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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.
Brahmana, persons conversant with morals have said that for women that have borne children, to predecease their lords is an act of the highest merit.  Ready am I to abandon this son and this daughter, these my relations, and life itself, for thee.  For a woman to be ever employed in doing agreeable offices to her lord is a higher duty than sacrifices, asceticism, vows, and charities of every description.  The act, therefore, which I intend to perform is consonant with the highest virtue and is for thy good and that of thy race.  The wise have declared that children and relatives and wife and all things held dear are cherished for the purpose of liberating one’s self from danger and distress.  One must guard one’s wealth for freeing one’s self from danger, and it is by his wealth that he should cherish and protect his wife.  But he must protect his own self both by (means of) his wife and his wealth.  The learned have enunciated the truth that one’s wife, son, wealth, and house, are acquired with the intention of providing against accidents, foreseen or unforeseen.  The wise have also said that all one’s relations weighed against one’s own self would not be equal unto one’s self.  Therefore, revered sir, protect thy own self by abandoning me.  O, give me leave to sacrifice myself, and cherish thou my children.  Those that are conversant with the morals have, in their treatises, said, that women should never be slaughtered and that Rakshasas are not ignorant of the rules of morality.  Therefore, while it is certain that the Rakshasa will kill a man, it is doubtful whether he will kill a woman.  It behoveth thee, therefore, being conversant with the rules of morality, to place me before the Rakshasa.  I have enjoyed much happiness, have obtained much that is agreeable to me, and have also acquired great religious merit.  I have also obtained from thee children that are so dear to me.  Therefore, it grieveth not me to die.  I have borne thee children and have also grown old; I am ever desirous of doing good to thee; remembering all these I have come to this resolution.  O revered sir, abandoning me thou mayest obtain another wife.  By her thou mayest again acquire religious merit.  There is no sin in this.  For a man polygamy is an act of merit, but for a woman it is very sinful to betake herself to a second husband after the first.  Considering all this, and remembering too that sacrifice of thy own self is censurable, O, liberate today without loss of time thy own self, thy race, and these thy children (by abandoning me).’

“Vaisampayana continued, ’Thus addressed by her, O Bharata, the Brahmana embraced her, and they both began to weep in silence, afflicted with grief.’”

SECTION CLXI

(Vaka-vadha Parva continued)

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