Chapter 188

Mahabharata English - SANTI PARVA

“Bhrigu said, ‘Brahman first created a few Brahmanas who came to becalled Prajapatis (lords of creation). Possessed of splendour equal tothat of the fire or the Sun, they were created out of the energy of thatFirst-born Being. The puissant Lord then created Truth, Duty, Penance,the eternal Vedas, all kinds of pious acts, and Purity, for enablingcreatures to attain to heaven (by practising them). After this, theDeities and the Danavas, the Gandharvas, the Daityas, the Asuras, thegreat snakes, the Yakshas, the Rakshasas, the Serpents, the Pisachas, andhuman beings with their four divisions, viz., Brahmanas, Kshatriyas,Vaisyas, and Sudras, O best of regenerate ones, and all the other ordersof creatures that exist, were created. The complexion the Brahmanasobtained was white; that which the Kshatriyas obtained was red; thatwhich the Vaisyas got was yellow; and that which was given to the Sudraswas black.’

“Bharadwaja said, ‘If the distinction between the four orders (of humanbeings) be made by means only of colour (attribute), then it seems thatall the four orders have been mingled together.[562] Lust, wrath, fear,cupidity, grief, anxiety, hunger, toil, possess and prevail over all men.How can men be distinguished by the possession of attributes? The bodiesof all men emit sweat, urine, faeces, phlegm, bile, and blood. How thencan men be distributed into classes? Of mobile objects the number isinfinite; the species also of immobile objects are innumerable. How,then, can objects of such very great diversity be distributed intoclasses?’

“Bhrigu said, ‘There is really no distinction between the differentorders. The whole world at first consisted of Brahmanas. Created (equal)by Brahman, men have, in consequence of their acts, become distributedinto different orders. They that became fond of indulging in desire andenjoying pleasures, possessed of the attributes of severity and wrath,endued with courage, and unmindful of the duties of piety andworship,–these Brahmanas possessing the attribute of Passion,–becameKshatriyas. Those Brahmanas again who, without attending to the dutieslaid down for them, became possessed of both the attributes of Goodnessand Passion, and took to the professions of cattle-rearing andagriculture, became Vaisyas. Those Brahmanas again that became fond ofuntruth and injuring other creatures, possessed of cupidity,–engaged inall kinds of acts for a living, and fallen away from purity of behaviour,and thus wedded to the attribute of Darkness, became Sudras. Separated bythese occupations, Brahmanas, falling away from their own order, becamemembers of the other three orders. All the four orders, therefore, havealways the right to the performance of all pious duties and ofsacrifices. Even thus were the four orders at first created equal byBrahman who ordained for all of them (the observances disclosed in) thewords of Brahma (in the Vedas). Through cupidity alone, many fell away,and became possessed by ignorance. The Brahmanas are always devoted tothe scriptures on Brahma; and mindful of vows and restraints, are capableof grasping the conception of Brahma. Their penances therefore, never gofor nothing. They amongst them are not Brahmanas that are incapable ofunderstanding that every created thing is Supreme Brahma. These, fallingaway, became members of diverse (inferior) orders. Losing the light ofknowledge, and betaking themselves to an unrestrained course of conduct,they take birth as Pisachas and Rakshasas and Pretas and as individualsof diverse Mleccha species. The great Rishis who at the beginning spranginto life (through Brahman’s Will) subsequently created, by means oftheir penances, men devoted to the duties ordained for them and attachedto the rites laid down in the Eternal Vedas. That other Creation,however, which is eternal and undecaying, which is based upon Brahma andhas sprung from the Primeval God, and which has its refuge upon yoga, isa mental one.'”[563]

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