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This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 1,319 pages of information about The Mahabharata of Krishna-Dwaipayana Vyasa, Volume 4.

“Matanga said, ’Afflicted as I am with grief, why, O Sakra, dost thou afflict me further (with such speeches as these)?  Thou art striking one that is already dead, by this behaviour.  I do not pity thee for having acquired the status of a Brahmana thou now failest to retain it (for thou hast no compassion to show for one like me).  O thou of a hundred sacrifices, the status of a Brahmana as thou sayest be really unattainable by any of the three other orders, yet, men that have succeeded in acquiring (through natural means) that high status do not adhere to it (for what sins do net even Brahmanas commit).  Those who having acquired the status of a Brahmana that, like affluence, is so difficult to acquire, do not seek to keep it up (by practising the necessary duties), must be regarded to be the lowest of wretches in this world.  Indeed, they are the most sinful of all creatures.  Without doubt, the status of a Brahmana is exceedingly difficult to attain, and once being attained, it is difficult to maintain it.  It is capable of dispelling every kind of grief.  Alas, having attained to it, men do not always seek to keep it up (by practising righteousness and the other duties that attach to it).  When even such persons are regarded as Brahmanas why is it that I, who am contented with my own self, who am above all couples of opposites, who am dissociated from all worldly objects, who am observant of the duty of compassion towards all creatures and of self-restraint of conduct, should not be regarded as deserving of that status.[249] How unfortunate I am, O Purandara, that through the fault of my mother I have been reduced to this condition, although I am not unrighteous in my behaviour?  Without doubt, Destiny is incapable of being warded off or conquered by individual exertion, since, O lord, I am unable to acquire, notwithstanding these persistent efforts of mine, the object, upon the acquisition of which I have set my heart.  When such is the case, O righteous one, it behoves thee to grant me some other boon if, indeed, I have become worthy of thy grace or if I have a little of merit.’

“Bhishma continued, ’The slayer of Vala and Vritra then said unto him,—­Do thou name the boon.—­Thus urged by the great Indra, Matanga said the following words: 

“Matanga said, ’Let me be possessed of the power of assuming any form at will, and journeying through the skies and let me enjoy whatever pleasures I may set my heart upon.  And let me also have the willing adorations of both Brahmanas and Kshatriyas.  I bow to thee by bending my head, O god.  It behoveth thee to do that also by which my fame, O Purandara, May live for ever in the world.’

“Sakra said, ’Thou shalt be celebrated as the deity of a particular measure of verse and thou shalt obtain the worship of all woman.  Thy fame, O son, shall become unrivalled in the three worlds.’—­Having granted him these boons, Vasava disappeared there and then.  Matanga also, casting off his life-breaths, attained to a high place.  Thou mayst thus see, O Bharata, that the status of a Brahmana is very high.  That status is incapable of being acquired here (except in the natural way of birth) as said by the great Indra himself.’

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