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14-Ashwamedh Parv, 90
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Ashwamedh Yagya-3

Appearance of a Mongoose

Janamejaya asked - "Tell me if there is any wonderful even in that sacrifice?" Vaishampaayan Jee said - "A most wonderful incident occurred at the conclusion of the sacrifice. When all people were given gifts, were satisfied, flowers were showered on Yudhishthir's head, a blue-eyed mongoose, with one side of his body changed in gold, came there and spoke in human voice - "This sacrifice is not even equal to one Prasth of barley flour given away by a Braahman of Kurukshetra who was observing the Unchha vow." Hearing this all Braahman got surprised and asked him - "When did you come here? How powerful are you? Where do you live? Everything is done here according to the scriptures. Everything has been done methodically and everybody has been gratified properly. Tell us what is according to scriptures and what is your experience. You seem to be wise, you bear the body of a celestial. We need explanation, and you need to explain us."

Mongoose said smilingly - "I didn't say anything lie to you, nor I have spoken anything with pride. You have heard me correct that this sacrifice is not even equal to a Prasth of barley flour given by a Braahman. Listen to me attentively as what has happened to you. That was a wonderful occurrence and I witnessed it. There lived a Braahman in Kurukshetra observing Unchchha vow - this mode of living is called like a pigeon. In consequence of this incident he attained the Heaven along with his wife and daughter-in-law. He always ate at the 6th part of the day (12 hour day is divided in 8 parts, so approximately, if the day span is 6 am to 6 pm, from 1.30 pm to 3 pm). If there was nothing at that 6th part of the day, he wouldn't eat anything at all and will eat only next day at the 6th part of the day only.

One time a severe famine occurred there and the Braahman had nothing to eat. It happened day after day. They were just passing there days without food. One day in the month of Jyeshth, the Braahman was picking up some corn grains but because of practicing penance soon worn out of hunger. One day he was able to pick up a Prasth of barley, so on that day when the 6th part of the day came they ground it and made Sattoo out of it. After saying the usual prayers, they divided that little powder among themselves - 1 Kudava each. As they sat down to eat, a guest came to their place. Seeing the guest they became very happy. They had conquered their Indriyaan, anger and passions. hey were never pained at the sight of other's happiness. They welcomed him, washed his feet, asked his welfare, offered the Aasan of Kush grass to sit upon and Sattoo to eat.

The guest accepted the Sattoo and ate it all, but still he was not satisfied. Now this Braahman thought what other food he could offer him to eat. Then the Braahman's wife said , "Let me share my share of food with him." Knowing that his wife was also hungry he could not approve this and said to her - "Wives are fed and protected even by animals, worms and insects, so you don't say so. Everything rests on wives." The wife said - "Our everything is joint, so accept this share of mine and be gratified. You are my everything, please give this to our guest." So he took her share and gave it to the guest saying, "Please accept this share of Sattoo also." The guest ate it all and still was not satisfied. Braahman again thought how to satisfy him.

Then his son offered his own share to him to give it to the guest. He said - "Give my share to the guest. It is my earnest duty to maintain you in your old age." Father said - "O my child, Even if you will be 1000 years old, you will still be my little child. Hunger of children is stronger than the old people. You eat your food." The son said - "I am your son. Shruti say that one's child is called as Putra, because one is rescued by him. One's own self takes birth in the form of his son. Thus you are rescued by yourself." The father said - "I know you are like me in every respect, that is why I accept your share of food to give our guest." So he smilingly gave his son's share to the guest. Even after eating this the guest was not yet satisfied.

The Braahman felt very ashamed that he had nothing else to offer him, that his pious daughter-in-law offered her share of food also to him saying - "Through your son I will bear a son, therefore please take my share and give it to the guest. Through your blessings I will attain many high regions. Through the grandson one attains the regions where there is no misery. The son is called Putra because he frees his father from debt. Through sons and grandsons one attains the pious regions." Braahman said - "Seeing your condition, how can I take the share of your food? How can I see you abstaining from food at this 6th part of the day? You have such a good conduct, alas, that you also have to pass your days in such a misery." The daughter-in-law said - "You are the deity of my deity, Devtaa of my Devtaa, so please accept this food of my share. My body, life, religious rites have only one purpose - that is to serve my seniors. Through your blessings I will attain many regions of happiness hereafter. Cherishing the thought that my happiness is your grave concern, please accept this share of food and give it to the guest." The Braahman said - "In consequence of your such good conduct I accept your food." took her share of food, and gave it to the guest.

After taking this food the guest was satisfied. This guest was none other than the Devtaa of Righteousness. After eating he said to Braahman - "I am very much satisfied with this your pure gift. It was acquired by lawful means and you happily offered it to me. You will surely get good regions. See, flowers are raining from sky. All Devtaa, Rishi, Apsaraa are singing your praise for this gift. You are high in Brahmcharya, in penance, in gifts, in sacrifices etc. As you have given this gift in such difficult times, you have conquered Heaven. Hunger destroys one's wisdom and drives one off the path of righteousness. One whose intelligence is affected by hunger, he casts off all fortitude. he who conquers hunger, conquers Heaven. One's righteousness is never destroyed as long as he continues to make gifts. You have disregarded all kinds of affection for the love of righteousness. The acquisition of wealth is of slight merit, but making gifts out of that is greater merit; and still greater merit is [proper] time to give it. Lastly devotion is the greatest merit of these.

It is said that who gives 100 when he has 1,000; 10 when he has 100, a handful of water when he has no wealth are all equal in merit they earn. King Rantidev gave only a small quantity of water with pure heart when he didn't have any wealth; through this gift he went to Heaven. Devtaa of Righteousness is not happy with large gifts of costly things, as with gifts of even no value. King Nrig made gifts of thousands of cows, but by giving one cow which did not belong to him, he fell into Hell. King Usheenar's son Shibi is rejoicing Heaven because of giving his own flesh. Mere wealth is not merit. Good men acquire merit by extending the best of their power and with the aid of pious meals. Fruits of gifts are destroyed by anger. the fruit of this gift is much greater than many Raajsooya Yagya or Ashwamedh Yagya. I am the Devtaa of Righteousness, look at me, you have regained your body. Go now to Heaven with all your family." And that Braahman ascended to Heaven with his family.

I came out of my hole. Then with the scent of that barley flour, with the touch of those flowers and penance of that Braahman my head became of gold. In consequence of that gift my half of the body also became golden. Hearing this great sacrifice, I came here but my other half of the body was not made of gold. That is why I told you that this sacrifice is not comparable to that gift." After saying this the mongoose disappeared.

Vaishampaayan Jee said - "Thus this was the wonderful event of the Ashwamedh Yagya. You should not think of these sacrifices very high. Millions of Rishi have ascended to Heaven only by penance. Abstention of injury to all creatures, contentment, conduct, sincerity, penance, self-restraint, truthfulness and gifts are each equal in point of merit to sacrifice.


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Created by Sushma Gupta On 05/27/04
Modified on 01/07/13