Mahabharata (English)

by Kisari Mohan Ganguli | 2,566,952 words | ISBN-10: 8121505933

The English translation of the Mahabharata is a large text describing ancient India. It is authored by Krishna-Dwaipayana Vyasa and contains the records of ancient humans. Also, it documents the fate of the Kauravas and the Pandavas family. Another part of the large contents, deal with many philosophical dialogues such as the goals of life. Book...

Section XCI

"Ashtaka said,

'Those cognisant of the Vedas differ in opinion as to how the followers of each of the four modes of life, viz., Grihasthas, Bhikshus, Brahmacarins, and Vanaprashthas, should conduct themselves in order to acquire religious merit."

"Yayati answered,

'These are what a Brahmacarin must do.

While dwelling in the abode of his preceptor, he must receive lessons only when his preceptor summons him to do so; he must attend to the service of his preceptor without waiting for the latter’s command; he must rise from his bed before his preceptor rises, and go to bed after his preceptor has gone to bed.

He must be humble, must have his passions under complete control, must be patient, vigilant, and devoted to studies. It is then only that he can achieve success.

It has been said in the oldest Upanishad that a grihastha, acquiring wealth by honest means, should perform sacrifices; he should always give something in charity, should perform the rites of hospitality unto all arriving at his abode, and should never use anything without giving a portion thereof to others.

A Muni, without search for woods, depending on his own vigour, should abstain from all vicious acts, should give away something in charity, should never inflict pain on any creature. It is then only that he can achieve success.

He, indeed, is a true Bhikshu who does not support himself by any manual arts, who possesses numerous accomplishments, who has his passions under complete control, who is unconnected with worldly concerns, who sleeps not under the shelter of a householder’s roof, who is without wife, and who going a little way every day, travels over a large extent of the country.

A learned man should adopt the Vanaprastha mode of life after performance of the necessary rites, when he has been able to control his appetites for enjoyment and desire of acquiring valuable possessions.

When one dies in the woods while leading the Vanaprastha mode of life, he makes his ancestors and the successors, numbering ten generations including himself, mix with the Divine essence.'

"Ashtaka asked,

'How many kinds of Munis are there (observers of the vow of the silence)?'

"Yayati answered,

'He is, indeed, a Muni who, though dwelling in the woods, has an inhabited place near, or who, though dwelling in an inhabited place, has the woods near.'

"Ashtaka enquired what is meant by Muni. Yayati replied,

'A Muni withdrawing himself from all worldly objects lives in the woods. And though he might never seek to surround himself with those objects that are procurable in an inhabited place, he might yet obtain them all by virtue of his ascetic power.

He may truly be said to dwell in the woods having an inhabited place near to himself.

Again a wise man withdrawn from all earthly objects, might live in a hamlet leading the life of a hermit. He may never exhibit the pride of family, birth or learning.

Clad in the scantiest robes, he may yet regard himself as attired in the richest vestments. He may rest content with food just enough for the support of life. Such a person, though dwelling in an inhabited place, lives yet in the woods.

"The person again, who, with passions under complete control, adopts the vow of silence, refraining from action and entertaining no desire, achieves success.

Why should you not, indeed, reverence the man who lives on clean food, who refrains from ever injuring others, whose heart is ever pure, who stands in the splendour of ascetic attributes, who is free from the leaden weight of desire, who abstains from injury even when sanctioned by religion?

Emaciated by austerities and reduced in flesh, marrow and blood, such a one conquers not only this but the highest world.

And when the Muni sits in yoga meditation, becoming indifferent to happiness and misery, honour and insult, he then leaves the world and enjoys communion with Brahma.

When the Muni takes food like wine and other animals, i. e., without providing for it beforehand and without any relish (like a sleeping infant feeding on the mother’s lap), then like the all-pervading spirit he becomes identified with the whole universe and attains to salvation.'"


This concludes Section XCI of Book 1 (Adi Parva) of the Mahabharata, of which an English translation is presented on this page. This book is famous as one of the Itihasa, similair in content to the eighteen Puranas. Book 1 is one of the eighteen books comprising roughly 100,000 Sanskrit metrical verses.

FAQ (frequently asked questions):

Which keywords occur in Section XCI of Book 1 of the Mahabharata?

The most relevant definitions are: Muni, Ashtaka, Yayati, Brahmacarin, grihastha, Bhikshu; since these occur the most in Book 1, Section XCI. There are a total of 15 unique keywords found in this section mentioned 29 times.

What is the name of the Parva containing Section XCI of Book 1?

Section XCI is part of the Sambhava Parva which itself is a sub-section of Book 1 (Adi Parva). The Sambhava Parva contains a total of 78 sections while Book 1 contains a total of 19 such Parvas.

Can I buy a print edition of Section XCI as contained in Book 1?

Yes! The print edition of the Mahabharata contains the English translation of Section XCI of Book 1 and can be bought on the main page. The author is Kisari Mohan Ganguli and the latest edition (including Section XCI) is from 2012.

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