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C.D. Warner, et al., comp.  The Library of the World’s Best Literature.
An Anthology in Thirty Volumes.  1917.
 
Specimen of the Didactic Poetry of the Mahābharata
Indian Literature
 
The Divine Song (Pantheism)

Translation of Edward Washburn Hopkins

The god Krishna-Vishnu speaks
KNOW that that is indestructible in which the body rests. The bodies [incarnations] of God are temporal, but God is eternal. Whosoever thinks that he can slay or be slain is not wise. He, the universal God, is not born at any time, nor does he ever die; nor will he ever cease to be. Unborn, everlasting, eternal, He, the Ancient one [as the soul of man], is not slain when the body is slain. As one puts away an old garment and puts on another that is new, so he the embodied [Spirit] puts away the old body and assumes one that is new. Everlasting, omnipresent, firm and unchanging is He, the Eternal. “Indiscernible” is he called; he is inconceivable; unchangeable…. Some are pleased with Vedic words and think that there is nothing else; their souls are full of desires, and they fancy that to go to heaven is the chief thing. But in doing well, not in the fruit thereof, is virtue. Do thy appointed work, fear not, care not for rewards…. Many are my [apparent] births, and I know them all. Unborn in reality, Lord of all, I take to myself phenomena, and by the illusion of the Spirit I appear to be born. I create myself [as man-god] whenever wrong predominates over right. For righteousness’ sake then am I born on earth again. Whosoever believes in this birth of mine, and in this work of mine, he, when he has abandoned his body, enters no sad second birth but enters Me. Many there are who, from Me arising, on Me relying, purified by the penance of knowledge, with all affections, fear, and anger overcome, enter into my being. As they draw near to Me, so I serve them. Men in all ways follow my path. Know Me as the maker of men, know Me as the unending and not the maker of any…. Sacrifices are of many kinds, but he that sacrifices with wisdom offers the best sacrifice. He that hath faith hath [requisite] wisdom; he that hath wisdom hath peace. He that hath no wisdom and no faith, whose soul is one of doubt, is destroyed…. But the good man, even if he be not wise, does not go to destruction like a cloud that is rent. For he enters heaven as a doer of good, nor does he pass again [by transmigration] into an evil state, but into a better than he knew before, where he again strives for perfection; and this he reaches after many births…. As material [phenomena] I am eightfold,—earth, water, fire, air, space, mind, understanding, self-consciousness [a category of the Sānkhya philosophy]; but this is the lower I. Learn Me in my higher nature. My higher nature is psychic; by it the world is supported, for I am creator and destroyer of the world. None other is higher than I. On Me the universe is woven, like pearls upon a thread. Taste am I, light am I of moon and sun; I am the mystic syllable Aum, I am sound in space, manliness in man, the light of the light, the smell of the fragrant, life and heat, the eternal seed of all beings; the understanding of them that have understanding, the glory of them that have glory. I am the force of the strong, and I am love, yet am I free of love and passion. Know all beings to be from Me alone, whatever be their qualities. I am not in them; but they are in Me. The world knows Me not, for hard to overcome is the illusion which envelops Me. They that are not wise worship many gods, but whatsoever be the god he worships I steady his faith, for in worshiping his god he worships Me. It is by Me that his desires are fulfilled though he worships another…. Even they that sacrifice to other gods really sacrifice to me. I am the Universal Father, the goal, the wisdom of the ancient Vedas, the home, the refuge, and the friend of man. I am immortality and death; being and not-being; the sacrifice, and he that sacrifices. I am the beginning, the middle, and the end. I am Vishnu among sun-gods; the moon among the stars; Indra among [Vedic] gods; the Sāman [song] among the Vedas…. I am the love that begets. I am the highest science among all sciences; I am the [holy] Ganges among rivers; I am the Word of the speakers; I am the letter A among the letters. I am death and I am life. I am glory, fortune, speech, memory, wisdom; the punishment of the punisher, the polity of the sagacious. I am silence. I am knowledge. There is no end to my divine appearances.  1
 
 
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