"Usanas said, 'I bow to that divine and illustrious and puissant Being who holds this earth with the firmament in his arms. I shall speak to thee of the pre-eminent greatness of that Vishnu whose head, O best of the Danavas, is that Infinite place (called Emancipation).'
"While they were thus conversing with each other there came unto them the great sage Sanatkumara of righteous soul for the purpose of dispelling their doubts. Worshipped by the prince of Asuras and by the sage Usanas, that foremost of sages sat down on a costly seat. After Kumara of great wisdom had been seated (at his ease), Usanas said unto him, 'Discourse to this chief of the Danavas on the pre-eminent greatness of Vishnu.' Hearing these words, Sanatkumara uttered the following, fraught with grave import, upon the pre-eminent greatness of Vishnu unto the intelligent chief of the Danavas, 'Listen, O Daitya, to everything about the greatness of Vishnu. Know, O scorcher of foes, that the entire universe rests on Vishnu. O thou of mighty arms, it is He who creates all creatures mobile and immobile. In course of Time it is He, again, who withdraws all things and in Time it is He who once more casts them forth from Himself. Into Hari all things merge at the universal destruction and from Him all things again come forth. Men possessed of scriptural lore cannot obtain him by such lore. Nor can He be obtained by Penances, nor by Sacrifices. The only means by which He can be attained is by restraining the Senses. Nor that sacrifices are entirely useless towards such an end. For one, by relying upon both external and internal acts, and upon one's own mind, can purify (them) by one's own understanding. By such means, one succeeds in enjoying infinity in the world. 1 As
a goldsmith purifies the dross of his metal by repeatedly casting it into the fire with very persistent efforts of his own, after the same manner Jiva succeeds in cleaning himself by his course through hundreds of births. Some one may be seen to purify himself in only one life by mighty efforts. As one should with care wipe stains from off one's person before they become thick, after the same manner one should, with vigorous efforts, wash off one's faults. 1 By mixing only a few flowers with them, grains of sesame cannot be made to cast off their own odour (and become at once fragrant). After the same manner, one cannot, by cleansing one's heart only a little, succeed in beholding the Soul. When, however, those grains are perfumed repeatedly with the aid of a large quantity of flowers, it is then that they cast off their own odour and assume that of the flowers with which they are mixed. After this manner, faults, in the form of attachments to all our environments, are dispelled by the understanding in course of many lives, with the aid of a large dose of the attribute of the Sattwa, and by means of efforts born of practice. 2 Listen, O Danava, by what means creatures attached to acts and those unattached to them attain the causes that lead to their respective states of mind. 3 Listen to me with undivided attention. I shall, in their due order, discourse to thee, O puissant Danava, as to how creatures betake themselves to action and how they give up action. 4 The Supreme Lord creates all creatures mobile and immobile. He is without beginning and without end. Unendued with attributes of any kind, he assumes attributes (when he chooses to create). He is the universal Destroyer, the Refuge of all things, the Supreme Ordainer, and pure Chit. 5 In all creatures it is He who dwells as the mutable and the immutable. It is He who, having eleven modifications for His essence, drinketh this universe with His rays. 6 Know that the Earth is His feet. His head is constituted by Heaven. His arms, O Daitya, are the several points of the compass or the horizon. The intermediate space is His ears. The light of His eye is the Sun, and His mind is in the Moon. His understanding dwells
always in Knowledge, and His tongue is in Water. 1 O best of Danavas, the Planets are in the midst of His brows. The starts and constellations are from the light of His eyes. The Earth is in His feet. O Danava! Know also that the attributes of Rajas, Tamas, and Sattwa are of Him. He is the fruit (or end) of all the modes of life, and He it is who should be known as the fruit (or reward) of all (pious) acts (such as Japa and Sacrifice, etc.). 2 The Highest and Immutable, He is also the fruit of abstention from all work. The Chandas are the hair on His body, and Akshara (or Pranava) is His word. The diverse orders (of men) and the modes of life are His refuge. His mouths are many. Duty (or religion) is planted in his heart. He is Brahma; He is the highest Righteousness; He is Sat and He is Asat; 3 He is Sruti; He is the scriptures; He is the Sacrificial vessel; He is the six and ten Ritwijes; He is all the Sacrifices; He is the Grandsire (Brahman); He is Vishnu; He is the twin Aswins; and He is Purandara; 4 He is Mitra; He is Varuna; He is Yama; He is Kuvera the lord of treasures. Although the Ritwijes seem to behold Him as separate, He is, however, known to them as one and the same. Know that this entire universe is under the control of One divine Being. 5 The Veda that is in the soul, O prince of Daityas, regards the unity of various creatures. When a living creature realises this unity in consequence of true knowledge, he is then said to attain to Brahma. The period of time for which one creation exists or for which if ceases to exist is called a Kalpa. Living creatures exist for a thousand millions of such Kalpas. Immobile creatures also exist for an equal period. The period for which a particular creation exists is measured by many thousands of lakes (in the following way), O Daitya! Conceive a lake that is one Yojana in width, one Krosa in depth, and five hundred Yojanas in length. Imagine many thousands of such lakes. Seek then to dry up those lakes by taking from them, only once a day, as much water as may be taken up with the end of a single hair. The number of days would pass in drying them up completely by this process represents the period that is occupied by the life of one creation from its first start to the time of its destruction. 6 The highest Evidence (for all things) says that creatures have six colours, viz., Dark, Tawny, Blue, Red, Yellow, and White. These colours proceed from mixtures in various proportions of the three attributes of Rajas, Tamas, and Sattwa. Where Tamas predominates, Sattwa falls below the mark, and Rajas keeps to
the mark, the result is the colour called Dark. When Tamas predominates as before, but the relations between Sattwa and Rajas are reversed, the result is the colour called Tawny. When Rajas predominates, Sattwa falls below the mark, and Tamas keeps to the mark, the result is the colour called Blue. When Rajas predominates as before and the proportion is reversed between Sattwa and Tamas, the result is the intermediate colour called Red. That Colour is more agreeable (than the preceding one). When Sattwa predominates, Rajas falls below the mark and, Tamas keeps to the mark, the result is the colour called Yellow. It is productive of happiness. When Sattwa predominates and the proportion is reversed between Rajas and Tamas, the result is the colour called White. It is productive of great happiness. 1 The White is the foremost colour. It is sinless in consequence of its being free from attachment and aversion. It is without grief, and free from the toil involved in Pravritti. Hence, White, O prince of Danavas, leads to success (or Emancipation). Jiva, O Daitya, having undergone thousands of births derived through the womb, attains to success. 2 That success is the identical end which the divine Indra declared after having studied many auspicious spiritual treatises and which has for its essence the apprehension of the Soul. The end again that creatures obtain is dependent oil their colour, and colour, in its turn, depends upon the character of the Time that sets in, O Daitya! 3 The stages of existence, O Daitya, through which Jiva must pass are not unlimited. They are fourteen hundreds of thousands ill number. In consequence of them Jiva ascends, stays, and falls down as the case may be. 4 The end that is attained by a Jiva of dark flue is very low, for he becomes addicted to acts that lead to hell and then has to rot in hell. 5 The learned say that in consequence of his wickedness, the continuance (in such form) of a Jiva is measured
by many thousands of Kalpas. 1 Having passed many hundred thousands of years in that condition, Jiva then attains to the colour called Tawny (and becomes born as an intermediate creature). In that condition he dwells (for many long years), in perfect helplessness. At last when his sins are exhausted (in consequence of his having endured all the misery they are capable of bringing), his mind, casting off all attachments, cherishes Renunciation. 2 When Jiva becomes endued with the quality of Sattwa, he then dispels everything connected with Tamas by the aid of his intelligence, and exerts (for achieving what is for his good). As the result of this, Jiva attains to the colour called Red. If the quality of Sattwa, however, be not gained, Jiva then travels in a round of rebirths in the world of inert, having attained to the colour called Blue. 3 Having attained to that end (viz., Humanity) and having been afflicted for the duration of one creation by the bonds born of his own acts, Jiva then attains to the colours called Yellow (or becomes a Deity). Existing in that condition for the space of a hundred creations, he then leaves it (for becoming a human being) to return to it once more. 4 Having attained to the Yellow colour, Jiva exists for thousands of Kalpas, sporting as a Deva. Without, however, being emancipated (even then), he has to stay in hell, enjoying or enduring the fruits of his acts of past Kalpas and wandering through nine and ten thousand courses. 5 Know that Jiva becomes freed from the hell (of acts) as represented by heaven or godship. After the same manner, Jiva gets, off from the other births (corresponding with the other colours). Jiva sports for many long Kalpas in the world of Devas. Falling thence, he once more obtains the status of Humanity. He then stays in that condition for the space of a hundred and eight Kalpas. He then attains once more to the status of a Deva. If while in the status of humanity (for the second time) he falleth through (evil acts as represented by)
[paragraph continues] Kala (in the form of Kali), he then sinks into the Dark colour and thus occupies the very lowest of all stages of existence.
"I shall tell thee now, O foremost of Asuras, how Jiva succeeds in effecting his Emancipation. Desirous of Emancipation, Jiva, relying upon seven hundred kinds of acts every one of which is characterised by a predominance of the attribute of Sattwa, gradually courses through Red and Yellow and at last attains to White. Arrived here, Jiva travels through several regions that are most adorable and that have the Eight well-known regions of felicity beneath them, and all the while pursues that stainless and effulgent form of existence which is Emancipation's self. 1 Know that the Eight (already referred to and) which are identical with the Sixty (subdivided into) hundreds, are, unto those that are highly effulgent, only creations of the mind (without having any real or independent existence). The highest object of acquisition with one that is White of hue, is that condition (called Turiya) which transcends the three other states of consciousness, viz., Wakefulness and Dream and Dreamless slumber. 2 As regards that Yogin who is unable to abandon the felicities that Yoga-puissance brings about, he has to dwell (in one and the same body) for one century of Kalpas in auspiciousness and after that in four other regions (called Mahar, Jana, Tapas, and Satya). Even that is the highest end of one belonging to the sixth colour, and who is Unsuccessful
though crowned with success, and who has transcended all attachments and passions. 1 That Yogin, again, who falls off from Yoga practices after having attained the measure of eminence described already resides in heaven for a century of Kalpas with the, unexhausted remnant of his past acts (to be exhausted by enjoyment or endurance as the case may be), and with the seven (viz., the five senses of knowledge and mind and understanding) purged of all stains in consequence of their predisposition or proneness towards the attribute of Sattwa. And the expiry of that period, such a person has to come to the world of men where he attains to great eminence. 2 Turning back from the world of men, he departs for attaining to new forms of existence that run higher and higher in the upward scale. While engaged in this, he courseth through seven regions for seven times, his puissance being always increased in consequence of his Samadhi and the re-awakening from it. 3 The Yogin who is desirous of final Emancipation suppresses by Yoga-knowledge the seven, and continues to dwell in the world of life, freed from attachments; and taking those seven for certain means of grief, he casts them off and attains afterwards to that state which is Indestructible and Infinite. Some say that
that is the region of Mahadeva; some, of Vishnu; some, of Brahman; some, of Sesha; some, of Nara; some, of the effulgent Chit; and some, of the All-pervading. 1 When universal destruction comes, those persons who have succeeded in completely consuming by Knowledge their gross and subtle and karana bodies, always enter into Brahma. All their Senses also which have action for their essence and which are not identical with Brahma, merge into the same. When the time of universal destruction comes, those Jivas who have attained to the position of Devas and who have an unexhausted remnant of the fruits of acts to enjoy or endure, revert to those stages of life in the subsequent Kalpa which had been theirs in the previous one. This is due to the similarity of every successive Kalpa to every previous one. Those again whose acts, at the time of universal destruction, have been exhausted by enjoyment or endurance in respect of their fruits, falling down from heaven, take birth among men, in the subsequent Kalpa, for without Knowledge one cannot destroy one's acts in even a hundred Kalpas. All superior Beings again, endued with similar powers and similar forms, revert to their respective destinies at a new creation after a universal destruction, ascending and descending precisely in the same manner as during the creation that is dissolved. 2 As regards, again, the person who is conversant with Brahma, as long as he continues to enjoy and endure the unexhausted remnant of his acts of previous Kalpas, it is said that all creatures and the two stainless sciences live in his body. When his Chitta becomes cleansed by Yoga, and when he practises Samyama, this perceptible universe appears to him as only his own fivefold senses. 3 Enquiring with a cleansed mind, Jiva attains to a high and stainless end. Thence he attains to a spot which knows no deterioration,
and thence attains to eternal Brahma that is so difficult of acquisition. 1 Thus, Of thou of great might, I have discoursed to thee of the eminence of Narayana!'
"Vritra said, 'These words of thine, I see, perfectly according with the truth. Indeed, when this is so, I have no (cause of grief). Having listened to thy words, O thou of great powers of mind, I have become freed from sorrow and sin of every kind. O illustrious Rishi, O holy one, I see this wheel of Time, endued with mighty energy, of the most effulgent and Infinite Vishnu, has been set in motion. Eternal is that station, from which all kinds of creation spring. That Vishnu is the Supreme Soul. He is the foremost of Beings. In Him this entire universe rests.'
"Bhishma continued, 'Having said these words, O son of Kunti, Vritra cast off his life-breaths, uniting his soul (in Yoga, with the supreme Soul), and attained to the highest station.'
"Yudhishthira said, 'Tell me, O grandsire, whether this Janardana (Krishna) is that illustrious and puissant Lord of whom Sanatkumara spoke unto Vritra in days of old.'
"Bhishma said, 'The Highest Deity, endued with the six attributes of (puissance, etc.) is at the Root. Staying there, the Supreme Soul, with his own energy, creates all these diverse existent things. 2 Know that this Kesava who knows no deterioration is from His eighth portion. Endued with the highest Intelligence, it is this Kesava who creates the three worlds with an eighth portion (of His energy). Coming immediately after Him who lies at the Root, this Kesava who is eternal (compared with all other existent things), changes at the end of each Kalpa. He, however, who lies at the Root and who is endued with supreme might and puissance, lies in the waters when universal destruction comes (in the form of the potential Seed of all things). Kesava is that Creator of pure Soul who courseth through all the eternal worlds. 3 Infinite and Eternal as He is, He fills all space (with emanations from Himself) and courseth through the universe (in the form of everything that constitutes the universe). Freed as He is from limitations of every kind such as the possession of attributes would imply, he suffers himself to be invested
with Avidya and awakened to Consciousness, Kesava of Supreme Soul creates all things. In Him rests this wondrous universe in its entirety.'
"Yudhishthira said, 'O thou that art conversant with the highest object of knowledge, I think that Vritra saw beforehand the excellent end that awaited him. It is for this, O grandsire, that he was happy and did not yield to grief (in view of his coming Death). He who is White of hue, who has taken birth in a pure or stainless race, and who has attained to the rank of a Sadhya, doth not, O sinless one, come back (into the world for re-birth). Such a person, O grandsire, is freed from both hell and the status of all intermediate creatures. He, however, who has attained to either the Yellow or the Red hue, is seen sometimes to be overwhelmed by Tamas and fall among the order of Intermediate creatures. As regards ourselves, we are exceedingly afflicted and attached to objects that are productive of sorrow or indifference or joy. Alas, what will the end be to which we shall attain? Will it be the Blue or the Dark which is the lowest of all hues?'
"Bhishma continued, 'Ye are Pandavas. Ye have been born in a stainless race. Ye are of rigid vows. Having sported in joy in the regions of the gods, ye shall come back to the world of men. Living happily as long as the creation lasts, all of you at the next new creation will be admitted among the gods, and enjoying all kinds of felicities ye will at last be numbered among the Siddhas. Let no fear be yours. Be you cheerful.'"