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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.

SECTION CLIII

“Yudhishthira said, ’Hast thou, O grandsire, ever seen or heard of any mortal restored to life after having succumbed to death?’

“Bhishma said, ’Listen, O king, to this story of the discourse between a vulture and a jackal as happened of old.  Indeed, the occurrence took place in the forest of Naimisha.  Once upon a time a Brahmana had, after great difficulties, obtained a son of large expansive eyes.  The child died of infantile convulsions.  Some (amongst his kinsmen), exceedingly agitated by grief and indulging in loud lamentations, took up the boy of tender years, that sole wealth of his family.  Taking the deceased child they proceeded in the direction of the crematorium, Arrived there, they began to take the child from one another’s breast and cry more bitterly in grief.  Recollecting with heavy hearts the former speeches of their darling again and again, they were unable to return home casting the body on the bare ground.  Summoned by their cries, a vulture came there and said these words:  ’Go ye away and do not tarry, ye that have to cast off but one child.  Kinsmen always go away leaving on this spot thousands of men and thousands of women brought here in course of time.  Behold, the whole universe is subject to weal and woe.  Union and disunion may be seen in turns.  They that have come to the crematorium bringing with them the dead bodies of kinsmen, and they that sit by those bodies (from affection), themselves disappear from the world in consequence of their own acts when the allotted periods of their own lives run out.  There is no need of your lingering in the crematorium, this horrible place, that is full of vultures and jackals and that abounds with skeletons and inspires every creature with dread.  Whether friend or foe, no one ever comes back to life having once succumbed to the power of Time.  Such, indeed, is the fate of all creatures, In this world of mortals, every one that is born is sure to die.  Who shalt restore to life one that is dead and gone on the way ordained by the Destroyer?  At this hour when men are about to close their daily toil, the Sun is retiring to the Asta hills.  Go ye to your homes, casting off this affection for the child.’  Hearing these words of the vulture, the grief of the kinsmen seemed to abate, and placing the child on the bare ground they prepared to go away.  Assuring themselves of the fact that the child had died and despairing of seeing him again, they began to retrace their steps, indulging in loud lamentations.  Assured beyond doubt, and despairing of restoring the dead to life, they cast off that offspring of their race, and prepared to turn back from that spot.  At this time a jackal, black as a raven, issued out of his hole and addressed those departing kinsmen, saying, ’Surely, ye that are kinsmen of that deceased child have no affection.  There the sun still shineth in the sky, ye fools!  Indulge your feelings, without fear.  Multifarious

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