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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.
men that were in that assembly began to say,—­’Alas! the Kauravas answer not the question that hath been put to them by Draupadi.  And all censuring Dhritarashtra together, made a loud clamour.  Then Vidura, that master of the science of morality, waving his hands and silencing every one, spake these words;—­’Ye that are in this assembly, Draupadi having put her question is weeping helplessly.  Ye are not answering her.  Virtue and morality are being persecuted by such conduct.  An afflicted person approacheth an assembly of good men, like one that is being consumed by fire.  They that are in the assembly quench that fire and cool him by means of truth and morality.  The afflicted person asketh the assembly about his rights, as sanctioned by morality.  They that are in the assembly should, unmoved by interest and anger, answer the question.  Ye kings, Vikarna hath answered the question, according to his own knowledge and judgment.  Ye should also answer it as ye think proper.  Knowing the rules of morality, and having attended an assembly, he that doth not answer a query that is put, incurreth half the demerit that attacheth to a lie.  He, on the other hand, who, knowing the rules of morality and having joined an assembly answereth falsely, assuredly incurreth the sin of a lie.  The learned quote as an example in this connection the old history of Prahlada and the son of Angirasa.

“There was of old a chief of the Daityas of the name Prahlada.  He had a son named Virochana.  And Virochana, for the sake of obtaining a bride, quarrelled with Sudhanwan, the son of Angiras.  It hath been heard by us that they mutually wagered their lives, saying—­I am superior,—­I am superior,—­for the sake of obtaining a bride.  And after they had thus quarrelled with each other, they both made Prahlada the arbitrator to decide between them.  And they asked him, saying;—­Who amongst us is superior (to the other)?  Answer this question.  Speak not falsely.  Frightened at this quarrel, Prahlada cast his eyes upon Sudhanwan.  And Sudhanwan in rage, burning like unto the mace of Yama, told him,—­If thou answerest falsely, or dost not answer at all thy head will then be split into a hundred pieces by the wielder of the thunderbolt with that bolt of his.—­Thus addressed by Sudhanwan, the Daitya, trembling like a leaf of the fig tree, went to Kasyapa of great energy, for taking counsel with him.  And Prahlada said,—­’Thou art, O illustrious and exalted one, fully conversant with the rules of morality that should guide both the gods and the Asuras and the Brahmanas as well.  Here, however, is a situation of great difficulty in respect of duty.  Tell me, I ask thee, what regions are obtainable by them who upon being asked a question, answer it not, or answer it falsely.  Kasyapa thus asked answered.—­’He that knoweth, but answereth not a question from temptation, anger or fear, casteth upon himself a thousand nooses of Varuna.  And the person who, cited as a witness

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