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Chapter 197

Mahabharata English - SANTI PARVA

“Yudhishthira said, ‘Thou hast said that as regards Reciters, they obtainthis very high end.[627] I beg to enquire whether this is their only endor there is any other to which they attain.’

“Bhishma said, ‘Listen with concentrated attention, O puissant monarch,to the end that silent Reciters attain, and to the diverse kinds of hellinto which they sink, O bull among men! That Reciter who does not atfirst conduct himself according to the method that has been laid down,and who cannot complete the ritual or course of discipline laid down, hasto go to hell.[628] That Reciter who goes on without faith, who is notcontented with his work, and who takes no pleasure in it, goes to hell,without doubt. They who follow the ritual with pride in their hearts, allgo to hell. That Reciter who insults and disregards others has to go tohell. That man who betakes himself to silent recitation under theinfluence of stupefaction and from desire of fruit, obtains all thosethings upon which his heart becomes set.[629] That Reciter whose heartbecomes set upon the attributes that go by the name of divinity, has toincur hell and never becomes freed from it.[630] That Reciter who betakeshimself to recitation under the influence of attachments (to earthlyobjects such as wealth, wives etc.) obtain those objects upon which theirhearts are set. That Reciter of wicked understanding and uncleansed soulwho sets himself to his work with an unstable mind, obtains an unstableend or goes into hell. That Reciter who is not endued with wisdom and whois foolish, becomes stupefied or deluded; and in consequence of suchdelusion has to go to hell where he is obliged to indulge inregrets.[631] If a person of even firm heart, resolving to complete thediscipline, betakes himself to recitation, but fails to attain tocompletion in consequence of his having freed himself from attachments bya violent stretch without genuine conviction of their inutility orharmful character, he also has to go to hell[632].

“Yudhishthira said, ‘When the Reciter attains to the essence of thatwhich exists in its own nature (without being anything like created orborn objects), which is Supreme, which is indescribable andinconceivable, and which dwells in the syllable om forming the subject ofboth recitation and meditation (indeed, when Reciters to a state ofBrahma), why is it that they have again to take birth in embodied forms?’

“Bhishma, said, ‘In consequence of the absence of true knowledge andwisdom, Reciters obtain diverse descriptions of hell. The disciplinefollowed by Reciters is certainly very superior. These, however, that Ihave spoken of, are the faults that appertain to it.'”

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Chapter 20
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