"Yudhishthira said, 'If Brahmanas that are in the observance of a vow (viz., fast) eat, at the invitation of a Brahmana, the Havi (offered at a Sraddha), can they be charged with the transgression or a violation of their vow, or should they refuse the invitation of a Brahmana when such invitation is received by them? Tell me this, O grandsire!'
"Bhishma said, 'Let those Brahmanas eat, impelled by desire, who are observant of such vows as are not indicated in the Vedas. As regards those Brahmanas, however, that are observant of such vows are indicated in the Vedas, they are regarded as guilty of a breach of their vow, O Yudhishthira, by eating the Havi of a Sraddha at the request of him who performs the Sraddha.'
"Yudhishthira said, 'Some people say that fast is a penance. Is penance really identifiable with fast or is it not so? Tell me this, O grandsire!'
"Bhishma said, 'People do regard a regular fast for a month or a half month as a penance. The truth, however, is that one who mortifies one's own body is not to be regarded either as an ascetic or as one conversant with duty . Renunciation, however, is regarded as the best of penances. A Brahmana should always be an abstainer from food, and observe the vow called Brahmacharya. A Brahmana should always practise self-denial restraining even speech, and recite the Vedas. The Brahmana should marry and surround himself with children and relatives, from desire of achieving righteousness. He should never sleep. He should abstain from meat. He should always read the Vedas and the scriptures. He should always speak the truth, and practise self-denial. He should eat Vighasa (viz., what remains after serving the deities and guests). Indeed, he should be hospitable towards all that come to his abode. He should always eat Amrita (viz., the food that remains in the house after all the family, including guests and servants have eaten) He should duly observe all rites and perform sacrifices.'"
"Yudhishthira said, "How may one come to be regarded as always observant of fasts? How may one become observant of vows? How, O king, may one come to be an eater of Vighasa? By doing what may one be said to be found of guest?'"
"Bhishma said, 'He who takes food only morning and evening at the prescribed hours and abstains from all food during the interval between, is said to be an abstainer from food. He who has congress with only his wedded wife and that only at her season, is said to be observant of the
vow of Brahmacharya. By always making gifts, one comes to be regarded as truthful in speech. By abstaining from all meat obtained from animals slaughtered for nothing, one becomes an abstainer from meat. By making gifts one becomes cleansed of all sins, and by abstaining from sleep during daytime one comes to be regarded as always awake. He who always eats what remains after serving the needs of guests and servants is said to always eat Amrita. He who abstains from eating till Brahmanas have eaten (of that food), is regarded as conquering heaven by such abstention. He who eats what remains after serving the deities, the Pitris, and relatives and dependants, is said to eat Vighasa. Such men acquire many regions of felicity in the abode of Brahman himself. There, O king, they dwell in the company of Apsaras and Gandharvas. Indeed, they sport and enjoy all sports of delight in those regions, with the deities and guests and the Pitris in their company, and surrounded by their own children and grandchildren. Even such becomes their high end.'"
"Yudhishthira said, 'People are seen to make diverse kinds of gifts unto the Brahmanas. What, however, is the difference, O grandsire, between the giver and the receiver?'"
"Bhishma said, 'The Brahmana accepts gifts from him that is righteous, and from him that is unrighteous. If the giver happens to be righteous, the receiver incurs little fault. If on the other hand, the giver happens to be unrighteous the receiver sinks in hell. In this connection is cited an old history of the conversation between Vrishadarbhi and the seven Rishis, O Bharata. Kasyapa and Atri and Vasishtha and Bharadwaja and Gautama and Viswamitra and Jamadagni, and the chaste Arundhati (the wife of Vasishtha), all had a common maidservant whose name was Ganda. A Sudra of the name of Pasusakha married Ganda and became her husband. Kasyapa and others, in days of old, observed the austerest penances and roved over the world, desirous of attaining to the eternal region of Brahman by the aid of Yoga-meditation. About that time, O delighter of the Kurus, there occurred a severe drought. Afflicted by hunger, the whole world of living creatures became exceedingly weak. At a sacrifice which had been performed in former times by Sivi's son he had given away unto the Ritwiks a son of his as the sacrificial present. About this time, unendued with longevity as the prince was, he died of starvation. The Rishis named, afflicted with hunger, approached the dead prince and sat surrounding him. Indeed, those foremost of Rishis, beholding the son of him at whose sacrifice they had officiated, O Bharata, thus dead of starvation, began to cook the body in a vessel, impelled by the pangs of hunger. All food having disappeared from the world of men, those ascetics, desirous of saving their lives, had recourse, for purposes of sustenance, to such a miserable shift. While they were thus employed. Vrishadarbha's son, viz., king Saivya, in course of his roving, came upon
those Rishis. Indeed, he met them on his way, engaged in cooking the dead body, impelled by the pangs of hunger.'"
"The son of Vrishadarbha said, 'The acceptance of a gift (from me) will immediately relieve you all. Do you, therefore, accept a gift for the support of your bodies! Ye ascetics endued with wealth of penances, listen to me as I declare what wealth I have! That Brahmana who solicits me (for gifts) is ever dear to me. Verily, I shall give unto you a thousand mules. Unto each of you I shall give a thousand kine of white hair, foremost in speed, each accompanied by a bull, and each having a well-born calf, and, therefore, yielding milk. I shall also give unto you a thousand bulls of white complexion and of the best breed and capable of bearing heavy burdens. I shall also give you a large number of kine, of good disposition, the foremost of their kind, all fat, and each of which, having brought forth her first calf, is quick with her second. Tell me what else I shall give of foremost villages, of grain, of barley, and of even the rarer and costly jewels. Do not seek to eat this food that is inedible. Tell me what I should give unto you for the support of your bodies!'
"The Rishis said, 'O king, an acceptance of gifts from a monarch is very sweet at first but it is poison in the end. Knowing this well, why do you, O king, tempt us then with these offers? The body of the Brahmana is the field of the deities. By penance, it is purified. Then again, by gratifying the Brahmana, one gratifies the deities. If a Brahmana accepts the gifts made to him by the king, he loses, by such acceptance, the merit that he would otherwise acquire by his penances that day. Indeed, such acceptance consumes that merit even as a blazing conflagration consumes a forest. Let happiness be thine, O king, as the result of the gifts thou makest to those that solicit thee!' Saying these words unto them, they left the spot, proceeding by another way. The flesh those high-souled ones had intended to cook remained uncooked. Indeed, abandoning that flesh, they went away, and entered the woods in search of food. After this, the ministers of the king, urged by their master, entered those woods and plucking certain figs endeavoured to give them away unto those Rishis. The officers of the king filled some of those figs with gold and mixing them with others sought to induce those ascetics to accept them. Atri took up some of those figs, and finding them heavy refused to take them. He said, 'We are not destitute of knowledge. We are not fools! We know that there is gold within these figs. We have our senses about us. Indeed, we are awake instead of being asleep. If accepted in this world, those will produce bitter consequence hereafter. He who seeks happiness both here and hereafter should never accept these.'"
"Vasishtha said, 'If we accept even one gold coin, it will be counted as a hundred or even a thousand (in assigning the demerit that attaches to
acceptance). If, therefore, we accept many coins, we shall surely attain to an unhappy end hereafter!'"
Kasyapa said, 'All the paddy and barley on earth, all the gold and animals and women that occur in the world, are incapable of gratifying the desire of a single person. Hence, one possessed of wisdom should dispelling cupidity, adopt tranquillity!'"
"Bharadwaja said, 'The horns of a Ruru, after their first appearance, begin to grow with the growth of the animal. The cupidity of man is even like this. It has no measure!'"
"Gautama said, 'All the objects that exist in the world are incapable of gratifying even a single person. Man is even like the ocean, for he can never be filled (even as the ocean can never be filled by all the waters that are discharged into it by the rivers).'"
"Viswamitra said, 'When one desire cherished by a person becomes gratified, there springs up immediately another whose gratification is sought and which pierces him like a shaft.'"
"Jamadagni said, 'Abstention from accepting guts supports penances as their foundation. Acceptance, however, destroys that wealth (viz., the merit of penances).'"
"Arundhati said, 'Some people are of opinion that things of the world may be stored with a view to spend them upon the acquisition of righteousness (by gifts and sacrifices). I think, however, that the acquisition of righteousness is better than that of worldly wealth.'"
"Ganda said, 'When these my lords, who are endued with great energy, are so very much afraid of this which seems to be a great terror a weak man as I am fear it the more.'"
"Pasusakha said, 'The wealth there is in righteousness is very superior. There is nothing superior to it. That wealth is known to the Brahmans. I wait upon them as their servant, only for learning to value that wealth.'"
"The Rishis (all together) said, 'Let happiness be his, as the result of the gifts he makes, who is the king of the people of this land. Let his gift be successful who has sent these fruits to us, enclosing gold within them.'"
"Bhishma continued, 'Having said these words, those Rishis of steadfast vows, abandoning the figs having gold within them, left that spot and proceeded to whatever destination they liked.'"
"The ministers said, 'O king, coming to know of the existence of gold within the figs, the Rishis have gone away! Let this be known to thee!'
"Bhishma continued, 'Thus addressed by his ministers, king Vrishadarbhi became filled with wrath against all those Rishis. Indeed, to take vengeance upon them, the monarch entered his own chamber. Observing the austerest of penances, he poured on his sacred fire libations of ghee, accompanying each with Mantras uttered by him. From that fire there then arose as the result of the incantation, a form capable of striking every one with fear. Vrishadarbhi named her as Yatudhani. That form which had been from the incantations of the king, looking as terrible as the Last Night, appeared with joined hands before the monarch. Addressing king Vrishadarbhi, she said, 'What shall I accomplish?'"
"Vrishadarbhi said, 'Go and follow the seven Rishis, as also Arundhati, and the husband of their maid-servant, and the maid-servant herself, and comprehend what the meanings are of their names. Having ascertained their names, do thou slay all of them. After slaying them thou mayst go whatever destination thou likest.'"
"Bhishma continued, 'Saying, 'So be it! the Rakshasi who had been named Yatudhani, in her proper form, proceeded to that forest in which the great Rishis wandered in search of food. Indeed, O king, those great Rishis, with Atri among them, roved within the forest, subsisting upon fruits and roots. In course of their wanderings they saw a mendicant of broad shoulders, and plump arms and legs and well-nourished face and abdomen. Of limbs that were all adipose, he was wandering with a dog in his company. Beholding that mendicant whose limbs were all well-developed and handsome, Arundhati exclaimed, addressing the Rishis, 'None of you will ever be able to show such well-developed features!'"
"Vasishtha said, 'The sacred fire of this person is not like ours for while he is able to pour libations on it, morning and evening, none of us are able to do the same. It is for this reason that we see both him and his dog so well-developed.''
"Atri said, 'This man does not, like us, feel the pangs of hunger. His energy has not sustained, like ours, any diminution. Acquired with the greatest difficulty, his Vedas have not, like ours, disappeared. Hence, it is that we see both him and his dog so well-developed.'
"Viswamitra said, 'This man is not, like us, unable to observe the eternal duties inculcated in the scriptures. I have become idle. I feel the pangs of hunger. I have lost the knowledge I had acquired. This man is not like us in this respect. Hence I see both him and his dog so well-developed.'"
''Jamadagni said, 'This man has not to think of storing his annual grain and fuel as we are compelled to, do. Hence I see both him and his dog so well-developed!'
"Kasyapa said, 'This man has not, like us, four brothers of the whole blood who are begging from house to house, uttering the words, 'Give--Give!' Hence it is that I see him and his dog so well-developed.'
"Bharadwaja said, 'This man hath no regret like ours for having condemned and cursed his spouse. He hath not acted so wickedly and senselessly. Hence I see both him and his dog so well-developed!'
"Gautama said, 'This man bath not like us only three pieces of covering made of Kusa grass, and a single Ranku-skin, each of which again, is
three years old. Hence it is that I see both him and his dog so well-developed!'
"Bhishma continued, 'The wandering mendicant, beholding those great Rishis, approach them, and accosted them all by touching their hand according to the custom. Conversing then with each other about the difficulty of obtaining sustenance in that forest and the consequent necessity of bearing the pangs of hunger, all of them left that spot. Indeed, they wandered through that wilderness, all bent upon a common purpose, viz., the plucking of fruits and the extraction of roots for sustenance. One day, as they were wandering they beheld a beautiful lake overgrown with lotuses. Its banks were covered with trees that stood thickly near one another. The waters of the lake were pure and transparent. Indeed, the lotuses that adorned the lake were all of the hue of the morning sun. The leaves that floated on the water were of the colour of lapis lazuli. Diverse kinds of aquatic fowls were sporting on its bosom. There was but one path leading to it. The banks were not miry and the access to the water was easy. Urged by Vrishadarbhi, the Rakshasi of frightful mien who had sprung from his incantations and who had been named Yatudhani, guarded the lake. Those foremost of Rishis, with Pasusakha in their company, proceeded towards the lake, which was thus guarded by Yatudhani for the object of gathering some lotus stalks. Beholding Yatudhani, of frightful aspect standing on the banks of the lake, those great Rishis addressed her, saying, 'Who art thou that thus standest alone in these solitary woods? For whom dost thou wait here? What, indeed, is thy purpose? What dost thou do here on the banks of this lake adorned with lotuses?'"
"Yatudhani said, 'It matters not who I am. I deserve not to be questioned (respecting my name and race and purposes). Ye that are possessed of ascetic wealth, know that I am the guard set to watch this lake.'"
'The Rishis said, 'All of us are hungry. We have nothing else to eat. With thy permission we would gather some lotus-stalks!'"
"Yatudhani said, 'Agreeably with a compact, do ye take the lotus-stalks as ye please. Ye must, one by one, give me your names. Ye may then, without delay, take the stalks!'"
"Bhishma continued, 'Ascertaining that her name was, Yatudhani and that she stood there for slaying them (after knowing, from the meanings their names, what the extent was of their power), Atri, who was famishing with hunger, addressed her, and said these words.'"
"Atri said, 'I am called Atri because I cleanse the world from sin. For, again, thrice studying the Vedas every day, I have made days of my nights. That, again, is no night in which I have not studied the Vedas. For these reasons also I am called Atri, O beautiful lady!'"
"Yatudhani said, 'O thou of great effulgence, the explanation thou
hast given me of thy name is incapable of being comprehended by me. Do thou, therefore, go and plunge into this tank filled with lotuses!'"
"Vasishtha said, 'I am endued with the wealth (that consists of the Yoga attributes of puissance, etc.) I lead, again, a domestic mode of life, and am regarded as the foremost of all persons that lead such a mode of life. In consequence of being endued with (such) wealth, of my living as a householder, and of my being regarded as the foremost of all householders, I am called Vasishtha.'
"Yatudhani said, 'The etymological explanation of thy name is perfectly incomprehensible to me, in as much as the inflections which the original roots have undergone are unintelligible. Rio and plunge into this lake of lotuses!'"
"Kasyapa said, 'I always protect my body, and in consequence of my penances I have become endued with effulgence. For thus protecting the body and for this effulgence that is due to my penances, I have come to be called by the name of Kasyapa!'
"Yatudhani said, 'O thou of great effulgence, the etymological explanation thou hast given of thy name is incapable of being comprehended by me. Go and plunge into this lake filled with lotuses!'
"Bharadwaja said, 'I always support my sons, my disciples, the deities, the Brahmanas, and my wife. In consequence of thus supporting all with ease, I am called Bharadwaja!'
"Yatudhani said, 'The etymological explanation thou hast given me of thy name is perfectly incomprehensible to me, in consequence of the many inflections the root has undergone. Go and plunge into this lake filled with lotuses!'"
"Gotama said, 'I have conquered heaven and earth by the aid of self-restraint. In consequence of my looking upon all creatures and objects with an equal eye, I am like a smokeless fire. Hence I am incapable of being subjugated by thee. When, again, I was born, the effulgence of my body dispelled the surrounding darkness. For these reasons I am called Gotama!'
"Yatudhani said, 'The explanation thou hast given me of thy name, O great ascetic, is incapable of being understood by me. Go and plunge into this lake of lotuses!'"
"Viswamitra said, 'The deities of the universe are my friends. I am also the friend of the universe. Hence, O Yatudhani, know that I am called Viswamitra!'
"Yatudhani said, 'The explanation thou hast given of thy name is incomprehensible to me in consequence of the inflections the root has undergone. Go and plunge into this lake of lotuses!'"
"Jamadagni said, 'I have sprung from the sacrificial fire of the deities. Hence am I called Jamadagni, O thou of beautiful features!'"
"Yatudhani said, 'The etymological explanation thou hast given me, O great ascetic, of thy name, is incomprehensible to me (in consequence of the diverse inflections the root has undergone) Do thou go and plunge into this lake of lotuses!'"
"Arundhati said, 'I always stay by the side of my husband, and hold the earth jointly with him. I always incline my husband's heart towards me. I am, for these reasons called Arundhati!'
"Yatudhani said, The explanation thou hast given me of thy name is perfectly incomprehensible to me in consequence of the inflections the roots have undergone. Go and plunge into this lake of lotuses!'
"Ganda said, 'The Ganda means a portion of the cheek. As I have that portion a little elevated above the others, I am, O thou that hast sprung from the sacrificial fire of Saivya, called by the name of Ganda!'"
"Yatudhani said, 'The explanation which thou hast given me of thy name is perfectly incomprehensible to me in consequence of the inflections which the root has undergone. Go and plunge into this lake of lotuses!'"
"Pasusakha said, 'I protect and tend all animals that I see, and I am always a friend to all animals. Hence am I called Pasusakha, O thou that hast sprung from the (sacrificial) fire (of king Vrishadarbhi).'
"Yatudhani said, 'The explanation thou hast given me of thy name is perfectly incomprehensible to me in consequence of the inflections which the roots have undergone. Go and plunge into this lake of lotuses!'"
"Sunahsakha said, 'I am incapable of explaining the etymology of my name after the manner of these ascetics. But know, O Yatudhani, that I am called by the name of Sunahsakha!'
"Yatudhani said, 'Thou hast mentioned thy name only once. The explanation thou hast offered I have not able to catch. Do thou, therefore, mention it again, O regenerate one!'"
"Sunahsakha said, 'Since thou hast been unable to catch my name in consequence of my having mentioned it only once, I shall strike thee with my triple stick! Struck with it, be thou consumed into ashes without delay!'"
"Bhishma continued, 'Struck then, on the head, by the Sannyasin, with his triple stick which resembled the chastisement inflicted by a Brahmana, the Rakshasi who had sprung from the incantations of king. Vrishadarbhi fell down on the earth and became reduced to ashes. Having thus destroyed the mighty Rakshasi, Sunahsakha thrust his stick into the earth and sat himself down on a grassy plot of land. The Rishis then, having, as they liked, plucked a number of lotuses and taken up a number of lotus-stalks, came up from the lake, filled with joy. Throwing on the ground the heap of lotuses which they had gathered with much toil, they plunged once more into it for offering oblations of water to the Pitris. Coming up, they proceeded to that part of the bank where
they had deposited the lotus-stalks. Reaching that spot, those foremost of men found that the stalks were nowhere to be seen.'"
"The Rishis said, 'What sinful and hard-hearted man has stolen away the lotus-stalks gathered by our hungry selves from desire of eating?'
"Bhishma continued, 'Those foremost of regenerate persons, suspecting one another, O crusher of foes, said, 'We shall each have to swear to our innocence! All those ascetics then, famishing with hunger and worn out with exertion, agreeing to the proposal, took these oaths.'
"Atri said, 'Let him who has stolen the lotus-stalk touch kine with his foot, make water facing the sun, and study the Vedas on excluded days!'"
"Vasishtha said, 'Let him who has stolen the lotus-stalks abstain from studying the Vedas, or leash hounds, or be a wandering mendicant unrestrained by the ordinances laid down for that mode of life, or be a slayer of persons that seek his protection, or live upon the proceeds of the sale of his daughter, or solicit wealth from those that are low and vile!'"
"Kasyapa, said, 'Let him who has stolen the lotus-stalks utter all kinds of words in all places, give false evidence in a court of law, eat the flesh of animals not slain in sacrifices, make gifts to undeserving persons or to deserving persons at unseasonable times, and have sexual congress with women during daytime!'"
"Bharadwaja said, 'Let him who has stolen the lotus-stalks be cruel and unrighteous in his conduct towards women and kinsmen and kine. Let him humiliate Brahmanas, in disputations, by displaying his superior knowledge and skill. Let him study the Riks and the Yajuses, disregarding his preceptor! Let him pour libations upon fires made with dry grass or straw!"
"Jamadagni said, 'Let him who has stolen the lotus-stalks be guilty of throwing filth and dirt on water. Let him be inspired with animosity towards kine. Let him be guilty of having sexual congress with women at times other than their season. Let him incur the aversion of all persons. Let him derive his maintenance from the earnings of his wife! Let him have no friends and let him have many foes! Let him be another's guest for receiving in return those acts of hospitality which he has done to that other! '"
"Gotama said, 'Let him who has stolen the lotus-stalks be guilty of throwing away the Vedas after having studied them! Let him cast off the three sacred fires! Let him be a seller of the Soma (plant or juice)! Let him live with that Brahmana who resides in a village which has only one
well from which water is drawn by all classes and who has married a Sudra woman!'"
"Viswamitra said, 'Let him who has stolen the lotus-stalks be fated to see his preceptors and seniors and his servants maintained by others during his own life-time. Let him not have a good end. Let him be the father of many children! Let him be always impure and a wretch among Brahmanas! Let him be proud of his possessions! Let him be a tiller of the soil and let him be filled with malice! Let him wander in the season of rains. Let him be a paid servant! Let him be the priest of the king! Let him assist at the sacrifices of such impure persons as do not deserve to be assisted at their sacrifices!'"
"Arundhati said, 'Let her who has stolen the lotus-stalks always humiliate her mother-in-law! Let her be always vexed with her husband! Let her eat whatever good things come to her house without sharing them with others! Disregarding the kinsmen of her lord, let her live in her husband's house and eat, at the day's close, the flour of fried barely! Let her come to be regarded as unenjoyable (in consequence of the stains that would tarnish her)! Let her be the mother of a heroic son! '"
"Ganda said, 'Let her who has stolen, the lotus-stalks be always a speaker of falsehoods! Let her always quarrel with her kinsmen! Let her bestow her daughter in marriage for a pecuniary consideration! Let her eat the food which she has cooked, alone and without sharing it with anybody! Let her pass her whole life in slavery! Indeed, let her who has stolen the lotus-stalks be quick with child in consequence of sexual congress under circumstances of guilt.'"
"Pasusakha said, 'Let him who has stolen the lotus-stalks be born of a slave-mother. Let him have many children all of whom are worthless! And let him never bow to the deities.'"
"Sunahsakha said, 'Let him who has removed the lotus-stalks obtain the merit of bestowing his daughter in marriage upon a Brahmana, who has studied all the Samans and the Yajuses and who has carefully observed the vow of Brahmacharya, Let him perform the final ablutions after having studied all the Atharvans!'"
"All the Rishis said, 'The oath thou hast taken is no oath at all, for all the acts which thou hast mentioned are very desirable for the Brahmanas! It is evident, O Sunahsakha, that thou hast appropriated our lotus-stalks!'"
"Sunahsakha said, 'The lotus stalks deposited by you not being seen, what you say is perfectly true, for it is I who have actually stolen them. In the very sight of all of you I have caused the disappearance of those stalks! Ye sinless ones, the act was done by me from desire of testing you! I came hither for protecting you. That woman who lies slain there was called Yatudhani. She was of a fierce disposition. Sprung from the
incantations of king Vrishadarbhi, she had come here from the desire of slaying all of you! You ascetics endued with wealth of penances, egged on by that king, she had come, but I have slain her. That wicked and sinful creature, sprung from the sacrificial fire, would otherwise have taken your lives. It was for killing her and saving you that I came here, ye learned Brahmanas! Know that I am Vasava! Ye have completely freed yourselves from the influence of cupidity. In consequence of this, ye have won many eternal regions fraught with the fruition of every wish as soon as it rises in the heart! Do ye rise, without delay, from this place and repair to those regions of beatitude, ye regenerate ones, that are reserved for you!'
"Bhishma continued, 'The great Rishis, highly gratified at this, replied unto Purandara, saying, 'So be it!' They then ascended to heaven in company of Indra himself. Even thus, those high-souled persons, though famishing with hunger and though tempted at such a time with the offer of diverse kinds of enjoyable articles, refrained from yielding to temptation. As the result of such self-denial, they attained to heaven. It seems, therefore, that one should, under all circumstances, cast off cupidity from oneself. Even this, O king, is the highest duty. Cupidity should be cast off. The man who recites this account (of the deeds of the righteous Rishis) in assemblies of men, succeeds in acquiring wealth. Such a man has never to attain to a distressful end. The Pitris, the Rishis, and the deities become all pleased with him. Hereafter, again, he becomes endued with fame and religious merit and wealth!'"