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Chapter 215

Mahabharata English - ARANYAKA PARVA

“The fowler continued, ‘Thus cursed by that rishi, I sought to propitiatehim with these words: ‘Pardon me, O muni, I have done this wicked deedunwittingly. It behooves thee to pardon all that. Do thou, worshipfulsir, soothe yourself.’ The rishi replied, ‘The curse that I havepronounced can never be falsified, this is certain. But from kindnesstowards thee, I shall do thee a favour. Though born in the Sudra classthou shalt remain a pious man and thou shalt undoubtedly honour thyparents; and by honouring them thou shalt attain great spiritualperfection; thou shalt also remember the events of thy past life andshalt go to heaven; and on the expiation of this curse, thou shalt againbecome a Brahmana. O best of men, thus, of old was I cursed by that rishiof severe power, and thus was he propitiated by me. Then, O goodBrahmana, I extricated the arrow from his body, and took him into thehermitage, but he was not deprived of his life (recovered). O goodBrahmana, I have thus described to thee what happened to me of old, andalso how I can go to heaven hereafter.’ The Brahmana said, ‘O thou ofgreat intelligence, all men are thus subject to happiness or misery, thoushouldst not therefore grieve for that. In obedience to the customs ofthy (present) race, thou hast pursued these wicked ways, but thou artalways devoted to virtue and versed in the ways and mysteries of theworld. And, O learned man, these being the duties of thy profession, thestain of evil karma will not attach to thee. And after dwelling here forsome little time, thou shalt again become a Brahmana; and even now, Iconsider thee to be a Brahmana, there is no doubt about this. For theBrahmana who is vain and haughty, who is addicted to vices and wedded toevil and degrading practices, is like a Sudra. On the other hand, Iconsider a Sudra who is always adorned with thesevirtues,–righteousness, self-restraint, and truthfulness,–as aBrahmana. A man becomes a Brahmana by his character; by his own evilkarma a man attains an evil and terrible doom. O good man. I believe thatsin in thee has now died out. Thou must not grieve for this, for men,like thee who art so virtuous and learned in the ways and mysteries ofthe world, can have no cause for grief.’

“The fowler replied, ‘The bodily afflictions should be cured withmedicines, and the mental ones with spiritual wisdom. This is the powerof knowledge. Knowing this, the wise should not behave like boys. Man oflow intelligence are overpowered with grief at the occurrence ofsomething which is not agreeable to them, or non-occurrence of somethingwhich is good or much desired. Indeed, all creatures are subject to thischaracteristic (of grief or happiness). It is not merely a singlecreature or class that is subject to misery. Cognisant of this evil,people quickly mend their ways, and if they perceive it at the veryoutset they succeed in curing it altogether. Whoever grieves for it, onlymakes himself uneasy. Those wise men whose knowledge has made them happyand contented, and who are indifferent to happiness and misery alike, arereally happy. The wise are always contented and the foolish alwaysdiscontented. There is no end to discontentment, and contentment is thehighest happiness. People who have reached the perfect way, do notgrieve, they are always conscious of the final destiny of all creatures.One must not give way to discontent[57] for it is like a virulent poison.It kills persons of undeveloped intelligence, just as child is killed byan enraged snake. That man has no manliness whose energies have left himand who is overpowered with perplexity when an occasion for the exerciseof vigour presents itself. Our actions are surely followed by theirconsequences. Whoever merely gives himself up to passive indifference (toworldly affairs) accomplishes no good. Instead of murmuring one must tryto find out the way by which he can secure exemption from (spiritual)misery; and the means of salvation found, he must then free himself fromsensuality. The man who has attained a high state of spiritual knowledgeis always conscious of the great deficiency (instability) of all matter.Such a person keeping in view the final doom (of all), never grieves, Itoo, O learned man, do not grieve; I stay here (in this life) biding mytime. For this reason, O best of men, I am not perplexed (with doubts)’.The Brahmana said, ‘Thou art wise and high in spiritual knowledge andvast is thy intelligence. Thou who art versed in holy writ, art contentwith thy spiritual wisdom. I have no cause to find fault with thee.Adieu, O best of pious men, mayst thou be prosperous, and mayrighteousness shield thee, and mayst thou be assiduous in the practice ofvirtue.’

“Markandeya continued, The fowler said to him, ‘Be it so’. And the goodBrahmana walked round him[58] and then departed. And the Brahmanareturning home was duly assiduous in his attention to his old parents. Ihave thus, O pious Yudhishthira, narrated in detail to thee this historyfull of moral instruction, which thou, my good son, didst ask me torecite,–the virtue of women’s devotion to their husbands and that offilial piety.’ Yudhishthira replied, ‘O most pious Brahmana and best ofmunis, thou hast related to me this good and wonderful moral story; andlistening to thee, O learned man, my time has glided away like a moment;but, O adorable sir, I am not as yet satiated with hearing this moral[59]discourse.'”

Chapter 214
Chapter 216
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