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The Mahabharata of Krishna-Dwaipayana Vyasa Bk. 3 Pt. 2 eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 521 pages of information about The Mahabharata of Krishna-Dwaipayana Vyasa Bk. 3 Pt. 2.
son of Ayu and fifth in descent from the Moon.  And I was a king celebrated under the name of Nahusha.  And by sacrifices and asceticism and study of the Vedas and self-restraint and prowess I had acquired a permanent dominion over the three worlds.  And when I had obtained such dominion, haughtiness possessed me.  And thousands of Brahmanas were engaged in carrying my chair.  And intoxicated by supremacy, I insulted those Brahmanas.  And, O lord of the earth, by Agastya have I been reduced to this pass!  Yet, O Pandava, to this day the memory (of my former birth) hath not forsaken me!  And, O king, even by the favour of that high-souled Agastya, during the sixth division of the day have I got for meal thy younger brother.  Neither will I set him free, nor do I wish for any other food.  But if to-day thou answerest the questions put by me, then, I shall deliver Vrikodara!’ At this Yudhishthira said, ’O serpent, ask whatever thou listest!  I shall, if I can, answer thy questions with the view of gratifying thee, O snake!  Thou knowest fully what should be known by Brahmanas.  Therefore, O king of snakes, hearing (thee) I shall answer thy queries!’

“The serpent said, ’O Yudhishthira, say—­Who is a Brahmana and what should be known?  By thy speech I infer thee to be highly intelligent.’

“Yudhishthira said, ’O foremost of serpents, he, it is asserted by the wise, in whom are seen truth, charity, forgiveness, good conduct, benevolence, observance of the rites of his order and mercy is a Brahmana.  And, O serpent, that which should be known is even the supreme Brahma, in which is neither happiness nor misery—­and attaining which beings are not affected with misery; what is thy opinion?’

“The serpent said, ’O Yudhishthira, truth, charity, forgiveness, benevolence, benignity, kindness and the Veda[2] which worketh the benefit of the four orders, which is the authority in matters of religion and which is true, are seen even in the Sudra.  As regards the object to be known and which thou allegest is without both happiness and misery, I do not see any such that is devoid of these.’

    [2] In as much as the rites performed by the Sudras have their
    origin in the Vedas.

“Yudhishthira said, ’Those characteristics that are present in a Sudra, do not exist in a Brahmana; nor do those that are in a Brahmana exist in a Sudra.  And a Sudra is not a Sudra by birth alone—­nor a Brahmana is Brahmana by birth alone.  He, it is said by the wise, in whom are seen those virtues is a Brahmana.  And people term him a Sudra in whom those qualities do not exist, even though he be a Brahmana by birth.  And again, as for thy assertion that the object to be known (as asserted by me) doth not exist, because nothing exists that is devoid of both (happiness and misery), such indeed is the opinion, O serpent, that nothing exists that is without (them) both.  But as in cold, heat doth not exist, nor in heat, cold, so there cannot exist an object in which both (happiness and misery) cannot exist?’

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