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  1. This seems to be the obvious. There is a different reading however. For Drie--cyate-seen, some texts have Sasyate--applauded. Nilakantha imagines that the meaning is "As distribution (of food) amongst the various classes of beings like the gods, the Pitris, &c., is applauded &c., &c."
  2. A form of sacrifice which consists in pouring oblations of clarified butter with prayers into a blazing fire. It is obligatory on Brahmanas and Kshatriyas, except those that accept certain vows of great austerity.
  3. The Viswedeva sacrifice is the offer of food to all creatures of the earth (by scattering a portion).
  4. A gift. It may be of various kinds. The fees paid to Brahmanas assisting at sacrifices and religious rites, such as offering oblations to the dead, are Dakshinas, as also gifts to Brahmanas on other occasions particularly when they are fed, it bring to this day the custom never to feed a Brahmana without paying him a pecuniary fee. There can be no sacrifice, no religious rite, without Dakshina.
  5. Reference to self, i.e. without the motive of bettering one's own self, or without any motive at all. (This contains the germ of the doctrine preached more elaborately in the Bhagavad gita).
  6. This Yoga consists, in their case, of a combination of attributes by negation of the contrary ones, i.e. by renunciation of motives in all they do.
  7. A form of Yoga that is said to consist in the mingling of some of the air supposed to exist in every animal body. These airs are five: Prana, Apana, Samana, Udana, and Vyana.
  8. The 8 Vasus, the 11 Rudras, the 12 Adityas, Prajapati, and Vashatkara.
  9. An order of celestials.
  10. Celestial flowers of much fragrance.
  11. The ascetic properties are Anima, Laghima, etc.
  12. The bow of Vishnu, as that of Siva is called Pinaka.
  13. The words of the text are Adhana, Pashubandha, Ishti Mantra, Yajana and Tapa-kriya.
  14. Dhritarashtra being blind is described as Pragnachakshu, i.e. having knowledge for his eye. It may also mean. "Of the prophetic eye."
  15. The great preceptor of the Asuras, viz., Sukra, possessing the highest intelligence as evidenced by his various works on all manner of subjects particularly, the Sukra-niti.
  16. Also called Vadarika, a hermitage on the Himalaya near the sources of the Ganges.
  17. Nilakantha explains kshetra as including Mahabhuta, consciousness, intellect, the unmanifest (primordial elements), the ten senses, the five objects of the senses, viz., earth, water, &c., desire, aversion, pleasure, pain, the combinations of elements, and chaitanya.
  18. Hari here means the developed seed that is to expand into the vast whole of the universe.
  19. This wheel is the wheel of Time--i.e., measured according to the solar, lunar and astral revolutions. The importance of Ashtavakra's reply is this: May the meritorious deeds performed at proper times, during the revolution of this wheel of Time protect thee.
  20. Thunder and lightning or misery and death.
  21. Cloud or the mind.
  22. The male being that is ever conscious.
  23. The mundane egg.
  24. The soul that has renounced connection with the body.
  25. The heart of a Yogi.
  26. Ashtavakra comes to Janaka's sacrifice with the object of proving the unity of the Supreme Being. Vandin avails himself of various system of Philosophy to combat his opponent. He begins with the Buddhistic system. The form of the dialogue is unique in literature being that of enigmas and the latent meaning is in a queer way hid under the appearance of puerile and heterogeneous combinations of things.

    Vandin opens the controversy by saying that as the number of each of these is one, so one only intellect is the lord, leader and guide of the senses.

  27. There is a Vedic revelation that two birds live together on a tree as friends--one of these eats the fruits and the other looks at the former. From this it is manifest that two are the lords, leaders, and guides of the senses. That there is a second faculty besides the intellect is also proved by the fact that in sleep when the intellect is inactive that faculty continues in action, for if it were not so we could not remember having slept, nor connect the state after awaking with that preceding sleep. Accordingly by citing the number two Ashtavakra assets that besides intellect there is another faculty--consciousness that these two are jointly the lords, leaders and guides of the senses and that they act together as Indra and Agni, etc.
  28. By citing the number three Vandin means to say that as it is Acts that produce the three kinds of born beings, etc., so Acts are supreme and that everything else be it intellect alone, or intellect and consciousness together is subservient to Acts.
  29. Ashtavakra here advances the thesis that even if Acts be supreme still when the (fourth) or Supreme Being becomes manifest to the soul, it stands in no further needs to Acts.
  30. By bringing in the quinquennial series, Vandin wishes to assert that the five senses are competent to cognise their respective objects and that besides these senses and their objects there is neither any other sense to perceive nor any other object of perception. He also cites the authority of the Veda according to which the Apsaras (or consciousness) have five "locks" on their hands--i.e., five objects of perception.
  31. Besides the five senses Ashtavakra contends for an additional sense namely the Mind and accordingly cites the number six.
  32. Vandin admits the existence of the six senses but says that the soul experiences happiness and misery through those as well as through the intellect.
  33. Ashtavakra advances an eighth element, namely, the knowledge of the ego.
  34. Each of the three qualities (existence, foulness and ignorance) of prakriti (the passive or material cause of the world) mixing with each of the three corresponding qualities of pradhana (the active or spiritual cause of the world) in various proportions produces the mundane order of things. Thus is proved the eternity of prakriti or nature and is also established the doctrine of duality.
  35. Prakriti does not really create. It is the Supreme Being who through the medium of illusion in contract with the ten organs (viz., the five locomotive organs and the five organs of sense) makes manifest the system of things. Prakriti therefore has no real existence--her existence is only apparent in the real existence of the soul.
  36. Yupas (stakes) mean here, feelings, etc, which keep men bound to the world. Rudras are those who makes others cry.

    Vandin means to say that the soul is not essential free from the fetters of happiness and misery arising from the eleven objects of perception. In this world all men are subject to happiness and misery. We also hear that there are Rudras in heaven.

  37. The supreme soul unaffected by happiness and misery really exists--but His existence is not susceptible of being proved--nor can the ignorant ever perceive Him. Men attain that condition through these twelve, viz., virtue, true, self-restraint, penances, good-will, modesty, forgiveness, exemption from envy, sacrifice, charity, concentration and control over the senses.
  38. According to some, endeavours to attain emancipation can be successful not in this world but in the world of Brahma. Others say that to that end a special yoga is necessary. By bringing forward the objects numbering thirteen. Vandin advances the opinion that, virtue, etc., are not sufficient for purposes of emancipation but that suitable time and place are also essential.
  39. Ashtavakra concludes by citing the same number thirteen. The soul which is essentially unaffected, becomes subject to happiness and misery through, the thirteen, viz., the ten organs of locomotion and sense, and intellect mind and egoism. But Atichhanadas, i.e., those that have surmounted ignorance, namely, the twelve, virtue, etc. destroy those thirteen and that is emancipation.
  40. Su means excellent, and uta, sacrifice. The compound accordingly means,--performer of excellent sacrifice.
  41. Iti means these six things, unfavourable to crops--excessive rain, drought, rats, locusts, birds, and a neighbouring hostile king.
  42. In as much as the rites performed by the Sudras have their origin in the Vedas.
  43. More literally, the state of the gods. It may appropriately be remarked here that the ordinary Hindu gods, of the post-Vedic period, like the gods of Ancient Greece and Italy, were simply a class of superhuman beings, distinctly contra-distinguished from the Supreme Spirit, the Paramatman or Parabrahma. After death, a virtuous man was supposed to be transformed into one of these so-called gods.
  44. This is the well-known and popular doctrine of transmigration of souls.
  45. The word in the text is Kora-dushakas, supposed by Wilson to be the Paspalum frumentacea (vide Dict.).
  46. The word in the text is mlecchibhutam. The Sanskrit grammar affords a great facility for the formation of verbs from substantives. Mlecchify may be hybrid, but it correctly and shortly signifies the Sanskrit word.
  47. Pushya is the eighth lunar asterism consisting of three stars, of which one is, the Cancer. (Vide Wilson's Diet.).
  48. An Indian creeper of the order of Goertnera racemosa. It bears large white flowers of much fragrance.
  49. They, therefore, that lead deathless lives can enjoy this bliss from day to day for ever.
  50. It is difficult to understand how all that Vaka says can be an answer to Indra's question. The chief of the gods enquires: What are the joys of those that lead deathless lives? Vaka breaks away unto a confused rigmarole about the merits of independence and the religious merit of entertaining guests and servants. All the printed editions have the passage as rendered here.
  51. The ceremony of Swastivachana is described to be "a religious rite, preparatory to any important observance, in which the Brahmanas strew boiled rice on the ground, and invoke the blessings of the gods on the ceremony about to commence" (Vide Wilson's Dict).

    A flowery car was, probably, one of celestial make that the kings, procured from heaven by performing costly rites and ceremonies. These were sometimes exhibited to the people, and prior to these exhibitions, the ceremony of Swastivachana was performed.

  52. A man is said to sell the Vedas who lectures on the Vedas taking fees from the hearers.
  53. Japa is the silent recitation of particular Mantras.
  54. Mantras are particular formulae of worship. They are for the most part rhythmic compositions, believed to be of great efficacy.
  55. The Homa is that sacrificial rite which consists of pouring libations of clarified butter into fire.
  56. Vedamayi nou. Lit, a boat made of the Vedas.
  57. Vishada is the original. It means discontent, but here it means more a mixture of discontent, perplexity and confusion than mere discontent.
  58. A form of Hindu etiquette at parting.
  59. It is so very difficult to translate the word Karma,--religion and morals were invariably associated with each other in ancient Hindu mind.
  60. Agni or fire was supposed to convey the oblations offered by men to the gods.
  61. Kumara means a boy, hence a prince. Here Kartika the war-god is meant.
  62. By carrying their oblations to the gods.
  63. Portions of the Vedas.
  64. Raga means love.
  65. Kama is the name of the god of love, Indian Cupid.
  66. The body, the exciting Cause of our actions is an uktha, the soul of the vivifier of the body is the second uktha, and the Supreme Spirit, the inciter of the soul is the third.
  67. The word of God.
  68. In Hindu Mythology there are no gods who destroy sacrifices. It is only the Asuras who do so. The Burdwan translator renders this passage,--"fifteen other gods belonging to western nations or Asuras." It is noticeable that the beings that were denounced as Asuras by the Hindus were worshipped as Gods (Asuras) by the followers of Zarathustra.
  69. In connection with the names of these Mitra-gods, it is to be remembered that Mitra was the name of the principal god of the ancient Persians.
  70. Avala is a common name of women. It means one who has no vala or strength or power. The word is also used as an adjective.
  71. According to the Hindus, the sun rises from and sets behind two hills respectively. He rises from the Udaya or Sun-rise hill and sets behind the Asta or sun-set hill.
  72. Raudra--belonging to Rudra, the god of fury, violence, war, &c.
  73. Devasena literally means the celestial army. This fable seems to be an allegorical representation of the attempts made by Indra to procure a leader for the celestial host.
  74. Anger personified is a deity.
  75. Another name of gods, so named from their having only three stages of life--viz., infancy, childhood, and youth--and being exempt from the fourth--old age.
  76. i.e., good and evil spirits.
  77. One of the ensigns of royalty in Hindustan.
  78. Brahma.
  79. Devasenapati is the original. It may mean either the pati (leader) of the sena (forces) of devas or the pati (husband) of Devasena.
  80. A kind of missile.
  81. Another kind of weapon.
  82. The word in the text is "Agrahara," which, as Nilakantha explains, means here, "That which is first taken from a heap after the dedication of a portion to the "Viswadevas." What Draupadi means to say is, that she always took care to feed those Brahmanas with food "first" taken from the stores, without, in fact, having taken anything there from the use of anybody else.
  83. Lit, Soldiers that have sworn to conquer or die. A full Akshauhini of these soldiers was owned by Krishna, who gave them to Duryodhana to fight for him. The story of Krishna's offering to Duryodhana the choice between these soldiers on the one side, and himself sworn not to fight but only to aid with his counsels on the other, is given in full in the Udyoga Parva. Duryodhana, from folly, accepted the former, who were all slain by Arjuna.
  84. The vow of the Asuras was (according to the Burdwan Pundits) never to drink wine. It is more rational to suppose that Karna swears to give up the refined manners and practices of the Aryas and adopt those of the Asuras till the consummation of the cherished desire.
  85. A very small measure.
  86. Picking up for support (1) ears of corn and (2) individual grains, left on the field by husbandmen after they have gathered and carried away the sheaves, are called the Sila and the Unchha modes of life.
  87. Naked.
  88. Both these words are of doubtful meaning. It seems they are employed in the Vedas to denote the faculties of knowledge and the moral sense respectively.
  89. The six acts of a king are peace, war, marching, halting, sowing dissention, and seeking protection.
  90. Tard-mrigam. Formerly Prajapati, assuming the Form of a deer, followed his daughter from lust, and Rudra, armed with a trident, pursued Prajapati and struck off his head. That deer-head of Prajapati severed from the trunk, became the star, or rather constellation, called Mrigasiras.
  91. Abode of Varuna in the original.
  92. Garuda.
  93. Pavana, the God of the wind.
  94. There is a difference of reading here. Some texts read fifty seven,
  95. A difference of reading is observable here.
  96. As a purificatory ceremony, called the Achamana. To this day, no Hindu can perform any ceremony without going through the Achamana in the first instance.
  97. Traditions represents the sons of king Sagara of the Ikshwaku race as the excavator of the ocean. Hence the ocean is called Sagara.
  98. Lit. an engine killing a hundred. Perhaps, some kind of rude cannon.
  99. Perhaps, brands or torches steeped in wax, intended to be thrown in a burning state, amongst the foe. Readers of Indian history know how Lord Lake was repulsed from Bharatpore by means of huge bales of cotton, steeped in oil, rolled from the ramparts of that town, in a burning state, towards the advancing English.
  100. Lit. be a Purusha (male)! Manhood would not be appropriate in connection with a Rakshasa.
  101. This weapon could restore an insensible warrior to consciousness, as the Sam-mohana weapon could deprive one of consciousness.
  102. Visalya a medicinal plant of great efficacy in healing cuts and wounds. It is still cultivated in several parts of Bengal. A medical friend of the writer tested the efficacy of the plant known by that name and found it to be much superior to either gallic acid or tannic acid in stopping blood.
  103. The Guhyakas occupy, in Hindu mythology, a position next only to that of the gods, and superior to that of the Gandharvas who are the celestial choristers. The White mountain is another name of Kailasa, the peak where Siva hath his abode.
  104. According to both Vyasa and Valmiki, there is nothing so fierce as a Brahmana's curse. The very thunderbolt of Indra is weak compared to a Brahmana's curse. The reason is obvious. The thunder smites the individual at whom it may be aimed. The curse of Brahmana smites the whole race, whole generation, whole country.
  105. Abhijit is lit, the eighth muhurta of the day, a muhurta being equal to an hour of 48 minutes, i.e. the thirtieth part of a whole day and night. The Vaishnava asterism is as explained by Nilakantha, the Sravava.
  106. Also called Gayatri, the wife of Brahma.
  107. In the original., Vimanam, i. e., a car.
  108. Samhritya--killing.
  109. Lit. Letters.
  110. Behind the plain and obvious meanings of the words employed both in the question and the answer, there is a deeper signification of a spiritual kind. I think Nilakantha has rightly understood the passage. By Aditya, which of course commonly means the Sun, is indicated the unpurified soul (from adatte sabdadin indriadivis &c.). The first question then, becomes, 'Who is it that exalteth the unpurified soul?' The act of exaltation implies a raising of the soul from its earthly connections. The answer to this is, 'Brahma, i.e., Veda or self-knowledge.' The second question--'What are those that keep company with the soul during its progress of purification?' The answer is, Self-restraint and other qualities, which are all of a god-like or divine nature.' The third question is.--Who lead the soul to its place (state) of rest? The answer is, Dharma, i.e., restitude, morality, and religious observances.' It is often asserted that one must pass through the observances (Karma) before attaining to a state of Rest or Truth or Pure Knowledge. The last question is,--'On what is the soul established!' The answer, according to all that has been previously said, is 'Truth or Pure Knowledge.' For the soul that is emancipated from and raised above all carnal connections, is no longer in need of observances and acts (Karma) but stays unmoved in True Knowledge (Janana).
  111. Nilakantha explains both Dhriti and Dwitiya in a spiritual sense. There is no need, however, of a spiritual explanation here. By Dhriti is meant steadiness of intelligence; by Dwitiya lit, a second. What Yudhishthira says is that a steady intelligence serves the purposes of a helpful companion.
  112. Nilakantha explains this correctly, as I imagine, by supposing that by 'sacrifice' is meant the spiritual sacrifice for the acquisition of pure knowledge. In the objective sacrifice which one celebrates, the Sama, the Yajus, and the Rik mantras are all necessary. In the subjective sacrifice the acquisition of true knowledge, life and mind are as necessary as the mantras from the Sama and the Yajur Vedas in an objective one. And as no objective sacrifice can do without the Riks, being principally dependent on them, so the subjective sacrifices for acquiring true knowledge can never do without prayerfulness, which, I imagine, is represented as the Riks. To understand this passage thoroughly would require an intimate acquaintance with the ritual of a sacrifice like the Agnishtoma or any other of that kind.
  113. Some texts read apatatam for uvapatam. If the former be the correct reading, the meaning would be--'What is the best of things that fall?' Nilakantha explains both avapatam nivapatam in a spiritual sense. By the first he understands--'They that offer oblation to the gods,' and by the second, 'They that offer oblations to the Pitris.' The necessity of a spiritual interpretation, however, is not very apparent.
  114. Yudhishthira has the authority of the Srutis for saying that the one pervading element of the universe is air.
  115. The word used in the question is dik, literally, direction. Obviously, of course, it means in this connection way. Yudhishthira answers that the way which one is to tread along is that of the good.
  116. Footnote 2: The Srutis actually speak of space as water. These are questions to test Yudhishthira's knowledge of the Vedic cosmogony.
  117. The Srutis speak of the cow as the only food, in the following sense. The cow gives milk. The milk gives butter. The butter is used in Homa. The Homa is the cause of the clouds. The clouds give rain. The rain makes the seed to sprout forth and produce food. Nilakantha endeavours to explain this in a spiritual sense. There is however, no need of such explanation here.
  118. What Yudhishthira means to say is that there is no special time for a Sraddha. It is to be performed whenever a good and able priest may be secured.
  119. That is, tranquillity of mind, self-restraint, abstention from sensual pleasures, resignation, and Yoga meditation.
  120. That is, hunger, thirst, sorrow, bluntness of mortal feeling, decrepitude, and death