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.

“Bhishma continued, ’Thou shouldst, therefore, protect the Brahmanas.  Protected by thee, they will protect thee in return.  Their blessings, O king, would surely descend upon kings of righteous behaviour.  For the sake of righteousness, those Brahmanas that are not observant of the duties of their order should be chastised and separated (into a distinct class) from their superiors.  A king who conducts himself in this way towards the people of his city and the provinces, obtains prosperity here and residence in heaven with Indra.’”


“Yudhishthira said, ’It has been said that in seasons of distress a Brahmana may support himself by the practice of Kshatriya duties.  Can he, however, at any time, support himself by the practice of the duties laid down for the Vaisyas?’

“Bhishma said, ’When a Brahmana loses his means of support and falls into distress, he may certainly betake himself to the practices of a Vaisya and derive his support by agriculture and keeping cattle, if, of course, he is incompetent for Kshatriya duties.’

“Yudhishthira said, ’If a Brahmana, O bull of Bharata’s race, betakes himself to the duties of a Vaisya, what articles may he sell without losing his prospect of heaven?’

“Bhishma said, ’Wines, salt, sesamum seeds, animals having manes, bulls, honey, meat, and cooked food, O Yudhishthira, under all circumstances, a Brahmana should avoid.  A Brahmana, by selling these, would sink into hell.  A Brahmana, by selling a goat, incurs the sin of selling the god of fire; by selling a sheep, the sin of selling the god of water; by selling a horse, the sin of selling the god of the sun; by selling cooked food, the sin of selling land; and by selling a cow, the sin of selling sacrifice and the Soma juice.  These, therefore, should not be sold (by a Brahmana).  They that are good do not applaud the purchase of uncooked food by giving cooked food in exchange.  Uncooked food, however, may be given for procuring cooked food, O Bharata![234] ’We will eat this cooked food of thine.  Thou mayst cook these raw things (that we give in exchange).’—­In a compact of this kind there is no sin.  Listen, O Yudhishthira, I shall speak to thee of the eternal practice, existing from days of old, of persons conducting themselves according to approved usages.  ‘I give thee this.  Give me this other thing in return.’  Exchange by such agreement is righteous.  To take things by force, however, is sinful.  Even such is the course of the usage followed by the Rishis and others.  Without doubt, this is righteous.’

“Yudhishthira said, ’When, O sire, all the orders, giving up their respective duties, take up arms against the king, then, of course, the power of the king decreases.—­By what means should the king then become the protector and refuge of the people?  Resolve this doubt of mine, O king, by speaking to me in detail.’

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