Mahaabhaarat | Kathaa-G | 12-Shaanti Parv
|12-Shaanti Parv, 60-|
|Kathaa-G - 12-Shaanti - page 11|
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In these pages all questions put up by Yudhishthir to Bheeshm are given in red. Bheeshm's answers are not given here in full, only some main important points, which may be relevant to our modern lives, are given.
[12-60] Vaishampaayan Jee said - "Yudhishthir asked - "What are the general and special duties of the four orders of men? What mode of life should be adopted by which order? What duties are special to kings? What sort of things a king should avoid? Whom a king should trust in distress and danger, and from what evils a king should guard himself firmly? Please tell me this."
Bheeshm said - "Bowing to Dharm and Krishn, and all Braahman standing here, I tell you the duties which are eternal - suppression of wreath, truthful of speech, justice, forgiveness, begetting children upon one's own wedded wives, purity of conduct, avoidance of quarrel, simplicity and maintenance of dependants; these nine duties belong to all four orders equally. For Braahman, self-control is the first and foremost duty along with study of Ved and patience as others. By practising the last two there all acts are accomplished. Whether he does anything or not, by studying Ved only he becomes Brahmaa - the friend of all creatures. Kshatriya should always give, not beg, should perform sacrifices but not assist a priest in the sacrifices of others, should study Ved from a Braahman but never teach them, and should protect his people. He should look for battle and is not applauded if returned unwounded from battle. There is no higher duty of a Kshatriya than to suppress robbers.
A Vaishya should make the gifts, study Ved, perform sacrifices, acquire wealth by fair means. He should protect and rear animals - anything else done by him is regarded as improper for him. How he should earn money? If he keeps six cows, he can take one cow's milk; if he keeps hundred then he can take two cow's milk; if he trades with other's money he can take a seventh part of the profit as his share, or cultivate other's field he can take a seventh part of its yield as his fee. That should be his annual remuneration. He should never desire that he should not rear cattle. If a Vaishya desires to tend cattle, no one else should do that task.
A Shoodra should serve the other three classes of the society. He should never have so much wealth that he can employ anyone from his superior classes. By this he incurs sin. He should wait upon them according to their superiority. With the king's permission for performing religious acts he may earn wealth. He should be maintained by the other three orders. Old things and clothes which are no longer fit to use should be given to Shoodra. These are the lawful acquisitions of Shoodra. If any Shoodra approaches to any of the three order person with the desire to do any menial work, it is his duty to assign him proper work. He does not own anything of his own, everything belongs to his master. Sacrifice is the duty of the other three, however a Shoodra can also do it but he is not competent to utter "Swaahaa" or "Swadhaa" or any Vaidik Mantra. He should do only Paak Yagya. The gift called Poorn-Paatra is the Dakshinaa of such sacrifices. Once a Shoodra named Paijavaan gave 100,000 Poorn-Paatra Dakshinaa according to the ordinance called Aindraagni. In all sacrifices devotion is most important.
All the lower order people have sprung from Braahman (for this reason a Shoodra earns the merit of sacrifices performed by their Braahman masters. A Shoodra has Prajaapati as his God. Mental sacrifices are laid down for all orders, and Devtaa accept the offerings in such sacrifices. that is why the sacrifices that consist in devotion, are for all. Anybody can do any sacrifice. The fire called Vitaan, though procured from and Abhimantrit by Vaishya is still inferior. Since Braahman perform sacrifices for all the three orders that is why all the four orders are holy. Originally Saam Ved was one, Rig Ved was one, and Yajur Ved was one, then they sprang from that one Ved, in the same way first there were Braahman then others sprang from them. A person who desires to sacrifice is considered as a righteous man even he is a thief, sinner or a worst of a sinner. Rishi admire such a man. There is nothing equal to sacrifice in these three worlds. Therefore one should always perform sacrifices to the best of his power and according as he pleases.
Bheeshm further said - "Now I tell you about the four modes of life and the duties in respect of each one. The four modes are Vaanprasth, Bhaikshyu, Grihasth, and Brahmcharya which is adopted by Braahman. After going through the purification rites, bearing matted locks, studies of Ved, completing all duties of Grihasth mode of living, one should proceed with or without his wife for Vaanprasth. Having studied the scriptures called Aranyak, having retired from all worldly affairs, may then attain the Eternal Soul. These are the indications of "Muni" that have drawn up their vital fluid.
A Braahman who desires for emancipation is competent to be a Bhikshu after completing Brahmcharya mode of life. Sleeping wherever the night falls, without a home, subsisting on the food got in charity, practicing self-control, regarding all creatures equally, without disliking anything, by adopting this mode of life a Braahman can get emancipation. The person leading to Grihasth mode of life, after observing Brahmcharya, should accomplish all religious acts laid down for him. he should beget children, enjoy pleasures of life. he should be satisfied with her own wedded wife, should have controlled diet, devoted to Devtaa, forgiving, and should not be cunning or deceitful. He should make offerings to Devtaa, Pitar and Braahman. In this reference there is a Shlok sung by Naaraayan Himself, "By truth, simplicity, worship of guests, acquisition of morality and profit, and enjoyment of one's own wedded wives, one should enjoy various kinds of pleasures both here and hereafter. A Brahmchaaree should not assist in the sacrifices of others, attach themselves to any act, show favor or disfavor to anyone, and should always be doing good even to their enemies."
Yudhishthir asked - "Tell us the duties of the person like us."
Bheeshm said - "The four modes of life have been laid down for Braahman. The other three orders do not adopt them. Many acts are fit for a king to go to Heaven. They have been already written down but they are not suitable to your present question. The Braahman who practice as Kshatriya, Vaishya and Shoodra earn sin here in this world. They are called by the names which are appropriate for slaves, dogs, wolves etc. Everyone derives his own nature from the nature of his acts in respect of their circumstances, place and means and motives. Therefore you should regard the study of Ved. The world is set going with Time, its operations are set by Time, Man does all kinds of acts, good or bad or indifferent, all entirely influenced by Time."
He further said - "Taking the bow, tending cattle, serving others, agriculture, trade are not proper for a Braahman. He should avoid all kinds of crooked behavior, services from a king, companionship with other women. When he falls from his character he becomes Shoodra - marrying a Shoodra woman, whatever food is assigned for Devtaa or Pitar and if it is given to such a Braahman is gone waste.
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Created by Sushma Gupta On 03/09/02
Modified on 07/09/12