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Chapter 119

Mahabharata English - ANUSASANA PARVA

“Bhishma said, ‘Having cast off the status of a worm and taken birth as aKshatriya of great energy, the person (of whom I am speaking),remembering his previous transformations, O monarch, began to undergosevere austerities. Beholding those severe austerities of the Kshatriyawho was well-conversant with religion and wealth, the Island-bornKrishna, that foremost of Brahmanas, went to him.’

“Vyasa said, The penances that appertain, O worm, to the Kshatriya orderconsist of the protection of all creatures. Do thou regard these dutiesof the Kshatriya order to be the penances laid down for thee. Thou shaltthen attain to the status of a Brahmana. Ascertaining what is right andwhat is wrong, and cleansing thy soul, do thou duly cherish and protectall creatures, judiciously gratifying all good desires and correcting allthat is unholy. Be thou of cleansed soul, be thou contented and be thoudevoted to the practice of righteousness. Conducting thyself in this way,thou wilt then, when thou castest off thy life-breaths, become aBrahmana!’

“Bhishma continued, ‘Although he had retired into the woods, yet, OYudhishthira, having heard the words of the great Rishi he began tocherish and protect his subjects righteously. Soon, O best of kings, thatworm, in consequence of the due discharge of the duty of protecting hissubjects, became a Brahmana after casting off his Kshatriya body.Beholding him transformed into a Brahmana, the celebrated Rishi, viz.,the Island-born Krishna of great wisdom, came to him.’

“Vyasa said, ‘O chief of Brahmanas, O blessed one, be not troubled(through fear of death)! He who acts righteously attains to respectablebirth. He, on the other hand, who acts unrighteously attains to a low andvile birth, O thou that art conversant with righteousness, one attains tomisery agreeably the measure of one’s sin. Therefore, O worm, do not betroubled through fear of death. The only fear thou shouldst entertain isabout the loss of righteousness. Do thou, therefore, go on practisingrighteousness.’

“The worm said, ‘Through thy grace, O holy one, I have attained fromhappy to happier positions! Having obtained such prosperity as has itsroots in righteousness, I think, my demerits have been lost.’

“Bhishma said, ‘The worm having, at the command of the holy Rishi,attained to the status of a Brahmana that is so difficult to attain,caused the earth to be marked with a thousand sacrificial stakes. Thatforemost of all persons conversant with Brahma then obtained a residencein the region of Brahman himself. Indeed, O son of Pritha, the wormattained to the highest status, viz., that of eternal Brahma, as theresult of his own acts done in obedience to the counsels of Vyasa. Thosebulls among Kshatriyas, also, who have cast off their life-breaths (onthe field of Kurukshetra) exerting their energy the while, have allattained to a meritorious end. Therefore O king, do not mourn on theiraccount.'”

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