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Chapter 65

Mahabharata English - DRONA PARVA

“Narada said, ‘Rantideva, the son of Srinjaya, we hear, fell a prey todeath. That high-souled king had two hundred thousand cooks to distributeexcellent food, raw and cooked, like unto Amrita, unto the Brahmanas, byday and by night, who might come to his house as guests.[109] The kinggave away unto the Brahmanas his wealth acquired by righteous means.Having studied the Vedas, he subjugated his foes in fair fight. Of rigidvows and always engaged in due performance of sacrifices, countlessanimals, desirous of going to heaven, used to come to him of their ownaccord.[110] So large was the number of animals sacrificed in theAgnihotra of that king that the secretions flowing from his kitchen fromthe heaps of skins deposited there caused a veritable river which fromthis circumstance, came to be called the Charmanwati.[111] He,incessantly gave away nishkas of bright gold unto the Brahmanas, ‘I givethee nishkas.’ ‘I give thee nishkas,’ these were the words incessantlyuttered by him. ‘I give thee,’ ‘I give thee’ saying these words he gaveaway thousands of nishkas. And once again, with soft words to theBrahmanas, he gave away nishkas. Having given away, in course of a singleday, one crore of such coins, he thought that he had given away verylittle. And, therefore, he would give away more. Who else is there thatwould be able to give what he gave? The king gave away wealth, thinking,If I do not give wealth in the hands of Brahmanas, great and eternalgrief, without doubt, will be mine.’ For a hundred years, everyfortnight, he gave unto thousands of Brahmanas a golden bull into each,followed by a century of kine and eight hundred pieces of nishkas. Allthe articles that were needed for his Agnihotra, and all that were neededfor his other sacrifices, he gave away unto the Rishis, includingKarukas[112] and water-pots and plates and beds and carpets and vehicles,and mansions and houses, and diverse kinds of trees, and various kinds ofviands. Whatever utensils and articles Rantideva possessed were of gold.They that are acquainted with the history of ancient times seeing thesuperhuman affluence of Rantideva, sing this song, viz., ‘We have notseen such accumulated treasures even in the abode of Kuvera; what need besaid, therefore, of human beings?’ And people wonderingly said, Withoutdoubt, the kingdom of Rantideva is made of gold.[113] On such nights,when guests were assembled in the abode of Rantideva, one and twentythousand kine were sacrificed (for feeding them). And yet the royal cookadorned with begemmed ear-rings, had to cry out, saying, ‘Eat as muchsoup as you like, for, of meat, there is not as much today as in otherdays. Whatever gold was left belonging to Rantideva, he gave even thatremnant away unto the Brahmanas during the progress of one of hissacrifices. In his very sight the gods used to take the libations ofclarified butter poured into the fire for them, and the Pitris the foodthat was offered to them, in Sraddhas. And all superior Brahmanas used toobtain from him (the means of gratifying) all their desires. When hedied, O Srinjaya, who was superior to thee in respect of the fourcardinal virtues and who, superior to thee was, therefore, much superiorto thy son, thou shouldst not, saying, ‘Oh, Swaitya, Oh, Swaitya,’ grievefor the latter who performed no sacrifice and made no sacrificialpresent.'”

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