Chapter 35

Mahabharata English - ANUSASANA PARVA

“Bhishma said, ‘O blessed king, Brahmana, by birth alone, becomes anobject of adoration with all creatures and are entitled, as guests, toeat the first portion of all cooked food.[261] From them flow all thegreat objects of life (viz., Righteousness and Wealth and Pleasure andEmancipation). They are the friends of all creatures in the universe.They are again the mouths of the deities (for food poured into theirmouths is eaten by the deities). Worshipped with reverence, they wish usprosperity by uttering words fraught with auspiciousness. Disregarded byour foes, let them be enraged with these, and let them wish evil untothose detractors of theirs, uttering words fraught with severe curses. Inthis connection, persons conversant with ancient history repeat thefollowing verses sung of old respecting how in ancient times the Creator,after having created the Brahmanas, ordained their duties.–A Brahmanashould never do anything else than what has been ordained for him.Protected, they should protect others. By conducting themselves in thisway, they are sure to attain to what is mightily advantageous for them.By doing those acts that are ordained for them, they are sure to obtainBrahma-prosperity. Ye shall become the exemplars of all creatures, andreins for restraining them. A Brahmana possessed of learning should neverdo that which is laid down for the Sudras. By doing such acts, a Brahmanaloses merit[262]. By Vedic study he is sure to obtain prosperity andintelligence and energy and puissance competent to scorch all things, asalso glory of the most exalted kind. By offering oblations of clarifiedbutter unto the deities, the Brahmanas attain to high blessedness andbecome worthy of taking the precedence of even children in the matter ofall kinds of cooked food, and endued with Brahma-prosperity.[263] Enduedwith faith that is fraught with compassion towards all creatures, anddevoted to self-restraint and the study of the Vedas, ye shall attain tothe fruition of all your wishes. Whatever things exist in the world ofmen, whatever things occur in the region of the deities, can all beachieved acquired with the aid of penances and knowledge and theobservance of vows and restraints. I have thus recited to thee, O sinlessone, the verses that were sung by Brahma himself. Endued with supremeintelligence and wisdom, the Creator himself ordained this, throughcompassion for the Brahmanas. The puissance of those among them that aredevoted to penances is equal to the might of kings. They are verilyirresistible, fierce, possessed of the speed of lightning, andexceedingly quick in what they do. There are amongst them those that arepossessed of the might of lions and those that are possessed of the mightof tigers. Some of them are endued with the might of boars, some withthat of the deer, and some with that of crocodiles. Some there areamongst them whose touch resembles that of snakes of virulent poison, andsome whose bite resembles that of sharks. Some amongst them are capableof compassing by speech alone the destruction of those that are opposedto them; and some are competent to destroy by a glance only of theireyes. Some, amongst them, as already said, are like snakes of virulentpoison, and some of them are possessed of very mild dispositions. Thedispositions, O Yudhisthira, of the Brahmanas, are of diverse kinds. TheMekalas, the Dravidas, the Lathas, the Paundras, the Konwasiras, theSaundikas, the Daradas, the Darvas, the Chauras, the Savaras, theVarvaras, the Kiratas, the Yavanas, and numerous other tribes ofKshatriyas, have become degraded into the status of Sudras through thewrath of Brahmanas. In consequence of having disregarded the Brahmanas,the Asuras have been obliged to take refuge in the depths of the ocean.Through the grace of the Brahmanas, the deities have become denizens ofthe happy regions of Heaven. The element of space or ether is incapableof being touched. The Himavat mountains are incapable of being moved fromtheir site. The current of Ganga is incapable of being resisted by a dam.The Brahmanas are incapable of being subjugated. Kshatriyas are incapableof ruling the Earth without cultivating the good will of the Brahmanas.The Brahmanas are high-souled beings. They are the deities of the verydeities. Do thou always worship them with gifts and obedient services:if, indeed, thou wishest to enjoy the sovereignty of the whole Earth withher belt of seas. The energy and might of Brahmanas, O sinless one,become abated in consequence of the acceptance of gift. Thou shouldstprotect thy race. O king, from those Brahmanas that do not desire toaccept gifts!'”[264]

Chapter 34
Chapter 36
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