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Chapter 336

Mahabharata English - SANTI PARVA

“Bhishma said, ‘Addressed by Narayana, that foremost of beings, in thesewords, Narada, the foremost of men, then said these words unto Narayanafor the good of the world.

“Narada said, Let that object be accomplished for which thou, O self-bornBeing, hast taken birth in four forms in the house of Dharma! I shall nowrepair (to the White Island) for beholding thy original nature. I alwaysworship my seniors. I have never divulged the secrets of others. O lordof the universe, I have studied the Vedas with care. I have undergoneaustere penances. I have never spoken an untruth. As ordained in thescriptures, I have always protected the four that should beprotected.[1793] I have always behaved equally towards friends and foes.Wholly and conclusively devoted to Him, that first of deities, viz., theSupreme Soul, I incessantly adore Him. Having cleansed my soul by theseacts of special merit, why shall I not succeed in obtaining a sight ofthat Infinite Lord of the universe?–Hearing these words of Parameshthi’sson, Narayana, that protector of the scriptures, dismissed him,saying,–Go, O Narada!–Before dismissing him, however, the great deityworshipped the celestial Rishi with those rites and ceremonies which havebeen laid down in the scriptures by himself. Narada also gave due honoursto the ancient Rishi Narayana. After such honours had been mutually givenand received, the son of Parameshthi departed from that spot. Endued withhigh Yoga-puissance, Narada suddenly soared into the firmament andreached the summit of the mountains of Meru. Proceeding to a retired spoton that summit, the great ascetic took rest for a short while. He thancast his eyes towards the north western direction and beheld anexceedingly wonderful sight. Towards the north, in the ocean of milk,there is a large island named the White Island. The learned say that itsdistance from the mountains of Meru is greater than two and thirtythousand Yojanas. The denizens of that realm have no senses. They livewithout taking food of any kind. Their eyes are winkless. They alwaysemit excellent perfumes. Their complexions are white. They are cleansedfrom every sin. They blast the eyes of those sinners that look at them.Their bones and bodies are as hard as thunder. They regard honour anddishonour in the same light. They all look as if they are of celestialorigin. Besides, all of them are endued, with auspicious marks and greatstrength. Their heads seem to be like umbrellas. Their voices are deeplike that of the clouds. Each of them has four Mushkas.[1794] The solesof their feet are marked by hundreds of lines. They have sixty teeth allof which are white (and large), and eight smaller ones. They have manytongues. With those tongues they seem to lick the very Sun whose face isturned towards every direction. Indeed, they seem to be capable ofdevouring that deity from whom hath sprung the entire universe, theVedas, the deities, and the Munis wedded to the attribute of tranquillity.

“Yudhishthira said,–‘O grandsire, thou hast said that those beings haveno senses, that they do not eat anything for supporting their lives; thattheir eyes are winkless; and that they always emit excellent perfumes. Iask, how were they born? What also is the superior end to which theyattain? O chief of Bharata’s race, are the indications of those men thatbecome emancipate the same as those by which the denizens of the WhiteIsland are distinguished? Do thou dispel my doubts? The curiosity I feelis very great. Thou art the repository of all histories and discourses.As regards ourselves, we entirely depend on thee for knowledge andinstruction!

“Bhishma continued,–‘This narrative, O monarch, which I have heard frommy sire, is extensive. I shall now recite it to thee. Indeed, it isregarded as the essence of all narratives. There was, in times past, aking on Earth of the name of Uparichara. He was known to be the friend ofIndra, the chief of the celestials. He was devoted to Narayana known alsoby the name of Hari. He was observant of all the duties laid down in thescriptures. Ever devoted to his sire, he was always heedful and ready foraction. He won the sovereignty of the world in consequence of a boon hehad obtained from Narayana. Following the Sattwata ritual that had beendeclared in days of yore by Surya himself, king Uparichara used toworship the God of gods (Narayana), and when his worship was over, heused to adore (with what remained) the grandsire of the universe.[1795]After worshipping the Grandsires (Pitris), he worshipped the Brahmanas.He then divided the offerings among those that were dependent on him.With what remained after serving those, the king satisfied his ownhunger. Devoted to truth, the monarch abstained from doing any injury toany creature. With his whole soul, the king was devoted to that God ofgods, viz., Janarddana, who is without beginning and middle and end, whois the Creator of the universe, and who is without deterioration of anykind. Beholding the devotion to Narayana of that slayer of foes, thedivine chief of the celestials himself shared with him his own seat andbed. His kingdom and wealth and spouses and animals were all regarded byhim as obtained from Narayana. He, therefore, offered all his possessionsto that great deity.[1796] Adopting the Sattwata ritual, king Uparichara,with concentrated soul, used to discharge all his sacrificial acts andobservances, both optional and obligatory. In the place of thatillustrious king, many foremost Brahmanas, well conversant with thePancharatra ritual, used to eat before all others the food offered to thegod Narayana. As long as that slayer of foes continued to rule hiskingdom righteously, no untruth ever escaped his lips and no evil thoughtever entered his mind. With his limbs he never committed even theslightest sin. The seven celebrated Rishis, viz., Marichi, Atri, Angiras,Pulastya, Pulaha, Kratu, and Vasishta of great energy, who came to beknown by the name of Chitra-sikhandins, uniting together on the breast ofthat foremost of mountains, viz., Meru, promulgated an excellent treatiseon duties and observances that was consistent with the four Vedas. Thecontents of that treatise were uttered by seven mouths, and constitutedthe best compendium of human duties and observances. Known, as alreadystated, by the name of Chitra-sikhandins, those seven Rishis constitutethe seven (Pravriti) elements (of Mahat, Ahankara, etc.) and the SelfbornManu, who is the eighth in the enumeration, constituted originalPrakriti. These eight uphold the universe, and it was these eight thatpromulgated the treatise adverted to. With their senses and minds undercomplete control, and ever devoted to Yoga, these eight ascetics, withconcentrated souls, are fully conversant with the Past, the Present andthe Future, and are devoted to the religion of Truth.–This is good thisis Brahma,–this is highly beneficial,–reflecting in their minds in thisway, those Rishis created the worlds, and the science of morality andduty that governs those worlds. In that treatise the authors discoursedon Religion and Wealth and Pleasure, and subsequently on Emancipationalso. They also laid down in it the various restrictions and limitationsintended for the Earth as also for Heaven. They composed that treatiseafter having worshipped with penances the puissant and illustriousNarayana called also Hari, for a thousand celestial years, in companywith many other Rishis. Gratified with their penances and worship,Narayana commanded the goddess of speech, viz. Saraswati, to enter intothe person of those Rishis. The goddess, for the good of the worlds didwhat she was ordered. In consequence of the entrance of the goddess ofspeech into their persons, those Rishis, well conversant with penances,succeeded in composing that foremost of treatises in respect of vocables,import, and reason.[1797] Having composed that treatise sanctified withthe syllable Om, the Rishis first of all read it to Narayana who becamehighly pleased with what he heard. The foremost of all Beings thenaddressed those Rishis in an incorporeal voice and said,–Excellent isthis treatise that ye have composed consisting of a hundred thousandverses. The duties and observances of all the worlds will flow from thisyour work! In complete accordance with the four Vedas, viz., theYajushes, the Samans, and the Atharvans of Angiras, the treatise of yourswill be an authority in all the worlds in respect of both Pravritti andNivritti.[1798] Agreeably to the authority of the scriptures I havecreated Brahman from the attribute of Grace, Rudra from my Wrath, andyourselves, Ye Brahmanas, as representing the Pravriti-elements (ofMahat, Ahankara, etc.), Surya, and Chandramas, Wind, and Earth, and Waterand Fire, all the stars and planets and constellations, all else that iscalled by the name of creatures, and utterers of Brahma (or the Vedas),they all live and act in their respective spheres and are all respectedas authorities. Even this treatise that ye have composed shall beregarded by all persons in the same light, viz., as a work of the highestauthority. This is my command. Guided by this treatise, the Self-bornManu himself will declare to the world its course of duties andobservances. When Usanas and Vrihaspati will arise, they also willpromulgate their respective treatises on morality and religion, guided byand quoting from this your treatise.[1799] After the publication of histreatise by the Self-born Manu and of that by Usanas, and after thepublication of the treatise also by Vrihaspati, this science composed byyou will be acquired by king Vasu (otherwise known by the name ofUparichara). Indeed ye foremost of regenerate ones, that king willacquire this knowledge of this work from Vrihaspati. That King, filledwith all good thoughts, will become deeply devoted to me. Guided by thistreatise, he will accomplish all his religious acts and observances.Verily, this treatise composed by you will be the foremost of alltreatise on morality and religion. Possessed of the excellence, thistreatise is fraught with instructions for acquiring both Wealth andReligious merit, and is full of mysteries. In consequence of thepromulgation of this treatise of yours, ye will be progenitors of anextensive race. King Uparichara also will become endued with greatnessand prosperity. Upon the death, however, of that king, this eternaltreatise will disappear from the world. I tell you all this.–Having saidthese words unto all those Rishis, the invisible Narayana left them andproceeded to some place that was not known to them. Then those sires ofthe world, those Rishis that bestowed their thoughts on the ends pursuedby the world, duly promulgated that treatise which is the eternal originof all duties and observances. Subsequently, when Vrihaspati was born inAngiras’s race in the first or the Krita age, those seven Rishis chargedhim with the task of promulgating their treatise which was consistentwith the Upanishads and the several branches of the Vedas. Theythemselves who were upholders of the universe and the first promulgatorsof duties and religious observances, then proceeded to the place theychose, resolved to devote themselves to penances.'”

FOLLOW US ON:
Chapter 337
Chapter 335
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