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Chapter 329

Mahabharata English - SANTI PARVA

“Bhishma said, ‘Hearing these words of their preceptor, Vyasa’s disciplesendued with energy, became filled with joy and embraced one another.Addressing one another, they said,–That which has been said by ourillustrious preceptor in view of our future good, will live in ourremembrance and we shall certainly act according to it.–Having said thisunto one another with joyful hearts, the disciples of Vyasa, who werethorough masters of words, once more addressed their preceptor andsaid,–If it pleases thee, O puissant one, we wish to descend from thismountain to the Earth, O great ascetic, for the purpose of subdividingthe Vedas!–Hearing these words of his disciples, the puissant son ofParasara replied unto them in these beneficial words that were fraught,besides, with righteousness and profit,–You may repair to the Earth orto the regions of the celestials, as ye like. You should always beheedful, for the Vedas are such that they are always liable to bemisunderstood![1750]–Permitted by their preceptor of truthful speech,the disciples left him after circumambulating him and bowing their headsunto him. Descending upon the Earth they performed the Agnishtoma andother sacrifices; and they began to officiate at the sacrifices ofBrahmanas and Kshatriyas and Vaidyas. Happily passing their days in thedomestic mode of life, they were treated by the Brahmanas with greatrespect. Possessed of great fame and prosperity, they were employed inteaching and officiating in sacrifices. After his disciples had goneaway, Vyasa remained in his asylum, with only his son in his company.Passing his days in anxious thoughtfulness, the great Rishi, possessed ofwisdom, kept silent, sitting in a retired corner of the asylum. At thattime Narada of great ascetic merit came to that spot for seeing Vyasa,and addressing him, said these words of melodious sound.

“‘Narada said, O regenerate Rishi of Vasishtha’s race, why are Vedicsounds silent now? Why art thou sitting silent and alone engaged inmeditation like one taken up with an engrossing thought? Alas, shorn ofVedic echoes, this mountain hath lost its beauty, even as the Moon shornof splendour when assailed by Rahu or enveloped in dust.[1751] Thoughinhabited by the celestial Rishis, yet shorn of Vedic sounds, themountain no longer looks beautiful now but resembles a hamlet ofNishadas.[1752] The Rishis, the deities, and the Gandharvas, too, nolonger shine as before in consequence of being deprived of Vedicsound!–Hearing these words of Narada, the Island-born Krishna answered,saying,–O great Rishi, O thou art conversant with the declarations ofthe Vedas, all that thou hast said is agreeable to me and it trulybehoves thee to say it unto me! Thou omniscient, thou hast seeneverything. Thy curiosity also embraces all things within its sphere. Allthat has ever occurred in the three worlds is well known to thee. Do thouthen, O regenerate Rishi, set thy commands on me. O, tell me what I am todo! Tell me, O regenerate Rishi, what should now be done by me. Separatedfrom my disciples, my mind has become very cheerless now.

‘Narada said, The stain of the Vedas is the suspension of theirrecitation. The stain of the Brahmanas is their non-observance of vows.The Valhika race is the stain of the Earth. Curiosity is the stain ofwomen. Do thou with thy intelligent son recite the Vedas, and do thouwith the echoes of Vedic sounds dispel the fears arising from Rakshasas:

“Bhishma continued, ‘Hearing these words of Narada, Vyasa, the foremostof all persons conversant with duties and firmly devoted to Vedicrecitation, became filled with joy and answered Narada, saying,–So beit–With his son Suka, he set himself to recite the Vedas in a loudsonorous voice, observing all the rules of orthoepy and, as it were,filling the three worlds with that sound. One day as sire and son, whowere well-conversant with all duties, were engaged in reciting the Vedas,a violent wind arose that seemed to be impelled by the gales that blow onthe bosom of the ocean. Understanding from this circumstance that thehour was suited to sacred recitation. Vyasa immediately bade his son tosuspend the recitation. Suka, thus forbidden by his sire, became filledwith curiosity. He asked his sire, saying,–O regenerate one, whence isthis wind? It behoveth thee to tell me everything about the conduct ofthe Wind.–Hearing this question of Suka, Vyasa became filled withamazement. He answered Suka, by telling him that an omen which indicatedthat the recitation of the Vedas should be suspended.–Thou hast obtainedspiritual vision. Thy mind too has, of itself, become cleansed of everyimpurity. Thus hast been freed from the attributes of Passion andDarkness. Thou stayest now in the attributes of Goodness. Thou beholdestnow thy Soul with thy Soul even as one beholds one’s own shadow in amirror. Staying thyself on thy own Soul, do thou reflect on the Vedas.The path of the Supreme Soul is called Deva-yana (the path of the gods).The path that is made up of the attribute of Tamas is called Pitri-yana(the path of Pitris). These are the two paths in the world hereafter. Byone, people go to heaven. By the other, people go to hell. The winds blowon the Earth’s surface and in the welkin. There are seven courses inwhich they blow. Listen to me as I recount them one after another. Thebody is furnished with the senses are dominated over by the Sadhyas andmany great beings of mighty strength. These gave birth to an invincibleson named Samana. From Samana sprang a son called Udana. From Udanasprang Vyana arose Apana, and lastly from Apana sprung the wind calledPrana. That invincible scorcher of all foes, viz., Prana, becamechildless. I shall now recite to thee the different functions of thosewinds. The wind is the cause of the different functions of all livingcreatures, and because living creatures are enabled to live by it,therefore is the wind called Prana (or life). That wind which is thefirst in the above enumeration and which is known by the name of Pravaha(Samana) urges, along the first course, masses of clouds born of smokeand heat. Coursing through the welkin, and coming into contact with thewater contained in the clouds, that wind displays itself in effulgenceamong the darts of lightning.[1753] The second wind called Avaha blowswith a loud noise. It is this wind that causes Soma and the otherluminaries to rise and appear. Within the body (which is a microcosm ofthe universe) that wind is called Udana by the wise. That wind whichsucks up water from the four oceans, and having sucked it up imparts itto the clouds in the welkin, and which, having imparted it to the cloudspresent them to the deity of rain, is third in the enumeration and knownby the name of Udvaha. That wind which supports the clouds and dividedthem into diverse portions, which melts them for pouring rain and oncemore solidifies them, which is perceived as the sound of the roaringclouds, which exists for the preservation of the world by itself assumingthe form of the clouds, which bears the cars of all celestial beingsalong the sky, is known by the name of Samvaha. The fourth in theenumeration, it is endued with great strength so that it is capable ofending the very mountains. The fifth wind is fraught with great force andspeed. It is dry and uproots and breaks down all trees. Existing with it,the clouds come to be called by the name of Valahaka. That wind causescalamitous phenomena of many kinds, and produces roaring sounds in thefirmament. It is known by the name of Vivaha. The sixth wind bears allcelestial waters in the firmament and prevents them from falling down.Sustaining the sacred waters of the celestial Ganga, that wind blows,preventing them from having a downward course. Obstructed by that windfrom a distance, the Sun, which is really the source of a thousand rays,and which enlightens the world, appears as a luminous body of but oneray. Through the action of that wind, the Moon, after waning, wanes againtill he displays his full disc. That wind is known, O foremost ofascetics, by the name Parivaha.[1754] That wind which takes away the lifeof all living creatures when the proper hour comes, whose track isfollowed by Death and Surya’s son Yama, which becomes the source of thatimmortality which is attained by Yogins of subtile sight who are alwaysengaged in Yoga meditation, by whose aid the thousands of grandsons ofDaksha, that lord of creatures, by his ten sons, succeeded in days of oldin attaining to the ends of the universe, whose touch enables one toattain to Emancipation by freeing oneself from the obligation ofreturning so the world,–that wind is called by the name of Paravaha. Theforemost of all winds, it is incapable of being resisted by anybody.Wonderful are these winds all of whom are the sons of Diti. Capable ofgoing everywhere and upholding all things, they blow all around theewithout being attached to thee at any time. This, however, is exceedinglywonderful viz., that this foremost of mountains should thus be suddenlyshaken by that wind which has begun to blow. This wind is the breath ofVishnu’s nostrils. When urged forth with speed, it begins to blow withgreat force at which the whole universe becomes agitated. Hence, when thewind begins to blow with violence, persons conversant with the Vedas donot recite the Vedas. The Vedas are a form of wind. If uttered withforce, the external wind becomes tortured.”

“Having said these words, the puissant son of Parasara bade his son (whenthe wind had ceased) to go on with his Vedic recitation. He then leftthat spot for plunging into the waters of the celestial Ganga.'”[1755]



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