The Mahabharata of Krishna-Dwaipayana Vyasa, Volume 4 eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 1,582 pages of information about The Mahabharata of Krishna-Dwaipayana Vyasa, Volume 4.
fires sanctified with Mantras and cast off his body.  By pursuing this line of conduct he takes birth in his next life as a Brahmana.  Endued with knowledge and science, purified from all dross, and fully conversant with the Vedas, a pious Kshatriya, by his own acts, becomes a Brahmana.  It is with the aid of these acts, O goddess, that a person who has sprung from a degraded order, viz., a Sudra, may become a Brahmana refined of all stains and possessed of Vedic lore, One that is a Brahmana, when he becomes wicked in conduct and observes no distinction in respect of food, falls away from the status of Brahmanahood and becomes a Sudra.  Even a Sudra, O goddess, that has purified his soul by pure deeds and that has subjugated all his senses, deserves to be waited upon and served with reverence as a Brahmana.  This has been said by the Self-born Brahmana himself.  When a pious nature and pious deeds are noticeable in even a Sudra, he should, according to my opinion, be held superior to a person of the three regenerate classes.  Neither birth, nor the purificatory rites, nor learning, nor offspring, can be regarded as grounds for conferring upon one the regenerate status.  Verily, conduct is the only ground.  All Brahmanas in this world are Brahmanas in consequence of conduct.  A Sudra, if he is established on good conduct, is regarded as possessed of the status of a Brahmana.  The status of Brahma, O auspicious lady, is equal wherever it exists.  Even this is my opinion.  He, indeed, is a Brahmana in whom the status of Brahma exists,—­that condition which is bereft of attributes and which has no stain attached to it.  The boon-giving Brahma, while he created all creatures, himself said that the distribution of human beings into the four orders dependent on birth is only for purposes of classification.  The Brahmana is a great field in this world,—­a field equipped with feet for it moves from place to place.  He who plants seeds in that field, O beautiful lady, reaps the crop in the next world.  That Brahmana who wishes to achieve his own good should always live upon the remains of the food that may be there in his house after gratifying the needs of all others.  He should always adhere to the path of righteousness.  Indeed, he should tread along the path that belongs to Brahma.  He should live engaged in the study of the Samhitas and remaining at home he should discharge all the duties of a householder.  He should always be devoted to the study of the Vedas, but he should never derive the means of subsistence from such study.  That Brahmana who always conducts himself thus, adhering to the path of righteousness, worshipping his sacred fire, and engaged in the study of the Vedas, comes to be regarded as Brahma.  The status of a Brahmana once gained, it should always be protected with care, O thou of sweet smiles, by avoiding the stain of contact with persons born in inferior orders, and by abstaining from the acceptance of gifts.  I have thus told thee a mystery, viz., the manner in which a Sudra may become a Brahmana, or that by which a Brahmana falls away from his own pure status and becomes a Sudra.”

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