Mahabharata Aswamedha Parva - Translation by KM Ganguly

Mahabharata Adiparva

Section XLIII

"Brahmana said, 'Among men, the royal Kshatriya is (endued with) the middle quality. Among vehicles, the elephant (is so); and among denizens of the forest the lion; among all (sacrificial) animals, the sheep; among all those that live in holes, is the snake; among cattle, the bovine bull; among females, the mule.  There is no doubt in this that in this world, the Nyagrodha, the Jamvu, the Pippala, the Salmali, and Sinsapa, the Meshasringa, and the Kichaka, are the foremost ones among trees.  Himavat, Patipatra, Sahya,

Vindhya, Trikutavat, Sweta, Nila, Bhasa, Koshthavat, Guruskandha, Mahendra and Malayavat,--these are the foremost of mountains. Likewise the Maruts are the foremost of the Ganas. Surya is the lord of all the planets, and Chandramas of all the constellations. Yama is the lord of the Pitris; Ocean is the lord of all rivers. Varuna is the king of the waters. Indra is said to be the king of the Maruts. Arka is the king of all hot bodies, and Indra of all luminous bodies. Agni is the eternal lord of the elements, and Vrihaspati of the Brahmanas. Soma is the lord of (deciduous) herbs, and Vishnu is the foremost of all that are endued with might. Tashtri is the king of Rudras, and Siva of all creatures. Sacrifice is the foremost of all initiatory rites, and Maghavat of the deities. The North is the lord of all the points of the compass; Soma of great energy is the lord of all learned Brahmanas. Kuvera is the lord of all precious gems, and Purandara of all the deities. Such is the highest creation among all entities. Prajapati is the lord of all creatures. Of all entities whatever, I, who am full of Brahman, am the foremost. There is no entity that is higher than myself or Vishnu. The great Vishnu, who is full of Brahman, is the king of kings over all. Know him to be the ruler, the creator, the uncreated Hari. He is the ruler of men and Kinnaras and Yakshas and Gandharvas, and Snakes and Rakshasas, and deities and Danavas and Nagas. Among those that are followed by persons full of desire is the great goddess Maheswari of beautiful eyes. She is otherwise called by the name of Parvati. Know that the goddess Uma is the foremost and the most auspicious of women. Among women that are a source of pleasure, the foremost are the Apsaras who are possessed of great splendour.  Kings are desirous of acquiring piety, and Brahmanas are causeways of piety. Therefore, the king should always strive to protect the twice-born ones. Those kings in whose dominions good men languish are regarded as bereft of the virtues of their order. Hereafter they have to go into wrong paths. Those kings in whose dominions good men are protected, rejoice in this world and enjoy happiness hereafter. Verily, those high-souled ones attain to the highest seat. Understand this, ye foremost of regenerate ones. I shall after this state the everlasting indications of duties. Abstention from injury is the highest duty. Injury is an indication of unrighteousness. Splendour is the indication of the deities. Men have acts for their indications. Ether (or space) has sound for its characteristic. Wind has touch for its characteristic. The characteristic of lighted bodies is colour, and water has taste for its characteristic. Earth, which holds all entities, has smell for its characteristic. Speech has words for its characteristic, refined into vowels and consonants. Mind has thought for its characteristic. Thought has, again, been said to be the characteristic of the understanding. The things thought of by the mind are ascertained with accuracy by the understanding. There is no doubt in this, viz., that the understanding, by perseverance, perceives all things. The characteristic of mind is meditation. The

characteristic of the good man is to live unperceived.  Devotion has acts for its characteristic. Knowledge is the characteristic of renunciation. Therefore keeping knowledge, before his view, the man of understanding should practise renunciation. The man who has betaken himself to renunciation and who is possessed of knowledge, who transcends all pairs of opposites, as also darkness, death, and decrepitude, attains to the highest goal. I have thus declared to you duty what the indications are of duty. I shall, after this, tell you of the seizure (comprehension) of qualities. Smell, which appertains to earth, is seized by the nose. The wind, that dwells in the nose is likewise appointed (as an agent) in the perception of smell. Taste is the essence of water. That is seized by the tongue. Soma, who resides in the tongue, is appointed likewise in the perception of taste. The quality of a lighted body is colour. That is seized by the eye. Aditya who always resides in the eye has been appointed in the perception of colour. Touch always appertains to the wind (as its quality). That is perceived by the skin. The wind that always resides in the skin has been appointed in apprehending touch. The quality of ether is sound. That is seized by the ear. All the quarters, which reside in the ear, have been appointed in apprehending sound. The quality of the mind is thought. That is seized by the understanding. The upholder of consciousness, residing in the heart, has been appointed in apprehending the mind. The understanding is apprehended in the form of determination or certitude, and Mahat in the form of knowledge. The unperceived (Prakriti) has been, it is evident, appointed for the seizure of all things after certitude. There is no doubt in this.  The Kshetrajna which is eternal and is destitute of qualities as regards its essence, is incapable of being seized by symbols. Hence, the characteristic of the Kshetrajna, which is without symbols, is purely knowledge. The unmanifest resides in the symbol called Kshetra, and is that in which the qualities are produced and absorbed. I always see, know, and hear it (though) it is hidden. Purusha knows it: therefore is he called Kshetrajna. The Kshetrajna perceives also the operations of the qualities and absence of their operations. The qualities, which are created repeatedly, do not know themselves, being unintelligent, as entities to be created and endued with a beginning, middle, and end. No one else attains, only the Kshetrajna attains, to that which is the highest and great and which transcend the qualities and those entities which are born of the qualities. Hence one who understands duties, casting off qualities and the understanding, and having his sins destroyed, and transcending the qualities, enters the Kshetrajna. One that is free from all pairs of opposites, that never bends his head to any one, that is divested of Swaha, that is immovable, and homeless, is the Kshetrajna. He is the Supreme Lord."'