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.

SECTION CIII

“Yudhishthira said, ’Thou hast discoursed to us on diverse kinds of gift, on tranquillity of soul, on Truth, on compassion, on contentment with one’s wedded wife, and the merits of gift.  It is known to thee, O grandsire, that there is nothing whose puissance is superior to that of penances.  It behoveth thee to expound to us what constitutes the highest penances.’

“Bhishma said, ’I tell thee, O Yudhishthira, that one attains to a region of felicity that corresponds with the kind of penances that one observes.  This is what I hold, O son of Kunti, that there is no penance that is superior to abstention from food!  In this connection is recited the ancient narrative of the discourse between Bhagiratha and the illustrious Brahman (the Grandsire of the Creation).  It has been heard by us, O Bharata, that Bhagiratha attained to that region which transcends that of the deities, of kine, and of the Rishis.  Beholding this, O monarch, the Grandsire Brahman, addressing Bhagiratha, said, ’How, O Bhagiratha, hast thou attained to this region that is so difficult of attainment?  Neither the deities, nor Gandharvas, nor human beings, O Bhagiratha succeed in coming here without having practised the severest austerities.  How, indeed, hast thou attained to this region?’

“Bhagiratha said, ’I used to make gifts of hundreds of thousands of gold coin unto the Brahmanas, observing the Brahmacharya vow all the while, it is not through the merit on those gifts, O learned one, that I have attained to this region.  I performed the Ekaratra sacrifice for ten times, and the Pancharatra sacrifice for as many times.  The Ekadasaratra sacrifice was performed by me eleven times.  The great sacrifice of Jyotishtoma was performed by me a hundred times.  It is not, however, through the merits of those sacrifices that I have attained to this region of felicity.[454] For a hundred years I lived continuously by the side of the holy Jahnavi, all the while practising the severest austerities.  There I made gifts unto the Brahmanas of thousands of male and female slaves.  By the side of the Pushkara lakes I made gifts unto the Brahmanas, for a hundred thousand times, a hundred thousand steeds, and two hundred thousand kine.  I also gave away a thousand damsels of great beauty, each adorned with golden moons, and sixty thousand more decked with ornaments of pure gold.  It is not, however, through the merits of those acts that I have succeeded in attaining to these regions.[455] O lord of the universe, performing those sacrifices known by the name of Gosava, I gave away ten Arvudas of kine, presenting each Brahmana with ten kine, each of whom was accompanied with her calf, each of whom yielded milk at the time, and with each of whom were given a vessel of gold and one of white brass for milking her.  Performing many Soma sacrifices, I gave away unto each Brahmana ten kine each of whom yielded milk, and each of whom had

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