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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.
from cruelty is the highest penance.  Abstention from cruelty is the highest sacrifice.  Abstention from cruelty is the highest puissance.  Abstention from cruelty is the highest friend.  Abstention from cruelty is the highest happiness.  Abstention from cruelty is the highest truth.  Abstention from cruelty is the highest Sruti.  Gifts made in all sacrifices, ablutions performed in all sacred waters, and the merit that one acquires from making all kinds of gifts mentioned in the scriptures,—­all these do not come up to abstention from cruelty (in point of the merit that attaches to it).  The penances of a man that abstains from cruelty are inexhaustible.  The man that abstains from cruelty is regarded as always performing sacrifices.  The man that abstains from cruelty is the father and mother of all creatures.  Even these, O chief of Kuru’s race, are some of the merits of abstention from cruelty.  Altogether, the merits that attach to it are so many that they are incapable of being exhausted even if one were to speak for a hundred years.”


“Yudhishthira said, ’Desiring to die or desiring to live, many persons give up their lives in the great sacrifice (of battle).  Tell me, O grandsire, what is the end that these attain to.  To throw away life in battle is fraught with sorrow for men.  O thou of great wisdom, thou knowest that to give up life is difficult for men whether they are in prosperity, or adversity, in felicity or calamity.  In my opinion, thou art possessed of omniscience.  Do thou tell me the reason of this.’

“Bhishma said, ’In prosperity or adversity, in happiness or woe, living creatures, O lord of the earth, coming into this world, live according to a particular tenor.  Listen to me as I explain the reason to thee.  The question thou hast asked me is excellent, O Yudhishthira!  In this connection, O king, I shall explain to thee the old narrative of the discourse that took place in former times between the Island-born Rishi and a crawling worm.  In days of old, when that learned Brahmana, viz., the Island-born Krishna, having identified himself with Brahma, roamed over the world, he beheld, on a road over which cars used to pass, a worm moving speedily.  The Rishi was conversant with the course of every creature and the language of every animal.  Possessed of omniscience, he addressed the worm he saw in these words.’

“Vyasa said, ’O worm, thou seemest to be exceedingly alarmed, and to be in great haste.  Tell me, whither dost thou run, and whence hast thou been afraid.’

“The worm said, ’Hearing the rattle of yonder large car I am filled with fear.  O thou of great intelligence, fierce is the roar it makes.  It is almost come!  The sound is heard.  Will it not kill me?  It is for this that I am flying away.  The sound, as it is heard from a near point, I catch, of the bulls I hear.  They are breathing hard under the whip of the driver, as they are drawing

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