Mahabharata (English)

by Kisari Mohan Ganguli | 2,566,952 words | ISBN-10: 8121505933

The English translation of the Mahabharata is a large text describing ancient India. It is authored by Krishna-Dwaipayana Vyasa and contains the records of ancient humans. Also, it documents the fate of the Kauravas and the Pandavas family. Another part of the large contents, deal with many philosophical dialogues such as the goals of life. Book...

Section XXV

"The Brahmana said, 'In this connection is recited the ancient story of what the institution is of the Caturhotra (sacrifice). The ordinances are now being duly declared of that in its entirety. Listen to me, O amiable lady, as I declare this wonderful mystery. The agent, the instrument, the action and Emancipation,—these, O beautiful lady, are the four sacrificing priests by whom the universe is enveloped. Hear in its entirety the assignment of causes (relating to this topic). The nose, the tongue, the eye, the skin, the ear numbering the fifth, the mind, and the understanding,—these seven should be understood as being caused by (the knowledge of) qualities. Smell, taste, colour, sound, touch, numbering the fifth, the objects of the mind, and the objects of the understanding, these seven are caused by action. He who smells, he who eats, he who sees, he who speaks, he who hears, numbering the fifth, he who thinks, and he who understands—these seven should be known as caused by the agent. Possessed of qualities, these enjoy their own qualities, agreeable or disagreeable.[1] As regards the Soul, that is destitute of qualities. These seven are the causes of Emancipation. With them that are learned and possessed of sufficient understanding, the qualities, which are in the position of deities, eat the oblations, each in its proper place, and agreeably to what has been ordained. The person who is destitute of learning, eating diverse kind of food, becomes seized with the sense of mineness.[2] Digesting food for himself, he becomes ruined through the sense of mineness. The eating of food that should not be eaten, and the drinking of wine, ruin him. He destroys the food (he takes), and having destroyed that food, he becomes destroyed himself. The man of learning, however, being possessed of puissance, destroys his food for reproducing it. The minutest transgression does not arise in him from the food he takes. Whatever is thought of by the mind, whatever is uttered by speech, whatever is heard by the ear, whatever is seen by the eye, whatever is touched by the (sense of) touch, whatever is smelt by the nose, constitute oblations of clarified butter which should all, after restraining the senses with the mind numbering the sixth, be poured into that fire of high merits which burns within the body, viz., the Soul.[3] The sacrifice constituted by Yoga is going on as regards myself. The spring whence that sacrifice proceeds is that which yields the fire of knowledge. The upward life-wind Prana is the Stotra of that sacrifice. The downward life-wind Apana is its Sastra. The renunciation of everything is the excellent Dakshina of that sacrifice. Consciousness, Mind, and Understanding—these becoming Brahma, are its Hotri, Adhvaryu, and Udgatri. The Prasastri, his Sastra, is truth.[4] Cessation of separate existence (or Emancipation) is the Dakshina. In this connection, people conversant with Narayana recite some Richs. Unto the divine Narayana were animals offered in days of yore.[5] Then are sung some Samanas. On that topic occurs an authority. O timid one, know that the divine Narayana is the soul of all.'"

Footnotes and references:

[1]:

'These' refers to action, agent and instrument. The qualities of which they are possessed are goodness, passion, and darkness.

[2]:

What is stated in these two verses is this: it is the Senses that enjoy; and not the Soul. This is well known to those that are learned. On the other hand, those that are not learned, regard this or that to be theirs, when in reality they are different from them. They are their selves, and not their senses, although they take themselves for the latter, ignorantly identifying themselves with things which they are not.

[3]:

What is stated here is this: Restraining the senses and the mind, the objects of those senses and the mind should be poured as libations on the sacred fire of the Soul that is within the body.

[4]:

i.e., truth is the Sastra of the Prasastri.

[5]:

Narayana is taken by Nilakantha to stand here for either the Veda or the Soul. The animals offered up to Narayana in days of old were the senses offered up as sacrifices.

Conclusion:

This concludes Section XXV of Book 14 (Ashvamedha Parva) of the Mahabharata, of which an English translation is presented on this page. This book is famous as one of the Itihasa, similair in content to the eighteen Puranas. Book 14 is one of the eighteen books comprising roughly 100,000 Sanskrit metrical verses.

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