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Chapter 159

Mahabharata English - ANUSASANA PARVA

“Yudhishthira said, ‘Do thou tell us, O slayer of Madhu, what theprosperity is that attaches to the worship of the Brahmanas. Thou artwell-conversant with this topic. Verily, our grandsire knows thee.’

“Vasudeva said, ‘Hear, O king, with rapt attention to me, O chief ofBharata’s race, as I recite to thee what the merits of the Brahmanas are,in accordance with truth, O foremost one of Kuru’s race! Once on a timewhile I was seated at Dwaravati, O delighter of the Kurus, my sonPradyumna, enraged by certain Brahmanas, came to me and said, ‘O slayerof Madhu, what merit attaches to the worship of the Brahmanas? Whence istheir lordship derived both here and hereafter? O giver of honours, whatrewards are won by constantly Worshipping the Brahmanas? Do thou kindlyexplain this clearly to me, for my mind is disturbed by doubts in respectof this.’ When these words were addressed to me by Pradyumna, I answeredhim as follows, Do thou hear, O king, with close attention, what thosewords were, ‘O child of Rukmin, listen to me as I tell thee what theprosperity is that one may win by worshipping the Brahmanas. When onesets oneself to the acquisition of the well-known aggregate of three(viz., Righteousness, Wealth, and Pleasure), or to the achievement ofEmancipation, or to that of fame and prosperity, or to the treatment andcure of disease, or to the worship of the deities and the Pitris, oneshould take care to gratify the regenerate ones. They are each a kingSoma (that sheds such agreeable light in the firmament.) They aredispensers of happiness and misery. O child of Rukmini, whether in thisor in the next world, O son, everything agreeable has its origin in theBrahmanas. I have no doubt in this! From the worship of the Brahmanasflow mighty achievements and fame and strength. The denizens of all theworlds, and the Regents of the universe, are all worshippers ofBrahmanas. How then, O son, can we disregard them, filled with the ideathat we are lords of the earth? O mighty-armed one, do not suffer thywrath to embrace the Brahmanas as its object. In this as also in the nextworld, Brahmanas are regarded as beings. They have direct knowledge ofeverything in the universe. Verily, they are capable of reducingeverything into ashes, if angry. They are capable of creating otherworlds and other Regents of worlds (than those that exist). Why thenshould not persons who are possessed of energy and correct knowledgebehave with obedience and respect towards them? Formerly, in my house, Oson, dwelt the Brahmana Durvasa whose complexion was green and tawny.Clad in rags, he had a stick made of the Vilwa tree.[615] His beard waslong and he was exceedingly emaciated. He was taller in stature than thetallest man on earth. Wandering over all the worlds, viz., that whichbelongs to human beings and those that are for the deities and othersuperior beings, even this was the verse which he sang constantly amongassemblies and in public squares. ‘Who is there that would cause theBrahmana Durvasa to dwell in his house, doing the duties of hospitalitytowards him? He becomes enraged with every one if he finds even theslightest transgression? Hearing this regarding my disposition, who isthere that will give me refuge? Indeed, he that would give me shelter asa guest should not do anything to anger me!’ When I saw that no oneventured to give him shelter in his house. I invited him and caused himto take up his residence in my abode. On certain days he would eat thefood sufficient for the needs of thousands of persons. On certain otherdays he would eat very little. On some days he would go out of my houseand would not return. He would sometimes laugh without any ostensiblereason and sometimes cry as causelessly. At that time there was nobody onearth that was equal to him in years. One day, entering the quartersassigned to him he burnt all the beds and coverlets and all thewell-adorned damsels that were there for serving him. Doing this, he wentout. Of highly praiseworthy vows, he met me shortly after this andaddressing me, said, ‘O Krishna, I wish to eat frumenty without delay!’Having understood his mind previously, I had set my servants to prepareevery kind of food and drink. Indeed, many excellent viands had been keptready. As soon as I was asked, I caused hot frumenty to be brought andoffered to the ascetic. Having eaten some, he quickly said unto me, ‘Dothou, O Krishna, take some of this frumenty and smear all thy limbs withit!’ Without any scruple I did as directed. Indeed, with the remnant ofthat frumenty I smeared my body and head. The ascetic at that time sawthy mother of sweet face standing near. Laughing the while, he smearedher body also with that frumenty. The ascetic then caused thy mother,whose body was smeared over with frumenty, to be yoked unto a car withoutany delay. Ascending that car he set out of my house. Endued with greatintelligence, that Brahmana blazed with effulgence like fire, and struck,in my presence, my Rukmini endued with youth, as if she were an animaldestined to drag the cars of human beings. Beholding this, I did not feelthe slightest grief born of malice or the desire to injure the Rishi.Indeed, having yoked Rukmini to the car, he went out, desirous ofproceeding along the high road of the city. Seeing that extraordinarysight, some Dasarhas, filled with wrath, addressed one another and beganto converse in this way, ‘Who else is there on earth that would drawbreath after having yoked Rukmini to a car! Verily, let the world befilled with Brahmanas only! Let no other orders take birth here. Thepoison of a virulent snake is exceedingly keen. Keener than poison is aBrahmana. There is no physician for a person that has been bitten orburnt by the virulent snake of a Brahmana, ‘As the irresistible Durvasaproceeded on the car, Rukmini tottered on the road and frequently felldown. At this the regenerate Rishi became angry and began to urge Rukminion by striking her with the whip. At last, filled with a toweringpassion, the Brahmana leapt down from the car, and fled towards thesouth, running on foot, over a pathless ground. Beholding that foremostof Brahmanas flying along the pathless ground, we followed him, althoughwe were smeared with frumenty, exclaiming behind him, ‘Be gratified withus, O holy one! Endued with great energy, the Brahmana, seeing me, said,’O mighty-armed Krishna, thou hast subdued wrath by the strength of thynature? O thou of excellent vows, I have not found the slightest fault inthee! O Govinda, I have been highly gratified with thee. Do thou solicitthe fruition of such wishes as thou pleasest! Behold duly, O son, whatthe puissance is of myself when I become gratified with any one. As longas deities and human beings will continue to entertain a liking for food,so long will every one among them cherish the same liking for thee thatthey cherish for their food! As long, again, as there will beRighteousness in the several world, so long will the fame of thyachievements last! Indeed, thy distinction will last so long in the threeworlds! O Janardana, agreeable thou shalt be to all persons! Whateverarticles of thine have been broken or burnt or otherwise destroyed (byme), thou shalt see restored, O Janardana, to their former state or theywill reappear even in a better form! As long, again, O thou of unfadingglory, as thou wilt wish to live, so long wilt thou have no fear of deathassailing thee through such parts of thy body as have been smeared withthe frumenty I gave thee! O son, why didst thou not smear that frumentyon the soles of thy feet as well? By not doing it, thou have acted in away that is not approved by me! Even these were the words that he said,well-pleased with me on that occasion. After he had ceased speaking, Isaw that my body became endued with great beauty and splendour. UntoRukmini also, the Rishi, well-pleased with her, said, ‘O beautiful lady,thou shalt be the foremost one of thy sex in fame, and great glory andachievements will be thine. Decrepitude or disease or loss of complexionwill never be thine! Every one will see thee engaged in waiting uponKrishna, possessed as thou already art with a fragrant odour which isalways present in thee. Thou shalt become the foremost of all spouses,numbering sixteen thousand, O Kesava. At last, when the time comes forthy departure from the world, thou shalt attain to the inseparablecompanionship of Krishna hereafter!’ Having said these words unto thymother, the Rishi once more addressed me and uttering following words,left the spot. Indeed, the Rishi Durvasa, blazing like a fire, said, ‘OKesava, let thy understanding be always disposed even thus towards theBrahmana!’ Verily after uttering these words, that Brahmana disappearedthere and then before my eyes. After his disappearance I took to theobservance of the vow of uttering certain Mantras silently without beingheard by anybody. Verily, from that day I resolved to accomplish whateverbehests I should receive from the Brahmanas. Having adopted this vow, Oson, along with thy mother, both of us, with hearts filled with joyre-entered our palace, Entering our house I saw that everything which theRishi had broken or burnt had reappeared and become new. Beholding thosenew articles, which had besides become more durable, I became filled withwonder. Verily, O son of Rukmini, from that day forth I have alwaysworshipped the Brahmanas in my mind! Even this, O chief of Bharata’srace, is what I said on that occasion regarding the greatness of thoseBrahmanas who are the foremost of their order. Do thou also, O son ofKunti, worship the highly blessed Brahmanas every day with gifts ofwealth and kine, O puissant one! It was in this way that I acquired theprosperity I enjoy, the prosperity that is born of the grace ofBrahmanas. Whatever, again, Bhishma has said of me, O chief of theBharatas, is all true!'”

Chapter 158
Chapter 160
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