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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.
Indeed, O king, Suka embraced in his enquiry the welfare of the monarch’s followers and officers also.  Receiving Suka’s permission, Janaka sat down with all his followers.  Endued with a high soul and possessed of high birth, the monarch, with joined hands, sat down on the bare ground and enquired after the welfare and unabated prosperity of Vyasa’s son.  The monarch then asked his guest the object of his visit.

“Suka said, Blessed be thou, my sire said unto me that his Yajamana, the ruler of the Videhas, known all over the world by the name of Janaka, is well-versed in the religion of Emancipation.  He commanded me to come to him without delay, if I had any doubts requiring solution in the matter of the religion of either Pravritti or Nivritti.  He gave me to understand that the king of Mithila would dispel all my doubts.  I have, therefore, come hither, at the command of my sire, for the purpose of taking lessons from thee.  It behoveth thee, O foremost of all righteous persons, to instruct me!  What are the duties of a Brahmana, and what is the essence of those duties that have Emancipation for their object.  How also is Emancipation to be obtained?  Is it obtainable by the aid of knowledge or by that of penances?

’Janaka said, Hear what the duties are of a Brahmana from the time of his birth.  After his investiture, O son, with the sacred-thread, he should devote his attention to the study of the Vedas.  By practising penances and dutifully serving his preceptor and observing the duties of Brahmacharyya, O puissant one, he should pay off the debt he owes to the deities and the Pitris, and cast off all malice.  Having studied the Vedas with close attention and subjugated his senses, and having given his preceptor the tuition fee, he should, with the permission of his preceptor, return home.  Returning home, he should betake himself to the domestic mode of life and weeding a spouse confine himself to her, and live freeing himself from every kind of malice, and having established his domestic fire.  Living in the domestic mode, he should procreate sons and grandsons.  After that, he should retire to the forest, and continue to worship the same fires and entertain guests with cordial hospitality.  Living righteously in the forest, he should at last establish his fire in his soul, and freed from all pairs of opposites, and casting off all attachments from the soul, he should pass his days in the mode called Sannyasa which is otherwise called the mode of Brahma.

“’Suka said, If one succeeds in attaining to an understanding cleansed by study of the scriptures and to true conceptions of all things, and if the heart succeeds in freeing itself permanently from the effects of all pairs of opposites, is it still necessary for such a person to adopt, one after another, the three modes of life called Brahmacharyya, Garhastya, and Vanaprastha?  This is what I ask thee.  It behoveth thee to tell me.  Indeed, O ruler of men, do tell me this according to the true import of the Vedas!

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