351 supra.
See Gītā, p. 109.