The Mahabharata Home
"Bhishma said, 'Hearing those piteous lamentations of the pigeon on the tree, the she-pigeon seized by the fowler began to say to herself as follows.'
"The she-pigeon said, 'Whether I have any merit or not, verily there is no limit to any good fortune when my dear lord thus speaks of me. She is no wife with whom her lord is not content. In the case of women, if their lords be gratified with them all the deities also become so. Since the marriage union takes place in the presence of fire, the husband is the wife's highest deity. That wife with whom her husband is not pleased becomes consumed into ashes, even like a creeper adorned with bunches of flowers in a forest conflagration.' Having reflected thus, the she-pigeon, afflicted with woe, and immured by the fowler within his cage, thus spoke unto her woe-stricken lord, 'I shall say what is now beneficial for thee.' Hearing me follow thou my counsel, O dear lord, be thou the rescuer of a suppliant. This fowler lies here by thy abode, afflicted with cold and hunger. Do him the duties of hospitality. The sin that a person commits by slaying a Brahmana or that mother of the world, viz., a cow, is equal to that which one incurs by suffering a suppliant to perish (from want of help). Thou art possessed of knowledge of self. It ever behoves one like thee, therefore, to follow that course which has been ordained for us
as pigeons by the order of our birth. 1 It has been heard by us that the householder who practises virtue according to the measure of his abilities, wins hereafter inexhaustible regions of bliss. Thou hast sons. Thou hast progeny. O bird, casting off all kindness for thy own body, therefore, and for winning virtue and profit, offer worship to this fowler so that his heart may be pleased. Do not, O bird, indulge in any grief on my account. (See, how unimportant I am!) Thou mayst continue to live, taking other wives!' The amiable she-pigeon, overcome with sorrow, and casting her eyes upon her lord from the fowler's cage within which she had been immured, said these words unto him.'"
Next: Section CXLVI