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Chapter 124

Mahabharata English - ANUSASANA PARVA

“Yudhishthira said, ‘Which is of superior efficacy, Conciliation orGifts? Tell me, O chief of Bharata’s race, which of these two is superiorin point of efficacy.’

‘Bhishma said, ‘Some become gratified by conciliation, while others aregratified by gifts. Every man, according to his own nature, affects theone or the other. Listen to me, O king, as I explain to thee the meritsof conciliation, O chief of Bharata’s race, so that the most furiouscreatures may be appeased by it. In this connection is cited the ancientnarrative of how a Brahmana, who had been seized in the forest by aRakshasa, was freed (with the aid of conciliation). A certain Brahmana,endued with eloquence and intelligence, fell into distress, for he wasseized in a lone forest by a Rakshasa who wished to feed on him. TheBrahmana, possessed of understanding and learning, was not at allagitated.’ Without suffering himself to be stupefied at the sight of thatterrible cannibal, he resolved to apply conciliation and see its effecton the Rakshasa. The Rakshasa, respectfully saluting the Brahmana so faras words went, asked him this question, ‘Thou shalt escape, but tell mefor what reason I am pale of hue and so lean!’ Reflecting for a briefspace of time, the Brahmana accepted the question of the Rakshasa andreplied in the following well-spoken words’.

“The Brahmana said, ‘Dwelling in a place that is distant from thy abode,moving in a sphere that is not thy own, and deprived of the companionshipof thy friends and kinsmen, thou art enjoying vast affluence. It is forthis that thou art so pale and lean. Verily, O Rakshasa, thy friends,though well-treated by thee, are still not well-disposed towards thee inconsequence of their own vicious nature. It is for this that thou artpale and lean. Thou art endued with merit and wisdom and a well-regulatedsoul. Yet it is thy lot to see others that are destitute of merit andwisdom honoured in preference to thyself. It is for this that thou artpale and lean. Persons possessed of wealth and affluence much greaterthan thine but inferior to thee in point of accomplishments are, verily,disregarding thee. It is for this that thou art pale and lean. Thoughdistressed through want of the means of support, thou art led by thehighness of thy soul to disregard such means as are open to thee fordrawing thy sustenance. It is for this that thou art pale and lean. Inconsequence of thy righteousness thou hadst stinted thyself for doinggood to another, This other, O righteous Rakshasa, thinks thee deceivedand subjugated (by his superior intelligence). It is for this that thouart pale and lean. I think, thou art grieving for those persons who withsouls overwhelmed by the lust and wrath are suffering misery in thisworld. It is for this that thou art pale and lean. Though graced with thepossession of wisdom, thou art ridiculed by others who are entirelydestitute of it. Verily, persons of wicked conduct are condemning thee.It is for this that thou art pale and lean. Verily, some enemy of thine,with a friendly tongue, coming to thee behaved at first like a righteousperson and then has left thee, beguiling thee like a knave. It is forthis that thou art pale and lean. Thou art well-conversant with thecourse of world’s affairs. Thou art well-skilled in all mysteries. Thouart endued with capacity. Those who know thee to be such do not yetrespect and praise thee. It is for this that thou art pale and lean.Staying in the midst of bad men engaged together in some enterprise, thouhadst discoursed to them, dispelling their doubts. For all that they didnot admit thy superior merits. It is for this that thou art pale andlean. Verily, though destitute of wealth and intelligence and Vedic lore,thou desirest yet, with the aid of thy energy alone, to accomplishsomething great. It is for this that thou art pale and lean. It seemsthat although thou art resolved to undergo severe austerities by retiringinto the forest, yet thy kinsmen art not favourably inclined towards thisproject of thine. It is this for that thou art pale and lean. Someneighbour of thine, possessed of great wealth and endued with youth andhandsome features, verily, covets thy dear spouse. It is for this thatthou art pale and lean. The words spoken by thee, even when excellent, inthe midst of wealthy men, are not regarded by them as wise or well-timed.It is for this that thou art pale and lean. Some dear kinsman of thine,destitute of intelligence though repeatedly instructed in the scriptures,has become angry. Thou hast not succeeded in pacifying him. It is forthis that thou art pale and lean. Verily, some-body, having first setthee to the accomplishment of some object desirable to thee is nowseeking to snatch the fruit thereof from thy grasp. It is for this thatthou art pale and lean. Verily, though possessed of excellentaccomplishments and worshipped by all on that account, thou art yetregarded by thy kinsmen as worshipped for their sake and not for thy own.It is for this that thou art pale and lean. Verily, through shame thouart unable to give out some purpose in thy heart, moved also by theinevitable delay that will occur in its accomplishment. It is for thisthat thou art pale and lean. Verily, thou desirest, with the aid of thyintelligence, to bring under thy influence, diverse persons with diversekinds of understandings and inclinations. It is for this that thou artpale and lean.[537] Destitute of learning, without courage, and withoutmuch wealth, thou seekest such fame as is won by knowledge and prowessand gifts. Verily, it is for this that thou hast been pale and lean. Thouhast not been able to acquire something upon which thou hast set thyheart for a long time. Or, that which thou seekest to do is sought to beundone by somebody else. It is for this that thou art pale and lean.Verily, without being able to see any fault on thy part, thou hast beencursed by somebody. It is for this that thou art pale and lean.[538]Destitute of both wealth and accomplishments thou seekest in vain todispel the grief of thy friends and the sorrows of sorrowing men. It isfor this that thou art pale and lean. Beholding righteous persons thedomestic mode of life, unrighteous persons living according to the forestmode, and emancipated persons attached to domesticity and fixed abodes,thou hast become pale and lean. Verily, thy acts connected withRighteousness, with Wealth, and with Pleasure, as also the well-timedwords spoken by thee, do not bear fruit. It is for this that thou artpale and lean. Though endued with wisdom, yet desirous of living, thoulivest with wealth obtained by thee in gift from somebody of evilconduct. It is for this that thou art pale and lean. Beholdingunrighteousness increasing on every side and righteousness languishing,thou art filled with grief. It is for this that thou art pale and lean.Urged by time thou seekest to please all thy friends even when they aredisputing and ranged on sides opposite to one another. It is for thisthat thou art pale and lean. Beholding persons possessed of Vedic loreengaged in improper acts, and persons of learning unable to keep theirsenses under control, thou art filled with grief. It is for this thatthou art pale and lean.’ Thus praised, the Rakshasa worshipped thatlearned Brahmana in return, and making him his friend and bestowingsufficient wealth upon him in gift, let him off (without devouring him).'”

Chapter 123
Chapter 125
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