Vyasa said: The mind creates (within itself) numerous ideas (of objects or existent things). The Understanding settles which is which. The heart discriminates which is agreeable and which is disagreeable. These are the three forces that impel to acts. The objects of the senses are superior to the senses. The mind is superior to those objects. The understanding is superior to mind. The Soul is regarded as superior to Understanding. (As regards the ordinary purposes of man) the Understanding is his Soul. When the Understanding, of its own motion, forms ideas (of objects) within itself, it then comes to be called Mind.
[Note: In the original, the word Atman is used in various senses. Sometimes it stands for the Jiva-soul (embodied soul), sometimes for the Supreme Soul, sometimes for essence or the principal portion of anything, sometimes for one’s own self, and sometimes even for the person or body. It is not difficult to distinguish in which sense the word is used in what place.]
In consequence of the senses being different from one another (both in respect of their objects and the manner of their operation), the Understanding (which is one and the same) presents different aspect in consequence of its different modifications. When it hears, it becomes the organ of hearing, and when it touches, it becomes the organ of touch. Similarly, when it sees, it becomes the organ of vision, and when it tastes, it becomes the organ of taste, and when it smells, it becomes the organ of scent. It is the Understanding that appears under different guises (for different functions) by modification.
It is the modifications of the Understanding that are called the senses. Over them is placed as their presiding chief (or overseer) the invisible Soul. Residing in the body, the Understanding exists in the three states (of Sattwa, Rajas, and Tamas). Sometimes it obtains cheerfulness, sometimes it gives way to grief; and sometimes its condition becomes such that it is united with neither cheerfulness nor grief. The Understanding, however, whose chief function (as already said) is to create entities, transcends those three states even as the ocean, that lord of rivers, prevails against the mighty currents of the rivers that fall into it.
When the Understanding desires for anything,it comes to be called by the name of Mind.The senses again, though (apparently different) should all be taken as included within the Understanding. The senses, which are engaged in bearing impressions of form, scent etc., should all be subdued. When a particular sense becomes subservient to the Understanding, the latter though in reality not different (from that sense), enters the Mind in the form of existent things. Even this is what happens with the senses one after another (separately and not simultaneously) with reference to the ideas that are said to be apprehended by them.
[Note: If I have understood this verse correctly, the theory of perception laid down is a sort of idealism which has not, perhaps, its counterpart in European metaphysics. The senses are first said to be only modifications of the understanding. The mind also is a modification of the same. A particular sense, say the eye, becomes subservient to the understanding at particular moment. As soon as this happens, the understanding, though in reality it is only the eye, becomes united with the eye, and entering the mind raises an image there, the consequence of which is that that image is said to be seen. External world there is, of course, as independent of mind and understanding. That which is called a tree is only an idea or image created in the mind by the understanding with the aid of sense of vision.]
All the three states that exist (viz., Sattwa, Rajas and Tamas), inhere to these three (viz., Mind, Understanding, and Consciousness) and like the spokes of a car-wheel acting in consequence of their attachment to the circumference of the wheel, they follow the different objects (that exist in Mind, Understanding, and Consciousness).
[Note: The speaker here combats the theory that the qualities of Sattwa, Rajas, and Tamas inhere to the objects themselves of the senses. His own view is that they inhere to the Mind, the Understanding, and Consciousness. The qualities may be seen to exist with objects, but in reality they follow objects in consequence of their permanent connection with the mind, the understanding, and consciousness, which have agency in the production of objects. The commentator cites the instance of a wife’s beautiful and symmetrical limbs. These excite pleasure in the husband, envy in a co-wife, and desire (mixed with pain at its not being gratified) in a weak hearted gazer. All the while the limbs remain unchanged. Then again, the husband is not always pleased with them, nor is the co-wife always filled with envy at their sight, nor is the gazer always agitated. Like the spokes of a wheel which are attached to the circumference and which move with circumference, the qualities of Sattwa, Rajas and Tamas, attached to the mind, understanding and consciousness, move along with them, i.e., follow those objects in the production of which the mind etc., are causes.]
The mind must make a lamp of the senses for dispelling the darkness that shuts out the knowledge of the Supreme Soul. This knowledge that is acquired by Yogis with the aid of all especial agency of Yoga, is acquired without any especial efforts by men that abstain from worldly objects. The universe is of this nature (viz., it is only a creation of the understanding). The man of knowledge, therefore, is never stupefied (by attachment to things of this world). Such a man never grieves, never rejoices, and is free from envy (at seeing another possessing a larger share of earthly objects).
The Soul is incapable of being seen with the aid of the senses whose nature is to wander among all (earthly) objects of desire. Even righteous men, whose senses are pure, fail to behold the Soul with their aid, what then should be said of the vicious whose senses are impure? When, however, a person with the aid of his mind, tightly holds their reins, it is then that his Soul discovers itself like an object (unseen in darkness) appearing to the view in consequence of the light of a lamp. Indeed, as all things become visible when the darkness that envelopes them is dispelled, even the soul becomes visible when the darkness that covers it is removed. [Note: As soon as the darkness of the understanding is dispelled and true knowledge succeeds, the Soul becomes visible.]
As an acquatic fowl, though moving on the water is never drenched by that element, after the same manner the Yogi of freed soul is never soiled by the imperfections of the three attributes (of Sattwa, Rajas and Tamas). After the same manner, the man of wisdom, by even enjoying all earthly objects without being attached to any of them, is never soiled by faults of any kind that arise in the case of others from such enjoyment. He who avoids acts after having done them duly (i.e., who adopts the Sannyasa or the last mode of life of Renunciation, after having duly gone through the preceding modes), and takes delight in the one really existent entity, viz., the Soul, who has constituted himself the soul of all created beings, and who succeeds in keeping himself aloof from the three attributes, obtains an understanding and senses that are created by the Soul.
The qualities (Sattwa, Rajas and Tamas) are incapable of apprehending the Soul. The Soul, however, apprehends them always. The Soul is the witness that beholds the qualities and duly calls them up into being. Behold, this is the difference between the understanding and the Soul both of which are exceedingly subtle. One of them creates the qualities. The other never creates them. Though they are different from each other by nature, yet they are always united. The fish living in the water is different from the element in which it lives. But as the fish and the water forming its home are always united, after the same manner Sattwa and Kshetrajna (Soul) exist in a state of union. The gnat born within a rotten fig is really not the fig but different from it. Nevertheless, as the gnat and the fig are seen to be united with each other, even so are Sattwa, and Kshetrajna. As the blade in a clump of grass, though distinct from the clump, nevertheless exists in a state of union with it, even so these two, though different from each other, each existing in its own self, are to be seen in a state of constant union.
Vyasa said: The objects by which one is surrounded are created by the understanding. The Soul without being connected with them, stands aloof, presiding over them. It is the understanding that creates all objects The three primary qualities (Sattwa, Rajas and Tamas) are continually being transformed (for the production of objects). The Kshetrajna or Soul, endued with puissance, presides over them all, without, however, mingling with them.
The objects, which the understanding creates, partake of its own nature. Indeed, as the spider creates threads (which partakes of its own material substance), the objects created by the understanding partake of the nature of the understanding. Some maintain that the qualities, when driven away by Yoga or knowledge, do not cease to exist. They say this because when once gone, the indications only of their return are not perceptible. (But that is no evidence of their actual destruction). Others say that when dispelled by knowledge, they are at once destroyed never to return.
Reflecting upon these two opinions properly, one should strive one’s best according to the way one thinks proper. It is by this way that one should attain to eminence and take refuge in one’s own Soul alone.
The Soul is without beginning and without end. Comprehending his Soul properly man should move and act, without giving to wrath, without indulging in joy, and always free from envy. Cutting by this means the knot that is in one’s heart, the knot whose existence is due to the operation of the faculties of the understanding, which is hard (to open or cut), but which nevertheless is capable of being destroyed by knowledge, one should live happily, without giving way to grief (for anything that happens), and with one’s doubts dispelled. Know that they who mingle in the affairs of this world are as distressed in body and mind as persons ignorant of the art of swimming when they slip from the land and fall into a large and deep river. The man of learning, however, being conversant with the truth, is never distressed, for he feels like one walking over solid land. Indeed, he who apprehends his Soul to be such, viz., as presenting only the character of Chit (consciousness), which has knowledge alone for its indication, is never distressed. Indeed, a person, by thus comprehending the origin and end of all creatures, and by thus apprehending their inequalities or distinctions, succeeds in attaining to high felicity.
This knowledge is the possession of a Brahmana (Brahmin) in especial by virtue of his birth. Knowledge of the Soul, and felicity like that which has been adverted to, are each fully sufficient to lead to emancipation.
[Note: Janmasamartham is explained as certain to be acquired by virtue of birth or of the practice of the duties laid down for one’s own order. (The four orders are Brahman, Kshatriya, Vaisya and Sudra). Parayanam is moksha-prapakam.]
Indication of a person of knowledge
By acquiring such knowledge one really becomes learned. What else is the indication of a person of knowledge? Having acquired such knowledge, they that are wise among men regard themselves crowned with success and become emancipated. Those things that become sources of fear unto men destitute of knowledge do not become sources of fear unto those that are endued with knowledge. There is no end higher than the eternal end which is obtained by a person possessed of knowledge. One beholds with aversion all earthly objects of enjoyment which are, of course, fraught with faults of every kind. Another, beholding others betake themselves with pleasure to such objects, is filled with sorrow.
As regards this matter, however, they that are conversant with both objects, behold, viz., that which is fictitious and that which is not so, never indulge in sorrow and are truly happy.
That which a man does without expectation of fruits destroys his acts of a former life. The acts, however, of such a person both of this and his previous life cannot lead to Emancipation. On the other hand, such destruction of former acts of this life cannot lead to what is disagreeable (viz., hell), even if the man of wisdom engages in acts.
All above is really an amazing science of the real self. Isnt it really like that as if we are forced into an undesirable condition or situation and forced to experience through our 5 senses all this unreal world, forced to see everything under the sun, all that is really temperory and of in real sense of no use, because something that is temperory and has to end, of what value it is?, Being forced to go through different actions and reactions utilising the 3 modes of nature ie. Satvic, Rajas and Tamsik modes, just because for that very short period of time we allowed our tongue to taste the flesh of some other animal because during that short period we were in the mode of Rajas and Tamsic and hence later then are forced to suffer as per the bad karma of flesh eating, how stupid it looks. Just because for a particular short time we felt like harassing someone because of our agitated mind, which if could be controlled during that particular time would have resulted in all together a different story and we would have not got the result of this bad action or karma.
This Science of the self is really interesting and amazing.
- Desire and Distress.
- My friend the material nature.
- My this temporary body.
- Laws of material nature.
- I prefer to be 'easily contented'.
- Something deep within is always silent.
- True Spiritual position.
- I am beyond time.
- Something that remains permanent and worth yearning for.
- Hold hand of the eternal supersoul
- The Unreal World..