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Maarkandeya Muni-8
Morality and Virtue of Women: Story of Kaushik Braahman-1
A similar story of Sukalaa is given here also in Padm Puraan, 2/7

[3-204] Vaishampaayan Jee said - "O Best of Bharat's family, Then Yudhishthir asked Maarkandeya Rishi a difficult question about morality. He said - "I wish to know about the high morality of women. I desire to know the subtle truth of morality. Wind, mother, father, Earth, Moon, Guru - all are ordained are Deities by Devtaa. All are worth worshiping. When the wives worship their husbands, it seems to me that they do it with great difficulty. They do it with full control over their senses and this seems difficult to me. Even the children's honor to their elders also seem very difficult to me. The wives are always devoted to only one husband, they bring out the child after the 9 months of difficulties. There is nothing more difficult than these. tell me the truth of Kshatriya people. It is also difficult for them to do their cruel duties."

Maarkandeya Jee said - "I answer you all what you have asked, listen. Some regard mother more and some regard father more. Some say that mother brings forth the child while some say that father brings forth the child. The mother, however, that brings forth and rears up offspring which is more difficult. Fathers also, by ascetic penances by worship of the gods, and other means desire to have children. And having by these painful expedients obtained children that are also very difficult of acquisition, they then, O hero, are always anxious about the future of their sons and, O Bharat, both the father and the mother desire to see in their sons fame and achievements and prosperity and offspring and virtue. As regards women, neither sacrifice nor Shraaddh, nor fasts are of any importance. By serving their husbands only they can win Heaven. O king, O Yudhishthir, remembering this alone, listen thou with attention to the duties of chaste women."

[3-205] Maarkandeya Jee said - "There lived a very virtuous ascetic named Kaushik. he was a very superior Braahman and used to recite Ved regularly. Once he was reciting Ved near the root of a tree, that a female crane sat on a branch and befouled the Braahman's body. Seeing this Kaushik got very angry and thought to do some injury to her; and as the Braahman looked at her with the intention to do some injury, she fell down on the ground and died. Kaushik got much moved to see her dead like this that "I have committed a great sin in my anger." Maarkandeya Jee said - "Repeating these words several times, he went to ask for alms in a village. He came to a house which he knew before and said - "Give." The hpousewife started to clean the pot from which she gave alms, but in the meantime her husband came home tired and hungry, so the housewife said - "Wait." She disregarded the Braahman and offered water to her husband to wash his feet and face and a seat to sit upon. Then she offered him food and stood if he wanted any other thhing. She used to eat the remaining food from her husband's plate. She always took care of him very sincerely and faithfully. She then attended her parents-in-laws, Devtaa, guests, servants etc. While her one eye was still on her husband, she looked at the door and found that the beggar was still standing there, she asked him to wait. She felt abashed, she took something for alms and came out to give him alms. The Braahman said - "I am surprised to see your behavior, you told me to wait and you did not dismiss me."

Maarkandeya Jee said - "Seeing that Braahman filled with anger, she tried to pacify him - "You should forgive me. My husband is my Supreme God. He came hungry and tired, so I had to attend him first." Braahman said - "Do you think that Braahman are not superior in regard. even above your husband? You are leading a domestic life, you disregard Braahman? Even Indra himself bows down to them, leave men on Earth. O proud Woman, Don't you know that Braahman are like fire and can consume the whole Earth?" Hearing this the woman answered - "I am not a she-crane that if you cast me your look and I will burn like her. However great Tapaswee you are, you cannot harm me with your angry look. I do not disregard Braahman, they are like Devtaa on Prithvi. They have lots of powers. They have made the waters of ocean brackish and undrinkable. The fire of their wrath has not yet ended in Dandak Van. It was because of the anger of a Muni that Vaataapi Raakshas was digested by him. But O Braahman, whatever power is in their wrath, more than that power is in forgiveness. So you should forgive me. I prefer that merit which a woman gets by serving her husband, because I regard my husband as the highest. I know that you have burnt the she-crane with your anger, but whoever likes to be angry, that is his greatest foe. Devtaa regards that man Braahman who has cast off his anger, passion, speaks truth and who tolerates injury but never injures others. Ancient people say that virtue depends on Shruti, but virtue as told in Shruti are of various kinds. That is why they are too subtle to comprehend. Although you have studied Ved, but you do not know what is virtue in reality. Go to Mithilaa Nagaree where lives a virtuous fowler and know the virtue from him, you do not know what is virtue. That fowler is devoted to his parents and who has complete control on his senses. Please forgive me if what I have said to you is not pleasing you. But who are desiring of acquiring of virtue are incapable of injuring women." Hearing this the Braahman said - "I am very much satisfied with you. I shall go there and accomplish what is good for me."

Maarkandeya Jee said - "After saying this Kaushik Braahman came back to his house."

Kaushik Goes to Mithilaa

[3-206] Maarkandeya Jee said - "He kept thinking about the discourse of the woman and felt guilty. He thought about subtle ways of morality and virtue and said to himself - "I should accept what the woman has said and go to Mithilaa to that fowler to know about the mysteries of morality and virtue. I will go there today only." His faith in that woman got firmed by the knowledge of the death of she-crane and the good words she told him. So crossing all kinds of forests and lands he came to Raajaa Janak's city Mithilaa. Many sacrifices and religious activities were going there around. There were many palatial residences and it was protected by a wall all around them. there were many roads, many chariots were running on them, many shops and people there were healthy and wealthy.

Kaushik Braahman enquired about that fowler and came to him who was sitting in a butcher's place. He was selling buffaloes' meat and a large number of people were standing around him to buy it. Seeing all this Kaushik stood at a little distance to him, but the fowler had seen him standing nearby him, so he rose from his seat, came to him and said - "I salute you, I welcome you, tell me what can I do for you? I know that that woman has sent you here, and I know your purpose also for coming here." Hearing this the Braahman filled with surprise and thought - "this is another surprise I am getting here." The fowler said to him - "This is not a good place for you, let us go to my home." Braahman said - "As you say." and both came to the fowler's house. The fowler gave him water to wash his face and feet and offered him a seat to sit comfortably. Sitting on the seat offered to him, the Braahman said to him - "It seems that this profession does not suit you. I am sorry that you do this kind of cruel work."

The fowler replied - "I have inherited this profession from my grandfather and father. Do not be sorry for my profession which I own from my family. I do my duties and serve my superiors and elders carefully. I always speak truth, never speak ill of pothers, never I am envy with anybody and give whatever I can. I live upon what remains after offering to gods, guests and dependents on me. O Braahman, The actions of the past life follows the doer. In this world there are three main professions - agriculture, rearing of cattle and trade; and for the other world, there are three Ved, knowledge and science of morals are important. To serve the other three Varn is the duty of the Shoodra. Agriculture is for Vaishya, fighting for Kshatriya, and practice of Brahmcharya vow, asceticism, recitation of Mantra and truthfulness are the duties of Braahman. A king's duty is to see that everybody is doing his duty. People should always fear their King. O Braahman, There is nobody who does not do his duty in Raajaa Janak's kingdom. All Varn strictly follow their duties. Janak punishes him that is wicked, even he be his own son and can never anybody, who is good, in trouble. The King is the protector of all the our Varn.

Regarding myself, I always sell pork and buffalo meat without the killing the animal myself, thus I sell only the meat of an animal. I never eat meat myself. I am with my wife only in prescribed days. I always fast during the day. O Braahman, Even though one's profession's behavior is bad, still the person himself can be of good behavior. In the same way a man can be a virtuous man even his profession is killing animals. it is because of the King that mischievousness develops in the society. Gift of food, endurance of heat and cold, tenderness for all creatures can never find a place in a person unless there is an innate desire to be separate from the world. One should never lie and do always good without solicitation. I always do good to even those people who speak ill of me. One should never give up virtue from lust, wrath or from malice. One should never joy immoderately at a good turn of life or grieve immoderately at a bad one. One should never feel depressed when overtaken by poverty, nor when so overtaken abandon the path of virtue. If at any time one realizes that he has done something is wrong, he should never do like it again. One should always urge his soul to the doing of that which he regards as beneficial. One should never return wrong for wrong, but should act honestly by those that have wronged him. That wretched man who desires to do what is sinful, slays himself. By doing what is sinful, one only imitates them who are wicked and sinful.

The food cannot always shine in the world by self praise. The learned man displays his knowledge only by sweet speech and well behaved life style. If one commits a sin and then repents for never to do it again, he destroys his sin. No man can conceal his sins, why? Because all Devtaa see it and the being within (conscious) also knows it. O Braahman, It is the temptation which leads to commit a sin. men that are ignorant commit sins just because of their ignorance."

Maarkandeya Jee said - "Hearing all this, the Braahman asked the fowler - "How shall I know what is virtuous conduct. Be blessed, I wish to know this." The fowler replied - "Sacrifices, Gifts, Asceticism, Ved and Truth - these five things are always called virtuous in whichever man they are present. Who have controlled their lust, anger, pride, greed and crookedness and feel pleasure in doing virtue are really virtuous. The people who have studied Ved cannot have their independent behavior. They are bound to follow the practices which are honest and good. This is the second attribute of virtuous. Serving their superiors, Truth and not being Angry, and Gifts - these four are inseparably connected with virtuous behavior. The essence of Ved is Truth, the essence of truth is self-control, and the essence of self-control is abstention from the pleasures of the world. They who observe the vows, are devoted to Shruti, and do not incline towards the pleasures of the world follow the true religion. O Braahman, Cross this world in the boat of patience and resignation to avoid repeated births. Truth and Ahinsaa (non-violence) are the highest virtues for anyone - while Ahinsaa is the primary importance and is based on Truth. Our mental faculties play properly when their foundation is laid in truth, while you tread the path of virtue, Truth is of the highest value. Purity of conduct is the characteristic of all good men. This virtue of good conduct is wonderful, ancient, immutable and eternal, and wise men who follow it attain Heaven.

Virtuous men are always kind to all creatures and regard the wise elder people. They follow Ahinsaa and soft speech. They who know the fruits of their good and evil deeds are virtuous. These three are the perfect virtuous - who do not do wrong to anybody, who give alms, and always speak Truth. Thus I have described the virtuous conduct according to my knowledge and what I have heard on this subject.

[3-207] Maarkandeya Jee continued - "O Yudhishthir, Then the fowler said to the Braahman - "I know that my work is very cruel, but O Braahman, Destiny is all-powerful, and it is difficult to evade the consequences of past Karm. And this is the Kaaarmik evil arising out of some sin committed in my former life. But I am always desirous to eradicate the evil. The Deity takes away the life, the executioner acts only as the secondary agent. In the same way we are also the secondary agent in regard of our Karm. Those animals which I have killed and that meat I sell have their own Karm, because by that many people are served by. It is said that all animals, deer, vegetables, fruits constitute the food of all creatures. Even Raajaa Shibi, the son of King Usheenar, also attained Heaven. In the kitchen of Raajaa Ranti Dev 2,000 animals were butchered; 2,000 cows were killed everyday; and he also attained unrivalled reputation by distributing food with that meat everyday. For the 4-monthly rites animals must be sacrificed daily. The sacrificial fire is fond of animal blood. And the sacrificial animals are always killed by high class Braahman; and these animals go to Heaven. If the sacrificial fire had not been fond of animals then it could have never been the food of anyone. That is why Muni have made this rule that whoever will take animal food after offering to Devtaa, is not polluted by act. Once King Saudaas, under a curse, preyed upon men, what is your opinion in this regard? Thus I consider this of my own actions I earn my livelihood by this profession.

A person considering himself under the influence of his Karm, must always think how he can do Praayashchit for his Karm, and save himself from evil doom. O Braahman, Evil Karm can be amended in various ways; that is why I give charity, I speak Truth, serve my superiors, respect Braahman, and do not talk much. Agriculture is a respectable profession but everybody knows that it also harms animals greatly. Even all cereals are also living organisms. Thus, O Braahman, there is nobody on the Earth who is completely free from Hinsaa (violence), some do it consciously and some unconsciously. people should not harm others commandment was created by old timers who were ignorant. One can say a lot about one's Karm, but whoever does his own profession with sincerity surely acquires great reputation."

[3-308] Maarkandeya Jee said - "O Yudhishthir, The fowler again said the Braahman - "Elderly people say that the ways of righteousness are subtle, diverse and infinite; because when life is on stake, it is proper to tell a lie. Sometimes lie triumphs the truth, and the truth is lost in lie. Whichever conduces most to the good of all creatures is considered to be the truth. Virtue is thus perverted. men's actions are either good or bad and the doer reaps their fruits. An ignorant person abuses the god not knowing that it is the consequence of his own evil Karm. Neither learning, nor good morals, nor personal exertion can save them. And if the fruits of our Karm did not depend on anything else, people would attain the objects of their desire just by desiring for it.

It has been seen many times that intelligent and diligent people are baffled in their efforts and do not get the fruits of their efforts; while the people who are always injuring and deceiving other people lead a happy life. Some people get prosperity without any efforts; many people who make so much efforts but they do not get the results of their efforts. Miser people have their sons very religious, while others have very sinful sons. But as hunters intercept the flight of the deer, in the same way physicians intercept the diseases by their drugs, but all are affected by their Karm. If there were absolute freedom of action, nobody would die, none would decay, and nobody would await for his evil doom."

The Braahman replied - "O Knower of the doctrine of Karm, Please tell me, how the soul becomes eternal?" The fowler replied - "The spirit does not die but just changes its house. Those people are mistaken who say that all creatures die. The soul just takes another frame (body) and its change of house is called death. In the world of men, nobody reaps the fruits of other people's Karm. Whatever work somebody has done, he is sure to reap its consequences; and since it is once done, nobody can revert it. Who ever is virtuous, he will get virtues and whosoever has committed sins, he will have to suffer or his misdeeds. Men's actions follow him and because of them he has to be born again and again."

The Braahman asked - "Why does the spirit takes birth and why he becomes as a sinful or in a virtuous race." the fowler replied - "This mystery belongs to the subject of procreation, but I shall describe it to you briefly that how the spirit is born again with its accumulated load of Karm. Who does virtuous Karm, he attains the status of gods; who does the mixed actions (good and bad Karm), he is born as a human being, and he who is indulged in sensual and demoralizing practices, he is born in lower species; and whose life has been all sinful, he goes to infernal regions. Our spirit passes through thousands of births in infernal regions because of our own Karm. Live beings become miserable in the next world because of these actions, and they assume lower births and because of them they accumulate newer set of Karm, and they suffer more because of them. if somehow they do not do any bad Karm, and purify themselves by doing austerities and meditation, they get higher Lok. That is why we should always do good Karm. he should do only that Karm in which he finds the most virtues. But the man of enlightened vision is not satisfied only with the good Karm. With his spiritual wisdom, he becomes indifferent to pain and pleasure and is not affected by the vices of the world. He tries to renounce everything and looks for more means of salvation. Thus he renounces the pursuits of the world, shuns the ways of sins, becomes virtuous and proceeds towards salvation. Spiritual wisdom is prerequisite to attain salvation."

The Braahman again asked - "You are talking sensibly, what are they, how they may be controlled, and what is the good to control them? And then how does a creature reap their fruits? Please tell me all about this."

[3-309] Maarkandeya Jee continued - "Hey Yudhishthir, Now listen to the reply that fowler gave to that Braahman. The fowler replied - "First men's minds are bent towards acquisition of knowledge, then they indulge themselves in passions and to fulfill their desires. To reach that end they take up the tasks of great magnitude, they follow envy, fondness, greed. They earn their living by fowl means, and when wise men advise them they come up with some kind of special answers. Thus they become three-fold sinners - committing sins in thoughts, in word and in actions. As they become addicted to all this, their all good qualities die out and they develop the friendship with similar kind of people which takes towards more evil ways and consequently suffer misery in this world and in the other world. Now you hear about the men of virtue. He can discriminate evil from good, happiness from misery with the help of his spiritual wisdom. By practicing virtuous life his mind becomes inclined to righteousness."

The Braahman replied - "You have explained me the true explanation of religion which none else could give me. The spiritual power is great, and you seem to me a great Rishi." The fowler said - "The great Braahman should always be worshipped in the way people worship their ancestors. They should be offered good food before offering food to others. Now you learn the Braahman philosophy from me. This whole Universe which is unconquerable is Brahm, and there is nothing higher than this. The Earth, Air, Fire, Water and Space are the great elements. And form, odor, sound, touch and taste are their characteristic properties. These properties also have their own properties which are correlated to each other. And of the three qualities is consciousness which is called Mind. The 7th is intelligence, and after that comes Egoism, then the 5 senses, then the Soul, then come the moral qualities - Sattwa, Rajas, and Tamas. These 17 are called unknown or incomprehensible qualities. Now what do you wish to know?"


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