The Mahabharata of Krishna-Dwaipayana Vyasa, Volume 1 eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 1,884 pages of information about The Mahabharata of Krishna-Dwaipayana Vyasa, Volume 1.
extricate himself from an evil doom, and the evil Karma may be expiated in various ways.  Accordingly, O good Brahmana, I am charitable, truthful, assiduous in attending on my superior, full of respect towards regenerate Brahmanas, devoted to and free from pride and (idle) excessive talk.  Agriculture is considered to be a praiseworthy occupation, but it is well-known that even there, great harm is done to animal life; and in the operation of digging the earth with the plough, numberless creatures lurking in the ground as also various other forms of animal life are destroyed.  Dost thou not think so?  O good Brahmana, Vrihi and other seeds of rice are all living organisms.  What is thy opinion on this matter?  Men, O Brahmana, hunt wild animals and kill them and partake of their meat; they also cut up trees and herbs; but, O Brahmana, there are numberless living organisms in trees, in fruits, as also in water; dost thou not think so?  This whole creation, O Brahmana, is full of animal life, sustaining itself with food derived from living organisms.  Dost thou not mark that fish preys upon fish, and that various species of animals prey upon other species, and there are species the members of which prey upon each other?  Men, O Brahmana, while walking about hither and thither, kill numberless creatures lurking in the ground by trampling on them, and even men of wisdom and enlightenment destroy animal life in various ways, even while sleeping or reposing themselves.  What hast thou to say to this?—­The earth and the air all swarm with living organisms, which are unconsciously destroyed by men from mere ignorance.  Is not this so?  The commandment that people should not do harm to any creature, was ordained of old by men, who were ignorant of the true facts of the case.  For, O Brahmana, there is not a man on the face of this earth, who is free from the sin of doing injury to creatures.  After full consideration, the conclusion is irresistible that there is not a single man who is free from the sin of doing injury to animal life.  Even the sage, O good Brahmana, whose vow is to do harm to no creature, doth inflict injury to animal life.  Only, on account of greater needfulness, the harm is less.  Men of noble birth and great qualities perpetrate wicked acts in defiance of all, of which they are not at all ashamed.  Good men acting in an exemplary way are not commended by other good men; nor are bad men acting in a contrary way praised by their wicked compeers; and friends are not agreeable to friends, albeit endowed with high qualities; and foolish pedantic men cry down the virtues of their preceptors.  This reversal of the natural order of things, O good Brahmana, is seen everywhere in this world.  What is thy opinion as to the virtuousness or otherwise of this state of things?  There is much that can be said of the goodness or badness of our actions.  But whoever is addicted to his own proper occupation surely acquires great reputation.

SECTION CCVIII

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The Mahabharata of Krishna-Dwaipayana Vyasa, Volume 1 from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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