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This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 1,884 pages of information about The Mahabharata of Krishna-Dwaipayana Vyasa, Volume 1.

Markandeya continued, “Hearing this, Vaka answered, saying, ’Life with persons that are disagreeable, separation from those that are agreeable and beloved, companionship with the wicked, these are the evils which they that are immortal have to bear.  The death of sons and wives, of kinsmen and friends, and the pain of dependence on others, are some of the greatest of evils. (These may all be noticed in a deathless life).  There is no more pitiable sight in the world, as I conceive, than that of men destitute of wealth being insulted by others.  The acquisition of family dignity by those that have it not, the loss of family dignity by those that have it, unions and disunions,—­these all are noticeable by those that lead deathless lives.  How they that have no family dignity but have prosperity, win what they have not—­all this, O god of a hundred sacrifices, is before thy very eyes!  What can be more pitiable than the calamities and reverses sustained by the gods, the Asuras, the Gandharvas, men, the snakes, and the Rakshasas!  They that have been of good families suffer afflictions in consequence of their subjection to persons that are ill-born and the poor are insulted by the rich.  What can be more pitiable than these?  Innumerable examples of such contradictory dispensations are seen in the world.  The foolish and the ignorant are cheerful and happy while the learned and the wise suffer misery!  Plentiful instances of misery and woe are seen among men in this world!  (They that lead deathless lives are destined to behold all these and suffer on that account.)’

“Indra then said, ’O thou of great good fortune, tell me again, what the joys are of those persons that lead deathless lives,—­joys that are adored by gods and Rishis!’

“Vaka answered, ’If without having to associate with a wicked friend, a man cooks scanty vegetables in his own house at the eight or the twelfth part of the day, there can be nothing happier than that.[49] He in whose case the day is not counted is not called voracious.  And, O Maghavan, happiness is even his own whose scanty vegetables are cooked.  Earned by his own efforts, without having to depend upon any one, he that eateth even fruits and vegetables in his own house is entitled to respect.  He that eateth in another’s house the food given to him in contempt, even if that food be rich and sweet, doth what is despicable.  This, therefore, is the opinion of the wise that fie on the food of that mean wretch who like a dog or a Rakshasa eateth at another’s house.  If after treating guests and servants and offering food to the manes a good Brahmana eateth what remains, there can be nothing happier than that.  There is nothing sweeter or more sacred, O thou of a hundred sacrifices, than that food which such a person takes after serving the guest with the first portion thereof.  Each mouthful (of rice) that the Brahmana eats after having served the guest, produces merit equal to what attaches to the gift of a thousand kine.  And whatever sins such a one may have committed in his youth are all washed away of a certainty.  The water in the hands of the Brahmana that hath been fed and honoured with a pecuniary gift (after the feeding is over) when touched with water (sprinkled by him that feeds), instantly purges off all the sins of the latter!’”

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