The Mahabharata of Krishna-Dwaipayana Vyasa, Volume 3 eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 2,413 pages of information about The Mahabharata of Krishna-Dwaipayana Vyasa, Volume 3.
with heavy burthens.  Others, again, are made to languish in consequence of treatment not sanctioned by the scriptures.  I think that such acts of injury done to animals are in no way distinguished from foeticide.  People regard the profession of agriculture to be sinless.  That profession, however, is certainly fraught with cruelty.  The iron-faced plough wounds the soil and many creatures that live in the soil.  Cast thy eyes, O Jajali, on those bullocks yoked to the plough.  Kine are called in the Srutis the Unslayable.  That man perpetrates a great sin who slays a bull or a cow.[1161] In days of yore, many Rishis with restrained senses addressed Nahusha, saying, ’Thou hast, O king, slain a cow which is declared in the scriptures to be like unto one’s mother.  Thou hast also slain a bull, which is declared to be like unto the Creator himself.[1162] Thou hast perpetrated an evil act, O Nahusha, and we have been exceedingly pained at it.’  For cleansing Nahusha, however, they divided that sin into a hundred and one parts and converting the fragments into diseases cast them among all creatures.[1163] Thus, O Jajali, did those highly-blessed Rishis cast that sin on all living creatures, and addressing Nahusha who had been guilty of foeticide, said, ’We shall not be able to pour libations in thy sacrifice.’  Thus said those high-souled Rishis and Yatis conversant with the truths of all things, having ascertained by their ascetic power that king Nahusha had not been intentionally guilty of that sin.[1164] These, O Jajali, are some of the wicked and dreadful practices that are current in this world.  Thou practisest them because they are practised by all men from ancient times, and not because they agree with the dictates of thy cleansed understanding.  One should practise what one considers to be one’s duty, guided by reasons, instead of blindly following the practices of the world.  Listen now, O Jajali, as to what my behaviour is towards him that injures and him that praises me.  I regard both of them in the same light.  I have none whom I like and none whom I dislike.  The wise applauded such a course of conduct as consistent with duty or religion.  Even this course of conduct, which is consistent with reasons, is followed by Yatis.  The righteous always observe it with eyes possessed of improved vision.’”

SECTION CCLXIII

“Jajali said, ’This course of duty that thou, O holder of scales, preachest, closes the door of heaven against all creatures and puts a stop to the very means of their subsistence.  From agriculture comes food.  That food offers subsistence even to thee.  With the aid of animals and of crops and herbs, human beings, O trader, are enabled to support their existence.  From animals and food sacrifices flow.  Thy doctrines smack of atheism.  This world will come to an end if the means by which life is supported have to be abandoned.’

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