The Mahabharata of Krishna-Dwaipayana Vyasa, Volume 4 eBook

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

“The king said, ’When thou hast addressed me in this strain, O regenerate one, I am bound to enlighten thee, even if the matter be one that should not be divulged in thy hearing.  I must tell thee the truth.  Do thou listen to me with close attention, O regenerate one.  Listen to me, O foremost of twice-born persons, as I disclose to thee what happened (to us) in our former births.  I remember that birth.  Do thou listen to me with concentrated mind.  In my former life I was a Sudra employed in the practice of severe penances.  Thou, O best of regenerate persons, wert a Rishi of austere penances.  O sinless one, gratified with me, and impelled by the desire of doing me good, thou, O Brahmana, wert pleased to give me certain instructions in the rites I performed (on one occasion) in honour of my Pitris.  The instructions thou gayest me were in respect of the manner of spreading the Vrishi and the Kusa blades and of offering libations and meat and other food to the manes, O foremost of ascetics.  In consequence of this transgression of thine thou hast taken birth as a priest, and I have taken birth as a king, O foremost of Brahmanas.  Behold the vicissitudes that Time brings about.  Thou hast reaped this fruit in consequence of thy having instructed me (in my former birth).  It is for this reason, O Brahmana, that I smile at sight of thee, O foremost of regenerate persons.  I do not certainly laugh at thee from desire of disregarding thee.  Thou art my preceptor.[25] At this change of condition I am really very sorry.  My heart burns at the thought.  I remember our former births, hence do I laugh at sight of thee.  Thy austere penances were all destroyed by the instructions thou gayest me.  Relinquishing thy present office of priest, do thou endeavour to regain a superior birth.  Do thou exert so that thou mayst not obtain in thy next life a birth meaner than thy present one.  Take as much wealth as thou wishest.  O learned Brahmana, and cleanse thy soul, O best of men.’

“Bhishma continued, ’Dismissed by the king (from the office of priest), the Brahmana made many gifts, unto persons of his own order, of wealth and land and villages.  He observed many rigid and severe vows as laid down by the foremost of Brahmanas.  He sojourned to many sacred waters and made many gifts unto Brahmanas in those places.  Making gifts of kine unto persons of the regenerate order, his soul became cleansed and he succeeded in acquiring a knowledge of it.  Repairing to that very asylum whither he had lived in his former birth, he practised very severe penances.  As the consequence of all this, O foremost of kings, that Brahmana succeeded in attaining to the highest success.  He became an object of veneration with all the ascetics that dwelt in that asylum.  In this way, O best of monarchs, that regenerate Rishi fell into great distress.  Unto Sudras, therefore, the Brahmanas should never give instructions.  Hence, O king, the Brahmana should avoid imparting instructions (to such as are low-born),

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