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.

“The serpent said, ’O king, if thou recognise him as a Brahmana by characteristics, then, O long-lived one, the distinction of caste becometh futile as long as conduct doth not come into play.’

“Yudhishthira said, ’In human society, O mighty and highly intelligent serpent, it is difficult to ascertain one’s caste, because of promiscuous intercourse among the four orders.  This is my opinion.  Men belonging to all orders (promiscuously) beget offspring upon women of all the orders.  And of men, speech, sexual intercourse, birth and death are common.  And to this the Rishis have borne testimony by using as the beginning of a sacrifice such expressions as—­of what caste so ever we may be, we celebrate the sacrifice.  Therefore, those that are wise have asserted that character is the chief essential requisite.  The natal ceremony of a person is performed before division of the umbilical cord.  His mother then acts as its Savitri and his father officiates as priest.  He is considered as a Sudra as long as he is not initiated in the Vedas.  Doubts having arisen on this point, O prince, of serpents, Swayambhuba Manu has declared, that the mixed castes are to be regarded as better than the (other) classes, if having gone through the ceremonies of purification, the latter do not conform to the rules of good conduct, O excellent snake!  Whosoever now conforms to the rules of pure and virtuous conduct, him have I, ere now, designated as a Brahmana.’  The serpent replied, ’O Yudhishthira, thou art acquainted with all that is fit to be known and having listened to thy words, how can I (now) eat up thy brother Vrikodara!’”

SECTION CLXXX

“Yudhishthira said, ’In this world, you are so learned in the Vedas and Vedangas; tell me (then), what one should do to attain salvation?’

“The serpent replied, ’O scion of the Bharata’s race, my belief is that the man who bestows alms on proper objects, speaks kind words and tells the truth and abstains from doing injury to any creature goes to heaven.’

“Yudhishthira enquired, ’Which, O snake, is the higher of the two, truth or alms-giving?  Tell me also the greater or less importance of kind behaviour and of doing injury to no creature.’

“The snake replied, ’The relative merits of these virtues, truth and alms-giving, kind speech and abstention from injury to any creature, are known (measured) by their objective gravity (utility).  Truth is (sometimes) more praiseworthy than some acts of charity; some of the latter again are more commendable than true speech.  Similarly, O mighty king, and lord of the earth, abstention from doing injury to any creature is seen to be important than good speech and vice-versa.  Even so it is, O king, depending on effects.  And now, if thou hast anything else to ask, say it all, I shall enlighten thee!’ Yudhishthira said, ’Tell me, O snake, how the

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The Mahabharata of Krishna-Dwaipayana Vyasa Bk. 3 Pt. 2 from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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