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Chapter 37

Mahabharata English - SANTI PARVA

“Yudhishthira said, ‘Tell me, O grandfather, what food is clean and whatunclean, what gift is praiseworthy, and who should be considereddeserving and who undeserving (of gifts).’

“Vyasa said, ‘In this connection is cited the old account of a discoursebetween the ascetics and that lord of creation, viz., Manu. In the Kritaage, an assembly of Rishis, of rigid vows, having approached the greatand puissant lord of creation, Manu, while seated at his ease, solicitedhim to discourse on duties, saying, ‘What food should be taken, who is tobe regarded a deserving person (for gifts), what gifts should be made,how should a person study, and what penances should one perform and how,and what acts should be done and what acts should not be done, O lord ofcreation, tell us everything about all this.’ Thus addressed by them, thedivine and self-born Manu said unto them, ‘Listen to me as I expound theduties in brief and in detail. In regions which have not beeninterdicted, silent recitation (of sacred mantras, homa), fasts,knowledge of self, sacred rivers, regions inhabited by men devoted tothis pious acts,–these have been laid down as acts and objects that arecleansing. Certain mountains also are cleansing, as also the eating ofgold and bathing in waters into which have been dipped gems and preciousstones. Sojourn to holy places, and eating of sanctified butter–thesealso, without doubt speedily cleanse a man. No man would ever be calledwise if he is indulged in pride. If he wishes to be long-lived, he shouldfor three nights drink hot water (as an expiation for having indulged inpride). Refusal to appropriate what is not given, gift, study (ofscriptures), penance, abstention from injury, truth, freedom from wrath,and worship of the gods in sacrifices,–these are the characteristics ofvirtue. That again which is virtue may, according to time and place, besin. Thus appropriation (of what belongs to others), untruth, and injuryand killing, may under special circumstances, become virtue. With respectto persons capable of judging, acts are of two kinds, viz., virtuous andsinful. From the worldly and the Vedic points of view again, virtue andsin are good or bad (according to their consequences). From the Vedicpoint of view, virtue and sin (i.e., everything a man may do or not do),would be classed under action and inaction. Inaction (i.e., abstentionfrom Vedic rites and adoption of a life of contemplation) leads toemancipation (from rebirth); while the consequences of action (i.e.,practice of Vedic rites) are repeated death and rebirth. From the worldlypoint of view, acts that are evil lead to evil and those that are good toconsequences that are good. From the worldly point of view, therefore,virtue and sin are to be distinguished by the good and the evil characterof their consequences.[118] Acts that are (apparently) evil, whenundertaken from considerations connected with the gods, the scriptures,life itself, and the means by which life is sustained, produceconsequences that are good. When an act is undertaken from theexpectation, however doubtful, that it will produce mischief (to someone) in the future, or when an act is done whose consequence is visiblymischievous, expiation has been laid down. When an act is done from wrathor clouded judgment, then expiation should be performed by giving pain tothe body, guided by precedent, by scriptures, and by reason. Whenanything, again, is done for pleasing or displeasing the mind, the sinarising therefrom may be cleansed by sanctified food and recitation ofmantras. The king who lays aside (in a particular case) the rod ofchastisement, should fast for one night. The priest who (in a particularcase) abstains from advising the king to inflict punishment, should fastfor three nights as an expiation. The person who, from grief, attempts tocommit suicide by means of weapons, should fast for three nights. Thereis no expiation for them that cast off the duties and practices of theirorder and class, country, and family, and that abandon their very creed.When an occasion for doubt respecting what should be done arises, thatshould be regarded as the injunction of the scriptures which ten personsversed in Vedic scriptures or three of those that frequently recite themmay declare.[119] The bull, earth, little ants, worms generated in dirt,and poison, should not be eaten by Brahmanas. They should not also eatfishes that have no scales, and four-footed aquatic animals like frogsand others, except the tortoise. Water-fowls called Bhasas, ducks,Suparnas, Chakravakas, diving ducks, cranes, crows, shags, vultures,hawks, owls, as also all four-footed animals that are carnivorous andthat have sharp and long teeth, and birds, and animals having two teethand those having four teeth, as also the milk of the sheep, the she-ass,the she-camel, the newly-calved cow, woman and deer, should not be takenby a Brahmana. Besides this, the food that has been offered to the man,that which has been cooked by a woman who has recently brought forth achild, and food cooked by an unknown person, should not be eaten. Themilk also of a cow that has recently calved should not be taken. If aBrahmana takes food that has been cooked by a Kshatriya, it diminisheshis energy; if he takes the food provided by a Sudra, it dims hisBrahmanic lustre; and if he takes the food provided by a goldsmith or awoman who has neither husband nor children it lessens the period of hislife. The food provided by a usurer is equivalent to dirt, while thatprovided by a woman living by prostitution is equivalent to semen. Thefood also provided by persons that tolerate the unchastity of theirwives, and by persons that are ruled by their spouses, is forbidden. Thefood provided by a person selected (for receiving gifts) at a certainstage of a sacrifice, by one who does not enjoy his wealth or make anygifts, that provided by one who sells Soma, or one who is a shoe-maker,by an unchaste woman, by a washerman, by a physician, by persons servingas watchmen, by a multitude of persons, by one who is pointed at by awhole village, by one deriving his support from keep of dancing girls, bypersons wedding before their elder brothers are wedded, by professionalpanegyrists and bards, and by those that are gamblers, the food alsowhich is brought with the left hand or which is stale, the food which ismixed with alcohol, the food a portion of which has been already tasted,and the food that forms the remnant of a feast, should not be taken (by aBrahmana). Cakes, sugarcanes, potherbs, and rice boiled in sugared milk,if they have lost their relish, should not be taken. The powder of friedbarley and of other kinds of fried grain, mixed with curds, if becomestale with age, should not be taken. Rice boiled in sugared milk, foodmixed with the tila seed, meat, and cakes, that have not been dedicatedto the gods, should not be taken by Brahmanas leading a domestic mode oflife, Having first gratified the gods, Rishis, guests, Pitris, and thehousehold deities, a Brahmana leading a domestic mode of life should thentake his food. A householder by living thus in his own house becomes likea person of the Bhikshu order that has renounced the world. A man of suchbehaviour, living with his wives in domesticity, earns great religiousmerit. No one should make a gift for the sake of acquiring fame, or fromfear (of censure and the like) or unto a benefactor. A virtuous man wouldnot make gifts unto persons living by singing and dancing or unto thosethat are professional jesters, or unto a person that is intoxicated, orunto one that is insane, or unto a thief, or unto a slanderer, or unto anidiot, or unto one that is pale of hue, or unto one that is defective ofa limb, or unto a dwarf, or unto a wicked person, or unto one born in alow and wicked family, or unto one that has not been sanctified by theobservance of vows. No gift should be made to a Brahmana destitute ofknowledge of the Vedas. Gifts should be made unto him only that is aSrotriya.[120] An improper gift and an improper acceptance produce evilconsequences unto both the giver and the acceptor. As a person who seeksto cross the ocean with the aid of a rock or a mass of catechu sinksalong with his support, even so the giver and the acceptor (in such acase) both sink together. As a fire that is covered with wet fuel doesnot blaze forth, even so the acceptor of a gift who is bereft of penancesand study and piety cannot confer any benefit (upon the giver). As waterin a (human skull) and milk in a bag made of dog-skin become unclean inconsequence of the uncleanliness of the vessels in which they are kepteven so the Vedas become fruitless in a person who is not of goodbehaviour. One may give from compassion unto a low Brahmana who iswithout mantras and vows, who is ignorant of the scriptures and whoharbours envy. One may, from compassion, give unto a person that is pooror afflicted or ill. But he should not give unto such a person in thebelief that he would derive any (spiritual) benefit from it or that hewould earn any religious merit by it. There is no doubt that a gift madeto Brahmana bereft of the Vedas becomes perfectly fruitless inconsequence of the fault of the recipient. As an elephant made of wood oran antelope made of leather, even so is a Brahmana that has not studiedthe Vedas. All the three have nothing but names.[121] As a eunuch isunproductive with women, as a cow is unproductive with a cow, as a birdlives in vain that is featherless, even so is a Brahmana that is withoutmantras. As grain without kernel, as a well without water, as libationspoured on ashes, even so is a gift to a Brahmana void of learning. Anunlearned Brahmana is an enemy (to all) and is the destroyer of the foodthat is presented to the gods and Pitris. A gift made to such a persongoes for nothing. He is, therefore, like unto a robber (of other people’swealth). He can never succeed in acquiring regions of bliss hereafter. Ihave now told thee in brief, O Yudhishthira, all that was said (by Manuon that occasion). This high discourse should be listened to by all, Obull of Bharata’s race.'”

Munish Ahuja Founder SpiritualWorld.co.in

Munish Ahuja Founder SpiritualWorld.co.in

नम्र निवेदन: वेबसाइट को और बेहतर बनाने हेतु अपने कीमती सुझाव कॉमेंट बॉक्स में लिखें, यह आपको अच्छा लगा हो तो अपनें मित्रों के साथ अवश्य शेयर करें। धन्यवाद।
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🙏 ♻ प्रयास करें कि जब हम आये थे उसकी तुलना में पृथ्वी को एक बेहतर स्थान के रूप में छोड़ कर जाएं। सागर में हर एक बूँद मायने रखती है। ♻ 🙏