Mahaabhaarat | Kathaa-G | 4-Van

3-Van Parv, 179-180 of 313
Kathaa-G - 4-Van - page 31

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Yudhishthir and Nahush

[3-179] Vaishampaayan Jee continued - "Seeing his brother tied in snake's coil, Yudhishthir said - "O Son of Kuntee, How have you come to this condition? And who is this huge serpent having a huge body like mountain?" Bheem said - "This snake has caught me for his food. He is the royal sage Raajaa Nahush in the form of a serpent." Yudhishthir said to the snake - "Please free my brother, and we will give you some other food which will satisfy your hunger." The snake said - "I have got this prince who has come to me for my food himself. Go from here, you should not stay here. if you had stayed here, then you will be my food of tomorrow. This is in my Destiny that whoever will come to me in this hour, he will be my food. After long time I have got your younger brother as my food. I cannot surrender him, nor I will accept any other food." Yudhishthir said - "Whether you are a god, or a Raakshas, you tell me the truth, I am Yudhishthir that asks you, O Snake, wherefrom you have taken Bheem? By taking what, by knowing what you will be satisfied? What food shall I give to you? And how can you free him? The snake said - "O Sinless One, I was your ancestor, the son of Aayu, and the 5th king in Chandra Vansh (in the lineage of Moon). My name is Nahush. By doing many Punya (good meritorious works) I acquired the permanent control over three worlds. After being the king of all Devtaa, my mind got swayed away and I engaged many Braahman to carry my palanquin, and in intoxication of that I insulted those Braahman. Among those Braahman one was Agastya also, I am in this condition by his curse only. But I have not lost my memory. By the favor of Agastya Muni I have got your brother as my food in the 6th part of the day. That is why neither I will set him free, nor I will accept any other thing as my food. But if you answer my questions, I can release him." Yudhishthir said - "Ask, whatever you want to ask me. I shall, if I can, and if they can satisfy you. You know fully what should be known by Braahman, so ask me whatever you want to ask me."

The serpent asked - "Who is a Braahman? And what should be known? Your speech seems to be of highly intelligence."
Yudhishthir said - "O Snake, As the learned say, that in whom we see truth, charity, forgiveness, good conduct, benevolence, observance of the rites of his order and mercy, is known as a Braahman. And which should be known is Supreme Brahm, in whom neither there is happiness, nor there is any misery, and attaining which people are not subjected to misery. What do you think?"

The serpent asked - "O Yudhishthir, Truth, charity, forgiveness, benevolence, benignity, kindness and the Ved which work the benefit of the four orders, which is the authority in matters of religion and which is true, are seen even in the Shoodra. As regards the object to be known and which you allege is without both happiness and misery, I do not see any such that is devoid of these."
Yudhishthir said - "The characteristics of Shoodra are not present in Braahman, and Shoodra is not a Shoodra by birth alone, nor a Braahman is a Braahman by birth alone. Wise say that in whoever these characteristics are seen he is a Braahman and in whoever these characteristics are not seen, he is a Shoodra, even though he is born as Braahman. Nothing is there which is without happiness and misery. But as in cold, heat does not exist; or in heat cold does not exist; in the same way there is nothing in the world in which happiness and misery do not exist.

The serpent asked - "O King, If you can recognize somebody as a Braahman by characteristics, his being Braahman is useless unless they are seen in his conduct."
Yudhishthir said - "O Intelligent Serpent, In human society, it is difficult to ascertain one's caste because of their apparent intermingled nature. Men of all orders beget the children on the women of all orders. In human being four things are common - speech, birth, sexual intercourse, and death; and that is why the priests say at the beginning of the sacrifice "of whatever caste we are, we celebrate this sacrifice for you". That is why the wise people make sure that that characteristic is present there. The natal ceremony is performed before cutting the umbilical cord. His mother then acts as Saavitree and his father acts as a priest; and he himself acts as a Shoodra until he is not initiated in the Ved. There are some doubts here, O Excellent Snake. Swaayambhuv Manu has said that the mixed castes are regarded better than the other classes because the other classes do not conform to the rules of good conduct. So I say that whosoever conforms to good conduct, is a Braahman." The serpent said - "O Yudhishthir, You are well conversant with whatever you should know, how can I eat your brother Vrikodar?"

[3-180] Yudhishthir said - "You are so learned in Ved and Vedaang, tell me what one should do to attain salvation?"
The serpent said - "O King of Bharat's race, In my opinion a man who gives alms and donations to proper people, speaks kind words and the truth, and observes A-Hinsaa, goes to Swarg [Daan, Satya and A-Hinsaa].

Yudhishthir asked - "Again I ask you, which is the higher of the two - truth or alms giving? Tell me of greater and less importance of kind behavior or A-Hinsaa?"
The serpent replied - "The relative virtues of these virtues - truth and alms giving, and kind speech and A-Hinsaa are measured by their objective gravity (utility). Truth is [sometimes] more praiseworthy than some acts of charity; at other times, acts of charity is more commendable than true speech. Similarly, A-Hinsaa seem to be more important than good speech and vice versa. Still it all depends on their effects. If you wish to ask anything else, you may ask, I will enlighten you everything."

Yudhishthir asked - "O Snake, Tell me, how the incorporal beings are translated to Heaven, its perception by the senses and its enjoyment of the immutable fruits of its actions, can be comprehended?"
The snake spoke - "A man attains one the three conditions of human existence - heavenly life, human life or lowly animal life. Among these who is not cunning, who follows A-Hinsaa, who gives charity and donations and who observes other virtues, goes to Heaven; while by doing the opposite of these acts, people are born as human beings or lower animals. It is particularly true for the people who are swayed away by anger, lust, greed, and malice. They fall away from their human status and are born in lower species. Lower animal can also be born as human beings. Cow, horse and other animals can attain even the Divine state. All beings reaping the fruits of their Karm go through these species. But who are not attached to their actions meet the Supreme Brahm."

Yudhishthir asked - "Tell me how the dissociated spirit becomes aware of touch, smell, taste, form and sound? O Intelligent One, Do you nor perceive them by your senses? Please answer me."
The snake replied - "The thing called Aatmaa (spirit) causes itself to go and   . Know that the senses, the mind, the intellect assisting the soul in its perception of objects are called Karan. The eternal spirit, going out of the sphere, assisted by the mind, and acting through the senses, successively perceives these things (smell, touch, taste etc). It is the mind of all living creatures which perceives all these things, and it cannot be aware of more than one thing at a time. That spirit goes to the space, through the eye brows send the low and high intellect to different objects. What the Yogee perceive after the action of the intellect, by that is manifested the action of the soul."

Yudhidhthir asked - "Please tell me the difference between mind and intellect. The knowledge of it will help in meditation."
The snake said - "Through illusion, the soul becomes the subordinate to the intellect. The intellect, although is the subordinate to the soul, then becomes the director of the soul. The intellect brings perception - the mind is self-existent. The intellect does not cause the pain and pleasure, but the mind does. This is the difference between the mind and the intellect. You are also learned, what do you think about it?"

Yudhishthir said - "You have very fine intelligence and you know what one should know. So why do you ask me this queston? You know everything and you did so well that you lived in Heaven. How could then illusion overpowered you? I am in great doubt at this point."
The snake said - "Prosperity intoxicates even the most intelligent and valiant man. This who live in luxury, soon lose the reason. So I too, O Yudhishthir, lost the reason after getting prosperity, fell from there and after recovering my self-consciousness I am enlightening you. O King, You have done a great good for me. By talking to you my curse is cleared. When I was in heaven, I used to take tribute from Maharshi, Dev, Gandharv, Raakshas and all other people of the three worlds. Whoever I saw I destroyed his power. Thousands of Brahmarshi used to pull my chariot. And this became the reason of my fall.

One day Agastya Rishi was drawing my chariot, that my feet touched his body, so he cursed me in anger - "Become a snake." I immediately fell from my chariot and as I was falling off I saw myself turning into a snake with head downwards. I asked for his forgiveness and asked him to pardon me. He kindly told me that the virtuous king Yudhishthir will save you from this curse. When your pride will finish then only you will attain salvation. I was wonder struck to see the effect of his austere Tap. And that is why I asked you the question about the attributes of the Supreme Spirit and Braahman. Truth, charity, self-restraint, penance, A-Hinsaa and to be constant in virtue are the characteristics of a Braahman, not the family connection; and  by these virtues a man can get salvation. Good luck to your this mighty brother Bheem, and you be happy, I must go now to Heaven."

Vaishampaayan Jee said - "After saying this Raajaa Nahush left his serpent body, assumed his celestial form and went to Heaven. Yudhishthir also came back to his Aashram with Bheem and Dhaumya. Yudhishthir told everything in detail to all Braahman who were gathered there. Everybody felt shame and warned Bheem not to do such thing again."

3-Van Parv - Teerth Yaatraa Parv Ends Here


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Created by Sushma Gupta On 05/27/04
Modified on 02/10/13