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Chapter 21

Mahabharata English - SANTI PARVA

“Devasthana said, ‘In this connection is cited an old history, viz., thediscourse that Vrihaspati, asked by Indra, delivered unto him. Vrihaspatisaid, ‘Contentment is the highest heaven, contentment is the highestbliss. There is nothing higher than contentment. Contentment stands asthe highest. When one draws away all his desires like a tortoise drawingin all it limbs, then the natural resplendence of his soul soon manifestsitself. When one does not fear any creature, nor any creature isfrightened at one, when one conquers one’s desire and aversion, then isone said to behold one’s soul. When one, indeed, in word and thought,seeks to injure nobody and cherishes no desire, one is said to attain toBrahma. Thus, O son of Kunti, whatever religion is followed by creatures,they obtain corresponding fruits. Awaken thyself by this consideration, OBharata![67] Some praise Peacefulness, some praise Exertion; some thereare that praise Contemplation; and some praise both Peacefulness andExertion.[68] Some praise sacrifice; others, renunciation. Some praisegifts; others, acceptance. Some, abandoning everything, live in silentmeditation. Some praise sovereignty and the cherishing, of subjects,after slaving, cutting and piercing (foes). Some are for passing theirdays in retirement. Observing all this, the conclusion of the learned isthat that religion which consists in not injuring any creature is worthyof the approbation of the righteous. Abstention from injury, truthfulnessof speech, justice, compassion, self-restraint, procreation (ofoffspring) upon one’s own wives, amiability, modesty, patience,–thepractice of these is the best of a religions as said by the self-createManu himself. Therefore, O son of Kunti, do thou observe this religionwith care. That Kshatriya, who, conversant with the truths or royalduties, takes sovereignty upon himself, restraining his soul at alltimes, equally regarding that which is dear and that which is not, andsubsisting upon the remains of sacrificial feasts, who is engaged inrestraining the wicked and cherishing the righteous, who obliges hissubjects to tread in the path of virtue and who himself treads in thatpath, who at last transmits his crown to his son and betakes himself tothe woods, there to live on the products of the wilderness and actaccording to the ordinances or the Vedas after having cast off allidleness, that Kshatriya who conducts himself thus, conforming ineverything to the well-known duties of kings, is sure to obtain excellentfruits in both this world and the next. That final emancipation, of whichthou speakest, is exceedingly difficult to obtain, and its pursuit isattended with many impediments. They that adopt such duties and practisecharity and ascetic penances, that are possessed of the quality ofcompassion and are freed from desire and wrath, that are engaged inruling their subjects with righteousness and fighting for the sake ofkine and Brahmanas, attain hereafter to a high end. For the Rudras withthe Vasus and the Adityas, O scorcher of foes, and the Sadhyas and hostsof kings adopt this religion. Practising without heedlessness the dutiesinculcated by that religion, they attain to heaven through those acts oftheirs.'”

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