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Chapter 75

Mahabharata English - ANUSASANA PARVA

“Yudhishthira said, ‘I have been greatly assured, O thou of puissance, bythee thus discoursing unto me of duties. I shall, however, giveexpression to the doubts I have. Do thou explain them to me, O grandsire!What are the fruits, declared in the scriptures, of the vows that menobserve. Of what nature are the fruits, O thou of great splendour, ofobservances of other kinds? What, again, are the fruits, of one’sstudying the Vedas properly?[365] What are the fruits of gifts, and whatthose of holding the Vedas in memory? What are the fruits that attach tothe teaching of the Vedas? I desire to know all this. What, O grandsire,are the merits attaching to the non-acceptance of gifts in this world?What fruits are seen to attach to him who mazes gifts of knowledge? Whatare the merits acquired by persons that are observant of the duties oftheir order, as also by heroes that do not flee from battle? What are thefruits that have been declared to attach to the observance of purity andto the practice of Brahmacharya? What are the merits that attach to theservice of the father and of the mother? What also are the merits ofserving preceptors and teachers, and what are the merits of compassionand kindness? I desire to know all these, O grandsire, truly and indetail, O thou that art conversant with all the scriptures! Great is thecuriosity f feel.’

“Bhishma said, ‘Eternal regions of felicity become his, who, havingproperly commenced a Vrata (vow) completes its observance according tothe scriptures, without a break. The fruits of Niyamas, O king, arevisible even in this world. These rewards that thou hast won are those ofNiyamas and sacrifices. The fruits that attach to the study of the Vedasare seen both here and hereafter. The person, who is devoted to the studyof the Vedas is seen to sport in felicity both in this world and in theregion of Brahma. Listen now to me, O king, as I tell thee in detail whatthe fruits are of self-restraint. They that are self-restrained are happyeverywhere. They that are self-restrained are always in the enjoyment ofthat felicity which attaches to the absence or subjugation of desire.They that are self-restrained are competent to go everywhere at will.They that are self-restrained are capable of destroying every foe.Without doubt, they that are self-restrained succeed in obtainingeverything they seek. They that are self-restrained, O son of Pandu,obtain the fruition of every wish. The happiness that men enjoy in heaventhrough penances and prowess (in arms) through gift, and through diversesacrifices, becomes theirs that are self-restrained and forgiving.Self-restraint is more meritorious than gift. A giver, after making agift unto the Brahmanas, may yield to the Influence of wrath. Aself-restrained man, however, never yields to wrath. Hence,self-restraint is superior (in point of merit) to gift. That man, whomakes gifts without yielding to wrath, succeeds in attaining to eternalregions of felicity. Wrath destroys the merit of a gift. Hence,self-restraint is superior to gift. There are various invisible places, Omonarch, numbering by ten thousands, in heaven. Existing in all theregions of heaven, these places belong to the Rishis. Persons, leavingthis world, attain to them and become transformed into deities. O king,the great Rishis repair thither, aided only by their self-restraint, andas the end of their efforts to attain to a region of superior happiness.Hence, self-restraint is superior (in efficacy) to gift. The person, whobecomes a preceptor (for teaching the Vedas), and who duly worships thefire, taking leave of all his afflictions in this world, enjoysinexhaustible felicity, O king, in the region of Brahma. That man, who,having himself studied the Vedas, imparts a knowledge thereof untorighteous disciples, and who praises the acts of his own preceptor,attain to great honours in heaven. That Kshatriya, who takes to the studyof the Vedas, to the performance of sacrifices, to the making of gifts,and who rescues the lives of others in battle, similarly attains togreat, honours in heaven. The Vaisya, who, observant of the duties of hisorder, makes gifts, reaps as the fruit of those gifts, a crowning reward.The Sudra, who duly observes the duties of his order (which consist ofservices rendered to the three other orders) wins heaven as the reward ofsuch services. Diverse kinds of heroes have been spoken of (in thescriptures). Listen to me as I expound to thee what the rewards are thatthey attain to. The rewards are fixed of a hero belonging to a heroicrace. There are heroes of sacrifice, heroes of self-restraint, heroes oftruth, and others equally entitled to the name of hero. There are heroesof battle, and heroes of gift of liberality among men. There are manypersons, who may be called the heroes of the Sankhya faith as, indeed,there are many others that are called heroes of Yoga. There are othersthat are regarded as heroes in the matter of forest-life, of householdingor domesticity, and of renunciation (or Sannyasa). Similarly, there areothers that are called heroes of the intellect, and also heroes offorgiveness. There are other men, who live in tranquillity and who areregarded as heroes of righteousness. There are diverse other kinds ofheroes that practise diverse other kinds of vows and observances. Thereare heroes devoted to the study of the Vedas and heroes devoted to theteaching of the same. There are, again, men that come to be regarded asheroes for the devotion with which they wait upon and serve theirpreceptors, as indeed, heroes in respect of the reverence they show totheir sires. There are heroes in respect of obedience to mothers, andheroes in the matter of the life of mendicancy they lead. There areheroes in the matter of hospitality to guests, whether living ashouseholders. All these heroes attain to very superior, regions offelicity which are, of course, acquired by them as the rewards of theirown acts. Holding all the Vedas in memory, or ablutions performed in allthe sacred waters, may or may not be equal to telling the Truth every dayin one’s life. A thousand horse sacrifices and Truth were once weighed inthe balance. It was seen that Truth weighed heavier than a thousandhorse-sacrifices. It is by Truth that the sun is imparting heat, it is byTruth that fire blazes up, it is by Truth that the winds blow; verily,everything rests upon Truth. It is Truth that gratifies the deities, thePitris and the Brahmanas. Truth has been said to be the highest duty.Therefore, no one should ever transgress Truth. The Munis are all devotedto Truth. Their prowess depends upon Truth. They also swear by Truth.Hence, Truth is pre-eminent. All truthful men, O chief of Bharata’s race,succeed by their truthfulness in attaining to heaven and sporting therein felicity. Self-restraint is the attainment of the reward that attachesto Truth. I have discoursed on it with my whole heart. The man of humbleheart who is possessed of self-restraint, without doubt, attains to greathonours in heaven. Listen now to me, O lord of Earth, as I expound tothee the merits of Brahmacharya. That man, who practises the vow ofBrahmacharya from his birth to the time of his death, know, O king, hasnothing unattainable! Many millions of Rishis are residing in the regionof Brahma. All of them, while here, were devoted to Truth, andself-restrained and had their vital seed drawn up. The vow ofBrahmacharya, O king, duly observed by a Brahmana, is sure to burn allhis sins. The Brahmana is said to be a blazing fire. In those Brahmanasthat are devoted to penances, the deity of fire becomes visible. If aBrahmacharin yields to wrath in consequence of any slight the chief ofthe deities himself trembles in fear. Even this is the visible fruit ofthe vow of Brahmacharya that is observed by the Rishis. Listen to me, OYudhishthira, what the merit is that attaches to the worship of thefather and the mother. He, who dutifully serves his father without evercrossing him in anything, or similarly serves his mother or (elder)brother or other senior or preceptor, it should be known, O king, earns aresidence in heaven. The man of cleansed soul, in consequence of suchservice rendered to his seniors, has never even to behold hell.'”

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