Friday, February 22, 2008

Adi Parva - Sambhava Parva 25

"Yayati said, 'I am Yayati, the son of Nahusha and the father of Puru.
Cast off from the region of the celestials and of Siddhas and Rishis for
having disregarded every creature, I am falling down, my righteousness
having sustained diminution. In years I am older than you; therefore, I
have not saluted you first. Indeed, the Brahmanas always reverence him
who is older in years or superior in learning or in ascetic merit.'

"Ashtaka then replied, 'Thou sayest, O monarch, that he who is older in
years is worthy of regard. But it is said that he is truly worthy of
worship who is superior in learning and ascetic merit.'

"Yayati replied to this, 'It is said that sin destroy the merits of
four virtuous acts. Vanity contain the element of that which lead
to hell. The virtuous never follow in the footsteps of the vicious. They
act in such a way that their religious merit always increase. I myself
had great religious merit, but all that, however, is gone. I will
scarcely be able to regain it even by my best exertions. Beholding my
fate, he that is bent upon (achieving) his own good, will certainly
suppress vanity. He who having acquired great wealth perform
meritorious sacrifices, who having acquired all kinds of learning
remain humble, and who having studied the entire Vedas devote
himself to asceticism with a heart withdrawn from all mundane enjoyments,
go to heaven. None should exult in having acquired great wealth. None
should be vain of having studied the entire Vedas. In the world men are
of different dispositions. Destiny is supreme. Both power and exertion
are all fruitless. Knowing Destiny to be all-powerful, the wise, whatever
their portions may be, should neither exult nor grieve. When creatures
know that their weal and woe are dependent on Destiny and not on their
own exertion or power, they should neither grieve nor exult, remembering
that Destiny is all powerful. The wise should ever live contented,
neither grieving at woe nor exulting at weal. When Destiny is supreme,
both grief and exultation are unbecoming. O Ashtaka, I never suffer
myself to be overcome by fear, nor do I ever entertain grief, knowing for
certain that I shall be in the world what the great disposer of all hath
ordained. Insects and worms, all oviparous creatures, vegetable
existences, all crawling animals, vermin, the fish in the water, stones,
grass, wood--in fact, all created things, when they are freed from the
effects of their acts, are united with the Supreme Soul. Happiness and
misery are both transient. Therefore, O Ashtaka, why should I grieve? We
can never know how we are to act in order to avoid misery. Therefore,
none should grieve for misery.'

"Possessed of every virtue, king Yayati who was the maternal grandfather
of Ashtaka, while staying in the welkin, at the conclusion of his speech,
was again questioned by Ashtaka. The latter said, 'O king of kings, tell
me, in detail, of all those regions that thou hast visited and enjoyed,
as well as the period for which thou hast enjoyed each. Thou speak of
the precepts of religion even like the clever masters acquainted with the
acts and sayings of great beings!' Yayati replied, 'I was a great king on
Earth, owning the whole world for my dominion. Leaving it, I acquired by
dint of religious merit many high regions. There I dwelt for a full
thousand years, and then I attained to a very high region the abode of
Indra, of extraordinary beauty having a thousand gates, and extending
over a hundred yojanas all round. There too, I dwelt a full thousand
years and then attained to a higher region still. That is the region of
perfect beatitude, where decay never exists, the region, viz., that of
the Creator and the Lord of Earth, so difficult of attainment. There also
I dwelt for a full thousand years, and then attained to another very high
region viz., that of the god of gods (Vishnu) where, too, I had lived in
happiness. Indeed, I dwelt in various regions, adored by all the
celestials, and possessed of prowess and splendour equal unto those of
the celestials themselves. Capable of assuming any form at will, I lived
for a million years in the gardens of Nandana sporting with the Apsaras
and beholding numberless beautiful trees clad in flowery vesture and
sending forth delicious perfume all round. And after many, many years had
elapsed, while still residing there in enjoyment of perfect beatitude,
the celestial messenger of grim visage, one day, in a loud and deep
voice, thrice shouted to me--Ruined! Ruined! Ruined!--O lion among kings,
this much do I remember. I was then fallen from Nandana, my religious
merits gone! I heard in the skies, O king, the voices of the celestials
exclaiming in grief,--Alas! What a misfortune! Yayati, with his religious
merits destroyed, though virtuous and of sacred deeds, is falling!--And
as I was falling, I asked them loudly, 'Where, ye celestials, are those
wise ones amongst whom I am to fall?' They pointed out to me this sacred
sacrificial region belonging to you. Beholding the curls of smoke
blackening the atmosphere and smelling the perfume of clarified butter
poured incessantly upon fire, and guided thereby, I am approaching this
region of yours, glad at heart that I come amongst you.'"

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