"Dhritarashtra said, 'What is the object of asceticism (mauna)? Of the two kinds of mauna (viz., the restraining of speech and meditation), which is approved by thee? O learned one, tell me the true aspect of mauna. Can a person of learning attain to a state of quietude and emancipation (moksha) by that mauna? O Muni, how also is asceticism (mauna) to be practised here?'
"Sanat-sujata said, 'Since the Supreme Soul cannot be penetrated by
both the Vedas and the mind, it is for this that Soul itself is called mauna. That from which both the Vedic syllable Om and this one (ordinary sounds) have arisen, that One, O king, is displayed as the Word.'
"Dhritarashtra said, 'Is he that knoweth both the Rig and the Yajus Vedas, is he that knoweth the Sama Veda, sullied by sins or not when he commiteth sins?'
"Sanat-sujata said, 'I tell thee truly that the man that hath not
restrained his senses is not rescued from his sinful acts by either the Sama or the Rig, or the Yajus Veda.
The Vedas never rescue from sin the deceitful person living by deceit.
On the other hand, like newfledged birds forsaking their nest, the Vedas
forsake such a person at the end.'
"Dhritarashtra said, 'O thou that hast restrained thy senses, if,
indeed, the Vedas are not competent to rescue a person without the aid
of virtue, whence then is this delusion of the Brahmanas that the Vedas
are always destructive of sins?'
"Sanat-sujata said, 'O magnanimous one, this universe hath sprung
from that Supreme Soul by the union of Conditions respecting name, form,
and other attributes. The Vedas also, pointing it out duly, declare the
same, and inculcate that the Supreme Soul and the universe are
different and not identical. It is for attaining to that Supreme Soul
that asceticism and sacrifices are ordained, and it is by these two that
the man of learning earneth virtue. Destroying sin by virtue, his soul
is enlightened by knowledge. The man of knowledge, by the aid of
knowledge, attaineth to the Supreme Soul. Otherwise, he that coveteth
the four objects of human pursuit, taking with him all that he doth
here, enjoyeth their fruits hereafter, and (as those fruits) are not
everlasting cometh back to the region of action (when the enjoyment is
over). Indeed, the fruits of ascetic austerities performed in this world
have to be
enjoyed in the other world (as regards those persons who have not
obtained the mastery of their souls). As regards those Brahmanas
employed in ascetic practices (who have the mastery of their souls),
even these regions are capable of yielding fruits.'
"Dhritarashtra said, 'O Sanat-sujata, how can ascetic austerities
which are all of the same kind, be sometimes successful and sometimes
unsuccessful? Tell us this in order that we may know it!'
"Sanat-sujata said, 'That asceticism which is not stained by (desire
and other) faults is said to be capable of procuring emancipation, and
is, therefore, successful, while the asceticism that is stained by
vanity and want of true devotion is regarded unsuccessful. All thy
enquiries, O Kshatriya, touch the very root of asceticism. It is by
asceticism that they that are learned, know Brahman and win immortality!'
"Dhritarashtra said, 'I have listened to what thou hast said about
asceticism unstained by faults, and by which I have succeeded in knowing
an eternal mystery. Tell me now, O Sanat-sujata, about asceticism that
is stained by faults!'
"Sanat-sujata said, 'O king, the twelve, including anger, as also the
thirteen kinds of wickedness, are the faults of asceticism that is
stained. Anger, lust, avarice, ignorance of right and wrong, discontent,
cruelty, malice, vanity, grief, love of pleasure, envy, and speaking
ill of others, are generally the faults of human beings. These twelve
should always be avoided by men. Any one amongst these can singly effect
the destruction of men, O bull among men. Indeed, every one of these
wait for opportunity in respect of men, like a hunter expectant of
opportunities in respect of deer. Assertion of one's own superiority,
desire of enjoying others' wives, humiliating others from excess of
pride, wrathfulness, fickleness, and refusing to maintain those worthy
of being maintained, these six acts of wickedness are always practised
by sinful men defying all dangers here and hereafter. He that regards
the gratification of lust to be one of life's aims, he that is
exceedingly proud, he that grieves
having given away, he that never spends money, he that persecutes his
subjects by exacting hateful taxes, he that delights in the humiliation
of others, and he that hates his own wives,--these seven are others that
are also called wicked. Righteousness, truth (abstention from injury
and truthfulness of speech), self-restraint, asceticism, delight in the
happiness of others, modesty, forbearance, love of others, sacrifices,
gifts, perseverance, knowledge of the scriptures,--these twelve
constitute the practices of Brahmanas. He that succeeds in acquiring
these twelve, becomes competent to sway the entire earth. He that is
endued with three, two, or even one, of these, should be regarded of
heavenly prosperity. Self-restraint, renunciation,
and knowledge of Self,--in these are emancipation. Those Brahmanas that
are endued with wisdom, say, that these are attributes in which truth
predominates. Self-restraint is constituted by eighteen virtues.
Breaches and non-observance of ordained acts and omissions, falsehood,
malice, lust, wealth, love of (sensual) pleasure,
anger, grief, thirst, avarice, deceit, joy in the misery of others,
envy, injuring others, regret, aversion from pious acts, forgetfulness
of duty, calumniating others, and vanity-he that is freed from these
(eighteen) vices; is said by the righteous to be self-restrained. The eighteen faults (that have been enumerated) constitute what is called mada
or pride. Renunciation is of six kinds. The reverse of those six again
are faults called mada. (The faults, therefore, that go by the name of mada
are eighteen and six). The six kinds of renunciation are all
commendable. The third only is difficult of practice, but by that all
sorrow is overcome. Indeed, if that kind of renunciation be accomplished
in practice, he that accomplishes it overcomes all the pairs of
contraries in the world.
'The six kinds of renunciation are all commendable. They are these:
The first is never experiencing joy on occasions of prosperity. The
second is the abandonment of sacrifices, prayers, and pious acts. That
which is called the third, O king, is the abandonment of desire or
withdrawing from the world. Indeed, it is in consequence of this third
kind of renunciation of desire, which is evidenced by the abandonment of
all objects of enjoyment (without enjoying them) and not their
abandonment after having enjoyed them to the fill, nor by abandonment
after acquisition, nor by abandonment only after one has become
incompetent to enjoy from loss of appetite. The fourth kind of
renunciation consists in this: One should not grieve nor suffer his self
to be afflicted by grief when one's actions fail, notwithstanding one's
possession of all the virtues and all kinds of wealth. Or, when
anything disagreeable happens, one feeleth no pain. The fifth kind of
renunciation consists in not soliciting even one's sons, wives, and
others that may all be very dear. The sixth kind consists in giving away
to a deserving person who solicits, which act of gifts is always
productive of merit. By these again, one acquires the knowledge of Self.
As regards this last attribute, it involves eight qualities. These are
truth, meditation, distinction of subject and object, capacity for
drawing inferences, withdrawal from the world, never taking what
belongeth to others, the practices of Brahmacharya vows (abstinence), and non-acceptance (of gifts).
'So also the attribute of mada (the opposite of dama or
self-restraint) hath faults which have all been indicated (in the
scriptures). These faults should be avoided. I have spoken (to thee) of
renunciation and self-knowledge. And as, self-Knowledge hath eight
virtues, so the want of it hath eight faults. Those faults should be
avoided. O Bharata, he that is liberated from this five senses, mind,
the past and the future, becomes happy. O king, let thy soul be devoted
to truth; all the worlds are established on truth; indeed, self-control,
renunciation, and self-knowledge are said to have truth for their
foremost attribute. Avoiding (these) faults, one should practise
asceticism here. The Ordainer hath ordained that truth alone should be
the vow of the righteous. Asceticism, that is dissociated from these
faults and endued with these virtues, becomes the source of great
prosperity, I have now briefly told these about that
sin-destroying and sacred subject which thou hadst asked me and which
is capable of liberating a person from birth, death, and decrepitude.'
"Dhritarashtra said, 'With Akhyana (Puranas) as their fifth, the Vedas
declare the Supreme Soul to be this universe consisting of mobile and
immobile things. Others regard four God-heads; and others three; others
again regard two; and others only one; and others regard Brahman
alone as the sole existent object (there being nothing else possessing a
separate existence). Amongst these, which should I know to be really
possessed of the knowledge of Brahman.'
"Sanat-sujata, 'There is but one Brahman which is Truth's
self. It is from ignorance of that One, that god-heads have been
conceived to be diverse. But who is there, O king, that hath attained to
Truth's self or Brahman? Man regardeth himself wise without knowing
that One Object of knowledge, and from desire of happiness is engaged in
study and the practices of charity and sacrifices. They have deviated
from Truth (Brahman) and entertain purposes corresponding (with their
state) and hence relying on the truth of Vedic texts thereof perform
sacrifices. Some perform (or attain the object of) sacrifices by the mind (meditation), some by words (recitation of particular prayers, or Yapa); and some by acts (actual consummation of the Yatishtoma
and other costly rites). The person, however, who seeketh Brahman
through Truth, obtaineth his desired objects at home. When however,
one's purposes become abortive (through absence of knowledge of Self),
one should adopt vows of silence and such like, called Dikshavrata. Indeed, Diksha cometh from the root Diksha,
meaning the observance of vows. As regards those that have knowledge of
Self, with them Truth is the highest object of pursuit.'
'The fruits of knowledge are visible; asceticism yieldeth fruits
hereafter. A Brahmana who (without knowledge and asceticism) hath only
read much should only be known as a great reader. Therefore, O
Kshatriya, never think that one can be a Brahman (Brahman-knowing)
by only reading the scriptures. He, on the other hand, should be known
by thee to be possessed of the knowledge of the Brahman who doth not
deviate from Truth. O Kshatriya, the verses that were recited by
Atharvan to a conclave of great sages, in days of old, are known by the
name of Chhandas. They are not be regarded as acquainted with the Chhandas who have only read through the Vedas, without having attained to the knowledge of Him who is known through the Vedas. The Chhandas, O best of men, become the means of obtaining Brahman independently and without the necessity of anything foreign. They cannot be regarded as acquainted with the Chhandas who are acquainted only with the modes of sacrifice enjoined in the Vedas. On the other hand, having waited upon those that are acquainted with the Vedas, have not the righteous attained to the Object that is knowable by the Vedas? There is none who hath truly caught the sense of the Vedas or there may be some who have, O king, caught the sense. He that hath only read the Vedas, doth not know the Object knowable by them. He, however, that
is established in Truth, know the Object knowable by the Vedas.
Amongst those faculties which lead to perception of the body as the
acting agent, there is none by which true knowledge may be acquired. By
the mind alone one cannot acquire the knowledge of Self and Not-Self.
Indeed, he that knoweth Self also knoweth what is Not-self. He, on the
other hand, that knoweth only what is Not-self, doth not know Truth. He,
again, that knoweth the proofs, knoweth also that which is sought to be
proved. But what that Object in its nature is (which is sought to be
proved) is not known to either the Vedas or those that are acquainted with the Vedas. For all that, however, those Brahmanas that are (truly) acquainted with the Vedas succeed in obtaining a knowledge of the Object knowable (by the Vedas) through the Vedas.
As the branch of a particular tree is sometimes resorted to for
pointing out the lunar digit of the first day of the lighted fortnight
so the Vedas are used for indicating the highest attributes of the Supreme Soul. I know him to be a Brahmana (possessing a knowledge of Brahman) who expoundeth the doubts of others, having himself mastered all his own doubts, and who is possessed
of the knowledge of Self. One cannot find what the Soul is by seeking
in the East, the South, the West, the North, or in the subsidiary
directions or horizontally. Very rarely can it be found in him who
regardeth this body be to Self. Beyond the conception of even the Vedas,
the man of Yoga-meditation only can behold the Supreme. Completely
restraining all thy senses and thy mind also seek thou that Brahman which is known to reside in thy own Soul. He is not a Muni who practiseth only Yoga-meditation; nor he who liveth only in the woods (having retired from the world). He, however, is a Muni and is superior to all who knoweth his own nature. In consequence of one's being able to expound every object (Vyakarana), one is said to be endued with universal knowledge (Vaiyakarana); and, indeed, the science itself is called Vyakarana owing to its being able to expound every object to its very root (which is Brahman).
The man who beholdeth all the regions as present before his eyes, is
said to be possessed of universal knowledge. He that stayeth in Truth
and knoweth Brahman is said to be a Brahmana, and a Brahmana, possesseth universal knowledge. A Kshatriya also, that practises such virtues, may behold Brahman. He may also attain to that high state by ascending step by step, according to what is indicated in the Vedas. Knowing it for certain, I tell thee this.'"