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Chapter 144

Mahabharata English - ANUSASANA PARVA

“Uma said, ‘O holy one, O Lord of all beings, O thou that art worshippedby the deities and Asuras equally, tell me what are the duties andderelictions of men. Indeed, O puissant one, resolve my doubts. It is bythese three, viz., thought, word, and deed, that men become bound withbonds. It is by these same three that they become freed from those bonds.By pursuing what conduct, O god,–indeed, by what kind of acts,–by whatbehaviour and attributes and words, do men succeed in ascending toheaven?’

“The god of gods said, ‘O goddess, thou art well-conversant with the trueimport of duties. Thou art ever devoted to righteousness andself-restraint. The question thou hast asked me is fraught with thebenefit of all creatures. It enhances the intelligence of all persons. Dothou, therefore, listen to the answer. Those persons that are devoted tothe religion of Truth, that are righteous and destitute of theindications of the several modes of life, and that enjoy the wealthearned by righteous means, succeed in ascending to heaven. Those men thatare freed from all doubts, that are possessed of omniscience, and thathave eyes to behold all things, are never enchained by either virtue orsin. Those men that are freed from all attachments can never be bound bythe chains of action. They who never injure others in thought, word, ordeed, and who never attach themselves to anything, can never be bound byacts. They who abstain from taking the lives of any creature, who arepious in conduct, who have compassion, who regard friends and foes in anequal light and who are self-restrained, can never be bound by acts.Those men that are endued with compassion towards all beings, thatsucceed in inspiring the confidence of all living creatures, and thathave cast off malice in their behaviour, succeed in ascending to heaven.Those men that have no desire to appropriate what belongs to others, thatkeep themselves aloof from the wedded wives of others, and that enjoyonly such wealth as has been earned by righteous means, succeed inascending to heaven. Those men who behave towards the wives of otherpeople as towards their own mothers and sisters and daughters, succeed inattaining to heaven. Those men that abstain from appropriating whatbelongs to others, that are perfectly contented with what they possess,and that live depending upon their own destiny, succeed in ascending toheaven. Those men that, in their conduct, always shut their eyes againstassociation with other people’s spouses, that are masters of theirsenses, and that are devoted to righteous conduct, succeed in ascendingto heaven. Even this is the path, created by the gods, that the righteousshould follow. This is the path, freed from passion and aversion, laiddown for the righteous to follow. Those men who are devoted to their ownspouses and who seek them only in their seasons, and who turn themselvesaway from indulgence in sexual pleasure, succeed in ascending to HeavenConduct marked by charity and penances, and characterised byrighteousness of deeds and purity of both body and heart, should befollowed by those that are wise for the sake of adding to their merit orfor earning their means of subsistence. Those who wish to ascend toHeaven should follow in this track and not in any other.’

“Uma said, ‘Tell me, O illustrious deity, O sinless lord of allcreatures, what are those words by which one becomes enchained and whatare those words by uttering which one may be freed from one’s bonds.’

“Maheswara said, ‘Those men who never tell lies for either themselves orfor others, or in jest or for exciting laughter, succeed in ascending toHeaven. They who never tell lies for earning their subsistence or forearning merit or through mere caprice, succeed in ascending to Heaven.They who utter words that are smooth and sweet and faultless, and whowelcome all whom they meet with sincerity, succeed in ascending toHeaven. They who never utter words that are harsh and bitter and cruel.and who are free from deceitfulness and evil of every kind, succeed inascending to Heaven. Those men who never utter words that are fraughtwith deceit or that cause breach of understanding between friends, andwho always speak what is true and what promotes good feelings, succeed inascending to Heaven. Those men who avoid harsh speeches and abstain fromquarrels with others, who are impartial in their behaviour to allcreatures, and who have subjugated their souls, succeed in ascending toHeaven. They who abstain from evil speech or sinful conversation, whoavoid such speeches as are disagreeable, and who utter only such words asare auspicious and agreeable, succeed in ascending to Heaven. They whonever utter, under anger, such words as tear the hearts of other people,and who, even when under the influence of wrath, speak words that arepeaceful and agreeable, succeed in ascending to Heaven. The religion, Ogoddess, appertaining to speech, should always be followed by men. It isauspicious and characterised by truth. They that are possessed of wisdomshould always avoid untruth.’

“Uma said, ‘Do thou tell me, O god of gods, O wielder of Pinaka, O thouthat art highly blessed, what those mental acts or thoughts are by whicha person may be enchained.’

“Maheswara said, ‘Endued with merit that arises from mental acts, Ogoddess, one ascends to Heaven. Listen to me, O auspicious one, as Irecite to thee what those acts are. Listen to me, O thou of sweet face,how also a mind of ill-regulated features becomes enchained byill-regulated or evil thoughts. Those men who do not seek even mentally,to take what belongs to others even when they see it lying in a loneforest, succeed in ascending to Heaven. Those men who care not toappropriate what belongs to others even when they see it lying in a houseor a village that has been deserted, ascend to Heaven. Those men that donot seek, even mentally, to associate with the wedded spouses of otherseven when they behold them in deserted places and under the influence ofdesire, succeed in ascending to Heaven. Those men who, meeting withfriends or foes, behave in the same friendly way towards all, succeed inascending to Heaven. Those men that are possessed of learning andcompassion, that are pure in body and mind, that are firm in theiradherence to truth, and that are contented with what belongs to them,succeed in ascending to Heaven. Those men that do not bear ill-will toany creature, that do not stand in need of labour for their subsistence,that bear friendly hearts towards all beings, and that entertaincompassion towards all, succeed in ascending to Heaven. Those men thatare endued with faith, that have compassion, that are holy, that seek thecompany of holy men, and that are conversant with the distinctionsbetween right and wrong, succeed in ascending to Heaven. Those men, Ogoddess, that are conversant with what the consequences are of good andbad deeds, succeed in ascending to Heaven. Those men that are just in alltheir dealings, that are endued with all desirable accomplishments, thatare devoted to the deities and the Brahmanas, and that are endued withperseverance in the doing of good acts, succeed in ascending to Heaven.All these men, O goddess, succeed in ascending to Heaven through themeritorious consequences of their deeds. What else dost thou wish tohear?’

“Uma said, ‘I have a great doubt, O Maheswara, on a subject connectedwith human beings. It behoveth thee to explain it to me carefully. Bywhat acts does a man succeed, O puissant deity, in acquiring a long life?By what penances also does one acquire a long life? By what acts does onebecome shortlived on earth? O thou that art perfectly stainless, itbehoveth thee to tell me what the consequences are of acts (in the matterof bestowing a long or a short life on the doer). Some are seen to bepossessed of great good fortune and some weighted with misfortune. Someare of noble birth while others of ignoble birth. Some are of suchrepulsive features as if they are made of wood, while others are of veryagreeable features at even the first sight. Some appear to be destituteof wisdom while others are possessed of it. Some, again, are seen enduedwith high intelligence and wisdom, enlightened by knowledge and science.Some have to endure little pain, while others there are that are weightedwith heavy calamities. Even such diverse sights are seen with respect tomen. It behoveth thee, O illustrious one, to tell me the reason of allthis.’

“The god of gods said, ‘Verily, O goddess, I shall discourse to thee onthe manifestation of the fruits of acts. It is by the rules of thatmanifestation that all human beings in this world enjoy or endure theconsequences of their acts. That man who assumes a fierce aspect for thepurpose of taking the lives of other creatures, who arms himself withstout sticks for injuring other creatures, who is seen with upliftedweapons, who slays living creatures, who is destitute of compassion, whoalways causes agitation to living beings, who refuses to grant protectionto even worms and ants, who is endued with cruelty,–one who is such, Ogoddess, sinks in Hell. One who is endued with an opposite dispositionand who is righteous in acts, is born as a handsome man. The man who isendued with cruelty, goes to Hell, while he that is endued withcompassion ascends to Heaven. The man who goes to Hell has to endureexcruciating misery. One who, having sunk in Hell, rises therefrom, takebirth as a man endued with short life. That man who is addicted toslaughter and injury, O goddess, becomes, through his sinful deeds,liable to destruction. Such a person becomes disagreeable to allcreatures and endued with a short life. That man who belongs to what iscalled the White class, who abstains from the slaughter of livingcreatures, who has thrown away all weapons, who never inflicts anychastisement on any body, who never injures any creatures, who nevercauses any body to slay creatures for him, who never slays or strikeseven when struck or attempted to be slain, who never sanctions orapproves an act of slaughter, who is endued with compassion towards allcreatures, who behaves towards others as towards his own self,–such asuperior man, O goddess, succeeds in attaining to the status of a deity.Filled with joy, such a man enjoys diverse kinds of luxurious articles.If such a person ever takes birth in the world of men, he becomes enduedwith longevity and enjoys great happiness. Even this is the way of thosethat are of righteous conduct and righteous deeds and that are blessedwith longevity, the way that was indicated by the Self-born Brahmanhimself and that is characterised by abstention from the slaughter ofliving creatures.'”

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