consciousness, and other attributes of the usual kind,
and that is dissociated from all these, such an assertion
would be exposed to a serious objection, for then all
that is usually done in the world would be unmeaning,
especially with reference to the attainment of the
fruits of the charity and other religious acts.
All the declarations in the Srutis inciting to those
acts, and all acts connected with the conduct of men
in the world, would be equally unmeaning, for the
Soul being dissociated from the understanding and the
mind, there is no one to enjoy the fruits of good
acts and Vedic rites. Thus diverse kinds of speculations
arise in the mind. Whether this opinion is right
or that is right, there is no means of settling.
Engaged in reflecting on those opinions, particular
persons follow particular lines of speculation.
The understandings of these, directed to particular
theories, become wholly taken up with them and are
at last entirely lost in them. Thus all men are
rendered miserable by pursuits, good or bad.
The Vedas along, bringing them back to the right path,
guide them along it, like grooms conducting their
elephants. Many men, with weakened minds, covet
objects that are fraught with great happiness.
These, however, have soon to meet with a much larger
measure of sorrow, and then, forcibly torn from their
coveted meat, they have to own the sway of death.
What use has one, who is destined to destruction and
whose life is unstable, with kinsmen and friends and
wives and other possessions of this kind? He
who encounters death after having cast off all these,
passes easily out of the world and has never to return.
Earth, space, water, heat and wind, always support
and nourish the body. Reflecting upon this, how
can one feel any affection for one’s body?
Indeed, the body, which is subject to destruction,
has no joy in it. Having heard these words of
Panchasikha that were free from deception, unconnected
with delusion (because discouraging sacrifices and
other Vedic acts), highly salutary, and treating of
the Soul, king Janadeva became filled with wonder,
and prepared himself to address the Rishi once more.’”
“Bhishma said, ’Janadeva of the race of
Janaka, thus instructed by the great Rishi Panchasikha,
once more asked him about the topic of existence or
nonexistence after death.’
“Janadeva said, ’O illustrious one, if
no person retains any knowledge after departing from
this state of being, if, indeed, this is true, where
then is the difference between Ignorance and Knowledge?
What do we gain then by knowledge and what do we lose
by ignorance? Behold, O foremost of regenerate
persons, that if Emancipation be: such, then all
religious acts and vows end only in annihilation.
Of what avail would then the distinction be between
heedfulness and heedlessness? If Emancipation
means dissociation from all objects of pleasurable
enjoyment or an association with objects that are
not lasting, for what then would men cherish a desire
for action, or, having set themselves to action, continue
to devise the necessary means for the accomplishment
of desired ends? What then is the truth (in connection
with this topic)?’