Bondage in the form of the Grahas and Atigrahas (organs and objects) has been described; that which together with its cause binds a man so that he transmigrates, and freed from which he is liberated, is death; and liberation from this is possible, because there is the death of death. The liberated man does not go anywhere; it has been decided that everything about him is gone, leaving only the name, as when a light goes out. Though the bodies and organs of those that transmigrate and those that are going to be liberated (at death) are equally connected with their causes, the bodies and organs of the liberated are for ever discarded, while those of the transmigrating are repeatedly taken up—owing, as has been decided after a discussion, to work; and when that is exhausted, everything is destroyed save only the name, and this is liberation. That work is either good or evil, for it has been decided: ‘One indeed becomes good through good work, and evil through evil work’ (III. ii. 13). Relative existence is due to these. Of these, evil work subjects a man to sufferings through repeated births and deaths in moving and stationary bodies—naturally full of pain—including those of lower animals, spirits and the denizens of hell. All this is as well known to anybody as the royal road; the śruti here pays attention only to good work, which is in harmony with the scriptures: ‘One indeed becomes good through good work.’ And the Śrutis and Smṛtis are unanimous on the point that good work alone leads to all that man aspires after. Now liberation is a cherished object with man; so one may think that it too is attainable through work. Moreover, as the work is better and better, the result also is so; hence one may presume that a high degree of excellence in the work may lead to liberation; this idea has to be removed. The result of excellent work coupled with meditation is this much only, for work and its result are confined to the manifested universe of name and form. Work has no access to that (liberation) which is not an effect, is eternal, unmanifested, beyond name and form, and devoid of the characteristics of action with its factors and results. And where it has access, it is just the relative world. It is to bring out this idea that the present section is introduced.
Some say: Disinterested work coupled with meditation may produce a different kind of effect, as poison or curd, for instance, may (with the help of charms or sugar, respectively).
Reply: No, for liberation is not an effect—it is but the destruction of bondage, not a created thing. And we have already said that bondage is ignorance, which cannot be destroyed by work, for work can function only in the visible realm. Production, attainment, modification and purification are the functions of work. In other words, work can produce, or bring within reach, or modify, or purify something; it has no other function besides these, since nobody knows about it. And liberation is not one of these; we have already said that it is simply hidden by ignorance.
Objection: True. We admit that work alone is of such a nature; but disinterested work coupled with meditation is of a different nature. It is common experience that things known to have a particular property, such as poison or curd, display, in combination with special knowledge, charms or sugar, for instance, quite a different property. Why not admit the same about work?
Reply: No, for there is no evidence in support. In other words, there is not one evidence—neither perception, nor inference, nor comparison, nor presumption, nor scriptural statement to prove that work has any other function but those enumerated above.
Objection: Since there is no other result (but liberation), the injunctions (about rites) would otherwise be meaningless; this, to be sure, is a proof. To be explicit: The regular rites must not be supposed to have heaven as the result, on the analogy of the Viśvajit sacrifice. Nor is any specific result mentioned in. the Śrutis; all the same they are enjoined. So on the principle of the residuum, liberation is understood to be their result, for otherwise people will not care to perform them.
Reply: Is it not the analogy of the Viśvajit sacrifice over again, since liberation is supposed to be the result in question? Unless some result, be it liberation or anything else, is presumed, people would not care to perform them; so liberation is presumed to be that result by presumption from scriptural statements, as in the case of the Viśvajit sacrifice. Such being the case, how do you say that the analogy of the Viśvajit sacrifice will not apply here? You presume a iesult, and yet deny that it is on the analogy of the Viśvajit sacrifice. This is self-contradiction.
Objection: Suppose we say that liberation is not a result at all?
Reply: You cannot, for then you will be giving up your proposition. You have stated that work, like poison, curd, etc., can produce a different result. Now, if liberation is not at all a result, the effect of work, it will go against your proposition; and if it is the effect of work, you must show where it differs from other results of the kind such as heaven. If, on the other hand, it is not the effect of work, you must explain what you mean by saying that it is the result of the regular rites; and you cannot maintain that there is a difference merely because of the use of two different words, ‘effect’ and ‘result.’ If you say that^liberation is not a result and yet it is produced by the regular rites, or that it is the ‘result’ of the regular rites, but not their ‘effect,’ you will be contradicting yourself, a9. if you said, ‘Fire is cold.’
Objection: Suppose we say that it is like knowledge? Just as liberation, although not produced by knowledge, is yet said to be the effect of knowledge, so why not take it to be the effect of work in that sense?
Reply: No, for knowledge dispels ignorance. Because knowledge removes the obstruction of ignorance, liberation is metaphorically said to be the effect of knowledge; but work cannot dispel ignorance. And we cannot imagine any other obstruction to liberation but ignorance that can be removed by work, for it is eternal and identical with the self of the aspirant.
Objection: Suppose we say work removes that ignorance?
Reply: No, for it is something quite different. Ignorance, which is non-manifestation, is the opposite of knowledge, which is manifestation; but work is not the opposite of ignorance, and is therefore entirely different from knowledge. Ignorance, whether it means the want of knowledge, or doubt, or a false notion, is always removable by knowledge, but not by work in any of its forms, for there is no contradiction between’ ignorance and work.
Objection: Let us then presume that work has an unseen power of dispelling ignorance.
Reply: No; when it is clear that knowledge will dispel ignorance, it is unreasonable to presume such an unseen power in work. As when it is clear that threshing will husk paddy, we do not presume that it will be done without our knowledge by the regular rites like the Agnihotra, similarly we do not attribute the cessation of ignorance to the unseen power of the regular rites; and we have repeatedly said that knowledge and work are contradictory. That kind of knowledge which does not clash with work has been mentioned as leading to the world of the gods, as in the Śruti passage, ‘Through knowledge (meditation) the world of the gods (is attained)’ (I. v. 16). Moreover, if some result must be presumed for the regular rites mentioned in the Śrutis, should it be that which clashes with work, which cannot possibly be the effect öf substance, attribute, or action, and over which work is never known to have any power, or should it rather be that result over which work is known to have power, and which harmonises with work? If those rites must be presumed to have some result to induce people to perform them, then, since presumption from scriptural statements is fulfilled by the assumption of a result that harmonises with them, neither liberation, which is eternal, nor the cessation of the ignorance that obstructs it, can be supposed to be this result; for the former kind of result would be in keeping with the nature of work, and would be a subject where it is known to function.
Objection: We maintain that on the principle of the residuum liberation must be supposed to be this result. To explain: All rites produce those results (heaven, animals, children, etc.). Barring the other kind of result, however, we do not find anything else that can be supposed to be the result of the regular rites; only liberation is left, and it is a result coveted by the knowers of the Vedas. Therefore that must be supposed to be the result in question.
Reply: No, for since the individual results of those rites may be infinite in number, you cannot apply the principle of the residuum. No one who is not omniscient can assert that the objects desired by men as the results of their work, or the means of attaining them, or the desires themselves are so many in number; for they have no fixed place, time, or cause, and are regulated by the kind of result that men seek. Again, as each individual has various desires, the results, as also their means, are necessarily infinite; and because they are infinite, it is impossible for any one to know exactly how many they are. So, when the exact number of the results and their means is unknown, how can liberation be proved to be the only remaining item?
Objection: But it is the only remaining item outside the results of work as a class. To be explicit: Although the objects desired and their means are infinite, they all alike fall within the category of results of work; but liberation, not being the result of work, would be left out; hence, being the only remaining item, it should be taken to be the result in question.
Reply: No, for according to you it is the result of the regular rites, and therefore belongs to the same category as the other results of work; hence it cannot be counted as the residuum. Therefore we must conclude that presumption from scriptural statements is fulfilled, since there is another way of solving the problem, viz. by supposing that any one of the functions of production, attainment, modification and purification is the result of the regular rites.
Reply: No, for being eternal, it cannot be produced, and cannot also be modified; for the same reason, as also not being of the nature of a means, it cannot be purified either; for only a thing that serves as a means can be purified, as the sacrificial vessel or clarified butter by the sprinkling of water, and so on. Nor is liberation purified in the sense of being the effect of a process of improvement, as a sacrificial post etc. (carved out of a block of wood and the like).
Objection: Then by the principle of Üie residuum it must be attainable.
Reply: Not attainable either, because it is identical with the Self and one.
Objection: Since the regular rites differ from other kinds of work, their results too ought to be different.,
Reply: No; since they are equally work, why should not their results be similar to those of other kinds of work?
Objection: Suppose we say, because different causes operate in the two cases?
Reply: No, for the case is analogous to that of the Kṣāmavatī sacrifice etc. For instance, when the sacrificial fire burifs a house, this particular sacrifice is performed; we have also the injunction, ‘When a vessel containing oblations is broken, or when the contents are spilt, an offering should be made in the fire’; and in these occasional rites liberation is not supposed to be the result. Similarly the regular rites, not being different from them, on account of their dependence on certain circumstances—the Śrutis, for instance, enjoin them for life—cannot have liberation as their result. (To give a different illustration:) Light is an auxiliary to everyone’s vision of colour; but owls etc. cannot see in light—their eyes differing in this respect from those of others. But because of this difference we do not suppose that their eyes can also perceive taste etc., for we have no knowledge of any such power on their part. Any peculiarity is admissible only in that respect about which—maybe after going far afield in the search—we have certain knowledge.
You spoke of the regular rites producing a different effect like poison, curd, and so forth in conjunction with special knowledge, charms, sugar, etc. Let them do so; we accept this view, and there is no dispute over this point. In other words, if you maintain that disinterested work coupled with meditation produces a different kind of effect, we do not contest this point; for between two persons, one sacrificing to the gods and the other sacrificing to the Self, the Śrutis state the superiority of the latter in the following passages: ‘One who sacrifices to the Self is better than one who sacrifices to the gods,’ etc. (Ś. XI, II. vi. 13, adapted), and ‘That alone which is performed with the help of meditation (is stronger),’ etc. (Ch. I. i. 10). The phrase ‘sacrificer to the Self,’ used toy Manu in connection with the knowledge of the Supreme Self in the stanza, ‘Seeing (himself in all and all in himself) he becomes a sacrificer to the Self (and attains independence)’ (M. XII. 91), means that simply by his sameness of vision he becomes a sacrificer to the Self. Or the phrase may have been used having regard to the aspirant’s former condition. The sacrificer to the Self performs the regular rites for selfpurification, as we know from the Śruti text, ‘This particular part of my body is being purified by this (rite)’ (Ś. XI. 11. vi. 13). Similarly the Smṛtis too in the passage, ‘Through the sacrifices relating to conception,’ etc. (M. II. 27), show that the regular rites purify the body and organs. Purified by those rites, the sacrificer to the Self attains the sameness of vision; either in this or in some future life he attains Self-realisation. The meaning is that by his sameness of vision he becomes independent. The phrase ‘sacrificer to the Self’ has been used having regard to his former condition—to show that the regular rites combined with meditation help towards realisation.
Moreover, passages like, ‘Sages are of opinion that the attainment of oneness with Virāj, the world-projectors, Yama, Hiraṇyagarbha and the Undifferentiated is the highest result produced by Sattva or puce materials (rites coupled with meditation)’ (M. XII. 50), and ‘(They) are merged in the five elements’ (Ibid. 90), show the mergence in the elements in addition to the attainment of the status of the gods. Those who read the latter passage as, ‘(They) transcend the five elements,’ betray a very poor knowledge of the Vedas, and as such may be left out of account. The passages in question are not to be dismissed as mere eulogy, for the chapter in which they occur treats of the results of work culminating in oneness with Hiraṇyagarbha, and of Self-knowledge, which is distinct from work, and these correspond exactly to the ritualistic portion (of the Vedas) and the Upaniṣads, respectively. Besides we find that the non-performance of prescribed rites and the doing of forbidden acts results in degradation to the state of stationary objects, dogs, hogs, or the like; and we also come across spirit existences like the ‘vomit-eaters.’
Besides, none can think of any prescribed or forbidden acts other than those mentioned in the Śrutis and Smṛtis, the non-performance or performance, respectively, of which would cause one to become a spirit, a dog, a hog, a stationary object, or the like—results the existence of which we know from perpeption or inference; and none denies that these states are the results of past actions. Therefore, just as these lower states—spirit, animal, or stationary existences—are the results of one’s non-performance of the prescribed rites or performance of the forbidden acts, similarly we must understand that the.higher results culminating in oneness with Hiraṇyagarbha are as much the results of past actions. Hence the passages in question are not to be taken as mere stories concocted for the sake of eulogy, like ‘He cut off his own omentum’ (Tai. S. II. i. i. 4), ‘He cried’ (Ibid. I. v. i. 1), and so on.
Reply: Let it be; this much only (the absence of examples to the contrary) does not contradict the reality of the subject under discussion, or invalidate our position. Nor can you say that the positions referred to in the passage, ‘Virāj, the world-projectors,’ etc. (M. XII. 50), are the results of rites with material ends; for these are stated to produce an equality of status with the gods. Therefore the regular rites and rites like the Sarvamedha and horse sacrifice performed by persons with)jelfish motives lead to the attainment of oneness with Hiraṇyagarbha and so on. But in the case of those who perform the regular rites disinterestedly, just for the purification of the mind, they help towards realisation. The Smṛti says, ‘This body is made fit for the realisation of Brahman (by them)’ (M. II. 28). Because these rites indirectly help those people, they are aids to realisation as well; so there is no contradiction. That this is the meaning, we shall explain at the end of the story of Janaka in Chapter IV (pp. 752, 754—755). You cited the examples of poison, curd, etc. (producing altogether different results under special circumstances); they are not open to disputation, being matters of perception and inference. But that which is to be known exclusively from the scriptures, cannot, in the absence of explicit statements to that effect, be imagined to have properties similar to those of poison, curd, etc. Nor are the Śrutis supposed to have authority in matters which are contradicted by other means of knowledge, as for instance if they said, ‘Fire is cold and wets things.’ If, however, a passage is ascertained to have the meaning given by the Śrutis, then the evidence of the other means of knowledge must be held to be fallacious. For instance, the ignorant think of fire-fly as fire, or of the sky as a blue surface; these are perceptions no doubt, but when the evidence of the other means of knowledge regarding them has been definitely known to be true, the perceptions of the ignorant, although they are definite experiences, prove to be fallacious. Therefore, the authority of the Vedas being inviolable, a Vedic passage must be taken exactly in the sense that it is tested to bear, and not according to the ingenuity of the human mind. The sun does not cease to reveal objects because of the ingenuity of the human mind; similarly the Vedic passages cannot be made to give up their meaning. Therefore it is proved that work does not lead to liberation. Hence the present section is introduced to show that the results of work are within the pale of relative existence.
अथ हैनं भुज्युर्लाह्यायनिः पप्रच्छ; याज्ञवल्क्येति होवाच | मद्रेषु चरकाः पर्यव्रजाम, ते पतञ्चलस्य काप्यस्य गृहानैम; तस्यासीद्दुहिता गन्धर्वगृहीता, तमपृच्छाम कोऽसीति; सोऽब्रवीत्सुधन्वाङ्गिरस इति; तं यदा लोकानामन्तानपृच्छाम्, अथैनमब्रूम, क्व पारिक्शिता अभवन्निति; क्व पारिक्शिता अभवन्, स त्वा पृच्छामि याज्ञवल्क्य, क्व पारिक्शिता अभवन्निति ॥ १ ॥
atha hainaṃ bhujyurlāhyāyaniḥ papraccha; yājñavalkyeti hovāca | madreṣu carakāḥ paryavrajāma, te patañcalasya kāpyasya gṛhānaima; tasyāsīdduhitā gandharvagṛhītā, tamapṛcchāma ko’sīti; so’bravītsudhanvāṅgirasa iti; taṃ yadā lokānāmantānapṛcchām, athainamabrūma, kva pārikśitā abhavanniti; kva pārikśitā abhavan, sa tvā pṛcchāmi yājñavalkya, kva pārikśitā abhavanniti || 1 ||
1. Then Bhujyu, the grandson of Lahya, asked him. ‘Yājñavalkya,’ said he, ‘we travelled in Madra as students, and we came to the house of Patañcala, of the line of Kapi. His daughter was possessed by a Gandharva. We asked him, “Who are you?” He said, “I am Sudhanvan, of the line of Angiras.” When we asked him about the limits of the world, we said to him, “Where were the descendants of Parikṣit?” And I ask you, Yājñavalkya, where were the descendants of Parikṣit? (Tell me) where were the descendants of Parikṣit?’
Then, when the descendants of Jaratkāru had stopped, the grandson of Lahya named Bhujyu asked him, Yājñavalkya, whom we are discussing. ‘Yājñavalkya,’ said he. The meditation on the horse sacrifice has been spoken of at the beginning of the book, and this sacrifice produces both collective and individual results. Whether combined with meditation, or performed exclusively through it, it is the highest of all rites. The Smṛti says, ‘There is nothing more heinous than killing a noble Brāhmaṇa nor anything more meritorious than the horse sacrifice,’ for through it one attains the collective as well as individual results. Of these, whatever is within the universe has been shown to be the individual results of the horse sacrifice. While it has been said, ‘Death becomes his self, and he becomes one with these deities’ (I. ii. 7). This Death is Hunger, and is variously called Cosmic Intelligence, the Aggregate, the First-born, Air, Cosmic Energy, Satya and Hiraṇyagarbha. That which is the essence of the whole universe, individual and collective, which is the inner self or subtle body of all beings, the essence of the subtle, in which the actions of all beings inhere, and which is the highest result of rites as well as of the meditations connected with them—has the manifested universe for its field. How far is its range—what is its extent, spreading all round like a globe, has to be stated. If this is done, the entire world of bondage will have been described. In order to show the extraordinary character of the meditation on the identity with that universe, collective and individual, Bhujyu mentions an incident of his own life. He thinks of confusing his oppenent by this means.
‘We travelled in the territory called Madra as students, observing the appropriate vow for study, or as priests called Adhvaryus, and we came to the house of Patañcala, of the line of Kapi. His daughter was possessed by a Gandharva,’ some being other than human; or the word may mean the fire that is worshipped in the house—the god who is a priest (to the gods); We conclude thus from his special knowledge, for an ordinary being cannot possibly have such knowledge. ‘We all sat round him and asked him, “Who are you?— What is your name, and what kind of being are you?” He, the Gandharva, said, “I am named Sudhanvan, of the line of Angiras.” When we asked him about the limits of the world, we, among that group desirous of knowing the extent of the cosmic orb, priding ourselves upon our good fortune, said to him—what?—“Where were the descendants of Parikṣit?” And the Gandharva told us all about it. So I have been instructed by a celestial being, and you do not have that knowledge; hence you are defeated.’ This is his idea. ‘Being possessed of this revealed knowledge from the Gandharva, I ask you, Yājñavalkya, where were the descendants of Parikṣit? Do you know this, Yājñavalkya? Tell me, I ask you, where were the descendants of Parikṣit?’