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Chapter 28

Mahabharata English - SANTI PARVA

Vaisampayana said, “Vyasa then dispelled the grief of the eldest son ofPandu., who, burning with sorrow on account of the slaughter of hiskinsmen, had resolved to make an end of himself.”

Vyasa said, ‘In this connection is cited the old story, O tiger amongmen, that is known by the name of Asma’s discourse. Listen to it, OYudhishthira! Janaka the ruler of the Videhas, O king, filled with sorrowand grief, questioned a wise Brahmana of the name of Asma for theresolution of his doubts.’

“Janaka said, ‘How should a man desirous of his own good behave uponoccasions of the accession and the destruction of both kinsmen andwealth?’

“Asma said, ‘Immediately after the formation of a man’s body, joys andgriefs attach themselves to it. Although there is a possibility of eitherof the two overtaking the person, yet whichever actually overtakes himquickly robs him of his reason like the wind driving away gatheringclouds. (In times of prosperity) one thinks in this strain, viz., ‘I amof high birth! I can do whatever I like!–I am not an ordinary man!’ Hismind becomes soaked with such triple vanity. Addicted to all earthlyenjoyments, he begins to waste the wealth hoarded by his ancestors.Impoverished in course of time, he regards the appropriation of whatbelongs to others as even laudable. Like a hunter piercing a deer withhis shafts, the king then punishes that wicked wight that robber of otherpeople’s possessions, that transgressor of law and rule. Withoutattaining to a hundred years (the usual period of human life), such menscarcely live beyond twenty or thirty years. Carefully observing thebehaviour of all creatures, a king should, by the exercise of hisintelligence, apply remedies for alleviating the great sorrows of hissubjects. The causes of all mental sorrow are two, viz., delusion of themind and the accession of distress. No third cause exists. All thesediverse kinds of woe as also those arising from attachment to earthlyenjoyments, that overtake man, are even such.[79] Decrepitude and Death,like a pair of wolves, devour all creatures, strong or weak, short ortall. No man can escape decrepitude and death, not even the subjugator ofthe whole earth girt by the sea. Be it happiness or be it sorrow thatcomes upon creatures., it should be enjoyed or borne without elation ordepression. There is no method of escape from them. The evils of life, Oking, overtake one in early or middle or old age. They can never heavoided, while those (sources of bliss) that are coveted never come.[80]The absence, of what is agreeable, the presence of what is disagreeable,good and evil, bliss and woe, follow Destiny. Similarly, the birth ofcreatures and their death, and the accessions of gain and loss, are allpre-ordained. Even as scent, colour, taste, and touch spring naturally,happiness and misery arise from what has been pre-ordained. Seats andbeds and vehicles, prosperity and drink and food, ever approach leavingcreatures according to Time’s course.[81] Physicians even get ill. Thestrong become weak. They that are in the enjoyment of prosperity lose alland become indigent. The course of Time is very wonderful. High birth,health, beauty, prosperity, and objects of enjoyment, are all won throughDestiny. The indigent, although they may not desire it, have manychildren. The affluent again are seen to be childless. Wonderful is thecourse of Destiny. The evils caused by disease, fire, water, weapons,hunger, poison, fever, and death, and falls from high places, overtake aman according to the Destiny under which he is born. It is seen in thisworld that somebody without sinning, suffers diverse ills, while another,having sinned, is not borne down by the weight of calamity. It is seenthat somebody in the enjoyment of wealth perishes in youth; while someone that is poor drags on his existence, borne down by decrepitude, for ahundred years. One borne in an ignoble race may have a very long life,while one sprung from a noble line perishes soon like an insect. In thisworld, it is very common that persons in affluent circumstances have noappetite, while they that are indigent can digest chips of wood. Impelledby destiny, whatever sins the man of wicked soul, discontented with hiscondition, commits, saying, ‘I am the doer,’ he regards to be all for hisgood. Hunting, dice, women, wine, brawls, these are censured by the wise.Many persons, however, possessed of even extensive knowledge of thescriptures are seen to be addicted to them. Objects, whether coveted orotherwise, come upon creatures in consequence of Time’s course. No othercause can be traced. Air, space, fire, moon, sun, day, night, theluminous bodies (in the firmament), rivers, and mountains,–who makesthem and who supports them? Cold, and heat, and rain, come one afteranother in consequence of Time’s course. It is even so, O bull among men,with the happiness and the misery of mankind. Neither medicines, norincantations, can rescue the man assailed by decrepitude or overtaken bydeath. As two logs of wood floating on the great ocean, come together andare again (when the time comes) separated, even so creatures cometogether and are again (when the time comes) separated. Time acts equallytowards those men that (are in affluent circumstances and that) enjoy thepleasures of song and dance in the company of women and those helplessmen that live upon the food that others supply. In this world a thousandkinds of relationship are contracted, such as mother and father and sonand wife. In reality, however, whose are they and whose are we? No onecan become anyone’s own, nor can anyone become anybody else’s own. Ourunion herewith wives and kinsfolk and well-wishers is like that oftravellers at a road-side inn. Where am I? Where shall go? Who am I? Howcome I here! What for and whom I grieve? Reflecting on these questionsone obtains tranquillity. Life and its environments are constantlyrevolving like a wheel, and the companionship of those that are dear istransitory. The union with brother, mother, father, and friend is likethat of travellers in an inn. Men of knowledge behold, as if withcorporeal eyes, the next world that is unseen. Without disregarding thescriptures, one desirous of knowledge should have faith. One possessed ofknowledge should perform the rites laid down in respect of the Pitris andthe gods, practise all religious duties, perform sacrifices, judiciouslypursue virtue, profit, and pleasure. Alas, no one understands that theworld is sinking on the ocean of Time that is so very deep and that isinfested with those huge crocodiles called decrepitude and death. Manyphysicians may be seen afflicted with all the members of their families,although they have carefully studied the science of Medicine.[82] Takingbitters and diverse kinds of oily drugs, these succeed not in escapingdeath, like ocean in transcending its continents. Men well-versed inchemistry, notwithstanding chemical compounds applied judiciously, areseen to be broken down by decrepitude like trees broken down byelephants. Similarly, persons possessed of ascetic merit, devoted tostudy of the Vedas, practising charity, and frequently performingsacrifices, succeed not in escaping decrepitude and death. As regards allcreatures that have taken birth, neither years, nor months, norfortnights, nor days, nor nights, that have once passed, do ever return.Man, whose existence is so transitory, is forced, in course of Time,whether he will or not, to come upon this inevitable and broad path thathas to be trodden by every creature.[83] Whether the body springs fromthe creature or the creature springs from the body, one’s union however,with wives and other friends is like that of travellers in an inn.[84]one cannot obtain a lasting companionship with anyone. One cannot obtainsuch companionship with one’s own body. How then it can be had withanyone else? Where, O king, is thy sire today and where thy grandsire?Thou beholdst them not today and they do not behold thee. O sinless one!No person can see either heaven or hell. The scriptures, however, are theeyes of the virtuous. O king, frame thy conduct according to thescriptures. What pure heart, one should practise first the vow ofBrahmacharya and then beget children and then perform sacrifices, forpaying off the debt one owes to the Pitris, the gods, and men. Performingsacrifices and engaged in procreating (children), after having firstobserved the vow of Brahmacharya, one who bath wisdom for his eyes,casting off all anxiety of heart, should pay court to heaven, this world,and his own soul.[85] That king bent upon the practice of virtue whostrives judiciously for acquiring Heaven and Earth and who takes ofearthly goods just what is ordained (as the king’s share) in thescriptures, wins a reputation that spread over all the worlds and amongall creatures, mobile and immobile. The ruler of the Videhas, of clearunderstanding, having heard these words full of reason, become freed fromgrief, and taking Asma’s leave proceeded towards his abode, O thou ofunfading glory, cast off thy grief and rise up. Thou art equal to Sakrahimself. Suffer thy soul to be gladdened. The earth has been won by theein the exercise of Kshatriya duties. Enjoy her, O son of Kunti, and donot disregard my words.'”

FOLLOW US ON:
Chapter 207
Chapter 206
🙏 धर्म और आध्यात्म को जन-जन तक पहुँचाने में हमारा साथ दें| 🙏