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The Mahabharata of Krishna-Dwaipayana Vyasa Translated into English Prose Vana Parva, Part 2 online

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Pundits) never to drink wine. It is more rational to suppose
that Karna swears to give up the refined manners and practices
of the Arvas and adopt those of the Asuras till the consummation
of the cherished desire.

"Meanwhile those mighty bowmen, the Pandavas, excited by the words the
messenger had spoken, became anxious, and they did not (from that time)
experience the least happiness. Intelligence, further, O foremost of
kings, had been brought by spies regarding the vow of the Suta's son to
slay Vijaya. Hearing this, O lord of men, Dharma's son became
exceedingly anxious. And considering Karna of the impenetrable mail to
be of wonderful prowess, and remembering all their woes, he knew no
peace. And that high-souled one filled with anxiety, made up his mind to
abandon the woods about _Dwaitavana_ abounding with ferocious animals.

"Meanwhile the royal son of Dhritarashtra began to rule the earth, along
with his heroic brothers as also with Bhishma and Drona and Kripa. And
with the assistance of the Suta's son crowned with martial glory,
Duryodhana remained ever intent on the welfare of the rulers of the
earth, and he worshipped the foremost of Brahmanas by celebrating
sacrifices with profuse gifts. And that hero and subduer of foes, O
king, was engaged in doing good to his brothers, concluding for certain
in his mind that giving and enjoying are the only use of riches."


SECTION CCLVI

Janamejaya said, "After having delivered Duryodhana, what did the mighty
sons of Pandu do in that forest? It behoveth thee to tell me this."

Vaisampayana said, "Once on a time, as Yudhishthira lay down at night in
the _Dwaita_ woods, some deer, with accents choked in tears, presented
themselves before him in his dreams. To them standing with joined hands,
their bodies trembling all over that foremost of monarchs said, 'Tell me
what ye wish to say. Who are ye? And what do ye desire?' Thus accosted
by Kunti's son - the illustrious Pandava, those deer, the remnant of
those that had been slaughtered, replied unto him, saying, 'We are, O
Bharata, those deer that are still alive after them that had been
slaughtered. We shall be exterminated totally. Therefore, do thou change
thy residence. O mighty king, all thy brothers are heroes, conversant
with weapons; they have thinned the ranks of the rangers of the forest.
We few - the remnants, - O mighty-minded one, remain like seed. By thy
favour, O king of kings, let us increase.' Seeing these deer, which
remained like seed after the rest had been destroyed trembling and
afflicted with fear, Yudhishthira the just was greatly affected with
grief. And the king, intent on the welfare of all creatures, said unto
them, 'So be it. I shall act as ye have said.' Awaking after such a
vision, that excellent king, moved by pity towards the deer, thus spake
unto his brothers assembled there, 'Those deer that are alive after them
that have been slaughtered, accosted me at night, after I had awakened,
saying, "_We remain like the cues of our lines. Blest be thou! Do thou
have compassion on us_." And they have spoken truly. We ought to feel
pity for the dwellers of the forest. We have been feeding on them for a
year together and eight months. Let us, therefore, again (repair) to the
romantic Kamyakas, that best of forests abounding in wild animals,
situated at the head of the desert, near lake Trinavindu. And there let
us pleasantly pass the rest of our time.' Then, O king, the Pandavas
versed in morality, swiftly departed (thence), accompanied by the
Brahmanas and all those that lived with them, and followed by Indrasena
and other retainers. And proceeding along the roads walked (by
travellers), furnished with excellent corn and clear water, they at
length beheld the sacred asylum of Kamyaka endued with ascetic merit.
And as pious men enter the celestial regions, those foremost of the
Bharata race, the Kauravas, surrounded by those bulls among Brahmanas
entered that forest."


SECTION CCLVII

Vaisampayana continued, "Dwelling in the woods, O bull of the Bharata
race, the high-souled Pandavas spent one and ten years in a miserable
plight. And although deserving of happiness, those foremost of men,
brooding over their circumstances, passed their days miserably, living
on fruits and roots. And that royal sage, the mighty-armed Yudhishthira,
reflecting that the extremity of misery that had befallen his brothers,
was owing to his own fault, and remembering those sufferings that had
arisen from his act of gambling, could not sleep peacefully. And he felt
as if his heart had been pierced with a lance. And remembering the harsh
words of the Suta's son, the Pandava, repressing the venom of his wrath,
passed his time in humble guise, sighing heavily. And Arjuna and both
the twins and the illustrious Draupadi, and the mighty Bhima - he that
was strongest of all men - experienced the most poignant pain in casting
their eyes on Yudhishthira. And thinking that a short time only remained
(of their exile), those bulls among men, influenced by rage and hope and
by resorting to various exertions and endeavours, made their bodies
assume almost different shapes.

"After a little while, that mighty ascetic, Vyasa, the son of Satyavati,
came there to see the Pandavas. And seeing him approach, Kunti's son,
Yudhishthira, stepped forward, and duly received that high-souled one.
And having gratified Vyasa by bowing down unto him, Pandu's son of
subdued senses, after the _Rishi_ had been seated, sat down before him,
desirous of listening to him. And beholding his grandsons lean and
living in the forest on the produce of the wilderness, that mighty sage,
moved by compassion, said these words, in accents choked in tears, 'O
mighty-armed Yudhishthira, O thou best of virtuous persons, those men
that do not perform ascetic austerities never attain great happiness in
this world. People experience happiness and misery by turns; for surely,
O bull among men, no man ever enjoyeth unbroken happiness. A wise man
endued with high wisdom, knowing that life hath its ups and downs, is
neither filled with joy nor with grief. When happiness cometh, one
should enjoy it; when misery cometh, one should bear it, as a sower of
crops must bide his season. Nothing is superior to asceticism: by
asceticism one acquireth mighty fruit. Do thou know, O Bharata, that
there is nothing that asceticism cannot achieve. Truth, sincerity,
freedom from anger, justice, self-control, restraint of the faculties,
immunity from malice, guilelessness, sanctity, and mortification of the
senses, these, O mighty monarch, purify a person of meritorious acts.
Foolish persons addicted to vice and bestial ways, attain to brutish
births in after life and never enjoy happiness. The fruit of acts done
in this world is reaped in the next. Therefore should one restrain his
body by asceticism and the observance of vows. And, O king, free from
guile and with a cheerful spirit, one should, according to his power,
bestow gifts, after going down to the recipient and paying him homage. A
truth-telling person attaineth a life devoid of trouble. A person void
of anger attaineth sincerity, and one free from malice acquireth supreme
contentment. A person who hath subdued his senses and his inner
faculties, never knoweth tribulation; nor is a person of subdued senses
affected by sorrow at the height of other's prosperity. A man who giveth
everyone his due, and the bestower of boons, attain happiness, and come
by every object of enjoyment; while a man free from envy reapeth perfect
ease. He that honoureth those to whom honour is due, attaineth birth in
an illustrious line; and he that hath subdued his senses, never cometh
by misfortune. A man whose mind followeth good, after having paid his
debt to nature, is on this account, born again endued with a righteous
mind.'

"Yudhishthira said, 'O eminently virtuous one, O mighty sage, of the
bestowal of gifts and the observance of asceticism, which is of greater
efficacy in the next world, and which, harder of practice?'

"Vyasa said, 'There is nothing, O child, in this world harder to
practise than charity. Men greatly thirst after wealth, and wealth also
is gotten with difficulty. Nay, renouncing even dear life itself, heroic
men, O magnanimous one, enter into the depths of the sea and the forest
for the sake of wealth. For wealth, some betake themselves to
agriculture and the tending of kine, and some enter into servitude.
Therefore, it is extremely difficult to part with wealth that is
obtained with such trouble. Since nothing is harder to practise than
charity, therefore, in my opinion, even the bestowal of boons is
superior to everything. Specially is this to be borne in mind that
well-earned gains should, in proper time and place, be given away to
pious men. But the bestowal of ill-gotten gains can never rescue the
giver from the evil of rebirth. It hath been declared, O Yudhishthira,
that by bestowing, in a pure spirit, even a slight gift in due time and
to a fit recipient, a man attaineth inexhaustible fruit in the next
world. In this connection is instanced the old story regarding the fruit
obtained by _Mudgala_, for having given away only a _drona_[45] of
corn.'"

[45] A very small measure.


SECTION CCLVIII

"Yudhishthira said, 'Why did that high-souled one give away a drona of
corn? And, O eminently pious one, to whom and in what prescribed way did
he give it? Do thou tell me this. Surely, I consider the life of that
virtuous person as having borne fruit with whose practices the possessor
himself of the six attributes, witnessing everything, was well pleased.'

"Vyasa said, 'There lived, O king, in Kurukshetra a virtuous man (sage),
Mudgala by name. And he was truthful, and free from malice, and of
subdued senses. And he used to lead the _Sila_ and _Unchha_ modes of
life.[46] And although living like a pigeon, yet that one of mighty
austerities entertained his guests, celebrated the sacrifice called
_Istikrita_, and performed other rites. And that sage together with his
son and wife, ate for a fortnight, and during the other fortnight led
the life of a pigeon, collecting a _drona_ of corn. And celebrating the
_Darsa_ and _Paurnamasya_ sacrifices, that one devoid of guile, used to
pass his days by taking the food that remained after the deities and the
guests had eaten. And on auspicious lunar days, that lord of the three
worlds, Indra himself, accompanied by the celestials used, O mighty
monarch, to partake of the food offered at his sacrifice. And that one,
having adopted the life of a _Muni_, with a cheerful heart entertained
his guests also with food on such days. And as that high-souled one
distributed his food with alacrity, the remainder of the _drona_ of corn
increased as soon as a guest appeared. And by virtue of the pure spirit
in which the sage gave away, that food of his increased so much that
hundreds upon hundreds of learned Brahmanas were fed with it.

[46] Picking up for support (1) ears of corn and (2) individual
grains, left on the field by husbandmen after they have gathered
and carried away the sheaves, are called the Sila and the Unchha
modes of life.

"'And, O king, it came to pass that having heard of the virtuous Mudgala
observant of vows, the _Muni_ Durvasa, having space alone for his
covering,[47] his accoutrements worn like that of maniac, and his head
bare of hair, came there, uttering, O Pandava various insulting words.
And having arrived there that best of _Munis_ said unto the Brahmana,
"Know thou, O foremost of Brahmanas, that I have come hither seeking for
food." Thereupon Mudgala said unto the sage, "Thou art welcome!" And
then offering to that maniac of an ascetic affected by hunger, water to
wash his feet and mouth, that one observant of the vow of feeding
guests, respectfully placed before him excellent fare. Affected by
hunger, the frantic _Rishi_ completely exhausted the food that had been
offered unto him. Thereupon, Mudgala furnished him again with food. Then
having eaten up all that food, he besmeared his body with the unclean
orts and went away as he had come. In this manner, during the next
season, he came again and ate up all the food supplied by that wise one
leading the _Unchha_ mode of life. Thereupon, without partaking any food
himself, the sage Mudgala again became engaged in collecting corn,
following the _Unchha_ mode. Hunger could not disturb his equanimity.
Nor could anger, nor guile, nor a sense of degradation, nor agitation,
enter into the heart of that best of Brahmanas leading the _Unchha_ mode
of life along with his son and his wife. In this way, Durvasa having
made up his mind, during successive seasons presented himself for six
several times before that best of sages living according to the _Unchha_
mode; yet that _Muni_ could not perceive any agitation in Mudgala's
heart; and he found the pure heart of the pure-souled ascetic always
pure. Thereupon, well-pleased, the sage addressed Mudgala, saying,
"There is not another guileless and charitable being like thee on earth.
The pangs of hunger drive away to a distance the sense of righteousness
and deprive people of all patience. The tongue, loving delicacies,
attracteth men towards them. Life is sustained by food. The mind,
moreover, is fickle, and it is hard to keep it in subjection. The
concentration of the mind and of the senses surely constitutes ascetic
austerities. It must be hard to renounce in a pure spirit a thing earned
by pains. Yet, O pious one, all this hath been duly achieved by thee. In
thy company we feel obliged and gratified. Self-restraint, fortitude,
justice, control of the senses and of faculties, mercy, and virtue, all
these are established in thee. Thou hast by thy deeds conquered the
different worlds and have thereby obtained admission into paths of
beautitude. Ah! even the dwellers of heaven are proclaiming thy mighty
deeds of charity. O thou observant of vows, thou shalt go to heaven even
in thine own body."

[47] Naked.

"'Whilst the _Muni_ Durvasa was speaking thus, a celestial messenger
appeared before Mudgala, upon a car yoked with swans and cranes, hung
with a neat work of bells, scented with divine fragrance, painted
picturesquely, and possessed of the power of going everywhere at will.
And he addressed the Brahmana sage, saying, "O sage, do thou ascend into
this chariot earned by thy acts. Thou hast attained the fruit of thy
asceticism!"

"'As the messenger of the gods was speaking thus, the sage told him, "O
divine messenger, I desire that thou mayst describe unto me the
attributes of those that reside there. What are their austerities, and
what their purposes? And, O messenger of the gods, what constitutes
happiness in heaven, and what are the disadvantages thereof? It is
declared by virtuous men of good lineage that friendship with pious
people is contracted by only walking with them seven paces. O lord, in
the name of that friendship I ask thee, do thou without hesitation tell
me the truth, and that which is good for me now. Having heard thee, I
shall, according to thy words, ascertain the course I ought to
follow."'"


SECTION CCLIX

"'The messenger of the gods said, "O great sage, thou art of simple
understanding; since, having secured that celestial bliss which bringeth
great honour, thou art still deliberating like an unwise person. O
_Muni_, that region which is known as heaven, existeth there above us.
Those regions tower high, and are furnished with excellent paths, and
are, O sage, always ranged by celestial cars. Atheists, and untruthful
persons, those that have not practised ascetic austerities and those
that have not performed great sacrifices, cannot repair thither. Only
men of virtuous souls, and those of subdued spirits, and those that have
their faculties in subjection, and those that have controlled their
senses, and those that are free from malice, and persons intent on the
practice of charity, and heroes, and men bearing marks of battle, after
having, with subdued senses and faculties, performed the most
meritorious rites, attain those regions, O Brahmana, capable of being
obtained only by virtuous acts, and inhabited by pious men. There, O
Mudgala, are established separately myriads of beautiful, shining, and
resplendent worlds bestowing every object of desire, owned by those
celestial beings, the gods, the _Sadhyas_, and the _Vaiswas_, the great
sages, _Yamas_, and the _Dharmas_, and the _Gandharvas_ and the
_Apsaras_. And there is that monarch of mountains the golden Meru
extending over a space of thirty-three thousand _Yojanas_. And there, O
Mudgala, are the sacred gardens of the celestials, with Nandana at their
head, where sport the persons of meritorious acts. And neither hunger,
nor thirst, nor lassitude, nor fear, nor anything that is disgusting or
inauspicious is there. And all the odours of that place are delightful,
and all the breezes delicious to the touch. And all the sounds there are
captivating, O sage, to the ear and the heart. And neither grief, nor
decrepitude, nor labour, nor repentance also is there. That world, O
_Muni_, obtained as the fruit of one's own acts, is of this nature.
Persons repair thither by virtue of their meritorious deeds. And the
persons of those that dwell there look resplendent, and this, O Mudgala,
solely by virtue of their own acts, and not owing to the merits of
father or mothers. And there is neither sweat, nor stench, nor urine
there. And there, O _Muni_, dust doth not soils one's garments. And
their excellent garlands, redolent of divine fragrance, never fade. And,
O Brahmana, they yoke such cars as this (that I have brought). And, O
mighty sage, devoid of envy and grief and fatigue and ignorance and
malice, men who have attained heaven, dwell in those regions happily.
And, O bull among _Munis_, higher and higher over such regions there are
others endued with higher celestial virtues. Of these, the beautiful and
resplendent regions of Brahma are the foremost. Thither, O Brahmana,
repair _Rishis_ that have been sanctified by meritorious acts. And there
dwell certain beings named _Ribhus_. They are the gods of the gods
themselves. Their regions are supremely blessed, and are adored even by
the deities. These shine by their own light, and bestow every object of
desire. They suffer no pangs that women might cause, do not possess
worldly wealth, and are free from guile. The _Ribhus_ do not subsist on
oblations, nor yet on ambrosia. And they are endued with such celestial
forms that they cannot be perceived by the senses. And these eternal
gods of the celestials do not desire happiness for happiness' sake, nor
do they change at the revolution of a _Kalpa_. Where, indeed, is their
decrepitude or dissolution? For them there is neither ecstasy, nor joy,
nor happiness. They have neither happiness nor misery. Wherefore should
they have anger or aversion then, O _Muni_? O Mudgala, their supreme
state is coveted even by the gods. And that crowning emancipation, hard
to attain, can never be acquired by people subject to desire. The number
of those deities is thirty-three. To their regions repair wise men,
after having observed excellent vows, or bestowed gifts according to the
ordinance. Thou also hast easily acquired that success by thy charities.
Do thou, by effulgence displayed by virtue of thy ascetic austerities,
enjoy that condition obtained by thy meritorious acts. Such, O Brahmana,
is the bliss of heaven containing various worlds.

"'"Thus have I described unto thee the blessing of the celestial
regions. Do thou now hear from me some of the disadvantages thereof.
That in the celestial regions a person, while reaping the fruit of the
acts he hath already performed, cannot be engaged in any others, and
that he must enjoy the consequences of the former until they are
completely exhausted, and, further, that he is subject to fall after he
hath entirely exhausted his merit, form, in my opinion, the
disadvantages of heaven. The fall of a person whose mind hath been
steeped in happiness, must, O Mudgala, be pronounced as a fault. And the
discontent and regret that must follow one's stay at an inferior seat
after one hath enjoyed more auspicious and brighter regions, must be
hard to bear. And the consciousness of those about to fall is stupefied,
and also agitated by emotions. And as the garlands of those about to
fall fade away, fear invadeth their hearts. These mighty drawbacks, O
Mudgala, extend even to the regions of Brahma. In the celestial regions,
the virtues of men who have performed righteous acts, are countless.
And, O _Muni_, this is another of the attributes of the fallen that, by
reason of their merits, they take birth among men. And then they attain
to high fortune and happiness. If one, however, cannot acquire knowledge
here, one cometh by an inferior birth. The fruits of acts done in this
world are reaped in the next. This world, O Brahmana, hath been declared
to be one of acts; the others, as one of fruit. Thus have I, O Mudgala,
asked by thee, described all unto thee. Now, O pious one, with thy
favour, we shall easily set out with speed."'

"Vyasa continued, 'Having heard this speech, Mudgala began to reflect in
his mind. And having deliberated well, that best of _Munis_ spake thus
unto the celestial messenger, "O messenger of the gods, I bow unto thee.
Do thou, O sire, depart in peace. I have nothing to do with either
happiness, or heaven having such prominent defects. Persons who enjoy
heaven suffer, after all, huge misery and extreme regret in this world.
Therefore, I do not desire heaven. I shall seek for that unfailing
region repairing whither people have not to lament, or to be pained, or
agitated. Thou hast described unto me these great defects belonging to
the celestial regions. Do thou now describe unto me a region free from
faults." Thereupon the celestial messenger said, "Above the abode of
_Brahma_, there is the supreme seat of Vishnu, pure, and eternal, and
luminous known by the name of _Para Brahma_. Thither, O Brahmana, cannot
repair persons who are attached to the objects of the senses: nor can
those subject to arrogance, covetousness, ignorance, anger, and envy, go
to that place. It is only those that are free from affection, and those
free from pride, and those free from conflicting emotions, and those
that have restrained their senses, and those given to contemplation and
_Yoga_, that can repair thither." Having heard these words, the _Muni_
bade farewell to the celestial messenger, and that virtuous one leading
the _Unchha_ mode of life, assumed perfect contentment. And then praise
and dispraise became equal unto him; and a brickbat, stone, and gold
assumed the same aspect in his eyes. And availing himself of the means
of attaining _Brahma_, he became always engaged in meditation. And
having obtained power by means of knowledge, and acquired excellent
understanding, he attained that supreme state of emancipation which is
regarded as Eternal. Therefore, thou also, O Kunti's son, ought not to
grieve. Deprived thou hast truly been of a flourishing kingdom, but thou
wilt regain it by thy ascetic austerities. Misery after happiness, and
happiness after misery, revolve by turns round a man even like the point
of a wheel's circumference round the axle. After the thirteenth year
hath passed away, thou wilt, O thou of immeasurable might, get back the
kingdom possessed before thee by thy father and grand-father. Therefore,
let the fever of thy heart depart!'"

Vaisampayana continued, "Having said this to Pandu's son, the worshipful
Vyasa went back to his hermitage for the purpose of performing
austerities."


SECTION CCLX

Janamejaya said, "While the high-souled Pandavas were living in those
woods, delighted with the pleasant conversation they held with the
_Munis_, and engaged in distributing the food they obtained from the
sun, with various kinds of venison to Brahmanas and others that came to
them for edibles till the hour of Krishna's meal, how, O great _Muni_,
did Duryodhana and the other wicked and sinful sons of Dhritarashtra,
guided by the counsels of Dussasana, Karna and Sakuni, deal with them? I
ask thee this. Do thou, worshipful Sir, enlighten me."

Vaisampayana said, "When, O great king, Duryodhana heard that the
Pandavas were living as happily in the woods as in a city, he longed,
with the artful Karna, Dussasana and others, to do them harm. And while
those evil-minded persons were employed in concerting various wicked
designs, the virtuous and celebrated ascetic Durvasa, following the bent



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