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Chapter 102

Mahabharata English - ANUSASANA PARVA

“Yudhishthira said, ‘O grandsire, it has been said that all pious menattain to the same region after death. Is it true, O Bharata, that thereis difference of position or status among them?’

“Bhishma said, ‘By different deeds, O son of Pritha, men attain todifferent regions. They who are righteous in conduct attain to regions offelicity, while they who are sinful attain to regions that are fraughtwith misery. In this connection is cited the old narrative of thediscourse, O son, between the ascetic Gautama and Vasava. A certainBrahmana of the name of Gautama, mild and self-restrained and with allhis senses under complete control, beheld an infant elephant that hadlost his mother and that was exceedingly cheerless on that account. Fullof compassion and steady in the observance of his vows, the asceticnursed that infant animal. After a long time the little beast grew upinto a large and mighty elephant. One day, Indra, assuming the form ofking Dhritarashtra, seized that mighty elephant which was as huge as ahill and from whose rent temples the juice was trickling down. Beholdingthe elephant dragged away, the great ascetic Gautama of rigid vowsaddressed king Dhritarashtra and said, ‘O ungrateful Dhritarashtra, donot rob me of this elephant. It is looked upon by me as a son and I havereared it with much pain. It is said that between the righteous,friendship springs up if only they exchange seven words.[452] Thoushouldst see, O king, that the sin of injuring a friend does not touchthee! It behoveth thee not, O king, to take away by force this elephantthat brings me my fuel and water, that protects my asylum when I am away,that exceedingly docile and obedient to his instructor, that is mindfulof doing all the offices that his preceptor commands, that is mild andwell-broken, and that is grateful and very dear to me! Indeed, thoushouldst not bear it away, disregarding my protestations and cries!’

“Dhritarashtra said, ‘I shall give thee a thousand kine, a hundredmaid-servants, and five hundred pieces of gold. I shall also, O greatRishi, give thee diverse other kinds of wealth. What use can Brahmanashave with elephants?’

“Gautama said, Keep, O king, thy kine and maid-servants and coins of goldand various gems and diverse other kinds of wealth! What, O monarch, haveBrahmanas to do with wealth?’

“Dhritarashtra said, ‘Brahmana, have no use for elephants. Verily, Olearned Brahmana, elephants are meant for persons of the royal order. Intaking away an animal, viz., this foremost of elephants, for my use asvehicle, I cannot be regarded as committing any sin. Do thou ceaseobstructing me in this way, O Gautama!’

“Gautama said, ‘O illustrious king, repairing even to that region of Yamawhere the righteous live in joy and the sinful in grief, I shall takefrom thee this my elephant!’

“Dhritarashtra said, ‘They that are destitute of (religious) acts, theythat have no faith and are atheists, they that are of sinful souls andare always engaged in gratifying their senses, only they have to go tothe region of Yama and endure the misery he inflicts. Dhritarashtra shallgo to a higher region, and not thither!’

“Gautama said, ‘The region of Yama is such that men are there controlled.No untruth can be told there. Only truth prevails in that place. Therethe weak persecute the strong. Repairing. thither I shall force thee toyield up this elephant to me!’

“Dhritarashtra said, ‘Only those persons, that intoxicated with pride,conduct themselves towards their eldest sister and father and mother astowards foes, have to repair, O great ascetic, to such a region. I shallrepair to a higher region. Indeed, Dhritarashtra shall not have to gothither!’

“Gautama said, ‘The region, called Mandakini, of king Vaisravana isattained by those highly blessed persons for whom are every joy andcomfort. There Gandharvas and Yakshas and Apsaras live (gladdening allthe denizens with enchanting dances and music). Repairing even thither, Oking, I shall force thee to yield up this elephant to me!’

“Dhritarashtra said, ‘Those persons who regard hospitality to guests as avow, who are observant of good vows (having other objects), who giveshelter to Brahmanas, and who eat what remains after distribution amongall those that are dependent upon them, adorn the region called Mandakiniof Kuvera. (I shall not go thither, for a higher region is reserved forme)!’

“Gautama said, ‘If thou repairest to those delightful woods decked withflowers, that stand on the summit of Meru, that echo with melodious voiceof Kinnaris, and that are graced with beautiful Jamvus of wide-spreadingbranches, I shall proceed even thither and force thee to yield up thiselephant to me!’

‘Dhritarashtra said, ‘Those Brahmanas that are endued with milddispositions, that are devoted to truth, that are possessed of greatlearning in the scriptures, that are compassionate unto all creatures,that study the Puranas with all the histories, that pour libations on thesacred fire and make gifts of honey unto the Brahmanas, repair to suchregions, O great Rishi! I shall repair to a region that is higher. IndeedDhritarashtra shall not go thither. If thou art acquainted with any otherwell-known region of felicity, speak unto me, for I shall repair eventhither!’

“Gautama said, ‘If thou proceedest to the woods owned by Narada and helddear by him, that are adorned with flowers and that echo with themelodious songs of the prince of Kinnaras, and that are the eternal abodeof Gandharvas and Apsaras, I shall follow thee thither and force thee toyield up this elephant to me!’

“Dhritarashtra said, ‘They who never solicit alms, they who cultivatemusic and dancing, and always rove about in joy, proceed to such regions.O great Rishi, I shall repair to a region that is higher. Indeed,Dhritarashtra shall not have to go thither!’

“Gautama said, ‘If thou goest to that region where the Uttara-Kurus blazein beauty and pass their days in gladness, O king, in the company of thevery deities, where those beings that have their origin in fire, thosethat have their origin in water, and those having their origin inmountains, reside in happiness, and where Sakra raineth down the fruitionof every wish, and where women live in perfect freedom, unrestrained byrules of any kind regulating their conduct of motions, and where there isno feeling of jealousy between the sexes,–if thou repairest thither,even thither shall I proceed and force thee to yield up this elephant tome!’

“Dhritarashtra said, ‘Those men that are freed from desire with respectto all articles of enjoyment, that abstain from meat, that never take upthe rod of chastisement, and never inflict the least harm on mobile andimmobile creatures, that have constituted themselves the soul of allcreatures, that are entirely freed from the idea of meum, that have castoff attachments of every kind, that regard gain and loss as also praiseand blame as equal,–only those men, O great Rishi, repair to suchregions. I shall repair to a higher region. Verily, Dhritarashtra shallnot go thither!’

“Gautama said, ‘Next to these blaze in beauty those eternal regions,redolent with excellent perfumes, that are free from passions of everykind and that are destitute of sorrow. These constitute the abode of thehigh-souled king Soma. If thou repairest thither, even thither shall Iproceed and force thee to yield up this elephant to me!’

“Dhritarashtra said, ‘Those men that always make gifts without receivingany gift, who never accept any service from others, who own nothing whichthey cannot give to a deserving person, who are hospitable to allcreatures, who are inclined to show grace to every one, who are enduedwith forgiving dispositions, who never speak ill of others, who protectall creatures by throwing over them the shroud of compassion, and who arealways righteous in their behaviour,–only those men, O great Rishi,proceed to such regions. I shall proceed to a higher region. Verily,Dhritarashtra shall not go there!’

“Gautama said, ‘Next to these blaze in beauty other regions that areeternal, free from passion and darkness and sorrow, and that lie at thefoot of the high-souled deity of the Sun. If thou repairest thither, eventhither shall I go and force thee to yield up this elephant to me!’

“Dhritarashtra said, ‘Those men that are attentive to the study of theVedas, that are devoted to the service of their preceptors, that areobservant of penances and excellent vows, that are firm in truth, thatnever utter anything that smacks of disobedience or enmity to theirpreceptors, that are always alert, and ever ready in service of seniorsand preceptors,–they repair, O great Rishi, to such regions, they thatare pure (of mind and body), that are endued with cleansed souls, thatare of restrained speech, that are firm in truth, and that arewell-versed in the Vedas. I shall proceed to a higher region! Verily,Dhritarashtra shall not go thither!’

“Gautama said, ‘Next to those are the eternal regions that blaze inbeauty, that are redolent with excellent perfumes, that are free frompassion, and that are free from every sorrow. They constitute the abodeof the high-souled king Varuna. If thou proceedest thither, even thithershall I go and force thee to yield up this elephant to me!’

“Dhritarashtra said, ‘Those men who worship the deities by observing thevow called Chaturmasya, that perform a hundred and ten sacrifices, thatpour libations every day on their sacred fire with devotion and faith forthree years agreeably with the ordinances declared in the Vedas, thatbear without flinching the burden of all duties, that walk steadily alongthe way trod by the righteous, that steadily sustain the course ofconduct followed by the righteous-souled,–only they repair to suchregions. I shall repair to a higher region. Verily, Dhritarashtra shallnot go thither!’

“Gautama said, ‘Above them are the regions of Indra, free from passionand sorrow, that are difficult of access and coveted by all men.Proceeding even to the abode of Indra himself of mighty energy, I shall,O king, force thee to yield up this elephant to me!’

“Dhritarashtra said, ‘He who lives for a hundred years, who is enduedwith heroism, who studies the Vedas, and who performs sacrifices withdevotion, verity, such men proceed to the region of Sakra. I shall repairto a higher region. Verily, Dhritarashtra shall not go there!’

“Gautama said, ‘Above the Heavens are the regions of the Prajapatis ofsuperior felicity abounding in every happiness, and divested of sorrow.Belonging to those puissant ones from whom the creation has sprung, theyare coveted by all persons. If thou repairest thither, even thither shallI go and force thee to yield up this elephant to me!’

“Dhritarashtra said, ‘Those kings that have bathed upon the completion ofthe Rajasuya sacrifice, that are endued with righteous souls, that haveprotected their subjects properly, and that have washed their limbs withsanctified water upon the completion of the horse-sacrifice, repair tosuch regions. Verily, Dhritarashtra shall not go there!’

“Gautama said, ‘Next to those, blaze in beauty those eternal regions,redolent with delicious perfumes, free from passion, and transcending allsorrow. Those are the regions of kine difficult of attainment whereoppression can never be. If thou repairest thither, I shall proceed eventhither and force thee to yield up this elephant to me!’

“Dhritarashtra said, ‘He who, owning thousand kine, gives away a hundredkine every year, or owning a hundred kine gives away ten every year tothe best of his might, or owning only ten or even five kine gives awaytherefrom one cow, and they who attain to a mature old age practising thevows of Brahmacharya all their days, who obey the declarations of theVedas, and who, endued with energy of mind, betake themselves topilgrimages to sacred waters and shrines, dwell in felicity in the regionof kine. They who repair to Prabhasa and Manasa, the lakes of Pushkara,the large lake called Mahatsara, the sacred woods of Naimisha, Vahuda,Karatoya, Ganga, Gayasiras, Vipasa, Sthulavaluka, Krishna, the fiverivers (of the Punjab), the extensive lake called Mahahrada, Gomati,Kausiki, Champa, Saraswati, Drisadwati, and Yamuna,–indeed, thoseillustrious Brahmanas, steady in the observance of vows, who go to thesesacred waters,–repair to the regions of which thou speakest. Endued withcelestial bodies and adorned with celestial garlands those blessedindividuals, always emitting the most delightful perfumes, repair tothose regions of joy and gladness. Verily, Dhritarashtra shall not gothere!’

“Gautama said, ‘Next to these are regions where there is no fear of theleast cold or heat, no hunger, no thirst, no pain, no sorrow, no joy, noone that is agreeable or disagreeable, on friend, and on enemy: wheredecrepitude and death are not, and where there is neither righteousnessnor sin. Proceeding even to that region which is freed from passion,which abounds with equable happiness, and where there is wisdom and the:tribute of Sattwa,–verily, proceeding to even that sacred abode of theself-born Brahman,–I shall force thee to yield up this elephant to me!’

“Dhritarashtra said, ‘They who are freed from all attachments, who arepossessed of cleansed souls, who are steady in the observance of theforemost vows, who are devoted to the Yoga that depends on tranquillisingthe mind, and who have (in this life) attained to the happiness ofheaven,–those persons wedded to the attribute of Sattwa–attain to thesacred region of Brahman. O great ascetic, thou shalt not be able todiscover Dhritarashtra there!’

“Gautama said, ‘There where the foremost of Rathantaras is sung, wherealtars are strewn with the sacred Kusa blades, for the performance ofPundarika sacrifices, there where Soma-drinking Brahmanas go on vehiclesdrawn by excellent steeds,[453] proceeding even thither I shall forcethee to yield up this elephant. I think, thou art the slayer of Vritra,viz., the deity that has performed a hundred sacrifices, engaged inroving through all the regions of the universe! I hope, I have not,through mental weakness (not recognising thee before) committed any faultby the words I have addressed thee!’

“The deity of a hundred sacrifices said, ‘Yes, I am Maghavat. I came tothe world of human beings, for seizing this elephant. I bow to thee. Dothou command me! I shall readily accomplish all that thou mayst bepleased to say!’

“Gautama said, ‘Do thou give me, O chief of the deities, this elephantthat is of white complexion and that is so young, for it is only tenyears of age. I have brought it up as a child of my own. Dwelling inthese woods, it has grown under my eye and has been to me a dearcompanion. Do thou set free this my child that thou hast seized andwishest to drag away!’

“The deity of a hundred sacrifices said, ‘This elephant that has been ason to thee, O foremost of Brahmanas, cometh to thee looking wishfully atthee! Behold, it sniffs thy feet with its nostrils! My salutations tothee! Do thou pray for my welfare!’

“Gautama said, ‘O chief of the deities, I do always think of thy good! Ialways offer thee worship! Do thou also, O Sakra, bestow thy blessings onme! Given by thee, I accept this elephant!’

“The deity of a hundred sacrifices said, ‘Amongst all those high-souledand foremost of Rishis that firmly adhere to truth and that have theVedas planted in their heart, thou alone hast been able to recognise me.For this reason I am exceedingly pleased with thee! Do thou, therefore, OBrahmana, come with me quickly, accompanied by this thy son! Thoudeservest to attain to diverse regions of great felicity without thedelay of even a single day!’

“Bhishma continued, ‘Having said these words, the wielder of thethunderbolt, taking Gautama with him and placing him before, along withhis son, viz., that elephant, proceeded to heaven, that is difficult ofattainment by even the righteous. He who would listen to this historyevery day or would recite it, restraining his senses the while,proceedeth (after death) to the region of Brahman even as Gautamahimself.'”

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