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Chapter 141

Mahabharata English - ANUSASANA PARVA

“The blessed and holy one said, ‘In days of yore, a blessed woman wascreated by Brahman, called Tilottama, by culling grains of beauty fromevery beautiful object in the universe. One day, that lady of beautifulface, unrivalled in the universe for beauty of form, came to me, Ogoddess, for circumambulating me but really impelled by the desire oftempting me. In whatever direction that lady of beautiful teeth turned, anew face of mine instantly appeared (so eager did I become to see her).All those faces of mine became agreeable to look at. Thus, in consequenceof the desire of beholding her, I became four-faced, throughYoga-puissance, Thus, I showed my high Yoga-power in becoming four-faced.With that face of mine which is turned towards the east, I exercise thesovereignty of the universe, With that face of mine which is turnedtowards the north, I sport with thee, O thou of faultless features! Thatface of mine which is turned towards the west is agreeable andauspicious. With it I ordain the happiness of all creatures. That face ofmine which is turned towards the south is terrible. With it I destroy allcreatures. I live as a Brahmacharin with matted locks on my head,impelled by the desire of doing good to all creatures. The bow Pinaka isalways in my hand for accomplishing the purposes of the deities. In daysof yore, Indra, desirous of acquiring my prosperity, had hurled histhunderbolt at me. With that weapon my throat was scorched. For thisreason I have become blue-throated.’

“Uma said, ‘When, O foremost of all creatures, there are so manyexcellent vehicles endued with great beauty, why is it that thou hastselected a bovine bull for thy vehicle?’

“Maheswara said, ‘In the days of yore, the Grandsire Brahma created thecelestial cow Surabhi yielding abundant milk. After her creation theresprang from her a large number of kine all of which yielded copiousquantities of milk sweet as nectar. Once on a time a quantity of frothfell from the mouth of one of her calves on my body. I was enraged atthis and my wrath scorched all the kine which thereupon becamediversified in hue. I was then pacified by the Master of all the worlds,viz., Brahma, conversant with all topics. It was he who gave me this bullboth as a vehicle for bearing me and as a device on my banner.’

“Uma said, ‘Thou hast many abodes in heaven, of diverse forms andpossessed of every comfort and luxury. Why, O holy one, dost thou residein the crematorium, abandoning all those delightful mansions? Thecrematorium is full of the hair and bones (of the dead), abounds withvulture and jackals, and is strewn with hundreds of funeral pyres. Fullof carrion and muddy with fat and blood, with entrails and bones strewnall over it, and always echoing with the howls of jackals, it iscertainly an unclean place.’

“Maheswara said, ‘I always wander over the whole earth in search of asacred spot. I do not, however, see any spot that is more sacred than thecrematorium. Hence, of all abodes, the crematorium pleases my heart most,shaded that it generally is by branches of the banian and adorned withtorn garlands of flowers. O thou of sweet smiles, the multitudes ofghostly beings that are my companions love to reside in such spots. I donot like, O goddess, to reside anywhere without those ghostly creaturesbeing by my side. Hence, the crematorium is a sacred abode to me. Indeed,O auspicious lady, it seems to me to be the very heaven. Highly sacredand possessed of great merit, the crematorium is much applauded bypersons desirous of having holy abodes.’

“Uma said, ‘O holy one, O lord of all creatures, O foremost of allobservers of duties and religious rites, I have a great doubt, O wielderof Pinaka, O giver of boons. These ascetics, O puissant lord, haveundergone diverse kinds of austerities. In the world are seen asceticswandering everywhere under diverse forms and clad in diverse kinds ofattire. For benefiting this large assemblage of Rishis, as also myself,do thou kindly resolve, O chastiser of all foes, this doubt of mine. Whatindications has Religion or Duty been said to possess? How, indeed, domen become unacquainted with the details of Religion or Duty to succeedin observing them? O puissant lord, O thou that art conversant withReligion, do thou tell me this.’

“Narada continued, ‘When the daughter of Himavat put this question,conclave of Rishis there present worshipped the goddess and adored herwith words adorned with Riks and with hymns fraught with deep import.’

“Maheswara said, ‘Abstention from injury, truthfulness of speech,compassion towards all beings, tranquillity of soul, and the making ofgifts to the best of one’s power, are the foremost duties of thehouseholder. Abstention from sexual congress with the spouses of othermen, protection of the wealth and the woman committed to one’s charge,unwillingness to appropriate what is not given to one, and avoidance ofhoney and meat,–these are the five chief duties. Indeed, Religion orDuty has many branches all of which are fraught with happiness. Eventhese are the duties which these embodied creatures who regard duty assuperior should observe and practise. Even these are the sources ofmerit.’

“Uma said, O holy one, I wish to ask thee another question about which Ihave great doubts. It behoveth thee to answer it and dispel my doubts.What are the meritorious duties of the four several orders? What dutiesappertain to the Brahmana? What to the Kshatriya? What are theindications of those duties that appertain to the Vaisya? And what kindof duties appertain to the Sudra?’

“The holy one said, ‘O highly blessed lady, the question thou hast askedis a very proper one. Those persons that belong to the regenerate orderare regarded as highly blessed, and are, indeed, gods on earth. Withoutdoubt, the observance of fasts (i.e., subjugation of the senses) isalways the duty of the Brahmana. When the Brahmana succeeds in properlyobserving all his duties, he attains to identity with Brahma.[560] Theproper observance of the duties of Brahmacharya, O goddess, are hisritual. The observance of vows and the investiture with the sacred threadare his other duties. It is by these that he becomes truly regenerate. Hebecomes a Brahmana for worshipping his preceptors and other seniors asalso the deities. Verily, that religion which has for its soul the studyof the Vedas is the source of all piety. Even that is the religion whichthose embodied creatures who are devoted to piety and duty should observeand practise.’

“Uma said, ‘O holy one, my doubts have not been dispelled. It behoveththee to explain in detail what the duties are of the four respectiveorders of men.’

“Maheswara said, ‘Listening to the mysteries of religion and duty,observance of the vows indicated in the Vedas, attention to the sacredfire, and accomplishment of the business of the preceptor, leading amendicant life, always bearing the sacred thread, constant recitation ofthe Vedas, and rigid observance of the duties of Brahmacharya, are theduties of the Brahmana. After the period of study is over, the Brahmana,receiving the command of his preceptor, should leave his preceptor’sabode for returning to his father’s house. Upon his return he should dulywed a wife that is fit for him. Another duty of the Brahmana consists inavoiding the food prepared by the Sudra. Walking along the path ofrighteousness, always observing fasts and the practices of Brahmacharya,are his other duties.[561] The householder should keep up his domesticfire for daily worship. He should study the Vedas. He should pourlibations in honour of the Pitris and the deities. He should keep hissenses under proper control. He should eat what remains after servinggods and guests and all his dependants. He should be abstemious in food,truthful in speech, and pure both externally and internally. Attending toguests is another duty of the householder, as also the keeping up of thethree sacrificial fires. The householder should also attend to theordinary sacrifices that go by the name of Ishti and should also dedicateanimals to the deities according to the ordinances. Indeed, theperformance of sacrifices is his highest duty as also a completeabstention from injury to all creatures. Never to eat before serving thedeities and guests and dependants is another duty of the householder. Thefood that remains after serving gods and guests and dependants is calledVighasa. The householder should eat Vighasa. Indeed, to eat after themembers of one’s family including servants and other dependants, isregarded as one of the special duties of the regenerate householder, whoshould, be conversant with the Vedas. The conduct of husband and wife, inthe case of householder, should be equal. He should every day makeofferings of flowers and other articles unto those deities that presideover domesticity. The householder should take care that his house isevery day properly rubbed (with cowdung and water). He should alsoobserve fasts every day. Well-cleaned and well-rubbed, his house shouldalso be every day fumigated with the smoke of clarified butter poured onhis sacred fire in honour of the deities and the Pitris. Even these arethe duties appertaining to the householder’s mode of life as observableby a regenerate person. Those duties really uphold the world. Verily,those duties always and eternally flow from those righteous persons amongthe Brahmanas that lead a life of domesticity. Do thou listen to me withconcentrated attention, O goddess, for I shall now tell thee what theduties are which appertain to the Kshatriya and about which thou hastasked me. From the beginning it has been said that the duty of theKshatriya is to protect all creatures. The king is the acquirer of afixed share of the merits earned by his subjects. By that means the kingbecomes endued with righteousness. That ruler of men who rules andprotects his subjects righteously, acquires, by virtue of the protectionhe offers to others, many regions of felicity in the world to come. Theother duties of a person of the kingly order consist of self-restraintand Vedic study, the pouring of libations on the sacred fire, the makingof gifts, study, the bearing of the sacred thread, sacrifices, theperformance of religious rites, the support of servants and dependants,and perseverance in acts that have been begun. Another duty of his is toaward punishments according to the offences committed. It is also hisduty to perform sacrifices and other religious rites according to theordinances laid down in the Vedas. Adherence to the practice of properlyjudging the disputes of litigants before him, and a devotion totruthfulness of speech, and interference for aiding the distressed, arethe other duties by discharging which the king acquires great glory bothhere and hereafter. He should also lay down his life on the field ofbattle, having displayed great prowess on behalf of kine and Brahmanas.Such a king acquires in Heaven such regions of felicity as are capable ofbeing won by the performance of Horse-sacrifices. The duties of theVaisya always consist of the keeping of cattle and agriculture, thepouring of libations on the sacred fire, the making of gifts, and study.Trade, walking in the path of righteousness, hospitality, peacefulness,self-restraint, welcoming of Brahmanas, and renouncing things (in favourof Brahmanas), are the other eternal duties of the Vaisya. The Vaisya,engaged in trade and walking in the path of righteousness, should neversell sesame and perfumery and juices or liquid substances. He shoulddischarge the duties of hospitality towards all. He is at liberty topursue religion and wealth and pleasure according to his means and asmuch as is judicious for him. The service of the three regenerate classesconstitutes the high duty of the Sudra. That Sudra who is truthful inspeech and who has subdued his senses is regarded as having acquiredmeritorious penances. Verily, the Sudra, who having got a guest,discharges the duties of hospitality towards him, is regarded asacquiring the merit of high penances. That intelligent Sudra whoseconduct is righteous and who worships the deities and Brahmanas, becomesendued with the desirable rewards of righteousness. O beautiful lady, Ihave thus recited to thee what the duties are of the four orders. Indeed,O blessed lady, I have told thee what their respective duties are. Whatelse dost thou wish to hear?’

“Uma said, ‘Thou has recited to me what the respective duties are of thefour orders, auspicious and beneficial for them. Do thou now tell me, Oholy one, what the common duties are of all the orders.’

“Maheswara said, ‘The foremost of all beings in the universe viz., theCreator Brahma, ever desirous of righteous accomplishments, created theBrahmanas for rescuing all the worlds. Among all created beings, theyare, verily, gods on earth. I shall at the outset tell thee what thereligious acts are which they should do and what the rewards are whichthey win through them. That religion which has been ordained for theBrahmanas is the foremost of all religions. For the sake of therighteousness of the world, three religions were created by the Self-bornOne. Whenever the world is created (or re-created), those religions arecreated by the Grandsire. Do thou listen. These are the three eternalreligions. The religion that is propounded in the Vedas is the highest;that which is propounded in the Smritis is the next in the order ofimportance; the third in importance is that which is based upon thepractices of those who are regarded as righteous. The Brahmans possessedof learning should have the three Vedas. He should never make the studyof the Vedas (or recitation of the scriptures) the means of hisliving.[562] He should devote himself to the three well-known acts (ofmaking gifts, studying the Vedas, and performing sacrifices). He shouldtranscend’ the three (viz., lust, wrath, and covetousness). He should bethe friend of all creatures. A person that possesses these attributes iscalled a Brahmans. The lord of the universe declared these six acts forthe observance of Brahmanas. Listen to those eternal duties. Theperformance of sacrifices, officiating at the sacrifices of others, themaking of gifts, the acceptance of gifts, teaching, and study, are thesix acts by accomplishing which a Brahmans wins religious merit. Verily,the daily study of the Vedas is a duty. Sacrifice is (another) eternalduty. The making of gifts according to the measure of his power andagreeable to the ordinance, is, in his case, much applauded. Tranquillityof mind is a high duty that has always been current among them that arerighteous. Householders of pure mind are capable of earning very greatmerit. Indeed, he who cleanses his soul by the performance of the fivesacrifices, who is truthful in speech, who is free from malice, who makesgifts, who treats with hospitality and honour all regenerate guests, wholives in well-cleaned abodes, who is free from pride, who is alwayssincere in his dealings, who uses sweet and assuring words towardsothers, who takes pleasure in serving guests and others arrived at hisabode, and who eats the food that remains after the requirements havebeen gratified of all the members of his family and dependants, winsgreat merit. That man who offers water to his guests for washing theirfeet and hands, who presents the Arghya for honouring the recipient, whoduly gives seats, and beds, and lamps for lighting the darkness, andshelter to those that come to his abode, is regarded as highly righteous.That householder who rises at dawn and washes his mouth and ‘face andserves food to his guests, and having honoured them duly dismisses themfrom his abode and follows them (as a mark of honour) for a littledistance, acquires eternal merit. Hospitality towards all, and thepursuit of the aggregate of three, are the duties of the householder. Theduties of the Sudra consist in the pursuit of the aggregate of three. TheReligion ordained for the householder is said to have Pravritti for itschief indication. Auspicious, and beneficial to all creatures, I shallexpound it to thee. The householder should always make gifts according tothe measure of his power. He should also perform sacrifices frequentlyafter the same manner. Indeed, he who wishes to achieve his own goodshould always achieve meritorious acts. The householder, should acquirewealth by righteous means. The wealth thus acquired should be carefullydivided into three portions, keeping the requirements of righteousness inview. With one of those portions he should accomplish all acts ofrighteousness. With another he should seek to gratify his cravings forpleasure. The third portion he should lay out for increasing. TheReligion of Nivritti is different. It exists for emancipation (fromre-birth by absorption into Brahman). I shall tell thee the conduct thatconstitutes it. Listen to me in detail, O goddess. One of the dutiesinculcated by that religion is compassion towards all creatures. The manthat follows it should not reside in one place for more than one day.Desirous of achieving emancipation, the followers of this Religion freethemselves from the bonds of hope (or desire). They have no attachment tohabitation, to the Kamandalu they bear for keeping water, to the robesthat cover their loins, or the seat whereupon they rest, or the triplestick they bear in their hands, or the bed they sleep on, or the firethey want, or the chamber that houses them. A follower of this Religionsets his heart upon the workings of his soul. His mind is devoted toSupreme Brahman. He is filled with the idea of attaining to Brahman. Heis always devoted to Yoga and the Sankhya Philosophy. He desires no othershelter than the foot of a tree. He houses himself in empty abodes ofmen. He sleeps on the banks of rivers. He takes pleasure in staying bysuch banks. He is freed from every attachment, and from every tie ofaffection. He merges the existence of his own soul into the Supreme Soul.Standing like a stake of wood, and abstaining from all food he does onlysuch acts as point to Emancipation. Or, he may wander about, devoted toYoga. Even these are the eternal duties of a follower of the Religion ofNivritti. He lives aloof from his species. He is freed from allattachments. He never resides in the same place for more than a day.Freed from all bonds he roves over the world. Emancipated from all ties,he never sleeps on even the same river-bank for more than a day. Eventhis is the religion of persons conversant with Emancipation as declaredin the Vedas. Even this is the righteous path that is trodden by therighteous. He who follows in this track leaves no vestige behind.Bhikshus (or followers of the religion of Emancipation) are of fourkinds. They are Kutichakas, Vahudakas, Hansas, and Paramahansas. Thesecond is superior to the first, the third to the second, and the fourthto the third. There is nothing superior to the Paramahansa; nor is thereanything inferior to it or beside it or before it. It is a condition thatis divested of sorrow and happiness; that is auspicious and freed fromdecrepitude and death and that knows no change.'[563]

“Uma said, ‘Thou halt recited the religion of the householders, that ofEmancipation, and that which is based upon the observances of therighteous. These paths are high and exceedingly beneficial to the worldof living creatures. O thou that art conversant with every religion, Idesire now to hear what is the high religion of the Rishis. I always havea liking for those that dwell in ascetic retreats. The perfume thatemanates from the smoke of the libations of clarified butter poured onthe sacred fire seems to pervade the entire retreats and make themdelightful. Marking this, O great god, my heart becomes always filledwith delight. O puissant deity, I have doubts regarding the religion ofthe ascetics. Thou art conversant with the details of all religions. Dothou enlighten me, O god of gods, in detail, respecting this topic trulyabout which I have asked thee, O great deity!’

“The blessed and holy one said, ‘Yes, I shall recite to thee the high andexcellent religion of the ascetics. By following the dictates of thatreligion, O auspicious lady, the ascetics attain to success through thesevere penances they practise. O highly blessed one, do thou hear, fromthe beginning, what the duties are of those righteous Rishis that areconversant with every duty and that are known by the name of Phenapas.The Grandsire Brahma (during the days he devoted to the observance ofpenances) drank some nectar (in the form of water). That water had flowedin heaven from a great sacrifice. The froth of that water is highlyauspicious and (in consequence of Brahma’s having drunk it) it partook ofHis own nature. Those Rishis that subsist upon the measure of froth thatthus issued (from the water indicated) are called Phenapas(Froth-eaters). Even this is the conduct of those pure-souled Rishis, Olady, possessed of wealth of penances! Listen now to me as I explain tothee who the Valkhilyas are. The Valkhilyas are ascetics that have wonsuccess by their penances. They reside in the solar disc. Adopting themeans of subsistence that is followed by the birds, those Rishis,conversant with every duty of righteousness, live according to the Unchhamode. Their attire consists of deer-skins or barks of trees. Freed fromevery pair of opposites, the Valkhilyas, possessed of wealth of penances,walk in this track of righteousness. They are as big as a digit of thethumb. Distributed into classes, each class lives in the practice of theduties assigned to it. They desire only to practise penance. The meritsthey win by their righteous conduct are very high. They are regarded ashaving attained to an equality with the gods and exist for theaccomplishment of the purposes of the gods. Having burnt off all theirsins by severe penances, they blaze forth in effulgence, illuminating allthe points of the compass. Others, called Chakracharas, are endued withcleansed souls and devoted to the practice of compassion. Righteous intheir conduct and possessed of great sanctity, they live in the region ofSoma. Thus residing near enough to the region of the Pitris, they dulysubsist by drinking the rays of Soma. There are others calledSamprakshalas and Asmkuttas and Dantolukhalas.[564] These live near theSoma-drinking deities and others that drink flames of fire. With theirwedded spouses, and with passions under complete control, they toosubsist upon the rays of Soma. They pour libations of clarified butter onthe sacred fire, and adore the Pitris under proper forms. They alsoperform the well-known sacrifices. Even this is said to constitute theirreligion. The religion of the Rishis, O goddess, is always observed bythose who are houseless and who are free to rove through every regionincluding that of the gods. There are, again, other classes about whom Ishall speak presently. Do thou listen. It is necessary that they whoobserve the different religions of the Rishis, should subjugate theirpassions and know the Soul. Indeed, in my opinion, lust and wrath shouldbe completely conquered. With corn (wealth) acquired by the Unchha mode,they should discharge the following duties, viz., the pouring oflibations on the sacred fire, occupying a fixed seat employing oneselfthe while in the sacrifice called Dharmaratri, performance of sheSoma-sacrifice, acquisition of especial knowledge, the giving ofsacrificial presents which forms the fifth, the daily performance ofsacrifices, devotion to the worship of the Pitris and the deities,hospitality towards all. Abstention from all luxurious viands preparedfrom cow’s milk, taking a pleasure in tranquillity of heart, lying onbare rocks or the earth, devotion to Yoga, eating potherbs and leaves oftrees, and subsisting upon fruits and roots and wind and water and moss,are some of the practices of the Rishis by which they attain to the endthat belongs to persons unsubjugated (by the world). When the smoke hasceased to curl upwards from a house, when the husking machine has ceasedto ply, when the hearth-fire has been extinguished, when all the inmateshave taken their food, when dishes are no longer carried from room toroom, when mendicants have ceased to walk the streets, it is then thatthe man who is devoted to the religion of truth and tranquillity of soul,desiring to have a guest (but finding his desire ungratified), should eatwhat remnant of food may still occur in the house. By acting in this way,one becomes a practiser of the religion of the Munis. One should not bearrogant, nor proud, nor cheerless and discontented; nor should onewonder at anything. Indeed, one should behave equally towards friends andfoes. Verily, one who is the foremost of all persons conversant withduties should also be friendly towards all creatures.”

Chapter 140
Chapter 142
🙏 धर्म और आध्यात्म को जन-जन तक पहुँचाने में हमारा साथ दें| 🙏