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Sanat Sujata From Udyoga Parva Xli-Xlvi

Sanat Sujata From Udyoga Parva Xli-Xlvi

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Published by: deepaksubsmani@yahoo.com on Dec 10, 2008
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05/09/2014

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SANAT SUJATA
 
FROM
 
UDYOGA PARVA XLI-XLVI
XLI Inquiry Into Death
Dhritarashtra said: O Vidura, if anything is still left unspoken by you, say it now, as I amready to listen. The discourse is truly delightful.Vidura said: O Dhritarashtra, O thou of the Bharata race, Rishi Sanatsujata, immortal andageless, living a life of perpetual continence, has said that there is no death. He, foremostamong the intelligent, will dissolve all the doubts in your mind, whether spoken or silent.Dhritarashtra said: Do you not know what that immortal Rishi will say to me? O Vidura,say so, if indeed you have that degree of wisdom.Vidura said: Born in the Sudra order, I cannot consequently say more than I already have.However, the comprehension of that Rishi, living a life of perpetual continence, isconsidered by me to be infinite. He who is a Brahmana by birth never incurs the censureof the gods even when expounding the profoundest mysteries. For this alone I do notdiscourse upon this theme.Dhritarashtra said: Tell me, O Vidura, how can I in this body meet that immortal andageless being?Vaisampayana said: Vidura then began to meditate upon that Rishi of inviolable vows.Knowing that he was meditated upon, O Bharata, the Rishi appeared. Thereupon Vidurareceived him with the ordained rites. When the Rishi, having rested awhile, was seated atease, Vidura addressed him thus: "O Illustrious One, there is a doubt lingering inDhritarashtra's mind which I cannot dissolve. It is fitting that you should discourse uponit, so that listening to your words, this chief among men may surmount all his sorrows,and so that loss and gain, the unpleasant and the pleasant, decrepitude and death, fear andenvy, hunger and thirst, pride and prosperity, aversion, sleep, lust and anger, decrease andincrease may all be borne by him! "
XLII Death And Immortality
Vaisampayana said: Having applauded the words spoken by Vidura, the wise andillustrious King Dhritarashtra, desirous of gaining the highest wisdom, questionedSanatsujata in secret. And he thus addressed the Rishi: "O Sanatsujata, I hear that youhold that there is no death. Again it is said that the gods and the asuras perform asceticausterities to avoid death. Which, then, of these two views is correct?"Sanatsujata said: Some say that death may be averted by specific deeds; others hold thatthere is no death; you have asked me which of these is true. Listen, O King, as I discourseon this so that your doubts may be dispelled. Know, O Kshatriya, that both views arecorrect. The learned think that death results from nescience. I say that nescience is deathand its absence is immortality. It is through ignorance that the asuras became subject todefeat and death, and it is from the absence of ignorance that the gods attained the state of Brahman. Death does not devour creatures like a tiger; its form itself is inscrutable.Besides, some imagine Yama to be death. This, however, is due to feebleness of mind.The pursuit of Brahman, or self-knowledge, is indeed immortality.Yama holds sway in the region of the pitris, being the source of bliss to the virtuous andof woe to the sinful. It is at his behest that death, in the form of wrath, ignorance andgreed, occurs among men. Stirred by pride, men ever tread the path of unrighteousness. None of them succeeds in knowing his true nature. With clouded understanding, and
 
 propelled by passions, they cast off their bodies and repeatedly fall into hell. They areconstantly pursued by their senses. Hence nescience receives the name of death.Those who desire the fruits of action, when the time comes to enjoy these fruits, proceedto heaven, casting off their bodies. Hence they cannot avoid death. Through the inabilityto gain the knowledge ofBrahman, and owing to their attachment to earthly enjoyments,embodied creatures are obliged to traverse the cycle of rebirths, up and down and around.It is solely man's natural inclination to unreal pursuits that causes the senses to gravitatetowards error.The soul that is constantly agitated by the craving for unreal objects, remembering onlythat which ever preoccupies it, solely adores the earthly enjoyments that surround it.Desire for enjoyments first destroys men. Lust and wrath soon follow. These three leadthe foolish to death. Those, however, who have subdued their souls succeed by self-conquest in eluding death.He who has subdued his soul without suffering himself to be agitated by ambitious desireconquers the three tendencies, viewing them as valueless, through self-knowledge.Ignorance, assuming the form of Yama, devours not that wise man who controls hisdesires in this manner.The man who indulges his desires is destroyed along with his desires. He, however, whocan renounce desire can certainly expel all sorts of sorrow. Desire is indeed ignorance,darkness and hell for all creatures; swayed by it, they lose their senses. Just as intoxicated persons, walking along a street, reel towards ruts and holes, so too those under the swayof desire, misled by delusive pleasures, run towards their destruction. What can death doto a person whose soul has neither been confounded nor misled by desire? For him deathhas no terrors, any more than a tiger made of straws.Therefore, O Kshatriya, if the state of desire, which is nescience, is to be destroyed, nowish whatsoever, not even the slightest, must be pondered or pursued. That embodiedsoul which is associated with wrath and greed, which is replete with ignorance, is deathitself. Knowing that death arises in this way, he who relies on knowledge does notentertain any fear of death. Truly, just as the body is destroyed when brought under thespell of death, so too death itself is destroyed when it comes under the sway of wisdom.Dhritarashtra said: The Vedas affirm the salvific potency of those highly sacred andeternal regions which are said to be attainable by the enlightened classes through prayersand sacrifices. Knowing this, why should not a learned person resort to such practices?Sanatsujata said: Indeed, he who is without knowledge proceeds hither by the pathindicated by you, and the Vedas also declare that thither are found both bliss andemancipation. But he who views the body as the self, if he also succeeds in renouncingdesire, at once attains emancipation. If, however, one seeks emancipation withoutrenouncing desire, one must perforce proceed along the path of action, taking care toeschew the tendency to retrace the routes already traversed.Dhritarashtra said: Who is it that proclaims the One to be Unborn and Primeval? If, again,it is He who encloses this entire cosmos in consequence of His being all-pervading, whatindeed can be His activity or His enjoyment? O learned Sage, elucidate all this properly.Sanatsujata said: There is a strong objection to wholly confounding the two that aredistinct. Creatures ever emerge through the union of conditions. This view does notdetract from the supremacy of the Unborn and Primeval. As for human beings, they tooarise through the union of conditions. All this that is emergent is truly nothing but the
 
everlasting Supreme Soul. Verily, the entire cosmos is created by the Supreme Soul itself,undergoing transformations. The Vedas ascribe this potency to the Supreme Soul. TheVedas and others are authoritative concerning the essential identity of this potency and its possessor.Dhritarashtra said: In this world some practise virtue and some renounce action. I wish toknow if virtue can eliminate vice, or is it itself destroyed by vice?Sanatsujata said: The consequences of virtue and of inaction are both pertinent; both areindeed assured means of attaining emancipation. The man who is wise, however,achieves success through knowledge. The materialist, on the other hand, acquires meritand consequently liberation. He must also incur sin. Having found again the fruits of bothvirtue and vice, which are transient, the man of action becomes once more addicted toaction in consequence of his own former virtues and vices. But the man of action who possesses intelligence destroys his sins through his virtuous acts. Virtue, then, isefficacious; hence the success of the man of action.Dhritarashtra said: Tell me, according to their gradation, of those eternal regions that areattainable, as the fruits of virtuous acts, by those vigorous persons who are engaged in the practice of virtue. Tell me also about other regions of a similar sort.O learned Sire, I do not wish to hear of actions alone.Sanatsujata said: Those vigorous persons who take pride in their yoga practices, likethose who are strong in their vigour, departing hence, shine in the region of Brahman.Those regenerate persons who proudly exert themselves in performing sacrifices andother Vedic rites, as the fruit of the knowledge which is theirs and in consequence of their acts, freed from this world, proceed to that region which is the abode of the gods. Othersagain, who are conversant with the Vedas, think that the performance of sacrifices andrites is obligatory. Wedded to externals, though seeking to develop the inner self, these persons should not be highly esteemed.The yogin should seek for his livelihood wherever food and drink worthy of a Brahmanaare abundant, like grass and reeds in a spot during the rainy season. By no means shouldhe inflict hunger and thirst upon himself. Wherever there may be both danger andinconvenience to one's distaste, the person who desists from asserting his superiority isfar better than one who extols himself. Food offered by one who is not pained at the sightof a person extolling himself, who never eats without offering the prescribed portion toBrahmanas and guests, is esteemed by the righteous. As a dog often devours its ownexcreta to its own detriment, so too yogins devour their own vomit if they procure their livelihood by proclaiming their pre-eminence.The wise know him as a Brahmana who, living in the midst of his kindred, wishes tokeep unknown his own spiritual practices. Which other Brahmana deserves to know theSupreme Soul that is unconditioned, attributeless, unalterable, singular and solitary,without duality of any kind? Through such practices a Kshatriya can know the SupremeSoul and behold it in his own soul. What sins are not committed by that thief who robsthe soul of its powers, who deems his soul to be the actor and the sentient Self?A Brahmana should abstain from strenuous activity, should never accept gifts, should winthe respect of the righteous, should be calm, and though conversant with the Vedas shouldseem otherwise, for only then can he attain to wisdom and know Brahman. Those whoare rich in celestial wealth and sacrifices, though poor in earthly possessions, becomeinvulnerable and fearless, and should be seen as embodiments of Brahman. Even he who

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