Srimad Bhagvata Mahapurana Book 7 Chapter 7:17-31

Book 7: Chapter 7

Srimad Bhagvata Mahapurana: Book 7: Chapter 7: Verses 17-31
(Prahrada's) teaching to the Daityas' sons

That devotion and wisdom can take root in you too if you give credence to my words. Through faith such sense as is proficient in uprooting the feeling of identification with the body etc. can appear even in women and children as it has dawned on me. Through the agency of Time, which is by its very nature capable of bringing about transformation, the six well-known states of being commencing with birth (viz., birth, existence, growth, ripeness, decay and destruction) are seen in relation to the body (so long as it is connected with a soul) and not in relation to the soul, just as they are observed in the fruits of a tree (so long as they exist on the tree, and not in the tree itself, which stands comparatively longer). The Spirit is eternal, free from decay, taintless, one (without a second), the knowing subject, the ground (of everything), changeless, self-seeing (self-effulgent), the cause (of the universe), all-pervading, unattached and having no sheath (of Maya). (With the help of these twelve transcendent characteristics of the Self a wise man should give up the false notion of 'I' and `mine'-sprung from ignorance-with reference to the body and persons and things connected with the body. Just as a goldsmith acquainted with the process (smelting etc.), of extracting gold from its ore is able through those processes to find gold in the ore existing in gold mines, so is a man well-versed in the science of the Spirit able to discover the (true) nature of Brahma in the bodies (of the various Jivas)-which are so many fields (as it were)-through the (diverse) processes of ascertaining the true nature of the Self. (Out of the total number of categories into which the entire creation has been ultimately resolved) by teachers (of the science of the Spirit, the sage Kapila and others) eight (viz., Prakrti or primordial Matter, the Mahat-tattva or the principle of cosmic intelligence, the ego and the five subtle elements) have been declared to be the causes; three (viz., Sattva, Rajas and Tamas) are as a matter of fact only modes of Prakrti (and therefore not distinct from it); sixteen (viz., the five senses of perception, the five organs of action, the mind and the five gross elements) are modifications and the Spirit is spoken of as one because of its connection with all (as their witness).

Of course, the body, (which is) a concatenation of all (these), is of two kinds-mobile (animate) and immobile (inanimate). It is here (in the body) that discarding everything else as 'not this', the Spirit, should be sought for by men coolly reflecting on the creation, continued existence and dissolution of the universe with a mind purified (rendered acute) through reasoning (both) on the lines of Anvaya (the all-pervasiveness of the Spirit) and Vyatireka (the distinctness of the Spirit from everything else). Wakefulness, dream and deep sleep-these are the (three) functions of the intellect. (And) he alone by whom they are (directly) cognized is the transcendent Spirit, the witness (of all material phenomena). By means of these modifications of the intellect, (which are) products of the three Gunas (Sattva, Rajas and Tamas respectively) and the result of actions, and which are rejected (as attributes of Matter) one should ascertain the essential character of the Spirit (which is connected with these states) through its association with the intellect (as the very ground of the latter), even as one comes to know (the presence of) the air through the (different) odours (that are borne through it). (26) in fact, metempsychosis, which is perpetuated by the (three) Gunas (modes of Prakrti) and actions prompted by them, is brought about through the intellect. Though rooted in ignorance and (therefore) unreal, it is postulated as a dream. Therefore, the (very) seed (in the form of nescience) of actions prompted by the three Gunas (Sattva, Rajas and Tamas) ought to be burnt by you. This is (what they call) Yoga (the highest achievement), which stops the functioning of the intellect. Of the thousands of devices helpful to it, this alone has been recommended by the Lord, viz., the practice of virtues through which love may be duly and easily developed for the almighty Lord. This can be accomplished by serving one's preceptor and by offering (to him) with devotion all that is got by one, nay, through the fellowship of pious devotees and worship of God, through reverence for stories of the Lord; by celebrating His virtues and exploits, through contemplation on His lotus-feet and through the sight and worship of His images and so on.



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