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Chapter 228

Mahabharata English - SANTI PARVA

“Yudhishthira said, ‘Tell me, O grandsire, the indications of futuregreatness and future fall in respect of a person.’

“Bhishma said, ‘The mind itself, blessed be thou, indicates thepremonitory symptoms of one’s future prosperity and future fall. In thisconnection is cited the old story of the discourse between Sree andSakra. Listen to it, O Yudhishthira! The great ascetic Narada, of energywhose effulgence is as immeasurable as Brahma itself, with sins alldestroyed, capable of beholding through the prosperity of his penancesboth this and the other world at once, and the equal of the celestialRishis in the region of the Creator, roved according to his pleasurethrough the triple world. One day, rising up at dawn, he wished toperform his ablutions, and for that purpose went to the river Ganga asshe issued out of the pass known by the name of Dhruva and plunged intothe stream.[858] At that time the thousand-eyed Indra also, the wielderof the thunderbolt, and the slayer of Samvara and Paka, came to the verybank where Narada was. The Rishi and the deity, both of souls underperfect command, finished their ablutions, and having completed theirsilent recitations, sat together. They employed the hour in reciting andlistening to the excellent narratives told by the great celestial Rishisdescriptive of many good and high deeds. Indeed, with concentratedattention the two were engaged in such pleasant discourse on ancienthistory.[859] While sitting there they beheld the rising Sun casting histhousand rays right before him. Seeing the full orb, both of them stoodup and hymned his praises. Just at that time they beheld in the sky, in adirection opposite to that of the rising star of day, some luminousobject, resplendent as blazing fire and that seemed to be a second starof day. And they saw, O Bharata, that that luminous object was graduallyapproaching towards them both. Riding upon Vishnu’s vehicle adorned withGaruda and Surya himself, that object blazed forth with unrivalledsplendour, and seemed to illumine the three worlds. The object they sawwas none other than Sree herself, attended by many Apsaras endued withsplendid beauty. Indeed, she looked like a large solar disc herself,possessed of effulgence resembling that of fire. Adorned with ornamentsthat looked like veritable stars, she wore a wreath that resembled agarland of pearls. Indra saw that goddess called Padma having herhabitation in the midst of lotuses. Descending from her foremost of cars,that unrivalled lady began to approach towards the lord of the threeworlds and the celestial Rishi Narada. Followed by Narada, Maghavat alsoproceeded towards that lady. With joined hands, he offered himself up toher, and versed as he was with all things, he worshipped her withreverence and sincerity never surpassed. The adorations over, the lord ofcelestials, O king, addressed Sree in the following words.’

“Sakra said, ‘O thou of sweet smiles, who, indeed, art thou and for whatbusiness hast thou come here? O thou of fair brows, whence dost thou comeand whither wilt thou proceed, O auspicious lady?’

“Sree said, ‘In the three worlds full of the seeds of auspiciousness, allcreatures, mobile and immobile, strive with their whole hearts to win anassociation with me. I am that Padma, that Sree decked with lotuses, whosprang from the lotus that blooms at the touch of the rays of Surya, forthe prosperity of all creatures. I am called Lakshmi, Bhuti, and Sree, Oslayer of Vala! I am Faith, I am Intelligence, I am Affluence, I amVictory, and I am Immutability. I am Patience, I am Success, I amProsperity. I am Swaha, I am Swadha, I am Reverence, I am Fate, and I amMemory. I dwell at the van and on the standards of victorious andvirtuous sovereigns, as also in their homes and cities and dominions. Ialways reside, O slayer of Vala, with those foremost of men, viz., heroespanting after victory and unretreating from battle. I also reside forever with persons that are firmly attached to virtue, that are enduedwith great intelligence, that are devoted to Brahma, that are truthful inspeech, that are possessed of humility, and that are liberal. Formerly, Idwelt with the Asuras in consequence of my disposition of being bound bytruth and merit Seeing, however, that the Asuras have assumed adversenatures, I have left then and wish to reside in thee.’

“Sakra said, ‘O thou of fair face, in consequence of what behaviour ofthe Asuras didst thou dwell with them? What didst thou see there forwhich thou hast come hither, having deserted the Daityas and the Danavas?’

“Sree said, I attach myself steadfastly to those that are devoted to theduties of their own order, to those that never fall away from patience,to those that take a pleasure in walking along the path which leads toheaven. I always reside with those that are distinguished for liberality,for study of the scriptures, for sacrifices, for other scriptural rites,and for worship of Pitris, deities, preceptors, seniors, and guests.Formerly, the Danavas used to keep their abodes clean, to keep theirwomen under control, to pour libations on the sacrificial fire, to waitdutifully on their preceptors, to restrain their passions, to be obedientto the Brahmanas, and to be truthful in speech. They were full of faith;they kept their wrath under control; they practised the virtue ofcharity; they never envied others; they used to maintain their friendsand advisers, and their spouses; they were never jealous. Formerly, theynever assailed one another, filled with wrath. They were all contentedand never felt pain at the sight of other people’s affluence andprosperity. They were all charitable and economical; of respectableconduct, and endued with compassion. They were excessively inclined tograce, possessed of simplicity of conduct, steadfast in faith, and hadtheir passions under complete control. They used to keep their servantsand counsellors contented, and were grateful and endued with sweetspeech. They used to serve every one as each deserved in consequence ofhis position and honour. They were endued with shame. They were of rigidvows. They used to perform their ablutions on every sacred day. They usedto smear themselves properly with perfumes and suspicious unguents. Theywere also to adorn their persons duly. They were observant of fasts andpenances, were trustful, and utterers of Vedic hymns. The Sun never roseupon them while they lay asleep. They never outslept the moon. Theyalways abstained from curds and pounded barley. They used every morningto look at clarified butter and other auspicious articles, and withsenses withdrawn they used to recite the Vedas and worship Brahmanas withgifts. Their discourse was always virtuous, and they never acceptedgifts. They always went to sleep at midnight and never slept during theday. They always used to take pleasure in showing compassion for thedistressed, the helpless, the aged, the weak, the sick, and women, andenjoyed all their possessions by sharing these with them. They alwaysused to assume and comfort the agitated, the cheerless, the anxious, theterrified, the diseased, the weak and emaciated, the robbed, and theafflicted. They followed the dictates of virtue and never injured oneanother. They were ready and well-disposed for action of every kind (thatdeserved to be accomplished). They used to serve and wait with reverenceupon seniors and aged individuals. They duly worshipped Pitris, deities,and guests, and ate every day what was left after gratifying these. Theywere firmly devoted to truth and penances. None amongst them ate singlyany food that was good, and none had congress with other people’s wives.As regards compassion, they behaved towards all creatures as towardstheir own selves. They never allowed the emission of the vital seed intoempty space, into inferior animals, into forbidden wombs, or on sacreddays. They were always distinguished for gifts, for cleverness, forsimplicity, for hopeful exertion, for humility, for friendliness, and forforgiveness. And, O puissant one, truth, charity, penance, purity,compassion, soft speeches and absence of animosity towards friends,–allthese were always in them. Slumber, procrastination, fretfulness, envy,and want of foresight, discontent, melancholy, cupidity never assailedthem. In consequence of the Danavas having been distinguished for thesegood qualities, I dwelt with them from the beginning of the creation formany yugas together. Times were altered, and that alteration broughtabout an alteration in the character of the Danavas. I saw that virtueand morality deserted them and they began to own the sway of lust andwrath. Persons, though themselves inferior in attainments, began tocherish animosities towards seniors in age possessed of superiorqualifications, and while the latter, possessed of virtue and merit, usedto speak upon proper topics in the midst of assemblies, the former beganto ridicule or laugh at them. When reverend seniors in age came, theyounger individuals, seated at their ease, refused to adore the former byrising up and saluting them with respect. In the presence of sires, sonsbegan to exercise power (in matters that concerned sires alone). Theythat were not in receipt of wages accepted service and shamelesslyproclaimed the fact, Those amongst them that succeeded in amassing greatwealth by doing unrighteous and censurable deeds came to be held inesteem.[860] During the night they began to indulge in loud screams andshrieks. Their homa fires ceased to send bright and upward flames. Sonsbegan to lord it over sires, and wives dominated over husbands. Mothers,fathers, aged seniors, preceptors, guests, and guides ceased to commandrespect for their superior status. People ceased to bring up withaffection their own offspring but began to desert them. Without givingaway the defined portion in alms and reserving the fixed portion foroffering it unto the gods, every one ate what he had. Indeed, withoutoffering their goods to the deities in sacrifices and without sharingthem with the Pitris, the gods, guests, and reverend seniors, theyappropriated them to their own use shamelessly. Their cooks no longerprofessed any consideration for purity of mind, deed, and word. They atewhat had been left uncovered. Their corn lay scattered in yards, exposedto devastation by crows and rats. Their milk remained exposed, and theybegan to touch clarified butter with hands unwashed after eating.[861]Their spades, domestic knives, baskets, and dishes and cups of whitebrass, and other utensils began to lie scattered in their houses. Theirhousewives abstained from looking after these. They no longer attained tothe repairs of their houses and walls. Tethering their animals theyabstained from giving them food and drink.[862] Disregarding childrenthat only looked on, and without having fed their dependants, the Danavasate what they had. They began to prepare payasa and krisara and dishes ofmeat and cakes and sashkuli (not for gods and guests) but for their ownslaves, and commenced to eat the flesh of animals not killed insacrifices.[863] They used to sleep even after the sun had risen. Theymade night of their morns. Day and night disputes and quarrels waxed inevery house of theirs. They that were not respectable amongst them nolonger showed any respect for those that deserve respect while the latterwere seated in any place. Fallen off from their defined duties, theyceased to reverence those that had betaken themselves to the woods forleading a life of peace and divine contemplation. Intermixture of castesfreely commenced among them. They ceased to attend to purity of person ormind. Brahmanas learned in the Vedas ceased to command respect amongthem. Those again that were ignorant of Richs were not condemned orpunished. Both were treated on a footing of equality, those, that is,that deserved respect and those that deserved no respect. Their servantgirls became wicked in behaviour, and began to wear necklaces of gold andother ornaments and fine robes, and used to remain in their houses or goaway before their very eyes. They began to derive great pleasure fromsports and diversions in which their women were dressed as men and theirmen as women. Those amongst their ancestors that were affluent had madegifts of wealth unto deserving persons. The descendants of the donors,even when in prosperous conditions, began to resume, for their unbelief,those gifts. When difficulties threatened the accomplishment of anypurpose and friend sought the counsel of friend, that purpose wasfrustrated by the latter even if he had any interest of the slightestvalue to subserve by frustrating it. Amongst even their better classeshave appeared traders and dealers in goods, intent upon taking the wealthof others. The Sudras amongst them have taken to the practice ofpenances. Some amongst them have begun to study, without making any rulesfor regulating their hours and food. Others have begun to study, makingrules that are useless. Disciples have abstained from rendering obedienceand service to preceptors. Preceptors again have come to treat disciplesas friendly companions. Fathers and mothers are worn out with work, andhave abstained from indulging in festivities. Parents in old age,divested of power over sons, have been forced to beg their food of thelatter. Amongst them, even persons of wisdom, conversant with the Vedas,and resembling the ocean itself in gravity of deportment, have begun tobetake themselves to agriculture and such other pursuits. Persons who areilliterate and ignorant have begun to be fed at Sraddhas.[864] Everymorning, disciples, instead of approaching preceptors for making dutifulenquiries for ascertaining what acts awaited accomplishment and forseeking commissions which they are to discharge, are themselves waitedupon by preceptors who discharge those functions. Daughters-in-law, inthe presence of their husbands’ mothers and fathers, rebuke and chastiseservants and maids, and summoning their husband’s lecture and rebukethem. Sires, with great care, seek to keep sons in good humour, ordividing through fear their wealth among children, live in woe andaffliction.[865] Even persons enjoying the friendship of the victims,beholding the latter deprived of wealth in conflagrations or by robbersor by the king, have begun to indulge in laughter from feelings ofmockery. They have become ungrateful and unbelieving and sinful andaddicted to adulterous congress with even the spouses of theirpreceptors. They have betaken themselves to eating forbidden food. Theyhave transgressed all bounds and restraints. They have become divested ofthat splendour which had distinguished them before. In consequence ofthese and other indications of wicked conduct and the reversal of theirformer nature, I shall not, O chief of the gods, dwell among them anylonger. I have, therefore, come to thee of my own accord. Receive me withrespect, O lord of Sachi! Honoured by thee, O chief of the celestials, Ishall receive honour from all other deities. There, where I reside, theseven other goddesses with Jaya for their eighth, who love me, who areinseparably associated with me, and who depend upon me, desire to live.They are Hope, Faith, Intelligence, Contentment, Victory, Advancement,and Forgiveness. She who forms the eighth, viz., Jaya, occupies theforemost place amongst them, O chastiser of Paka. All of them and myself,having deserted the Asuras, have come to thy domains. We shall henceforthreside among the deities who are devoted to righteousness and faith.

“After the goddess had said so, the celestial Rishi Narada, and Vasava,the slayer of Vritra, for gladdening her, offered her a joyful welcome.The god of wind,–that friend of Agni, then began to blow gently throughheaven, bearing delicious odours, refreshing all creatures with whom hecame into contact, and contributing to the felicity of every one of thesenses. All the deities (hearing the news) assembled together in a pureand desirable spot and waited there in expectation of beholding Maghavatseated with Lakshmi beside him. Then the thousand-eyed chief of the gods,accompanied by Sree and his friend the great Rishi, and riding upon asplendid car drawn by green horses, came into that assembly of thecelestials, receiving honour from all. Then the great Rishi Narada, whoseprowess was known to all the celestials, observing a sign that thewielder of the thunderbolt made and which Sree herself approved of,welcomed the advent of the goddess there and proclaimed it as exceedinglyauspicious. Heaven’s firmament became clear and bright and began toshower nectar upon the region of the self-born Grandsire. The celestialkettle-drums, though struck by none, began to beat, and all the points ofthe horizon, becoming clear, seemed ablaze with splendour. Indra began topour rain upon crops that commenced to appear each at its proper season.No one then deviated from the path of righteousness. The earth becameadorned with many mines filled with jewels and gems, and the chant ofVedic recitations and other melodious sounds swelled up on the occasionof that triumph of the celestials. Human beings, endued with firm minds,and all adhering to the auspicious path that is trod by the righteous,began to take pleasure in Vedic and other religious rites and acts. Menand gods and Kinnaras and Yakshas and Rakshasas all became endued withprosperity and cheerfulness. Not a flower,–what need then be said offruits,–dropped untimely from a tree even if the god of wind shook itwith force. All the kine began to yield sweet milk whenever milked bymen, and cruel and harsh words ceased to be uttered by any one. They who,from desire of advancement, approach before assemblies of Brahmanas, andread this narrative of the glorification of Sree by all the deities withIndra at their head, deities that are competent to grant everywish,–succeed in winning great prosperity. These then O chief of theKurus, are the foremost indications of prosperity and adversity. Urged onby thee, I have told thee all. It behoves thee to bear thyself accordingto the instructions conveyed herein, understanding them after carefulreflection!’



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