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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.

“Bhishma continued, ’Thus addressed by the chief of the deities, the ascetic, viz., Agastya, who had been very angry, took back his stalks.  Endued with great intelligence, the Rishi became cheerful.  After this, those denizens of the woods proceeded to diverse other sacred waters.  Indeed, repairing to those sacred waters they performed their ablutions everywhere.  The man who reads this narrative with close attention on every Parva day, will not have to become the progenitor of an ignorant and wicked son.  He will never be destitute of learning.  No calamity will ever touch him.  He will, besides, be free from every kind of sorrow.  Decrepitude and decay will never be his.  Freed from stains and evil of every kind, and endued with merit, he is sure to attain to Heaven.  He who studies this Sastra observed by the Rishis, is sure, O prince of men, to attain to the eternal region of Brahman that is full of felicity!’"[437]

SECTION XCV

“Yudhishthira said, ’O chief of Bharata’s rare, by whom was the custom of giving umbrellas and sandals at obsequial ceremonies introduced?  Why was it introduced and for what purpose are those gifts made?  They are given not only at obsequial ceremonies but also at other religious rites.  They are given on many occasions with a view to acquiring religious merit.  I wish to know, in detail, O regenerate one, the true meaning of this custom!’”

“Bhishma said, ’Do thou, O prince, attentively listen to the details I shall recite in respect of the custom of giving away umbrellas and shoes at religious rites, and as to how and by whom it was introduced.  I shall also tell thee in full, O prince, how it acquired the force of a permanent observance and how it came to be viewed as a meritorious act.  I shall, in this connection, recite the narrative of the discourse between Jamadagni and the high-souled Surya.  In ancient times, the illustrious Jamadagni, O puissant king, of Bhrigu’s race, was engaged in practising with his bow.  Taking his aim, he shot arrow after arrow.  His wife Renuka used to pick up the shafts when shot and repeatedly bring them back to that descendant, endued with blazing energy, of Bhrigu’s race.  Pleased with the whizzing noise of his arrows and the twang of his bow, he amused himself thus by repeatedly discharging his arrows which Renuka brought back into him.  One day, at noontide, O monarch, in that month when the sun was in Jyesthamula, the Brahmana, having discharged all his arrows, said to Renuka, ’O large-eyed lady, go and fetch me the shafts I have shot from my bow, O thou of beautiful eye-brows!  I shall again shoot them with my bow.’  The lady proceeded on her errand but was compelled to sit under the shade of a tree, in consequence of her head and feet being scorched by the heat of the sun.  The black-eyed and graceful Renuka, having rested for only a moment, feared the curse of her husband and, therefore, addressed herself again to the task of collecting and bringing back the arrows.  Taking them with her, the celebrated lady of graceful features came back, distressed in mind and her feet smarting with pain.  Trembling with fear, she approached her husband.  The Rishi, filled with wrath, repeatedly addressed his fair-faced spouse, saying, ’O Renuka, why hast thou teen so late in returning?’”

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