Book 4: Chapter 22
Srimad Bhagvata Mahapurana: Book 4: Chapter 22: Verses 29-41
Everywhere (in the external world too) it is only when water or a mirror or any other condition is present that a man perceives the difference between one's own self and that which is external to oneself (viz., one's reflected image), and not at other times (when the condition is absent). Distracted by the senses, which are themselves drawn towards their objects, the mind of those that (ever) muse on such objects (as worth attaining), takes away the power of discrimination of the intellect (as imperceptibly) as a clump of grass sucks up water from a pool (through its roots). Consequent on the loss of reason, memory fails; loss of memory is followed by loss of wisdom and the sages refer to loss of wisdom as the ruination of the self through one's own self- There can be no greater loss in the world to a man than the ruination, through one's own self, of the soul, for whose sake everything else becomes dear. Constant preoccupation with wealth and the objects of sense means the ruination of all the interests of men. Deprived of his knowledge and wisdom through such preoccupation, man is reborn in the immobile creation (the vegetable or mineral kingdom). Whoever is keen to cross and reach the other end of the impenetrable gloom in the form of ignorance (the root of transmigration) should never conceive an attachment to that which is most detrimental to (the attainment of) religious merit, worldly possessions, gratification of the senses and liberation. Of these four too, liberation alone is acknowledged as the highest purpose of life; for everything falling under the category of the other three objects of human pursuit is ever exposed to the fear of death. There can be no stability in (the life of) the higher and the lower orders of creation that have come into existence ever since the equilibrium of the three modes of Prakrti (Sattva, Rajas and Tamas) was disturbed (at the dawn of creation); for their hopes (to survive) have always been blasted by the all-powerful Time. Therefore, O king, know Him to be your very Self the Lord who perceptibly and inwardly shines as the all-pervading Ruler of the Jiva (the conscious principle in the psycho-physical organism) in the heart of (all) mobile (animate) and immobile (inanimate) beings invested with a body, the senses, the vital airs, the intellect and the ego. Him do 1 resort to (for protection)-the ever free, taintless and enlightened principle-who has set aside Prakrti (Primordial Nature) defiled by the Karmas (of the various divas) and in whom appears this phantom of the universe both as cause and effect, vanishing on the dawn of discriminating wisdom even like the (false) notion of a serpent with regard to a wreath of flowers. Resort (then) as your (sole) refuge to Lord Vasudeva, by fixing the thought on the splendour of the very toes of whose lotus-feet pious souls cut asunder the knot of egotism (which is nothing but a conglomerate of tendencies to action) formed (by Karmas themselves), in a manner that even recluses who have emptied their mind (of all thoughts of the world), having withdrawn their senses (from their objects) are not able to do. Great agony is experienced in crossing the ocean of metempsychosis-which is infested with (fierce) crocodiles in the shape of the five senses and the mind-by those who have not found their boat in God, inasmuch as they seek to reach the other end of it by painful means (such as the practice of Yoga). Therefore, you make the adorable feet of Lord Sri Hari your boat and cross the ocean of misery, which is so difficult to cross. Maitreya resumed : Enlightened thus about the true nature of the Self by Sanatkumara, son of Brahma (the creator) and a knower of Brahma, the king duly praised him and addressed him (as follows).
- Cf. Brhadaranyaka Upanisad IV. v. 6.