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Chapter 162

Mahabharata English - SANTI PARVA

“Yudhishthira said, ‘Brahmanas and Rishis and Pitris and the gods allapplaud the duty of truth. I desire to hear of truth. Discourse to meupon it, O grandsire! What are the indications, O king, of truth? How mayit be acquired? What is gained by practising truth, and how? Tell me allthis.’

“Bhishma said, ‘A confusion of the duties of the four orders is neverapplauded. That which is called Truth always exists in a pure andunmingled state in every one of those four orders. With those that aregood, Truth is always a duty. Indeed, Truth is an eternal duty. Oneshould reverentially bow unto Truth. Truth is the highest refuge (ofall). Truth is duty; Truth is penance; Truth is Yoga; and Truth is theeternal Brahma. Truth has been said to be Sacrifice of a high order.[464]Everything rests upon Truth. I shall now tell thee the forms of Truthsone after another, and its indications also in due order. It behoveththee to hear also as to how Truth may be acquired. Truth, O Bharata, asit exists in all the world, is of thirteen kinds. The forms that Truthassumes are impartiality, self control, forgiveness, modesty, endurance,goodness, renunciation, contemplation, dignity, fortitude, compassion,and abstention from injury. These, O great monarch, are the thirteenforms of Truth. Truth is immutable, eternal, and unchangeable. It may beacquired through practices which do not militate against any of the othervirtues. It may also be acquired through Yoga. When desire and aversion,as also lust and wrath, are destroyed, that attribute in consequence ofwhich one is able to look upon one’s own self and one’s foe, upon one’sgood and one’s evil, with an unchanging eye, is called impartiality.Self-control consists in never wishing for another man’s possessions, ingravity and patience and capacity to allay the fears of others in respectto one’s own self, and immunity from disease. It may be acquired throughknowledge. Devotion to the practice of liberality and the observance ofall duties are regarded by the wise as constituting goodwill. One comesto acquire universal goodwill by constant devotion to truth. As regardsnon-forgiveness and forgiveness, it should be stated that the attributethrough which an esteemed and good man endures both what is agreeable anddisagreeable, is said to be forgiveness. This virtue may well be acquiredthrough the practice of truthfulness. That virtue in consequence of whichan intelligent man, contented in mind and speech, achieves many gooddeeds and never incurs the censure of others, is called modesty. It isacquired through the aid of righteousness. That virtue which forgives forthe sake of virtue and profit is called endurance. It is a form offorgiveness. It is acquired through patience, and its purpose is toattach people to one’s self. The casting off of affection as also of allearthly possessions, is called renunciation. Renunciation can never beacquired except by one who is divested of anger and malice. That virtuein consequence of which one does good, with watchfulness and care, to allcreatures is called goodness. It hath no particular shape and consists inthe divestment of all selfish attachments. That virtue owing to which oneremains unchanged in happiness and misery is called fortitude. That wiseman who desires his own good always practises this virtue. One shouldalways practise forgiveness and devotedness to truth. That man of wisdomwho succeeds in casting off joy and fear and wrath, succeeds in acquiringfortitude. Abstention from injury as regards all creatures in thought,word, and deed, kindness, and gift, are the eternal duties of those whoare good. These thirteen attributes, though apparently distinct from oneanother, have but one and the same form, viz., Truth. All these, OBharata, support Truth and strengthen it. It is impossible, O monarch, toexhaust the merits of Truth. It is for these reasons that the Brahmanas,the Pitris, and the gods, applaud Truth. There is no duty which is higherthan Truth, and no sin more heinous than untruth. Indeed, Truth is thevery foundation of righteousness. For this reason, one should neverdestroy Truth. From Truth proceed gifts, and sacrifice with presents, aswell as the threefold Agnihotras, the Vedas, and everything else thatleads to righteousness. Once on a time a thousand horse-sacrifices andTruth were weighed against each other in the balance. Truth weighedheavier than a thousand horse-sacrifices.”‘

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