🙏 धर्म और आध्यात्म को जन-जन तक पहुँचाने में हमारा साथ दें| 🙏

Chapter 10

Mahabharata English - ANUSASANA PARVA

“Yudhisthira said, ‘I wish to know, O royal sage, whether any fault isincurred by one who from interested or disinterested friendship impartsinstructions unto a person belonging to a low order of birth! Ograndsire, I desire to hear this, expounded to me in detail. The courseof duty is exceedingly subtile. Men are often seen to be stupefied inrespect of that course.’

“Bhishma said, ‘In this connection, O king, I shall recite to thee, indue order, what I heard certain Rishis say in days of yore. Instructionshould not be imparted unto one that belongs to a low or mean caste. Itis said that the preceptor who imparts instruction to such a personincurs great fault. Listen to me, O chief of Bharata’s race, as I reciteto thee, O Yudhishthira, this instance that occurred in days of old, Omonarch, of the evil consequences of the imparting of instruction unto alow-born person fallen into distress. The incident which I shall relateoccurred in the asylum of certain regenerate sages that stood on theauspicious breast of Himavat. There, on the breast of that prince ofmountains, was a sacred asylum adorned with trees of diverse kinds.Overgrown also with diverse species of creepers and plants, it was theresort of many animals and birds. Inhabited by Siddhas and Charanas also,it was exceedingly delightful in consequence of the woods that floweredthese at every season. Many were the Brahmacharins that dwelt there, andmany belonging to the forest mode of life. Many also were the Brahmanasthat took up their residence there, that were highly blessed and thatresembled the sun or the fire in energy and effulgence. Ascetics ofdiverse kinds, observant of various restraints and vows, as also others,O chief of the Bharatas, that had undergone Diksha and were frugal infare and possessed of cleansed souls, took up their residence there.Large numbers of Valakhilyas and many that were observant of the vow ofSanyasa also, used to dwell there. The asylum, in consequence of allthis, resounded with the chanting of the Vedas and the sacred Mantrasuttered by its inhabitants. Once upon a time a Sudra endued withcompassion for all creatures, ventured to come into that asylum. Arrivedat that retreat, he was duly honoured by all the ascetics. Beholdingthose ascetics of diverse classes that were endued with great energy,that resembled the deities (in purity and power), and that were observingdiverse kinds of Diksha, O Bharata, the Sudra became highly pleased atheart. Beholding everything, O chief of Bharata’s race, the Sudra feltinclined to devote himself to the practice of penances. Touching the feetof the Kulapati (the head man of the group), O Bharata, he addressed himsaying,[19] ‘Through thy grace, O foremost of regenerate persons, Idesire, to learn (and practise) the duties of religion. It behoveth thee,O illustrious one, to discourse to me on those duties and introduce me(by performing the rites of initiation) into a life of Renunciation. I amcertainly inferior in colour, O illustrious one, for I am by caste aSudra, O best of men. I desire to wait upon and serve you here. Begratified with me that humbly seek thy shelter.'”

“The Kulapati said, ‘It is impossible that a Sudra should live hereadopting the marks specially intended for those practising lives ofRenunciation. If it pleases thee, thou mayest stay here, engaged inwaiting upon and serving us. Without doubt, by such service thou shaltattain to many regions of high felicity.'”

“Bhishma continued, ‘Thus addressed by the ascetic, the Sudra began toreflect in his mind, O king, saying, How should I now act? Great is myreverence for those religious duties that lead to merit. Let this,however, be settled, that I shall do what would be for my benefit.'[20]Proceeding to a spot that was distant from that asylum, he made a hut ofthe twigs and leaves of trees. Erecting also a sacrificial platform, andmaking a little space for his sleep, and some platforms for the use ofthe deities, he began, O chief of the Bharatas, to lead a life regulatedby rigid observances and vows and to practise penances, abstainingentirely from speech all the while. He began to perform ablutions thricea day, observe other vows (in respect of food and sleep), make sacrificesto the deities, pour libations on the sacrificial fire, and adore theworship and deities in this way. Restraining all carnal desires, livingabstemiously upon fruits and roots, controlling all his senses, he dailywelcomed and entertained all that came to his retreat as guests, offeringthem herbs and fruits that grew plentifully around. In this way he passeda very long time in that hermitage of his.[21] One day an ascetic came tothat Sudra’s retreat for the purpose of making his acquaintance. TheSudra welcomed and worshipped the Rishi with due rites, and gratified himhighly. Endued with great energy, and possessed of a righteous soul, thatRishi of rigid vows conversed with his host on many agreeable subjectsand informed him of the place whence he had come. In this way, O chief ofthe Bharatas, that Rishi, O best of men, came into the asylum of theSudra times out of a number for the object of seeing him. On one of theseoccasions, the Sudra, O king, addressing the Rishi said,–I desire toperform the rites that are ordained for the Pitris. Do thou instruct mekindly in this matter.–Very well,–the Brahmana said in reply unto him,O monarch. The Sudra then, purifying himself by a bath, brought water forthe Rishi to wash his feet, and he also brought some Kusa grass, and wildherbs and fruits, and a sacred seat, and the seat called Vrishi. TheVrishi, however, was placed by the Sudra towards the south, with his headturned to the west. Beholding, this and knowing that it was against theordinance, the Rishi addressed the Sudra, saying,–Place the Vrishi withits head turned towards the East, and having purified thyself, do thousit with thy face turned towards the north–The Sudra did everything asthe Rishi directed. Possessed of great intelligence, and observant ofrighteousness, the Sudra received every direction, about the Sraddha, aslaid down in the ordinance, from that Rishi endued with penancesregarding the manner of spreading the Kusa grass, and placing theArghyas, and as regards the rites to be observed in the matter of thelibations to be poured and the food to be offered. After the rites inhonour of the Pitris had been accomplished, the Rishi, was dismissed bythe Sudra, whereupon he returned to his own abode.[22] After a long time,the whole of which he passed in the practice of such penances and vows,the Sudra ascetic met with his death in those woods. In consequence ofthe merit he acquired by those practices, the Sudra in the next life,took birth in the family of a great king, and in course of time becamepossessed of great splendour. The regenerate Rishi also, when the timecame, paid his debt in Nature. In his next life, O chief of Bharata’srace, he took birth in the family of a priest. It was in this way thatthose two, viz., that Sudra who had passed a life of penances and thatregenerate Rishi who had in kindness given the former some instructionsin the matter of the rites performed in honour of the Pitris, becamereborn, the one as scion of a royal race and the other as the member of apriestly family. Both of them began to grow and both acquired greatknowledge in the usual branches of study. The Brahmana became well versedin the Vedas as also in the Atharvans.[23] In the matter, again of allsacrifices ordained in the Sutras, of that Vedanga which deals withreligious rites and observances, astrology and astronomy the reborn Rishiattained great excellence. In the Sankhya philosophy too he began to takegreat delight. Meanwhile, the reborn Sudra who had become a prince, whenhis father, the king died, performed his last rites; and after he hadpurified himself by accomplishing all the obsequial ceremonies, he wasinstalled by the subjects of his father as their king on his paternalthrone. But soon after his own installation as king, he installed thereborn Rishi as his priest. Indeed, having made the Brahmana his priest,the king began to pass his days in great happiness. He ruled his kingdomrighteously and protected and cherished all his subjects. Everyday,however, the king on the occasion of receiving benedictions from hispriest as also of the performance of religious and other sacred rites,smiled or laughed at him loudly. In this way, O monarch, the reborn Sudrawho had become a king, laughed at sight of his priest on numberlessoccasions.[24] The priest, marking that the king always smiled or laughedwhenever he happened to cast his eyes on him, became angry. On oneoccasion he met the king in a place where there was nobody else. Hepleased the king by agreeable discourse. Taking advantage of that moment,O chief of Bharata’s race, the priest addressed the king, saying,–‘Othou of great splendour, I pray thee to grant me a single boon.’

“The king said, ‘O best of regenerate persons, I am ready to grant thee ahundred of boons, what dost thou say then of one only? From the affectionI bear thee and the reverence in which I hold thee, there is nothing thatI cannot give thee.’

“The priest said, ‘I desire to have only one boon, O king, thou hast beenpleased with me. Swear that thou wouldst tell me the truth instead of anyuntruth.’

“Bhishma continued, ‘Thus addressed by the priest, O Yudhishthira, theking said unto him–So be it. If what thou wouldst ask me be known to me,I shall certainly tell thee truly. If on the other hand, the matter beunknown to me, I shall not say anything.’

“The priest said, ‘Every day, on occasions of obtaining my benedictions,when, again, I am engaged in the performance of religious rites on thybehalf, on occasions also of the Homa and other rites of propitiation,why is it that thou laughest upon beholding me? Seeing thee laugh at meon all occasions, my mind shrinks with shame. I have caused thee toswear, O king, that thou wouldst answer me truly. It does not behove theeto say what is untrue. There must be some grave reason for thy behaviour.Thy laughter cannot be causeless. Great is my curiosity to know thereason. Do thou speak truly unto me.’

“The king said, ‘When thou hast addressed me in this strain, O regenerateone, I am bound to enlighten thee, even if the matter be one that shouldnot be divulged in thy hearing. I must tell thee the truth. Do thoulisten to me with close attention, O regenerate one. Listen to me, Oforemost of twice-born persons, as I disclose to thee what happened (tous) in our former births. I remember that birth. Do thou listen to mewith concentrated mind. In my former life I was a Sudra employed in thepractice of severe penances. Thou, O best of regenerate persons, wert aRishi of austere penances. O sinless one, gratified with me, and impelledby the desire of doing me good, thou, O Brahmana, wert pleased to give mecertain instructions in the rites I performed (on one occasion) in honourof my Pitris. The instructions thou gayest me were in respect of themanner of spreading the Vrishi and the Kusa blades and of offeringlibations and meat and other food to the manes, O foremost of ascetics.In consequence of this transgression of thine thou hast taken birth as apriest, and I have taken birth as a king, O foremost of Brahmanas. Beholdthe vicissitudes that Time brings about. Thou hast reaped this fruit inconsequence of thy having instructed me (in my former birth). It is forthis reason, O Brahmana, that I smile at sight of thee, O foremost ofregenerate persons. I do not certainly laugh at thee from desire ofdisregarding thee. Thou art my preceptor.[25] At this change of conditionI am really very sorry. My heart burns at the thought. I remember ourformer births, hence do I laugh at sight of thee. Thy austere penanceswere all destroyed by the instructions thou gayest me. Relinquishing thypresent office of priest, do thou endeavour to regain a superior birth.Do thou exert so that thou mayst not obtain in thy next life a birthmeaner than thy present one. Take as much wealth as thou wishest. Olearned Brahmana, and cleanse thy soul, O best of men.’

“Bhishma continued, ‘Dismissed by the king (from the office of priest),the Brahmana made many gifts, unto persons of his own order, of wealthand land and villages. He observed many rigid and severe vows as laiddown by the foremost of Brahmanas. He sojourned to many sacred waters andmade many gifts unto Brahmanas in those places. Making gifts of kine untopersons of the regenerate order, his soul became cleansed and hesucceeded in acquiring a knowledge of it. Repairing to that very asylumwhither he had lived in his former birth, he practised very severepenances. As the consequence of all this, O foremost of kings, thatBrahmana succeeded in attaining to the highest success. He became anobject of veneration with all the ascetics that dwelt in that asylum. Inthis way, O best of monarchs, that regenerate Rishi fell into greatdistress. Unto Sudras, therefore, the Brahmanas should never giveinstructions. Hence, O king, the Brahmana should avoid impartinginstructions (to such as are low-born), for it was by impartinginstruction to a low-born person a Brahmana came to grief. O best ofkings, the Brahmana should never desire to obtain instruction from, orimpart instruction to, a person that belongs to the lowest order.Brahmanas and Kshatriyas and Vaisyas, the three orders, are regarded astwice-born. By imparting instruction unto these, a Brahmana does notincur any fault. They, therefore, that are good, should never discourseon any subject, for imparting any instruction, before persons of theinferior order. The course of morality is exceedingly subtile andincapable of being comprehended by persons of uncleansed souls. It is forthis reason that ascetics adopt the vow of silence, and being respectedby all, pass through Diksha (initiation) without indulging in speech.[26]For fear of saying what is incorrect or what may offend, ascetics oftenforego speech itself. Even men that are righteous and possessed of everyaccomplishment, and endued with truth and simplicity of behaviour, havebeen known to incur great fault in consequence of words spokenimproperly. Instruction should never be imparted on anything unto anyperson. If in consequence of the instructions imparted, the instructedcommit any sin, that sin, attaches to the Brahmana who imparted theinstruction. The man of wisdom, therefore, that desires to earn merit,should always act with wisdom. That instruction which is imparted inbarter for money always pollutes the instructor.[27] Solicited by others,one should say only what is correct after settling it with the aid ofreflection. One should impart instruction in such a way that one may, byimparting it, earn merit. I have thus told thee everything respecting thesubject of instructions. Very often persons become plunged into greatafflictions in consequence of imparting instructions. Hence it is meetthat one should abstain from giving instruction unto others.'”

FOLLOW US ON:
Chapter 169
Chapter 168
🙏 धर्म और आध्यात्म को जन-जन तक पहुँचाने में हमारा साथ दें| 🙏