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This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 2,413 pages of information about The Mahabharata of Krishna-Dwaipayana Vyasa, Volume 3.

“Janaka said, ’When all have sprung from Brahmana alone, how came human beings to have diversity in respect of race?  O best of ascetics, an infinite diversity of races is seen in this world.  How could men devoted to penances attain, to the status of Brahmanas, though of indiscriminate origin?  Indeed, those born of pure wombs and those of impure, all became Brahmanas.’

“Parasara said, ’O king, the status of high-souled persons that succeeded in cleansing their souls by penances could not be regarded as affected by their low births.  Great Rishis, O monarch, by begetting children in indiscriminate wombs, conferred upon them the status of Rishis by means of their power of asceticism.  My grandfather Vasishtha, Rishyasringa, Kasyapa, Veda, Tandya, Kripa, Kakshivat, Kamatha, and others, and Yavakrita, O king, and Drona, that foremost of speakers, and Ayu, and Matanga, and Datta, and Drupada, and Matsya, all these, O ruler of the Videhas, obtained their respective positions through penance as the means.  Originally only four Gotras (races) arose, O monarch, viz., Angiras, Kasyapa, Vasishtha, and Bhrigu.  In consequence of acts and behaviour, O ruler of men, many other Gotras came into existence in time.  The names of those Gotras have been due to the penances of those that have founded them.  Good people use them.’

“Janaka said, ’Tell me, O holy one, the especial duties of the several orders.  Tell me also what their common duties are.  Thou art conversant with everything.’

“Parasara said, ’Acceptance of gifts, officiation at the sacrifices of others, and the teaching of pupils, O king, are the especial duties of the Brahmanas.  The protection of the other orders is proper for the Kshatriya.  Agriculture, cattle-rearing, and trade are the occupations of the Vaisyas.  While service of the (three) regenerate classes is the occupation, O king, of the Sudras.  I have now told thee what the especial duties are of the four orders, O monarch.  Listen now to me, O child, as I tell thee what the common duties are of all the four orders.  Compassion, abstention from injury, heedfulness, giving to others what is due to them, Sraddhas in honour of deceased ancestors, hospitality to guests, truthfulness, subjugation of wrath, contentedness with one’s own wedded wives, purity (both internal and external), freedom from malice, knowledge of Self, and Renunciation,—­these duties, O king, are common to all the orders.  Brahmanas, Kshatriyas, and Vaisyas,—­these are the three regenerate orders.  All of them have an equal right to the performance of these duties, O foremost of men.  These three orders, betaking themselves to duties other than those laid down for them, come to grief, O monarch (and fall down from their own status), even as they go up and acquire great merit by taking for their model some righteous individual of their respective classes who is duly observant of his own duties.  The Sudra never falls down (by doing forbidden acts);

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