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Chapter 7

Mahabharata English - STRI PARVA

“Dhritarashtra said, Excellent is this parable that thou hast recited!Indeed, thou art acquainted with truth! Having listened to thy nectarlikespeech, I desire to hear thee more.

“Vidura said, Listen to me, O king, I shall once more discourse in detailon those means an acquaintance with which enable the wise to freethemselves from the ties of the world. As a person, O king, who has totravel a long way is sometimes obliged to halt when fatigued with toil,even so, O Bharata, they that are of little intelligence, travellingalong the extended way of life, have to make frequent halts in the shapeof repeated births in the womb. They, however, that are wise are freefrom that obligation. Men conversant with the scriptures, for this,describe lifes course as a long way. The wise also call lifes round withall its difficulties a forest. Creatures, O bull of Bharatas race,whether mobile or immobile, have to repeatedly return to the world. Thewise alone escape. The diseases, mental and physical, to which mortalsare subject, whether visible or invisible, are spoken of as beasts ofprey by the wise. Men are always afflicted and impeded by them, OBharata! Then again, those fierce beasts of prey, represented by theirown acts in life, never cause any anxiety to them that are of littleintelligence. If any person, O monarch, somehow escapes from diseases,Decrepitude, that destroyer of beauty, overwhelmshim afterwards. Plungedin a slough by the objects of the different senses–sound and form andtaste and touch and scent–man remains there without anything to rescuehim thence. Meanwhile, the years, the seasons, the months, thefortnights, the days, and the nights, coming one after another, graduallydespoil him of beauty and lessen the period allotted to him. These allare messengers of death. They, however, that are of little understandingknow them not to be such. The wise say that all creatures are governed bythe Ordainer through their acts. The body of a creature is called thecar. The living principle is the driver of (that car). The senses aresaid to be steeds. Our acts and the understanding are the traces. He whofolloweth after those running steeds has to come repeatedly to this worldin a round of rebirths. He, however, who, being self-restrained restrainsthem by his understanding hath not to come back. They, however, that arenot stupefied while wandering in this wheel of life that is revolvinglike a real wheel, do not in reality wander in a round of rebirths. Hethat is wise should certainly take care to prevent the obligation ofrebirth. One should not be indifferent to this, for indifference maysubject us to it repeatedly. The man, O king, who has restrained hissenses and subdued wrath and covetousness, who is contented, and truthfulin speech, succeeds in obtaining peace. This body is called the car ofYama. Then those that are of little intelligence are stupefied by it.Such a person, O king, would obtain that which thou hast obtained. Theloss of kingdom, of friends, and of children, O Bharata, and such asthese, overtake him who is still under the influence of desire. He thatis wise should apply the medicine of intelligence to all great griefs.Indeed, obtaining the medicine of wisdom, which is truly very efficaciousand is almost unattainable, the man of restrained soul would kill thatserious disease called sorrow. Neither prowess, nor wealth, nor friend,nor well-wishers can cure a man of his grief so effectually as theself-restrained soul. Therefore, observant of the great duty ofabstention from all injuries, or friendship for all creatures, be ofpious behaviour, O Bharata! Self-restraint, renunciation, and heedfulnessare the three steeds of Brahman. He who rides on the car of his soul,unto which are yoked these steeds with the aid of traces furnished bygood conduct, and drives it, casting off all fear of death, proceedeth, Oking, to the regions of Brahman. That person, O monarch, who gives untoall creatures an assurance of his harmlessness, goes to the highest ofregions, the blessed realm of Vishnu. The fruit that one obtains by anassurance unto all creatures of his harmlessness cannot be obtained by a1,000 sacrifices or by daily fasts. Amongst all things there is certainlynothing dearer than self. Death is certainly disliked by all creatures, OBharata! Therefore, compassion should certainly be shown unto all. Enduedwith diverse kinds of errors entangled by the net of their ownintelligence, they that are wicked and are of good vision, wanderrepeatedly on the earth. They however, that are wise and endued withsubtle sight, attain to a union with Brahman.”

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