Mahabharata Santi Parva - Translation by KM Ganguly

Mahabharata Adiparva

Section CCXXIX

"Yudhishthira said, 'By what disposition, what course of duties, what knowledge, and what energy, does one succeed in attaining to Brahma which is immutable and which is beyond the reach of primordial nature.' 

"Bhishma said, 'One that is engaged in the practice of the religion of nivritti, that eats abstemiously, and that has his senses under complete control, can attain to Brahma which is immutable and which is above primordial nature. In this connection is cited the old narrative, O Bharata, of the discourse between Jaigishavya and Asita. Once on a time Asita-Devala addressed Jaigishavya who was possessed of great wisdom and fully acquainted with the truths of duty and morality.'

"Devala said, 'Thou art not gladdened when praised. Thou dost not give way to wrath when blamed or censured. What, indeed, is thy wisdom? Whence hast thou got it? And what, indeed, is the refuge of that wisdom?'

"Bhishma said, 'Thus questioned by Devala, the pure Jaigishavya of austere penances, said those words of high import, fraught with full faith and profound sense.'

"Jaigishavya said, 'O foremost of Rishis, I shall tell thee of that which is the highest end, that which is the supreme goal, that which is tranquillity, in the estimation of all persons of righteous acts. They, O Devala, who behave uniformly towards those that praise them and those that blame them, they who conceal their own vows and good acts, they who never indulge in recriminations, they who never say even what is good when it is calculated to injure (instead of producing any benefit), they who do not desire to return injury for injury received, are said to be men possessed of wisdom.  They never grieve for what is yet to come. They are concerned with only what is before them and acts as they should. They never indulge in sorrow for what is past or even call it to their minds. Possessed of power and regulated minds, they do at their pleasure, according to the way in which it should be done, what waits for them to do in respect of all objects, O Devala, if solicited regardfully thereto.  Of mature knowledge, of great wisdom, with wrath under complete control, and with their passions kept under sway, they never do an injury to any one in thought, word, or deed. Destitute of envy, they never injure others, and possessed of self-control, they are never pained at the sight of other people's prosperity. Such men never indulge in exaggerated speeches, or set themselves in praising others, or in speaking ill of them. They are

again never affected by praise and blame uttered by others in respect of them. They are tranquil in respect of all their desires, and are engaged in the good of all creatures. They never give way to wrath, or indulge in transports of joy, or injure any creature. Untying all the knots of their hearts, they pass on very happily. They have no friends nor are they the friends of others. They have no foes nor are they the foes of other creatures. Indeed, men that can live in this way can pass their days for ever in happiness. O best of regenerate ones, they who acquire a knowledge of the rules of morality and righteousness, and who observe those rules in practice, succeed in winning joy, while they who fall off from the path of righteousness are afflicted by anxieties and sorrow. I have now betaken myself to the path of righteousness. Decried by others, why shall I get annoyed with them, or praised by others, why shall I be pleased? Let men obtain whatsoever objects they please from whatsoever pursuits in which they engage themselves. (I am indifferent to acquisitions and losses). Praise and blame are unable to contribute to my advancement or the reverse. He that has understood the truths of things becomes gratified with even disregard as if it were ambrosia. The man of wisdom is truly annoyed with regard as if it were poison. He who is freed from all faults sleeps fearlessly both here and hereafter even if insulted by others. On the other hand, he who insults him, suffers destruction. Those men of wisdom who seek to attain to the highest end, succeed in obtaining it by observing conduct such as this. The man who has vanquished all his senses is regarded to have performed all the sacrifices. Such a person attains to the highest rung, viz., that of Brahma, which is eternal and which transcends the reach of primordial nature. The very gods, the Gandharvas, the Pisachas, and the Rakshasas, cannot reach the rung which is his who has attained to the highest end.'"