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Chapter 152

Mahabharata English - ANUSASANA PARVA

“Yudhishthira said, ‘Tell us, O king, what is that reward attached to theworship of Brahmanas, seeing which thou worshippest them, O thou ofsuperior intelligence! Indeed, what is that success, flowing from theirworship, guided by which thou worshippest them?’

“Bhishma said, ‘In this connection is cited this old narrative of aconversation between Pavana and Arjuna, O Bharata! Endued with a thousandarms and great beauty the mighty Kartavirya, in days of yore, became thelord of all the world. He had his capital in the city of Mahishmati. Ofunbaffled prowess, that chief of the Haihaya race of Kshatriyas swayedthe whole earth with her belt of seas, together with all her islands andall her precious mines of gold and gems. Keeping before him the duties ofthe Kshatriya order, as also humility and Vedic knowledge, the king madelarge gifts of wealth unto the Rishi Dattatreya. Indeed, the son ofKritavirya thus adored the great ascetic who, becoming pleased with him,asked him to solicit three boons. Thus requested by the Rishi in respectof boons, the king addressed him, saying, ‘Let me become endued with athousand arms when I am in the midst of my troops. While, however, Iremain at home let me have, as usual only two arms! Indeed, letcombatants, when engaged in battle, behold me possessed of a thousandarms, observant also of high vows, let me succeed in subjugating thewhole earth by dint of my prowess. Having acquired the earth righteously,let me sway her with vigilance. There is a fourth boon which, O foremostof regenerate persons, I solicit thee to grant. O faultless one, inconsequence of the disposition to favour me, it behoveth thee to grant itto me. Dependent that I am on thee, whenever I may happen to go wrong,let the righteous come forth to instruct and set me right! Thusaddressed, the Brahmana replied unto the king, saying, ‘So let it be!’Even thus were those boons acquired by that king of blazing effulgence.Riding then on his car whose splendour resembled that of fire or the Sun,the monarch, blinded by his great prowess, said, ‘Who, indeed, is therethat can be regarded as my equal in patience and energy, in fame andheroism, in prowess and strength?’ After he had uttered these words, aninvisible voice in the welkin said, ‘O ignorant wretch, dost thou notknow that the Brahmana is superior to the Kshatriya? The Kshatriya,assisted by the Brahmana rules all creatures!’

“Arjuna said, ‘When gratified, I am able to create many creatures. Whenangry, I am able to destroy all. In thought, word, and deed, I am theforemost. The Brahmana is certainly not above me!’ The first propositionhere is that the Brahmana is superior to the Kshatriya. Thecounter-proposition is that the Kshatriya is superior. Thou hast said, Oinvisible being that the two are united together (in the act upon whichthe Kshatriya’s superiority is sought to be based). A distinction,however, is observable in this. It is seen that Brahmanas take refugewith Kshatriyas. The Kshatriyas never seek the refuge of Brahmanas.indeed, throughout the earth, the Brahmanas, accepting such refuge underthe pretence of teaching the Vedas, draw their sustenance from theKshatriyas. The duty of protecting all creatures is vested in Kshatriyas.It is from the Kshatriyas that the Brahmanas derive their sustenance. Howthen can the Brahmana be superior to the Kshatriyas? Well, I shall fromtoday, bring under my subjection, your Brahmanas who are superior to allcreatures but who have mendicancy for their occupation and who are soself-conceited! What the virgin Gayatri has said from the welkin is nottrue. Robed in skins, the Brahmanas move about in independence. I shallbring those independent wights under my subjection. Deity or man, thereis none in the three worlds who can hurl me from the sovereignty I enjoy.Hence, I am certainly superior to the Brahmanas. This world that is nowregarded as having Brahmanas for its foremost denizens shall soon be madesuch as to have Kshatriyas for its foremost denizens. There is none thatis capable of bearing my might in battle! Hearing these words of Arjuna,the welkin-ranging goddess became agitated. Then the god of wind,addressing the king from the sky, said, ‘Cast off this sinful attitude.Bow unto the Brahmanas. By injuring them thou wilt bring about troubleson thy kingdom. The Brahmanas will either slay thee, king though thouart, or, endued with great might that they are, they will drive thee awayfrom thy kingdom, despoiling thee of thy energy!’ The king, hearing thisspeech, addressed the speaker, saying, Who, indeed, art thou?’ The god ofwind answered, ‘I am the god of wind and the messenger of the deities! Isay unto thee what is for thy benefit.’

“Arjuna said, ‘Oh, I see that thou hast today shown thy devotion andattachment to the Brahmanas. Tell me now what kind of earthly creature isthe Brahmana! Tell me, does a superior Brahmana resemble the Wind in anyrespect? Or, is he like Water, or Fire, or the Sun, or the Firmament?'”

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