The Mahabharata Home
"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.
[paragraph continues] 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.'"
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