The Mahabharata - First Book
'I am Vasumat, the son of Oshadaswa. I would ask thee, O king, whether there are any worlds for me to enjoy as fruits of my religious merits, in heaven or the firmament.
Thou art, O high-souled one, acquainted with all holy regions.'
'There are as many regions for thee to enjoy in heaven as the number of places in the firmament, the Earth and the ten points of the universe illumined by the Sun.'
"Vasumat then said,
'I give them to thee.
Let those regions that are for me be thine.
Therefore, though falling, thou shall not fall.
If to accept them as gift be improper for thee, then, O monarch, buy them for a straw?'
'I do not remember having ever bought and sold anything unfairly.
This has never been done by other kings.
How shall I therefore do it?'
'If buying them, O king, be regarded by thee as improper, then take them as gilt from me. For myself I answer that I will never go to those regions that are for me.
Let them, therefore, be thine.'
"Sivi then addressed the king thus,
'I am, O king, Sivi by name, the son of Usinara.
O father, are there in the firmament or in heaven any worlds for me to enjoy? Thou knowest every region that one may enjoy as the fruit of his religious merit.'
'Thou hast never, by speech or in mind, disregarded the honest and the virtuous that applied to thee. There are infinite worlds for thee to enjoy in heaven, all blazing like lightning.'
Sivi then said,
'If thou regardest their purchase as improper, I give them to thee.
Take them all, O king! I shall never take them, viz., those regions where the wise never feel the least disquiet.'
'O Sivi, thou hast indeed, obtained for thyself, possessed of the prowess of Indra, infinite worlds. But I do not desire to enjoy regions given to me by others.
Therefore, I accept not thy gift.'
"Ashtaka then said,
'O king, each of us has expressed his desire to give thee worlds that each of us has acquired by his religious merits. Thou acceptest not them.
But leaving them for thee, we shall descend into the Earth-hell.'
'Ye all are truth-loving and wise.
Give me that which I deserve.
I shall not be able to do what I have never done before.'
"Ashtaka then said,
'Whose are those five golden cars that we see? Do men that repair to these regions of everlasting bliss ride in them?'
'Those five golden cars displayed in glory, and blazing as fire, would indeed, carry you to regions of bliss.'
'O king, ride on those cars thyself and repair to heaven.
We can wait.
We follow thee in time.'
'We can now all go together.
Indeed, all of us have conquered heaven.
Behold, the glorious path to heaven becomes visible."
'Then all those excellent monarchs riding in those cars set out for heaven for gaining admittance into it, illuminating the whole firmament by the glory of their virtues.'
"Then Ashtaka, breaking the silence asked,
'I had always thought that Indra was my especial friend, and that I, of all others, should first obtain admittance into heaven. But how is it that Usinara's son, Sivi hath already left us behind?'
'This Usinara's son had given all he possessed for attaining to the region of Brahman. Therefore, is he the foremost among us. Besides, Sivi's liberality, asceticism, truth, virtue, modesty, forgiveness, amiability, desire of performing good acts, have been so great that none can measure them!'
"Vaisampayana continued, 'After this, Ashtaka, impelled by curiosity, again asked his maternal grandfather resembling Indra himself, saying,
'O king, I ask thee, tell me truly, whence thou art, who thou art, and whose son? Is there any other Brahmana or Kshatriya who hath done what thou didst on earth?'
'I tell thee truly, I am Yayati, the son of Nahusha and the father of Puru. I was lord of all the Earth. Ye are my relatives; I tell thee truly, I am the maternal grandfather of you all. Having conquered the whole earth, I gave clothes to Brahmanas and also a hundred handsome horses fit for sacrificial offering.
For such acts of virtue, the gods became propitious to those that perform them.
I also gave to Brahmanas this whole earth with her horses and elephants and kine and gold all kinds of wealth, along with a hundred Arbudas of excellent milch cows. Both the earth and the firmament exist owing to my truth and virtue; fire yet burneth in the world of men owing to my truth and virtue.
Never hath a word spoken by me been untrue. It is for this that the wise adore Truth.
O Ashtaka, all I have told thee, Pratardana, and Vasumat, is Truth itself. I know it for certain that the gods and the Rishis and all the mansions of the blessed are adorable only because of Truth that characteriseth them all. He that will without malice duly read unto good Brahmanas his account of our ascension to heaven shall himself attain to the same worlds with us.'
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