“Sauti said, ’Hearing this story of the re-appearance and departure of his forefathers, king Janamejaya of great intelligence became highly pleased. Filled with joy, he once more questioned Vaisampayana on the subject of the reappearance of dead men, saying,—“How is it possible for persons whose bodies have been destroyed to re-appear in those very forms?” Thus asked, that foremost of regenerate persons, viz., the disciple of Vyasa, that first of speakers, possessed of great energy, thus answered Janamejaya.
“Vaisampayana said, ’This is certain, viz., that acts are never destroyed (without their consequences being enjoyed or endured). Bodies, O king, are born of acts; so also are features. The great primal elements are eternal (indestructible) in consequence of the union with them of the Lord of all beings. They exist with what is eternal. Accordingly, they have no destruction when the non-eternal are destroyed. Acts done without exertion are true and foremost, and bear real fruit. The soul, united however with such acts as require exertion for their accomplishment, enjoys pleasure and pain. Though united so (that is, with pleasure and pain), yet it is a certain inference that the soul is never modified by them, like the reflection of creatures in a mirror. It is never destroyed. As long as one’s acts are not exhausted (by enjoyment or endurance of their fruits good and bad), so long does one regard the body to be oneself. The man, however, whose acts have been exhausted, without regarding the body to be self, takes the self to be something otherwise. Diverse existent objects (such as the primal elements and the senses, etc.) attaining to a body, become united as one. To men of knowledge who understand the difference (between the body and self), those very objects become eternal. In the Horse-sacrifice, this Sruti is heard in the matter of the slaying of the horse. Those which are the certain possessions of embodied creatures, viz., their life-breaths (and the senses, etc.), exist eternally even when they are borne to the other world. I shall tell thee what is beneficial, if it be agreeable to thee, O king. Thou hast, while employed in thy sacrifices, heard of the paths of the deities. When preparations were made for any sacrifice of thine, the deities became beneficially inclined to thee. When indeed, the deities were thus disposed and came to thy sacrifices, they were lords in the matter of the passage (from this to the next world) of the animals slain. For this reason, the eternal ones (viz., Jivas), by adoring the deities in sacrifices, succeed in attaining to excellent goals. When the five primal elements are eternal, when the soul also is eternal, he called Purusha (viz., the soul invested with case) is equally so. When such is the case, he who beholds a creature as disposed to take diverse