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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.
world of lower animals?  Perchance, there is nothing wonderful in the matter, for all creatures are seen to evince kindly and generous feelings towards others.—­Assuming then the shape of a Brahmana, Sakra descended on the Earth and addressing the bird, said,—­O Suka, O best of birds, the grand-daughter (Suki) of Daksha has become blessed (by having thee as her offspring).  I ask thee, for what reason dost thou not leave this withered tree?—­Thus questioned, the Suka bowed unto him and thus replied:—­Welcome to thee O chief of the gods, I have recognised thee by the merit of my austere penances—­Well-done, well-done!—­exclaimed the thousand-eyed deity.  Then the latter praised him in his mind, saying,—­O, how wonderful is the knowledge which he possesses.—­Although the destroyer of Vala knew that parrot to be of a highly virtuous character and meritorious in action, he still enquired of him about the reason of his affection for the tree.  This tree is withered and it is without leaves and fruits and is unfit to be the refuge of birds.  Why dost thou then cling to it?  This forest, too, is vast and in this wilderness there are numerous other fine trees whose hollows are covered with leaves and which thou canst choose freely and to thy heart’s content.  O patient one exercising due discrimination in thy wisdom, do thou forsake this old tree that is dead and useless and shorn of all its leaves and no longer capable of any good.’”

“Bhishma said, ’The virtuous Suka, hearing these words of Sakra, heaved a deep sigh and sorrowfully replied unto him, saying—­O consort of Sachi, and chief of the gods, the ordinances of the deities are always to be obeyed.  Do thou listen to the reason of the matter in regard to which thou hast questioned me.  Here, within this tree, was I born, and here in this tree have I acquired all the good traits of my character, and here in this tree was I protected in my infancy from the assaults of my enemies.  O sinless one, why art thou, in thy kindness, tampering with the principle of my conduct in life?  I am compassionate, and devoutly intent on virtue, and steadfast in conduct.  Kindliness of feeling is the great test of virtue amongst the good, and this same compassionate and humane feeling is the source of perennial felicity to the virtuous.  All the gods question thee to remove their doubts in religion, and for this reason, O lord, thou hast been placed in sovereignty over them all.  It behoves thee not, O thousand-eyed one, to advise me now to abandon this tree for ever.  When it was capable of good, it supported my life.  How can I forsake it now?—­The virtuous destroyer of Paka, pleased with these well-meant words of the parrot, thus said to him:—­I am gratified with thy humane and compassionate disposition.  Do thou ask a boon of me.—­At this, the compassionate parrot craved this boon of him, saying,—­Let this tree revive.—­Knowing the great attachment of the parrot to that tree and his high character, Indra, well-pleased, caused the tree to be quickly

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