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.

“Arjuna said, ’In this connection an old history is cited, viz., the discourse between certain ascetics and Sakra, O bull of Bharata’s race!  A number of well-born Brahmana youth of little understanding, without the hirsute honours of manhood, abandoning their homes, came to the woods for leading a forest life.  Regarding that to be virtue, those youths of abundant resources became desirous of living as Brahmacharins, having abandoned their brothers and sires.  It so happened that Indra became compassionate towards them.  Assuming the form of a golden bird, the holy Sakra addressed them, saying, ’That which is done by persons that eat the remnants of a sacrifice is the most difficult of acts that men can achieve.[16] Such an act is highly meritorious.  The lives of such men are worthy of every praise.  Having attained the object of life, those men, devoted to virtue obtain the highest end.’  Hearing these words, the Rishis said, ’Lo, this bird applauds those that subsist upon the remnants of sacrifices.  He informs us of it, for we live upon such remnants.’  The bird then said, ‘I do not applaud you.’  Ye are stationed with mire and very impure.  Living upon offals, ye are wicked.  Ye are not persons subsisting upon the remnants of sacrifice.’

“The Rishis said, ’We regard this our course of life to be highly blessed.  Tell us, O bird, what is for our good.  Thy words inspire us with great faith.’

“The bird said, ’If you do not refuse me your faith by arraying yourselves against your better selves, then I shall tell you words that are true and beneficial.’

“The Rishis said, ’We shall listen to thy words, O sire, for the different paths are all known to thee.  O thou of righteous soul, we desire also to obey thy commands.  Instruct us now.’

“The bird said, ’Among quadrupeds the cow is the foremost.  Of metals, gold is the foremost.  Of words, mantras, and of bipeds, the Brahmanas, are the foremost.  These mantras regulate all the rites of a Brahmana’s life beginning with those appertaining to birth and the period after it, and ending with those appertaining to death and the crematorium.  These Vedic rites are his heaven, path, and foremost of sacrifices.  If it were otherwise, how could I find the acts (of persons in quest of heaven) become successful through mantras?  He who, in this world, adores his soul, firmly regarding it to be a deity of a particular kind, obtains success consistent with the nature of that particular deity.[17] The seasons measured by half the months lead to the Sun, the Moon, or the Stars.[18] These three kinds of success, depending upon action are desired by every creature.  The domestic mode of life is very superior and sacred and is called the field (for the cultivation) of success.  By what path do those men go that censure action?  Of little understanding and deprived of wealth, they incur sin.  And since those men of little understanding live by abandoning the eternal paths of the gods, the

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