The Mahabharata Home
"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. 1 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. 1 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.'"
31:1 Sanguptamanoratheshu is explained by the commentator as persons who conceal their real sentiments by acting differently. The reference is to hypocrites.
32:1 Vali (sing. of valayah) means anything offered or dedicated to the deities. The sense of the second line is that the goddess of prosperity resides in that house in which flowers are offered to the deities instead of animal life.
Next: Section XII