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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.

“Bhishma said, ’In this connection is cited the old narrative of the discourse between a preceptor and his disciple on the subject of Emancipation.  There was a regenerate preceptor who was the foremost of Rishis.  He looked like a mass of splendour.  Possessed of a high soul, he was firm in truth and a complete master of his senses.  Once on a time, a disciple of great intelligence and close attention, desirous of obtaining what was for his highest good, touched the preceptor’s feet, and standing with joined hands before him, said, If, O illustrious one, thou hast been gratified with the worship I have offered thee, it behoveth thee to solve a great doubt of mine.  Whence am I and whence art thou?  Tell me this fully.  Tell me also what is the final cause.  Why also, O best of regenerate ones, when the material cause in all beings is the same, their origin and destruction happen in such dissimilar ways?  It beseems thee, O thou of great learning, also to explain the object of the declarations in the Vedas (about difference of rites in respect of different classes of men), the meaning of the injunctions of the Smritis and of those injunctions which apply to all cases of men.’[715]

“The preceptor said, ’Listen, O disciple, O thou of great wisdom!  This that thou hast asked me is undisclosed in the very Vedas and is the highest subject for thought or discourse.  It is called Adhyatma and is the most valuable of all branches of learning and of all sacred institutes.  Vasudeva is the Supreme (cause) of the universe.  He is the origin of the Vedas (viz., Om).  He is Truth, Knowledge, Sacrifice, Renunciation, Self-restraint, and Righteousness.  Persons conversant with the Vedas know Him as All-pervading, Eternal, Omnipresent, the Creator and the Destroyer, the Unmanifest, Brahma, Immutable.  Hear now the story of Him who took his birth in Vrishni’s race.  A Brahmana should hear of the greatness of that God of gods, viz., Him called Vishnu of immeasurable energy, from the lips of Brahmanas.  A person of the royal order should hear it from persons of that order.  One who is a Vaisya should hear it from Vaisyas, and a high-souled Sudra should hear it from Sudras.  Thou deservest to hear it.  Listen now to the auspicious account of Krishna, that narrative which is the foremost of all narratives.  Vasudeva is the wheel of Time, without beginning and without end.  Existence and Non-existence are the attributes by which His real nature is known.  The universe revolves like a wheel depending upon that Lord of all beings.  O best of men, Kesava, that foremost of all beings, is said to be that which is Indestructible, that which is Unmanifest, that which is Immortal, Brahma, and Immutable.  The highest of the high, and without change or deterioration himself, he created the Pitris, the gods, the Rishis, the Yakshas, the Rakshasas, the Nagas, the Asuras, and human beings.  It is He who also created the Vedas and the eternal duties and customs of men.  Having reduced everything

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