L E C T U R E. II.
Sāṁkhya Theory and Yoga Practice
Charles Wilkins 1785
OF THE NATURE OF THE SOUL AND SPECULATIVE DOCTRINES.
Krishna beholding him thus influenced by compunction, his eyes
overflowing with a flood of tears, and his heart oppressed with deep affliction,
addressed him in the following words :
" Whence, O Arjuna, cometh unto thee, thus standing in the field of battle, this folly and unmanly weakness ? It is disgraceful, contrary to duty 7, and the foundation of dishonour. Yield not thus to unmanliness, for it ill becometh one like thee. Abandon this despicable weakness of thy heart, and stand up."
“Shall I resolve to fight with my arrows in the field against such as Bhīṣma and Droṇa, who, of all men, are most worthy of my respect ? I would rather beg my bread about the world, than be the murderer of my preceptors, to whom such awful reverence is due. Should I destroy such friends as these,
should partake of possessions, wealth, and pleasures, polluted with their 'blood. We know not whether it would be better that we should defeat them, or they us ; for those, whom having killed, I should not wish to live, are even the sons and people of Dhṛitarāshṭra who are here
drawn up before us. My compassionate nature is overcome by the dread of sin.
Tell me truly what may be left for me to do. I am thy disciple, wherefore instruct me in my duty, who am under thy tuition; for my understanding is confounded by the dictates of my duty, and I see nothing that may assuage the grief which drieth up my faculties, although I were to obtain a kingdom without a rival upon earth,. . or dominion over the hosts of heaven."
Arjuna having thus spoken to Krishna, and declared that he would not fight, was silent.
addressed the afflicted prince, standing in the midst. of the two armies, in the following words :
" Thou ' grievest for those who are unworthy to be lamented, whilst thy sentiments are those of the wise men. The wise neither grieve for the dead nor for the living. I myself never was not, nor thou, nor all the princes of the earth; nor shall we ever hereafter cease to be. As the
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soul in this mortal frame findeth infancy, youth, and old age; so, in some future frame, will it find the like. One who is confirmed in this belief, is not disturbed by anything that may come to pass. The sensibility of the faculties giveth heat and cold, pleasure and pain; which come and go, and are transient and inconstant. Bear them with patience, O Son of Bharat; for the wise man, whom these disturb not, and to whom pain and pleasure are the fame, is formed for immortality. A thing imaginary hath no existence, whilst that which- is true is a stranger to non-entity. By those who look into the principles of things, the design· of each is seen. Learn that he by whom all things were formed is incorruptible, and that no one is able to effect the destruction of this thing which is inexhaustible. These bodies, which envelope the souls which inhabit them, which are eternal, incorruptible, arid surpassing all conception, are declared to be finite beings ; wherefore, O Arjuna, resolve to fight. The man who believeth that it is the soul which killeth, and he· who thinketh that the soul may be destroyed, are both alike deceived; for it neither killeth, nor is it killed. It is not a thing of which a man may say, it hath been, it is about to be, or is to be hereafter; for it is a thing without birth ; it is ancient, constant, and eternal,
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and is not to be destroyed in this its mortal frame.
How can the man, who believeth that this thing is incorruptible, eternal, inexhaustible, and without birth, think that he can either kill or cause it to be killed ? As a man
throweth away old garments, and putteth on new, even so the soul, having quitted its old mortal frames, entereth into others which are new. The weapon divideth it not, the fire burneth it not, the water corrupteth it not, the wind drieth it not away ; for it is indivisible, inconsumable, incorruptible, and is not to be dried away: it is eternal, universal, permanent, immoveable; it is invisible, inconceivable, and unalterable ; therefore, believing it to be thus, thou should not grieve. But whether thou believeth it of eternal birth and duration, or that it dieth with the body, still thou hast no cause to lament it. Death is certain to all things which are subject to birth, and regeneration to all things which are mortal; wherefore it doth not behove thee to grieve about that which is inevitable. The former state of beings is unknown; the middle state is evident, and their future state is 'not to be discovered. Why then shouldst thou trouble thyself about such things as these? Some regard the soul as a wonder, whilst some speak, and others hear of it with astonishment; but no one knowest it, although he may
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have heard it described. This spirit being never to be destroyed in the mortal frame which it inhabiteth, it is unworthy for thee to be troubled for all these mortals. Cast but thy eyes towards the duties of thy particular tribe, and it will ill become thee to tremble. A soldier of the Kṣatriya tribe hath no duty superior to fighting.
Just to thy wish the door of heaven is found open before thee. Such soldiers only as are the favorites of Heaven obtain such a glorious fight as this. But, if thou wilt not perform the duty of thy calling, and fight out the field, thou wilt abandon thy duty and thy honor, and be guilty of a crime. Mankind speak of thy renown as infinite and inexhaustible. The fame of one who hath been respected in the world is extended even beyond the dissolution of the body. The generals of the armies will think that thy retirement from the field arose from fear, and thou wilt become despicable, even amongst those by whom thou wert wont to be respected. Thy enemies will speak of thee in words which are unworthy to be spoken, and depreciate thy courage and abilities: what can be more dreadful than this. If thou art slain thou wilt obtain heaven; if thou art victorious thou wi1t enjoy a world for thy reward; wherefore, Son of Kunti, arise and be determined for the battle. Make pleasure and
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pain, gain and loss, victory and defeat, the fame, and then prepare for battle; or if thou dost not, thou wilt be criminal in a high degree. Let thy reason be thus applied in the field of battle.
This thy judgment is formed upon the speculative doctrines of the Sankhya Sāstra; hear what it is in the practical with which being endued thou shalt forsake the bonds of action. A very small portion of this duty delivereth a man from great fear. In this there is but one judgment; but that is of a definite nature, whilst the judgments of those of indefinite principles are infinite and of many branches.
Men of confined notions, delighting in the controversies of the Vedas, tainted with worldly lusts, and preferring a transient enjoyment of heaven to eternal absorption, whilst they declare there is no other reward, pronounce, for the attainment of worldly riches and enjoyments, flowery sentences, ordaining innumerable and manifold ceremonies, and promising rewards for the actions of this life. The determined judgment of such as are attached to riches and enjoyment, and whose reason is led astray by this doctrine, is not formed upon mature consideration and meditation. The objects of the Vedas are of a threefold nature. Be thou free from a threefold nature; be
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free from duplicity, and stand firm in the path of truth; be free from care and trouble, and turn thy mind to things which are spiritual. The knowing divine findeth as many uses in the whole Vedas collectively, as in a reservoir full flowing with water.
Let the motive be in the deed, and not in the event. Be not one whose motive for action is the hope of reward. Let not thy life be spent in inaction. Depend upon application, perform thy duty, abandon all thought of the consequence, and make the event equal, whether it terminate in good or evil ; for such an equality is called Yoga.
The action stands at a distance inferior to the application of wisdom. Seek an asylum then in wisdom 13 alone ; for the miserable and unhappy are so on account of the event of things. Men who are endued with true wisdom are unmindful of good or evil in this world. Study then to obtain this application of thy understanding, for such application in business is a precious art.
Wise men, who have abandoned all thought of the fruit which is produced from their actions, are freed from the chains of birth, and go to the regions of eternal happiness.
When thy reason shall get the better of the gloomy weakness of thy heart, then shall thou have attained all
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knowledge which hath been, or is worthy to be taught. When thy understanding, by study brought to maturity, shall be fixed immovably in contemplation, then shall it obtain true wisdom."
What, O Krishna, is the distinction of that wise and steady man who is fixed in contemplation? What may such a sage declare? Where may he dwell ? How may he act?
A man is said to be confirmed in wisdom, when he forfaketh every desire which entereth into his heart, and of himself is happy, and contented in himself. His mind is undisturbed in adversity, he is happy and contented in prosperity, and he is a stranger to anxiety, fear, and anger. Such a wise man is called a Mauni. The wisdom of that man is established, who in all things is without affection; and, having received good or evil, neither rejoiceth at the one, nor is cast down by the other. His wisdom is confirmed, when, like the tortoise, he can draw in all his members, and restrain them from their wonted purposes. The hungry man loseth every other object but the gratification of his appetite, and when he is become acquainted with the Supreme, he loseth even that_.
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The tumultuous senses hurry away, by force, the heart even of the wise man who striveth to restrain them. The inspired man, trusting in me, may quell them and be happy. The man who hath his passions in subjection, it possessed of true wisdom.
The man who attendeth to the inclinations of the senses, in them hath a concern; from this concern is created passion, from passion anger, from anger is produced folly, from folly a depravation of the memory, from the loss of memory the loss of reason, and from the loss of reason the loss of all. A man of a governable mind, enjoying the objects of his senses, with all his faculties rendered obedient to his will, and freed from pride and malice, obtaineth happiness supreme. In this happiness is born to him an exemption from all his troubles ; and his mind being thus at ease wisdom presently floweth to him from all sides. The man who attendeth not to this, is without wisdom or the power of contemplation. The man who is incapable of thinking, hath no rest. What happiness can he enjoy who hath no rest? The heart, which followeth the dictates of the moving passions, carrieth away his reason, as the storm the bark in the raging ocean. The man, therefore, who can restrain all his passions from their inordinate desires, is endued with true
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wisdom. Such a one walketh but in that night when all things go to rest, the night of time. The contemplative Muni sleepeth but in the day of time, when all things wake.
The man whose passions enter his heart as waters run into the unswelling passive ocean, obtaineth happiness; not he who lusteth in his lusts. The man who, having abandoned all lusts of the flesh walketh without inordinate desires, unassuming, and free from pride, obtaineth happiness. This is divine dependence. A man being possessed of this confidence in the Supreme, goeth not astray: even at the hour of death, should he attain it, he shall mix with the incorporeal nature of Braḥman.
This is the end of Chapter 02 The Yoga of Knowledge (Entry by editor)