Mahabharata Aswamedha Parva - Translation by KM Ganguly

Mahabharata Adiparva

Section XXXIX

"Brahmana said, 'The qualities are incapable of being declared as completely separate from one another. Passion and Goodness and Darkness are seen existing in a state of union. They are attached to one another. They depend on one another. They have one another for their refuge. They likewise follow one another. As long as goodness exists, so long does Passion exist. There is no doubt in this. As long as Darkness and Goodness exist, so long does Passion exist. They make their journey together, in union, and moving collectively. They, verily, move in body, when they act with cause or without cause. Of all these which act with one another, however, much they may differ in their development, the manner in which their increase and diminution take place will now be declared. There where Darkness exists in an increased measure, in the lower creatures (for example), Passion exists in a smaller measure and Goodness in a measure that is still less. There where Passion exists in a copious measure, in creatures of middle course, Darkness exists in a smaller measure and Goodness in a measure that is still less. There where Goodness exists in a copious measure, in creatures of upward courses, Darkness should be known to exist in a small measure and Passion in a measure that is still less. Goodness is the spring that causes the modifications of the senses. It is the great enlightener. No duty has been laid down that is higher than Goodness. They who abide in Goodness proceed upwards. They who abide in Passion remain in the middle. They who abide in Darkness, being characterised by qualities that are low, sink downwards. Darkness occurs in the Sudra; Passion in the Kshatriya; and Goodness, which is the highest, in the Brahmana. The three qualities exist even thus in the three orders. Even from a distance, the three qualities of darkness and Goodness and Passion, are seen to exist in a state of union and more collectively. They are never seen in a state of separation.  Beholding the sun rising, men of evil deeds become inspired with fear. Travellers on their way become afflicted with heat, and suffer

distress. The Sun is Goodness developed, men of evil deeds represent Darkness; the heat which travellers on their way feel is said to be a quality of Passion. The sun representing light is Goodness; the heat is the quality of Passion; the shading (or eclipse) of the sun on Parvana days should be known to represent Darkness. Even thus, the three qualities exist in all luminous bodies. They act by turns in diverse places in diverse ways. Among immobile objects, the quality of Darkness exists in a very large measure. The qualities appertaining to Passion are those properties of theirs which undergo constant changes. Their oleaginous attributes appertain to Goodness.  The Day should be understood as threefold. The Night has been ordained to be threefold. So also are fortnight, months, years, seasons, and conjunctions.  The gifts that are wide are threefold. Threefold is sacrifice that flows. Threefold are the worlds; threefold the deities; threefold is knowledge; and threefold the path or end. The past, the Present. and the Future; Religion, Wealth. and Pleasure. Prana, Apana, and Udana; these also are fraught with the three qualities. Whatever object exists in this world, everything in it is fraught with the three qualities. The three qualities act by turns in all things and in all circumstances. Verily, the three qualities always act in an unmanifest form. The creation of those three, viz., Goodness, Passion, and Darkness is eternal. The unmanifest, consisting of the three qualities, is said to be darkness, unperceived, holy, Constant. unborn, womb, eternal. Nature, change or modification, destruction, Pradhana, production, and absorption, undeveloped, not small (i.e., vast), unshaking, immovable, fixed, existent, and non-existent. All these names should be known by those who meditate on matters connected with the soul. That person who accurately knows all the names of the unmanifest, and the qualities, as also the pure operations (of the qualities), is well conversant with the truth about all distinctions and freed from the body, becomes liberated from all the qualities and enjoys absolute happiness.'"