The Mahabharata Home
"The god of wind said, 'Hear, O deluded man, what the attributes are that belong to Brahmanas all of whom are endued with high souls. The Brahmana is superior to all those which, O king, thou hast named! In days of yore, the earth, indulging in a spirit of rivalry with the kind of the Angas, forsook her character as Earth. The regenerate Kasyapa caused destruction to overtake her by actually paralysing her. The Brahmanas are always unconquerable, O king, in heaven as also on earth. In days of yore, the great Rishi Angiras, through his energy, drank off all the waters. The high-souled Rishi, having drank off all the waters as if they were milk, did not feel yet his thirst to be slaked. He, therefore, once more caused the earth to be filled with water by raising a mighty wave. On another occasion, when Angiras became enraged with me, I fled away, leaving the world, and dwelt for a long time concealed in the Agnihotra of the Brahmanas through fear of that Rishi. The illustrious Purandara, in consequence of his having coveted the body of Ahalya, was cursed by Gautama, yet, for the sake of Righteousness and wealth, the Rishi did not destroy outright the chief of the deities. The Ocean, O king, that was full in former days of crystal water, cursed by the Brahmanas, became saline in taste. 1 Even Agni who is of the complexion of gold, and who blazes with effulgence when destitute of smoke, and whose flames uniting together burn upwards, when cursed by the angry Angiras, became divested of all these attributes. 2 Behold, the sixty thousand sons of Sagara, who came here to adore the Ocean, have all been pulverised by the Brahmana. Kapila
of golden complexion. Thou art not equal to the Brahmanas. Do thou, O king, seek thy own good. The Kshatriya of even great puissance bows to Brahmana children that are still in their mothers' wombs. The large kingdom of the Dandakas was destroyed by a Brahmana. The mighty Kshatriya Talajangala was destroyed by a single Brahmana. viz., Aurva. Thou too hast acquired a large kingdom, great might, religious merit, and learning, which are all difficult of attainment, through the grace of Dattatreya. Why dost thou, O Arjuna, worship Agni everyday who is a Brahmana? He is the bearer of sacrificial libations from every part of the universe. Art thou ignorant of this fact? Why, indeed, dost thou suffer thyself to be stupefied by folly when thou art not ignorant of the fact that a superior Brahmana is the protector of all creatures in the world and is, indeed, the creator of the living world? The Lord of all creatures, Brahman, unmanifest, endued with puissance, and of unfading glory, who created this boundless universe with its mobile and immobile creatures (is a Brahman). Some persons there are, destitute of wisdom, who say that Brahman was born of an Egg. From the original Egg, when it burst forth, mountains and the points of the compass and the waters and the earth and the heavens all sprang forth into existence. This birth of the creation was not seen by any one. How then can Brahman be said to have taken his birth from the original Egg, when especially he is declared as Unborn? It is said that vast uncreate Space is the original Egg. It was from this uncreate Space (or Supreme Brahman) that the Grandsire was born. If thou askest, 'Whereon would the Grandsire, after his birth from uncreate Space, rest, for there was then nothing else?' The answer may be given in the following words, 'There is an existent Being of the name of Consciousness. That mighty Being is endued with great energy. There is no Egg. Brahman, however, is existent. He is the creator of the universe and is its king! Thus addressed by the god of wind, king Arjuna remained silent.'" 1
358:1 The Bengal reading mrishtascha varina is incorrect. The Bombay reading mrishtasya varinsha is correct.
358:2 The word--kavi used in this verse, means Agni or fire, as explained by the commentator, One of the vernacular translators wrongly takes it as implying the preceptor Sukara.
359:1 The last verse, as read in the Bengal texts, is vicious. Nastyandam astitu Brahma, etc., is the correct reading.
Next: Section CLIV