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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.
sprinkled over with nectar.  Then that tree became replenished and attained to exquisite grandeur through the penances of the parrot, and the latter too, O great king, at the close of his life, obtained the companionship of Sakra by virtue of that act of compassion.  Thus, O lord of men, by communion and companionship with the pious, people attain all the objects of their desire even as the tree die through its companionship with the parrot.’”

SECTION VI

“Yudhishthira said, ’Tell me, O learned sire that art versed in all the scriptures, of Exertion and Destiny which is the most powerful?’

“Bhishma said, ’This ancient story of the conversation of Vasishtha and Brahma, O Yudhishthira, is an illustration in point.  In olden times the adorable Vasishtha enquired of Brahma as to which among these two, viz., the Karma of a creature acquired in this life, or that acquired in previous lives (and called Destiny), is the more potent in shaping his life.  Then, O king, the great god Brahma, who had sprung from the primeval lotus, answered him in these exquisite and well-reasoned words, full of meaning.’”

“Brahma said, ’Nothing comes into existence without seed.  Without seed, fruits do not grow.  From seeds spring other seeds.  Hence are fruits known to be generated from seeds.  Good or bad as the seed is that the husbandman soweth in his field, good or bad are the fruits that he reaps.  As, unsown with seed, the soil, though tilled, becomes fruitless, so, without individual Exertion, Destiny is of no avail.  One’s own acts are like the soil, and Destiny (or the sum of one’s acts in previous births) is compared to the seed.  From the union of the soil and the seed doth the harvest grow.  It is observed every day in the world that the doer reaps the fruit of his good and evil deeds; that happiness results from good deeds, and pain from evil ones; that acts, when done, always fructify; and that, if not done, no fruit arises.  A man of (good) acts acquires merits with good fortune, while an idler falls away from his estate, and reaps evil like the infusion of alkaline matter injected into a wound.  By devoted application, one acquires beauty, fortune, and riches of various kinds.  Everything can be secured by Exertion:  but nothing can be gained through Destiny alone, by a man that is wanting in personal Exertion.  Even so does one attain to heaven, and all the objects of enjoyment, as also the fulfilment of one’s heart’s desires by well-directed individual Exertion.  Al! the luminous bodies in the firmament, all the deities, the Nagas, and the Rakshasas, as also the Sun and the Moon and the Winds, have attained to their high status by evolution from man’s status, through dint of their own action.  Riches, friends, prosperity descending from generation to generation, as also the graces of life, are difficult of attainment by those that are wanting in Exertion.  The Brahmana

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