Sacred Books of the East eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 632 pages of information about Sacred Books of the East.

[Footnote 14:  The question put by Kitra to Svetaketu is very obscure, and was probably from the first intended to be obscure in its very wording.  Kitra wished to ask, doubtless, concerning the future life.  That future life is reached by two roads; one leading to the world of Brahman (the conditioned), beyond which there lies one other stage only, represented by knowledge of, and identity with the unconditioned Brahman; the other leading to the world of the fathers, and from thence, after the reward of good works has been consumed, back to a new round of mundane existence.  There is a third road for creatures which live and die, worms, insects, and creeping things, but they are of little consequence.  Now it is quite clear that the knowledge which King Kitra possesses, and which Svetaketu does not possess, is that of the two roads after death, sometimes called the right and the left, or the southern and northern roads.  The northern or left road, called also the path of the Devas, passes on from light and day to the bright half of the moon; the southern or right road, called also the path of the fathers, passes on from smoke and night to the dark half of the moon.  Both roads therefore meet in the moon, but diverge afterwards.  While the northern road passes by the six months when the sun moves towards the north, through the sun, moon, and the lightning to the world of Brahman, the southern passes by the six months when the sun moves towards the south, to the world of the fathers, the ether, and the moon.  The great difference, however, between the two roads is, that while those who travel on the former do not return again to a new life on earth, but reach in the end a true knowledge of the unconditioned Brahman, those who pass on to the world of the fathers and the moon return to earth to be born again and again.  The speculations on the fate of the soul after death seem to have been peculiar to the royal families of India, while the Brahmans dwelt more on what may be called the shorter cut, a knowledge of Brahman as the true Self.  To know, with them, was to be, and, after the dissolution of the body, they looked forward to immediate emancipation, without any further wanderings.]

[Footnote 15:  Who knows the conditioned and mythological form of Brahman as here described, sitting on the couch.]

[Footnote 16:  In the first chapter it was said, “He approaches the couch Amitaugas, that is prana” (breath, spirit, life).  Therefore having explained in the first chapter the knowledge of the couch (of Brahman), the next subject to be explained is the knowledge of prana, the living spirit, taken for a time as Brahman, or the last cause of everything.]

[Footnote 17:  Speech is uncertain, and has to be checked by the eye.  The eye is uncertain, taking mother of pearl for silver, and must be checked by the ear.  The ear is uncertain, and must be checked by the mind, for unless the mind is attentive, the ear hears not.  The mind, lastly, depends on the spirit, for without spirit there is no mind.]

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