The Mahabharata of Krishna-Dwaipayana Vyasa, Volume 3 eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 2,886 pages of information about The Mahabharata of Krishna-Dwaipayana Vyasa, Volume 3.

“Yudhishthira said, ’Common people say that fasting is tapas (penances).  Is fasting, however, really so, or is penance something different?’

“Bhishma said, ’People do regard fast, measured by months or fortnights or days, as penance.  In the opinion, however of the good, such is not penance.  On the other hand, fast is an impediment to the acquisition of the knowledge of the Soul.[832] The renunciation of acts (that is so difficult for all) and humility (consisting in the worship of all creatures and consideration for them all) constitute the highest penance.  That is distinguished above all kinds of penance.  He who betakes himself to such penance is regarded as one that is always fasting and that is always leading a life of Brahmacharya.  Such a Brahmana will become a Muni always, a deity evermore, and sleepless forever, and one engaged in the pursuit of virtue only, even if he lives in the bosom of a family.  He will become a vegetarian always, and pure for ever.  He will become an eater always of ambrosia, and an adorer always of gods and guests.  Indeed, he will be regarded as one always subsisting on sacrificial remnants, as one ever devoted to the duty of hospitality, as one always full of faith, and as one ever worshipping gods and guests.’

“Yudhishthira said, ’How can one practising such penance come to be regarded as one that is always fasting or as one that is ever devoted to the vow of Brahmacharya, or as one that is always subsisting upon sacrificial remnants or as one that is ever regardful of guests?’

“Bhishma said, ’He will be regarded as one that is always fasting if he eats once during the day and once during the night at the fixed hours without eating anything during the interval.  Such a Brahmana, by always speaking the truth and by adhering always to wisdom, and by going to his wife only in her season and never at other times, becomes a Brahmacharin (celibate).  By never eating meat of animals not killed for sacrifice, he will become a strict vegetarian.  By always becoming charitable he will become ever pure, and by abstaining from sleep during the day he will become one that is always wakeful.  Know, O Yudhishthira, that that man who eats only after having fed his servants and guests becomes an eater always of ambrosia.  That Brahmana who never eats till gods and guests are fed, wins, by such abstention, heaven itself.  He is said to subsist upon sacrificial remnants, who eats only what remains after feeding the gods, the Pitris, servants, and guests.  Such men win numberless regions of felicity in next life.  To their homes come, with Brahman himself, the gods and the Apsaras.  They who share their food with the deities and the Pitris pass their days in constant happiness with their sons and grandsons and at last, leaving off this body, attain to a very high end.’”


“Yudhishthira said, ’In this world, O Bharata, acts good and bad attach themselves to man for the purpose of producing fruits for enjoyment or endurance.  Is man, however, to be regarded as their doer or is he not to be regarded so?  Doubt fills my mind with respect to this question.  I desire to hear this in detail from thee, O grandsire!’

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The Mahabharata of Krishna-Dwaipayana Vyasa, Volume 3 from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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