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Chapter 262

Mahabharata English - SANTI PARVA

“Bhishma said, ‘Thus addressed by the intelligent Tuladhara on thatoccasion, Jajali of great intelligence, that foremost of ascetics, saidthese words unto him.’

“Jajali said, ‘Thou sellest all kinds of juices and scents, O son of atrader, as also (barks and leaves of) large trees and herbs and theirfruits and roots. “How hast thou succeeded in acquiring a certitude orstability of understanding? Whence hath this knowledge come to thee? Othou of great intelligence, tell me all this in detail.’

“Bhishma continued, ‘Thus addressed by that Brahmana possessed of I greatfame, Tuladhara of the Vaisya order, well-acquainted with the truthstouching the interpretations of morality and contented with knowledge,discoursed to Jajali who had undergone severe penances, upon the ways ofmorality.[1144]

“Tuladhara said, ‘O Jajali, I know morality, which is eternal, with allits mysteries. It is nothing else than that ancient morality which isknown to all, and which consists of universal friendliness, and isfraught with beneficence to all creatures.[1145] That mode of livingwhich is founded upon a total harmlessness towards all creatures or (incase of actual necessity) upon a minimum of such harm, is the highestmorality. I live according to that mode, O Jajali! This my house hathbeen built with wood and grass cut by other people’s hands. Lac dye, theroots of Nymphaea lotus, filaments of the lotus, diverse kinds of goodscents[1146] and many kinds of liquids, O regenerate Rishi, with theexception of wines, I purchase from other people’s hand and sell withoutcheating. He, O Jajali, is said to know what morality or righteousnessis, who is always the friend of all creatures and who is always engagedin the good of all creatures, in thought, word, and deed. I never solicitany one. I never quarrel with any one, I never cherish aversion for anyone. I never cherish desire for anything. I cast equal eyes upon allthings and all creatures. Behold, O Jajali, this is my vow! My scales areperfectly even, O Jajali, with respect to all creatures.[1147] I neitherpraise nor blame the acts of others, viewing this variety in the world, Oforemost of Brahmanas, to be like the variety observable in thesky.[1148] Know, O Jajali, that I cast equal eye upon all creatures. Oforemost of intelligent men, I see no difference between a clod of eartha piece of stone, and a lump of gold. As the blind, the deaf, and theythat are destitute of reason, are perfectly consoled for the loss oftheir senses, after the same manner am I consoled, by their example (forthe enjoyments I abstain from).[1149] As they that are overtaken bydecrepitude, they that are afflicted by disease, and they that areweakened and emaciated, have no relish for enjoyments of any kind, afterthe same manner have I ceased to feel any relish for wealth or pleasureor enjoyments. When a person fears nothing and himself is not feared,when he cherishes no desire and hath no aversion for anything, he is thensaid to attain to Brahma. When a person does not conduct himself sinfullytowards any creature in thought, word, or deed, then is he said to attainto Brahma. There is no past, no future. There is no morality orrighteousness. He who is not an object of fear with any creature succeedsin attaining to a state in which there is no fear.[1150] On the otherhand, that person who for harshness of speech and severity of temper, isa source of trouble unto all creatures even as death itself, certainlyattains to a state which abounds with fear. I follow the practices ofhigh-souled and benevolent men of advanced years who with their childrenand children’s children live in the due observance of the ordinance laiddown in the scriptures.[1151] The eternal practices (laid down in theVedas) are entirely given up by one who suffers himself to be stupefiedby some errors that he may have noticed in the conduct of those that areadmittedly good and wise. One, however, that is endued with learning, orone that has subdued one’s senses, or one that is possessed of strengthof mind, succeeds in attaining to Emancipation, guided by that veryconduct.[1152] That wise man who, having restrained his senses,practiseth, with a heart cleansed from all desire of injuring others, theconduct that is followed by those called good, is sure, O Jajali, toacquire the merit of righteousness (and Emancipation which is itsfruits). In this world, as in a river, a piece of wood that is beingborne away by the current as it pleases, is seen to come into contact(for some time) with another piece that is being similarly borne away.There, on the current, other pieces of wood that had been joinedtogether, are seen again to separate from one another. Grass, sticks, andcowdung cakes are seen to be united together. This union is due toaccident and not to purpose or design.[1153] He of whom no creature isfrightened in the least is himself, O ascetic, never frightened by anycreature. He, on the other hand, O learned man, of whom every creature isfrightened as of a wolf, becomes himself filled with fear as aquaticanimals when forced to leap on the shore from fear of the roaring Vadavafire.[1154] This practice of universal harmlessness hath arisen eventhus. One may follow it by every means in one’s power. He who hasfollowers and he who has wealth may seek to adopt it. It is sure to leadalso to prosperity and heaven.[1155] Inconsequence of their ability todispel the fears of others, men possessed of wealth and followers areregarded as foremost by the learned. They that are for ordinary happinesspractise this duty of universal harmlessness for the sake of fame; whilethey that are truly skilled, practise the same for the sake of attainingto Brahma.[1156] Whatever fruits one enjoys by penances, by sacrifices,by practising liberality, by speaking the truth, and by paying court towisdom, may all be had by practising the duty of harmlessness. Thatperson who gives unto all creatures the assurance of harmlessness obtainsthe merit of all sacrifices and at last wins fearlessness for himself ashis reward. There is no duty superior to the duty of abstention frominjuring other creatures. He of whom, O great ascetic, no creature isfrightened in the least, obtains for himself fearlessness of allcreatures. He of whom everybody is frightened as one is of a snakeensconced within one’s (sleeping) chamber, never acquires any merit inthis world or in the next. The very gods, in their search after it,become stupefied in the track of that person who transcends all states,the person, viz., who constitutes himself the soul of all creatures andwho looketh upon all creatures as identical with his own self.[1157] Ofall gifts, the assurance of harmlessness to all creatures is the highest(in point of merit). I tell thee truly, believe me, O Jajali! One whobetakes himself to acts at first wins prosperity, but then (upon theexhaustion of his merit) he once more encounters adversity. Beholding thedestruction of (the merits of) acts, the wise do not applaud acts. Thereis no duty, O Jajali, that is not prompted by some motive (of happiness).Duty, however, is very subtile. Duties have been laid down in the Vedasfor the sake of both Brahma and heaven.[1158] The subject of duties hathmany secrets and mysteries. It is so subtile that it is not easy tounderstand it fully. Amongst diverse conflicting ordinances, some succeedin comprehending duty by observing the acts of the good.[1159] Why dostthou not consume them that emasculate bulls and bore their noses andcause them to bear heavy burthens and bind them and put them underdiverse kinds of restraint, and that eat the flesh of living creaturesafter slaying them? Men are seen to own men as slaves, and by beating, bybinding, and by otherwise subjecting them to restraints, cause them tolabour day and night. These people are not ignorant of the pain thatresults from beating and fastening in chains.[1160] In every creaturethat is endued with the five senses live all the deities. Surya,Chandramas, the god of wind, Brahman, Prana, Kratu, and Yama (these dwellin living creatures), There are men that live by trafficking in livingcreatures! When they earn a living by such a sinful course, what scruplesneed they feel in selling dead carcases? The goat is Agni. The sheep isVaruna. The horse is Surya. Earth is the deity Virat. The cow and thecalf are Soma. The man who sells these can never obtain success. But whatfault can attach to the sale of oil, or of Ghrita, or honey, or drugs, Oregenerate one? There are many animals that grow up in ease and comfortin places free from gnats and biting insects. Knowing that they are loveddearly by their mothers, men persecute them in diverse ways, and leadthem into miry spots abounding with biting insects. Many draft animalsare oppressed with heavy burthens. Others, again, are made to languish inconsequence of treatment not sanctioned by the scriptures. I think thatsuch acts of injury done to animals are in no way distinguished fromfoeticide. People regard the profession of agriculture to be sinless.That profession, however, is certainly fraught with cruelty. Theiron-faced plough wounds the soil and many creatures that live in thesoil. Cast thy eyes, O Jajali, on those bullocks yoked to the plough.Kine are called in the Srutis the Unslayable. That man perpetrates agreat sin who slays a bull or a cow.[1161] In days of yore, many Rishiswith restrained senses addressed Nahusha, saying, ‘Thou hast, O king,slain a cow which is declared in the scriptures to be like unto one’smother. Thou hast also slain a bull, which is declared to be like untothe Creator himself.[1162] Thou hast perpetrated an evil act, O Nahusha,and we have been exceedingly pained at it.’ For cleansing Nahusha,however, they divided that sin into a hundred and one parts andconverting the fragments into diseases cast them among allcreatures.[1163] Thus, O Jajali, did those highly-blessed Rishis castthat sin on all living creatures, and addressing Nahusha who had beenguilty of foeticide, said, ‘We shall not be able to pour libations in thysacrifice.’ Thus said those high-souled Rishis and Yatis conversant withthe truths of all things, having ascertained by their ascetic power thatking Nahusha had not been intentionally guilty of that sin.[1164] These,O Jajali, are some of the wicked and dreadful practices that are currentin this world. Thou practisest them because they are practised by all menfrom ancient times, and not because they agree with the dictates of thycleansed understanding. One should practise what one considers to beone’s duty, guided by reasons, instead of blindly following the practicesof the world. Listen now, O Jajali, as to what my behaviour is towardshim that injures and him that praises me. I regard both of them in thesame light. I have none whom I like and none whom I dislike. The wiseapplauded such a course of conduct as consistent with duty or religion.Even this course of conduct, which is consistent with reasons, isfollowed by Yatis. The righteous always observe it with eyes possessed ofimproved vision.'”

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