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.
four orders are holy.  All the orders bear towards one another to relation of consanguinity, through the intermediate classes.  They have all sprung from Brahmanas.  In ascertaining (the priority or subsequence of men in respect of their creation) it will appear that amongst all the orders the Brahmana was created first.  Originally Saman was one; Yajus was one, and Rich was one.[193] In this connection, persons conversant with ancient histories cite a verse, O king, sung in praise of sacrifice by the Vaikhanasa Munis on the occasion of performing a sacrifice of theirs.  Before or after sunrise a person of subdued senses, with heart filled with devotion, poureth libations on the (sacrificial) fire according to the ordinance.  Devotion is a mighty agent.  With regard to homas again, that variety which is called skanna is the initial one, while that which is called askanna is the last (but foremost in point of merit).  Sacrifices are multifarious.  Their rites and fruits again are multifarious.  The Brahmana possessed of devotion who, endued with scriptural learning, who is acquainted with them all, is competent to perform sacrifices.  That person who desires to perform a sacrifice is regarded as righteous even if he happens to be a thief, a sinner, or the worst of sinners.  The Rishis applaud such a man.  Without doubt they are right.  This then is the conclusion that all the orders should always and by every means in their power perform sacrifices.  There is nothing in the three worlds equal to sacrifice.  Therefore, it has been said that every one with heart free from malice, should perform sacrifices, aided by devotion which is sacred, to the best of his power and according as he pleases.’”

SECTION LXI

“Bhishma said, ’O mighty-armed one, listen now to me, O thou of prowess incapable of being baffled, as I mention the names of the four modes of life and the duties in respect of each.  The four modes are Vanaprastha, Bhaikshya, Garhasthya of great merit, and Brahmacharya which is adopted by Brahmanas.  Undergoing the purificatory rite in respect of bearing matted locks, after having gone through the rite of regeneration and performed for some time the rites in respect of the sacred fire and studied the Vedas, one should, with cleansed soul and senses under restraint, having first carefully performed all the duties of the mode called Garhasthya, proceed, with or without his wife, to the woods for adoption of the mode called Vanaprastha.  Having studied the scriptures called Aranyakas, having drawn up his vital fluid and having retired from all worldly affairs, the virtuous recluse may then attain to an absorption with the eternal Soul knowing no decay.  These are the indications of Munis that have drawn up their vital fluid.  A learned Brahmana, O king, should first practise and perform them.  The Brahmana, O king, that is desirous of emancipation, it is well known, is competent

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