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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.

SECTION XVII

“Vasudeva said, touching the feet of that sage, the Brahmana asked him some questions that were exceedingly difficult to answer.  That foremost of all righteous persons then discoursed on those duties that were referred to.

’Kasyapa said, ’How does the body dissolve away, and how is another acquired?  How does one become emancipated after passing through a repeated round of painful rebirths?  Enjoying Prakriti for sometime, how does Jiva cast off the particular body (which Prakriti gives)?  How does Jiva, freed from the body, attain to what is different from it (viz., Brahman)?  How does a human being enjoy (and endure the fruits of) the good and bad acts done by him?  Where do the acts exist of one that is devoid of body?[10]

’The Brahmana said,—­Thus urged by Kasyapa, the emancipated sage answered those questions one after another.  Do thou listen to me, O scion of the Vrishi race, as I recite to thee the answers he made.’

’—­The Emancipated sage said, ’Upon the exhaustion of those acts capable of prolonging life and bringing on fame which are done in a particular body that Jiva assumes, the embodied Jiva, with the span of his life shortened, begins to do acts hostile to life and health.  On the approach of destruction, his understanding turns away from the proper course.  The man of uncleansed soul, after even a correct apprehension of his constitution and strength and of the season of both his own life and of the year, begins to eat at irregular intervals and to eat such food as is hostile to him.[11] At such a time he indulges in practices that are exceedingly harmful.  He sometimes eats excessively and sometimes abstains altogether from food.  He eats bad food or bad meat or takes bad drinks, or food that has been made up of ingredients incompatible with one another.  He eats food that is heavy in excess of the measure that is beneficial, or before the food previously taken has been digested.  He indulges in physical exercise and sexual pleasure in excess of the due measure, or through avidity for work, suppresses the urgings of his corporeal organism even when they become pronounced.  Or, he takes food that is very juicy, or indulges in sleep during daytime.  Food that is not properly digested, of itself excites the faults, when the time comes.[12] From such excitement of the faults in his body, he gets disease ending in death itself.  Sometimes the person engages in perverse or unnatural acts like hanging (for bringing about his death).  Through these causes the living body of the creature dissolves away.  Understand correctly the manner as I declare it to thee.[13] Urged on by the Wind which becomes violent, the heat in the body, becoming excited and reaching every part of the body one after another, restrains all the (movements of the) vital breaths.  Know truly that excited all over the body, the heat becomes very strong, and pierces every vital part

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