Chapter 163

Mahabharata English - ADI PARVA

“Kunti said, Grieve not at all, O Brahmana, on account of this danger. Isee a way by which to rescue thee from that Rakshasa. Thou hast only oneson, who, besides, is of very tender years, also only one daughter, youngand helpless, so I do not like that any of these, or thy wife, or eventhyself should go unto the Rakshasa. I have five sons, O Brahmana, letone of them go, carrying in thy behalf tribute of that Rakshasa.’

“Hearing this, the Brahmana replied, ‘To save my own life I shall neversuffer this to be done. I shall never sacrifice, to save myself, the lifeof a Brahmana or of a guest. Indeed, even those that are of low originand of sinful practices refuse to do (what thou askest me to do). It issaid that one should sacrifice one’s self and one’s offspring for thebenefit of a Brahmana. I regard this advice excellent and I like tofollow it too. When I have to choose between the death of a Brahmana andthat of my own, I would prefer the latter. The killing of a Brahmana isthe highest sin, and there is no expiation for it. I think a reluctantsacrifice of one’s own self is better than the reluctant sacrifice of aBrahmana. O blessed lady, in sacrificing myself I do not become guilty ofself-destruction. No sin can attach to me when another will take my life.But if I deliberately consent to the death of a Brahmana, it would be acruel and sinful act, from the consequence of which there is no escape.The learned have said that the abandonment of one who hath come to thyhouse or sought thy protection, as also the killing of one who seekethdeath at thy hands, is both cruel and sinful. The illustrious among thoseconversant with practices allowable in seasons of distress, have beforenow said that one should never perform an act that is cruel andcensurable. It is well for me that I should today perish myself with mywife, but I would never sanction the death of a Brahmana.’

“Kunti said, ‘I too am firmly of opinion, O Brahmana, that Brahmanasshould ever be protected. As regards myself, no son of mine would be lessdear to me even if I had a hundred instead of the five I have. But thisRakshasa will not be able to kill my son, for that son of mine is enduedwith great prowess and energy, and skilled in mantras. He will faithfullydeliver to the Rakshasa his food, but will, I know to a certainty, rescuehimself. I have seen before many mighty Rakshasas of huge bodies engagedin combat with my heroic son and killed too by him. But, O Brahmana, donot disclose this fact to anybody, for if it be known, persons desirousof obtaining this power, will, from curiosity, always trouble my sons.The wise have said that if my son imparteth any knowledge, without theassent of his preceptor, unto any person, my son himself will no longerbe able to profit by that knowledge.’

“Thus addressed by Pritha, the Brahmana with his wife became exceedinglyglad and assented to Kunti’s speech, which was unto them as nectar. ThenKunti, accompanied by the Brahmana, went unto the son of Vayu (Bhima) andasked him to accomplish (that difficult task). Bhima replied unto them,saying, ‘So be it.'”

Chapter 164
Chapter 162
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