The Mahabharata of Krishna-Dwaipayana Vyasa, Volume 4 eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 1,582 pages of information about The Mahabharata of Krishna-Dwaipayana Vyasa, Volume 4.

“Bhishma said, ’The person that, after having promised, does not give, be it little or much, has the mortification to see his hopes (in every direction) become fruitless like the hopes of a eunuch in respect of progeny.  Whatever good acts such a person does between the day of his birth and that of his death, O Bharata, whatever libations he pours on the sacrificial fire, whatever gifts he makes, O chief of Bharata’s race, and whatever penances he performs all become fruitless.  They that are conversant with the scriptures declare this as their opinion, arriving at it, O chief of the Bharatas, with the aid of a well-ordered understanding.  Persons conversant with the scriptures are also of opinion that such a man may be cleansed by giving away a thousand horses with ears of a dark hue.  In this connection is cited the old narrative of the discourse between a jackal and an ape.  While both were human beings, O scorcher of foes, they were intimate friends.  After death one of them became a jackal and the other an ape.  Beholding the jackal one day eating an animal carcase in the midst of a crematorium, the ape, remembering his own and his friend’s former birth as human beings, addressed him, saying,—­Verily, what terrible sin didst thou perpetrate in thy former birth in consequence of which thou art obliged in this birth to feed in a crematorium upon such repulsive fare as the putrid carcase of an animal?—­Thus addressed, the jackal replied unto the ape, saying,—­Having promised to give unto a Brahmana I did not make him the gift.  It is for that sin, O ape, that I have fallen into this wretched order of existence.  It is for that reason that, when hungry, I am obliged to eat such food.’

“Bhishma continued, ’The jackal then, O best of men, addressed the ape and said,—­What sin didst thou commit for which thou hast become an ape?’

“The ape said, ’In my former life I used to appropriate the fruits belonging to Brahmanas.  Hence have I become an ape.  Hence it is clear that one possessed of intelligence and learning should never appropriate what belongs to Brahmanas.  Verily, as one should abstain from this, one should avoid also all disputes with Brahmanas.  Having promised, one should certainly make the promised gift unto them.’

“Bhishma continued, ’I heard this, O king, from my preceptor while he was engaged in discoursing upon the subject of Brahmanas.  I heard this from that righteous person when he recited the old and sacred declaration on this topic.  I heard this from Krishna also, O king, while he was engaged in discoursing, O son of Pandu, upon Brahmanas.[14] The property of a Brahmana should never be appropriated.  They should always be let alone.  Poor, or miserly, or young in years, they should never be disregarded.  The Brahmanas have always taught me this.  Having promised to make them a gift, the gift should be made.  A superior Brahmana should never be disappointed in the matter of his expectations.  A Brahmana, O

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The Mahabharata of Krishna-Dwaipayana Vyasa, Volume 4 from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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