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Chapter 158

Mahabharata English - SANTI PARVA

“Yudhishthira said, ‘I desire, O bull of Bharata’s race, to hear indetail the source from which sin proceeds and the foundation upon whichit rests.’

“Bhishma said, ‘Hear, O King, what the foundation is of sin. Covetousnessalone is a great destroyer (of merit and goodness). From covetousnessproceeds sin. It is from this source that sin and irreligiousness flow,together with great misery. This covetousness is the spring of also allthe cunning and hypocrisy in the world. It is covetousness that makes mencommit sin. From covetousness proceeds wrath; from covetousness flowslust, and it is from covetousness that loss of judgment, deception,pride, arrogance, and malice, as also vindictiveness, shamelessness, lossof prosperity, loss of virtue, anxiety, and infamy spring, miserliness,cupidity, desire for every kind of improper act, pride of birth, pride oflearning, pride of beauty, pride of wealth, pitilessness for allcreatures, malevolence towards all, mistrust in respect of all,insincerity towards all, appropriation of other people’s wealth,ravishment of other people’s wives, harshness of speech, anxiety,propensity to speak ill of others, violent craving for the indulgence oflust, gluttony, liability to premature death, violent propensity towardsmalice, irresistible liking for falsehood, unconquerable appetite forindulging in the passions, insatiable desire for indulging the ear,evil-speaking, boastfulness, arrogance, non-doing of duties, rashness,and perpetration of every kind of evil act,–all these proceed fromcovetousness. In life, men are unable, whether infants or youth oradults, to abandon covetousness. Such is the nature of covetousness thatit never decays even with the decay of life. Like the ocean that cannever be filled by the constant discharge of even innumerable rivers ofimmeasurable depths, covetousness is incapable of being gratified byacquisitions to any extent. The covetousness, however, which is nevergratified by acquisitions and satiated by the accomplishment of desires,that which is not known in its real nature by the gods, the Gandharvas,the Asuras, the great snakes, and, in fact, by all classes of beings,that irresistible passion, along with that folly which invites the heartto the unrealities of the world, should ever be conquered by a person ofcleansed soul. Pride, malice, slander, crookedness, and incapacity tohear other people’s good, are vices, O descendant of Kuru, that are to beseen in persons of uncleansed soul under the domination of covetousness.Even persons of great learning who bear in their minds all the voluminousscriptures, and who are competent to dispel the doubts of others, showthemselves in this respect to be of weak understanding and feel greatmisery in consequence of this passion. Covetous men are wedded to envyand anger. They are outside the pale of good behaviour. Of crookedhearts, the speeches they utter are sweet. They resemble, therefore, darkpits whose mouths are covered with grass. They attire themselves in thehypocritical cloak of religion. Of low minds, they rob the world, settingup (if need be) the standard of religion and virtue. Relying upon thestrength of apparent reasons, they create diverse kinds of schisms inreligion. Intent upon accomplishing the purposes of cupidity, theydestroy the ways of righteousness. When wicked-souled persons under thedomination of covetousness apparently practise the duties ofrighteousness, the consequence that results is that the desecrationscommitted by them soon become current among men. Pride, anger, arrogance,insensibility, paroxysms of joy and sorrow, and self-importance, allthese, O descendant of Kuru, are to be seen in persons swayed bycovetousness. Know that they who are always under the influence ofcovetousness are wicked. I shall now tell thee of those about whom thouaskest, viz., those who are called good and whose practices are pure.They who have no fear of an obligation to return to this world (afterdeath), they who have no fear of the next world, they who are notaddicted to animal food and who have no liking for what is agreeable andno dislike for what is otherwise, they to whom good behaviour is everdear, they in whom there is self-restraint, they to whom pleasure andpain are equal, they who have truth for their high refuge, they who givebut not take, they who have compassion, they who worship Pitris, gods andguests, they who are always ready to exert themselves (for the good ofothers), they who are universal benefactors, they who are possessed ofgreat courage (of mind), they who observe all the duties laid down in thescriptures, they who are devoted to the good of all, they who can givetheir all and lay down their very lives for others, are regarded as goodand virtuous, O Bharata! Those promoters of righteousness are incapableof being forced away from the path of virtue. Their conduct, conformableto the model set by the righteous men of old, can never be otherwise.They are perfectly fearless, they are tranquil, they are mild, and theyalways adhere to the right path. Full of compassion, they are alwaysworshipped by the good. They are free from lust and anger. They are notattached to any worldly object. They have no pride. They are observant ofexcellent vows. They are always objects of regard. Do thou, therefore,always wait upon them and seek instruction from them. They never acquirevirtue, O Yudhishthira, for the, sake of wealth or of fame. They acquireit on the other hand, because it is a duty like that of cherishing thebody. Fear, wrath, restlessness, and sorrow do not dwell in them. Thereis not the outward garb of religion for misleading their fellowmen. Thereis no mystery with them. They are perfectly contented. There is no errorof judgment arising from covetousness. They are always devoted to truthand sincerity. Their hearts never fall from righteousness. Thou shouldstshow thy regard for them always, O son of Kunti! They are never delightedat any acquisition or pained at any loss. Without attachment to anything,and freed from pride, they are wedded to the quality of goodness, andthey cast an equal eye on all. Gain and loss, weal and woe, the agreeableand the disagreeable, life and death, are equal in the eyes of those menof firm tread, engaged in the pursuit of (divine) knowledge, and devotedto the path of tranquillity and righteousness. Keeping thy senses underrestraint and without yielding to heedlessness, thou shouldst alwaysworship those high-souled persons who bear such love for virtue. Oblessed one, one’s words become productive of good only through thefavour of the gods. Under other circumstances, words produce evilconsequence.”[455]’

Chapter 159
Chapter 157
🙏 धर्म और आध्यात्म को जन-जन तक पहुँचाने में हमारा साथ दें| 🙏