Vala and Vritra cometh to ask for the ear-rings for
the benefit of the sons of Pandu, that will conduce
to my fame, leading at the same time to his infamy!
O thou possessed of splendour, I wish for fame in this
world, even if it is to be purchased with life itself,
for they that have fame enjoy the celestial regions,
while they that are destitute of it are lost.
Fame keepeth people alive in this world even like a
mother, while infamy killeth men even though they
may move about with bodies undestroyed. O lord
of the worlds, O thou possessed of the wealth of effulgence,
that fame is the life of men is evidenced by an ancient
sloka sung by the Creator himself,—In the
next world it is fame that is the chief support of
a person, while in this world pure fame lengthens life.
Therefore, by giving away my ear-rings and mail with
both of which I was born I will win eternal fame!
And by duly giving away the same to Brahmanas according
to the ordinance, by offering up my body (as a gift
to the gods) in the sacrifice of war, by achieving
feats difficult of performance, and by conquering
my foes in fight, I will acquire nothing but renown.
And by dispelling on the field of battle the fears
of the affrighted that may beg for their lives, and
relieving old men and boys and Brahmanas from terror
and anxiety, I will win excellent fame and the highest
heaven. My fame is to be protected with the sacrifice
of even my life. Even this, know thou, is my
vow! By giving away such a valuable gift to Maghavan
disguised as a Brahmana, I will, O god, acquire in
this world the most exalted state.’”
“Surya said, ’Never do, O Karna, anything
that is harmful to thy self and thy friends; thy sons,
thy wives, thy father, and thy mother; O thou best
of those that bear life, people desire renown (in this
world) and lasting fame in heaven, without wishing
to sacrifice their bodies. But as thou desirest
undying fame at the expense of thy life, she will,
without doubt, snatch away thy life! O bull among
men, in this world, the father, the mother, the son,
and other relatives are of use only to him that is
alive. O tiger among men, as regard kings, it
is only when they are alive that prowess can be of
any use to them. Do thou understand this?
O thou of exceeding splendour, fame is for the good
of these only that are alive! Of what use is
fame to the dead whose bodies have been reduced to
ashes? One that is dead cannot enjoy renown.
It is only when one is alive that one can enjoy it.
The fame of one that is dead is like a garland of
flowers around the neck of a corpse. As thou reverest
me, I tell thee this for thy benefit, because thou
art a worshipper of mine! They that worship me
are always protected by me. That also is another
reason for my addressing thee thus! Thinking
again, O mighty-armed one, that this one revereth
me with great reverence, I have been inspired with
love for thee! Do thou, therefore, act according