(First Part)

Saint Vaisampayana told King Janamejaya the story of Mahabharata.

Having been told by Bhishma that Yogi who practises Yoga and Sankhya attains the eternal Parabrahma status, Dharmaja said: “O Grandsire! Uttara Ayana is fast approaching. Few days remained. There are many things to be learnt from you. Kindly tell me what is meant by Akshara(indestructible) and Kshara(destructible).” asked Dharmaja.

“O Dharmaja! In this connection, I will tell about the conversation between Saint Vasishta and King Janaka. Listen carefully. Once, King Janaka asked Saint Vasishta thus:

“O Saint! Kindly tell me about indestructible, for which there is no beginning, which shall not come again; and which is most auspicious.” asked Janaka. Vasishta told Janaka thus:

“Having been endowed with face, eyes, hands and legs everywhere, but not endowed with beginning and end, growth and decline, that entity is called Akshara. Out of this Akshara Tatva, 24 Kshara Tatvas sprouted. Akshara Tatva is differentiated as Prakriti. It is also called Avyakta.

From out of Avyakta, Mahat Tatva was born. From out of Mahat Tatva, Ahamkara; from out of Ahankara, Five main elements (Pancha Bhootas) and their five characteristics viz., sound, touch, form, taste and smell; ten sense organs; and one mind were created. These are 24 Kshara Tatvas. These 24 elements are visualised by acquiring Vijnana.

But the 25th Tatva which is Parama Tatva is Akshara. This 25th element is not even visualised by wise and learned. Thie 25th element is indestructible, spotless, and endless. This Akshara Tatva cannot move of its own accord. It reflects through the characteristics viz., Satva, Rajas and Tamas and causes births and deaths of human beings.

This Akshara Tatva, united with Satva, Rajas and Tamas, goes around the birth and death circle; forgets its original status and keeps itself in a delusion that it itself is the body. While united with Satva, Akshara Tatva performs all virtuous deeds and attains divinity. While united with Rajas, Akshara Tatva performs both virtuous acts and sinful acts and reaps its consequences by undergoing births and deaths. While united with Tamas, Akshara Tatva does all kinds of sinful acts and takes birth as beasts and birds and experiences hell on earth.

Akshara Tatva has no colour. While united with Satva, it attains white colour, while united with Rajas, it attains red colour and while united with Tamas, it attracts black colour. Similarly, Akshara Tatva has no specific characteristics. But influenced by Ahankara, it attains several Vikaras. Without Ahankara, Akshara Tatva remains spotless, passionless and peaceful. Akshara Prabhama is second to none. Unable to realise its own status, Akshara Prabhma, united with Ahankara performs all kinds of rituals viz., performing Yajnas, Yagas, one time meals; sleeping on hard surface; performing Vratas, receiving Sanyasa and makes the body to suffer.

In fact, this Akshara Tatva has no birth and death. It is spotless and endless. But forgetting its own original status, Akshara Tatva keeps itself under the delusion that all kinds of wicked deeds are its own. When Akshara Tatva realises its original status, it shines like a moon without clouds.” said Vasishta to Janaka.

“O Saint Vasishta! with the unioin of man and woman, procreation process continues. But either man or woman cannot of his or her own accord, cannot create human beings. During the process of procreation, skin, flesh and blood are taken from lady and bones, veins, nerves etc are taken from man. This process is effective not only for human beings but also for beasts having two legs and four legs and birds etc. The entire creation is effected only by physical combination of man and woman. We can visualise the characteristics of nature and Purusha but we are unable to know about the path of Moksha. It is told by Vedas that a splendid light which is invisible, endless, spotless and beyond perception by sense organs, is shining. I want to know about that Akshara Tatva which is shining.” asked Janaka. Vasishta said thus:

“O Janaka! you have studied several texts of Dharma, Vedangas, Puranas etc. But you never tried to understand them in correct perspective. I affirm that any study which was not understood by the student is nothing but waste . Therefore, listen carefully.

Sankhya and Yoka are interconnected with each another. In fact, both are same. For both Sankhya and Yoga, the root is Veda. In this nature, people are divided into three kinds; male, female and neutral. But Atma in a human being has no such distinction. From one seed, another seed grows. Similarly, from one human being another being comes out. Sense organs out of sense organs, mind out of mind are born. But Atma is not born either from any seed or human being or mind or sense organs. Atma has no characteristic, no form or nothing to be done. There are no hapiness or sorrows or bondage to Atma.

Though there is no distinction of male or female to the nature, there is such distinction for those which are born from out of nature. The distinction of male, female or neutral be decided depending upon their qualities, forms and nature. But generally people say that the nature also has such distinction of male or female. But it is not correct.

There are six seasons but you cannot identify the seasons with their form. We name the seasons depending upon their nature and character. All these characteristics are in nature but they never influence Atma. This is the difference between Akshara and Kshara. These Akshara and Kshara are also called -- one and many, visible and invisible, etc.

Fools and ignorant cannot visualise this Akshara Parabrahma. Wise and learned can only visualise this 25th Tatva.” said Saint Vasishta to Janaka.

Then Janaka asked Vasishta: “O Saint! Atma is called one and many. Similarly Atma is known as awareness and ignorance; so far you have explained Akshara and Kshara and their distinction. As I am a dull head, I could not understand it properly. Kindly repeat about Sankhya, Yoga.” asked Janaka. Vasishta told Janaka thus:

“O King Janaka! Yoga means meditation. It is of two kinds. One is Pranaayama. Second is concentration of mind. The former is Sagunopasana and the latter is Nirgunopasana. Pranayama cannot be practised while passing urine and easing and immediately after taking food.

I now tell you about the characteristics of Yogi. Taking limited food, abandoning the desires; control of sense organs; reverting mind from sound, taste, smell etc.; keeping wisdom in mind and reverting mind towards Atma. Yogi shall remain as rock without any desires. Yogi meditates during day and night and shines like a lamp without wind. This is called Yoga.

I now tell you about Sankhya. Sankhyas call nature as invisible. Nature has the characteristic of procreation. Hence nature is spread throughout the universe in the form of intellect, egoism, five elements, sensual desires and sense organs. For all these, Purusha is the master. The procreation is done from top to bottom. Destruction is done from bottom to top. At the time of birth and death, the nature gets vehemence. Nature, Kshetra and avyakta are one and the same. It is also called Satva. Jeeva knows about Kshetra. Hence Jeeva is called Kshetrajna. As Jeeva stays in Avyakta Pura, it is called Purusha. Therefore, Kshetra and Kshetrajna are different. Jnana is Avyakta. Purusha is the knower of Jnana. Though this nature is Sagunatmaka, Pususha is Nirguna. This is called Sankhya.

Purusha who created these 24 Vikaras, looks for himself and gets Moksha. That Moksha is a non-returnable path. One who knows about this truth has no fear of death. O King Janaka! I explained you about Sankhya and Yoga and Akshara. Now I will tell you about Vidya and Avidya (awareness and ignorance).

Vidya means the 25th element viz., Askara Tatva. The invisible Prakriti is Avidya. Mind is the Vidya of sense organs. The five main elements are Vidya for mind. Ahankara is the Vidya for five main elements. Intellect is the vidya for Ahankara. The invisible prakriti is the vidya for intellect. The 25th Akshara Tatva is the vidya for the invisible Prikriti.

O king Janaka! I already explained to you about Kshara and Akshara. Some say that jeeva is Akshara and Prakriti is Kshara. Some others say that both Jeeva and Prakriti are Ksharas. The reason being that both Jeeva and Prikriti have no beginning or end and both are having Eswara Tatva. Jeeva, united with Mahat Tatva and Ahankara, thinks that he himself is Prakriti. Then, Jeeva becomes Kshara. The same jeeva, uninfluenced by the elements of Prakriti, remains independent, he is called Akshara.

Under the influence of Prakriti, Jeeva thinks thus: “I am ignorant of myself. I think I am Prakriti. Water is different and fish in water is different. In the same manner, I am different and Prakriti is different. But due to Ahankara, I am in delusion that I am prakriti. This Prakriti made me mad. In fact I am different and Prakriti is different. I am spotless. I have no form. I have no connection with Prakriti. I have to be aloof. Is this the fault of Prakriti. No. It is not. Being an unattached one, I joined with Prakriti unnecessarily. I got these forms only due to the union with Prakriti. I developed these loves, affections and passions only due to the union with Prakriti, as a result of which, I am getting birth by birth. Now I am detached from Prakriti. Now I am pure and spotless. There is no need for me to take shelter under Prakriti. In whatever form Prakriti is visible, the roots are passions and egoism. If I am not attracted by them, Nature cannot influence me. Therefore, I have to get rid of Prakriti and attain eternal happiness.” Thus thinking, Jeeva abandons Prakriti and attain Akshara Tatva.

Therefore Janaka! As I told you earlier, The contortions of Prakriti are 24. The 25th being Akshara Tatva. The best of all is 26th Tatva, that is Parama Tatva which is eternal. The shining 26th Tatva beholds these 25 Tatvas. Only Sankhyas realise this 26th Tatva. This Para Tatva is also called Brahma.

As has been stated earlier, whenever Jeeva abandons Prakriti and looks at Para Tatva, Prakriti also leaves its forms. Then Jeeva attains Kaivalya. After attaining Kaivalya, jeeva unites with Para Tatva. That supreme status is endless. We can realise the oneness and multiness of Jeeva through studying scriptures. Only who has faith and devotion realises this.

Jeeva is living under delusion that he himself is Prakriti. Therefore, Jeeva shall first liberate himself from Prakriti. If Jeeva is liberated from Prakriti, he unites with 26th ParaTatva. That Para Tatva is Sivam, Para Brahmam, ancient and superconsciousness.

You can teach this to any one who got devotion, faith, control of mind and sense organs and who studied Vedas. Dont teach this to others who are not fit to be taught. You can give away the entire world to such people but not this knowledge.” said Vasishta to Janaka.”

O Dharmaja! In the past, this Yoga was taught by Brahma to Vasishta, Vasishta to Narada and Narada told me about this Yoga. Now I taught you about this Yoga. I tell you another story.

In the past, King Vasumanta went to forest for hunting where he saw a saint of Bhrigu clan. Vasumanta asked that saint: “O Saint! kindly tell me the Dharma which is to be followed either in this world or in the other world.”. The saint said thus:

“O King! We are feeling happiness or sorrow from our own deeds. It is wrong to think that we have to do many tasks with greediness. Everybody climbs the hill for honey but he does not know that he falls down if he slips. One must follow dharma and acquire knowledge with pure mind. One must spend his time in the company of virtuous people. Then only he enjoys pleasure and happiness either in this world or in the other world.

One should discharge his duties to the satisfaction of brahmins.One should make charities to those who are fit and eligible.After giving away money, he shall not feel for the same. One shall relinquish his desires and anger and keep his mind steady. For lack of steadiness of mind, King Mahabhisha was expelled from Svarga. With steadiness of mind, King Yayati overcome all his woes.”

On hearing the words of Saint, King Vasumanta ceased of his anger and desires and got steadiness of mind.” said Bhishma to Dharmaja.

“O Saint Bhishma!Kindly explain about that entity which has no Dharma or Adharma; which is relieved of all doubts, which has no birth and death, which is eternal, pure, total bliss, without decay or sorrows and which is Para Tatva.” asked Dharmaja.

“O son of Dharma! in this connection, I tell you about the conversion between King Janaka and saint Yajnavalkya. King Janaka asked Saint Yajnavalkya thus:

“O Saint! Kindly tell me about the birth and death and the existence of Prakriti which is avyaktha; Brahma; Para Tatva; and the five elements.” Yajnavalkya said thus:

“O King! Creation and destrution is done by Prakriti. There are Ten Kalpas during day time and Ten Kalpas during night time. Creation is done during day time and destrution during night time. All plants and herbs were created for sustenance of this universe. Brahma created five elements and their characteristics. To comprehend them, Brahma created five sense organs, five organs of action. Mind is the controlling authority of these ten organs. Our eyes and ears cannot see and hear of their own accord. Only with the influence of mind only, they can see and hear the objects and sounds in the outside world. Other organs also express themselves with the influence of mind. Even illiterates are aware of this fact.

I told you that all organs act according to the commands of mind. If the mind keeps quiet, the ten organs also keep quiet. But mind goes round in all the worldly affairs. Therefore, first of all, we have to control our sense organs by not allowing them to entangle in worldly affairs. Then the mind should be controlled. All this can be achieved only by constant practice.

Now I tell you about annihilation (Pralaya). During nights, the invisible Prakriti instigates Purusha influenced by Ahankara. That Purusha, in 12 forms, destroys the world. Then the entire earth be inundated with water. Those waters be destroyed by Time. Time is put to end by Vayu. Aakasa absorbs the Vayu. Mind absorbs Aakasa. Purusha, influenced by Ahankara, swallows the mind. Ahankara immerses in the unmanifested Prakriti. All this happen during night. Soon after night passes, again creation begins.

Now I tell you about Aadhyatma, Adhibhoota and Adhidaivata. In our body, feet, anus, genital organ, hands, tongue are called Adhyaatmas. The works done by them viz., walking, excreting, procreation, working, talking are called Adhibhootas. For the above, Vishnu, Sun, Brahma, Indra, Agni are Adhi Devatas.

Likewise, eyes, tongue, nose, skin and ears are Adhyatmas. Their characteristics viz., seeing, tasting, smelling, touching and hearing are Adhibhootas. Sun, Water, earth, air and sky are Adhi Daivatas.

Similarly, mind is Adhyatma.The characteristics of mind viz., feeling and knowing are Adhibhootas. Moon is the Adhi Daivata of mind. This is spoken by Veda.

Likewise, intellect is Adhyatma. Intelligence and knowledge of scriptures are Adhibhootas. Kshetrajna is its Adhi Daivata.

Similarly, Ahankara is Adhyatma. Self respect and superiority complex are its Adhibhootas. Rudra is the Adhi Daiva of Ahankara.

Now I tell about Prakriti and Purusha. Prakriti with the help of Satva, Rajas and Tamas creates several Vikrities like a game. As we lit one lamp from another lamp, Prakriti also creates several forms from its own form.

The following are the characteristics of Satva. Pleasures, happiness, health, good character, shedding anger, cleanliness, glory, steady mind, non-violence, purity, devotion, honesty, shyness, truthfulness, non-greediness, sympathetic, relinquishing desires, and not finding fault with others, are the characteristics of Satva.

The following are the characteristics of Rajas. quarrelsome nature, egoism, pride, over ambitious for sensual pleasures, wrath, jealousy, unkind towards others, always desirous of enjoying plelasures, aggrandizement, sorrow and distress are the characteristics of Rajas.

The characteristics of Tamas are--always weeping for something or other, over emotional, over eating, unnecessarily arguing with others, stupidity, sadism, are the main characteristics of Tamas.

Originally, Jeevatma is unblemished. By joining with Prakriti, Jeevatma attains all kinds of blemishes. Jeevatma is vital and conscious but Prakriti is non-vital. With the splendour of Jeevatma, Prakriti is shining. But always Prikriti influences Jeevatma. Jeevatma is incapable of knowing itself. Jeevatma, influenced by Satva, Rajas and Tamas, indulges in all kinds of activities in the outside world. By doing acts influenced by Satva, Jeevatma attains Svarga. By doing acts influenced by Rajas, Jeevatma gets human birth. By doing sinful acts influenced by Tamas, Jeevatma attains hell called Rourava etc. Whenever Jeeva realises himself, he never entangles in Prakriti vikaras. Jeeva will have an innersight and attains Akshara Brahma Pada.” said Yajnavalkya to King Janaka.

Then King Janaka asked Yajnavalkya thus: “O Saint Yajnavalkya! you told me that Purusha has consciousness and vitality and Prakriti lacks in consciousness and vitality. Kindly tell me the reason.”asked King Janaka. Saint Yajnavalkya said thus:

“O King Janaka! Saguna is not Aguna and Aguna is not Saguna.(attributable is not non-attributable and non-attributable is not attributable). This Prakriti is Avyakta (invisible) and influenced by Satva, Rajas and Tamas. How can Prakriti gets consciousness as that of Jeeva. Prikriti is not so wise to realise the original form of Jeeva. But Jeeva is capable of realising Prakriti and its characteristics. Therefore, O King Janaka! Prakriti lacks in consciousness and Purusha is conscious about himself. Though Jeeva moves always in Prikriti, he is not influenced by Prakriti and its attributes. This is the relation between Prakriti and Purusha.

O King Janaka! so far I told you about Sankhya. Now I tell you about Yoga. Knowledge derived from Sankhya and the strength derived from Yoga have no match to others. But some ignorant people say that Sankhya and Yoga are different. As far as I am concerned, I treat Sankhya and Yoga equal.

Manodharana and Prana Yama are two main Yogas. The first is Nirguna and the second is Saguna. Manodharmaa means keeping the mind stable and concentrated. Prana Yama means controlling breath in a specific order; that too, without any inconvenience to body and mind. One who does Prana Yama regularly and controls his sense organs, he attains Yoga Siddhi. But Sadhaka who does Prana Yama shall follow some rules strictly. He should practice Prana Yama daily for some time, without causing any inconvenience to body. In this manner, Sadhaka shall practice Prana Yama day and night. By practising Prana Yama, innerself and outerbody remains pure. To attain Yoga Siddhi, Prana Yama and purity of innerself and outerbody are must. Prana Yama is Saguna Tantra.

Now I tell you Nirguna Tantra. One has to unite sense organs with mind, and mind with Ahankara; Ahankara with intellect; and lastly intellect with Prakriti. This is called Dhyana (meditation). One who immreses in Dhyana constantly, he attains eternal happiness. He remains spotless and unblemished. He realises the supreme consciousness. Such a Yogi remains as a lamp where there is no wind. He does not care for any sounds in the outside world, which interrupts his meditation.

This is called Yoga path. To follow this path, idleness does not work. He shall always be vigilant. Such a Yogi attains Moksha. At the time of death, if such a yogi leaves his life through his feet, he attains Vishnu Padam; if he leaves his life through calf of the left, he attains Vasu Loka; if he leaves his life through knees, he attains Sadhya Loka; if he leaves his life through anus, he attains Soorya Loka; if he leaves his life through genital organ, he attains Bhoo Loka; if he leaves his life through thighs, he attains Prajapati Loka; if he leaves his life through arms he attains Marut Loka; if he leaves his life through naval, he attains Chandra Loka; if he leaves his life through hands, he attains Svarga Loka; if he leaves his life through chest, he attains Kailasa; if he leaves his life through throat, he attains Saint Nara Loka; if he leaves his life through face, he attains Visve Deva Loka; if he leaves his life through ears, he attains Dikpalaka Loka; if he leaves his life through nose, he attains Vayu Loka; if he leaves his life through eyes, he attains Agni loka; if he leaves his life through eye brows, he attains Asvins Loka; ifhe if leaves his life through forehead, he attains Pitara Loka; and if he leaves his life through upper portion of the head (Brahma Randhra), he attains Moksha, eternal peace and happiness.

Now I tell you about the symptoms of death. If one could not find Arundhati star, if one finds his nose chapped, if one finds full moon dirty, his life ends within one year. Whose face shines with more splendor or less splendor, whose knowledge increases or decreases abnormally, his life ends within six months. If one finds decrease in full moon or sun, his life ends within seven days. If one finds the flowers offered to God, emits bad smell, his life ends within six months. If one’s ears or nose disfigured, or his teeth changes its colour, or the light in his eyes diminishes, or his skin turns into black, he gets his death immediately. While the human being is in his last stage of life, his left eye oozes water without any reason and heat emanates from his head. That was his last stage. A yogi realises these symptoms, sits in Dhyana Samadhi and tries to unite Jeeva into Paramatma. Such Yogi, after leaving his life, unites with Paramatma and attains eternal peace and happiness.

O King Janaka! you aksed me about paratatva which is very subtle. I tell you in detail. I did Tapas about Soorya. Soorya appeared before me and asked me to choose whatever I like. I chose power to study Yajurveda. He asked me to open my mouth. I opened my mouth. Goddess Sarasvati entered my mouth. My body was burning with great heat. Soorya told me to bear the heat for some time. Accordinly, all the heat subsided.

Soorya told me: “O Brahmin! you attain Knowledge of Veda. You learn Sankhya and Yoka. Your mind will be cheerful.” Then Soorya disappeared. I retired to my place and worshipped Goddess Sarasvati. Goddess Sarasvati appeared before me. Beholding Goddess Sarasvati, I got knowledge of Yajurveda. I studied Yajurveda and taught the same to my students.

After some time, one day, Gandharva King, Visvavasa came to me. He asked me the following questions:

“What is universe and what is non-universe? Who is Mitra and Varuna? What is Jnana and Jneya? What is Tapassu and what is not Tapassu? Who is Soorya and who is Athi Soorya? What is Vidya and what is Avidya? What is to be known and what is to be not known? Which are moveable and which are non-moveable? Which are accepted by Vedas? Kindly tell me about all these things” asked Visvavasu.

I told Gandharva thus: “The unmanifested Prakriti covered by past, present and future is called Universe. Purusha (jeeva) is nirguna. Mitra and Varuna are Prakritis of Purusha. Jnana and Jneya, what is tapassu and what is not tapassu, Soorya and Athi Soorya are all the attributes of Prakriti and Purusha. Vidya and Avidya, what is to be known or what is not to be known, moveable and immoveable explain about Purusha and Prakriti. Aja, Avrana, Akshaya, Ateendriya are called Prakriti and Purusha.
If these two elements are put together, even Prakriti appears to be Purusha. One who cannot understand Veda does not derive any benefit even by constantly reading Veda, except getting throat sore. Wise and learned who grasp the meaning and essense of Veda, knows about Kshara and Akshara. Then such wise and learned try to leave Kshara and attain Akshara. Knowledge of 25th element viz., Akshara Tatva leads to Para Tatva. It is possible to view Purusha and Prakriti differently. But the 25th element viz., Akshara Tatva and 26th element Parabrahma are one and same. The 26th element is otherwise called Parameswara, Purushottama. That 26th element is eternal, spotless, and blissful.” said Yajnavalkya.

Then Visvavasa said: “ I heard about this 25th element and also about Paratatva during the conversations between saints Narada, Jaigeesha, Devala, Kapila, Suka, Sumanta, Paila and other sages and saints. But I could not understand in correct perspective. Hence I came to you. Kindly clear off my doubts.” asked Visvavasu.

Yajnavalkya said thus: “O Visvavasu! Is it the fault of those sages and saints or your inability and suspicious mind that is responsible for your misunderstanding? As your mind is tainted, you are entertaining such doubts. First of all, you remove all your doubts from your mind and listen carefully.

You know that this unmanifested prakriti and purusha are different. Pususha, combined with this prakriti, is taking different forms and fixed in this birth and death cycle. Then, Purusha is not called Purushottam but Jeeva. Prakriti cannot behold Purusha. But Purusha beholds Prikriti. Purusha, while beholding Prakriti immerses in it and cannot look at Paramatma. But Paramatma always witnesses Purusha (Jeeva).

Now I tell you the way to behold Paramatma. Purusha develops intimacy with Prakriti and thinks that he himself is Prakriti. In course of time, he immerses with Prakriti. As a result, he develops egoism. (ahankara). Due to egoism, Jeeva develops love and affection towards worldly objects and desire to possess them. As long as Purusha leans towards Prikriti, he cannot behold Paramatma and remains only as jeevaatma. Whenever Purusha abaondons the idea that he himself is Prikriti, and he is different from Prakriti, then he turns himself towards Paramatma and beholds him.

For purusha, birth, old age and death are imminent. With the fear of old age and death he takes shelter under Sankhya and Yoga and abandons love and affection. As a result,he attains the birthless state of Paramatma. All this is happening only due to the thought that Purusha and Prakriti are one and the same. If Purusha abandons that idea, he knows the difference between himself and Prakriti.

We know that Purusha and Purushothama are different. But some wise and learned, due to their excessive knowledge and intelligence, entertains a thought that both are same. Even ignorant also thinks that Purushothama and Purusha are different. Only when they shed their ignorance, they know about Purushothama.” said Yajnavalkya to Visvavasa, the philosophy of Paramatma.

Having been satisfied with those teachings, Visvavasa saluted Yajnavalkya and went away. Yajnavalkya continued to say to Janaka thus:

“O King Janaka! What I said earlier applies to human beings and divine bodies. With the above philosophy only they attain Purushothama. In fact, conquering birth and death is called Mukti. One can conquer birth and death only due to acquiring knowledge. Therefore, acquring knowledge is must. Knowledge is acquired directly from Guru. It is quite immaterial to which caste Guru belongs. One who imparts knowledge is Guru. The desciple acquires knowledge from Guru with utmost devotion. Otherwise, his ignorance never ends. Due to ignorance only, Purusha transforms into Jeeva and entangles into these worldly acts and the birth and death cycle. He never attains Moksha. Therefore, to attain Moksha, acquring knowledge is must.

O King Janaka! I told you what all you have asked. Follow them scrupulously.” said Saint Yajnavalkya. King Janaka was very much satisfied with the teachings of Yajnavalkya.

O Dharmaja! you have heard the conversation between King Janaka and Saint Yajnavalkya. You also follow the same and attain Moksha” said Bhishma.

“O Grandsire Bhishma! Is it possible to attain Moksha without relinquishing Grihastha Dharma.” asked Dharmaja.

“O Dharmaja! I will now narrate the conversation between King Janaka and Lady Sulabha. With this, all your doubts will be cleared.

In the past, while King Janaka was ruling Mithila, there was a lady called Sulabha. At that time, King Janaka was completely immersed in practising Yoga. Lady Sulabha desired to test the knowledge acquired by Janaka. One day, she went to King Janaka in the attire of a beautiful Sanyasi-begger. Janaka welcomed her and offered her sumptuous food. With a view to test his sensual restraint, Lady Sulabha tried to attract him by exposing her body and by making lustful gestures.

Beholding that, King Janaka smiled at her. “O Lady! who are you! from where you have come?What is your destination? Who is your husband? What are you doing?” asked King Janaka. Lady Sulabha kept quiet. Again Janaka continued.

“I am the desciple of Saint Panchasikha. I learnt sankhya and Yoga and art of public adminstration through him. As the above three are paths to attain Moksha, I am trying to attain supreme consciousness, Para Tatva.

O lady! to attain Moksha, desirelessness is important. Desirelessness attains only through knowledge. I attained both knowledge and desirelessness. Though I am ruling this country and amidst the royal pleasures, I remain detatched and moving as desireless. If anybody applies sandle to my right arm and cut my left arm, I never get angry. Both mud and gold are equal to me. Jnana and Karma are most important. But for me the word of my Guru is important.

Some people takes Sanyasa as if Grihastha is harmful. But they always think in their mind about sensual plealsures. Keeping desires in mind and taking Sanyasa is useless. One cannot attain Moksha by shaving his head, wearing saffron clothes and holding stick (danda). Changing attire is not the path for Moksha. Acquring knowledge is most important. While remaining in Grihastha Ashram also one can acquire knowledge about his own self. Such people, at last, gets Moksha.

To evade miseries in Grihastha Ashram, some turn to be Sanyasis and wear saffrons. The royal umbrella of mine is equivalent to their saffron attire. Whether it gives pleasures or sorrows, royal umbrella is a must for me. If saffrom clothes give Moksha to Sanyasis, royal umbrella also gives Moksha to me.

O lady Sulabha! attaining moksha is possible only through knowledge but not with saffron clothes. Though I am a king, I discarded all these royal pleasures and followed the path of Moksha. Therefore, these royal clothes and umbrellas etc., are not hurdles for attaining Moksha. I know you have come here to test my self control towards royal and sensual pleasures. There is no use about it.

O lady Sulabha! you are a brahmin lady and Yogin. You are the wife of others. It appears your husband is not staying with you. But I am Kshatriya and a King of this Kingdom and I am in Grihastha Ashram. I am practising all customs and practices applicable to Kshatriyas with greatest devotion. Your lust towards me is nothing but defaming yourself and you are responsible for your own acts. I know that out of lust and passion towards me, you have come here in this beautiful form. Is it the way Yogins behave? Kindly put an end to your wicked ideas. You appear to be young and beautiful. I wonder how you get such a Yogic powers even at this young age. Kindly tell me.” asked King Janaka.

Lady Sulabha replied thus: “O king Janaka! you have spoken most beautiful words. I appreciate. The nature comprises of five elements. All the five elements appear to be mixed with one another but one is not dependent upon another. The five are distinct and separate. In a body, five elements, ten organs, mind and intellect (total 17) are most important. All these appear to be united but they are separate in their own sphere. Though all the human beings are made up of the above 17 elements, each individual is distinct and separate.

O king! you have to treat all others alike. You are not different from me. Then how can you ask me from where I have come. O King! you are a Kshatriya and you are ruling your Kingdom by dividing your subjects as good, better and worst and using four skills viz., Sama, Dana, Bedha and Danda and conquering your enemies. Then how you can be called as Yogi, striving hard for Mukti. Is it the Path for Mukti?

O King Janaka! You are always desirous of conquest with full of sensual desires. You are not following the path for Mukti. You are boasting yourself that you are wise and learned, which is a mental disease. Better you consult your doctors, take proper treatment and get yourself cured. Even after hearing me also, if you think that why cannot I be liberated, my reply is this:

You are a king. You are always involved in Dharma, Ardha, Kama and also in administrative activities. Unless you are helped by your servants you are incapable of doing even your daily rituals. Several beautiful damsels are always surrounded you. Your ministers and generals will be in waiting always. They never allow you to do your own routine works. They always crave for your appreciation. You are not independent for doing anything. You are not even allowed to take food of your own choice. You have to consume what they serve.

While making charities you have to think once or twice, whether they are fit to receive. You have to strive hard to acquire wealth and riches, while keeping an eye upon those who are digging pits under your feet. O king Janaka! for Kings, sorrows outnumber pleasures. Then how can kings follow the path of Mukti, especially, when you are saying that you are following the path of Mukti. Therefore, saying that Kings follow the path of Mukti is a blatent lie.

O King Janaka! now I come to the point. You told me that Saint Pancha Sikha gave initiation to you about Mukti. But you did not like me when I came to you. Is it the way to behave beyond duals.

A man desirous of following Mukti path discards duals and passions. He must remain peaceful and desireless. His mind shall not be disturbed even in precarious circumstances. Yathis shall leave towns and cities and retire to forests. I tried to enter your mind thinking that it is desireless and empty. I realised my mistake. You are not liberated.

Besides that, I have not even touched you with my hand or leg. Why you are afraid of me. O King you scolded me and insultled me to the hearing of one and all. Is it the way Kings behave. Does it not harm your name and fame. Is it not the behaviour of wrong and wicked to speak in public, about the pious relationship of man and woman. No wretch speaks like this. Being a King, you resorted to this. I am a Yogin and living like a drop of water on lotus leaf. You are unable to understand me. I doubt whether you got initiation from Saint Pancha Sikha.

O king! you discarded Grihastha Ashram and failed in seeking Moksha. You lost both. You are living in a delusion that you know everything. Your following the path of Mukti is a lie. Therefore, when I come to you, your mind is disturbed. This is enough to say that you are a lier.

Assuming for a moment that we are not seekers of Moksha, even then our union is not to be blamed. Why because, I was born to King Pradhana. I am Kshatriya lady. My name is Sulabha. My ancestors performed number of Yajnas and Yagas on Satasrunga mountain. I could not find a suitable match for me. Hence I adopted Moksha path. As we both are Kshatriyas, our union is not to be blamed. Having heard that you got initiation through Saint Panchasikha, I have come here to test you whether you are following the correct path. With your words, it is clear that you are not following the path of Moksha and you are a liar.” said Lady Sulabha in one breath.

King Janaka kept mum. Smiling at Janaka, Sulabha again said: “O King Janaka! Kindly pardon me. Testing your veracity is nothing but testing fire, whether it is hot or cold. What I did is out of my ignorance. O King Janaka! What all you said is correct. There is nothing wrong or lie. You are to be praised by all sages and saints. Moksha is nothing but Amla in your palm. I know it pretty well. You respected me well. Hence I took liberty to talk like this, humourously. You are not a liar. In fact, I am a liar. Except the words that I have come to test you, the others are all false and blatent lies. I hope you all excuse me for my childish behaviour.” said Lady Sulabha.

King Janaka laughed loudly and other Ministers and Generals joined King Janaka. Lady Sulabha remained their for that night and next morning went away.

O King Dharmaja! I hope all your doubts are cleared on hearing the conversation between King Janaka and Lady Sulabha.” said Bhishma.

Meanwhile, Dharmaja raised another doubt. “O Grandisire Bhishma! How Suka, son of Vyasa, became Sanyasi.” asked Dharmaja.

Bhishma told thus: “O Dharmaja! Suka was the son of Veda Vyasa. In his early days, Suka was an ordinary human being. Suka was moving with his fellowmen, ignoring the truth that he is subjected to old age and death. He thought that this body is eternal and immersed in enjoying worldly pleasures.

Beholding this, Vyasa was very much worried. He told his son Suka thus: “O my son Suka! Control your mind and sense organs. Dont allow them to enter wrong path. Telling truth, shedding anger, having virtuous character, performing tapassu and practising nonviolence are other forms of Dharma. Following the above Dharma, control your hunger and thirst. Before eating, offer food to divine bodies and guests and eat the rest.

Realise that Jeeva is in your body like a parrot in a cage. Withoug realising this, dont act waywardly. Day by day, your life is diminishing. One day or other, you will be succumbed to death. Knowing this also you are drowsing. This body is made up of flelsh and blood. The entire world is as such. One who is addicted to sensual pleasures, never thinks about other world. He never heeds the words of elders.He does not know that he does not know. Following path of sensual pleasures is comfortable in the beginning. Later, it turns to be full of miseries and sorrows.

O son, is it proper for you to leave the path of wise and learned and follow the path of wretch and wicked. Change your path and follow Dharma. Listen to the teachings of wise and learned. In the ocean of Samsara, sense organs are water, Kama and krodha are crocodiles. To cross the ocean of Samsara, mental stability is the only way. While humanbeing enjoys the sensual pleasures, suddenly death succumbs him. Then he cannot do anything. Dont be foolish like that humanbeing.

It is highly difficult to take birth as brahmin. Due to your virtuous deeds in past life, you are born in Brahmin community. You are wasting your Brahminism.Therefore, detatch yourself from the association of evil forces and develop Tapas, control of sense organs, wisdom and steadiness. O my son! have you taken brahmin birth merely for enjoying sensual pleasures? No. You have to lead a pious and virtuous life in this world, only to enjoy pleasures in other world.

Enjoying sensual pleasures is nothing but tightening noose around your neck. Wise never do like that. Fools always hang to the noose, without realising the truth. O my son! your wife, children, friends and relatives are around you till your death. Afterwards, they conveniently forget you. Therefore, forget about them and think about your innerself and total bliss. Know yourself. Old age and death are after human being from his birth. Dont postpone good and virtuous deeds. You dont know when death succumbs you. Death never waits till you complete the virtuous deeds in this life.

O my son! your wife and children, friends and relatives accompany you upto burial ground. After cremating your body, they depart in their own way. They never accompany you as you love them. Hence, why should you develop such love and affection towards them? Therefore, abandon these worldly affairs and have innersight.

Getting humanbirth is very difficult. You got it. By making human birth as a step in aid, try to attain Moksha. Hence dont be after worldly pleasures.When the mind is always going round the worldly pleasures, there is no use of retiring to forests for meditation. A man can cross the ocean of Samsara by abandoning all worldly pleasures and doing Tapas even in his own house.

O my son! prior to this birth, you got so many births. In those birth, you got wives, children, friends and relatives. All are dead. Likewise, wife and children in this birth also will die. Therefore, either yourself or your wife and children, friends and relatives have to die. Yourself, your wives, children, friends and relatives are constantly taking birth and death continuously. Realise this truth.

Wise and learned thinks like this. “I am here. But who am I? I do not belong to anybody.”

If you think like this, there is no bondage. All the miseries in this birth begins with love and affection towards wife. Wise never falls in love with wife. Acquiring and saving money, without enjoying and giving away to others as charity, is waste. Studying Vedas and acquiring knowledge without virtues is useless. What is the use of knowing about oneself without conquering sense organs?

O my son Suka! immediately cease yourself from Samsara; control your sense organs and conquer them for ever.” said Vyasa.

Dharmaja! having been taught by his father, Vyasa, in the abovemanner, Suka became a Viragi (man without desires).” said Bhishma.

“O Grandisre Bhishma! you told me that Suka is the son of Vyasa. How he was born? who was his mother? Kindly tell me in detail.” asked Dharmaja.

Bhishma told thus: “Once Vyasa performed Tapas in Karnikara forest near Meru Mountain, about Siva, to beget a son. Siva appeared before him and asked Vyasa about his desire. Vyasa said: “O Lord Siva! Bless me with a son as powerful as these five elements viz., earth, water, wind, fire and sky. Lord Siva blessed Vyasa with such a son and disappeared. Vyasa returned to his Ashram and was churning Arani to set fire for performing Yajna.

At that time, an apsara (divine damsel) by name Ghritachi was passing by that Ashram. Beholding Ghritachi, Vyasa’s mind was disturbed and he ejaculated. His semen fell into Arani. Not knowing this, Vyasa was churning Arani. With the combination of fire in Arani with the semen of Vyasa, a boy was born. He was called Suka. He was shining like fire.

River Ganga, in human form, arrived there and bathed the boy. Deer skin and Kamandala were dropped from heaven. Divine bodies sprinkled flowers on the boy. Lord Siva, Parvati, Devendra and others arrived there. All of them performed Upanayanam to the boy. Devendra gave the boy a divine Kamandala. Divine bodies gave the boy clothes which last long. Suka selected Brihaspati as his Guru. Suka studied Vedas under the guidance of his Guru, Brahaspati.

But Suka was more interested in playing with his co students than studying Vedas with devotion. Vyasa, as a father, taught Suka Sankhya and Yoga. Vyasa also taught Suka about egoism and love and affection towards friends and relatives and how to discard it. With the teachings of Vyasa, Suka developed Vairagya. Suka was more interested in Sanyas than the other three Ashrams viz., Brahmacharya, Grihastha and Vanaprastha. Suka asked his father, Vyasa to teach him about the path to attain Moksha.

Vyasa told Suka: “O my son Suka! King Janaka is the proper person to teach you about the path of Moksha. By birth you are more powerful. Dont go by any other means except by walk. Dont exhibit your egoism before King Janaka. Be polite and obedient.” said Vyasa.

Accordingly, Suka went to King Janaka by walk. On hearing about the arrival of Suka, King Janaka sent his Purohit to receive Suka with due honors. The Purohit brought Suka inside the royal palace. King Janaka received Suka, washed his feet and offered his seat of honour. Beholding this, the ministers and courtiers were astonished.

King Janaka arranged a dance programme. Beautiful girls danced before Suka. Suka was not moved in any way. He witnessed the programme with stable mind. Janaka deputed his purohit to provide him food and drinks. King Janaka was by his side all throughout and talked to him on various subjects. That day passed.

Next day, King Janaka asked Suka about the purpose of his arrival.

“My father, Vyasa, sent me to know about the path of Moksha. What is the duty of a Brahmin? How can he attain Moksha” asked Suka.

“O Suka! Bahmins, after Upanayanam, follow Brahmacharya and study Vedas. Then, they enter Grihastha Ashram, marry a suitable lady and beget children. They perform Yajnas, Yagas and satisfy Divine bodies and Pitaras with their offerings and worship guests. Later, they follow Vanaprashta by retiring to forests. There they spend their life by worshipping sages and saints. At last they follow Sanyasa Ashram by discarding all desires. At last they attain Moksha.” said Janaka.

“O King Janaka! What you said is applicable to ordinary brahmins but not to those who are extremely wise and learned. Is it necessary for a person who realises Brahma with his intellectual insight, to follow the first three Ashrams? What Vedas say about this? Kindly tell me.”asked Suka.

King Janaka said thus: “As you said, knowledge and wisdom are essential to attain Moksha. One should acquire knowledge only through Guru. An intellect, at the end, relinquishes those knowledge and wisdom also to attain Moksha. In the past, great sages and saints, in order to protect the human beings from all kinds of evils and miseries, prescribed four Ashrams to be followed. One who follows the four Ashrams properly, certainly attains Moksha.

Even otherwise, if anybody attains knowledge and wisdom by virtue of his Punya acquired by him in his past birth, even without fulfilling the last three Ashrams, he attains Mukti even in Brahmacharya, subject to condition that he shall not be influenced by Rajas and Tamas and follows Satva always. If such a human being attains Mukti, he need not undergo the other three Ashrams, as no purpose is served.

A human being, by following Satva only, he beholds his own Atma. He thinks that he is in this Universe and the entire Universe is himself. In this connection, King Yayati said that Paramatma is embedded in ourselves. One who knows about himself, need not fear for himself or for others. Then only he attains Moksha. Such a yogi beholds himself in every outside creature and he never causes harm to any creature. He abandons all his desires and does Tapas to attain Moksha. A human being who lives peacefully, treating all creatures equally, without entangling in worldy affairs, uninfluenced by likes and dislikes, pleasures and sorrows etc., such person attains Moksha.

What all I said, has already been taught to you by your father. You know much better than I taught. Due to childishness, you entertained some doubts. You dont know what you are. You are a great intellect. Knowledge and wisdom are your born gifts. But you have to strive hard to attain Moksha.
Therefore, with strong devotion, you fulfill your desire to attain Moksha. First of all, discard all your doubts and know yourself and your permanent abode from where you have come to this world.” said Janaka to Suka.

With the teachings of King Janaka, all the doubts of Suka are cleared. He knows what he is. His mind remained peaceful. He went back to his father, Vyasa.


Maha Bharata
Sixth Chapter
First Part completed.
Om Tatsat Om Tatsat Om Tatsat.