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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.
to a residence in Indra’s heaven hereafter.[288] That king who, going out, fights his foes in battles that have arisen for the sake of Brahmanas and lays down his life, comes to be regarded as the embodiment of a sacrifice with illimitable presents.  If a king, with his quivers full of shafts, shoots them fearlessly at his foes, the very gods do not see anyone on earth that is superior to him.  In such a case, equal to the number of shafts with which he pierces the bodies of his enemies, is the number of regions that he enjoys, eternal and capable of granting every wish.  The blood that flows from his body cleanses him of All his sins along with the very pain that he feels on the occasion.  Persons conversant with the scriptures say that the pains a Kshatriya suffers in battle operate as penances for enhancing his merit.  Righteous persons, inspired with fear, stay in the rear, soliciting life from heroes that have rushed to battle, even as men solicit rain from the clouds.  If those heroes, without permitting the beseechers to incur the dangers of battle, keep them in the rear by themselves facing those dangers and defend them at that time of fear, great becomes their merit.  If, again, those timid p sons, appreciating that deed of bravery, always respect those defenders, they do what is proper and just.  By acting otherwise they cannot free themselves from fear.  There is great difference between men apparently equal.  Some rush to battle, amid its terrible din, against armed ranks of foes.  Indeed, the hero rushes against crowds of foes, adopting the road to heaven.  He, however, who is inspired with dastardly fear, seeks safety in flight, deserting his comrades in danger.  Let not such wretches among men be born in thy race.  The very gods with Indra at their head send calamities unto them that desert their comrades in battle and come with unwounded limbs.  He who desires to save his own life-breaths by deserting his comrades, should be slain with sticks or stones or rolled in a mat of dry grass for being burnt to death.  Those amongst the Kshatriyas that would be guilty of such conduct should be killed after the manner of killing animals.[289] Death on a bed of repose, after ejecting phlegm and urine and uttering piteous cries, is sinful for a Kshatriya.  Persons acquainted with the scriptures do not applaud the death which a Kshatriya encounters with unwounded body.  The death of a Kshatriya, O sire, at home is not praiseworthy.  They are heroes.  Any unheroic act of theirs is sinful and inglorious.  In disease, one may be heard to cry, saying, ’What sorrow!  How painful!  I must be a great sinner.’  With face emaciated and stench issuing fro in his body and clothes, the sick man plunges his relatives into grief.  Coveting the condition of those that are hale, such a man (amidst his tortures) repeatedly desires for death itself.  One that is a hero, having dignity and pride, does not deserve such in inglorious death.  Surrounded by kinsmen and slaughtering
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