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.

“Bhishma said, ’In this connection I shall narrate to thee what the celebrated king Janaka had enquired, in days of yore, of the high-souled Parasara, ’What is beneficial for all creatures both in this world and the next!  Do thou tell me what should be known by all this connection.’  Thus questioned, Parasara, possessed of great ascetic merit and conversant with the ordinances of every religion,[1497] said these words, desirous of favouring the king.’

“Parasara said, ’Righteousness earned by acts is supreme benefit both in this world and the next.  The sages of the old have said that there is nothing higher than Righteousness.  By accomplishing the duties of righteousness a man becomes honoured in heaven.  The Righteousness, again, of embodied creatures, O best of kings, consists in the ordinance (laid down in the scriptures) on the subject of acts.[1498] All good men belonging to the several modes of life, establishing their faith on that righteousness, accomplish their respective duties.[1499] Four methods of living, O child, have been ordained in this world. (Those four methods are the acceptance of gifts for Brahmanas; the realisation of taxes for Kshatriyas; agriculture for Vaisyas; and service of the three other classes for the Sudras).  Wherever men live the means of support come to them of themselves.  Accomplishing by various ways acts that are virtuous or sinful (for the purpose of earning their means of support), living creatures, when dissolved into their constituent elements attain to diverse ends.[1500] As vessels of white brass, when steeped in liquefied gold or silver, catch the hue of these metals, even so a living creature, who is completely dependent upon the acts of his past lives takes his colour from the character of those acts.  Nothing can sprout forth without a seed.  No one can obtain happiness without having accomplished acts capable of leading to happiness.  When one’s body is dissolved away (into its constituent elements), one succeeds in attaining to happiness only in consequence of the good acts of previous lives.  The sceptic argues, O child, saying, I do not behold that anything in this world is the result of destiny or the virtuous and sinful acts of past lives.  Inference cannot establish the existence or operation of destiny.[1501] The deities, the Gandharvas and the Danavas have become what they are in consequence of their own nature (and not of their acts of past lives).  People never recollect in their next lives the acts done by them in previous ones.  For explaining the acquisition of fruits in any particular life people seldom name the four kinds of acts alleged to have been accomplished in past lives.[1502] The declarations having the Vedas for their authority have been made for regulating the conduct of men in this world, and for tranquillizing the minds of men.  These (the sceptic says), O child, cannot represent the utterances of men possessed of true wisdom.  This opinion is wrong.  In

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