of evil. They that are born under an auspicious
constellation on an auspicious lunation and at an auspicious
hour, strive their best for performing sacrifices,
practising charity, and procreating children, and
desiring to pass their time cheerfully in those acts,
at last win very great happiness. They, on the
other hand, that are born under evil constellations,
inauspicious lunations, and at evil hours, become
destitute of sacrifices and progeny and at last fall
into the Asura order. In my former life I had
much useless learning. I always sought for reasons
and had very little faith. I was a slanderer of
the Vedas. I was destitute of the (fourfold) objects
of life, and was devoted to that science of argumentation
which is based upon ocular or tangible proofs.
I used to utter words based on (plausible) reasons.
Indeed, in assemblies, I always spoke of reasons (and
never faith). I used to speak irreverently of
the declarations of the Srutis and address Brahmanas
in domineering tones. I was an unbeliever, skeptical
of everything, and though really ignorant, proud of
my learning. This status of a jackal that I have
obtained in this life is the consequence, O regenerate
one, of those sins of mine! If even after hundreds
of days and nights I that am a jackal can once again
obtain the status of humanity, I shall then pass my
life in contentment, heedful of the true objects of
existence, and engaged in sacrifices and gifts.
I shall then know what should be known, and avoid
what should be avoided!’ Thus addressed, the
ascetic Kasyapa, rising up, said, ’O, thou art
certainly possessed of knowledge and great intelligence!
I am really surprised at all this!’ With eyes
whose vision was extended by knowledge, the Brahmana
then beheld that being who had addressed him to be
Indra, chief of the gods and the lord of Sachi.
Kasyapa then worshipped that god having the best of
steeds for the animal that bore him. Receiving
afterwards the god’s permission, the Brahmana
returned to his abode.’”
“Yudhishthira said, ’Tell me, O grandsire,
if gifts, sacrifices, penances, and dutiful services
returned to preceptors, are productive of wisdom and
’Bhishma said, ’If the mind becomes affected
by desire, wrath and other evil passions, it then
runs towards sin. If one’s acts are stained
by sin, one is obliged to dwell in painful regions.
Sinful men take birth in indigent circumstances and
repeatedly suffer the pangs of famine, woe, fear,
and death. Those that are virtuous in their acts,
and possessed of faith, and that have their senses
under control, become born as affluent men and repeatedly
sport in festivities and heaven and happiness.
Unbelievers, with their arms manacled, are sent to
regions rendered inaccessible by carnivorous beasts
and elephants and full of terrors in consequence of
snakes and robbers. What more need be said of