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Chapter 123

Mahabharata English - ANUSASANA PARVA

“Yudhishthira said, ‘O thou that art conversant with all duties, I desireto hear, in detail, what the excellent behaviour is of good and chastewomen. Do thou, O grandsire, discourse to me on this.’

“Bhishma said, ‘Once on a time, in the celestial regions, a lady namedSumana of Kekaya’s race addressing Sandili possessed of great energy andconversant with the truth relating to everything and endued withomniscience, said, ‘By what conduct, O auspicious lady, by what course ofacts, hast thou succeeded in attaining to heaven, purged of every sin?Thou blazest forth with thy own energy like a flame of fire. Thou seemestto be a daughter of the Lord of stars, come to heaven in thy owneffulgence. Thou wearest vestments of pure white, and art quite cheerfuland at thy ease. Seated on that celestial chariot, thou shinest, Oauspicious dame, with energy multiplied a thousandfold. Thou hast not, Iween, attained to this region of happiness by inconsiderable penances andgifts and vows. Do thou tell me the truth’. Thus questioned sweetly bySumana, Sandili of sweet smiles, addressing her fair interrogatrix, thusanswered her out of the hearing of others, I did not wear yellow robes;nor barks of trees. I did not shave my head; nor did I keep matted lockson my head. It is not in consequence of these acts that I have attainedto the status of a celestial. I never, in heedlessness, addressed anydisagreeable or evil speech to my husband. I was always devoted to theworship of the deities, the Pitris, and the Brahmanas. Always heedful Iwaited upon and served my mother-in-law and father-in-law. Even this wasmy resolution that I should never behave with deceit. I never used tostay at the door of our house nor did I speak long with anybody. I neverdid any evil act; I never laughed aloud; I never did any injury. I neverdisclosed any secret. Even thus did I bear myself always. When myhusband, having left home upon any business, used to come back, I alwaysserved him by giving him a seat, and worshipped him with reverence. Inever ate food of any kind which was unknown to my husband and at whichmy husband was not pleased. Rising at early dawn I did and caused to bedone whatever was brought about and required to be accomplished for thesake of relatives and kinsmen. When my husband leaves home for going to adistant place on any business, I remain at home engaged in diverse kindsof auspicious acts for blessing his enterprise. Verily, during theabsence of my husband I never use collyrium, or ornaments; I never washmyself properly or use garlands and unguents, or deck my feet withlac-dye, or person with ornaments. When my husband sleeps in peace Inever awake him even if important business required his attention. I washappy to sit by him lying asleep. I never urged my husband to exert moreenergetically for earning wealth to support his family and relatives. Ialways kept secrets without disclosing them to others. I used to keepalways our premises clean. That woman who with concentrated attention,adheres to this path of duty, becomes the recipient of considerablehonours in heaven like a second Arundhati.’

”Bhishma continued, ‘The illustrious and highly blessed Sandili, ofrighteous conduct, having said these words unto Sumana on the subject ofwoman’s duties towards her husband, disappeared there and then. That man,O son of Pandu, who reads this narrative at every full moon and new moon,succeeds in attaining to heaven and enjoying great felicity in the woodsof Nandana.”

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