Sacred Texts  Hinduism  Mahabharata  Index  Previous  Next 


"Yudhishthira said, 'It behoveth thee, O grandsire, to discourse to me on that which is freed from duty and its reverse, which is freed from every doubt, which transcends birth and death, as also virtue and sin, which is auspiciousness, which is eternal fearlessness, which is Eternal and Indestructible, and Immutable, which is always Pure, and which is ever free from the toil of exertion.'

"Bhishma said, 'I shall in this connection recite to thee the old narrative, O Bharata, of the discourse between Yajnavalkya and Janaka. Once on a time the famous king Daivarati of Janaka's race, fully conversant with the import of all questions, addressed this question to Yajnavalkya, that foremost of Rishis.

"'Janaka said, 'O regenerate Rishi, how many kinds of senses are there? How many kinds also are there of Prakriti? What is the Unmanifest and highest Brahma? What is higher than Brahma? What is birth and what is death? What are the limits of Age? It behoveth thee, O foremost of Brahmanas, to discourse on all these topics unto me that am solicitous of obtaining thy grace; I am ignorant while thou art an Ocean of knowledge. Hence, I ask thee! Verily, I desire to hear thee discourse on all these subjects!

"'Yajnavalkya said, Hear, O monarch, what I say in an answer to these questions of thine, I shall impart to thee the high knowledge

p. 35

which Yogins value, and especially that which is possessed by the Sankhyas. Nothing is unknown to thee. Still thou askest me. One however, that is questioned should answer. This is the eternal practice. Eight principles have been called by the name of Prakriti, while sixteen have been called modifications. Of Manifest, there are seven. These are the views of those persons who are conversant with the science of Adhyatma. The Unmanifest (or original Prakriti), Mahat, Consciousness, and the five subtile elements of Earth, Wind, Space, Water, and Light,--these eight are known by the name of Prakriti. Listen now to the enumeration of those called modifications. They are the ear, the skin, the tongue, and the nose; and sound, touch, form, taste, and scent, as also speech, the two arms, the two feet, the lower duct (within the body), and the organs of pleasure. 1 Amongst these, the ten beginning with sound, and having their origin in the five great principles, 2 are called Visesha. The five senses of knowledge are called Savisesha, O ruler of Mithila. Persons conversant with the Science of Adhyatma regard the mind as the sixteenth. This is conformable to thy own views as also to those of other learned men well acquainted with the truths about principles. From the Unmanifest, O king, springs the Mahat-soul. The learned say this to be the first creation relating to Pradhana (or Prakriti): From Mahat, O king of men, is produced Consciousness. This has been called the second creation having the Understanding for its essence. 3 From Consciousness hath sprung the Mind which is the essence of sound and the others that are the attributes of space and the rest. This is the third creation, said to relate to Consciousness. From mind have sprung the great elements, (numbering five), O king! Know that this is the fourth creation called mental, as I say. Persons conversant with the primal elements say that Sound and Touch and Form and Taste and Scent are the fifth creation, relating to the Great (primal) elements. The creation of the Ear, the Skin, the Tongue, and the Scent, forms the sixth and is regarded as having for its essence multiplicity of thought. The senses that come after the Ear and the others (i.e., the senses of action) then arise, O monarch. This is called seventh creation and relates to the senses of Knowledge. Then, O monarch, come the breath that rises upward (viz., Prana) and those that have a transverse motion (viz., Saman, Udana, and Vyana). This is the eighth creation and is called Arjjava. 4 Then come those breaths that course transversely in the lower parts of the body (viz., Samana, Udana

p. 36

and Vyana) and also that called Apana coursing downwards. This, ninth creation, is also called Arjjava, O king. These nine kinds of creation, and these principles, O monarch, which latter number four and twenty, are declared to thee according to what has been laid down in the scriptures. After this, O king, listen to me as I tell thee durations of time as indicated by the learned in respect of these principles or attribute.'"


35:1 These, including Mind, form the tale of sixteen called Vikriti or modifications of Prakriti.

35:2 These are the subtile principles or Tanmatras and not the gross elements.

35:3 Mahat is sometimes called Buddhi hence the creation of Consciousness from Mahat must be creation relating to Buddha.

35:4 Arjjava mean 'relating to straight paths or courses,' so called from the straight course of these winds or breaths. By reference to these breaths is intended the other limbs of the physical system besides those already indicated.

Next: Section CCCXII