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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.

SECTION CLX

(Vaka-vadha Parva continued)

“Vaisampayana said, “On hearing these words of the Brahmana, his wife said, ’Thou shouldst not, O Brahmana, grieve like an ordinary man.  Nor is this the time for mourning.  Thou hast learning; thou knowest that all men are sure to die; none should grieve for that which is inevitable.  Wife, son, and daughter, all these are sought for one’s own self.  As thou art possessed of a good understanding, kill thou thy sorrows.  I will myself go there.  This indeed, is the highest and the eternal duty of a woman, viz., that by sacrificing her life she should seek the good of her husband.  Such an act done by me will make thee happy, and bring me fame in this world and eternal bliss hereafter.  This, indeed, is the highest virtue that I tell thee, and thou mayest, by this, acquire both virtue and happiness.  The object for which one desireth a wife hath already been achieved by thee through me.  I have borne thee a daughter and a son and thus been freed from the debt I had owed thee.  Thou art well able to support and cherish the children, but I however, can never support and cherish them like thee.  Thou art my life, wealth, and lord; bereft of thee, how shall these children of tender years—­how also shall I myself, exist?  Widowed and masterless, with two children depending on me, how shall I, without thee, keep alive the pair, myself leading an honest life?  If the daughter of thine is solicited (in marriage) by persons dishonourable and vain and unworthy of contracting an alliance with thee, how shall I be able to protect the girl?  Indeed, as birds seek with avidity for meat that hath been thrown away on the ground, so do men solicit a woman that hath lost her husband.  O best of Brahmanas, solicited by wicked men, I may waver and may not be able to continue in the path that is desired by all honest men.  How shall I be able to place this sole daughter of thy house—­this innocent girl—­in the way along which her ancestors have always walked?  How shall I then be able to impart unto this child every desirable accomplishment to make him virtuous as thyself, in that season of want when I shall become masterless?  Overpowering myself who shall be masterless, unworthy persons will demand (the hand of) this daughter of thine, like Sudras desiring to hear the Vedas.  And if I bestow not upon them this girl possessing thy blood and qualities, they may even take her away by force, like crows carrying away the sacrificial butter.  And beholding thy son become so unlike to thee, and thy daughter placed under the control of some unworthy persons, I shall be despised in the world by even persons that are dishonourable, and I will certainly die.  These children also, bereft of me and thee, their father, will, I doubt not, perish like fish when the water drieth up.  There is no doubt that bereft of thee the three will perish:  therefore it behoveth thee to sacrifice me.  O

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