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.
(in consequence of those declarations in them that sanction the slaughter of living creatures), whence have those other duties (fraught with entire harmlessness to all creatures) come to be regarded as authoritative?[1226] Men devoted to penances and endued with intelligence, and who have the Srutis and knowledge for their eyes, regard the injunctions of the Vedas, which have been declared through and compiled by the Rishis, to be the words of God himself.[1227] What can anybody say (by way of censure or praise) with respect to the contents of the Vedas when these happen to be the words of the Supreme Being himself who is freed from desire of fruit, who is without the fever (of envy and aversion), who is addicted to nothing, and who is destitute of all exertion (in consequence of the immediate fruition of all his wishes)?’

“Kapila said, ’I do not censure the Vedas.  I do not wish to say anything in derogation of them.  It hath been heard by us that the different courses of duty laid down for the different modes of life, all lead to the same end.  The Sannyasin attains to a high end.  The forest-recluse also attains to a high end.  Both the other two also, viz., the householder and the Brahmacharin, reach the same end.  All the four modes of life have always been regarded as Deva-yana ways.  The relative strength or weakness of these, as represented by their relative superiority or inferiority, hath been declared in the character of their respective ends.[1228]—­Knowing these, accomplish acts which lead to heaven and other blessings,—­this is a Vedic declaration.—­Do not accomplish acts,—­this also is another binding declaration of the Vedas.  If abstention from acts be meritorious, then their accomplishment must be exceedingly reprehensible.  When the scriptures stand thus, the strength or weakness of particular declarations must be very difficult to ascertain.  If thou knowest of any course of duty which is superior to the religion of harmlessness, and which depends upon direct evidence instead of that of the scriptures, do thou then discourse to me upon it.’

“Syumarasmi said, ’One should perform sacrifice from desire of heaven,—­this Sruti is constantly heard by us.  Thinking first of the fruit (that is to be attained), one makes preparations for sacrifice.  Goat, horse, cow, all species of birds, domestic or wild, and herbs and plants, are food of (other) living creatures.  This is heard by us.[1229] Food again has been directed to be taken day after day morning and evening.  Then again the Sruti declares that animals and grain are the limbs of Sacrifice.[1230] The Lord of the universe created them along with Sacrifice.  The puissant Lord of all creatures caused the deities to perform sacrifices with their aid.  Altogether seven (domestic) and seven (wild) animals are indicated as fit for sacrifice.  Instead of all being equally fit, each succeeding one is inferior to each preceding one.  The Vedas again declare that the whole universe is

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