Dialogues of Krishna and Arjuna
The Eighteen Lectures
TRANSLATED FROM THE ORIGINAL
IN THE ANCIENT LANGUAGE OF THE BRAHMAN
By CHARLES WILKINS 1785
L E C T U R E. 15.
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THE incorruptible being is likened unto the tree Aśvattha, whose root is above and whose branches are below, and whose leaves are the Vedas. He who knoweth that, is acquainted with the Vedas. Its branches growing from the three Guṇa or qualities, whose lesser roots are the objects of the organs of sense, spread forth some high and some low. The roots which are spread abroad below, in the regions of mankind, are restrained by action. Its form is not to be found her, neither its beginning, nor its end, nor its likeness. When a man hath cut down this
Aśvattha, whose root is so firmly fixed, with the strong ax of disinterest, from that time that place is to be fought from whence there is no return for those who find it; and I make manifest that first Puruṣa from whom is produced the ancient progression of all things.
Those who are free from pride and ignorance, have prevailed over those faults which arise from the consequences
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of action, have their minds constantly employed in watching over and restraining the inordinate desires, and are freed from contrary causes, whose consequences bring both pleasure and pain, are no longer confounded in their minds, and ascend to that place which endureth forever. Neither the fun, nor the moon, nor the fire enlighteneth that place from whence there is no return, and which is the supreme mansion of my abode.
It is even a portion of myself that in this animal world is the universal spirit of all things. It draweth together the five organs and the mind, which is the sixth, that it may obtain a body, and that it may leave it again; and Īśvara, having taken them under his charge, accompanieth them from his own abode as the breeze the fragrance from the Bower. He presideth over the organs of hearing, seeing, feeling, tasting, and smelling together with the mind, and attendeth to their objects. The foolish see it not, attended by the Guṇa or qualities, in expiring, in being, or in enjoying; but those who are endued with the eye of wisdom behold it. Those also who industriously apply their minds in meditation may perceive it planted in their own breasts, whilst those of unformed minds and weak judgments, laboring find it not.
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Know that the light which proceedeth from the fun and illuminateth the whole world, and the light which is in the moon, and in the fire, are mine. I pervade all things in nature, and guard them with my beams. I am the moon, whose nature it is to give the quality of taste and relish, and to cherish the herbs and plants of the field. I am the fire residing in the bodies of all things which have life, where, joined with the two spirits which are called Prāṇa and Apāna 101 I digest the food which they eat, which is of four kinds 101 • I penetrate into the hearts of all men; and from me proceed memory, knowledge, and the loss of both. I am to be known by all the Vedas or books of divine knowledge: I am he who formed the Vedanta 109 , and I am he who knoweth the Vedas.
There are two kinds of Puruṣa in the world, the one corruptible, the other incorruptible. The corruptible Puruṣa is the body of all things in nature; the incorruptible is called Kūṭastha , or he who standeth on the pinnacle 11 O . There is another Puruṣa 111 most high; the Paramātma or supreme soul, who inhabiteth the three regions of the world, even the incorruptible Īśvara. Because I am above corruption, so also am I superior to in corruption; wherefore in this world, and in the Vedas, I am called Puruṣottama. The man of a sound judgment,
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who conceiveth me thus to be the Puruṣottama, knoweth all things, and serveth me in every principle.
Thus, O Arjuna, have I made known· unto thee this most mysterious Sāstra112; and he who understandeth it shall be a wise man, and the performer of all that is fit to be done.