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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.
The pourer of libations, possessed of every qualification, became engaged in pouring libations of clarified butter.  The great Rishis were seated around.  The deities were summoned one by one by contented Brahmanas of great learning uttering scriptural Mantras in sweet voices.  Those foremost of Adhwaryyus, not fatigued with what they did, recited the Mantras of the Yajurveda in soft accents.  The time came for slaughtering the animals.  When the animals selected for sacrifice were seized, the great Rishis, O king, felt compassion for them.  Beholding that the animals had all become cheerless, those Rishis, endued with wealth of penances, approached Sakra and said unto him, ’This method of sacrifice is not auspicious.  Desirous of acquiring great merit as thou art, this is verily an indication of thy unacquaintance with sacrifice.  O Purandara, animals have not been ordained to be slaughtered in sacrifices.  O puissant one, these preparations of thine are destructive of merit.  This sacrifice is not consistent with righteousness.  The destruction of creatures can never be said to be an act of righteousness.  If thou wishest it, let thy priests perform thy sacrifice according to the Agama.  By performing a sacrifice according to the (true import of the) scriptural ordinances, great will be the merit achieved by thee.  O thou of a hundred eyes, do thou perform the sacrifice with seeds of grain that have been kept for three years.  Even this, O Sakra, would be fraught with great righteousness and productive of fruits of high efficacy.’  The deity of a hundred sacrifices, however, influenced by pride and overwhelmed by stupefaction, did not accept these words uttered by the Rishis.  Then, O Bharata, a great dispute arose in that sacrifice of Sakra between the ascetics as to how sacrifices should be performed, that is, should they be performed with mobile creatures or with immobile objects.  All of them were worn out with disputation.  The Rishis then, those beholders of truth, having made an understanding with Sakra (about referring the matter to arbitration) asked king Vasu, ’O highly blessed one, what is the Vedic declaration about sacrifices?  Is it preferable to perform sacrifices with animals or with steeds and juices?  Hearing the question, king Vasu, without all judging of the strength or weakness of the arguments on the two sides, at once answered, saying, ’Sacrifices may be performed with whichever of the two kinds of objects is ready.’  Having answered the question thus, he had to enter the nether regions.  Indeed the puissant ruler of the Chedis had to undergo that misery for having answered falsely.  Therefore, when a doubt arises, no person, however wise, should singly decide the matter, unless he be the puissant and self-born Lord himself of creatures.  Gifts made by a sinner with an impure understanding, even when they are very large, become lost.  Such gifts go for nothing.  By the gifts made by a person of unrighteous conduct,—­one, that is, who is of sinful soul and who is a destroyer,
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