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Chapter 122

Mahabharata English - SANTI PARVA

“Bhishma said, ‘In this connection is cited the old story that follows.There was among the Angas a king of great splendour, called Vasuhoma.That king was always engaged in acts of piety, and accompanied by hisspouse he always practiced the most rigid penances. He repaired to thespot called Munjaprishtha held in high esteem by the Pitris and thecelestial Rishis. There, on that peak of Himavat, near the goldenmountains of Merit, (the great Brahmana here) Rama, sitting under theshade of a well-known banian, had tied his matted locks together.[367]From that time, O monarch, the spot, which is a favourite haunt of Rudra,came to be called Munjaprishtha by Rishis of rigid vows. King Vasuhoma,residing in that spot, acquired many pious attributes and, having gainedthe esteem of the Brahmanas, came to be regarded as a celestial Rishi inholiness. One day, that crusher of foes, that friend of Sakra, viz., kingMandhatri of great soul, came to Vasuhoma on his mountain retreat.Arrived there, Mandhatri, beholding king Vasuhoma of austere penancesstood before the latter in an attitude of humility. Vasuhoma offered untohis guest water to wash his feet, and the Arghya consisting of the usualarticles, and enquired of him about the well-being or otherwise of hiskingdom consisting of seven limbs. After this, Vasuhoma addressed hisroyal guest who faithfully followed the practices of the righteous men ofold, saying, ‘What, O king, shall I do for thee?’ Thus addressed, Odelighter of the Kurus, Mandhatri, that best of kings, highly gratified,answered Vasuhoma of great wisdom seated at his ease, in the followingwords.’

“Mandhatri said, ‘Thou hast, O king, studied all the doctrines ofVrihaspati. O best of men, the doctrines laid down by Usanas also areknown to thee. I desire to know what is the origin of Chastisement. Whatwas awake before Chastisement? What also is said to be its end? How cameChastisement to depend upon the Kshatriya? Tell me all this. O thou ofgreat wisdom! I come to thee as a disciple ready to give thee thetutorial fee.'[368]

“Vasuhoma said, ‘Listen, O king, as to how Chastisement, that upholder ofthe world, arose. The soul of righteousness, it is eternal, and wascreated for maintaining the due government of all creatures. It hath beenheard by us that once upon a time, the Grandsire of all the worlds, viz.,the divine Brahman desiring to perform a sacrifice, failed to find apriest possessed of qualifications like himself. For this reason heconceived in his brain and held the foetus there for many long years.After a thousand years had passed away, the great god sneezed. In thatact, the foetus fell from his head. The divine being, O chastiser offoes, that thus took birth from Brahman was called by the name of Kshupa.Possessed of great powers, he became a lord of creatures. That Kshupabecame the priest, O king, in the sacrifice of the high-souled Grandsire.Upon the commencement of that sacrifice, of Brahman, O best of kings.Chastisement disappeared in consequence of the visible form that theGrandsire was then obliged to assume.[369] Chastisement havingdisappeared, a great confusion set in among all creatures. There was nolonger any distinction between what should be done and what should not.All distinction, again, between clean and unclean food ceased. Men ceasedto distinguish between what drink was allowable and what drink wasotherwise. All creatures began to injure one another. There were norestraints in the matter of the union of the sexes. All idea of propertyceased. All creatures began to rob, and snatching meat from one another.The strong began to slay the weak. Nobody cherished the slightestconsideration for his neighbour. The Grandsire then, having worshippedthe divine and eternal Vishnu, addressed that great boon-giving god,saying, ‘It behoveth thee, O Kesava, to show mercy on the presentoccasion. Let it be so ordained by thee that the confusion that hasoccurred may disappear.’ Thus addressed, that foremost of deities, armedwith an enormous Sula,[370] having reflected long, created his ownselfinto the form of Chastisement. From that form, having Righteousness forits legs, the goddess Saraswati created Danda-niti (Science ofChastisement) which very soon became celebrated over the world. Afterthis the great god armed with the enormous Sula, having again reflectedfor some time, appointed a few among the gods as the lords or rulers oftheir respective classes. It was then that he made the divine Indra of athousand eyes the ruler of the deities. Yama the son of Vivaswat was madethe lord of the Pitris. Kuvera was made the lord of treasures and of allthe Rakshasas. Meru was made the king of the mountains, and Ocean wasmade the lord of the rivers. The puissant Varuna was installed into thesovereignty of the waters and the Asuras. Death was made the lord of lifeand all living things, and Fire was appointed as the lord of all thingspossessed of energy. The puissant Isana the high-souled and eternalMahadeva, of three eyes, was made the lord of the Rudras. Vasishtha wasmade the lord of the Brahmanas, and Jatavedas was made the chief of theVasus. Surya was made the lord of all luminous bodies, and Chandramas wasmade the king of Stars and constellations. Ansumat was made the lord ofall herbs, and the puissant and foremost of deities, viz., Kumara orSkanda, of twelve arms, was made the chief of all the spirits and ghostlybeings (that wait upon Mahadeva). Time, possessing the seeds of bothdestruction and growth, was made the sovereign of all creatures as alsoof the four portions of Death (viz., weapons, diseases, Yama, and acts)and lastly of grief and joy. The Srutis declare that the supreme godMahadeva, that lord of lords, O king, armed with Sula, is the chief ofthe Rudras. The rod of chastisement was given to Brahmana’s son ofsubsequent birth, viz., Kshupa, that lord of all creatures and theforemost one of all virtuous persons. Upon the completion of thatsacrifice according to due rites, Mahadeva, after doing proper reverencemade over Chastisement, that protector of Righteousness, untoVishnu.[371] Vishnu gave it to Angiras; and Angiras, that foremost ofascetics, made it over to Indra and Marichi. Marichi gave it to Bhrigu.Bhrigu gave that rod intended for the protection of righteousness, untoall the Rishis. The Rishis gave it unto the Regents of the world, and theRegents made it over again to Kshupa. Kshupa then made it over to Manuthe son of Surya. The deity of Sraddhas (viz., Manu), gave it unto hissons for the sake of true righteousness and wealth. Chastisement shouldbe inflicted with discrimination, guided by righteousness and not bycaprice. It is intended for restraining the wicked. Fines and forfeituresare intended for striking alarm, and not for filling the king’s treasury.The maiming of one’s body or the infliction of death should not proceedfrom trivial causes. The infliction of physical pain by diverse means,hurling from tops of mountains, and banishment also, should not proceedfrom similar causes. Surya’s son Manu gave the rod of chastisement (tohis sons) for the protection of the world. Chastisement, in the hands ofsuccessive holders, remains awake, protecting all creatures. At the topof the scale, the divine Indra is awake (with the rod of chastisement);after him, Agni of blazing flames; after him, Varuna; after Varuna,Prajapati; after Prajapati, Righteousness whose essence consists ofrestraint,[372] after Righteousness the son of Brahman, viz., the eternalLaw; after Law, Energy is awake, employed in the act of protection; afterEnergy, the herbs (offered in sacrifices for supporting the gods and usedas food and medicines); after the herbs, the mountains; after themountains, all kinds of juices and their attributes; after these, thegoddess Niriti; after Niriti, the planets and the luminous bodies inheaven; after these, the Vedas; after the Vedas, the puissant form ofVishnu with equine head; after him, the almighty and eternal Grandsire,viz., Brahman; after the Grandsire, the divine and blessed Mahadeva;after Mahadeva, the Viswedevas; after them, the great Rishis; after theRishis the divine Soma; after Soma, the deities who are all eternal;after the deities, know that the Brahmanas are awake. After theBrahmanas, the Kshatriyas are righteously protecting all creatures. Theeternal universe, consisting of mobile and immobile creatures, is keptawake by the Kshatriyas. Creatures are kept awake in this world, andChastisement is awake among them. Possessed of splendour resembling thatof the Grandsire himself, Chastisement keeps together and upholdseverything.[373] Time, O Bharata, is always awake, in the beginning, themiddle, and the end. The master of all the worlds, the lord of allcreatures, the puissant and blessed Mahadeva, the god of gods, is alwaysawake. He is called by these names also, viz., Kapardin, Sankara, Rudra,Bhava, Sthanu and the lord of Uma. Thus Chastisement also keeps awake inthe beginning, the middle, and the end. A virtuous king should ruleproperly, guided by Chastisement.’

“Bhishma continued, ‘That person who listens to this teaching ofVasuhoma, and having listened to it conducts himself according to itstenure, is sure to obtain the fruition of all his wishes. I have now, Obull among men, told thee everything as to who Chastisement is, thatrestrainer of the universe which is governed by righteousness.'”

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Chapter 123
Chapter 121
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