The Mahabharata of Krishna-Dwaipayana Vyasa, Volume 1
by Kisari Mohan Ganguli
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of man? Who is that friend bestowed on man by the gods? What is man's chief support? And what also is his chief refuge?' Yudhishthira answered,—'The son is a man's soul: the wife is the friend bestowed on man by the gods; the clouds are his chief support; and gift is his chief refuge.' The Yaksha asked,—'What is the best of all laudable things? What is the most valuable of all his possessions? What is the best of all gains? And what is the best of all kinds of happiness?' Yudhishthira answered,—"The best of all laudable things is skill; the best of all possessions is knowledge: the best of all gains is health: and contentment is the best of all kinds of happiness.' The Yaksha asked,—'What is the highest duty in the world? What is that virtue which always beareth fruit? What is that which if controlled, leadeth not to regret? And who are they with whom an alliance cannot break?' Yudhishthira answered,—'The highest of duties is to refrain from injury: the rites ordained in the Three (Vedas) always bear fruit: the mind, if controlled, leadeth to no regret: and an alliance with the good never breaketh.' The Yaksha asked,—'What is that which, if renounced, maketh one agreeable? What is that which, if renounced, leadeth to no regret? What is that which, if renounced, maketh one wealthy? And what is that which if renounced, maketh one happy?' Yudhishthira answered,—'Pride, if renounced, maketh one agreeable; wrath, if renounced leadeth to no regret: desire, if renounced, maketh one wealthy: and avarice, if renounced, maketh one happy.' The Yaksha asked,—'For what doth one give away to Brahmanas? For what to mimes and dancers? For what to servants? And for what to king?' Yudhishthira answered,—'It is for religious merit that one giveth away to Brahmanas: it is for fame that one giveth away to mimes and dancers: it is for supporting them that one giveth away to servants: and it is for obtaining relief from fear that one giveth to kings.' The Yaksha asked,—'With what is the world enveloped? What is that owing to which a thing cannot discover itself? For what are friends forsaken? And for what doth one fail to go to heaven?' Yudhishthira answered,—'The world is enveloped with darkness. Darkness doth not permit a thing to show itself. It is from avarice that friends are forsaken. And it is connection with the world for which one faileth to go to heaven.' The Yaksha asked,—'For what may one be considered as dead? For what may a kingdom be considered as dead? For what may a Sraddha be considered as dead? And for what, a sacrifice?' Yudhishthira answered,—'For want of wealth may a man be regarded as dead. A kingdom for want of a king may be regarded as dead. A Sraddha that is performed with the aid of a priest that hath no learning may be regarded as dead. And a sacrifice in which there are no gifts to Brahmanas is dead.' The Yaksha asked,—'What constitutes the way? What, hath been spoken of as water? What, as food? And what, as poison? Tell us also what is the proper time of a Sraddha, and then drink and take away as much as thou likest!' Yudhishthira answered,—'They that are good constitute the way.[115] Space hath been spoken of as water.[116] The cow is food.[117] A request is poison. And a Brahmana is regarded as the proper time of a Sraddha.[118] I do not know what thou mayst think of all this, O Yaksha?' The Yaksha asked,—'What hath been said to be the sign of asceticism? And what is true restraint? What constitutes forgiveness. And what is shame?' Yudhishthira answered,—'Staying in one's own religion is asceticism: the restraint of the mind is of all restraints the true one: forgiveness consists in enduring enmity; and shame, in withdrawing from all unworthy acts.' The Yaksha asked,—'What, O king is said to be knowledge? What, tranquillity? What constitutes mercy? And what hath been called simplicity?' Yudhishthira answered,—'True knowledge is that of Divinity. True tranquillity is that of the heart. Mercy consists in wishing happiness to all. And simplicity is equanimity of heart.' The Yaksha asked,—'What enemy is invincible? What constitutes an incurable disease for man? What sort of a man is called honest and what dishonest?' Yudhishthira answered,—'Anger is an invincible enemy. Covetousness constitutes an incurable disease. He is honest that desires the weal of all creatures, and he is dishonest who is unmerciful.' The Yaksha asked,—'What, O king, is ignorance? And what is pride? What also is to be understood by idleness? And what hath been spoken of as grief?' Yudhishthira answered,—'True ignorance consists in not knowing one's duties. Pride is a consciousness of one's being himself an actor or sufferer in life. Idleness consists in not discharging one's duties, and ignorance in grief.' The Yaksha asked,—'What hath steadiness been said by the Rishis to be? And what, patience? What also is a real ablution? And what is charity?' Yudhishthira answered,—'Steadiness consists in one's staying in one's own religion, and true patience consists in the subjugation of the senses. A true bath consists in washing the mind clean of all impurities, and charity consists in protecting all creatures.' The Yaksha asked,—'What man should be regarded as learned, and who should be called an atheist? Who also is to be called ignorant? What is called desire and what are the sources of desire? And what is envy?' Yudhishthira answered,—'He is to be called learned who knoweth his duties. An atheist is he who is ignorant and so also he is ignorant who is an atheist. Desire is due to objects of possession, and envy is nothing else than grief of heart.' The Yaksha asked,—'What is pride, and what is hypocrisy? What is the grace of the gods, and what is wickedness?' Yudhishthira answered,—'Stolid ignorance is pride. The setting up of a religious standard is hypocrisy. The grace of the gods is the fruit of our gifts, and wickedness consists in speaking ill of others.' The Yaksha asked,—'Virtue, profit, and desire are opposed to one another. How could things thus antagonistic to one another exist together?' Yudhishthira answered,—'When a wife and virtue agree with each other, then all the three thou hast mentioned may exist together.' The Yaksha asked,—'O bull of the Bharata race, who is he that is condemned to everlasting hell? It behoveth thee to soon answer the question that I ask!' Yudhishthira answered,—'He that summoneth a poor Brahmana promising to make him a gift and then tells him that he hath nothing to give, goeth to everlasting hell. He also must go to everlasting hell, who imputes falsehood to the Vedas, the scriptures, the Brahmanas, the gods, and the ceremonies in honour of the Pitris, He also goeth to everlasting hell who though in possession of wealth, never giveth away nor enjoyeth himself from avarice, saying, he hath none.' The Yaksha asked,—'By what, O king, birth, behaviour, study, or learning doth a person become a Brahmana? Tell us with certitude!' Yudhishthira answered,-'Listen, O Yaksha! It is neither birth, nor study, nor learning, that is the cause of Brahmanahood, without doubt, it is behaviour that constitutes it. One's behaviour should always be well-guarded, especially by a Brahmana. He who maintaineth his conduct unimpaired, is never impaired himself. Professors and pupils, in fact, all who study the scriptures, if addicted to wicked habits, are to be regarded as illiterate wretches. He only is learned who performeth his religious duties. He even that hath studied the four Vedas is to be regarded as a wicked wretch scarcely distinguishable from a Sudra (if his conduct be not correct). He only who performeth the Agnihotra and hath his senses under control, is called a Brahmana!' The Yaksha asked,—'What doth one gain that speaketh agreeable words? What doth he gain that always acteth with judgment? What doth he gain that hath many friends? And what he, that is devoted to virtue?'—Yudhishthira answered,—'He that speaketh agreeable words becometh agreeable to all. He that acteth with judgment obtaineth whatever he seeketh. He that hath many friends liveth happily. And he that is devoted to virtue obtaineth a happy state (in the next world).' The Yaksha asked,—'Who is truly happy? What is most wonderful? What is the path? And what is the news? Answer these four questions of mine and let thy dead brothers revive.' Yudhishthira answered,—'O amphibious creature, a man who cooketh in his own house, on the fifth or the sixth part of the day, with scanty vegetables, but who is not in debt and who stirreth not from home, is truly happy. Day after day countless creatures are going to the abode of Yama, yet those that remain behind believe themselves to be immortal. What can be more wonderful than this? Argument leads to no certain conclusion, the Srutis are different from one another; there is not even one Rishi whose opinion can be accepted by all; the truth about religion and duty is hid in caves: therefore, that alone is the path along which the great have trod. This world full of ignorance is like a pan. The sun is fire, the days and nights are fuel. The months and the seasons constitute the wooden ladle. Time is the cook that is cooking all creatures in that pan (with such aids); this is the news.' The Yaksha asked,—'Thou hast, O represser of foes, truly answered all my questions! Tell us now who is truly a man, and what man truly possesseth every kind of wealth.' Yudhishthira answered,—'The report of one's good action reacheth heaven and spreadeth over the earth. As long as that report lasteth, so long is a person to whom the agreeable and the disagreeable, weal and woe, the past and the future, are the same, is said to possess every kind of wealth.' The Yaksha said,—'Thou hast, O king truly answered who is a man, and what man possesseth every kind of wealth. Therefore, let one only amongst thy brothers, whom thou mayst wish, get up with life!' Yudhishthira answered,—'Let this one that is of darkish hue, whose eyes are red, who is tall like a large Sala tree, whose chest is broad and arms long, let this Nakula, O Yaksha, get up with life! The Yaksha rejoined,-'This Bhimasena is dear unto thee, and this Arjuna also is one upon whom all of you depend! Why, then, O king dost thou, wish a step-brother to get up with his life! How canst thou, forsaking Bhima whose strength is equal to that of ten thousand elephants, wish Nakula to live? People said that this Bhima was dear to thee. From what motive then dost thou wish a step-brother to revive? Forsaking Arjuna the might of whose arm is worshipped by all the sons of Pandu, why dost thou wish Nakula to revive?' Yudhishthira said,—'If virtue is sacrificed, he that sacrificeth it, is himself lost. So virtue also cherisheth the cherisher. Therefore taking care that virtue by being sacrificed may not sacrifice us, I never forsake virtue. Abstention from injury is the highest virtue, and is, I ween, even higher than the highest object of attainment. I endeavour to practise that virtue. Therefore, let Nakula, O Yaksha, revive! Let men know that the king is always virtuous! I will never depart from my duty. Let Nakula, therefore, revive! My father had two wives, Kunti and Madri. Let both of them have children. This is what I wish. As Kunti is to me, so also is Madri. There is no difference between them in my eye. I desire to act equally towards my mothers. Therefore, let Nakula live?' The Yaksha said,—'Since abstention from injury is regarded by thee as higher than both profit and pleasure, therefore, let all thy brothers live, O bull of Bharata race!"


Vaisampayana continued,—"Then agreeable to the words of the Yaksha the Pandavas rose up; and in a moment their hunger and thirst left them. Thereupon Yudhishthira said, 'I ask thee that art incapable of being vanquished and that standest on one leg in the tank, what god art thou, for I cannot take thee for a Yaksha! Art thou the foremost of the Vasus, or of the Rudras, or of the chief of the Maruts? Or art thou the lord himself of the celestials, wielder of the thunder-bolt! Each of these my brothers is capable of fighting as hundred thousand warriors, and I see not the warrior that can slay them all! I see also that their senses have refreshed, as if they have sweetly awaked from slumber. Art thou a friend of ours, or even our father himself? At this the Yaksha replied,-'O child, I am even thy father, the Lord of justice, possessed of great prowess! Know, bull of the Bharata race, that I came hither desirous of beholding thee! Fame, truth, self-restraint, purity, candour, modesty, steadiness, charity, austerities and Brahmacharya, these are my body! And abstention from injury, impartiality, peace, penances, sanctity, and freedom from malice are the doors (through which I am accessible). Thou art always dear to me! By good luck thou art devoted to the five;[119] and by good luck also thou hast conquered the six.[120] Of the six, two appear in the first part of life; two in the middle part thereof; and the remaining two at the end, in order to make men repair to the next world. I am, good betide thee, the lord of justice! I came hither to test thy merit. I am well-pleased to witness thy harmlessness; and, O sinless one, I will confer boons on thee. Do thou, O foremost of kings, ask of me boons. I shall surely confer them, O sinless one! Those that revere me, never come by distress!' Yudhishthira said,—'A deer was carrying away the Brahmana's fire-sticks. Therefore, the first boon that I shall ask, is, may that Brahmana's adorations to Agni be not interrupted!' The Yaksha said,—'O Kunti's son endued with splendour, it was I who for examining thee, was carrying away, in the guise of a deer, that Brahmana's fire-sticks!"

Vaisampayana continued,—"Thereupon that worshipful one said,—'I give thee this boon! Good betide thee! O thou that are like unto an immortal, ask thou a fresh boon! Yudhishthira said,—'We have spent these twelve years in the forest; and the thirteenth year is come. May no one recognise us, as we spend this year somewhere.'

Vaisampayana continued,-'Thereat that worshipful one replied,—'I give this boon unto thee!' And then reassuring Kunti's son having truth for prowess, he also said, 'Even if, O Bharata, ye range this (entire) earth in your proper forms none in the three worlds shall recognise you. Ye perpetuators of the Kuru race, through my grace, ye will spend this thirteenth year, secretly and unrecognised, in Virata's kingdom! And every one of you will be able at will to assume any form he likes! Do ye now present the Brahmana with his fire-sticks. It was only to test you that I carried them away in the form of a deer! O amiable Yudhishthira, do thou ask for another boon that thou mayst like! I will confer it on thee. O foremost of men, I have not yet been satisfied by granting boons to thee! Do thou my son, accept a third boon that is great and incomparable! Thou, O king, art born of me, and Vidura of portion or mine!" Thereat Yudhishthira said,—'It is enough that I have beheld thee with my senses, eternal God of gods as thou art! O father, whatever boon thou wilt confer on me I shall surely accept gladly! May I, O lord, always conquer covetousness and folly and anger, and may my mind be ever devoted to charity, truth, and ascetic austerities! The Lord of justice said,—'Even by nature, O Pandava, hast thou been endued with these qualities, for thou art the Lord of justice himself! Do thou again attain what thou asked for!"

Vaisampayana continued,—"Having said these words, the worshipful Lord of justice, who is the object of contemplation of all the worlds, vanished therefrom; and the high-souled Pandavas after they had slept sweetly were united with one another. And their fatigue dispelled, those heroes returned to the hermitage, and gave back that Brahmana his firesticks. That man who pursueth this illustrious and fame-enhancing story of the revival (of the Pandavas) and the meeting of father and son (Dharma and Yudhishthira), obtaineth perfect tranquillity of mind, and sons and grandsons, and also a life extending over a hundred years! And the mind of that man that layeth this story to heart, never delighteth in unrighteousness, or in disunion among friends, or misappropriation of other person's property, or staining other people's wives, or in foul thoughts!


Vaisampayana continued,—"Commanded by the Lord of justice to thus spend in disguise the thirteenth year of non-discovery, the high-souled Pandavas, observant of vows and having truth for prowess, sat before those learned and vow-observing ascetics that from regard were dwelling with them in their exile in the forest. And with joined hands they said these words, with the intention of obtaining permission to spend the thirteenth year in the manner indicated. And they said, 'Ye know well that the sons of Dhritarashtra have by deceit deprived us of our kingdom, and have also done us many other wrongs! We have passed twelve years in the forest in great affliction. The thirteenth year only, which we are to spend unrecognised, yet remaineth. It behoveth you to permit us now to spend this year in concealment! Those rancorous enemies of ours Suyodhana, the wicked-minded Kama, and Suvala's son should they discover us, would do mighty wrong to the citizens and our friends! Shall we all with the Brahmanas, be again established in our own kingdom? Having said this, that pure-spirited son of Dharma king Yudhishthira, overwhelmed with grief and with accents choked in tears, swooned away. Thereupon the Brahmanas, together with his brothers began to cheer him up. Then Dhaumya spake unto the king these words fraught with mighty meaning,—'O king, thou art learned and capable of bearing privations, art firm in promise, and of subdued sense! Men of such stamp are not overwhelmed by any calamity whatever. Even the high-souled gods themselves have wandered over various places in disguise, for the purpose of overcoming foes. Indra for the purpose of overcoming his toes, dwelt in disguise in the asylum of Giriprastha, in Nishadha and thus attained his end. Before taking his birth in the womb of Aditi, Vishnu for the purpose of destroying the Daityas passed a long time unrecognised, assuming the form of the Haya-griba (Horse-necked). Then how disguising himself in the form of a dwarf, he by his prowess deprived Vali of his kingdom, hath been heard by thee! And thou hast also heard how Hutasana entering into water and remaining in concealment, achieved the purpose of the gods. And O thou versed in duty, thou hast heard how Hari with the view of overcoming his foes, entered into Sakra's thunder-bolt, and lay concealed there. And, O sinless one, thou hast heard of the office the regenerate Rishi Aurva at one time performed for the gods, remaining concealed in his mother's womb. And O child, living in concealment in every part of the earth, Vivaswat, endued with excellent energy, at last entirely burnt up all his foes. And living disguised in the abode of Dasaratha, Vishnu of dreadful deeds slew the Ten-necked one in battle.' Thus remaining in disguise in various places, high-souled persons have before this conquered their enemies in battle. Thus cheered by these words of Dhaumya, the virtuous Yudhishthira, relying on his own wisdom and also that acquired from the scriptures regained his composure. Then that foremost of strong persons, the mighty-armed Bhimasena endued with great strength encouraging the king greatly, spake these words, 'Looking up to thy face (for permission), the wielder of the Gandiva, acting according to his sense of duty hath not yet, O king, shown any rashness! And although fully able to destroy the foe, Nakula and Sahadeva of dreadful prowess have been ever prevented by me! Never shall we swerve from that in which thou wilt engage us! Do thou tell us what is to be done! We shall speedily conquer our enemies! When Bhimasena had said this, the Brahmanas uttered benedictions on the Bharatas, and then obtaining their permission, went to their respective quarters. And all those foremost of Yatis and Munis versed in the Vedas, exceedingly desirous of again beholding the Pandavas, went back to their homes. And accompanied by Dhaumya, these heroes, the five learned Pandavas equipped in vows set out with Krishna. And each versed in a separate science, and all proficient in mantras and cognisant of when peace was to be concluded and when war was to be waged those tigers among men, about to enter upon a life of non-recognition, the next day proceeded for a Krose and then sat themselves down with the view of taking counsel of each other.

The End of Vana Parva


1. This seems to be the obvious. There is a different reading however. For Drie—cyate-seen, some texts have Sasyate—applauded. Nilakantha imagines that the meaning is "As distribution (of food) amongst the various classes of beings like the gods, the Pitris, &c., is applauded &c., &c."

2. A form of sacrifice which consists in pouring oblations of clarified butter with prayers into a blazing fire. It is obligatory on Brahmanas and Kshatriyas, except those that accept certain vows of great austerity.

3. The Viswedeva sacrifice is the offer of food to all creatures of the earth (by scattering a portion).

4. A gift. It may be of various kinds. The fees paid to Brahmanas assisting at sacrifices and religious rites, such as offering oblations to the dead, are Dakshinas, as also gifts to Brahmanas on other occasions particularly when they are fed, it bring to this day the custom never to feed a Brahmana without paying him a pecuniary fee. There can be no sacrifice, no religious rite, without Dakshina.

5. Reference to self, i.e. without the motive of bettering one's own self, or without any motive at all. (This contains the germ of the doctrine preached more elaborately in the Bhagavad gita).

6. This Yoga consists, in their case, of a combination of attributes by negation of the contrary ones, i.e. by renunciation of motives in all they do.

7. A form of Yoga that is said to consist in the mingling of some of the air supposed to exist in every animal body. These airs are five: Prana, Apana, Samana, Udana, and Vyana.

8. The 8 Vasus, the 11 Rudras, the 12 Adityas, Prajapati, and Vashatkara.

9. An order of celestials.

10. Celestial flowers of much fragrance.

11. The ascetic properties are Anima, Laghima, etc.

12. The bow of Vishnu, as that of Siva is called Pinaka.

13. The words of the text are Adhana, Pashubandha, Ishti Mantra, Yajana and Tapa-kriya.

14. Dhritarashtra being blind is described as Pragnachakshu, i.e. having knowledge for his eye. It may also mean. "Of the prophetic eye."

15. The great preceptor of the Asuras, viz., Sukra, possessing the highest intelligence as evidenced by his various works on all manner of subjects particularly, the Sukra-niti.

16. Also called Vadarika, a hermitage on the Himalaya near the sources of the Ganges.

17. Nilakantha explains kshetra as including Mahabhuta, consciousness, intellect, the unmanifest (primordial elements), the ten senses, the five objects of the senses, viz., earth, water, &c., desire, aversion, pleasure, pain, the combinations of elements, and chaitanya.

18. Hari here means the developed seed that is to expand into the vast whole of the universe.

19. This wheel is the wheel of Time—i.e., measured according to the solar, lunar and astral revolutions. The importance of Ashtavakra's reply is this: May the meritorious deeds performed at proper times, during the revolution of this wheel of Time protect thee.

20. Thunder and lightning or misery and death.

21. Cloud or the mind.

22. The male being that is ever conscious.

23. The mundane egg.

24. The soul that has renounced connection with the body.

25. The heart of a Yogi.

26. Ashtavakra comes to Janaka's sacrifice with the object of proving the unity of the Supreme Being. Vandin avails himself of various system of Philosophy to combat his opponent. He begins with the Buddhistic system. The form of the dialogue is unique in literature being that of enigmas and the latent meaning is in a queer way hid under the appearance of puerile and heterogeneous combinations of things.

Vandin opens the controversy by saying that as the number of each of these is one, so one only intellect is the lord, leader and guide of the senses.

27. There is a Vedic revelation that two birds live together on a tree as friends—one of these eats the fruits and the other looks at the former. From this it is manifest that two are the lords, leaders, and guides of the senses. That there is a second faculty besides the intellect is also proved by the fact that in sleep when the intellect is inactive that faculty continues in action, for if it were not so we could not remember having slept, nor connect the state after awaking with that preceding sleep. Accordingly by citing the number two Ashtavakra assets that besides intellect there is another faculty—consciousness that these two are jointly the lords, leaders and guides of the senses and that they act together as Indra and Agni, etc.

28. By citing the number three Vandin means to say that as it is Acts that produce the three kinds of born beings, etc., so Acts are supreme and that everything else be it intellect alone, or intellect and consciousness together is subservient to Acts.

29. Ashtavakra here advances the thesis that even if Acts be supreme still when the (fourth) or Supreme Being becomes manifest to the soul, it stands in no further needs to Acts.

30. By bringing in the quinquennial series, Vandin wishes to assert that the five senses are competent to cognise their respective objects and that besides these senses and their objects there is neither any other sense to perceive nor any other object of perception. He also cites the authority of the Veda according to which the Apsaras (or consciousness) have five "locks" on their hands—i.e., five objects of perception.

31. Besides the five senses Ashtavakra contends for an additional sense namely the Mind and accordingly cites the number six.

32. Vandin admits the existence of the six senses but says that the soul experiences happiness and misery through those as well as through the intellect.

33. Ashtavakra advances an eighth element, namely, the knowledge of the ego.

34. Each of the three qualities (existence, foulness and ignorance) of prakriti (the passive or material cause of the world) mixing with each of the three corresponding qualities of pradhana (the active or spiritual cause of the world) in various proportions produces the mundane order of things. Thus is proved the eternity of prakriti or nature and is also established the doctrine of duality.

35. Prakriti does not really create. It is the Supreme Being who through the medium of illusion in contract with the ten organs (viz., the five locomotive organs and the five organs of sense) makes manifest the system of things. Prakriti therefore has no real existence—her existence is only apparent in the real existence of the soul.

36. Yupas (stakes) mean here, feelings, etc, which keep men bound to the world. Rudras are those who makes others cry.

Vandin means to say that the soul is not essential free from the fetters of happiness and misery arising from the eleven objects of perception. In this world all men are subject to happiness and misery. We also hear that there are Rudras in heaven.

37. The supreme soul unaffected by happiness and misery really exists—but His existence is not susceptible of being proved—nor can the ignorant ever perceive Him. Men attain that condition through these twelve, viz., virtue, true, self-restraint, penances, good-will, modesty, forgiveness, exemption from envy, sacrifice, charity, concentration and control over the senses.

38. According to some, endeavours to attain emancipation can be successful not in this world but in the world of Brahma. Others say that to that end a special yoga is necessary. By bringing forward the objects numbering thirteen. Vandin advances the opinion that, virtue, etc., are not sufficient for purposes of emancipation but that suitable time and place are also essential.

39. Ashtavakra concludes by citing the same number thirteen. The soul which is essentially unaffected, becomes subject to happiness and misery through, the thirteen, viz., the ten organs of locomotion and sense, and intellect mind and egoism. But Atichhanadas, i.e., those that have surmounted ignorance, namely, the twelve, virtue, etc. destroy those thirteen and that is emancipation.

40. Su means excellent, and uta, sacrifice. The compound accordingly means,—performer of excellent sacrifice.

41. Iti means these six things, unfavourable to crops—excessive rain, drought, rats, locusts, birds, and a neighbouring hostile king.

42. In as much as the rites performed by the Sudras have their origin in the Vedas.

43. More literally, the state of the gods. It may appropriately be remarked here that the ordinary Hindu gods, of the post-Vedic period, like the gods of Ancient Greece and Italy, were simply a class of superhuman beings, distinctly contra-distinguished from the Supreme Spirit, the Paramatman or Parabrahma. After death, a virtuous man was supposed to be transformed into one of these so-called gods.

44. This is the well-known and popular doctrine of transmigration of souls.

45. The word in the text is Kora-dushakas, supposed by Wilson to be the Paspalum frumentacea (vide Dict.).

46. The word in the text is mlecchibhutam. The Sanskrit grammar affords a great facility for the formation of verbs from substantives. Mlecchify may be hybrid, but it correctly and shortly signifies the Sanskrit word.

47. Pushya is the eighth lunar asterism consisting of three stars, of which one is, the Cancer. (Vide Wilson's Diet.).

48. An Indian creeper of the order of Goertnera racemosa. It bears large white flowers of much fragrance.

49. They, therefore, that lead deathless lives can enjoy this bliss from day to day for ever.

50. It is difficult to understand how all that Vaka says can be an answer to Indra's question. The chief of the gods enquires: What are the joys of those that lead deathless lives? Vaka breaks away unto a confused rigmarole about the merits of independence and the religious merit of entertaining guests and servants. All the printed editions have the passage as rendered here.

51. The ceremony of Swastivachana is described to be "a religious rite, preparatory to any important observance, in which the Brahmanas strew boiled rice on the ground, and invoke the blessings of the gods on the ceremony about to commence" (Vide Wilson's Dict).

A flowery car was, probably, one of celestial make that the kings, procured from heaven by performing costly rites and ceremonies. These were sometimes exhibited to the people, and prior to these exhibitions, the ceremony of Swastivachana was performed.

52. A man is said to sell the Vedas who lectures on the Vedas taking fees from the hearers.

53. Japa is the silent recitation of particular Mantras.

54. Mantras are particular formulae of worship. They are for the most part rhythmic compositions, believed to be of great efficacy.

55. The Homa is that sacrificial rite which consists of pouring libations of clarified butter into fire.

56. Vedamayi nou. Lit, a boat made of the Vedas.

57. Vishada is the original. It means discontent, but here it means more a mixture of discontent, perplexity and confusion than mere discontent.

58. A form of Hindu etiquette at parting.

59. It is so very difficult to translate the word Karma,—religion and morals were invariably associated with each other in ancient Hindu mind.

60. Agni or fire was supposed to convey the oblations offered by men to the gods.

61. Kumara means a boy, hence a prince. Here Kartika the war-god is meant.

62. By carrying their oblations to the gods.

63. Portions of the Vedas.

64. Raga means love.

65. Kama is the name of the god of love, Indian Cupid.

66. The body, the exciting Cause of our actions is an uktha, the soul of the vivifier of the body is the second uktha, and the Supreme Spirit, the inciter of the soul is the third.

67. The word of God.

68. In Hindu Mythology there are no gods who destroy sacrifices. It is only the Asuras who do so. The Burdwan translator renders this passage,—"fifteen other gods belonging to western nations or Asuras." It is noticeable that the beings that were denounced as Asuras by the Hindus were worshipped as Gods (Asuras) by the followers of Zarathustra.

69. In connection with the names of these Mitra-gods, it is to be remembered that Mitra was the name of the principal god of the ancient Persians.

70. Avala is a common name of women. It means one who has no vala or strength or power. The word is also used as an adjective.

71. According to the Hindus, the sun rises from and sets behind two hills respectively. He rises from the Udaya or Sun-rise hill and sets behind the Asta or sun-set hill.

72. Raudra—belonging to Rudra, the god of fury, violence, war, &c.

73. Devasena literally means the celestial army. This fable seems to be an allegorical representation of the attempts made by Indra to procure a leader for the celestial host.

74. Anger personified is a deity.

75. Another name of gods, so named from their having only three stages of life—viz., infancy, childhood, and youth—and being exempt from the fourth—old age.

76. i.e., good and evil spirits.

77. One of the ensigns of royalty in Hindustan.

78. Brahma.

79. Devasenapati is the original. It may mean either the pati (leader) of the sena (forces) of devas or the pati (husband) of Devasena.

80. A kind of missile.

81. Another kind of weapon.

82. The word in the text is "Agrahara," which, as Nilakantha explains, means here, "That which is first taken from a heap after the dedication of a portion to the "Viswadevas." What Draupadi means to say is, that she always took care to feed those Brahmanas with food "first" taken from the stores, without, in fact, having taken anything there from the use of anybody else.

83. Lit, Soldiers that have sworn to conquer or die. A full Akshauhini of these soldiers was owned by Krishna, who gave them to Duryodhana to fight for him. The story of Krishna's offering to Duryodhana the choice between these soldiers on the one side, and himself sworn not to fight but only to aid with his counsels on the other, is given in full in the Udyoga Parva. Duryodhana, from folly, accepted the former, who were all slain by Arjuna.

84. The vow of the Asuras was (according to the Burdwan Pundits) never to drink wine. It is more rational to suppose that Karna swears to give up the refined manners and practices of the Aryas and adopt those of the Asuras till the consummation of the cherished desire.

85. A very small measure.

86. 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.

87. Naked.

88. Both these words are of doubtful meaning. It seems they are employed in the Vedas to denote the faculties of knowledge and the moral sense respectively.

89. The six acts of a king are peace, war, marching, halting, sowing dissention, and seeking protection.

90. Tard-mrigam. Formerly Prajapati, assuming the Form of a deer, followed his daughter from lust, and Rudra, armed with a trident, pursued Prajapati and struck off his head. That deer-head of Prajapati severed from the trunk, became the star, or rather constellation, called Mrigasiras.

91. Abode of Varuna in the original.

92. Garuda.

93. Pavana, the God of the wind.

94. There is a difference of reading here. Some texts read fifty seven,

95. A difference of reading is observable here.

96. As a purificatory ceremony, called the Achamana. To this day, no Hindu can perform any ceremony without going through the Achamana in the first instance.

97. Traditions represents the sons of king Sagara of the Ikshwaku race as the excavator of the ocean. Hence the ocean is called Sagara.

98. Lit. an engine killing a hundred. Perhaps, some kind of rude cannon.

99. Perhaps, brands or torches steeped in wax, intended to be thrown in a burning state, amongst the foe. Readers of Indian history know how Lord Lake was repulsed from Bharatpore by means of huge bales of cotton, steeped in oil, rolled from the ramparts of that town, in a burning state, towards the advancing English.

100. Lit. be a Purusha (male)! Manhood would not be appropriate in connection with a Rakshasa.

101. This weapon could restore an insensible warrior to consciousness, as the Sam-mohana weapon could deprive one of consciousness.

102. Visalya a medicinal plant of great efficacy in healing cuts and wounds. It is still cultivated in several parts of Bengal. A medical friend of the writer tested the efficacy of the plant known by that name and found it to be much superior to either gallic acid or tannic acid in stopping blood.

103. The Guhyakas occupy, in Hindu mythology, a position next only to that of the gods, and superior to that of the Gandharvas who are the celestial choristers. The White mountain is another name of Kailasa, the peak where Siva hath his abode.

104. According to both Vyasa and Valmiki, there is nothing so fierce as a Brahmana's curse. The very thunderbolt of Indra is weak compared to a Brahmana's curse. The reason is obvious. The thunder smites the individual at whom it may be aimed. The curse of Brahmana smites the whole race, whole generation, whole country.

105. Abhijit is lit, the eighth muhurta of the day, a muhurta being equal to an hour of 48 minutes, i.e. the thirtieth part of a whole day and night. The Vaishnava asterism is as explained by Nilakantha, the Sravava.

106. Also called Gayatri, the wife of Brahma.

107. In the original., Vimanam, i. e., a car.

108. Samhritya—killing.

109. Lit. Letters.

110. Behind the plain and obvious meanings of the words employed both in the question and the answer, there is a deeper signification of a spiritual kind. I think Nilakantha has rightly understood the passage. By Aditya, which of course commonly means the Sun, is indicated the unpurified soul (from adatte sabdadin indriadivis &c.). The first question then, becomes, 'Who is it that exalteth the unpurified soul?' The act of exaltation implies a raising of the soul from its earthly connections. The answer to this is, 'Brahma, i.e., Veda or self-knowledge.' The second question—'What are those that keep company with the soul during its progress of purification?' The answer is, Self-restraint and other qualities, which are all of a god-like or divine nature.' The third question is.—Who lead the soul to its place (state) of rest? The answer is, Dharma, i.e., restitude, morality, and religious observances.' It is often asserted that one must pass through the observances (Karma) before attaining to a state of Rest or Truth or Pure Knowledge. The last question is,—'On what is the soul established!' The answer, according to all that has been previously said, is 'Truth or Pure Knowledge.' For the soul that is emancipated from and raised above all carnal connections, is no longer in need of observances and acts (Karma) but stays unmoved in True Knowledge (Janana).

111. Nilakantha explains both Dhriti and Dwitiya in a spiritual sense. There is no need, however, of a spiritual explanation here. By Dhriti is meant steadiness of intelligence; by Dwitiya lit, a second. What Yudhishthira says is that a steady intelligence serves the purposes of a helpful companion.

112. Nilakantha explains this correctly, as I imagine, by supposing that by 'sacrifice' is meant the spiritual sacrifice for the acquisition of pure knowledge. In the objective sacrifice which one celebrates, the Sama, the Yajus, and the Rik mantras are all necessary. In the subjective sacrifice the acquisition of true knowledge, life and mind are as necessary as the mantras from the Sama and the Yajur Vedas in an objective one. And as no objective sacrifice can do without the Riks, being principally dependent on them, so the subjective sacrifices for acquiring true knowledge can never do without prayerfulness, which, I imagine, is represented as the Riks. To understand this passage thoroughly would require an intimate acquaintance with the ritual of a sacrifice like the Agnishtoma or any other of that kind.

113. Some texts read apatatam for uvapatam. If the former be the correct reading, the meaning would be—'What is the best of things that fall?' Nilakantha explains both avapatam nivapatam in a spiritual sense. By the first he understands—'They that offer oblation to the gods,' and by the second, 'They that offer oblations to the Pitris.' The necessity of a spiritual interpretation, however, is not very apparent.

114. Yudhishthira has the authority of the Srutis for saying that the one pervading element of the universe is air.

115. The word used in the question is dik, literally, direction. Obviously, of course, it means in this connection way. Yudhishthira answers that the way which one is to tread along is that of the good.

116. Footnote 2: The Srutis actually speak of space as water. These are questions to test Yudhishthira's knowledge of the Vedic cosmogony.

117. The Srutis speak of the cow as the only food, in the following sense. The cow gives milk. The milk gives butter. The butter is used in Homa. The Homa is the cause of the clouds. The clouds give rain. The rain makes the seed to sprout forth and produce food. Nilakantha endeavours to explain this in a spiritual sense. There is however, no need of such explanation here.

118. What Yudhishthira means to say is that there is no special time for a Sraddha. It is to be performed whenever a good and able priest may be secured.

119. That is, tranquillity of mind, self-restraint, abstention from sensual pleasures, resignation, and Yoga meditation.

120. That is, hunger, thirst, sorrow, bluntness of mortal feeling, decrepitude, and death


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