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Home13. ANUSASANA PARVA (Page 2)

13. ANUSASANA PARVA (166)

“Yudhishthira said, ‘All men, O king, in this world, are seen to attachthemselves to women, overcome by the illusion that is created by thedivine Being.

“Bhishma said, ‘Listen truly in detail, O son of Pritha, how in oldentimes Viswamitra attained to the status of a Brahmana Rishi.

“Bhishma said, ‘It is even so as thou sayest, O thou of mighty arms.There is nothing untrue in all this that thou sayest, O thou of Kuru’srace, on the subject of women.

‘Bhishma said, One day the chief of the celestials assuming a form ofcelestial beauty, came to the retreat of the Rishi, thinking that theopportunity he had been expecting had at last come.

“Bhishma said, ‘Having accomplished his preceptor’s behest, Vipulapractised the most severe penances.

“Bhishma said, ‘Beholding his disciple returned from his mission,Devasarman of great energy addressed him in words which I shall recite tothee O king!’

“Yudhishthira said, “Tell me of that, O grandsire, which is the root ofall duties, which is the root of kinsmen, of home, of the Pitris and ofguests. I think this should be regarded as the foremost of all duties,(viz., the marriage of one’s daughter). Tell me, however, O king, uponwhat sort of a person should one bestow one’s daughter?’

“Yudhishthira said, ‘If a person, after having given dowry for a maiden,goes away, how should the maiden’s father or other kinsmen who arecompetent to bestow her, act? Do tell me this, O grandsire!’

“Bhishma said, They that are conversant with ancient history recite thefollowing verse of Daksha, the son of Prachetas: That maiden, in respectof whom nothing is taken by her kinsmen in the form of dowry cannot besaid to be sold.

“Yudhishthira said, ‘Thou art fully conversant with the ordinances of allthe scriptures. Thou art the foremost of those that are acquainted withthe duties of kings. Thou art celebrated over the whole world as a greatdispeller of doubts.

“Yudhishthira said, ‘Through inducements offered by wealth, or throughmere lust, or through ignorance of the true order of birth (of both malesand females), or through folly, intermixture happens of the several orderWhat, O grandsire, are the duties of persons that are born in the mixedclasses and what are the acts laid down for them? Do thou discourse to meon this!’

“Bhishma said, ‘A person that is born of an irregular union presentsdiverse features of disposition.

“Yudhishthira said, ‘O thou that knowest the truths of religion, I wishto hear of the merits of compassion, and of the characteristics of devoutmen. Do thou, O sire, describe them to me.’

“Yudhishthira said, ‘What is the nature of the compassion or pity that isfelt at the sight of another’s woe?

“Bhishma said, ‘King Nahusha hearing the pass to which Chyavana wasreduced, quickly proceeded to that spot accompanied by his ministers andpriest.

“Yudhishthira said, ‘O thou of great wisdom, a doubt I have that is verygreat and that is as vast as the ocean itself.

“Yudhishthira said, ‘After the Rishi had disappeared, what did the kingdo and what also did highly-blessed spouse do? Tell me this, O grandsire!’

“Bhishma said, ‘When that night passed away, the high-souled king Kusikaawoke and went through his morning rites.

“Chyavana said, ‘Do thou accept a boon from me. Do thou also, O chief ofmen, tell me what the doubt is that is in thy mind. I shall certainlyaccomplish all thy purposes.’

“Chyavana said, ‘I should certainly, O chief of men, tell you everythingabout the circumstance for which, O monarch, I came hither forexterminating thy race.

“Yudhishthira said, ‘Hearing thy words I become stupefied, O grandsire!Reflecting that the earth is now destitute of a very large number ofkings all of whom were possessed of great prosperity, my heart becomesfilled with grief.

“Yudhishthira said, ‘I desire, O chief of the Bharatas, to hear from theewhat the rewards are which are attached, O best of the Kurus, to theplanting of trees and the digging of tanks.’

“Yudhishthira said, ‘Amongst all those gifts that are mentioned in thetreatises other than the Vedas, which gift, O chief of Kuru’s race, isthe most distinguished in thy opinion? O puissant one, great is thecuriosity I feel with respect to this matter. Do thou discourse to mealso of that gift which follows the giver into the next world.'[317]

“Yudhishthira said, ‘Tell me, O learned sire that art versed in all thescriptures, of Exertion and Destiny which is the most powerful?’

“Yudhishthira said, ‘Unto which of two Brahmanas, when both happen to beequally pure in behaviour, equally possessed of learning and purity, ofbirth and blood, but differing from each other in only this, viz.,

“Yudhishthira said, ‘I wish to know in detail, O Bharata, where one meetswith the high rewards of gifts and sacrifices. Are those rewards earnedhere or are they to come hereafter?

“Yudhishthira said, ‘People accept with affection the declarations of theSrutis which say, ‘This is to be given.’ ‘This other thing is to begiven!’ As regards kings, again, they make gifts of various things untovarious men. What, however, O grandsire, is the best or foremost of allgifts.’

“Yudhishthira said, ‘When a king becomes desirous of making gifts in thisworld, what, indeed, are those gifts which he should make, O best of theBharatas, unto such Brahmanas as are possessed of superioraccomplishments?

“Yudhishthira said, ‘I have heard the discourse regarding the ordinanceabout the gift of food. Do thou discourse to me now about the conjunctionof the planets and the stars in relation to the subject of makinggifts.[334]

“Bhishma said, ‘The illustrious Atri, the son of the Grandsire Brahman,said, ‘They who make gifts of gold are said to make gifts of everythingin the world.’

“Yudhishthira said, ‘I desire to hear, O grandsire, what the merits areof that person who makes the gift of a pair of sandals unto a Brahmanawhose feet are burning or being scorched by hot sand, while he iswalking.’

“Yudhishthira said, ‘I have heard, O sire, of the merits of the differentkinds of gift upon which thou hast discoursed to me.

“Yudhishthira said, ‘Do thou discourse to me once again, O grandsire,upon the merits attaching to gifts of sesame and of lamps for lightingdarkness, as also of food and robes.’

“Yudhishthira said, ‘Do thou, O foremost one of Kuru’s race, discourseunto me once again of the excellent ordinance regarding gifts, withespecial reference, O thou of great wisdom, to the gift of earth.

“Yudhishthira said, ‘O the best of Bharata’s race and the foremost ofgreat men, I wish to know what the fruits are of good deed. Do thouenlighten me on this point.'”

“Bhishma said, ‘In this connection, O perpetuator of Kuru’s race, isrecited by the righteous the narrative of the great calamity thatovertook king Nriga in consequence of his spoliation of what had belongedto a Brahmans.

”Yudhishthira said, V sinless one, do thou discourse to me more indetail upon the merits that are attainable by making gifts of kine. Othou of mighty arms, I am never satiated with thy words!’

“Yudhishthira said, ‘Thou hast, O grandsire, discoursed to me the topicof gifts of kine in speaking of the Rishi Nachiketa Thou hast alsoimpliedly discoursed, O puissant one, on the efficacy and pre-eminence ofthat act.

“The Grandsire said, ‘The questions thou hast asked me in respect ofkine, beginning with their gift, are such that there is none else in thethree worlds, O thou of a hundred sacrifices, who could put them!

“Indra said, ‘I wish to know, O Grandsire, what the end is that isattained by him who consciously steals a cow or who sells one frommotives of cupidity.”

“Yudhishthira said, ‘I have been greatly assured, O thou of puissance, bythee thus discoursing unto me of duties. I shall, however, giveexpression to the doubts I have.

“Yudhishthira said, ‘I desire, O king, to hear thee discourse in detailupon those high ordinances which regulate gifts of kine, for it is bymaking gifts (of kine) according to those ordinances that one attains toinnumerable regions of eternal felicity.’

“Vaisampayana said, ‘King Yudhishthira endued with humility, once againquestioned the royal son of Santanu on the subject of gifts of kine indetail.’

“Bhishma said, ‘In days of yore, king Saudasa born of Ikshvaku’s race,that foremost of eloquent men, on one occasion approached his familypriest, viz.,

“Vasishtha said, ‘The kine that had been created in a former agepractised the austerest penances for a hundred thousand years with thedesire of attaining to a position of great pre-eminence.

“Vasishtha said, ‘Kine are yielders of ghee and milk. They are thesources of ghee and they have sprung from ghee. They are rivers of ghee,and eddies of ghee.

“Yudhishthira said, ‘Tell me, O grandsire, what is that which is the mostsacred of all sacred things in the world, other than that which has beenalready mentioned, and which is the highest of all sanctifying objects.’

“Yudhishthira said, ‘I have heard that the dung of the cow is endued withSree. I desire to hear how this has been brought about. I have doubts, Ograndsire, which thou shouldst dispel.'[381]

“Bhishma said, ‘They who make gifts of kine, and who subsist upon theremnants of things offered as libations on the sacred fire, are regarded,O Yudhishthira, as always performing sacrifices of every kind. Nosacrifice can be performed without the aid of curds and ghee.

“Yudhishthira said, ‘Thou hast, O grandsire, discoursed to me on the giftof kine that is fraught with great merit. In the case of kings observantof their duties, that gift is most meritorious.

‘The Deities said, ‘The Asura named Taraka who has received boons fromthee, O puissant one, is afflicting the deities and the Rishis. Let hisdeath be ordained by thee. O Grandsire, great has been our fear from him.O illustrious one, do thou rescue us. We have no other refuge than thee.’

“Yudhishthira said, ‘Thou hast, O grandsire, discoursed to me, in detailon the merits that attach to the gift of gold agreeably with theordinances laid down in the scriptures as indicated in the auditions ofthe Veda.

“Yudhishthira said, ‘Thou hast discoursed to me, O thou of righteoussoul, on the duties of the four orders. Do thou, after the same manner, Qking, discourse to me now on all the ordinances respecting the Sraddha(of deceased ancestors).’

“Yudhishthira said, ‘O thou of great puissance, tell me what that objectis which, if dedicated to the Pitris, becomes inexhaustible! What Havi,again, (if offered) lasts for all time? What, indeed, is that which (ifpresented) becomes eternal?'”

“Bhishma continued, ‘Listen to me, O Yudhishthira, as I tell thee whatthose optional Sraddhas are that should be performed under the differentconstellations and that were first spoken of by Yama unto kingSasavindu.

“Yudhisthira said, ‘O grandsire, O thou of great splendour, what do thosemen become who, through stupefaction of intellect, do not make gifts untoBrahmanas after having promised to make those gifts?

“Yudhishthira said, ‘It behoves thee, O foremost one of Kuru’s race, totell me unto what kind of Brahmanas, O grandsire, should the offers madeat Sraddhas be given away.’

“Yudhishthira said, ‘By whom was the Sraddha first conceived and at whattime? What also is its essence?

“Bhishma said, ‘After Nimi had acted in the way described above, all thegreat Rishis began to perform the sacrifice in honour of the Pitris(called the Sraddha) according to rites laid down in the ordinance.

“Yudhishthira said, ‘If Brahmanas that are in the observance of a vow(viz., fast) eat, at the invitation of a Brahmana, the Havi (offered at aSraddha), can they be charged with the transgression or a violation oftheir vow, or should they refuse the invitation of a Brahmana when suchinvitation is received by them? Tell me this, O grandsire!’

“Bhishma said, “In this connection is cited the old history of the oaths(taken by many Rishis one after another) on the occasion of a sojourn tothe sacred waters.

“Yudhishthira said, ‘O chief of Bharata’s rare, by whom was the custom ofgiving umbrellas and sandals at obsequial ceremonies introduced?

“Yudhishthira said, ‘What did that foremost of ascetics, viz., Jamadagniendued with great energy, do when thus besought by the maker of day?'”

“Yudhishthira said, ‘O foremost one of Bharata’s race, do thou relate tome all the duties of the household mode and tell me all that a man shoulddo in order to attain to prosperity in this world.’

“Yudhishthira said, ‘Of what kind is the gift of light, O chief ofBharata’s race? How did this gift originate? What are the merits thatattach to it? Do thou tell me all this.’

“Yudhishthira said, ‘I have, O chief of the Bharatas, heard what themerits are that are won by presenters of flowers and incense and lights.I have heard thee speak also of the merits that attach to a dueobservance of the ordinances in respect of the presentation of the Vali.

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