Section CLXXX [summary]

| Posted in: Hinduism Itihasa

Book index: Mahabharata (English)
This page contains a summary of the Mahabharata Section CLXXX including examples of moral lessons in daily life. The Maha-Bharata is one of the largest epics ever written containing roughly 100,000 Sanskrit verses. It deals with the legendary history of ancient India and contains a large number of interwoven tales.

Short summary of the chapter:
Yudhishthira, seeking knowledge on attaining salvation, questions a learned serpent about the importance of truth, charity, kind behavior, and abstaining from harm. The serpent explains that these virtues are measured by their effects and that a person's actions determine their future existence in the human, heavenly, or animal realm. The serpent also discusses how the soul interacts with the senses and the intellect to perceive the world around them.

Yudhishthira further inquires about the differences between the mind and intellect, seeking to understand the nature of perception and consciousness. The serpent explains that the mind causes sensations like pain and pleasure, while the intellect is subservient to the soul and directs the mind. The serpent reveals that even wise beings can be overcome by prosperity and lose their reason, as he himself experienced a fall from grace due to his pride and arrogance.

The serpent recounts his downfall from heaven, where he was cursed by the sage Agastya to become a snake due to his delinquency and arrogance. He describes the power of the curse and how he sought forgiveness from Agastya, who prophesied that Yudhishthira would save him and help him attain salvation. The serpent expresses gratitude for the opportunity to expiate his curse by conversing with Yudhishthira and imparting wisdom on the attributes of the Supreme Spirit.

Yudhishthira learns valuable lessons about humility, forgiveness, and the importance of virtuous actions in securing salvation. The serpent emphasizes the significance of truth, charity, self-restraint, penance, and virtue as the means to attain salvation, rather than one's family connections or lineage. Yudhishthira, along with his brothers and Draupadi, feel a sense of shame and are advised by the Brahmanas to avoid foolhardiness and seek the path of righteousness to lead a prosperous and fulfilling life.

The virtuous Nahusha, transformed back into his celestial form, returns to Heaven, signifying the completion of his redemption from the curse. Yudhishthira, accompanied by Dhaumya and Bhima, returns to his hermitage, where he narrates the entire incident to the assembled Brahmanas. The Pandavas and Draupadi are relieved and pleased at Bhima's safety, and they continue to live harmoniously, guided by the lessons learned from the serpent's story of downfall and redemption.

Full English translation:

This page is merely a summary which is automatically generated. If you are looking for authentic sources such as the Sanskrit text or the Full English translation of Mahabharata Section CLXXX, have a look at the following articles:

Section CLXXX, online text

English translation by Kisari Mohan Ganguli.

Read this and other chapters online.

Mahabharata (English Summary)

by Kisari Mohan Ganguli | ISBN-10: 8121505933

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FAQ of Section CLXXX:

What are the virtues that lead to salvation according to the serpent?

The serpent believes that bestowing alms, speaking kind words, telling the truth, and abstaining from causing harm to any creature are key virtues that lead to salvation.

How does the soul transmigrate according to the snake's explanation?

The soul transmigrates through three conditions - human existence, heavenly life, or birth in the lower animal kingdom - depending on one's actions and virtues.

What is the difference between the mind and the intellect according to the snake?

The mind is self-existent and causes sensations, while the intellect is subservient to the soul and brought into play by acts of perception.

Why did Nahusha, the king in serpent form, fall from his high state?

Nahusha fell from grace due to the intoxication of prosperity, leading him to become arrogant and demand tribute from celestial beings, ultimately resulting in his downfall.

Mahabharata Section CLXXX in daily life:

The story captured in the exchange between Yudhishthira and the serpent, who was once king Nahusha, encapsulates profound wisdom on achieving salvation and living a virtuous life that can be implemented in our daily endeavors. It highlights the importance of charity, truthful speech, kindness, and non-violence as pillars for attaining a place in heaven. Additionally, it suggests that the weight of our deeds—good or bad—determines our fate in this world and beyond, emphasizing the need for self-awareness and control over one’s actions and desires.

To integrate these teachings into our lives, we should focus on being conscious of our interactions, ensuring they are guided by truth, generosity, and compassion. This entails understanding the impact of our words and actions on others and the environment, and striving to minimize harm while maximizing goodwill and support to those in need. Recognizing the transient nature of material success, as illustrated by Nahusha's fall from grace due to pride and mistreatment of others, serves as a reminder to remain humble and grounded, irrespective of our achievements or status.

Engaging in self-reflection and fostering a mindset that values ethical conduct over fleeting pleasures can lead to a fulfilling and righteous life. The story also underlines the power of redemption and forgiveness, demonstrating that it is never too late to rectify past mistakes and embark on a path of virtue. By embodying these principles, not only can we aspire for salvation, but we can also contribute to a harmonious and equitable society.

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