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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.
If the wife or the younger brother happens to be sinful, her or his good must still be looked after.  Persons conversant with the efficacy of righteousness say that righteousness is the highest good.  The Upadhyaya is superior to even ten Acharyas.  The sire is equal to ten Upadhyayas.  The mother is equal to ten sires or even the whole earth.  There is no senior equal to the mother Verily, she transcends all in respect of the reverence due to her.[487] It is for this reason that people regard the mother to deserve so much reverence.  After the father has ceased to breathe, O Bharata, the eldest brother should be regarded as the father.  It is the eldest brother who should assign unto them their means of support and protect and cherish them.  All the younger brothers should bow to him and obey his authority.  Indeed, they should live in dependence upon him even as they did upon their father while he was alive.  So far as the body is concerned, O Bharata, it is the father and the mother that create it.  That birth, however, which the Acharya ordains, is regarded as the true birth, that is, besides, really unfading and immortal.  The eldest sister, O chief of Bharata’s race, is like unto the mother The wife of the eldest brother also is like unto the mother, for the younger brother, in infancy, receives, suck from her.’"[488]

SECTION CVI

“Yudhishthira said, ’The disposition is seen, O grandsire, in all the orders of men, including the very Mlechchhas, of observing fasts.  The reason, however, of this is not known to us.  It has been heard by us that only Brahmanas and Kshatriyas should observe the vow of fasts.  How, O grandsire, are the other orders to be taken as earning any merit by the observance of fasts?  How have vows and fasts come to be observed by persons of all orders, O king?  What is that end to which one devoted to the observance of fasts attains?  It has been said that fasts are highly meritorious and that fasts are a great refuge.  O prince of men, what is the fruit that is earned in this world by the man that observe fasts?  By what means is one cleansed of one’s sins?  By what means doth one acquire righteousness?  By what means, O best of the Bharatas, doth one succeed in acquiring heaven and merit?  After having observed a fast, what should one give away, O king?  O, tell me, what those duties are by which one may succeed in obtaining such objects as lead to happiness?’

“Vaisampayana continued, ’Unto Kunti’s son by the deity of Dharma, who was conversant with every duty and who said so unto him, Santanu’s son, Bhishma, who was acquainted with every duty, answered in the following words.’

“Bhishma, said, ’In former days, O king, I heard of these high merits, O chief of Bharata’s race, as attaching to the observance of fasts according to the ordinance, I had, O Bharata, asked the Rishi Angiras of high ascetic merit, the very same questions which thou hast asked me today.  Questioned by me thus, the illustrious Rishi, who sprang from the sacrificial fire, answered me even thus in respect of the observance of fasts according to the ordinance.’

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