Chapter 359

Mahabharata English - SANTI PARVA

“Bhishma said, ‘Upon the expiry of the period of full fifteen days, theNaga chief (Padmanabha), having finished his task of dragging the car ofSurya and obtained the latter’s permission, came back to his own house.Beholding him come back, his spouse approached him quickly for washinghis feet and dutifully discharging other tasks of a similar nature.Having gone through these tasks, she took her seat by his side, The Nagathen, refreshed from fatigue, addressed his dutiful and chaste wife,saying, I hope, my dear wife, that during my absence thou hast not beenunmindful of worshipping the deities and guests agreeably to theinstructions I gave thee, and according to the ordinances laid down inthe scriptures. I hope, without yielding to that uncleansed understandingwhich is natural to persons of thy sex, thou hast, during my absence fromhome, been firm in the observance of the duties of hospitality. I trustthat thou hast not transcended the barriers of duty and righteousness.’

“The wife of the Naga said, ‘The duty of disciples is to wait withreverence upon their preceptor accomplishing his bidding; that ofBrahmanas is to study the Vedas and bear them in memory; that of servantsis to obey the commands of their masters; that of the king is to protecthis people by cherishing the good and chastising the wicked. It is saidthat the duties of a Kshatriya embrace the protection of all creaturesfrom wrong and oppression. The duty of the Sudra is to serve withhumility persons of the three regenerate orders, viz., Brahmanas,Kshatriyas and Vaisyas. The religion of the house-holder, O chief of theNagas, consists in doing good to all creatures. Frugality of fare andobservance of vow in due order, constitute merit (for persons of allclasses) in consequence of the connection that exists between the sensesand the duties of religion.[1933] Who am I? Whence have I come? What areothers to me and what am I to others?–these are the thoughts to whichthe mind should ever be directed by him who leads that course of lifewhich leads to Emancipation. Chastity and obedience to the husbandconstitute the highest duty of the wife. Through thy instruction, O chiefof the Nagas, I have learnt this well. I, therefore, that am wellconversant with my duty, and that have thee for my husband–thee that artdevoted to righteousness,–O, why shall I, swerving from the path ofduty, tread along the path of disobedience and sin? During thy absencefrom home, the adorations to the deities have not fallen off in anyrespect. I have also, without the slightest negligence, attended to theduties of hospitality towards persons arrived as guests in thy abode.Fifteen days ago a Brahmana has come here. He has not disclosed hisobject to me. He desires to have an interview with thee. Dwelling thewhile on the banks of the Gomati he is anxiously expecting thy return. Ofrigid vows, that Brahmana is sitting there, engaged in the recitation ofthe Vedas. O chief of the Nagas, I have made a promise to him to theeffect that I would despatch thee to him as soon as thou wouldst comeback to thy abode. Hearing these words of mine, O best of Nagas, itbehoveth thee to repair thither. O thou that hearest with thy eyes, itbehoveth thee to grant unto that regenerate person the object that hasbrought him hither!'”[1934]

Chapter 360
Chapter 358
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