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Chapter 18

Mahabharata English - ANUSASANA PARVA

“Vaisampayana said, ‘After Vasudeva had ceased to speak, the great Yogin,viz. the Island-born Krishna, addressed Yudhisthira, saying,–O son, dothou recite this hymn consisting of the thousand and eight names ofMahadeva, and let Maheswara be gratified with thee. In former days, Oson, I was engaged in the practice of severe austerities on the breast ofthe mountains of Meru from desire of obtaining a son. It is this veryhymn that was recited by me. As the reward of this, I obtained thefruition of all my wishes, O son of Pandu. Thou wilt also, by recitingthis same hymn, obtain from Sarva the fruition of all thy wishes.–Afterthis, Kapila, the Rishi who promulgated the doctrines that go by the nameof Sankhya, and who is honoured by the gods themselves, said,–I adoreBhava with great devotion for many lives together. The illustrious Deityat last became gratified with me and gave me knowledge that is capable ofaiding the acquirer in getting over rebirth.–After this, the Rishi namedCharusirsha, that dear friend of Sakra and known otherwise under the nameof Alamvana’s son and who is filled with compassion, said,–I, in formerdays, repaired to the mountains of Gokarna and sat myself to practisesevere penances for a hundred years. As the reward of those penances, Iobtained from Sarva, O son of king Pandu, a hundred sons, all of whomwere born without the intervention of woman, of well-restrained soul,conversant with righteousness, possessed of great splendour, free fromdisease and sorrow, and endued with lives extending over a hundredthousand years–Then the illustrious Valmiki, addressing Yudhishthira,said,–Once upon a time, in course of a dialectical disputation, certainascetics that were possessors of the homa fire denounced me as one guiltyof Brahmanicide. As soon as they had denounced me as such, the sin ofBrahmanicide, O Bharata, possessed me. I then, for cleansing myself,sought the protection of the sinless Isana who is irresistible in energy.I become cleansed of all my sins. That dispeller of all sorrows, viz.,the destroyer of the triple city of the Asuras, said unto me,–Thy fameshall be great in the world–Then Jamadagni’s son, that foremost of allrighteous persons, shining like the Sun with blazing splendour in themidst of that conclave of Rishis, said unto the son of Kunti thesewords;–I was afflicted with the sin, O eldest son of Pandu, ofBrahmanicide for having slain my brothers who were all learned Brahmanas.For purifying myself, I sought the protection, O king, of Mahadeva. Ihymned the praises of the great Deity by reciting his names. At this,Bhava became gratified with me and gave me a battle-axe and many othercelestial weapons. And he said unto me,–Thou shalt be freed from sin andthou shalt be invincible in battle; Death himself shall not succeed inovercoming thee for thou shalt be freed from disease.–Even thus did theillustrious and crested Deity of auspicious form said unto me. Throughthe grace of that Deity of supreme intelligence I obtained all that Hehad said. Then Viswamitra said,–I was formerly a Kshatriya. I paid myadorations to Bhava with the desire of becoming a Brahmana Through thegrace of that great Deity I succeeded in obtaining the high status of aBrahmana that is so difficult to obtain.–Then the Rishi Asita-Devala,addressing the royal son of Pandu, said,–In former days, O son of Kunti,through the curse of Sakra, all my merit due to the acts of righteousnessI had performed, was destroyed. The puissant Mahadeva it was who kindlygave me back that merit together with great fame and a long life.–Theillustrious Rishi Gritsamada, the dear friend of Sakra, who resembled thecelestial preceptor Vrihaspati himself in splendour, addressingYudhishthira of Ajamidha’s race said,–The inconceivable Sakra had, indays of yore, performed a sacrifice extending over a thousand years.While that sacrifice was going on, I was engaged by Sakra in reciting theSamans. Varishtha, the son of that Manu who sprung from the eyes ofBrahma, came to that sacrifice and addressing me, said.–O foremost ofregenerate persons, the Rathantara is not being recited properly by thee.O best of Brahmanas, cease to earn demerit by reading so faultily, andwith the aid of thy understanding do thou read the Samans correctly. Othou of wicked understanding, why dost thou perpetrate such sin that isdestructive of sacrifice.–Having said these words, the Rishi Varishtha,who was very wrathful, gave way to that passion and addressing me oncemore, said,–Be thou an animal divested of intelligence, subject togrief, ever filled with fear, and a denizen of trackless forestsdestitute of both wind and water and abandoned by other animals. Do thouthus pass ten thousand years with ten and eight hundred years inaddition. That forest in which thou shalt have to pass this period willbe destitute of all holy trees and will, besides, be the haunt of Rurusand lions. Verily, thou shalt have to become a cruel deer plunged inexcess of grief.–As soon as he had said these words, O son of Pritha, Iimmediately became transformed into a deer. I then sought the protectionof Maheswara. The great Deity said unto me,–Thou shalt be freed fromdisease of every kind, and besides immortality shall be thine. Griefshall never afflict thee. Thy friendship with Indra shall remainunchanged, and let the sacrifices of both Indra and thyself Increase. Theillustrious and puissant Mahadeva favours all creatures in this way. Heis always the great dispenser and ordainer in the matter of the happinessand sorrow of all living creatures. That illustrious Deity is incapableof being comprehended in thought, word, or deed. O son, O thou that arethe best of warriors (through the grace of Mahadeva), there is none thatis equal to me in learning.–After this, Vasudeva, that foremost of allintelligent men, once more said,–Mahadeva of golden eyes was gratifiedby me with my penances. Gratified with me, O Yudhishthira, theillustrious Deity said unto me,–Thou shalt, O Krishna, through my grace,become dearer to all persons than wealth which is coveted by all. Thoushalt be invincible in battle. Thy energy shall be equal to that of Fire.Thousands of other boons Mahadeva gave unto me on that occasion. In aformer incarnation I adored Mahadeva on the Manimantha mountain formillions of years. Gratified with me, the illustrious Deity said unto methese words:–Blessed be thou, do thou solicit boons as thou wishest.Bowing unto him with a bend of my head, I said these words,–If thepuissant Mahadeva has been gratified with me, then let my devotion to himbe unchanged, O Isana! Even this is the boon that I solicit.–The greatGod said unto me,–Be it so–and disappeared there and then.’

“Jaigishavya said, ‘O Yudhishthira, formerly in the city of Varanasi, thepuissant Mahadeva searching me out, conferred upon me the eightattributes of sovereignty.'”

“Garga said,–‘O son of Pandu, gratified with me in consequence of mentalsacrifice which I had performed, the great God bestowed upon me, on thebanks of the sacred stream Saraswati, that wonderful science, viz., theknowledge of Time with its four and sixty branches. He also, bestowedupon me, a thousand sons, all possessed of equal merit and fullyconversant with the Vedas. Through his grace, their periods of life asalso that of mine have become extended to ten millions of years.'”

“Parasara said,–‘In former times I gratified Sarva, O king. I thencherished the desire of obtaining a son that would be possessed of greatascetic merit, endued with superior energy, and addressed to high Yoga,that would earn world-wide fame, arrange the Vedas, and become the homeof prosperity, that would be devoted to the Vedas and the Brahmanas andbe distinguished for compassion. Even such a son was desired by me fromMaheswara. Knowing that this was the wish of my heart, that foremost ofDeities said unto me.–Through the fruition of that object of thine whichthou wishest to obtain from me, thou shalt have a son of the name ofKrishna. In that creation which shall be known after the name ofSavarni-Manu, that son of thine shall be reckoned among the seven Rishis.He shall arrange the Vedas, and be the propagator of Kuru’s race. Heshall, besides, be the author of the ancient histories and do good to theuniverse. Endued with severe penances, he shall, again, be the dearfriend of Sakra. Freed from diseases of every kind, that son of thine, OParasara, shall besides, be immortal.–Having said these words, the greatDeity disappeared there and then. Even such is the good, O Yudhishthira,that I have obtained from that indestructible and immutable God, enduedwith the highest penances and supreme energy.’

“Mandavya said,–‘In former times though not a thief and yet wronglysuspected of theft, I was impaled (under the orders of a king). I thenadored the illustrious Mahadeva who said unto me,–Thou shalt soon befreed from impalement and live for millions of years. The pangs due toimpalement shall not be thine. Thou shalt also be freed from every kindof affliction and disease. And since, O ascetic, this body of thine hathsprung from the fourth foot of Dharma (viz., Truth). Thou shalt beunrivalled on Earth. Do thou make thy life fruitful. Thou shalt, withoutany obstruction, be able to bathe in all the sacred waters of the Earth.And after the dissolution of thy body, I shall, O learned Brahmana,ordain that thou shall enjoy the pure felicity of heaven for unendingTime.–Having said these words unto me, the adorable Deity having thebull for his vehicle, viz., Maheswara of unrivalled splendour and clad inanimal skin, O king, disappeared there and then with all his associates.’

“Galava said, Formerly I studied at the feet of my preceptor Viswamitra.Obtaining his permission I set out for home with the object of seeing myfather. My mother (having become a widow), was filled with sorrow andweeping bitterly, said unto me,–Alas, thy father will never see his sonwho, adorned with Vedic knowledge, has been permitted by his preceptor tocome home and who, possessed of all the graces of youth, is endued withself-restraint.–Hearing these words of my mother, I became filled withdespair in respect of again beholding my sire. I then paid my adorationwith a rapt soul to Maheswara who, gratified with me, showed himself tome and said,–Thy sire, thy mother, and thyself, O son, shall all befreed from death. Go quickly and enter thy abode; thou shall behold thysire there.–Having obtained the permission of the illustrious Deity, Ithen repaired to my home, O Yudhishthira, and beheld my father, O son,coming out after having finished his daily sacrifice. And he came out,bearing in his hands a quantity of Homa-fuel and Kusa grass and somefallen fruits. And he seemed to have already taken his daily food, for hehad washed himself properly. Throwing down those things from his hand, myfather, with eyes bathed in tears (of joy), raised me, for I hadprostrated myself at his feet. Embracing me he smelt my head, O son ofPandu, and said.–By good luck, O son, art thou seen by me. Thou hastcome back, having acquired knowledge from the preceptor.’

“Vaisampayana continued, ‘Hearing these marvellous and most wonderfulfeats of the illustrious Mahadeva recited by the ascetics, the son ofPandu became amazed. Then Krishna, that foremost of all intelligentpersons, spoke once more unto Yudhishthira, that ocean of righteousness,like Vishnu speaking unto Puruhuta.’

“Vasudeva said, ‘Upamanyu, who seemed to blaze with effulgence like theSun, said unto me,–Those sinful men that are stained with unrighteousdeeds, do not succeed in attaining to Isana. Their dispositions beingstained by the attributes of Rajas and Tamas, they can never approach theSupreme Deity. It is only those regenerate persons who are of cleansedsouls that succeed in attaining to the Supreme Deity. Even if a personlives in the enjoyment of every pleasure and luxury, yet if he be devotedto the Supreme Deity, he comes to be regarded as the equal of forestrecluses of cleansed souls. If Rudra be gratified with a person, he canconfer upon him the states of ether Brahma or of Kesava or of Sakra withall the deities under him, or the sovereignty of the three worlds. Thosemen, O sire, who worship Bhava even mentally, succeed in freeingthemselves from all sins and attain to a residence in heaven with all thegods. A person who raises houses to the ground and destroys tanks andlakes indeed, who devastates the whole universe, does not become stainedwith sin, if he adores and worships the illustrious Deity of three eyes.A person that is destitute of every auspicious indication and that isstained by every sin, has all his sins destroyed by meditating upon Siva.Even worm and insects and birds, O Kesava, that devote themselves toMahadeva, are enabled to rove in perfect fearlessness. Even this is mysettled conviction that those men who devote themselves to Mahadevabecome certainly emancipated from rebirth. After this, Krishna againaddressed Yudhishthira the son of Dharma in the following words.

“Vishnu said, O Great King, ‘Aditya, Chandra, Wind, Fire, Heaven, Earth,the Vasus, the Viswedevas, Dhatri, Aryyaman, Sukra, Vrihaspati, theRudras, the Saddhyas, Varuna, Brahma, Sakra, Maruts, the Upanishads thatdeal with knowledge of Brahman, Truth, the Vedas, the Sacrifices,Sacrificial Presents, Brahmanas reciting the Vedas, Soma, Sacrificer, theshares of the deities in sacrificial offerings or clarified butter pouredin sacrifices, Raksha, Diksha, all kinds of restraints in the form ofvows and fasts and rigid observances, Swaha, Vashat, the Brahmanas, thecelestial cow, the foremost acts of righteousness, the wheel of Time,Strength, Fame, Self-restraint, the Steadiness of all persons endued withintelligence, all acts of goodness and the reverse, the seven Rishis,Understanding of the foremost order, all kinds of excellent touch, thesuccess of all (religious) acts, the diverse tribes of the deities, thosebeings that drink heat, those that are drinkers of Soma, Clouds, Suyamas,Rishitas, all creatures having Mantras for their bodies, Abhasuras, thosebeings that live upon scents only, those that live upon vision only,those that restrain their speech, those that restrain their minds, thosethat are pure, those that are capable of assuming diverse forms throughYoga-puissance, those deities that live on touch (as their food), thosedeities that subsist on vision and those that subsist upon the butterpoured in sacrifices, those beings that are competent to create by fiatsof their will the objects they require, they that are regarded as theforemost ones among the deities, and all the other deities, O descendantof Ajamila, the Suparnas, the Gandharvas, the Pisachas, the Danavas,Yakshas, the Charanas, the snakes, all that is gross and all that isexceedingly subtile, all that is soft and all that is not subtile, allsorrows and all joys, all sorrows that come after joy and all joy thatcomes after sorrow, the Sankhya philosophy, Yoga, and that whichtranscends objects which are regarded as foremost and very superior,–alladorable things, all the deities, and all the protectors of the universewho entering into the physical forces sustain and uphold this ancientcreation of that illustrious Deity,–have sprung from that Creator of allcreatures. All this that I have mentioned is grosser than that which thewise think of with the aid of Penances. Indeed, that subtile Brahma isthe cause of life. I bow my head in reverence to it. Let that immutableand indestructible Master, always adored by us, grant us desirable boons.That person who, subjugating his senses and purifying himself, recitesthis hymn, without interruption in respect of his vow, for one month,succeeds in obtaining the merit that is attached to a Horse-sacrifice. Byreciting this hymn the Brahmana succeeds in acquiring all the Vedas; theKshatriya becomes crowned with victory, O son of Pritha; the Vaisyabecomes successful in obtaining wealth and cleverness; and the Sudra, inwinning happiness here and a good end hereafter. Persons of great fame,by reciting this prince of hymns that is competent to cleanse every sinand that is highly sacred and purifying, set their hearts on Rudra. A manby reciting this prince of hymns succeeds in living in heaven for as manyyears as there are pores in his body.'”

Chapter 17
Chapter 19
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