DEATH AS A BEGINNING
Yama holds sway in the region of the pitris,
being the source of bliss to the virtuous and of woe to the sinful. It
is at his behest that death, in the form of wrath, ignorance and greed,
occurs among men. Stirred by pride, men ever tread the path of
unrighteousness. None of them succeeds in knowing his true nature. With
clouded understanding, and propelled by passions, they cast off their
bodies and repeatedly fall into hell. They are constantly pursued by
their senses. Hence nescience receives the name of death.
who desire the fruits of action, when the time comes to enjoy these
fruits, proceed to heaven, casting off their bodies. Hence they cannot
avoid death. Through the inability to gain the knowledge ofBrahman, and
owing to their attachment to earthly enjoyments, embodied creatures are
obliged to traverse the cycle of rebirths, up and down and around. It is
solely man’s natural inclination to unreal pursuits that causes the
senses to gravitate towards error.
soul that is constantly agitated by the craving for unreal objects,
remembering only that which ever preoccupies it, solely adores the
earthly enjoyments that surround it. Desire for enjoyments first
destroys men. Lust and wrath soon follow. These three lead the foolish
to death. Those, however, who have subdued their souls succeed by
self-conquest in eluding death.
who has subdued his soul without suffering himself to be agitated by
ambitious desire conquers the three tendencies, viewing them as
valueless, through self-knowledge. Ignorance, assuming the form of Yama,
devours not that wise man who controls his desires in this manner.
man who indulges his desires is destroyed along with his desires. He,
however, who can renounce desire can certainly expel all sorts of
sorrow. Desire is indeed ignorance, darkness and hell for all creatures;
swayed by it, they lose their senses. Just as intoxicated persons,
walking along a street, reel towards ruts and holes, so too those under
the sway of desire, misled by delusive pleasures, run towards their
destruction. What can death do to a person whose soul has neither been
confounded nor misled by desire? For him death has no terrors, any more
than a tiger made of straws.
the state of desire, which is nescience, is to be destroyed, no wish
whatsoever, not even the slightest, must be pondered or pursued. That
embodied soul which is associated with wrath and greed, which is replete
with ignorance, is death itself. Knowing that death arises in this way,
he who relies on knowledge does not entertain any fear of death. Truly,
just as the body is destroyed when brought under the spell of death, so
too death itself is destroyed when it comes under the sway of wisdom.
who is without knowledge proceeds hither by the path indicated by you,
and the Vedas also declare that thither are found both bliss and
emancipation. But he who views the body as the self, if he also succeeds
in renouncing desire, at once attains emancipation. If, however, one
seeks emancipation without renouncing desire, one must perforce proceed
along the path of action, taking care to eschew the tendency to retrace
the routes already traversed.