The Sanatsujatiya

1882 | 19,694 words

Volume 8, The Sacred Books of the East. This part Contains the english translation of the Sanatsujatiya (a portion of the Udyoga Parva from the Mahabharata)....

Dhṛtarāṣṭra said:

If, O Vidura! there is anything not (yet) said by you in (your) discourse, then do impart it to me who wish to hear, for you have spoken marvellous (things).

Vidura said:

O Dhṛtarāṣṭra! the ancient youth Sanatsujāta, (otherwise called) Sanātana[1], who declared that death exists not--he, O descendant of Bharata! the best of all talented men, will explain all the doubts of your mind, both those (which are) secret[2], and those openly declared.

Dhṛtarāṣṭra said:

What, do you not yourself know more about this (subject), that Sanātana should explain (it) to me? Explain (it) yourself, O Vidura! if there is any remnant of intelligence (left) in you.

Vidura said:

I am born of a Śūdra womb, and do not like to say more than what (I have said). But the intelligence of that youth, I believe to be eternal[3]. He who has come of a Brāhmaṇa womb, even though he may proclaim a great mystery, does not thereby become liable to the censure of the gods. Therefore do I say this to you.

Dhṛtarāṣṭra said:

Do you, O Vidura! speak to the ancient Sanātana for me, so that there may be a meeting even here, between (myself in) this body (and him).

Vaiśampāyana[4] said:

(Then) Vidura meditated on that sage whose vows are laudable[5]. And he, too, O descendant of Bharata! knowing of such meditation, made his appearance. And he[6], too, received him with the ceremonies prescribed in the ordinances. After he had been comfortably seated, and had taken rest, Vidura then spoke to him: 'Venerable sir! there is some doubt in Dhṛtarāṣṭra's mind, which cannot be explained by me. Do you be pleased to explain (it) to him. Hearing it (explained), this lord of men may cross beyond all misery, so that gain and loss[7], (what is) agreeable and (what is) odious, old age and death, fear and vindictiveness, hunger and thirst, frenzy and worldly greatness, disgust and also laziness, desire and wrath, ruin and prosperity, may not trouble him.'

Footnotes and references:


So Nīlakaṇṭha. Śaṅkara says Sanatsujāta is Sanatkumāra, and the component parts of the name he paraphrases by 'born from Brahman.' For Sanātana, see Bṛhadāraṇyaka, p. 506, and note  1, p. 141 supra.


I. e. relating to subjects which may be freely discussed by all, and those which may not. Nīlakaṇṭha adopts a different reading, which he interprets to mean 'doctrines exoteric and esoteric,' e. g. self-restraint, &c., and the acquisition of mystic power, &c., respectively. The expression 'doubts of the mind' occurs. however, further on.


I. e., I suppose, never-failing, and such as can deal with all sorts of topics. Sanatkumāra, it need scarcely be stated, is the teacher of Nārada in the famous dialogue in the Chāndogyopaniṣad, p. 473.


Vaiśampāyana is the narrator of the grand story of which pieces like the present form parts.


The reading is sometimes different, so as to mean 'of rigid vows,' as at Gītā, p. 61 supra.


The pronouns here are too numerous. Does 'he' here refer to Dhṛtarāṣṭra? Vidura seems more likely, though the express mention of him in the next sentence might be treated as pointing the other way.


Comp. Gītā passim; disgust, scil. that resulting from a general dissatisfaction with everything. As to 'ruin and prosperity,' Nīlakaṇṭha adds, 'and their causes, sin and merit.'

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