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Chapter 116

Mahabharata English - ANUSASANA PARVA

“Yudhishthira said, ‘Alas, those cruel men, who, discarding diverse kindsof food, covet only flesh, are really like great Rakshasas! Alas, they donot relish diverse kinds of cakes and diverse sorts of potherbs andvarious species of Khanda with juicy flavour so much as they do flesh! Myunderstanding, for this reason, becomes stupefied in this matter. Ithink, when such is the case, that, there is nothing which can comparewith flesh in the matter of taste, I desire, therefore, O puissant one,to hear what the merits are of abstention from flesh, and the demeritsthat attach to the eating of flesh, O chief of Bharata’s race. Thou artconversant with every duty. Do thou discourse to me in full agreeably tothe ordinances on duty, on this subject. Do tell me what, indeed, isedible and what inedible. Tell me, O grandsire, what is flesh, of whatsubstances it is, the merits that attach to abstention from it, and whatthe demerits are that attach to the eating of flesh.’

“Bhishma said, ‘It is even so, O mighty-armed one, as thou sayest. Thereis nothing on earth that is superior to flesh in point of taste. There isnothing that is more beneficial then flesh to persons that are lean, orweak, or afflicted with disease, or addicted to sexual congress orexhausted with travel. Flesh speedily increases strength. It producesgreat development. There is no food, O scorcher of foes, that is superiorto flesh. But, O delighter of the Kurus, the merits are great that attachto men that abstain from it. Listen to me as I discourse to thee on it.That man who wished to increase his own flesh by the flesh of anotherliving creature is such that there is none meaner and more cruel than he.In this world there is nothing that is dearer to a creature than hislife. Hence (instead of taking that valuable possession), one should showcompassion to the lives of others as one does to one’s own life. Withoutdoubt, O son, flesh has its origin in the vital seed. There is greatdemerit attaching to its eating, as, indeed, there is merit in abstainingfrom it. One does not, however, incur any fault by eating fleshsanctified according to the ordinances of the Vedas. The audition isheard that animals were created for sacrifice. They who eat flesh in anyother way are said to follow the Rakshasa practice. Listen to me as Itell thee what the ordinance is that has been laid down for theKshatriyas. They do not incur any fault by eating flesh that has beenacquired by expenditure of prowess. All deer of the wilderness werededicated to the deities and the Pitris in days of old, O king, byAgastya. Hence, the hunting of deer is not censured. There can be nohunting without risk of one’s own life. There is equality of risk betweenthe slayer and the slain. Either the animal is killed or it kills thehunter. Hence, O Bharata, even royal sages betake themselves to thepractice of hunting. By such conduct they do not become stained with sin.Indeed, the practice is not regarded as sinful. There is nothing, Odelighter of the Kurus, that is equal in point of merit, either here orhereafter, to the practice of compassion to all living creatures. The manof compassion has no fear. Those harmless men that are endued withcompassion have both this world and the next. Persons conversant withduty say that that Religion is worthy of being called Religion which hasabstention from cruelty for its indication. The man of cleansed soulshould do only such acts as have compassion for their soul. That fleshwhich is dedicated in sacrifices performed in honour of the deities andthe Pitris is called Havi (and, as such, is worthy of being eaten). Thatman who is devoted to compassion and who behaves with compassion towardsothers, has no fear to entertain from any creature. It is heard that allcreatures abstain from causing any fear unto such a creature. Whether heis wounded or fallen down or prostrated or weakened or bruised, inwhatever state he may be, all creatures protect him. Indeed, they do so,under all circumstances, whether he is on even or uneven ground. Neithersnakes nor wild animals, neither Pisachas nor Rakshasas, ever slay him.When circumstances of fear arise, he becomes freed from fear who freesothers from situations of fear. There has never been, nor will there everbe, a gift that is superior to the gift of life. It is certain that thereis nothing dearer to oneself than one’s life. Death, O Bharata, is acalamity or evil unto all creatures. When the time comes for Death, atrembling of the whole frame is seen in all creatures. Enduring birth inthe uterus, decrepitude and afflictions of diverse kinds, in this oceanof the world, living creatures may be seen to be continually goingforward and coming back. Every creature is afflicted by death. Whiledwelling in the uterus, all creatures are cooked in the fluid juices,that are alkaline and sour and bitter, of urine and phlegm andfaeces,–juices that produce painful sensations and are difficult tobear. There in the uterus, they have to dwell in a state of helplessnessand are even repeatedly torn and pierced. They that are covetous of meatare seen to be repeatedly cooked in the uterus in such a state ofhelplessness. Attaining to diverse kinds of birth, they are cooked in thehell called Kumbhipaka. They are assailed and slain, and in this way haveto travel repeatedly. There is nothing so dear to one as one’s life whenone comes to this world. Hence, a person of cleansed soul should becompassionate to all living creatures. That man, O king, who abstainsfrom every kind of meat from his birth, without doubt, acquires a largespace in Heaven, They who eat the flesh of animals who are desirous oflife, are themselves eaten by the animals they eat, without doubt. Eventhis is my opinion. Since he hath eaten me, I shall eat him inreturn,–even this, O Bharata, constitutes the character as Mansa ofMansa.[525] The slayer is always slain. After him the eater meets withthe same fate. He who acts with hostility towards another (in this life)becomes the victim of similar acts done by that other. Whatever acts onedoes in whatever bodies, one has to suffer the consequences thereof inthose bodies.[526] Abstention from cruelty is the highest Religion.Abstention from cruelty is the highest self-control. Abstention fromcruelty is the highest gift. Abstention from cruelty is the highestpenance. Abstention from cruelty is the highest sacrifice. Abstentionfrom cruelty is the highest puissance. Abstention from cruelty is thehighest friend. Abstention from cruelty is the highest happiness.Abstention from cruelty is the highest truth. Abstention from cruelty isthe highest Sruti. Gifts made in all sacrifices, ablutions performed inall sacred waters, and the merit that one acquires from making all kindsof gifts mentioned in the scriptures,–all these do not come up toabstention from cruelty (in point of the merit that attaches to it). Thepenances of a man that abstains from cruelty are inexhaustible. The manthat abstains from cruelty is regarded as always performing sacrifices.The man that abstains from cruelty is the father and mother of allcreatures. Even these, O chief of Kuru’s race, are some of the merits ofabstention from cruelty. Altogether, the merits that attach to it are somany that they are incapable of being exhausted even if one were to speakfor a hundred years.”

Chapter 115
Chapter 117
🙏 धर्म और आध्यात्म को जन-जन तक पहुँचाने में हमारा साथ दें| 🙏