Chapter 180

Mahabharata English - ARANYAKA PARVA

“Yudhishthira said, ‘In this world, you are so learned in the Vedas andVedangas; tell me (then), what one should do to attain salvation?’

“The serpent replied, ‘O scion of the Bharata’s race, my belief is thatthe man who bestows alms on proper objects, speaks kind words and tellsthe truth and abstains from doing injury to any creature goes to heaven.’

“Yudhishthira enquired, ‘Which, O snake, is the higher of the two, truthor alms-giving? Tell me also the greater or less importance of kindbehaviour and of doing injury to no creature.’

“The snake replied, ‘The relative merits of these virtues, truth andalms-giving, kind speech and abstention from injury to any creature, areknown (measured) by their objective gravity (utility). Truth is(sometimes) more praiseworthy than some acts of charity; some of thelatter again are more commendable than true speech. Similarly, O mightyking, and lord of the earth, abstention from doing injury to any creatureis seen to be important than good speech and vice-versa. Even so it is, Oking, depending on effects. And now, if thou hast anything else to ask,say it all, I shall enlighten thee!’ Yudhishthira said, ‘Tell me, Osnake, how the incorporal being’s translation to heaven, its perceptionby the senses and its enjoyment of the immutable fruits of its actions(here below), can be comprehended.’ The snake replied, ‘By his own acts,man is seen to attain to one of the three conditions of human existence,of heavenly life, or of birth in the lower animal kingdom. Among these,the man who is not slothful, who injures no one and who is endowed withcharity and other virtues, goes to heaven, after leaving this world ofmen. By doing the very contrary, O king, people are again born as men oras lower animals. O my son, it is particularly said in this connection,that the man who is swayed by anger and lust and who is given to avariceand malice falls away from his human state and is born again as a loweranimal, and the lower animals too are ordained to be transformed into thehuman state; and the cow, the horse and other animals are observed toattain to even the divine state.'[43] O my son, the sentient being,reaping the fruits of his actions, thus transmigrates through theseconditions; but the regenerate and wise man reposes his soul in theeverlasting Supreme Spirit. The embodied spirit, enchained by destiny andreaping the fruits of its own actions, thus undergoes birth after birthbut he that has lost touch of his actions, is conscious of the immutabledestiny of all born beings.[44]

“Yudhishthira asked, ‘O snake, tell me truly and without confusion howthat dissociated spirit becomes cognisant of sound, touch, form, flavour,and taste. O great-minded one, dost thou not perceive them,simultaneously by the senses? Do thou, O best of snakes, answer all thesequeries!’ The snake replied, ‘O long-lived one, the thing called Atman(spirit), betaking itself to corporeal tenement and manifesting itselfthrough the organs of sense, becomes duly cognisant of perceptibleobjects. O prince of Bharata’s race, know that the senses, the mind, andthe intellect, assisting the soul in its perception of objects, arecalled Karanas. O my son, the eternal spirit, going out of its sphere,and aided by the mind, acting through the senses, the receptacles of allperceptions, successively perceives these things (sound, form, flavour,&c). O most valiant of men, the mind of living creatures is the cause ofall perception, and, therefore, it cannot be cognisant of more than onething at a time. That spirit, O foremost of men, betaking itself to thespace between the eyebrows, sends the high and low intellect to differentobjects. What the Yogins perceive after the action of the intelligentprinciple by that is manifested the action of the soul.’

“Yudhishthira said, ‘Tell me the distinguishing characteristics of themind and the intellect. The knowledge of it is ordained as the chief dutyof persons meditating on the Supreme Spirit.’

“The snake replied, ‘Through illusion, the soul becomes subservient tothe intellect. The intellect, though known to be subservient to the soul,becomes (then) the director of the latter. The intellect is brought intoplay by acts of perception; the mind is self-existent. The Intellect doesnot cause the sensation (as of pain, pleasure, &c), but the mind does.This, my son, is the difference between the mind and the intellect. Youtoo are learned in this matter, what is your opinion?’

“Yudhishthira said, ‘O most intelligent one, you have fine intelligenceand you know all that is fit to be known. Why do you ask me thatquestion? You knew all and you performed such wonderful deeds and youlived in heaven. How could then illusion overpower you? Great is my doubton this point.’ The snake replied, ‘Prosperity intoxicates even the wiseand valiant men. Those who live in luxury, (soon) lose their reason. So,I too, O Yudhishthira, overpowered by the infatuation of prosperity, havefallen from my high state and having recovered my self-consciousness, amenlightening thee thus! O victorious king, thou hast done me a good turn.By conversing with thy pious self, my painful curse has been expiated. Indays of yore, while I used to sojourn in heaven in a celestial chariot,revelling in my pride, I did not think of anything else, I used to exacttribute from Brahmarshis, Devas, Yakshas, Gandharvas, Rakshasas, Pannagasand all other dwellers of the three worlds. O lord of earth, such was thespell of my eyes, that on whatever creature, I fixed them, I instantlydestroyed his power. Thousands of Brahmarshis used to draw my chariot.The delinquency, O king, was the cause of my fall from my highprosperity. Among them, Agastya was one day drawing my conveyance, and myfeet came in contact with his body; Agastya then pronounced (this curse)on me, in anger, ‘Ruin seize thee, do thou become a snake.’ So, losing myglory, I fell down from that excellent car and while falling, I beheldmyself turned into a snake, with head downwards. I thus implored thatBrahmana, ‘May this curse be extinguished, O adorable one! You ought toforgive one who has been so foolish from infatuation.’ Then he kindlytold me this, as I was being hurled down (from heaven), “The virtuousking Yudhishthira will save thee from this curse, and when, O king,horrible sin of pride will be extinguished in thee; thou shalt attainsalvation.’ And I was struck with wonder on seeing (this) power of hisaustere virtues; and therefore, have I questioned thee about theattributes of the Supreme Spirit and of Brahmanas. Truth, charity,self-restraint, penance, abstention from doing injury to any creature,and constancy in virtue, these, O king, and not his race of familyconnections, are the means, by which a man must always secure salvation.May this brother of thine, the mighty Bhimasena, meet with good luck andmay happiness abide with thee! I must go to Heaven again.'”

Vaisampayana continued, “So saying, that king, Nahusha, quitted hisserpentine form, and assuming his celestial shape he went back to Heaven.The glorious and pious Yudhishthira, too, returned to his hermitage withDhaumya and his brother Bhima. Then the virtuous Yudhishthira narratedall that, in detail, to the Brahmanas who had assembled (there). Onhearing that, his three brothers and all the Brahmanas and the renownedDraupadi too were covered with shame. And all those excellent Brahmanasdesiring the welfare of the Pandavas, admonished Bhima for hisfoolhardiness, telling him not to attempt such things again, and thePandavas too were greatly pleased at seeing the mighty Bhima out ofdanger, and continued to live there pleasantly.”

Chapter 179
Chapter 181
🙏 धर्म और आध्यात्म को जन-जन तक पहुँचाने में हमारा साथ दें| 🙏