War and PeaceMahabharata


The Mahabharata of Krishna-Dwaipayana Vyasa



Translated into English Prose from the Original Sanskrit Text


Kisari Mohan Ganguli






(Anusasanika Parva)

OM! HAVING BOWED down unto Narayana, and Nara the foremost of male
beings, and unto the goddess Saraswati, must the word Jaya be uttered.

“Yudhishthira said, ‘O grandsire, tranquillity of mind has been said to
be subtile and of diverse forms. I have heard all thy discourses, but
still tranquillity of mind has not been mine. In this matter, various
means of quieting the mind have been related (by thee), O sire, but how
can peace of mind be secured from only a knowledge of the different kinds
of tranquillity, when I myself have been the instrument of bringing about
all this? Beholding thy body covered with arrows and festering with bad
sores, I fail to find, O hero, any peace of mind, at the thought of the
evils I have wrought. Beholding thy body, O most valiant of men, bathed
in blood, like a hill overrun with water from its springs, I am
languishing with grief even as the lotus in the rainy season. What can be
more painful than this, that thou, O grandsire, hast been brought to this
plight on my account by my people fighting against their foes on the
battle-field? Other princes also, with their sons and kinsmen, having met
with destruction on my account. Alas, what can be more painful than this.
Tell us, O prince, what destiny awaits us and the sons of Dhritarashtra,
who, driven by fate and anger, have done this abhorrent act. O lord of
men, I think the son of Dhritarashtra is fortunate in that he doth not
behold thee in this state. But I, who am the cause of thy death as well
as of that of our friends, am denied all peace of mind by beholding thee
on the bare earth in this sorry condition. The wicked Duryodhana, the
most infamous of his race, has, with all his troops and his brothers,
perished in battle, in the observance of Kshatriya duties. That
wicked-souled wight does not see thee lying on the ground. Verily, for
this reason, I would deem death to be preferable to life. O hero that
never swervest from virtue, had I with my brothers met with destruction
ere this at the hands of our enemies on the battle-field, I would not
have found thee in this pitiful plight, thus pierced with arrows. Surely,
O prince, the Maker had created is to become perpetrators of evil deeds.
O king, if thou wishest to do me good, do thou then instruct me in such a
way that I may be cleansed of this sin in even another world.’

“Bhishma replied, ‘Why, O fortunate one, dost thou consider thy soul,
which is dependent (on God and Destiny and Time) to be the cause of thy
actions? The manifestation of its inaction is subtle and imperceptible to
the senses. In this connection is cited the ancient story of the
conversation between Mrityu and Gautami with Kala and the Fowler and the
serpent. There was, O son of Kunti, an old lady of the name of Gautami,
who was possessed of great patience and tranquillity of mind. One day she
found her son dead in consequence of having been bitten by a serpent. An
angry fowler, by name Arjunaka, bound the serpent with a string and
brought it before Gautami. He then said to her,–This wretched serpent
has been the cause of thy son’s death, O blessed lady. Tell me quickly
how this wretch is to be destroyed. Shall I throw it into the fire or
shall I hack it into pieces? This infamous destroyer of a child does not
deserve to live longer.’

“Gautami replied, ‘Do thou, O Arjunaka of little understanding, release
this serpent. It doth not deserve death at thy hands. Who is so foolish
as to disregard the inevitable lot that awaits him and burdening himself
with such folly sink into sin? Those that have made themselves light by
the practice of virtuous deeds, manage to cross the sea of the world even
as a ship crosses the ocean. But those that have made themselves heavy
with sin sink into the bottom, even as an arrow thrown into the water. By
killing the serpent, this my boy will not be restored to life, and by
letting it live, no harm will be caused to thee. Who would go to the
interminable regions of Death by slaying this living creature?’

“The fowler said, ‘I know, O lady that knowest the difference between
right and wrong, that the great are afflicted at the afflictions of all
creatures. But these words which thou hast spoken are fraught with
instruction for only a self-contained person (and not for one plunged in
sorrow). Therefore, I must kill this serpent. Those who value peace of
mind, assign everything to the course of Time as the cause, but practical
men soon assuage their grief (by revenge). People through constant
delusion, fear loss of beatitude (in the next world for acts like these).
therefore, O lady, assuage thy grief by having this serpent destroyed (by

“Gautami replied, ‘People like us are never afflicted by (such
misfortune). Good men have their souls always intent on virtue. The death
of the boy was predestined: therefore, I am unable to approve of the
destruction of this serpent. Brahmanas do not harbour resentment, because
resentment leads to pain. Do thou, O good man, forgive and release this
serpent out of compassion.’

“The fowler replied, ‘Let us earn great and inexhaustible merit hereafter
by killing (this creature), even as a man acquires great merit, and
confers it on his victim sacrificed as well, by sacrifice upon the altar.
Merit is acquired by killing an enemy: by killing this despicable
creature, thou shalt acquire great and true merit hereafter.’

“Gautami replied, ‘What good is there in tormenting and killing an enemy,
and what good is won by not releasing an enemy in our power? Therefore, O
thou of benign countenance, why should we not forgive this serpent and
try to earn merit by releasing it?’

“The fowler replied, ‘A great number (of creatures) ought to be protected
from (the wickedness of) this one, instead of this single creature being
protected (in preference to many). Virtuous men abandon the vicious (to
their doom): do thou, therefore, kill this wicked creature.’

“Gautami replied, ‘By killing this serpent, O fowler, my son will not be
restored to life, nor do I see that any other end will be attained by its
death: therefore, do thou, O fowler, release this living creature of a

“The fowler said, ‘By killing Vritra, Indra secured the best portion (of
sacrificial offerings), and by destroying a sacrifice Mahadeva secured
his share of sacrificial offerings: do thou, therefore, destroy this
serpent immediately without any misgivings in thy mind!’

“Bhishma continued, ‘The high-souled Gautami, although repeatedly incited
by the fowler for the destruction of the serpent did not bend her mind to
that sinful act. The serpent, painfully bound with the cord: sighing a
little and maintaining its composure with great difficulty, then uttered
these words slowly, in a human voice.’

“The serpent said, ‘O foolish Arjunaka, what fault is there of mine? I
have no will of my own, and am not independent. Mrityu sent me on this
errand. By his direction have I bitten this child, and not out of any
anger or choice on my part. Therefore, if there be any sin in this, O
fowler, the sin is his.’

“The fowler said, ‘If thou hast done this evil, led thereto by another,
the sin is thine also as thou art an instrument in the act. As in the
making of an earthen vessel the potter’s wheel and rod and other things
are all regarded as causes, so art thou, O serpent, (cause in the
production of this effect). He that is guilty deserves death at my hands.
Thou, O serpent, art guilty. Indeed, thou confessest thyself so in this

“The serpent said, ‘As all these, viz., the potter’s wheel, rod, and
other things, are not independent causes, even so I am not an independent
cause. Therefore, this is no fault of mine, as thou shouldst grant.
Shouldst thou think otherwise, then these are to be considered as causes
working in unison with one another. For thus working with one other, a
doubt arises regarding their relation as cause and effect. Such being the
case, it is no fault of mine, nor do I deserve death on this account, nor
am I guilty of any sin. Or, if thou thinkest that there is sin (in even
such causation), the sin lies in the aggregate of causes.’

“The fowler said, ‘If thou art neither the prime cause nor the agent in
this matter, thou art still the cause of the death (of his child).
Therefore, thou dost deserve death in my opinion. If, O serpent, thou
thinkest that when an evil act is done, the doer is not implicated
therein, then there can be no cause in this matter; but having done this,
verily thou deservest death. What more dost thou think?’

“The serpent said, ‘Whether any cause exists or not,[1] no effect is
produced without an (intermediate) act. Therefore, causation being of no
moment in either case, my agency only as the cause (in this matter) ought
to be considered in its proper bearings. If, O fowler, thou thinkest me
to be the cause in truth, then the guilt of this act of killing a living
being rests on the shoulders of another who incited me to this end.'[2]

“The fowler said, ‘Not deserving of life, O foolish one, why dost thou
bandy so many words, O wretch of a serpent? Thou deservest death at my
hands. Thou hast done an atrocious act by killing this infant.’

“The serpent said, ‘O fowler, as the officiating priests at a sacrifice
do not acquire the merit of the act by offering oblations of clarified
butter to the fire, even so should I be regarded with respect as to the
result in this connection.’

“Bhishma continued, ‘The serpent directed by Mrityu having said this,
Mrityu himself appeared there and addressing the serpent spoke thus.

“Mrityu said, ‘Guided. by Kala, I, O serpent, sent thee on this errand,
and neither art thou nor am I the cause of this child’s death. Even as
the clouds are tossed hither and thither by the wind, I am like the
clouds, O serpent, influenced by Kala. All attitudes appertaining to
Sattwa or Rajas, or Tamas, are provoked by Kala, and operate in all
creatures. All creatures, mobile and immobile, in heaven, or earth, are
influenced by Kala. The whole universe, O serpent, is imbued with this
same influence of Kala. All acts in this world and all abstentions, as
also all their modifications, are said to be influenced by Kala, Surya,
Soma, Vishnu, Water, Wind, the deity of a hundred sacrificer, Fire, Sky,
Earth, Mitra and Parjanya, Aditi, and the Vasus, Rivers and Oceans, all
existent and non-existent objects, are created and destroyed by Kala.
Knowing this, why dost thou, O serpent, consider me to be guilty? If any
fault attaches to me in this, thou also wouldst be to blame.’

“The serpent said, ‘I do not, O Mrityu, blame thee, nor do I absolve thee
from all blame. I only aver that I am directed and influenced (in my
actions) by thee. If any blame attaches to Kala, or, if it be not
desirable to attach any blame to him, it is not for me to scan the fault.
We have no right to do so. As it is incumbent on me to absolve myself
from this blame, so it is my duty to see that no blame attaches to

“Bhishma continued, ‘Then the serpent, addressing Arjunaka, said–Thou
hast listened to what Mrityu has said. Therefore, it is not proper for
thee to torment me, who am guiltless, by tying me with this cord.’

“The fowler said, ‘I have listened to thee, O serpent, as well as to the
words of Mrityu, but these, O serpent, do not absolve thee from all
blame. Mrityu and thyself are the causes of the child’s death. I consider
both of you to be the cause and I do not call that to be the cause which
is not truly so. Accursed be the wicked and vengeful Mrityu that causes
affliction to the good. Thee too I shall kill that art sinful and
engaged, in sinful acts!’

“Mrityu said, ‘We both are not free agents, but are dependent on Kala,
and ordained to do our appointed work. Thou shouldst not find fault with
us if thou dost consider this matter thoroughly.’

“The fowler said, ‘If ye both, O serpent and Mrityu, be dependent on
Kala, I am curious to know how pleasure (arising from doing good) and
anger (arising from doing evil) are caused.’

“Mrityu said, ‘Whatever is done is done under the influence of Kala. I
have said it before, O fowler, that Kala is the cause of all and that for
this reason we both, acting under the inspiration of Kala, do our
appointed work and therefore, O fowler, we two do not deserve censure
from thee in any way!’

“Bhishma continued, ‘Then Kala arrived at that scene of disputation on
this point of morality, and spoke thus to the serpent and Mrityu and the
fowler Arjunaka assembled together.’

“Kala said, ‘Neither Mrityu, nor this serpent, nor I, O fowler, am guilty
of the death of any creature. We are merely the immediate exciting causes
of the event. O Arjunaka, the Karma of this child formed the exciting
cause of our action in this matter. There was no other cause by which
this child came by its death. It was killed as a result of its own Karma.
It has met with death as the result of its Karma in the past. Its Karma
has been the cause of its destruction. We all are subject to the
influence of our respective Karma. Karma is an aid to salvation even as
sons are, and Karma also is an indicator of virtue and vice in man. We
urge one another even as acts urge one another. As men make from a lump
of clay whatever they wish to make, even so do men attain to various
results determined by Karma. As light and shadow are related to each
other, so are men related to Karma through their own actions. Therefore,
neither art thou, nor am I, nor Mrityu, nor the serpent, nor this old
Brahmana lady, is the cause of this child’s death. He himself is the
cause here. Upon Kala, O king, expounding the matter in this way,
Gautami, convinced in her mind that men suffer according to their
actions, spoke thus to Arjunaka.’

“Gautami said, ‘Neither Kala, nor Mrityu, nor the serpent, is the cause
in this matter. This child has met with death as the result of its own
Karma. I too so acted (in the past) that my son has died (as its
consequence). Let now Kala and Mrityu retire from this place, and do thou
too, O Arjunaka, release this serpent.’

“Bhishma continued, ‘Then Kala and Mrityu and the serpent went back to
their respective destinations, and Gautami became consoled in mind as
also the fowler. Having heard all this, O king, do thou forego all grief,
and attain to peace of mind. Men attain to heaven or hell as the result
of their own Karma. This evil has neither been of thy own creation, nor
of Duryodhana’s. Know this that these lords of Earth have all been slain
(in this war) as a result of acts of Kalas.'”

Vaisampayana said, “Having heard all this, the powerful and virtuous
Yudhishthira became consoled in mind, and again enquired as follows.”


“Yudhishthira said, ‘O grandsire, O wisest of men, O thou that art
learned in all the scriptures, I have listened to this great story, O
foremost of intelligent men. I am desirous of again hearing the recital
of some history full of religious instruction, and it behoves thee to
gratify me. O lord of Earth, tell me if any householder has ever
succeeded in conquering Mrityu by the practice of virtue. Do thou recite
this to me with all details!’

“Bhishma said, ‘This ancient history is recited as an illustration of the
subject of the conquest by a householder, over Mrityu, through the
practice of virtue. The Prajapati Manu had a son, O king, of the name of
the Ikshwaku. Of that king, illustrious as Surya, were born a hundred
sons. His tenth son, O Bharata, was named Dasaswa, and this virtuous
prince of infallible prowess became the king of Mahismati. Dasaswa’s son,
O king, was a righteous prince whose mind was constantly devoted to the
practice of truth and charity and devotion. He was known by the name of
Madiraswa and ruled over the Earth as her lord. He was constantly devoted
to the study of the Vedas as also of the science of arms. Madiraswa’s son
was the king named Dyutimat who possessed great good fortune and power
and strength and energy. Dyutimat’s son was the highly devout and pious
king who was famous in all the worlds under the name of Suvira. His soul
was intent on religion and he possessed wealth like another Indra, the
lord of the deities. Suvira too had a son who was invincible in battle,
and who was the best of all warriors and known by the name of Sudurjaya.
And Durjya too, possessed of a body like that of Indra, had a son who
beamed with splendour like that of fire. He was the great monarch named
Duryodhana who was one of the foremost of royal sages. Indra used to pour
rain profusely in the kingdom of this monarch, who never fled from the
battlefield and was possessed of valour like unto Indra himself. The
cities and the kingdom of this king were filled with riches and gems and
cattle and grain of various kinds. There was no miser in his kingdom nor
any person afflicted with distress or poverty. Nor was there in his
kingdom any person that was weak in body or afflicted with disease. That
king was very clever, smooth in speech, without envy, a master of his
passions, of a righteous soul, full of compassion, endued with prowess,
and not given to boasting. He performed sacrifices, and was
self-restrained and intelligent, devoted to Brahmanas and Truth. He never
humiliated others, and was charitable, and learned in the Vedas and the
Vedanta. The celestial river Narmada, auspicious and sacred and of cool
waters, in her own nature, O Bharata, courted him. He begot upon that
river, a lotus-eyed daughter, by name Sudarsana, who was, O king, endued
with great beauty. No creature, O Yudhisthira, had ever been born before
among womankind, that was, possessed of such beauty as that excellent
damsel who was the daughter of Duryodhana. The god Agni himself courted
the beautiful princess Sudarsana, and taking the shape of a Brahmana, O
monarch, sought her hand from the king. The king was unwilling to give
his daughter in marriage to the Brahmana who was poor and not of the same
rank with himself. Thereupon Agni vanished from his great sacrifice. The
king, grieved at heart, then addressed the Brahmanas, saying,–Of what
sin have I, ye excellent Brahmanas, or you, been guilty, that Agni should
disappear from this sacrifice, even as good done unto wicked men
disappears from their estimation. Great, indeed, must that sin of ours be
for which Agni has thus disappeared. Either must the sin be yours, or, it
must be mine. Do you fully investigate the matter.–Then hearing the
king’s words, O foremost prince of Bharata’s race, the Brahmanas,
restraining speech, sought with concentrated faculties the protection of
the god of fire. The divine carrier of oblations, resplendent as the
autumnal Sun, appeared before them, enveloping his self in glorious
refulgence. The high-souled Agni then addressed those excellent
Brahmanas, saying,–I seek the daughter of Duryodhana for my own self. At
this all those Brahmanas were struck with wonder, and rising on the
morrow, they related to the king what had been said by the fire-god. The
wise monarch, hearing the words of those utterers of Brahma, was
delighted at heart, and said,–Be it so.–The king craved a boon of the
illustrious fire-god as the marriage dower,–Do thou, O Agni, deign to
remain always with us here.–Be it so–said the divine Agni to that lord
of Earth. For this reason Agni has always been present in the kingdom of
Mahismati to this day, and was seen by Sahadeva in course of his
conquering expedition to the south. Then the king gave his daughter,
dressed in new garments and decked with jewels, to the high-souled deity,
and Agni too accepted, according to Vedic rites, the princess Sudarsana
as his bride, even as he accepts libations of clarified butter at
sacrifices, Agni was well pleased with her appearance, her beauty, grace,
character, and nobility of birth, and was minded to beget offspring upon
her. And a son by Agni, of the name of Sudarsana, was soon born of her.
Sudarsana also was, in appearance, as beautiful as the full moon, and
even in his childhood he attained to a knowledge of the supreme and
everlasting Brahma. There was also a king of the name of Oghavat, who was
the grandfather of Nriga. He had a daughter of the name of Oghavati, and
a son too of the name of Ogharatha born unto him. King Oghavat gave his
daughter Oghavati, beautiful as a goddess, to the learned Sudarsana for
wife. Sudarsana, O king, leading the life of a householder with Oghavati,
used to dwell in Kurukshetra with her. This intelligent prince of blazing
energy took the vow, O lord, of conquering Death by leading the life of
even a householder. The son of Agni, O king, said to Oghavati,–Do thou
never act contrary to (the wishes of) those that seek our hospitality.
Thou shouldst make no scruple about the means by which guests are to be
welcomed, even if thou have to offer thy own person. O beautiful one,
this vow is always present in the mind, since for householders, there is
no higher virtue than hospitality accorded to guests. Do thou always bear
this in mind without ever doubting it, if my words be any authority with
thee. O sinless and blessed one, if thou hast any faith in me, do thou
never disregard a guest whether I be at thy side or at a distance from
thee! Unto him, with hands clasped and placed on her head, Oghavati
replied, saying,–‘I shall leave nothing undone of what thou commandest
me.–Then Mrityu, O king, desiring to over-reach Sudarsana, began to
watch him for finding out his lathes. On a certain occasion, when the son
of Agni went out to fetch firewood from the forest, a graceful Brahmana
sought the hospitality of Oghavati with these words:–O beautiful lady,
if thou hast any faith in the virtue of hospitality as prescribed for
householders, then I would request thee to extend the rites of
hospitality to me to-day.–The princess of great fame, thus addressed by
that Brahmana, O king, welcomed him according to the rites prescribed in
the Vedas. Having offered him a seat, and water to wash his feet, she
enquired, saying,–What is thy business? What can I offer thee? The
Brahmana said unto her,–My business is with thy person, O blessed one.
Do thou act accordingly without any hesitation in thy mind. If the duties
prescribed for householders be acceptable to thee, do thou, O princess,
gratify me by offering up thy person to me.–Though tempted by the
princess with offers of diverse other things, the Brahmana, however, did
not ask for any other gift than the offer of her own person. Seeing him
resolved, that lady, remembering the directions which had before been
given to her by her husband, but overcome with shame, said, to that
excellent Brahmana,–Be it so.–Remembering the words of her husband who
was desirous of acquiring the virtue of householders, she cheerfully
approached the regenerate Rishi. Meanwhile, the son of Agni, having
collected his firewood, returned to his home. Mrityu, with his fierce and
inexorable nature, was constantly by his side, even, as one attends upon
one’s devoted friend. When the son of Pavaka returned to his own
hermitage, he called Oghavati by name, and (receiving no answer)
repeatedly, exclaimed,–Whether art thou gone?–But the chaste lady,
devoted to her husband, being then locked in the arms of that Brahmana,
gave no reply to her husband. Indeed, that chaste woman, considering
herself contaminated became speechless, overcome with shame. Sudarsana,
addressing her again, exclaimed,–Where can my chaste wife be? Whither
has she gone? Nothing can be of greater moment to me than this (her
disappearance). Why does not that simple and truthful lady, devoted to
her husband, alas, answer to my call today as she used to do before with
sweet smiles? Then that Brahmana, who was within the hut, thus replied to
Sudarsana,–Do thou learn, O son of Pavaka, that a Brahmana guest has
arrived, and though tempted by this thy wife with diverse other offers of
welcome, I have, O best of Brahmanas, desired only her person, and this
fair-faced lady is engaged in welcoming me with due rites. Thou art at
liberty to do whatever thou thinkest to be suitable to this occasion.
Mrityu, armed with the iron club, pursued the Rishi at that moment,
desirous of compassing the destruction of one that would, he thought,
deviate from his promise. Sudarsana was struck with wonder, but casting
off all jealousy and anger by look, word, deed, or thought, said,–Do
thou enjoy thyself, O Brahmana. It is a great pleasure to me. A
householder obtain the highest merit by honouring a guest. It is said by
the learned that, as regards the householder, there is no higher merit
than what results unto him from a guest departing from his house after
having been duly honoured by him. My life, my wife, and whatever other
worldly possessions I have, are all dedicated to the use of my guests.
Even this is the vow that I have taken. As I have truly made this
statement, by that truth, O Brahmana, I shall attain to the knowledge of
Self. O foremost of virtuous men, the five elements, viz., fire, air,
earth, water, and sky, and the mind, the intellect and the Soul, and time
and space and the ten organs of sense, are all present in the bodies of
men, and always witness the good and evil deeds that men do. This truth
has today been uttered by me, and let the gods bless me for it or destroy
me if I have spoken falsely. At this, O Bharata, there arose in all
directions, in repeated echoes, a voice, crying,–This is true, this is
not false. Then that Brahmana came out of the hovel, and like the wind
rising and encompassing both Earth and sky, and making the three worlds
echo with Vedic sounds, and calling that virtuous man by name, and
congratulating him said,–O sinless one, I am Dharma; All glory to thee.
I came here, O truth-loving one, to try thee, and I am well pleased with
thee by knowing thee to be virtuous. Thou hast subdued and conquered
Mrityu who always has pursued thee, seeking thy laches? O best of men, no
one in the three worlds has the ability to insult, even with looks, this
chaste lady devoted to her husband, far less to touch her person. She has
been protected from defilement by thy virtue and by her own chastity.
There can be nothing contrary to what this proud lady will say. This
utterer of Brahma, endued with austere penances, shall, for the salvation
of the world, be metamorphosed into a mighty river. And thou shalt attain
to all the worlds in this thy body, and as truly as the science of Yoga
is within her control, this highly blessed lady will follow thee with
only half of her corporeal self, and with the other half will she be
celebrated as the river Oghavati! And thou shalt attain with her to all
the worlds that acquired through penances, Those eternal and everlasting
worlds from which none cometh back will be attained by thee even in this
gross body of thine. Thou hast conquered Death, and attained to the
highest of all felicities, and by thy own power (of mind), attaining to
the speed of thought, thou hast risen above the power of the five
elements! By thus adhering to the duties of a householder, thou hast
conquered thy passions, desires, and anger, and this princess, O prince
of virtuous men has, by serving thee, conquered affliction, desire,
illusion, enmity and lassitude of mind!’

“Bhishma continued, ‘Then the glorious Vasava (the lord of the gods),
riding in a fine chariot drawn by a thousand white horses, approached
that Brahmana. Death and Soul, all the worlds, all the elements,
intellect, mind, time, and space as also desire and wrath, were all
conquered. There-fore, O best of men, do thou bear this in mind, that to
a householder there is no higher divinity than the guest. It is said by
the learned that the blessings of an honoured guest are more efficacious
than the merit of a hundred sacrifices. Whenever a deserving guest seeks
the hospitality of a householder and is not honoured by him, he takes
away (with him) all the virtues of the latter giving him his sins (in
return). I have now recited to thee, my son, this excellent story as to
how Death was conquered of old by a householder. The recital of this
excellent story confers glory, fame, and longevity (upon those that
listen to it). The man that seeks worldly prosperity should consider it
as efficacious in removing all evil. And, O Bharata, the learned man that
daily recites this story of the life of Sudarsana attains to the regions
of the blessed.'”


“Yudhishthira said, ‘If, O prince, Brahmanahood be so difficult of
attainment by the three classes (Kshatriyas, Vaisyas and Sudras), how
then did the high souled Viswamitra, O king, though a Kshatriya (by
birth), attain to the status of a Brahmana? I desire to know this, O
sire. Therefore, do thou truly relate this matter to me. That powerful
man, O sire, by virtue of his austerities, destroyed in a moment the
hundred sons of the high-souled Vasishtha. While under the influence of
anger, he created numerous evil spirits and Rakshasas of mighty vigour
and resembling the great destroyer Kala himself. The great and learned
race of Kusika, numbering hundreds of regenerate sages and belauded by
the Brahmanas, was founded in this world of men by him. Sunasepha of
austere penances, the son of Richika, having been sought to be slain as
an animal in the great sacrifice of Amvarisha, obtained his deliverance
through Viswamitra. Harishchandra, having pleased the gods at a
sacrifice, became a son of the wise Viswamitra. For not having honoured
their eldest brother Devarat, whom Viswamitra got as a son from the gods,
the other fifty brothers of his were cursed, and all of them became
Chandalas. Trisanku, the son of Ikshwaku, through the curse of Vasistha
became a Chandala, and when abandoned by his friends, and remaining
suspended with his head downwards in the lower regions, was translated to
heaven at the pleasure of Viswamitra. Viswamitra had a large river, by
name Kausika, that was frequented by celestial Rishis. This sacred and
auspicious stream was frequented by the gods and regenerate Rishis. For
disturbing his devotions, the famous celestial nymph Rambha of fine
bracelets, was cursed and metamorphosed into a rock. Through fear of
Viswamitra the glorious Vasishtha, in olden times, binding himself with
creepers, threw himself down into a river and again rose released from
his bonds. In consequence of this, that large and sacred river become
thenceforth celebrated by the name of Vipasa.[3] He prayed to the
glorious and puissant Indra who was pleased with him and absolved him
from a curse.[4] Remaining on the northern side of the firmament, he
sheds his lustre from a position in the midst of the seven regenerate
Rishis,[5] and Dhruva the son of Uttanpada[6]. These are his achievements
as well as many others. O descendant of Kuru, as they were performed by a
Kshatriya, my curiosity has been roused in this matter. Therefore, O
foremost one of Bharata’s race, do thou relate this matter to me truly.
How without casting off his corporeal frame and taking another tenement
of flesh could he become a Brahmana? Do thou, O sire, truly relate this
matter to me as thou hast related to me the story of Matanga. Matanga was
born as a Chandala,[7] and could not attain to Brahmanahood,(with all his
austerities) but how could this man attain to the status of a Brahmana?”


“Bhishma said, ‘Listen truly in detail, O son of Pritha, how in olden
times Viswamitra attained to the status of a Brahmana Rishi. There was, O
foremost of Bharata’s descendants, in the race of Bharata, a king of the
name of Ajamida, who performed many sacrifices and was the best of all
virtuous men. His son was the great king named Jahnu. Ganga was the
daughter of this high-minded prince. The farfamed and equally virtuous
Sindhudwipa was the son of this prince. From Sindhudwipa sprung the great
royal sage Valakaswa. His son was named Vallabha who was like a second
Dharma in embodied form. His son again was Kusika who was refulgent with
glory like unto the thousand-eyed Indra. Kusika’s son was the illustrious
King Gadhi who, being childless and desiring to have a son born unto him,
repaired to the forest. Whilst living there, a daughter was born unto
him. She was called Satyavati by name, and in beauty of appearance she
had no equal on Earth. The illustrious son of Chyavana, celebrated by the
name of Richika, of the race of Bhrigu, endued with austere penances,
sought the hand of this lady. Gadhi, the destroyer of his enemies,
thinking him to be poor, did not bestow her in marriage upon the
high-souled Richika. But when the latter, thus dismissed, was going away,
the excellent king, addressing him said,–‘If thou givest me a marriage
dower thou shalt have my daughter for thy wife.’

“Richika said, ‘What dower, O king, shall I offer thee for the hand of
thy daughter? Tell me truly, without feeling any hesitation in the
matter. Gadhi said,–‘O descendant of Bhrigu, do thou give me a thousand
horses fleet as the wind, and possessing the hue of moon-beams, and each
having one ear black.’

“Bhishma said, ‘Then that mighty son of Chyavana who was the foremost of
Bhrigu’s race, besought the deity Varuna, the son of Aditi, who was the
lord of all the waters.–O best of gods, I pray to thee to give me a
thousand horses, all endued with the speed of the wind and with
complexion as effulgent as the moon’s, but each having one ear black. The
god Varuna, the son of Aditi, said to that excellent scion of Bhrigu’s
race,–Be it so. Wheresoever thou shalt seek, the horses shalt arise (in
thy presence).–As soon as Richika thought of them, there arose from the
waters of Ganga thousand high-mettled horses, as lustrous in complexion
as the moon. Not far from Kanyakubja, the sacred bank of Ganga is still
famous among men as Aswatirtha in consequence of the appearance of those
horses at that place. Then Richika, that best of ascetics, pleased in
mind, gave those thousand excellent horses unto Gadhi as the
marriage-dower. King Gadhi, filled with wonder and fearing to be cursed,
gave his daughter, bedecked with jewels, unto that son of Bhrigu. That
foremost of regenerate Rishis accepted her hand in marriage according to
the prescribed rites. The princess too was well-pleased at finding
herself the wife of that Brahmana. That foremost of regenerate Rishis, O
Bharata, was well pleased with her conduct and expressed a wish to grant
her boon. The princess, O excellent king, related this to her mother. The
mother addressed the daughter that stood before her with down-cast eyes,
saving,–It behoves thee, O my daughter, to secure a favour for me also
from thy husband. That sage of austere penances is capable of granting a
boon to me, the boon, viz. of the birth of a son to me.–Then, O king,
returning quickly to her husband Richika, the princess related to him all
that had been desired by her mother. Richika said,–By my favour, O
blessed one, she will soon give birth to a son possessed of every virtue.
May thy request be fulfilled. Of thee too shall be born a mighty and
glorious son who, endued with virtue, shall perpetuate my race. Truly do
I say this unto thee! When you two shall bathe in your season, she shall
embrace a peepul tree, and thou, O excellent lady, shalt likewise embrace
a fig tree, and by so doing shall ye attain the object of your desire. O
sweetly-smiling lady, both she and you shall have to partake of these two
sacrificial offerings (charu)[8]rated with hymns, and then shall ye
obtain sons (as desired).–At this, Satyavati, delighted at heart, told
her mother all that had been said by Richika as also of the two balls of
charu. Then the mother, addressing her daughter Satyavati, said:–O
daughter, as I am deserving of greater consideration from thee than thy
husband, do thou obey my words. The charu, duly consecrated with hymns,
which thy husband has given to thee, do thou give unto me and thyself
take the one that has been prescribed for me. O sweetly-smiling one of
blameless character, if thou hast any respect for my word, let us change
the trees respectively designed for us. Every one desires to possess an
excellent and stainless being for his own son. The glorious Richika too
must have acted from a similar motive in this matter, as will appear in
the end. For this reason, O beautiful girl, my heart inclines towards thy
charu, and thy tree, and thou too shouldst consider how to secure an
excellent brother for thyself.–The mother and the daughter Satyavati
having acted in this way, they both, O Yudhishthira, became big with
child. And that great Rishi, the excellent descendant of Bhrigu, finding
his wife quick with child, was pleased at heart, and addressing her,
said,–O excellent lady, thou hast not done well in exchanging the charu
as will soon become apparent. It is also clear that thou hast changed the
trees. I had placed the entire accumulated energy of Brahma in thy charu
and Kshatriya energy in the charu of thy mother. I had so ordered that
thou wouldst give birth to a Brahmana whose virtues would be famous
throughout the three worlds, and that she (thy mother) would give birth
to an excellent Kshatriya. But now, O excellent lady, that thou hast
reversed the order (of the charu) so, thy mother will give birth to an
excellent Brahmana and thou too, O excellent lady, will give birth to a
Kshatriya terrible in action. Thou hast not done will, O lady, by acting
thus out of affection for thy mother.–Hearing this, O king the excellent
lady Satyavati, struck with sorrow, fell upon the ground like a beautiful
creeper cut in twain. Regaining her senses and bowing unto her lord with
head (bent), the daughter of Gadhi said to her husband, that foremost one
of Bhrigu’s race,–O regenerate Rishi, O thou that art foremost amongst
those versed in Brahma, do thou take pity on me, thy wife, who is thus
appeasing thee and so order that a Kshatriya son may not be born unto me.
Let my grandson be such a one as will be famous for his terrible
achievements, if it be thy desire, but not my son, O Brahmana. Do thou
confer this favour on me.–Be it so,–said that man of austere penances
to his wife and then, O king, she gave birth to a blessed son named
Jamadagni. The celebrated wife of Gadhi too gave birth to the regenerate
Rishi Viswamitra versed in the knowledge of Brahma, by favour of that
Rishi. The highly devout Viswamitra, though a Kshatriya, attained to the
state of a Brahmana and became the founder of a race of Brahmanas. His
sons became high-souled progenitors of many races of Brahmanas who were
devoted to austere penances, learned in the Vedas, and founders, of many
clans. The adorable Madhuchcchanda and the mighty Devrat, Akshina,
Sakunta, Vabhru, Kalapatha, the celebrated Yajnavalkya, Sthula of high
vows, Uluka, Mudgala, and the sage Saindhavayana, the illustrious
Valgujangha and the great Rishi Galeva, Ruchi, the celebrated Vajra, as
also Salankayana, Liladhya and Narada, the one known as Kurchamuka, and
Vahuli, Mushala, as also Vakshogriva, Anghrika, Naikadrik, Silayupa,
Sita, Suchi, Chakraka, Marrutantavya, Vataghna, Aswalayana, and
Syamayana, Gargya, and Javali, as also Susruta, Karishi, Sangsrutya, and
Para Paurava, and Tantu, the great sage Kapila, Tarakayana, Upagahana,
Asurayani, Margama, Hiranyksha, Janghari, Bhavravayani, and Suti,
Bibhuti, Suta, Surakrit, Arani, Nachika, Champeya, Ujjayana, Navatantu,
Vakanakha, Sayanya, Yati, Ambhoruha, Amatsyasin, Srishin, Gardhavi
Urjjayoni, Rudapekahin, and the great Rishi Naradin,–these Munis were
all sons of Viswamitra and were versed in the knowledge of Brahma. O king
Yudhishthira, the highly austere and devout Viswamitra, although a
Kshatriya (by descent), became a Brahmana for Richika having placed the
energy of supreme Brahma (in the charu), O foremost prince of Bharata’s
race, I have now related to you, with all details, the story of the birth
of Viswamitra who was possessed of energy of the sun, the moon, and the
fire-god. O best of kings, if thou hast any doubt with regard to any
other matter, do thou let me know it, so that I may remove it.'”


“Yudhishthira said, ‘O thou that knowest the truths of religion, I wish
to hear of the merits of compassion, and of the characteristics of devout
men. Do thou, O sire, describe them to me.’

“Bhishma said, In this connection, this ancient legend, the story of
Vasava and the high-minded Suka, is cited as an illustration. In the
territories of the king of Kasi, a fowler, having poisoned arrows with
him went out of his village on a hunting excursion in search of
antelopes. Desirous of obtaining, meat, when in a big forest in pursuit
of the chase, he discovered a drove of antelopes not far from him, and
discharged his arrow at one of them. The arrows of that folder of
irresistible arms, discharged for the destruction of the antelope, missed
its aim and pierced a mighty forest-tree. The tree, violently pierced
with that arrow tipped with virulent poison, withered away, shedding its
leaves and fruits. The tree having thus withered a parrot that had lived
in a hollow of its trunk all his life, did not leave his nest out of
affection for the lord of the forest. Motionless and without food silent
and sorrowful, that grateful and virtuous parrot also withered away with
the tree. The conqueror of Paka (Indra) was struck with wonder upon
finding that high-souled, and generous-hearted bird thus uninfluenced by
misery or happiness and possessing extraordinary resolution. Then the
thought arose in Sakra’s mind,–How could this bird come to possess
humane and generous feelings which are impossible in one belonging to the
world of lower animals? Perchance, there is nothing wonderful in the
matter, for all creatures are seen to evince kindly and generous feelings
towards others.–Assuming then the shape of a Brahmana, Sakra descended
on the Earth and addressing the bird, said,–O Suka, O best of birds, the
grand-daughter (Suki) of Daksha has become blessed (by having thee as her
offspring). I ask thee, for what reason dost thou not leave this withered
tree?–Thus questioned, the Suka bowed unto him and thus
replied:–Welcome to thee O chief of the gods, I have recognised thee by
the merit of my austere penances–Well-done, well-done!–exclaimed the
thousand-eyed deity. Then the latter praised him in his mind, saying,–O,
how wonderful is the knowledge which he possesses.–Although the
destroyer of Vala knew that parrot to be of a highly virtuous character
and meritorious in action, he still enquired of him about the reason of
his affection for the tree. This tree is withered and it is without
leaves and fruits and is unfit to be the refuge of birds. Why dost thou
then cling to it? This forest, too, is vast and in this wilderness there
are numerous other fine trees whose hollows are covered with leaves and
which thou canst choose freely and to thy heart’s content. O patient one
exercising due discrimination in thy wisdom, do thou forsake this old
tree that is dead and useless and shorn of all its leaves and no longer
capable of any good.'”

“Bhishma said, ‘The virtuous Suka, hearing these words of Sakra, heaved a
deep sigh and sorrowfully replied unto him, saying–O consort of Sachi,
and chief of the gods, the ordinances of the deities are always to be
obeyed. Do thou listen to the reason of the matter in regard to which
thou hast questioned me. Here, within this tree, was I born, and here in
this tree have I acquired all the good traits of my character, and here
in this tree was I protected in my infancy from the assaults of my
enemies. O sinless one, why art thou, in thy kindness, tampering with the
principle of my conduct in life? I am compassionate, and devoutly intent
on virtue, and steadfast in conduct. Kindliness of feeling is the great
test of virtue amongst the good, and this same compassionate and humane
feeling is the source of perennial felicity to the virtuous. All the gods
question thee to remove their doubts in religion, and for this reason, O
lord, thou hast been placed in sovereignty over them all. It behoves thee
not, O thousand-eyed one, to advise me now to abandon this tree for ever.
When it was capable of good, it supported my life. How can I forsake it
now?–The virtuous destroyer of Paka, pleased with these well-meant words
of the parrot, thus said to him:–I am gratified with thy humane and
compassionate disposition. Do thou ask a boon of me.–At this, the
compassionate parrot craved this boon of him, saying,–Let this tree
revive.–Knowing the great attachment of the parrot to that tree and his
high character, Indra, well-pleased, caused the tree to be quickly
sprinkled over with nectar. Then that tree became replenished and
attained to exquisite grandeur through the penances of the parrot, and
the latter too, O great king, at the close of his life, obtained the
companionship of Sakra by virtue of that act of compassion. Thus, O lord
of men, by communion and companionship with the pious, people attain all
the objects of their desire even as the tree die through its
companionship with the parrot.'”


“Yudhishthira said, ‘Tell me, O learned sire that art versed in all the
scriptures, of Exertion and Destiny which is the most powerful?’

“Bhishma said, ‘This ancient story of the conversation of Vasishtha and
Brahma, O Yudhishthira, is an illustration in point. In olden times the
adorable Vasishtha enquired of Brahma as to which among these two, viz.,
the Karma of a creature acquired in this life, or that acquired in
previous lives (and called Destiny), is the more potent in shaping his
life. Then, O king, the great god Brahma, who had sprung from the
primeval lotus, answered him in these exquisite and well-reasoned words,
full of meaning.'”

“Brahma said, ‘Nothing comes into existence without seed. Without seed,
fruits do not grow. From seeds spring other seeds. Hence are fruits known
to be generated from seeds. Good or bad as the seed is that the
husbandman soweth in his field, good or bad are the fruits that he reaps.
As, unsown with seed, the soil, though tilled, becomes fruitless, so,
without individual Exertion, Destiny is of no avail. One’s own acts are
like the soil, and Destiny (or the sum of one’s acts in previous births)
is compared to the seed. From the union of the soil and the seed doth the
harvest grow. It is observed every day in the world that the doer reaps
the fruit of his good and evil deeds; that happiness results from good
deeds, and pain from evil ones; that acts, when done, always fructify;
and that, if not done, no fruit arises. A man of (good) acts acquires
merits with good fortune, while an idler falls away from his estate, and
reaps evil like the infusion of alkaline matter injected into a wound. By
devoted application, one acquires beauty, fortune, and riches of various
kinds. Everything can be secured by Exertion: but nothing can be gained
through Destiny alone, by a man that is wanting in personal Exertion.
Even so does one attain to heaven, and all the objects of enjoyment, as
also the fulfilment of one’s heart’s desires by well-directed individual
Exertion. Al! the luminous bodies in the firmament, all the deities, the
Nagas, and the Rakshasas, as also the Sun and the Moon and the Winds,
have attained to their high status by evolution from man’s status,
through dint of their own action. Riches, friends, prosperity descending
from generation to generation, as also the graces of life, are difficult
of attainment by those that are wanting in Exertion. The Brahmana attains
to prosperity by holy living, the Kshatriya by prowess, the Vaisya by
manly exertion, and the Sudra by service. Riches and other objects of
enjoyment do not follow the stingy, nor the impotent, nor the idler. Nor
are these ever attained by the man that is not active or manly or devoted
to the exercise of religious austerities. Even he, the adorable Vishnu,
who created the three worlds with the Daityas and all the gods, even He
is engaged in austere penances in the bosom of the deep. If one’s Karma
bore no fruit, then all actions would become fruitless, and relying on
Destiny men would become idlers. He who, without pursuing the human modes
of action, follows Destiny only, acts in vain, like unto the woman that
has an impotent husband. In this world the apprehension that accrues from
performance of good or evil actions is not so great if Destiny be
unfavourable as one’s apprehension of the same in the other world if
Exertion be wanting while here.[9] Man’s powers, if properly exerted,
only follow his Destiny, but Destiny alone is incapable of conferring any
good where Exertion is wanting. When it is seen that even in the
celestial regions, the position of the deities themselves is unstable,
how would the deities maintain their own position or that of others
without proper Karma? The deities do not always approve of the good deeds
of others in this world, for, apprehending their own overthrow, they try
to thwart the acts of others. There is a constant rivalry between the
deities and the Rishis, and if they all have to go through their Karma,
still it can never be averted that there is no such thing as Destiny, for
it is the latter that initiates all Karma. How does Karma originate, if
Destiny form the prime spring of human action? (The answer is) that by
this means, an accretion of many virtues is made even in the celestial
regions. One’s own self is one’s friend and one’s enemy too, as also the
witness of one’s good and evil deeds. Good and evil manifest themselves
through Karma. Good and evil acts do not give adequate results.
Righteousness is the refuge of the gods, and by righteousness is
everything attained. Destiny thwarts not the man that has attained to
virtue and righteousness.

In olden times, Yayati, falling from his high estate in heaven descended
on the Earth but was again restored to the celestial regions by the good
deeds of his virtuous grandsons. The royal sage Pururavas, celebrated as
the descendant of Ila, attained to heaven through the intercession of the
Brahmanas. Saudasa, the king of Kosala, though dignified by the
performance of Aswamedha and other sacrifices, obtained the status of a
man-eating Rakshasa, through the curse of a great Rishi. Aswatthaman and
Rama, though both warriors and sons of Munis, failed to attain to heaven
by reason of their own actions in this world. Vasu, though he performed a
hundred sacrifices like a second Vasava, was sent to the nethermost
regions, for making a single false statement. Vali, the son of Virochana,
righteously bound by his promise, was consigned to the regions under the
Earth, by the prowess of Vishnu. Was not Janamejaya, who followed the
foot-prints of Sakra, checked and put down by the gods for killing a
Brahmana woman? Was not the regenerate Rishi Vaisampayana too, who slew a
Brahmana in ignorance, and was polluted by the slaughter of a child, put
down by the gods? In olden times the royal sage Nriga became transmuted
into a lizard. He had made gifts of kine unto the Brahmanas at his great
sacrifice, but this availed him not. The royal sage Dhundhumara was
overwhelmed with decrepitude even while engaged in performing his
sacrifices, and foregoing all the merits thereof, he fell asleep at
Girivraja. The Pandavas too regained their lost kingdom, of which they
had been deprived by the powerful sons of Dhritarashtra, not through the
intercession of the fates, but by recourse to their own valour. Do the
Munis of rigid vows, and devoted to the practice of austere penances,
denounce their curses with the aid of any supernatural power or by the
exercise of their own puissance attained by individual acts? All the good
which is attained with difficulty in this world is possessed by the
wicked, is soon lost to them. Destiny does not help the man that is
steeped in spiritual ignorance and avarice. Even as a fire of small
proportions, when fanned by the wind, becomes of mighty power, so does
Destiny, when joined with individual Exertion, increase greatly (in
potentiality). As with the diminution of oil in the lamp its light is
extinguished so does the influence of Destiny is lost if one’s acts stop.
Having obtained vast wealth, and women and all the enjoyments of this
world, the man, without action is unable to enjoy them long, but the
high-souled man, who is even diligent, is able to find riches buried deep
in the Earth and watched over by the fates. The good man who is prodigal
(in religious charities and sacrifices) is sought by the gods for his
good conduct, the celestial world being better than the world of men, but
the house of the miser though abounding in wealth is looked upon by the
gods as the house of dead. The man that does not exert himself is never
contented in this world nor can Destiny alter the course of a man that
has gone wrong. So there is no authority inherent in Destiny. As the
pupil follows one’s own individual perception, so the Destiny follows
Exertion. The affairs in which one’s own Exertion is put forth, there
only Destiny shows its hand. O best of Munis, I have thus described all
the merits of individual Exertion, after having always known them in
their true significance with the aid of my yogic insight. By the
influence of Destiny, and by putting forth individual Exertion, do men
attain to heaven. The combined aid of Destiny and Exertion, becomes


“Yudhishthira said, ‘O the best of Bharata’s race and the foremost of
great men, I wish to know what the fruits are of good deed. Do thou
enlighten me on this point.'”

“Bhishma said, ‘I shall tell thee what thou hast asked. Do thou, O
Yudhishthira, listen to this which constitutes the secret knowledge of
the Rishis. Listen to me as I explain what the ends, long coveted, are
which are attained by men after death. Whatever actions are performed by
particular corporeal beings, the fruits thereof are reaped by the doers
while endued with similar corporeal bodies; for example, the fruits of
actions done with mind are enjoyed at the time of dreams, and those of
actions performed physically are enjoyed in the working state physically.
In whatever states creatures perform good or evil deeds, they reap the
fruits thereof in similar states of succeeding lives. No act done with
the aid of the five organs of sensual perception, is ever lost. The five
sensual organs and the immortal soul which is the sixth, remain its
witnesses. One should devote one’s eye to the service of the guest and
should devote one’s heart on the same; one should utter words that are
agreeable; one should also follow and worship (one’s guest). This is
called Panchadakshin Sacrifice, (the sacrifice with five gifts). He who
offers good food to the unknown and weary travellers fatigued by a long
journey, attains to great merit. Those that use the sacrificial platform
as their only bed obtain commodious mansions and beds (in subsequent
births). Those that wear only rags and barks of trees for dress, obtain
good apparel and ornaments in next birth. One possessed of penances and
having his soul on Yoga, get vehicles and riding animals (as the fruit of
their renunciation in this life). The monarch that lies down by the side
of the sacrificial fire, attains to vigour and valour. The man who
renounces the enjoyment of all delicacies, attains to prosperity, and he
that abstains from animal food, obtains children and cattle, He who lies
down with his head downwards, or who lives in water, or who lives
secluded and alone in the practice of Brahmacharya, attains to all the
desired ends. He who offers shelter to a guest and welcomes him with
water to wash his feet as also with food, light and bed, attains to the
merits of the sacrifice with the five gifts. He who lays himself down on
a warrior’s bed on the battle-field in the posture of a warrior, goes to
those eternal regions where all the objects of desire are fulfilled. A
man, O king, attains to riches that makes charitable gifts. One secures
obedience to one’s command by the vow of silence, all the enjoyments of
life by practice of austerities, long life by Brahmacharya, and beauty,
prosperity and freedom from disease by abstaining from injury to others.
Sovereignty falls to the lot of those that subsist on fruits and roots
only. Residence in heaven is attained by those that live on only leaves
of trees. A man, O king, is said to obtain happiness, by abstention from
food. By confining one’s diet to herbs alone, one becomes possessed of
cows. By living on grass one attains to the celestial regions. By
foregoing all intercourse with one’s wife and making ablutions three
times during the day and by inhaling the air only for purposes of
subsistence, one obtains the merit of a sacrifice. Heaven is attained by
the practice of truth, nobility of birth by sacrifices. The Brahmana of
pure practices that subsists on water only, and performs the Agnihotra
ceaselessly, and recites the Gayatri, obtains a kingdom. By abstaining
food or by regulating it, one attains to residence in heaven. O king, by
abstaining from all but the prescribed diet while engaged in sacrifices,
and by making pilgrimage for twelve years, one attains to a place better
than the abodes reserved for heroes. By reading all the Vedas, one is
instantly liberated from misery, and by practising virtue in thought, one
attains to the heavenly regions. That man who is able to renounce that
intense yearning of the heart for happiness and material enjoyments,–a
yearning that is difficult of conquest by the foolish and that doth not
abate with the abatement of bodily vigour and that clings like a fatal
disease unto him,–is able to secure happiness. As the young calf is able
to recognise its dam from among a thousand cows, so does the previous
acts of a man pursue him (in all his different transformations). As the
flowers and fruits of a tree, unurged by visible influences, never miss
their proper season, so does Karma done in a previous existence bring
about its fruits in proper time. With age, man’s hair grows grey, his
teeth become loose; his eyes and ears too become dim in action; but the
only thing that does not abate is his desire for enjoyments. Prajapati is
pleased with those acts that please one’s father, and the Earth is
pleased with those acts that please one’s mother, and Brahma is adored
with those acts that please one’s preceptor. Virtue is honoured by him
who honours these three. The acts of those that despise these three do
not avail them.'”

“Vaisampayana said, ‘The princes of Kuru’s race became filled with wonder
upon listening to this speech of Bhishma. All of them became pleased in
mind and overpowered with joy. As Mantras applied with a desire to win
victory, or the performance of the Shoma sacrifice made without proper
gifts, or oblations poured on the fire without proper hymns, become
useless and lead to evil consequences, even so sin and evil results flow
from falsehood in speech. O prince, I have thus related to thee this
doctrine of the fruition of good and evil acts, as narrated by the Rishis
of old. What else dost thou wish to hear?”


“Yudhishthira said, ‘Who are deserving of worship? Who are they unto whom
one may bow? Who are they, O Bharata, unto whom thou wouldst bend thy
head? Who, again, are they whom thou likest? Tell me all this, O prince.
What is that upon which thy mind dwells when affliction overwhelms thee?
Do thou discourse to me on what is beneficial here, that is, in this
region of human beings, as also hereafter.'”[10]

“Bhishma said, ‘I like those regenerate persons whose highest wealth is
Brahman, whose heaven consists in the knowledge of the soul, and whose
penances are constituted by their diligent study of the Vedas. My heart
yearns after those in whose race persons, young and old diligently bear
the ancestral burthens without languishing under them. Brahmanas
well-trained in several branches of knowledge, self-controlled,
mild-speeched, conversant with the scriptures, well-behaved, possessed of
the knowledge of Brahman and righteous in conduct, discourse in
respectable assemblies like flights of swans.[11] Auspicious, agreeable,
excellent, and well-pronounced are the words, O Yudhishthira, which they
utter with a voice as deep as that of the clouds. Fraught with happiness
both temporal and spiritual, such words are uttered by them in the courts
of monarchs, themselves being received with honour and attention and
served with reverence by those rulers of men. Indeed, my heart yearns
after them who listen to the words uttered in assemblies or the courts of
kings by persons endued with knowledge and all desirable attributes, and
are respected by others. My heart, O monarch, always yearns after them
who, for the gratification of Brahmanas, O Yudhishthira, give unto them,
with devotion, food that is well-cooked and clean and wholesome. It is
easy to fight in battle, but not so to make a gift without pride or
vanity. In this world, O Yudhishthira, there are brave men and heroes by
hundreds. While counting them, he that is a hero in gifts should be
regarded as superior, O amiable one, if I had been even a vulgar
Brahmana, I would have regarded myself as very great, not to speak of one
born in a good Brahmana family endued with righteousness of conduct, and
devoted to penances and learning. There is no one, O son of Pandu, in
this world that is dearer to me than thou, O chief of Bharata’s race but
dearer to me than thou are the Brahmanas. And since, O best of the Kurus,
the Brahmanas are very much dearer to me than thou, it is by that truth
that I hope to go to all those regions of felicity which have been
acquired by my sire Santanu. Neither my sire, nor my sire’s sire, nor any
one else connected with me by blood, is dearer to me than the Brahmanas.
I do not expect any fruit, small or great, from my worship of the
Brahmanas (for I worship them as deities because they are deserving of
such worship).[12] In consequence of what I have done to the Brahmanas in
thought, word, and deed, I do not feel any pain now (even though I am
lying on a bed of arrows). People used to call me as one devoted to the
Brahmanas. This style of address always pleased me highly. To do good to
the Brahmanas is the most sacred of all sacred acts. I behold many
regions of beautitude waiting for me that have reverentially walked
behind the Brahmanas. Very soon shall I repair to those regions for
everlasting time, O son. In this world, O Yudhishthira, the duties of
women have reference to and depend upon their husbands. To a woman,
verily, the husband is the deity and he is the highest end after which
she should strive. As the husband is to the wife, even so are the
Brahmanas unto Kshatriyas. If there be a Kshatriya of full hundred years
of age and a good Brahmana child of only ten years, the latter should be
regarded as a father and the former as a son, for among the two, verily,
the Brahmana is superior. A woman in the absence of her husband, takes
his younger brother for her lord; even so the Earth, not having obtained
the: Brahmana, made the Kshatriya her lord. The Brahmanas should be
protected like sons and worshipped like sires or preceptors. Indeed, O
best of the Kurus, they should be waited upon with reverence even as
people wait with reverence upon their sacrificial or Homa fires. The
Brahmanas are endued with simplicity and righteousness. They are devoted
to truth. They are always engaged in the good of every creature. Yet when
angry they are like snakes of virulent poison. They should, for these
reasons, be always waited upon and served with reverence and humility.
One should, O Yudhishthira, always fear these two, viz. Energy and
Penances. Both these should be avoided or kept at a distance. The effects
of both are speedy. There is the superiority, however, of Penances, viz.,
that Brahmanas endued with Penances, O monarch, can, if angry, slay the
object of their wrath (regardless of the measure of Energy with which
that object may be endued). Energy and Penances, each of the largest
measure, become neutralised if applied against a Brahmana that has
conquered wrath. If the two,–that is, Energy and Penances,–be set
against each other, then destruction would overtake both but not
destruction without, a remnant, for while Energy, applied against
Penances, is sure to be destroyed without leaving a remnant. Penances
applied against Energy cannot be destroyed completely.[13] As the
herdsman, stick in hand, protects the herd, even so should the Kshatriya
always protect the Vedas and the Brahmanas. Indeed, the Kshatriya should
protect all righteous Brahmanas even as a sire protects his sons. He
should always have his eye upon the house of the Brahmanas for seeing
that their means of subsistence may not be wanting.'”


“Yudhisthira said, ‘O grandsire, O thou of great splendour, what do those
men become who, through stupefaction of intellect, do not make gifts unto
Brahmanas after having promised to make those gifts? O thou that art the
foremost of all righteous persons, do tell me what the duties are in this
respect. Indeed, what becomes the end of those wicked wights that do not
give after having promised to give.'”

“Bhishma said, ‘The person that, after having promised, does not give, be
it little or much, has the mortification to see his hopes (in every
direction) become fruitless like the hopes of a eunuch in respect of
progeny. Whatever good acts such a person does between the day of his
birth and that of his death, O Bharata, whatever libations he pours on
the sacrificial fire, whatever gifts he makes, O chief of Bharata’s race,
and whatever penances he performs all become fruitless. They that are
conversant with the scriptures declare this as their opinion, arriving at
it, O chief of the Bharatas, with the aid of a well-ordered
understanding. Persons conversant with the scriptures are also of opinion
that such a man may be cleansed by giving away a thousand horses with
ears of a dark hue. In this connection is cited the old narrative of the
discourse between a jackal and an ape. While both were human beings, O
scorcher of foes, they were intimate friends. After death one of them
became a jackal and the other an ape. Beholding the jackal one day eating
an animal carcase in the midst of a crematorium, the ape, remembering his
own and his friend’s former birth as human beings, addressed him,
saying,–Verily, what terrible sin didst thou perpetrate in thy former
birth in consequence of which thou art obliged in this birth to feed in a
crematorium upon such repulsive fare as the putrid carcase of an
animal?–Thus addressed, the jackal replied unto the ape, saying,–Having
promised to give unto a Brahmana I did not make him the gift. It is for
that sin, O ape, that I have fallen into this wretched order of
existence. It is for that reason that, when hungry, I am obliged to eat
such food.’

“Bhishma continued, ‘The jackal then, O best of men, addressed the ape
and said,–What sin didst thou commit for which thou hast become an ape?’

“The ape said, ‘In my former life I used to appropriate the fruits
belonging to Brahmanas. Hence have I become an ape. Hence it is clear
that one possessed of intelligence and learning should never appropriate
what belongs to Brahmanas. Verily, as one should abstain from this, one
should avoid also all disputes with Brahmanas. Having promised, one
should certainly make the promised gift unto them.’

“Bhishma continued, ‘I heard this, O king, from my preceptor while he was
engaged in discoursing upon the subject of Brahmanas. I heard this from
that righteous person when he recited the old and sacred declaration on
this topic. I heard this from Krishna also, O king, while he was engaged
in discoursing, O son of Pandu, upon Brahmanas.[14] The property of a
Brahmana should never be appropriated. They should always be let alone.
Poor, or miserly, or young in years, they should never be disregarded.
The Brahmanas have always taught me this. Having promised to make them a
gift, the gift should be made. A superior Brahmana should never be
disappointed in the matter of his expectations. A Brahmana, O king, in
whom an expectation has been raised, has, O king, been said to be like a
blazing fire.[15] That man upon whom a Brahmana with raised expectations
casts his eye, is sure, O monarch, to be consumed even as a heap of straw
is capable of being consumed by a blazing fire.[16] When the Brahmana,
gratified (with honours and gifts) by the king addresses the king in
delightful and affectionate words, he becomes, O Bharata, a source of
great benefit to the king, for he continues to live in the kingdom like a
physician combating against diverse ills of the body.[17] Such a Brahmana
is sure to maintain by his puissance and good wishes, the sons and
grandsons and animals and relatives and ministers and other officers and
the city and the provinces of the king.[18] Even such is the energy, so
great, of the Brahmana like unto that of the thousand-rayed Surya
himself, on the Earth. There-fore, O Yudhishthira, if one wishes to
attain to a respectable or happy order of being in one’s next birth, one
should, having passed the promise to a Brahmana, certainly keep it by
actually making the gift to him. By making gifts to a Brahmana one is
sure to attain to the highest heaven. Verily, the making of gifts is the
highest of acts that one can achieve. By the gifts one makes to a
Brahmana, the deities and the pitris are supported. Hence one possessed
of knowledge should ever make gifts unto the Brahmanas. O chief of the
Bharatas, the Brahmana is regarded as the highest object unto whom gifts
should be made. At no time should a Brahmana be received without being
properly worshipped.”


“Yudhisthira said, ‘I wish to know, O royal sage, whether any fault is
incurred by one who from interested or disinterested friendship imparts
instructions unto a person belonging to a low order of birth! O
grandsire, I desire to hear this, expounded to me in detail. The course
of duty is exceedingly subtile. Men are often seen to be stupefied in
respect of that course.’

“Bhishma said, ‘In this connection, O king, I shall recite to thee, in
due order, what I heard certain Rishis say in days of yore. Instruction
should not be imparted unto one that belongs to a low or mean caste. It
is said that the preceptor who imparts instruction to such a person
incurs great fault. Listen to me, O chief of Bharata’s race, as I recite
to thee, O Yudhishthira, this instance that occurred in days of old, O
monarch, of the evil consequences of the imparting of instruction unto a
low-born person fallen into distress. The incident which I shall relate
occurred in the asylum of certain regenerate sages that stood on the
auspicious breast of Himavat. There, on the breast of that prince of
mountains, was a sacred asylum adorned with trees of diverse kinds.
Overgrown also with diverse species of creepers and plants, it was the
resort of many animals and birds. Inhabited by Siddhas and Charanas also,
it was exceedingly delightful in consequence of the woods that flowered
these at every season. Many were the Brahmacharins that dwelt there, and
many belonging to the forest mode of life. Many also were the Brahmanas
that took up their residence there, that were highly blessed and that
resembled the sun or the fire in energy and effulgence. Ascetics of
diverse kinds, observant of various restraints and vows, as also others,
O chief of the Bharatas, that had undergone Diksha and were frugal in
fare and possessed of cleansed souls, took up their residence there.
Large numbers of Valakhilyas and many that were observant of the vow of
Sanyasa also, used to dwell there. The asylum, in consequence of all
this, resounded with the chanting of the Vedas and the sacred Mantras
uttered by its inhabitants. Once upon a time a Sudra endued with
compassion for all creatures, ventured to come into that asylum. Arrived
at that retreat, he was duly honoured by all the ascetics. Beholding
those ascetics of diverse classes that were endued with great energy,
that resembled the deities (in purity and power), and that were observing
diverse kinds of Diksha, O Bharata, the Sudra became highly pleased at
heart. Beholding everything, O chief of Bharata’s race, the Sudra felt
inclined to devote himself to the practice of penances. Touching the feet
of the Kulapati (the head man of the group), O Bharata, he addressed him
saying,[19] ‘Through thy grace, O foremost of regenerate persons, I
desire, to learn (and practise) the duties of religion. It behoveth thee,
O illustrious one, to discourse to me on those duties and introduce me
(by performing the rites of initiation) into a life of Renunciation. I am
certainly inferior in colour, O illustrious one, for I am by caste a
Sudra, O best of men. I desire to wait upon and serve you here. Be
gratified with me that humbly seek thy shelter.'”

“The Kulapati said, ‘It is impossible that a Sudra should live here
adopting the marks specially intended for those practising lives of
Renunciation. If it pleases thee, thou mayest stay here, engaged in
waiting upon and serving us. Without doubt, by such service thou shalt
attain to many regions of high felicity.'”

“Bhishma continued, ‘Thus addressed by the ascetic, the Sudra began to
reflect in his mind, O king, saying, How should I now act? Great is my
reverence for those religious duties that lead to merit. Let this,
however, be settled, that I shall do what would be for my benefit.'[20]
Proceeding to a spot that was distant from that asylum, he made a hut of
the twigs and leaves of trees. Erecting also a sacrificial platform, and
making a little space for his sleep, and some platforms for the use of
the deities, he began, O chief of the Bharatas, to lead a life regulated
by rigid observances and vows and to practise penances, abstaining
entirely from speech all the while. He began to perform ablutions thrice
a day, observe other vows (in respect of food and sleep), make sacrifices
to the deities, pour libations on the sacrificial fire, and adore the
worship and deities in this way. Restraining all carnal desires, living
abstemiously upon fruits and roots, controlling all his senses, he daily
welcomed and entertained all that came to his retreat as guests, offering
them herbs and fruits that grew plentifully around. In this way he passed
a very long time in that hermitage of his.[21] One day an ascetic came to
that Sudra’s retreat for the purpose of making his acquaintance. The
Sudra welcomed and worshipped the Rishi with due rites, and gratified him
highly. Endued with great energy, and possessed of a righteous soul, that
Rishi of rigid vows conversed with his host on many agreeable subjects
and informed him of the place whence he had come. In this way, O chief of
the Bharatas, that Rishi, O best of men, came into the asylum of the
Sudra times out of a number for the object of seeing him. On one of these
occasions, the Sudra, O king, addressing the Rishi said,–I desire to
perform the rites that are ordained for the Pitris. Do thou instruct me
kindly in this matter.–Very well,–the Brahmana said in reply unto him,
O monarch. The Sudra then, purifying himself by a bath, brought water for
the Rishi to wash his feet, and he also brought some Kusa grass, and wild
herbs and fruits, and a sacred seat, and the seat called Vrishi. The
Vrishi, however, was placed by the Sudra towards the south, with his head
turned to the west. Beholding, this and knowing that it was against the
ordinance, the Rishi addressed the Sudra, saying,–Place the Vrishi with
its head turned towards the East, and having purified thyself, do thou
sit with thy face turned towards the north–The Sudra did everything as
the Rishi directed. Possessed of great intelligence, and observant of
righteousness, the Sudra received every direction, about the Sraddha, as
laid down in the ordinance, from that Rishi endued with penances
regarding the manner of spreading the Kusa grass, and placing the
Arghyas, and as regards the rites to be observed in the matter of the
libations to be poured and the food to be offered. After the rites in
honour of the Pitris had been accomplished, the Rishi, was dismissed by
the Sudra, whereupon he returned to his own abode.[22] After a long time,
the whole of which he passed in the practice of such penances and vows,
the Sudra ascetic met with his death in those woods. In consequence of
the merit he acquired by those practices, the Sudra in the next life,
took birth in the family of a great king, and in course of time became
possessed of great splendour. The regenerate Rishi also, when the time
came, paid his debt in Nature. In his next life, O chief of Bharata’s
race, he took birth in the family of a priest. It was in this way that
those two, viz., that Sudra who had passed a life of penances and that
regenerate Rishi who had in kindness given the former some instructions
in the matter of the rites performed in honour of the Pitris, became
reborn, the one as scion of a royal race and the other as the member of a
priestly family. Both of them began to grow and both acquired great
knowledge in the usual branches of study. The Brahmana became well versed
in the Vedas as also in the Atharvans.[23] In the matter, again of all
sacrifices ordained in the Sutras, of that Vedanga which deals with
religious rites and observances, astrology and astronomy the reborn Rishi
attained great excellence. In the Sankhya philosophy too he began to take
great delight. Meanwhile, the reborn Sudra who had become a prince, when
his father, the king died, performed his last rites; and after he had
purified himself by accomplishing all the obsequial ceremonies, he was
installed by the subjects of his father as their king on his paternal
throne. But soon after his own installation as king, he installed the
reborn Rishi as his priest. Indeed, having made the Brahmana his priest,
the king began to pass his days in great happiness. He ruled his kingdom
righteously and protected and cherished all his subjects. Everyday,
however, the king on the occasion of receiving benedictions from his
priest as also of the performance of religious and other sacred rites,
smiled or laughed at him loudly. In this way, O monarch, the reborn Sudra
who had become a king, laughed at sight of his priest on numberless
occasions.[24] The priest, marking that the king always smiled or laughed
whenever he happened to cast his eyes on him, became angry. On one
occasion he met the king in a place where there was nobody else. He
pleased the king by agreeable discourse. Taking advantage of that moment,
O chief of Bharata’s race, the priest addressed the king, saying,–‘O
thou of great splendour, I pray thee to grant me a single boon.’

“The king said, ‘O best of regenerate persons, I am ready to grant thee a
hundred of boons, what dost thou say then of one only? From the affection
I bear thee and the reverence in which I hold thee, there is nothing that
I cannot give thee.’

“The priest said, ‘I desire to have only one boon, O king, thou hast been
pleased with me. Swear that thou wouldst tell me the truth instead of any

“Bhishma continued, ‘Thus addressed by the priest, O Yudhishthira, the
king said unto him–So be it. If what thou wouldst ask me be known to me,
I shall certainly tell thee truly. If on the other hand, the matter be
unknown to me, I shall not say anything.’

“The priest said, ‘Every day, on occasions of obtaining my benedictions,
when, again, I am engaged in the performance of religious rites on thy
behalf, on occasions also of the Homa and other rites of propitiation,
why is it that thou laughest upon beholding me? Seeing thee laugh at me
on all occasions, my mind shrinks with shame. I have caused thee to
swear, O king, that thou wouldst answer me truly. It does not behove thee
to say what is untrue. There must be some grave reason for thy behaviour.
Thy laughter cannot be causeless. Great is my curiosity to know the
reason. Do thou speak truly unto me.’

“The king said, ‘When thou hast addressed me in this strain, O regenerate
one, I am bound to enlighten thee, even if the matter be one that should
not be divulged in thy hearing. I must tell thee the truth. Do thou
listen to me with close attention, O regenerate one. Listen to me, O
foremost of twice-born persons, as I disclose to thee what happened (to
us) in our former births. I remember that birth. Do thou listen to me
with concentrated mind. In my former life I was a Sudra employed in the
practice of severe penances. Thou, O best of regenerate persons, wert a
Rishi of austere penances. O sinless one, gratified with me, and impelled
by the desire of doing me good, thou, O Brahmana, wert pleased to give me
certain instructions in the rites I performed (on one occasion) in honour
of my Pitris. The instructions thou gayest me were in respect of the
manner of spreading the Vrishi and the Kusa blades and of offering
libations and meat and other food to the manes, O foremost of ascetics.
In consequence of this transgression of thine thou hast taken birth as a
priest, and I have taken birth as a king, O foremost of Brahmanas. Behold
the vicissitudes that Time brings about. Thou hast reaped this fruit in
consequence of thy having instructed me (in my former birth). It is for
this reason, O Brahmana, that I smile at sight of thee, O foremost of
regenerate persons. I do not certainly laugh at thee from desire of
disregarding thee. Thou art my preceptor.[25] At this change of condition
I am really very sorry. My heart burns at the thought. I remember our
former births, hence do I laugh at sight of thee. Thy austere penances
were all destroyed by the instructions thou gayest me. Relinquishing thy
present office of priest, do thou endeavour to regain a superior birth.
Do thou exert so that thou mayst not obtain in thy next life a birth
meaner than thy present one. Take as much wealth as thou wishest. O
learned Brahmana, and cleanse thy soul, O best of men.’

“Bhishma continued, ‘Dismissed by the king (from the office of priest),
the Brahmana made many gifts, unto persons of his own order, of wealth
and land and villages. He observed many rigid and severe vows as laid
down by the foremost of Brahmanas. He sojourned to many sacred waters and
made many gifts unto Brahmanas in those places. Making gifts of kine unto
persons of the regenerate order, his soul became cleansed and he
succeeded in acquiring a knowledge of it. Repairing to that very asylum
whither he had lived in his former birth, he practised very severe
penances. As the consequence of all this, O foremost of kings, that
Brahmana succeeded in attaining to the highest success. He became an
object of veneration with all the ascetics that dwelt in that asylum. In
this way, O best of monarchs, that regenerate Rishi fell into great
distress. Unto Sudras, therefore, the Brahmanas should never give
instructions. Hence, O king, the Brahmana should avoid imparting
instructions (to such as are low-born), for it was by imparting
instruction to a low-born person a Brahmana came to grief. O best of
kings, the Brahmana should never desire to obtain instruction from, or
impart instruction to, a person that belongs to the lowest order.
Brahmanas and Kshatriyas and Vaisyas, the three orders, are regarded as
twice-born. By imparting instruction unto these, a Brahmana does not
incur any fault. They, therefore, that are good, should never discourse
on any subject, for imparting any instruction, before persons of the
inferior order. The course of morality is exceedingly subtile and
incapable of being comprehended by persons of uncleansed souls. It is for
this reason that ascetics adopt the vow of silence, and being respected
by all, pass through Diksha (initiation) without indulging in speech.[26]
For fear of saying what is incorrect or what may offend, ascetics often
forego speech itself. Even men that are righteous and possessed of every
accomplishment, and endued with truth and simplicity of behaviour, have
been known to incur great fault in consequence of words spoken
improperly. Instruction should never be imparted on anything unto any
person. If in consequence of the instructions imparted, the instructed
commit any sin, that sin, attaches to the Brahmana who imparted the
instruction. The man of wisdom, therefore, that desires to earn merit,
should always act with wisdom. That instruction which is imparted in
barter for money always pollutes the instructor.[27] Solicited by others,
one should say only what is correct after settling it with the aid of
reflection. One should impart instruction in such a way that one may, by
imparting it, earn merit. I have thus told thee everything respecting the
subject of instructions. Very often persons become plunged into great
afflictions in consequence of imparting instructions. Hence it is meet
that one should abstain from giving instruction unto others.'”


“Yudhishthira said, ‘Tell me, O grandsire, in what kind of man or woman,
O chief of the Bharatas, does the goddess of prosperity always reside?’

“Bhishma said, ‘I shall, in this connection, narrate to thee what
occurred and what I have heard. Once on a time, beholding the goddess of
prosperity blazing with beauty and endued with the complexion of the
lotus, the princess Rukmini the mother of Pradyumna that bore the device
of the Makara on his banner, filled with curiosity, asked this question
in the presence of Devaki’s son. Who are those beings by whose side thou
stayest and whom thou favours? Who again, are those whom thou dost not
bless with favour. O thou that art dear unto Him that is the lord of all
creatures, tell me this truly, O thou that art equal to a great Rishi in
penances and puissance. Thus addressed by the princess, the goddess of
prosperity, with a face as beautiful as the moon, and moved by grace, in
the presence of him who has Garuda on his banner, said these words in
reply that were sweet and charming.’

“Sree said, ‘O blessed lady, I always reside with him that is eloquent,
active, attentive to business, free from wrath, given to the worship of
the deities, endued with gratitude, has his passions under complete
control, and is high-minded in everything. I never reside with one that
is inattentive to business, that is an unbeliever, that causes an
intermixture of races in consequence of his lustfulness, that is
ungrateful, that is of impure practices, that uses harsh and cruel words,
that is a thief, that cherishes malice towards his preceptors and other
seniors, those persons that are endued with little energy, strength,
life, and honour, that are distressed at every trifle, and that always
indulge in wrath. I never reside with these that think in one strain and
act in a different one.[28] I never reside also with him who never
desires any acquisition for himself, of him who is so blinded as to rest
content with the lot in which he finds himself without any exertion or
with those that are contented with small acquisitions. I reside with
those that are observant of the duties of their own order, or those that
are conversant with the duties of righteousness, or those that are
devoted to the service of the aged or those that have their passions
under control, or those that are endued with cleansed souls or those that
observe the virtue of forgiveness, or those that are able and prompt in
action, or with such women as are forgiving and self-restrained. I reside
with those women also that are devoted to truth and sincerity and that
worship the deities. I do not reside with those women also that do not
attend to household furniture and provisions scattered all around the
house, and that always utter words contrary to the wishes of their
husbands. I always avoid those women that are fond of the houses of other
people and that have no modesty. On the other hand, I reside with those
women that are devoted to their husbands, that are blessed in behaviour,
and that are always decked in ornaments and attired in good robes. I
always reside with those women that are truthful in speech, that are of
handsome and agreeable features, that are blessed and that are endued
with all accomplishments. I always avoid such women as are sinful and
unclean or impure, as always lick the corners of their mouths, as have no
patience or fortitude, and as are fond of dispute and quarrelling, as are
given to much sleep, and as always lie down. I always reside in
conveyances and the animals that drag them, in maidens, in ornaments and
good vestments, in sacrifices, in clouds charged with rain, in full-blown
lotuses, and in those stars that bespangle the autumnal firmament. I
reside in elephants, in the cow pen, in good seats, and in lakes adorned
with full-blown lotuses. I live also in such rivers as babble sweetly in
their course, melodious with the music of cranes, having banks adorned
with rows of diverse trees, and restored to by Brahmanas and ascetics and
others crowned with success. I always reside in those rivers also that
have deep and large volumes of rolling waters rendered turbid by lions
and elephants plunging into them for bathing or slaking their thirst. I
reside also in infuriate elephants, in bovine bulls, in kings, on the
throne and good men. I always reside in that house in which the inmate
pours libation on the sacrificial fire and worships kine, Brahmanas and
the deities. I reside in that house where at the proper time offerings
are made unto the deities, in course of worship.[29] I always reside in
such Brahmanas as are devoted to the study of the Vedas, in Kshatriyas
devoted to the observance of righteousness, in Vaisyas devoted to
cultivation, and the Sudras devoted to the (menial) service of the three
upper classes. I reside, with a heart firm and unchangeable, in Narayana,
in my embodied self. In Him is righteousness in its perfection and full
measure, devotion to the Brahmanas, and the quality of agreeableness. Can
I not say, O lady that I do not reside in my embodied form, (in any of
these places that I have mentioned, except Narayana)? That person in whom
I reside in spirit increases in righteousness and fame and wealth and
objects of desire.'”


“Yudhishthira said, ‘It behoveth, O king to tell me truly which of the
two viz., man or woman derives the greater pleasure from an act of union
with each other. Kindly resolve my doubt in this respect.”

“Bhishma said, ‘In this connection is cited this old narrative of the
discourse between Bhangaswana and Sakra as a precedent illustrating the
question. In days of yore there lived a king of the name of Bhangaswana.
He was exceedingly righteous and was known as a royal sage. He was,
however, childless, O chief of man, and therefore performed a sacrifice
from desire of obtaining an issue. The sacrifice which that mighty
monarch performed was the Agnishtuta. In consequence of the fact that the
deity of fire is alone adored in that sacrifice, this is always disliked
by Indra. Yet it is the sacrifice that is desired by men when for the
purpose of obtaining an issue they seek to cleanse themselves of their
sins.[30] The highly blessed chief of the celestials, viz. Indra,
learning that the monarch was desirous of performing the Agnishtuta,
began from that moment to look for the laches of that royal sage of
well-restrained soul (for if he could succeed in finding some laches, he
could then punish his disregarder). Notwithstanding all his vigilance,
however, O king, Indra failed to detect any laches, on the part of the
high-souled monarch. Some time after, one day, the king went on a hunting
expedition. Saying unto himself–This, indeed, is an opportunity,–Indra
stupefied the monarch. The king proceeded alone on his horse, confounded
because of the chief of the celestials having stupefied his senses.
Afflicted with hunger and thirst, the king’s confusion was so great that
he could not ascertain the points of the compass. Indeed, afflicted with
thirst, he began to wander hither and thither. He then beheld a lake that
was exceedingly beautiful and was full of transparent water. Alighting
from his steed, and plunging into the lake, he caused his animal to
drink. Tying his horse then, whose thirst had been slaked, to a tree, the
king plunged into the lake again for performing his ablutions. To his
amazement he found that he was changed, by virtue of the waters, into a
woman. Beholding himself thus transformed in respect of sex itself, the
king became overpowered with shame. With his senses and mind completely
agitated, he began to reflect with his whole heart in this strain:–Alas,
how shall I ride my steed? How shall I return to my capital? In
consequence of the Agnishtuta sacrifice I have got a hundred sons all
endued with great might, and all children of my own loins. Alas, thus
transformed, what shall I say unto them? What shall I say unto my
spouses, my relatives and well-wishers, and my subjects of the city and
the provinces? Rishis conversant with the truths of duty and religion and
other matters say that mildness and softness and liability to extreme
agitation are the attributes of women, and that activity, hardness, and
energy are the attributes of men. Alas, my manliness has disappeared. For
what reason has femininity come over me? In consequence of this
transformation of sex, how shall I succeed in mounting my horse
again?–Having indulged in these sad thoughts, the monarch, with great
exertion, mounted his steed and came back to his capital, transformed
though he had been into a woman. His sons and spouses and servants, and
his subjects of the city and the provinces, beholding that extraordinary
transformation, became exceedingly amazed. Then that royal sage, that
foremost of eloquent men, addressing them all, said,–I had gone out on a
hunting expedition, accompanied by a large force. Losing all knowledge of
the points of the compass, I entered a thick and terrible forest,
impelled by the fates. In that terrible forest, I became afflicted with
thirst and lost my senses. I then beheld a beautiful lake abounding with
fowl of every description. Plunging into that stream for performing my
ablutions, I was transformed into a woman!–Summoning then his spouses
and counsellors, and all his sons by their names, that best of monarchs
transformed into a woman said unto them these words:–Do ye enjoy this
kingdom in happiness. As regards myself, I shall repair to the woods, ye
sons.–Having said so unto his children, the monarch proceeded to the
forest. Arrived there, she came upon an asylum inhabited by an ascetic.
By that ascetic the transformed monarch gave birth to a century of sons.
Taking all those children of hers, she repaired to where her former
children were, and addressing the latter, said,–Ye are the children of
my loins while I was a man. These are my children brought forth by me in
this state of transformation. Ye sons, do ye all enjoy my kingdom
together, like brothers born of the same parents.–At this command of
their parent, all the brothers, uniting together, began to enjoy the
kingdom as their joint property. Beholding those children of the king all
jointly enjoying the kingdom as brothers born of the same parents, the
chief of the celestials, filled with wrath, began to reflect–By
transforming this royal sage into a woman I have, it seems, done him good
instead of an injury. Saying this, the chief of the celestials viz.,
Indra of a hundred sacrifices, assuming the form of a Brahmana, repaired
to the capital of the king and meeting all the children succeeded in
disuniting the princes. He said unto them–Brothers never remain at peace
even when they happen to be the children of the same father. The sons of
the sage Kasyapa, viz., the deities and the Asuras, quarrelled with each
other on account of the sovereignty of the three worlds. As regards ye
princes, ye are the children of the royal sage Bhangaswana. These others
are the children of an ascetic. The deities and the Asuras are children
of even one common sire, and yet the latter quarrelled with each other.
How much more, therefore, should you quarrel with each other? This
kingdom that is your paternal property is being enjoyed by these children
of an ascetic. With these words, Indra succeeded in causing a breach
between them, so that they were very soon engaged in battle and slew each
other. Hearing this, king Bhangaswana, who was living as an ascetic
woman, burnt with grief and poured forth her lamentations. The lord of
the celestials viz. Indra, assuming the guise of a Brahmana, came to that
spot where the ascetic lady was living and meeting her, said,–O thou
that art possessed of a beautiful face, with what grief dost thou burn so
that thou art pouring forth thy lamentations?–Beholding the Brahmana the
lady told him in a piteous voice,–Two hundred sons of mine O regenerate
one, have been slain by Time. I was formerly a king, O learned Brahmana
and in that state had a hundred sons. These were begotten by me after my
own form, O best of regenerate persons. On one occasion I went on a
hunting expedition. Stupefied, I wandered amidst a thick forest.
Beholding at last a lake, I plunged into it. Rising, O foremost of
Brahmanas, I found that I had become a woman. Returning to my capital I
installed my sons in the sovereignty of my dominions and then departed
for the forest. Transformed into a woman, I bore a hundred sons to my
husband who is a high souled ascetic. All of them were born in the
ascetic’s retreat. I took them to the capital. My children, through the
influence of Time, quarrelled with each other, O twice-born one. Thus
afflicted by Destiny, I am indulging in grief. Indra addressed him in
these harsh words.–In former days, O lady, thou gayest me great pain,
for thou didst perform a sacrifice that is disliked by Indra. Indeed,
though I was present, thou didst not invoke me with honours. I am that
Indra, O thou of wicked understanding. It is I with whom thou hast
purposely sought hostilities. Beholding Indra, the royal sage fell at his
feet, touching them with his head, and said,–Be gratified with me, O
foremost of deities. The sacrifice of which thou speakest was performed
from desire of offspring (and not from any wish to hurt thee). It
behoveth thee therefore, to grant me thy pardon.–Indra, seeing the
transformed monarch prostrate himself thus unto him, became gratified
with him and desired to give him a boon. Which of your sons, O king, dost
thou wish, should revive, those that were brought forth by thee
transformed into a woman, or those that were begotten by thee in thy
condition as a person of the male sex? The ascetic lady, joining her
hands, answered Indra, saying, O Vasava, let those sons of mine come to
life that were borne by me as a woman. Filled with wonder at this reply,
Indra once more asked the lady, Why dost thou entertain less affection
for those children of thine that were begotten by thee in thy form of a
person of the male sex? Why is it that thou bearest greater affection for
those children that were borne by thee in thy transformed state? I wish
to hear the reason of this difference in respect of thy affection. It
behoveth thee to tell me everything.’

“The lady said, ‘The affection that is entertained by a woman is much
greater than that which is entertained by a man. Hence, it is, O Sakra,
that I wish those children to come back to life that were borne by me as
a woman.’

“Bhishma continued, ‘Thus addressed, Indra became highly pleased and said
unto her, O lady that art so truthful, let all thy children come back
into life. Do thou take another boon, O foremost of kings, in fact,
whatever boon thou likest. O thou of excellent vows, do thou take from me
whatever status thou choosest, that of woman or of man.’

“The lady said, ‘I desire to remain a woman, O Sakra. In fact,–do not
wish to be restored to the status of manhood, O Vasava.–Hearing this
answer, Indra once more asked her, saying,–Why is it, O puissant one,
that abandoning the status of manhood thou wishest that of womanhood?
Questioned thus, that foremost of monarchs transformed into a woman
answered, ‘In acts of congress, the pleasure that women enjoy is always
much greater than what is enjoyed by men. It is for this reason, O Sakra,
that I desire to continue a woman; O foremost of the deities, truly do I
say unto thee that I derive greater pleasure in my present status of
womanhood. I am quite content with this status of womanhood that I now
have. Do thou leave me now, O lord of heaven.–Hearing these words of
hers, the lord of the celestials answered,–So be it,–and bidding her
farewell, proceeded to heaven. Thus, O monarch, it is known that woman
derives much greater pleasure than man under the circumstances thou hast


“Yudhishthira said, ‘What should a man do in order to pass pleasantly
through this and the other world. How, indeed, should one conduct
oneself? What practices should one adopt with this end in view?’

“Bhishma said, ‘One should avoid the three acts that are done with the
body, the four that are done with speech, the three that are done with
the mind, and the ten paths of action. The three acts that are done with
the body and should be wholly avoided are the destruction of the lives of
other creatures, theft or appropriation of what belongs to other persons,
and the enjoyment of other people’s wives. The four acts that are done
with speech, O king, and that should never be indulged in or even thought
of, are evil conversation, harsh words, publishing other people’s faults,
and falsehood. Coveting the possessions of others, doing injury to
others, and disbelief in the ordinances of the Vedas, are the three acts
done with the mind which should always be avoided.[31] Hence, one should
never do any evil act in word, body, or mind. By doing good and evil
acts, one is sure to enjoy or endure the just consequences thereof.
Nothing can be more certain than this.'”


“Yudhishthira said, ‘O son of the River Ganga, thou hast heard all the
names of Maheshwara, the Lord of the universe. Do thou tell us, O
grandsire, all the names that are applied, O puissant one, unto Him who
is called Isa and Sambhu. Do thou tell us all those names that are
applied unto Him who is called Vabhru or vast, Him that has the universe
for his form, Him that is the illustrious preceptor of all the deities
and the Asuras, that is called Swayambhu (self-creating) and that is the
cause of the origin and dissolution of the universe. Do thou tell us also
of the puissance of Mahadeva.’

“Bhishma said, ‘I am quite incompetent to recite the virtues of Mahadeva
of highest intelligence. He pervades all things in the universe and yet
is not seen anywhere. He is the creator of universal self and the Pragna
(knowing) self and he is their master. All the deities, from Brahman to
the Pisachas, adore and worship him. He transcends both Prakriti and
Purusha. It is of Him that Rishis, conversant with Yoga and possessing a
knowledge of the tattwas, think and reflect. He is indestructible and
Supreme Brahman. He is both existent and non-existent. Agitating both
Prakriti and Purusha by means of His energy, He created therefrom the
universal lord of creatures, viz., Brahma. Who is there that is competent
to tell the virtues of that god of gods, that is endued with supreme
Intelligence? Man is subject to conception (in the mother’s womb), birth,
decrepitude, and death. Being such, what man like me is competent to
understand Bhava? Only Narayana, O son, that bearer of the discus and the
mace, can comprehend Mahadeva. He is without deterioration. He is the
foremost of all beings in attributes. He is Vishnu, because of his
pervading the universe. He is irresistible. Endued with spiritual vision,
He is possessed of supreme Energy. He sees all things with the eye of
Yoga. It is in consequence of the devotion of the high-souled Krishna to
the illustrious Rudra whom he gratified. O Bharata, in the retreat of
Vadari, by penances, that he has succeeded in pervading the entire
universe. O king of kings, it is through Maheswara of celestial vision
that Vasudeva has obtained the attribute of universal agreeableness,–an
agreeableness that is much greater than what is possessed by all articles
included under the name of wealth.[32] For a full thousand years this
Madhava underwent the austerest penances and at last succeeded in
gratifying the illustrious and boon giving Siva, that Master of all the
mobile and the immobile universe. In every new Yuga has Krishna (by such
penances) gratified Mahadeva. In every Yuga has Mahadeva been gratified
with the great devotion of the high-souled Krishna. How great is the
puissance of the high-souled Mahadeva,–that original cause of the
universe,–has been seen with his own eyes by Hari who himself transcends
all deterioration, on the occasion of his penances in the retreat of
Vadari undergone for obtaining a son.[33] I do not, O Bharata, behold any
one that is superior to Mahadeva. To expound the names of that god of
gods fully and without creating the desire of hearing more only Krishna
is competent. This mighty-armed one of Yadu’s race is alone competent to
tell the attributes of the illustrious Siva. Verily, O king, only he is
able to discourse on the puissance, in its entirety of the Supreme deity?’

“Vaisampayana continued, ‘Having said these words, the illustrious
Bhishma, the grandsire of the Kurus, addressing Vasudeva, said the
following words, dealing with the subject of the greatness of Bhava, O

“Bhishma said, ‘Thou art the Master of all the deities and the Asuras.
Thou art illustrious. Thou art Vishnu in consequence of thy pervading the
whole universe. It behoveth thee to discourse on those subjects connected
with Siva of universal form about which Yudhishthira has asked me. In
days of yore, the Rishi Tandin, sprung from Brahma, recited in Brahma’s
region and before Brahma himself the thousand names of Mahadeva. Do thou
recite those names before this conclave so that these Rishis endued with
wealth of asceticism, observant of high vows, possessed of
self-restraint, and numbering the Island-born Krishna among them, may
hear thee. Do thou discourse on the high blessedness of Him who is
immutable, who is always cheerful and happy, who is Hotri, who is the
universal Protector, who is Creator, of the universe, and who is called
Mundin and Kaparddin.'[34]

“Vasudeva said, ‘The very deities with Indra, and the Grandsire Brahma
numbering among them, and the great Rishis also, are incompetent to
understand the course of Mahadeva’s acts truly and in all their details.
Even He is the end which all righteous people attain. The very Adityas
who are endued with subtile sight, are unable to behold his abode. How
then can one that is merely a man succeed in comprehending Him?[35] I
shall, therefore, truly recite to you some of the attributes of that
illustrious slayer of Asuras, who is regarded as the Lord of all
sacrifices and vows.

“Vaisampayana continued, ‘Having said these words, the illustrious
Vasudeva began his discourse on the attributes of the high-souled
Mahadeva endued with the highest intelligence, after having purified
himself by touching water.”

“Vasudeva said, ‘Hear, ye foremost of Brahmana’s and thou Yudhishthira
also, O sire, and hear thou too, O Ganga’s son, the names that are
applied unto Kaparddin. Hear ye, how in former days, I obtained a sight,
so difficult to obtain, (of that great god), for the sake of Samva.
Verily, in those days was the illustrious deity seen by me in consequence
of Yoga-abstraction.[36] After twelve years had expired from the time
when Pradyumna, the son of Rukmini, who is endued with great
intelligence, slew the Asura Samvara in days of yore, my spouse Jamvavati
addressed me. Indeed, beholding Pradyumna and Charudeshna and other sons
born of Rukmini, Jamvavati, desirous of a son, said these words unto me,
O Yudhishthira,–Grant me, O thou of unfading glory, a son endued with
heroism, the foremost of mighty men, possessed of the most agreeable
features, sinless in conduct, and like unto thyself. And O, let there be
no delay on thy part in granting this prayer of mine. There is nothing in
the three worlds that is unattainable by thee, O perpetuator of Yadu’s
race, thou canst create other worlds if only thou wishest it. Observing a
vow for twelve years and purifying thyself, thou hadst adored the Lord of
all creatures (viz., Mahadeva) and then begot upon Rukmini the sons that
she has obtained from thee, viz., Charudeshna and Sucharu and Charuvesa
and Yasodhana and Charusravas and Charuyasas and Pradyumna and Sambhu. O
slayer of Madhu, do thou grant to me a son like unto those of great
powers whom thou hast begotten upon Rukmini?–Thus addressed by the
princess, I replied unto her of slender waist,–Let me have thy
permission (to leave thee for some time), O queen. I shall certainly obey
thy behest. She answered me, saying,–Go, and may success and prosperity
always attend thee. Let Brahma and Siva and Kasyapa, the Rivers, those
deities that preside over the mind, the soil, all deciduous herbs, those
Chhandas (Rhymes) that are regarded as bearers of the libations poured in
sacrifices, the Rishis, Earth, the Oceans, the sacrificial presents,
those syllables that are uttered for completing the cadences of Samans,
the Rikshas, the Pitris, the Planets, the spouses of the deities, the
celestial maidens, the celestial mothers, the great cycles, kine,
Chandramas, Savitri, Agni, Savitri, the knowledge of the Vedas, the
seasons, the year, small and big divisions of time, e.g., the Kshanas,
the Labas, the Muhurtas, the Nimeshas, and the Yugas in succession,
protect thee, O Yadava, and keep thee in happiness, wherever thou mayst
stay. Let no danger overtake thee on thy way, and let no heedlessness be
thine, O sinless one.–Thus blessed by her, I took her leave, bidding
farewell unto the daughter of the prince of apes. Repairing then into the
presence of that foremost of men, viz., my father, of my mother, of the
king, and of Ahuka, I informed them of what the daughter of the prince of
the Vidyadharas, in great affliction, had said unto me. Bidding them
farewell with a sorrowful heart, I then repaired to Gada and to Rama of
great might. These two cheerfully addressed me saying,–Let thy penances
increase without any obstruction.–Having obtained the permission of all
of them, I thought of Garuda. He immediately came to me and bore me to
Himavat (at my bidding). Arrived at Himavat, I dismissed him. There on
that foremost of mountains, I beheld many wonderful sights. I saw an
excellent, wonderful, and agreeable retreat for the practice of penances.
That delightful retreat was owned by the high-souled Upamanyu who was a
descendant of Vyaghrapada. That retreat is applauded and reverenced by
the deities and the Gandharvas, and seemed to be covered with Vedic
beauty. It was adorned with Dhavas and Kakubhas and Kadamvas and Cocas,
with Kuruvakas and Ketakas and Jamvus and Patalas, with banians and
Varunakas and Vatsanabhas and Vilwas, with Saralas and Kapitthas and
Piyalas and Salas and palmyras with Vadaris and Kundas and Punnagas and
Asokas and Amras and Kovidaras and Champakas and Panasas, and with
diverse other trees endued with fruits and flowers. And that retreat was
also decked with the straight stems of the Musa Supienta.[37] Truly, that
asylum was adorned with diverse other kinds of trees and with diverse
kinds of fruits forming the food of diverse kinds of birds. Heaps of
ashes (of sacrificial fires) were thrown in proper places all around,
which added to the beauty of the scene. It abounded with Rurus and apes
and tigers and lions and leopards, with deer of diverse species and
peacocks, and with cats and snakes. Indeed, large numbers of other
animals also were seen there, as also buffaloes and bears. Delicious
breezes constantly blew bearing the melodious strains of celestial
nymphs. The babblings of mountain rivulets and springs, the sweet notes
of winged choristers, the gruntings of elephants, the delicious stains of
Kinnaras, and the auspicious voice of ascetics singing the Samans, O
hero, and diverse other kinds of music, rendered that retreat extremely
charming. The very imagination cannot conceive another retreat as
delightful as the one I beheld. There were also large houses in that
asylum, intended for keeping the sacred fire, and covered all over with
flowering creepers. It was adorned with the river Ganga of clear and
sacred water. Indeed, the daughter of Jahnu always remained there. It was
decked also with many ascetics who were the foremost of all righteous
persons, who were endued with high souls, and who resembled fire itself
in energy.[38] Some of those ascetics subsisted upon air and some upon
water, some were devoted to Japa or the silent recitation of sacred
Mantras, and some were engaged in cleansing their souls by practising the
virtues of compassion while some amongst them were Yogins devoted to the
abstraction of Yoga-meditation. Some amongst them subsisted upon smoke
only, and some subsisted upon fire, and some upon milk. Thus was that
retreat adorned with many foremost of regenerate persons. And some there
were amongst them that had taken the vow of eating and drinking like
kine,–that is, by giving up the use of the hands at once. And some used
only two pieces of stone for husking their grain, and some used their
teeth only for that purpose. And some subsisted by drinking only the rays
of the moon, and some by drinking only froth. And some had betaken
themselves to vow of living like deer.[39] And some there were that lived
upon the fruits of the Ficus religiosa, and some that used to live upon
water. And some dressed themselves in rags and some in animal skins and
some in barks of trees. Indeed, I beheld diverse ascetics of the foremost
order observing these and other painful vows. I desired then to enter
that asylum. Verily, that asylum was honoured and adored by the deities
and all high-souled beings, by Siva and others, O Bharata, and by all
creatures of righteous acts. Thus addressed, it stood in all its beauty
on the breast of Himavat, like the lunar disc in the firmament. The
mongoose sported there with the snake, and the tiger with the deer, like
friends, forgetting their natural enmity, in consequence of the energy of
those ascetics of blazing penances and for their proximity to these
high-souled ones. In that foremost of asylums, which was delightful to
all creatures, inhabited by many foremost of Brahmanas fully conversant
with the Vedas and their branches, and by many high-souled Rishis
celebrated for the difficult vows they observed, I saw, as soon as I
entered, a puissant Rishi with matted locks on head and dressed in rags,
who seemed to blaze forth like fire with his penances and energy. Waited
upon by his disciples and possessed of tranquil soul, that foremost of
Brahmanas was young in aspect. His name was Upamanyu. Unto me who bowed
unto him with a nod of the head, he said,–Welcome art thou, O thou of
eyes like lotus petals. Today, by this visit of thine, we see that our
penances have borne fruit. Thou art worthy of our adoration, but thou
adorest us still. Thou art worthy of being seen, but thou desirest to see
me.–Joining my hands I addressed him the usual enquiries respecting the
well-being of the animals and birds that resided in his asylum, of the
progress of his righteousness, and of his disciples. The illustrious
Upamanyu then addressed me in words that were exceedingly sweet and
delightful,–Thou shalt, O Krishna, obtain without doubt a son like unto
thyself. Betaking thyself to severe penances, do thou gratify Isana, the
Lord of all creatures. That divine Master, O Adhokshaja, sporteth here
with his spouse by his side. O Janarddana, it was here that the deities
with all the Rishis, in days of yore, gratified that foremost of deities
by their penances and Brahmacharyya and truth and self-restraint, and
succeeded in obtaining the fruition of many high desires. That
illustrious god is verily the vast receptacle of all energies and
penances. Projecting into existence and withdrawing once more unto
himself all things fraught with good and evil, that inconceivable Deity
whom thou seekest, O destroyer of foes, lives here with his spouse. He
who took his birth as the Danava named Hiranyakashipu, whose strength was
so great that he could shake the very mountains of Meru, succeeded in
obtaining from Mahadeva the puissance belonging to all the deities and
enjoyed it for ten millions of years. He who was the foremost of all his
sons and who was celebrated by the name of Mandara, succeeded, through
the boon he had obtained from Mahadeva, in fighting Sakra for a million
of years. The terrible discus of Vishnu and the thunderbolt of Indra were
both unable to make the slightest impression, O Kesava, in days of yore,
upon the body of that great cause of universal affliction.[40] The discus
which thou bearest, O sinless one, was given unto thee by Mahadeva after
he had slain a Daitya that was proud of his strength and used to live
within the waters. That discus, blazing with energy and like unto fire,
was created by the great god having for his device the bull. Wonderful
and irresistible in energy it was given unto thee by that illustrious
god. In consequence of its blazing energy it was incapable of being gazed
at by any person save Siva the wielder of Pinaka. It was for this reason
that Bhava (Siva) bestowed upon it the name of Sudarsana. From that time
the name Sudarsana came to be current in all the worlds. Even the weapon,
O Kesava, failed to make the slightest impression on the body of
Hiranyakashipu’s son Mandara, that appeared like an evil planet in the
three worlds. Hundreds of Chakras like thine and thunderbolts like that
of Sakra, could not inflict a scratch on the body of that evil planet
endued with great might, who had obtained a boon from Mahadeva. Afflicted
by the mighty Mandara, the deities fought hard against him and his
associates, all of whom had obtained boons from Mahadeva. Gratified with
another Danava named Vidyutprabha, Mahadeva granted to him the
sovereignty of the three worlds. That Danava remained the sovereign of
the three worlds for a hundred thousand years. And Mahadeva said unto
him,–Thou shalt become one of my attendants.–Indeed, the puissant Lord
further bestowed upon him the boon of a hundred millions of children. The
Master without birth, of all creatures further gave the Danava the region
known by the name of Kusadwipa for his kingdom. Another great Asura, of
the name of Satamukha, was created by Brahma. For a hundred years he
poured on’ the sacrificial fire (as offerings unto Mahadeva) the flesh of
his own body. Gratified with such penances, Sankara said unto him,–What
can I do for thee?–Satamukha replied unto him, saying,–O thou that art
most wonderful, let me have the power of creating new creatures and
animals. Give also unto me, O foremost of all deities, eternal
power.–The puissant lord, thus addressed by him, said unto him,–So be
it.–The Self-born Brahma, concentrating his mind in Yoga,[41] in days of
yore, made a sacrifice for three hundred years, with the object of
obtaining children. Mahadeva granted him a thousand sons possessed of
qualifications commensurate with the merits of the sacrifice. Without
doubt, thou knowest, O Krishna, the lord of Yoga, him that is, who is
sung by the deities. The Rishi known by the name of Yajnavalkya is
exceedingly virtuous. By adoring Mahadeva he has acquired great fame. The
great ascetic who is Parasara’s son, viz., Vyasa, of soul set on Yoga,
has obtained great celebrity by adoring Sankara. The Valikhilyas were on
a former occasion disregarded by Maghavat. Filled with wrath at this,
they gratified the illustrious Rudra. That lord of the universe, that
foremost one of all the deities, thus gratified by the Valikhilyas, said
unto them,–Ye shall succeed by your penances in creating a bird that
will rob Indra of the Amrita. Through the wrath of Mahadeva on a former
occasion, all the waters disappeared. The deities gratified him by
performing a sacrifice called Saptakapala, and caused, through his grace,
other waters to flow into the worlds. Verily, when the three-eyed deity
became gratified, water once more appeared in the world. The wife of
Atri, who was conversant with the Vedas, abandoned her husband in a huff
and said,–I shall no longer live in subjection to that ascetic.–Having
said these words, she sought the protection of Mahadeva. Through fear of
her lord, Atri, passed three hundred years, abstaining from all food. And
all this time she slept on wooden clubs for the purpose of gratifying
Bhava. The great deity then appeared unto her and then smilingly
addressed her, saying–Thou shalt obtain a son. And thou shalt get that
son without the need of a husband, simply through the grace of Rudra.
Without doubt that son, born in the race of his father, shall become
celebrated for his worth, and assume a name after thee. The illustrious
Vikarna also, O slayer of Madhu, full of devotion to Mahadeva, gratified
him with severe penances and obtained high and happy success. Sakalya,
too, of restrained soul, adored Bhava in a mental sacrifice that he
performed for nine hundred years, O Kesava. Gratified with him the
illustrious deity said unto him,–Thou shalt become a great author. O
son, inexhaustible shall thy fame be in the three worlds. Thy race also
shall never come to an end and shall be adorned by many great Rishis that
shall take birth in it. Thy son will become the foremost of Brahmanas and
will make the Sutras of thy work. There was a celebrated Rishi of the
name of Savarni in the Krita age. Here, in this asylum, he underwent
severe penances for six thousand years. The illustrious Rudra said,–I am
gratified with thee, O sinless one! Without being subject to decrepitude
or death, thou shalt become an author celebrated through all the
worlds!–In days of yore, Sakra, also, in Baranasi, filled with devotion,
O Janarddana, adored Mahadeva who has empty space alone for his garments
and who is smeared with ashes as an agreeable unguent. Having adored
Mahadeva thus, he obtained the sovereignty of the celestials. Narada
also, in days of yore, adored the great Bhava with devotion of heart.
Gratified with him, Mahadeva, that preceptor of the celestial preceptor,
said these words.–No one shall be thy equal in energy and penances. Thou
shalt always attend upon me with thy songs and instrumental music. Hear
also, O Madhava, how in former times I succeeded in obtaining a sight of
that god of gods, that Master of all creatures, O Lord. Hear also in
detail for what object, O thou of great puissance. I invoked with
restrained senses and mind that illustrious deity endued with supreme
energy. I shall, O sinless one, tell thee with full details all that I
succeeded in obtaining from that god of gods, viz., Maheswara. In ancient
times, viz., Krita age, O son, there was a Rishi of great fame, named
Vyaghrapada. He was celebrated for his knowledge and mastery over the
Vedas and their branches. I was born as the son of that Rishi and Dhaumya
took birth as my younger brother. On a certain occasion, Madhava,
accompanied by Dhaumya, I came upon the asylum of certain Rishis of
cleansed souls. There I beheld a cow that was being milked. I saw the
milk and it appeared to me to resemble Amrita itself in taste. I then
came home, and impelled by childishness, I addressed my mother and
said,–Give me some food prepared with milk.–There was no milk in the
house, and accordingly my mother was much grieved at my asking for it. My
mother took a piece of (rice) cake and boiled it in water, Madhava. The
water became whitened and my mother placed it before us saying that it
was milk and bade us drink it. I had before that drunk milk on one
occasion, for my father had, at the time of a sacrifice, taken me to the
residence of some of our great kinsmen. A celestial cow, who delights the
deities, was being milked on that occasion. Drinking her milk that
resembled Amrita in taste, I knew what the virtues are of milk. I
therefore, at once understood the origin of the substance that my mother
offered me, telling me that it was milk. Verily, the taste of that cake,
O son, did not afford me any pleasure whatever. Impelled by childishness
I then addressed mother, saying,–This O mother, that thou hast given me
is not any preparation of milk.–Filled with grief and sorrow at this,
and embracing me from parental affection and smelling my head, O Madhava,
she said unto me,–Whence, O child, can ascetics of cleansed souls obtain
food prepared with milk? Such men always reside in the forest and subsist
upon bulbs and roots and fruits. Whence shall we who live by the banks of
rivers that are the resort of the Valikhilyas, we who have mountains and
forest, for our home,–whence, indeed, O child, shall we obtain milk? We,
dear child, live (sometimes) on air and sometimes on water. We dwell in
asylums in the midst of forests and woods. We habitually abstain from all
kinds of food that are taken by persons living in villages and towns. We
are accustomed to only such food as is supplied by the produce of the
wilderness. There cannot be any milk, O child, in the wilderness where
there are no offspring of Surabhi.[42] Dwelling on the banks of rivers or
in caves or on mountain-breasts, or in tirthas and other places of the
kind, we pass our time in the practice of penances and the recitation of
sacred Mantras, Siva being our highest refuge. Without gratifying the
boon-giving Sthanu of unfading glory,–him, that is, who has three
eyes,–whence, O child, can one obtain food prepared with milk and good
robes and other objects of enjoyment in the world? Do thou devote
thyself, O dear son, to Sankara with thy whole soul. Through his grace, O
child, thou art sure to obtain all such objects as administer to the
indulgence of all thy wishes,–Hearing these words of my mother, O slayer
of foes, that day, I joined my hands in reverence and bowing unto her,
said,–O mother, who this Mahadeva? In what manner can one gratify him?
Where does that god reside? How may he be seen? With what does he become
pleased? What also is the form of Sarva? How may one succeed in obtaining
a knowledge of him? If gratified, will he, O mother, show himself unto
me?–After I had said these words, O Krishna, to my mother, she, filled
with parental affection, smelt my head, O Govinda, her eyes covered with
tears the while. Gently patting my body, O slayer of Madhu, my mother,
adopting a tone of great humility, addressed me in the following words, O
best of the deities.’

“My mother said, ‘Mahadeva is exceedingly difficult to be known by
persons of uncleansed souls. These men are incapable of bearing him in
their hearts of comprehending him at all. They can retain him in their
minds. They cannot seize him, nor can they obtain a sight of him. Men of
wisdom aver that his forms are many. Many, again, are the places in which
he resides. Many are the forms of his Grace. Who is there that can
understand in their details the acts, which are all excellent, of Isa, or
of all the forms that he has assumed in days of yore? Who can relate how
Sarva sports and how he becomes gratified? Maheswara of universal form
resides in the hearts of all creatures. While Munis discoursed on the
auspicious and excellent acts of Isana, I have heard from them how,
impelled by compassion towards his worshippers, he grants them a sight of
his person. For the purpose of showing a favour unto the Brahmanas, the
denizens of heaven have recited for their information the diverse forms
that were assumed by Mahadeva in days of yore. Thou hast asked me about
these. I shall recite them to thee, O son.’

“My mother continued, ‘Bhava assumes the forms of Brahma and Vishnu and
the chief of the celestials of the Rudras, the Adityas, and the Aswins;
and of those deities that are called Viswadevas. He assumes the forms
also of men and women, of Pretas and Pisachas, of Kiratas and Savaras,
and of all aquatic animals. That illustrious deity assumes the forms of
also those Savaras that dwell in the woods and forests. He assumes the
forms of tortoises and fishes and conches. He it is that assumes the
forms of those coral sprouts that are used as ornaments by men. He
assumes also the forms of Yakshas, Rakshasas and Snakes, of Daityas and
Danavas. Indeed, the illustrious god assumes the forms of all creatures
too that live in holes. He assumes the forms of tigers and lions and
deer, of wolves and bears and birds, of owls and of jackals as well. He
it is that assumes the forms of swans and crows and peacocks, of
chameleons and lizards and storks. He it is that assumes the forms of
cranes and vultures and Chakravakas. Verily, he it is that assumes the
forms of Chasas and of mountains also. O son, it is Mahadeva that assumes
the forms of kine and elephants and horses and camels and asses. He
assumes also the forms of goats and leopards and diverse other varieties
of animals. It is Bhava who assumes the forms of diverse kinds of birds
of beautiful plumage. It is Mahadeva who bears the forms of persons with
sticks and those with umbrellas and those with calabashes among
Brahmanas.[43] He sometimes becomes six-faced and sometimes becomes
multifaced. He sometimes assumes forms having three eyes and forms having
many heads. And he sometimes assumes forms having many millions of legs
and forms having innumerable stomachs and faces and forms endued with
innumerable arms and innumerable sides. He sometimes appears surrounded
by innumerable spirits and ghosts. He it is that assumes the forms of
Rishis and Gandharvas, and of Siddhas and Charanas. He sometimes assumes
a form that is rendered white with the ashes he smears on it and is
adorned with a half-moon on the forehead. Adored with diverse hymns
uttered with diverse kinds of voice and worshipped with diverse Mantras
fraught with encomiums, he, that is sometimes called Sarva, is the
Destroyer of all creatures in the universe, and it is upon him, again,
that all creatures rest as on their common foundation. Mahadeva is the
soul of all creatures. He pervades all things. He is the speaker of all
discourses (on duties and rituals). He resides everywhere and should be
known as dwelling in the hearts of all creatures in the universe. He
knows the desire cherished by every one of his worshippers. He becomes
acquainted with the object in which one pays him adorations. Do thou
then, if it pleases thee, seek the protection of the chief of the
deities. He sometimes rejoices, and sometimes yields to wrath, and
sometimes utters the syllable Hum with a very loud noise. He sometimes
arms himself with the discus, sometimes with the trident, sometimes with
the mace, sometimes with the heavy mullets, sometimes with the scimitar,
and sometimes with the battle axe. He it is that assumes the form of
Sesha who sustains the world on his head. He has snakes for his belt, and
his ears are adorned with ear-rings made of snakes. Snakes form also the
sacred thread he wears. An elephant skin forms his upper garment.[44] He
sometimes laughs and sometimes sings and sometimes dances most
beautifully. Surrounded by innumerable spirits and ghosts, he sometimes
plays on musical instruments. Diverse, again are the instruments upon
which he plays, and sweet the sounds they yield. He sometimes wanders
(over crematoria), sometimes yawns, sometimes cries, and sometimes causes
others to cry. He sometimes assumes the guise of one that is mad, and
sometimes of one that is intoxicated, and he sometimes utters words that
are exceedingly sweet. Endued with appalling fierceness, he sometimes
laughs loudly, frightening all creatures with his eyes. He sometimes
sleeps and sometimes remains awake and sometimes yawns as he pleases. He
sometimes recites sacred Mantras and sometimes becomes the deity of those
Mantras which are recited. He sometimes performs penances and sometimes
becomes the deity for whose adoration those penances are undergone. He
sometimes makes gifts and sometimes receives those gifts; sometimes
disposes himself in Yoga and sometimes becomes the object of the Yoga
contemplation of others. He may be seen on the sacrificial platform or in
the sacrificial stake; in the midst of the cow-pen or in the fire. He may
not again be seen there. He may be seen as a boy or as an old man. He
sports with the daughters and the spouses of the Rishis. His hair is long
and stands erect. He is perfectly naked, for he has the horizon for his
garments. He is endued with terrible eyes. He is fair, he is darkish, he
is dark, he is pale, he is of the colour of smoke, and he is red. He is
possessed of eyes that are large and terrible. He has empty space for his
covering and he it is that covers all things. Who is there that can truly
understand the limits of Mahadeva who is formless, who is one and
indivisible, who conjures of illusions, who is of the cause of all
actions and destructive operations in the universe, who assumes the form
of Hiranyagarbha, and who is without beginning and without end, and who
is without birth.[45] He lives in the heart (of every creature). He is
the prana, he is the mind, and he is Jiva (that is invested in the
material case). He is the soul of Yoga, and it is that is called Yoga. He
is the Yoga-contemplation into which Yogins enter.[46] He is the Supreme
Soul. Indeed Maheswara, the purity in essence, is capable of being
comprehended not by the senses but through only the Soul seizing his
existence. He plays on diverse musical instruments. He is a vocalist. He
has a hundred thousand eyes, he has one mouth, he has two mouths, he has
three mouths, and he has many mouths. Devoting thyself to him, setting
thy heart upon him, depending upon him, and accepting him as thy one
refuse, do thou, O son, adore Mahadeva and then mayst thou obtain the
fruition of all thy wishes. Hearing those words of my mother, O slayer of
foes, from that day my devotion was directed to Mahadeva, having nothing
else for its object. I then applied myself to the practice of the
austerest penances for gratifying Sankara. For one thousand years I stood
on my left toe. After that I passed one thousand years, subsisting only
upon fruits. The next one thousand years I passed, subsisting upon the
fallen leaves of trees. The next thousand years I passed, subsisting upon
water only. After that I passed seven hundred years, subsisting on air
alone. In this way, I adored Mahadeva for a full thousand years of the
celestials. After this, the puissant Mahadeva, the Master of all the
universe, became gratified with me. Desirous of ascertaining whether I
was solely devoted to him and him alone, he appeared before me in the
form of Sakra surrounded by all the deities. As the celebrated Sakra, he
had a thousand eyes on his person and was armed with the thunderbolt. And
he rode on an elephant whose complexion was of the purest white, with
eyes red, ears folded, the temporal juice trickling down his cheeks, with
trunk contracted, terrible to look at, and endued with four tusks.
Indeed, riding on such an elephant, the illustrious chief of the deities
seemed to blaze forth with his energy. With a beautiful crown on his head
and adorned with garlands round his neck and bracelets round his arms, he
approached the spot where I was. A white umbrella was held over his head.
And he was waited upon by many Apsaras, and many Gandharvas sang his
praise. Addressing me, he said,–O foremost of regenerate persons, I have
been gratified with thee. Beg of me whatever boon thou desirest,–Hearing
these words of Sakra I did not become glad. Verily, O Krishna, I answered
the chief of the celestials in these words.–I do not desire any boon at
thy hands, or from the hands of any other deity. O amiable deity, I tell
thee truly, that it is Mahadeva only from whom I have boons to ask. True,
true it is, O Sakra, true are these words that I say unto thee. No other
words are at all agreeable to me save those which relate to Maheswara. At
the command of Pashupati, that Lord of all creatures, I am ready to
become a worm or a tree with many branches. If not obtained through the
grace represented by Mahadeva’s boons, the very sovereignty of the three
worlds would not be acceptable to me. Let me be born among the very
Chandalas but let me still be devoted to the feet of Hara. Without,
again, being devoted to that Lord of all creatures, I would not like to
have birth in the palace of Indra himself. If a person be wanting in
devotion to that Lord of the universe,–that Master of the deities and
the Asuras,–his misery will not end even if from want of food he has to
subsist upon only air and water.[47] What is the need of other discourses
that are even fraught with other kinds of morality and righteousness,
unto those persons who do not like to live even a moment without thinking
of feet of Mahadeva? When the unrighteous or sinful Kali Yuga comes, one
should never pass a moment without devoting his heart upon Mahadeva. One
that has drunk the Amrita constituted by the devotion to Hara, one
becomes freed from the fear of the world. One that has not obtained the
grace of Mahadeva can never succeed to devote oneself to Mahadeva for a
single day or for half a day or for a Muhurta or for a Kshana or for a
Lava (very small unit of time). At the command of Mahadeva I shall
cheerfully become a worm or an insect, but I have no relish for even the
sovereignty of the three worlds, if bestowed by thee, O Sakra. At the
word of Hara I would become even a dog. In fact, that would accord with
my highest wish. If not given by Maheswara, I would not have the
sovereignty of the very deities. I do not wish to have this dominion of
the Heavens. I do not wish to have the sovereignty of the celestials. I
do not wish to have the region of Brahma. Indeed, I do not wish to have
that cessation of individual existence which is called Emancipation and
which involves a complete identification with Brahma. But I want to
become the slave of Hara. As long as that Lord of all creatures, the
illustrious Mahesa, with crown on his head and body possessed of the pure
white complexion of the lunar disc, does not become gratified with me, so
long shall I cheerfully bear all those afflictions, due to a hundred
repetitions of decrepitude, death and birth, that befall to the lot of
embodied beings. What person in the universe can obtain tranquillity,
without gratifying Rudra that is freed from decripitude and death, that
is endued with the effulgence of the Sun, the Moon, or the fire, that is
the root or original cause of everything real and unreal in the three
worlds, and that exists as one and indivisible entity? If in consequence
of my faults, rebirths be mine, I shall, in those new births, devote
myself solely to Bhava.'”

“Indra said, ‘What reason canst thou assign for the existence of a
Supreme Being or for His being the cause of all causes?'”

“Upamanyu said, ‘I solicit boons from that great Deity named Siva whom
utterers of Brahma has described as existent and non-existent, manifest
and unmanifest, eternal or immutable, one and many. I solicit boons from
Him who is without beginning and middle and end, who is Knowledge and
Puissance, who is inconceivable and who is the Supreme Soul. I solicit
boons from Him whence comes all Puissance, who has not been produced by
any one, who is immutable, and who, though himself unsprung from any
seed, is the seed of all things in the universe. I solicit boons from Him
who is blazing Effulgence, (beyond Darkness) who is the essence of all
penances, who transcends all faculties of which we are possessed and
which we may devote for the purpose of comprehending him, and by knowing
whom every one becomes freed from grief or sorrow. I worship him, O
Purandara, who is conversant with the creation of all elements and the
thought of all living creatures, and who is the original cause of the
existence or creation of all creatures, who is omnipresent, and who has
the puissance to give everything.[48] I solicit boons from Him who cannot
be comprehended by argument, who represents the object of the Sankhya and
the Yoga systems of philosophy, and who transcends all things, and whom
all persons conversant with the topics of enquiry worship and adore.[49]
I solicit boons from Him, O Maghavat, who is the soul of Maghavat
himself, who is said to be the God of the gods, and who is the Master of
all creatures. I solicit boons from Him who it is that first created
Brahma, that creator of all the worlds, having filled Space (with His
energy) and evoked into existence the primeval egg.[50] Who else than
that Supreme Lord could be creator of Fire, Water, Wind, Earth, Space,
Mind, and that which is called Mahat? Tell me, O Sakra, who else than
Siva could create Mind, Understanding, Consciousness or Ego, the
Tanmatras, and the senses? Who is there higher than Siva?[51] The wise
say that the Grandsire Brahma is the creator of this universe. Brahma,
however, acquired his high puissance and prosperity by adoring and
gratifying Mahadeva, that God of gods. That high puissance (consisting of
all the three attributes of creation, protection, and destruction), which
dwells in that illustrious Being who is endowed with the quality of being
one, who created Brahma, Vishnu, and Rudra, was derived from Mahadeva.
Tell me who is there that is superior to the Supreme Lord?[52] Who else
than that God of gods is competent to unite the sons of Diti with
lordship and puissance, judging by the sovereignty and the power of
oppressing conferred upon the foremost of the Daityas and Danavas?[53]
The different points of the horizon, Time, the Sun, all fiery entities,
planets, wind, water, and the stars and constellations,–these, know
thou, are from Mahadeva. Tell us who is higher than the Supreme Lord? Who
else is there, except Mahadeva, in the matter of the creation of
Sacrifice and the destruction of Tripura? Who else except Mahadeva, the
grinder of the foes, has offered lordship to the principal?[54] What
need, O Purandara, of many well-sounding statements fraught with spacious
sophisms, when I behold thee of a thousand eyes, O best of the
deities,–thee that art worshipped by Siddhas and Gandharvas and the
deities and the Rishis? O best of the Kusikas, all this is due to the
grace of that God of gods viz., Mahadeva. Know, O Kesava, that this all,
consisting of animate and inanimate existences with heaven and other
unseen entities, which occur in this world, and which has the
all-pervading Lord for their soul, has flowed from Maheswara and has been
created (by him) for enjoyment by Jiva.[55] In the worlds that are known
by the names of Bhu, Bhuva, Swah, and Maha, in the midst of the mountains
of Lokaloka, in the islands, in the mountains of Meru, in all things that
yield happiness, and in the hearts of all creatures, O illustrious
Maghavat, resides Mahadeva, as persons conversant with all the topics of
enquiry say. If, O Sakra, the Devas (deities) and the Asuras could see
any other puissant form than Bhava’s, would not both of them, especially
the former, when opposed and afflicted by the latter, have sought the
protection of that form? In all hostile encounters of the deities, the
Yakshas, the Uragas and the Rakshasas, that terminating in mutual
destruction, it is Bhava that gives unto those that meet with
destruction, puissance commensurate with their respective locations as
dependent upon their acts. Tell me, who else than Maheswara is there for
bestowing boons upon, and once more chastising the Andhaka and Sukra and
Dundubhi and Maharshi and many foremost of Yakshas, Indra and Vala and
Rakshasas and the Nivatakavachas? Was not the vital seed of Mahadeva,
that Master of both the deities and the Asuras, poured as a libation upon
the fire? From that seed sprung a mountain of gold. Who else is there
whose seed can be said to be possessed of such virtue.[56] Who else in
this world is praised as having the horizon only for his garments? Who
else can be said to be a Brahmacharin with his vital seed drawn up? Who
else is there that has half his body occupied by his dear spouse?[57] Who
else is there that has been able to subjugate Kama, the god of desire?
Tell me, O Indra, what other Being possesses that high region of supreme
felicity that is applauded by all the deities? Who else has the
crematorium as his sporting ground? Who else is there that is so praised
for his dancing? Whose puissance and worship remain immutable? Who else
is there that sports with spirits and ghosts? Tell me, O deity, who else
has associate that are possessed of strength like his own and that are,
therefore, proud of that strength or puissance?[58] Who else is there
whose status is applauded as unchangeable and worshipped with reverence
by the three worlds? Who else is there that pours rain, gives heat, and
blazes forth in Energy? From whom else do we derive our wealth of herbs?
Who else upholds all kinds of wealth? Who else sports as much as he
pleases in the three worlds of mobile and immobile things? O Indra, know
Maheswara to be the original cause (of everything). He is adored by
Yogins, by Rishis, by the Gandharvas, and by the Siddhas, with the aid of
knowledge, (of ascetic) success, and of the rites laid down in the
scriptural ordinances.[59] He is adored by both the deities and the
Asuras with the aid of sacrifices by acts and the affliction of the
ritual laid down in the scriptures. The fruits of action can never touch
him for he transcends them all. Being such, I call him the original cause
of everything.[60] He is both gross and subtile. He is without compare.
He cannot be conceived by the senses. He is endued with attributes and he
is divested of them. He is the lord of attributes, for they are under his
control. Even such is the place that is Maheswara’s. He is the cause of
the maintenance and the creation (of the universe). He is the cause of
the universe and the cause also of its destruction. He is the Past, the
Present, and the Future. He is the parent of all things. Verily, He is
the cause of every thing. He is that which is mutable, He is the
unmanifest, He is Knowledge; He is ignorance; He is every act, He is
every omission; He is righteousness; and He is unrighteousness. Him, O
Sakra, do I call the cause of every thing. Behold, O Indra, in the image
of Mahadeva the indications of both the sexes. That god of gods, viz.,
Rudra, that cause of both creation and destruction, displays in his form
the indications of both the sexes as the one cause of the creation of the
universe. My mother formerly told me that he is the cause of the universe
and the one cause of everything. There is no one that is higher than Isa,
O Sakra. If it pleases thee, do thou throw thyself on his kindness and
protection. Thou hast visible evidence, O chief of the celestials, of the
fact that the universe has sprung from the union of the sexes (as
represented by Mahadeva). The universe, thou knowest, is the sum of what
is vested with attributes and what else is divested of attributes and has
for its immediate cause the seeds of Brahma and others. Brahma and Indra
and Hutasana and Vishnu and all the other deities, along with the Daityas
and the Asuras, crowned with the fruition of a thousand desires, always
say that there is none that is higher than Mahadeva.[61] Impelled by
desire, I solicit, with restrained mind, that god known to all the mobile
and immobile universe,–him, that is, who has been spoken of as the best
and highest of all the gods, and who is auspiciousness itself, for
obtaining without delay that highest of all acquisitions, viz.,
Emancipation. What necessity is there of other reasons (for establishing)
what I believe? The supreme Mahadeva is the cause of all causes. We have
never heard that the deities have, at any time, adored the sign of any
other god than Mahadeva. If Maheswara be not accepted, tell me, if thou
hast ever heard of it, who else is there whose sign has been worshipped
or is being worshipped by all the deities? He whose sign is always
worshipped by Brahma, by Vishnu, by thee, O Indra, with all the other
deities, is verily the foremost of all adorable deities. Brahma has for
his sign the lotus, Vishnu has for his the discus, Indra has for his sign
the thunder-bolt. But the creatures of the world do not bear any of the
signs that distinguish these deities. On the other hand, all creatures
bear the signs that mark Mahadeva and his spouse. Hence, all creatures
must be regarded as belonging to Maheswara. All creatures of the feminine
sex, have sprung from Ulna’s nature as their cause, and hence it is they
bear the mark of femininity that distinguishes Uma; while all creatures
that are masculine, having sprung from Siva, bear the masculine mark that
distinguishes Siva. That person who says that there is, in the three
worlds with their mobile and immobile creatures, any other cause than the
Supreme Lord, and that which is not marked with the mark of either
Mahadeva or his spouse should be regarded as very wretched and should not
be counted among the creatures of the universe. Every being with the mark
of the masculine sex should be known to be of Isana, while every being
with the mark of the feminine sex should be known to be of Uma. This
universe of mobile and immobile creatures is provided by two kinds of
forms (viz., male and female). It is from Mahadeva that I wish to obtain
boons. Failing in this, O Kausika, I would rather prefer dissolution
itself. Go or remain, O Sakra, as thou, O slayer of Vala, desirest. I
wish to have boons or curses from Mahadeva. No other deity shall I ever
acknowledge, nor would I have from any other deity the fruition of all my
wishes.–Having said these words unto the chief of the celestials, I
became overwhelmed with grief at the thought of Mahadeva not having been
gratified with me not withstanding my severe austerities. Within the
twinkling of an eye, however, I saw the celestial elephant I had beheld
before me transformed into a bull as white as a swan, or the Jasminum
pubescens, or a stalk of the lotus or silver, or the ocean of milk. Of
huge body, the hair of its tail was black and the hue of its eyes was
tawny like that of honey. Its horns were hard as adamant and had the
colour of gold. With their very sharp ends, whose hue was a mild red, the
bull seemed to tear the Earth. The animal was adorned all over with
ornaments made of the purest gold. Its face and hoofs and nose and ears
were exceedingly beautiful and its waist too exceedingly well-formed. Its
flanks were possessed of great beauty and its neck was very thick. Its
whole form was exceedingly agreeable and beautiful to look at. Its hump
shone with great beauty and seemed to occupy the whole of its
shoulder-joint. And it looked like the summit of a mountain of snow or
like a cliff of white clouds in the sky. Upon the back of that animal I
beheld seated the illustrious Mahadeva with his spouse Uma. Verily,
Mahadeva shone like the lord of stars while he is at his full. The fire
born of his energy resembled in effulgence the lightening that flashes
amid clouds. Verily, it seemed as if a thousand suns rose there, filling
every side with a dazzling splendour. The energy of the Supreme Lord
looked like the Samvartaka fire which destroys all creatures at the end
of the Yuga. Overspread with that energy, the horizon became such that I
could see nothing on any side. Filled with anxiety I once more thought
what it could mean. That energy, however, did not pervade every side for
any length of time, for soon, through the illusion of that god of gods,
the horizon became clear. I then behold the illustrious Sthanu or
Maheswara seated on the back of his bull, of blessed and agreeable
appearance and looking like a smokeless fire. And the great god was
accompanied by Parvati of faultless features. Indeed, I beheld the
blue-throated and high-souled Sthanu, unattached to everything, that
receptacle of all kinds of force, endued with eight and ten arms and
adorned with all kinds of ornaments. Clad in white vestments, he wore
white garlands, and had white unguents smeared upon his limbs. The colour
of his banner, irresistible in the universe, was white. The sacred thread
round his person was also white. He was surrounded with associates, all
possessed with prowess equal to his own, who were singing or dancing or
playing on diverse kinds of musical instruments. A crescent moon, of pale
hue, formed his crown, and placed on his forehead it looked like the moon
that rises in the autumnal firmament. He seemed to dazzle with splendour,
in consequence of his three eyes that looked like three suns. The garland
of the purest white, that was on his body, shone like a wreath of
lotuses, of the purest white, adorned with jewels and gems. I also
beheld, O Govinda, the weapons in their embodied forms and fraught with
every kind of energy, that belong to Bhava of immeasurable prowess. The
high-souled deity held a bow whose hues resembled those of the rainbow.
That bow is celebrated under the name of the Pinaka and is in reality a
mighty snake. Indeed, that snake of seven heads and vast body, of sharp
fangs and virulent poison, of large neck and the masculine sex, was
twined round with the cord that served as its bowstring. And there was a
shaft whose splendour looked like that of the sun or of the fire that
appears at the end of the Yuga. Verily, that shaft was the excellent
Pasupata that mighty and terrible weapon, which is without a second,
indescribable for its power, and capable of striking every creature with
fear. Of vast proportions, it seemed to constantly vomit sparks of fire.
Possessed of one foot, of large teeth, and a thousand heads and thousand
Stomachs, it has a thousand arms, a thousand tongues, and a thousand
eyes. Indeed, it seemed to continually vomit fire. O thou of mighty arms,
that weapon is superior to the Brahma, the Narayana, the Aindra, the
Agneya, and the Varuna weapons. Verily, it is capable of neutralising
every other weapon in the universe. It was with that weapon that the
illustrious Mahadeva had in days of yore, burnt and consumed in a moment
the triple city of the Asuras. With the greatest ease, O Govinda,
Mahadeva, using that single arrow, achieved that feat. That weapon, shot
by Mahadeva’s arms, can, without doubt consume in half the time taken up
by a twinkling of the eyes the entire universe with all its mobile and
immobile creatures. In the universe there is no being including even
Brahma and Vishnu and the deities, that are incapable of being slain by
that weapon. O sire, I saw that excellent, wonderful and incomparable
weapon in the hand of Mahadeva. There is another mysterious and very
powerful weapon which is equal or perhaps, superior to the Pasupata
weapon. I beheld that also. It is celebrated in all the worlds as the Sum
of the Sula-armed Mahadeva. Hurled by the illustrious deity, that weapon
is competent to rive the entire Earth or dry up the waters of the ocean
or annihilate the entire universe. In days of yore, Yuvanaswa’s son, king
Mandhatri, that conqueror of the three worlds, possessed of imperial sway
and endued with abundant energy, was, with all his troops, destroyed by
means of that weapon. Endued with great might and great energy and
resembling Sakra himself in prowess, the king, O Govinda, was slain by
the Rakshasa Lavana with the aid of this Sula which he had got from Siva.
The Sula has a very keen point. Exceedingly terrible, it is capable of
causing everybody’s hair stand on its end. I saw it in the hand of
Mahadeva, as if roaring with rage, having contracted its forehead into
three wrinkles. It resembled, O Krishna, a smokeless fire or the sun that
rises at the end of the Yuga. The handle of that Sula, was made of a
mighty snake. It is really indescribable. It looked like the universal
Destroyer himself armed with his noose. I saw this weapon, O Govinda, in
the hand of Mahadeva. I beheld also another weapon, viz., that
sharp-edged battle-axe which, in days of yore, was given unto Rama by the
gratified Mahadeva for enabling him to exterminate the Kshatriyas. It was
with this weapon that Rama (of Bhrigu’s race) slew in dreadful battle the
great Karttaviryya who was the ruler of all the world. It was with that
weapon that Jamadagni’s son, O Govinda, was able to exterminate the
Kshatriyas for one and twenty times. Of blazing edge and exceedingly
terrible, that axe was hanging on the shoulder, adorned with a snake, of
Mahadeva. Indeed, it shone on Mahadeva’s person like the flame of a
blazing fire. I beheld innumerable other celestial weapons with Mahadeva
of great intelligence. I have, however named only a few, O sinless one,
in consequence of their principal character. On the left side of the
great god stood the Grandsire Brahma seated on an excellent car unto
which were attached swans endued with the speed of the mind. On the same
side could be seen Narayana also, seated on the son of Vinata, and
bearing the conch, the discus, and the mace. Close to the goddess Uma was
Skanda seated on his peacock, bearing his fatal dart and bells, and
looking like another Agni. In the front of Mahadeva I beheld Nandi
standing armed with his Sula and looking like a second Sankara (for
prowess and energy). The Munis headed by the Self-born Manu and Rishis
having Bhrigu for their first, and the deities with Sakra at their head,
all came there. All the tribes of spirits and ghosts, and the celestial
Mothers, stood surrounding Mahadeva and saluting him with reverence. The
deities were engaged in singing the praises of Mahadeva by uttering
diverse hymns. The Grandsire Brahma uttering a Rathantara, praised
Mahadeva. Narayana also, uttering the Jyestha Saman, sang the praises of
Bhava. Sakra also did the same with the aid of those foremost of Vedic
Mantras, viz., the Sata-Rudriam. Verily, Brahma and Narayana and
Sakra,–those three high-souled deities,–shone there like three
sacrificial fires. In their midst shone the illustrious God like the sun
in the midst of his corona, emerged from autumnal clouds. I beheld
myriads of suns and moons, also in the sky, O Kesava. I then praised the
illustrious Lord of everything, the supreme Master of the universe.

“Upamanyu continued, ‘I said, Salutations to thee, O illustrious one, O
thou that constitutest the refuge of all things, O thou that art called
Mahadeva! Salutations to thee that assumest the form of Sakra, that art
Sakra, and that disguisest thyself in the form and vestments of Sakra.
Salutations to thee that art armed with the thunder, to thee that art
tawny, and thee that art always armed with the Pinaka. Salutations to
thee that always bearest the conch and the Sula. Salutations to thee that
art clad in black, to thee that art of dark and curly hair, to thee that
hast a dark deer-skin for thy upper garment, to thee that presidest over
the eighth lunation of the dark fortnight. Salutations to thee that art
of white complexion, to thee that art called white, to thee that art clad
in white robes, to thee that hast limbs smeared with white ashes, to thee
that art ever engaged in white deeds. Salutations to thee that art red of
colour, to thee that art clad in red vestments, to thee that ownest a red
banner with red flags, to thee that wearest red garlands and usest red
unguents. Salutations to thee that art brown in complexion, to thee that
art clad in brown vestments, to thee, that hast a brown banner with brown
flags, to thee that wearest brown garlands and usest brown unguents.
Salutations to thee that hast the umbrella of royalty held over thy head,
to thee that wearest the foremost of crowns. Salutations unto thee that
art adorned with half a garland and half an armlet, to thee that art
decked with one ring for one year, to thee that art endued with the speed
of the mind, to thee that art endued with great effulgence. Salutations
to thee that art the foremost of deities, to thee that art the foremost
of ascetics, to thee that art the foremost of celestials. Salutations to
thee that wearest half a wreath of lotuses, to thee that hast many
lotuses on thy body. Salutations to thee that hast half thy body smeared
with sandal paste, to thee that hast half thy body decked with garlands
of flowers and smeared with fragrant unguents.[62] Salutations to thee
that art of the complexion of the Sun, to thee that art like the Sun, to
thee whose face is like the Sun, to thee that hast eyes each of which is
like the Sun. Salutations to thee that art Soma, to thee that art as mild
as Soma, to thee that bearest the lunar disc, to thee that art of lunar
aspect, to thee that art the foremost of all creatures, to thee that art
adorned with a set of the most beautiful teeth. Salutations to thee that
art of a dark complexion, to thee that art of a fair complexion, to thee
that hast a form half of which is yellow and half white, to thee that
hast a body half of which is male and half female, to thee that art both
male and female. Salutations to thee that ownest a bull for thy vehicle,
to thee that proceedest riding on the foremost of elephants, to thee that
art obtained with difficulty, to thee that art capable of going to places
unapproachable by others. Salutations to thee whose praises are sung by
the Ganas, to thee that art devoted to the diverse Ganas, to thee that
followest the track that is trod by the Ganas, to thee that art always
devoted to the Ganas as to a vow. Salutations to thee that art of the
complexion of white clouds, to thee that hast the splendour of the
evening clouds, to thee that art incapable of being described by names,
to thee that art of thy own form (having nothing else in the universe
with which it can be compared). Salutations to thee that wearest a
beautiful garland of red colour, to thee that art clad in robes of red
colour. Salutations to thee that hast the crown of the head decked with
gems, to thee that art adorned with a half-moon, to thee that wearest
many beautiful gems in thy diadem, to thee that hast eight flowers on thy
head. Salutations to thee that hast a fiery mouth and fiery eyes, to thee
that hast eyes possessing the effulgence of a thousand moons, to thee
that art of the form of fire, to thee that art beautiful and agreeable,
to thee that art inconceivable and mysterious. Salutations to thee that
rangest through the firmament, to thee that lovest and residest in lands
affording pasture to kine, to thee that walkest on the Earth, to thee
that art the Earth, to thee that art infinite, to thee that art
exceedingly auspicious. Salutations to thee that art unclad (or has the
horizon alone for thy vestments), to thee that makest a happy home of
every place where thou mayst happen to be for the moment. Salutations to
thee that hast the universe for thy home, to thee that hast both
Knowledge and Felicity for thy Soul. Salutations to thee that always
wearest a diadem, to thee that wearest a large armlet, to thee that hast
a snake for the garland round thy neck, to thee that wearest many
beautiful ornaments on thy person. Salutations to thee that hast the Sun,
the Moon, and Agni for thy three eyes, to thee that art possessed of a
thousand eyes, to thee that art both male and female, to thee that art
divested of sex, to thee that art a Sankhya, to thee that art a Yogin.
Salutations to thee that art of the grace of those deities who are
worshipped in sacrifices, to thee that art the Atharvans, to thee that
art the alleviator of all kinds of disease and pain, to thee that art the
dispeller of every sorrow. Salutations to thee that roarest as deep as
the clouds, to thee that puttest forth diverse kinds of illusions, to
thee that presidest over the soil and over the seed that is sown in it,
to thee that art the Creator of everything. Salutations to thee that art
the Lord of all the celestials, to thee that art the Master of the
universe, to thee that art endued with the speed of the wind, to thee
that art of the form of the wind. Salutations to thee that wearest a
garland of gold, to thee that sportest on hills and mountains[63], to
thee that art adorned by all who are enemies of the gods, to thee that
art possessed of fierce speed and energy. Salutations to thee that torest
away one of the heads of the Grandsire Brahma, to thee that hast slain
the Asura named Mahisha, to thee that assumest three forms, to thee that
bearest every form. Salutations to thee that art the destroyer of the
triple city of the Asuras, to thee that art the destroyer of (Daksha’s)
sacrifice, to thee that art the destroyer of the body of Kama (the deity
of Desire), to thee that wieldest the rod of destruction. Salutations to
thee that art Skanda, to thee that art Visakha, to thee that art the rod
of the Brahmana, to thee that art Bhava, to thee that art Sarva, to thee
that art of universal form. Salutations to thee that art Isana, to thee
that art the destroyer of Bhaga, to thee that art the slayer of Andhaka,
to thee that art the universe, to thee that art possessed of illusion, to
thee that art both conceivable and inconceivable.[64] Thou art the one
end of all creatures, thou art the foremost, thou art the heart of
everything. Thou art the Brahma of all the deities, thou art the
Nilardhita Red and Blue of the Rudras. Thou art the Soul of the
creatures, thou art He who is called Purusha in the Sankhya philosophy,
thou art the Rishabha among all things sacred, thou art that which is
called auspicious by Yogins and which, according to them, is without
parts (being indivisible). Amongst those that are observant of the
different modes of life, thou art the House-holder, thou art the great
Lord amongst the lords of the universe. Thou art Kuvera among all the
Yakshas, and thou art Vishnu amongst all the sacrifices.[65] Thou art
Meru amongst mountains, thou art the Moon among all luminaries of the
firmament, thou art Vasishtha amongst Rishis, thou art Surya among the
planets. Thou art the lion among all wild animals, and among all domestic
animals, thou art the bull that is worshipped by all people. Among the
Adityas thou art Vishnu (Upendra), among the Vasu thou art Pavaka, among
birds thou art the son of Vinata (Garuda), and among snakes thou art
Ananta (Sesha). Among the Vedas thou art the Samans, among the Yajushes
thou art the Sata-Rudriyam, among Yogins thou art Sanatkumara, and among
Sankhyas thou art Kapila. Among the Maruts thou art Sakra, among the
Pitris thou art Devarat, among all the regions (for the residence of
created beings) thou art the region of Brahman, and amongst all the ends
that creatures attain to, thou art Moksha or Emancipation. Thou art the
Ocean of milk among all oceans, among all rocky eminences thou art
Himavat, among all the orders thou art the Brahmana, and among all
learned Brahmanas thou art he that has undergone and is observant of the
Diksha. Thou art the Sun among all things in the world, thou art the
destroyer called Kala. Thou art whatever else possessed of superior
energy of eminence that exists in the universe. Thou art possessed of
supreme puissance. Even this is what represents my certain conclusion.
Salutations to thee, O puissant and illustrious one, O thou that art kind
to all thy worshippers. Salutations to thee, O lord of Yogins. I bow to
thee, O original cause of the universe. Be thou gratified with me that am
thy worshipper, that am very miserable and helpless, O Eternal Lord, do
thou become the refuge of this adorer of thine that is very weak and
miserable. O Supreme Lord, it behoveth thee to pardon all those
transgressions of which I have been guilty, taking compassion upon me on
the ground of my being thy devoted worshipper. I was stupefied by thee, O
Lord of all the deities, in consequence of the disguise in which thou
showest thyself to me. O Maheswara, I did not give thee the Arghya or
water to wash thy feet.[66] Having hymned the praises of Isana in this
way, I offered him, with great devotion, water to wash his feet and the
ingredients of the Arghya, and then, with joined hands, I resigned myself
to him, being prepared to do whatever he would bid. Then, O sire, an
auspicious shower of flowers fell upon my head, possessed of celestial
fragrance and bedewed with cold water. The celestial musicians began to
play on their kettle-drums. A delicious breeze, fragrant and agreeable,
began to blow and fill me with pleasure. Then Mahadeva accompanied by his
spouse, and having the bull for his sign, having been gratified with me,
addressed the celestials assembled there in these words, filling me with
great joy,–Behold, ye deities, the devotion of the high-souled Upamanyu.
Verily, steady and great is that devotion, and entirely immutable, for it
exists unalterably.–Thus addressed by the great God armed with the Sula,
the deities, O Krishna, having bowed down unto him and joined their hands
in reverence, said these words,–O illustrious one, O God of the gods, O
master of the universe, O Lord of all, let this best of regenerate
persons obtain from thee the fruition of all his desires.–Thus addressed
by all the deities, with the Grandsire Brahma among them. Sarva,
otherwise called Isa and Sankara, said these words as if smiling unto

“The illustrious Sankara said, ‘O dear Upamanyu, I am gratified with
thee. Behold me, O foremost of Munis, O learned Rishi, thou art firmly
devoted to me and well hast thou been tested by me. I have been very
highly pleased with thee in consequence of this thy devotion to Siva. I
shall, therefore, give thee today the fruition of whatever desires thou
mayst have in thy heart. Thus addressed by Mahadeva of great wisdom,
tears of joy came into my eyes and my hair stood on its end (through
emotion). Kneeling down unto him and bowing unto him repeatedly, I then,
with a voice that was choked with delight, said unto him,–O illustrious
god, it seems to me that I was hitherto dead and that it is only today
that I have taken my birth, and that my birth bath today borne fruit,
since I am staying now in the presence of Him who is the Master of both
the deities and the Asuras! Who else is more praiseworthy than I, since I
am beholding with these eyes of mine, Him of immeasurable prowess whom
the very deities are unable to behold without first paying hearty
worship? That which they that are possessed of learning and wisdom say is
the highest of all topics, which is Eternal, which is distinguished from
all else, which is unborn, which is Knowledge, which is indestructible,
is identical with thee, O puissant and illustrious one, thee that art the
beginning of all the topics, thee that art indestructible and changeless,
thee that art conversant with the ordinances which govern all the topics,
thee that art the foremost of Purushas, thee that art the highest of the
high. Thou art he that hadst created from thy right side the Grandsire
Brahma, the Creator of all things. Thou art he that hadst created from
thy left side Vishnu for protecting the Creation. Thou art that puissant
Lord who didst create Rudra when the end of the Yuga came and when the
Creation was once more to be dissolved. That Rudra, who sprang from thee
destroyed the Creation with all its mobile and immobile beings, assuming
the form of Kala of great energy, of the cloud Samvartaka (charged with
water which myriads of oceans are not capacious enough to bear), and of
the all consuming fire. Verily, when the period comes for the dissolution
of the universe, that Rudra stands, ready to swallow up the universe.
Thou art that Mahadeva, who is the original Creator of the universe with
all its mobile and immobile entities. Thou art he, who, at the end of the
Kalpa, stands, withdrawing all things into thyself. Thou art he that
pervadest all things, that art the Soul of all things, thou art the
Creator of the Creator of all entities. Incapable of being seen by even
any of the deities, thou art he that exists, pervading all entities. If,
O lord, thou hast been gratified with me and if thou wouldst grant me
boons, let this be the boon, O Lord of all the deities, that my devotion
to thee may remain unchanged. O best of the deities, let me, through thy
grace, have knowledge of the Present, the Past, and the Future. I shall
also, with all my kinsmen and friends, always eat food mixed with milk.
And let thy illustrious self be for ever present at our retreat.–Thus
addressed by me, the illustrious Maheswara endued with supreme energy,
that Master of all mobile and immobile, viz., Siva, worshipped of all the
universe, then said unto me these words.’

“The illustrious Deity said, ‘Be thou free from every misery and pain,
and be thou above decrepitude and death. Be thou possessed of fame, be
thou endued with great energy, and let spiritual knowledge be thine. Thou
shalt, through my grace, be always sought for by the Rishis. Be thy
behaviour good and righteous, be every desirable attribute thine, be thou
possessed of universal knowledge, and be thou of agreeable appearance.
Let undecaying youth be thine, and let thy energy be like that of fire.
Wherever, again, thou mayst desire the presence of the ocean of milk that
is so agreeable to thee, there shall that ocean appear before thee (ready
for being utilised by thee and thy friends for purposes of thy food). Do
thou, with thy friends, always obtain food prepared with milk, with the
celestial nectar besides being mixed with it.[67] After the expiration of
a Kalpa thou shalt then obtain my companionship. Thy family and race and
kinsmen shall be exhaustless. O foremost of regenerate ones, thy devotion
to me shalt be eternal. And. O best of Brahmanas, I shall always accord
my presence to thy asylum. Live, O son, whithersoever thou likest, and
let no anxiety be thine. Thought of by thee, I shall, O learned Brahmana,
grant thee a sight of myself again.–Having said these words, and granted
me these boons, the illustrious Isana, endued with the effulgence of
millions of Suns, disappeared there and then. It was even thus, O
Krishna, that I beheld, with the aid of austere penances, that God of
gods. I also obtained all that was said by the great Deity endued with
supreme intelligence. Behold, O Krishna, before thy eyes, these Siddhas
residing here and these Rishis and Vidyadharas and Yakshas and Gandharvas
and Apsaras. Behold these trees and creepers and plants yielding all
sorts of flowers and fruits. Behold them bearing the flowers of every
season, with beautiful leaves, and shedding a sweet fragrance all around.
O thou of mighty arms, all these are endued with a celestial nature
through the grace of that god of gods, that Supreme Lord, that
high-souled Deity.’

“Vasudeva continued, ‘Hearing these words of his and beholding, as it
were, with my own eyes all that he had related to me, I became filled
with wonder. I then addressed the great ascetic Upamanyu and said unto
him,–Deserving of great praise art thou, O foremost of learned
Brahmanas, for what righteous man is there other than thou whose retreat
enjoys the distinction of being honoured with the presence of that God of
gods? Will the puissant Siva, will the great Sankara, O chief of
ascetics, grant me also a sight of his person and show me favour.’

“Upamanyu said, ‘Without doubt, O thou of eyes like lotus-petals, thou
wilt obtain a sight of Mahadeva very soon, even as, O sinless one, I
succeeded in obtaining a sight of him. O thou of immeasurable prowess, I
see with my spiritual eyes that thou wilt, in the sixth month from this,
succeed in obtaining a sight of Mahadeva, O best of all persons. Thou, O
foremost of the Yadus, wilt obtain from Maheswara and his spouse, four
and twenty boons. I tell thee what is true. Through the grace of that
Deity endued with supreme wisdom, the Past, the Future and the Present
are known to me. The great Hara has favoured these Rishis numbering by
thousands and others as numerous. Why will not the puissant Deity show
favour to thee, O Mahadeva? The meeting of the gods is always commendable
with one like thee, with one that is devoted to the Brahmanas, with one
that is full of compassion and that is full of faith. I shall give thee
certain Mantras. Recite them continuously. By this thou art certain to
behold Sankara.’

“The blessed Vishnu continued, ‘I then said unto him, O regenerate one,
through thy grace, O great ascetic. I shall behold the lord of the
deities, that grinder of multitudes of Diti’s sons. Eight days, O
Bharata, passed there like an hour, all of us being thus occupied with
talk on Mahadeva. On the eighth day, I underwent the Diksha (initiation)
according to due rites, at the hands of that Brahmana and received the
staff from his hands. I underwent the prescribed shave. I took up a
quantity of Kusa blades in my hand. I wore rags for my vestments. I
rubbed my person with ghee. I encircled a cord of Munja grass round my
loins. For one month I lived on fruits. The second month I subsisted upon
water. The third, the fourth and the fifth months I passed, living upon
air alone. I stood all the while, supporting myself upon one foot and
with my arms also raised upwards, and foregoing sleep all the while. I
then beheld, O Bharata, in the firmament an effulgence that seemed to be
as dazzling as that of a thousand Suns combined together. Towards the
centre of that effulgence, O son of Pandu, I saw a cloud looking like a
mass of blue hills, adorned with rows of cranes, embellished with many a
grand rainbow, with flashes of lightning and the thunder-fire looking
like eyes set on it.[68] Within that cloud was the puissant Mahadeva.
himself of dazzling splendour, accompanied by his spouse Uma. Verily, the
great Deity seemed to shine with his penances, energy, beauty,
effulgence, and his dear spouse by his side. The puissant Maheswara, with
his spouse by his side, shone in the midst of that cloud. The appearance
seemed to be like that of the Sun in the midst of racking clouds with the
Moon by his side. The hair on my body, O son of Kunti, stood on its end,
and my eyes expanded with wonder upon beholding Hara, the refuge of all
the deities and the dispeller of all their griefs. Mahadeva was adorned
with a diadem on his head. He was armed with his Sula. He was clad in a
tiger-skin, had matted locks on his head, and bore the staff (of the
Sanyasin) in one of his hands. He was armed, besides with his Pinaka and
the thunderbolt. His teeth was sharp-pointed. He was decked with an
excellent bracelet for the upper arm. His sacred thread was constituted
by a snake. He wore an excellent garland of diversified colours on his
bosom, that hung down to his toes. Verily, I beheld him like the
exceedingly bright moon of an autumnal evening. Surrounded by diverse
clans of spirits and ghosts, he looked like the autumnal Sun difficult of
being gazed at for its dazzling brightness. Eleven hundred Rudras stood
around that Deity of restrained soul and white deeds, then seated upon
his bull. All of them were employed in hymning his praises. The Adityas,
the Vasus, the Sadhyas, the Viswedevas, and the twin Aswins praised that
Lord of the universe by uttering the hymns occurring in the scriptures.
The puissant Indra and his brother Upendra, the two sons of Aditi, and
the Grandsire Brahma, all uttered, in the presence of Bhava, the
Rathantara Saman. Innumerable masters of Yoga, all the regenerate Rishis
with their children, all the celestial Rishis, the goddess Earth, the Sky
(between Earth and Heaven), the Constellations, the Planets, the Months,
the Fortnights, the Seasons, Night, the Years, the Kshanas, the Muhurtas,
the Nimeshas, the Yugas one after another, all the celestial Sciences and
branches of knowledge, and all beings conversant with Truth, were seen
bowing down unto that Supreme Preceptor, that great Father, that giver
(or origin) of Yoga. Sanatkumara, the Vedas, the Histories, Marichi,
Angiras, Atri, Pulastya, Pulaha, Kratu, the seven Manus, Soma, the
Atharvans, and Vrihaspati, Bhrigu, Daksha, Kasyapa, Vasishtha, Kasya, the
Schandas, Diksha, the Sacrifices, Dakshina, the Sacrificial Fires, the
Havis (clarified butter) poured in sacrifices, and all the requisites of
the sacrifices, were beheld by me, O Yudhishthira, standing there in
their embodied forms. All the guardians of the worlds, all the Rivers,
all the snakes, the mountains, the celestial Mothers, all the spouses and
daughters of the celestials, thousands upon thousands and millions of
ascetics, were seen to bow down to that puissant Lord who is the soul of
tranquillity. The Mountains, the Oceans, and the Points of the compass
also did the same, the Gandharvas and the Apsaras highly skilled in
music, in celestial strains, sang and hymned the praises of Bhava who is
full of wonder. The Vidyadharas, the Danavas, the Guhyakas, the
Rakshasas, and all created beings, mobile and immobile, adorned, in
thought, word and deed, that puissant Lord. Before me, that Lord of all
the gods viz., Sarva, appeared seated in all his glory. Seeing that Isana
had showed himself to me by being seated in glory before my eyes, the
whole universe, with the Grandsire and Sakra, looked at me. I, however,
had not the power to look at Mahadeva. The great Deity then addressed me
saying, ‘Behold, O Krishna, and speak to me. Thou hast adorned me
hundreds and thousands of times. There is no one in the three worlds that
is dearer to me than thou.’ After I had bowed unto him, his spouse, viz.,
the goddess Uma, became gratified with me. I then addressed in these
words the great God whose praises are hymned by all the deities with the
Grandsire Brahma at their head.’

“The blessed Vishnu said, ‘I saluted Mahadeva, saying,–Salutations to
thee, O thou that art the eternal origin of all things. The Rishis say
that thou art the Lord of the Vedas. The righteous say that thou art
Penance, thou art Sattwa, thou art Rajas, thou art Tamas, and thou art
Truth. Thou art Brahman, thou art Rudra, thou art Varuna, thou art Agni,
thou art Manu, thou art Bhava, thou art Dhatri, thou art Tashtri, thou
art Vidhatri, thou art the puissant Master of all things, and thou art
everywhere. All beings, mobile and immobile, have sprung from thee. This
triple world with all its mobile and immobile entities, has been created
by thee. The Rishis say that thou art superior to the senses, the mind,
the vital breaths, the seven sacrificial fires, all others that have
their refuge in the all-pervading Soul, and all the deities that are
adored and worthy of adoration. Thou, O illustrious one, art the Vedas,
the Sacrifices, Soma, Dakshina, Pavaka, Havi, and all other requisites of
sacrifice. The merit obtained by sacrifices, gifts made to others, the
study of the Vedas, vows, regulations in respect of restraint, Modesty,
Fame, Prosperity, Splendour, Contentment, and Success, all exist for
leading to thee.[69] Desire, Wrath, Fear, Cupidity, Pride, Stupefaction,
and Malice, Pains and Diseases, are, O illustrious one, thy children.
Thou art all acts that creatures do, thou art the joy and sorrow that
flow from those acts, thou art the absence of joy and sorrow, thou art
that Ignorance which is the indestructible seed of Desire, thou art the
high origin of Mind, thou art Puissance, and thou art Eternity.[70] Thou
art the Unmanifest, thou art Pavana, thou art inconceivable, thou art the
thousand-rayed Sun, thou art the effulgent Chit, thou art the first of
all the topics, and thou art the refuge of life.[71] The use of words
like Mahat, Soul, Understanding, Brahman, Universe, Sambhu, and Self-born
and other words occurring in succession (in the Vedas), show that thy
nature has been judged (by persons conversant with the Vedas) as
identical with Mahat and Soul. Verily, regarding thee as all this, the
learned Brahmanas win over that ignorance which lies at the root of the
world. Thou residest in the heart of all creatures, and thou art adored
by the Rishis as Kshetrajna. Thy arms and feet extend to every place, and
thy eyes, head, and face are everywhere. Thou hearest everywhere in the
universe, and thou stayest, pervading all things. Of all acts that are
performed in the Nimeshas and other divisions of time that spring in
consequence of the puissance of the Sun, thou art the fruit.[72] Thou art
the original effulgence (of the supreme Chit). Thou art Purusha, and thou
residest in the hearts of all things. Thou art the various Yogic
attributes of success, viz., Subtility and Grossness and Fruition and
Supremacy and Effulgence and Immutability.[73] Understanding and
intelligence and all the worlds rest upon thee. They that are devoted to
meditation, that are always engaged in Yoga, that are devoted to or firm
in Truth and that have subjugated their passions, seek thee and rest on
thee.[74] They that know thee for one that is Immutable, or one that
resides in all hearts, or one that is endued with supreme puissance, or
one that is the ancient Purusha, or one that is pure Knowledge, or one
that is the effulgent Chit, or one that is the highest refuge of all
persons endued with intelligence, are certainly persons of great
intelligence. Verily, such persons stay, transcending intelligence.[75]
By understanding the seven subtile entities (viz., Mahat, Ego, and five
subtile primal elements called Tanmatras), by comprehending thy six
attributes (of Omniscience, Contentment of Fullness, Knowledge without
beginning, Independence, Puissance that is not at fault at any time and
that is infinite), and being conversant with Yoga that is freed from
every false notion, the man of knowledge succeeds in entering into thy
great self.–After I had said these words, O Partha, unto Bhava, that
dispeller of grief and pain, the universe, both mobile and immobile, sent
up a leonine shout (expressive of their approval of the correctness of my
words). The innumerable Brahmanas there present, the deities and the
Asuras, the Nagas, the Pisachas, the Pitris, the birds, diverse
Rakshasas, diverse classes of ghosts and spirits, and all the great
Rishis, then bowed down unto that great Deity. There then fell upon my
head showers of celestial flowers possessed of great fragrance, and
delicious winds blew on the spot. The puissant Sankara then, devoted to
the good of the universe, looked at the goddess Uma and the lord of the
celestials and myself also, and thus spoke unto me,–We know, O Krishna,
that thou, O slayer of foes, art filled with the greatest devotion
towards us. Do what is for thy good. My love and affection for thee is
very great. Do thou ask for eight boons. I shall verily give them unto
thee, O Krishna, O best of all persons, tell me what they are, O chief of
the Yadavas. Name what thou wishest. However difficult of attainment they
be, thou shalt have them still.'”[76]


“The blessed Krishna said, ‘Bowing my head with great joy unto that mass
of energy and effulgence, I said these words unto the great Deity, with a
heart filled with gladness,–Firmness in virtue, the slaughter of foes in
battle, the highest fame, the greatest might, devotion to Yoga, thy
adjacence, and hundreds upon hundreds of children, these are the boons I
solicit of thee,–So be it,–said Sankara repeating the words I had
uttered. After this, the mother of the universe, the upholders of all
things, who cleanses, all things, viz., the spouse of Sarva, that vast
receptacle of penances said with a restrained soul these words unto
me,–‘The puissant Mahadeva has granted thee, O sinless one, a son who
shall be named Samva. Do thou take from me also eight boons which thou
choosest. I shall certainly grant them to thee.–Bowing unto her with a
bend of my head, I said unto her, O son of Pandu,–I solicit from thee
non-anger against the Brahmanas, grace of my father, a hundred sons, the
highest enjoyments, love for my family, the grace of my mother, the
attainment of tranquillity and peace, and cleverness in every act!’

“Uma said, ‘It shall be even so, O thou that art possessed of prowess and
puissance equal to that of a celestial. I never say what is untrue. Thou
shalt have sixteen thousand wives. Thy love for them and theirs also for
thee shall be unlimited. From all thy kinsmen also, thou shalt receive
the highest affection. Thy body too shall be most beautiful. Seven
thousand guests will daily feed at thy palace.’

“Vasudeva continued, ‘Having thus granted me boons both the god and the
goddess, O Bharata, disappeared there and then with their Ganas, O elder
brother of Bhima. All those wonderful facts I related fully, O best of
kings, to that Brahmana of great energy, viz., Upamanyu (from whom I had
obtained the Diksha before adoring Mahadeva). Bowing down unto the great
God, Upamanyu said these words to me.’

“Upamanyu said, ‘There is no deity like Sarva. There is no end or refuge
like Sarva. There is none that can give so many or such high boons. There
is none that equal him in battle.'”


“Upamanyu said, ‘There was in the Krita age, O sire, a Rishi celebrated
under the name of Tandi. With great devotion of heart he adored, with the
aid of Yoga-meditation, the great God for ten thousand years. Listen to
me as I tell thee fruit or reward he reaped of such extraordinary
devotion. He succeeded in beholding Mahadeva and praised him by uttering
some hymns. Thinking, with the aid of his penances, of Him who is the
supreme Soul and who is immutable and undeteriorating, Tandi became
filled with wonder, and said these words,–I seek the protection of Him
whom the Sankhyas describe and the Yogins think of as the Supreme, the
Foremost, the Purusha, the pervader of all things, and the Master of all
existent objects, of him who, the learned say, is the cause of both the
creation and the destruction of the universe; of him who is superior to
all the celestials, the Asuras, and the Munis, of him who has nothing
higher, who is unborn, who is the Lord of all things, who has neither
beginning nor end, and who is endued with supreme puissance, who is
possessed of the highest felicity, and who is effulgent and
sinless.–After he had said these words, Tandi beheld before him that
ocean of penances, that great Deity who is immutable and undeteriorating,
who is without compare, who is inconceivable, who is eternal, and who is
without any change, who is indivisible, who is whole, who is Brahma, who
transcends all attributes, and who is endued with attributes, who is the
highest delight of Yogins, who is without deterioration, who is called
Emancipation, who is the refuge of the Mind, of Indra, of Agni, of the
god of wind, of the entire universe, and of the Grandsire Brahma; who is
incapable of being conceived by the Mind, who is without mutation of any
kind, who is pure, who is capable of being apprehended by understanding
only and who is immaterial as the Mind; who is difficult of
comprehension, who is incapable of being measured, who is difficult of
being attained by persons of uncleansed souls, who is the origin of the
universe, and who transcends both the universe and the attribute of
darkness; who is ancient, who is Purusha, who is possessed of effulgence,
and who is higher than the highest. The Rishi Tandin, desirous of
beholding Him who making himself endued with life-breaths, resides in
what results from it viz., Jiva, in the form of that effulgence which is
called the Mind, passed many years in the practice of the severest
austerities, and having succeeded in beholding Him as the reward of those
penances, he praised the great God in the following terms.’

“Tandi said, ‘Thou art the holiest of holies[77] and the refuge of all, O
foremost of all beings endued with intelligence. Thou art the fiercest
energy of all kinds of energy. Thou art the austerest penance of all
penances. Thou, O puissant one, art the liberal giver of blessings. Thou
art the supreme Truth. Salutations to thee, O thou of a thousand rays,
and, O refuge of all felicity. Thou art the giver of that Nirvana which,
O puissant one, Yatis, standing in fear of birth and death, strive for so
hard. The Grandsire Brahma, he of a hundred sacrifices, (viz., Indra)
Vishnu, the Viswadevas, the great Rishis, are incapable of comprehending
thee and thy real nature. How then can persons like ourselves hope to
comprehend thee? From thee flows everything. Upon thee rests everything.
Thou art called Kala, thou art called Purusha, thou art called Brahma.
Celestial Rishis conversant with the Puranas, say that thou hast three
bodies viz., those pertaining to Kalas, those pertaining to Purusha and
those pertaining to Brahma or the three forms namely Brahma, Vishnu and
Rudra. Thou art Adhi-Purusha, (occupying the physical flame from head to
foot) thou art Adhyatma, thou art Adhibhuta, and Adhi-Daivata, thou art
Adhi-loka, Adhi-Vijnanam and Adhi-Yajna.[78] Men of wisdom, when they
succeed in knowing thee that residest in themselves and that art
incapable of being known by the very gods, become freed from all bonds
and pass into a state of existence that transcends all sorrow.[79] They
that do not wish to know thee, O thou of great puissance, have to undergo
innumerable births and deaths. Thou art the door of heaven and of
Emancipation. Thou art he that projectest all beings into existence and
withdrawest them again into thyself. Thou art the great giver. Thou art
heaven, thou art Emancipation, thou art desire (the seed of action). Thou
art wrath that inspires creatures. Thou art Sattwa, thou art Rajas, thou
art Tamas, thou art the nether regions, and thou art the upper regions.
Thou art the Grandsire Brahma, thou art Bhava, thou art Vishnu, thou art
Skanda, thou art Indra, thou art Savitri, thou art Yama, thou art Varuna,
Soma, thou art Dhatri, thou art Manu, thou art Vidhatri and thou art
Kuvera, the Lord of treasures. Thou art Earth, thou art Wind, thou art
Water, thou art Agni, thou art Space, thou art Speech, thou art the
Understanding, thou art Steadiness, thou art Intelligence, thou art the
acts that creatures do, thou art Truth, thou art Falsehood, thou art
existent and thou art non-existent. Thou art the senses, thou art that
which transcends Prakriti, thou art immutable. Thou art superior to the
universe of existent objects, thou art superior to the universe of
non-existent objects, thou art capable of being conceived, thou art
incapable of being conceived. That which is supreme Brahman, that which
is the highest entity, that which is the end of both the Sankhyas and the
Yogins, is, without doubt, identical with thee. Verily, rewarded have I
been today by thee in consequence of thy granting me a sight of thy form.
I have attained the end which the righteous alone attain to. I have been
rewarded with that end which is solicited by persons whose understandings
have been cleansed by Knowledge. Alas, so long I was steeped in
Ignorance; for this long period I was a senseless fool, since I had no
knowledge of thee that art the Supreme Deity, thee that art the only
eternal Entity as can be only known by all persons endued with wisdom. In
course of innumerable lives have I at last succeeded in acquiring that
Devotion towards thee in consequence of which thou hast shown thyself to
me. O thou that art ever inclined to extend thy grace to those that are
devoted to thee. He that succeeds in knowing thee is enable to enjoy
immortality. Thou art that which is ever a mystery with the gods, the
Asuras, and the ascetics. Brahman is concealed in the cave of the heart.
The very ascetics are unable to behold or know Him.[80] Thou art that
puissant deity who is the doer of everything and whose face is turned
towards every direction. Thou art the Soul of all things, thou seest all
things, thou pervadest all things, and thou knowest all things. Thou
makest a body for thyself, and bearest that body. Thou art an embodied
Being. Thou enjoyest a body, and thou art the refuge of all embodied
creatures. Thou art the creator of the life-breaths, thou possessest the
life-breaths, thou art one that is endued with life-breaths, thou art the
giver of the life-breaths, and thou art the refuge of all beings endued
with life-breaths. Thou art that Adhyatma which is the refuge of all
righteous persons that are devoted to Yoga-meditation and conversant with
the Soul and that are solicitous of avoiding rebirth. Verily, thou art
that Supreme Lord who is identical with that refuge. Thou art the giver
unto all creatures of whatever ends become theirs, fraught with happiness
or misery. Thou art he that ordains all created beings to birth and
death. Thou art the puissant Lord who grants success to Rishis crowned
with success in respect of the fruition of their wishes. Having created
all the worlds beginning with Bhu, together with all the denizens of
heaven, that upholdest and cherishest them all, distributing thyself into
thy well-known forms numbering Eight.[81] From thee flows everything.
Upon thee rests all things. All things, again, disappear in thee. Thou
art the sole object that is Eternal. Thou art that region of Truth which
is sought by the righteous and regarded by them as the highest. Thou art
that cessation of individual existence which Yogins seek. Thou art that
Oneness which is sought by persons conversant with the soul. Brahma and
the Siddhas expounding the mantras have concealed thee in a cave for
preventing the deities and Asuras and human beings from beholding
thee.[82] Although thou residest in the heart, yet thou are concealed.
Hence, stupefied by thee, deities and Asuras and human beings are all
unable to understand thee, O Bhava, truly and in all thy details. Unto
those persons that succeed in attaining to thee after having cleansed
themselves by devotion, thou showest thyself of thy own accord, O thou
that residest in all hearts.[83] By knowing thee one can avoid both death
and rebirth. Thou art the highest object of knowledge. By knowing thee no
higher object remains for one to know. Thou art the greatest object of
acquisition. The person that is truly wise, by acquiring thee, thinks
that there is no higher object to acquire. By attaining to thee that art
exceedingly subtile and that art the highest object of acquisition, the
man of wisdom becomes immortal and immutable. The followers of the
Sankhya system, well conversant with their own philosophy and possessing
a knowledge of the attributes (of Sattwa, Rajas and Tamas) and of those
called the topics of enquiry,–those learned men who transcend the
destructible by attaining to a knowledge of the subtile or
indestructible–succeed, by knowing thee, in freeing themselves from all
bonds. Persons conversant with the Vedas regard thee as the one object of
knowledge, which has been expounded in the Vedantas. These men, devoted
to the regulation of the breaths, always meditate on thee and at last
enter into thee as their highest end. Riding on the car made of Om, those
men enter into Maheswara. Of that which is called the Devayana (the path
of the deities) thou art the door called Aditya. Thou art again, the
door, called Chandramas, of that which is called the Pitriyana (the path
of the Pitris).[84] Thou art Kashtha, thou art the points of the horizon,
thou art the year, and thou art the Yugas. Thine is the sovereignty of
the heavens, thine is the sovereignty of the Earth, thou art the Northern
and the Southern declensions. The Grandsire Brahma in days of yore
uttered thy praises, O thou that art called Nilarohita (blue and red), by
reciting diverse hymns and urged thee to create living creatures.
Brahmanas conversant with Richs praise thee by uttering Richs, regarding
thee as unattached to all things and as divested of all forms. Adhyaryus,
in sacrifices, pour libations, uttering Yajushes the while, in honour of
thee that art the sole object of knowledge, according to the three
well-known ways.[85] Persons of cleansed understandings, that are
conversant with Samans, sing thee with the aid of Samans. Those
regenerate persons, again, that are conversant with the Atharvans, hymn
thee as Rita, as Truth, as the Highest, and as Brahma. Thou art the
highest cause, whence Sacrifice has flowed. Thou art the Lord, and thou
art Supreme. The night and day are thy sense of hearing and sense of
sight. The fortnights and months are thy head and arms. The seasons are
thy energy, penances are thy patience, and the year is thy anus, thighs
and feet. Thou art Mrityu. thou art Yama, thou art Hutasana, thou art
Kala, thou art endued with speed in respect of destruction, thou art the
original cause of Time, and thou art eternal Time. Thou art Chandramas
and Aditya. with all the stars and planets and the atmosphere that fills
space. Thou art the pole-star, thou art constellation called the seven
Rishis, thou art the seven regions beginning with Bhu. Thou art Pradhana
and Mahat, thou art Unmanifest, and thou art this world. Thou art the
universe beginning with Brahman and ending with the lowest forms of
vegetation. Thou art the beginning or original cause of all creatures.
Thou art the eight Prakritis.[86] Thou art, again, above the eight
Prakritis. Everything that exists, represents a portion of thy divine
Self. Thou art that supreme Felicity which is also Eternal. Thou art the
end which is attained to by all things. Thou art that highest existence
which is sought for by the Righteous. Thou art that state which is freed
from every anxiety. Thou art eternal Brahman! Thou art that highest state
which constitutes the meditation of persons learned in the scriptures and
the Vedangas. Thou art the highest Kashtha, thou art the highest Kala.
Thou art the highest Success, and thou art the highest Refuge. Thou art
the highest Tranquillity. Thou art the highest cessation of Existence. By
attaining to thee, Yogins think that they attain to the highest success
that is open to them. Thou art Contentment, thou art Success, thou art
the Sruti, and thou art the Smriti. Thou art that Refuge of the Soul
after which Yogins strive, and thou art that indestructible Prapti which
men of Knowledge pursue. Thou art, without doubt, that End which those
persons have in view that are habituated to sacrifices and that pour
sacrificial libations, impelled by specific desires, and that make large
presents on such occasions. Thou art that high End which is sought for by
persons that waste and scorch their bodies with severe penances with
ceaseless recitations, with those rigid vows and fasts that appertain to
their tranquil lives, and with other means of self-affliction. O Eternal
one, thou art that End which is theirs that are unattached to all things
and that have relinquished all acts. Thou, O Eternal one, art that End
which is theirs that are desirous of achieving Emancipation from rebirth,
that live in dissociation from all enjoyments, and that desire the
annihilation of the Prakriti elements. Thou art that high End, O
illustrious one, which is indescribable, which is stainless, which is the
immutable one, and which is theirs that are devoted to knowledge and
science. These are the live Ends that have been declared in the Vedas and
the Scriptures and the Puranas. It is through thy grace that persons
attain to those Ends, or, if they fail to attain to them, it is through
thy grace being denied to them.–It was thus Tandi, who was a vast heap
of penances, praised Isana. And he sang also that high Brahman which in
ancient days was sung by the Creator himself (in honour of Mahadeva).

“Upamanyu continued, ‘Thus praised by that utterer of Brahma, Viz.,
Tandi, Mahadeva that illustrious and puissant Deity, who was accompanied
by his spouse lima, said these words. Tandi had further said,–Neither
Brahma, nor Indra nor Vishnu, nor the Viswedevas, nor the great Rishis,
know thee. Gratified at this, Siva said the following words.’

“The holy one said, ‘Thou shalt be indestructible and eternal. Thou shalt
be freed from all sorrow. Great fame shall be thine. Thou shalt be endued
with energy. Spiritual knowledge shall be thine. All the Rishis shall
seek thee, and thy son, through my grace, shall become the author of
Sutras, O foremost of regenerate persons. What wishes of thine shall I
grant today? Tell me, O son, what those objects are which thou
desirest.–At this, Tandi joined his hands and said–O Lord, let my
devotion to thee be steady.’

“Upamanyu continued, ‘Having given unto Tandi these boons and having
received the adorations of both the deities and the Rishis, the great
Deity disappeared there and then. When the illustrious deity, O lord of
the Yadavas, thus, disappeared with all his followers, the Rishi came to
my asylum and said unto me all that had happened to him. Do thou hear, O
foremost of men, all those celebrated names (of Mahadeva) that Tandi said
unto me for thy spiritual success. The Grandsire had at one time recited
ten thousand names that apply to Mahadeva. In the scriptures, a thousand
names occur of that illustrious deity. These names are not known to all.
O thou that transcendest destruction, in days of yore, the Grandsire
Brahma uttered these names for adoring the high-souled Deity. Having
acquired them through the grace of the Grandsire, Tandi communicated them
to me!'”[87]


“Vasudeva said, ‘Concentrating his mind, O Yudhishthira. the regenerate
Rishi Upamanyu, with hands joined together in reverence uttered this
abstract of names (applying to Mahadeva), commencing from the beginning.’

“Upamanyu said, ‘I shall adore that great Deity who deserves the
adorations of all creatures, by uttering those names that are celebrated
over all the worlds,–names some of which were uttered by the Grandsire
Brahma, some by the Rishis, and some of which occur in the Vedas and the
Vedangas. Those names have been applied (unto the great Deity) by persons
that are eminent. Those names of him that are, again, true and fraught
with success and are capable of accomplishing all the purposes which the
utterer may have in view, have been applied unto Mahadeva by Tandi after
calling them from the Vedic lore with the aid of his devotion. Indeed,
with those names that have been uttered by many well-known persons of
righteousness and by ascetics conversant with all the spiritual
principles. I shall adore him who is the foremost, who is the first, who
leads to heaven, who is ready to confer benefits upon all creatures, and
who is auspicious. Those names have been heard everywhere in the
universe, having spread from the region of Brahma (where they were
originally invented). All of them are fraught with the element of Truth.
With those names I shall adore him who is Supreme Brahman, who has been
declared (unto the universe) by the Vedas, and who is Eternal. I shall
now tell thee, O chief of Yacht’s race those names. Do thou hear them
with rapt attention. Thou art a devoted worshipper of the Supreme Deity.
Do thou worship the illustrious Bhava, distinguishing him above all the
deities. And because thou art devoted to him, I shall therefore, recite
those names in thy hearing. Mahadeva is Eternal Brahman. Persons endued
with Yoga; Yoga’s achievements are unable to know in even a hundred
years, the glory and puissance of the great Deity in their entirety.
Verily, the beginning, middle or end of Mahadeva cannot be apprehended by
the very deities. Indeed, when the case is such, who is there O Madhava,
that can recite the attributes of Mahadeva in their entirety? For all
that, I shall through the grace of that illustrious and supreme Deity of
perfect wisdom, extended to me for my devotion to him, recite his
attributes as embodied in an abstract of few words and letters. The
Supreme Lord is incapable of being adored by any one if he does not grant
his permission to the adorer. As regards myself, it is only when I become
fortunate enough to receive his permission that I succeed in adoring him.
I shall indicate only a few names of that great Deity who is without
birth and without destruction, who is the original cause of the universe,
who is endued with the highest Soul, and whose origin is unmanifest.
Hear, O Krishna, a few names, that were uttered by Brahma himself, of
that giver of boons, that adorable deity, that puissant one who has the
universe for his form, and who is possessed of supreme wisdom. These
names that I shall recite are extracted from the ten thousand names that
the great Grandsire had uttered in days of yore, as ghee is extracted
from curds. As gold represents the essence of rocky mountains, as honey
represents the essence of flowers, as Manda represents the extract from
ghee, even so have these names been extracted from and represent the
essence of those ten thousand names that were uttered by Grandsire
Brahma. This abstract of names is capable of cleansing every sin, however
heinous. It possesses the same merit that is attached to the four Vedas.
It should be comprehended with attention by spiritual aspirants and
engraved on the memory. These names fraught with auspiciousness, leading
to advancement, destructive of Rakshasas,[88] and great cleansers should
be imparted to only him that is devoted to the great Lord, to him that
has faith, to him that believes. Unto him that has no faith, him that is
an unbeliever, him that has not subjugated his soul, it should never be
communicated. That creature, O Krishna, who cherishes malice towards the
illustrious Mahadeva who is the original cause of everything, who is the
Supreme Soul, and who is the great Lord, has certainly to go to hell with
all his ancestors before and all his children after him. This abstract of
names that I shall recite to thee is looked upon as Yoga.[89] This is
looked upon as the highest object of meditation. This is that which one
should constantly recite as Japya. This is equivalent to Knowledge. This
is the highest Mystery. If one, even during his last moments, recites it
or hears it recited unto him, one succeeds in attaining to the highest
end. This is holy. This is auspicious, this is fraught with every kind of
benefit. This is the best of all things. Brahma, the Grandsire of all the
universe, having in days of old composed it, assigned to it the foremost
place among all excellent hymns. From that time, this hymn to the
greatness and glory of the high-souled Mahadeva, which is held in the
highest esteem by all the deities, has come to be regarded as the king of
all hymns. This king of all hymns was first conveyed from the region of
Brahman to heaven, the region of the celestials. Tandi then obtained it
from heaven. Hence is it known as the hymn composed by Tandi. From heaven
Tandi brought it down on Earth. It is the most auspicious of all
auspicious things, and is capable of cleansing the heart from all sins
however heinous. O thou of mighty arms, I shall recite to thee that best
of all hymns. This hymn relates to him who is the Veda of the Vedas, and
the most ancient of all ancient objects, to him who is the energy of all
energies, and the penance of all penances; to him who is the most
tranquil of all creatures endued with tranquillity, and who is the
splendour of all splendours; to him who is looked upon as the most
restrained of all creatures that are restrained, and him who is the
intelligence of all creatures endued with intelligence; to him who is
looked upon as the deity of all deities, and the Rishi of all Rishis; to
him who is regarded as the sacrifice of all sacrifices and the most
auspicious of all things fraught with auspiciousness; to him who is the
Rudra of all Rudras and the effulgence of all things endued with
effulgence; to him who is the Yogin of all Yogins, and the cause of all
causes; to him from whom all the worlds start into existence, and unto
whom all the worlds return when they cease to exist; to him who is the
Soul of all existent creatures, and who is called Hara of immeasurable
energy. Hear me recite those thousand and eight names of the great Sarva.
Hearing those names, O foremost of all men, thou shalt be crowned with
fruition in respect of all thy wishes,–Om! thou art Immobile, thou art
Fixed, thou art Puissant, thou art Terrible, thou art Foremost, thou art
boon-giving, and thou art Superior.[90] Thou art the Soul of all
creatures, thou art celebrated over all creatures, thou art all things,
thou art the Creator of all, and thou art Bhava.”[91] Thou art the bearer
of matted locks on thy head. Thou wearest animal skins for thy vestments.
Thou wearest a crest of matted hair on thy head like the peacock. Thou
art he who has the whole universe for thy limbs.[92] Thou art the Creator
of all things. Thou art Hara in consequence of thy being the destroyer of
all things. Thou art he that has eyes resembling those of the gazelle.
Thou art the destroyer of all creatures. Thou art the supreme enjoyer of
all things. Thou art that Pravritti whence all actions flow. Thou art
that Nivritti or abstention from acts. Thou art observant of fasts and
vows, thou art Eternal, thou art Unchangeable. Thou art he that residest
in crematoria, thou art the possessor of the six well-known attributes of
Lordship and the rest, thou residest in the heart of every creature, thou
art he that enjoys all things with the senses, thou art the grinder of
all sinful creatures.[93] Thou art he that deserves the salutations of
all, thou art of great feats, thou art he that has penances for his
wealth, thou createst all the elements at thy will, thou concealest thy
real nature by putting on the guise of a lunatic. Thou art the Master of
all the worlds and of all living creatures. Thou art of immeasurable
form, thou art of vast body, thou art of the form of Righteousness, thou
art of great fame, thou art of high Soul, thou art the Soul of all
creatures, thou hast the universe for thy form.[94] Thou art of vast jaws
(for thou swallowest the universe when the time comes for the dissolution
of all things). Thou art the protector of all the lokas (the worlds).
Thou art the soul residing in the inner heart and as such devoid of
ahamkara originating from ignorance[95] and is one and undivided; Thou
art anandam (gladness). Thou art he whose car is borne by mules. Thou art
he that protects Jiva from the thunderbolt of rebirth. Thou art adorable.
Thou art obtained by purity and self-restraint and vows. Thou art again
the refuge of all kinds of vows and observances including purity and
self-restraint.[96] Thou art the celestial artificer that is conversant
with every art. Thou art Self-create (for no one has created thee). Thou
art the beginning of all creatures and things. Thou art Hiranyagarbha,
the Creator of all things. Thou art inexhaustible puissance and
felicity.[97] Thou hast a hundred eyes, thou hast eyes of vast power.
Thou art Soma.[98] Thou art he that causest all righteous creatures
assume shapes of glory for shining in the firmament. Thou art Chandramas,
thou art Surya, thou art the planet Saturn, thou art the descending node
(of the moon), thou art the ascending node, thou art Mangala (Mars), and
thou art Vrihaspati (Jupiter) and Sukra (Venus), thou art Vudha (Mercury)
thou art the worshipper of Atri’s wife, thou art he who shot his shaft in
wrath at Sacrifice when Sacrifice fled away from him in the form of a
deer. Thou art sinless.[99] Thou art possessed of penances that have
conferred upon thee the power of creating the universe. Thou art
possessed of penances that have rendered thee capable of destroying the
universe. Thou art high minded (in consequence of thy great liberality
towards thy devotees). Thou fulfillest the wishes of all who resign
themselves to thee. Thou art the maker of the year (for it is thou who
settest the wheel of Time revolving, by assuming the form of the sun and
the planets). Thou art Mantra (in the form of Pranava and other sacred
words and syllables). Thou art the authority for all acts (in the form of
the Vedas and the scriptures). Thou art the highest Penance. Thou art
devoted to Yoga. Thou art he who merges himself in Brahman (by
Yoga-abstraction). Thou art the great seed (being the cause of causes).
Thou art the displayer of what is unmanifest in the manifest form in
which the universe exists. Thou art possessed of infinite might. Thou art
he whose seed is gold.[100] Thou art omniscient, (being as thou art all
things and the great knower). Thou art the cause of all things. Thou art
he that has the seed of action (viz., ignorance and desire) for the means
of sojourning from this world to the other and the other to this.[101]
Thou hast ten arms. Thou hast winkless eyes (for thou seest at all
times). Thou hast a blue throat (in consequence of thy bearing in thy
throat the poison that arose upon churning the ocean and which, if not so
borne, was capable of destroying the universe). Thou art the Lord of Uma.
Thou art the origin of all the infinite forms that occur in the universe.
Thou art he whose superiority is due to thyself. Thou art a hero in might
(in consequence of thy having achieved such grand feats as the quick
destruction of the triple city of the Asuras). Thou art inert matter
(which cannot move unless co-existing with the Soul). Thou art all the
tattwas (subjects of enquiry as counted by the Sankhyas). Thou art the
ordainer and ruler of the tattwas. Thou art the chief of those beings
that wait upon thee and are called Ganas.[102] Thou coverest infinite
space.[103] Thou art Kama, the God of Desire. Thou art conversant with
Mantras (in the sense of knowledge being thy penance).[104] Thou art the
highest Mantra for thou art that philosophy which consists in the
ascertainment of the nature and attributes of the soul (and its
differences from the Non-soul). Thou art the cause of the universe (since
all that exists has sprung from thy Soul). Thou art universal destroyer
(for all that ceases to exist becomes merged unto thee who art as the
unmanifest Brahman). Thou bearest in one of thy hands the calabash, and
in another thou holdest the bow; in another hand thou bearest shafts and
in another thou bearest a skull. Thou bearest the thunder-bolt. Thou art
armed with the hundred-killer.[105] Thou art armed with the sword. Thou
wieldest the battle-axe. Thou art armed with the Sula (trident). Thou art
adorable. Thou host the sacrificial ladle in one of thy hands. Thou art
of beautiful form. Thou art endued with abundant energy. Thou givest in
the most liberal measure all that tends to adorn those that are devoted
to thee. Thou wearest a turban on thy head. Thou art of beautiful face.
Thou art he who swells with splendour and puissance. Thou art he that is
humble and modest. Thou art exceedingly tall. Thou art he who has the
senses for thy rays.[106] Thou art the greatest of preceptors. Thou art
Supreme Brahman (being a state of pure felicitous existence).[107] Thou
art he that took the shape of a jackal (for consoling the Brahmana who,
when insulted by a wealthy Vaisya, had resolved to commit suicide). Thou
art he whose object are all crowned with fruition, of themselves and
without waiting for the puissance (derivable from penances). Thou art one
who bears a bald head (as the sign of the mendicant order). Thou art one
who does good to all creatures. Thou art unborn. Thou hast innumerable
forms. Thou bearest all kinds of fragrance on thy person. The matted
locks on thy head had sucked up the river Ganga when it first fell from
heaven (although they again gave out the waters at the earnest
solicitations of king Bhagiratha). Thou art the giver of sovereignty and
lordship.[108] Thou art a Brahmacharin without having ever fallen away
from the rigid vow of continence. Thou art distinguished for thy sexual
continence. Thou always liest on thy back. Thou hast thy abode in
Puissance.[109] Thou hast three matted locks on thy head. Thou art he
that is clad in rags. Thou art Rudra (in consequence of thy fierceness).
Thou art the celestial generalissimo, and thou art all pervading. Thou
art he that moves about during the day. Thou art he that moves about in
the night.[110] Thou art of fierce wrath. Thou art possessed of dazzling
effulgence (born of Vedic study and penances). Thou art the slayer of the
mighty Asura who had come in the form of an infuriate elephant for
destroying thy sacred city of Varanasi. Thou art the slayer of such
Daityas as become the oppressors of the universe. Thou art Kala or Time
which is the universal destroyer. Thou art the supreme ordainer of the
universe. Thou art a mine of excellent accomplishments. Thou art of the
form of the lion and the tiger. Thou art he that is clad in the skin of
an elephant. Thou art the Yogin who deceives Time by transcending its
irresistible influence. Thou art the original sound.[111] Thou art the
fruition of all desires. Thou art he that is adored in four ways.[112]
Thou art a night-wanderer (like Vetala and others). Thou art he that
wanders in the company of spirits. Thou art he that wanders in the
company of ghostly beings. Thou art the Supreme Lord of even Indra and
the other celestials. Thou art he that hast multiplied himself infinitely
in the form of all existent and non-existent things. Thou art the
upholder of both Mahat and all the innumerable combinations of the five
primal elements. Thou art the primeval Ignorance or Tamas that is known
by the name of Rahu. Thou art without measure and hence infinite. Thou
art the supreme End that is attained by the Emancipate. Thou art fond of
dancing. Thou art he that is always engaged in dancing. Thou art he that
causes others to dance. Thou art the friend of the universe. Thou art he
whose aspect is calm and mild. Thou art endued with penances puissant
enough to create and destroy the universe. Thou art he who binds all
creatures with the bonds of thy illusion. Thou art he that transcends
destruction. Thou art he who dwells on the mount Kailasa. Thou
transcendest all bonds and art unattached in respect of all things, like
Space. Thou art possessed of a thousand arms. Thou art victory. Thou art
that perseverance which is the cause of success or victory. Thou art
without idleness or procrastination that interferes with persevering
activity. Thou art dauntless. Thou art fear, Thou art he who put a stop
to Vali’s sacrifice.[113] Thou fulfillest the desires of all thy
devotees. Thou art the destroyer of Daksha’s sacrifice. Thou art amiable.
Thou art slightly amiable. Thou art exceedingly fierce and robbest all
creatures of their energy. Thou art the slayer of the Asura Vala. Thou
art always cheerful. Thou art of the form of wealth which is coveted by
all. Thou hast never been vanquished.[114] There is none more adorable
than thou. Thou art he who utters deep roars (in the form of Ocean). Thou
art that which is so deep that no one can measure it (because thou art of
the form of space). Thou art he whose puissance and the might of whose
companions and of the bull have never been measured by anybody. Thou art
the tree of the world (whose roots extend upwards and branches hang
downwards). Thou art the banian.[115] Thou art he that sleeps on a human
leaf when the universe, after dissolution, becomes one infinite expanse
of water. Thou art he that shows compassion to all worshippers assuming
as thou listest, the form of Hari or Hara or Ganesa or Arka or Agni or
Wind, etc. Thou art possessed of teeth that are exceedingly sharp (since
thou art competent to chew innumerable worlds even as one munches nuts
and swallows them speedily). Thou art of vast dimensions in respect of
thy forms. Thou art possessed of a mouth that is hast enough to swallow
the universe at once. Thou art he whose troops are adored
everywhere.[116] Thou art he who dispelled all the fears of the deities
when the prince of elephants had to be captured. Thou art the seed of the
universe. Thou art he who has for his vehicle the same bull that forms
again the device on his banner in battle. Thou hast Agni for thy soul.
Thou art Surya who has green steeds yoked unto his car. Thou art the
friend of Jiva. Thou art he that is conversant with the proper time for
the accomplishment of all religious acts. Thou art he unto whom Vishnu
paid his adorations (for obtaining his celebrated discus). Thou art the
sacrifice being in the form of Vishnu. Thou art the ocean. Thou art the
Barabanala Mare’s head that ranges within the ocean, ceaselessly
vomitting fire and drinking the saline waters as if they were sacrificial
butter. Thou art Wind, the friend of Agni. Thou art of tranquil soul like
the ocean when at rest and unstirred by the mildest breeze. Thou art Agni
that drinks the libations of clarified butter poured in sacrifices with
the aid of Mantras. Thou art he whom it is difficult to approach. Thou
art he whose effulgence spreads over the infinite universe. Thou art ever
skilful in battle. Thou art well conversant with the time when one should
engage in battle so that victory may be achieved. Thou art that science
which treats of the motions of heavenly bodies.[117] Thou art of the form
of success or victory. Thou art he whose body is Time (for thy body is
never subject to destruction). Thou art a householder for thou wearest a
tuft of hair on thy head Thou art a Sanyasin for thy head is bald. Thou
wearest matted locks on thy head (being, as thou art, a
Vanaprastha).[118] Thou art distinguished for thy fiery rays (for the
effulgent path by which the righteous proceed is identical with thee).
Thou art he that appears in the firmament in the heart encased in the
body of every creature.[119] Thou art he who enters into the cranium
(brain) of every creature. Thou bearest the wrinkles of age. Thou bearest
the bamboo flute. Thou hast also the tabour. Thou bearest the musical
instrument called Tali. Thou hast the wooden vessel used for husking
grain. Thou art he who covers that illusion which covers Yama.[120] Thou
art an astrologer inasmuch as thy understanding is always directed
towards the motion of the wheel of time which is made up of the
luminaries in the firmament. Thou art Jiva whose understanding is
directed to things that are the result of the attributes of Sattwa,
Rajas, and Tamas. Thou art that in which all things merge when
dissolution overtakes them. Thou art stable and fixed, there being
nothing in thee that is subject to change or mutation of any kind. Thou
art the Lord of all creatures. Thy arms extend all over the vast
universe. Thou art displayed in innumerable forms that are but fractions
of thyself. Thou pervadest all things.[121] Thou art he that has no mouth
(for thou enjoyest not the objects of thy own creation). Thou art he who
frees thy creatures from the bonds of the world. Thou art easily
attainable.[122] Thou art he that manifested himself with a golden
mail.[123] Thou art he that appears in the phallic emblem. ‘Thou art he
that wanders in the forests in quest of fowls and animals. Thou art he
that wanders over the Earth. Thou art, he that is omnipresent. Thou art
the blare that is produced by all the trumpets blown in the three worlds.
Thou art he that has all creatures for his relatives.[124] Thou art of
the form of a snake (for thou art identical with the mighty Naga named
Sesha). Thou art he that lives in mountain caves (like Jaigishavya), or
any other Yogin. Thou art identical with Guha (the celestial
generalissimo). Thou wearest garlands of flowers. Thou art he who enjoys
the happiness that springs from the possession of worldly objects.[125]
Thou art he from whom all creatures have derived their three states of
birth, existence, and destruction. Thou art he that upholds all things
that exist or occur in the three stages of time viz., the Past, the
Present, and the Future. Thou art he that frees creatures from the
effects of all acts belonging to previous lives as well as those
accomplished in the present life and from all the bonds due to Ignorance
and Desire. Thou art he who is the binder or Asura chiefs. Thou art he
who is the slayer of foes in battle.[126] Thou art that which is
attainable by knowledge alone. Thou art Durvasas. Thou art he who is
waited upon and adored by all the righteous. Thou art he who causes the
fall of even Brahma and the others. Thou art he that gives unto all
creatures the just share of joy and grief that each deserves according to
his own acts. Thou art he that is incomparable. Thou art well conversant
with the shares that are given and appropriated in sacrifices.[127] Thou
residest in every place. Thou wanderest everywhere. Thou art he that has
mean vestments.[128] Thou art Vasava. Thou art immortal. Thou art
identical with the Himavat mountains. Thou art the maker of pure gold.
Thou art without acts. Thou upholdest in thyself the fruits of all acts.
Thou art the foremost of all creatures that are regarded as
upholders.[129] Thou art he that has bloody eyes. Thou art he that has
eyes whose vision extends over the infinite universe. Thou art he that
has a car whose wheels are ever victorious. Thou art he that is possessed
of vast learning. Thou art he that accepts thy devotees for thy servants.
Thou art he that restrains and subjugates thy senses. Thou art he that
acts. Thou wearest clothes whose warp and woof are made of snakes. Thou
art Supreme. Thou art he who is the lowest of the celestials.[130] Thou
art he that is well-grown. Thou ownest the musical instrument called
Kahala. Thou art the giver of every wish. Thou art the embodiment of
grace in all the three stages of Time, viz., the Past, the Present, and
the Future. Thou art possessed of might that is always well spent. Thou
art he who had assumed the form of Valarama (the elder brother of
Krishna). Thou art the foremost of all colleted things, being
Emancipation or the highest of all ends to which creatures attain. Thou
art the giver of all things. Thy face is turned towards all directions,
Thou art he from whom diverse creatures have sprung even as all forms
have sprung from space or are modifications or that primal element. Thou
art he who falls into the pit called body.[131] Thou art he that is
helpless (for, falling into the pit constituted by the body, thou canst
not transcend the sorrow that is thy portion). Thou residest in the
firmament of the heart. Thou art exceedingly fierce in form. Thou art the
Deity called Ansu. Thou art the companion of Ansu and art called Aditya.
Thou art possessed of innumerable rays. Thou art endued with dazzling
effulgence. Thou hast the speed of the Wind.[132] Thou art possessed of
speed that is greater than that of the Wind. Thou art possessed of the
speed of the mind. Thou art Nishachara as thou enjoyest all things, being
invested with Ignorance.[133] Thou dwellest in every body. Thou dwellest
with Prosperity as thy companion. Thou art he that imparts knowledge and
instruction. Thou art he who imparts instruction in utter silence. Thou
art he that observes the vow of taciturnity (for thou instructest in
silence). Thou art he who passes out of the body, looking at the
soul.[134] Thou art he that is well adored. Thou art the giver of
thousands (since the lord of all the treasures derived those treasures of
his from thee). Thou art the prince of birds, (being Garuda the son of
Vinata and Kasyapa). Thou art the friend that renders aid. Thou art
possessed of exceeding effulgence (for thy splendour is like that of a
million suns risen together). Thou art the Master of all created beings.
Thou art he who provokes the appetites. Thou art the deity of Desire.
Thou art of the form of lovely women that are coveted by all. Thou art
the tree of the world. Thou art the Lord of Treasures. Thou art the giver
of fame. Thou art the Deity that distributes unto all creatures the
fruits (in the form of joys and griefs) of their acts. Thou art thyself
those fruits which thou distributest. Thou art the most ancient (having
existed from a time when there was no other existent thing). Thou art
competent to cover with a single footstep of thine all the three worlds.
Thou art Vamana (the dwarf) who deceived the Asura chief Vali (and
depriving him of his sovereignty restored it unto Indra). Thou art the
Yogin crowned with success (like Sanatkumara and others). Thou art a
great Rishi (like Vasishtha and others). Thou art one whose objects are
always crowned with success (like Rishava or Dattatreya). Thou art a
Sanyasin (like Yajnavalkya and others). Thou art he that is adorned with
the marks of the mendicant order. Thou art he that is without such
marks.[135] Thou art he that transcends the usages of the mendicant
order. Thou art he that assures all creatures from every sort of fear.
Thou art without any passions thyself (so that glory and humiliation are
alike to thee). Thou art he that is called the celestial generalissimo.
Thou art that Visakha who took his rise from the body of the celestial
generalissimo when Indra hurled his thunder-bolt at him. Thou art
conversant with the sixty tattwas or heads of enquiry in the universe.
Thou art the Lord of the senses (for these achieve their respective
functions guided by thee). Thou art he that is armed with the
thunder-bolt (and that rives the mountains). Thou art infinite. Thou art
the stupefier of Daitya ranks in the field of battle. Thou art he that
moves his car in circles among his own ranks and that makes similar
circles among the ranks of his foes and who conies back safe and sound
after devastating then. Thou art he that is conversant with the lowest
depth of the world’s ocean (in consequence of thy knowledge of Brahman).
Thou art he called Madhu (who has founded the race in which Krishna has
taken his birth). Thou hast eyes whose colour resembles that of honey.
Thou art he that has taken birth after Vrihaspati.[136] Thou art he that
does the acts which Adhyaryus have to do in sacrifices. Thou art he who
is always adored by persons whatever their modes of life. Thou art
devoted to Brahman. Thou wanderest amongst the habitations of men in the
world (in consequence of thy being a mendicant). Thou art he that
pervadest all beings. Thou art he that is conversant with truth. Thou
knowest and guidest every heart. Thou art he that overspreads the whole
universe. Thou art he that collects or stores the good and bad acts of
all creatures in order to award them the fruits thereof Thou art he that
lives during even the night that follows the universal dissolution. Thou
art the protector wielding the bow called Pinaka. Thou residest in even
the Daityas that are the marks at which shootest thy arrows. Thou art the
author of prosperity. Thou art the mighty ape Hanuman that aided Vishnu
in the incarnation of Rama in his expedition against Ravana. Thou art the
lord of those Ganas that are thy associates, Thou art each member of
those diverse Ganas. Thou art he that gladdens all creatures. Thou art
the enhancer of the joys of all.[137] Thou takest away the sovereignty
and prosperity of even such high beings as Indra and others. Thou art the
universal slayer in the form of Death. Thou art he that resides in the
four and sixty Kalas. Thou art very great. Thou art the Grandsire (being
the sire of the great sire of all). Thou art the supreme phallic emblem
that is adored by both deities and Asuras. Thou art of agreeable and
beautiful features. Thou art he who presides over the variety of
evidences and tendencies for action and non-action. Thou art the lord of
vision. Thou art the Lord of Yoga (in consequence of thy withdrawing all
the senses into the heart and combining them together in that place).
Thou art he that upholds the Krita and the other ages (by causing them to
run ceaselessly). Thou art the Lord of seeds (in consequence of thy being
the giver of the fruits of all acts good and bad). Thou art the original
cause of such seeds. Thou actest in the ways that have been pointed out
in the scriptures beginning with those that treat of the Soul. Thou art
he in whom reside might and the other attributes. Thou art the
Mahabharata and other histories of the kind. Thou art the treatises
called Mimansa. Thou art Gautama (the founder of the science of
dialectics). Thou art the author of the great treatise on Grammar that
has been named after the Moon. Thou art he who chastises his foes. Thou
art he whom none can chastise. Thou art he who is sincere in respect of
all his religious acts and observances. Thou art he that becomes obedient
to those that are devoted to thee. Thou art he that is capable of
reducing others to subjection. Thou art he who foments quarrels among the
deities and the Asuras. Thou art he who has created the four and ten
worlds (beginning with Bhu). Thou art the protector and cherisher of all
Beings commencing from Brahma and ending with the lowest forms of
vegetable life (like grass and straw). Thou art the Creator of even the
five original elements. Thou art he that never enjoys anything (for thou
art always unattached). Thou art free from deterioration. Thou art the
highest form of felicity. Thou art a deity proud of his might. Thou art
Sakra. Thou art the chastisement that is spoken of in treatises on
morality and is inflicted on offenders. Thou art of the form of that
tyranny which prevails over the world. Thou art of pure Soul. Thou art
stainless (being above faults of every kind). Thou art worthy of
adoration. Thou art the world that appears and disappears ceaselessly.
Thou art he whose grace is of the largest measure. Thou art he that has
good dreams. Thou art a mirror in which the universe is reflected. Thou
art he that has subjugated all internal and external foes. Thou art the
maker of the Vedas. Thou art the maker of those declarations that are
contained in the Tantras and the Puranas and that are embodied in
language that is human.[138] Thou art possessed of great learning. Thou
art the grinder of foes in battle. Thou art he that resides in the awful
clouds that appear at the time of the universal dissolution. Thou art
most terrible (in consequence of the dissolution of the universe that
thou bringest about). Thou art he who succeeds in bringing all persons
and all things into thy subjection. Thou art the great Destroyer. Thou
art he that has fire for his energy. Thou art he whose energy is mightier
than fire. Thou art the Yuga-fire that consumes all things. Thou art he
that is capable of being gratified by means of sacrificial libations.
Thou art water and other liquids that are poured in sacrifices with the
aid of Mantras. Thou art in the form of the Deity of Righteousness, the
distributor of the fruits that attach to acts good and bad. Thou art the
giver of felicity. Thou art always endued with effulgence. Thou art of
the form of fire. Thou art of the complexion of the emerald. Thou art
always present in the phallic emblem. Thou art the source of blessedness.
Thou art incapable of being baffled by anything in the prosecution of
your objects. Thou art the giver of blessings. Thou art of the form of
blessedness. Thou art he unto whom is given a share of sacrificial
offerings. Thou art he who distributes unto each his share of that is
offered in sacrifices. Thou art endued with great speed. Thou art he that
is dissociated from all things. Thou art he that is possessed of the
mightiest limb. Thou art he that is employed in the act of generation.
Thou art of a dark complexion, (being of the form of Vishnu). Thou art of
a white complexion (being of the form of Samva, the son of Krishna). Thou
art the senses of all embodied creatures. Thou art possessed of vast
feet. Thou hast vast hands. Thou art of vast body. Thou art endued with
wide extending fame. Thou hast a vast head.[139] Thou art of vast
measurements. Thou art of vast vision. Thou art the home of the darkness
of ignorance. Thou art the Destroyer of the Destroyer. Thou art possessed
of vast years. Thou hast vast lips. Thou art he that has vast cheeks.
Thou hast a vast nose. Thou art of a vast throat. Thou hast a vast neck.
Thou art he that tears the bond of body.[140] Thou hast a vast chest.
Thou hast a vast bosom. Thou art the inner soul which resides in all
creatures. Thou hast a deer on thy lap. Thou art he from whom innumerable
worlds hang down like fruits hanging down from a tree. Thou art he who
stretches his lips at the time of the universal dissolution for
swallowing the universe. Thou art the ocean of milk. Thou hast vast
teeth. Thou hast vast jaws. Thou hast a vast bristle.[141] Thou hast hair
of infinite length. Thou hast a vast stomach. Thou hast matted locks of
vast length. Thou art ever cheerful. Thou art of the form of grace. Thou
art of the form of belief. Thou art he that has mountains for his bow (or
weapons in battle). Thou art he that is full of affection to all
creatures like a parent towards his offspring. Thou art he that has no
affection. Thou art unvanquished. Thou art exceedingly devoted to (Yoga)
contemplation.[142] Thou art of the form of the tree of the world.[143]
Thou art he that is indicated by the tree of the world.[144] Thou art
never satiated when eating (because of thy being of the form of fire, for
of all elements, fire is never satiated with the quantity offered it for
consumption). Thou art he that has the Wind for thy vehicle for going
from place to place (in consequence of thy identity with fire). Thou art
he that rangest over hills and little eminences. Thou art he that has his
residence on the mountains of Meru. Thou art the chief of the celestials.
Thou hast the Atharvans for thy head. Thou hast the Samans for thy mouth.
Thou hast the thousand Richs for thy immeasurable eyes. Thou hast the
Yajushes for thy feet and hands.[145] Thou art the Upanishads. Thou art
the entire body of rituals (occurring in the scriptures). Thou art all
that is mobile. Thou art he whose solicitations are never unfulfilled.
Thou art he who is always inclined to grace. Thou art he that is of
beautiful form. Thou art of the form of the good that one does to
another. Thou art that which is dear. Thou art he that always advances
towards thy devotees (in proportion as these advance for meeting thee).
Thou art gold and other precious metals that are held dear by all. Thy
effulgence is like that of burnished gold. Thou art the navel (of the
universe). Thou art he that makes the fruits of sacrifices grow (for the
benefit of those that perform sacrifices to thy glory). Thou art of the
form of that faith and devotion which the righteous have in respect of
sacrifices. Thou art the artificer of the universe. Thou art all that is
immobile (in the form of mountains and other inert objects). Thou art the
two and ten stages of life through which a person passes.[146] Thou art
he that causes fright (by assuming the intermediate states between the
ten enumerated). Thou art the beginning of all things. Thou art he that
unites Jiva with Supreme Brahman through Yoga. Thou art identifiable with
that Yoga which causes such a union between Jiva and Supreme Brahman.
Thou art unmanifest (being the deepest stupefaction). Thou art the
presiding deity of the fourth age (in consequence of thy identity with
lust and wrath and cupidity and other evil passions that flow from that
deity).[147] Thou art eternal Time (because of thy being of the form of
that ceaseless succession of birth and death that goes on in the
universe). Thou art of the form of the Tortoise.[148] Thou art worshipped
by the Destroyer himself. Thou livest in the midst of associates. Thou
admittest thy devotees as members of thy Gana. Thou hast Brahma himself
for the driver of thy car. Thou sleepest on ashes.[149] Thou protectest
the universe with ashes.[150] Thou art he whose body is made of
ashes.[151] Thou art the tree that grants the fruition of all wishes.
Thou art of the form of those that constitute thy Gana. Thou art the
protector of the four and ten regions. Thou transcendent all the regions.
Thou art full, (there being no deficiency). Thou art adored by all
creatures. Thou art white (being pure and stainless). Thou art he that
has his body, speech and mind perfectly stainless. Thou art he who has
attained to that purity of existence which is called Emancipation. Thou
art he who is incapable of being stained by impurity of any kind. Thou
art he who has been attained to by the great preceptors of old. Thou
residest in the form of Righteousness or duly in the four modes of life.
Thou art that Righteousness which is of the form of rites and sacrifices.
Thou art of the form of that skill which is possessed by the celestial
artificer of the universe. Thou art he who is adored as the primeval form
of the universe. Thou art of vast arms. Thy lips are of a coppery hue.
Thou art of the form of the vast waters that are contained in the Ocean.
Thou art exceedingly stable and fixed (being of the form of mountains and
hills). Thou art Kapila. Thou art brown. Thou art all the hues whose
mixture produces white. Thou art the period of life. Thou art ancient.
Thou art recent. Thou art a Gandharva. Thou art the mother of the
celestials in the form of Aditi (or the mother of all things, in the form
of Earth). Thou art Garuda, the prince of birds, born of Vinata by
Kasyapa, otherwise called Tarkshya. Thou art capable of being
comprehended with ease. Thou art of excellent and agreeable speech. Thou
art he that is armed with the battle-axe. Thou art he that is desirous of
victory. Thou art he that assists others in the accomplishment of their
designs.[152] Thou art an excellent friend.[153] Thou art he that bears a
Vina made of two hollow gourds. Thou art of terrible wrath (which thou
displayest at the time of the universal dissolution). Thou ownest for thy
offspring, beings higher than men and deities (viz., Brahma and Vishnu).
Thou art of the form of that Vishnu who floats on the waters after the
universal dissolution. Thou devourest all things with great ferocity.
Thou art he that procreates offspring. Thou art family and race,
continuing from generation to generation. Thou art the blare that a
bamboo flute gives out. Thou art faultless. Thou art he every limb of
whose body is beautiful. Thou art full of illusion. Thou dost good to
others without expecting any return. Thou art Wind. Thou art Fire. Thou
art the bonds of the worlds which bind Jiva. Thou art the creator of
those bonds. Thou art the tearer of such bonds. Thou art he that dwells
with even the Daityas (who are the foes of all sacrifices). Thou dwellest
with those that are the foes of all acts (and that have abandoned all
acts). Thou art of large teeth, and thou art of mighty weapons. Thou art
he that has been greatly censured. Thou art he that stupefied the Rishis
dwelling in the Daruka forest. Thou art he that did good unto even thy
detractors, viz., those Rishis residing in the Daruka forest. Thou art he
who dispels all fears and who dispelling all the fears of those Rishis
gave them Emancipation. Thou art he that has no wealth (in consequence of
his inability to procure even his necessary wearing apparel). Thou art
the lord of the celestials. Thou art the greatest of the gods (in
consequence of thy being adored by even Indra and others that are
regarded as the highest of the celestials). Thou art an object of
adoration with even Vishnu. Thou art the slayer of those that are the
foes of the deities. Thou art he that resides (in the form of the snake
Sesha) in the nethermost region.[154] Thou art invisible but capable of
being comprehended, even as the wind which though invisible is perceived
by every body. Thou art he whose knowledge extends to the roots of
everything and unto whom all things, even in their inner nature, are
known. Thou art the object that is enjoyed by him that enjoys it. Thou
art he among the eleven Rudras who is called Ajaikapat. Thou art the
sovereign of the entire universe. Thou art of the form of all Jivas in
the universe (in consequence of thy being covered by the three well-known
attributes of Sattwa, Rajas, and Tamas). Thou art he that is not subject
to those three attributes. Thou art he that transcends all attributes and
is a state of pure existence which is incapable of being described with
the aid of any adjective that language can yield. Thou art the prince of
physicians called Dhanwantari. Thou art a comet (in consequence of the
calamities that flow from thee unto the sinful). Thou art the celestial
generalissimo called Skanda. Thou art the king of the Yakshas, called
Kuvera, who is thy inseparable associate and who is the Lord of all
treasures in the world. Thou art Dhatri. Thou art Sakra. Thou art Vishnu.
Thou art Mitra. Thou art Tashtri (the celestial artificer). Thou art the
Pole Star. Thou art he that upholds all things. Thou art he called
Prabhava amongst the Vasus. Thou art the wind which is capable of going
everywhere (being the Sutra-atma that connects all things in the universe
with a thread). Thou art Aryaman. Thou art Savitri. Thou art Ravi. Thou
art that ancient king of great celebrity known by the name of Ushangu.
Thou art he who protects all creatures in diverse ways. Thou art
Mandhatri (because of thy competence to gratify all creatures). Thou art
he from whom all creatures start into life. Thou art he who exists in
diverse form. Thou art he who causes the diverse hues to exist in the
universe. Thou art he who upholds all desires and all attributes (because
of these flowing from thee). Thou art he who has the lotus on thy
navel.[155] Thou art he within whose womb are innumerable mighty
creatures. Thou art of face as beautiful as the moon. Thou art wind. Thou
art fire. Thou art possessed of exceeding might. Thou art endued with
tranquillity of soul. Thou art old. Thou art he that is known with the
aid of Righteousness.[156] Thou art Lakshmi. Thou art the maker of the
field of those actions (by which persons adore the supreme Deity). Thou
art he who lives in the field of action. Thou art the soul of the field
of action. Thou art the medicine or provoker of the attributes of
sovereignty and the others.[157] All things lie in thee (for, as the
Srutis declare, all things becomes one in thee, thyself being of the
nature of that unconsciousness which exhibits itself in dreamless
slumber). Thou art the lord of all creatures endued with life-breaths.
Thou art the god of the gods. Thou art he who is attached to felicity.
Thou art Sat (in the form of cause). Thou art Asat (in the form of
effect). Thou art he who possesses the best of all things. Thou art he
who resides on the mountains of Kailasa. Thou art he who repairs to the
mountains of Himavat. Thou washest away all things besides thee like a
mighty current washing away trees and other objects standing on its
banks. Thou art the maker of Pushkara and other large lakes and pieces of
natural water. Thou art possessed of knowledge of infinite kinds. Thou
art the giver of infinite blessings. Thou art a merchant (who conveys the
goods of this country to that country and brings the goods of that
country to this for the convenience of human beings). Thou art a
carpenter. Thou art the tree (of the world that supplies the timber for
thy axe). Thou art the tree called Vakula (Mimusops Elengi, Linn.) Thou
art the sandal-wood tree (Santalum album, Linn.). Thou art the tree
called Chcchada (Alstonia Scholaris, syn Echitis, Scholaris, Roxb.). Thou
art he whose neck is very strong. Thou art he whose shoulder joint is
vast. Thou art not restless (but endued with steadiness in all thy acts
and in respect of all thy faculties). Thou art the principal herbs and
plants with their produce (in the form of rice and wheat and the other
varieties of grain). Thou art he that grants success upon others in
respect of the objects upon which they bestow their heart. Thou art all
the correct conclusions in respect of both the Vedas and Grammar.[158]
Thou art he who utters leonine roars. Thou art endued with leonine fangs.
Thou ridest on the back of a lion for performing thy journeys. Thou
ownest a car that is drawn by a lion. Thou art he called the truth of
truth.[159] Thou art he whose dish or plate is constituted by the
Destroyer of the universe.[160] Thou art always engaged in seeking the
good of the worlds. Thou art he who rescues all creatures from distress
(and leads them to the felicity of Emancipation). Thou art the bird
called Saranga. Thou art a new (Young) swan. Thou art he who is displayed
in beauty in consequence of the crest thou bearest on thy head (like the
cock or the peacock). Thou art he who protects the place where assemblies
of the wise sit for dispensing justice. Thou art the abode of all
creatures. Thou art the cherisher of all creatures. Thou art Day and
Night (which are the constituent elements of Eternity). Thou art he that
is without fault and therefore, never censured. Thou art the upholder of
all creatures. Thou art the refuge of all creatures. Thou art without
birth. Thou art existent. Thou art ever fruitful. Thou art endued with
Dharana and Dhyana and Samadhi. Thou art the steed Uchchaisravas. Thou
art the giver of food. Thou art he who upholds the life-breaths of living
creatures. Thou art endued with patience. Thou art possessed of
intelligence. Thou art endued with exertion and cleverness. Thou art
honoured by all. Thou art the giver of the fruits of Righteousness and
sin. Thou art the cherisher of the senses (for the senses succeed in
performing their respective functions in consequence of thee that
presidest over them). Thou art the lord of all the luminaries. Thou art
all collections of objects. Thou art he whose vestments are made of
cowhides. Thou art he who dispels the grief of his devotees. Thou hast a
golden arm. Thou art he who protects the bodies of Yogins who seek to
enter their own selves. Thou art he who has reduced to nothingness all
his foes.[161] Thou art he the measure of whose gladness is very great.
Thou art he who achieved victory over the deity of desire that is
irresistible. Thou art he who has subjugated his senses. Thou art the
note called Gandhara in the musical octave. Thou art he who has an
excellent and beautiful home (in consequence of its being placed upon the
delightful mountains of Kailasa). Thou art he who is ever attached to
penances. Thou art of the form of cheerfulness and contentment. Thou art
he called vast or infinite.[162] Thou art he in whose honour the foremost
of hymns has been composed. Thou art he whose dancing is characterised by
vast strides and large leaps. Thou art he who is adored with reverence by
the diverse tribes of Apsaras. Thou art he who owns a vast standard
(bearing the device of the bull). Thou art the mountains of Meru. Thou
art he who roves among all the summits of that great mountain. Thou art
so mobile that it is very difficult to seize thee. Thou art capable of
being explained by preceptors to disciples, although thou art incapable
of being described in words. Thou art of the form of that instruction
which preceptors impart to disciples. Thou art he that can perceive all
agreeable scents simultaneously or at the same instant of time. Thou art
of the form of the porched gates of cities and palaces. Thou art of the
form of the moats and ditches that surround fortified towns and give the
victory to the besieged garrison. Thou art the Wind. Thou art of the form
of fortified cities and towns encompassed by walls and moats. Thou art
the prince of all winged creatures, (being, as thou art, of the form of
Garuda). Thou art he who multiplies the creation by union with the
opposite sexes. Thou art the first of all in respect of virtues and
knowledge. Thou art superior to even him who is the first of all in
virtues and knowledge. Thou transcendest all the virtue and knowledge.
Thou art eternal and immutable as also dependent on thyself. Thou art the
master and protector of the deities and Asuras. Thou art the master and
protector of all creatures. Thou art he who wears a coat of mail. Thou
art he whose arms are competent to grind all foes. Thou art an object of
adoration with even him who is called Suparvan in heaven.[163] Thou art
he who grants the power of bearing or upholding all things.[164] Thou art
thyself capable of bearing all things. Thou art fixed and steady (without
being at all unstable). Thou art white or pure (being, as thou art,
without any stain or blot). Thou bearest the trident that is competent to
destroy (all things).[165] Thou art the grantor of bodies or physical
forms unto those that constantly revolve in the universe of birth and
death. Thou art more valuable than wealth. Thou art the conduct or way of
the righteous (in the form of goodness and courtesy). Thou art he who had
torn the head of Brahma after due deliberation (and not impelled by mere
wrath). Thou art he who is marked with all those auspicious marks that
are spoken of in the sciences of palmistry and phrenology and other
branches of knowledge treating of the physical frame as the indicator of
mental peculiarities. Thou art that wooden bar which is called the Aksha
of a car and, therefore, art thou he who is attached to the car
represented by the body. Thou art attached to all things (in consequence
of thy pervading all things as their soul). Thou art endued with very
great might, being as thou art a hero of heroes. Thou art the Veda. Thou
art the Smritis, the Itihasas, the Puranas, and other scriptures. Thou
art the illustrious deity of every sacred shrine. Thou art he who has the
Earth for his car. Thou art the inert elements that enter into the
composition of every creature. Thou art he who imparts life into every
combination of those inert element. Thou art the Pranava and other sacred
Mantras that instil life into dead matter. Thou art he that casts
tranquil glances. Thou art exceedingly harsh (in consequence of thy being
the destroyer of all things). Thou art he in whom are innumerable
precious attributes and possessions. Thou hast a body that is red. Thou
art he who has all the vast oceans as so many ponds filled for thy
drinking.[166] Thou art the root of the tree of the world. Thou art
exceedingly beautiful and shinest with surpassing grandeur. Thou art of
the form of ambrosia or nectar. Thou art both cause and effect. Thou art
an ocean of penances (being as thou art a great Yogin). Thou art he that
desirous of ascending to the highest state of existence. Thou art he that
has already attained to that state. Thou art he who is distinguished for
the purity of his conduct and acts and observances. Thou art he who
possessed of great fame (in consequence of the Righteousness of his
behaviour). Thou art the ornament of armies (being as thou art of the
form of prowess and courage), Thou art he who is adorned with celestial
ornaments. Thou art Yoga. Thou art he from whom flow eternal time
measured by Yugas and Kalpas. Thou art he who conveys all creatures from
place.[167] Thou art of the form of Righteousness and sin and their
intermixture (such as are displayed in the successive Yugas). Thou art
great and formless. Thou art he who slew the mighty Asura that had
approached against the sacred city of Varanasi in the form of an
infuriate elephant of vast proportions. Thou art of the form of death.
Thou givest to all creatures such fruition of their wishes as accords
with their merits. Thou art approachable. Thou art conversant with all
things that are beyond the ken of the senses. Thou art conversant with
the Tattwas (and therefore, thoroughly fixed). Thou art he who
incessantly shines in beauty. Thou wearest garlands that stretch down
from thy neck to the feet. Thou art that Hara who has the Moon for his
beautiful eye. Thou art the salt ocean of vast expanse. Thou art the
first three Yugas (viz., Krita, Treta, and Dwapara). Thou art he whose
appearance is always fraught with advantage to others. Thou art he who
has three eyes (in the form of the scriptures, the preceptor, and
meditation). Thou art he whose forms are exceedingly subtile (being as
thou art the subtile forms of the primal elements). Thou art he whose
ears are bored for wearing jewelled Kundalas. Thou art the bearer of
matted locks. Thou art the point (in the alphabet) which indicates the
nasal sound. Thou art the two dots i.e., Visarga (in the Sanskrit
alphabet which indicate the sound of the aspirated H). Thou art possessed
of an excellent face. Thou art the shaft that is shot by the warrior for
encompassing the destruction of his foe. Thou art all the weapons that
are used by warriors. Thou art endued with patience capable of bearing
all things. Thou art he whose knowledge has arisen from the cessation of
all physical and mental functions.[168] Thou art he who has become
displayed as Truth in consequence of the cessation of all other
faculties. Thou art that note which, arising from the region called
Gandhara, is exceedingly sweet to the ear. Thou art he who is armed with
the mighty bow (called Pinaka). Thou art he who is the understanding and
the desires that exist in all creatures, besides being the supreme
upholder of all beings. Thou art he from whom all acts flow. Thou art
that wind which rises at the time of the universal dissolution and which
is capable of churning the entire universe even as the staff in the hands
of the dairy-maid churns the milk in the milkpot. Thou art he that is
full. Thou art he that sees all things. Thou art the sound that arises
from slapping one palm against another. Thou art he the palm of whose
hand serves as the dish or plate whence to take his food. Thou art he who
is possessed of an adamantine body. Thou art exceedingly great. Thou art
of the form of an umbrella. Thou art he who has an excellent umbrella.
Thou art well-known to be identical with all creatures. Thou art he who
having put forth three feet covered all the universe with two and wanted
space for the remaining one. Thou art he whose head is bald. Thou art he
whose form is exceedingly ugly and fierce. Thou art he who has undergone
infinite modifications and become all things in the universe. Thou art he
who bears the well-known badge of Sanyasa, viz., the stick. Thou art he
who has a Kunda. Thou art he who is incapable of being attained to by
means of acts. Thou art he who is identical with the green-eyed king of
beasts (viz., the lion). Thou art of the form of all the points of the
compass. Thou art he who is armed with the thunder. Thou art he who has a
hundred tongues. Thou art he who has a thousand feet and thousand
heads.[169] Thou art the lord and chief of the celestials. Thou art he
that is made up of all the gods. Thou art the great Master or preceptor.
Thou art he who has a thousand arms. Thou art he who is competent to
obtain the fruition of every wish. Thou art he whose protection is sought
by every one. Thou art he who is the creator of all the worlds. Thou art
he who is the great cleanser of all from every kind of sin, in the form
of shrines and sacred waters. Thou art he who has three high
Mantras.[170] Thou art the youngest son of Aditi and Kasyapa, (being in
the form of the dwarf who is otherwise known by the name of Upendra and
who beguiled the Asura Vali of his lordship of the three worlds and
restored it to the chief of the celestials). Thou art both black and
tawny (being of the form which is known as Hari-Hara). Thou art the maker
of the Brahmana’s rod.[171] Thou art armed with the hundred-killer, the
noose, and the dart. Thou art he that took his birth within the primeval

Thou art he who is endued with a vast womb. Thou art he who has the Vedas
in his womb. Thou art he who takes his rise from that infinite waste of
waters which succeeds the dissolution of the universe. Thou art he who is
endued with rays of effulgent light. Thou art the creator of the Vedas.
Thou art he who studies the Vedas. Thou art he who is conversant with the
meaning of the Vedas. Thou art devoted to Brahman. Thou art the refuge of
all persons devoted to Brahman. Thou art of infinite forms. Thou art the
bearer of innumerable bodies. Thou art endued with irresistible
prowess.[172] Thou art the soul or nature that transcends the three
universal attributes (of Sattwa, Rajas, and Tamas). Thou art the lord of
all Jivas. Thou art endued with the speed of the wind. Thou art possessed
of the fleetness of the mind. Thou art always smeared with sandal-paste.
Thou art the end of the stalk of the primeval lotus.[173] Thou art he who
brought the celestial cow Surabhi down from a superior station to an
inferior one by denouncing a curse upon her.[174] Thou art that Brahma
who was unable to see thy end. Thou art adorned with a large wreath of
Karnikara flowers. Thou art adorned with a diadem of blue gems. Thou art
the wielder of the bow called Pinaka. Thou art the master of that
knowledge which treats of Brahman.[175] Thou art he who has subjugated
his senses by the aid of thy knowledge of Brahman. Thou art he who
bearest Ganga on thy head.[176] Thou art the husband of Uma, the daughter
of Himavat. Thou art mighty (in consequence of thy having assumed the
form of the vast Boar for raising the submerged Earth). Thou art he who
protects the universe by assuming diverse incarnations. Thou art worthy
of adoration. Thou art that primeval Being with the equine head who
recited the Vedas with a thundering voice. Thou art he whose grace is
very great. Thou art the great subjugator. Thou art he who has slain all
his foes (in the form of passions). Thou art both white and tawny (being
as thou art half male and half female).[177] Thou art possessed of a body
whose complexion is like that of gold.[178] Thou art he that is of the
form of pure joy, (being, as thou art, above the five sheathes which the
Jiva consists of, viz., the Anna-maya, the Prana-maya, the Mano-maya, the
Vijnana-maya, and the Ananda-maya ones). Thou art of a restrained soul.
Thou art the foundation upon which rests that Ignorance which is called
Pradhana and which, consisting of the three attributes of Sattwa, Rajas,
and Tamas is the cause whence the universe has sprung. Thou art he whose
faces are turned to every direction.[179] Thou art he who has three eyes
(in the forms of the Sun, the Moon, and Fire). Thou art he who is
superior to all creatures (in consequence of thy righteousness whose
measure is the greatest). Thou art the soul of all mobile beings. Thou
art of the form of the subtile soul (which is incapable of being
perceived). Thou art the giver of immortality in the form of Emancipation
as the fruit of all acts of righteousness achieved by creatures without
the desire of fruits.[180] Thou art the preceptor of even those that are
the gods of the gods. Thou art Vasu, the son of Aditi. Thou art he who is
endued with innumerable rays of light, who brings forth the universe, and
who is of the form of that Soma which is drunk in sacrifices. Thou art
Vyasa, the author of the Puranas and other sacred histories. Thou art the
creations of Vyasa’s brain (because of thy being identical with the
Puranas and other sacred histories) both abridged and unabridged. Thou
art the sum total of Jivas. Thou art the Season. Thou art the Year. Thou
art the Month. Thou art the Fortnight. Thou art those sacred Days that
end or conclude these periods. Thou art the Kalas. Thou art the Kashthas.
Thou art the Lavas. Thou art the Matras. Thou art the Muhurtas and Days
and Nights. Thou art the Kshanas.[181] Thou art the soil upon which the
tree of the universe stands. Thou art the seed of all creatures [being of
the form of that Unmanifest Chaitanya (consciousness) endued with Maya or
illusion whence all creatures spring]. Thou art Mahattatwa. Thou art the
sprout of Jiva, (being of the form of Consciousness which springs up
after Mahattatwa). Thou art Sat or Effect. Thou art Asat or Cause. Thou
art Manifest (being seizable by the senses). Thou art the Father. Thou
art the Mother. Thou art the Grandfather. Thou art the door to Heaven
(because of thy identity with Penances). Thou art the door of the
generation of all creatures (because of thy identity with desire). Thou
art the door of Emancipation (because of thy identity with the absence of
Desire which alone can lead to the merging into Brahman). Thou art those
acts of righteousness which lead to the felicity of heaven. Thou art
Nirvana (or that cessation of individual or separate existence which is
Emancipation). Thou art the gladdener (who gives all kinds of joy to
every creature). Thou art that region of Truth (to which they that are
foremost in righteousness attain). Thou art superior to even that region
of Truth which is attainable by the righteous. Thou art he who is the
creator of both the deities and the Asuras. Thou art he who is the refuge
of both the deities and the Asuras. Thou art the preceptor of both the
deities and the Asuras (being as thou art of the form of both Vrihaspati
and Sukra). Thou art he who is ever victorious. Thou art he who is ever
worshipped by the deities and the Asuras. Thou art he who guides the
deities and the Asuras even as the Mahamatra guides the elephant. Thou
art the refuge of all the deities and the Asuras. Thou art he who is the
chief of both the deities and the Asuras (being as thou art of the form
of both India and Virochana). Thou art he who is the leader in battle of
both the deities and the Asuras (being as thou art of the form of
Karttikeya and Kesi, the leaders of the celestial and the Daitya armies).
Thou art he who transcends the senses and shines by himself. Thou art of
the form of the celestial Rishis like Narada and others. Thou art the
grantor of boons unto the deities and Asuras (in the form of Brahman and
Rudra). Thou art he who rules the hearts of the deities and the Asuras.
Thou art he into whom the universe enters (when it is dissolved). Thus
art the refuge of even him who is the ruler of the hearts of both the
deities and the Asuras. Thou art he whose body is made up of all the
deities.[182] Thou art he who has no Being superior to thee of whom to
think. Thou art he who is the inner soul of the deities. Thou art he who
has sprung from his own self. Thou art of the form of immobile things.
Thou art he who covers the three worlds with three steps of his. Thou art
possessed of great learning. Thou art stainless. Thou art he who is freed
from the quality of Rajas. Thou art he who transcends destruction. Thou
art he in whose honour hymns should be sung. Thou art the master of the
irresistible elephant represented by Time. Thou art of the form of that
lord of Tigers who is worshipped in the country of the Kalingas.[183]
Thou art he who is called the lion among the deities (in consequence of
the pre-eminence of thy prowess). Thou art he who is the foremost of men.
Thou art endued with great wisdom. Thou art he who first takes a share of
the offerings in sacrifice. Thou art imperceptible. Thou art the
sum-total of all the deities. Thou art he in whom penances predominate.
Thou art always in excellent Yoga. Thou art auspicious. Thou art armed
with the thunder-bolt. Thou art the source whence the weapons called
Prasas have taken their origin. Thou art he whom thy devotees attain to
in diverse ways. Thou art Guha (the celestial generalissimo). Thou art
the supreme limit of felicity.[184] Thou art identical with thy creation.
Thou art he who rescues thy creatures from death (by granting them
Emancipation). Thou art the cleanser of all including Brahma himself.
Thou art of the form of bulls and other horned animals. Thou art he who
is fond of mountain summits. Thou art the planet Saturn. Thou art Kuvera,
the chief of the Yakshas. Thou art complete faultlessness. Thou art he
who inspires gladness. Thou art all the celestials united together. Thou
art the cessation of all things. Thou art all the duties that appertain
to all the modes of life. Thou art he who has an eye on his forehead.
Thou art he who sports with the universe as his marble ball. Thou art of
the form of deer. Thou art endued with the energy that is of the form of
knowledge and penance. Thou art the lord of all immobile things (in the
form of Himavat and Meru). Thou art he who has subjugated his senses by
various regulations and vows. Thou art he whose objects have all been
fulfilled. Thou art identical with Emancipation. Thou art different from
him whom we worship. Thou hast truth for thy penances. Thou art of a pure
heart. Thou art he who presides over all vows and fasts (in consequence
of thy being the giver of their fruits). Thou art the highest (being of
the form of Turiya). Thou art Brahman. Thou art the highest refuge of the
devotees. Thou art he who transcends all bonds (being Emancipate). Thou
art freed from the linga body. Thou art endued with every kind of
prosperity. Thou art he who enhances the prosperity of thy devotees. Thou
art that which is incessantly undergoing changes.’

“I have thus, ‘O Krishna, hymned the praises of the illustrious Deity by
reciting his names in the order of their importance. Who is there that
can hymn the praises of the lord of the universe, that great Lord of all
who deserves our adorations and worship and reverence, whom the very gods
with Brahma at their head are unable to praise and whom the Rishis also
fail to sing? Aided, however, by my devotion to him, and having received
his permission, I have praised that Lord of sacrifices, that Deity of
supreme puissance, that foremost of all creatures endued with
intelligence. By praising with these names that enhance one’s
auspiciousness of the great lord of blessedness, a worshipper of devoted
soul and pure heart succeeds in attaining to his own self. These names
constitute a hymn that furnishes the best means of attaining to Brahman.
With the aid of this hymn one is sure to succeed in attaining to
Emancipation. Rishis and the deities all praise the highest deity by
uttering this hymn. Hymned by persons of restrained soul Mahadeva becomes
gratified with those that hymn his praises so. The illustrious deity is
always full of compassion towards his devotees. Endued with omnipotence,
he it is that gives Emancipation to those that worship him. So also, they
among men that are foremost, that are possessed of faith and devotion
hear and recite for others and utter with reverence the praises of that
highest and eternal Lord viz. Isana, in all their successive lives and
adore him in thought, word, and deed, and adoring him thus at all times,
viz. when they are lying or seated or walking or awake or opening the
eyelids or shutting them, and thinking of him repeatedly, become objects
of reverence with all their fellowmen and derive great gratification and
exceeding joy. When a creature becomes cleansed of all his sins in course
of millions of births in diverse orders of being, it is then that
devotion springs up in his heart for Mahadeva. It is through good luck
alone that undivided devotion to Bhava who is the original cause (of the
universe) fully springs up in the heart of one that is conversant with
every mode of worshipping that great Deity.[185] Such stainless and pure
devotion to Rudra, that has singleness of purpose and that is simply
irresistible in its course, is seldom to be found among even the deities,
and never among men. It is through the grace of Rudra that such devotion
arises in the hearts of human beings. In consequence of such devotion,
men, identifying themselves wholly with Mahadeva, succeed in attaining to
the highest success. The illustrious Deity who is always inclined to
extend his grace towards them that seek him with humility, and throw
themselves with their whole soul upon him rescues them from the world.
Except the great Deity who frees creatures from rebirth, all other gods
constantly nullify the penances of men, for men have no other source of
puissance that is as great as these.[186] It was even thus Tandi of
tranquil soul, resembling Indra himself in splendour, praised the
illustrious Lord of all existent and non-existent things,–that great
Deity clad in animal skins. Indeed, Brahma had sung this hymn in the
presence of Sankara. Thou art a Brahmana (being conversant with Brahman
and devoted to those that are conversant with Brahman). Thou shalt,
therefore, comprehend it well. This is cleansing, and washes away all
sins. This confers Yoga and Emancipation and heaven and contentment. He
who recites this hymn with undivided devotion to Sankara succeeds in
attaining to that high end which is theirs that are devoted to the
doctrines of the Sankhya philosophy. That worshipper who recites this
hymn daily for one year with singleness of devotion succeeds in obtaining
the end that he desires. This hymn is a great mystery. It formerly
resided in the breast of Brahma the Creator. Brahma imparted it unto
Sakra. Sakra imparted unto Mrityu. Mrityu imparted it unto the Rudras.
From the Rudras Tandi got it. Indeed Tandi acquired it in the region of
Brahman as the reward of his severe austerities. Tandi communicated it to
Sukra, and Sukra of Bhrigu’s race communicated it to Gautama. Gautama in
his turn, O descendant of Madhu, communicated it to Vaivaswata-Manu. Manu
communicated it unto Narayana of great intelligence, numbered among the
Sadhyas and held exceedingly dear by him. The illustrious Narayana,
numbered among the Sadhyas and possessed of glory that knows no
diminution, communicated it to Yama. Vaivaswat Yama communicated it to
Nachiketa. Nachiketa, O thou of Vrishni’s race, communicated to
Markandeya. From Markandeya, O Janarddana, I obtained it as the reward of
my vows and fasts. To thee, O slayer of foes, I communicate that hymn
unheard by others. This hymn leads to heaven. It dispels disease and
bestows long life. This is worthy of the highest praise, and is
consistent with the Vedas.’

“Krishna continued, ‘That person, O Partha, who recites this hymn with a
pure heart observing the vow of Brahmacharyya, and with his senses under
control, regularly for one whole year, succeeds in obtaining the fruits
of a horse-sacrifice. Danavas and Yakshas and Rakshasas and Pisachas and
Yatudhanas and Guhyakas and snakes can do no injury to him.'”


“Vaisampayana said, ‘After Vasudeva had ceased to speak, the great Yogin,
viz. the Island-born Krishna, addressed Yudhisthira, saying,–O son, do
thou recite this hymn consisting of the thousand and eight names of
Mahadeva, and let Maheswara be gratified with thee. In former days, O
son, I was engaged in the practice of severe austerities on the breast of
the mountains of Meru from desire of obtaining a son. It is this very
hymn that was recited by me. As the reward of this, I obtained the
fruition of all my wishes, O son of Pandu. Thou wilt also, by reciting
this same hymn, obtain from Sarva the fruition of all thy wishes.–After
this, Kapila, the Rishi who promulgated the doctrines that go by the name
of Sankhya, and who is honoured by the gods themselves, said,–I adore
Bhava with great devotion for many lives together. The illustrious Deity
at last became gratified with me and gave me knowledge that is capable of
aiding the acquirer in getting over rebirth.–After this, the Rishi named
Charusirsha, that dear friend of Sakra and known otherwise under the name
of Alamvana’s son and who is filled with compassion, said,–I, in former
days, repaired to the mountains of Gokarna and sat myself to practise
severe penances for a hundred years. As the reward of those penances, I
obtained from Sarva, O son of king Pandu, a hundred sons, all of whom
were born without the intervention of woman, of well-restrained soul,
conversant with righteousness, possessed of great splendour, free from
disease and sorrow, and endued with lives extending over a hundred
thousand years–Then the illustrious Valmiki, addressing Yudhishthira,
said,–Once upon a time, in course of a dialectical disputation, certain
ascetics that were possessors of the homa fire denounced me as one guilty
of Brahmanicide. As soon as they had denounced me as such, the sin of
Brahmanicide, O Bharata, possessed me. I then, for cleansing myself,
sought the protection of the sinless Isana who is irresistible in energy.
I become cleansed of all my sins. That dispeller of all sorrows, viz.,
the destroyer of the triple city of the Asuras, said unto me,–Thy fame
shall be great in the world–Then Jamadagni’s son, that foremost of all
righteous persons, shining like the Sun with blazing splendour in the
midst of that conclave of Rishis, said unto the son of Kunti these
words;–I was afflicted with the sin, O eldest son of Pandu, of
Brahmanicide for having slain my brothers who were all learned Brahmanas.
For purifying myself, I sought the protection, O king, of Mahadeva. I
hymned the praises of the great Deity by reciting his names. At this,
Bhava became gratified with me and gave me a battle-axe and many other
celestial weapons. And he said unto me,–Thou shalt be freed from sin and
thou shalt be invincible in battle; Death himself shall not succeed in
overcoming thee for thou shalt be freed from disease.–Even thus did the
illustrious and crested Deity of auspicious form said unto me. Through
the grace of that Deity of supreme intelligence I obtained all that He
had said. Then Viswamitra said,–I was formerly a Kshatriya. I paid my
adorations to Bhava with the desire of becoming a Brahmana Through the
grace of that great Deity I succeeded in obtaining the high status of a
Brahmana that is so difficult to obtain.–Then the Rishi Asita-Devala,
addressing the royal son of Pandu, said,–In former days, O son of Kunti,
through the curse of Sakra, all my merit due to the acts of righteousness
I had performed, was destroyed. The puissant Mahadeva it was who kindly
gave me back that merit together with great fame and a long life.–The
illustrious Rishi Gritsamada, the dear friend of Sakra, who resembled the
celestial preceptor Vrihaspati himself in splendour, addressing
Yudhishthira of Ajamidha’s race said,–The inconceivable Sakra had, in
days of yore, performed a sacrifice extending over a thousand years.
While that sacrifice was going on, I was engaged by Sakra in reciting the
Samans. Varishtha, the son of that Manu who sprung from the eyes of
Brahma, came to that sacrifice and addressing me, said.–O foremost of
regenerate persons, the Rathantara is not being recited properly by thee.
O best of Brahmanas, cease to earn demerit by reading so faultily, and
with the aid of thy understanding do thou read the Samans correctly. O
thou of wicked understanding, why dost thou perpetrate such sin that is
destructive of sacrifice.–Having said these words, the Rishi Varishtha,
who was very wrathful, gave way to that passion and addressing me once
more, said,–Be thou an animal divested of intelligence, subject to
grief, ever filled with fear, and a denizen of trackless forests
destitute of both wind and water and abandoned by other animals. Do thou
thus pass ten thousand years with ten and eight hundred years in
addition. That forest in which thou shalt have to pass this period will
be destitute of all holy trees and will, besides, be the haunt of Rurus
and lions. Verily, thou shalt have to become a cruel deer plunged in
excess of grief.–As soon as he had said these words, O son of Pritha, I
immediately became transformed into a deer. I then sought the protection
of Maheswara. The great Deity said unto me,–Thou shalt be freed from
disease of every kind, and besides immortality shall be thine. Grief
shall never afflict thee. Thy friendship with Indra shall remain
unchanged, and let the sacrifices of both Indra and thyself Increase. The
illustrious and puissant Mahadeva favours all creatures in this way. He
is always the great dispenser and ordainer in the matter of the happiness
and sorrow of all living creatures. That illustrious Deity is incapable
of being comprehended in thought, word, or deed. O son, O thou that are
the best of warriors (through the grace of Mahadeva), there is none that
is equal to me in learning.–After this, Vasudeva, that foremost of all
intelligent men, once more said,–Mahadeva of golden eyes was gratified
by me with my penances. Gratified with me, O Yudhishthira, the
illustrious Deity said unto me,–Thou shalt, O Krishna, through my grace,
become dearer to all persons than wealth which is coveted by all. Thou
shalt be invincible in battle. Thy energy shall be equal to that of Fire.
Thousands of other boons Mahadeva gave unto me on that occasion. In a
former incarnation I adored Mahadeva on the Manimantha mountain for
millions of years. Gratified with me, the illustrious Deity said unto me
these words:–Blessed be thou, do thou solicit boons as thou wishest.
Bowing unto him with a bend of my head, I said these words,–If the
puissant Mahadeva has been gratified with me, then let my devotion to him
be unchanged, O Isana! Even this is the boon that I solicit.–The great
God said unto me,–Be it so–and disappeared there and then.’

“Jaigishavya said, ‘O Yudhishthira, formerly in the city of Varanasi, the
puissant Mahadeva searching me out, conferred upon me the eight
attributes of sovereignty.'”

“Garga said,–‘O son of Pandu, gratified with me in consequence of mental
sacrifice which I had performed, the great God bestowed upon me, on the
banks of the sacred stream Saraswati, that wonderful science, viz., the
knowledge of Time with its four and sixty branches. He also, bestowed
upon me, a thousand sons, all possessed of equal merit and fully
conversant with the Vedas. Through his grace, their periods of life as
also that of mine have become extended to ten millions of years.'”

“Parasara said,–‘In former times I gratified Sarva, O king. I then
cherished the desire of obtaining a son that would be possessed of great
ascetic merit, endued with superior energy, and addressed to high Yoga,
that would earn world-wide fame, arrange the Vedas, and become the home
of prosperity, that would be devoted to the Vedas and the Brahmanas and
be distinguished for compassion. Even such a son was desired by me from
Maheswara. Knowing that this was the wish of my heart, that foremost of
Deities said unto me.–Through the fruition of that object of thine which
thou wishest to obtain from me, thou shalt have a son of the name of
Krishna. In that creation which shall be known after the name of
Savarni-Manu, that son of thine shall be reckoned among the seven Rishis.
He shall arrange the Vedas, and be the propagator of Kuru’s race. He
shall, besides, be the author of the ancient histories and do good to the
universe. Endued with severe penances, he shall, again, be the dear
friend of Sakra. Freed from diseases of every kind, that son of thine, O
Parasara, shall besides, be immortal.–Having said these words, the great
Deity disappeared there and then. Even such is the good, O Yudhishthira,
that I have obtained from that indestructible and immutable God, endued
with the highest penances and supreme energy.’

“Mandavya said,–‘In former times though not a thief and yet wrongly
suspected of theft, I was impaled (under the orders of a king). I then
adored the illustrious Mahadeva who said unto me,–Thou shalt soon be
freed from impalement and live for millions of years. The pangs due to
impalement shall not be thine. Thou shalt also be freed from every kind
of affliction and disease. And since, O ascetic, this body of thine hath
sprung from the fourth foot of Dharma (viz., Truth). Thou shalt be
unrivalled on Earth. Do thou make thy life fruitful. Thou shalt, without
any obstruction, be able to bathe in all the sacred waters of the Earth.
And after the dissolution of thy body, I shall, O learned Brahmana,
ordain that thou shall enjoy the pure felicity of heaven for unending
Time.–Having said these words unto me, the adorable Deity having the
bull for his vehicle, viz., Maheswara of unrivalled splendour and clad in
animal skin, O king, disappeared there and then with all his associates.’

“Galava said, Formerly I studied at the feet of my preceptor Viswamitra.
Obtaining his permission I set out for home with the object of seeing my
father. My mother (having become a widow), was filled with sorrow and
weeping bitterly, said unto me,–Alas, thy father will never see his son
who, adorned with Vedic knowledge, has been permitted by his preceptor to
come home and who, possessed of all the graces of youth, is endued with
self-restraint.–Hearing these words of my mother, I became filled with
despair in respect of again beholding my sire. I then paid my adoration
with a rapt soul to Maheswara who, gratified with me, showed himself to
me and said,–Thy sire, thy mother, and thyself, O son, shall all be
freed from death. Go quickly and enter thy abode; thou shall behold thy
sire there.–Having obtained the permission of the illustrious Deity, I
then repaired to my home, O Yudhishthira, and beheld my father, O son,
coming out after having finished his daily sacrifice. And he came out,
bearing in his hands a quantity of Homa-fuel and Kusa grass and some
fallen fruits. And he seemed to have already taken his daily food, for he
had washed himself properly. Throwing down those things from his hand, my
father, with eyes bathed in tears (of joy), raised me, for I had
prostrated myself at his feet. Embracing me he smelt my head, O son of
Pandu, and said.–By good luck, O son, art thou seen by me. Thou hast
come back, having acquired knowledge from the preceptor.’

“Vaisampayana continued, ‘Hearing these marvellous and most wonderful
feats of the illustrious Mahadeva recited by the ascetics, the son of
Pandu became amazed. Then Krishna, that foremost of all intelligent
persons, spoke once more unto Yudhishthira, that ocean of righteousness,
like Vishnu speaking unto Puruhuta.’

“Vasudeva said, ‘Upamanyu, who seemed to blaze with effulgence like the
Sun, said unto me,–Those sinful men that are stained with unrighteous
deeds, do not succeed in attaining to Isana. Their dispositions being
stained by the attributes of Rajas and Tamas, they can never approach the
Supreme Deity. It is only those regenerate persons who are of cleansed
souls that succeed in attaining to the Supreme Deity. Even if a person
lives in the enjoyment of every pleasure and luxury, yet if he be devoted
to the Supreme Deity, he comes to be regarded as the equal of forest
recluses of cleansed souls. If Rudra be gratified with a person, he can
confer upon him the states of ether Brahma or of Kesava or of Sakra with
all the deities under him, or the sovereignty of the three worlds. Those
men, O sire, who worship Bhava even mentally, succeed in freeing
themselves from all sins and attain to a residence in heaven with all the
gods. A person who raises houses to the ground and destroys tanks and
lakes indeed, who devastates the whole universe, does not become stained
with sin, if he adores and worships the illustrious Deity of three eyes.
A person that is destitute of every auspicious indication and that is
stained by every sin, has all his sins destroyed by meditating upon Siva.
Even worm and insects and birds, O Kesava, that devote themselves to
Mahadeva, are enabled to rove in perfect fearlessness. Even this is my
settled conviction that those men who devote themselves to Mahadeva
become certainly emancipated from rebirth. After this, Krishna again
addressed Yudhishthira the son of Dharma in the following words.

“Vishnu said, O Great King, ‘Aditya, Chandra, Wind, Fire, Heaven, Earth,
the Vasus, the Viswedevas, Dhatri, Aryyaman, Sukra, Vrihaspati, the
Rudras, the Saddhyas, Varuna, Brahma, Sakra, Maruts, the Upanishads that
deal with knowledge of Brahman, Truth, the Vedas, the Sacrifices,
Sacrificial Presents, Brahmanas reciting the Vedas, Soma, Sacrificer, the
shares of the deities in sacrificial offerings or clarified butter poured
in sacrifices, Raksha, Diksha, all kinds of restraints in the form of
vows and fasts and rigid observances, Swaha, Vashat, the Brahmanas, the
celestial cow, the foremost acts of righteousness, the wheel of Time,
Strength, Fame, Self-restraint, the Steadiness of all persons endued with
intelligence, all acts of goodness and the reverse, the seven Rishis,
Understanding of the foremost order, all kinds of excellent touch, the
success of all (religious) acts, the diverse tribes of the deities, those
beings that drink heat, those that are drinkers of Soma, Clouds, Suyamas,
Rishitas, all creatures having Mantras for their bodies, Abhasuras, those
beings that live upon scents only, those that live upon vision only,
those that restrain their speech, those that restrain their minds, those
that are pure, those that are capable of assuming diverse forms through
Yoga-puissance, those deities that live on touch (as their food), those
deities that subsist on vision and those that subsist upon the butter
poured in sacrifices, those beings that are competent to create by fiats
of their will the objects they require, they that are regarded as the
foremost ones among the deities, and all the other deities, O descendant
of Ajamila, the Suparnas, the Gandharvas, the Pisachas, the Danavas,
Yakshas, the Charanas, the snakes, all that is gross and all that is
exceedingly subtile, all that is soft and all that is not subtile, all
sorrows and all joys, all sorrows that come after joy and all joy that
comes after sorrow, the Sankhya philosophy, Yoga, and that which
transcends objects which are regarded as foremost and very superior,–all
adorable things, all the deities, and all the protectors of the universe
who entering into the physical forces sustain and uphold this ancient
creation of that illustrious Deity,–have sprung from that Creator of all
creatures. All this that I have mentioned is grosser than that which the
wise think of with the aid of Penances. Indeed, that subtile Brahma is
the cause of life. I bow my head in reverence to it. Let that immutable
and indestructible Master, always adored by us, grant us desirable boons.
That person who, subjugating his senses and purifying himself, recites
this hymn, without interruption in respect of his vow, for one month,
succeeds in obtaining the merit that is attached to a Horse-sacrifice. By
reciting this hymn the Brahmana succeeds in acquiring all the Vedas; the
Kshatriya becomes crowned with victory, O son of Pritha; the Vaisya
becomes successful in obtaining wealth and cleverness; and the Sudra, in
winning happiness here and a good end hereafter. Persons of great fame,
by reciting this prince of hymns that is competent to cleanse every sin
and that is highly sacred and purifying, set their hearts on Rudra. A man
by reciting this prince of hymns succeeds in living in heaven for as many
years as there are pores in his body.'”


“Yudhishthira said, ‘I ask, O chief of Bharata’s race, what is the origin
of the saying, about discharging all duties jointly at the time of a
person’s taking the hand of his spouse in marriage? Is that saying in
respect of discharging all duties together, due only to what is laid down
by the great Rishis in days of yore, or does it refer to the duty of
begetting offspring from religious motives, or has it reference to only
the carnal pleasure that is expected from such union? I he doubt that
fills my mind in this respect is very great. What is spoken of as joint
duties by the sages is in my consideration incorrect. That which is
called in this world the union for practising all duties together ceases
with death and is not to be seen to subsist hereafter. This union for
practising all duties together leads to heaven. But heaven, O grandsire,
is attained to by persons that are dead. Of a married couple it is seen
that only one dies at a time. Where does the other then remain? Do tell
me this. Men attain to diverse kinds of fruits by practising diverse
kinds of duties. The occupations again, to which men betake themselves
are of diverse kinds. Diverse, again, are the hells to which they go in
consequence of such diversity of duties and acts. Women, in particular,
the Rishis have said, are false in behaviour. When human beings are such,
and when women in particular have been declared in the ordinances to be
false, how, O sire, can there be a union between the sexes for purposes
of practising all duties together? In the very Vedas one may read that
women are false. The word ‘Duty’, as used in the Vedas, seems to have
been coined in the first instance for general application (so that it is
applied to practices that have no merit in them). Hence the application
of that word to the rites of marriage is, instead of being correct, only
a form of speech forcibly applied where application it has none.[187] The
subject seems to me to be inexplicable although I reflect upon it
incessantly. O grandsire, O thou of great wisdom, it behoveth thee to
expound this to me in detail, clearly and according to what has been laid
down in the Sruti. In fact, do thou explain to me what its
characteristics are, and the way in which it has come to pass!'[188]

“Bhishma said, ‘In this connection is cited the old narrative of the
discourse between Ashtavakra and the lady known by the name of Disa. In
days of yore Ashtavakra of severe penances, desirous of marriage, begged
the high-souled Rishi Vadanya of his daughter. The name by which the
damsel was known was Suprabha. In beauty she was unrivalled on Earth. In
virtues, dignity, conduct, and manners, she was superior to all the
girls. By a glance alone that girl of beautiful eyes had robbed him of
his heart even as a delightful grove in spring, adorned with flowers,
robs the spectator of his heart. The Rishi addressed Ashtavakra and
said,–Yes, I shall bestow my daughter on thee. Listen, however, to me.
Make a journey to the sacred North. Thou wilt see many things there!'[189]

“Ashtavakra said, ‘It behoveth thee to tell me what I shall see in that
region. Indeed, I am ready to execute whatever command may be laid upon
me by thee.'”

“Vadanya said, ‘Passing over the dominions of the lord of Treasures thou
will cross the Himavat mountains. Thou wilt then behold the plateau on
which Rudra resides. It is inhabited by Siddhas and Charanas. It abounds
with the associates of Mahadeva, frolicsome and fond of dance and
possessed of diverse forms. It is peopled with also many Pisachas, O
master, of diverse forms and all daubed with fragrant powders of diverse
hues, and dancing with joyous hearts in accompaniment with instruments of
different kinds made of brass. Surrounded by these who move with electric
rapidity in the mazes of the dance or refrain at times altogether from
forward or backward or transverse motion of every kind, Mahadeva dwells
there. That delightful spot on the mountains, we have heard, is the
favourite abode of the great Deity. It is said that that great god as
also his associates are always present there. It was there that the
goddess Uma practised the severest austerities for the sake of (obtaining
for her lord) the three-eyed Deity. Hence, it is said, that spot is much
liked by both Mahadeva and Uma. In days of yore there, on the heights of
the Mahaparswa, which are situate to the north of the mountains sacred to
Mahadeva, the sessions, and the last Night, and many deities, and many
human beings also (of the foremost order), in their embodied forms, had
adored Mahadeva.[190] Thou shalt cross that region also in thy northward
journey. Thou will then see a beautiful and charming forest blue of hue
and resembling a mass of clouds. There, in that forest, thou wilt behold
a beautiful female ascetic looking like Sree herself. Venerable in age
and highly blessed, she is in the observance of the Diksha. Beholding her
there thou shouldst duly worship her with reverence. Returning to this
place after having beheld her, thou wilt take the hand of my daughter in
marriage. If thou wanteth to make this agreement, proceed then on thy
journey and do what I command thee.'”

“Ashtavakra said, ‘So be it. I shall do thy bidding. Verily, I shall
proceed to that region which thou speakest of, O thou of righteous soul.
On thy side, let thy words, accord with truth.'”

“Bhishma continued, “The illustrious Ashtavakra set out on his journey.
He proceeded more and more towards the north and at last reached the
Himavat mountains peopled by Siddhas and Charanas.[191] Arrived at the
Himavat mountains, that foremost of Brahamanas then came upon the sacred
river Vahuda whose waters produce great merit. He bathed in one of the
delightful Tirthas of that river, which was free from mud, and gratified
the deities with oblations of water. His ablutions being over, he spread
a quantity of Kusa grass and laid himself down upon it for resting awhile
at his ease.[192] Passing the night in this way, the Brahmana rose with
the day. He once more performed his ablutions in the sacred waters of the
Vahuda and then ignited his homa fire and worshipped it with the aid of
many foremost of Vedic mantras.[193] He then worshipped with due rites
both Rudra and his spouse Uma, and rested for some more time by the side
of that lake in the course of the Vahuda whose shores he had reached.
Refreshed by such rest, he set out from that region and then proceeded
towards Kailasa. He then beheld a gate of gold that seemed to blaze with
beauty. He saw also the Mandakini and the Nalini of the high-souled
Kuvera, the Lord of Treasures.[194] Beholding the Rishi arrived there,
all the Rakshasas having Manibhadra for their head, who were engaged in
protecting that lake abounding with beautiful lotuses, came out in a body
for welcoming and honouring the illustrious traveller. The Rishi
worshipped in return those Rakshasas of terrible prowess and asked them
to report, without delay, his arrival unto the Lord of Treasures.
Requested by him to do this, those Rakshasas, O king, said unto
him,–King Vaisravana, without waiting for the news from us, is coming of
his own accord to thy presence. The illustrious Lord of Treasures is well
acquainted with the object of this thy journey. Behold him,–that blessed
Master,–who blazes with his own energy. Then king Vaisravana,
approaching the faultless Ashtavakra, duly enquired about his welfare.
The usual enquiries of politeness being over, the Lord of Treasures then
addressed the regenerate Rishi, saying,–Welcome art thou here. Do tell
me what it is thou seekest at my hands. Inform me of it. I shall, O
regenerate one, accomplish whatever thou mayst bid me to accomplish. Do
thou enter my abode as pleases thee, O foremost of Brahamanas. Duly
entertained by me, and after thy business is accomplished, thou mayst go
without any obstacles being placed in thy way.–Having said these words,
Kuvera took the hand of that foremost of Brahmanas and led him into his
palace. He offered him his own seat as also water to wash his feet and
the Arghya made of the usual ingredients. After the two had taken their
seats, the Yakshas of Kuvera headed by Manibhadra, and many Gandharvas
and Kinnaras, also sat down before them. After all of them had taken
their seats, the Lord of Treasures said these words,–Understanding what
thy pleasure is, the diverse tribes of Apsaras will commence their dance.
It is meet that I should entertain thee with hospitality and that thou
shouldst be served with proper ministrations. Thus addressed, the ascetic
Ashtavakra said, in a sweet voice, Let the dance proceed. Then Urvara and
Misrakesi, and Rambha and Urvasi, and Alumvusha and Ghritachi, and Chitra
and Chitrangada and Ruchi, and Manohara and Sukesi and Sumukhi and Hasini
and Prabha, and Vidyuta, and Prasami and Danta and Vidyota and
Rati,–these and many other beautiful Apsaras began to dance. The
Gandharvas played on diverse kinds of musical instruments. After such
excellent music and dance had commenced, the Rishi Ashtavakra of severe
penances unconsciously passed a full celestial year there in the abode of
king Vaisravana.[195] Then king Vaisravana said unto the Rishi,–O
learned Brahmana, behold, a little more than a year has passed away since
thy arrival here. This music and dance, especially known by the name of
Gandharva, is a stealer of the heart (and of time). Do thou act as thou
wishes or let this go on if that be thy pleasure. Thou art my guest and,
therefore, worthy of adoration. This is my house. Givest thou thy
commands. We are all bound to thee. The illustrious Ashtavakra, thus
addressed by king Vaisravana, replied unto him, with a pleased heart,
saying,–I have been duly honoured by thee. I desire now, O Lord of
Treasures, to go hence. Indeed, I am highly pleased. All this befits
thee, O Lord of Treasures. Through thy grace, O illustrious one, and
agreeably to the command of the high-souled Rishi Vadanya, I shall now
proceed to my journey’s end. Let growth and prosperity be thine.–Having
said these words, the illustrious Rishi set out of Kuvera’s abode and
proceeded northwards. He crossed the Kailasa and the Mandara as also the
golden mountains. Beyond those high and great mountains is situated that
excellent region where Mahadeva, dressed as an humble ascetic, has taken
up his residence. He circumambulated the spot, with concentrated mind,
bending his head in reverence the while. Descending then on the Earth, he
considered himself sanctified for having obtained a sight of that holy
spot which is the abode of Mahadeva. Having circumambulated that mountain
thrice, the Rishi, with face turned towards the north, proceeded with a
joyous heart. He then beheld another forest that was very delightful in
aspect. It was adorned with the fruits and roots of every season, and it
resounded with the music of winged warblers numbering by thousands. There
were many delightful groves throughout the forest. The illustrious Rishi
then beheld a charming hermitage. The Rishi saw also many golden hills
decked with gems and possessed of diverse forms. In the begemmed soil he
saw many lakes and tanks also. And he saw diverse other objects that were
exceedingly delightful. Beholding these things, the mind of that Rishi of
cleansed soul became filled with joy. He then saw a beautiful mansion
made of gold and adorned with gems of many kinds. Of wonderful structure,
that mansion surpassed the place of Kuvera himself in every respect.
Around it there were many hills and mounts of jewels and gems. Many
beautiful cars and many heaps of diverse kinds of jewels also were
visible in that place. The Rishi beheld there the river Mandakini whose
waters were strewn with many Mandara flowers. Many gems also were seen
there that were self-luminous, and the soil all around was decked with
diamonds of diverse species. The palatial mansion which the Rishi saw
contained many chambers whose arches were embellished with various kinds
of stones. Those chambers were adorned also with nets of pearls
interspersed with jewels and gems of different species. Diverse kinds of
beautiful objects capable of stealing the heart and the eye, surrounded
that palace. That delightful retreat was inhabited by numerous Rishis.
Beholding these beautiful sights all around, the Rishi began to think
where he would take shelter. Proceeding then to the gate of the mansion,
he uttered these words:–Let those that live here know that a guest has
come (desirous of shelter). Hearing the voice of the Rishi, a number of
maidens came out together from that palace. They were seven in number, O
King, of different styles of beauty, all of them were exceedingly
charming. Every one of those maidens upon whom the Rishi cast his eyes,
stole his heart. The sage could not, with even his best efforts, control
his mind. Indeed, at the sight of those maidens of very superior beauty,
his heart lost all its tranquillity. Seeing himself yielding to such
influences, the Rishi made a vigorous effort and possessed as he was of
great wisdom he at last succeeded in controlling himself. Those damsels
then addressed the Rishi, saying,–Let the illustrious one enter. Filled
with curiosity in respect of those exceedingly beautiful damsels as also
of that palatial mansion, the regenerate Rishi entered as he was bidden.
Entering the mansion he beheld an old lady, with indications of
decrepitude, attired in white robes and adorned with every kind of
ornament. The Rishi blessed her, saying,–Good be to you.–The old lady
returned his good wishes in proper form. Rising up, she offered a seat to
the Rishi. Having taken his seat, Ashtavakra said,–Let all the damsels
go to their respective quarters. Only let one stay here. Let that one
remain here who is possessed of wisdom and who has tranquillity of heart.
Indeed, let all the others go away at their will.–Thus addressed, all
those damsels circumambulated the Rishi and then left the chamber. Only
that aged lady remained there. The day quickly passed and night came. The
Rishi seated on a splendid bed, addressed the old lady, saying,–O
blessed lady, the night is deepening. Do thou address thyself to sleep.
Their conversation being thus put a stop to by the Rishi, the old lady
laid herself down on an excellent bed of great splendour. Soon after, she
rose from her bed and pretending to tremble with cold, she left it for
going to the bed of the Rishi. The illustrious Ashtavakra welcomed her
with courtesy. The lady however, stretching her arms, tenderly embraced
the Rishi, O foremost of men. Beholding the Rishi quite unmoved and as
inanimate as a piece of wood, she became very sorry and began to converse
with him. There is no pleasure, save that which waits upon Kama (desire),
which women can derive from a person of the other sex. I am now under the
influence of desire. I seek thee for that reason. Do thou seek me in
return. Be cheerful, O learned Rishi, and unite thyself with me. Do thou
embrace me, O learned one, for I desire thee greatly. O thou of righteous
soul, even this union with me is the excellent and desirable reward of
those severe penances which thou hast undergone. At the first sight I
have become disposed to seek thee. Do thou also seek me. All this wealth,
and everything else of value that thou seest here are mine. Do thou
verily become the lord of all this along with my person and heart. I
shall gratify every wish of thine. Do thou sport with me, therefore, in
these delightful forest, O Brahmana, that are capable of granting every
wish. I shall yield thee complete obedience in everything, and thou shall
sport with me according to thy pleasure. All objects of desire that are
human or that appertain to heaven shall be enjoyed by us. There is no
pleasure more agreeable to women (than that which is derivable from the
companionship of a person of the other sex). Verily, congress with a
person of the opposite sex is the most delicious fruit of joy that we can
reap. When urged by the god of desire, women become very capricious. At
such times they do not feel any pain, even if they walk over a desert of
burning sand.'”

“Ashtavakra said, ‘O blessed lady, I never approach one that is another’s
spouse. One’s congress with another man’s wife is condemned by persons
conversant with the scriptures on morality. I am an utter stranger to
enjoyments of every kind. O blessed lady, know that I have become
desirous of wedlock for obtaining offspring. I swear by truth itself.
Through the aid of offspring righteously obtained, I shall proceed to
those regions of felicity which cannot be attained without such aid. O
good lady, know what is consistent with morality, and knowing it, desist
from thy efforts.'”

“The lady said, ‘The very deities of wind and fire and water, or the
other celestials, O regenerate one, are not so agreeable to women as the
deity of desire. Verily, women are exceedingly fond of sexual congress.
Among a thousand women, or, perhaps, among hundreds of thousands,
sometimes only one may be found that is devoted to her husband. When
under the influence of desire, they care not for family or father or
mother or brother or husband or sons or husband’s brother (but pursue the
way that desire points out). Verily, in pursuit of what they consider
happiness, they destroy the family (to which they belong by birth or
marriage) even as many queenly rivers eat away the banks that contain
them. The Creator himself had said this, quickly marking the faults of

“Bhishma continued, ‘The Rishi, bent upon finding out the faults of
women, then addressed that lady, saying,–Cease to speak to me in this
strain. Yearning springs from liking. Tell me what (else) I am to
do.[197]–That lady then said in return,–O illustrious one, thou shalt
see according to time and place (as do whether I have anything agreeable
in me). Do thou only live here (for some time). O highly blessed one, and
I shall regard myself amply rewarded.–Thus addressed by her, the
regenerate Rishi, O Yudhishthira, expressed his resolution to comply with
her request, saying,–Verily, I shall dwell with thee in this place as
long as I can venture to do so.–The Rishi then, beholding that lady
afflicted with decrepitude, began to reflect earnestly on the matter. He
seemed to be even tortured by his thoughts. The eyes of that foremost of
Brahmanas failed to derive any delight from those parts of that lady’s
person whereupon they were cast. On the other hand, his glances seemed to
be dispelled by the ugliness of those particular limbs.–This lady is
certainly the goddess of this palace. Has she been made ugly through some
curse. It is not proper that I should hastily ascertain the cause of
this.–Reflecting upon this in the secrecy of his heart, and curious to
know the reason, the Rishi passed the rest of that day in an anxious
state. The lady then addressed him, saying,–O illustrious one, behold
the aspect of the Sun reddened by the evening clouds. What service shall
I do unto thee.–The Rishi addressed her, saying,–.’Fetch water for my
ablutions. Having bathed, I shall say my evening prayers, restraining my
tongue and the senses.'”


“Bhishma said, ‘Thus commanded, the lady said,–Be it so. She then
brought oil (for rubbing the Rishi’s body therewith) and a piece of cloth
for his wear during the ablutions. Permitted by the ascetic, she rubbed
every part of his body with the fragrant oil she had brought for him.
Gently was the Rishi rubbed, and when the process of rubbing was over, he
proceeded to the room set apart for the performance of ablutions. There
he sat upon a new and excellent seat of great splendour.[198] After the
Rishi had taken his seat upon it, the old lady began to wash his person
with her own soft hands whose touch was exceedingly agreeable. One after
another in due order, the lady rendered the most agreeable services to
the Rishi in the matter of his ablutions. Between the lukewarm water with
which he was washed, and the soft hands that were employed in washing
him, the Rishi of rigid vows failed to understand that the whole night
had passed away in the process. Rising from the bath the Rishi became
highly surprised. He saw the Sun risen above the horizon on the East. He
was amazed at this and asked himself,–Was it really so or was it an
error of the understanding?–The Rishi then duly worshipped the god of a
thousand rays. This done, he asked the lady as to what he should do. The
old lady prepared some food for the Rishi that was as delicious to the
taste as Amrita itself. In consequence of the delicious character of that
food the Rishi could not take much. In taking that little, however, the
day passed away and evening came. The old lady then asked the Rishi to go
to bed and sleep. An excellent bed was assigned to the Rishi and another
was occupied by herself. The Rishi and the old lady occupied different
beds at first but when it was midnight, the lady left her own bed for
coming to that of the Rishi.’

“Ashtavakra said, ‘O blessed lady, my mind turns away from sexual
congress with one who is the spouse of another. Leave my bed, O good
lady. Blessed be thou, do thou desist from this of thy own accord.'[199]

“Bhishma continued, ‘Thus dissuaded by that Brahmana with the aid of his
self-restraint, the lady answered him, saying,–I am my own mistress. In
accepting me thou wilt incur no sin.’

“Ashtavakra said, ‘Women can never be their own mistresses. This is the
opinion of the Creator himself, viz., that a woman never deserves to be

“The lady said, ‘O learned Brahmana, I am tortured by desire. Mark my
devotion to thee. Thou incurrest sin by refusing to accost me lovingly.’

“Ashtavakra said, ‘Diverse faults, drag away the man that acts as he
likes. As regards myself, I am able to control my inclinations by
self-restraint. O good lady, do thou return to thy own bed.’

“The lady said, ‘I bow to thee, bending my head. It behoves thee to show
me thy grace. O sinless one, I prostrate myself before thee, do thou
become my refuge. If indeed, thou seest such sin in congress with one
that is not thy spouse, I yield myself unto thee. Do thou, O regenerate
one, accept my hand in marriage. Thou wilt incur no sin. I tell thee
truly. Know that I am my own mistress. If there by any sin in this, let
it be mine alone. My heart is devoted to thee. I am my own mistress. Do
thou accept me.’

“Ashtavakra said, ‘How is it, O good lady, that thou art thy own
mistress. Tell me the reason of this. There is not a single woman in the
three worlds that deserves to be regarded as the mistress of her own
self. The father protects her while she is a maiden. The husband protects
her while she is in youth. Sons protect her when she is aged. Women can
never be independent as long as they live!’

“The lady said, ‘I have since my maidenhood, adopted the vow of
Brahmacharyya. Do not doubt it. I am still a maid. Do thou make me thy
wife. O Brahmana, do not kill this devotion of mine to thee.’

“Ashtavakra said, ‘As thou art inclined to me, so I am inclined to thee.
There is this question, however, that should be settled. Is it true that
by yielding to my inclinations I shall not be regarded as acting in
opposition to what the Rishi (Vadanya) wishes. This is very wonderful.
Will this lead to what is beneficial? Here is a maiden adorned with
excellent ornaments and robes. She is exceedingly beautiful. Why did
decrepitude cover her beauty so long? At present she looks like a
beautiful maiden. There is no knowing what form she may take
hereafter.[200] I shall never swerve from that restraint which I have
over desire and the other passions or from contentment with what I have
already got. Such swerving does not seem to be good. I shall keep myself
united with truth!'[201]


“Yudhishthira said, ‘Tell me why had that lady no fear of Ashtavakra’s
curse although Ashtavakra was endued with great energy? How also did
Ashtavakra succeed in coming back from that place?'”

“Bhishma said, ‘Ashtavakra asked her, saying,–How dost thou succeed in
altering thy form so? Thou shouldst not say anything that is untrue. I
wish to know this. Speakest thou truly before a Brahmana.’

“The lady said, ‘O best of Brahmana, wherever thou mayst reside in heaven
or on Earth, this desire of union between the sexes is to be observed. O
thou of infallible prowess, listen, with concentrated attention, to this
all. This trial was devised by me. O sinless one, for testing thee
aright. O thou of infallible prowess, thou hast subjugated all the worlds
for not foregoing your previous resolution. Know that I am the embodiment
of the Northern point of the compass. Thou hast seen the lightness of the
female character. Even women that are aged are tortured by the desire of
sexual union. The Grandsire himself and all the deities with Indra have
been pleased with thee. The object for which thy illustrious self has
come here (is known to me). O foremost of regenerate persons, thou hast
been despatched higher by the Rishi Vadanya–the father of thy bride–in
order that I may instruct thee. Agreeably to the wishes of that Rishi I
have already instructed thee. Thou wilt return home in safety. Thy
journey back will not be toilsome. Thou wilt obtain for wife and girl
thou hast chosen. She will bear thee a son. Through desire I had
solicited thee, thou madest me the very best answer. The desire for
sexual union is incapable of being transcended in the three worlds. Go
back to thy quarters, having achieved such merit. What else is there that
thou wishest to hear from me? I shall discourse on it, O Ashtavakra, in
accordance with the truth. I was gratified by the Rishi Vadanya in the
first instance for thy sake, O regenerate ascetic For the sake of
honouring him, I have said all this to thee.’

“Bhishma continued, ‘Hearing these words of hers, the regenerate
Ashtavakra joined his hands in a reverential attitude. He then solicited
the lady for her permission to go back. Obtaining the permission he came
back to his own asylum. Resting himself for some time at home and
obtaining the permission of his kinsmen and friends, he then in a proper
way, proceeded, O delighter of the Kurus, to the Brahmana Vadanya.
Welcomed with the usual enquiries by Vadanya, the Rishi Ashtavakra, with
a well-pleased heart, narrated all that he had seen (in course of his
sojourn to the North). He said,–Commanded by thee I proceeded to the
mountains of Gandhamadana. In the regions lying to the north of these
mountains I beheld a very superior goddess. I was received by her with
courtesy. She named you in my hearing and also instructed me in various
matters. Having listened to her I have come back, O lord. Unto him that
said so, the learned Vadanya said,–Take my daughter’s hand according to
due rites and under the proper constellations. Thou art the fittest
bridegroom I can select for the girl.’

‘Bhishma continued, ‘Ashtavakra said,–So be it and took the hand of the
girl. Indeed, the highly righteous Rishi, having espoused the girl,
became filled with joy. Having taken as his wife that beautiful damsel,
the Rishi continued to dwell in his own asylum, freed from (mental) fever
of every kind.'”


“Yudhishthira said, ‘Whom do the eternal Brahmanas strictly observing
religious rites call a proper object of gifts? Is a Brahmana that bears
the symbols of the order of life he follows to be regarded as such or one
who does not bear such indications is to be so regarded?'[202]

“Bhishma said, ‘O monarch, it has been said that gifts should be made
unto a Brahmana that adheres to the duties of his own order, whether, he
bears the indications of a Brahmachari or not, for both are faultless,
viz., he that bears such indications and he that is divested of them.’

“Yudhishthira said, ‘What fault does an uncleansed person incur, if he
makes gifts of sacrificial butter or food with great devotion unto
persons of the regenerate order?’

“Bhishma said, ‘Even one that is most destitute of self-restraint
becomes, without doubt, cleansed by devotion. Such a man, O thou of great
splendour, becomes cleansed in respect of every act (and not with
reference to gift alone).’

“Yudhishthira said, ‘It has been said that a Brahmana that is sought to
be employed in an act having reference to the deities, should never be
examined. The learned, however, say that with respect to such acts as
have reference to the Pitris, the Brahmana that is sought to be employed,
should be examined (in the matter of both his conduct and competence).’

“Bhishma said, ‘As regards acts that have reference to the deities, these
fructify not in consequence of the Brahmana that is employed in doing the
rites but through the grace of the deities themselves. Without doubt,
those persons that perform sacrifice obtain the merit attached to those
acts, through the grace of the deities.[203] The Brahmanas, O chief of
the Bharatas, are always devoted of Brahman. The Rishi Markandeya, one of
the greatest Rishis endued with intelligence in all the worlds, said this
in days of yore.’

“Yudhishthira said, ‘Why, O grandsire, are there five viz., he that is a
stranger, he that is endued with learning (connected with the duties of
his order), he that is connected by marriage, he that is endued with
penances, and he that adheres to the performance of sacrifices, regarded
as proper persons?'[204]

“Bhishma said, ‘The first three, viz., strangers, relatives, and
ascetics, when possessed of these attributes, viz., purity of birth,
devotion to religious acts, learning, compassion, modesty, sincerity, and
truthfulness, are regarded as proper persons. The other two, viz., men of
learning and those devoted to sacrifices, when endued with five of these
attributes, viz., purity of birth, compassion, modesty, sincerity,
truthfulness, are also regarded as proper persons. Listen now to me, O
son of Pritha, as I recite to thee the opinions of these four persons of
mighty energy, viz., the goddess Earth, the Rishi Kasyapa, Agni (the
deity of fire) and the ascetic Markandeya.’

“The Earth said, ‘As a clod of mud, when thrown into the great ocean
quickly dissolves away, even so every kind of sin disappears in the three
high attributes viz., officiation at sacrifices, teaching and receiving
of gifts.[205]

“Kasyapa said, ‘The Vedas with their six branches, the Sankhya
philosophy, the Puranas, and high birth, these fail to rescue a
regenerate person if he falls away from good conduct.'[206]

“Agni said, ‘That Brahmana who, engaged in study and regarding himself
learned, seeks with the aid of his learning to destroy the reputation of
others, falls away from righteousness, and comes to be regarded as
dissociated from truth. Verily regions of felicity herein-after are never
attained to by such a person of destructive genius.’

“Markandeya said, ‘If a thousand Horse-sacrifices and Truth were weighed
in the balance, I do not know whether the former would weigh even half as
heavy as the latter.’

“Bhishma continued, ‘Having spoken these words, those four persons, each
of whom is endued with immeasurable energy, viz., the goddess Earth,
Kasyapa, Agni, and Bhrigu’s son armed with weapons, quickly went away.’

“Yudhishthira said, ‘If Brahmanas observant of the vow of Brahmacharyya
in this world solicit the offerings one makes (unto one’s deceased
ancestors in Sraddhas) I ask, can the Sraddha be regarded well-performed,
if the performer actually makes over those offerings unto such Brahmanas.

“Bhishma said, ‘If, having practised the vow of Brahmacharyya for the
prescribed period (of twelve years) and acquired proficiency in the Vedas
and their branches, a Brahmana himself solicits the offering made in
Sraddhas and eats the same, he is regarded to fall away from his vow. The
Sraddha, however, is not regarded as stained in any way.’

“Yudhishthira said, ‘The wise have said that duty of righteousness has
many ends and numerous doors. Tell me, O grandsire, what however are the
settled conclusions in this matter.'[207]

Bhishma said, ‘Abstention from injury to others, truthfulness, the
absence of wrath (forgiveness), compassion, self-restraint, and sincerity
or candour, O monarch, are the indications of Righteousness. There are
persons who wander over the earth, praising righteousness but without
practising what they preach and engaged all the while in sin. O king, He
who gives unto such persons gold or gems or steeds, has to sink in hell
and to subsist there for ten years, eating the while the faeces of such
persons as live upon the flesh of dead kine and buffalos, of men called
Pukkasas, of others that live in the outskirts of cities and villages,
and of men that publish, under the influence of wrath and folly, the acts
and the ommissions of others.[208] Those foolish men who do give unto a
Brahmana observant of the vow of Brahmacharyya the offerings made in
Sraddhas (unto one’s deceased ancestors), have to go, O monarch into
regions of great misery.’

“Yudhishthira said, ‘Tell me, O grandsire, what is superior to
Brahmacharyya? What is the highest indication of virtue? What is the
highest kind of purity?’

“Bhishma said,–‘I tell thee, O son, that abstention from honey and meat
is even superior to Brahmacharyya. Righteousness consists in keeping
within boundaries or in self-restraint, the best indication of
Righteousness is Renunciation (which is also the highest kind of

“Yudhishthira said, ‘In what time should one practise Righteousness? In
what time should wealth be sought? In what time should pleasure be
enjoyed? O grandsire, do tell me this.’

“Bhishma said,–‘One should earn wealth in the first part of one’s life.
Then should one earn Righteousness, and then enjoy pleasure. One should
not, however, attach oneself to any of these. One should regard the
Brahmanas, worship one’s preceptor and seniors, show compassion for all
creatures, be of mild disposition and agreeable speech. To utter
false-hood in a court of justice, to behave deceitfully towards the king,
to act falsely towards preceptors and seniors, are regarded as equivalent
(in heinousness) to Brahmanicide. One should never do an act of violence
to the king’s person. Nor should one ever strike a cow. Both these
offences are equivalent to the sin of foeticide. One should never abandon
one’s (homa) fire. One should also never cast off one’s study of the
Vedas. One should never assail a Brahmana by words or acts. All these
offences are equivalent to Brahmanicide.’

“Yudhishthira said,–‘What kind of Brahmanas should be regarded as good?
By making presents unto (what kind of) Brahmanas one may acquire great
merit? What kind of Brahmanas are they whom one should feed? Tell me all
this, O grandsire!’

“Bhishma said, ‘Those Brahmanas that are freed from wrath, that are
devoted to acts of righteousness, that are firm in Truth, and that
practise self-restraint are regarded as good. By making gifts unto them
one acquires great merit. One wins great merit by making presents unto
such Brahmanas as are free from pride, capable of bearing everything,
firm in the pursuit of their objects, endued with mastery over their
senses, devoted to the good of all creatures, and disposed to be friendly
towards all. One earns great merit by making gifts unto such Brahmanas as
are free from cupidity, as are pure of heart and conduct, possessed of
learning and modesty, truthful in speech and observant of their own
duties as laid down in the scriptures. The Rishis have declared that
Brahmana to be a deserving object of gifts who studies the four Vedas
with all their branches and is devoted to the six well-known duties (laid
down in the scriptures). One acquires great merit by making gifts unto
Brahmanas possessed of such qualifications. The man who makes gifts unto
a deserving Brahmana multiplies his merit a thousand-fold. A single
righteous Brahmana possessed of wisdom and Vedic lore, observant of the
duties laid down in the scriptures, distinguished by purity of behaviour,
is competent to rescue a whole race.[210] One should make gifts of kine
and horses and wealth and food and other kinds of articles unto a
Brahmana that is possessed of such qualifications. By making such gifts
unto such persons one earns great happiness in the next world. As I have
already told thee even one such Brahmana is fully competent to rescue the
entire race to which the giver belongs. What need I say, therefore, O
dear son, of the merit of making gifts unto many Brahmanas of such
qualifications? In making gifts, therefore one should always select the
object to whom the gifts are to be made. Hearing of a Brahmana possessed
of proper qualifications and regarded with respect by all good people,
one should invite him even if he resides at a distance and welcome him
when he arrives and one should worship him by all means in his power.'”


“Yudhishthira said, ‘I desire thee, O grandsire, to tell me what the
ordinances are that have been laid down by the acts touching the deities
and the (deceased) ancestors on occasions of Sraddhas.’

“Bhishma said, ‘Having purified oneself (by baths and other purificatory
acts) and then going through the well-known auspicious rites, one should
carefully do all act relating to the deities in the forenoon, and all
acts relating to the Pitris in the afternoon. What is given to men should
be given in the midday with affection and regard. That gift which is made
untimely is appropriated by Rakshasas.[211] Gifts of articles that have
been leapt over by any one, o been licked or sucked, that are not given
peacefully, that have been seen by women that are impure in consequence
of their season having come, do not produce any merit. Such gifts are
regarded as the portion belonging to the Rakshasas. Gifts of articles
that have been proclaimed before many people or from which a portion has
been eaten by a Sudra, or that have been seen or licked by a dog, form
portions of Rakshasas. Food which is mixed with hair or in which there
are worms, or which has been stained with spittle or saliva or which has
been gazed at by a dog or into which tear-drops have fallen or which has
been trodden upon should be known as forming the portion of Rakshasa.
Food that has been eaten by a person incompetent to utter the syllable
Om, or that has been eaten by a person bearing arms, O Bharata, or that
has been eaten by a wicked person should be known to form the portion of
Rakshasas.[212] The food that is eaten by a person from which a portion
has already been eaten by another, or which is eaten without a part
thereof having been offered to deities and guests and children, is
appropriated by Rakshasas. Such stained food, if offered to the deities
and Pitris is never accepted by them but is appropriated by Rakshasas.
The food offered by the three regenerate classes in Sraddhas, in which
Mantras are either not uttered or uttered incorrectly and in which the
ordinances laid down in the scriptures are not complied with, if
distributed to guests and other people, is appropriated by Rakshasas. The
food that is distributed to guests without having been previously
dedicated to the deities or the Pitris with the aid of libation on the
sacred fire, which has been stained in consequence of a portion thereof
having been eaten by a person that is wicked or of irreligious behaviour,
should be known to form the portion of Rakshasas.’

“‘I have told thee what the portions are of the Rakshasas. Listen now to
me as I lay down the rules for ascertaining who the Brahmana is that is
deserving of gift.[213] All Brahmanas that have been outcasted (on
account of the commission of heinous sins), as also Brahmanas that are
idiots and out of mind, do not deserve to be invited to Sraddhas in which
offerings are made to either the deities or the Pitris. That Brahmana who
is afflicted with leucoderma, or he that is destitute of virility, or he
that has got leprosy, or he that has got phthisis or he that is labouring
under epilepsy (with delusions of the sensorium), or he that is blind,
should not, O king, be invited.[214] Those Brahmanas that practise the
calling of physicians, those that receive regular pay for worshipping the
images of deities established by the rich, or live upon the service of
the deities, those that are observant of vows from pride or other false
motives, and those that sell Soma, do not deserve to be invited. Those
Brahmanas that are, by profession, vocalists, or dancers or players or
instrumental musicians, or reciters of sacred books, or warriors and
athletes, do not, O king, deserve to be invited. Those Brahmanas who pour
libations on the sacred fire for Sudras, or who are preceptors of Sudras,
or who as servants of Sudra masters, do not deserve to be invited. That
Brahmana who is paid for his services as preceptor, or who attends as
pupil upon the lectures of some preceptor because of some allowance that
is granted to him, does not deserve to be invited, for both of them are
regarded as sellers of Vedic lore. That Brahmana who has been once
induced to accept the gift of food in a Sraddha at the very outset, as
also he who has married a Sudra wife, even if possessed of every kind of
knowledge do not deserve to be invited.[215] Those Brahmanas that are
destitute of their domestic fire, and they that attend upon corpses, they
that are thieves, and they that have otherwise fallen away do not, O
king, deserve to be invited.[216] Those Brahmanas whose antecedents are
not known or are vile, and they that are Putrika-putras, do not, O king,
deserve to be invited on occasions of Sraddhas.[217] That Brahmana who
gives loans of money, or he who subsists upon the interest of the loans
given by him, or he who lives by sale of living creatures, does not
deserve, O king, to be invited. Persons who have been subjugated by their
wives, or they who live by becoming the paramours of unchaste women, or
they who abstain from their morning and evening prayers do not deserve, O
king, to be invited to Sraddhas.’

“‘Listen now to me as I mention who the Brahmana is that has been
ordained for acts done in honour of the deities and the Pitris. Indeed, I
shall tell thee what those merits, are in consequence of which one may
become a giver or a recipient of gifts in Sraddhas (notwithstanding the
faults mentioned above).[218] Those Brahmanas that are observant of the
rites and ceremonies laid down in the scriptures, or they that are
possessed of merit, or they that are conversant with the Gayatri, or they
that are observant of the ordinary duties of Brahmanas, even if they
happen to betake themselves to agriculture for a living, are capable, O
king, of being invited to Sraddhas. If a Brahmana happens to be wellborn,
he deserves to be invited to Sraddhas notwithstanding his profession of
arms for fighting the battle of others.[219] That Brahmana, however, O
son, who happens to betake himself to trade for a living should be
discarded (even if possessed of merit). The Brahmana who pours libations
every day on the sacred fire, or who resides in a fixed habitation, who
is not a thief and who does the duties of hospitality to guests arrived
at his house, deserves, O king, to be invited to Sraddhas. The Brahmana,
O chief of Bharata’s race, who recites the Savitri morning, noon, and
night, or who subsists upon eleemosynary charity, who is observant of the
rites and ceremonies laid down in the scriptures for persons of his
order, deserves, O king, to be invited to Sraddhas.[220] That Brahmana
who having earned wealth in the morning becomes poor in the afternoon, or
who poor in the morning becomes wealthy in the evening or who is
destitute of malice, or is stained by a minor fault, deserves, O king, to
be invited to Sraddhas. That Brahmana who is destitute of pride or sin,
who is not given to dry disputation, or who subsists upon alms obtained
in his rounds of mendicancy from house to house deserves, O king, to be
invited to sacrifices. One who is not observant of vows, or who is
addicted to falsehood (in both speech and conduct), who is a thief, or
who subsists by the sale of living creatures or by trade in general,
becomes worthy of invitation to Sraddhas, O king, if he happens to offer
all to the deities first and subsequently drink Soma. That man who having
acquired wealth by foul or cruel means subsequently spends it in adoring
the deities and discharging the duties of hospitality, becomes worthy, O
king, of being invited to Sraddhas. The wealth that one has acquired by
the sale of Vedic lore, or which has been earned by a women, or which has
been gained by meanness (such as giving false evidence in a court of
law), should never be given to Brahmanas or spent in making offerings to
the Pitris. That Brahmana, O chief of Bharata’s race, who upon the
completion of a Sraddha that is performed with his aid, refuses to utter
the words ‘astu swadha,’ incurs the sin of swearing falsely in a suit for
land.[221] The time for performing Sraddha, O Yudhishthira, is that when
one obtains a good Brahmana and curds and ghee and the sacred day of the
new moon, and the meat of wild animals such as deer and others.[222] Upon
the completion of a Sraddha performed by a Brahmana the word Swadha
should be uttered. If performed by a Kshatriya the words that should be
uttered are–Let thy Pitris be gratified.–Upon the completion of a
Sraddha performed by a Vaisya, O Bharata, the words that should be
uttered are–Let everything become inexhaustible.–Similarly, upon the
conclusion of a Sraddha performed by a Sudra, the word that should be
uttered is Swasti,–In respect of a Brahmana, the declaration regarding
Punyaham should be accompanied with the utterance of the syllable Om. In
the case of a Kshatriya, such declaration should be without the utterance
of syllable Om. In the rites performed by a Vaisya, the words that should
be uttered, instead of beings the syllable Om, are,–Let the deities be
gratified.[223]–Listen now to me as I tell thee the rites that should be
performed, one after another, conformably to the ordinances, (in respect
of all the orders). All the rites that go by the name of Jatakarma, O
Bharata, are indispensable in the case of all the three orders (that are
regenerate). All these rites, O Yudhishthira, in the case of both
Brahmanas and Kshatriyas as also in that of Vaisyas are to be performed
with the aid of mantras. The girdle of a Brahmana should be made of Munja
grass. That for one belonging to the royal order should be a bowstring.
The Vaisya’s girdle should be made of the Valwaji grass. Even this is
what has been laid down in the scriptures. Listen now to me as I expound
to thee what constitutes the merits and faults of both givers and
recipients of gifts. A Brahmana becomes guilty of a dereliction of duty
by uttering a falsehood. Such an act on his part is sinful. A Kshatriya
incurs four times and a Vaisya eight times the sin that a Brahmana incurs
by uttering a falsehood. A Brahmana should not eat elsewhere, having been
previously invited by a Brahmana. By eating at the house of the person
whose invitation has been posterior in point of time, he becomes inferior
and even incurs the sin that attaches to the slaughter of an animal on
occasions other than those of sacrifices.[224] So also, if he eats
elsewhere after having been invited by a person of the royal order or a
Vaisya, he falls away from his position and incurs half the sin that
attaches to the slaughter of an animal on occasions other than those of
sacrifices. That Brahmana, O king, who eats on occasions of such rites as
are performed in honour of the deities or the Pitris by Brahmanas and
Kshatriyas and Vaisyas, without having performed his ablutions, incurs
the sin of uttering an untruth for a cow. That Brahmana, O king, who eats
on occasions of similar rites performed by persons belonging to the three
higher orders, at a time when he is impure in consequence either of a
birth or a death among his cognates, through temptation, knowing well
that he is impure incurs the same sin.[225] He who lives upon wealth
obtained under false pretences like that of sojourns to sacred places or
who solicits the giver for wealth pretending that he would spend it in
religious acts, incurs, O monarch, the sin of uttering a falsehood.[226]
That person, belonging to any of the three higher orders, O Yudhishthira,
who at Sraddhas and on other occasions distributes food with the aid of
Mantras, unto such Brahmanas as do not study the Vedas and as are not
observant of vows, or as have not purified their conduct, certainly
incurs sin.’

“Yudhishthira said,–‘I desire, O grandsire, to know by giving unto whom
the things dedicated to the deities and the Pitris, one may earn the
amplest rewards.’

“Bhishma said,–‘Do thou, Yudhishthira, feed those Brahmanas whose
spouses reverently wait for the remnants of the dishes of their husbands
like tillers of the soil waiting in reverence for timely showers of rain.
One earn great merit by making gifts unto those Brahmanas that are always
observant of pure conduct, O king, that are emaciated through abstention
from all luxuries and even full meals, that are devoted to the
observances of such vows as lead to the emaciation of the body, and that
approach givers with the desire of obtaining gifts. By making gifts unto
such Brahmanas as regard conduct in this light of food, as regard conduct
in the light of spouses and children, as regard conduct in the light of
strength, as regard conduct in the light of their refuge for crossing
this world and attaining to felicity in the next, and as solicit wealth
only when wealth is absolutely needed, one earns great merit. By making
gifts unto those persons, O Yudhishthira, that having lost everything
through thieves or oppressors, approach the giver, one acquires great
merit.[227] By making gifts unto such Brahmanas as solicit food from the
hands of even a poor person of their order who has just got something
from others, one earns great merit. By making gifts unto such Brahmanas
as have lost their all in times of universal distress and as have been
deprived of their spouses on such occasions, and as come to givers with
solicitations for alms, one acquires great merit. By making gifts unto
such Brahmanas as are observant of vows, and as place themselves
voluntarily under painful rules and regulations, as are respectful in
their conduct to the declaration laid down in the Vedas, and as come to
solicit wealth for spending it upon the rites necessary to complete their
vows and other observances, one earns great merit. By making gifts unto
such Brahmanas as live at a great distance from the practices that are
observed by the sinful and the wicked, as are destitute of strength for
want of adequate support, and as are very poor in earthly possessions,
one earns great merit. By making gifts unto such Brahmanas as have been
robbed of all their possessions by powerful men but as are perfectly
innocent, and as desire to fill their stomachs any how without, that is,
any scruples respecting the quality of the food they take, one earns
great merit. By making gifts unto such Brahmanas as beg on behalf of
others that are observant of penances and devoted to them and as are
satisfied with even small gifts, one earns great merit. Thou hast now, O
bull of Bharata’s race, heard what the declarations are of the scriptures
in respect of the acquisition of great merit by the making of gifts.
Listen now to me as I expound what those acts are that lead to hell or
heaven. They, O Yudhishthira, that speak an untruth on occasions other
than those when such untruth is needed for serving the purpose of the
preceptor or for giving the assurance of safety to a person in fear of
his life, sink into hell[228]. They who ravish other people’s spouses, or
have sexual congress with them, or assist at such acts of delinquency,
sink in hell. They who rob others of their wealth or destroy the wealth
and possessions of other people, or proclaim the faults of other people,
sink in hell. They who destroy the containers of such pieces of water as
are used by cattle for quenching thirst, as injure such buildings as are
used for purposes of public meetings, as break down bridges and
causeways, and as pull down houses used for purposes of habitation, have
to sink to hell. They who beguile and cheat helpless women, or girls, or
aged dames, or such women as have been frightened, have to sink to hell.
They who destroy the means of other people’s living, they who exterminate
the habitations of other people, they who rob others of their spouses,
they who sow dissensions among friends, and they who destroy the hopes of
other people, sink into hell. They who proclaim the faults of others,
they who break down bridges or causeways, they who live by following
vocations laid down for other people, and they who are ungrateful to
friends for services received, have to sink in hell. They who have no
faith in the Vedas and show no reverence for them, they who break the
vows made by themselves or oblige others to break them, and they who fall
away from their status through sin, sink in hell. They who betake
themselves to improper conduct, they who take exorbitant rates of
interest, and they who make unduly large profits on sales, have to sink
in hell. They who are given to gambling, they who indulge in wicked acts
without any scruple, and they who are given to slaughter of living
creatures, have to sink in hell. They who cause the dismissal by masters
of servants that are hoping for rewards or are expectant of definite need
or are in the enjoyment of wages or salaries or are waiting for returns
in respect of valuable services already rendered, have to sink in hell.
They who themselves eat without offering portions thereof unto their
spouse or their sacred fires or their servants or their guests, and they
who abstain from performing the rites laid down in the scriptures for
honouring the Pitris and deities, have to sink in hell. They who sell the
Vedas, they who find fault with the Vedas, and they who reduce the Vedas
into writing, have all to sink in hell.[229] They who are out of the pale
of the four well-known modes of life, they who betake themselves to
practices interdicted by the Srutis and the scriptures, and they who live
by betaking themselves to acts that are wicked or sinful or that do not
belong to their order of birth, have to sink in hell. They who live by
selling hair, they who subsist by selling poisons, and they who live by
selling milk, have to sink in hell. They who put obstacles in the path of
Brahmanas and kine and maidens, O Yudhishthira, have to sink in hell.
They who sell weapons, they who forge weapons, they who make shafts, and
they who make bows, have to sink in hell. ‘I hey who obstruct paths and
roads with stones and thorns and holes have to sink in hell. They who
abandon and cast off preceptors and servants and loyal followers without
any offence, O chief of Bharata’s race, have to sink in hell. They who
set bullocks to work before the animals attain to sufficient age, they
who bore the noses of bullocks and other animals for controlling them the
better while employed in work, and they who keep animals always tethered,
have to sink in hell. Those kings that do not protect their subjects
while forcibly taking from them a sixth share of the produce of their
fields, and they who, though able and possessed of resources, abstain
from making gifts, have to sink in hell. They who abandon and cast off
persons that are endued with forgiveness and self-restraint and wisdom,
or those with whom they have associated for many years, when these are no
longer of services to them, have to sink in hell. Those men who
themselves eat without giving portions of the food to children and aged
men and servants, have to sink in hell.’

“‘All these men enumerated above have to go to hell. Listen now to me, O
bull of Bharata’s race, as I tell thee who those men are that ascend to
heaven. The man who transgresses against a Brahmana by impeding the
performances of all such acts in which the deities are adored, becomes
afflicted with the loss of all his children and animals. (They who do not
transgress against Brahmanas by obstructing their religious acts ascend
to heaven). Those men, O Yudhishthira, who follow the duties as laid down
in the scriptures for them and practise the virtues of charity and
self-restraint and truthfulness, ascend to heaven. Those men who having
acquired knowledge by rendering obedient services to their preceptors and
observing austere penances, become reluctant to accept gifts, succeed in
ascending to heaven. Those men through whom other people are relieved and
rescued from fear and sin and the impediments that lie in the way of what
they wish to accomplish and poverty and the afflictions of disease,
succeed in ascending to heaven. Those men who are endued with a forgiving
disposition, who are possessed of patience, who are prompt in performing
all righteous acts, and who are of auspicious conduct, succeed in
ascending to heaven. Those men who abstain from honey and meat, who
abstain from sexual congress with the spouses of other people, and who
abstain from wines and spirituous liquors, succeed in ascending to
heaven. Those men that help in the establishment of retreats for
ascetics, who become founders of families, O Bharata, who open up new
countries for purposes of habitation, and lay out towns and cities
succeed in ascending to heaven. Those men who give away cloths and
ornaments, as also food and drink, and who help in marrying others,
succeed in ascending to heaven.[230] Those men that have abstained from
all kinds of injury or harm to all creatures, who are capable of enduring
everything, and who have made themselves the refuge of all creatures,
succeed in ascending to heaven. Those men who wait with humility upon
their fathers and mothers, who have subjugated their senses, and who are
affectionate towards their brothers, succeed in ascending to heaven.
Those men that subjugate their senses notwithstanding the fact of their
being rich in worldly goods and strong in might and in the enjoyment of
youth, succeed in ascending to heaven. Those men that are kind towards
even those that offend against them, that are mild of disposition, that
have an affection for all who are of mild behaviour, and that contribute
to the happiness of others by rendering them every kind of service in
humility, succeed in ascending to heaven. Those men that protect
thousands of people, that make gifts unto thousands of people, and that
rescue thousands of people from distress, succeed in ascending to heaven.
Those men who make gifts of gold and of kine, O chief of Bharata’s race,
as also those of conveyances and animals, succeed in ascending to heaven.
Those men who make gifts of such articles as are needed in marriages, as
also those of serving men and maids, and cloths and robes, succeed in
ascending to heaven[231]. Those men who make public pleasure-houses and
gardens and wells, resting houses and buildings for public meetings and
tanks for enabling cattle and men to quench their thirst, and fields for
cultivation, O Bharata, succeed in ascending to heaven.[232] Those men
who make gifts of houses and fields and populated villages unto persons
that solicit them, succeed in ascending to heaven. Those men who having
themselves manufactured juicy drinks of sweet taste and seeds and paddy
or rice, make gifts of them unto others succeed in ascending to heaven.
Those men who being born in families high or low beget hundreds of
children and live long lives practising compassion and keeping wrath
under complete subjection, succeed in ascending to heaven. I have thus
expounded to thee, O Bharata, what the rites are in honour of the deities
and the Pitris which are performed by people for the sake of the other
world, what the ordinances are in respect of making gifts, and what the
views are of the Rishis of former times in respect of both the articles
of gift and the manner of giving them.'”


“Yudhishthira said, ‘O royal son of Bharata’s race, it behoveth thee to
answer this question of mine truly and in detail. What are those
circumstances under which a person may become guilty of Brahmanicide
without actually slaying a Brahmana!’

“Bhishma said, ‘Formerly, O monarch, I had one day requested Vyasa to
explain to me this very subject. I shall now narrate to thee what Vyasa
told me on that occasion. Do thou listen to it with undivided attention.
Repairing to the presence of Vyasa, I addressed him, saying,–Thou, O
great ascetic, art the fourth in descent from Vasishtha. Do thou explain
to me this. What are those circumstances under which one becomes guilty
of Brahmanicide without actually slaying a Brahmana,–Thus addressed by
me, the son of Parasara’s loins, O king, well-skilled ‘n the science of
morality, made me the following answer, at once excellent and fraught
with certainty, Thou shouldst know that man as guilty of Brahmanicide who
having of his own will invited a Brahmana of righteous conduct to his
house for giving him alms subsequently refuses to give anything to him on
the pretence of there being nothing in the house. Thou shouldst, O
Bharata, know that man as guilty of Brahmanicide who destroys the means
of living of a Brahmana learned in the Vedas and all their branches, and
who is freed from attachments to worldly creatures and goods. Thou
shouldst, O king, know that man to be guilty of Brahmanicide, who causes
obstructions in the way of thirsty kine while employed in quenching that
thirst. Thou shouldst take that man as guilty of Brahmanicide who,
without studying the Srutis that have flowed from preceptor to pupil for
ages and ages together, finds fault with the Srutis or with those
scriptures that have been composed by the Rishis. Thou shouldst know that
man as guilty of Brahmanicide who does not bestow upon a suitable
bride-groom his daughter possessed of beauty and other excellent
accomplishments. Thou shouldst know that foolish and sinful person to be
guilty of Brahmanicide who inflicts such grief upon Brahmanas as afflict
the very core of their hearts. Thou shouldst know that man to be guilty
of Brahmanicide who robs the blind, the lame, and idiots of their all.
Thou shouldst know that man to be guilty of Brahmanicide who sets fire to
the retreats of ascetics or to woods or to a village or a town.'”


“Yudhishthira said, ‘It has been said that sojourns to sacred waters as
fraught with merit; that ablutions in such waters is meritorious; and
that listening to the excellence of such waters is also meritorious. I
desire to hear thee expatiate on this subject, O grandsire. It behoveth
thee, O chief of Bharata’s race, to mention to me the sacred waters that
exist on this earth. I desire, O thou of great puissance, to hear thee
discourse on this topic.’

“Bhishma said, ‘O thou of great splendour, the following enumeration of
the sacred waters on the Earth was made by Angiras. Blessed be thou, it
behoveth thee to listen to it for thou shalt then earn great merit. Once
on a time, Gautama of rigid vows, approaching the great and learned Rishi
Angiras endued with tranquillity of soul, while he was dwelling in a
forest, questioned him, saying,–O illustrious one, I have some doubts
regarding the merits attaching to sacred waters and shrines. So I desire
to hear thee discourse on that topic. Do thou, therefore, O ascetic,
discourse to me. What merits are earned by a person in respect of the
next world, by bathing in the sacred waters on the Earth, O thou of great
wisdom? Do thou expound to me this truly and according to the ordinance.’

“Angiras said, ‘A person by bathing for seven days in succession in the
Chandrabhaga or the Vitasta whose waters are always seen to dance in
waves, observing a fast the while, is sure to become cleansed of all his
sins and endued with the merit of an ascetic.[233] The very many rivers
that flowing through Kasmira, fall into the great river called Sindhu
(Indus). By bathing in these rivers one is sure to become endued with
good character and to ascend to heaven after departing from this world.
By bathing in Pushkara, and Prabhasa, and Naimisha, and the ocean, and
Devika, and Indramarga, and Swarnavindu, one is sure to ascend to heaven
being seated on a celestial car, and filled with transports of joy at the
adorations of Apsara. By plunging in the waters of Hiranyavindu with a
concentrated mind and reverencing that sacred stream, and bathing next at
Kusesaya and Devendra, one becomes cleansed of all one’s sins. Repairing
to Indratoya in the vicinity of the mountains of Gandhamadana and next to
Karatoya in the country called Kuranga, one should observe a fast for
three days and then bathe in those sacred waters with a concentrated
heart and pure body. By doing this, one is sure to acquire the merit of a
Horse-sacrifice. Bathing in Gangadwara and Kusavarta and Vilwaka in the
Nita mountains, as also in Kankhala, one is sure to become cleansed of
all one’s sins and then ascend to heaven. If one becomes a Brahmacharin
and subdues one’s wrath, devotes oneself to truth and practises
compassion towards all creatures, and then bathes in the Jala parda (Lake
of Waters), one is sure to acquire the merit of a Horse-sacrifice. That
part where Bhagirathi-Ganga flows in a northward direction is known as
the union of heaven, earth, and the nether regions. Observing a fast for
one month and bathing in that sacred Tirtha which is known to be
acceptable to Maheswara, one becomes competent to behold the deities. One
who gives oblations of water unto one’s Pitris at Saptaganga and Triganga
and Indramarga, obtains ambrosia for food, if one has still to undergo
rebirth. The man who in a pure state of body and mind attends to his
daily Agnihotra and observes a fast for one month and then baths in
Mahasrama, is sure to attain success in one month. By bathing, after a
fast of three days and purifying the mind of all evil passions, in the
large lake of Bhrigu Kunda, one becomes cleansed of even the sin of
Brahmanicide. By bathing in Kanyakupa and performing one’s ablutions in
Valaka, one acquires great fame among even the deities and shines in
glory. Bathing in Devika and the lake known by the name of Sundarika as
also in the Tirtha called Aswini, one acquires, in one’s next life, great
beauty of form. By fasting for a fortnight and bathing in Mahaganga and
Krittikangaraka, one becomes cleansed of all one’s sins and ascends to
heaven. Bathing in Vaimanika and Kinkinika, one acquires the power of
repairing everywhere at will and becomes an object of great respect in
the celestial region of the Apsaras.[234] If a person, subduing his wrath
and observing the vow of Brahmacharyya for three days, bathes in the
river Vipasa at the retreat called Kalika, he is sure to succeed in
transcending the obligation of rebirth. Bathing in the asylum that is
sacred to the Krittakas and offering oblations of water to the Pitris,
and then gratifying Mahadeva, one becomes pure in body and mind and
ascends to heaven. If one, observing a fast for three days with a
purified body and mind, bathes in Mahapura, one becomes freed from the
fear of all mobile and immobile animals as also of all animals having two
feet. By bathing in the Devadaru forest and offering oblations of water
to the Pitris and dwelling there for seven nights with a pure body and
mind, one attains to the region of the deities on departing from this
world. Bathing in the waterfalls at Sarastamva and Kusastambha and
Dronasarmapada, one is sure to attain to the region of the Apsaras where
one is waited upon with dutiful services by those superhuman beings. If
one, observing a fast, bathes at Chitrakuta and Janasthana and the waters
of Mandakini, one is sure to be united with prosperity that is
royal.[235] By repairing to the retreat that is known by the name of
Samya and residing there for a fortnight and bathing in the sacred water
that exists there, one acquires the power of disappearing at will (and
enjoy the happiness that has been ordained for the Gandharvas). Repairing
to the tirtha known by the name of Kausiki and residing there with a pure
heart and abstaining from all food and drink for three days, one acquires
the power of dwelling (in one’s next life) in the happy region of the
Gandharvas. Bathing in the delightful tirtha that goes by the name of
Gandhataraka and residing there for one month, abstaining all the while
from food and drink, one acquires the power of disappearing at pleasure
and, then one and twenty days, of ascending to heaven. He that bathes in
the lake known by the name of Matanga is sure to attain to success in one
night. He that bathes in Analamva or in eternal Andhaka, or in Naimisha,
or the tirtha called Swarga, and offers oblations of water to the Pitris,
subduing his senses the while, acquires the Merit of a human
sacrifice.[236] Bathing in Ganga hrada and the tirtha known by the name
of Utpalavana and daily offering oblations of water there for a full
month to the Pitris, one acquires the merit of a Horse-sacrifice. Bathing
in the confluence of the Ganga and the Yamuna as also at the tirtha in
the Kalanjara mountains and offering every day oblations of water to the
Pitris for a full month, one acquires the merit that attaches to ten
Horse-sacrifices. Bathing in the Shashthi lake one acquires merit much
greater than what is attached to the gift of food. Ten thousand tirthas
and thirsty millions of other tirthas come to Prayaga (the confluence of
Ganga and Yamuna), O chief of Bharata’s race in the month of Magha. He
who bathes in Prayaga, with a restrained soul and observing rigid vows
the while, in the month of Magha, becomes cleansed of all his sins, O
chief of Bharata’s race, and attains to heaven. Bathing in the tirtha
that is sacred to the Maruts, as also in that which is situate in the
retreat of the Pitris, and also in that which is known by the name of
Vaivaswata, one becomes cleansed of all one’s sins and becomes as pure
and sanctified as a tirtha. Repairing to Brahmasaras as also to the
Bhagirathi and bathing there and offering oblations to the Pitris every
day for a full month, abstaining from food all the while, one is sure to
attain to the region of Soma, Bathing in Utpataka and then in Ashtavakra
and offering oblations of water to the Pitris every day for twelve days
in succession, abstaining the while from food, one acquires the merits of
a Horse-sacrifice. Bathing in Asmaprishtha and Niravinda mountains and
Kraunchapadi,–all three in Gaya–one becomes cleansed of the sin of
Brahmanicide. A bath in the first place cleanses one of a single
Brahmanicide; a bath in the second cleanses one of two offences of that
character; and a bath in the third cleanses one of three such offences.
Bathing in Kalavinga, one acquires a large quantity of water (for use in
the next world). A man, by bathing in the city of Agni, acquires such
merit as entitles him to live during his next birth in the city of Agni’s
daughter. Bathing in Visala in Karavirapura and offering oblations of
water unto one’s Pitris, and performing one’s ablutions in Devahrada too,
one becomes identified with Brahma and shines in glory as such. Bathing
in Punaravarta-nanda as also Mahananda, a man of restrained senses and
universal compassion repairs to the celestial gardens called Nandana of
Indra and is waited upon there by Apsaras of diverse tribes. Bathing with
concentrated soul in the tirtha that is called after the name of Urvasi
and that is situate in the river Lohitya, on the day of full moon of the
month of Kartika, one attains to the merits that attach to the sacrifice
called Pundarika. Bathing in Ramahrada and offering oblations of water to
the Pitris in the river Vipasa (Beas), and observing a fast for twelve
days, one becomes cleansed of all sins. Bathing in the tirtha called
Maha-hrada with a purified heart and after observing a fast for one
month, one is sure to attain to the end which was the sage Jamadagni’s.
By exposing oneself to heat in the tirtha called Vindhya, a person
devoted to truth and endued with compassion for all creatures should then
betake himself to austere penances, actuated by humility. By so doing, he
is sure to attain to ascetic success in course of a single month. Bathing
in the Narmada as also in the tirtha known by the name of Surparaka,
observing a fast for a full fortnight, one is sure to become in one’s
next birth a prince of the royal line. If one proceeds with restrained
senses and a concentrated soul to the tirtha known under the name of
Jamvumarga, one is sure to attain to success in course of a single day
and night. By repairing to Chandalikasrama and bathing in the tirtha
called Kokamukha, having subsisted for sometime on potherbs alone and
worn rags for vestments, one is sure to obtain ten maidens of great
beauty for one’s spouses. One who lives by the side of the tirtha known
by the name of Kanya-hrada has never to go to the regions of Yama. Such a
person is sure to ascend to the regions of felicity that belong to the
celestials. One who bathes with restrained senses on the day of the new
moon in the tirtha known by the name of Prabhasa, is sure, O thou of
mighty arms, of at once attaining to success and immortality. Bathing in
the tirtha known by the name of Ujjanaka which occurs in the retreat of
Arshtisena’s son, and next in the tirtha that is situate in the retreat
of Pinga, one is sure to be cleansed of all one’s sins. Observing a fast
for three days and bathing in the tirtha known as Kulya and reciting the
sacred mantras that go by the name of Aghamarshana, one attains the merit
of a horse-sacrifice. Observing a fast for one night and bathing in
Pindaraka, one becomes purified on the dawn of the next day and attains
to the merit of an Agnishtoma sacrifice. One who repairs to Brahmasara
which is adorned by the woods called Dharmaranya, becomes cleansed of all
one’s sins and attains to the merit of the Pundarika sacrifice. Bathing
in the waters of the Mainaka mountain and saying one’s morning and
evening prayers there and living at the spot for a month, restraining
desire, one attains to the merit of all the sacrifices. Setting out for
Kalolaka and Nandikunda and Uttara-manasa, and reaching a spot that is
hundred yojanas remote from any of them, one becomes cleansed of the sin
of foeticide, One who succeeds in obtaining a sight of image of
Nandiswara, becomes cleansed of all sins. Bathing in the tirtha called
Swargamarga one is sure to proceed to the regions of Brahman. The
celebrated Himavat is sacred. That prince of mountains is the
father-in-law of Sankara. He is a mine of all jewels and gems and is the
resort of the Siddhas and Charanas. That regenerate person who is fully
conversant with the Vedas and who, regarding this life to be exceedingly
unstable, casts off his body on those mountains, abstaining from all food
and drink in accordance with the rites laid down in the scriptures, after
having adored the deities and bent his head in worship of the ascetics,
is sure to attain to success and proceed to the eternal regions of
Brahman. There is nothing unattainable to him who resides in a tirtha,
restraining lust and subjugating wrath, in consequence of such residence.
For the purpose of repairing to all the tirthas in the world, one should
mentally think of those amongst them that are almost inaccessible or
sojourns to which are attended with insurmountable difficulties. Sojourns
to tirthas is productive of the merits of sacrifices. They are competent
to cleanse everybody of sin. Fraught with great excellence, they are
capable of leading to heaven. The subject is truly a great mystery. The
very deities should bathe in tirthas. To them also they are
sin-cleansing. This discourse on tirthas should be imparted to Brahmanas,
and to such honest or righteous persons as are bent upon achieving what
is for their own good. It should also be recited in the hearing of one’s
well-wishers and friends and of one’s obedient and devoted disciples.
Angiras possessed of great ascetic merit, had imparted this discourse to
Gautama. Angiras himself had obtained it from Kasyapa of great
intelligence. The great Rishi regard this discourse as worthy of constant
repetition. It is the foremost of all cleansing things. If one recites it
regularly every day, one is sure to become cleansed of every sin and to
proceed to heaven after the termination of this life. One who listens to
this discourse recited in his hearing,–this discourse, viz., of Angiras,
that is regarded as a mystery,–is sure to attain in one’s next life to
be born in a good family and, what is more, one would become endued with
the memory of one’s previous existence.'”


“Vaisampayana said,–‘Equal unto Vrihaspati in intelligence and Brahma
himself in forgiveness, resembling Sakra in prowess and Surya in energy,
Bhishma the son of Ganga, of infinite might, had been overthrown in
battle by Arjuna. Accompanied by his brothers and many other people, king
Yudhisthira asked him these questions. The old hero was lying on a bed
that is coveted by heroes, in expectation of that auspicious time when he
could take leave of the physical frame. Many great Rishis had come there
for seeing that foremost one of Bharata’s race. Amongst them were Atri
and Vasishtha and Bhrigu and Pulastya and Pulaha and Kratu. There were
also Angiras and Gotama and Agastya and Sumati of well-restrained soul,
and Viswamitra and Sthulasiras and Samvarta and Pramati and Dama. There
were also Vrihaspati and Usanas, and Vyasa and Chyavana and Kasyapa and
Dhruva, and Durvasas and Jamadagni and Markandeya and Galava, and
Bharadwaja and Raibhya and Yavakrita and Trita. There were Sthulaksha and
Savalaksha and Kanwa and Medhatithi and Krisa and Narada and Parvata and
Sudhanwa and Ekata and Dwita. There were also Nitambhu and Bhuvana and
Dhaumya and Satananda and Akritavrana and Rama, the son of Jamadagni and
Kacha. All these high-souled and great Rishis came there for seeing
Bhishma lying on his bed of arrows. Yudhishthira with his brothers duly
worshipped those high-souled Rishis who had come there, one after another
in proper order. Receiving that worship, those foremost of Rishis sat
themselves down and began to converse with one another. Their
conversation related to Bhishma, and was highly sweet and agreeable to
all the senses. Hearing that talk of theirs having reference to himself,
Bhishma became filled with delight and regarded himself to be already in
heaven. Those Rishis then, having obtained the leave of Bhishma and of
the Pandava princes, made themselves invisible, vanishing in the very
sight of all the beholders. The Pandavas repeatedly bowed and offered
their adorations to those highly blessed Rishis, even after they had made
themselves invisible. They then with cheerful souls waited upon the son
of Ganga, even as Brahmanas versed in Mantras wait with reverence upon
the rising Sun. The Pandavas beheld that the points of the compass blazed
forth with splendour in consequence of the energy of their penances, and
became filled with wonder at the sight. Thinking of the high blessedness
and puissance of those Rishis, the Pandava princes began to converse on
the subject with their grandsire Bhishma.”

“Vaisampayana continued, ‘The conversation being over, the righteous
Yudhishthira, the son of Pandu; touched Bhishma’s feet with his head and
then resumed his questions relating to morality and righteousness.’

“Yudhishthira said, ‘Which countries, which provinces, which retreats,
which mountains, and which rivers, O grandsire, are the foremost in point
of sanctity?’

“Bhishma said, “In this connection is cited the old narrative of a
conversation between a Brahmana in the observance of the Sila and the
Unccha vows, O Yudhishthira, and a Rishi crowned with ascetic success.
Once on a time, a foremost person, having roamed over this entire earth
adorned with mountains, arrived at last in the house of a foremost person
leading the domestic mode of life in accordance with the Sila vow. The
latter welcomed his guest with due rites. Received with such hospitality,
the happy Rishi passed the night happily in the house of his host. The
next morning the Brahmana in the observance of the Sila vow, having
finished all his morning acts and rites and purified himself duly, very
cheerfully approached his guest crowned with ascetic success. Meeting
with each other and seated at their ease, the two began to converse on
agreeable subjects connected with the Vedas and the Upanishads. Towards
the conclusion of the discourse, the Brahmana in the observance of the
Sila vow respectfully addressed the Rishi crowned with success. Endued
with intelligence, he put this very question which thou, O Yudhisthira,
hast put to me.’

“The poor Brahmana said, ‘What countries, what provinces, what retreats,
what mountains, and what rivers should be regarded as the foremost in
point of sanctity? Do thou discourse to me on this.’

“The Rishi crowned with success said, ‘Those countries, those provinces,
those retreats, and those mountains, should be regarded as the foremost
in point of sanctity through which or by the side of which that foremost
of all rivers, viz., Bhagirathi flows. That end which a creature is
capable of attaining by penances, by Brahmacharyya, by sacrifices, or by
practising renunciation, one is sure to attain by only living by the side
of the Bhagirathi and bathing in its sacred waters. Those creatures whose
bodies have been sprinkled with the sacred waters of Bhagirathi or whose
bones have been laid in the channel of that sacred stream, have not to
fall away–from heaven at any time.[237] Those men, O learned Brahmana,
who use the waters of Bhagirathi in all their acts, surely ascend to
heaven after departing from this world. Even those men who, having
committed diverse kinds of sinful deeds in the first part of their lives,
betake themselves in after years to a residing by the side of Ganga,
succeed in attaining to a very superior end. Hundreds of sacrifices
cannot produce that merit which men of restrained souls are capable of
acquiring by bathing in the sacred waters of Ganga. A person is treated
with respect and worshipped in heaven for as long a period as his bones
lie in the channel of the Ganga. Even as the Sun, when he rises at the
dawn of day, blazes forth in splendour, having dispelled the gloom of
night, after the same manner the person that has bathed in the waters of
Ganga is seen to shine in splendour, cleansed of all his sins. Those
countries and those points of the compass that are destitute of the
sacred waters of Ganga are like nights without the moon or like trees
without flowers. Verily, a world without Ganga is like the different
orders and modes of life when they are destitute of righteousness or like
sacrifices without Soma. Without doubt, countries and points of the
compass that are without Ganga are like the firmament without the Sun, or
the Earth without mountains, or the welkin without air. The entire body
of creatures in the three worlds, if served with the auspicious waters of
Ganga, derive a pleasure, the like of which they are incapable of
deriving from any other source. He who drinks Ganga water that has been
heated by the Sun’s rays derives merit much greater than that which
attaches to the vow of subsisting upon the wheat or grains of other corn
picked up from cowdung. It cannot be said whether the two are equal or
not, viz., he who performs a thousand Chandrayana rites for purifying his
body and he who drinks the water of Ganga. It cannot be said whether the
two are equal or not, viz., one who stands for a thousand years on one
foot and one who lives for only a month by the side of Ganga. One who
lives permanently by the side of Ganga is superior in merit to one who
stays for ten thousand Yugas with head hanging downwards. As cotton, when
it comes into contact with fire, is burnt off without a remnant, even so
the sins of the person that has bathed in Ganga become consumed without a
remnant. There is no end superior to Ganga for those creatures who with
hearts afflicted by sorrow, seek to attain to ends that may dispel that
sorrow of theirs. As snakes become deprived of their poison at the very
sight of Garuda, even so one becomes cleansed of all one’s sins at the
very sight of the sacred stream of Ganga. They that are without good name
and that are addicted to deeds of sinfulness, have Ganga for their fame,
their protection, their means of rescue, their refuge or cover. Many
wretches among men who become afflicted with diverse sins of a heinous
nature, when they are about to sink into hell, are rescued by Ganga in
the next world (if, notwithstanding their sins, they seek the aid of
Ganga in their after-years). They, O foremost of intelligent men, who
plunge every day in the sacred waters of Ganga, become the equals of
great Munis and the very deities with Vasava at their head. Those
wretches among men that are destitute of humility or modesty of behaviour
and that are exceedingly sinful, become righteous and good, O Brahmana,
by betaking themselves to the side of Ganga. As Amrita is to the deities,
as Swadha is to the Pritis, as Sudha is to the Nagas, even so is Ganga
water to human beings. As children afflicted with hunger solicit their
mothers for food, after the same manner do people desirous of their
highest good pay court to Ganga. As the region of the self-born Brahma is
said to be the foremost of all places, even so is Ganga said to be
foremost of all rivers for those that desire to bathe. As the Earth and
the cow are said to be the chief sustenance of the deities and other
celestials, even so is Ganga the chief sustenance of all living
creatures.[238] As the deities support themselves upon the Amrita that
occurs in the Sun and the Moon and that is offered in diverse sacrifices,
even so do human beings support themselves upon Ganga water. One
besmeared with the sand taken from the shores of Ganga regards oneself as
a denizen of heaven, adorned with celestial unguents. He who bears on his
head the mud taken from the banks of Ganga presents an effulgent aspect
equal to that of Sun himself bent on dispelling the surrounding darkness.
When that wind which is moistened with the particles of Ganga-water
touches one’s person, it cleanses him immediately of every sin. A person
afflicted by calamities and about to sink under their weight, finds all
his calamities dispelled by the joy which springs up in his heart at
sight of that sacred stream. By the melody of the swans and Kokas and
other aquatic fowls that play on her breast, Ganga challenges the very
Gandharvas and by her high banks the very mountains on the Earth.
Beholding her surface teeming with swans and diverse other aquatic fowls,
and having banks adorned with pasture lands with kine grazing on them.
Heaven herself loses her pride. The high happiness which one enjoys by a
residence on the banks of Ganga, can never be his who is residing even in
heaven. I have no doubt in this that the person who is afflicted with
sins perpetrated in speech and thought and overt act, becomes cleansed at
the very sight of Ganga. By holding that sacred stream, touching it, and
bathing in its waters, one rescues one’s ancestors to the seventh
generation, one’s descendants to the seventh generation, as also other
ancestors and descendant. By hearing of Ganga, by wishing to repair to
that river, by drinking its waters, by touching its waters, and by
bathing in them a person rescues both his paternal and maternal races. By
seeing, touching, and drinking the waters of Ganga, or even by applauding
Ganga, hundreds and thousands of sinful men became cleansed of all their
sins. They who wish to make their birth, life and learning fruitful,
should repair to Ganga and gratify the Pitris and the deities by offering
them oblations of water. The merit that one earns by bathing in Ganga is
such that the like of it is incapable of being earned through the
acquisition of sons or wealth or the performance of meritorious acts.
Those who, although possessed of the physical ability, do not seek to
have a sight of the auspicious Ganga of sacred current, are, without
doubt, to be likened to persons afflicted with congenital blindness or
those that are dead or those that are destitute of the power of
locomotion through palsy or lameness. What man is there that would not
reverence this sacred stream that is adored by great Rishis conversant
with the Present, the Past, and the Future, as also by the very deities
with Indra at their head. What man is there that would not seek the
protection of Ganga whose protection is sought for by forest recluses and
householders, and by Yatis and Brahmacharins alike? The man of righteous
conduct who, with rapt soul, thinks of Ganga at the time when his
life-breaths are about to leave his body, succeeds in attaining to the
highest end. That man who dwells by the side of Ganga up to the time of
his death, adoring her with reverence, becomes freed from the fear of
every kind of calamity, of sin, and of kings. When that highly sacred
stream fell from the firmament. Maheswara held it on his head. It is that
very stream which is adored in heaven.[239] The three regions, viz.,
(Earth, Heaven, and the nether place called Patala) are adorned by the
three courses of this sacred stream. The man who uses the waters of that
stream becomes certainly crowned with success. As the solar ray is to the
deities in heaven, as Chandramas is to the Pitris, as the king is to
human beings, even such is Ganga unto all streams.[240] One who becomes
bereaved of mother or father or sons or spouses or wealth does not fell
that grief which becomes one’s, when one becomes bereaved of Ganga. One
does not obtain that joy through acts that lead to the region of Brahma,
or through such sacrifices and rites that lead to heaven, or through
children or wealth, which one obtain from a sight of Ganga.[241] The
pleasures that men derive from a sight of Ganga is equal to what they
derive from a sight of the full moon. That man becomes dear to Ganga who
adores her with deep devotion, with mind wholly fixed upon her, with a
reverence that refuses to take any other object within its sphere, with a
feeling that there is nothing else to the universe worthy of similar
adoration, and with a steadiness that knows no failing away. Creatures
that live on Earth, in the welkin, or in Heaven, indeed, even beings that
are very superior,–should always bathe in Ganga. Verily, this is the
foremost of all duties with those that are righteous. The fame of Ganga
for sanctity has spread over the entire universe, since she bore all the
sons of Sagara, who had been reduced to ashes, from here to Heaven.[242]
Men who are washed by the bright, beautiful, high, and rapidly moving
waves, raised by the wind, of Ganga, became cleansed of all their sins
and resemble in splendour the Sun with his thousand rays. Those men of
tranquil souls that have cast off their bodies in the waters of Ganga
whose sanctity is as great as that of the butter and other liquids poured
in sacrifices and which are capable of conferring merits equal to those
of the greatest of sacrifices, have certainly attained to a station equal
to that of the very deities. Verily, Ganga, possessed of fame and vast
extent and identical with the entire universe and reverenced by the
deities with Indra at their head, the Munis and human beings, is
competent to bestow the fruition of all their wishes upon them that are
blind, them that are idiots, and them that are destitute of all
things.[243] They that sought the refuge of Ganga, that protectress of
all the universe, that flows in three streams, that is filled with water
at once highly sacred and sweet as honey and productive of every kind of
good, have succeeded in attaining to the beatitude of Heaven.[244] That
mortal who dwells by the side of Ganga and beholds her every day, becomes
cleansed by her sight and touch. Unto him the deities give every kind of
happiness here and a high end hereafter. Ganga is regarded as competent
to rescue every creature from sin and lead him to the felicity of Heaven.
She is held to be identical with Prisni, the mother of Vishnu. She is
identical with the Word or Speech. She is very remote, being incapable of
easy attainment. She is the embodiment of auspiciousness and prosperity.
She is capable of bestowing the six well-known attributes beginning with
lordship or puissance. She is always inclined to extend her grace. She is
the displayer of all things in the universe, and she is the high refuge
of all creatures. Those who have sought her protection in this life have
surely attained heaven. The fame of Ganga has spread all over the welkin,
and Heaven, and Earth, and all the points, cardinal and subsidiary, of
the compass. Mortal creatures, by using the waters of that foremost of
streams, always become crowned with high success. That person who himself
beholding Ganga, points her out to others, finds that Ganga rescues him
from rebirth and confers Emancipation on him. Ganga held Guha, the
generalissimo of the celestial forces, in her womb. She bears the most
precious of all metals, viz., gold, also in that womb of hers. They who
bathe in her waters every day in the morning, succeed in obtaining the
aggregate of three, viz., Righteousness, Wealth and Pleasure. Those
waters are, again, equal in point of sanctity to the butter that is
poured with Mantras on the sacrificial fire. Capable of cleansing one
from every sin, she has descended from the celestial region, and her
current is held in high esteem by every one. Ganga is the daughter of
Himavat, the spouse of Hara, and the ornament of both Heaven and Earth.
She is the bestower of everything auspicious, and is competent to confer
the six well-known attributes beginning with lordship or puissance.
Verily O king, Ganga is the one object of great sanctity in the three
worlds and confers merit upon all. Truly, O monarch, Ganga is
Righteousness in liquefied form. She is energy also running in a liquid
form over the Earth. She is endued with the splendour or puissance that
belongs to the butter that is poured with Mantras on the sacrificial
fire. She is always adorned with large waves as also with Brahmanas who
may at all times be seen performing their ablutions in her waters.
Falling from Heaven, she was held by Siva on his head. The very mother of
the heavens, she has sprung from the highest mountain for running over
the plains and conferring the most precious benefits on all creatures of
the Earth. She is the highest cause of all things; she is perfectly
stainless. She is as subtile as Brahma. She affords the best bed for the
dying. She leads creatures very quickly to heaven. She bears away a large
volume of water. She bestows great fame on all. She is the protectress of
the universe.[245] She is identical with every form. She is very much
coveted by persons crowned with success. Verily, Ganga is the path to
Heaven of those that have bathed in her current.[246] The Brahmanas hold
Ganga as equalling the Earth in forgiveness, and in the protection and
upholding of those that live by her; further, as equalling Fire and Surya
in energy and splendour; and, lastly, as always equalling Guha himself in
the matter of showing favours unto the regenerate class.[247] Those men
who, in this life, even mentally seek with their whole souls that sacred
stream which is praised by the Rishis, which has issued out of the feet
of Vishnu, which is very ancient, and which is exceedingly sacred,
succeed in repairing to the regions of Brahman. Fully convinced that
children and other possessions, as also regions possessed by every kind
of felicity, are transitory or liable to destruction, men of subdued
souls, who are desirous of attaining to that everlasting station which is
identical with Brahma, always pay their adorations to Ganga with that
reverence and love which are due from a son to mother. The men of
cleansed soul who is desirous of achieving success should seek the
protection of Ganga who is like a cow that yields Amrita instead of
ordinary milk, who is prosperity’s self, who is possessed of omniscience,
who exists for the entire universe of creatures, who is the source of all
kinds of food, who is the mother of all mountains, who is the refuge of
all righteous persons, who is immeasurable in puissance and energy, and
who charms the heart of Brahma himself. Having, with austere penances,
gratified all the deities with the Supreme Lord (Vishnu), Bhagiratha
brought Ganga down on the Earth. Repairing unto her, men always succeed
in freeing themselves from every kind of fear both here and hereafter.
Observing with the aid of intelligence, I have mentioned to thee only a
small part of the merits of Ganga. My power, however, is inadequate to
speak of all the merits of the sacred river, or, indeed, to measure her
puissance and sanctity. One may, by putting forth one’s best powers,
count the stones that occur in the mountains of Meru or measure the
waters that occur in the ocean, but one cannot count all the merits which
belong to the waters of Ganga. Hence, having listened to these particular
merits of Ganga which I have uttered with great devotion, one should, in
thought, word and deed, reverence them with faith and devotion. In
consequence of thy having listened to those merits which I have recited,
thou art sure to fill all the three regions with fame and attain to a
measure of success that is very large and that is difficult of being
attained to by any other person. Verily, thou shalt, soon after that,
sport in joy many a region of great felicity created by Ganga herself for
those that reverence her. Ganga always extends her grace unto those that
are devoted to her with humbleness of heart. She unites those that are so
devoted to her with every kind of happiness. I pray that the
highly-blessed Ganga may always inspire thy heart and mine with such
attributes as are fraught with righteousness’.

“Bhishma continued, ‘The learned ascetic endued with high intelligence
and great illumination, and crowned with success, having in this manner
discoursed unto that poor Brahmana in the observance of the Sila vow, on
the subjects of the infinite merits of Ganga, then ascended the
firmament. The Brahmana in the observance of Sila vow, awakened by the
words of that ascetic crowned with success, duly worshipped Ganga and
attained to high success. Do thou also, O son of Kunti, seek Ganga with
great devotion, for thou shalt then, as the reward thereof, attain to
high and excellent success.

“Vaisampayana continued ‘Hearing this discourse from Bhishma that was
fraught with the praise of Ganga, Yudhishthira with his brothers became
filled with great delight. That person who recites or hears recited this
sacred discourse fraught with the praise of Ganga, becomes cleansed of
every sin.'”


“Yudhishthira said, ‘Thou O grandsire, art endued with wisdom and
knowledge of the scriptures, with conduct and behaviour, with diverse
kinds of excellent attributes, and also with years. Thou art
distinguished above others by intelligence and wisdom and penances. I
shall, therefore, O thou that art the foremost of all righteous men,
desire to address enquiries to thee respecting Righteousness. There is
not another man, O king, in all the worlds, who is worthier of being
questioned on such subjects. O best of kings, how may one, if he happens
to be a Kshatriya or a Vaisya or a Sudra, succeed in acquiring the status
of a Brahmana? It behoveth thee to tell me the means. Is it by penances
the most austere, or by religious acts, or by knowledge of the
scriptures, that a person belonging to any of the three inferior orders
succeeds in acquiring the status of a Brahmana? Do tell me this, O

“Bhishma said, ‘The status of a Brahmana, O Yudhishthira, is incapable of
acquisition by a person belonging to any of the three other orders. That
status is the highest with respect to all creatures. Travelling through
innumerable orders of existence, by undergoing repeated births, one at
last, in some birth, becomes born as a Brahmana. In this connection is
cited an old history, O Yudhishthira, of a conversation between Matanga
and a she-ass. Once on a time a Brahmana obtained a son who, though
procreated by a person belonging to a different order, had, however, the
rites of infancy and youth performed in pursuance of the ordinances laid
down for Brahmanas. The child was called by the name of Matanga and was
possessed of every accomplishment. His father, desiring to perform a
sacrifice, ordered him, O scorcher of foes, to collect the articles
required for the act. Having received the command of his father, he set
out for the purpose, riding on a car of great speed, drawn by an ass. It
so happened that the ass yoked unto that car was of tender years. Instead
therefore, of obeying the reins, the animal bore away the car to the
vicinity of its dam, viz., the she-ass that had brought it forth.
Matanga, dissatisfied with this, began to strike repeatedly the animal
with his goad on its nose. Beholding those marks of violence on her
child’s nose, the she-ass, full of affection for him, said–Do not
grieve, O child, for his treatment. A chandala it is that is driving
thee. There is no severity in a Brahmana. The Brahmana is said to be the
friend of all creatures. He is the teacher also of all creatures and
their ruler. Can he chastise any creature so cruelly? This fellow,
however, is of sinful deeds. He hath no compassion to show unto even a
creature of such tender years as thou. He is simply proving the order of
his birth by conducting himself in this way. The nature which he hath
derived from his sire forbids the rise of those sentiments of pity and
kindness that are natural to the Brahmana. Hearing these harsh words of
the she-ass, Matanga quickly, came down from the car and addressing the
she-ass, said,–Tell me, O blessed dame, by what fault is my mother
stained? How dost thou know that I am a Chandala? Do thou answer me
without delay. How, indeed, dost thou know that I am a Chandala? How has
my status as a Brahmana been lost? O thou of great wisdom, tell me all
this in detail, from beginning to end.’

“The she-ass said, Begotten thou wert, upon a Brahmana woman excited with
desire, by a Sudra following the profession of a barber. Thou art,
therefore, a Chandala by birth. The status of Brahmana thou hast not at

“Brahmana continued, ‘Thus addressed by the she-ass, Matanga retraced his
way homewards. Seeing him return, his father said,–I had employed thee
in the difficult task of gathering the requisites of my intended
sacrifice. Why hast thou come back without having accomplished thy
charge? Is it the case that all is not right with thee?

“Matanga said, ‘How can he who belongs to no definite order of birth, or
to an order that is very low be regarded as all right and happy? How, O
father, can that person be happy whose mother is stained? O father, this
she-ass, who seems to be more than a human being, tells me that I have
been begotten upon a Brahmani woman by a Sudra. I shall, for this reason,
undergo the severest penances.–Having said these words to his father,
and firmly resolved upon what he had said he proceeded to the great
forest and began to undergo the austerest of penances. Setting himself to
the performance of those penances for the purpose of happily acquiring
the status of a Brahmana, Matanga began to scorch the very deities by the
severity of his asceticism. Unto him thus engaged in penances, the chief
of the celestials, viz., Indra, appeared and said,–Why, O Matanga, dost
thou pass thy time in such grief, abstaining from all kinds of human
enjoyments? I shall give thee boons. Do thou name the boons thou
desirest. Do not delay, but tell me what is in thy breast. Even if that
be unattainable, I shall yet bestow it on thee.’

“Matanga said, ‘Desirous of attaining to the status of Brahmana I have
begun to practise these penances. After having obtained it, I shall go
home. Even this is the boon solicited by me.’

“Bhishma continued, ‘Hearing these words of his, Purandara said unto him.
The status of a Brahmana, O Matanga, which thou desirest to acquire is
really unattainable by thee. It is true, thou desirest to acquire it, but
then it is incapable of acquisition by persons begotten on uncleansed
souls. O thou of foolish understanding, thou art sure to meet with
destruction if thou persistest in this pursuit. Desist, therefore, from
this vain endeavour without any delay. This object of thy desire, viz.,
the status of a Brahmana, which is the foremost of everything, is
incapable of being won by penances. Therefore, by coveting that foremost
status, thou wilt incur sure destruction. One born as a Chandala can
never attain to that status which is regarded as the most sacred among
the deities and Asuras and human beings!'”


“Bhishma said, ‘Thus addressed by Indra, Matanga of restrained vows and
well regulated soul, (without hearkening to the counsels of the chief of
the celestials), stood for a hundred years on one foot, O thou of
unfading glory. Sakra of great fame once more appeared before him and
addressing him, said,–The status of a Brahmana, O child, is
unattainable. Although thou covetest it, it is impossible for thee to
obtain it. O Matanga, by coveting that very high status thou art sure to
be destroyed. Do not, O son, betray such rashness. This cannot be a
righteous path for thee to follow. O thou of foolish understanding, it is
impossible for thee to obtain it in this world. Verily, by coveting that
which is unattainable, thou art sure to meet with destruction in no time.
I am repeatedly forbidding thee. By striving, however, to attain that
high status by the aid of thy penances, notwithstanding my repeated
admonition, thou art sure to meet with destruction. From the order of
brute life one attains to the status of humanity. If born as human being,
he is sure to take birth as a Pukkasa or a Chandala. Verily, one having
taken birth in that sinful order of existence, viz., Pukkasa, one, O
Matanga, has to wander in it for a very long time. Passing a period of
one thousand years in that order, one attains next to the status of a
Sudra. In the Sudra order, again, one has to wander for a long time.
After thirty thousand years one acquire the status of a Vaisya. There, in
that order, one has to pass a very long period. After a time that is
sixty times longer than what has been stated as the period of Sudra
existence, one becomes a person of the fighting order. In the Kshatriya
order one has to pass a very long time. After a time that is measured by
multiplying the period last referred to by sixty, one becomes born as a
fallen Brahmana. In this order one has to wander for a long period. After
a time measured by multiplying the period last named by two hundred, one
becomes born in the race of such a Brahmana as lives by the profession of
arms. There, in that order, one has to wander for a long period. After a
time measured by multiplying the period last named by three hundred, one
takes birth in the race of a Brahmana that is given to the recitation of
the Gayatri and other sacred Mantras. There, in that order, one has to
wander for a long period. After a time measured by multiplying the period
last named by four hundred, one takes birth in the race of such a
Brahmana as is conversant with the entire Vedas and the scriptures,
There, in that order, one has to wander for a very long period. While
wandering in that status of existence, joy and grief, desire and
aversion, vanity and evil speech, seek to enter into him and make a
wretch of him. If he succeeds in subjugating those foes, he then attains
a high end. If, on the other hand, those enemies succeed in subjugating
him, he falls down from that high status like a person falling down on
the ground from the high top of a palmyra tree. Knowing this for certain,
O Matanga, I say unto thee, do thou name some other boon, for the status
of a Brahmana is incapable of being attained by thee (that hast been born
as a Chandala)!’


“Bhishma said, ‘Thus advised by Indra, Matanga, observant of vows,
refused, to hear what he was bid. On the other hand, with regulated vows
and cleansed soul, he practised austere penances by standing on one foot
for a thousand years, and was deeply engaged in Yoga-meditation. After a
thousand years had passed away, Sakra once more came to see him. Indeed,
the slayer of Vala and Vritra said unto him the same words.’

‘Matanga said, ‘I have passed these thousand years, standing on one foot,
in deep meditation, observing of the vow of Brahmacharyya. Why is it that
I have not yet succeeded in acquiring the status of a Brahmana?’

‘Sakra said, ‘One born on a Chandala cannot, by any means acquire the
status of a Brahmana. Do thou, therefore name some boon so that all this
labour of thine may not prove fruitless–Thus addressed by the chief of
the celestials, Matanga became filled with grief. He repaired to Prayaga,
and passed there a hundred years, standing all the while on his toes. In
consequence of the observance of such Yoga which was extremely difficult
to bear, he became very much emaciated and his arteries and veins became
swollen and visible. He was reduced to only skin and bones. Indeed, it
has been heard by us that the righteous-souled Matanga, while practising
those austerities at Gaya, dropped down on the ground from sheer
exhaustion. The lord and giver of boons, engaged in the good of all
creatures, viz., Vasava beholding him falling down, quickly came to that
spot and held him fast.’

“Sakra said, ‘It seems, O Matanga, that the status of a Brahmana which
thou seekest is ill-suited to thee. That status is incapable of being
attained by thee. Verily, in thy case, it is surrounded by many dangers.
A person by worshipping a Brahmana obtains happiness; while by abstaining
from such worship, he obtains grief and misery. The Brahmana is, with
respect to all creatures, the giver of what they prize or covet and the
protector of what they already have. It is through the Brahmanas that the
Pitris and the deities become gratified. The Brahmana, O Matanga, is said
to be foremost of all created Beings. The Brahmana grants all objects
that are desired and in the way they are desired?[248] Wandering through
innumerable orders of Being and undergoing repeated rebirths, one
succeeds in some subsequent birth in acquiring the status of a Brahmana.
That status is really incapable of being obtained by persons of
uncleansed souls. Do thou, therefore, give up the idea. Do thou name some
other boon. The particular boon which thou seekest is incapable of being
granted to thee.’

“Matanga said, ‘Afflicted as I am with grief, why, O Sakra, dost thou
afflict me further (with such speeches as these)? Thou art striking one
that is already dead, by this behaviour. I do not pity thee for having
acquired the status of a Brahmana thou now failest to retain it (for thou
hast no compassion to show for one like me). O thou of a hundred
sacrifices, the status of a Brahmana as thou sayest be really
unattainable by any of the three other orders, yet, men that have
succeeded in acquiring (through natural means) that high status do not
adhere to it (for what sins do net even Brahmanas commit). Those who
having acquired the status of a Brahmana that, like affluence, is so
difficult to acquire, do not seek to keep it up (by practising the
necessary duties), must be regarded to be the lowest of wretches in this
world. Indeed, they are the most sinful of all creatures. Without doubt,
the status of a Brahmana is exceedingly difficult to attain, and once
being attained, it is difficult to maintain it. It is capable of
dispelling every kind of grief. Alas, having attained to it, men do not
always seek to keep it up (by practising righteousness and the other
duties that attach to it). When even such persons are regarded as
Brahmanas why is it that I, who am contented with my own self, who am
above all couples of opposites, who am dissociated from all worldly
objects, who am observant of the duty of compassion towards all creatures
and of self-restraint of conduct, should not be regarded as deserving of
that status.[249] How unfortunate I am, O Purandara, that through the
fault of my mother I have been reduced to this condition, although I am
not unrighteous in my behaviour? Without doubt, Destiny is incapable of
being warded off or conquered by individual exertion, since, O lord, I am
unable to acquire, notwithstanding these persistent efforts of mine, the
object, upon the acquisition of which I have set my heart. When such is
the case, O righteous one, it behoves thee to grant me some other boon
if, indeed, I have become worthy of thy grace or if I have a little of

“Bhishma continued, ‘The slayer of Vala and Vritra then said unto
him,–Do thou name the boon.–Thus urged by the great Indra, Matanga said
the following words:

“Matanga said, ‘Let me be possessed of the power of assuming any form at
will, and journeying through the skies and let me enjoy whatever
pleasures I may set my heart upon. And let me also have the willing
adorations of both Brahmanas and Kshatriyas. I bow to thee by bending my
head, O god. It behoveth thee to do that also by which my fame, O
Purandara, May live for ever in the world.’

“Sakra said, ‘Thou shalt be celebrated as the deity of a particular
measure of verse and thou shalt obtain the worship of all woman. Thy
fame, O son, shall become unrivalled in the three worlds.’–Having
granted him these boons, Vasava disappeared there and then. Matanga also,
casting off his life-breaths, attained to a high place. Thou mayst thus
see, O Bharata, that the status of a Brahmana is very high. That status
is incapable of being acquired here (except in the natural way of birth)
as said by the great Indra himself.’


“Yudhishthira said, ‘I have heard this great narrative, O perpetuator of
Kuru’s race. Thou, O foremost of eloquent men, hast said that the status
of a Brahmana is exceedingly difficult of acquisition. It is heard,
however, that in former times the status of a Brahmana had been acquired
by Viswamitra. Thou, however, O best of men, tellest us that status is
incapable of being acquired. I have also heard that king Vitahavya in
ancient times succeeded in obtaining the status of a Brahmana. I desire
to hear, O puissant son of Ganga, the story of Vitahavya’s promotion. By
what acts did that best of kings succeed in acquiring the status of a
Brahmana? Was it through some boon (obtained from some one of great
puissance) or was it through the virtue of penances? It behoveth thee to
tell me everything.’

“Bhishma said, ‘Hear, O monarch, how the royal sage Vitahavya of great
celebrity succeeded in ancient times in acquiring the status of a
Brahmana that is so difficult to attain and that is held in such high
reverence by all the world. While the high-souled Manu in days of yore
was employed in righteously ruling his subjects, he obtained a son of
righteous soul who became celebrated under the name of Saryati. In
Saryati’s, race, O monarch, two kings took their birth, viz., Haihaya and
Talajangha. Both of them were sons of Vatsa, O foremost of victorious
kings. Haihaya, O monarch, had ten wives. Upon them he begot, O Bharata,
a century of sons all of whom were highly inclined to fighting. All of
them resembled one another in features and prowess. All of them were
endued with great strength and all of them were possessed of great skill
in battle. They all studied the Vedas and the science of weapons
thoroughly. In Kasi also, O monarch, there was a king who was the
grandfather of Divodasa. The foremost of victorious men, he was known by
the name of Haryyaswa. The sons of king Haihaya, O chief of men (who was
otherwise known by the name of Vitahavya), invaded the kingdom of Kasi
and advancing to the country that lies between the rivers Ganga and
Yamuna, fought a battle with king Haryyaswa and also slew him in it.
Having slain king Haryyaswa in this way, the sons of Haihaya, those great
car-warriors, fearlessly went back to their own delightful city in the
country of the Vatsas. Meanwhile Haryyaswa’s son Sudeva, who looked like
a deity in splendour and who was a second god of righteousness, was
installed on the throne of Kasi as its ruler. The delighter of Kasi, that
righteous-souled prince ruled his kingdom for sometime, when the hundred
sons of Vitahavya once more invaded his dominions and defeated him in
battle. Having vanquished king Sudeva thus, the victors returned to their
own city. After that Divodasa, the son of Sudeva, became installed on the
throne of Kasi as its ruler. Realising the prowess of those high-souled
princes, viz., the sons of Vitahavya, king Divodasa, endued with great
energy, rebuilt and fortified the city of Baranasi at the command of
Indra. The territories of Divodasa were full of Brahmanas and Kshatriyas,
and abounded with Vaisyas and Sudras. And they teemed with articles and
provisions of every kind, and were adorned with shops and marts swelling
with prosperity. Those territories, O best of kings, stretched northwards
from the banks of Ganga to the southern banks of Gomati, and resembled a
second Amravati (the city of Indra). The Haihayas once again, O Bharata,
attacked that tiger among kings, as he ruled his kingdom. The mighty king
Divodasa endued with great splendour, issuing out of his capital, gave
them battle. The engagement between the two parties proved so fierce as
to resemble the encounter in days of old between the deities and the
Asuras. King Divodasa fought the enemy for a thousand days at the end of
which, having lost a number of followers and animals, he became
exceedingly distressed.[250] King Divodasa, O monarch, having lost his
army and seeing his treasury exhausted, left his capital and fled away.
Repairing to the delightful retreat of Bhardwaja endued with great wisdom
the king, O chastiser of foes joining his hands in reverence, sought the
Rishi’s protection. Beholding King Divodasa before him, the eldest son of
Vrihaspati, viz., Bharadwaja of excellent conduct, who was the monarch’s
priest, said unto him, What is the reason of thy coming here? Tell me
everything, O king. I shall do that which is agreeable to thee, without
any scruple.’

“The king said, ‘O holy one, the sons of Vitahavya have slain all the
children and men of my house. I only have escaped with life, totally
discomfited by the foe. I seek thy protection. It behoveth thee, O holy
one, to protect me with such affection as thou hast for a disciple. Those
princes of sinful deeds have slaughtered my whole race, leaving myself
only alive.’

“Bhishma continued, ‘Unto him who pleaded so piteously, Bharadwaja of
great energy said, Do not fear! Do not fear! O son of Sudeva, let thy
fears be dispelled. I shall perform a sacrifice, O monarch, in order that
thou mayst have a son through whom thou shalt be able to smite thousands
upon thousands of Vitahavya’s party. After this, the Rishi performed a
sacrifice with the object of bestowing a son on Divodasa. As the result
thereof, unto Divodasa was born a son named Pratarddana. Immediately on
his birth he grew up like a boy of full three and ten years and quickly
mastered the entire Vedas and the whole of arms. Aided by his Yoga
powers, Bharadwaja of great intelligence had entered into the prince.
Indeed, collecting all the energy that occurs in the object of the
universe, Bharadwaja put them together in the body of prince Pratarddana.
Put on shining mail on his person and armed with the bow, Pratarddana,
his praises sung by bards and the celestial Rishis, shone resplendent
like the risen star of day. Mounted on his car and with the scimitar tied
to his belt, he shone like a blazing fire. With scimitar and shield and
whirling his shield as he went, he proceeded to the presence of his sire.
Beholding the prince, the son of Sudeva, viz., king Divodasa, became
filled with joy. Indeed, the old king thought the sons of his enemy
Vitahavya as already slain. Divodasa then installed his son Pratarddana
as Yuvaraja, and regarding himself crowned with success became
exceedingly happy. After this, the old king commanded that chastiser of
foes, viz., prince Pratarddana to march against the sons of Vitahavya and
slay them in battle. Endued with great powers. Pratarddana, that
subjugator of hostile cities speedily crossed Ganga on his car and
proceeded against the city of the Vitahavyas. Hearing the clatter
produced by the wheels of his car, the sons of Vitahavya, riding on their
own cars that looked like fortified citadels and that were capable of
destroying hostile vehicles, issued out of their city. Issuing out of
their capital, those tigers among men, viz., the sons of Vitahavya, who
were all skilful warriors cased in mail, rushed with uplifted weapons
towards Pratarddana, covering him with showers of arrows. Encompassing
him with innumerable cars, O Yudhisthira, the Vitahavyas poured upon
Pratarddana showers of weapons of various kinds like clouds pouring
torrents of rain on the breast of Himavat. Baffling their weapons with
his own, prince Pratarddana endued with mighty energy slew them all with
his shafts that resembled the lighting fire of Indra. Their heads struck
off, O king, with hundreds and thousands of broad-headed arrows, the
warriors of Vitahavya fell down with blood-dyed bodies like Kinsuka trees
felled by woodmen with their axes on every side. After all his warriors
and sons had fallen in battle, king Vitahavya fled away from his capital
to the retreat of Bhrigu. Indeed, arrived there, the royal fugitive
sought the protection of Bhrigu. The Rishi Bhrigu, O monarch, assured the
defeated king of his protection. Pratarddana followed in the footsteps of
Vitahavya. Arrived at the Rishi’s retreat, the son of Divodasa said in a
loud voice.–Ho, listen ye disciples of the high souled Bhrigu that may
happen to be present, I wish to see the sage. Go and inform him of this.
Recognising that it was Pratarddana who had come, the Rishi Bhrigu
himself came out of his retreat and worshipped that best of kings
according to due rites. Addressing him then, the Rishi said,–Tell me, O
king, what is thy business. The king, at this, informed the Rishi of the
reason of his presence.’

“The king said, ‘King Vitahavya has come here, O Brahmana. Do thou give
him up. His sons, O Brahmana, had destroyed my race. They had laid waste
the territories and the wealth of the kingdom of Kasi. Hundred sons,
however, of this king proud of his might, have all been slain by me. By
slaying that king himself I shall today pay off the debt I owe to my
father. Unto him that foremost of righteous men, viz., the Rishi Bhrigu,
penetrated with compassion, replied by saying,–There is no Kshatriya in
this retreat. They that are here are all Brahmanas. Hearing these words
of Bhrigu that must accord he thought with truth, Pratarddana touched the
Rishi’s feet slowly and, filled with delight, said,–By this, O holy one,
I am without doubt, crowned with success, since this king becomes
abandoned by the very order of his birth in consequence of my prowess.
Give me thy permission, O Brahmana, to leave thee, and let me solicit
thee to pray for my welfare. This king, O founder of the race that goes
by the name, has been compelled to leave of the very community of his
birth, in consequence of my might. Dismissed by the Rishi Bhrigu, king
Pratarddana then departed from that retreat, having even as a snake
vomits forth its real poison and repaired to the place he had come from.
Meanwhile, king Vitahavya attained to the status of a Brahmana sage by
virtue of the words only of Bhrigu. And he acquired also a complete
mastery over all the Vedas through the same cause. Vitahavya had a son
named Gritsamada who in beauty of person was a second Indra. Once on a
time the Daityas afflicted him much, believing him to be none else than
Indra. With regard to that high-souled Rishi, one foremost of Srutis in
the Richs goes like this viz., He with whom Gritsamada stays, O Brahmana,
is held in high respect by all Brahmanas. Endued with great intelligence,
Gritsamada become a regenerate Rishi in the observance of Brahmacharyya.
Gritsamada had a regenerate son of the name of Sutejas. Sutejas had a son
of the name of Varchas, and the son of Varchas was known by the name of
Vihavya. Vihavya had a son of his loins who was named Vitatya and Vitatya
had a son of name Satya. Satya had a son of name Santa. Santa had a son,
viz., the Rishi Sravas. Sravas begot a son named Tama. Tama begot a son
named Prakasa, who was a very superior Brahmana. Prakasa had a son named
Vagindra who was the foremost of all silent reciters of sacred Mantras.
Vagindra begot a son named Pramati who was a complete master of all the
Vedas and their branches. Pramati begot upon the Apsara Ghritachi a son
who was named Ruru. Ruru begot a son upon his spouse Pramadvara. That son
was the regenerate Rishi Sunaka. Sunaka begot a son who is named Saunaka.
It was even thus, O foremost of monarchs, that king Vitahavya, though a
Kshatriya by the order of his birth, obtained the status of a Brahmana, O
chief of Kshatriyas, through the grace of Bhrigu. I have also told thee
the genealogy of the race that sprung from Gritsamada. What else wouldst
thou ask?’


“Yudhishthira said, ‘What men, O chief of Bharata’s race, are worthy of
reverent homage in the three worlds? Tell me this in detail verily. I am
never satiated with hearing thee discourse on these topics.’

“Bhishma said, ‘In this connection is cited the old narrative of the
discourse between Narada and Vasudeva. Beholding Narada on one occasion
worshipping many foremost of Brahmanas with joined hands, Kesava
addressed him saying, Whom dost thou worship? Whom amongst these
Brahmanas, O holy one dost thou worship with so great reverence? If it is
a matter that I can heard of, I then wish to hear it. Do, O foremost of
righteous men, tell me this!'[251]

“Narada said, ‘Hear, O Govinda, as to who those are whom I am
worshipping, O grinder of foes. Who else is there in this world that so
much deserves to hear this? I worship the Brahmanas, O puissant one, who
constantly worship Varuna and Vayu and Aditya and Parjanya and the deity
of Fire, and Sthanu and Skanda and Lakshmi and Vishnu and the Brahmanas,
and the lord of speech, and Chandramas, and the Waters and Earth and the
goddess Saraswati. O tiger of Vrishni’s race, I always worship those
Brahmanas that are endued with penances, that are conversant with the
Vedas, that are always devoted to Vedic study, and that are possessed of
high worth. O puissant one, I bow down my head unto those persons who are
freed from boastfulness, who discharge, with an empty stomach, the rites
in honour of the deities, who are always contented with what they have
and who are endued with forgiveness. I worship them, O Yadava, that are
performers of sacrifices, that are of a forgiving disposition, and self
restrained, that are masters of their own senses, that worship truth and
righteousness, and that give away land and kine unto good Brahmanas.[252]
I bow unto them, O Yadava, that are devoted to the observance of
penances, that dwell in forests, that subsist upon fruits and roots, that
never store anything for the morrow, and that are observant of all the
acts and rites laid down in the scriptures. I bow unto them, O Yadava,
that feed and cherish their servants, that are always hospitable to
guests, and that eat only the remnants of what is offered to the deities.
I worship them that have become irresistible by studying the Vedas, that
are eloquent in discoursing on the scriptures, that are observant of the
vow of Brahmacharyya, and that are always devoted to the duties of
officiating at the sacrifices of others and of teaching disciples. I
worship them that are endued with compassion towards all creatures, and
that study the Vedas till noon (i.e. till their backs are heated by the
sun). I bow unto them, O Yadava, that strive to obtain the grace of their
preceptors, that labour in the acquisition of their Vedas, that are firm
in the observance of vows, that wait, with dutiful obedience, upon their
preceptors and seniors, and that are free from malice and envy. I bow
unto them, O Yadava, that are observant of excellent vows, that practice
taciturnity, that have knowledge of Brahman, that are firm in truth, that
are givers of libations of clarified butter and oblations of meat. I bow
to them, O Yadava, that subsist upon eleemosynary alms, that are
emaciated for want of adequate food and drink, that have lived in the
abodes of their preceptors, that are averse to and destitute of all
enjoyments, and that are poor in the goods of this Earth. I bow unto
them, O Yadava, that have no affection for things of this Earth, that
have no quarrels to wage with others, that do not clothe themselves, that
have no wants, that have become irresistible through the acquisition of
the Vedas, that are eloquent in the exposition of righteousness, and that
are utterers of Brahma, I bow unto them that are devoted to the practice
of the duty of compassion towards all creatures, that are firm in the
observance of truth, that are self-restrained, and that are peaceful in
their behaviour. I bow unto them, O Yadava, that are devoted to the
worship of deities and guests, that are observant of the domestic mode of
life, and that follow the practice of pigeons in the matter of their
subsistence.[253] I always bow unto those persons whose aggregate of
three exists, without being weakened, in all their acts, and who are
observant of truth and righteous behaviour,[254] I bow unto them, O
Kesava, that are conversant with Brahma, that are endued with knowledge
of the Vedas, that are attentive to the aggregate of three, that are free
from cupidity, and that are righteous in their behaviour. I bow unto
them, O Madhava, that subsist upon water only, or upon air alone, or upon
the remnants of the food that is offered to deities and guests, and that
are observant of diverse kinds of excellent vows. I always worship them
that have no spouses (in consequence of the vow of celibacy they
observe), that have spouses and the domestic fire (in consequence of the
domestic mode of life they lead), that are the refuge of the Vedas, and
that are the refuge of all creatures in the universe (in consequence of
the compassion they feel towards them). I always bow unto those Rishis, O
Krishna, that are the creators of the universe, that are the elders of
the universe, that are the eldest members of the race or the family, that
are dispellers of the darkness of ignorance, and that are the best of all
persons in the universe (for righteousness of behaviour and knowledge of
the scriptures). For these reasons, do thou also, O scion of Vrishni’s
race, worship every day those regenerate persons of whom I speak.
Deserving as they are of reverent worship, they will when worshipped,
confer happiness on thee, O sinless one. Those persons of whom I speak
are always givers of happiness in this world as well as in the next.
Reverenced by all, they move about in this world, and if worshipped by
thee are sure to grant thee happiness. They who are hospitable to all
persons that come unto them as guests, and who are always devoted to
Brahmanas and kine, as also to truth (in speech and behaviour), succeed
in crossing all calamities and obstacles. They who are always devoted to
peacefulness of behaviour, as also they who are freed from malice and
envy, and they who are always attentive to the study of the Vedas,
succeed in crossing all calamities and obstacles. They who bow unto all
the deities (without showing a preference for any and thereby proving
their tolerance), they who betake themselves to one Veda as their refuge,
they who are possessed of faith and are self-restrained, succeed in
crossing all calamities and obstacles. They who worship the foremost of
Brahmanas with reverence and are firm in the observance of excellent vows
and practise the virtue of charity, succeed in crossing all calamities
and obstacles. They who are engaged in the practice of penances, they who
are always observant of the vow of celibacy, and they whose souls have
been cleansed by penances, succeed in crossing all calamities and
obstacles. They who are devoted to the worship of the deities and guests
and dependants, as also of the Pitris, and they who eat the remnant of
the food that is offered to deities, Pitris, guests and dependants,
succeed in crossing all calamities and obstacles. They who, having
ignited the domestic fire, duly keep it burning and worship it with
reverence and they who have duly poured libations (to the deities) in
Soma-sacrifices, succeed in crossing all calamities and obstacles. They
who behave as they should towards their mothers and fathers and
preceptors and other seniors even as thou, O tiger among the Vrishnis,
dost behave, succeed in crossing all calamities and obstacles–Having
said these words, the celestial Rishi ceased speaking.’

“Bhishma continued. ‘For these reasons, do thou also, O son of Kunti,
always worship with reverence the deities, the Pitris, the Brahmanas, and
guests arrived at thy mansion and as the consequence of such conduct thou
art sure to attain to a desirable end!'”


“Yudhishthira said,–‘O grandsire, O thou of great wisdom, O thou that
art conversant with all branches of knowledge, I desire to hear thee
discourse on topics connected with duty and Righteousness. Tell me truly,
O chief of Bharata’s race, what the merits are of those persons that
grant protection to living creatures of the four orders when these pray
for protection.’

“Bhishma said, ‘O Dharma’s son of great wisdom and widespread fame,
listen to this old history touching the great merit of granting
protection to others when protection is humbly sought. Once on a time, a
beautiful pigeon, pursued by a hawk, dropped down from the skies and
sought the protection of the highly-blessed king Vrishadarbha. The
pure-souled monarch, beholding the pigeon take refuge in his lap from
fear, comforted him, saying, Be comforted, O bird; do not fear, Whence
hast thou taken such great fright? What hast thou done and where hast
thou done it in consequence of which thou hast lost thy senses in fear
and art more dead than alive? Thy colour, beautiful bird, is such as to
resemble that which adorns a fresh-blown lotus of the blue variety. Thy
eyes are of the hue of the pomegranate or the Asoka flower. Do not fear.
I bid thee, be comforted. When thou hast sought refuge with me, know that
no one will have the courage to even think of seizing thee,–thee that
hast such a protector to take care of thy person. I shall for thy sake,
give up today the very kingdom of the Kasi and, if need be, my lice too.
Be comforted, therefore, and let no fear be thine, O pigeon.’

“The hawk said, ‘This bird has been ordained to be my food. It behoves
thee not, O king, to protect him from me. I have outcoursed this bird and
have got him. Verily, with great effort have I got at him at last. His
flesh and blood and marrow and fat will be of great good to me. This bird
will be the means of gratifying me greatly. Do not, O king, place thyself
between him and me in this way. Fierce is the thirst that is afflicting
me, and hunger is gnawing my bowels. Release the bird and cast him off. I
am unable to bear the pains of hunger any longer. I pursued him as my
prey. Behold, his body is bruised and torn by me with my wings and
talons. Look, his breath has become very weak. It behoves thee not, O
king, to protect him from me. In the exercise of that power which
properly belongs to thee, thou art, indeed competent to interfere in
protecting human beings when they are sought to be destroyed by human
beings. Thou canst not, however, be admitted to have any power over a
sky-ranging bird afflicted with thirst. Thy power may extend over thy
enemies, thy servants, thy relatives, the disputes that take place
between thy subjects. Indeed, it may extend over every part of thy
dominions and over also thy own senses. Thy power, however, does not
extend over the welkin. Displaying thy prowess over such foes as act
against thy wishes, thou mayst establish thy rule over them. Thy rule,
however, does not extend over the birds that range the sky. Indeed, if
thou hast been desirous of earning merit (by protecting this pigeon), it
is thy duty to look at me also (and do what is proper for enabling me to
appease my hunger and save my life)!

“Bhishma continued, ‘Hearing these words of the hawk, the royal sage
became filled with wonder. Without disregarding these words of his, the
king, desirous of attending to his comforts, replied unto him saying the
following words.’

“The king said, ‘Let a bovine bull or boar or deer or buffalo be dressed
today for thy sake. Do thou appease thy hunger on such food today. Never
to desert one that has sought my protection in my firm vow. Behold, O
bird, this bird does not leave my lap!’

“The hawk said, ‘I do not, O monarch, eat the flesh of the boar or the ox
or of any of the diverse kinds of fowl. What need have I of food of this
or that kind? My concern is with that food which has been eternally
ordained for beings of my order? Hawks feed on pigeons,–this is the
eternal ordinance. O sinless, Usinara, if thou feelest such affection for
this pigeon, do thou then give me flesh from thy own body, of weight
equal to that of this pigeon.’

“The king said, ‘Great is the favour thou showiest me today by speaking
to me in this strain. Yes, I shall do what thou biddest. Having said
this, that best of monarchs began to cut off his own flesh and weigh it
in a balance against the pigeon. Meanwhile, in the inner apartments of
the palace, the spouses of king, adorned with jewels and gems, hearing
what was taking place, uttered exclamations of woe and came out, stricken
with grief. In consequence of those cries of the ladies, as also of the
ministers and servants, a noise deep as the roar of the clouds arose in
the palace. The sky that had been very clear became enveloped with thick
clouds on every side. The Earth began to tremble, as the consequence of
that act of truth which the monarch did. The king began to cut off the
flesh from his flanks from the arms, and from his thighs, and quickly
fill one of the scales for weighing it against the pigeon. In spite of
all that, the pigeon continued to weigh heavier. When at last the king
became a skeleton of bones, without any flesh, and covered with blood, he
desired to give up his whole body and, therefore, ascended the scale in
which he had placed the flesh that he had previously cut off. At that
time, the three worlds, with Indra at their head, came to that spot for
beholding him. Celestial kettle-drums and diverse drums were struck and
played upon by invisible beings belonging to the firmament. King
Vrishadarbha was bathed in a shower of nectar that was poured upon him.
Garlands of celestial flowers, of delicious fragrance and touch, were
also showered upon him copiously and repeatedly. The deities and
Gandharvas and Apsaras in large bands began to sing and dance around him
even as they sing and dance around the Grandsire Brahma. The king then
ascended a celestial car that surpassed (in grandeur and beauty) a
mansion made entirely of gold, that had arches made of gold and gems, and
that was adorned with columns made of lapis lazuli. Through the merit of
his act, the royal sage Sivi proceeded to eternal Heaven. Do thou also, O
Yudhishthira, act in the same way towards those that seek thy protection.
He who protects those that are devoted to him, those that are attached to
him from love and affection, and those that depend upon him, and who has
compassion for all creatures, succeeds in attaining to great felicity
hereafter. That king who is of righteous behaviour and who is observant
of honesty and integrity, succeeds by his acts of sincerity in acquiring
every valuable reward. The royal sage Sivi of pure soul and endued with
great wisdom and unbaffled prowess, that ruler of the kingdom of Kasi,
became celebrated over the three worlds for his deeds of righteousness.
Anybody who would protect in the same way a seeker for protection, would
certainly attain (like Sivi himself) to the same happy end, O best of the
Bharatas. He who recites this history of the royal sage Vrishadarbha is
sure to become cleansed of every sin, and the person who hears this
history recited by another is sure to attain to the same result.'”


“Yudhishthira said, ‘Which act, O grandsire, is the foremost of all those
that have been laid down for a king? What is that act by doing which a
king succeeds in enjoying both this world and the next?’

“Bhishma said, ‘Even this viz., the worship of the Brahmanas, is the
foremost of all those act, O Bharata, which have been laid down for a
king duly installed on the throne, if, indeed, he is desirous of
obtaining great happiness. Even this is what the foremost of all kings
should do. Know this well, O chief of Bharata’s race. The king should
always worship with reverence all righteous Brahmanas possessed of Vedic
lore.[255] The king should, with bows and comforting speeches and gifts
of all articles of enjoyment, worship all Brahmanas possessed of great
learning who may dwell in his city or provinces. This is the foremost of
all acts laid down for the king. Indeed, the king should always keep his
eyes fixed on this. He should protect and cherish these, even as he
protects his own self or his own children. The king should worship with
greater reverence those amongst the Brahmanas that may be worthy of it
(for their superior sanctity and learning). When such men are freed from
all anxiety, the whole kingdom blazes forth in beauty. Such individuals
are worthy of adoration. Unto such the king should bow his head. Verily,
they should be honoured, even as one honours one’s sires and grandsires.
Upon them depends the course of conduct followed by men, even as the
existence of all creatures depends upon Vasava. Of prowess incapable of
being baffled and endued with great energy, such men, if enraged, are
capable of consuming the entire kingdom to ashes by only fiat of their
will, or by acts of incantation, or by other means (derived from the
power of penance). I do not see anything that can destroy them. Their
power seems to be uncontrolled, being capable of reaching to the farthest
end of the universe. When angry, their glances fall upon men and things
like a blazing flame of fire upon a forest. The most courageous men are
struck with fear at their men. Their virtues and powers are extraordinary
and immeasurable. Some amongst them are like wells and pits with mouths
covered by grass and creepers, while others resemble the firmament
cleared of clouds and darkness. Some amongst them are of fierce
dispositions (like Durvasas and others of that stamp). Some are as mild
and soft in disposition as cotton (like Gautama and others). Some amongst
them are very cunning (like Agastya who devoured the Asura Vatapi, and
Rishis of that class). Some amongst them are devoted to the practice of
penances. Some amongst them are employed in agricultural pursuits (like
the preceptor of Uddalaka). Some amongst them are engaged in the keep of
kine (as Upamanyu while attending his preceptor). Some amongst them live
upon eleemosynary alms. Some amongst them are even thieves (like Valmiki
in his early years and Viswamitra during a famine). Some amongst them are
fond of fomenting quarrels and disputes (like Narada). Some, again,
amongst them are actors and dancers (like Bharata). Some amongst them are
competent to achieve all feats, ordinary and extraordinary (like Agastya
drinking up the entire ocean, as if it were a palmful of water). The
Brahmanas, O chief of Bharata’s race are of diverse aspects and
behaviour. One should always utter the praises of the Brahmanas who are
conversant with all duties, who are righteous of behaviour, who are
devoted to diverse kinds of act, and who are seen to derive their
sustenance from diverse kinds of occupations.[256] The Brahmanas, O ruler
of men, who are highly blessed, are elder in respect of their origin than
the Pitris, the deities, human beings (belonging to the three other
orders), the Snakes and the Rakshasas. These regenerate persons are
incapable of being vanquished by the deities or the Pitris, or the
Gandharvas or the Rakshasas, or the Asuras or the Pisachas. The Brahmanas
are competent to make him a deity that is not a deity They can, again,
divest one that is a deity of his status as such. He becomes a king whom
they wish to make a king. He, on the other hand, goes to the wall whom
they do not love or like. I tell thee truly, O king, that those foolish
persons, without doubt, meet with destruction who calumniate the
Brahmanas and utter their dispraise. Skilled in praise and dispraise, and
themselves the origin or cause of other people’s fame and ignominy the
Brahmanas, O king, always become angry with those that seek to injure
others. That man whom the Brahmanas praise succeeds in growing in
prosperity. That man who is censured and is cast off by the Brahmanas
soon meets with discomfiture. It is in consequence of the absence of
Brahmanas from among them that the Sakas, the Yavanas, the Kamvojas and
other Kshatriya tribes have become fallen and degraded into the status of
Sudras. The Dravidas, the Kalingas, the Pulandas, the Usinaras, the
Kolisarpas, the Mahishakas and other Kshatriyas, have, in consequence of
the absence of Brahmanas from among their midst, become degraded into
Sudras. Defeat at their hands is preferable to victory over them, O
foremost of victorious persons. One slaying all other living creatures in
the world does not incur a sin so heinous as that of slaying a single
Brahmana. The great Rishis have said that Brahmanicide is a heinous sin.
One should never utter the dispraise or calumny of the Brahmanas. Where
the dispraise of Brahmanas is uttered, one should sit with face hanging
down or leave that spot (for avoiding both the utterer and his words).
That man has not as yet been born in this world or will not take birth
here, who has been or will be able to pass his life in happiness after
quarrelling with the Brahmanas. One cannot seize the wind with one’s
hands. One cannot touch the moon with one’s hand. One cannot support the
Earth on one’s arms. After the same manner, O king, one is not able to
vanquish the Brahmanas in this world.'”


“Bhishma said, ‘One should always offer the most reverent worship unto
the Brahmanas. They have Soma for their king, and they it is who confer
happiness and misery upon others. They, O king, should always be
cherished and protected as one cherishes and protects one’s own sires and
grandsires, and should be adored with bows and gifts of food and
ornaments and other articles of enjoyment, as also with such things as
they may desire. The peace and happiness of the kingdom flow from such
respect shown to the Brahmanas even as the peace and happiness of all
living creatures flow from Vasava, the chief of the celestials. Let
Brahmanas of pure behaviour and Brahma-effulgence be born in a kingdom.
Kshatriyas also that are splendid car-warriors and that are capable of
scorching all foes, should be desired (amongst those that settle in a
kingdom). This was said unto me by Narada. There is nothing higher, O
king, than this, viz., the act of causing a Brahmana possessed of good
birth, having a knowledge of morality and righteousness, and steadfast in
the observance of excellent vows, to take up his residence in one’s
mansion. Such an act is productive of every kind of blessing. The
sacrificial offerings given unto Brahmanas reach the very deities who
accept them. Brahmanas are the sires of all creatures. There is nothing
higher than a Brahmana. Aditya, Chandramas, Wind, Water, Earth, Sky and
the points of the compass, all enter the body of the Brahmana and take
what the Brahmana eats.[257] In that house where Brahmanas do not eat,
the Pitris refuse to eat. The deities also never eat in the house of the
wretch who hates the Brahmanas. When the Brahmanas are gratified, the
Pitris also are gratified. There is no doubt in this. They that give away
the sacrificial butter unto the Brahmanas become themselves gratified (in
this and the other world). Such men never meet with destruction. Verily,
they succeed in attaining to high ends. Those particular offerings in
sacrifices with which one gratifies the Brahmanas go to gratify both the
Pitris and the deities. The Brahmana is the cause of that sacrifice
whence all created things have sprung. The Brahmana is acquainted with
that from which this universe has sprung and unto which, when apparently
destroyed, it returns. Indeed the Brahmana knows the path that leads to
Heaven and the other path that leads to the opposite place. The Brahmana
is conversant with what has happened and what will happen. The Brahmana
is the foremost of all two-legged beings. The Brahmana, O chief of the
Bharatas, is fully conversant with the duties that have been laid down
for his order. Those persons that follow the Brahmanas are never
vanquished. Departing from this world, they never meet with destruction.
Indeed victory is always theirs. Those high-souled persons,–indeed,
those persons that have subdued their souls,–who accept the words that
fall from the lips of the Brahmanas, are never vanquished. Victory always
becomes theirs.[258] The energy and might of those Kshatriyas who scorch
everything with their energy and might become neutralised when they
encounter the Brahmanas. The Bhrigus conquered the Talajanghas. The son
of Angiras conquered the Nipas. Bharadwaja conquered the Vitahavyas as
also the Ailas. O chief of Bharata’s race. Although all these Kshatriyas
were capable of using diverse kinds of arms, yet the Brahmanas named,
owning only black deer skins for their emblems, succeeded in conquering
them effectually. Bestowing the Earth upon the Brahmanas and illuminating
both the worlds by the splendour of such a deed, one should accomplish
acts through which one may succeed in attaining to the end of all
things.[259] Like fire concealed within wood, everything that is said or
heard or read in this world, lies ensconced in the Brahmana. In this
connection is cited the old history of the conversation between Vasudeva
and the Earth, O chief of Bharata’s race!’

“Vasudeva said, ‘O mother of all creatures, O auspicious goddess, I
desire to ask thee for a solution of this doubt of mine. By what act does
a man leading the domestic mode of life succeed in cleansing all his

“The Earth said, ‘One should serve the Brahmanas. This conduct is
cleansing and excellent. All the impurities destroyed of that man who
serves the Brahmanas with reverence. From this (conduct) arises
prosperity. From this arises fame. From this springs forth intelligence
or knowledge of the soul. A Kshatriya by this conduct, becomes a mighty
car-warrior and a scorcher of foes and succeeds in acquiring great fame.
Even this is what Narada said unto me, viz., that one should always
revere a Brahmana that is well-born, of rigid vows and conversant with
the scriptures, if one desires every kind of prosperity. That man really
grows in prosperity who is applauded by the Brahmanas, who are higher
than those that are regarded superior to all men high or low. That man
who speaks ill of the Brahmanas soon meets with discomfiture, even as a
clod of unbaked earth meets with destruction when cast into the sea.
After the same manner, all acts that are hurtful to the Brahmanas are
sure to bring about discomfiture and ruin. Behold the dark spots on the
Moon and the salt waters of the ocean. The great Indra had at one time
been marked all over with a thousand sex-marks. It was through the power
of the Brahmanas that those marks became altered into as so many eyes.
Behold, O Mahadeva how all those things took place. Desiring fame and
prosperity and diverse regions of beautitude in the next world, a person
of pure behaviour and soul should, O slayer of Madhu, live in obedience
to the dictates of the Brahmanas.'[260]

“Bhishma continued, ‘Hearing these words of the goddess Earth, the slayer
of Madhu, O thou of Kuru’s race, exclaimed,–Excellent, Excellent–and
honoured the goddess in due form. Having heard this discourse between the
goddess Earth and Madhava, do thou, O son of Pritha, always, with rapt
soul, worship all superior Brahmanas. Doing this, thou shalt verily
obtain what is highly beneficial for thee!”‘


“Bhishma said, ‘O blessed king, Brahmana, by birth alone, becomes an
object of adoration with all creatures and are entitled, as guests, to
eat the first portion of all cooked food.[261] From them flow all the
great objects of life (viz., Righteousness and Wealth and Pleasure and
Emancipation). They are the friends of all creatures in the universe.
They are again the mouths of the deities (for food poured into their
mouths is eaten by the deities). Worshipped with reverence, they wish us
prosperity by uttering words fraught with auspiciousness. Disregarded by
our foes, let them be enraged with these, and let them wish evil unto
those detractors of theirs, uttering words fraught with severe curses. In
this connection, persons conversant with ancient history repeat the
following verses sung of old respecting how in ancient times the Creator,
after having created the Brahmanas, ordained their duties.–A Brahmana
should never do anything else than what has been ordained for him.
Protected, they should protect others. By conducting themselves in this
way, they are sure to attain to what is mightily advantageous for them.
By doing those acts that are ordained for them, they are sure to obtain
Brahma-prosperity. Ye shall become the exemplars of all creatures, and
reins for restraining them. A Brahmana possessed of learning should never
do that which is laid down for the Sudras. By doing such acts, a Brahmana
loses merit[262]. By Vedic study he is sure to obtain prosperity and
intelligence and energy and puissance competent to scorch all things, as
also glory of the most exalted kind. By offering oblations of clarified
butter unto the deities, the Brahmanas attain to high blessedness and
become worthy of taking the precedence of even children in the matter of
all kinds of cooked food, and endued with Brahma-prosperity.[263] Endued
with faith that is fraught with compassion towards all creatures, and
devoted to self-restraint and the study of the Vedas, ye shall attain to
the fruition of all your wishes. Whatever things exist in the world of
men, whatever things occur in the region of the deities, can all be
achieved acquired with the aid of penances and knowledge and the
observance of vows and restraints. I have thus recited to thee, O sinless
one, the verses that were sung by Brahma himself. Endued with supreme
intelligence and wisdom, the Creator himself ordained this, through
compassion for the Brahmanas. The puissance of those among them that are
devoted to penances is equal to the might of kings. They are verily
irresistible, fierce, possessed of the speed of lightning, and
exceedingly quick in what they do. There are amongst them those that are
possessed of the might of lions and those that are possessed of the might
of tigers. Some of them are endued with the might of boars, some with
that of the deer, and some with that of crocodiles. Some there are
amongst them whose touch resembles that of snakes of virulent poison, and
some whose bite resembles that of sharks. Some amongst them are capable
of compassing by speech alone the destruction of those that are opposed
to them; and some are competent to destroy by a glance only of their
eyes. Some, amongst them, as already said, are like snakes of virulent
poison, and some of them are possessed of very mild dispositions. The
dispositions, O Yudhisthira, of the Brahmanas, are of diverse kinds. The
Mekalas, the Dravidas, the Lathas, the Paundras, the Konwasiras, the
Saundikas, the Daradas, the Darvas, the Chauras, the Savaras, the
Varvaras, the Kiratas, the Yavanas, and numerous other tribes of
Kshatriyas, have become degraded into the status of Sudras through the
wrath of Brahmanas. In consequence of having disregarded the Brahmanas,
the Asuras have been obliged to take refuge in the depths of the ocean.
Through the grace of the Brahmanas, the deities have become denizens of
the happy regions of Heaven. The element of space or ether is incapable
of being touched. The Himavat mountains are incapable of being moved from
their site. The current of Ganga is incapable of being resisted by a dam.
The Brahmanas are incapable of being subjugated. Kshatriyas are incapable
of ruling the Earth without cultivating the good will of the Brahmanas.
The Brahmanas are high-souled beings. They are the deities of the very
deities. Do thou always worship them with gifts and obedient services:
if, indeed, thou wishest to enjoy the sovereignty of the whole Earth with
her belt of seas. The energy and might of Brahmanas, O sinless one,
become abated in consequence of the acceptance of gift. Thou shouldst
protect thy race. O king, from those Brahmanas that do not desire to
accept gifts!'”[264]

(Anusasana Parva Continued in Volume XI)


“Bhishma said, ‘In this connection is cited the old history of the
discourse between Sakra and Samvara. Do thou listen to it, O
Yudhishthira. Once upon a time Sakra, assuming the guise of an ascetic
with matted locks on his head and body smeared with ashes all over, rode
on an ugly car and repaired to the presence of the Asura Samvara.’

“Sakra said, ‘Through what conduct, O Samvara, hast thou been able to get
at the head of all individuals of thy race? For what reason do all people
regard thee as superior? Do thou tell me this truly and in detail.’

“Samvara said, ‘I never cherish any ill-feelings towards the Brahmanas.
Whatever instructions they impart I accept with unquestioning reverence.
When the Brahmanas are engaged in interpreting the scriptures, I listen
to them with great happiness. Having heard their interpretations I never
disregard them. Nor do I ever offend against the Brahmanas in any way. I
always worship those Brahmanas that are endued with intelligence. I
always seek information from them. I always worship their feet.
Approaching me with confidence, they always address me with affection and
enquire after my welfare. If they ever happen to be heedless, I am always
heedful. If they happen to sleep, I always remain wakeful. Like bees
drenching the cells of the comb with honey, the Brahmanas, who are my
instructors and rulers, always drench me with the nectar of knowledge–me
that am always devoted to the path pointed out by the scriptures, that am
devoted to the Brahmanas, and that am perfectly free from malice or evil
passion. Whatever they say with cheerful hearts, I always accept aided by
memory and understanding. I am always careful of my own faith in them and
I always think of my own inferiority to them. I always lick the nectar
that dwells at the end of their tongue, and it is for this reason that I
occupy a position far above that of all others of my race like the Moon
transcending all the stars. The scriptural interpretations which fall
from the lips of the Brahmanas and listening to which every wise man acts
in the world, constitute nectar on earth and may also be likened to eyes
of remarkable excellence.[265] Witnessing the encounter between the
deities and the Asuras in days of old, and understanding the puissance of
the instructions that fell from the Brahmanas, my father became filled
with delight and wonder.[266] Beholding the puissance of high-souled
Brahmanas, my sire asked Chandramas the question, ‘How do the Brahmanas
attain to success?

‘Soma said, ‘The Brahmanas become crowned with success through their
penances. Their strength consists in speech. The prowess of persons
belonging to the kingly order resides in their arms. The Brahmanas,
however, have speech for their weapons. Undergoing the discomforts of a
residence in the abode of his preceptor, the Brahmana should study the
Vedas or at least the Pranava. Divesting himself of wrath and renouncing
earthly attachments, he should become a Yati, viewing all things and all
creatures with equal eyes. If remaining in the abode of his sire he
masters all the Vedas and acquiring great knowledge attains to a position
that should command respect people still condemn him as untravelled or
homekeeping. Like a snake swallowing mice, the earth swallows up these
two, viz., a king that is unwilling to fight and a Brahmana that is
unwilling to leave home for acquiring knowledge.[267] Pride destroys the
prosperity of persons of little intelligence. A maiden, if she conceives,
becomes stained. A Brahmana incurs reproach by keeping at home. Even this
is what my father heard from Soma of wonderful aspect. My father, in
consequence of this, began to worship and reverence the Brahmanas. Like
him, I also worship and adore all Brahmanas of high vows.’

“Bhishma continued, “Hearing these words that fell from the mouth of that
prince of Danavas, Sakra began to worship the Brahmanas, and as a
consequence thereof he succeeded in obtaining the chiefdom of the


“Yudhishthira said, ‘Which amongst these three persons, O grandsire,
should be regarded as the best for making gifts unto, viz., one who is a
thorough stranger, or one who is living with and who has been known to
the giver for a long time, or one who presents himself before the giver,
coming from a long distance?’

“Bhishma said, ‘All these are equal. The eligibility of some consists in
their soliciting alms for performing sacrifices or for paying the
preceptor’s fee or for maintaining their spouses and children. The
eligibility of some for receiving gifts, consists in their following the
vow of wandering over the earth, never soliciting anything but receiving
when given. We should also give unto one what one seeks.[268] We should,
however, make gifts without afflicting those that depend upon us. Even
this is what we have heard. By afflicting one’s dependants, one afflicts
one’s own self. The stranger,–one, that is, who has come for the first
time,–should be regarded as a proper object of gifts. He who is familiar
and well-known and has been living with the giver, should be regarded in
the same light. The learned know that he too who comes from a distant
place should be regarded in an equal light.’

“Yudhishthira said, ‘It is true that we should make gifts unto others
without afflicting anyone and without doing violence to the ordinances of
the scriptures. One should, however, correctly ascertain who the person
is that should be regarded as a proper object for making gifts. He should
be such that the gift itself, by being made over to him, may not

“Bhishma said, ‘If the Ritwik, the Purohita, the preceptor, the Acharya,
the disciple, the relative (by marriage), and kinsmen, happen to be
possessed of learning and free from malice, then should they be deemed
worthy of respect and worship. Those persons that do not possess such
qualifications cannot be regarded as worthy of gifts or hospitality.
Hence, one should with deliberation examine persons with whom one comes
into contact. Absence of wrath, truthfulness of speech, abstention from
injury, sincerity, peacefulness of conduct, the absence of pride,
modesty, renunciation, self-restraint, and tranquillity or contentment of
soul, he in whom these occur by nature, and in whom there are no wicked
acts, should be regarded as a proper object. Such a person deserves
honours. Whether the person he one who is well-known and familiar, or one
who has come newly, whether he has not been seen before, if he happens to
possess these qualifications, he should be regarded as worthy of honours
and hospitality. He who denies the authority of the Vedas, or strives to
show that the scriptures should be disregarded, or approves of all
breaches or restraint in society,–simply brings about his own ruin (and
should not be regarded as worthy of gifts). That Brahmana who is vain of
his learning, who speaks ill of the Vedas or who is devoted to the
science of useless disputation, or who is desirous of gaining victory (in
disputations) in assemblies of good men by disproving the reasons that
exist for morality and religion and ascribing everything to chance, or
who indulges in censuring and reproaching others or who reproves
Brahmanas, or who is suspicious of all persons, or who is foolish and
bereft of judgment, or who is bitter of speech, should be known to be as
hateful as a dog. As a dog encounters others, barking the while and
seeking to bite, such a person is even so, for he spends his breath in
vain and seeks to destroy the authority of all the scriptures. Those
practices that support society, the duties of righteousness, and all
those acts which are productive of benefit to one’s own self, should be
attended to. A person that lives, attending to these, grows in prosperity
for everlasting time. By paying off the debt one owes to the deities by
performing sacrifices, that to the Rishis by studying the Vedas, that to
the Pitris by procreating children, that to the Brahmanas by making
presents unto them and that to guests by feeding them, in due order, and
with purity of intention, and properly attending to the ordinances of the
scriptures, a householder does not fall away from righteousness.'”[270]


“Yudhishthira said, ‘O best of the Bharatas, I wish to hear thee
discourse on the disposition of women. W omen are said to be the root of
all evil. They are all regarded as exceedingly frail.’

“Bhishma said, ‘In this connection is cited the old history of the
discourse between the celestial Rishi Narada and the (celestial)
courtezan Panchachuda. Once in ancient times, the celestial Rishi Narada,
having roamed over all the world, met the Apsara Panchachuda of faultless
beauty, having her abode in the region of Brahman. Beholding the Apsara
every limb of whose body was endued with great beauty, the ascetic
addressed her, saying, ‘O thou of slender waist, I have a doubt in my
mind. Do thou explain it.’

“Bhishma continued, ‘Thus addressed by the Rishi, the Apsara said unto
him, ‘If the subject is one which is known to me and if thou thinkest me
competent to speak on it, I shall certainly say what is in my mind.’

“Narada said, ‘O amiable one, I shall not certainly appoint thee to any
task that is beyond thy competence. O thou of beautiful face, I wish to
hear from thee of the disposition of women.’

“Bhishma continued, ‘Hearing these words of the celestial Rishi, that
foremost of Apsaras replied unto him, saying, ‘I am unable, being myself
a woman, to speak ill of women. Thou knowest what women are and with what
nature they are endued. It behoveth thee not, O celestial Rishi, to set
me to such a task.’ Unto her the celestial Rishi said, ‘It is very true,
O thou of slender waist! One incurs fault by speaking what is untrue. In
saying, however, what is true, there can be no fault.’ Thus addressed by
him, the Apsara Panchachuda of sweet smiles consented to answer Narada’s
question. She then addressed herself to mention what the true and eternal
faults of women are!’

“Panchachuda said, ‘Even if high-born and endued with beauty and
possessed of protectors, women wish to transgress the restraints assigned
to them. This fault truly stains them, O Narada! There is nothing else
that is more sinful than women. Verily, women, are the root of all
faults. That is, certainly known to thee, O Narada! Women, even when
possessed of husbands having fame and wealth, of handsome features and
completely obedient to them, are prepared to disregard them if they get
the opportunity. This, O puissant one, is a sinful disposition with us
women that, casting off modesty, we cultivate the companionship of men of
sinful habits and intentions. Women betray a liking for those men who
court them, who approach their presence, and who respectfully serve them
to even a slight extent. Through want of solicitation by persons of the
other sex, or fear of relatives, women, who are naturally impatient of
all restraints, do not transgress those that have been ordained for them,
and remain by the side of their husbands. There is none whom they are
incapable of admitting to their favours. They never take into
consideration the age of the person they are prepared to favour. Ugly or
handsome, if only the person happens to belong to the opposite sex, women
are ready to enjoy his companionship. That women remain faithful to their
lords is due not to their fear of sin, nor to compassion, nor to wealth,
nor to the affection that springs up in their hearts for kinsmen and
children. Women living in the bosom of respectable families envy the
condition of those members of their sex that are young and well-adorned
with jewels and gems and that lead a free life. Even those women that are
loved by their husbands and treated with great respect, are seen to
bestow their favours upon men that are hump-backed, that are blind, that
are idiots, or that are dwarfs. Women may be seen to like the
companionship of even those men that are destitute of the power of
locomotion or those men that are endued with great ugliness of features.
O great Rishi, there is no man in this world whom women may regard as
unfit for companionship. Through inability to obtain persons of the
opposite sex, or fear of relatives, or fear of death and imprisonment,
women remain, of themselves, within the restraints prescribed for them.
They are exceedingly restless, for they always hanker after new
companions. In consequence of their nature being unintelligible, they are
incapable of being kept in obedience by affectionate treatment. Their
disposition is such that they are incapable of being restrained when bent
upon transgression. Verily, women are like the words uttered by the
wise.[271] Fire is never satiated with fuel. Ocean can never be filled
with the waters that rivers bring unto him. The Destroyer is never
satiated with slaying even all living creatures. Similarly, women are
never satiated with men. This, O celestial Rishi. is another mystery
connected with women. As soon as they see a man of handsome and charming
features, unfailing signs of desire appear on their persons. They never
show sufficient regard for even such husbands as accomplish all their
wishes, as always do what is agreeable to them and as protect them from
want and danger. Women never regard so highly even articles of enjoyment
in abundance or ornaments or other possessions of an agreeable kind as
they do the companionship of persons of the opposite sex. The destroyer,
the deity of wind, death, the nether legions, the equine mouth that roves
through the ocean, vomiting ceaseless flames of fire, the sharpness of
the razor, virulent poison, the snake, and Fire–all these exist in a
state of union in women. That eternal Brahman whence the five great
elements have sprung into existence, whence the Creator Brahma hath
ordained the universe, and whence, indeed, men have sprung, verily from
the same eternal source have women sprung into existence. At that time,
again, O Narada, when women were created, these faults that I have
enumerated were planted in them!'”


“Yudhishthira said, ‘All men, O king, in this world, are seen to attach
themselves to women, overcome by the illusion that is created by the
divine Being. Similarly, women too are seen to attach themselves to men.
All this is seen taking place everywhere in the world. On this subject a
doubt exists in my mind. Why, O delighter of the Kurus, do men (when
women are stained with so many faults) still attach themselves to women?
Who, again, are those men with whom women are highly pleased and who are
they with whom they are displeased? It behoveth thee, O chief of men, to
explain to me how men are capable of protecting women? While men take
pleasure in women and sport with them, women, it seems, are engaged in
deceiving men. Then, again, if a man once falls into their hands, it is
difficult for him to escape from them. Like kine ever seeking pastures
new women seek new men one after another. That illusion which the Asura
Samvara possessed, that illusion which the Asura Namuchi possessed, that
illusion which Vali or Kumbbinasi had, the sum total thereof is possessed
by women. If man laughs, women laugh. If man weeps, they weep. If the
opportunity requires, they receive the man that is disagreeable to them
with agreeable words. That science of policy which the preceptor of the
Asuras knew, that science of policy which the preceptor of the
celestials, Vrihaspati, knew, cannot be regarded to be deeper or more
distinguished for subtility than what woman’s intelligence naturally
brings forth. Verily how can women, therefore, be restrained by men? They
make a lie appear as truth, and a truth appear as a lie. They who can do
this,–I ask, O hero,–how can they be ruled by persons of the opposite
sex? It seems to me that Vrihaspati and other great thinkers, O slayer of
foes, evolved the science of policy from observation of the
understandings of women. Whether treated by men with respect or with
disdain, women are seen to turn the heads and agitate the hearts of
men.[272] Living creatures, O thou of mighty arms, are virtuous. Even
this is what has been heard by us. (How then, can this be consistent with
fact)? For treated with affection and respect or otherwise, women
(forming a fair portion of living creatures) are seen to deserve censure
for their conduct towards men.[273] This great doubt fills my mind, viz.,
when their behaviour is such, what man is there that can restrain them
within the bounds of righteousness? Do thou explain this to me, O highly
blessed scion of Kuru’s race! It behoves thee to tell me, O chief of
Kuru’s race, whether women are truly capable of being restrained within
the bonds prescribed by the scriptures or whether any one before our time
did really succeed in so restraining them.'”


“Bhishma said, ‘It is even so as thou sayest, O thou of mighty arms.
There is nothing untrue in all this that thou sayest, O thou of Kuru’s
race, on the subject of women. In this connection I shall recite to thee
the old history of how in days of yore the high-souled Vipula had
succeeded in restraining women within the bounds laid down for them. I
shall also tell thee, O king, how women were created by the Grandsire
Brahman and the object for which they were created by Him. There is no
creature more sinful, O son, than women. Woman is a blazing fire. She is
the illusion, O king, that the Daitya Maya created. She is the sharp edge
of the razor. She is poison. She is a snake. She is fire. She is, verily,
all these united together. It has been heard by us that all persons of
the human race are characterised by righteousness, and that they, in
course of natural progress and improvement, attain to the status of
deities. This circumstance alarmed the deities. They, therefore, O
chastiser of foes, assembled together and repaired to the presence of the
Grandsire. Informing Him of what was in their minds, they stood silent in
his presence, with downcast eyes. The puissant Grand sire having
ascertained what was in the hearts of the deities, created women, with
the aid of an Atharvan rite. In a former creation, O son of Kunti, women
were all virtuous. Those, however, that sprang from this creation by
Brahman with the aid of an illusion became sinful. The grandsire bestowed
upon them the desire of enjoyment, all kinds of carnal pleasure. Tempted
by the desire of enjoyment, they began to pursue persons of the other
sex. The puissant lord of the deities created Wrath as the companion of
Lust. Persons of the male sex, yielding to the power of Lust and Wrath,
sought the companionship of women. Women have no especial acts prescribed
for them. Even this is the ordinance that was laid down. The Sruti
declares that women are endued with senses the most powerful, that they
have no scriptures to follow, and that they are living lies. Beds and
seats and ornaments and food and drink and the absence of all that is
respectable and righteous, indulgence in disagreeable words, and love of
sexual companionship,–these were bestowed by Brahman upon women. Men are
quite unable to restrain them within bounds. The Creator himself is
incapable of restraining them within the limits that are proper: what
need then be said of men? This, O chief of men, I heard in former days,
viz., how Vipula had succeeded in protecting his preceptor’s spouse in
ancient times. There was in days of yore a highly blessed Rishi of the
name of Devasarman of great celebrity. He had a wife, Ruchi by name, who
was unequalled on earth for beauty. Her loveliness intoxicated every
beholder among the deities and Gandharvas and Danavas. The chastiser of
Paka, viz., Indra, the slayer of Vritra, O monarch, was in particular
enamoured of her and coveted her person. The great ascetic Devasarman was
fully cognisant of the disposition of women. He, therefore, to the best
of his power and energy, protected her (from every kind of evil
influence). The Rishi knew that Indra was restrained by no scruples in
the matter of seeking the companionship of other people’s wives. It was
for this reason that he used to protect his spouse, putting forth all his
power. Once on a time, O son, the Rishi became desirous of performing a
sacrifice. He began to think of how (during his own absence from home)
his wife could be protected. Endued with high ascetic merit, he at last
hit upon the course he should adopt. Summoning his favourite disciple
whose name was Vipula and who was of Bhrigu’s race, he said as follows:

“Devasarman said, ‘I shall leave home (for a while) in order to perform a
sacrifice. The chief of the celestials always covets this Ruchi of mine.
Do thou, during my absence, protect her, putting forth all thy might!
Thou shalt pass thy time heedfully in view of Purandara. O foremost one
of Bhrigu’s race, that Indra assumes various disguises.’

Bhishma continued, ‘Thus addressed by his preceptor, the ascetic Vipula
with senses under control, always engaged in severe penances, possessed
of the splendour, O king, of fire or the sun conversant with all the
duties of righteousness, and ever truthful in speech, answered him,
saying, ‘So be it.’ Once more, however, as his preceptor was about to set
out Vipula asked him in these words.’

“Vipula said, Tell me, O Muni, what forms does Sakra assume when he
presents himself. Of what kind is his body and what is his energy? It
behoveth thee to say all this to me.’

“Bhishma continued, ‘The illustrious Rishi then truly described unto the
high-souled Vipula all the illusions of Sakra, O Bharata.’

“Devasarman said, ‘The puissant chastiser of Paka, O regenerate Rishi, is
full of illusion. Every moment he assumes those forms that he chooses.
Sometimes he wears a diadem and holds the thunderbolt. Sometimes armed
with the thunderbolt and wearing a crown on his head, he adorns himself
with ear-rings, in a moment he transforms himself into the shape and
aspect of Chandala. Sometimes, he appears with coronal locks on his head:
soon again, O son, he shows himself with matted locks, his person clad
the while in rags. Sometimes, he assumes a goodly and gigantic frame. The
next moment he transforms himself into one of emaciated limbs, and
dressed in rags. Sometimes he becomes fair, sometimes darkish, sometimes
dark of complexion. Sometimes he becomes ugly and sometimes as possessed
of great comeliness of person. Sometimes he shows himself as young and
sometimes as old Sometimes he appears as a Brahmana, sometimes as a
Kshatriya, sometimes as a Vaisya, and sometimes as a Sudra. Verily, he of
a hundred sacrifices appears at times as a person born of impure order,
that is as the son of a superior father by an inferior mother or of an
inferior father by a superior mother. Sometimes he appears as a parrot,
sometimes as a crow, sometimes as a swan, and sometimes as a cuckoo. He
assumes the forms also of a lion, a tiger, or an elephant. Sometimes he
shows himself as a god, sometimes as a Daitya, and sometimes he assumes
the guise of a king. Sometimes he appears as fat and plump. Sometimes as
one whose limbs have been broken by the action of disordered wind in the
system, sometimes as a bird, and sometimes as one of exceedingly ugly
features. Sometimes he appears as a quadruped. Capable of assuming any
form, he sometimes appears as an idiot destitute of all intelligence. He
assumes also the forms of flies and gnats. O Vipula, no one can make him
out in consequence of these innumerable disguises that he is capable of
assuming. The very Creator of the universe is not equal to that feat. He
makes himself invisible when he chooses. He is incapable of being seen
except with the eye of knowledge. The chief of the celestials sometimes
transforms himself into the wind. The chastiser of Paka always assumes
these disguises. Do thou, therefore, O Vipula, protect this
slender-waisted spouse of mine with great care. O foremost one of
Bhrigu’s race, do thou take every care for seeing that the chief of the
celestials may not defile this spouse of mine like a wretched dog licking
the Havi kept in view of a sacrifice. Having said these words, the
highly-blessed Muni, viz., Devasarman, intend upon performing a
sacrifice, set out from his abode, O chief of the Bharatas. Hearing these
words of his preceptor, Vipula began to think, ‘I shall certainly protect
this lady in every respect from the puissant chief of the celestials. But
what should be the means? What can I do in this matter of protecting the
wife of my preceptor? The chief of the celestials is endued with large
powers of illusion. Possessed of great energy, he is difficult of being
resisted. Indra cannot be kept out by enclosing this retreat of ours or
fencing this yard, since he is capable of assuming innumerable forms.
Assuming the form of the wind, the chief of the celestials may assault
the spouse of my preceptor. The best course, therefore, for me, would be
to enter (by Yoga-power) the body of this lady and remain there. By
putting forth my prowess I shall not be able to protect the lady, for the
puissant chastiser of Paka, it has been heard by me, is capable of
assuming any form he likes. I shall, therefore, protect this one from
Indra by my Yoga-power. For carrying out my object I shall with my body
enter the body of this lady. If my preceptor, coming back, beholds his
spouse defiled, he will, without doubt, curse me through wrath, for
endued with great ascetic merit, he is possessed of spiritual vision.
This lady is incapable of being protected in the way in which other women
are protected by men, since the chief of the celestials is endued with
large powers of illusion. Alas, the situation in which I find myself is
very critical. The behest of my preceptor should certainly be obeyed by
me. If, therefore, I protect her by my Yoga-power, the feat will be
regarded by all as a wonderful one. By my Yoga-power, therefore, I shall
enter the body of my preceptor’s lady. I shall stay within her and yet
not touch her person, like a drop of water on a lotus-leaf which lies on
it and yet does not drench it at all. If I be free from the taint of
passion, I cannot incur any fault by doing what I wish to do. As a
traveller, in course of his sojourn, takes up his residence (for a while)
in any empty mansion he finds, I shall, after the same manner, reside
this day within the body of my preceptor’s lady Verily, with mind rapt up
in Yoga, I shall dwell today in this lady’s body! Giving his best
consideration to these points of righteousness, thinking of all the Vedas
and their branches, and with eye directed to the large measure of
penances which his preceptor had and which he himself also was possessed
of, and having settled in his mind, with a view only to protect the lady,
to enter her person by Yoga-power. Vipula of Bhrigu’s race took great
care (for accomplishing his purpose). Listen now to me, O monarch, as I
recite to thee what he did. Endued with great penances, Vipula sat
himself down by the side of his preceptor’s spouse as she of faultless
features was sitting in her cottage, Vipula then began to discourse to
her bringing her over to the cause of righteousness and truth. Directing
his eyes then to hers and uniting the rays of light that emanated from
her organs of vision with those that issued from his, Vipula (in his
subtile form) entered the lady’s body even as the element of wind enters
that of ether of space. Penetrating her eyes with his eyes and her face
with his face, Vipula stayed, without moving, within her invisibly, like
her shadow. Restraining every part of the lady’s body, Vipula continued
to dwell within her, intent on protecting her from Indra. The lady
herself knew nothing of this. It was in this way, O monarch, that Vipula
continued to protect the lady till the time of his high-souled
preceptor’s coming back after accomplishing the sacrifice which he had
gone out to perform.'”


‘Bhishma said, One day the chief of the celestials assuming a form of
celestial beauty, came to the retreat of the Rishi, thinking that the
opportunity he had been expecting had at last come. Verily, O king,
having assumed a form unrivalled for comeliness and exceedingly tempting
to women and highly agreeable to look at, Indra entered the ascetic’s
asylum. He saw the body of Vipula staying in a sitting posture, immovable
as a stake, and with eyes destitute of vision, like a picture drawn on
the canvas. And he saw also that Ruchi was seated there, adorned with
eyes whose ends were extremely beautiful, possessed of full and rotund
hips, and having a deep and swelling bosom. Her eyes were large and
expansive like the petals of the lotus, and her face was as beautiful and
sweet as the moon at full. Seeing Indra come in that guise, the lady
wished to rise up and offer him a welcome. Her wonder having been excited
at the unrivalled beauty of form which the person possessed, she very
much wished to ask him as to who he was. Although, however, she wished to
rise up and offer him a welcome, yet her limbs having been restrained by
Vipula who was dwelling within her, she failed, O king, to do what she
wished. In fact, she was unable to move from the place where she sat. The
chief of the celestials then addressed her in agreeable words uttered
with a sweet voice. Indeed, he said, ‘O thou of sweet smiles, know that I
am Indra, arrived here for thy sake! Know, O sweet lady, that I am
afflicted by the deity of desire provoked by thoughts of thee! O thou of
beautiful brows, I have come to thy presence. Time wears off.'[274] These
words that Indra spoke were heard by the ascetic Vipula. Remaining within
the body of his preceptor’s wife, he saw everything that occurred. The
lady of faultless beauty, though she heard what Indra said, was, however,
unable to rise up for welcoming or honouring the chief of the celestials.
Her senses restrained by Vipula, she was unable to utter a word in reply.
That scion of Bhrigu’s race, of mighty energy, judging from the
indications afforded by the body of his preceptor’s wife that she was not
unwilling to receive Indra with kindness, restrained her limbs and senses
all the more effectually, O king, by his Yoga-powers. With Yoga-bonds he
bound up all her senses. Beholding her seated without any indication of
agitation on her person, the lord of Sachi, abashed a little, once more
addressed that lady who was stupefied by the Yoga-powers of her husband’s
disciple, in these words, ‘Come, come, O sweet lady!’ Then the lady
endeavoured to answer him. Vipula, however restrained the words that she
intended to utter. The words, therefore, that actually escaped her lips
(under the influence of Vipula) were. ‘What is the reason of thy coming
hither?’ These words adorned with grammatical refinements, issued out of
her mouth that was as beautiful as the moon.[275] Subject to the
influence of another, she uttered these words, but became rather ashamed
for uttering them. Hearing her, Purandara became exceedingly cheerless.
Observing that awkward result, the chief of the celestials, O monarch,
adorned with a thousand eyes saw every thing with his spiritual eye. He
then beheld the ascetic staying within the body of the lady. Indeed, the
ascetic remained within the body of his preceptor’s wife like an image or
reflection on a mirror. Beholding the ascetic endued with the terrible
might of penances, Purandara, O monarch, fearing the Rishi’s curse,
trembled in fright. Vipula then, possessed of high ascetic might, left
the body of his preceptor’s wife and returned to his own body that was
lying near. He then addressed the terrified Indra in the following words:

“Vipula said, ‘O wicked-souled Purandara, O thou of sinful mind, O wretch
that hast no control over thy senses, neither the deities nor human
beings will worship thee for any length of time! Hast thou forgotten it.
O Sakra,–does it not still dwell in thy remembrance,–that Gautama had
cursed thee in consequence of which thy body became disfigured with a
thousand sex-marks, which, owing to the Rishi’s compassion, were
afterwards changed into organs of vision? I know that thou art of an
exceedingly foolish understanding, that thy soul is uncleansed, and that
thou art of an exceedingly unstable mind! O fool, know that this lady is
being protected by me. O sinful wretch, go back to that place whence thou
tamest. O thou of foolish soul, I do not consume thee today into ashes
with my energy. Verily, I am filled with compassion for thee. It is for
this that I do not, O Vasava, wish to burn thee. My preceptor, endued
with great intelligence, is possessed of terrible might. With eyes
blazing with wrath, he would, if he saw thee, have burnt thy sinful self
today. Thou shouldst not, O Sakra, do like this again. The Brahmanas
should be regarded by thee. See that thou dost not, with thy sons and
counsellors, meet with destruction, afflicted by the might of the
Brahmanas. Thou thinkest that thou art an immortal and that, therefore,
art at liberty to proceed in this way. Do not, however, disregard the
Brahmanas. Know that there is nothing unattainable by penance.’

“Bhishma continued, ‘Hearing these words of the high-souled Vipula, Sakra
without saying anything, and overwhelmed with shame, made himself
invisible. A moment after he had gone away, Devasarman of high ascetic
merit, having accomplished the sacrifice he had intended to perform, came
back to his own asylum. When his preceptor came back, Vipula, who had
done an agreeable deed, gave, unto him his wife of faultless beauty whom
he had successfully protected against the machinations of Indra. Of
tranquil soul and full of reverence for his preceptor, Vipula
respectfully saluted him and stood in his presence with a fearless heart.
After his preceptor had rested a while and when he was seated with his
wife on the same seat, Vipula represented unto him everything that Sakra
had done. Hearing these words of Vipula, that foremost of Munis, endued
with great prowess, became highly gratified with him for his conduct and
disposition, his penances, and his observances. Observing Vipula’s
conduct towards himself–his preceptor–and his devotion also, and noting
his steadiness in virtue, the puissant Devasarman exclaimed, “Excellent,
excellent!’ The righteous-souled Devasarman, receiving his virtuous
disciple with a sincere welcome, honoured him with a boon. Indeed,
Vipula, steady in virtue obtained from his preceptor the boon that he
would never swerve or fall away from righteousness. Dismissed by his
preceptor he left his abode and practised the most severe austerities.
Devasarman also, of severe penances, with his spouse, began from that day
to live in those solitary woods, perfectly fearless of him who had slain
Vala and Vritra.'”


“Bhishma said, ‘Having accomplished his preceptor’s behest, Vipula
practised the most severe penances. Possessed of great energy, he at last
regarded himself as endued with sufficient ascetic merit, Priding himself
upon the feat he had achieved, he wandered fearlessly and contentedly
over the earth, O monarch, regarded by all as one possessed of great fame
for what he had done. The puissant Bhargava regarded that he had
conquered both the worlds by that feat of his as also by his severe
penances. After some time had passed away, O delighter of the Kurus, the
occasion came for a ceremony of gifts to take place with respect to the
sister of Ruchi. Abundant wealth and corn were to be given away in
it.[276] Meanwhile, a certain celestial damsel endued with great beauty,
was journeying through the skies. From her body as she coursed through
the welkin, some flowers dropped down on the earth. Those flowers
possessed of celestial fragrance fell on a spot not far from the retreat
of Ruchi’s husband. As the flowers lay scattered on the ground, they were
picked up by Ruchi of beautiful eyes. Soon after an invitation came to
Ruchi from the country of the Angas. The sister, referred to above, of
Ruchi, named Prabhavati, was the spouse of Chitraratha, the ruler of the
Angas. Ruchi, of very superior complexion, having attached those flowers
to her hair, went to the palace of the king of the Angas in answer to the
invitation she had received. Beholding those flowers on her hair the
queen of the Angas, possessed of beautiful eyes, urged her sister to
obtain some for her. Ruchi, of beautiful face, speedily informed her
husband of that request of her sister. The Rishi accepted the prayer of
his sister-in-law. Summoning Vipula into his presence Devasarman of
severe penances commanded his disciple to bring him some flowers of the
same kind, saying, ‘Go, go!’ Accepting without hesitation the behest of
his preceptor, the great ascetic Vipula, O king, answered, ‘So be it!’
and then proceeded to that spot whence the lady Ruchi had picked up the
flowers that were coveted by her sister. Arrived at that spot where the
flowers (picked up by Ruchi) had fallen from the welkin, Vipula saw some
others still lying scattered. They were all as fresh as if they had been
newly plucked from the plants whereon they had grown. None of them had
drooped in the least. He took up those celestial flowers of great beauty.
Possessed of celestial fragrance, O Bharata, Vipula got them there as the
result of his severe penances. The accomplisher of his preceptor’s
behest, having obtained them, he felt great delight and set out speedily
for the city of Champa adorned with festoons of Champaka flowers. As he
proceeded, he saw on his way a human couple moving in a circle hand in
hand. One of them made a rapid step and thereby destroyed the cadence of
the movement. For this reason, O king, a dispute arose between them.
Indeed, one of them charged the other, saying, ‘Thou hast made a quicker
step!’ The other answered, ‘No, verily’, as each maintained his own
opinion obstinately, each, O king, asserted what the other denied, and
denied what the other asserted. While thus disputing with each other with
great assurance, an oath was then heard among them. Indeed, each of them
suddenly named Vipula in what they uttered. The oath each of them took
was even this, ‘That one amongst us two who speaketh falsely, shall in
the next world, meet with the end which will be the regenerate Vipula’s!’
Hearing these words of theirs, Vipula’s face became very cheerless. He
began to reflect, saying unto himself, ‘I have undergone severe penances.
The dispute between this couple is hot. To me, again, it is painful. What
is the sin of which I have been guilty that both these persons should
refer to my end in the next world as the most painful one among those
reserved for all creatures?’ Thinking in this strain, Vipula, O best of
monarchs, hung down his head, and with a cheerless mind began to
recollect what sin he had done. Proceeding a little way he beheld six
other men playing with dice made of gold and silver. Engaged in play,
those individuals seemed to him to be so excited that the hair on their
bodies stood on end. They also (upon a dispute having arisen among them)
were heard by Vipula to take the same oath that he had already heard the
first couple to take. Indeed, their words had reference in the same way
to Vipula, ‘He amongst us who, led by cupidity, will act in an improper
way, shall meet with that end which is reserved for Vipula in the next
world!’ Hearing these words, however, Vipula, although he strove
earnestly to recollect failed to remember any transgression of his from
even his earliest years, O thou of Kuru’s race. Verily he began to burn
like a fire placed in the midst of another fire. Hearing that curse, his
mind burnt with grief. In this state of anxiety a long time elapsed. At
last he recollected the manner in which he had acted in protecting his
preceptor’s wife from the machinations of Indra. ‘I had penetrated the
body of that lady, placing limb within limb, face within face, Although I
had acted in this way, I did not yet tell my preceptor the truth!’ Even
this was the transgression. O thou of Kuru’s race which Vipula
recollected in himself. Indeed, O blessed monarch, without doubt that was
the transgression which he had actually committed. Coming to the city of
Champa, he gave the flowers to his preceptor. Devoted to superiors and
seniors, he worshipped his preceptor in due form.'”


“Bhishma said, ‘Beholding his disciple returned from his mission,
Devasarman of great energy addressed him in words which I shall recite to
thee O king!’

“Davasarman said, ‘What hast thou seen, O Vipula, in course of thy
progress, O disciple, through the great forest’ ‘They whom thou hast seen
knew thee, O Vipula. I, as also my spouse Ruchi, know how thou hadst
acted in the matter of protecting Ruchi.’

“Vipula said, ‘O regenerate Rishi, who are those two whom I first saw?
Who also are those other six whom I saw subsequently? All of them know
me: who, indeed, are they to whom thou alludest in thy speech to me?’

“Devasarman said, The first couple, O regenerate one, whom thou sawest,
are Day and Night. They are ceaselessly moving like a circle. Both of
them know the transgression of which thou hast been guilty, those other
men (six in number) whom, O learned Brahmana, thou sawest playing
cheerfully at dice, are the six Seasons. They also are acquainted with
thy transgressions. Having committed a sin in secrecy, no sinful man
should cherish the assuring thought that his transgression is known only
to himself and not to any one else. When a man perpetrates a sinful deed
in secret, the Seasons as also Day and Night behold it always. Those
regions that are reserved for the sinful shall be thine (for what thou
hast done) What thou hadst done thou didst not tell me. That thy sin was
not known to any one, was thy belief, and this conviction had filled thee
with joy. Thou didst not inform the preceptor of the whole truth,
choosing to hide from him a material portion. The Seasons, and Day and
Night, whom thou hast heard speak in that strain, thought it proper to
remind thee of thy transgression. Day and Night and the Seasons are ever
conversant of all the good and the bad deeds that are in a man. They
spoke to thee in that way, O regenerate one, because they have full
knowledge of what thou hadst done but which thou hadst not the courage to
inform me of, fearing thou hadst done wrong. For this reason those
regions that are reserved for the sinful will be thine as much. Thou
didst not tell me what thou hadst done. Thou weft fully capable, O
regenerate one, of protecting my spouse whose disposition by nature, is
sinful. In doing what thou didst, thou didst not commit any sin. I was,
for this, gratified with thee! O best of Brahmanas, if I had known thee
to have acted wickedly, I would without hesitation, have cursed thee.
Women become united with men. Such union is very desirable with men. Thou
hadst, however, protected my wife in a different spirit. If thou hadst
acted otherwise, a curse would have been uttered upon thee. Even this is
what I think. Thou hadst O son, protected my spouse. The manner in which
thou didst it hath now become known to me as if thou hadst thyself
informed me of it. I have, O son, become gratified with thee. Relieved of
all anxiety, thou shalt go to heaven!’ Having said these words unto
Vipula, the great Rishi Devasarman, ascended to heaven with his wife and
his disciple and began to pass his time there in great happiness. In
course of conversation, O king, on a former occasion, the great ascetic
Markandeya had narrated to me this history on the banks of the Ganga. I,
therefore, recite to thee. Women should always be protected by thee (from
temptations and opportunities of every kind). Amongst them both kinds are
to be seen, that is, those that are virtuous and those that are not so.
Those women that are virtuous are highly blessed. They are the mothers of
the universe (for they it is that cherish all creatures on every side).
They, it is, O king, that uphold the earth with all her waters and
forests. Those women that are sinful, that are of wicked behaviour, that
are the destroyers of their races, and that are wedded to sinful
resolves, are capable of being ascertained by indications, expressive of
the evil that is in them, which appear, O king, on their bodies. It is
even thus that high-souled persons are capable of protecting women. They
cannot, O tiger among kings, be protected in any other way. Women, O
chief of men, are fierce. They are endued with fierce prowess. They have
none whom they love or like so much as they that have sexual congress
with them. Women are like those (Atharvan) incantations that are
destructive of life. Even after they have consented to live with one,
they are prepared to abandon him for entering into engagements with
others. They are never satisfied with one person of the opposite sex, O
son of Pandu! Men should feel no affection for them. Nor should they
entertain any jealousy on account of them, O king! having a regard only
for the considerations of virtue, men should enjoy their society, not
with enthusiasm and attachment but with reluctance and absence of
attachment. By acting otherwise, a man is sure to meet with destruction,
O delighter of the Kurus. Reason is respected at all times and under all
circumstances. Only one man, viz., Vipula, had succeeded in protecting
woman. There is none else, O king, in the three worlds who is capable of
protecting women.'”


“Yudhishthira said, “Tell me of that, O grandsire, which is the root of
all duties, which is the root of kinsmen, of home, of the Pitris and of
guests. I think this should be regarded as the foremost of all duties,
(viz., the marriage of one’s daughter). Tell me, however, O king, upon
what sort of a person should one bestow one’s daughter?’

“Bhishma said, ‘Having enquired into the conduct and disposition of the
person, his learning and acquirements, his birth, and his acts, good
people should then bestow their daughter upon accomplished bridegrooms.
All righteous Brahmanas, O Yudhishthira, act in this way (in the matter
of the bestowal of their daughters). This is known as the Brahma
marriage, O Yudhishthira! Selecting an eligible bridegroom, the father of
the girl should cause him to marry his daughter, having, by presents of
diverse kinds, induced the bridegroom to that act. This form of marriage
constitutes the eternal practice of all good Kshatriyas. When the father
of the girl’, disregarding his own wishes, bestows his daughter upon a
person whom the daughter likes and who reciprocates the girl’s
sentiments, the form of marriage, O Yudhishthira, is called Gandharva by
those that are conversant with the Vedas. The wise have said this, O
king, to be the practice of the Asuras, viz., wedding a girl after
purchasing her at a high cost and after gratifying the cupidity of her
kinsmen. Slaying and cutting off the heads of weeping kinsmen, the
bridegroom sometimes forcibly takes away the girl he would wed. Such
wedding, O son, is called by the name of Rakshasa. Of these five (the
Brahma, the Kshatra, the Gandharva, the Asura, and the Rakshasa), three
are righteous, O Yudhishthira, and two are unrighteous. The Paisacha and
the Asura forms should never be resorted to.[277] The Brahma, Kshatra,
and Gandharva forms are righteous, O prince of men! Pure or mixed, these
forms should be resorted to, without doubt. A Brahmana can take three
wives. A Kshatriya can take two wives. As regards the Vaisya, he should
take a wife from only his own order. The children born of these wives
should all be regarded as equal.[278] Of the three wives of a Brahmana,
she taken from his own order should be regarded as the foremost.
Similarly, of the two wives permitted to the Kshatriya, she taken from
his own order should be regarded as superior. Some say that persons
belonging to the three higher orders may take, only for purposes of
enjoyment (and not for those of virtue), wives from the lowest or the
Sudra order. Others, however, forbid the practice.

The righteous condemn the practice of begetting issue upon Sudra women. A
Brahmana, by begetting children upon a Sudra woman, incurs the liability
of performing an expiation. A person of thirty years of age should wed a
girl of ten years of age called a Nagnika.[279] Or, a person of one and
twenty years of age should wed a girl of seven years of age. That girl
who has no brother nor father should not be wed, O chief of Bharata’s
race, for she may be intended as Putrika of her sire.[280] After the
appearance of puberty, the girl (if not married) should wait for three
years. On the fourth year, she should look for a husband herself (without
waiting any longer for her kinsmen to select one for her). The offspring
of such a girl do not lose their respectability, nor does union with such
a girl become disgraceful. If, instead of selecting a husband for
herself, she acts otherwise, she incurs the reproach of Prajapati
herself. One should wed that girl who is not a Sapinda of one’s mother or
of the same Gotra with one’s father. Even this is the usage (consistent
with the sacred law) which Manu has declared.'[281]

“Yudhishthira said, ‘Desirous of marriage someone actually gives a dower
to the girl’s kinsmen; someone says, the girl’s kinsmen consenting
promises to give a dower; someone says, ‘I shall abduct the girl by
force;’ someone simply displays his wealth (to the girl’s kinsmen,
intending to offer a portion thereof as dower for her); someone, again,
actually takes the hand of the girl with rites of wedding. I ask thee, O
grandsire, whose wife does the girl actually become? Unto its that are
desirous of knowing the truth, thou art the eye with which to behold.’

“Bhishma said, ‘Whatever acts of men have been approved or settled in
consultation by the wise, are seen to be productive of good. False
speech, however, is always sinful.[282] The girl himself that becomes
wife, the sons born of her, the Ritwiks and preceptors and disciples and
Upadhyayas present at the marriage all become liable to expiation if the
girl bestow her hand upon a person other than he whom she had promised to
wed. Some are of opinion that no expiation is necessary for such conduct.
Manu does not applaud the practice of a girl living with a person whom
she does not like.[283] Living as wife with a person whom she does not
like, leads to disgrace and sin. No one incurs much sin in any of these
cases that follow. In forcibly abducting for marriage a girl that is
bestowed upon the abductor by the girl’s kinsmen, with due rites, as also
a girl for whom dower has been paid and accepted, there is no great sin.
Upon the girl’s kinsmen having expressed their consent, Mantras and Homa
should be resorted to. Such Mantras truly accomplish their purpose.
Mantras and Homa recited and performed in the case of a girl that has not
been bestowed by her kinsmen, do not accomplish their purpose. The
engagement made by the kinsmen of a girl is, no doubt, binding and
sacred. But the engagement that is entered into by the wedder and wedded,
with the aid of Mantras, is very much more so (for it is this engagement
that really creates the relationship of husband and wife). According to
the dictates of the scriptures, the husband should regard his wife as an
acquisition due to his own acts of a previous life or to what has been
ordained by God. One, therefore, incurs no reproach by accepting for wife
a girl that had been promised to another by her kinsmen or for whom dower
had been accepted by them from another.’

“Yudhishthira said, ‘When after the receipt of dower for a girl, the
girl’s sire sees a more eligible person present himself for her
hand,–one, that is who is endued with the aggregate of Three in
judicious proportions, does the girl’s sire incur reproach by rejecting
the person from whom dower had been received in favour of him that is
more eligible? In such a case either alternative seems to be fraught with
fault, for to discard the person to whom the girl has been promised can
never be honourable, while to reject the person that is more eligible can
never be good (considering the solemn obligation there is of bestowing
one’s daughter on the most eligible person). I ask, how should the sire
conduct himself so that he might be said to do that which is beneficial?
To us, of all duties this seems to demand the utmost measure of
deliberation. We are desirous of ascertaining the truth. Thou, indeed,
art our eyes! Do thou explain this to us. I am never satiated with
listening to thee!’

‘Bhishma said, ‘The gift of the dower does not cause the status of wife
to attach to the girl. This is well-known to the person paying it. He
pays it simply as the price of the girl. Then again they that are good
never bestow their daughters, led by the dowers that others may offer.
When the person desirous of wedding happens to be endued with such
qualities as do not go down with the girl’s kinsmen, it is then that
kinsmen demand dower from him. That person, however, who won over by
another’s accomplishments, addresses him, saying, ‘Do thou wed my girl,
adorning her with proper ornaments of gold and gems,’–and that person
who complies with this request, cannot be said to demand dower or give
it, for such a transaction is not really a sale. The bestowal of a
daughter upon acceptance of what may strictly be regarded as gifts (of
affection or love) is the eternal practice. In matters of marriage some
fathers say, ‘I shall not bestow my daughter upon such and such a
person;’ some say, ‘I shall bestow my daughter upon such a one.’–Some
again say with vehemence, ‘I must bestow my daughter upon such an
individual.’ These declarations do not amount to actual marriage. People
are seen to solicit one another for the hands of maidens (and promise and
retreat). Till the hand is actually taken with due rites, marriage cannot
be said to take place. It has been beard by us that’ even this was the
boon granted to men in days of old by the Maruts in respect of
maidens[284]. The Rishis have laid the command upon all men that maidens
should never be bestowed upon persons unless the latter happen to be most
fit or eligible. The daughter is the root of desire and of descendants of
the collateral line. Even this is what I think.[285] The practice has
been known to human beings from a long time,–the practice, of sale and
purchase of the daughter. In consequence of such familiarity with the
practice, thou mayst be able, upon careful examination, to find
innumerable faults in it. The gift or acceptance of dower alone could not
be regarded as creating the status of husband and wife. Listen to what I
say on this head.

“Formerly, having defeated all the Magadhas, the Kasis, and the Kosalas,
I brought away by force two maidens for Vichitravirya. One of those two
maidens was wedded with due rites. The other maiden was not formally
wedded on the ground that she was one for whom dowry had been paid in the
form of valour. My uncle of Kuru’s race, viz., king Valhika, said that
the maiden so brought away and not wedded with due rites should be set
free. That maiden, therefore, was recommended to Vichitravirya for being
married by him according to due rites. Doubting my father’s words I
repaired to others for asking their opinion. I thought that my sire was
exceedingly punctilious in matters of morality. I then went to my sire
himself, O king, and addressed him these words from desire of knowing
something about the practices of righteous people in respect of marriage,
‘I desire, O sire, to know what in truth the practices are of righteous
people.’ I repeated the expression of my wish several times, so great was
my eagerness and curiosity. After I had uttered those words, that
foremost of righteous men, viz., my sire, Valhika answered me, saying,
‘If in your opinion the status of husband and wife be taken to attach on
account of the gift and acceptance of dowry and not from the actual
taking of the maiden’s hand with due rites, the father of the maiden (by
permitting his daughter to go away with the giver of the dowry) would so
himself to be the follower of a creed other than that which is derivable
from the ordinary scriptures. Even this is what the accepted scriptures
declare. Persons conversant with morality and duty do not allow that
their words are at all authoritative who say that the status of husband
and wife arises from the gift and acceptance of dowry, and not from the
actual taking of the hand with due rites. The saying is well-known that
the status of husband and wife is created by actual bestowal of the
daughter by the sire (and her acceptance by the husband with due rites).
The status of wife cannot attach to maidens through sale and purchase.
They who regard such status to be due to sale and the gift of dowry are
persons that are certainly unacquainted with the scriptures. No one
should bestow his daughter upon such persons. In fact, they are not men
to whom one may marry his daughter. A wife should never be purchased. Nor
should a father sell his daughter. Only those persons of sinful soul who
are possessed, besides, by cupidity, and who sell and purchase female
slaves for making serving women, regard the status of wife as capable of
arising from the gift and acceptance of a dowry. On this subject some
people on one occasion had asked prince Satyavat the following question,
‘If the giver of a dowry unto the kinsmen of a maiden happens to die
before marriage, can another person take the hand of that maiden in
marriage? We have doubts on this matter. Do thou remove these doubts of
ours, for thou art endued with great wisdom and art honoured by the wise.
Be thou the organ of vision unto ourselves that are desirous of learning
the truth.’ Prince Satyavat answered saying, ‘The kinsmen of the maiden
should bestow her upon him whom they consider eligible. There need be no
scruples in this. The righteous act in this way without taking note of
the giver of the dower even if he be alive; while, as regards the giver
that is dead, there is not the slightest doubt. Some say that the virgin
wife or widow,–one, that is, whose marriage has not been consummated
with her husband by actual sexual congress in consequence of his absence
or death,–may be allowed to unite herself with her husband’s younger
brother or such other relation. The husband dying before such
consummation, the virgin-widow may either surrender herself to her
husband’s younger brother or betake herself to the practice of penances.
In the opinion of some, the younger brother of the husband or such other
relation may thus use the unused wife or widow, though others maintain
that such practice, notwithstanding its prevalence, springs from desire
instead of being a scriptural ordinance. They that say so are clearly of
opinion that the father of a maiden has the right to bestow her upon any
eligible person, disregarding the dowry previously given by another and
accepted by himself. If after the hand of a maiden has been promised all
the initial rites before marriage be performed, the maiden may still be
bestowed upon a person other than the one unto whom she had been
promised. Only the giver incurs the sin of falsehood: so far, however, as
the status of wife is concerned, no injury can occur thereto. The Mantras
in respect of marriage accomplish their object of bringing about the
indissoluble union of marriage at the seventh step. The maiden becomes
the wife of him unto whom the gift is actually made with water.[286] The
gift of maidens should be made in the following way. The wise know it for
certain. A superior Brahmana should wed a maiden that is not unwilling,
that belongs to a family equal to his own in purity or status, and that
is given away by her brother. Such a girl should be wed in the presence
of fire, with due rites, causing her, amongst other things, to
circumambulate for the usual number of times.”


“Yudhishthira said, ‘If a person, after having given dowry for a maiden,
goes away, how should the maiden’s father or other kinsmen who are
competent to bestow her, act? Do tell me this, O grandsire!’

“Bhishma said, ‘Such a maiden, if she happens to be the daughter of a
sonless and rich father, should be maintained by the father (in view of
the return of him who has given the dowry). Indeed, if the father does
not return the dowry unto the kinsmen of the giver, the maiden should be
regarded as belonging to the giver of the dowry. She may even raise
offspring for the giver (during his absence) by any of those means that
are laid down in the scriptures. No person, however, can be competent to
wed her according to due rites. Commanded by her sire, the princess
Savitri had in days of old chosen a husband and united herself with him.
This act of hers is applauded by some; but others conversant with the
scriptures, condemn it. Others that are righteous have not acted in this
way. Others hold that the conduct of the righteous should ever be
regarded as the foremost evidence of duty or morality.[287] Upon this
subject Sukratu, the grandson of the high-souled Janaka, the ruler of the
Videhas, has declared the following opinion. There is the well-known
declaration of the scriptures that women are incompetent to enjoy freedom
at any period of their life. If this were not the path trodden by the
righteous, how could this scriptural declaration exist? As regards the
righteous, therefore, how can there be any question or doubt in respect
of this matter? How can people condemn that declaration by choosing to
conduct themselves otherwise? The unrighteous dereliction of eternal
usage is regarded as the practice of the Asuras. Such practice we never
hear of in the conduct of the ancients[288] the relationship of husband
and wife is very subtile (having reference to the acquisition of destiny,
and, therefore, capable of being understood with the aid of only the
inspired declarations in scriptures). It is different from the natural
relationship of male and female which consists only in the desire for
sexual pleasure. This also was said by the king alluded to of Janaka’s

“Yudhishthira said, ‘Upon what authority is the wealth of men inherited
(by others when they happen to have daughters)? In respect of her sire
the daughter should be regarded the same as the son.’

“Bhishma said, ‘The son is even as one’s own self, and the daughter is
like unto the son. How, therefore, can another take the wealth when one
lives in one’s own self in the form of one’s daughter? Whatever wealth is
termed the Yautuka property of the mother, forms the portion of the
maiden daughter. If the maternal grandfather happens to die without
leaving sons, the daughter’s son should inherit it. The daughter’s son
offers pindas to his own father and the father of his mother. Hence, in
accordance with considerations of justice, there is no difference between
the son and the daughter’s son. When a person has got only a daughter and
she has been invested by him with the status of a son, if he then happens
to have a son, such a son (instead of taking all the wealth of his sire)
shares the inheritance with the daughter.[290] When, again, a person has
got a daughter and she has been invested by him with the status of a son,
if he then happens to take a son by adoption or purchase then the
daughter is held to be superior to such a son (for she takes three shares
of her father’s wealth, the son’s share being limited to only the
remaining two). In the following case I do not see any reason why the
status of a daughter’s son should attach to the sons of one’s daughter.
The case is that of the daughter who has been sold by her sire. The sons
born of a daughter that has been sold by her sire for actual price,
belong exclusively to their father (even if he do not beget them himself
but obtain them according to the rules laid down in the scriptures for
the raising of issue through the agency of others). Such sons can never
belong, even as daughter’s sons, to their maternal grandfather in
consequence of his having sold their mother for a price and lost all his
rights in or to her by that act.[291] Such sons, again, become full of
malice, unrighteous in conduct, the misappropriators of other people’s
wealth, and endued with deceit and cunning. Having sprung from that
sinful form of marriage called Asura, the issue becomes wicked in
conduct. Persons acquainted with the histories of olden times, conversant
with duties, devoted to the scriptures and firm in maintaining the
restraints therein laid down, recite in this connection some metrical
lines sung in days of yore by Yama. Even this is what Yama had sung. That
man who acquires wealth by selling his own son, or who bestows his
daughter after accepting a dower for his own livelihood, has to sink in
seven terrible hells one after another, known by the name of Kalasutra.
There that wretch has to feed upon sweat and urine and stools during the
whole time. In that form of marriage which is called Arsha, the person
who weds has to give a bull and a cow and the father of the maiden
accepts the gift. Some characterise this gift as a dowry (or price),
while some are of opinion that it should not be regarded in that light.
The true opinion, however, is that a gift for such a purpose, be it of
small value or large, should, O king, be regarded as dowry or price, and
the bestowal of the daughter under such circumstances should be viewed as
a sale. Notwithstanding the fact of its having been practised by a few
persons it can never be taken as the eternal usage. Other forms of
marriage are seen, practised by men, such as marrying girls after
abducting them by force from amidst their kinsmen. Those persons who have
sexual intercourse with a maiden, after reducing her to subjection by
force, are regarded as perpetrators of sin. They have to sink in darkest
hell.[292] Even a human being with whom one has no relationship of blood
should not form the subject of sale. What need then be said of one’s own
issue? With the wealth that is acquired by doing sinful deeds, no action
leading to merit can be performed.'”


“Bhishma said, They that are conversant with ancient history recite the
following verse of Daksha, the son of Prachetas: That maiden, in respect
of whom nothing is taken by her kinsmen in the form of dowry cannot be
said to be sold.[293] Respect, kind treatment, and everything else that
is agreeable, should all be given unto the maiden whose hand is taken in
marriage. Her sire and brothers and father-in-law and husband’s brothers
should show her every respect and adorn her with ornaments, if they be
desirous of reaping benefits, for such conduct on their part always leads
to considerable happiness and advantage. If the wife does not like her
husband or fails to gladden him, from such dislike and absence of joy,
the husband can never have issue for increasing his race. Women, O king,
should always be worshipped and treated with affection. There where women
are treated with respect, the very deities are said to be filled with
joy. There where women are not worshipped, all acts become fruitless. If
the women of a family, in consequence of the treatment they receive,
grieve and shed tears, that family soon becomes extinct. Those houses
that are cursed by women meet with destruction and ruin as if scorched by
some Atharvan rite. Such houses lose their splendour. Their growth and
prosperity cease. O king, Mann, on the eve of his departure for Heaven,
made over women to the care and protection of men, saying that they are
weak, that they fall an easy prey to the seductive wiles of men,[294]
disposed to accept the love that is offered them, and devoted to truth.
There are others among them that are full of malice, covetous of honours,
fierce in disposition, unlovable, and impervious to reason. Women,
however, deserve to be honoured. Do ye men show them honour. The
righteousness of men depends upon women. All pleasures and enjoyments
also completely depend upon them. Do ye serve them and worship them. Do
ye bend your wills before them. The begetting of offspring, the nursing
of children already born, and the accomplishment of all acts necessary
for the needs of society, behold, all these have women for their cause.
By honouring women, ye are sure to attain to the fruition of all objects.
In this connection a princess of the house of Janaka the ruler of the
Videhas, sang a verse. It is this: Women have no sacrifices ordained for
them. There are no Sraddhas which they are called upon to perform. They
are not required to observe any facts. To serve their husbands with
reverence and willing obedience is their only duty. Through the discharge
of that duty they succeed in conquering heaven. In childhood, the sire
protects her. The husband protects her in youth. When she becomes old,
her sons, protect her. At no period of her life does woman deserve to be
free. Deities of prosperity are women. The person that desire affluence
and prosperity should honour them. By cherishing women, O Bharata, one
cherishes the goddess of prosperity herself, and by afflicting her, one
is said to afflict the goddess of prosperity.'”


“Yudhishthira said, ‘Thou art fully conversant with the ordinances of all
the scriptures. Thou art the foremost of those that are acquainted with
the duties of kings. Thou art celebrated over the whole world as a great
dispeller of doubts. I have a doubt, do thou explain it to me, O
grandsire! As regards this doubt that has arisen in my mind, I shall not
ask any other person for its solution. It behoveth thee, O thou of mighty
arms, to expound as to how a man should conduct himself who is desirous
of treading along the path of duty and righteousness. It has been laid
down, O grandsire, that a Brahmana can take four wives, viz., one that
belongs to his own order, one that is a Kshatriya, one that is a Vaisya,
and one that is a Sudra, if the Brahmana wishes to indulge in the desire
of sexual intercourse. Tell me, O best of the Kurus, which amongst those
sons deserves to inherit the father’s wealth one after another? Who
amongst them, O grandsire, shall take what share of the paternal wealth?
I desire to hear this, viz., how the distribution has been ordained
amongst them of the paternal property.’

“Bhishma said, ‘The Brahmana, the Kshatriya, and the Vaisya are regarded
as the three regenerate orders. To wed in these three orders has been
ordained to be the duty of the Brahmana, O Yudhishthira. Through
erroneous judgment or cupidity or lust, O scorcher of foes, a Brahmana
takes a Sudra wife. Such a wife, however, he is not competent to take
according to the scriptures. A Brahmana, by taking a Sudra woman to his
bed, attains to a low end in the next world. He should, having done such
an act, undergo expiation according to the rites laid down in the
scriptures. That expiation must be twice heavier or severer if in
consequence of such an act, O Yudhishthira, the Brahmana gets offspring.
I shall now tell thee, O Bharata, how the (paternal) wealth is to be
distributed (among the children of the different spouses.) The son born
of the Brahmana wife shall, in the first place, appropriate from his
father’s wealth a bull of good marks, and the best car or vehicle. What
remains of the Brahmana’s property, O Yudhishthira, after this should be
divided into ten equal portions. The son by the Brahmana wife shall take
four of such portions of the paternal wealth. The son that is born of the
Kshatriya wife is, without doubt, possessed of the status of a Brahmana.
In consequence, however, of the distinction attaching to his mother, he
shall take three of the ten shares into which the property has been
divided. The son that has been born of the wife belonging to the third
order, viz., the woman of the Vaisya caste, by the Brahmana sire, shall
take, O Yudhishthira, two of the three remaining shares of the father’s
property. It has been said that the son that has been begotten by the
Brahmana sire upon the Sudra wife should not take any portion of the
father’s wealth, for he is not to be considered an heir. A little,
however, of the paternal wealth should be given to the son of the Sudra
wife, hence the one remaining share should be given to him out of
compassion. Even this should be the order of the ten shares into which
the Brahmana’s wealth is to be divided. All the sons that are born of the
same mother or of mothers of the same order, shall share equally the
portion that is theirs. The son born of the Sudra wife should not be
regarded as invested with the status of a Brahmana in consequence of his
being unskilled (in the scriptures and the duties ordained for the
Brahmana). Only those children that are born of wives belonging to the
three higher orders should be regarded as invested with the status of
Brahmanas. It has been said that there are only four orders there is no
fifth that has been enumerated. The son by the Sudra wife shall take the
tenth part of his sire’s wealth (that remains after the allotment has
been made to the others in the way spoken of). That share, however, he is
to take only when his sire has given it to him. He shall not take it if
his sire does not give it unto him. Some portion of the sire’s wealth
should without doubt, be given, O Bharata, to the son of the Sudra wife.
Compassion is one of the highest virtues. It is through compassion that
something is given to the son of the Sudra wife. Whatever be the object
in respect of which compassion arises, as a cardinal virtue it is always
productive of merit. Whether the sire happens to have children (by his
spouses belonging to the other orders) or to have no children (by such
spouses), unto the son by the Sudra wife, O Bharata, nothing more than a
tenth part of the sire’s wealth should be given. If a Brahmana happens to
have more wealth than what is necessary for maintaining himself and his
family for three years, he should with that wealth perform sacrifices. A
Brahmana should never acquire wealth for nothing.[295] The highest sum
that the husband should give unto the wife is three thousand coins (of
the prevailing currency). The wealth that the husband gives unto the
wife, the latter may spend or dispose of as she likes. Upon the death of
the childless husband, the wife shall enjoy all his wealth. (She shall
not, however, sell or otherwise dispose of any portion of it). The wife
should never take (without her husband’s knowledge) any portion of her
husband’s wealth. Whatever wealth, O Yudhishthira, the Brahmana wife may
acquire by gift from her father, should be taken (after her death) by her
daughter, for the daughter is like the son. The daughter, O king, has
been ordained in the scriptures, to be equal to the son, O delighter of
the Kurus. Even thus hath the law of inheritance been ordained, O bull of
Bharata’s race. Remembering these ordinances about the distribution and
disposal of wealth, one should never acquire wealth uselessly.’

“Yudhishthira said, ‘If the son born of a Sudra woman by a Brahmana
father has been declared in the scriptures to be disentitled to any
wealth, by what exceptional rule then is a tenth part of the paternal
property to be given to him? A son born of a Brahmana wife by a Brahmana
is unquestionably a Brahmana. One born of a Kshatriya wife or of a Vaisya
wife, by a Brahmana husband, is similarly invested with the status of a
Brahmana. Why then, O best of kings, are such sons to share the paternal
wealth unequally? All of them, thou hast said, are Brahmanas, having been
born of mothers that belong to the three higher orders equally entitled
to the name of regenerate.’

“Bhishma said, ‘O scorcher of foes, all spouses in this world are called
by the name of Data. Although that name is applied to all, yet there is
this great distinction to be observed. If, having married three wives
belonging to the three other orders, a Brahmana takes a Brahmana wife the
very last of all yet shall she be regarded as the first in rank among all
the wives, and as deserving of the greatest respect. Indeed, among all
the co-wives, she shall be the foremost in consideration. In her
apartments should be kept all those articles that are necessary in view
of the husband’s baths, personal decorations, washing of teeth, and
application of collyrium to the eyes. In her apartments should be kept
the Havya and the Kavya and all else that the husband may require for the
performance of his religious acts. If the Brahmana wife is in the house,
no other wife is entitled to attend to these needs of the husband. Only
the Brahmana wife, O Yudhishthira, should assist in these acts of the
husband. The husband’s food and drink and garlands and robes and
ornaments, all these should be given by the Brahmana wife to the husband,
for she is the foremost in rank and consideration among all the spouses
of the husband. These are the ordinances of the scriptures as laid down
by Manu, O delighter of the Kurus! Even this, O monarch, is seen to be
the course of eternal usage. If a Brahmana, O Yudhishthira, led by lust,
acts in a different way, he shall come to be regarded as a Chandala among
Brahmanas.[296] The son born of the Kshatriya wife has been said to be
equal in status to the son born of the Brahmana wife. For all that, a
distinction attaches to the son of the Brahmana wife in consequence of
the superiority of the Brahmana to the Kshatriya in respect of the order
of birth. The Kshatriya cannot be regarded as equal to the Brahmana woman
in point of birth. Hence, O best of kings, the son born of the Brahmana
wife must be regarded as the first in rank and superior to the son born
of the Kshatriya wife. Because, again the Kshatriya is not equal in point
of birth to the Brahmana wife, hence the son of the Brahmana wife takes
one after another, all the best things, O Yudhishthira, among his
father’s possessions. Similarly, the Vaisya cannot be regarded as the
equal of the Kshatriya in point of birth. Prosperity, kingdom, and
treasury, O Yudhishthira, belong to the Kshatriya. All these have been
ordained for the Kshatriya. The whole earth, O king, with her belt of
seas, is seen to belong to him. By following the duties of his own order,
the Kshatriya acquires an extensive affluence. The sceptre of royalty is
held by him. Without the Kshatriya, O king, there can be no protection.
The Brahmanas are highly blessed, for they are the deities of the very
deities. Following the ordinances laid down by the Rishis, the Kshatriyas
should worship the Brahmanas according to due rites. Even this is the
eternal usage. Coveted by thieves and others, the possessions of all men
are protected by Kshatriyas in the observance of the duties assigned to
their order. Indeed, wealth and spouses and every other possession owned
by people would have been forcibly taken away but for this protection
that the Kshatriyas afford. The Kshatriya, as the king, becomes the
protector or rescuer of all the others. Hence, the son of the Kshatriya
wife shall, without doubt, be held to be superior to him that is born of
the Vaisya wife. The son of the Kshatriya wife, for this, takes a larger
share of the paternal property than the son of the Vaisya mother.’

“Yudhishthira said, ‘Thou hast duly said what the rules are that apply to
Brahmanas. What, however, are the rules that apply to the others?’

“Bhishma said, ‘For the Kshatriya, O delighter of the Kurus, two wives
have been ordained. The Kshatriya may take a third wife from the Sudra
order. Such practice prevails, it is true, but it is not sanctioned by
the scriptures. Even this should be the order, O Yudhisthira, of the
spouses of a Kshatriya. The property of a Kshatriya should, O king, be
divided into eight shares. The son of the Kshatriya wife shall take four
of such shares of the paternal property. The son of the Vaisya wife shall
take three of such shares. The remaining one or the eighth share shall be
taken by the son of the Sudra wife. The son of the Sudra wife, however,
shall take only when the father gives but not otherwise. For the Vaisya
only one wife has been ordained. A second wife is taken from the Sudra
order. The practice prevails, it is true, but it is not sanctioned by the
scriptures. If a Vaisya has two wives, one of whom is a Vaisya and the
other a Sudra, there is a difference between them in respect of status.
The wealth of a Vaisya, O chief of Bharata’s race, should be divided Into
five portions. I shall now speak of the sons of a Vaisya by a wife of his
own order and by one belonging to the inferior order, as also of the
manner in which, O king his wealth is to be distributed among those
children. The son born of the Vaisya wife shall take four of such shares
of his father’s wealth. The fifth share, O Bharata, has been said to
belong to the son born of the Sudra wife. Such a son, however, shall take
when the father gives. He should not take anything unless the father
gives it to him. The son that is begotten on a Sudra wife by persons of
the three higher orders should always be regarded as disentitled to any
share of the sire’s wealth. The Sudra should have only one wife taken
from his own order. He can under no circumstances, take any other spouse.
Even if he happens to have a century of sons by such a spouse, all of
them share equally the wealth that he may leave behind. As regards all
the orders, the children born of the spouse taken from the husband’s own
order shall, it has been laid down, share equally the father’s wealth.
The eldest son’s share shall be greater than that of every other son, for
he shall take one share more than each of his brothers, consisting of the
best things of his father. Even this is the law of inheritance, O son of
Pritha, as declared by the Self-born himself. Amongst children all born
of the spouse taken from the husband’s own order, there is another
distinction, O king! In marrying, the elder ones should always precede
the younger ones. The spouses being all equal in respect of their order
of birth, and the children also being all equal in respect of the status
of their mothers, the son that is first-born shall take one share more
than each of his other brothers. The son that comes next in point of age
shall take a share that is next in value, while the son that is youngest
shall take the share that belongs to the youngest.[297] Thus among
spouses of all orders, they that belong to the same order with the
husband are regarded as the first. Even this is what was declared by the
great Rishi Kasyapa the son of Marichi.’


“Yudhishthira said, ‘Through inducements offered by wealth, or through
mere lust, or through ignorance of the true order of birth (of both males
and females), or through folly, intermixture happens of the several order
What, O grandsire, are the duties of persons that are born in the mixed
classes and what are the acts laid down for them? Do thou discourse to me
on this!’

“Bhishma said, ‘In the beginning, the Lord of all creatures created the
four orders and laid down their respective acts or duties, for the sake
of sacrifice.[298] The Brahmana may take four wives, one from each of the
four orders. In two of them (viz., the wife taken from his own order and
that taken from the one next below), he takes birth himself (the children
begotten upon them being regarded as invested with the same status as his
own). Those sons, however, that are begotten by him on the two spouses
that belong to the next two orders (viz., Vaisya and Sudra), are
inferior, their status being determined not by that of their father but
by that of their mothers. The son that is begotten by a Brahmana upon a
Sudra wife is called Parasara, implying one born of a corpse, for the
Sudra woman’s body is as inauspicious as a corpse. He should serve the
persons of his (father’s) race. Indeed, it is not proper for him to give
up the duty of service that has been laid down for him. Adopting all
means in his power, he should uphold the burden of his family. Even if he
happens to be elder in age, he should still dutifully serve the other
children of his father who may be younger to him in years, and bestow
upon them whatever he may succeed in earning. A Kshatriya may take three
wives. In two of them (viz., the one taken from his own order and the
other that is taken from the order immediately below), he takes birth
himself (so that those children are invested with the status of his own
order). His third wife being of the Sudra order is regarded as very
inferior. The son that he begets upon her comes to be called as an Ugra.
The Vaisya may take two spouses. In both of them (viz., the one taken
from his own order, and the other from the lowest of the four pure
orders), he takes birth himself (so that those children become invested
with the status of his own order). The Sudra can take only one wife,
viz., she that is taken from his own order. The son begotten by him upon
her becomes a Sudra. A son that takes birth under circumstances other
than those mentioned above, comes to be looked upon as a very inferior
one If a person of a lower order begets a son upon a woman of a superior
order, such a son is regarded as outside the pale of the four pure
orders. Indeed, such a son becomes on object of censure with the four
principal orders. If a Kshatriya begets a son upon a Brahmana woman, such
a son, without being included in any of the four pure orders, comes to be
regarded as a Suta The duties of a Suta are all connected with the
reciting of eulogies and encomiums of kings and other great men. The son
begotten by a Vaisya upon a woman of the Brahmana order comes to be
regarded as a Vaidehaka. The duties assigned to him are the charge of
bars and bolts for protecting the privacy of women of respectable
households. Such sons have no cleansing rites laid down for them.[299] If
a Sudra unites with a woman belonging to the foremost of the four orders,
the son that is begotten is called a Chandala. Endued with a fierce
disposition, he must live in the outskirts of cities and towns and the
duty assigned to him is that of the public executioner. Such sons are
always regarded as wretches of their race. These, O foremost of
intelligent persons, are the offspring of intermixed orders. The son
begotten by a Vaisya upon a Kshatriya woman becomes a Vandi or Magadha.
The duties assigned to him are eloquent recitations of praise. The son
begotten through transgression, by a Sudra upon a Kshatriya women,
becomes a Nishada and the duties assigned to him have reference to the
catching of fish. If a Sudra happens to have intercourse with a Vaisya
woman, the son begotten upon her comes to be called Ayogava. The duty
assigned to such a person are those of a Takshan (carpenter). They that
are Brahmanas should never accept gifts from such a person. They are not
entitled to possess any kind of wealth. Persons belonging to the mixed
castes beget upon spouses taken from their own castes children invested
with the status that is their own. When they beget children in women
taken from castes that are inferior to theirs, such children become
inferior to their fathers, for they become invested with the status that
belongs to their mothers Thus as regards the four pure orders, persons
beget children invested with their own status upon spouses taken from
their own orders as also upon them that are taken from the orders
immediately below their own. When, however, offspring are begotten upon
other spouses, they come to be regarded as invested with a status that
is, principally, outside the pale of the four pure orders. When such
children beget sons in women taken from their own classes, those sons
take the status of their sires. It is only when they take spouse from
castes other than their own, that the children they beget become invested
with inferior status. As an example of this it may be said that a Sudra
begets upon a woman belonging to the most superior order a son that is
outside the pale of the four orders (for such a son comes to be regarded
as a Chandala who is much inferior). The son that is outside the pale of
the four orders by uniting with women belonging to the four principal
orders, begets offspring that are further degraded in point of status.
From those outside the pale of the four orders and those again that are
further outside that pale, children multiply in consequence of the union
of persons with women of classes superior to their own. In this way, from
persons of inferior status classes spring up, altogether fifteen in
number, that are equally low or still lower in status. It is only from
sexual union of women with persons who should not have such union with
them that mixed classes spring up. Among the classes that are thus
outside the pale of the four principal or pure orders, children are
begotten upon women belonging to the class called Sairindhri by men of
the class called Magadha. The occupation of such offspring is the
adornment of the bodies of kinds and others. They are well-acquainted
with the preparation of unguents, the making of wreaths, and the
manufacture of articles used for the decoration of the person. Though
free by the status that attaches to them by birth, they should yet lead a
life of service. From the union of Magadhas of a certain class with women
of the caste called Sairindhri, there springs up another caste called
Ayogava. Their occupation consists in the making of nets (for catching
fish and fowl and animals of the chase). Vaidehas, by uniting themselves
with women of the Sairindhri caste, beget children called Maireyakas
whose occupation consists in the manufacture of wines and spirits. From
the Nishadas spring a caste called Madgura and another known by the name
of Dasas whose occupation consists in plying boats. From the Chandala
springs a race called Swapaka whose occupation consists in keeping guard
over the dead. The women of the Magadhi caste, by union with these four
castes of wicked dispositions produce four others who live by practising
deceit. These are Mansa, Swadukara, Kshaudra, and Saugandha. From the
Vaideha springs up a cruel and sinful caste that lives by practising
deception. From the Nishadas again springs up the Madranabha caste whose
members are seen to ride on cars drawn by asses. From the Chandalas
springs up the caste called Pukkasa whose members are seen to eat the
flesh of asses, horses and elephants. These cover themselves with the
garments obtained by stripping human corpses. They are again seen to eat
from broken earthenware[300]. These three castes of very low status are
born of women of the Ayogava caste (by fathers taken from different
castes). The caste called Kshudra springs from the Vaidehaka. The caste
called Andhra which takes up its residence in the outskirts of towns and
cities, also springs up (from the Vaidehakas). Then again the Charmakara,
uniting himself with a woman of Nishada caste, begets the class called
Karavara. From the Chandala again springs up the caste known by the name
of Pandusaupaka whose occupation consists in making baskets and other
things with cleft bamboos. From the union of the Nishada with a woman of
the Vaidehi caste springs one who is called by the name of Ahindaka. The
Chandala begets upon a Saupaka woman, a son that does not differ from the
Chandala in status or occupation. A Nishada woman, by union with a
Chandala, brings forth a son who lives in the outskirts of villages and
towns. Indeed, the members of such a caste live in crematoria and are
regarded by the very lowest orders as incapable of being numbered among
them. Thus to these mixed castes spring up from improper and sinful union
of fathers and mothers belonging to different castes. Whether they live
in concealment or openly, they should be known by their occupations. The
duties have been laid down in the scriptures for only the four principal
orders. As regards the others the scriptures are entirely silent. Among
all the orders, the members of those castes that have no duties assigned
to them by the scriptures, need have no fears as to what they do (to earn
their livelihood). Persons unaccustomed to the performance or for whom
sacrifices have not been laid down, and who are deprived of the company
and the instructions of the righteous whether numbered among the four
principal orders or out of their pale, by uniting themselves with women
of other castes, led not by considerations of righteousness but by
uncontrolled lust, cause numerous mixed castes to come into existence
whose occupations and abodes depend on the circumstances connected with
the irregular unions to which they owe their origin. Having recourse to
spots where four roads meet, or crematoria, or hills and mountains, or
forests and trees, they build their habitations there. The ornaments they
wear are made of iron. Living in such places openly, they betake
themselves to their own occupations to earn their livelihood. They may be
seen to live in this way, adorning their persons with ornaments and
employed in the task of manufacturing diverse kinds of domestic and other
utensils. Without doubt, by assisting kine and Brahmanas, and practising
the virtues of abstention from cruelty, compassion, truthfulness of
speech, and forgiveness, and, if need be, by preserving others by laying
down their very lives, persons of the mixed castes may achieve success. I
have no doubt, O chief of men, that these virtues become the causes of
their success. He that is possessed of intelligence, should, taking
everything into consideration, beget offspring according to the
ordinances of the scriptures, upon woman that have been declared proper
or fit for him. A son begotten upon a women belonging to a degraded
caste, instead of rescuing the sire, brings him to grief even as a heavy
weight brings to grief a swimmer desirous of crossing water. Whether a
man happens to be possessed of learning or not, lust and wrath are
natural attributes of humanity in this world. Women, therefore, may
always be seen to drag men into the wrong path. This natural disposition
of women is such that man’s contact with her is productive of misery to
him. Hence, men possessed of wisdom do not suffer themselves to be
excessively attached to women.’

“Yudhishthira said, ‘There are men who belong to the mixed castes, and
who are of very impure birth. Though presenting the features of
respectability, they are in reality disrespectable. In consequence of
these external aspects we may not be able to know the truth about their
birth. Are there any signs, O grandsire, by which the truth may be known
about the origin of such men?”


“Bhishma said, ‘A person that is born of an irregular union presents
diverse features of disposition. One’s purity of birth, again, is to be
ascertained from one’s acts which must resemble the acts of those who are
admittedly good and righteous. A disrespectable behaviour, acts opposed
to those laid down in the scriptures, crookedness and cruelty, and
abstention from sacrifices and other spiritual acts that lead to merit,
proclaim one’s impurity of origin. A son receives the disposition of
either the sire or the mother. Sometimes he catches the dispositions of
both. A person of impure birth can never succeed in concealing his true
disposition. As the cub of a tiger or a leopard resembles its sire and
dam in form and in (the matter of) its stripes of spots, even so a person
cannot but betray the circumstance of his origin. However covered may the
course of one’s descent be, if that descent happens to be impure, its
character or disposition is sure to manifest itself slightly or largely.
A person may, for purposes of his own, choose to tread on an insincere
path, displaying such conduct as seems to be righteous. His own
disposition, however, in the matter of those acts that he does, always
proclaims whether he belongs to a good order or to a different one.
Creatures in the world are endued with diverse kinds of disposition. They
are, again, seen to be employed in diverse kinds of acts. Amongst
creatures thus employed, there is nothing that is so good or precious as
pure birth and righteous conduct. If a person be born in a low order,
that good understanding which arises from a study of the scriptures fails
to rescue his body from low acts. Absolute goodness of understanding may
be of different degrees. It may be high, middling, or low. Even if it
appears in a person of low extraction, it disappears like autumnal clouds
without producing any consequences. On the other hand, that other
goodness of understanding which, according to its measure, has ordained
the status in which the person has been born, shows itself in his
acts[301]. If a person happens to belong to a superior order but still if
he happens to be divested of good behaviour, he should receive no respect
or worship. One may worship even a Sudra if he happens to be conversant
with duties and be of good conduct. A person proclaims himself by his own
good and acts and by his good or bad disposition and birth. If one’s race
of birth happens to be degraded for any reason, one soon raises it and
makes it resplendent and famous by one’s acts. For these reasons they
that are endued with wisdom should avoid those women, among these diverse
castes mixed or pure, upon whom they should not beget offspring.’

“Yudhishthira said, ‘Do thou discourse to us, O sire, upon the orders and
classes separately, upon different kinds of sons begotten upon different
types of women, upon the person entitled to have them as sons, and upon
their status in life. It is known that disputes frequently arise with
respect to sons. It behoveth thee, O king, to solve the doubts that have
taken possession of our minds. Indeed, we are stupefied with respect to
this subject.’

“Bhishma said, ‘The son of one’s loins is regarded as one’s own self. The
son that is begotten upon one’s wife by a person whom one has invited for
the task, is called Niruktaja. The son that is begotten upon one’s wife
by somebody without one’s permission, is Prasritaja. The son begotten
upon his own wife by a person fallen away from his status is called
Patitaja. There are two other sons, viz., the son given, and the son
made. There is another called Adhyudha.[302] The son born of a maiden in
her father’s house is called Kanina. Besides these, there are six kinds
of sons called Apadhwansaja and six others that are Apasadas. These are
the several kinds of sons mentioned in the scriptures, learn, O Bharata!

“Yudhishthira said, ‘Who are the six that are called Apadhwansajas? Who
also are the Apasadas? It behoveth thee to explain all these to me in

“Bhishma said, ‘The sons that a Brahmana begets upon spouses taken from
the three inferior orders, those begotten by a Kshatriya upon spouses
taken from the two orders inferior to his own, O Bharata, and the sons
that a Vaisya begets upon a spouse taken from the one order that is
inferior to his,–are all called Apadhwansajas. They are, as thus
explained, of six kinds. Listen now to me as I tell thee who the
Apasadas, are. The son that a Sudra begets upon a Brahmana woman is
called a Chandala. Begotten upon a Kshatriya woman by a person of the
Sudra order, the son is called a Vratya. He who is born of a Vaisya woman
by a Sudra father is called a Vaidya. These three kinds of sons are
called Apasadas. The Vaisya, by uniting himself with a woman of the
Brahmana order, begets a son that is called a Magadha, while the son that
he gets upon a Kshatriya woman is called a Vamaka. The Kshatriya can
beget but one kind of son upon a woman of a superior order. Indeed, the
son begotten by a Kshatriya upon a Brahmana woman, is called a Suta.
These three also are called Apasadas. It cannot be said, O king, that
these six kinds of sons are no sons.’

“Yudhishthira said, ‘Some say that one’s son is he that is born in one’s
soil. Some, on the other hand, say that one’s son is he who has been
begotten from one’s seed. Are both these kinds of sons equal? Whore,
again, is the son to be? Do thou tell me this, O grandsire!

“Bhishma said, ‘His is the son from whose seed he has sprung. If,
however, the owner of the seed abandons the son born of it, such a son
then becomes his upon whose spouse he has been begotten. The same rule
applies to the son called Adhyudha. He belongs to the person from whose
seed he has taken his birth. If, however, the owner of the seed abandons
him, he becomes the son of the husband of his mother.[303] Know that even
this is what the law declares.’

“Yudhishthira said, ‘We know that the son becomes his from whose seed he
has taken birth. Whence does the husband of the woman that brings forth
the son derive his right to the latter? Similarly, the son called
Adhyudha should be known to be the son of him from whose seed he has
sprung. How can they be sons of others by reasons of the engagement about
owning and rearing them having been broken?’

“Bhishma said, ‘He who having begotten a son of his own loins, abandons
him for some reason or other, cannot be regarded as the sire of such a
son, for vital seed only cannot create sonship. Such a son must be held
to belong to the person who owns the soil. When a man, desiring to have a
son, weds a girl quick with child, the son born of his spouse must belong
to him, for it is the fruit of his own soil. The person from whose vital
seed the son has sprung can have no right to such a son. The son that is
born in one’s soil but not begotten by the owner, O chief of Bharata’s
race, bears all the marks of the sire that has actually begotten him (and
not the marks of one that is only the husband of his mother). The son
thus born is incapable of concealing the evidences that physiognomy
offers. He is at once known by eyesight (to belong to another).[304] As
regards the son made, he is sometimes regarded as the child of the person
who has made him a son and so brings him up. In his case, neither the
vital seed of which he is born nor the soil in which he is born, becomes
the cause of sonship.’

“Yudhishthira said, ‘What kind of a son is that who is said to be a made
son and whose sonship arises from the fact of his being taken and brought
up and in whose case neither the vital seed nor the soil of birth, O
Bharata, is regarded as the cause of sonship?’

“Bhishma said, ‘When a person takes up and rears a son that has been cast
off on the road by his father and mother, and when the person thus taking
and rearing him fails to find out his parents after search, he becomes
the father of such a son and the latter becomes what is called his made
son. Not having anybody to own him, he becomes owned by him who brings
him up. Such a son, again, comes to be regarded as belonging to that
order to which his owner or rearer belongs.’

“Yudhishthira said, How should the purificatory rites of such a person be
performed? In whose case what sort of rites are to be performed? With
what girl should he be wedded? Do thou tell me all this, O grandsire!”

“Bhishma said, ‘The rites of purification touching such a son should be
performed conformably to the usage of the person himself that raises him,
for, cast off by his parents, such a son obtains the order of the person
that takes him and brings him up. Indeed, O thou of unfading glory, the
rearer should perform all the purificatory rites with respect to such a
son according to the practices of the rearer’s own race and kinsmen. As
regards the girl also, O Yudhishthira, that should be bestowed in
marriage upon such a son, who belongs to the order of the rearer himself,
All this is to be done only when the order of son’s true mother cannot be
ascertained. Among sons, he that is born of a maiden and he that is born
of a mother that had conceived before her marriage but had brought him
fourth subsequent to that are regarded as very disgraceful and degraded.
Even those two, however, should receive the same rites of purification
that are laid down for the sons begotten by the father in lawful wedlock.
With respect to the son that becomes his sire’s in consequence of his
birth in the sire’s soil and of those sons that are called Apasadas and,
those conceived by the spouse in her maidenhood but brought forth after
marriage, Brahmanas and others should apply the same rites of
purification that hold good for their own orders. These are the
conclusions that are to be found in the scriptures with respect to the
different orders. I have thus told thee everything appertaining to thy
questions. What else dost thou wish to hear?”


“Yudhishthira said, ‘What is the nature of the compassion or pity that is
felt at the sight of another’s woe? What is the nature of that compassion
or sympathy that one feels for another in consequence of one’s living in
the companionship of that other? What is the nature (and degree) of the
high blessedness that attaches to kine? It behoveth thee, O grandsire, to
expound all this to me.’

“Bhishma said, ‘I shall, in this connection, O thou of great effulgence,
recite to thee an ancient narrative of a conversation between Nahusha and
the Rishi Chyavana. In days of yore O Chief of Bharata’s race, the great
Rishi Chyavana of Bhrigu’s race, always observant of high vows, became
desirous of leading for some time the mode of life called Udavasa and set
himself to commence it. Casting off pride and wrath and joy and grief,
the ascetic, pledging himself to observe that vow, set himself to live
for twelve years according to the rules of Udavasa. The Rishi inspired
all creatures with a happy trust. And he inspired similar confidence in
all creatures living in water. The puissant ascetic resembled the Moon
himself in his behaviour to all. Bowing unto all the deities and having
cleansed himself of all sins, he entered the water at the confluence of
the Ganga and the Yamuna, and stood there like an inanimate post of wood.
Placing his head against it, he bore the fierce and roaring current of
the two streams united together,–the current whose speed resembled that
of the wind itself. The Ganga and the Yamuna, however, and the other
streams and lakes, whose waters unite together at the confluence at
Prayaga, instead of afflicting the Rishi, went past him (to show him
respect). Assuming the attitude of a wooden post, the great Muni
sometimes laid himself down in the water and slept at ease. And
sometimes, O chief of Bharata’s race, the intelligent sage stood in an
erect posture. He became quite agreeable unto all creatures living in
water. Without the least fear, all these used to smell the Rishi’s lips.
In this way, the Rishi passed a long time at that grand confluence of
waters. One day some fishermen came there. With nets in their hands, O
thou of great effulgence, those men came to that spot where the Rishi
was. They were many in number and all of them were bent upon catching
fish. Well-formed and broad-chested, endued with great strength and
courage and never returning in fear from water, those men who lived upon
the earnings by their nets, came to that spot, resolved to catch fish.
Arrived at the water which contained many fish, those fishermen, O chief
of the Bharatas, tied all their nets together. Desirous of fish, those
Kaivartas, many in number united together and surrounded a portion of the
waters of the Ganga and the Yamuna with their nets. Indeed, they then
cast into water their net which was made of new strings, capable of
covering a large space, and endued with sufficient length and breadth.
All of them, getting into the water, then began to drag with great force
that net of theirs which was very large and had been well-spread over a
large space. All of them were free from fear, cheerful, and fully
resolved to do one another’s bidding. They had succeeded in enmeshing a
large number of fish and other aquatic animals. And as they dragged their
net, O king, they easily dragged up Chyavana the son of Bhrigu along with
a large number of fish. His body was overgrown with the river moss. His
beard and matted locks had become green. And all over his person could be
seen conchs and other molluscs attached with their heads. Beholding that
Rishi who was well-conversant with the Vedas dragged up by them from
water, all the fishermen stood with joined palms and then prostrated
themselves on the ground and repeatedly bent their heads. Through fear
and pain caused by the dragging of the net, and in consequence of their
being brought upon land, the fish enmeshed in the net yielded up their
lives. The ascetic, beholding that great slaughter of fishes, became
filled with compassion and sighed repeatedly.’

“The fishermen said, ‘We have committed this sin (of dragging thy sacred
self from water) through ignorance. Be gratified with us! What wish of
thine shall we accomplish? Command us, O great ascetic!’

“Bhishma continued, ‘This addressed by them, Chyauana, from among that
heap of fishes around him, said, ‘Do ye with concentrated attention hear
what my most cherished wish is. I shall either die with these fishes or
do ye sell me with them. I have lived with them for a long time within
the water. I do not wish to abandon them at such a time.’ When he said
these words unto them, the fishermen became exceedingly terrified. With
pale faces they repaired to king Nahusha and informed him of all that had
taken place.'”


“Bhishma said, ‘King Nahusha hearing the pass to which Chyavana was
reduced, quickly proceeded to that spot accompanied by his ministers and
priest. Having cleansed himself duly, the king, with joined palms and
concentrated attention, introduced himself unto the high-souled Chyavana.
The king’s priest then worshipped with due ceremonies that Rishi, O
monarch, who was observant of the vow of truth and endued with a high
soul, and who resembled a god himself (in splendour and energy).’

“Nahusha said, ‘Tell me, O best of regenerate persons, what act shall we
do that may be agreeable to thee? However difficult that act may be,
there is nothing, O holy one, that I shall not be able to accomplish at
thy bidding.’

“Chyavana said, ‘These men that live by catching fish have all been tried
with labour. Do thou pay them the price that may be set upon me along
with the value of these fish.’

“Nahusha said, ‘Let my priest give unto these Nishadas a thousand coins
as a price for purchasing these sacred one as he himself has commanded.’

“Chyavana said, ‘A thousand coins cannot represent my price. The question
depends upon your discretion. Give them a fair value, settling with thy
own intelligence what it should be.’

“Nahusha said, ‘Let, O learned Brahmana, a hundred thousand coins be
given unto these Nishadas. Shall this be thy price, O holy one, or dost
think otherwise?’

“Chyavana said, ‘I should not be purchased for a hundred thousand coins,
O best of monarchs! Let a proper price be given unto them. Do thou
consult with thy ministers.’

“Nahusha said, ‘Let my priest give unto these Nishadas a crore of coins.
If even this does not represent thy price, let more be paid unto them.’

“Chyavana said, ‘O king, I do not deserve to be purchased for a crore of
coins or even more. Let that price be given unto those men which would be
fair or proper. Do thou ‘consult with the Brahmanas.’

“Nahusha said, ‘Let half of my kingdom or even the whole be given away
unto these Nishadas. I think that would represent thy price. What,
however, dost thou think, O regenerate one?’

“Chyavana said, ‘I do not deserve to be purchased with half thy kingdom
or even the whole of it, O king! Let thy price which is proper be given
unto these men. Do thou consult with the Rishis.’

“Bhishma continued, ‘Hearing these words of the great Rishi, Nahusha
became afflicted with great grief. With his ministers and priest he began
to deliberate on the matter. There then came unto king Nahusha an ascetic
living in the woods and subsisting upon fruit and roots and born of a
cow. That best of regenerate persons, addressing the monarch, O king,
said these words, ‘I shall soon gratify thee. The Rishi also will be
gratified. I shall never speak an untruth.–no, not even in jest, what
then need I say of other occasions? Thou shouldst, without any scruple,
do what I bid thee.’

“Nahusha said, ‘Do thou, O illustrious one, say what the price is of that
great Rishi of Bhrigu’s race. O, save me from this terrible pass, save my
kingdom, and save my race! If the holy Chyavana became angry, he would
destroy the three worlds: what need I say them of my poor self who is
destitute of penances and who depends only upon the might of his arm? O
great Rishi, do thou become the raft unto us that have all fallen into a
fathomless ocean with all our counsellors and our priest! Do thou settle
what the price should be of the Rishi.’

“Bhishma said, ‘Hearing these words of Nahusha, the ascetic born of a cow
and endued with great energy spoke in this strain, gladdening the monarch
and all his counsellors, ‘Brahmanas, O king, belong to the foremost of
the four orders. No value, however great, can be set upon them. Cows also
are invaluable. Therefore, O chief of men, do thou regard a cow as the
value of the Rishi.’ Hearing these words of the great Rishi, Nahusha
became, O king, filled with joy along with all his counsellors and
priest. Proceeding then to the presence of Bhrigu’s son, Chyavana, of
rigid vows, h e addressed him thus, O monarch, for gratifying him to the
best of his ability.’

‘Nahusha said, ‘Rise, rise, O regenerate Rishi, thou hast been purchased.
O son of Bhirgu, with a cow as thy price. O foremost of righteous
persons, even this, I think, is thy price.’

“Chyavana said. ‘Yes, O king of kings, I do rise up. I have been properly
purchased by thee, O sinless one! I do not, O thou of unfading glory, see
any wealth that is equal to kine. To speak of kine, to hear others speak
of them, to make gifts of kine, and to see kine, O king, are acts that
are all applauded, O hero, and that are highly auspicious and
sin-cleansing. Kine are always the root of prosperity. There is no fault
in kine. Kine always afford the best food, in the form of Havi, unto the
deities. The sacred Mantras, Swaha and Vashat, are always established
upon kine. Kine are the chief conductresses of sacrifices. They
constitute the mouth of sacrifice. They bear and yield excellent and
strength-giving nectar. They receive the worship of all the worlds and
are regarded as the source of nectar. On earth, kine resemble fire in
energy and form. Verily, kine represent high energy, and are bestowers of
great happiness upon all creatures. That country where kine, established
by their owners, breathe fearlessly, shines in beauty. The sins, also of
that country are all washed off. Kine constitute the stairs that lead to
heaven. Kine are adorned in heaven itself. Kine are goddesses that are
competent to give everything and grant every wish. There is nothing else
in the world that is so high or so superior!'[305]

“Bhishma continued, “Even this is what I say unto thee on the subject of
the glory and superiority of kine, O chief of Bharata’s race. I am
competent to proclaim a part only of the merits that attach to kine. I
have not the ability to exhaust the subject!’

“Then Nishadas said, ‘O ascetic, thou hast seen us and hast also spoken
with us. It has been said that friendship with those that are good,
depends upon only seven words[306]. Do thou then, O lord, show us thy
grace. The blazing sacrificial fire eats all the oblations of clarified
butter poured upon it. Of righteous soul, and possessed of great energy
thou art among men, a blazing fire in energy. We propitiate thee, O thou
of great learning! We surrender ourselves to thee. Do thou, for showing
us favour, take back from us this cow.’

“Chyavana said, ‘The eye of a person that is poor or that has fallen into
distress, the eye of an ascetic, or the eye of a snake of virulent
poison, consumes a man with his very roots, even as a fire that, blazing
up with the assistance of the wind, consumes a stack of dry grass or
straw. I shall accent the cow that ye desire to present me. Ye fishermen,
freed from every sin, go ye to heaven without any delay, with these
fishes also that ye have caught with your nets.’

“Bhishma continued, ‘After this, in consequence of the energy of the
great Rishi of cleansed soul, those fishermen along with all those fish
through virtue of those words that he had uttered, proceeded to heaven.
King Nahusha, beholding the fishermen ascending to heaven with those
fishes in their company, became filled with wonder, O chief of Bharata’s
race. After this, the two Rishis, viz., the one born of a cow and the
other who was Chyavana of Bhrigu’s race, gladdened king Nahusha by
granting him many boons. Then king Nahusha of great energy, that lord of
all the earth, filled with joy, O best of the Bharatas, said,
‘Sufficient!’ Like unto a second Indra, the chief of the celestials, he
accepted the boon about his own steadiness in virtue. The Rishis having
granted him the boon, the delighted king worshipped them both with great
reverence. As regards Chyavana, his vow having been completed, he
returned to his own asylum. The Rishi that had taken his birth from the
cow, and who was endued with great energy, also proceeded to his own
retreat. The Nishadas all ascended to heaven as also the fishes they had
caught, O monarch. King Nahusha, too, having obtained those valuable
boons, entered his own city. I have thus, O son, told thee everything
respecting what thou hadst asked me. The affection that is generated by
the sight alone of others as also by the fact of living with them, O
Yudhishthira, and the high-blessedness of kine too, and the ascertainment
of true righteousness, are the topics upon which I have discoursed. Tell
me, O hero what else is in thy breast.'”


“Yudhishthira said, ‘O thou of great wisdom, a doubt I have that is very
great and that is as vast as the ocean itself. Listen to it, O
mighty-armed one and having learnt what it is, it behoves thee to explain
it unto me. I have a great curiosity with respect to Jamadagni’s son, O
lord, viz., Rama, that foremost of all righteous persons. It behoveth
thee to gratify that curiosity. How was Rama born who was endued with
prowess incapable of being baffled? He belonged by birth to a race of
regenerate Rishis. How did he become a follower of Kshatriya practices?
Do thou, then, O king, recite to me in detail the circumstances of Rama’s
birth. How also did a son of the race of Kusika who was Kshatriya become
a Brahmana? Great, without doubt, was the puissance of the high-souled
Rama, O chief of men, as also of Viswamitra. Why did the grandson of
Richika instead of his son become a Kshatriya in conduct? Why also did
the grandson of Kusika and not his son become a Brahmana? Why did such
untoward incidents overtake the grandsons of both, instead of their sons?
It behoveth thee to explain the truth in respect of these circumstances.’

“Bhishma said, ‘In this connection is cited an old history of the
discourse between Chyavana and Kusika, O Bharata! Endued with great
intelligence, Chyavana of Bhrigu’s race, that best of ascetics beheld
(with his spiritual eye) the stain that would affect his own race (in
consequence of some descendant of his becoming wedded to Kshatriya
practice). Reflecting upon the merits and faults of that incident, as
also its strength and weakness, Chyavana endued with wealth of asceticism
became desirous of consuming the race of the Kusikas (for it was from
that race that the stain of Kshatriya practices would, he knew, affect
his own race). Repairing then to the presence of king Kusika, Chyavana
said unto him, ‘O sinless one, the desire has arisen in my heart of
dwelling with thee for some time.’

“Kusika said, ‘O holy one, residence together is an act which the learned
ordain for girls when these are given away. They that are endued with
wisdom always speak of the practice in such connection only. O Rishi
endued with wealth of asceticism, the residence which thou seekest with
me is not sanctioned by the ordinance. Yet, however opposed to the
dictates of duty and righteousness, I shall do what thou mayst be pleased
to command.’

“Bhishma continued, ‘Ordering a seat to be placed for the great ascetic
Chyavana, king Kusika, accompanied by his wife, stood in the presence of
the ascetic. Bringing a little jar of water, the king offered him water
for washing his feet. He then, through his, servants, caused all the
rites to be duly performed in honour of his high-souled guest. The
high-souled Kusika, who was observant of restraints and vows, then
cheerfully presented, according to due forms, the ingredients consisting
of honey and the other things, to the great Rishi and induced him to
accept the same. Having welcomed and honoured the learned Brahmana in
this way, the king once more addressed him and said, ‘We two await thy
orders! Command us what we are to do for thee, O holy one! If it is our
kingdom or wealth or kine, O thou of rigid vows, or all articles that are
given away in sacrifices, which thou wantest, tell us the word, and we
shall bestow all upon thee! This palace, the kingdom, this seat of
justice, await thy pleasure. Thou art the lord of all these! Do thou rule
the earth! As regards myself, I am completely dependent upon thee.’
Addressed in these words by the king, Chyavana of Bhrigu’s race, filled
with great delight, said unto Kusika these words in reply.’

“Chyavana said, ‘I do not, O king, covet thy kingdom, nor thy wealth, nor
the damsels thou hast, nor thy kine, nor thy provinces, nor articles
needed for sacrifice. Do thou listen to me. If it pleases thee and thy
wife, I shall commence to observe a certain vow. I desire thee and thy
wife to serve me during that period without any scruples. Thus addressed
by the Rishi, the king and the queen became filled with joy, O Bharata,
and answered him, saving, ‘Be it so, O Rishi!’ Delighted with the Rishi’s
words, the king led him into an apartment of the palace. It was an
excellent one, agreeable to see. The king showed him everything in that
room. And the king said. ‘This, O holy one, is thy bed. Do thou live here
as thou pleasest! O thou that art endued with wealth of asceticism,
myself and my queen shall strive our best to give thee every comfort and
every pleasure.’ While they were thus conversing with each other, the sun
passed the meridian. The Rishi commanded the king to bring him food and
drink, King Kusika, bowing unto the Rishi, asked him, saying, ‘What kind
of food is agreeable to thee? What food, indeed, shall be brought for
thee?’ Filled with delight, the Rishi answered that rule of men, O
Bharata, saying, ‘Let food that is proper be given to me.’ Receiving
these words with respect, the king said, ‘So be it!’ and then offered
unto the Rishi food of the proper kind. Having finished his meals, the
holy Chyavana, conversant with every duty, addressed the king and the
queen, saying, ‘I desire to slumber. O puissant one, sleep hinders me
now.’ Proceeding thence to a chamber that had been prepared for him, that
best of Rishis then laid himself down upon a bed. The king and the queen
sat themselves down. The Rishi said to them, ‘Do not, while I sleep,
awake me. Do ye keep yourselves awake and continually press my feet as
long as I sleep.’ Without the least scruple, Kusika, conversant with
every duty, said, ‘So be it!’ Indeed, the king and the queen kept
themselves awake all night, duly engaged in tending and serving the Rishi
in the manner directed. The royal couple, O monarch accomplished the
Rishi’s bidding with earnestness and attention. Meanwhile the holy
Brahmana, having thus laid his commands upon the king, slept soundly,
without changing his posture or turning even once, for a space of one and
twenty days. The king, O delighter of the Kurus, foregoing all food,
along with his wife, sat joyfully the whole time engaged in tending and
serving the Rishi. On the expiration of one and twenty days, the son of
Bhrigu rose of his own accord. The great ascetic then went out of the
room, without accosting them at all. Famished and toil-worn the king and
the queen followed him, but that foremost of Rishis did not deign to cast
a single glance upon any of them. Proceeding a little way, the son of
Bhrigu disappeared in the very sight of the royal couple (making himself
invisible by his Yoga-power). At this, the king, struck with grief, fell
down on the earth. Comforted, he rose up soon, and accompanied by his
queen, the monarch, possessed of great splendour, began to search
everywhere for the Rishi.’


“Yudhishthira said, ‘After the Rishi had disappeared, what did the king
do and what also did highly-blessed spouse do? Tell me this, O grandsire!’

“Bhishma said, ‘Having lost sight of the Rishi, the king, overwhelmed
with shame, toil-worn and losing his senses, returned to his palace,
accompanied by his queen. Entering his mansion in a cheerless mood, he
spoke not a word with any one. He thought only of that conduct of
Chyavana. With a despairing heart he then proceeded to his chamber. There
he saw the son of Bhrigu stretched as before on his bed. Beholding the
Rishi there, they wondered much. Indeed, they began to reflect upon that
very strange incident. The sight of the Rishi dispelled their fatigue.
Taking their seats once more by his side, they again set themselves to
gently press his feet as before. Meanwhile, the great ascetic continued
to sleep soundly as before. Only, he now lay on another side. Endued with
great energy, he thus passed another period measured by one and twenty
day. Agitated by their fears, the royal couple showed no change in their
attitude or sentiment towards the Rishi. Awaking then from his slumber,
the ascetic addressed the king and the queen, saying, ‘Do ye rub my body
with oil. I wish to have a bath.’ Famishing and toil-worn though they
were they readily assented, and soon approached the Rishi with a costly
oil that had been prepared by boiling it a hundred times. While the Rishi
was seated at his ease, the king and the queen, restraining speech,
continued to rub him. Endued with high ascetic merit the son of Bhrigu
did not once utter the word ‘Sufficient.’ Bhrigu’s son, however, saw that
the royal couple were totally unmoved. Rising up suddenly, he entered the
bathing chamber. The diverse article necessary for a bath and such as
were fit for a king’s use, were ready there. Without honouring, however,
any of those articles by appropriating them to his use, the Rishi once
more disappeared there and then by his Yoga-power, in the very sight of
king Kusika (and his spouse). This, however, O chief of the Bharatas,
failed to disturb the equanimity of the royal couple. The next time the
puissant Rishi was seen seated, after a bath on the throne. Indeed, it
was from that place that he then showed himself to the king and the
queen, O delighter of the Kurus. With a cheerful face, king Kusika,
together with his wife, then offered the Rishi cooked food with great
reverence. Endued with wisdom, and with heart totally unmoved, Kusika
made this offer. ‘Let the food be brought’ were the words that were then
uttered by the ascetic. Assisted by his spouse, the king soon brought
thither the food. There were diverse kinds of meat and different
preparations also thereof. There was a great variety of vegetables also
and pot-herbs. There were juicy cakes too among those viands, and several
agreeable kinds of confectionery, and solid preparations of milk. Indeed,
the viands offered presented different kinds of taste. Among them there
was also some food–the produce of the wilderness–such as ascetics liked
and took. Diverse agreeable kinds of fruit, fit to be eaten by kings,
were also there. There were Vadaras and Ingudas and Kasmaryas and
Bhallatakas. Indeed, the food that was offered contained such things as
are taken by persons leading a domestic mode of life as also such things
as are taken by denizens of the wilderness. Through fear of the Rishi’s
curse, the king had caused all kinds of food to be collected and dressed
for his guest. All this food, brought from the kitchen, was placed before
Chyavana. A seat was also placed for him and a bed too was spread. The
viands were then caused to be covered with white cloths. Soon, however,
Chyavana of Bhrigu’s race set fire to all the things and reduced them to
ashes. Possessed of great intelligence, the royal couple showed no wrath
at this conduct of the Rishi, who once more, after this made himself
invisible before the very eyes of the king and the queen. The Royal sage
Kusika thereupon stood there in the same posture for the whole night,
with his spouse by his side, and without speaking a word. Endued with
great prosperity, he did not give way to wrath. Every day, good and pure
food of diverse kinds, excellent beds, abundant articles needed for bath,
and cloths of various kinds, were collected and kept in readiness in the
palace for the Rishi. Indeed, Chyavana failed to notice any fault in the
conduct of the king. Then the regenerate Rishi, addressing king Kusika,
said unto him, ‘Do thou with thy spouse, yoke thyself unto a car and bear
me on it to whichever place I shall direct.’ Without the least scruple,
the king answered Chyavana endued with wealth of asceticism, saying, ‘So
be it!’ and he further enquired of the Rishi, asking, ‘Which car shall I
bring? Shall it be my pleasure-car for making progress of pleasure, or,
shall it be my battle-car? Thus addressed by the delighted and contented
monarch, the ascetic said unto him, ‘Do thou promptly equip that car of
thine with which thou penetratest into hostile cities. Indeed that
battle-car of thine, with every weapon, with its standard and flags, its
darts and javelins and golden columns and poles, should be made ready.
Its rattle resembles the tinkling of bells. It is adorned with numerous
arches made of pure gold. It is always furnished with high and excellent
weapons numbering by hundreds!’ The king said, ‘So be it!’ and soon
caused his great battle-car to be equipped. And he yoked his wife thereto
on the left and his own self on the right. And the king placed on the
car, among its other equipments, the goad which had three handles and
which had a point at once hard as the thunderbolt and sharp as the
needle.[307] Having placed every requisite upon the car, the king said
unto the Rishi, ‘O holy one, whither shall the car proceed? O, let the
son of Bhrigu issue his command! This thy car shall proceed to the place
which thou mayst be pleased to indicate.’ Thus addressed the holy man
replied unto the king, saying, ‘Let the car go hence, dragged slowly,
step by step. Obedient to my will, do ye two proceed in such a way that I
may not feel any fatigue, I should be borne away pleasantly, and let all
thy people see this progress that I make through their midst. Let no
person that comes to me, as I proceed along the road, be driven away. I
shall make gifts of wealth unto all. Unto them amongst the Brahmanas that
may approach me on the way, I shall grant their wishes and bestow upon
all of them gems and wealth without stint. Let all this be accomplished,
O king, and do not entertain any scruples.’ Hearing these words of the
Rishi, the king summoned his servants and said, ‘Ye should, without any
fear, give away whatever the ascetic will order.’ Then jewels and gems in
abundance, and beautiful women, and pairs of sheep, and coined and
uncoined gold, and huge elephants resembling hills or mountain summits,
and all the ministers of the king, began to follow the Rishi as he was
borne away on that car. Cries of ‘Oh’ and ‘Alas’ arose from every part of
the city which was plunged in grief at that extraordinary sight. And the
king and the queen were suddenly struck by the Rishi with that goad
equipped with sharp point. Though thus struck on the back and the cheeks,
the royal couple still showed no sign of agitation. On the other hand,
they continued to bear the Rishi on as before. Trembling from head to
foot, for no food had passed their lips for fifty nights, and exceedingly
weak, the heroic couple somehow succeeded in dragging that excellent car.
Repeatedly and deeply cut by the goad, the royal couple became covered
with blood. Indeed, O monarch, they then looked like a couple of Kinsuka
trees in the flowering season. The citizens, beholding the plight to
which their king and queen had been reduced, became afflicted with great
grief. Filled with fear at the prospect of the curse of the Rishi, they
kept silent under their misery. Gathering in knots they said unto each
other, ‘Behold the might of penances! Although all of us are angry, we
are still unable to look at the Rishi! Great is the energy of the holy
Rishi of cleaned soul! Behold also the endurance of the king and his
royal spouse! Though worn out with toil and hunger, they are still
bearing the car! The son of Bhrigu notwithstanding the misery he caused
to Kusika and his queen, failed to mark any sign of dissatisfaction or
agitation in them.’

“Bhishma continued, ‘The perpetuator of Bhrigu’s race beholding the king
and the queen totally unmoved, began to give away very largely (wealth
obtained from the king’s treasury) as if he were a second Lord of
Treasures. At this act also, king Kusika Showed no mark of
dissatisfaction. He did as the Rishi commanded (in the matter of those
gifts). Seeing all this, that illustrious and best of ascetics became
delighted. Coming down from that excellent car, he unharnessed the royal
couple. Having freed them, he addressed them duly. Indeed, the son of
Bhrigu, in a soft, deep, and delighted voice, said, ‘I am ready to give
an excellent boon unto you both!’ Delicate as they were, their bodies had
been pierced with the goad. That best of ascetics, moved by affection,
softly touched them with his hands whose healing virtues resembled those
of nectar itself, O chief of the Bharatas. Then the king answered, ‘My
wife and I have felt no toil!’ Indeed, all their fatigue had been
dispelled by the puissance of the Rishi, and hence it was that the king
could say so unto the Rishi. Delighted with their conduct, the
illustrious Chyavana said unto them, ‘I have never before spoken an
untruth. It must, therefore, be as I have said. This spot on the banks of
the Ganga is very delightful and auspicious. I shall, observant of a vow,
dwell for a little while here, O king! Do thou return to thy city. Thou
are fatigued! Thou shalt come again. Tomorrow, O king, thou shalt,
returning with thy spouse, behold me even here. Thou shouldst not give
way to wrath or grief. The time is come when thou shalt reap a great
reward! That which is coveted by thee and which is in thy heart shall
verily be accomplished.’ Thus addressed by the Rishi, king Kusika, with a
delighted heart, replied unto the Rishi in these words of grave import,
‘I have cherished no wrath or grief, O highly-blessed one! We have been
cleansed and sanctified by thee, O holy one! We have once more become
endued with youth. Behold our bodies have become exceedingly beautiful
and possessed of great strength. I do not any longer see those wounds and
cicatrices that were caused by thee on our persons with thy goad. Verily,
with my spouse, I am in good health. I see my goddess become as beautiful
in body as an Apsara. Verily, she is endued with as much comeliness and
splendour as she had ever been before. All this, O great ascetic, is due
to thy grace. Verily, there is nothing astonishing in all this, O holy
Rishi of puissance ever unbaffled.’ Thus addressed by the king, Chyavana
said unto him, ‘Thou shalt, with thy spouse, return hither tomorrow, O
monarch!’ With these words, the royal sage Kusika was dismissed. Saluting
the Rishi, the monarch, endued with a handsome body, returned to his
capital like unto a second chief of the celestials. The counsellors then,
with the priest, came out to receive him. His troops and the dancing
women and all his subjects, also did the same. Surrounded by them all,
king Kusika, blazing with beauty and splendour, entered his city, with a
delighted heart, and his praises were hymned by bards and encomiasts.
Having entered his city and performed all his morning rites, he ate with
his wife. Endued with great splendour, the monarch then passed the night
happily. Each beheld the other to be possessed anew of youth. All their
afflictions and pains having ceased, they beheld each other to resemble a
celestial. Endued with the spendour they had obtained as a boon from that
foremost of Brahmanas, and possessed as they were of forms that were
exceedingly comely and beautiful, both of them passed a happy night in
their bed. Meanwhile, the spreader of the feats of Bhrigu’s race, viz.,
the Rishi possessed of the wealth of penances, converted, by his
Yoga-power, that delightful wood on the bank of the Ganga into a retreat
full of wealth of every kind and adorned with every variety of jewels and
gems in consequence of which it surpassed in beauty and splendour the
very abode of the chief of the celestials.”


“Bhishma said, ‘When that night passed away, the high-souled king Kusika
awoke and went through his morning rites. Accompanied by his wife he then
proceeded towards that wood which the Rishi had selected for his
residence. Arrived there, the monarch saw a palatial mansion made
entirely of gold. Possessed of a thousand columns each of which was made
of gems and precious stones, it looked like an edifice belonging to the
Gandharvas.[308] Kusika beheld in every part of that structure evidences
of celestial design. And he beheld hills with delightful valleys, and
lakes with lotuses on their bosom; and mansions full of costly and
curious articles, and gateways and arches, O Bharata. And the king saw
many open glades and open spots carpeted with grassy verdure, and
resembling level fields of gold. And he saw many Sahakaras adorned with
blossoms, and Ketakas and Uddalakas, and Dhavas and Asokas, and
blossoming Kundas, and Atimuktas. And he saw there many Champakas and
Tilakas and Bhavyas and Panasas and Vanjulas and Karnikaras adorned with
flowers. And the king beheld many Varanapushpas and the creepers called
Ashtapadika all clipped properly and beautifully.[309] And the king
beheld trees on which lotuses of all varieties bloomed in all their
beauty, and some of which bore flowers of every season. And he noticed
also many mansions that looked like celestial cars or like beautiful
mountains. And at some places, O Bharata, there were tanks and lakes full
of cool water and at others were those that were full of warm or hot
water. And there were diverse kinds of excellent seats and costly beds,
and bedsteads made of gold and gems and overlaid with cloths and carpets
of great beauty and value. Of comestible there were enormous quantities,
well-dressed and ready for use. And there were talking parrots and
she-parrots and Bhringarajas and Kokilas and Catapatras with Koyashtikas
and Kukkubhas, and peacocks and cocks and Datyuhas and Jivajivakas and
Chakoras and monkeys and swans and Sarasas and Chakravakas.[310] Here and
there he beheld bevies of rejoicing Apsaras and conclaves of happy
Gandharvas, O monarch. And he beheld other Gandharvas at other places
rejoicing with their dear spouses. The king sometimes beheld these sights
and sometimes could not see them (for they seemed to disappear from
before his eyes). The monarch heard also melodious strains of vocal music
and the agreeable voices of preceptors engaged in lecturing to their
disciples on the Vedas and the scriptures. And the monarch also heard the
harmonious cackle of the geese sporting in the lakes. Beholding such
exceedingly wonderful sights, the king began to reflect inwardly, saying,
‘Is this a dream? Or is all this due to an aberration of my mind? Or, is
it all real? O, I have, without casting off my earthly tenement, attained
to the beatitude of heaven! This land is either the sacred country of the
Uttara-Kurus, or the abode, called Amaravati, of the chief of the
celestials! O, what are these wonderful sights that I behold!’ Reflecting
in this strain, the monarch at last saw that foremost of Rishis. In that
palace of gold (endued) with columns (made) of jewels and gems, lay the
son of Bhrigu stretched on a costly and excellent bed. With his wife by
his side the king approached with a delighted heart the Rishi as he lay
on that bed. Chyavana, however, quickly disappeared at this, with the bed
itself upon which he lay. The king then beheld the Rishi at another part
of those woods seated on a mat made of Kusa grass, and engaged in
mentally reciting some high Mantras. By his Yoga-power, even thus did
that Brahmana stupefy the king. In a moment that delightful wood, those
bevies of Apsaras, those bands of Gandharvas, those beautiful trees,–all
disappeared. The bank of the Ganga became as silent as usual, and
presented the old aspect of its being covered with Kusa grass and
ant-hills. King Kusika with his wife having beheld that highly wonderful
sight and its quick disappearance also, became filled with amazement.
With a delighted heart, the monarch addressed his wife and said unto her,
‘Behold, O amiable one, the various agreeable scenes and sights,
occurring nowhere else, which we two have just witnessed! All this is due
to the grace of Bhrigu’s son and the puissance of his penances. By
penances all that becomes attainable which one cherishes in one’s
imagination. Penances are superior to even the sovereignty over the three
worlds. By penances well-performed, emancipation itself may be achieved.
Behold, the puissance of the high-souled and celestial Rishi Chyavana
derived from his penances. He can, at his pleasure, create even other
worlds (than those which exist). Only Brahmanas are born in this world to
attain to speech and understanding and acts that are sacred. Who else
than Chyavana could do all this? Sovereignty may be acquired with ease.
But the status of a Brahmana is not so attainable. It was through the
puissance of a Brahmana that we were harnessed to a car like well-broken
animals!’ These reflections that passed through the king’s brain became
known to Chyavana. Ascertaining the king’s thoughts, the Rishi addressed
him and said, ‘Come hither quickly!’ Thus addressed, the king and the
queen approached the great ascetic, and, bending their heads, they
worshipped him who deserved worship. Uttering a benediction upon the
monarch, the Rishi, possessed of great intelligence, O chief of men,
comforted the king and said, ‘Sit down on that seat!’ After this, O
monarch, the son of Bhrigu, without guile or insincerity of any kind,
gratified the king with many soft words, and then said, ‘O king, thou
hast completely subjugated the five organs of action and the five organs
of knowledge with the mind as their sixth. Thou hast for this come out
unscathed from the fiery ordeal I had prepared for thee. I have been
properly honoured and adored, O son, by thee, O foremost of all persons
possessed of speech. Thou hast no sin, not even a minute one, in thee!
Give me leave, O king, for I shall now proceed to the place I came from.
I have been exceedingly pleased with thee, O monarch! Do thou accept the
boon I am ready to give.’

“Kusika said, ‘In thy presence, O holy one, I have stayed like one
staying in the midst of a fire. That I have not yet, O chief of Bhrigu’s
race been consumed, is sufficient! Even this is the highest boon that has
been obtained, O delighter of Bhrigu! That thou hast been gratified by
me, O Brahmana, and that I have succeeded in rescuing my race from
destruction, O sinless one, constitute in my case the best boons. This I
regard, O learned Brahmana, as a distinct evidence of thy grace. The end
of my life has been accomplished. Even this is what I regard the very end
of my sovereignty. Even this is the highest fruit of my penances![311]
If, O learned Brahmana, thou hast been pleased with me, O delighter of
Bhrigu, then do thou expound some doubts which are in my mind!’


“Chyavana said, ‘Do thou accept a boon from me. Do thou also, O chief of
men, tell me what the doubt is that is in thy mind. I shall certainly
accomplish all thy purposes.’

“Kusika said, ‘If thou hast been gratified by me, O holy one, do thou
then, O son of Bhrigu, tell me thy object in residing in my palace for
sometime, for I desire to hear it. What was thy object in sleeping on the
bed I assigned thee for one and twenty days continuously, without
changing sides? O foremost of ascetics, what also was thy object, again,
in going out of the room without speaking a single word? Why didst thou,
again, without any ostensible reason, make thyself invisible, and once
more become visible? Why, O learned Brahmana, didst thou again, lay
thyself down on the bed and sleep as before for one and twenty days? For
what reason didst thou go out after thou wert rubbed by us with oil in
view of thy bath? Why also, after having caused diverse kinds of food in
my palace to be collected, didst thou consume them with the aid of fire?
What was the cause of thy sudden journey through my city on the car? What
object hadst thou in view in giving away so much wealth? What was thy
motive in showing us the wonders of the forest created by the
Yoga-puissance? What indeed was thy motive for showing, O great ascetic,
so many palatial mansions made of gold and so many bedsteads supported on
posts of jewels, and gems? Why also did all these wonders vanish from our
sight? I wish to hear the cause of all this. In thinking of all these
acts of thine, O perpetuator of Bhrigu’s race, I became stupefied
repeatedly. I fail to find what the certain motive was which influenced
thee! O thou, that art endued with wealth of penances, I wish to hear the
truth about all those acts of thine in detail.’

“Chyavana said, ‘Listen to me as I tell thee in detail the reasons which
had impelled me in all these acts of mine. Asked by thee, O monarch, I
cannot refuse to enlighten thee. In days past, on one occasion, when the
deities had assembled together, the Grandsire Brahman said some words I
heard them, O king, and shall presently repeat them to thee.’ In
consequence of a contention between Brahmana and Kshatriya energy, there
will occur an intermixture in my race.[312] Thy grandson, O king, will
become endued with great energy and puissance. Hearing this, I came
hither, resolved to exterminate thy race. Indeed, I came, O Kusika,
seeking the utter extermination of thy race,–in fact, for consuming into
ashes all thy descendants. Impelled by this motive I came to thy palace,
O monarch, and said unto thee, ‘I shall observe some vow. Do thou attend
upon me and serve me dutifully. While residing, however, in thy house I
failed to find any laches in thee. It is for that reason, O royal sage,
that thou art still alive, for otherwise thou wouldst have by this time
been numbered with the dead. It was with this resolution that I slept for
one and twenty days in the hope that somebody would awake me before I
arose of my own accord. Thou, however, with thy wife, didst not awaken
me. Even then, O best of kings, I became pleased with thee. Rising from
my bed I went out of the chamber without accosting any of you. I did
this, O monarch, in the hope that thou wouldst ask me and thus I would
have an opportunity of cursing thee. I then made myself invisible, and
again showed myself in the room of thy palace, and, once more betaking
myself to Yoga, slept for one and twenty days. The motive that impelled
me was this. Worn out with toil and hunger you two would be angry with me
and do what would be unpleasant to me. It was from this intention that I
caused thyself and thy spouse to be afflicted with hunger. In thy heart
however, O king, the slightest feeling of wrath or vexation did not rise.
For this, O monarch, I became highly delighted with thee. When I caused
diverse kinds of food to be brought and then set fire to them, I hoped
that thyself with thy wife wouldst give way to wrath at the sight. Even
that act however, of mine was tolerated by thee. I then ascended the car,
O monarch, and addressed thee, saying, ‘Do thou with thy wife bear me.’
Thou didst what I bade, without the least scruple, O king! I became
filled with delight at this. The gifts of wealth I made could not provoke
thy anger. Pleased with thee, O king, I created with the aid of my Yoga
puissance that forest which thyself with thy wife didst behold here.
Listen, O monarch, to the object I had. For gratifying thee and thy queen
I caused thee to have a glimpse of heaven. All those things which thou
hast seen in these woods, O monarch, are a foretaste of heaven. O best of
kings, for a little while I caused thee and thy spouse to behold, in even
your earthly bodies, some sights of heaven. All this was done for showing
the puissance of penances and the reward that is in store for
righteousness. The desire that arose in thy heart, O monarch, at the
sight of those delightful objects, is known to me. Thou becamest desirous
of obtaining the status of a Brahmana and the merit of penances, O lord
of Earth, disregarding the sovereignty of the earth, nay, the sovereignty
of very heaven! That Which thou thoughtest, O king, was even this. The
status of a Brahmana is exceedingly difficult to obtain; after becoming a
Brahmana, it is exceedingly difficult to obtain the status of a Rishi;
for even a Rishi it is difficult to become an ascetic! I tell thee that
thy desire will be gratified. From thee, O Kusika, will spring a
Brahmana, who shall be called after thy name. The person that will be the
third in descent from thee shall attain to the status of a Brahmana.
Through the energy of the Bhrigus, thy grandson, O monarch, will be an
ascetic endued with the splendour of fire. He shall always strike all
men, indeed, the inhabitants of the three worlds, with fear. I tell thee
the truth. O royal sage, do thou accept the boon that is now in thy mind.
I shall soon set out on a tour to all the sacred waters. Time is

“Kusika said, ‘Even this, O great ascetic, is a high boon, in my case,
for thou hast been gratified by me. Let that take place which thou hast
said. Let my grandson become a Brahmana, O sinless one! Indeed, let the
status of Brahmanahood attach to my race, O holy one. This is the boon I
ask for. I desire to once more ask thee in detail, O holy one! In what
way, O delighter of Bhrigu, will the status of Brahmanahood attach to my
race? Who will be my friend? Who will have my affection and


“Chyavana said, ‘I should certainly, O chief of men, tell you everything
about the circumstance for which, O monarch, I came hither for
exterminating thy race. This is well-known, O king, that the Kshatriyas
should always have the assistance of the sons of Bhrigu in the matter of
sacrifices. Through an irresistible decree of Destiny, the Kshatriyas and
the Bhargavas will fall out. The Kshatriyas, O king, will slay the
descendants of Bhrigu. Afflicted by an ordinance of fate, they will
exterminate the race of Bhrigu, not sparing even infants in their
mothers’ wombs. There will then spring in Bhrigu’s race a Rishi of the
name of Urva. Endued with great energy, he will in splendour certainly
resemble fire or the sun. He will cherish such wrath (upon hearing of the
extermination of his race) as will be sufficient to consume the three
worlds. He will be competent to reduce the whole earth with all her
mountains and forests into ashes. For a little while he will quell the
flames of that fiery rage, throwing it into the Mare’s mouth that wanders
through the ocean. He will have a son of the name of Richika. The whole
science of arms, O sinless one, in its embodied form will come to him,
for the extermination of the entire Kshatriya race, through a decree of
Destiny. Receiving that science by inward light, he will, by
Yoga-puissance, communicate it to his son, the highly-blessed Jamadagni
of cleansed soul. That tiger of Bhrigu’s race will bear that science in
his mind. O thou of righteous soul, Jamadagni will wed a girl, taking her
from thy race, for spreading its glory, O chief of the Bharatas. Having
obtained for wife the daughter of Gadhi and thy grand-daughter, O king
that great ascetic will beget a regenerate son endued with Kshatriya
accomplishments. In thy race will be born a son, a Kshatriya endued with
the virtues of a Brahmana. Possessed of great righteousness, he will be
the son of Gadhi. Known by the name of Viswamitra, he will in energy come
to be regarded as the equal of Vrihaspati himself, the preceptor of the
celestials. The illustrious Richika will grant this son to thy race, this
Kshatriya that will be endued with high penances. In the matter of this
exchange of sons, (viz., a Kshatriya son in the race of Bhrigu and a
Brahamana son in thy race) the cause will be two women. All this will
happen at the command of the grandsire. It will never be otherwise. Unto
one that is third in descent from thee, the status of Brahmanahood will
attach. Thou shalt become a relative (by marriage) of the Bhargavas.’

“Bhishma continued, ‘Hearing these words of the high-souled ascetic
Chyavana, king Kusika became filled with joy, and made answer in the
following words, ‘Indeed, O best of the Bharatas’, he said, ‘So be it!’
Endued with high energy, Chyavana once more addressed the king, and urged
him to accept a boon from himself. The king replied, ‘Very well.’ From
thee, O great ascetic, I shall obtain the fruition of my wish. Let my
race become invested with the status of Brahmanahood, and let it always
set its heart upon righteousness.’ The ascetic Chyavana, thus solicited,
granted the king’s prayer, and bidding farewell to the monarch, set out
on his intended tour to the sacred waters. I have now told thee
everything, O Bharata, relating to thy questions, viz., how the Bhrigus
and the Kusikas became connected with each other by marriage. Indeed, O
king, everything fell out as the Rishi Chyavana had said. The birth of
Rama (of Bhrigu’s race) and of Viswamitra (of Kusika’s race) happened in
the way that Chyavana had indicated.'”


“Yudhishthira said, ‘Hearing thy words I become stupefied, O grandsire!
Reflecting that the earth is now destitute of a very large number of
kings all of whom were possessed of great prosperity, my heart becomes
filled with grief. Having conquered the earth and acquired kingdoms
numbered by hundreds, O Bharata, I turn with grief, O Grandsire, at the
thought of the millions of men I have slaughtered. Alas, what will be the
plight of those foremost ladies who have been deprived by us of husbands
and sons and maternal uncles and brothers? Having slain those Kurus–our
kinsmen, that is, our friends and well-wishers,–we shall have to sink in
hell, beads (hanging) downwards. There is no doubt of this. I desire, O
Bharata, to address my body to severe penances. With that end in view, O
king, I wish to receive instructions from thee.’

“Vaisampayana continued, ‘The high-souled Bhishma, hearing these words of
Yudhishthira, reflected upon them acutely with the aid of his
understanding, and addressed Yudhishthira in reply.’

“Bhishma said, ‘Hear what I say unto thee. It is exceedingly wonderful,
and constitutes a great mystery. The topic is the object that creatures
obtain after death as the rewards of particular acts or courses of
conduct they follow. One attains to Heaven by penances. By penances one
attains to fame. By penances, O puissant king, one attains to length of
life and all articles of enjoyment. By penances one attains to knowledge,
to science, to health and freedom from disease, beauty of person,
prosperity, and blessedness, O chief of Bharata’s race. By penances one
attains to wealth. By observing the vow of taciturnity one succeeds in
bringing the whole world under one’s sway. By making gifts one acquires
all kinds of enjoyable articles. By observing the right of Diksha one
acquires birth in a good and high family. Those that spend their lives
subsisting only upon fruits and roots (and avoiding cooked food) succeed
in obtaining kingdom and sovereignty. Those that live upon the leaves of
plants and trees as their food succeed in attaining to heaven. One that
subsists upon water only attains to heaven. By making gifts one simply
increases one’s wealth. By serving with reverence one’s preceptor one
acquires learning. By performing Sraddhas every day in honour of one’s
Pitris (manes), one acquires a large number of children. By observing
Diksha upon potherbs and vegetables, one acquires a large number of kine.
Those that subsist upon grass and straw succeed in attaining to heaven.
By bathing thrice every day with the necessary rites one acquires a large
number of spouses. By drinking water alone one acquires residence in the
regions of Prajapati. The Brahmana, who bathes every day and recites
sacred Mantras in the twilights, becomes possessed of the status of
Daksha himself. By worshipping the deities in a wilderness or desert, one
acquires a kingdom or sovereignty, and by observing the vow of casting
off the body by a long fast, one ascends to Heaven. One possessed of the
wealth of penances and always passing his days in Yoga obtains good beds
and seats and vehicles. Casting off the body by entering a blazing fire,
one becomes an object of reverence in the region of Brahman. Those that
lie on the hard and bare ground acquire houses and beds. Those that
clothe themselves in rags and barks obtain good robes and ornaments. By
avoiding the several agreeable tastes one succeeds in acquiring great
prosperity. By abstaining from meat and fish, one gets long-lived
children. One who passes some time in that mode of life which is called
Udavasa, becomes the very lord of Heaven. The man who speaks the truth, O
best of men, succeeds in sporting happily with the deities themselves. By
making gifts one acquires great fame in consequence of one’s high
achievements. By abstention from cruelty one acquires health and freedom
from disease. By serving Brahmanas with reverence one attains to kingdom
and sovereignty, and the high status of a Brahmana. By making gifts of
water and other drinks, one acquires eternal fame in consequence of high
achievements. By making gifts of food one acquires diverse articles of
enjoyment. One who gives peace unto all creatures (by refraining from
doing them any injury), becomes freed from every region. By serving the
deities one obtains a kingdom and celestial beauty. By presenting lights
at places which are dark and frequented by men, one acquires a good
vision. By giving away good and beautiful objects one acquires a good
memory and understanding. By giving away scents and garlands, one
acquires fame that spreads over a large area. Those who abstain from
shaving off their hair and beards succeed in obtaining excellent
children.. By observing fasts and Diksha and baths, O Bharata, for twelve
years (according to the ordinance), one acquires a region that is
superior to that attainable by unreturning heroes. By bestowing one’s
daughter on an eligible bridegroom according to the Brahma form, one
obtains, O best of men, male and female slaves and ornaments and fields
and houses. By performing sacrifices and observing fasts, one ascends to
Heaven, O Bharata. The man who gives away fruits and flowers succeeds in
acquiring auspicious knowledge. The man who gives a thousand kine with
horns adorned with gold, succeeds in acquiring heaven. Even this has been
said by the very deities in a conclave in heaven. One who gives away a
Kapila cow with her calf, with a brazen pot of milking with horns adorned
with gold, and possessed of diverse other accomplishments, obtains the
fruition of all his wishes from that cow. Such a person, in consequence
of that act of gift, resides in heaven for as many years as there are
hairs on the body of the cow and rescues in the next world (from the
misery of hell) his sons and grandsons and all his race to the seventh
degree.[314] The regions of the Vasus become attainable to that man who
gives away a cow with horns beautifully decorated with gold, accompanied
with a brazen jar for milking, along with a piece of cloth embroidered
with gold, a measure of sesame and a sum of money as Dakshina. A gift of
kine rescues the giver in the next world then he finds himself falling
into the deep darkness of hell and restrained by his own acts in this
world, like a boat with sails that have caught the air rescuing a person
from being drowned in the sea. He who bestows a daughter according to the
Brahma form upon an eligible person, or who makes a gift of land unto a
Brahmana, or who gives food (to a Brahmana) according to due rites,
succeeds in attaining to the region of Purandara. That man who makes a
gift of a house, equipped with every kind of furniture, unto a Brahmana
given to Vedic studies and possessed of every accomplishment and good
behaviour, acquires residence in the country of the Uttara-Kurus. By
making gifts of draft bullocks, a person acquires the region of the
Vasus. Gifts of gold lead to heaven. Gifts of pure gold lead to greater
merit still. By making a gift of an umbrella one acquires a palatial
mansion. By making a gift of a pair of sandals or shoes one acquires good
vehicles. The reward attached to a gift of cloths is personal beauty, and
by making gifts of scents one becomes a fragrant person in one’s next
life. One who gives flowers and fruits and plants and trees unto a
Brahmana, acquires, without any labour, palatial mansion equipped with
beautiful women and full of plenty of wealth. The giver of food and drink
of different tastes and of other articles of enjoyment succeeds in
acquiring a copious supply of such articles. The giver, again, of houses
and cloths gets articles of a similar kind. There is no doubt about it.
That person who makes gifts of garlands and incense and scents and
unguents and the articles needed by men after a bath, and floral wreaths,
unto Brahmanas, becomes freed from every disease and possessed of
personal beauty, sports in joy in the region reserved for great kings.
The man, O king, who makes unto a Brahmana the gift of a house that is
stored with grain, furnished with beds full of much wealth, auspicious,
and delightful, acquires a palatial residence. He who gives unto a
Brahmana a good bed perfumed with fragrant scents, overlaid with an
excellent sheet, and equipped with pillows, wins without any effort on
his part a beautiful wife, belonging to a high family and of agreeable
manners. The man who takes to a hero’s bed on the field of battle becomes
the equal of the Grandsire Brahman himself. There is no end higher than
this. Even this is what the great Rishis have declared.’

“Vaisampayana continued, ‘Hearing these words of his grandfather,
Yudhishthira, the delighter of the Kurus, became desirous of the end that
is reserved for heroes and no longer expressed any disgust at leading a
householder’s mode of life. Then, O foremost of men, Yudhishthira,
addressing all the other sons of Pandu, said unto them, ‘Let the words
which our grandfather has said command your faith.’ At this, all the
Pandavas with the famous Draupadi amongst them, applauded the words of
Yudhishthira and said, ‘Yes’.'”


“Yudhishthira said, ‘I desire, O chief of the Bharatas, to hear from thee
what the rewards are which are attached, O best of the Kurus, to the
planting of trees and the digging of tanks.’

“Bhishma said, ‘A piece of land that is agreeable to the sight, fertile,
situate in the midst of delightful scenes adorned with diverse kinds of
metals, and inhabited by all sorts of creatures, is regarded as the
foremost of sports. A particular portion of such land should be selected
for digging a tank. I shall tell thee, in due order, about the different
kinds of tanks. I shall also tell thee what the merits also are that
attach to the digging of tanks (with the view of drawing water for the
benefit of all creatures). The man who causes a tank to be dug becomes
entitled to the respect and worship of the three worlds. A tank full of
water is as agreeable and beneficial as the house of a friend. It is
gratifying to Surya himself. It also contributes to growth to the
deities. It is the foremost of all things that lead to fame (with respect
to the person who causes it to be excavated). The wise have said that the
excavation of a tank contributes to the aggregate of three,
Righteousness, Wealth and Pleasure. A tank is said to be properly
excavated, if it is made on a piece of land that is inhabited by
respectable persons. A tank is said to be subservient to all the four
purposes of living creatures. Tanks, again, are regarded as constituting
the excellent beauty of a country. The deities and human beings and
Gandharvas and Pitris and Uragas and Rakshasas and even immobile
beings–all resort to a tank full of water as their refuge. I shall,
therefore, tell thee what the merits are that have been said by great
Rishis to be attached to tanks, and what the rewards are that are
attainable by persons that cause them to be excavated. The wise have said
that that man reaps the merit of an Agnihotra sacrifice in whose tank
water is held in the season of the rains. The high reward in the world
that is reaped by the person who makes a gift of a thousand kine is won
by that man in whose tank water is held in the season of autumn. The
person in whose tank water occurs in the cold season acquires the merit
of one who performs a sacrifice with plentiful gifts of gold. That person
in whose tanks water occurs in the season of dew, wins, the wise have
said, the merits of an Agnishtoma sacrifice. That man in whose well-made
tank water occurs in the season of spring acquires the merit of the
Atiratra sacrifice. That man in whose tank water occurs in the season of
summer acquires, the Rishis say, the merits that attach to a
horse-sacrifice. That man rescues all his race in whose tank kine are
seen to allay their thirst and from which righteous men draw their water.
That man in whose tank kine slake their thirst as also other animals and
birds, and human beings, acquires the merits of a horse-sacrifice.
Whatever measure of water is drunk from one’s tank and whatever measure
is taken therefrom by others for purposes of bathing, all become stored
for the benefit of the excavator of the tank and he enjoys the same for
unending days in the next world. Water, especially in the other world, is
difficult to obtain, O son. A gift of drink produces eternal happiness.
Make gifts of sesame here. Make gifts of water. Do thou also give lamps
(for lighting dark places.) While alive and awake, do thou sport in
happiness with kinsmen. These are acts which thou shalt not be able to
achieve in the other world.[315] The gift of drink, O chief of men, is
superior to every other gift. In point of merit it is distinguished above
all other gifts. Therefore, do thou make gifts of water. Even thus have
the Rishis declared what the high merits of the excavation of tanks are I
shall now discourse to thee on the planting of trees. Of immobile objects
six classes have been spoken of. They are Vrikshas, Gulmas, Latas,
Vallis, Twaksaras, and Trinas of diverse kinds.[316] These are the
several kinds of vegetables. Listen now to the merit that attaches to
their planting. By planting trees one acquires fame in the world of men
and auspicious rewards in the world hereafter. Such a man is applauded
and reverenced in the world of the Pitris. Such a man’s name does not
perish even when he becomes a citizen of the world of deities. The man
who plants trees rescues the ancestors and descendants of both his
paternal and maternal lines. Do thou, therefore, plant trees, O
Yudhishthira! The trees that a man plants become the planter’s children.
There is no doubt about this. Departing from this world, such a man
ascends to Heaven. Verily many eternal regions of bliss become his. Trees
gratify the deities by their flowers; the Pitris by their fruits; and all
guests and strangers by the shadow they give. Kinnaras and Uragas and
Rakshasas and deities and Gandharvas and human beings, as also Rishis,
all have recourse to trees as their refuge. Trees that bear flowers and
fruits gratify all men. The planter of trees is rescued in the next world
by the trees he plants like children rescuing their own father.
Therefore, the man that is desirous of achieving his own good, should
plant trees by the side of tanks and cherish them like his own children.
The trees that a man plants are, according to both reason and the
scriptures, the children of the planter. That Brahmana who excavates a
tank, and he that plants trees, and he that performs sacrifices, are all
worshipped in heaven even as men that are devoted to truthfulness of
speech. Hence one should cause tanks to be excavated and trees to be
planted, worship the deities in diverse sacrifices, and speak the truth.'”


“Yudhishthira said, ‘Amongst all those gifts that are mentioned in the
treatises other than the Vedas, which gift, O chief of Kuru’s race, is
the most distinguished in thy opinion? O puissant one, great is the
curiosity I feel with respect to this matter. Do thou discourse to me
also of that gift which follows the giver into the next world.'[317]

“Bhishma said, ‘An assurance unto all creatures of love and affection and
abstention from every kind of injury, acts of kindness and favour done to
a person in distress, gifts of articles made unto one that solicits with
thirst and agreeable to the solicitor’s wishes, and whatever gifts are
made without the giver’s ever thinking of them as gifts made by him,
constitute, O chief of Bharata’s race, the highest and best of gifts.
Gift of gold, gift of kine, and gift of earth,–these are regarded as
sin-cleansing. They rescue the giver from his evil acts. O chief of men,
do thou always make such gifts unto those that are righteous. Without
doubt, gifts rescue the giver from all his sins. That person who wishes
to make his gifts eternal should always give unto persons possessed of
the requisite qualifications whatever articles are desired by all and
whatever things are the best in his house. The man who makes gifts of
agreeable things and who does to others what is agreeable to others,
always succeeds in obtaining things that are agreeable to himself. Such a
person certainly becomes agreeable unto all, both here and hereafter.
That man, O Yudhishthira, is a cruel wretch, who, through vanity, does
not, to the extent of his means, attend to the wishes of one who is poor
and helpless, and who solicits assistance.[318] He is verily the foremost
of men who shows favour unto even an helpless enemy fallen into distress
when such enemy presents himself and prays for help. No man is equal to
him (in merit) who satisfies the hunger of a person that is emaciated,
possessed of learning, destitute of the means of support, and weakened by
misery. One should always, O son of Kunti, dispel by every means in one’s
power, the distress of righteous persons observant of vows and acts, who,
though destitute of sons and spouses and plunged into misery, do not yet
solicit others for any kind of assistance. Those persons who do not utter
blessings upon the deities and men (in expectation of gifts), who are
deserving of reverence and always contented, and who subsist upon such
alms as they get without solicitation of any kind, are regarded as
veritable snakes of virulent poison. Do thou, O Bharata, always protect
thyself from them by making gifts unto them. They are competent to make
the foremost of Ritwikas. Thou art to find them out by means of thy spies
and agents.[319] Thou shouldst honour those men by gifts of good houses
equipped with every necessary article, with slaves and serving men, with
good robes and vestments, O son of Kuru, and with all articles competent
to contribute to one’s pleasure and happiness. Righteous men of righteous
deeds should make such gifts, impelled by the motive that it is their
duty to act in that way and not from desire of reaping any rewards
therefrom. Verily good men should act in this way so that the virtuous
men described above might not, O Yudhishthira, feel any disinclination to
accept those gifts sanctified by devotion and faith. There are persons
bathed in learning and bathed in vows. Without depending upon anybody
they obtain their means of subsistence. These Brahmanas of rigid vows are
devoted to Vedic study and penances without proclaiming their practices
to any one. Whatever gifts thus mayst make unto those persons of pure
behaviour, of thorough mastery over their senses, and always contented
with their own wedded spouses in the matter of desire, are sure to win
for thee a merit that will accompany thee into all the worlds into which
thou mayst go. One reaps the same merit by making gifts unto regenerate
persons of restrained souls which one wins by properly pouring libations
unto the sacred fire morning and evening. Even this is the sacrifice
spread out for thee,–a sacrifice that is sanctified by devotion and
faith and that is endued with Dakshina. It is distinguished above all
other sacrifices. Let that sacrifice ceaselessly flow from thee as thou
givest away.[320] Performed in view of such men, O Yudhishthira, a
sacrifice in which the water that is sprinkled for dedicating gifts
constitutes the oblations in honour of the Pitris, and devotion and
worship rendered unto such superior men, serves to free one of the debts
one owes to the deities.[321] Those persons that do not yield to wrath
and that never desire to take even a blade of grass belonging to others,
as also they that are of agreeable speech, deserve to receive from us the
most reverent worship. Such persons and others (because free from desire)
never pay their regards to the giver. Nor do they strive for obtaining
gifts. They should, however, be cherished by givers as they cherish their
own sons. I bend my head unto them. From them also both Heaven and Hell
may become one’s.[322] Ritwiks and Purohitas and preceptors, when
conversant with the Vedas and when behaving mildly towards disciples,
become such. Without doubt, Kshatriya energy loses its force upon a
Brahmana when it encounters him. Thinking that thou art a king, that thou
art possessed of great power, and that thou hast affluence, do not, O
Yudhishthira, enjoy thy affluence without giving anything unto the
Brahmanas. Observing the duties of thy own order, do thou worship the
Brahmanas with whatever wealth thou hast, O sinless one, for purposes of
adornment or sustaining thy power. Let the Brahmanas live in whatever way
they like. Thou shouldst always bend thy head unto them with reverence.
Let them always rejoice in thee as thy children, living happily and
according to their wishes. Who else than thou, O best of the Kurus, is
competent to provide the means of subsistence for such Brahmanas as are
endued with eternal contentment as are thy well-wishers, and as are
gratified by only a little? As women have one eternal duty, in this
world, viz., dependence upon and obedient service to their husbands, and
as such duty constitutes their only end, even so is the service to
Brahmanas Our eternal duty and end. If, at sight of cruelties and other
sinful acts in Kshatriyas, the Brahmanas, O son, unhonoured by us,
forsake us all, I say, of what use would life be to us, in the absence of
all contact with the Brahmanas, especially as we shall then have to drag
on our existence without being able to study the Vedas to perform
sacrifices, to hope for worlds of bliss hereafter, and to achieve great
feats? I shall, in this connection, tell thee what the eternal usage is.
In days of yore, O king, the Kshatriyas used to serve the Brahmanas. The
Vaisya in a similar manner used in those days to worship the royal order,
and the Sudra to worship the Vaisya. Even this is what is heard. The
Brahmana was like a blazing fire. Without being able to touch him or
approach his presence, the Sudra used to serve the Brahmana from a
distance. It was only the Kshatriya and the Vaisya who could serve the
Brahmana by touching his person or approaching his presence. The
Brahmanas are endued with a mild disposition. They are truthful in
behaviour. They are followers of the true religion. When angry, they are
like snakes of virulent poison. Such being their nature, do thou, O
Yudhishthira, serve and attend upon them with obedience and reverence.
The Brahmanas are superior to even those that are higher than the high
and the low. The energy and penances of even those Kshatriyas who blaze
forth with energy and might, become powerless and neutralised when they
come in contact with the Brahmanas. My sire himself is not dearer to me
than the Brahmanas. My mother is not dearer to me than they. My
grandsire, O king, is not dearer, my own self is not dearer, my life
itself is not dearer, O king, to me than the Brahmanas! On earth there is
nothing, O Yudhishthira, that is dearer to me than thou. But, O chief of
Bharata’s race, the Brahmanas are dearer to me than even thou. I tell
thee truly, O son of Pandu! I swear by this truth, by which I hope to
acquire all those regions of bliss that have been Santanu’s. I behold
those sacred regions with Brahma shining conspicuously before them. I
shall repair thither, O son, and reside in them for unending days.
Beholding these regions, O best of the Bharatas (with my spiritual eyes),
I am filled with delight at the thought of all these acts which I have
done in aid and honour of the Brahmanas, O monarch!'”


“Yudhishthira said, ‘Unto which of two Brahmanas, when both happen to be
equally pure in behaviour, equally possessed of learning and purity, of
birth and blood, but differing from each other in only this, viz., the
one solicits and the other does not,–I ask, O grandsire, unto which of
these two would a gift be more meritorious?”

“Bhishma said, ‘It has been said. O son of Pritha, that a gift made unto
an unsoliciting person is productive of greater merit than one made to a
person who solicits. One possessed of contentment is certainly more
deserving than that person who is destitute of that virtue and is,
therefore, helpless amidst the storms and buffets of the world. The
firmness of a Kshatriya consists in the protection he gives to others.
The firmness of a Brahmana consists in his refusal to solicit. The
Brahmana possessed of steadiness and learning and contentment gladdens
the deities. The wise have said that an act of solicitation on the part
of a poor man is a great reproach. Those persons that solicit others are
said to annoy the world like thieves and robbers.[323] The person who
solicits is said to meet with death. The giver, however, is said not to
meet with death. The giver is said to grant life unto him who solicits.
By an act of gift, O Yudhishthira, the giver is said to rescue his own
self also. Compassion is a very high virtue. Let people make gift from
compassion unto those that solicit. Those, however, that do not beg, but
are plunged into poverty and distress should be respectfully invited to
receive assistance. If such Brahmanas, who must be regarded as the
foremost of their order, live in thy kingdom, thou shouldst regard them
as fire covered with ashes. Blazing with penances, they are capable of
consuming the whole earth. Such persons, O son of Kuru’s race, though not
generally worshipped, should still be regarded as deserving of worship in
every way. Endued with knowledge and spiritual vision and penances and
Yoga, such persons always deserve our worship. O scorcher of foes, do
thou always offer worship unto such Brahmanas. One should repair of one’s
own accord unto those foremost of Brahmanas that do not solicit anybody
and make unto them gifts of diverse kinds of wealth in abundance. The
merit that flows from properly pouring libations into the sacred fire
every morning and evening is won by the person who makes gifts unto a
Brahmana endued with learning, with the Vedas and with high and excellent
vows. Thou shouldst, O son of Kunti, invite those foremost of Brahmanas
who are cleansed by learning and the Vedas and vows, who live in
independence, whose Vedic studies and penances are hidden without being
proclaimed from the house-top, and who are observant of excellent vows,
and honour them with gifts of well-constructed and delightful houses
equipped with servitors and robes and furniture, and with all other
articles of pleasure and enjoyment. Conversant with all duties and
possessed of minute vision, those foremost of Brahmanas, O Yudhishthira,
may accept the gifts offered to them with devotion and respect, thinking
that they should not refuse and disappoint the giver. Thou shouldst
invite those Brahmanas whose wives wait for their return like tillers in
expectation of rain. Having fed them well thou shouldst make gifts of
additional food unto them so that upon their return home their expectant
wives might be able to distribute that food among their children that had
clamoured for food but that had been pacified with promises Brahmacharins
of restrained senses, O son, by eating at one’s house in the forenoon,
cause the three sacrificial fires to be gratified with the householder at
whose house they eat. Let the sacrifice of gift proceed in thy house at
midday, O son, and do thou also give away kine and gold and robes (unto
thy guests after feeding them well). By conducting thyself, in this way,
thou art sure to gratify the chief of the celestials himself. That would
constitute thy third sacrifice, O Yudhishthira, in which offerings are
made unto the deities, the Pitris, and the Brahmanas. By such sacrifice
thou art sure to gratify the Viswedevas. Let compassion unto all
creatures, giving unto all creatures what is due unto them, restraining
the senses, renunciation, steadiness, and truth, constitute the final
bath of that sacrifice which is constituted by gift. Even this is the
sacrifice that is spread out for thee,–a sacrifice that is sanctified by
devotion and faith, and that has a large Dakshina attached to it. This
sacrifice which is constituted by gift is distinguished above all other
sacrifices, O son, let this sacrifice be always performed by thee.'”


“Yudhishthira said, ‘I wish to know in detail, O Bharata, where one meets
with the high rewards of gifts and sacrifices. Are those rewards earned
here or are they to come hereafter? Which amongst these two (viz., Gift
and Sacrifice) is said to be productive of superior merit? Unto whom
should gifts be made? In what manner are gifts and sacrifices to be made?
When also are they to be made? I ask thee all these. O learned sire! Do
thou discourse to me on the duty of gifts! Do tell me, O grandsire, what
leads to the highest reward, viz., gifts made from the sacrificial
platform or those made out of that place?[324]

‘Bhishma said, ‘O son, a Kshatriya is generally employed in deeds of
fierceness. In his case, sacrifices and gifts are regarded as cleansing
or sanctifying him. They, that are good and righteous, do not accept the
gifts of persons of the royal order, who are given to sinful acts. For
this reason, the king should perform sacrifices with abundant gifts in
the form of Dakshina.[325] If the good and righteous would accept the
gifts made unto them, the Kshatriya, O monarch, should incessantly make
gifts with devotion and faith unto them. Gifts are productive of great
merit, and are highly cleansing. Observant of vows, one should perform
sacrifices and gratify with wealth such Brahmanas as are friends of all
creatures, possessed of righteousness, conversant with the Vedas, and
preeminent for acts, conduct, and penances. If such Brahmanas do not
accept thy gifts, no merit becomes thine. Do thou perform sacrifices with
copious Dakshina, and make gifts of good and agreeable food unto those
that are righteous. By making an act of gift thou shouldst regard thyself
as performing a sacrifice. Thou shouldst with gifts adore those Brahmanas
who perform sacrifices. By doing this thou will acquire a share in the
merits of those sacrifices of theirs. Thou shouldst support such
Brahmanas as are possessed of children and as are capable of sending
people to Heaven. By conducting thyself in this way thou art sure to get
a large progeny–in fact as large a progeny as the Prajapati himself.
They that are righteous support and advance the cause of all righteous
acts. One should, by giving up one’s all, support such men, as also those
that do good unto all creatures. Thyself being in the enjoyment of
affluence, do thou, O Yudhishthira, make unto Brahmanas gifts of kine and
bullocks and food and umbrellas, and robes and sandals or shoes Do thou
give unto sacrificing Brahmanas clarified butter, as also food and cars
and vehicles with horses harnessed thereto, and dwelling houses and
mansions and beds. Such gifts are fraught with prosperity and affluence
to the giver, and are regarded as pure, O Bharata. Those Brahmanas that
are not censurable for anything they do, and that have no means of
support assigned to them, should be searched out. Covertly or publicly do
thou cherish such Brahmanas by assigning them the means of support. Such
conduct always confers higher benefit upon Kshatriyas than the Rajasuya
and the Horse-sacrifices. Cleansing thyself of sin, thou art sure of
attaining to Heaven. Filling thy treasury thou shouldst do good to thy
kingdom. By such conduct thou art sure to win much wealth and become a
Brahmana (in thy next life). Do thou, O Bharata, protect thy own means
(of support and of doing acts of righteousness), as also the means of
other people’s subsistence. Do thou support thy servants as thy own
children. Do thou, O Bharata, protect the Brahmanas in the enjoyment of
what they have and make gifts unto them of such articles as they have
not. Let thy life be devoted to the purpose of the Brahmanas. Let it
never be said that thou dost not grant protection to the Brahmanas. Much
wealth or affluence, when possessed by a Brahmana, becomes a source of
evil to him. Constant association with affluence and prosperity is
certain to fill him with pride and cause him to be stupefied (in respect
of his true duties). If the Brahmanas become stupefied and steeped in
folly, righteousness and duties are sure to suffer destruction. Without
doubt, if righteousness and duty come to an end, it will lead to the
destruction of all creatures. That king who having amassed wealth makes
it over (for safe keep) to his treasury officers and guards, and then
commences again to plunder his kingdom, saying unto his officers, ‘Do ye
bring me as much wealth as you can extort from the kingdom,’ and who
spends the wealth that is thus collected at his command under
circumstances of fear and cruelty, in the performance of sacrifices,
should know that those sacrifices of his are never applauded by the
righteous. The king should perform sacrifices with such wealth as is
willingly paid into his treasury by prosperous and unpersecuted subjects.
Sacrifices should never be performed with wealth acquired by severity and
extortion. The king should then perform great sacrifices with large
presents in the shape of Dakshina, when in consequence of his being
devoted to the good of his subjects, the latter bathe him with copious
showers of wealth brought willingly by them for the purpose. The king
should protect the wealth of those that are old, of those that are
minors, of those that are blind, and of those that are otherwise
disqualified. The king should never take any wealth from his people, if
they, in a season of drought, succeed in growing any corn with the aid of
water obtained from wells. Nor should he take any wealth from weeping
women.[326] The wealth taken from the poor and the helpless is sure to
destroy the kingdom and the prosperity of the king. The king should
always make unto the righteous gifts of all enjoyable articles in
abundance. He should certainly dispel the fear of famishing which those
men may have.[327] There are no men more sinful than those upon whose
food children look with wistfulness without being able to eat them duly.
If within thy kingdom any learned Brahmana languishes with hunger like
any of those children, thou shalt then incur the sin of foeticide for
having allowed such an act. King Sivi himself had said this, viz., ‘Fie
on that king in whose kingdom a Brahmana or even any other man languishes
from hunger.’ That kingdom in which a Brahmana of the Snataka class
languishes with hunger becomes overwhelmed with adversity. Such a kingdom
with its king also incurs reproach. That king is more dead than alive in
whose kingdom women are easily abducted from the midst of husbands and
sons, uttering cries and groans of indignation and grief The subjects
should arm themselves to slay that King who does not protect them, who
simply plunders their wealth, who confounds all distinctions, who is ever
incapable of taking their lead, who is without compassion, and who is
regarded as the most sinful of kings. That king who tells his people that
he is their protector but who does not or is unable to protect them,
should be slain by his combined subjects, like a dog that is affected
with the rabies and has become mad. A fourth part of whatever sins are
committed by the subjects clings to that king who does not protect, O
Bharata. Some authorities say that the whole of those sins is taken by
such a king. Others are of opinion that a half thereof becomes his.
Bearing in mind, however, the declaration of Manu, it is our opinion that
a fourth part of such sins becomes the unprotecting king’s. That king, O
Bharata, who grants protection to his subjects obtains a fourth part of
whatever merits his subjects acquire living under his protection. Do
thou, O Yudhishthira, act in such a way that all thy subjects may seek
thee as their refuge as long as thou art alive, even as all creatures
seek the refuge of the deity of rain or even as the winged denizens of
the air seek the refuge of a large tree. Let all thy kinsmen and all thy
friends and well-wishers, O scorcher of foes, seek thee as their refuge
even as the Rakshasas seek Kuvera or the deities seek Indra as theirs.'”


“Yudhishthira said, ‘People accept with affection the declarations of the
Srutis which say, ‘This is to be given.’ ‘This other thing is to be
given!’ As regards kings, again, they make gifts of various things unto
various men. What, however, O grandsire, is the best or foremost of all

“Bhishma said, ‘Of all kinds of gifts, the gift of earth has been said to
be the first (in point of merit). Earth is immovable and indestructible.
It is capable of yielding unto him who owns it all the best things upon
which his heart may be set. It yields robes and vestments, jewels and
gems, animals, paddy and barley. Amongst all creatures, the giver of
earth grows in prosperity for ever and ever. As long as the earth lasts,
so long does the giver thereof grow in prosperity. There is no gift that
is higher, O Yudhishthira, than the gift of earth. It hath been heard by
us that all men have given a little quantity of earth. All men have made
gifts of earth, hence all men enjoy a little of earth. Whether in this or
in the next world all creatures live under conditions dependent upon
their own acts. Earth is Prosperity’s self. She is a mighty goddess. She
makes him her lord (in next life) who makes gifts of her in this life to
other people. That person, O best of kings, who gives away earth, which
is indestructible, as Dakshina, becomes born in next life as a man and
becomes also a lord of earth. The measure of one’s enjoyment in this life
is commensurate with the measure of one’s gifts in a previous life. Even
this is the conclusion to which the scriptures point. For a Kshatriya
should either give away the earth in gift or cast off his life in battle.
Even this constitutes the highest source of prosperity with regard to
Kshatriyas. It has been heard by us that earth, when given away, cleanses
and sanctifies the giver. The man that is of sinful behaviour, that is
guilty of even the slaughter of a Brahamana and of falsehood, is cleansed
by a gift of earth. Indeed, such a gift rescues even such a sinner from
all his sins. The righteous accept gifts of earth only and no other thing
from kings that are sinful. Like one’s mother, earth, when given away,
cleanses the giver and the taker. This is an eternal and secret name of
earth, viz., Priyadatta.[328] Given away or accepted in gift, the name
that is dear to her is Priyadatta. The gift of earth is desirable. That
king who makes a gift of earth unto a learned Brahmana, obtains from that
gift a kingdom. Upon re-birth in this world, such a man without doubt
attains to a position that is equal to that of a king. Hence a king as
soon as he gets earth, should make gifts of earth unto the Brahmanas.
None but a lord of earth; is competent to make gifts of earth. Nor should
one that is not a deserving person accept a gift of earth. They who
desire earth should, without doubt, conduct themselves in this way (i.e.,
make gifts of earth). That person who takes away earth belonging to a
righteous person never gets any earth. By making gifts of earth unto the
righteous, one gets good earth. Of virtuous soul, such a giver acquires
great fame both here and hereafter. That righteous king respecting whom
the Brahmanas say, ‘We live on earth given to us by him,’ is such that
his very enemies cannot utter the least reproach respecting his
kingdom.[329] Whatever sins a man commits from want of the means of
support, are all washed off by gift of only so much earth as is covered
by a cow-hide. Those kings that are mean in their acts or are of fierce
deeds, should be taught that gift of earth is exceedingly cleansing and
is at the same time the highest gift (in respect of merit). The ancients
thought that there was always very little difference between the man who
performs a Horse-sacrifice and him that makes a gift of earth unto one
that is righteous. The learned doubt the acquisition of merit by doing
all other acts of righteousness. The only act with respect to which they
do not entertain doubt is the gift of earth which, indeed, is the
foremost of all gifts. The man of wisdom who makes gifts of earth, gives
away all these, viz., gold, silver, cloth, gems and pearls and precious
stones. Penances, sacrifice, Vedic lore, good behaviour, absence of
cupidity, firmness in truth, worship of seniors, preceptors, and the
deities–all these dwell in him who makes a gift of earth. They who
ascend to the region of Brahman by leaving off their lives in battle,
after having fought without any regard for themselves to secure the
benefit to their masters–even they are unable to transcend the merit of
those that make gilts of earth. As the mother always nourishes her own
child with milk from her breast, even so doth the earth gratify with all
the tastes the person that makes a gift of earth. Mrityu, Vaikinkara,
Danda, Yama, Fire who is possessed of great fierceness, and all heinous
and terrible sins are incapable of touching the person that makes a gift
of earth. That man of tranquil soul who makes a gift of earth gratifies
(by that act) the Pitris dwelling in their own region and the deities
also hailing from the region that is theirs. The man who makes a gift of
earth unto one that is emaciated and cheerless and destitute of the means
of life and languishing with weakness, and who thereby supplies one with
the means of subsistence, becomes entitled to the honour and merit of
performing a sacrifice. Even as an affectionate cow runs towards her
calf, with full udders dropping milk, the highly-blessed earth after the
same manner, runs towards the person who makes a gift of earth. That man
who makes unto a Brahmana a gift of earth which has been tilled, or sown
with seeds or which contains standing crops, or a mansion well-equipped
with every necessary, succeeds in becoming (in next life) the
accomplisher of the wishes of everybody. The man who causes a Brahmana
possessed of the means of life, owning a domestic fire and of pure vows
and practices, to accept a gift of earth, never falls into any danger or
distress. As the moon waxes day by day, even so the merit of a gift of
earth becomes enhanced every time such earth produces crops. Those
conversant with ancient history sing this verse in connection with the
gift of earth. Hearing that verse Jamadagni’s son (Rama) gave away the
whole earth unto Kasyapa. The verse to which I refer is this, ‘Receive me
in gift. Give me away. By giving me away, thou (O giver) shall obtain me
again!’ That which is given away in this life is re-acquired in the
next.[330] That Brahmana who recites this high declaration of the Vedas
at the time of a Sraddha attains to the highest reward. A gift of earth
is a high expiation for the sin of those puissant men who betake
themselves to Atharvan rites for doing injuries to others. Indeed, by
making a gift of earth one rescues ten generations of one’s paternal and
maternal race. That person who is even conversant with this Vedic
declaration respecting the merits of a gift of earth, succeeds in
rescuing ten generations of both his paternal and maternal families. The
earth is the original source of all creatures (for it is from earth that
all creatures derive their sustenance). It has been said that the deity
of fire is the presiding genius of the earth. After the coronation
ceremony has been performed of a king, this Vedic declaration should be
re-cited to him, so that he may make gifts of earth and may never take
away earth from a righteous person. Without doubt, the entire wealth
owned by the king belongs to the Brahmanas. A king well-conversant with
the science of duty and morality is the first requisite of the kingdom’s
prosperity. Those people whose king is unrighteous and atheistic in
conduct and belief can never be happy. Such people can never sleep or
wake in peace. In consequence of his acts of wickedness his subjects
become always filled with anxiety. Protection of what the subjects
already have and new acquisitions according to lawful means are incidents
that are not noticeable in the kingdom of such a ruler. Those people,
again, who have a wise and righteous king, sleep happily and wake up in
happiness. Through the blessed and righteous acts of such a king, his
subjects become freed from anxiety. The subjects, restrained from wicked
acts, grow in prosperity through their own conduct. Capable of retaining
what they have, they go on making new acquisitions. That king who makes
gifts of earth is regarded as well-born. He is regarded as a man. He is a
friend. He is righteous in his acts. He is a giver. He is regarded as
possessing prowess. Those men who make gifts of ample and fertile earth
unto Brahmanas conversant with the Vedas, always shine in the world, in
consequence of their energy, like so many suns. As seeds scattered on the
soil grow and return a goodly crop, even so all one’s wishes become
crowned with fruition in consequence of one’s making gifts of earth.
Aditya and Varuna and Vishnu and Brahman and Soma and Hutasana, and the
illustrious and trident-bearing Mahadeva, all applaud the man that makes
a gift of earth. Living creatures spring into life from the earth and it
is into the earth that they become merged when they disappear. Living
creatures which are distributed into four classes (i.e., viviparous,
oviparous, filthborn, and vegetables) have earth for their constituent
essence. The earth is both the mother and father of the universe of
creatures, O monarch. There is no element, O ruler of men, that can
compare with earth. In this connection is cited the old narrative of a
discourse between the celestial preceptor Vrihaspati and Indra the ruler
of Heaven, O Yudhishthira. Having adored Vishnu in a hundred sacrifices
each of which was distinguished by plentiful gifts as Dakshina, Maghavat
put this question to Vrihaspati, that foremost of all eloquent persons.’

“Maghavat said, ‘O illustrious one, by what gift does one succeed in
coming to Heaven and attaining to beatitude? O foremost of speakers, do
thou tell me of that gift which is productive of high and inexhaustible

“Bhishma continued, ‘Thus addressed by the chief of the celestials the
preceptor of the deities, viz., Vrihaspati of great energy, said these
words in reply unto him of a hundred sacrifices. Endued as he is with the
merits that attach to the gift of earth, the region of felicity reserved
for the person who makes gift of such earth as is auspicious and rich
with every taste, never become exhausted.[331] That king, O Sakra, who
desires to have prosperity and who wishes to win happiness for himself,
should always make gifts of earth, with due rites, unto deserving
persons. If after committing numerous sins a person makes gifts of earth
unto members of the regenerate class, he casts off all those sins like a
snake casting off its slough. The person that makes a gift of earth is
said to make gifts of everything, that is, of seas and rivers and
mountains and forests. By making a gift of earth, the person is said to
give away lakes and tanks and wells and streams. In consequence of the
moisture of earth, one is said to give away articles of diverse tastes by
making a gift of earth. The man who makes a gift of earth is regarded as
giving away herbs and plants possessed of high and efficacious virtues,
trees adorned with flowers and fruit, delightful woods, and hillocks. The
merit that a person acquires by making a gift of earth is incapable of
being acquired by the performance of even such great sacrifices as the
Agnishtoma and others with plentiful gifts in the shape of Dakshina. The
giver of earth, it has been already said, rescues ten generations of both
his paternal and maternal races. Similarly, by taking away earth that was
given away, one hurls oneself into hell and casts ten generations of both
one’s paternal and maternal lines into the same place of misery. That man
who having promised to make a gift of earth does not actually make it, or
who having made a gift takes it back, has to pass a long time, in great
misery in consequence of being tied with the noose of Varuna at the
command of Death. Those men have never to go to Yama who honour and
worship those foremost of Brahmanas that pour libations every day on
their domestic fire, that are always engaged in the performance of
sacrifices, that have scanty means of livelihood, and that receive with
hospitality every guest seeking shelter in their abodes The king, O
Purandara, should free himself from the debt he owes to the Brahmanas and
protect the helpless and the weak belonging to the other orders. The king
should never resume, O chief of the deities, earth that has been given
away by another unto a Brahmana, O ruler of the celestials, that is
destitute of the means of life.[332] The tears that would fall from the
eyes of such cheerless and destitute Brahmanas in consequence of their
lands being taken back are capable of destroying the ancestors and
descendants to the third generation of the resumer. That man who succeeds
by his endeavours in re-establishing a king driven away from his kingdom,
obtains residence in heaven and is much honoured by the denizens thereof.
That king who succeeds in making gifts of earth with such crops standing
thereon as sugar-cane or barley or wheat, or with kine and horses and
other draft cattle,–earth that has been won with the might of the
giver’s arms,–that has mineral wealth in its bowels and that is covered
with every kind of wealth of the surface, wins inexhaustible regions of
felicity in the next world, and such a king it is that is said to perform
the earth-sacrifice. That king who makes a gift of earth becomes washed
of every sin and is, therefore, pure and approved of the righteous. In
this world he is highly honoured and applauded by all righteous men. The
merit that attaches to a gift of earth increases every time the earth
given away bears crops for the benefit of the owner, even as a drop of
oil, falling upon water, is seen to extend on every side, and cover the
watery surface. Those heroic kings and ornaments of assemblies who cast
off their lives in battle with faces towards the foe, attain, O Sakra, to
the region of Brahman. Beautiful damsels skilled in music and dancing and
adorned with garlands of celestial flowers, approach, O chief of the
deities, the giver of earth as he comes to heaven departing from the
earth. That king who makes gifts of earth with due rites unto persons of
the regenerate order, sports in bliss in the celestial regions, adorned
all the while by the deities and Gandharvas. A century of Apsaras,
adorned with celestial garlands, approach, O chief of the deities, the
giver of earth as he ascends to the region of Brahman. Flowers of
excellent perfumes, an excellent conch and excellent seat, an umbrella
and excellent steeds with excellent vehicles, are always ready for the
person how makes gifts of earth. By making gifts of earth a king can
always command flowers of excellent perfumes and heaps of gold. Possessed
of all kinds of wealth the commands of such a king can never be disobeyed
anywhere, and cries of victory hail him wheresoever he may approach. The
rewards that attach to gifts of earth consist of residence in heaven, O
Purandara, and gold, and flowers, and plants and herbs of medicinal
virtue, and Kusa and mineral wealth and verdant grass. A person by making
a gift of earth acquires in his next life nectar yielding earth. There is
no gift that is equal to a gift of earth. There is no senior worthy of
greater respect than the mother. There is no duty higher than truth.
There is no wealth more precious than that which is given away.’

“Bhishma continued, ‘Hearing these words from the son of Angiras, Vasava
made a gift unto him of the whole earth with all her jewels and gems and
all her wealth of diverse kinds. If these verses declaring the merit
attaching to gifts of earth be recited on the occasion of a Sraddha,
neither Rakshasas nor Asuras can succeed in appropriating any share of
the offerings made in it. Without doubt, the offerings one makes unto the
Pitris at such a Sraddha become inexhaustible. Hence, on occasions of
Sraddhas, the man of learning should recite these verses on the subject
of the merits that attach to gifts of earth, in the presence and hearing
of the invited Brahmanas when engaged in eating. I have thus, O chief of
the Bharatas, discoursed unto thee of that gift which is the foremost of
all gifts. What else dost thou wish to hear?'”


“Yudhishthira said, ‘When a king becomes desirous of making gifts in this
world, what, indeed, are those gifts which he should make, O best of the
Bharatas, unto such Brahmanas as are possessed of superior
accomplishments? What gift is that by which the Brahmanas become
immediately gratified? What fruits do they bestow in return? O thou of
mighty arms, tell me what is the high reward attainable through the merit
arising from gifts. What gifts, O king, are productive of rewards both
here and hereafter? I desire to hear all this from thee. Do thou
discourse to me on all this in detail.’

“Bhishma said, ‘These very questions were on a former occasion put by me
to Narada of celestial appearance. Hear me as I recite to thee what that
celestial sage told me in reply.’

“Narada said, ‘The deities and all the Rishis applaud food. The course of
the world and the intellectual faculties have all been established on
food. There has never been, nor will be any gift that is equal to the
gifts of food. Hence, men always desire particularly to make gifts of
food. In this world, food is the cause of energy and strength. The
life-breaths are established on food. It is food that upholds the wide
universe, O puissant one. All classes of men, householders and mendicants
and ascetics, exist, depending upon food. The life-breaths depend upon
food. There is no doubt in this. Afflicting (if need be) one’s relatives,
one is desirous of one’s own prosperity, should make gifts of food unto a
high-souled Brahmana or a person of the mendicant order. That man who
makes a gift of food unto an accomplished Brahmana who solicits the same,
secures for himself in the world to come wealth of great value. The
householder who is desirous of his own prosperity should receive with
reverence a deserving old man that is spent with toil while proceeding on
his way far from home, when such a man honours the householder’s abode
with his presence. That man who, casting off wrath that overleaps every
bound and becoming righteous in disposition and freed from malice, makes
gifts of food, is sure to attain to happiness, O king, both here and
hereafter. The householder should never disregard the man that comes to
his abode, nor should he insult him by sending him away. A gift of food
made unto even a Chandala or a dog is never lost. That man who makes a
gift of clean food unto a person on the way who is toil-worn and unknown
to the giver, is sure to acquire great merit. The man who gratifies with
gifts of food the Pitris, the deities, the Rishis, the Brahmanas, and
guests arrived at his abode, acquires merit whose measure is very large.
That person who having committed even a heinous sin makes a gift of food
unto one that solicits, or unto a Brahmana, is never stupefied by that
heinous sin. A gift of food made unto a Brahmana becomes inexhaustible.
One made to a Sudra becomes productive of great merit. Even this is the
difference between the merits that attach to gifts of food made unto
Brahmanas and Sudras. Solicited by it Brahmana, one should not enquire
about his race or conduct or Vedic lore. Asked for food, one should give
food to him that asks. There is no doubt in tits, O king, that he who
makes gifts of food obtains both here and hereafter many trees yielding
food and every other object of desire. Like tillers expecting auspicious
showers of rain, the Pitris always expect that their sons and grandsons
would make offerings unto them of food (in Sraddhas). The Brahmana is a
great being. When he comes into one’s anode and solicits, saying, ‘Give
me,’ the owner of the abode, whether influenced or not by the desire of
acquiring merit, is sure to win great merit by listening to that
solicitation. The Brahmana is the guest of all creatures in the universe.
He is entitled to the first portion of every food. That house Increases
in prosperity to which the Brahmanas repair from desire of soliciting
alms and from which they return honoured in consequence of their desires
being fulfilled. The owner of such a house takes birth in his next life
in a family, O Bharata, that can command all the comforts and luxuries of
life. A man, by making gifts of food in this world, is sure to attain to
an excellent place hereafter. He who makes gifts of sweetmeat and all
food that is sweet, attains to a residence in heaven where he is honoured
by all the deities and other denizens. Food constitutes the life-breath
of men. Everything is established upon food. He who makes gifts of food
obtains many animals (as his wealth), many children, considerable wealth
(in other shape), and a command in abundance of all articles of comfort
and luxurious enjoyment. The giver of food is said to be the giver of
life. Indeed, he is said to be the giver of everything. Hence, O king,
such a man acquires both strength and beauty of form in this world. If
food be given duly unto a Brahmana arrived at the giver’s house as a
guest, the giver attains to great happiness, and is adored by the very
deities. The Brahmana, O Yudhishthira, is a great being. He is also a
fertile field. Whatever seed is sown on that field produces an abundant
crop of merit. A gift of food is visibly and immediately productive of
the happiness of both the giver and the receiver. All other gifts produce
fruits that are unseen. Food is the origin of all creatures. From food,
comes happiness and delight. O Bharata, know that religion and wealth
both flow from food. The cure of disease or health also flows from food.
In a former Kalpa, the Lord of all creatures said that food is Amrita or
the source of immortality. Food is Earth, food is Heaven, food is the
Firmament. Everything is established on food. In the absence of food, the
five elements that constitute the physical organism cease to exist in a
state of union. From absence of food the strength of even the strongest
man is seen to fail. Invitations and marriages and sacrifices all cease
in the absence of food. The very Vedas disappear when food there is none.
Whatever mobile and immobile creatures exist in the universe are
dependent on food. Religion and wealth, in the three worlds, are all
dependent on food. Hence the wise should make gifts of food. The
strength, energy, fame and achievements of the man who makes gifts of
food, constantly increase in the three worlds, O king. The lord of the
life-breaths, viz., the deity of wind, places above the clouds (the water
sucked up by the Sun). The water thus borne to the clouds is caused by
Sakra to be poured upon the earth, O Bharata. The Sun, by means of his
rays, sucks up the moisture of the earth. The deity of wind causes the
moisture to fall down from the Sun.[333] When the water falls down from
the clouds upon the Earth, the goddess Earth becomes moist, O Bharata.
Then do people sow diverse kinds of crops upon whose outturn the universe
of creatures depends. It is in the food thus produced that the flesh,
fat, bones and vital seed of all beings have their origin. From the vital
seed thus originated, O king, spring diverse kinds of living creatures.
Agni and Soma, the two agents living within the body, create and maintain
the vital seed. Thus from food, the Sun and the deity of wind and the
vital seed spring and act. All these are said to constitute one element
or quantity, and it is from these that all creatures spring. That man who
gives food into one who comes into his house and solicits it, is said, O
chief of the Bharatas, to contribute both life and energy unto living

‘Bhishma continued, ‘Thus addressed by Narada, O king, I have always made
gifts of food. Do thou also, therefore, freed from malice and with a
cheerful heart, make gifts of food. By making gifts of food, O king, unto
deserving Brahmanas with due rites, thou mayst be sure, O puissant one,
of attaining to Heaven. Hear me, O monarch, as I tell thee what the
regions are that are reserved for those that make gifts of food. The
mansions of those high-souled persons shine with resplendence in the
regions of Heaven. Bright as the stars in the firmament, and supported
upon many columns, white as the disc of the moon, and adorned with many
tinkling bells, and rosy like the newly-risen sun, those palatial abodes
are either fixed or movable. Those mansions are filled with hundreds upon
hundreds of things and animals that live on land and as many things and
animals living in water. Some of them are endued with the effulgence of
lapis lazuli and some are possessed of the resplendence of the sun. Some
of them are made of silver and some of gold. Within those mansions are
many trees capable of crowning with fruition every desire of the inmates.
Many tanks and roads and halls and well and lakes occur all around.
Thousands of conveyances with horses and other animals harnessed thereto
and with wheels whose clatter is always loud, may be seen there.
Mountains of food and all enjoyable articles and heaps of cloths and
ornaments are also to be seen there. Numerous rivers that run milk, and
hills of rice and other edibles, may also be seen there. Indeed, many
palatial residences looking like white clouds, with many beds of golden
splendour, occur in those regions, All these are obtained by those men
that make gifts of food in this world. Do thou, therefore, become a giver
of food. Verily, these are the regions that are reserved for those
high-souled and righteous persons that make gifts of food in this world.
For these reasons, men should always make gifts of food in this world.'”


“Yudhishthira said, ‘I have heard the discourse regarding the ordinance
about the gift of food. Do thou discourse to me now about the conjunction
of the planets and the stars in relation to the subject of making

“Bhishma said, ‘In this connection is recited this ancient narrative of
the discourse between Devaki and Narada, that foremost of Rishis. Once on
a time when Narada of godlike feature and conversant with every duty
arrived at Dwaraka, Devaki asked him this question. Unto her that had
asked him, the celestial Rishi Narada duly answered in the following
words. Do thou hear as I recite them.’

“Narada said, ‘By gratifying, O blessed lady, deserving Brahmanas with
Payasa mixed with ghee, under the constellation Krittika one attains to
regions of great happiness.[335] Under the constellation Rohini, one
should for freeing oneself from the debt one owes to the Brahmanas make
gift unto them of many handfuls of venison along with rice and ghee and
milk, and other kinds of edibles and drinks. One giving away a cow with a
calf under the constellation called Somadaivata (or Mrigasiras), proceeds
from this region of human beings to a region in heaven of great felicity.
One undergoing a fast and giving away Krisara mixed with sesame,
transcends all difficulties in the next world, including those mountains
with rocks sharp as razors. By making gifts, O beautiful lady, of cakes
and other food under the constellation Punarvasu one becomes possessed of
personal beauty and great fame and takes birth in one’s next life in a
family in which there is abundance of food. Making a gift of wrought or
unwrought gold, under the constellation Pushya, one shines in effulgence
like Soma himself in regions of surrounding gloom. He who makes a gift,
under the constellation Aslesha, of silver of a bull, becomes freed from
every fear and attains to great affluence and prosperity. By making a
gift, under the constellation Magha, of earthen dishes filled with
sesame, one becomes possessed of children and animals in this world and
attains to felicity in the next.[336] For making gifts unto Brahmanas,
under the constellation called Purva-Phalguni of food mixed with Phanita
the giver observing a fast the while, reward is great prosperity both
here and hereafter.[337] By making a gift, under the constellation called
Uttara-Phalguni, of ghee and milk with rice called Shashthika, one
attains to great honours in heaven. Whatever gifts are made by men under
the constellation of Uttara-Phalguni produce great merit, which, again,
becomes inexhaustible. This is very certain. Observing a fast the while,
the person that makes, under the constellation Hasta, a gift of a car
with four elephants, attains to regions of great felicity that are
capable of granting the fruition of every wish. By making a gift, under
the constellation Chitra, of a bull and of good perfumes, one sports in
bliss in regions of Apsaras like the deities sporting in the woods of
Nandana. By making gifts of wealth under the constellation Swati, one
attains to such excellent regions as one desires and wins besides great
fame. By making gifts, under constellation Visakha, of a bull, and a cow
that yields a copious measure of milk, a cart full of paddy, with a
Prasanga for covering the same, and also cloths for wear,[338] a person
gratifies the Pitris and the deities attains to inexhaustible merit in
the other world. Such a person never meets with any calamity and
gratifies the Pitris and the deities and attains to inexhaustible merit
in the other world. Such a person never meets with any calamity and
certainly reaches heaven. By making gifts unto the Brahmanas of whatever
articles they solicit, one attains to such means of subsistence as one
desires, and becomes rescued from hell and every calamity that visits a
sinner after death. This is the certain conclusion of the scriptures. By
making gifts, under the constellation Anuradha of embroidered cloth and
other vestments and of food, observing a fast the while, one becomes
honoured in heaven for a hundred Yugas. By making a gift under the
constellation Jyeshtha, of the potherb called Kalasaka with the roots,
one attains to great prosperity as also to such an end as is desirable.
By making unto Brahmanas a gift under the constellation Mula, of fruits
and roots, with a restrained soul, one gratifies the Pitris and attains
to a desirable end. By making under the constellation Purvashadha, a
gift, unto a Brahmana conversant with the Vedas and of good family and
conduct, of cups filled with curds, while one is in the observance of a
fast, one takes birth in one’s next life in a family possessed of
abundant kine. One obtains the fruition of every wish, by making gifts,
under the constellation Uttarashadha, of jugs full of barley-water, with
ghee and inspissated juice of sugarcane in abundance. By making a gift
under the conjunction called Abhijit, of milk with honey and ghee unto
men of wisdom, a righteous person attains to heaven and becomes an object
of attention and honour there. By making under the conjunction Sravana, a
gift of blankets or other cloth of thick texture, one roves freely
through every region of felicity, riding on a white car of pure
resplendence. By making with a restrained soul, under the constellation
Dhanishtha, a gift of a vehicle with bulls yoked thereto, or heaps of
cloths and wealth, one at once attains to heaven in one’s next life. By
making gifts, under the constellation Satabhisha, of perfumes with
Aquilaria Agallocha and sandalwood, one attains in the next world to the
companionship of Apsaras as also eternal perfumes of diverse kinds. By
making gifts, under the constellation Purva-Bhadrapada, or Rajamasha, one
attains to great happiness in the next life and becomes possessed of an
abundant stock of every kind of edibles and fruits.[339] One who makes,
under the constellation Uttara, a gift of mutton, gratifies the Paris by
such an act attains to inexhaustible merit in the next world. Unto one
who makes a gift, under the constellation Revati, of a cow with a vessel
of white copper for milking her, the cow so given away approaches in the
next world, ready to grant the fruition of every wish. By making a gift,
under the constellation Aswini, of a car with steeds yoked thereto, one
is born in one’s next life in a family possessed of numerous elephants
and steeds and cars, and becomes endued with great energy. By making,
under the constellation Bharani, a gift unto the Brahmanas of kine and
sesame, one acquires in one’s next life great fame and an abundance of

“Bhishma continued, ‘Even thus did Narada discourse unto Devaki upon the
subject of what gifts should be made under what constellations. Devaki
herself, having listened to this discourse, recited it in her turn unto
her daughters-in-law (viz., the spouses of Krishna).'”


“Bhishma said, ‘The illustrious Atri, the son of the Grandsire Brahman,
said, ‘They who make gifts of gold are said to make gifts of everything
in the world.’ King Harischandra said that the gift of gold is
sin-cleansing, leads to long life, and becomes productive of
inexhaustible merit unto the Pitris. Manu has said that a gift of drink
is the best of all gifts: therefore should a man cause wells and tanks
and lakes to be excavated. A well full of water and from which diverse
creatures draw water, is said to take off half the sinful acts of the
person who has excavated it. The whole race of a person is rescued from
hell and sin in whose well or tank or lake kine and Brahmanas and
righteous people constantly quench their thirst. That man transcends
every kind of calamity from whose well or tank every one draws water
without restraint during the summer season. Ghee is said to gratify the
illustrious Vrihaspati, Pushan, Bhaga, the twin Aswins, and the deity of
fire. Ghee is possessed of high medicinal virtues. It is a high requisite
for sacrifice. It is the best of all liquids. The merit a gift of ghee
produces is very superior. That man who is desirous of the reward of
happiness in the next world, who wishes for fame and prosperity, should
with a cleansed soul and having purified himself make gifts of ghee unto
the Brahmanas. Upon that man who makes gifts of ghee unto the Brahmanas
in the month of Aswin, the twin Aswins, gratified, confer personal
beauty. Rakshasas never invade the abode of that man who makes gifts unto
the Brahmanas of Payasa mixed with ghee. That man never dies of thirst
who makes gifts unto the Brahmanas of jars filled with water. Such a
person obtains every necessary of life in abundance, and has never to
undergo any calamity or distress. That man, who with great devotion and
restrained senses makes gifts unto the foremost of Brahmanas, is said to
take a sixth part of the merits won by the Brahmanas by their penances.
That man who makes presents unto Brahmanas having the means of life, of
firewood for purposes of cooking as also of enabling them to drive cold,
finds all his purposes and all his acts crowned with success. Such a one
is seen to shine with great splendour over all his enemies. The
illustrious deity of fire becomes pleased with such a man. As another
reward, he never becomes divested of cattle, and he is sure to achieve
victory in battles. The man who makes a gift of an umbrella obtains
children and great prosperity. Such a person is never affected by any
eye-disease. The merits also that spring from the performance of a
sacrifice become his. That man who makes a gift of an umbrella in the
season of summer or rains, has never to meet with any heart-burning on
any account. Such a man quickly succeeds in freeing himself from every
difficulty and impediment. The highly blessed and illustrious Rishi
Sandilya has said that, of all gifts, the gift of a car, O king, is the


“Yudhishthira said, ‘I desire to hear, O grandsire, what the merits are
of that person who makes the gift of a pair of sandals unto a Brahmana
whose feet are burning or being scorched by hot sand, while he is

“Bhishma said, ‘The man, that gives unto the Brahmanas sandals for the
protection of their feet, succeeds in crushing all thorns and gets over
every kind of difficulty. Such a man, O Yudhishthira, stays over the
heads of all his foes. Vehicles of pure splendour, with mules harnessed
thereto, and made of gold and silver, O monarch, approach him. He who
makes a gift of sandals is said to earn the merit of making the gift of a
vehicle with well-broken steeds yoked thereto.’

“Yudhishthira said, ‘Do thou tell me in detail once more, O grandsire, of
the merits that attach to gifts of sesame and land and kine and food.’

“Bhishma said, ‘Do thou hear, O son of Kunti, what the merits are that
attach to the gift of sesame. Hearing me, do thou, then, O best of the
Kurus, make gifts of sesame according to the ordinance. Sesame seeds were
created by the Self-born Brahman as the best food for the Pitris. Hence,
gifts of sesame seeds always gladden the Pitris greatly. The man who
makes gifts of sesame seeds, in the month of Magha, unto the Brahmanas,
has never to visit hell which abounds with all frightful creatures. He
who adores the Pitris with offerings of sesame seeds is regarded as
worshipping the deities at all the sacrifices. One should never perform a
Sraddha with offerings of sesame seeds without cherishing some
purpose.[340] Sesame seeds sprang from the limbs of the great Rishi
Kasyapa. Hence, in the matter of gifts, they have come to be regarded as
possessed of high efficacy. Sesame seeds bestow both prosperity and
personal beauty and cleans the giver of all his sins It is for this
reason that the gift of sesame seeds is distinguished above the gift of
every other article. Apastamva of great intelligence, and Kankha and
Likhita, and the great Rishi Gautama have all ascended to heaven by
having made gifts of sesame seeds. Those Brahmanas that make Homa with
offerings of sesame, abstain from sexual intercourse, and are observant
of the religion of Pravritti or acts, are regarded as equal (in purity
and efficacy) to bovine Havi. The gift of sesame seeds is distinguished
above all gifts. Amongst all gifts, the gifts of sesame is regarded as
productive of inexhaustible merit. In ancient times when Havi (clarified
butter) on one occasion had become unobtainable the Rishi Kusika, O
scorcher of foes, made offerings of sesame seeds to his three sacrificial
fires and succeeded in attaining to an excellent end. I have thus said
unto thee, O chief of the Kurus, what the regulations are respecting the
excellent gift of sesame seeds. It is in consequence of these regulations
that the gift of sesame seeds has come to be regarded as endued with very
superior merit. After this, listen to what I would say. Once on a time
the deities, desirous of making a sacrifice, repaired, O monarch, to the
presence of the Self-born Brahman. Having met Brahman, being desirous of
performing a sacrifice on earth, they begged him for a piece of
auspicious earth, saying, ‘We want it for our sacrifice.’

‘The deities said, ‘O illustrious one, thou art the lord of all the earth
as also of all the deities. With thy permission, O highly blessed one, we
desire to perform a sacrifice. The person who has not obtained by lawful
means the earth whereon to make the sacrificial altar, earns not the
merit of the sacrifice he performs. Thou art the Lord of all the universe
consisting of its mobile and immobile objects. Hence, it behoveth thee to
grant us a piece of earth for the sacrifice we wish to make.’

“Brahman said, ‘Ye foremost of deities, I shall give you a piece of earth
whereon, ye sons of Kasyapa, you shall perform your intended sacrifice.’

“The deities said, ‘Our wishes, O holy one, have been crowned with
fruition. We shall perform our sacrifice even here with large Dakshina.
Let, however, the Munis always adore the piece of earth. Then there came
to that place Agastya and Kanwa and Bhrigu and Atri and Vrishakapi, and
Asita and Devala. The high-souled deities then, O thou of unfading glory,
performed their sacrifice. Those foremost of gods concluded it in due
time. Having completed that sacrifice of theirs on the breast of that
foremost of mountains. Himavat, the deities attached to the gift of earth
a sixth part of the merit arising from their sacrifice. The man who makes
a gift of even a span of earth (unto a Brahmana) with reverence and
faith, has never to languish under any difficulty and has never to meet
with any calamity. By making a gift of a house that keeps out cold, wind,
and sun, and that stand upon a piece of clean land, the giver attains to
the region of the deities and does not fall down even when his merit
becomes exhausted. By making a gift of a residential house, the giver,
possessed of wisdom, lives, O king, in happiness in the company of Sakra.
Such a person receives great honours in heaven. That person in whose
house a Brahmana of restrained sense, well-versed in the Vedas, and
belonging by birth to a family of preceptors, resides in contentment,
succeeds in attaining to and enjoying a region of high felicity.[341]
After the same manner, O best of the Bharatas, by giving away a shed for
the shelter of kine that can keep out cold and rain and that is
substantial in structure, the giver rescues seven generations of his race
(from hell). By giving away a piece of arable earth the giver attains to
excellent prosperity. By giving a piece of earth containing mineral
wealth, the giver aggrandises his family and race. One should never give
away any earth that is barren or that is burnt (arid); nor should one
give away any earth that is in close vicinity to a crematorium, or that
has been owned and enjoyed by a sinful person before such gift. When a
man performs a Sraddha in honour of the Pitris on earth belonging to
another person, the Pitris render both the gift of that earth and the
Sraddha itself futile.[342] Hence, one possessed of wisdom should buy
even a small piece of earth and make a gift of it. The Pinda that is
offered to one’s ancestors on earth that has been duly purchased becomes
inexhaustible.[343] Forests, and mountains, and rivers, and Tirthas are
regarded as having no owners. No earth need be purchased here for
performing Sraddhas. Even this has been said, O king, on the subject of
the merits of making gifts of earth. After this, O sinless one, I shall
discourse to thee on the subject of the gift of kine. Kine are regarded
as superior to all the ascetics. And since it is so, the divine Mahadeva
for that reason performed penance in their company. Kine, O Bharata,
dwell in the region of Brahman, in the company of Soma. Constituting as
it does the highest end, regenerate Rishis crowned with success strive to
attain to that very region. Kine benefit human beings with milk, ghee,
curds, dung, skin, bones, horns, and hair, O Bharata. Kine do not feel
cold or heat. They always work. The season of rains also cannot afflict
them at all. And since kine attain to the highest end (viz., residence in
the region of Brahman), in the company of Brahmanas, therefore do the
wise say that king and Brahmanas are equal. In days of yore, king
Rantideva performed a grand sacrifice in which an immense number of kine
were offered up and slaughtered. From the juice that was secreted by the
skins of the slaughtered animals, a river was formed that came to be
called by the name of Charmanwati. Kine no longer form animals fit for
sacrifice. They now constitute animals that are fit for gift. That king
who makes gifts of kine unto the foremost of Brahmanas, O monarch, is
sure to get over every calamity even if he falls into it. The man who
makes a gift of a thousand kine has not to go to hell. Such a person, O
ruler of men, obtains victory everywhere. The very chief of the deities
had said that the milk of kine is nectar. For this reason, one who makes
a gift of a cow is regarded as making a gift of nectar. Persons
conversant with the Vedas have declared that the Ghee manufactured from
cows’ milk is the very best of all libations poured into the sacrificial
fire. For this reason, the man who makes a gift of a cow is regarded as
making a gift of a libation for sacrifice. A bovine bull is the
embodiment of heaven. He who makes the gift of a bovine bull unto an
accomplished Brahmana, receives great honours in heaven. Kine, O chief of
Bharata’s race, are said to be the life-breath of living creatures.
Hence, the man who makes the gift of a cow is said to make the gift of
life-breath. Persons conversant with the Vedas have said that kine
constitute the great refuge of living creatures. Hence, the man who makes
the gift of a cow is regarded as making the gift of what is the high
refuge for all creatures. The cow should never be given away for
slaughter (i.e., unto one who will kill her); nor should the cow be given
unto a tiller of the soil; nor should the cow be given unto an atheist.
The cow should not also, O chief of the Bharatas, be given unto one whose
occupation is the keeping of kine.[344] The wise have said that a person
who gives away the cow unto any of such sinful persons has to sink into
everlasting hell. One should never give unto a Brahmana a cow that is
lean, or that produces calves that do not live, or that is barren, or
that is diseased, or that is defective of limb, or that is worn out with
toil. The man that gives away ten thousand kine attains to heaven and
sports in bliss in the companionship of Indra. The man who makes gifts of
kine by hundred thousand acquires many regions of inexhaustible felicity.
Thus have I recited to thee the merits attaching to the gift of kine and
of sesame, as also to the gift of earth. Listen now to me as I discourse
to thee upon the gift of food, O Bharata. The gift of food, O son of
Kunti, is regarded as a very superior gift. King Rantideva in days of
yore ascended to heaven by having made gifts of food. That king, who make
a gift of food unto one that is toil-worn and hungry, attains to that
region of supreme felicity which is the Self-born’s own. Men fail to
attain by gifts of gold and robes and of other thing, to that felicity to
which givers of food succeed in attaining, O thou of great puissance!
Food is, indeed, the first article. Food is regarded as the highest
prosperity. It is from food that life springs, as also energy and prowess
and strength. He who always makes gifts of food, with attention, unto the
righteous, never falls into any distress.. Even this has been said by
Parasara. Having worshipped the deities duly, food should be first
dedicated to them. It has been said, O king, that the kind of food that
is taken by particular men is taken also by the deities those men
worship.[345] That man who makes a gift of food in the bright fortnight
of the month of Kartika, succeeds in crossing every difficulty here add
attains to inexhaustible felicity hereafter. That man who makes a gift of
food unto a hungry guest arrived at his abode, attains to all those
regions, O chief of Bharata’s race, that are reserved for persons
acquainted with Brahma. The man who makes gifts of food is sure to cross
every difficulty and distress. Such a person comes over every sin and
cleanses himself of every evil act. I have thus discoursed to thee upon
the merits of making gifts of food, of sesame, of earth, and of kine.'”


“Yudhishthira said, ‘I have heard, O sire, of the merits of the different
kinds of gift upon which thou hast discoursed to me. I understand, O
Bharata, that the gift of food is especially laudable and superior. What
however, are the great merits of making gifts of drink. I desire to hear
of this in detail, O grandsire!’

“Bhishma said, ‘I shall, O chief of Bharata’s race, discourse to thee
upon this subject. Listen to me, O thou of unbaffled prowess, as I speak
to thee. I shall, O sinless one, discourse unto thee of gifts beginning
with that of drink. The merit that a man acquires by making gifts of food
and drink is such that the like of it, I think, is incapable of being
acquired through any other gift. There is no gift, therefore, that is
superior to that of either food or drink. It is no food that all living
creatures are able to exist. For this reason, food is regarded as a very
superior object in all the worlds. From food the strength and energy of
living creatures constantly increases. Hence, the lord of all creatures
has himself said that the gift of food is a very superior gift. Thou hast
heard, O son of Kunti, what the auspicious words are of Savitri herself
(on the subject of the gift of food). Thou knowest for what reason those
words were said, what those words were, and how they were said in course
of the sacred Mantras, O thou of great intelligence. A man, by making a
gift of food, really makes a gift of life itself. There is no gift in
this world that is superior to the gift of life. Thou art not
unacquainted with this saying of Lomasa, O thou of mighty arms! The end
that was attained in former days by king Sivi in consequence of his
having granted life to the pigeon is acquired by him, O monarch, who
makes a gift of food unto a Brahmana. Hence, it has been heard by us that
they that give life attain to very superior regions of felicity in after
life. Food, O best of the Kurus, may or may not be superior to drink.
Nothing can exist without the aid of what springs from water. The very
lord of all the planets, viz., the illustrious Soma, has sprung from
water. Amrita and Sudha and Swadha and milk as also every kind of food,
the deciduous herbs, O monarch, and creepers (medicinal and of other
virtues), spring from water. From these, O king, the life-breath of all
living creatures flows. The deities have nectar for their food. The Nagas
have Sudha. The Pitris have Swadha for theirs. The animals have herbs and
plants for their food. The wise have said that rice, etc., constitute the
food of human beings. All these, O chief of men, spring from water.
Hence, there is nothing superior to the gift of water or drink. If a
person wishes to secure prosperity for himself, he should always make
gifts of drink. The gift of water is regarded as very praiseworthy. It
leads to great fame and bestows long life on the giver. The giver of
water, O son of Kunti, always stays over the heads of his enemies. Such a
person obtains the fruition of all his wishes and earns everlasting fame.
The giver, O chief of men, becomes cleansed of every sin and obtains
unending felicity hereafter as he proceeds to heaven, O thou of great
splendour. Mann himself has said that such a person earns regions of
inexhaustible bliss in the other world.'”


“Yudhishthira said, ‘Do thou discourse to me once again, O grandsire,
upon the merits attaching to gifts of sesame and of lamps for lighting
darkness, as also of food and robes.’

“Bhishma said, ‘In this connection, O Yudhishthira, is recited the
narrative of the discourse that took place in ancient times between a
Brahmana and Yama. In the country lying between the rivers Ganga and
Yamuna, at the foot of the hills called Yamuna, there was a large town
inhabited by Brahmanas. The town was celebrated under the name of
Parnasala and was very delightful in appearance, O king. A large number
of learned Brahmanas lived in it. One day, Yama, the ruler of the dead,
commanded a messenger of his, who was clad in black, endued with
blood-red eyes and hair standing erect, and possessed of feet, eyes, and
nose all of which resembled those of a crow, saying, ‘Go thou to the town
inhabited by Brahmanas and bring hither the person known by the name of
Sarmin and belonging by birth to the race of Agastya. He is intent on
mental tranquillity and possessed of learning. He is a preceptor engaged
in teaching the Vedas and his practices are well-known. Do not bring me
another person belonging to the same race and living in the same
neighbourhood. This other man is equal unto him I want, in virtues,
study, and birth. With respect to children and conduct, this other
resembles the intelligent Sarmin. Do thou bring the individual I have in
view. He should be worshipped with respect (instead of being dragged
hither with irreverence).’ The messenger having come to the place, did
the very reverse of what he had been bidden to do. Attacking that person,
he brought him who had been forbidden by Yama to be brought. Possessed of
great energy, Yama rose up at the sight of the Brahmana and worshipped
him duly. The king of the dead then commanded his messenger, saying, ‘Let
this one be taken back, and let the other one be brought to me.’ When the
great judge of the dead said these words, that Brahmana addressed him and
said, ‘I have completed my study of the Vedas and am no longer attached
to the world. Whatever period may yet remain of my mortal existence, I
wish to pass, dwelling even here, O thou of unfading glory![346]

“Yama said, ‘I cannot ascertain the exact period, ordained by Time, of
one’s life, and hence, unurged by Time, I cannot allow one to take up
one’s residence here. I take note of the acts of righteousness (or
otherwise) that one does in the world. Do thou, O learned Brahmana of
great splendour return immediately to thy abode. ‘I ell me what also is
in thy mind and what I can do for thee, O thou of unfading glory!’

“The Brahmana said, ‘Do thou tell me what those acts are by accomplishing
which one may earn great merit. O best of all beings, thou art the
foremost of authorities (on the subject) even in the three worlds.’

“Yama said, ‘Do thou hear, O regenerate Rishi, the excellent ordinances
regarding gifts. The gift of sesame seeds is a very superior one. It
produces everlasting merit. O foremost of regenerate ones, one should
make gifts of as much sesame as one can. By making gifts of sesame every
day, one is sure to attain the fruition of one’s every wish. The gift of
sesame at Sraddhas is applauded. Verily the gift of sesame is a very
superior one. Do thou make gifts of sesame unto the Brahmanas according
to the rites ordained in the scriptures. One should on the day of the
full moon of the month of Vaisakha, make gilts of sesame unto the
Brahmanas. They should also be made to eat and to touch sesame on every
occasion that one can afford. They that are desirous of achieving what is
beneficial to them should, with their whole souls, do this in their
houses.[347] Without doubt, men should similarly make gifts of water and
establish resting places for the distribution of drinking water.[348] One
should cause tanks and lakes and wells to be excavated. Such acts are
rare in the world, O best of regenerate persons! Do thou always make
gifts of water. This act is fraught with great merit. O best of
regenerate persons, thou shouldst establish resting places along the
roads for the distribution of water. After one has eaten, the gift unto
one should especially be made of water for drink.’

“Bhishma continued, ‘After Yama had said these words unto him, the
messenger who had borne him from his abode conveyed him back to it. The
Brahmana, on his return, obeyed the instructions he had received. Having
thus conveyed him back to his abode the messenger of Yama fetched Sarmin
who had really been sought by Yama. Taking Sarmin unto him, he informed
his master. Possessed of great energy, the judge of the dead worshipped
that righteous Brahmana, and having conversed with him a while dismissed
him for being taken back to his abode. Unto him also Yama gave the same
instructions. Sarmin, too, coming back into the world of men, did all
that Yama had said. Like the gift of water, Yama, from a desire of doing
good to the Pitris, applauds the gift of lamps to light dark places.
Hence, the giver of a lamp for lighting a dark place is regarded as
benefiting the Pitris. Hence, O best of the Bharatas, one should always
give lamps for lighting dark spots. The giving of lamps enhances the
visual power of the deities, the Pitris, and one’s own self.[349] It has
been said, O king, that the gift of gems is a very superior gift. The
Brahmana, who, having accepted a gift of gems, sells the same for
performing a sacrifice, incurs no fault. The Brahmana, who, having
accepted a gift of gems makes a gift of them unto Brahmanas. acquires
inexhaustible merit himself and confers inexhaustible merit upon him from
whom he had originally received them. Conversant with every duty Manu
himself has said that he, who, observant of proper restraints, earns
makes a gift of gems unto a Brahmana observant of proper restraints earns
inexhaustible merit himself and confers inexhaustible merit upon the
recipient. The man who is content with his own wedded wife and who makes
a gift of robes, earns an excellent complexion and excellent vestments
for himself. I have told thee, O foremost of men, what the merits are
that attach to gifts of kine, of gold, and the sesame agreeably to
deserve precepts of the Vedas and the scriptures One should marry and
raise offspring upon one’s wedded wives. Of all acquisitions, O son of
Kuru’s race, that of male issue is regarded as the foremost.'”


“Yudhishthira said, ‘Do thou, O foremost one of Kuru’s race, discourse
unto me once again of the excellent ordinance regarding gifts, with
especial reference, O thou of great wisdom, to the gift of earth. A
Kshatriya should make gifts of earth unto a Brahmana of righteous deeds.
Such a Brahmana should accept the gift with due rites. None else,
however, than a Kshatriya is competent to make gifts of earth. It behoves
thee now to tell me what these objects are that persons of all classes
are free to bestow if moved by the desire of earning merit. Thou shouldst
also tell me what has been said in the Vedas on this subject.’

“Bhishma said, ‘There are three gifts that go by the same name and that
are productive of equal merits. Indeed, these three confer the fruition
of every wish. The three objects whose gifts are of such a character are
kine, earth, and knowledge.[350] That person who tells his disciple words
of righteous import drawn from the Vedas acquires merit equal to that
which is won by making gifts of earth and kine. Similarly are kine
praised (as objects of gifts). There is no object of gift higher than
they. Kine are supposed to confer merit immediately. They are also, O
Yudhishthira, such that a gift of them cannot but lead to great merit.
Kine are the mothers of all creatures. They bestow every kind of
happiness. The person that desires his own prosperity should always make
gifts of kine. No one should kick at kine or proceed through the midst of
kine. Kine are goddesses and homes of auspiciousness. For this reason,
they always deserve worship. Formerly, the deities, while tilling the
earth whereon they performed a sacrifice, used the goad for striking the
bullocks yoked to the plough. Hence, in tilling earth for such a purpose,
one may, without incurring censure or sin, apply the goad to bullocks. In
other acts, however, bullocks should never be struck with the goad or the
whip When kine are grazing or lying down no one should annoy them in any
way. When the cows are thirsty and they do not get water (in consequence
of any one obstructing their access to the pool or tank or river), they,
by merely looking at such a person, can destroy him with all his
relatives and friends. What creatures can be more sacred than kine when
with the very dung of kine altars whereon Sraddhas are performed in
honour of the Pitris, or those whereon the deities are worshipped, are
cleansed and sanctified? That man, who, before eating himself gives every
day, for a year, only a handful of grass unto a cow belonging to another,
is regarded as undergoing a vow or observance which bestows the fruition
of every wish. Such a person ac-quires children and fame and wealth and
prosperity, and dispels all evils and dreams.’

“Yudhishthira said, ‘What should be the indications of those kine that
deserve to be given away? What are those kine that should be passed over
in the matter of gifts? What should be the character of those persons
unto whom kine should be given? Who, again, are those unto whom kine
should not be given?

“Bhishma said, ‘A cow should never be given unto one that is not
righteous in behaviour, or one that is sinful, or one that is covetous or
one that is untruthful in speech, or one that does not make offerings
unto the Pitris and deities. A person, by making a gift of ten kine unto
a Brahmana learned in the Vedas, poor in earthly wealth, possessed of
many children, and owning a domestic are, attains to numerous regions of
great felicity. When a man performs any act that is fraught with merit
assisted by what he has got in gift from another, a portion of the merit
attaching to that act becomes always his with whose wealth the act has
been accomplished. He that procreates a person, he that rescues a person,
and he that assigns the means of sustenance to a person are regarded as
the three sires. Services dutifully rendered to the preceptor destroys
sin. Pride destroys even great fame. The possession of three children
destroys the reproach of childlessness, and the possession of ten kine
dispels the reproach of poverty. Unto one that is devoted to the Vedanta,
that is endued with great learning, that has been filled with wisdom,
that has a complete control over his senses, that is observant of the
restraints laid down in the scriptures, that has withdrawn himself from
all worldly attachments, unto him that says agreeable words unto all
creatures, unto him that would never do an evil act even when impelled by
hunger, unto one that is mild or possessed of a peaceful disposition,
unto one that is hospitable to all guests,–verily unto such a Brahmana
should a man, possessed of similar conduct and owning children and wives,
assign the means of sustenance. The measure of merit that attaches to the
gift of kine unto a deserving person is exactly the measure of the sin
that attaches to the act of robbing a Brahmana of what belongs to him.
Under all circumstances should the spoliation of what belongs to a
Brahmana be avoided, and his spouses kept at a distance.'”


“Bhishma said, ‘In this connection, O perpetuator of Kuru’s race, is
recited by the righteous the narrative of the great calamity that
overtook king Nriga in consequence of his spoliation of what had belonged
to a Brahmans. Some time before, certain young men of Yadu’s race, while
searching for water, had come upon a large well covered with grass and
creepers. Desirous of drawing water from it, they laboured very much for
removing the creepers that covered its mouth. After the mouth had been
cleaned, they beheld within the well a very large lizard residing within
it. The young men made strong and repeated efforts for rescuing the
lizard from that situation. Resembling a very hill in size, the lizard
was sought to be freed by means of cords and leathern tongs. Not
succeeding in their intention the young men then went to Janardana.
Addressing him they said, ‘Covering the entire space of a well, there is
a very large lizard to be seen. Notwithstanding our best efforts we have
not succeeded in rescuing it from that situation.’ Even this was what
they represented unto Krishna. Vasudeva then proceeded to the spot and
took out the lizard and questioned it as to who it was. The lizard said
that it was identical with the soul of king Nriga who had flourished in
days of old and who had performed many sacrifices. Unto the lizard that
said those words, Madhava spoke, ‘Thou didst perform many righteous acts.
No sin didst thou commit. Why, then, O king, hast thou come to such a
distressful end? Do thou explain what this is and why it has been brought
about. We have heard that thou didst repeatedly make gifts unto the
Brahmanas of hundreds upon hundreds of thousands and once again eight
times hundreds upon hundreds of ten thousands of kine.[351] Why,
therefore, has this end overtaken thee?’ Nriga then replied unto Krishna,
saying, ‘On one occasion a cow belonging to a Brahmana who regularly
worshipped his domestic fire, escaping from the owner’s abode while he
was absent from home entered my flock. The keepers of my cattle included
that cow in their tale of a thousand. In time that cow was given away by
me unto a Brahmana, acting as I did from desire of happiness in heaven.
The true owner, returning home, sought for his lost cow and at last saw
it in the house of another.’ Finding her, the owner said, ‘This cow is
mine!’ The other person contested his claim, till both, disputing and
excited with wrath, came to me. Addressing me one of them said, ‘Thou
hast been the giver of this cow!’ The other one said, ‘Thou hast robbed
me of this cow–she is mine! I then solicited the Brahmana unto whom I
had given that cow, to return the gift in exchange for hundreds upon
hundreds of other kine. Without acceding to my earnest solicitations, he
addressed me, saying. ‘The cow I have got is well-suited to time and
place. She yields a copious measure of milk, besides being very quiet and
very fond of us. The mills she yields is very sweet. She is regarded as
worthy of every praise in my house. She is nourishing, besides, a weak
child of mine that has just been weaned. She is incapable of being given
up by me.’ Having said these words, the Brahmana went away. I then
solicited the other Brahmana offering him an exchange, and saying, ‘Do
thou take a hundred thousand kine for this one cow.’ The Brahmana,
however, replied unto me, saying, ‘I do not accept gifts from persons of
the kingly order. I am able to get on without help. De thou then, without
loss of time, give me that very cow which was mine.’ Even thus, O slayer
of Madhu, did that Brahmana speak unto me. I offered to make gifts unto
him of gold and silver and horses and cars. That foremost of Brahmanas
refused to accept any of these as gift and went away. Meanwhile, urged by
time’s irresistible influence, I had to depart from this world. Wending
to the region of the Pitris I was taken to the presence of the king of
the dead. Worshipping me duly Yama addressed me, saying, ‘The end cannot
be ascertained, O king, of thy deed. There is, however, a little sin
which was unconsciously perpetrated by thee. Do thou suffer the
punishment for that sin now or afterwards as it pleases thee. Thou hadst
(upon thy accession to the throne) sworn that thou wouldst protect (all
persons in the enjoyment of their own). That oath of thine was not
rigidly kept by thee. Thou tookest also what belonged to a Brahmana. Even
this has been the two-fold sin thou hast committed.’ I answered, saying,
‘I shall first undergo the distress of punishment, and when that is over,
I shall enjoy the happiness that is in store for me, O lord!’ After I had
said those words unto the king of the dead, I fell down on the Earth.
Though fallen down I still could hear the words that Yama said unto me
very loudly. Those words were, Janardana the son of Vasudeva, will rescue
thee! Upon the completion of a full thousand years, when the demerit will
be exhausted of thy sinful act, thou shalt then attain to many regions of
inexhaustible felicity that have been acquired by thee through thy own
acts of righteousness. Falling down I found myself, with head downwards,
within this well, transformed into a creature of the intermediate order.
Memory, however, did not leave me. By thee I have been rescued today.
What else can it testify to than the puissance of thy penances? Let me
have thy permission. O Krishna! I desire to ascend to heaven! permitted
then by Krishna, king Nriga bowed his head unto him and then mounted a
celestial car and proceeded to heaven. After Nriga had thus proceeded to
heaven, O best of the Bharatas, Vasudeva recited this verse, O delighter
of the Kurus. No one should consciously appropriate anything belonging to
a Brahmana. The property of a Brahmana, if taken, destroys the taker even
as the Brahmana’s cow destroyed king Nriga! I tell thee, again, O Partha,
that a meeting with the good never proves fruitless. Behold, king Nriga
was rescued from hell through meeting with one that is good. As a gift is
productive of merit even so an act of spoliation leads to demerit. Hence
also, O Yudhishthira, one should avoid doing any injury to kine.'”[352]


”Yudhishthira said, V sinless one, do thou discourse to me more in
detail upon the merits that are attainable by making gifts of kine. O
thou of mighty arms, I am never satiated with thy words!’

“Bhishma said, ‘In this connection is recited the old history of the
discourse between the Rishi Uddalaki and his son called Nachiketa. Once
on a time the Rishi Uddalaki endued with great intelligence, approaching
his son Nachiketa, said unto him, ‘Do thou wait upon and serve me.’ Upon
the completion of the vow he had observed the great Rishi once more said
unto his son, ‘Engaged in performing my ablutions and deeply taken up
with my Vedic study, I have forgotten to bring with me the firewood, the
Kusa blades, the flowers, the water jar, and the potherbs I had gathered.
Do thou bring me those things from the riverside.’ The son proceeded to
the spot indicated, but saw that all the articles had been washed away by
the current. Coming back to his father, he said, ‘I do not see the
things!’ Afflicted as he then was with hunger, thirst, and fatigue, the
Rishi Uddalaki of high ascetic merit, in a sudden wrath, cursed his son,
saying, ‘Do thou meet with Yama today!’ Thus struck by his sire with the
thunder of his speech, the son, with joined palms, said, ‘Be appeased
with me!’ Soon, however, he fell down on the earth, deprived of life.
Beholding Nachiketa prostrated upon the earth, his sire became deprived
of his senses through grief. He, too, exclaiming, ‘Alas, what have I
done,’ fell down on the earth. Filled with grief, as he indulged in
lamentations for his son, the rest or that day passed away and night
came. Then Nachiketa, O son of Kuru’s race, drenched by the tears of his
father, gave signs of returning life as he lay on a mat of Kusa grass.
His restoration to life under the tears of his sire resembled the
sprouting forth of seeds when drenched with auspicious showers. The son
just restored to consciousness was still weak. His body was smeared with
fragrant unguents and he looked like one just awaking from a deep
slumber. The Rishi asked him, saying, ‘Hast thou, O son, acquired
auspicious regions by thy own acts? By good luck, thou hast been restored
to me! Thy body does not seem to be human!’ Thus asked by high-souled
father, Nachiketa who had seen every thing with his own eyes, made the
following answer unto him in the midst of the Rishis, ‘In obedience to
thy command I proceeded to the extensive region of Yama which is
possessed of a delightful effulgence. There I beheld a palatial mansion
which extended for thousands of Yojanas and emitted a golden splendour
from every part. As soon as Yama beheld me approaching with face towards
him, he commanded his attendants saying, ‘Give him a good seat, verily,
the king of the dead, for thy sake worshipped we with the Arghya and the
other ingredients.’ Thus worshipped by Yama and seated in the midst of
his counsellors, I then said mildly, ‘I have come to thy abode, O judge
of the dead! Do thou assign me those regions which I deserve for my
acts!’ Yama then answered me, saying, ‘Thou art not dead, O amiable one!’
Endued with penances, thy father said unto thee, ‘Do thou meet with Yama!
The energy of thy sire is like that of a blazing fire. I could not
possibly falsify that speech of his. Thou hast seen me. Do thou go hence,
O child! The author of thy body is indulging in lamentations for thee.
Thou art my dear guest. What wish of thine cherished by thee in thy heart
shall I grant thee? Solicit the fruition of whatever desire thou mayst
cherish.’ Thus addressed by him, I replied unto the king of the dead,
saying, ‘I have arrived within thy dominions from which no traveller ever
returns. If I really be an object deserving of thy attentions, I desire,
O king of the dead, to have a sight of those regions of high prosperity
and happiness that have been reserved for doers of righteous deeds.’ Thus
addressed by me, Yama caused me to be mounted upon a vehicle of splendour
as effulgent as that of the sun and unto which were harnessed many
excellent steeds. Bearing me on that vehicle, he showed me, O foremost of
regenerate persons, all those delightful regions that are reserved for
the righteous. I beheld in those regions many mansions of great
resplendence intended for high-souled persons. Those mansions are of
diverse forms and are adorned with every kind of gem. Bright as the disc
of the moon, they are ornamented with rows of tinkling bells. Hundreds
among them are of many storeys. Within them are pleasant groves and woods
and transparent bodies of water. Possessed of the effulgence of lapis
lazuli and the sun, and made of silver and gold, their complexion
resembles the colour of the morning sun. Some of them are immovable and
some movable. Within them are many hills of viands and enjoyable articles
and robes and beds in abundance. Within them are many trees capable of
granting the fruition of every wish. There are also many rivers and roads
and spacious halls and lakes and large tanks. Thousands of cars with
rattling wheels may be seen there, having excellent steeds harnessed unto
them. Many rivers that run milk, many hills of ghee, and large bodies of
transparent water occur there. Verily, I beheld many such regions, never
seen by me before of happiness and joy, approved by the king of the dead.
Beholding all those objects, I addressed the ancient and puissant judge
of the dead, saying, ‘For whose use and enjoyment have these rivers with
eternal currents of milk and ghee been ordained?’ Yama answered me
saying, ‘These streams of milk and ghee, know thou, are for the enjoyment
of those righteous persons, that make gifts in the world of men. Other
eternal worlds there are which are filled with such mansions free from
sorrow of every kind. These are reserved for those persons that are
engaged in making gifts of kine.[353] The mere gift of kine is not worthy
of praise. There are considerations of propriety or otherwise about the
person unto whom kine should be given, the time for making those gifts,
the kind of kine that should form the object of gifts, and the rites that
should be observed in making the gifts. Gifts of kine should be made
after ascertaining the distinctive qualifications of both Brahmanas (who
are to receive them) and the kine themselves (which are to be given
away). Kine should not be given unto one in whose abode they are likely
to suffer from fire or the sun. That Brahmana who is possessed of Vedic
lore, who is of austere penances, and who performs sacrifices, is
regarded as worthy of receiving kine in gift. Those kine that have been
rescued from distress situation, or that have been given by poor
householders from want of sufficient means to feed and cherish them, are,
for these reasons, reckoned as of high value.[354] Abstaining from all
food and living upon water alone for three nights and sleeping the while
on the bare earth, one should, having properly fed the kine one intends
to give away, give them unto Brahmanas after having gratified them also
(with other gifts). The kine given away should be accompanied by their
calves. They should, again, be such as to bring forth good calves, at the
proper seasons. They should be accompanied with other articles so given
away. Having completed the gift, the giver should live for three days on
only milk and forbearing from food of every other kind. He, who gives a
cow that is not vicious, that brings forth good calves at proper
intervals, and that does not fly away from the owners’ house, and
accompanies such gift with a vessel of white brass for milking her,
enjoys the felicity of heaven for as many years as are measured by the
number of hairs on the animal’s body. He, who gives unto a Brahmana a
bull well-broken and capable of bearing burdens, possessed of strength
and young in years, disinclined to do any mischief, large-sized and
endued with energy, enjoys those regions, that are reserved for givers of
kine. He is regarded as a proper person for receiving a cow in gift who
is known to be mild towards kine, who takes kine for his refuge, who is
grateful, and who has no means of subsistence assigned unto him. When an
old man becomes ill, or when a Brahmana intends to perform a sacrifice,
or when one wishes to till for agriculture, or when one gets a son
through the efficacy of a Homa performed for the purpose, or for the use
of one’s preceptor, or for the sustenance of a child (born in the usual
way), one should give away a beloved cow. Even these are the
considerations that are applauded (in the matter of making gifts of kine)
in respect of place and time. The kine that deserve to be given away are
those that yield copious measures of milk, or those that are well-known
(for their docility and other virtues). or those that have been purchased
for a price, or those that have been acquired as honoraria for learning,
or those that have been obtained in exchange by offering other living
creatures (such as sheep and goats, etc.), or those that have been won by
prowess of arms, or those that have been gained as marriage-dower (from
fathers-in-law and other relations of the wife).’

“Nachiketa continued, ‘Hearing these words of Vaivaswata, I once more
addressed him, saying, ‘What are those objects by giving which, when kine
are not procurable, givers may yet go to regions reserved for men making
gifts of kine?’ Questioned by me, the wise Yama answered, explaining
further what the end is that is attainable by making gifts of kine. He
said, ‘In the absence of kine, a person by making gifts of what has been
regarded as the substitute of kine, wins the merit of making gifts of
kine. If, in the absence of kine, one makes a gift of a cow made of ghee,
observant of a vow the while, one gets for one’s use these rivers of ghee
all of which approach one like an affectionate mother approaching her
beloved child. If, in the absence of even a cow made of ghee, one makes a
gift of a cow made of sesame seeds, observing a cow the while, one
succeeds with the assistance of that cow to get over all calamities in
this world and to enjoy great happiness hereafter from these rivers of
milk that thou beholdest! If in the absence of a cow made of sesame
seeds, one makes a gift of a cow made of water one succeeds in coming to
these happy regions and enjoying this river of cool and transparent
water, that is, besides capable of granting the fruition of every wish.’
The king of the dead explained to me all this while I was his guest, and,
O thou of unfading glory, great was the joy that I felt at sight of all
the wonders he showed me. I shall now tell thee what would certainly be
agreeable to thee. I have now got a great sacrifice whose performance
does not require much wealth. That sacrifice (constituted by gifts of
kine) may be said to flow from me, O sire! Others will obtain it also. It
is not inconsistent with the ordinances of the Vedas. The curse that thou
hadst pronounced upon me was no curse but was in reality a blessing,
since it enabled me to have a sight of the great king of the dead. There
I have beheld what the rewards are that attach to gifts. I shall,
henceforth, O thou of great soul, practise the duty of gift without any
doubt lurking in my mind respecting its rewards. And, O great Rishi, the
righteous Yama, filled with joy, repeatedly told me, ‘One, who, by making
frequent gifts, has succeeded in acquiring purity of mind should then
make gifts of kine specially. This topic (about gifts) is fraught with
sanctity. Do thou never disregard the duties in respect of gifts. Gifts,
again, should be made unto deserving persons, when time and place are
suitable. Do thou, therefore, always make gifts of kine. Never entertain
any doubts in this respect. Devoted to the path of gifts, many
high-souled persons in days of yore used to make gifts of kine. Fearing
to practise austere penances, they made gifts according to the extent of
their power. In time they cast off all sentiments of pride and vanity,
and purified their souls. Engaged in performing Sraddhas in honour of the
Pitris and in all acts of righteousness, they used to make, according to
the extent of their power, gifts of kine, and as the reward of those acts
they have attained to heaven and are shining in effulgence for such
righteousness. One should, on the eighth day of the moon that is known by
the name of Kamyashtami, make gifts of kine, properly won, unto the
Brahmanas after ascertaining the eligibility of the recipients (by the
ordinances already laid down). After making the gift, one should then
subsist for ten days together upon only the milk of kine, their dung and
their urine (abstaining from all other food the while). The merit that
one acquires by making a gift of a bull is equal to that which attaches
to the divine vow. By making a gift of a couple of kine one acquires, as
the reward thereof, a mastery of the Vedas. By making a gift of cars and
vehicles with kine yoked thereto, one acquires the merit of baths in
sacred waters. By making a gift of a cow of the Kapila species, one
becomes cleansed of all one’s sins. Verily, by giving away even a single
cow of the Kapila species that has been acquired by legitimate means, one
becomes cleansed of all the sins one may have committed. There is nothing
higher (in point of tastes) than the milk which is yielded by kine. The
gift of a cow is truly regarded as a very superior gift. Kine by yielding
milk, rescue all the worlds from calamity. It is kine, again, that
produce the food upon which creatures subsist. One, who, knowing the
extent of the service that kine do, does not entertain in one’s heart
affection for kine, is a sinner that is certain to sink in hell.[355] If
one gives a thousand or a hundred or ten or five kine, verily, if one
gives unto a righteous Brahmana even a single cow which brings forth good
calves at proper intervals, one is sure to see that cow approach one in
heaven in the form of a river of sacred water capable of granting the
fruition of every wish. In respect of the prosperity and the growth that
kine confer, in the matter also of the protection that kine grant unto
all creatures of the earth, kine are equal to the very rays of the sun
that fall on the earth.[356] The word that signifies the cow stands also
for the rays of the sun. The giver of a cow becomes the progenitor of a
very large race that extends over a large part of the earth. Hence, he
that gives a cow shines like a second sun in resplendence. The disciple
should, in the matter of making gifts of kine, select his preceptor. Such
a disciple is sure to go to heaven. The selection of a preceptor (in the
matter of the performance of pious deeds) is regarded as a high duty by
persons conversant with the ordinances. This is, indeed, the initial
ordinance. All other ordinances (respecting the gift of kine) depend upon
it.[357] Selecting, after examination, an eligible person among the
Brahmanas, one should make unto him the gift of a cow that has been
acquired by legitimate means, and having made the gift cause him to
accept it. The deities and men and ourselves also, in wishing good to
other, say, ‘Let the merits attaching to gifts be thine in consequence of
thy righteousness!’ Even thus did the judge of the dead speak unto me, O
regenerate Rishi. I then bowed my head unto the righteous Yama. Obtaining
his permission I left his dominions and have now come to the sole of thy


“Yudhishthira said, ‘Thou hast, O grandsire, discoursed to me the topic
of gifts of kine in speaking of the Rishi Nachiketa Thou hast also
impliedly discoursed, O puissant one, on the efficacy and pre-eminence of
that act. Thou hast also told me, O grandsire of great intelligence, of
the exceedingly afflicting character of the calamity that overtook the
high-souled king Nriga in consequence of a single fault of his. He had to
dwell for a tong time at Dwaravati (in the form of a mighty lizard) and
how Krishna became the cause of his rescue from that miserable plight. I
have, however, one doubt. It is on the subject of the regions of kine. I
desire to hear, in detail, about those regions which are reserved for the
residence of persons that make gifts of kine.’

“Bhishma said, ‘In this connection is recited the old narrative of the
discourse between Him who sprang from the primeval lotus and him who
performed a hundred sacrifices.’

“Sakra said, ‘I see, O Grandsire, that those who are residents of the
region of kine transcend by their resplendence the prosperity of the
denizens of heaven and pass them by (as beings of an inferior station).
This has raised a doubt in my mind. Of what kind, O holy one, are the
regions of kine? Tell me all about them, O sinless one! Verily, what is
the nature of those regions that are inhabited by givers of kine? I wish
to know this of what kind are those regions? What fruits do they bring?
What is the highest object there which the denizens thereof succeeds in
winning? What are its virtues? How also do men, freed from every kind of
anxiety, succeed in going to those regions? For what period does the
giver of a cow enjoy the fruits that are borne by his gift? How may
persons make gifts of many kine and how may they make gifts of a few
kine? What are the merits attaching to gifts of many kine and what those
that attach to gifts of a few only? How also do persons become givers of
kine without giving any kine in reality? Do thou tell me all this. How
does one making gifts of even many kine, O puissant lord, become the
equal of one that has made gift of only a few kine? How also does one who
make gifts of only a few kine succeed in becoming the equal of one who
has made gifts of many kine? What kind or Dakshina is regarded as
distinguished for pre-eminence in the matter of gifts of kine? It
behoveth thee, O holy one, to discourse unto me on all this agreeably to


“The Grandsire said, ‘The questions thou hast asked me in respect of
kine, beginning with their gift, are such that there is none else in the
three worlds, O thou of a hundred sacrifices, who could put them! There
are many kinds of regions, O Sakra, which are invisible to even thee.
Those regions are seen by me, O Indra, as also by those women that are
chaste and that have been attached to only one husband. Rishis observant
of excellent vows, by means of their deeds of righteousness and piety,
and Brahmanas of righteous souls, succeed in repairing to them in even
their fleshy forms. Men that are observant of excellent vows behold those
regions which resemble the bright creations of dreams, aided by their
cleansed minds and by that (temporary) emancipation which succeeds the
loss of one’s consciousness of body.[358] Listen, O thou of a thousand
eyes, to me as I tell thee what the attributes are with which those
regions are endued. There the very course of Time is suspended.
Decrepitude is not there, nor Fire which is omnipresent in the universe.
There the slightest evil does not occur, nor disease, nor weakness of any
kind. The kine that live there, O Vasava, obtain the fruition of every
desire which they cherish in their hearts. I have direct experience of
what I say unto thee. Capable of going everywhere at will and actually
repairing from place to place with ease, they enjoy the fruition of wish
after wish as it arises in their minds. Lakes and tanks and rivers and
forests of diverse kinds, and mansions and hills and all kinds of
delightful objects,–delightful, that is, to all creatures,–are to be
seen there. There is no region of felicity that is superior to any of
these of which I speak. All those foremost of men, O Sakra, who are
forgiving unto all creatures, who endure everything, who are full of
affection for all things, who render dutiful obedience unto their
preceptors, and who are free from pride and vanity, repair to those
regions of supreme felicity. He, who abstains from every kind of flesh,
who is possessed of a cleansed heart, who is endued with righteousness,
who worships his parents with reverence, who is endued with truthfulness
of speech and conduct, who attends with obedience upon the Brahmanas, who
is faultless in conduct, who never behaves with anger towards kine and
towards the Brahmanas, who is devoted to the accomplishment of every
duty, who serves his preceptors with reverence, who is devoted for his
whole life to truth and to gifts, and who is always forgiving towards all
transgression against himself, who is mild and self-restrained, who is
full of reverence for the deities, who is hospitable to all guests, who
is endued with compassion,–verily, he, who is adorned with these
attributes,–succeeds in attaining to the eternal and immutable region of
kine. He, who is stained with adultery, sees not such a region; nor he,
who is a slayer of his preceptor; nor he, who speaks falsely or indulges
in idle boasts; nor he, who always disputes with others; nor he who
behaves with hostility towards the Brahmanas. Indeed, that wicked wight,
who is stained with such faults fails to attain even a sight of these
regions of felicity; also he that injures his friends; also he that is
full of guile; also he that is ungrateful; also he that is a cheat; also
he that is crooked in conduct; also he that is a disregarder of religion;
also he that is a slayer of Brahmanas. Such men are incapable of
beholding in even imagination the region of kine that is the abode of
only those who are righteous of deeds. I have told thee everything about
the region of kine in minute detail, O chief of the deities! Hear now, O
thou of a hundred sacrifices, the merit that is theirs who are engaged in
making gifts of kine. He, who make gifts of kine, after purchasing them
with wealth obtained by inheritance or acquired lawfully by him, attains,
as the fruit of such an act to many regions of inexhaustible felicity.
He, who makes a gift of a cow, having acquired it with wealth won at
dice, enjoys felicity, O Sakra, for ten thousand years of celestial
measure, He, who acquires a cow as his share of ancestral wealth is said
to acquire her legitimately. Such a cow may be given away. They that make
gifts of kine so acquired obtain many eternal regions of felicity that is
inexhaustible. That person, who, having acquired a cow in gift makes a
gift of her with a pure heart, succeeds without doubt, O lord of Sachi,
in obtaining eternal regions of beatitude. That person, who, with
restrained senses speaks the truth from his birth (to the time of his
death) and who endures everything at the hands of his preceptor and of
the Brahmanas, and who practises forgiveness, succeeds in attaining to an
end that is equal to that of kine. That speech which is improper, O lord
of Sachi, should, never be addressed to a Brahmana. One, again, should
not, in even one’s mind, do an injury to a cow. One should, in one’s
conduct, imitate the cow, and show compassion towards the cow.[359] Hear,
O Sakra, what the fruits are that become his, who is devoted to the duty
of truth. If such a person gives away a single cow, that one cow becomes
equal to a thousand kine. If a Kshatriya, possessed of such
qualifications, makes a gift of a single cow, his merit becomes equal to
that of a Brahmana’s. That single cow, listen, O Sakra which such a
Kshatriya gives away becomes the source of as much merit as the single
cow that a Brahmana gives away under similar circumstances. Even this is
the certain conclusion of the scriptures. If a Vaisya, possessed of
similar accomplishments, were to make a gift of a single cow, that cow
would be equal to five hundred kine (in respect of the merit she would
produce) If a Sudra endued with humility were to make a gift of a cow,
such a cow would be equal to a hundred and twenty-five kine (in respect
of the merit it would produce) Devoted to penances and truth, proficient
(in the scriptures and all acts) through dutiful services rendered to his
preceptor, endued with forgiveness of disposition, engaged in the worship
of the deities, possessed of a tranquil soul, pure (in body and mind),
enlightened, observant of all duties, and freed from every kind of
egotism, that man who makes a gift of a cow unto a Brahmana, certainly
attains to great merit through that act of his, viz., the gift, according
to proper rites, of a cow yielding copious milk. Hence, one, with
singleness of devotion, observant of truth and engaged in humbly serving
one’s preceptor, should always make gifts of kine.[360] Hear, O Sakra,
what the merit is of that person, who, duly studying the Vedas, shows
reverence for kine, who always becomes glad at sight of kine, and who,
since his birth has always bowed his head unto kine. The merit that
becomes one’s by performing the Rajasuya sacrifice, the merit that
becomes one’s by making gifts of heaps of gold, that high merit is
acquired by a person who shows such reverence for kine. Righteous Rishis
and high-souled persons crowned with success have said so. Devoted to
truth, possessed of a tranquil soul, free from cupidity, always truthful
in speech, and behaving with reverence towards kine with the steadiness
of a vow, the man, who, for a whole year before himself taking any food,
regularly presents some food to kine, wins the merit, by such an act, of
the gift of a thousand kine. That man, who takes only one meal a day and
who gives away the entire quantity of his other meal unto kine.–verily,
that man, who thus reverences kine with the steadiness of a vow and shows
such compassion towards them,–enjoys for ten years’ unlimited felicity.
That man, who confines himself to only one meal a day and ‘with the other
meal saved for some time purchases a cow and makes a gift of it (unto a
Brahmana), earns, through that gift, O thou of a hundred sacrifices, the
eternal merit that attaches to the gift of as many kine as there are
hairs on the body of that single cow so given away. These are
declarations in respect of the merit that Brahmanas acquire by making
gifts of kine. Listen now to the merits that Kshatriyas may win. It has
been said that a Kshatriya, by purchasing a cow in this manner and making
a gift of it unto a Brahmana, acquires great felicity for five years. A
Vaisya, by such conduct, acquires only half the merit of a Kshatriya, and
a Sudra, by such conduct, earns half the merit that a Vaisya does. That
man, who sells himself and with the proceeds thereof purchases kine and
gives them away unto Brahmanas, enjoy felicity in heaven for as long a
period as kine are seen on earth. It has been said, O highly blessed one,
that in every hair of such kite as are purchased with the proceeds
obtained by selling oneself, there is a region of inexhaustible felicity.
That man, who having acquired kine by battle makes gifts of them (unto
Brahmanas), acquires as much merit as he, who makes gifts of kine after
having purchased the same with the proceeds of selling oneself. That man,
who, in the absence of kine, makes a gift of a cow made of sesame seeds,
restraining his senses the while, is rescued by such a cow from every
kind of calamity or distress. Such a man sports in great felicity. The
mere gift of kine is not fraught with merit. The considerations of
deserving recipients, of time, of the kind of kine, and of the ritual to
be observed, should be attended to. One should ascertain the proper time
for making a gift of kine. One should also ascertain the distinctive
qualifications of both Brahmanas (who are to receive them) and of kine
themselves (which are to be given away). Kine should not be given unto
one in whose abode they are likely to suffer from fire or the sun. One,
who is rich in Vedic lore, who is of pure lineage, who is endued with a
tranquil soul, who is devoted to the performance of sacrifices, who fears
the commission of sin, who is possessed of varied knowledge, who is
compassionate towards kine, who is mild in behaviour, who accords
protection unto all that seek it of him, and who has no means of
sustenance assigned unto him, is regarded as a proper person for
receiving a gift of kine. Unto a Brahmana who has no means of sustenance,
unto him while he is exceedingly afflicted for want of food (in a time,
of famine, for example) for purposes of agriculture, for a child born in
consequence of Homa, for the purposes of his preceptor, for the
sustenance of a child born (in the ordinary course), should a cow be
given. Verily, the gift should be made at a proper time and in a proper
place[361]. Those kine, O Sakra, whose dispositions are well-known, which
have been acquired as honoraria for knowledge, or which have been
purchased in exchange for other animals (such as goats, sheep, etc.), or
which have been who by prowess of arms, or obtained as marriage-dower; or
which have been acquired by being rescued from situations of danger, or
which incapable of being maintained by their ‘poor owner have been made
over for careful keep, to another’s house are, for such reasons, regarded
as proper objects of gift. Those kine which are strong of body, which
have good dispositions, and which emit an agreeable fragrance, are
applauded in the matter of gifts. As Ganga is the foremost of all
streams, even so is a Kapila cow the foremost of all animals of the
bovine breed. Abstaining from all food and living only upon water for
three nights, and sleeping for the same period upon the bare earth, one
should make gifts of kine unto Brahmanas after having gratified them with
other presents. Such kine, freed from every vice should, at the same
time, be accompanied by healthy calves that have not been weaned. Having
made the gift, the giver should live for the next three days in
succession on food consisting only of the products of the cow.[362] By
giving away a cow that is of good disposition, that quietly suffers
herself to be milked that always brings forth living and hale calves, and
that does not fly away from the owner’s abode, the giver enjoys felicity
in the next world for as many years as there are hairs on her body.
Similarly, by giving unto a Brahmana a bull that is capable of bearing
heavy burden, that is young and strong and docile, that quietly bears the
yoke of the plough, and that is possessed of such energy as is sufficient
to undergo even great labour one attains to such regions as are his who
gives away ten kine. That person, who rescues kine and Brahmanas (from
danger) in the wilderness, O Kausika, becomes himself rescued from every
kind of calamity. Hear what his merit is.[363] The merit such a man
acquires is equal to the eternal merit of a Horse-sacrifice. Such a
person attains to whatever end he desires at the hour of death. Many a
region of felicity,–in fact, whatever happiness he covets in his
heart,–becomes attainable to him in consequence of such an act of his.
Verily, such man, permitted by kine, lives honoured in every region of
felicity. That man, who follows kine every day in the woods himself
subsisting the while on grass and cowdung and leaves of trees, his heart
freed from desire of fruit, his senses restrained from every improper
object and his mind purified of all dross,–that man,–O thou of a
hundred sacrifices, lives in joy and freed from the dominion of desire in
my region or in any other region of happiness that he wishes, in the
company of the deities!”


“Indra said, ‘I wish to know, O Grandsire, what the end is that is
attained by him who consciously steals a cow or who sells one from
motives of cupidity.”

“The Grandsire said, ‘Hear what the consequences are that overtake those
persons that steal a cow for killing her for food or selling her for
wealth, or making a gift of her unto a Brahmana. He, who, without being
checked by the restraints of the scriptures, sells a cow, or kills one,
or eats the flesh of a cow, or they, who, for the sake of wealth, suffer
a person to kill kine,–all these, viz., he that kills, he that eats, and
he that permits the slaughter,–rot in hell for as many years as there
are hairs on the body of the cow so slain.[364] O thou of great
puissance, those faults and those kinds of faults that have been said to
attach to one that obstructs a Brahmana’s sacrifice, are said to attach
to the sale and the theft of kine. That man, who, having stolen a cow
makes a gift of her unto a Brahmana, enjoys felicity in heaven as the
reward of the gift but suffers misery in hell for the sin of theft for as
long a period. Gold has been said to constitute the Dakshina, O thou of
great splendour, in gifts of kine. Indeed, gold has been said to be the
best Dakshina in all sacrifices. By making a gift of kine one is said to
rescue one’s ancestors to the seventh degree as also one’s descendants to
the seventh degree. By giving away kine with Dakshina of gold one rescues
one’s ancestors and descendants of double the number. The gift of gold is
the best of gifts. Gold is, again, the best Dakshina. Gold is a great
cleanser, O Sakra, and is, indeed, the best of all cleansing objects. O
thou of a hundred sacrifices, gold has been said to be the sanctifier of
the entire race of him who gives it away. I have thus, O thou of great
splendour, told thee in brief of Dakshina.’

“Bhishma said, ‘Even this was said by the Grandsire unto Indra, O chief
of Bharata’s race! Indra imparted it unto Dasaratha, and Dasaratha in his
turn unto his son Rama, Rama of Raghu’s race imparted it unto his dear
brother Lakshmana of great fame. While dwelling in the woods, Lakshmana
imparted it unto the Rishis. It has then come down from generation to
generation, for the Rishis of rigid vows held it amongst themselves as
also the righteous kings of the earth. My preceptor, O Yudhishthira,
communicated it to me. That Brahmana, who recites it every day in the
assemblies of Brahmanas, in sacrifices or at gifts of kine, or when two
persons meet together, obtains hereafter many regions of inexhaustible
felicity where he always resides with the deities as his companions. The
holy Brahman, the Supreme Lord, had said so (unto Indra on the subject of


“Yudhishthira said, ‘I have been greatly assured, O thou of puissance, by
thee thus discoursing unto me of duties. I shall, however, give
expression to the doubts I have. Do thou explain them to me, O grandsire!
What are the fruits, declared in the scriptures, of the vows that men
observe. Of what nature are the fruits, O thou of great splendour, of
observances of other kinds? What, again, are the fruits, of one’s
studying the Vedas properly?[365] What are the fruits of gifts, and what
those of holding the Vedas in memory? What are the fruits that attach to
the teaching of the Vedas? I desire to know all this. What, O grandsire,
are the merits attaching to the non-acceptance of gifts in this world?
What fruits are seen to attach to him who mazes gifts of knowledge? What
are the merits acquired by persons that are observant of the duties of
their order, as also by heroes that do not flee from battle? What are the
fruits that have been declared to attach to the observance of purity and
to the practice of Brahmacharya? What are the merits that attach to the
service of the father and of the mother? What also are the merits of
serving preceptors and teachers, and what are the merits of compassion
and kindness? I desire to know all these, O grandsire, truly and in
detail, O thou that art conversant with all the scriptures! Great is the
curiosity f feel.’

“Bhishma said, ‘Eternal regions of felicity become his, who, having
properly commenced a Vrata (vow) completes its observance according to
the scriptures, without a break. The fruits of Niyamas, O king, are
visible even in this world. These rewards that thou hast won are those of
Niyamas and sacrifices. The fruits that attach to the study of the Vedas
are seen both here and hereafter. The person, who is devoted to the study
of the Vedas is seen to sport in felicity both in this world and in the
region of Brahma. Listen now to me, O king, as I tell thee in detail what
the fruits are of self-restraint. They that are self-restrained are happy
everywhere. They that are self-restrained are always in the enjoyment of
that felicity which attaches to the absence or subjugation of desire.
They that are self-restrained are competent to go everywhere at will.
They that are self-restrained are capable of destroying every foe.
Without doubt, they that are self-restrained succeed in obtaining
everything they seek. They that are self-restrained, O son of Pandu,
obtain the fruition of every wish. The happiness that men enjoy in heaven
through penances and prowess (in arms) through gift, and through diverse
sacrifices, becomes theirs that are self-restrained and forgiving.
Self-restraint is more meritorious than gift. A giver, after making a
gift unto the Brahmanas, may yield to the Influence of wrath. A
self-restrained man, however, never yields to wrath. Hence,
self-restraint is superior (in point of merit) to gift. That man, who
makes gifts without yielding to wrath, succeeds in attaining to eternal
regions of felicity. Wrath destroys the merit of a gift. Hence,
self-restraint is superior to gift. There are various invisible places, O
monarch, numbering by ten thousands, in heaven. Existing in all the
regions of heaven, these places belong to the Rishis. Persons, leaving
this world, attain to them and become transformed into deities. O king,
the great Rishis repair thither, aided only by their self-restraint, and
as the end of their efforts to attain to a region of superior happiness.
Hence, self-restraint is superior (in efficacy) to gift. The person, who
becomes a preceptor (for teaching the Vedas), and who duly worships the
fire, taking leave of all his afflictions in this world, enjoys
inexhaustible felicity, O king, in the region of Brahma. That man, who,
having himself studied the Vedas, imparts a knowledge thereof unto
righteous disciples, and who praises the acts of his own preceptor,
attain to great honours in heaven. That Kshatriya, who takes to the study
of the Vedas, to the performance of sacrifices, to the making of gifts,
and who rescues the lives of others in battle, similarly attains to
great, honours in heaven. The Vaisya, who, observant of the duties of his
order, makes gifts, reaps as the fruit of those gifts, a crowning reward.
The Sudra, who duly observes the duties of his order (which consist of
services rendered to the three other orders) wins heaven as the reward of
such services. Diverse kinds of heroes have been spoken of (in the
scriptures). Listen to me as I expound to thee what the rewards are that
they attain to. The rewards are fixed of a hero belonging to a heroic
race. There are heroes of sacrifice, heroes of self-restraint, heroes of
truth, and others equally entitled to the name of hero. There are heroes
of battle, and heroes of gift of liberality among men. There are many
persons, who may be called the heroes of the Sankhya faith as, indeed,
there are many others that are called heroes of Yoga. There are others
that are regarded as heroes in the matter of forest-life, of householding
or domesticity, and of renunciation (or Sannyasa). Similarly, there are
others that are called heroes of the intellect, and also heroes of
forgiveness. There are other men, who live in tranquillity and who are
regarded as heroes of righteousness. There are diverse other kinds of
heroes that practise diverse other kinds of vows and observances. There
are heroes devoted to the study of the Vedas and heroes devoted to the
teaching of the same. There are, again, men that come to be regarded as
heroes for the devotion with which they wait upon and serve their
preceptors, as indeed, heroes in respect of the reverence they show to
their sires. There are heroes in respect of obedience to mothers, and
heroes in the matter of the life of mendicancy they lead. There are
heroes in the matter of hospitality to guests, whether living as
householders. All these heroes attain to very superior, regions of
felicity which are, of course, acquired by them as the rewards of their
own acts. Holding all the Vedas in memory, or ablutions performed in all
the sacred waters, may or may not be equal to telling the Truth every day
in one’s life. A thousand horse sacrifices and Truth were once weighed in
the balance. It was seen that Truth weighed heavier than a thousand
horse-sacrifices. It is by Truth that the sun is imparting heat, it is by
Truth that fire blazes up, it is by Truth that the winds blow; verily,
everything rests upon Truth. It is Truth that gratifies the deities, the
Pitris and the Brahmanas. Truth has been said to be the highest duty.
Therefore, no one should ever transgress Truth. The Munis are all devoted
to Truth. Their prowess depends upon Truth. They also swear by Truth.
Hence, Truth is pre-eminent. All truthful men, O chief of Bharata’s race,
succeed by their truthfulness in attaining to heaven and sporting there
in felicity. Self-restraint is the attainment of the reward that attaches
to Truth. I have discoursed on it with my whole heart. The man of humble
heart who is possessed of self-restraint, without doubt, attains to great
honours in heaven. Listen now to me, O lord of Earth, as I expound to
thee the merits of Brahmacharya. That man, who practises the vow of
Brahmacharya from his birth to the time of his death, know, O king, has
nothing unattainable! Many millions of Rishis are residing in the region
of Brahma. All of them, while here, were devoted to Truth, and
self-restrained and had their vital seed drawn up. The vow of
Brahmacharya, O king, duly observed by a Brahmana, is sure to burn all
his sins. The Brahmana is said to be a blazing fire. In those Brahmanas
that are devoted to penances, the deity of fire becomes visible. If a
Brahmacharin yields to wrath in consequence of any slight the chief of
the deities himself trembles in fear. Even this is the visible fruit of
the vow of Brahmacharya that is observed by the Rishis. Listen to me, O
Yudhishthira, what the merit is that attaches to the worship of the
father and the mother. He, who dutifully serves his father without ever
crossing him in anything, or similarly serves his mother or (elder)
brother or other senior or preceptor, it should be known, O king, earns a
residence in heaven. The man of cleansed soul, in consequence of such
service rendered to his seniors, has never even to behold hell.'”


“Yudhishthira said, ‘I desire, O king, to hear thee discourse in detail
upon those high ordinances which regulate gifts of kine, for it is by
making gifts (of kine) according to those ordinances that one attains to
innumerable regions of eternal felicity.’

“Bhishma said, ‘There is no gift, O lord of Earth, that is higher in
point of merit than the gift of kine. A cow, lawfully acquired, if given
away, immediately rescues the whole race of the giver. That ritual which
sprang for the benefit of the righteous, was subsequently declared for
the sake of all creatures. That ritual has come down from primeval time.
It existed even before it was declared. Verily, O king, listen to me as I
recite to thee that ritual which affects the gift of kine.[366] In days
of yore when a number of kine (intended to be given away) was brought
(before him), king Mandhatri, filled with doubt in respect of the ritual
he should observe (in actually giving them away), properly questioned
Vrihaspati (the preceptor of the celestials) for an explanation of that
doubt. Vrihaspati said, ‘Duly observing restraints the while, the giver
of kine should, on the previous day, properly honour the Brahmanas and
appoint the (actual) time of gift. As regards the kine to be given away,
they should be of the class called Rohini. The kine also should be
addressed with the words–Samange and Vahule–Entering the fold where the
kine are kept, the following Srutis should be uttered,–The cow is my
mother. The bull is my sire. (Give me) heaven and earthly prosperity! The
cow is my refuge!–Entering the fold and acting in this way, the giver
should pass the night there.’ He should again utter the formula when
actually giving away the kine.[367] The giver, thus residing with the
kine in the fold without doing anything to restrain their freedom, and
lying down on the bare earth (without driving away the gnats and other
insects that would annoy him as they annoy the kine), becomes immediately
cleansed of all his sins in consequence of his reducing himself to a
state of perfect similitude with the kine. When the sun rises in the
morning, thou shouldst give away the cow, accompanied by her calf and a
bull. As the reward of such an act, heaven will certainly become
attainable to thee. The blessings also that are indicated by the Mantras
will also be thine. The Mantras contain these references to kine: Kine
are endued with the elements of strength and energetic exertion. Kine
have in them the elements of wisdom. They are the source of that
immortality which sacrifice achieves. They are the refuge of all energy.
They are the steps by which earthly prosperity is won. They constitute
the eternal course of the universe. They lead to the extension of one’s
race. Let the kine (I give away) destroy my sins. They have that in them
which partakes in the nature of both Surya, and Soma. Let them be aids to
my attainment of heaven. Let them betake themselves to me as a mother
takes to her offspring. Let all other blessings also be mine that have
not been named in the Mantras I have uttered! In the alleviation or cure
of phthisis and other wasting diseases, and in the matter of achieving
freedom from the body, if a person takes the help of the five products of
the cow, kine become inclined to confer blessings upon the person like
the river Saraswati–Ye kine, ye are always conveyers of all kinds of
merit! Gratified with me, do ye appoint a desirable end for me! I have
today become what ye are! By giving you away, I really give myself away.
(After these words have been uttered by giver, the receiver should
say),–Ye are no longer owned by him who gives you away! Ye have now
become mine. Possessed of the nature of both Sutya and Soma, do ye cause
both the giver and the receiver to blaze forth with all kinds of
prosperity!–(As already indicated), the giver should duly utter the
words occurring in the first part of the above verse. The regenerate
recipient, conversant with the ritual that regulates the gift of kine,
should, when receiving the kine in gift, utter (as already) said the
words occurring in the latter half of the above verse. The man who,
instead of a cow, gives away the usual value thereof or cloths or gold,
comes to be regarded as the giver of a cow The giver, when giving away
the usual value of a cow (as the substitute of a cow) should utter the
words,–This cow with face upturned is being given away. Do thou accept
her!–The man who gives away cloths (as the substitute of a cow) should
utter the words,–Bhavitavya–(meaning that the gift should be regarded
as representing a cow). The man who gives away gold (as the substitute of
a cow) should utter the word,–Vaishnavi (meaning, this gold that I give
away is of the form and nature of a cow).–Even these are the words that
should be uttered in the order of the kind of gift mentioned above. The
reward that is reaped by making such vicarious gifts of kine is residence
in Heaven for six and thirty thousand years, eight thousand years, and
twenty thousand years respectively. Even these are the merits,
respectively, of gifts of things as substitute of kine. While as regards
him who gives an actual cow all the merits that attach to vicarious gifts
of kine become his at only the eight step (homewards) of the
recipient.[368] He that gives an actual cow becomes endued with righteous
behaviour in this world. He that gives the value of a cow becomes freed
from every kind of fear. He that gives a cow (as a substitute in way for
a real cow) never meet with sorrow. All the three, as also they that
regularly go through their ablutions and other acts at early dawn, and he
that is well-conversant with the Mahabharata, it is well-known, attain to
the regions of Vishnu and Soma. Having given away a cow, the giver
should, for three nights, adopt the vaccine vow, and pass one night with
kine. Commencing again from that lunation, numbering the eight, which is
known by the name of Kamya, he should pass three nights, supporting
himself entirely on milk and urine and dung of the cow.[369] By giving
away a bull, one attains to the merit that attaches to the divine vow
(Brahmacharya). By giving away a couple of kine, one acquires the mastery
of the Vedas. That man who performs a sacrifice and makes gifts of kine
agreeably to the ritual laid down, attains to many regions of a superior
character. These, however, are not attainable by the person who is
unacquainted with that ritual (and who, therefore, gives away kine
without observing the scriptural declarations). That man who gives away
even a single cow that yields a copious measure of milk, acquires the
merit of giving away all desirable things on Earth collected together.
What need, therefore, be said of the gift of many such kine as yield
Havya and Kavya in consequence of their full udders? The merit that
attaches to the gift of superior oxen is greater than that which attaches
to the gift of kine. One should not, by imparting a knowledge of this
ritual, benefit a person that is not one’s disciple or that is not
observant of vows or that is bereft of faith or that is possessed of a
crooked understanding. Verily, this religion is a mystery, unknown to
most people. One that knows it should not speak of it at every place.
There are, in the world, many men that are bereft of faith. There are
among men many persons that are mean and that resemble Rakshasas. This
religion, if imparted unto them, would lead to evil. It would be
productive of equal evil if imparted to such sinful men as have taken
shelter in atheism.–Listen to me, O king, as I recite to thee the names
of those righteous monarchs that have attained to regions of great
felicity as the reward of those gifts of kine which they made agreeable
to the instructions of Vrihaspati, Usinara, Viswagaswa, Nriga,
Bhagiratha, the celebrated Mandhatri the son of Yuvanaswa, king
Muchukunda, Bhagiratha, Naishadha. Somaka, Pururavas, Bharata of imperial
sway to whose race belongs all the Bharatas, the heroic Rama the son of
Dasaratha, and many other celebrated kings of great achievement, and also
king Dilipa of widely known deeds, all, in consequence of their gifts of
kine agreeable to the ritual, attained to Heaven. King Mandhatri was
always observant of sacrifices, gifts, penances, kingly duties, and gifts
of kine. Therefore, O son of Pritha, do thou also bear in mind those
instructions of Vrihaspati which I have recited unto thee (in respect of
gifts of kine). Having obtained the kingdom of the Kurus, do thou, with a
cheerful heart, make gifts of good kine unto foremost of Brahmanas!’

“Vaisampayana continued, ‘Thus addressed by Bhishma on the subject of
properly making gifts of kine, king Yudhishthira did all that Bhishma
wished. Verily, king Yudhishthira bore in mind the whole of that religion
which the preceptor of the deities imparted unto the royal Mandhatri.
Yudhishthira from that time began to make always gifts of kine and to
support himself on grains of barley and on cowdung as both his food and
drink. The king also began to sleep from that day on the bare earth, and
possessed of restrained soul and resembling a bull in conduct, he became
the foremost of monarchs.[370] The Kuru king from that day became very
attentive to kine and always worshipped them, hymning their praises. From
that day, the king gave up the practice of yoking kine unto his vehicles.
Wheresoever he had occasion to go, he proceeded on cars drawn by horses
of good mettle.'”


“Vaisampayana said, ‘King Yudhishthira endued with humility, once again
questioned the royal son of Santanu on the subject of gifts of kine in

“The king said, ‘Do thou, O Bharata, once more discourse to me in detail
on the merits of giving away kine. Verily, O hero, I have not been
satiated with hearing thy nectar-like words!’

“Vaisampayana continued, ‘Thus addressed by king Yudhishthira the just,
Santanu’s son began to discourse to him once again, in detail on the
merits attaching to the gift of kine.’

“Bhishma said, ‘By giving unto a Brahmana a cow possessed of a calf,
endued with docility and other virtues, young in years, and wrapped round
with a piece of cloth, one becomes cleansed of all one’s sins. There are
many regions (in Hell) which are sunless. One who makes the gift of a cow
has not to go thither. That man, however, who gives unto a Brahmana a cow
that is incapable of drinking or eating, that has her milk dried up, that
is endued with senses all of which have been weakened, and that is
diseased and overcome with decrepitude, and that may, therefore, be
likened to a tank whose water has been dried up,–indeed, the man who
gives such a cow unto a Brahmana and thereby inflicts only pain and
disappointment upon him, has certainly to enter into dark Hell. That cow
which is wrathful and vicious, or diseased, or weak or which has been
purchased without the price agreed upon having been paid,–or which would
only afflict the regenerate recipient with distress and disappointment,
should never be given. The regions such a man may acquire (as the rewards
of other acts of righteousness performed by him) would fail to give him
any happiness or impart to him any energy. Only such kine as are strong,
endued with good behaviour, young in years, and possessed of fragrance,
are applauded by all (in the matter of gift). Verily, as Ganga is the
foremost of all rivers, even so is a Kapila cow the foremost of all kine.’

“Yudhishthira said, ‘Why, O grandsire, do the righteous applaud the gift
of a Kapila cow (as more meritorious) when all good kine that are given
away should be regarded as equal? O thou of great puissance, I wish to
hear what the distinction is that attaches to a Kapila cow. Thou art,
verily, competent to discourse to me on this topic!'[371]

“Bhishma said, ‘I have, O son, heard old men recite this history
respecting the circumstances under which the Kapila cow was created. I
shall recite that old history to thee! In days of yore, the Self-born
Brahman commanded the Rishi Daksha, saying,–Do thou create living
creatures! From desire of doing good to creatures, Daksha, in the first
instance, created food. Even as the deities exist, depending upon nectar,
all living creatures, O puissant one, live depending upon the sustenance
assigned by Daksha. Among all objects mobile and immobile, the mobile are
superior. Among mobile creatures Brahmanas are superior. The sacrifices
are all established upon them. It is by sacrifice that Soma (nectar) is
got. Sacrifice has been established upon kine.[372] The gods become
gratified through sacrifices. As regards the Creation then, the means of
support came first, creatures came next. As soon as creatures were born,
they began to cry aloud for food. All of them then approached their
creator who was to give them food like children approaching their father
or mother. Knowing the intention which moved all his creatures, the holy
lord of all creatures, viz., Daksha, for the sake of the beings he had
created, himself drank a quantity of nectar. He became gratified with the
nectar he quaffed and thereupon an eructation came out, diffusing an
excellent perfume all around. As the result of that eructation. Daksha
saw that it gave birth to a cow which he named Surabhi. This Surabhi was
thus a daughter of his, that had sprung from his mouth. The cow called
Surabhi brought forth a number of daughters who came to be regarded as
the mothers of the world. Their complexion was like that of gold, and
they were all Kapilas. They were the means of sustenance for all
creatures. As those kine, whose complexion resembled that of Amrita,
began to pour milk, the froth of that milk arose and began to spread on
every side, even as when the waves of a running stream dashing against
one another, copious froth is produced that spreads on every side. Some
of that froth fell, from the mouths of the calves that were sucking, upon
the head of Mahadeva who was then sitting on the Earth. The puissant
Mahadeva thereupon, filled with wrath, cast his eyes upon those kine.
With that third eye of his which adorns his forehead, he seemed to burn
those kine as he looked at them. Like the Sun tingeing masses of clouds
with diverse colours the energy that issued from the third eye of
Mahadeva produced, O monarch, diverse complexion in those kine. Those
amongst them, however, which succeeded in escaping from the glance of
Mahadeva by entering the region of Soma, remained of the same colour with
which they were born, for no change was produced in their complexion.
Seeing that Mahadeva had become exceedingly angry; Daksha, the lord of
all creatures, addressed him, saying–Thou hast, O great deity, been
drenched with nectar. The milk or the froth that escapes from the mouths
of calves sucking their dams is never regarded as impure remnant.[373]
Chandramas, after drinking the nectar, pours it once more. It is not,
however, on that account, looked upon as impure. After the same manner,
the milk that these kine yield, being born of nectar, should not be
regarded as impure (even though the udders have been touched by the
calves with their mouths). The wind can never become impure. Fire can
never become impure. Gold can never become impure. The Ocean can never
become impure. The Nectar, even when drunk by the deities, can never
become impure. Similarly, the milk of a cow, even when her udders are
sucked by her calf, can never become impure. These kine will support all
these worlds with the milk they will yield and the ghee that will be
manufactured therefrom. All creatures wish to enjoy the auspicious
wealth, identifiable with nectar, that kine possess!–Having said these
words, the lord of creatures, Daksha, made a present unto Mahadeva of a
bull with certain kine. Daksha gratified the heart of Rudra, O Bharata,
with that present, Mahadeva, thus gratified, made that bull his vehicle.
And it was after the form of that bull that Mahadeva adopted the device
on the standard floating on his battle-car. For this reason it is that
Rudra came to be known as the bull-bannered deity. It was on that
occasion also that the celestials, uniting together, made Mahadeva the
lord of animals. Indeed, the great Rudra became the Master of kine and is
named as the bull-signed deity. Hence, O king, in the matter of giving
away kine, the gift is regarded as primarily desirable of Kapila kine
which are endued with great energy and possessed of colour unchanged
(from white). Thus are kine, the foremost of all creatures in the world.
It is from them that the means have flowed of the sustenance of all the
worlds. They have Rudra for their master. They yield Soma (nectar) in the
form of milk. They are auspicious and sacred, and grantors of every wish
and givers of life. A person by making a gift of a cow come to be
regarded as making a gift of every article that is desired to be enjoyed
by men. That man who, desiring to attain to prosperity, reads with a pure
heart and body these verses on the origin of kine, becomes cleansed of
all his sins and attains to prosperity and children and wealth and
animals. He who makes a gift of a cow, O king, always succeeds in
acquiring the merits that attach to gifts of Havya and Kavya, to the
offer of oblations of water unto the Pitris, to other religious acts
whose performance brings peace and happiness, to the gift of vehicles and
cloths, and to the cherishing of children and the old.’

“Vaisampayana continued, ‘Hearing these words of his grandsire, Pritha’s
son, viz., the royal Yudhishthira of Ajamida’s race, uniting with his
brothers, began to make gifts of both bulls and kine of different colours
unto foremost of Brahmanas. Verily, for the purpose of subduing regions
of felicity in the next, and winning great fame, king Yudhishthira
performed many sacrifices and, as sacrificial presents, gave away
hundreds of thousands of kine unto such Brahmanas.'”


“Bhishma said, ‘In days of yore, king Saudasa born of Ikshvaku’s race,
that foremost of eloquent men, on one occasion approached his family
priest, viz., Vasishtha, that foremost of Rishis, crowned with ascetic
success, capable of wandering through every region, the receptacle of
Brahma, and endued with eternal life and put him the following question.’

“Saudasa said, ‘O holy one, O sinless one, what is that in the three
worlds which is sacred and by reciting which at all times a man may
acquire high merit?’

“Bhishma said, ‘Unto king Saudasa who stood before him with head bent in
reverence, the learned Vasishtha having first bowed unto kine and
purified himself (in body and mind), discoursed upon the mystery relating
to kine, a topic that is fraught with result highly beneficial to all

“Vasishtha said, ‘Kine are always fragrant. The perfume emanated by the
exudation of the Amytis agallochum issues out of the bodies. Kine are the
great refuge of all creatures. Kine constitute the great source of
blessing unto all.[374] Kine are the Past and the Future. Kine are the
source of eternal growth. Kine are the root of Prosperity. Anything given
to kine is never lost. Kine constitute the highest food. They are the
best Havi for the deities. The Mantras called Swaha and Vashat are
forever established in kine. Kine constitute the fruit of sacrifices.
Sacrifices are established in kine. Kine are the Future and the Past, and
Sacrifice rest on them. Morning and evening kine yield unto the Rishis, O
foremost of men, Havi for use in Homa, O thou of great effulgence. They
who make gift of kine succeed in transcending all sins which they may
have committed and all kinds of calamities into which they may fall, O
thou of great puissance. The man possessing ten kine and making a gift of
one cow, he possessing a hundred kine and making a gift of ten kine, and
he possessing a thousand kine and making a gift of a hundred kine, all
earn the same measure of merit. The man who, though possessed of hundred
kine, does not establish a domestic fire for daily worship, that man who
though possessed of a thousand kine does not perform sacrifices, and that
man who though possessed of wealth acts as a miser (by not making gift
and discharging the duties of hospitality), are all three regarded as not
worthy of any respect. Those men who make gift of Kapila king with their
calves and with vessel of white brass for milking them,–kine, that is,
which are not vicious and which while given away, are wrapped round with
cloths,–succeed in conquering both this and the other world. Such
persons as succeed in making gift of a bull that is still in the prime of
youth, that has all its senses strong, and that may be regarded as the
foremost one among hundreds of herds, that has large horns adorned with
ornaments (of gold or silver), unto a Brahmana possessed of Vedic
learning, succeed, O scorcher of foes, its attaining to great prosperity
and affluence each time they take birth in the world. One should never go
to bed without reciting the names of kine. Nor should one rise from bed
in the morning without a similar recitation of the names of kine. Morning
and evening one should bend one’s head in reverence to kine. As the
consequence of such acts, one is sure to attain to great prosperity. One
should never feel any repugnance for the urine and the dung of the cow.
One should never eat the flesh of kine. As the consequence of this, one
is sure to attain to great prosperity. One should always take the names
of kine. One should never show any disregard for kine in any way. If evil
dreams are seen, men should take the names of kine. One should always
bathe, using cow-dung at the time. One should sit on dried cowdung. One
should never cast one’s urine and excreta and other secretions on
cowdung. One should never obstruct kine in any way. One should eat,
sitting on a cowhide purified by dipping it in water, and then cast one’s
eyes towards the west, Sitting with restrained speech, one should eat
ghee, using the bare earth as one’s dish. One reaps, in consequence of
such acts, that prosperity of which kine are the source[375]. One should
pour libations on the fire, using ghee for the purpose. One should cause
Brahmanas to utter blessings upon one, by presents of ghee. One should
make gift of ghee. One should also eat ghee. As the reward of such acts
one is sure to attain to that prosperity which kine confer. That man who
inspires a vaccine form made of sesame seeds by uttering the Vedic
Mantras called by the name of Gomati, and then adorns that form with
every kind of gems and makes a gift of it, has never to suffer any grief
on account of all his acts of omission and commission,–Let kine that
yield copious measures of milk and that have horns adorned with
gold,–kine viz., that are Surabhis or the daughters of
Surabhis.–approach me even as rivers approach the ocean! I always look
at kine. Let kine always look at me. Kine are ours. We are theirs.
Ourselves are there where kine are!–Even thus, at night or day, in
happiness or woe, verily, at times of even great fear,–should a man
exclaim. By uttering such words he is certain to become freed from every


“Vasishtha said, ‘The kine that had been created in a former age
practised the austerest penances for a hundred thousand years with the
desire of attaining to a position of great pre-eminence. Verily, O
scorcher of foes, they said unto themselves,–We shall, in this world,
become the best of all kinds of Dakshina in sacrifices, and we shall not
be liable to be stained with any fault! By bathing in water mixed with
our dung people shall become sanctified. The deities and men shall use
our dung for the purpose of purifying all creatures mobile and immobile.
They also that will give us away shall attain to those regions of
happiness which will be ours.[376]–The puissant Brahman, appearing unto
them at the conclusion of their austerities, gave them the boons they
sought, saying,–it shall be as ye wish! Do ye (thus) rescue all the
worlds!–Crowned with fruition in respect of their wishes, they all rose
up,–those mothers of both the Past and the Future. Every morning, people
should bow with reverence unto kine. As the consequence of this, they are
certain to win prosperity. At the conclusion of their penances O monarch,
kine became the refuge of the world. It is for this that kine are said to
be highly blessed, sacred, and the foremost of all things. It is for this
kine are said to stay at the very head of all creatures. By giving away a
Kapila cow with a calf resembling herself, yielding a copious measure of
milk, free from every vicious habit, and covered with a piece of cloth,
the giver attains to great honours in the region of Brahma. By giving
away a cow of red complexion, with a calf that resembles herself,
yielding milk, free from every vice, and covered with a piece of cloth,
one attains to great honours in the region of Surya. By giving away a cow
of variegated hue, with a calf similar to herself, yielding milk, free
from every vice, and covered with a piece of cloth, one attains to great
honours in the region of Soma. By giving away a cow of white complexion,
with a calf similar to herself, yielding milk, free from every vice, and
covered with a piece of cloth, one attains to great honours in the region
of Indra. By giving away a cow of dark complexion, with a calf similar to
herself, yielding milk, free from every vice, and covered with a piece of
cloth, one attains to great honours in the region of Agni. By giving away
a cow of the complexion of smoke, with a calf similar to herself,
yielding milk, free from every vice, and covered with a piece of cloth,
one attains to great honours in the region of Yama. By giving away a cow
of the complexion of the foam of water, with a calf and a vessel of white
brass for milking her, and covered with a piece of cloth, one attains to
the region of Varuna. By giving away a cow whose complexion is like that
of the dust blown by the wind, with a calf, and a vessel of white brass
for milking her, and covered with a piece of cloth, one attains to great
honours in the region of the Wind-god. By giving a cow of the complexion
of gold, having eyes of a tawny hue with a calf and a vessel of white
brass for milking her and covered with a piece of cloth, one enjoys the
felicity of the region of Kuvera. By giving away a cow of the complexion
of the smoke of straw, with a calf and a vessel of white brass for
milking her, and covered with a piece of cloth, one attains to great
honours in the region of the Pitris. By giving away a fat cow with the
flesh of its throat hanging down and accompanied by her calf, one attains
with ease to the high region of the Viswedevas. By giving away a Gouri
cow, with calf similar to her, yielding milk, free from every vice, and
covered with a piece of cloth, one attains to the region of the Vasus. By
giving away a cow of the complexion of a white blanket, with a calf and a
vessel of white brass, and covered with a piece of cloth, one attains to
the region of the Sadhyas. By giving away a bull with a high hump and
adorned with every jewel, the giver, O king, attains to the region of the
Maruts. By giving away a bull of blue complexion, that is full-grown in
respect of years and adorned with every ornament, the giver attains to
the regions of the Gandharvas and the Apsaras. By giving away a cow with
the flesh of her throat hanging down, and adorned with every ornament,
the giver, freed from every grief, attains to those regions that belong
to Prajapati himself. That man, O king, habitually makes gifts of kine,
proceed, piercing through the clouds, on a car of solar effulgence to
Heaven and shines there in splendour. That man who habitually makes gifts
of kine comes to be regarded as the foremost of his species. When thus
proceeding to Heaven, he is received by a thousand celestial damsels of
beautiful hips and adorned with handsome robes and ornaments. These girls
wait upon him there and minister to his delight. He sleeps there in peace
and is awakened by the musical laughter of those gazelle-eyed damsels,
the sweet notes of their Vinas, the soft strains of their Vallakis, and
the melodious tinkle of their Nupuras.[377] The men who makes gifts of
kine resides in Heaven and is honoured there for as many years as there
are hairs on the bodies of the kine he gives away. Falling off from
Heaven (upon the exhaustion of his merit), such a man takes birth in the
order of humanity and, in fact, in a superior family among men.'”


“Vasishtha said, ‘Kine are yielders of ghee and milk. They are the
sources of ghee and they have sprung from ghee. They are rivers of ghee,
and eddies of ghee. Let kine ever be in my house! Ghee is always my
heart. Ghee is even established in my navel. Ghee is in every limb of
mine. Ghee resides in my mind. Kine are always at my front. Kine are
always at my rear. Kine are on every side of my person. I live in the
midst of kine!–Having purified oneself by touching water, one should,
morning and evening, recite these Mantras every day. By this, one is sure
to be cleansed of all the sins one may commit in course of the day. They
who make gifts of a thousand kine, departing from this world, proceed to
the regions of the Gandharvas and the Apsaras where there are many
palatial mansions made of gold and where the celestial Ganga, called the
current of Vasu, runs. Givers of a thousand kine repair thither where run
many rivers having milk for their water, cheese for their mire, and curds
for their floating moss. That man who makes gifts of hundreds of
thousands of kine agreeably to the ritual laid down in the scriptures,
attains to high prosperity (here) and great honours in Heaven. Such a man
causes both his paternal and maternal ancestors to the tenth degree to
attain to regions of great felicity, and sanctifies his whole race. Kine
are sacred. They are the foremost of all things in the world. They are
verily the refuge of the universe. They are the mothers of the very
deities. They are verily incomparable. They should be dedicated in
sacrifices. When making journeys, one should proceed by their right
(i.e., keeping them to one’s left). Ascertaining the proper time, they
should be given away unto eligible persons. By giving away a Kapila cow
having large horns, accompanied by a calf and a vessel of white brass for
milking her, and covered with a piece of cloth, one succeeds in entering,
freed from fear, the palace of Yama that is so difficult to enter. One
should always recite this sacred Mantra, viz.,–Kine are of beautiful
form. Kine are of diverse forms. They are of universal form. They are the
mothers of the universe. O, let kine approach me!–There is no gift more
sacred than the gift of kine. There is no gift that produces more blessed
merit. There has been nothing equal to the cow, nor will there be
anything that will equal her. With her skin, her hair, her horns, the
hair of her tail, her milk, and her fat,–with all these together,–the
cow upholds sacrifice. What thing is there that is more useful than the
cow? Bending my head unto her with reverence, I adore the cow who is the
mother of both the Past and the Future, and by whom the entire universe
of mobile and immobile creatures is covered. O best of men, I have thus
recited to thee only a portion of the high merits of kine. There is no
gift in this world that is superior to the gift of trine. There is also
no refuge in this world that is higher than kine.’

“Bhishma continued, ‘That high-souled giver of land (viz., king Saudasa),
thinking these words of the Rishi Vasishtha to be foremost in point of
importance, then made gifts of a very large number of kine unto the
Brahmanas, restraining his senses the while, and as the consequence of
those gifts, the monarch succeeded in attaining to many regions of
felicity in the next world.'”[378]


“Yudhishthira said, ‘Tell me, O grandsire, what is that which is the most
sacred of all sacred things in the world, other than that which has been
already mentioned, and which is the highest of all sanctifying objects.’

“Bhishma said, ‘Kine are the foremost of all objects. They are highly
sacred and they rescue men (from all kinds of sin and distress). With
their milk and with the Havi manufactured therefrom, kine uphold all
creatures in the universe. O best of the Bharatas, there is nothing that
is more sacred than kine. The foremost of all things in the three worlds,
kine are themselves sacred and capable of cleansing others, Kine reside
in a region that is even higher than the region of the deities. When
given away, they rescue their givers. Men of wisdom succeed in attaining
to Heaven by making gifts of kine. Yuvanaswa’s son Mandhatri, Yayati, and
(his sire) Nahusha, used always to give away kine in thousands. As the
reward of those gifts, they have attained to such regions as are
unattainable by the very deities. There is, in this connection, O sinless
one, a discourse delivered of old. I shall recite it to thee. Once on a
time, the intelligent Suka, having finished his morning rites, approached
with a restrained mind his sire, that foremost of Rishis, viz., the
Island-born Krishna, who is acquainted with the distinction between that
which is superior and that which is inferior, and saluting him, said,
‘What is that sacrifice which appears to thee as the foremost of all
sacrifices? What is that act by doing which men of wisdom succeed in
attaining to the highest region? What is that sacred act by which the
deities enjoy the felicity of Heaven? What constitutes the character of
sacrifice as sacrifice? What is that upon which sacrifice rests? What is
that which is regarded as the best by the deities? What is that sacrifice
which transcends the sacrifices of this world? Do thou also tell me, O
sire, what is that which is the most sacred of all things. Having heard
these words of his son, O chief of Bharata’s race, Vyasa, the foremost of
all persons conversant with duties, discoursed as follows unto him.’

“Vyasa said, ‘Kine constitute the stay of all creatures. Kine are the
refuge of all creatures. Kine are the embodiment of merit. Kine are
sacred, and kine are sanctifiers of all. Formerly kine were hornless as
it has been heard by us. For obtaining horns they adored the eternal and
puissant Brahmana. The puissant, Brahmana, seeing the kine paying their
adorations to him and sitting in praya, granted unto each of them what
each desired. Thereafter their horns grew and each got what each desired.
Of diverse colours, and endued with horns, they began to shine in beauty,
O son! Favoured by Brahman himself with boons, kine are auspicious and
yielders of Havya and Kavya. They are the embodiments of merit. They are
sacred and blessed. They are possessed of excellent form and attributes.
Kine constitute high and highly excellent energy. The gift of kine is
very much applauded. Those good men who, freed from pride, make gifts of
kine, are regarded as doers of righteous deeds and as givers of all
articles. Such men, O sinless one, attain to the highly sacred region of
kine. The trees there produce sweet fruits. Indeed, those trees are
always adorned with excellent flowers and fruits. Those flowers, O best
of regenerate persons, are endued with celestial fragrance. The entire
soil of that region is made of gems. The sands there are all gold. The
climate there is such that the excellencies of every season are felt.
There is no more mire, no dust. It is, indeed, highly auspicious. The
streams that run there shine in resplendence for the red lotuses blooming
upon their bosoms, and for the jewels and gems and gold that occur in
their banks and that display the effulgence of the morning Sun. There are
many lakes also in that region on whose breasts are many lotuses, mixed
here and there with Nymphoea stellata, and having their petals made of
costly gems, and their filaments adorned with a complexion like that of
gold. They are also adorned with flowering forests of the Nerium odorum
with thousands of beautiful creepers twining round them, as also with
forests of Santanakas bearing their flowery burdens. There are rivers
whose banks are variegated with many bright pearls and resplendent gems
and shining gold. Portions of those regions are covered with excellent
trees that are decked with jewels and gems of every kind. Some of them
are made of gold and some display the splendour of fire. There stand many
mountains made of gold, and many hills and eminences made of jewels and
gems. These shine in beauty in consequence of their tall summits which
are composed of all kinds of gems. The trees that adorn those regions
always put forth flowers and fruits, and are always covered with dense
foliage. The flowers always emit a celestial fragrance and the fruits are
exceedingly sweet, O chief of Bharata’s race. Those persons that are of
righteous deeds, O Yudhishthira, always sport there in joy. Freed from
grief and wrath, they pass their time there, crowned with the fruition of
every wish. Persons of righteous deeds, possessed of fame, sport there in
happiness, moving from place to place, O Bharata, on delightful vehicles
of great beauty. Auspicious deed, bands of Apsaras always amuse them
there, with music and dance. Indeed O Yudhishthira, a person goes to such
regions as the reward of his making gifts of kine. Those regions which
have for their lords Pushan, and the Maruts of great puissance, are
attained to by givers of kine. In affluence the royal Varuna is regarded
as pre-eminent. The giver of kine attains to affluence like that of
Varuna himself. One should, with the steadiness of a vow, daily recite
these Mantras declared by Prajapati himself (in respect of kine).
Viswarupa and viz.,–Yugandharah, Surupah, Vahurupah, and
Matara.[379]–He who serves kine with reverence and who follows them with
humility, succeeds in obtaining many invaluable boons from kine who
become gratified with him. One should never, in even one’s heart, do an
injury to kine. One should, indeed, always confer happiness on them. One
should, always reverence kine and worship them, with bends of one’s head.
He who does this, restraining his senses the while and filled with
cheerfulness, succeeds in attaining to that felicity which is enjoyed by
kine (and which kine alone can confer). One should for three days drink
the hot urine of the cow. For the next three days one should drink the
hot milk of the cow. Having thus drunk for three days hot milk, one
should next drink hot ghee for three days. Having in this way drunk hot
ghee for three days, one should subsist for the next three days on air
only. That sacred thing by whose aid the deities enjoy regions of
felicity, that which is the most sacred of all sacred things, viz., ghee
should then be borne on the head.[380] With the aid of ghee one should
pour libations on the sacred fire. By making gifts of ghee, one should
cause the Brahman to utter benedictions on oneself. One should eat ghee
and make gifts of ghee. As the reward of this conduct, one may then
attain to that prosperity which belongs to kine. That man who, for a
month, subsists upon the gruel of barley picked up every day from cow
dung becomes cleansed of sins as grave as the slaughter of a Brahman.
After their defeat at the hands of the Daityas, the deities practised
this expiation. It was in consequence of this expiation that they
succeeded in regaining their position as deities. Verily, it was through
this that they regained their strength and became crowned with success.
Kine are sacred. They are embodiments of merit. They are high and most
efficacious cleansers of all. By making gifts of kine unto the Brahmanas
one attains to Heaven. Living in a pure state, in the midst of kine, one
should mentally recite those sacred Mantras that are known by the name of
Gomati, after touching pure water. By doing this, one becomes purified
and cleansed (of all sins). Brahmanas of righteous deeds, who have been
cleansed by knowledge, study of the Vedas, and observance of vows,
should, only in the midst of sacred fires or kine or assemblies of
Brahmanas, impart unto their disciples a knowledge of the Gomati Mantras
which are every way like unto a sacrifice (for the merit they produce).
One should observe a fast for three nights for receiving the boon
constituted by a knowledge of the import of the Gomati Mantras. The man
who is desirous of obtaining a son may obtain one by adoring these
Mantras. He who desires the possession of wealth may have his desire
gratified by adoring these Mantras. The girl desirous of having a good
husband may have her wish fulfilled by the same means. In fact, one may
acquire the fruition of every wish one may cherish, by adoring these
sacred Mantras. When kine are gratified with the service one renders
them, they are, without doubt, capable of granting the fruition of every
wish. Even so, kine are highly blessed. They are the essential requisites
of sacrifices. They are grantors of every wish. Know that there is
nothing superior to kine.’

“Bhishma continued, ‘Thus addressed by his high-souled sire, Suka, endued
with great energy, began from that time to worship kine every day. Do
thou also, O son, conduct thyself in the same way.'”


“Yudhishthira said, ‘I have heard that the dung of the cow is endued with
Sree. I desire to hear how this has been brought about. I have doubts, O
grandsire, which thou shouldst dispel.'[381]

“Bhishma said, ‘In this connection is cited the old story, O monarch, of
the conversation between kine and Sree, O best of the Bharatas! Once on a
time the goddess Sree, assuming a very beautiful form, entered a herd of
kine. The kine, beholding her wealth of beauty, became filled with

“The kine said, ‘Who art thou, O goddess? Whence hast thou become
unrivalled on earth for beauty? O highly blessed goddess, we have been
filled with wonder at thy wealth of beauty. We desire to know who thou
art. Who, indeed, art thou? Whither wilt thou proceed? O thou of very
superior splendour of complexion, do tell us in detail all we wish to

“Sri said, ‘Blessed be ye, I am dear unto all creatures. Indeed, I am
known by the name of Sri. Forsaken by me, the Daityas have been lost for
ever. The deities, viz., Indra, Vivaswat, Soma, Vishnu, Varuna, and Agni,
having obtained me, are sporting in joy and will do so for ever. Verily,
the Rishis and the deities, only when they are endued with me, have
success. Ye kine, those beings meet with destruction into whom I do not
enter. Religion, wealth, and pleasure, only when endued with me, become
sources of happiness. Ye kine who are givers of happiness, know that I am
possessed of even such energy! I wish to always reside in every one of
you. Repairing to your presence, I solicit you. Be all of you endued with

“The kine said, ‘Thou art fickle and restless. Thou sufferest thyself to
be enjoyed by many persons. We do not desire to have thee. Blessed be
thou, go wheresoever thou pleasest. As regards ourselves, all of us are
possessed of good forms. What need have we with thee? Go wheresoever thou
likest. Thou hast already (by answering our questions) gratified us

“Sri said, ‘Is it proper with you, ye kine that you do not welcome me? I
am difficult of being attained. Why then do you not accept me? It seems,
ye creatures of excellent vows, that the popular proverb is true, viz.,
that it is certain that when one come to another of one’s own accord and
without being sought, one meets with disregard. The Gods, the Danavas,
the Gandharvas, the Pisachas, the Uragas, the Rakshasas and human beings
succeed in obtaining me only after undergoing the severest austerities.
You who have such energy, do ye take me. Ye amiable ones, I am never
disregarded by any one in the three worlds of mobile and immobile

“The kine said, ‘We do not disregard thee, O goddess. We do not show thee
a slight! Thou art fickle and of a very restless heart. It is for this
only that we take leave of thee. What need of much talk? Do thou go
wheresoever thou choosest. All of us are endued with excellent forms.
What need have we with thee, O sinless one?’

“Sri said, ‘Ye givers of honours, cast off by you in this way, I shall
certainly be an object of disregard with all the world. Do ye show me
grace. Ye are all highly blessed. Ye are ever ready to grant protection
unto those that seek your protection. I have come to you soliciting your
protection. I have no fault. Do you rescue me (from this situation). Know
that I shall always be devoted to you. I am desirous of residing in any
parts, however repulsive, of your bodies. Indeed, I wish to reside in
even your rectum. Ye sinless ones, I do not see that ye have any part in
your bodies that may be regarded as repulsive, for ye are sacred, and
sanctifying, and highly blessed. Do ye, however, grant my prayer. Do ye
tell me in which part, of your bodies I shall take up my residence.’

“Bhishma continued, ‘Thus addressed by Sri, the kine, always auspicious
and inclined to kindness unto all who are devoted to them, took counsel
with one another, and then addressing Sri, and unto her, O king, these

“The kine said, ‘O thou of great fame, it is certainly desirable that we
should honour thee. Do thou live in our urine and dung. Both these are
sacred, O auspicious goddess!

“Sri said, ‘By good luck, ye have shown me much grace implying your
desire to favour me. Let it be even as ye say! Blessed be ye all, I have
really been honoured by you, ye givers of happiness!

“Bhishma continued, ‘Having, O Bharata, made this compact with the kine,
Sri, there and then, in the very sight of those kine, rendered herself
invisible. I have thus told thee, O son, the glory of the dung of kine, I
shall once again discourse to thee on the glory of kine. Do thou listen
to me.”


“Bhishma said, ‘They who make gifts of kine, and who subsist upon the
remnants of things offered as libations on the sacred fire, are regarded,
O Yudhishthira, as always performing sacrifices of every kind. No
sacrifice can be performed without the aid of curds and ghee. The very
character as sacrifice which sacrifices have, depends upon ghee. Hence
ghee (or, the cow from which it is produced) is regarded as the very root
of sacrifice. Of all kinds of gifts, the gift of kine is applauded as the
highest. Kine are the foremost of all things. Themselves sacred, they are
the best of cleansers and sanctifiers. People should cherish kine for
obtaining prosperity and even peace. The milk, curds, and ghee that kine
yield are capable of cleansing one from every kind of sin. Kine are said
to represent the highest energy both in this world and the world that is
above. There is nothing that is more sacred or sanctifying than kine, O
chief of Bharata’s race. In this connection is recited the ancient
narrative, O Yudhishthira, of the discourse between the Grandsire and the
chief of celestials. After the Daityas had been defeated and Sakra had
become the lord of the three worlds all creatures grew in prosperity and
became devoted to the true religion. Then, on one occasion, the Rishis,
the Gandharvas, the Kinnaras, the Uragas, the Rakshasas, the Deities, the
Asuras, the winged creatures and the Prajapatis, O thou of Kuru’s race,
all assembled together and adored the Grandsire. There were Narada and
Parvata and Viswavasu and Haha-Huhu, who sang in celestial strains for
adoring that puissant lord of all creatures. The deity of wind bore
thither the fragrance of celestial flowers. The Seasons also, in their
embodied forms, bore the perfumes of flowers peculiar to each, unto that
conclave of celestials, that gathering of all creatures of the universe,
where celestial maidens danced and sang in accompaniment with celestial
music. In the midst of that assembly, Indra, saluting the Lord of all the
deities and bowing his head unto him with reverence, asked him, saying,
‘I desire, O Grandsire, to know why the region of kine is higher, O holy
one, than the region of the deities themselves who are the lords of all
the worlds. What austerities, what Brahmacharya, O lord, did kine perform
in consequence of which they are able to reside happily in a region that
is even above that of the deities?’ Thus addressed by Indra, Brahman said
unto the slayer of Vala, ‘Thou hast always, O slayer of Vala, disregarded
kine. Hence, thou art not acquainted with the glorious pre-eminence of
kine. Listen now to me, O puissant one, as I explain to thee the high
energy and glorious pre-eminence of kine, O chief of the celestials! Kine
have been said to be the limbs of sacrifice. They represent sacrifice
itself, O Vasava! Without them, there can be no sacrifice. With their
milk and the Havi produced therefrom, they uphold all creatures. Their
male calves are engaged in assisting at tillage and thereby produce
diverse kinds of paddy and other seeds. From them flow sacrifices and
Havya and Kavya, and milk and curds and ghee. Hence, O chief of the
deities, kine are sacred. Afflicted by hunger and thirst, they bear
diverse burdens. Kine support the Munis. They uphold all creatures by
diverse acts, O Vasava, kine are guileless in their behaviour. In
consequence of such behaviour and of many well-performed acts, they are
enabled to live always in regions that are even above ours. I have thus
explained to thee today, O thou of a hundred sacrifices, the reason, O
Sakra of kine residing in a place that is high above that of the deities.
Kine obtained many excellent forms, O Vasava, and are themselves givers
of boons (to others). They are called Surabhis. Of sacred deeds and
endued with many auspicious indications, they are highly sanctifying
Listen to me also, O slayer of Vala, as I tell thee in detail the reason
why kine,–the offspring of Surabhi,–have descended on the earth, O best
of the deities. In day of yore, O son, when in the Devayuga the high
soused Danavas became lords of the three world, Aditi underwent the
severest austerities and got Vishnu within her womb (as the reward
thereof). Verify, O chief of the celestials, she had stood upon one leg
for many long years, desirous of having a son.[382] Beholding the great
goddess Aditi thus undergoing the severest austerities, the daughter of
Daksha, viz., the illustrious Surabhi, herself devoted to righteousness,
similarly underwent very severe austerities upon the breast of the
delightful mountains of Kailasa that are resorted to by both the deities
and the Gandharvas. Established on the highest Yoga she also stood upon
one leg for eleven thousand years. The deities with the Rishis and the
great Nagas all became scorched with the severity of her penances.
Repairing thither with me, all of them began to adore that auspicious
goddess. I then addressed that goddess endued with penances and said, ‘O
goddess, O thou of faultless conduct, for what purpose, dost thou undergo
such severe austerities. O highly blessed one, I am gratified with thy
penances, O beautiful one! Do thou, O goddess, solicit what boon thou
desirest. I shall grant thee whatever thou mayst ask.’ Even these were my
words unto her, O Purandara. Thus addressed by me, Surabhi answered me,
saying, ‘I have no need, O Grandsire, of boons. Even this, O sinless one,
is a great boon to me that thou hast been gratified with me.’ Unto the
illustrious Surabhi, O chief of the celestials who said so unto me, O
lord of Sachi, I answered even in these words, O foremost of the deities,
viz., ‘O goddess, at this exhibition of thy freedom from cupidity and
desire and at these penances of thine, O thou of beautiful face, I have
been exceedingly gratified. I, therefore, grant thee the boon of
immortality. Thou shalt dwell in a region that is higher than the three
worlds, through my grace. That region shall be known to all by the name
of Goloka. Thy offspring, ever engaged in doing good acts, will reside in
the world of men. In fact, O highly blessed one, thy daughters will
reside there. All kinds of enjoyment, celestial and human, that thou
mayst think of, will immediately be thine. Whatever happiness exists in
Heaven, will also be thine, O blessed one.’ The regions, O thou of a
hundred eyes, that are Surabhi’s are endued with means for the
gratification of every wish. Neither Death, nor Decrepitude, nor fire,
can overcome its denizens. No ill luck, O Vasava, exists there. Many
delightful woods, and delightful ornaments and objects of beauty may be
seen there. There many beautiful cars, all excellently equipped, which
move at the will of the rider, may be seen, O Vasava, O thou of eyes like
lotus-petals, it is only by Brahmacharya, by penances, by Truth, by
self-restraint, by gifts, by diverse kinds of righteous deeds, by
sojourns to sacred waters, in fact, by severe austerities and righteous
acts well-performed, that one can attain to Goloka. Thou hast asked me, O
Sakra, and I have answered the in full, O slayer of Asuras, thou shouldst
never disregard kine.’

“Bhishma continued, ‘Having heard these words of the self-born Brahman, O
Yudhishthira, Sakra of a thousand eyes began from that time to worship
kine every day and to show them the greatest respect. I have thus told
thee everything about the sanctifying character of kine, O thou of greet
splendour. The sacred and high pre-eminence and glory of kine, that is
capable of cleansing one from every sin, has, O chief of men, been thus
explained to thee. That man who with senses withdrawn from every other
object will recite this account unto Brahmanas, on occasions when Havya
and Kavya are offered, or at sacrifices, or on occasions of adoring the
Pitris, succeeds in conferring upon his ancestors an inexhaustible
felicity fraught with the fruition of every wish. That man who is devoted
to kine succeeds in obtaining the fruition of every wish of his. Indeed,
even those women that are devoted to kine succeed in obtaining the
accomplishment of every wish of theirs. He that desireth sons obtaineth
them. He that desireth daughters obtaineth them. He that desireth wealth
succeedeth in aquiring it and he that desireth religious merit succeedeth
in winning it. He that desireth knowledge acquireth it and he that
desireth felicity succeedeth in acquiring it. Indeed, O Bharata, there is
nothing that is unattainable to one that is devoted to kine.'”


“Yudhishthira said, ‘Thou hast, O grandsire, discoursed to me on the gift
of kine that is fraught with great merit. In the case of kings observant
of their duties, that gift is most meritorious. Sovereignty is always
painful. It is incapable of being borne by persons of uncleansed souls.
In the generality of cases, kings fail to attain to auspicious ends. By
always making, however, gifts of earth, they succeed in cleansing
themselves (of all their sins). Thou hast, O prince of Kuru’s race,
discoursed to me on many duties. Thou hast discoursed to me on the gifts
of kine made by king Nriga in days of old. The Rishi Nachiketa, in
ancient times, had discoursed on the merits of this act. The Vedas and
the Upanishads also have laid down that in all sacrifices,–in fact, in
all kinds of religious acts,–the Dakshina should be earth or kine or
gold. The Srutis, however, declare that in all Dakshinas, gold is
superior and is, indeed, the best. I desire, O grandsire, to hear thee
discourse truly on this topic. What is gold? How did it spring up? When
did it come into existence? What is its essence? Who is its presiding
deity? What are its fruits? Why is it regarded as the foremost of all
things? For what reason do men of wisdom applaud the gift of gold? For
what reason is gold regarded as the best Dakshinas in all sacrifices? Why
also is gold regarded as a cleanser superior to earth itself and kine?
Why, indeed, is it regarded so superior as a Dakshina? Do thou, O
grandsire, discourse to me on all this!’

“Bhishma said, Listen, O king, with concentrated attention to me as I
recite to thee in detail the circumstances connected with the origin of
gold as understood by me. When my father Santanu of great energy departed
from this world, I proceeded to Gangadwara for performing his Sraddha.
Arrived there, I commenced the Sraddha of my father. My mother Jahnavi,
coming there, rendered me great help. Inviting many ascetics crowned with
success and causing them to take their seats before me, I commenced the
preliminary rites consisting of gifts of water and of other things.
Having with a concentrated mind performed all preliminary rites as laid
down in the scriptures, I set myself to duly offer the obsequial cake. I
then saw, O king, that a handsome arm, adorned with Angadas and other
ornaments, rose up, piercing the ground, through the blades of Kusa grass
which I had spread. Beholding that arm rise from the ground, I became
filled with wonder. Indeed, O chief of Bharata’s race, I thought that my
father had come himself for accepting the cake I was about to offer.
Reflecting then, by the light of the scriptures, the conviction soon came
upon me that the ordinance does occur in the Vedas that the cake should
not be presented into the hand of him whose Sraddha is performed. Even
this was the conviction that took possession of my mind, viz., that the
obsequial cake should never be presented in this world by a man into the
visible hand of the man whose obsequial rites are performed. The Pitris
do not come in their visible forms for taking the cake. On the other
hand, the ordinance provides that it should be presented on the blades of
Kusa grass spread on the earth for the purpose. I then, disregarding that
hand which constituted an indication of my father’s presence, and
recollecting the true ordinance depending upon the authority of the
scriptures respecting the mode of presenting the cake, offered the entire
cake, O chief of the Bharatas, upon those blades of Kusa grass that were
spread before me. Know, O prince of men, that what I did was perfectly
consistent with the scriptural ordinance. After this, the arm of my sire,
O monarch, vanished in our very sight. On that night as I slept, the
Pitris appeared to me in a dream. Gratified with me they said, O chief of
Bharata’s race, even these words, ‘We have been pleased with thee, for
the indication thou hast afforded today of thy adherence to the
ordinance. It has pleased us to see that thou hast not swerved from the
injunctions of the scriptures. The scriptural ordinance, having been
followed by thee, has become more authoritative, O king. By such conduct
thou hast honoured and maintained the authority of thyself, the
scriptures, the auditions of the Vedas, the Pitris and the Rishis, the
Grandsire Brahman himself, and those seniors, viz., the Prajapatis.
Adherence to the scriptures has been maintained. Thou hast today, O chief
of the Bharatas, acted very properly. Thou hast made gifts of earth and
kine. Do thou make gifts of gold. The gifts of gold is very cleansing. O
thou that art well-conversant with duties, know that by such acts of
thine, both ourselves and our forefathers will all be cleansed of all our
sins. Such gifts rescue both ancestors and descendants to the tenth
degree of the person who makes them.’ Even these were the words that my
ancestors, appearing unto me in a dream, said unto me, I then awoke, O
king, and became filled with wonder. Indeed, O chief of Bharata’s race, I
set my heart then upon making gifts of gold. Listen now, monarch, to this
old history. It is highly praiseworthy and it extends the period of his
life who listens to it. It was first recited to Rama, the son of
Jamadagni In former days Jamadagni’s son Rama, filled with great wrath,
exterminated the Kshatriyas from off the face of the earth for thrice
seven times. Having subjugated the entire earth the heroic Rama of eyes
like lotus-petals began to make preparations for performing a
Horse-sacrifice, O king, that is praised by all Brahmanas and Kshatriyas
and that is capable of granting the fruition of every wish. That
sacrifice cleanses all creatures and enhances the energy and splendour of
those who succeed in performing it. Endued with great energy, Rama, by
the performance of that sacrifice became purified. Having, however,
performed that foremost of sacrifices, the high-souled Rama failed yet to
attain to perfect lightness of heart. Repairing unto Rishis conversant
with every branch of learning as also the deities, Rama of Bhrigu’s race
questioned them. Filled with repentance and compassion, he addressed
them, saying, ‘Ye highly blessed ones, do ye declare that which is more
cleansing still for men engaged in fierce deeds.’ Thus addressed by him,
those great Rishis, fully acquainted with the Vedas and the scriptures,
answered him, saying, ‘O Rama, guided by the authority of the Vedas, do
thou honour all learned Brahmanas. Following this conduct for some time
do thou once more ask the regenerate Rishis as to what should be done by
thee for cleansing thyself. Follow the advice which those persons of
great wisdom give.’ Repairing then to Vasishtha and Agastya and Kasyapa,
that delighter of the Bhrigus, endued with great energy, asked them that
question, ‘Ye foremost of Brahmanas, even this is the wish that has
arisen in my heart. How, indeed, may I succeed in cleansing myself? By
what acts and rites may this be brought about? Or, if by gifts, what is
that article by giving away which this wish of mine may be accomplished?
Ye foremost or righteous persons, if your minds be inclined to do me a
favour, then do tell me, ye that are endued with wealth of asceticism,
what is that by which I may succeed in cleansing myself.’

“The Rishis said, ‘O delighter of the Bhrigus, the mortal that has sinned
becomes cleansed by making gifts of kine, of earth, and of wealth. Even
this is what we have heard. There is another gift that is regarded as a
great cleanser. Listen to us, O regenerate Rishi, as we discourse on it.
That article is excellent and is endued with wonderful aspect and is,
besides, the offspring of Fire. In days of yore, the god Agni burnt all
the world. It has been heard by us that from his seed sprung gold of
bright complexion. It came to be celebrated under the name of good
complexioned. By making gifts of gold thou art sure to have thy wish
crowned with fruition. Then the illustrious Vasishtha in especial, of
rigid vows, addressing him, said, ‘Hear, O Rama, how gold, which has the
splendour of fire sprang into existence. That gold will confer merit on
thee. In matters of gifts, gold is highly applauded. I shall also tell
thee what is gold, whence it has come, and how it has come to be invested
with superior attributes. Listen to me, O thou of mighty arms, as I
discourse upon these topics. Know this as certain that gold is of the
essence of Fire and Soma. The goat is Fire (for it given, it leads to the
region of the deity of fire); the sheep is Varuna (for if leads to the
region of Varuna the lord of waters); the horse is Surya (for if leads to
the region of Surya); elephants are Nagas (for they lead to the world of
Nagas); buffaloes are Asuras (for they lead to the region of Asuras);
cocks and boars are Rakshasas (for they lead to the regions of the
Rakshasas), O delighter of the Bhrigus; earth is sacrifice, kine, water,
and Soma (for it leads to the merits of sacrifice, and to the region of
kine, of the lord of waters and of Soma). Even these are the declarations
of the Smritis. Churning the entire universe, a mass of energy was found.
That energy is gold. Hence, O regenerate Rishi, compared to all these
objects (which I have named above) gold is certainly superior. It is a
precious thing, high and excellent.'[383] It is for this reason that the
deities and Gandharvas and Uragas and Rakshasas and human beings and
Pisachas hold it with care. All these beings, O son of Bhrigu’s race,
shine in splendour, with the aid of gold, after converting it into crowns
and armlets and diverse kinds of ornaments. It is also for this reason
that gold is regarded as the most cleansing of all cleansing things such
as earth and kine and all other kinds of wealth, O prince of men. The
gift of gold, O puissant king, is the highest gift. It is distinguished
above the gifts of earth, of kine, and of all other things, O thou that
art endued with the effulgence of an immortal, gold is an eternal
cleanser. Do thou make gifts of it unto the foremost of Brahmanas as it
is the foremost of cleansing things. Of all kinds of Dakshina, gold is
the best. They who make gifts of gold are said to be givers of all
things. Indeed, they who make gifts of gold come to be regarded as givers
of deities. Agni is all the deities in one, and gold has Agni for its
essence. Hence it is that the person who makes gifts of gold gives away
all the deities. Hence, O chief of men, there is no gift higher than the
gift of gold.’

“Vasishtha continued, ‘Hear once more, O regenerate Rishi, as I discourse
upon it, the pre-eminence of gold, O foremost of all wielders of weapons.
I heard this formerly in the Purana, O son of Bhrigu’s race. I represent
the speech of Prajapati himself. After the wedding was over of the
illustrious and high-souled Rudra armed with the trident, O son of
Bhrigu’s race, with the goddess who became his spouse, on the breast of
that foremost of mountains, viz., Himavat, the illustrious and
high-souled deity wished to unite himself with the goddess. Thereupon all
the deities, penetrated with anxiety, approached Rudra. Bending their
heads with reverence and gratifying Mahadeva and his boon giving spouse
Uma, both of whom were seated together, they addressed Rudra, O
perpetuator of Bhrigu’s race, saying, ‘This union, O illustrious and
sinless one, of thine with the goddess, is a union of one endued with
penances with another of penances as severe! Verily, it is the union, O
lord, of one possessed of very great energy with another whose energy is
scarcely less! Thou, O illustrious one, art of energy that is
irresistible. The goddess Uma, also is possessed of energy that is
equally irresistible. The offspring that will result from a union like
this, will, without doubt, O illustrious deity, be endued with very great
might. Verily, O puissant lord, that offspring will consume all things in
the three worlds without leaving a remnant. Do thou then, O lord of all
the universe, O thou of large eyes, grant unto these deities prostrated
before thee, a boon from desire of benefiting the three worlds! Do thou,
O puissant one, restrain this high energy of thine which may become the
seed of offspring. Verily, that energy is the essence of all forces in
the three worlds. Ye two, by an act of congress, are sure to scorch the
universe! The offspring that will be born of you two will certainly be
able to afflict the deities! Neither the goddess Earth, nor the
Firmament, nor Heaven, O puissant one, nor all of them together, will be
able to bear thy energy, we firmly believe. The entire universe is
certain to be burnt through the force of thy energy. It behoveth thee, O
puissant one, to show us favour, O illustrious deity. That favour
consists in thy not begetting a son, O foremost of the deities, upon the
goddess Uma. Do thou, with patience, restrain thy fiery and puissant
energy!’ Unto the deities that said so the holy Mahadeva having the bull
for his sign, O regenerate Rishi, answered, saying, ‘So be it!’ Having
said so, the deity that has the bull for his vehicle, drew up his vital
seed. From that time he came to be called by the name, of Urdhvaretas
(one that has drawn up the vital seed). The spouse of Rudra, however, at
this endeavour of the deities to stop procreation, became highly
incensed. In consequence of her being of the opposite sex (and,
therefore, endued with little control upon her temper) she used harsh
words, thus, ‘Since ye have opposed my lord in the matter of procreating
a child when he was desirous of procreating one upon me, as the
consequence of this act, ye deities, ye all shall become sonless. Verily,
since ye have opposed the birth of issue from me, therefore, ye shall
have no offspring of your own.’ At the time this curse was denounced, O
perpetuator of Bhrigu’s race, the deity of fire was not there. It is in
consequence of this curse of the goddess that the deities have become
childless. Rudra, solicited by them, held in himself his energy of
incomparable puissance. A small quantity, however, that came out of his
body fell down on the earth. That seed, falling on the earth, leaped into
a blazing fire and there began to grow (in size and power) most
wonderfully. The energy of Rudra, coming in contact with another energy
of great puissance, became identified with it in respect of essence.
Meanwhile, all the deities having Sakra at their head, were scorched a
good deal by the Asura named Taraka. The Adityas, the Vasus, the Rudras,
the Maruts, the Aswins, and the Sadhyas all became exceedingly afflicted
in consequence of the prowess of that son of Diti. All the regions of the
deities, their beautiful cars, and their palatial mansions, and the
retreats of the Rishis, were snatched away by the Asuras. Then the
deities and the Rishis, with cheerless hearts, sought the protection of
the illustrious and puissant Brahman of unfading glory.'”


‘The Deities said, ‘The Asura named Taraka who has received boons from
thee, O puissant one, is afflicting the deities and the Rishis. Let his
death be ordained by thee. O Grandsire, great has been our fear from him.
O illustrious one, do thou rescue us. We have no other refuge than thee.’

“Brahman said, ‘I am equal in my behaviour towards all creatures. I
cannot, however, approve of unrighteousness. Let Taraka, that opponent of
the deities and Rishis, be quickly destroyed. The Vedas and the eternal
duties shall not be exterminated, ye foremost of celestials! I have
ordained what is proper in this matter. Let the fever of your hearts be

“The Deities said, ‘In consequence of thy having granted him boons, that
son of Diti has been proud of his might. He is incapable of being slain,
by the deities. How then will his death be brought about? The boon which,
O Grandsire, he has obtained from thee is that he should not be slayable
by deities or Asuras or Rakshasas. The deities have also been cursed by
the spouse of Rudra in consequence of their endeavour in former days to
stop propagation. The curse denounced by her has been, O lord of the
universe, even this, viz., that they are not to have any offspring.’

“Brahman said, ‘Ye foremost of deities, Agni was not there at the time
the curse was denounced by the goddess. Even he will beget a son for the
destruction of the enemies of the gods. Transcending all the deities and
Danavas and Rakshasas and human beings and Gandharvas and Nagas and
feathery creatures, the offspring of Agni with his dart, which in his
hands will be a weapon incapable of being baffled if once hurled at the
foe, will destroy Taraka from whom your fear hath arisen. Verily, all
other enemies of yours will also be slain by him. Will is eternal. That
Will is known by the name of Kama and is identical with Rudra’s seed a
portion of which fell into the blazing form of Agni. That energy, which
is a mighty substance, and which resembles a second Agni, will be cast by
Agni into Ganga for producing a child upon her in order to effect the
destruction of the enemies of the gods. Agni did not come within the
range of Uma’s curse. The eater of sacrificial libations was not present
there when the curse was denounced. Let the deity of fire, therefore, be
searched out. Let him now be set to this task. Ye sinless ones, I have
told you what the means are for the destruction of Taraka. The curses of
those that are endued with energy fail to produce any effect upon those
that are endued with energy. Forces, when they come into contact with
something that is endued with stronger force, become weakened. They that
are endued with penances are competent to destroy even the boon-giving
deities who are indestructible. Will, or Like, or Desire (which is
identifiable with Agni) sprang in former times and is the most eternal of
all creatures. Agni is the Lord of the universe. He is incapable of being
apprehended or described. Capable of going everywhere and existing in all
things, he is the Creator of all beings. He lives in the hearts of all
creatures. Endued with great puissance, He is older than Rudra himself.
Let that eater of sacrificial libations, who is a mass of energy, be
searched out. That illustrious deity will accomplish this desire of your
hearts.’ Hearing these words of the Grandsire, the high-souled gods then
proceeded to search out the god of fire with hearts cheerful in
consequence of their purpose having been achieved. The gods and the
Rishis then searched every part of the three worlds, their hearts filled
with the thought of Agni and eagerly desiring to obtain a sight of him.
Endued with penances, possessed of prosperity, celebrated over all the
worlds, those high-souled ones, all crowned with ascetic success,
sojourned over every part of the universe, O foremost one of Bhrigu’s
race. They failed, however, to find out the eater of sacrificial
libations who had concealed himself by merging his self into self.[384]
About this time, a frog, living in water, appeared on the surface thereof
from the nethermost regions, with cheerless heart in consequence of
having been scorched by the energy of Agni. The little creature addressed
the deities who had become penetrated with fear and who were all very
eager to obtain a sight of the deity of fire, saying, ‘Ye gods, Agni is
now residing in the nethermost regions. Scorched by the energy of that
deity, and unable to bear it longer, I have come hither. The illustrious
bearer of sacrificial libations, ye gods, is now under the waters. He has
created a mass of waters within which he is staying. All of us have been
scorched by his energy. If, ye gods, ye desire to obtain a sight of
him,–verily, if ye have any business with him,–do ye go to him thither.
Do, indeed, repair thither. As regards ourselves, we shall fly from this
place, ye deities, from fear of Agni.’ Having said this much, the frog
dived into the water’. The eater of sacrificial libations learnt of the
treachery of the frog. Coming to that animal, he cursed the whole
batrachian race, saying, ‘Ye shall henceforth be deprived of the organ of
taste. Having denounced this curse on the frog, he left the spot speedily
for taking up his abode elsewhere. Verily, the puissant deity did not
show himself. Seeing the plight to which the frogs were reduced for
having done them a service, the deities, O best of the Bhrigus, showed
favour unto those creatures. I shall tell thee everything regarding it.
Do thou listen to me, O mighty-armed hero.’

“The Deities said, ‘Though deprived of tongues through the curse of Agni
and, therefore, reft of the sensation of taste, ye shall yet be able to
utter diverse kinds of speech. Living within holes, deprived of food,
reft of consciousness, wasted and dried up, and more dead than alive, all
of you will be held by the Earth nevertheless. Ye shall also be able to
wander about at night-time when everything is enveloped in thick
darkness.’ Having said this unto the frogs, the deities once more went
over every part of the earth for finding out the deity of blazing flames.
In spite of all their efforts, however, they failed to get at him. Then,
O perpetuator of Bhrigu’s race, an elephant, as large and mighty as the
elephant of Sakra, addressed the gods, saying, ‘Agni is now residing
within this Aswattha tree!’ Incensed with wrath, Agni cursed all the
elephants, O descendant of Bhrigu saying, ‘Your tongues will be bent
back.’ Having been pointed out by the elephants, the deity of fire cursed
all elephants even thus and then went away and entered the heart of the
Sami tree from the desire of residing within it for some time. Listen
now, O puissant hero, what favour was shown unto the elephants, O
foremost one of Bhrigu’s race, by the deities of unbaffled prowess who
were all gratified with the service a representative of their had done

“The Deities said, ‘With the aid of even your tongues bent inwards ye
shall be able to eat all things, and with even those tongues ye shall be
able to utter cries that will only be indistinct. Having blessed the
elephants in this way, the denizens of Heaven once more resumed their
search after Agni. Indeed, having issued out of the Aswattha tree, the
deity of fire had entered the heart of Sami. This new abode of Agni was
divulged by a parrot. The gods thereupon proceeded to the spot. Enraged
with the conduct of the parrot, the deity of blazing flames cursed the
whole parrot race, saying, ‘Ye shall from this day be deprived of the
power of speech.’ Indeed, the eater of sacrificial libations turned up
the tongues of all the parrots. Beholding Agni at the place pointed out
by the parrot, and witnessing the curse denounced upon him, the gods,
feeling a compassion for the poor creature, blessed him, saying, ‘In
consequence of thy being a parrot, thou shalt not be wholly deprived of
the power of speech. Though thy tongue has been turned backwards, yet
speech thou shalt have, confined to the letter K. Like that of a child or
an old man, thy speech shall be sweet and indistinct and wonderful.’
Having said these words unto the parrot, and beholding the deity of fire
within the heart of the Sami, the gods made Sami wood a sacred fuel fit
for producing fire in all religious rites. It was from that time that
fire is seen to reside in the heart of the Sami. Men came to regard the
Sami as proper means for producing fire (in sacrifice).[385] The waters
that occur in the nethermost regions had come into contact with the deity
of blazing flames. Those heated waters, O thou of Bhrigu’s race, are
vomited forth by the mountain springs. In consequence, indeed, of Agni
having resided in them for some time, they became hot through his energy.
Meanwhile, Agni, beholding the gods, became grieved. Addressing the
deities, he asked them, ‘What is the reason of your presence here?’ Unto
him the deities and the great Rishi said, ‘We wish to set thee to a
particular task. It behoveth thee to accomplish it. When accomplished, it
will redound greatly to thy credit.’

“Agni said, ‘Tell me what your business is. I shall, ye gods, accomplish
it. I am always willing to be set by you to any task you wish. Do not
scruple, therefore, to command me.'”

“The Deities said, ‘There is an Asura of the name of Taraka who has been
filled with pride in consequence of the boon he has obtained from
Brahman. Through his energy he is able to oppose and discomfit us. Do
thou ordain his destruction. O sire, do thou rescue these deities, these
Prajapatis, and these Rishis, O highly blessed Pavaka! O puissant one, do
thou beget a heroic son possessed of thy energy, who will dispel, O
bearer of sacrificial libations, our fears from that Asura. We have been
cursed by the great goddess Uma. There is nothing else then thy energy
which can be our refuge now. Do thou, therefore, O puissant deity, rescue
us all.’ Thus addressed, the illustrious and irresistible bearer of
sacrificial libations answered, saying, ‘Be it so’, and he than proceeded
towards Ganga otherwise called Bhagirathi. He united himself in
(spiritual) congress with her and caused her to conceive. Verily, in the
womb of Ganga the seed of Agni began to grow even as Agni himself grows
(when supplied with fuel and aided by the wind). With the energy of that
god, Ganga became exceedingly agitated at heart. Indeed, she suffered
great distress and became unable to bear it. When the deity of blazing
flames cast his seed endued with great energy into the womb of Ganga, a
certain Asura (bent on purposes of his own) uttered a frightful roar. In
consequence of that frightful roar uttered by the Asura for purposes of
his own (and not for terrifying her), Ganga became very much terrified
and her eyes rolled in fear and betrayed her agitation. Deprived of
consciousness, she became unable to bear her body and the seed within her
womb. The daughter of Jahnu, inseminated with the energy of the
illustrious deity, began to tremble. Overwhelmed with the energy of the
seed she held in her womb, O learned Brahmana, she then addressed the
deity of blazing fire, saying, ‘I am no longer capable, O illustrious
one, of bearing thy seed in my womb. Verily, I am overcome with weakness
by this seed of thine. The health I had in days before is no longer mine.
I have been exceedingly agitated, O illustrious one, and my heart is dead
within me, O sinless one. O foremost of all persons endued with penances,
I am in capable of bearing thy seed any longer. I shall cast it off,
compelled by the distress that has overtaken me, and not by caprice.
There has been no actual contact of my person with thy seed, O
illustrious deity of blazing flames! Our union, having for its cause the
distress that has overtaken the deities, has been suitable and not of the
flesh, O thou of great splendour. Whatever merit or otherwise there may
be in this act (intended to be done by me), O eater of sacrificial
libations, must belong to thee. Verily, I think, the righteousness or
unrighteousness of this deed must be thine.’ Unto her the deity of fire
said, ‘Do thou bear the seed. Do, indeed, bear the foetus endued with my
energy. It will lead to great results. Thou art, verily, capable of
bearing the entire earth. Thou wilt gain nothing by not holding this
energy.’ That foremost of streams, though thus passed by the deity of
fire as also by all the other deities, cast off the seed on the breast of
Meru, that foremost of all mountains. Capable (somehow) of bearing that
seed, yet oppressed by the energy of Rudra (for Agni is identical with
Rudra), she failed to hold that seed longer in consequence of its burning
energy. After she had cast it off, through sheer distress, that blazing
seed having the splendour of fire, O perpetuator of Bhrigu’s race, Agni
saw her, and asked that foremost of streams, ‘Is it all right with the
foetus thou hast cast off? Of what complexion has it been, O goddess? Of
what form does it look? With what energy does it seem to be endued? Do
thou tell me all about it.’

“Ganga said, ‘The foetus is endued with the complexion of gold. In energy
it is even like thee, O sinless one! Of an excellent complexion,
perfectly stainless, and blazing with splendour, it has illuminated the
entire mountain. O foremost of all persons endued with penances, the
fragrance emitted by it resembles the cool perfume that its scattered by
lakes adorned with lotuses and Nyphoea stellata, mixed with that of the
Nauclea Cadamba. With the splendour of that foetus everything around it
seemed to be transformed into gold even as all things on mountain and low
land seem to be transformed into gold by the rays of the Sun. Indeed, the
splendour of that foetus, spreading far, falls upon mountains and rivers
and springs. Indeed, it seems that the three worlds, with all their
mobile and immobile creatures, are being illuminated by it. Even of this
kind is thy child, O illustrious bearer of sacrificial libations. Like
unto Surya or thy blazing self, in beauty it is even like a second Soma.’
Having said these words, the goddess disappeared there and then. Pavaka
also, of great energy, having accomplished the business of the deities
proceeded to the place he liked, O delighter of the Bhrigus. It was in
consequence of the result of this act that the Rishis and the deities
bestowed the name of Hiranyaretas upon the deity of fire.[386] And
because the Earth held that seed (after the goddess Ganga had cast it
upon her), she also came to be called by the name of Vasumati. Meanwhile;
that foetus, which had sprung from Pavaka and been held for a time by
Ganga,[387] having fallen on a forest of reeds, began to grow and at last
assumed a wonderful form. The presiding goddess of the constellation
Krittika beheld that form resembling the rising sun. She thenceforth
began to rear that child as her son with the sustenance of her breast.
For this reason, that child of pre-eminent splendour came to be called
Kartikeya after her name. And because he grew from seed that fell out of
Rudra’s body, he came to be called Skanda. The incident also of his birth
having taken place in the solitude of a forest of reeds, concealed from
everybody’s view, led to his being called by the name of Guha. It was in
this way that gold came into existence as the offspring of the deity of
blazing flames.[388] Hence it is that gold came to be looked upon as the
foremost of all things and the ornament of the very gods. It was from
this circumstance that gold came to be called by the name of
Jatarupam.[389] It is the foremost of all costly things, and among
ornaments also it is the foremost. The cleanser among all cleansing
things, it is the most auspicious of all auspicious objects. Gold is
truly the illustrious Agni. the Lord of all things, and the foremost of
all Prajapatis. The most sacred of all sacred things is gold, O foremost
of re-generate ones. Verily, gold is said to have for its essence Agni
and Soma.’

“Vasishtha continued, ‘This history also, O Rama, called Brahmadarsana,
was heard by me in days of yore, respecting the achievement of the
Grandsire Brahman who is identifiable with the Supreme Soul. To a
sacrifice performed in days of yore by that foremost of gods, viz., Lord
Rudra, O thou of great might, who on that occasion had assumed the form
of Varuna, there came the Munis and all the deities with Agni at their
head. To that sacrifice also came all the sacrificial limbs (in their
embodied forms), and the Mantra called Vashat in his embodied form. All
the Samans also and all the Yajushes, numbering by thousands and in their
embodied forms, came there. The Rig-Veda also came there, adorned with
the rules of orthoepy. The Lakshanas, the Suras, the Niruktas, the Notes
arranged in rows, and the syllable Om, as also Nigraha and Pragraha, all
came there and took their residence in the eye of Mahadeva. The Vedas
with the Upanishads, Vidya and Savitri, as also, the Past, the Present,
and the Future, all came there and were held by the illustrious Siva. The
puissant Lord of all then poured libations himself into his own self.
Indeed, the wielder of Pinaka caused that Sacrifice of multifarious form
to look exceedingly beautiful. He is Heaven, Firmament, Earth, and the
Welkin. He is called the Lord of the Earth. He is the Lord whose sway is
owned by all obstacles. He is endued with Sri and He is identical with
the deity of blazing flames. That illustrious deity is called by various
names. Even He is Brahman and Siva and Rudra and Varuna and Agni and
Prajapati. He is the auspicious Lord of all creatures. Sacrifice (in his
embodied form), and Penance, and all the union rites, and the goddess
Diksha blazing with rigid observances, the several points of the compass
with the deities that respectively preside over them, the spouses of all
the deities, their daughters, and the celestial mothers, all came
together in a body to Pasupati, O perpetuator of Bhrigu’s race. Verily,
beholding that sacrifice of the high-souled Mahadeva who had assumed the
form of Varuna, all of them became highly pleased. Seeing the celestial
damsels of great beauty, the seed of Brahman came out and fell upon the
earth. In consequence of the seed having fallen on the dust, Pushan
(Surya) took up that dust mixed with the particles of seed from the earth
with his hands and cast it into the sacrificial fire. Meanwhile, the
sacrifice with the sacred fire of blazing flames was commenced and it
went on. Brahman (as the Hotri) was pouring libations on the fire. While
thus employed, the grandsire became excited with desire (and his seed
came out). As soon as that seed came out, he took it up with the
sacrificial ladle and poured it as a libation of ghee, O delighter of the
Bhrigus, with the necessary Mantras, on the blazing fire. From that seed,
Brahman of great energy caused the four orders of creatures to spring
into existence. That seed of the Grandsire was endued with the three
attributes of Sattwa, Rajas, and Tamas. From that element in it which
represented the principle of Rajas, sprang all mobile creatures endued
with the principle of Pravritti or action.[390] From the element of Tamas
in it, sprang all immobile creatures. The principle of Sattwa, however,
which dwelt in that seed, entered both kinds of existences. That
attribute of Sattwa is of the nature of Tejas or Light (being identical
with Buddhi or the Understanding). It is eternal and of it is unending
Space.[391] In all creatures the attribute of Sattwa is present and is
identical with that light which shows what is right and what is wrong.
When the seed of Brahman was thus poured as a libation on that
sacrificial fire, there sprang from it, O mighty one, three beings into
existence. They were three male persons, endued with bodies that partook
of the characters of the circumstances from which they respectively
sprang. One arose first from the flames of the fire (called Bhrig) and
hence he came to be called by the name of Bhrigu. A second came from the
burning charcoals (called Angara) and hence he came to be called by the
name of Angiras. The third sprang from a heap of extinguished charcoals
and he came to be called by the name of Kavi. It has been already said
that the first came out with flames emanating from his body and hence he
was called Bhrigu. From the rays of the sacrificial fire sprang another
called Marichi. From Marichi (afterwards) sprang Kasyapa. It has been
already said that from the (burning) charcoals sprang Angiras. The
(diminutive) Rishis called Valakhilyas sprang from the blades of Kusa
grass spread out in that sacrifice. From the same blades of Kula grass, O
thou of great puissance, sprang Atri. From the ashes of the fire sprang
all those that are numbered among the regenerate Rishis, viz., the
Vaikhanasas, endued with penances and devoted to Vedic lore and all
excellent accomplishments. From the eyes of Agni sprang the twin Aswins
endued with great beauty of person. At last, from his ears, sprang all
the Prajapatis. The Rishis sprang from the pores of Agni’s body. From his
sweat sprang Chhandas, and from his strength sprang Mind. For this
reason, Agni has been said to be all the deities in his individual self,
by Rishis endued with Vedic lore, guided by the authority of the Vedas.
The pieces of wood that keep alive the flames of Agni are regarded as the
Months. The Juices that the fuel yields constitute the Fortnights. The
liver of Agni is called the Day and Night, and his fierce light is called
the Muhurtas. The blood of Agni is regarded as the source of the Rudras.
From his blood sprang also the gold-complexioned deities called the
Maitradevatas. From his smoke sprang the Vasus. From his flames sprang
the Rudras as also the (twelve) Adityas of great effulgence. The Planets
and Constellations and other stars that have been set in their respective
orbits in the firmament, are regarded as the (burning) charcoals of Agni.
The first Creator of the universe declared Agni to be Supreme Brahma and
Eternal, and the giver of all wishes. This is verily a mystery.

“After all these births had taken place, Mahadeva who had assumed the
form of Varuna (for his sacrifice) and who had Pavana for his soul, said,
‘This excellent Sacrifice is mine. I am the Grahapati in it. The there
beings that first sprang from the sacrificial fire are mine. Without
doubt, they should be regarded as my offspring. Know this, ye gods who
range through the skies! They are the fruits of this Sacrifice.'”

“Agni said, ‘These offspring have sprung from my limbs. They have all
depended upon me as the cause of their starting into life. They should,
therefore, be regarded, as my children. Mahadeva in the form of Varuna is
in error in respect of this matter.[392] After this, the master of all
the worlds, the Grandsire of all creatures, viz., Brahman, then said,
‘These children are mine. The seed was mine which I poured upon the
sacrificial fire. I am the accomplisher of this Sacrifice. It was I who
poured on the sacrificial fire the seed that came out of myself. The
fruit is always his who has planted the seed. The principal cause of
these births is the seed owned by me.’ The deities then repaired to the
presence of the Grandsire and having bowed their heads unto him joined
their hands in reverence and they said unto him, “All of us, O
illustrious one, and the entire universe of mobile and immobile
creatures, are thy offspring. O sire, let Agni of blazing flames, and the
illustrious and puissant Mahadeva who has, for this sacrifice, assumed
the form of Varuna, have their wish (in the matter of the offspring).’ At
these words, although born of Brahman, the puissant Mahadeva in the form
of Varuna, the ruler of all aquatic creatures received the firstborn one,
viz., Bhrigu endued with the effulgence of the sun as his own child. The
Grandsire then intended that Angiras should become the son of Agni.
Conversant with the truth in respect of everything, the Grandsire then
took Kavi as his own son. Engaged in procreating creatures for peopling
the earth, Bhrigu who is regarded as a Prajapati thence came to be called
as Varuna’s offspring. Endued with every prosperity, Angiras came to be
called the offspring of Agni, and the celebrated Kavi came to be known as
the child of Brahman himself. Bhrigu and Angiras who had sprung from the
flame and the charcoals of Agni respectively, became the procreators of
extensive races and tribes in the world. Verily, these three, viz.,
Bhrigu and Angiras and Kavi, regarded as Prajapati, are the progenitors
of many races and tribes. All are the children of these three. Know this,
O puissant hero. Bhrigu begot seven sorts all of whom became equal to him
in merits and accomplishments. Their names are Chyavana, Vajrasirsha,
Suchi, Urva, Sukra, that giver of boons, Vibhu, and Savana. These are the
seven. They are children of Bhrigu and are hence Bhargavas. They are also
called Varunas in consequence of their ancestor Bhrigu having been
adopted by Mahadeva in the form of Varuna. Thou belongest to the race of
Bhrigu. Angiras begot eight sons. They also are known as Varunas. Their
names are Vrihaspati, Utathya, Payasya, Santi, Dhira, Virupa, Samvarta,
and Sudhan was the eighth. These eight are regarded also as the offspring
of Agni. Freed from every evil, they are devoted to knowledge only. The
sons of Kavi who was appropriated by Brahman himself are also known as
Varunas. Numbering eight, all of them became progenitors of races and
tribes. Auspicious by nature, they are all conversant with Brahma. The
names of the eight sons of Kavi are Kavi, Kavya, Dhrishnu, Usanas endued
with great intelligence, Bhrigu, Viraja, Kasi, and Ugra conversant with
every duty. These are the eight sons of Kavi. By them the whole world has
been peopled. They are all Prajapatis, and by them have been procreated
many offspring. Thus, O chief of Bhrigu’s race, hath the whole world been
peopled with the progeny of Angiras, and Kavi and Bhrigu. The puissant
and supreme Lord Mahadeva in the form of Varuna which he had assumed for
his sacrifice had first, O learned Brahmana, adopted both Kavi and
Angiras. Hence, these two are regarded as of Varuna. After that the eater
of sacrificial libations, viz., the deity of blazing flames, adopted
Angiras. Hence, all the progeny of Angiras are known as belonging to the
race of Agni. The Grandsire Brahman was, in olden days, gratified by all
the deities who said unto him, ‘Let these lords of the universe
(referring to Bhrigu and Angiras and Kavi and their descendants) rescue
us all. Let all of them become progenitors of offspring (for peopling the
earth). Let all of them become endued with penances. Through thy grace,
let all these rescue the world (from becoming an uninhabited wilderness).
Let them become procreators and extenders of races and tribes and let
them increase thy energy. Let all of them become thorough masters of the
Vedas and let them be achievers of great deeds. Let all of them be
friends to the cause of the deities. Indeed, let all of them become
endued with auspiciousness. Let them become founders of extensive races
and tribes and let them be great Rishis. Let all of them be endued with
high penances and let all of them be devoted to high Brahmacharya, All of
us, as also all these are thy progeny, O thou of great puissance. Thou, O
Grandsire, art the Creator of both, deities and the Brahmanas. Marichi is
thy first son. All these also that are called Bhargavas are thy progeny.
(Ourselves also are so). Looking at this fact, O Grandsire, we shall all
aid and support one another. All these shall, in this way, multiply their
progeny and establish thyself at the commencement of each creation after
the universal destruction.’ Thus addressed by them, Brahman, the
Grandsire of all the worlds, said unto them, ‘So be it! I am gratified
with you all! Having said so unto the deities he proceeded to the place
he had come from. Even this is what happened in days of old in that
sacrifice of the high-souled Mahadeva, that foremost one of all the
deities, in the beginning of creation, when he for the purposes of his
sacrifice had assumed the form of Varuna. Agni is Brahman. He is
Pasupati. He is Sarva. He is Rudra. He is Prajapati.[393] It is
well-known that gold is the offspring of Agni. When fire is not
obtainable (for the purposes of a sacrifice), gold is used as substitute.
Guided by the indications afforded by the auditions of the Veda, one that
is conversant with authorities and that knows the identity of gold with
fire, acts in this way. Placing a piece of gold on some blades of Kusa
grass spread out on the ground, the sacrificer pours libations upon it.
Upon also the pores of an ant-hill, upon the right ear of a goat, upon a
piece of level earth, upon the waters of a Tirtha, or on the hand of a
Brahmana, if libations are poured, the illustrious deity of fire becomes
gratified and regards It as a source of his own aggrandisement as also
that of the deities through his. Hence, it is that we have heard that all
the deities regard Agni as their refuse and are devoted to him. Agni
sprang from Brahman, and from Agni sprang gold.[394] Hence, it has been
heard by us, that those persons observant of righteousness that make
gifts of gold are regarded as giving away all the deities. The man who
makes gifts of gold attains to a very high end. Regions of blazing
effulgence are his. Verily, O Bhargava, he becomes installed as the king
of kings in heaven. That person who, at sunrise, makes a gift of gold
according to the ordinance and with proper Mantras, succeeds in warding
off the evil consequences foreshadowed by ominous dreams. The man who, as
soon as the sun has risen, makes a gift of gold becomes cleansed of all
his sins. He who makes a gift of gold at midday destroys all his future
sins. He who with restrained soul, makes a gift of gold at the second
twilight succeeds in attaining to a residence with Brahman and the deity
of wind and Agni and Soma in their respective regions. Such a man attains
to auspicious fame in regions of great felicity that belong to Indra
himself. Attaining to great fame in this world also, and cleansed of all
his sins, he sports in joy and happiness. Verily, such a man attains to
many other regions of happiness and becomes unequalled for glory and
fame. His course perfectly unobstructed, he succeeds in going everywhere
at will. He has never to fall down from the regions to which he attains
and the glory he acquires becomes great. Indeed, by making gifts of gold
one attains to innumerable regions of felicity all of which he enjoys for
eternity. That man who, having ignited a fire at sunrise, makes gifts of
gold in view of the observance of a particular vow, succeeds in attaining
to the fruition of all his wishes. It has been said that gold is
identical with Agni. The gift of gold, therefore, is productive of great
felicity. The gift of gold leads to the possession of those merits and
accomplishments that are desired, and cleanses the heart.[395] I have
thus told thee, O sinless one, the origin of gold. O thou of puissance,
hear how Kartikeya grew up, O delighter of Bhrigu’s race. After a long
time Kartikeya grew up. He was then, O perpetuator of Bhrigu’s race,
chosen by all the deities with Indra at their head, as the generalissimo
of the celestial forces. He slew the Daitya Taraka as also many other
Asuras, at the command of the chief of the celestials, O Brahmana, and
actuated also by the desire of benefiting all the worlds. I have also, O
thou of great might, discoursed to thee on the merits of making gifts of
gold. Do thou, therefore, O foremost of all speakers make gifts of gold.’

“Bhishma continued, ‘Thus addressed by Vasishtha, Jamadagni’s son of
great prowess then made gifts of gold unto the Brahmanas and became
cleansed of his sins. I have thus told thee, O king, everything about the
merits of the gifts of gold and about its origin also, O Yudhishthira. Do
thou also, therefore, make abundant gifts of gold unto the Brahmanas.
Verily, O king, by making such gifts of gold, thou wilt surely be
cleansed of all thy sins!'”


“Yudhishthira said, ‘Thou hast, O grandsire, discoursed to me, in detail
on the merits that attach to the gift of gold agreeably with the
ordinances laid down in the scriptures as indicated in the auditions of
the Veda. Thou hast also narrated what the origin is of gold. Do thou
tell me now how Taraka met with destruction. Thou hast said, O king, that
Asura had become unslayable by the gods. Do thou tell me in detail how
his destruction was brought about. O perpetuator of Kuru’s race, I desire
to hear this from thee. I mean the details of Taraka’s slaughter. Great
is my curiosity to hear the narrative.’

“Bhishma said, ‘The gods and the Rishis, O monarch, reduced to great
distress (by Taraka’s prowess and the conduct of Ganga in casting off
Agni’s seed), urged the six Krittikas to rear that child. Amongst the
celestial ladies there were none, save these, that could, by their
energy, bear the seed of Agni in their wombs. The god of fire became
exceedingly gratified with those goddesses for their readiness to sustain
the conception caused by the cast off seed of Agni which was endued with
his own high energy. When the energy of Agni, O king, was divided into
six portions and placed within the channels (leading to the womb), the
six Krittikas began to nourish the portion that each held in her womb. As
the high-souled Kumara, however, began to grow within their wombs, their
bodies being afflicted by his energy, they failed to obtain peace
anywhere (in heaven or on earth). Filled with energy as their bodies
were, the time at last came for delivery. All of them, it so happened, O
prince of men, delivered at the same time. Though held in six different
wombs, yet all the portions, as they came out, united into one. The
goddess Earth held the child, taking it up from a heap of gold. Verily,
the child, endued with excellent form, blazed with splendour even like
the god of Fire. Of beautiful features, he began to grow in a delightful
forest of reeds. The six Krittikas beheld that child of theirs looking
like the morning sun in splendour. Filled with affection for
him,–indeed, loving him very much,–they began to rear him with the
sustenance of their breasts. In consequence of his having been born of
the Krittikas and reared by them, he came to be known throughout the
three worlds as Kartikeya. Having sprung from the seed which had fallen
off from Rudra he was named Skanda, and because of his birth in the
solitude of a forest of reeds he came to be called by the name of Guha
(the secret-born). The gods numbering three and thirty, the points of the
compass (in their embodied forms) together with the deities presiding
over them, and Rudra and Dhatri and Vishnu and Yama and Pushan and
Aryaman and Bhaga, and Angas and Mitra and the Sadhyas and Vasava and the
Vasus and the Aswins and the Waters and the Wind and the Firmament and
Chandramas and all the Constellations and the Planets and Surya, and all
the Ricks and Samans and Yajuses in their embodied forms, came there to
behold that wonderful child who was the son of the deity of blazing
flames. The Rishis uttered hymns of praise and the Gandharvas sang in
honour of that child called Kumara of six heads, twice six eyes, and
exceedingly devoted to the Brahmanas. His shoulders were broad, and he
had a dozen arms, and the splendour of his person resembled that of fire
and Aditya. As he lay stretched on a clump of heath, the gods with the
Rishis, beholding him, became filled with great delight and regarded the
great Asura as already slain. The deities then began to bring him diverse
kinds of toys and articles that could amuse him. As he played like a
child, diverse kinds of toys and birds were given unto him. Garuda of
excellent feathers gave unto him a child of his, viz., a peacock endued
with plumes of variegated hue. The Rakshasas gave unto him a boar and a
buffalo. Aruna himself gave him a cock of fiery splendour. Chandramas
gave him a sheep, and Aditya gave him some dazzling rays of his. The
mother of all kine, viz., Surabhi, gave him kine by hundreds and
thousands. Agni gave him a goat possessed of many good qualities. Ila
gave him an abundant quantity of flowers and fruit. Sudhanwan gave him a
riding chariot and a car of Kuvara. Varuna gave him many auspicious and
excellent, products of the Ocean, with some elephants. The chief of the
celestials gave him lions and tigers and pards and diverse kinds of
feathery denizens of the air, and many terrible beasts of prey and many
umbrellas also of diverse kinds. Rakshasas and Asuras, in large bands,
began to walk in the train of that puissant child. Beholding the son of
Agni grow up, Taraka sought, by various means, to effect his destruction,
but he failed to do anything unto that puissant deity. The god in time
invested Agni’s son born in the solitude (of a forest of reeds) with the
command of their forces. And they also informed him of the oppressions
committed upon them by the Asura Taraka. The generalissimo of the
celestial forces grew up and became possessed of great energy and
puissance. In time Guha slew Taraka, with his irresistible dart. Verily,
Kumara slew the Asura as easily as if in sport. Having accomplished the
destruction of Taraka he re-established the chief of the deities in his
sovereignty of the three worlds. Endued with mighty prowess, the
celestial generalissimo blazed with beauty and splendour. The puissant
Skanda became the protector of the deities and did what was agreeable to
Sankara. The illustrious son of Pavaka was endued with a golden form.
Verily, Kumara is always the leader of the celestial forces. Gold is the
puissant energy of the god of fire and was born with Kartikeya (from the
same seed). Hence is Gold highly auspicious and, as a valuable, is
excellent and endued with inexhaustible merit. Even thus, O son of Kuru’s
race, did Vasishtha recite this discourse unto Rama of Bhrigu’s race in
days of old. Do thou, therefore, O king of men, try to make gifts of
Gold. By making gifts of Gold, Rama became cleansed of all his sins, and
finally attained to a high place in heaven that is unattainable by other


“Yudhishthira said, ‘Thou hast discoursed to me, O thou of righteous
soul, on the duties of the four orders. Do thou, after the same manner, Q
king, discourse to me now on all the ordinances respecting the Sraddha
(of deceased ancestors).’

“Vaisampayana continued, ‘Thus addressed by Yudhishthira, the son of
Santanu set himself to declare unto him the following ritual, consistent
with the ordinance of the Sraddha.’

“Bhishma said, ‘Listen, O king, with close attention, to me as I
discourse to you on the ritual of the Sraddha. That ritual is auspicious,
worthy of praise, productive of fame and progeny, and is regarded as a
sacrifice, O scorcher of foes, in honour of the Pitris. Gods or Asuras or
human beings, Gandharvas or Uragas or Rakshasas, Pisachas or
Kinnaras,–every one should always worship the Pitris. It is seen that
people worship the Pitris first, and gratify the deities next by offering
them their adorations. Hence, one should always worship the Pitris with
every care.[396] It is said, O king, that the Sraddha performed in honour
of the Pitris is performable afterwards. But this general rule is
restrained by a special one (which directs that the Sraddha in honour of
the Pitris should be performed on the afternoon of the day of the New
moon).[397] The (deceased) grandsires become gratified with the Sraddha
that may be performed on any day. I shall, however, tell thee now what
the merits and demerits are of the respective lunar days (in view of
their adaptability to the performance of the Sraddha). I shall discourse
to thee, O sinless one, what fruits are attained on what days by
performing the Sraddha. Do thou listen to me with close attention. By
adoring the Pitris on the first day of the lighted fortnight, one obtains
in one’s abode beautiful spouses capable of producing many children all
possessed of desirable accomplishments. By performing the Sraddha on the
second day of the lighted fortnight one gets many daughters. By
performing it on the third day, one acquires many steeds. By performing
it on the fourth day, one gets a large herd of smaller animals (such as
goats and sheep) in one’s house. They, O king, who perform the Sraddha on
the fifth day, get many sons. Those men who perform the Sraddha on the
sixth day acquire great splendour. By performing it on the seventh day, O
monarch, one acquires great fame. By performing it on the eighth day one
makes great profits in trade. By performing it on the ninth day one
acquires many animals of uncloven hoofs. By performing it on the tenth
day one acquires much wealth in kine. By performing it on the eleventh
day one becomes the possessor of much wealth in clothes and utensils (of
brass and other metals). Such a man also obtains many sons all of whom
become endued with Brahma splendour. By performing the Sraddha on the
twelfth day one always beholds, if one desires, diverse kinds of
beautiful articles made of silver and gold. By performing the Sraddha on
the thirteenth day one attains to eminence over one’s kinsmen. Without
doubt, all the young men in the family of him who performs the Sraddha on
the fourteenth day meet with death. Such a man becomes entangled in war,
By performing the Sraddha on the day of the new moon, one obtains the
fruition of every wish. In the dark fortnight, all the days commencing
with the tenth (and ending with that of the new moon), leaving only the
fourteenth day out, are laudable days for the performance of the Sraddha.
Other days of that fortnight are not so. Then, again, as the dark
fortnight is better than the lighted one, so the afternoon of the day is
better than the forenoon in the matter of the Sraddha.'”


“Yudhishthira said, ‘O thou of great puissance, tell me what that object
is which, if dedicated to the Pitris, becomes inexhaustible! What Havi,
again, (if offered) lasts for all time? What, indeed, is that which (if
presented) becomes eternal?'”

“Bhishma said, ‘Listen to me, O Yudhishthira, what those Havis are which
persons conversant with the ritual of the Sraddha regard as suitable in
view of the Sraddha and what the fruits are that attach to each. With
sesame seeds and rice and barley and Masha and water and roots and
fruits, if given at Sraddhas, the Pitris, O king, remain gratified for
the period of a month.[398] Manu has said that if a Sraddha is performed
with a copious measure of sesame, such Sraddha becomes inexhaustible. Of
all kinds of food, sesame seeds are regarded as the best. With fishes
offered at Sraddhas, the Pitris remain gratified for a period of two
months. With mutton they remain gratified for three months and with the
flesh of the hare for four. With the flesh of the goat, O king, they
remain gratified for five months, with bacon for six months, and with the
flesh of birds for seven. With venison obtained from those deer that are
called Prishata, they remain gratified for eight months, and with that
obtained from the Ruru for nine months, and with the meat of the Gavaya
for ten months. With the meat of the buffalo their gratification lasts
for eleven months. With beef presented at the Sraddha, their
gratification, it is said, lasts for a full year. Payasa mixed with ghee
is as much acceptable to the Pitris as beef. With the meat of the
Vadhrinasa the gratification of the Pitris lasts for twelve years.[399]
The flesh of the rhinoceros, offered to the Pitris on the anniversaries
of the lunar days on which they died, becomes inexhaustible. The potherb
called Kalasaka, the petals of the Kanchana flower, and meat of the goat
also, thus offered, prove inexhaustible.[400] In this connection, O
Yudhishthira, there are some verses, originally sung by the Pitris, that
are sung (in the world). They were communicated to me in former days by
Sanatkumara.–He that has taken birth in our race should give us Payasa
mixed with ghee on the thirteenth day (of the dark fortnight), under the
constellation Magha, during the Sun’s southward course. One born in our
race should, under the constellation Magha, as if in the observance of a
vow, offer the meat of goat or the petals of the Kanchana flower. One
should also offer us, with due rites, Payasa mixed with ghee, dedicating
it on a spot covered by the shadow of an elephant.–Many sons should be
coveted so that even one may go to Gaya (for performing the Sraddha of
his ancestors), where stands the banian that is celebrated over all the
worlds and that makes all offerings made under its branches
inexhaustible.[401] Even a little of water, roots, fruits, meat, and
rice, mixed with honey, if offered on the anniversary of the day of death
becomes inexhaustible.'”


“Bhishma continued, ‘Listen to me, O Yudhishthira, as I tell thee what
those optional Sraddhas are that should be performed under the different
constellations and that were first spoken of by Yama unto king
Sasavindu.[402] That man who always performs the Sraddha under the
constellation Krittika is regarded as performing a sacrifice after
establishing the sacred fire. Such a person, freed from fear, ascends to
heaven with his children. He that is desirous of children should perform
the Sraddha under the constellation Rohini, while he that is desirous of
energy should do it under the constellation Mrigasiras. By performing the
Sraddha under the constellation Ardra, a man becomes the doer of fierce
deeds. A mortal, by performing the Sraddha under Punarvasu, makes such
again by agriculture. The man that is desirous of growth and advancement
should perform the Sraddha under Pushya. By doing it under the
constellation Aslesha one begets heroic children. By doing it under the
Maghas one attains to pre-eminence among kinsmen. By doing it under the
prior Phalgunis, the doer of it becomes endued with good fortune. By
doing the Sraddha under the later Phalgunis one attains to many children;
while by performing it under Hasta, one attains to the fruition of one’s
wishes. By performing it under the constellation Chitra one obtains
children endued with great beauty. By doing it under the constellation
Swati, one makes much profit by trade. The man that desires children
acquires the fruition of his wish by performing the Sraddha under the
constellation Visakha. By doing it under Anuradha one becomes a king of
kings.[403] By making offerings in honour of the Pitris under the
constellation Jyeshtha with devotion and humility, one attains to
sovereignty, O foremost one of Kuru’s race. By doing the Sraddha under
Mula one attains to health, and by doing it under the prior Ashadha, one
acquires excellent fame. By performing it under the later Ashadha one
succeeds in roving over the whole world, freed from every sorrow. By
doing it under the constellation Abhijit one attains to high knowledge.
By doing it under Sravana one, departing from this world, attains to a
very high end. The man that performs the Sraddha under the constellation
Dhanishtha becomes the ruler of a kingdom. By doing it under the
constellation presided over by Varuna (viz., Satabhisha), one attains to
success as a physician. By performing the Sraddha under the constellation
of the prior Bhadrapada one acquires large property in goats and sheep;
while by doing it under the later Bhadrapada one acquires thousands of
kine. By performing the Sraddha under the constellation Revati one
acquires much wealth in utensils of white brass and copper. By doing it
under Aswini one acquires many steeds, while under Bharani one attains to
longevity. Listening to these ordinances about the Sraddha, king
Sasavindu acted accordingly, and succeeded in easily subjugating and
ruling the whole earth.'”


“Yudhishthira said, ‘It behoves thee, O foremost one of Kuru’s race, to
tell me unto what kind of Brahmanas, O grandsire, should the offers made
at Sraddhas be given away.’

“Bhishma said, The Kshatriya who is conversant with the ordinances about
gift should never examine Brahmanas (when making gifts unto them). In all
acts, however, that relate to the worship of the deities and the Pitris,
an examination has been said to be proper. The deities are worshipped on
earth by men only when they are filled with devotion that comes from the
deities themselves. Hence, one should, approaching them, make gifts unto
all Brahmanas (without any examination of their merits), regarding such
gifts as are made to the deities themselves. In Sraddhas, however, O
monarch, the man of intelligence should examine the Brahmanas (to be
employed for assisting the doers of the Sraddha in getting through the
ritual and making gifts unto them of the offerings made to the Pitris).
Such examination should concern itself with their birth and conduct and
age and appearance and learning and nobility (or otherwise) of parentage.
Amongst the Brahmanas there are some that pollute the line and some that
sanctify it. Listen to me, O king, as I tell thee who those Brahmanas are
that should be excluded from the line.[404] He that is full of guile, or
he that is guilty of foeticide, or he that is ill of consumption, or he
that keeps animals, of is destitute of Vedic study, or is a common
servant of a village, or lives upon the interest of loans, or he that is
a singer, or he that sells all articles, or he that is guilty of arson,
or he that is a poisoner or he that is a pimp by profession, or he that
sells Soma, or he that is a professor of palmistry, or he that is in the
employ of the king, or he that is seller of oil, or he that is a cheat
and false swearer, or he that has a quarrel with his father, or he that
tolerates a paramour of his wife in his house, or he that has been
cursed, or he that is a thief, or he that lives by some mechanical art,
or he that puts on disguises, or he that is deceitful in his behaviour,
or he that is hostile to those he calls his friends, or he that is an
adulterer, or he that is a preceptor of Sudras, or he that has betaken
himself to the profession of arms, or he that wanders with dogs (for
hunting), or he that has been bit by a dog, or he that has wedded before
his elder brothers, or he that seems to have undergone circumcision,[405]
he that violates the bed of his preceptor, he that is an actor or mime,
he that lives by setting up a deity and he that lives by calculating the
conjunctions of stars and planets and asterisms[406], are regarded as fit
to be excluded from the line. Persons conversant with the Vedas say that
the offerings made at Sraddhas, if eaten by such Brahmanas, go to fill
the stomachs of Rakshasas (instead of filling those of the Pitris), O,
Yudhishthira. That person who having eaten at a Sraddha does not abstain
that day from study of the Vedas or who has sexual congress that day with
a Sudra woman, must know that his Pitris, in consequence of such acts of
his, have to lie for a month on his dung. The offerings made at Sraddhas
if presented to a Brahmana who sells Soma, become converted into human
ordure; if presented to a Brahmana who is engaged in the practice of
Medicine, they become converted into pus and blood; if presented to one
who lives by setting up a deity, they fail to produce any fruit; if
presented to one who lives upon the interest of loans they lead to
infamy; if presented to one who is engaged in trade, they become
productive of no fruits either here or hereafter. If presented to a
Brahmana who is born of a widowed mother (by a second husband), they
become as fruitless as libations poured on ashes[407]. They who present
the Havya and Kavya (offered at Sraddhas) unto such Brahmanas as are
divested of the duties ordained for them and of those rules of good
conduct that persons of their order should observe, find such presents
productive of no merits hereafter. That man of little intelligence who
makes gifts of such articles unto such men knowing their dispositions,
obliges, by such conduct, his Pitris to eat human ordure in the next
world. Thou shouldst know that these wretches among Brahmanas deserve to
be excluded from the line. Those Brahmanas also of little energy who are
engaged in instructing Sudras are of the same class. A Brahmana that is
blind stains sixty individual of the line; one that is destitute of
virile power a hundred; while one that is afflicted with white leprosy
stains as many as he looks upon, O king. Whatever offerings made at
Sraddhas are eaten by one with his head wrapped round with a cloth,
whatever is eaten by one with face southwards, and whatever is eaten with
shoes or sandals on all goes to gratify the Asuras. Whatever, again, is
given with malice, and whatever is given without reverence, have been
ordained by Brahmana himself as the portion of the prince of Asuras
(viz., Vali). Dogs, and such Brahmanas as are polluters of lines, should
not be allowed to cast their eyes upon the offerings made at Sraddhas.
For this reason, Sraddhas should be performed in a spot that is properly
hedged around or concealed from the view. That spot should also be strewn
with sesame seeds. That Sraddha which is performed without sesame seeds,
or that which is done by a person in anger, has its Havi robbed by
Rakshasas and Pisachas. Commensurate with the number of Brahmanas seen by
one that deserves to be excluded from the line, is the loss of merit he
causes of the foolish performer of the Sraddha who invites him to the

‘I shall now, O chief of Bharata’s race, tell thee who are sanctifiers of
the line. Do thou find them out by examination. All those Brahmanas that
are cleansed by knowledge, Vedic study, and vows and observances, and
they that are of good and righteous behaviour, should be known as
sanctifiers of everything. I shall now tell thee who deserve to sit in
the line. Thou shouldst know them to be such whom I shall indicate
presently. He that is conversant with the three Nachiketas, he that has
set up the five sacrificial fires, he that knows the five Suparnas, he
that is conversant with the six branches (called Angas) of the Veda, he
that is a descendant of sires who were engaged in teaching the Vedas and
is himself engaged in teaching, he that is well-conversant with the
Chhandas, he that is acquainted with the Jeshtha Saman, he that is
obedient to the sway of his parents, he that is conversant with the Vedas
and whose ancestors have been so for ten generations, he that has
congress with only his wedded wives and this at their seasons, and he who
has been cleansed by knowledge, by the Veda, and by vows and
observances,–even such a Brahmana,–sanctifies the line. He who reads
the Atharva-siras, who is devoted to the observance of Brahmacharya
practices, and who is steady in observance of righteous vows, who is
truthful and of righteous conduct, and who is duly observant of the
duties laid down for his order, they also that have undergone fatigue and
labour for bathing in the waters of tirthas, that have undergone the
final bath after performing sacrifices with proper Mantras that are freed
from the sway of wrath, that are not restless, that are endued with
forgiving dispositions, that are self-restrained masters of their senses,
and they are devoted to the good of all creatures,–these should be
invited to Sraddhas. Anything given to these becomes inexhaustible. These
indeed, are sanctifiers of lines. There are others also, highly blessed,
that should be regarded as sanctifiers of the line. They are Yatis and
those that are conversant with the religion of Moksha, and they that are
devoted to Yoga, and they that properly observe excellent vows and they
that, with collected mind recite (sacred) histories unto foremost of
Brahmanas. They that are conversant with Bhashyas, they also that are
devoted to grammatical studies, they that study the Puranas and they that
study the Dharmasastras and having studied them (i.e., the Puranas and
Dharmasastras) act up to the standard laid down in them, he that has
lived (for the stated period) in the abode of his preceptor, he that is
truthful in speech, he that is a giver of thousands, they that are
foremost in (their knowledge of) all the Vedas and the scriptural and
philosophical aphorisms,–these sanctify the line as far they look at it.
And because they sanctify all who sit in the line, therefore are they
called sanctifiers of lines. Utterers of Brahma say that even a single
person that happens to be the descendant of sires who were teachers of
the Veda and that is himself a Vedic teacher, sanctifies full seven miles
around him. If he that is not a Ritwik and that is not a Vedic teacher
takes the foremost seat in a Sraddha, with even the permission of the
other Ritwiks there present, he is said to take (by that act of his) the
sins of all who may be sitting in the line. If, on the other hand, he
happens to be conversant with the Vedas and freed from all those faults
that are regarded as capable of polluting the line, he shall not, O king,
be regarded as fallen (by taking the foremost seat in a Sraddha). Such a
man would then be really a sanctifier of the line. For these reasons, O
king, thou shouldst properly examine the Brahmanas before inviting them
to Sraddhas. Thou shouldst invite only such among them as are devoted to
the duties laid down for their order, and as are born in good families,
and as are possessed of great learning. He who performs Sraddhas for
feeding only his friends and whose Havi does not gratify the deities and
the Pitris, fails to ascend to Heaven. He who collects his friends and
relatives only on the occasion of the Sraddha he performs (without
keeping an eye on properly honouring deserving persons by inviting and
feeding them), fails to proceed (after death) by the path of the deities
(which is a lighted one and free from all afflictions and impediments).
The man who makes the Sraddha he performs an occasion for only gathering
his friends, never succeeds in ascending to heaven. Verily, the man who
converts the Sraddha into an occasion for treating his friends, becomes
dissociated from heaven even like a bird dissociated from the perch when
the chain tying it breaks.[408] Therefore, he that performs a Sraddha
should not honour (on such occasions) his friends. He may make gifts of
wealth unto them on other occasions by collecting them together. The Havi
and the Kavi offered at Sraddhas should be served unto them that are
neither friends nor foes but are only indifferent or neutral. As seed
sown on a sterile soil does not sprout forth, or as one that has not sown
does not get a share of the produce, even so that Sraddha the offerings
in which are eaten by an unworthy person, yields no fruit either here or
hereafter.[409] That Brahmana who is destitute of Vedic study is like a
fire made by burning grass or straw; and becomes soon extinguished even
like such a fire. The offerings made at Sraddhas should not be given to
him even as libations should not be poured on the ashes of the
sacrificial fire. When the offerings made at Sraddhas are exchanged by
the performers with one another (instead of being given away unto worthy
persons), they come to be regarded as Pisacha presents. Such offerings
gratify neither the gods nor the Pitris. Instead of reaching the other
world, they wander about even here like a cow that has lost her calf
wandering about within the fold. As those libations of ghee that are
poured upon the extinguished ashes of a sacrificial fire never reach
either the gods or the Pitris, after the same manner a gift that is made
to a dancer or a singer or a Dakshina presented to a lying or deceitful
person, produces no merit. The Dakshina that is presented to a lying or
deceitful person destroys both the giver and the receiver without
benefiting them in any respect. Such a Dakshina is destructive and highly
censurable. The Pitris of the person making it have to fall down from the
path of the deities. The gods know them to be Brahmanas who always tread,
O Yudhishthira, within the bounds set up by the Rishis who are conversant
with all duties, and who have a firm faith in their efficacy. Those
Brahmanas that are devoted to Vedic study, to knowledge, to penances, and
to acts, O Bharata, should be known as Rishis. The offerings made at
Sraddhas should be given unto those that are devoted to knowledge.
Verily, they are to be regarded as men who never speak ill of the
Brahmanas. Those men should never be fed on occasions of Sraddhas who
speak ill of Brahmanas in course of conversation in the midst of
assemblies. If Brahmanas, O king, be calumniated, they would destroy
three generations of the calumniator.[410] This is the declaration, O
king, of the Vaikhanasa Rishis. Brahmanas conversant with the Vedas
should be examined from a distance. Whether one likes them or feels a
dislike for them, one should give unto such Brahmanas the offerings made
at Sraddhas. That man who feeds thousands upon thousands of false
Brahmanas acquires merit that is attainable by feeding even one Brahmana
if the latter happens to be possessed of a knowledge of the Vedas, O


“Yudhishthira said, ‘By whom was the Sraddha first conceived and at what
time? What also is its essence? During the time when the world was
peopled by only the descendants of Bhrigu and Angiras; who was the muni
that established the Sraddha? What acts should not be done at Sraddha?
What are those Sraddhas in which fruits and roots are to be offered? What
species’ also of paddy should be avoided in Sraddhas? Do thou tell me all
this, O grandsire!’

“Bhishma said, ‘Listen to me, O ruler of men, as I tell thee how the
Sraddha was introduced, the time of such introduction, the essences of
the rite, and the Muni who conceived it. From the Self-born Brahman
sprang Atri, O thou of Kuru’s race. In Atri’s race was born a Muni of the
name of Dattatreya. Dattatreya got a son of the name of Nimi possessed of
wealth of asceticism. Nimi got a son named Srimat who was endued with
great beauty of person. Upon the expiration of a full thousand years,
Srimat, having undergone the severest austerities, succumbed to the
influence of Time and departed from this world. His sire Nimi, having
performed the Purificatory rites according to the ritual laid down in the
ordinance, became filled with great grief, thinking continually of the
loss of his son.[411] Thinking of that cause of sorrow the high-souled
Nimi collected together various agreeable objects (of food and drink) on
the fourteenth day of the moon. The next morning he rose from bed. Pained
his heart was with grief, as he rose from sleep that day–he succeeded in
withdrawing it from the one object upon which it had been working. His
understanding succeeded in busying itself with other matters. With
concentrated attention he then conceived the idea of a Sraddha. All those
articles of his own food, consisting of fruits and roots, and all those
kinds of staple grains that were agreeable to him, were carefully thought
of by that sage possessed of wealth of penances. On the day of the New
moon he invited a number of adorable Brahmanas (to his asylum). Possessed
of great wisdom, Nimi caused them to be seated on seats (of Kusa grass)
and honoured them by going around their persons. Approaching seven such
Brahmanas whom he had brought to his abode together, the puissant Nimi
gave unto them food consisting of Syamaka rice, unmixed with salt.
Towards the feet of those Brahmanas engaged in eating the food that was
served unto them a number of Kusa blades was spread out on the seats they
occupied, with the top ends of the blades directed towards the south.
With a pure body and mind and with concentrated attention, Nimi, having
placed those blades of sacred grass in the way indicated, offered cakes
of rice unto his dead son, uttering his name and family. Having done
this, that foremost of Munis became filled with regret at the idea of
having achieved an act that had not (to his knowledge) been laid down in
any of the scriptures. Indeed, filled with regret he began to think of
what he had done.[412] ‘Never done before by the Munis, alas, what have I
done! How shall I (for having done an act that has not been ordained)
avoid being cursed by the Brahmanas (as an introducer of strange rites)?’
He then thought of the original progenitor of his race. As soon as he was
thought of, Atri endued with wealth of penances came there. Beholding him
exceedingly afflicted with grief on account of the death of his son, the
immortal Atri comforted him with agreeable counsels. He said unto him, ‘O
Mini, this rite that thou hast conceived, is a sacrifice in honour of the
Pitris. Let no fear be thine, O thou that art possessed of the wealth of
asceticism! The Grandsire Brahman himself, in days of old, laid it down!
This rite that thou hast conceived has been ordained by the Self-born
himself. Who else than the Self-born could ordain this ritual in
Sraddhas? I shall presently tell thee, O son, the excellent ordinance
laid down in respect of Sraddhas. Ordained by the Self-born himself, O
son, do thou follow it. Listen to me first! Having first performed the
Karana on the sacred fire with the aid of Mantras, O thou that art
possessed of wealth of penances, one should always pour libations next
unto the deity of fire, and Soma, and Varuna. Unto the Viswedevas also,
who are always the companions of the Pitris, the Self-born then ordained
a portion of the offerings. The Earth also, as the goddess that sustains
the offerings made at Sraddhas, should then be praised under the names of
Vaishnavi, Kasyapi, and the inexhaustible.[413] When water is being
fetched for the Sraddha, the deity Varuna of great puissance should be
praised. After this, both Agni and Soma should be invoked with reverence
and gratified (with libations), O sinless one. Those deities that are
called by the name of Pitris were created by the Self-born. Others also,
highly blessed, viz., the Ushnapsa, were created by him. For all these
shares have been ordained of the offerings made at Sraddhas. By adoring
all these deities at Sraddhas, the ancestors of the persons performing
them become freed from all sins. The Pitris referred to above as those
created by the Self-born number seven. The Viswedevas having Agni for
their mouth (for it is through Agni that they feed), have been mentioned
before. I shall now mention the names of those high-souled deities who
deserve shares of the offerings made at Sraddhas. Those names at Vala,
Dhriti, Vipapa, Punyakrit, Pavana, Parshni, Kshemak, Divysanu, Vivaswat,
Viryavat, Hrimat, Kirtimat, Krita, Jitatman, Munivirya, Diptaroman,
Bhayankara, Anukarman, Pratia, Pradatri, Ansumat, Sailabha, Parama
krodhi, Dhiroshni, Bhupati, Sraja, Vajrin, and Vari,–these are the
eternal Viswedevas. There are others also whose names are Vidyutvarchas,
Somavarchas, and Suryasri. Others also are numbered amongst them, viz.,
Somapa, Suryasavitra, Dattatman, Pundariyaka, Ushninabha, Nabhoda,
Viswayu, Dipti, Chamuhara, Suresa, Vyomari, Sankara Bhava, Isa, Kartri,
Kriti, Daksha, Bhuvana, Divya, Karmakrit, Ganita Panchavirya, Aditya,
Rasmimat, Saptakrit, Somavachas, Viswakrit, Kavi, Anugoptri, Sugoptri,
Naptri, and Iswara:–these highly blessed ones are numbered as the
Viswedevas. They are eternal and conversant with all that occurs in Time.
The species of paddy which should not be offered at Sraddhas are those
called Kodrava, and Pulka. Assafoetida also, among articles used in
cooking, should not be offered, as also onions and garlic, the produce of
the Moringa pterygosperma, Bauhinia Variegata, the meat of animals slain
with envenomed shafts all varieties of Sucuribita Pepo, Sucuribita
lagenaria, and black salt. The other articles that should not be offered
at Sraddhas are the flesh of the domesticated hog, the meat of all
animals not slaughtered at sacrifices, Nigella sativa, salt of the
variety called Vid, the potherb that is called Sitapaki, all sprouts
(like those of the bamboo), and also the Trapa bispinosa. All kinds of
salt should be excluded from the offerings made at Sraddhas, and also the
fruits of the Eugenia Jamblana. All articles, again, upon which any one
has spat or upon which tears have fallen should not be offered at
Sraddhas. Among offerings made to the Pitris or with the Havya and Kavya
offered to the deities, the potherb called Sudarsana (Menispermum
tomentosum, Rox) should not be included. Havi mixed with this is not
acceptable to Pitris. From the place where the Sraddha is being
performed, the Chandala and the Swapacha should be excluded, as also all
who wear clothes steeped in yellow, and persons affected with leprosy, or
one who has been excasted (for transgressions), or one who is guilty of
Brahmanicide, or a Brahmana of mixed descent or one who is the relative
of an excasted man. These all should be excluded by persons possessed of
wisdom from the place where a Sraddha is being performed,’ Having said
these words in days of old unto the Rishi Nimi of his own race, the
illustrious Atri possessed of wealth of penances then went back to the
Grandsire’s assembly in Heaven.'”


“Bhishma said, ‘After Nimi had acted in the way described above, all the
great Rishis began to perform the sacrifice in honour of the Pitris
(called the Sraddha) according to rites laid down in the ordinance.
Firmly devoted to the discharge of all duties, the Rishis, having
performed Sraddhas, began to also offer oblations (unto the Pitris) of
sacred waters, with attention. In consequence, however, of the offerings
made by persons of all classes (unto the Pitris), the Pitris began to
digest that food. Soon they, and the deities also with them, became
afflicted with indigestion. Indeed, afflicted with the heaps of food that
all persons began to give them, they repaired to the presence of Soma.
Approaching Soma they said, ‘Alas, great is our affliction in consequence
of the food that is offered to us at Sraddhas. Do thou ordain what is
necessary for our ease.’ Unto them Soma answered, saying, ‘If, ye gods,
ye are desirous of obtaining ease, do ye repair then into the abode of
the Self-born. Even he will do what is for your good.’ At these words of
Soma, the deities and the Pitris then proceeded, O Bharata, to the
Grandsire where he was seated on the summit of the mountains of Meru.’

“The deities, ‘O illustrious one, with the food that is offered us in
sacrifices and Sraddhas, we are being exceedingly afflicted. O lord, show
us grace and do what would be for our good.’ Hearing these words of
theirs, the Self-born said unto them in reply, ‘Here, the god of fire is
sitting beside me, Even he will do what is for your benefit.’

“Agni said, ‘Ye sires, when a Sraddha comes, we shall together eat the
offerings made to us. If ye eat those offerings with me, ye shall then,
without doubt, succeed in digesting them easily.’ Hearing these words of
the deity of fire, the Pitris became easy of heart. It is for this reason
also that in making offerings at Sraddhas a share is first offered to the
deity of fire, O king. If a portion of the offerings be first made to the
deity of fire at a Sraddha, O prince of men, Rakshasas of regenerate
origin cannot then do any injury to such a Sraddha.[414] Beholding the
deity of fire at a Sraddha Rakshasas fly away from it. The ritual of the
Sraddha is that the cake should first be offered to the (deceased) sire.
Next, one should be offered to the grandsire. Next should one be offered
to the great-grandsire. Even this is the ordinance in respect of the
Sraddha. Over every cake that is offered, the offerer should, with
concentrated attention, utter the Savitri Mantras. This other Mantra also
should be uttered, viz., unto Soma who is fond of the Pitris. A woman
that has become impure in consequence of the advent of her season, or one
whose ears have been cut off, should not be allowed to remain where a
Sraddha is being performed. Nor should a woman (for cooking the rice to
be offered in the Sraddha) be brought from a Gotra other than that of the
person who is performing the Sraddha.[414] While crossing river, one
should offer oblations of water unto one’s Pitris, naming them all.
Indeed, when one comes upon a river one should gratify one’s Pitris with
oblations of water. Having offered oblations of water first unto the
ancestors of one’s own race, one should next offer such oblations to
one’s (deceased) friends and relatives. When one crosses a stream on a
car unto which is yoked a couple of oxen of variegated hue, or from them
that cross a stream on boats, the Pitris expect oblations of water. Those
that know this always offer oblations of water with concentrated
attention unto the Pitris, Every fortnight on the day of the New moon,
one should make offerings unto one’s deceased ancestors. Growth,
longevity, energy, and prosperity become all attainable through devotion
to the Pitris. The Grandsire Brahman, Pulastya, Vasishtha, Pulaha,
Angiras, Kratu and the great Rishi Kasyapa–these, O prince of Kuru’s
race, and regarded as great masters of Yoga. They are numbered among the
Pitris. Even this is the high ritual in respect of th