The Sanatsujatiya

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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)....

Chapter VI

That pure[1], great light[2], which is radiant; that great glory[3]; that, verily, which the gods worship[4]; that by means of which the sun shines forth[5]--that eternal divine being is perceived by devotees. From (that) pure (principle) the Brahman[6] is produced; by (that) pure (principle) the Brahman is developed[7]; that pure (principle), not illumined among all radiant (bodies), is (itself) luminous and illuminates (them)[8]. That eternal divine being is perceived by devotees. The perfect is raised out of the perfect. It (being raised) out of the perfect is called the perfect. The perfect is withdrawn from the perfect, and the perfect only remains[9]. That eternal divine being is perceived by devotees. (From the Brahman), the waters[10] (are produced); and then from the waters, the gross body. In the space within that[11], dwelt the two divine (principles). Both enveloping the quarters and sub-quarters, support earth and heaven[12]. That eternal divine being is perceived by devotees. The horse[13](-like senses) lead towards heaven him, who is possessed of knowledge and divine, (who is) free from old age, and who stands on the wheel of this chariot(-like body), which is transient, but the operations of which are imperishable[14]. That eternal divine being[15] is perceived by devotees. His form has no parallel[16]; no one sees him with the eye[17]. Those who apprehend him by means, of the understanding, and also the mind and heart, become immortal[18]. That eternal divine being is perceived by devotees. The currents of twelve collections[19], supported by the Deity, regulate the honey[20]; and those who follow after it move about in (this) dangerous (world). That eternal divine being[21] is perceived by devotees. The bee[22] drinks that accumulated honey for half a month[23]. The Lord created the oblation for all beings[24]. That eternal divine being is perceived by devotees. Those who are devoid of wings[25], coming to the Aśvattha of golden leaves[26], there become possessed of wings, and fly away happily[27]. That eternal divine being[28] is perceived by devotees. The upward life-wind swallows up the downward life-wind; the moon swallows up the upward life-wind; the sun swallows up the moon[29]; and another[30], swallows up the sun. Moving about above the waters, the supreme self[31] does not raise one leg[32]. (Should he raise) that, which is always performing sacrifices[33], there will be no death, no immortality[34]. That eternal divine being[35] is perceived by devotees. The being which is the inner self, and which is of the size of a thumb[36], is always migrating in consequence of the connexion with the subtle body[37]. The deluded ones do not perceive that praiseworthy lord, primeval and radiant, and possessed of creative power[38]. That eternal divine being is perceived by devotees. Leading mortals to destruction by their own action[39], they conceal themselves like serpents in secret recesses,[40]. The deluded men then become more deluded[41]. The enjoyments afforded by them cause delusion, and lead to worldly life[42]. That eternal divine being[43] is perceived by devotees. This[44] seems to be common to all mankind--whether possessed of resources[45] or not possessed of resources--it is common to immortality and the other[46]. Those who are possessed (of them)[47] attain there to the source of the honey[48]. That eternal divine being is perceived by devotees. They go, pervading both worlds by knowledge[49]. Then the Agnihotra though not performed is (as good as) performed[50]. Your (knowledge) of the Brahman, therefore, will not lead you to littleness[51]. Knowledge is (his)[52] name. To that the talented ones attain. That eternal divine being is perceived by devotees. The self of this description absorbing the material cause[53] becomes great. And the self of him who understands that being is not degraded here[54]. That eternal divine being is perceived by devotees. One should ever and always be doing good. (There is) no death, whence (can there be) immortality[55]? The real and the unreal have both the same real (entity) as their basis. The source of the existent and the non-existent is but one[56]. That eternal divine being is perceived by devotees. The being who is the inner self, and who is of the size of a thumb, is not seen, being placed in the heart[57]. He is unborn, is moving about day and night, without sloth. Meditating on him, a wise man remains placid[58]. That eternal divine being is perceived by devotees. From him comes the wind[59]; in him, likewise, is (everything) dissolved. From him (come) the fire and the moon; and from him comes life[60]. That is the support (of the universe); that is immortal; that is all things perceptible[61]; that is the Brahman, that glory. From that all entities were produced; and in that (they) are dissolved[62]. That eternal divine being is perceived by devotees. The brilliant (Brahman) supports the two divine principles[63] and the universe, earth and heaven, and the quarters. He from whom the rivers flow in (various) directions, from him were created the great oceans[64]. That eternal divine being is perceived by devotees. Should one fly, even after furnishing oneself with thousands upon thousands of wings, and even though one should have the velocity of thought[65], one would never reach the end of the (great) cause[66]. That eternal divine being is perceived by devotees. His form dwells in the unperceived[67]; and those whose understandings are very well refined[68] perceive him. The talented man who has got rid (of affection and aversion) perceives (him) by the mind. Those who understand him[69] become immortal. When one sees this self in all beings stationed in various places[70], what should one grieve for after that[71]? The Brāhmaṇa has (as much interest) in all beings, as in a big reservoir of water, to which waters flow from all sides[72]. I alone am your mother[73], father, and I too am the son. And I am the self of all this--that which exists and that which does not exist[74]. (I am) the aged grandfather of this, the father, and the son, O descendant of Bharata! You dwell in my self only[75]. You are not mine, nor I (yours). The self only is my seat[76]; the self too is (the source of) my birth[77]. I am woven through and through[78] (everything). And my seat is free from (the attacks of) old age[79]. I am unborn, moving about day and night, without sloth. Knowing (me), verily, a wise man remains placid[80]. Minuter than an atom[81], possessed of a good mind[82], I am stationed within all beings[83]. (The wise) know the father of all beings to be placed in the lotus[84](-like heart of every one).

Footnotes and references:


Free from ignorance and other taints. See Kaṭha, p. 144.


Śaṅkara compares Kaṭha, p. 142. See, too, Muṇḍaka, p. 303; and note infra.


Śvetāśvatara, p. 347, and p. 180 supra.


Śaṅkara refers to Bṛhadāranyaka, p. 887.


Cf. Gītā, p. 112, note .


'Named Hiraṇyagarbha,' Śaṅkara. Cf. Gītā, p. 107; Śvetāśvatara, p. 354; Muṇḍaka, p. 309; Maitrī, p. 130; Taitt. Āraṇ. p. 894.


'In the form of Virāj,' says Śaṅkara. As to these two, cf. Muṇḍaka, pp. 270-272; and Śaṅkara's and Ānandagiri's notes there. See also Śvetāśvatara, pp. 324, 325; and Nṛsiṃha Tāpinī, pp. 233, 234; Colebrooke, Essays, pp. 344, 368 (Madras reprint). The Virāj corresponds rather to the gross material world viewed as a whole; the Hiraṇyagarbha to the subtle elements similarly viewed, an earlier stage in the development. Cf. the Vedāntasāra.


Cf. Mundaka, p. 303, and Gītā, p. 112.


The individual self is part of the supreme (Gītā, p. 112); perfect = not limited by space, time, &c.; as being part of a thing perfect in its essence, the individual soul also is perfect. The individual self is withdrawn from the perfect, viz. the whole aggregate of body, senses, &c. presided over by the self, and when so withdrawn it appears to be the pure self only. Cf. Bṛhadāraṇyaka, p. 948.


'The five elements,' says Śaṅkara, cf. Aitareya, p. 189; and for 'gross body,' the original is literally 'water;' see supra, p. 179, note 6; and see, too, Īsopaniṣad, p. 11, and Śvetāśvatara, p. 368, for different but kindred meanings.


Viz. the lotus-like heart. Cf. Chāndogya,. p. 528.


The two principles between them pervade the universe, the individual self being connected with the material world, the other with heaven; 'divine' is, literally, 'the brilliant,' says Śaṅkara, who quotes Kaṭha, p. 305, as a parallel for the whole passage.


Cf. Kaṭha, p. 111; Maitrī, pp. 19-34; and Mahābhārata Strī Parvan, chap. VII, St. 13. Heaven = the Brahman here (see Bṛhadāranyaka, p. 876); divine = not vulgar, or unrefined-Śaṅkara, who adds that though the senses generally lead one to sensuous objects, they do not do so when under the guidance of true knowledge.


The body is perishable, but action done by the self while in the body leaves its effect.


To whom, namely, the man of knowledge goes, as before stated.


Cf. Śvetāśvatara, p. 347.


Cf. Kaṭha, p. 152, and comment there, where the eye is said to stand for all the senses.


Kaṭha, p. 149; Śvetāśvatara, pp. 346-348, also p. 330 (should it be manīṣā there instead of manviśo ?). The meanings of the three words are difficult to fix accurately. Śaṅkara varies in his interpretations. p. 188 Probably the meaning he gives here is the best. Mind and understanding have been explained at Gītā, p. 57. The heart is the place within, where the self is said to be, and it may be taken as indicating the self, the meaning would then be--a direct consciousness in the self of its unity with the Supreme. See, too, Taitt Āraṇ. p.896.


The five organs of action, the five senses of perception, the mind and understanding make the twelve.


Each current has its own honey regularly distributed to it under the supervision of the Deity, the Supreme. Honey = material enjoyment. Cf. Kaṭha, p. 126, where Śaṅkara renders it by karmaphala, 'fruit of action.'


Who supervises the distribution as stated. Cf. Vedānta-sūtra III, 2, 28-31.


Bhramara, which the commentators interpret to mean 'one who is given to flying about--the individual self.'


I. e. in one life in respect of actions done in a previous life.


Śaṅkara says this is in answer to a possible difficulty that action performed here cannot have its fruit in the next world, as the fruit is so far removed in time from the action. The answer is, The Lord, the Supreme, can effect this, and taking his existence into account there is no difficulty. Oblation = food, &c., Śaṅkara. The meaning of the whole passage, which is not very clear, seems to be that the Lord has arranged things so that each being receives some of this honey, this food, which is the fruit of his own action. Then the question arises, Do these beings always continue taking the honey and 'migrating,' or are they ever released? That is answered by the following sentence.


'The wings of knowledge,' says Śaṅkara, citing a Brāhmaṇa text, those, verily, who have knowledge are possessed of wings, those who are not possessed of knowledge are devoid of wings.'


So, literally; Śaṅkara explains 'golden' to mean beneficial and pleasant,' by a somewhat fanciful derivation of the word hiraṇya. He refers to Gītā, p. 111, about the leaves of the Aśvattha. Nīlakaṇṭha takes the leaves to be son, wife, &c., which are 'golden,' attractive at first sight. 'Coming to the Aśvattha,' Śaṅkara says, means being born as a Brāhmaṇa,' &c. 'Flying away' = obtaining final emancipation.


The 'selfs' are compared to birds in the famous passage at Muṇḍaka, p. 306 (also Śvetāśvatara, p. 337). See also Bṛhadāraṇyaka, p. 499.


Knowledge of whom leads to 'flying away happily.'


Cf. Chāndogya, p. 441. Śaṅkara says that the author here explains the yoga by which the Supreme is to be attained. As to the life-winds, cf. Gītā, p. 61. 'The moon,' says Śaṅkara, 'means the mind, and the sun the understanding, as they are the respective deities of those organs' (cf. Bṛhadāraṇyaka, pp. 521-542, and Aitareya, p. 187, where, however, the sun is said to appertain to the eye).


I. e. the Brahman; the result is, one remains in the condition of being identified with the Brahman.


Literally, flamingo. Cf. Śvetāśvatara, pp. 332, 367; see also p. 289; Maitrī, p. 99; and the commentary on Śvetāśvatara, p. 283.


Viz. the individual self, Śaṅkara; that is, as it were, the bond of connexion between the Supreme and the world. Cf. Gītā, p. 112.


This is the meaning, though the word in the original is Ṛtvij, which in the later literature only means priest.


As the whole of the material world is dissolved, when the self is dissevered from the delusion which is the cause of it.


Viz. who moves about on the waters, as above stated.


Śvetāśvatara, pp. 330-355; Taitt. Āraṇ. p. 858, and comments there.


The life-winds, the ten organs or senses, mind, and understanding. See the same word similarly interpreted at Śvetāśvatara, p. 306, and Sankhya-sūtra III, 9.


According to Śaṅkara, he who makes the distinct entities, after entering into them; he alludes apparently to Chāndogya, p. 407.


Namely, that of giving the poison of sensuous objects.


I. e. the eye, ear, &c., like the holes of serpents.


I. e. can appreciate nought but those sensuous objects.


One reading is, 'lead to danger' = which means 'to hell,' according to Nīlakaṇṭha.


Scil. delusion about whom leads to 'danger' or 'worldly life.'


The quality of being one with the Brahman in essence.


Self-restraint, tranquillity, &c.


I. e. whether in the midst of worldly life, or in the state of perfect emancipation.


Viz. the resources spoken of before.


Viz. the supreme Brahman. 'There' Śaṅkara takes to mean 'in the supreme abode of Viṣṇu.' See Introduction.


Śaṅkara does not explain this. Nīlakaṇṭha says pervading = fully understanding; both worlds = the self and the not-self. Is the meaning something like that of the passage last cited by Śaṅkara under Vedānta-sūtra IV, 2, 14?


He obtains the fruit of it, Śaṅkara. See as to Agnihotra, Chāndogya, p. 381 seq.; and Vedānta-sūtra IV, 1, 16.


I. e. this mortal world, as action &c. would do.


I. e. of one who understands himself to be the Brahman. See Aitareya-upaniṣad, p. 246.


Śaṅkara says, 'the cause in which all is absorbed.' Cf. a similar, but not identical, meaning given to Vaiśvānara at Chāndogya, p. 264; and see Vedānta-sūtra I, 2, 24. Becomes great = becomes the Brahman, Śaṅkara.


Even in this body, Śaṅkara; degradation he takes to mean departure from the body, citing Brihadāranyaka, p. 540.


There is no worldly life with birth and death for one who does good, and thinks his self to be the Brahman; hence no emancipation from such life either.


The Brahman is the real, and on that the unreal material world is imagined. Cf. Taittirīya, p. 97, and Śaṅkara's comments there, which are of use in understanding this passage.


Cf. Kaṭha, pp. 130, 157; and Bṛhadāraṇyaka, p. 360.


Cf. Śvetāśvatara, p. 342; Kaṭha, pp. 100, 107; Maitrī, p. 134.


Cf. Taittirīya, p. 67; Kaṭha, p. 146; Muṇḍaka, p. 293.


Kaṭha, p. 298; Muṇḍaka, p. 288.


See p. 180, note .


See p. 180 supra.


'The individual soul, and God,' say the commentators, the latter being distinct from the supreme self. 'The universe,' says Nīlakaṇṭha, 'means earth,' &c., by which I suppose he means earth, heaven, quarters, mentioned directly afterwards.


Kaṭha, p. 293.


This figure is implied in the Īsopaniṣad, p. 10.


'Therefore it is endless,' says Śaṅkara; and as to this, cf. Taittirīya, p. 51.


'In a sphere beyond the reach of perception,' says Śaṅkara, who also quotes Kaṭha, p. 149, or Śvetāśvatara, p. 347, where the same line also occurs.


The original for understandings is sattva, which Śaṅkara renders to mean antaḥkaraṇa. 'Refined,' he says, 'by sacrifices and other sanctifying operations.' In the Kaṭha at p. 148 sattva is rendered by Śaṅkara to mean buddhi--a common use of the word.


'As being,' says Śaṅkara, 'identical with themselves.' It will be noted that the form of expression is slightly altered here. It is not 'those who understand this.'


I. e. in different aggregates of body, senses, &c. Cf. Gītā, pp. 104 and 124; also Chāndogya, pp. 475-551.


Cf. Bṛhadāraṇyaka, p. 882; Śaṅkara, also refers to Īśopaniṣad, p. 14.


The words are pretty nearly the same as at Gītā, p. 48. Śaṅkara says, the Brāhmaṇa 'who has done all he need do' has no interest whatever in any being, as he has none in a big reservoir, and he cites Gītā, p. 54, in support of this. One copy of Śaṅkara, however, differs from this; that runs thus: 'As a person who has done all he need do, has no interest in a big reservoir of water, so to a Brāhmaṇa who sees the self in all beings, there is no interest in all the actions laid down in the Vedas, &c.; as he has obtained everything by mere perception of the self.' Nīlakaṇṭha's reading is exactly the same as at Gītā, p. 48.


Śaṅkara says that Sanatsujāta states here his own experiences, like Vāmadeva, (about whom there is a reference at Bṛhadāraṇyaka, p. 216) and others, to corroborate what he has already said. Cf. also Gītā, p. 83, as to the whole passage.


See Gītā, p. 84. Nīlakaṇṭha takes what exists to mean 'present,' and what does not exist to mean 'past and future.' Cf. Khāndogya, p. 532.


See Gītā, p. 82, where there is also a similar apparent contradiction.


Cf. Chāndogya, p. 518.


That is to say he is 'unborn,' says Nīlakaṇṭha. Śaṅkara seems to take 'my' with 'seat' only, and not with birth; for he says, 'everything has its birth from the self.'


Cf. Muṇḍaka, p. 298; Maitrī, p. 84, and comment there.


Cf. Gītā, pp. 77, 109, and Chāndogya, pp. 535, 550.


See p. 192, note .


Cf. Gītā, p. 78, and note there.


I. e. a mind free from affection and aversion, hatred, &c., Śaṅkara.


Cf. Gītā, p. 113, and note ; and also Īsopaniṣad, p. 12.


Chāndogya, p. 528; and cf. Gītā, p. 113.

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