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Chapter 159

Mahabharata English - SANTI PARVA

“Yudhishthira said, ‘Thou hast said, O grandsire, that the foundation ofall evils is covetousness. I wish, O sire, to hear of ignorance indetail.’

“Bhishma said, ‘The person who commits sin through ignorance, who doesnot know that his end is at hand, and who always hates those that are ofgood behaviour, soon incurs infamy in the world. In consequence ofignorance one sinks into hell. Ignorance is the spring of misery. Throughignorance one’ suffers afflictions and incurs great danger.’

“Yudhishthira said, ‘I desire, O king, to hear in detail the origin, theplace, the growth, the decay, the rise, the root, the inseparableattribute, the course, the time, the cause, and the consequence, ofignorance. The misery that is felt here is all born of ignorance.'[456]

“Bhishma said, ‘Attachment, hate, loss of judgment, joy, sorrow, vanity,lust, anger, pride, procrastination, idleness, desire, aversion,jealousy, and all other sinful acts are all known by the common name ofignorance.[457] Hear now, O king, in detail, about its tendency, growthand other features after which thou enquirest. These two viz., ignoranceand covetousness, know, O king, are the same (in substance). Both areproductive of the same fruits and same faults, O Bharata! Ignorance hasits origin in covetousness. As covetousness grows, ignorance also grows.Ignorance exists there where covetousness exists. As covetousnessdecreases, ignorance also decreases. It rises with the rise ofcovetousness. Manifold again is the course that it takes. The root ofcovetousness is loss of judgment. Loss of judgment, again, is itsinseparable attribute. Eternity is ignorance’s course. The time whenignorance appears is when objects of covetousness are not won. From one’signorance proceeds covetousness, and from the latter proceeds ignorance.(Covetousness, therefore, is both the cause and consequence ofignorance). Covetousness is productive of all. For these reasons, everyone should avoid covetousness. Janaka, and Yuvanaswa, and Vrishadarbhi,and Prasenajit, and other kings acquired heaven in consequence of theirhaving repressed covetousness. Do thou also in the sight of all persons,avoid covetousness by a strong resolution, O chief of the Kurus! Avoidingcovetousness thou shalt obtain happiness both here and in the nextworld.'”

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