On the occasion of Satra Yaga, Sooti told Sounaka and other sages and saints, the story of Mahabharata, as told by Saint Vaisampayana to King Janamejaya. When Goddess Parvati asked Parama Siva about Varna Ashrama Dharmas, Maha Siva told thus:
“O Parvati! In the past, for the welfare of this Loka, Lord Brahma created four castes. They are Brahmana, Kshatriya, Vysya and Soodra. Brahmins were born from the face of Brahma, Kshatriyas from shoulders, Vysyas from thighs and Sudras from feet. That was the reason why differences arose between those four castes and their duties.
Brahmins are the basis for this Loka. If they are insulted, it would cause hardship. If they are worshipped and regarded, they flourish. Brahmins shall not be accused whether he is poor or rich, educated or illiterate. If Brahmins are insulted, not only in this world but in other world also they would not enjoy pleasures. Accusing Brahmins is equivalent to accusing God. Grabbing the moneys of Brahmins equivalent to grabbing God’s wealth.
The duties of Brahmins are--studying vedas, performing Yajnas; making others to perform Yajnas, teaching vedas to others, receiving Dana from others; maintaining peaceful mind; soft spoken; performing tapas, always speaking truth; maintaining cleanliness; etc. These are the duties of Brahmins. Unless he is great trouble, he cannot undertake business. Brahmins shall perform Agnihotra daily.He shall not receive anything from Sudras. He shall not look at others’ wives and enjoy pleasures with his own wife. He shall take food twice a day. He shall not indulge in violence. He shall maintain cleanliness in his house and surroundings. Heshall worship guests and offer them food. He shall perform Tapas. For maintaing and protect Dharma only Brahma created Brahmins.
Protecring Brahmins is the utmost Dharma of Kshatriyas. Kshatriyas shall protect all beings on the face of the earth. On account of Kshatriyas only, the mothe earth flourishes. Under the rule of Kshatriyas, all people live happily. Kshatriyas shall study Vedas; perform Yajnas; perform charities; feed and protect virtuous people; punish wrong doers. King shall alwlays be enthusiastic and courageous. Kshatriyas shall acquire expertise in archery skills. Kshatriya shall impose taxes on people tothe extentof 1/6th of their income. While administering justice, King shall be impartial. These are the duties of Kshatriyas.
The following are the duties of Vysyas. Vysyas shall always be interested in the welfare of the society. Vysyas shall aways be helpful to others. They shall work hard. Their main occupations are trade and commerce. Vysyas may also study vedas and perform Yajnas and Danas. By performing fUpanayana samskara, they are Dwijas. They also shall worship guests and offer them food.
The main duty of Sudras is to serve the above three castes with devotion and help them in their day to day affairs.
O Parvati! now I tell you about Ashrama Dharmas. The first is Brahmacharya. During Brahmacharya, one shall learn Vedas and Sastras under the guidance of Guru. He shall study Vedas and perform Agni hotra daily. He shall bring food for himself and for Guru.
Next is Grihastha Ashram.This is the foundation for other Ashrams. During this Ashram, one should maintain cleanliness; satisfy with his own wife; perform five Yajnas; study vedas; perform charities; perform Homas etc.
Next comes Vanaprastha. During this Ashram, one shall maintain Brahmacharya; take vegetarian food; wear cotton clothes; abandon all desires etc.
Last one is Sanyasa. Sanyasi never gets angry. Sanyasi shall control his sense organs; shall not preserve anything for himself; maintain patience; take part in satsangas with sages and saints in forests; keep his mind always peaceful; maintain purity in mind and character; maintain cleanliness; speak truth always; fetch food only by alms; sleep on floor; and be kind towards other creatures. These are the dharmas of Sanyasi” told Siva to Parvati.
“O Lord Siva! Saints perform Tapas. Tell me about it” asked Parvati.
“Generally, sages and saints perform Tapas for accomplishment of some desires. But Tapas is a dharma to be adopted during Vanaprastha. Before performing Tapas, one shall maintain control over sense organs and perform Yoga both morning and evening. If tapas is performed only for the sake of desires, they attain heavenly pleasures after death. After the fruits of tapas are exhausted, they again come back to this mortal world. They cannot attain Moksha. Some others perform Tapas without taking any food, amidst fires. After death, they also enjoy pleasures in heaven and come back to earth after their fruits of tapas are exhausted.
People who perform Tapas without any desires, always maintain non-violence as Vrata. Either by mind, speech or act, they never cause harm to others. They are kind and compassionate towards other creatures. They feel that Atma is one and same in all creatures. Such people after death enjoy heavenly plelasures. After the fruits of their Tapas are exhausted, they again take birth on this earth.” said Siva to Parvati.
“O Siva! kindly tell me about Upavasa and its effects.” asked Parvati.
“O Parvati! Upavasa means, fasting, sleeping on ground; maintaining silence; performing Yoga asanas, taking limited food at regular timings; etc. All these have to be strictly followed during Vanaprashta. As a result, they attain chandra loka, vayu loka, yaksha loka, gandharva loka, naga loka etc.” said Maha Siva.
“O Maha Siva! sanyasis go round all the houses and receive alms to fill their belly. Kindly tell me about them.” asked Parvati.
“O Parvarti! Such people observe fasting often. They will be roaming. They never stay at a fixed place. They visit all holy places and have holy dip in rivers. They live by alms. Their bodies deteriorate day by day. They cook grains and consume them. After death, they attain heavenly pleasures.” said Maha Siva.
“O Maha Siva! kindly enlighten me about Vaikhanasas?” asked Parvati.
“O Parvati! Vaikhanasas observe strict discipline. They gather grains from fields, hull them and cook them. They consume fruits. Some live only by water and some by air. Some take sumptuous food. Vaikhanasas are liked by Indra. After death, they attain heaven. Vaikhanasa vrata shall be observed during Vanaprastha. All these come under Tapas.
O Parvati! now I tell you about Dharmas. Of all Dharmas, Grihastha Dharma is greatest. During Grihastha Dharma, excessiveness is not required. Equilibrium shall be maintained. Grihastu shall discharge his duties timely and regularly without delay. He shall keep his mind stable always. He shall earn money by lawful means. He shall enjoy sensual pleasures according to Dharma. That is called Grihastha Dharma.
Now I tell you about Nivruthi dharma. Nivruthi dharma is a path to Moksha. Nivruthi Dharma means speaking truth, control of sense organs, bhoota daya, discarding desires, keeping the mind stable etc. Besides the above, worshipping guests and offering them food is the utmost dharma. Worshipping guests is possible only during Grihastha Ashram and not in other Ashrams. Therefore, of all Ashrams, Grihastha Ashram is best.” said Maheswara.
“O Parama Siva! what are the main duties of Grihastu?” asked Parvati.
“O Parvati! during Grihastha Ashram, wife shall always serve her husband with greatest devotion. Therefore, devotion towards husband is the foremost dharma.” said Maheswara.
“O Parama Siva! If the parents die or husband dies, what would be the duties of a male and female respectively? asked Parvati.
“On expiry of parents, one has to perform Pitru Tarapana, and worship deities and guests. Ladies who lost their husbands, shall follow Brahmacharya. Grihastu shall not join her wife on Ashtami, Chaturdasi, Pournami and Amavasya. If the grain is eaten away by rats, he shall not kill them.” said Maheswara.
“O Parama Siva! Kings also are equal to ordinary
human beings because both of them have same body and limbs, thirst and
hunger, bathing and eating etc. But why King is considered greater than
all. In which way he is greater. Why should others prostrate before
him. Why kings are conferred with extraordinary powers and behave like
autocrats. What is the reason?” asked Parvati.
King shall appoint honest and virtuous people as his Ministers. He shall be kind towards the soldiers working under him. Then only the army will be loyal to the King. King shall make friendship only with those who are friends in need. King’s honesty and virtue earn him wealth and fame.
King shall not indulge in unnecessary expenditure and shall not refrain from spending money for necessary things. King shall not ignore his own safety. King shall always perform virtuous deeds and shall be away from sinful acts. While administering justice, he shall be impartial. He shall collect information from spies about his rule and mend himself. King shall always speak truth. King shall not be harsh while talking with others. King must be learned. While dealing with friends and foes, he shall maintain tact and shall not lose temper. He shall be kind towards poor and needy. These are the duties of a King.
King shall not pick up quarrel with others unnecessarily. If necessary, he shall show his vigour and valour to his enemies. King shall perform Yajnas and Yagas. If King acts immorally and illegally, hell is certain for him. His sins never leave him. Birth by birth, they haunt him. One, who rules his Kingdom following the above dharma, attains heavenly pleasures.” said Parama Siva.
“O Parama Siva! Out of all dharmas, what is the best dharma.” asked Parvati.
“Ahimsa (non violance) is the best of all dharmas.” said Maheswara.
“O Parama Siva! It is not possible for a human being to live happily without violence. How can he follow nonviolance? asked Parvati.
“What you said is true. Without causing harm to the insects like ants, mosquitos,bugs,bacteria, man cannot lead his life. But killing birds and animals for the sake of food is sinful. One can consume leaves, fruits,milk and other vegetarian food instead of killing birds and animals. Therefore, observing non-violence is not impossible.
Non-violence can be defined in another manner also. Birth and death is natural phenomenon. Non can escape it. One lights a lamp. Some insects gather around the lamp. They die. The person who lit the lamp is not a sinner. While a farmer is ploughing his field, several ants, ring worms, insects die under the plough. The man who ploughs the land is not afflicted with that sin. While people are leading their daily routine life, several creatures die of their own accord. Feeling that they themselves killed those insects is foolishness.
Either to do a virtuous deed or wrongful deed, intellect is essential. A man derives the fruits of an act if he does that act wilfully and voluntarily. Several cows approached Ranti Deva and offered themselves as sacrifice in the Yajna performed by Rantideva. After death, those cows attained higher regions. Rantideva was not afflicted with the sin of killing cows.
During war, soldiers kill each other. The soldiers killed in war attain Veera Svarga. Therefore, killing in war cannot be said as violance. Hunting is Raja Dharma. While cruel animals destroy paddy fields and kill domestic animals and humans, Kings go for hunting and kill those cruel animals. Those cruel animals attain higher regions. Therefore, hunting cannot be treated as violance.
There is another instance. King administers justice. Acquitting a criminal and punishing innocent amounts to violence. Cruelty towards brahmins and innocent persons amounts to violence. You know about Indra who was punished by a Brahmin, Goutama. You know about the fate of Nahusha who teased Seven Saints. Therefore, King shall not cause cause any harm to virtuous brahmins.
Parvati! during Yajnas and Yagas animals are killed as per rituals according to Veda. Those animals attain higher regions. The person who performs that Yajna also attains higher regions. Hence killing animals in Yajnas and Yagas is not sinful.” said Parameswara.
“O Parameswara! Kindly tell about the way life of human beings on earth.” asked Parvati.
“O Parvati! This human world is Land of Karma. Heaven is an abode of pleasures. Taking birth as animals on earth is misery.One has to earn money to lead a virtuous life and fulfil desires. Education, business, service, agriculture are sources to earn money. An educated shall lead an unblemished life. Farmer cultivates the land with the knowledge about nature of the land. A business man does his business knowing about the raise and fall of rates of commodities. He shall expend only part of his profits and add the remaining profits to capital. Then only the business will be profitable. A cowherd can control cattle only after knowing about the behaviour of cattle. A servant shall not deceive his master. One who serves his master with loyalty earns money and name. The main dharmas of human being are not to aspire for other’s wealth, not to aspire for other’s wife; but to worship divine bodies and pitaras; to show kindness towards poor and needy; and worship guests and offer them food.
“O Maheswara! human beings are divided into four castes and their duties are prescribed. How those duties are accomplished?” asked Parvati.
“O Parvati! As you said, human beings are divided into four categories and specified duties are prescribed for them. If they perform those duties honestly with greatest devotion, they attain Punya and enjoy heavenly pleasures. Soon after the Punya is exhausted, they again take birth in the same caste and enjoy pleasures on earth also. If anybody abandons his own duties and performs duties of other castes, after death, they take birth in the same castes. If they acquire more Punya, they take birth in Brahmin caste and attain Moksha.
Some are born with divine qualities. They never frustrate for miseries and overjoyous for wealth. They never feel pride or anger. They always maintain cordial relations with friends and relatives. They are kind towards poor and help them. They are always pleasant.” said Maheswara.
“O Maheswara! Some human beings enjoy plealsures and happiness and some suffer miseries and poverty. What is the reason?” asked Parvati.
“O Parvati! this is all due to the resuslts of their deeds in previous birth. A miser who did not give a single pie or fistful of food to poor, he suffers misery and poverty in next birth. He suffers for minimum food and clothing in next birth. A virtuous man who rescued his friends and relatives, poor and needy in their hard times, in next birth he will born with silver spoon and enjoy all kinds of plealsures on earth. Therefore, miseries and happiness are due to their past deeds in their previous births.
O Parvati! some are born rich but never consumes sumptuous food. They cannot enjoy pleasures and happiness inspite of their riches. They always suffer poverty mentally. Do you know the reason? In their previous birth, they never gave a fistful of food to others. But with the force of their friends and relatives, they might have done some charities unwillingly. Such persons cannot enjoy pleasures in their next birth inspite of their riches.
Some persons, though born poor, with the help of friends and relatives, they live happily without suffering for food and clothing. Such persons, in their previous birth, strongly thought of making charities to poor and needy though they did not have capacity to make charities. Hence they live happily in next birth, though they are poor.
Some get riches without making any effort. Such persons, in their previous birth, might have helped poor and needy by making Annadaana and Vastra daana, unasked for. Hence they got riches effortlessly in next birth.
Some earn huge moneys with great effort. Such persons, in their previous birth, might have helped poor and needy by making Anna daana and Vastra daana, whenever they are asked.
Inspite of making huge efforts also, some never get a single pie. Such people were misers in their previous birth. They never said “no” and make poor and needy to go round his house number of times and atlast say “No”.
Some get enormous wealth during their old age. Such persons in their previous birth might not have done any charities during their young age and did some charities during their old age.
Some are born rich but due to their multiple diseases they cannot consume sumputous food and lead a miserable life. Such persons, during their previous birth, might have abstained from making any charities while they were healthy but made charities while they were suffering with diseases.
O Parvati! those who are born beautiful in this birth, were pure vegetarians in their previous birth
Those who are born ugly in this birtn were those who heckled ugly people in their previous birth
Those who fixed with one wife in their previous birth beget a beautiful,virtuous wife in the nextr birth
If anybody subjected his wife to cruelty in previous birth, will be deserted by his wife in nextbirth
Those who are suffering with poverty inspite of their good education and learning, are those who did not make charities in previous birth inspite of awareness of making charities.
Those who are uneducated but rich in this birth, are those who made charities to poor and needy though he was illiterate in previous birth.
Those who are educated and learned in this birth are those who served their teachers with devotion and learnt education and who taught to others what they learnt, in their previous birth
Some people are unable to learn anything in this birth inspite of their best efforts. In their previous, they were wise and learned but insulted his colleagues without any reason
Those who are living happily with their wife and children without any diseases in this birth are those who spoke truth always and those who were kind towards others in their previous birth.
Those who possess foolish wife and children and who suffer with deseases in this birth are those who were greedy, wrathful and pride in their previous birth
Those who are blind by birth or who lost sight in middle in this birth are those who eyed with lust others’ wifes in previous birth.
Those who suffer with abdominal diseases are those who administered poison to others in their previous birth.
Those who are suffering urinal problems in this birth, are those who raped married and unmarried ladies in previous birth
Those who are suffering with TB are those who stole the food meant for others in previous birth
Those who are suffering with Leprosy in this birth are those who subjected others to severe cruelty in previous birth.
Those who lost legs are those who broke the legs of others in previous birth
Those who are suffering with skin diseases are those who teased virtuous people in previous birth
Those who are suffering with diseases to his feet
are those who entered sanctum sanctorium of God without washing his
feet and those who kicked poor and innocent with their legs in previous
Those who are mad and insane in this birth are those
who deceived innocent and earned money in previous birth.
Those who are impotent in this birth are those who made oxen impotent in previous birth.
Those who are widows in this birth are those who deceived their husbands and lived in adultery in their previous birth.
Those who are suffering under their cruel masters are those who beat innocent people and subjected them to cruelty in their previous birth
Those are punished for the offence which they did not commit are those whopunished innocent in previous birth.
Those who lost their wife, children, relatives in this birth are those who massacred innocent people mercilessly in previous birth.
Those who suffer by losing their riches and wealth are those who resorted to cheating and breach of trust in previous birth.
O Parvati! generally people suffer their sins in next birth not in the same birth. If one commits less sins in previous birth take next birth as human being.” said Parameswara to Parvati.
“O Parameswara! you said that people suffer their sins in next birth. But, generally, people undergo punishment at the hands of Judges in the same birth. That amounts to suffering of their sins in the same birth. Does it not run contra to what you said” asked Parvati.
“O Parvati! Judges punish the culprits impartially. But those punishments are the result of their sins in previous birth but not of the present birth. The sins of this birth will be carried forward to next birth always.”said Siva.
“O Siva! After being punished by the King, is he absolved of his sins committed by him or not.” asked Parvavi.
“O Parvati! those who are punished by King can escape another punishment from Yama. But he is not absolved of suffering of his sinful acts committed by him in previous birth. He shall suffer the result of his sinful acts in next birth as I said earlier.
“O Siva! you are saying that one has to suffer the result of his sinful acts in next birth. But Vedas say that those sins can be wiped out by performing Prayaschitta (by expiation process). Which is correct?” asked Parvati.
“O Parvati! both are correct. Prayaschitta (expiation) is meant only for the sins committed unknowingly and without his volition and intention. But if any sinful act is committed knowingly or voluntarily, he has to undergo punishment in next birth.” said Parama siva.
“O Siva! You used the word “voluntarily”. Whether human being does all acts voluntarily or whether he does under the influence of planets.
“O Parvati! according to the movement of planets, human being acts in the outside world. But he is responsible for all his acts. Planets are in no way connected with the acts he did because planets are not getting those acts done by him. Hence he is the master of his own acts, not the planets.” said Parameswara.
“O Parameswara! what is death? what are its characteristics?” asked Parvati.
“O Parvati! Atma is eternal. Body is mortal. Body is subject to decay due to old age and diseases. When the body becomes useless, Jeevatma leaves this body. That is death. Taking another body by Jeevatma is birth. Humans are going round this birth and death circle.” said Parameswara.
“O Parameswara! While youngsters and children are dying at their early age, old people are living for long. How is it possible.
“O Parvati! time decays the body but does not kill it. As a result of their past deeds, the life of human beings prolongs or decreases. If life prolongs, he lives for many years. If life decreases, he dies early.” said Parameswara.
“O Parameswara! how and by which means the life of human being prolongs or decreases?” asked Parvati.
O Parvati! by performing Tapas, following Brahmacharya, taking limited food, taking medicines regularly, life increases. Observing the above habits also is due to the result of his acts in previous birth.
Human beings who acquired Punya in previous birth, go to heaven. After enjoying heavenly pleasures, he returns back to earth as human being. Such people are blessed with long life. Human beings who acquired Papa (sin) in previous birth, go to hell (naraka). After undergoing severe punishments in hell, he returns back to earth as human being with short life. Such people always meet accidental or untimely deaths.” said Maha Siva.
“O Paramasiva! There are males and females in human beings. Whether Jeevatma in both males and females is same or different.?” asked Parvati.
“O Parvati! whether he is male or female, Jeevatama is one and the same. Jeevatma has no difference of gender. Mind, intellect, egoism are same in both males and females. All bodies, either male or female, are made up of five elements and their attributes. For the acts done by males or females, jeevatma is not responsible. With the influence of Satva, Rajas and Tamas, males or females do their acts. Jeevatma remains as a silent spectator.
Speaking truth, kindness towards others, cleanliness are the qualities of satva. Greediness, egoism, selfishness are the qualities of Rajas. Telling lies, cruelty, fearfulness, laziness, timidness, consuming alcohol and remain in unconscious state always and sleeplessness are the qualities of Tamas.
Satva qualities attain Punyalokas. Rajas qualities cause human birth. Tamas qualities cause birth in beasts and birds. One who is above these qualities attain Moksha. At times, the results are different and reverse.
Masters threatening servants to extract more work is not a sin. Similarly, doctor giving medicines and operating the body of patient, for curing the diseases is not a sin. Teacher punishing student for imparting education is not a sin. Master, doctor, teacher get good results for their acts.
Births are of three kinds viz., from womb, from eggs and from sweat. These creatures got all limbs. Plants sprouted from seeds got only touch sense. Of all the creatures born from womb, human being is greatest. Human being got the power of discretion beetween dharma and adharma. Without discretionary power, human being is equal to beast.
O Parvati! darkness is of two kinds. First occurs after sunset. Second is ignorance. First disappears soon after sunrise. Second ends with awareness. To eradicate darkness from the minds of human beings, Brahma created vedas, sastras etc. By studying Vedas and Sastras human being develops the power of discretion.
Study of Vedas and Sastras roots out the bad qualities of kama, krodha, lobha, moha, mada and matsarya (arishadvargas). Such a person, even if he acquires smaller amount of Punya, gets enormous results. Without study of Vedas and Sastras, even one performs number of virtuous deeds, he gets only smaller amount of result.” said Maheswara.
Maheswara continued to say:
“O Parvati! Some human beings, take another birth immediately after their death. Hence he gets the knowledge of past birth, in the next birth. By attaining age, such knowledge dininishes and he forgets the memories of past birth and remain as normal human being. These are very rare. But getting the knowledge of past birth proves the fact that there is a rebirth after death.
There are instances where the person who is clinically dead get back his life. Such instnaces occur when servants of Yama commit a mistake in picking up jeevas from mortal bodies. When that mistake is rectified, those jeevas will be sent back to their original bodies. These instances are also rare of the rarest.” said Maheswara.’’
“ O Mahadeva! what is meant by dream.How it occurs?” asked Parvati.
“O Parvati! while the human beings are at sleep, sense organs viz., eyes, nose, hands, legs etc. do not function. Only mind functions. The vision of mind itself is dream. At times, mind perceives future in dreams.” said Parameswara.
“O Parameswara! human beings acts in the outside world. Whether they are acting of their own accord or at the command of God?” asked Parvati.
“O Parvati! God never acts. But God extends his help and also rewards human beings for their good deeds. What is to be done is the decision of human beings. God has no concern. Human being decides himself to do or not to do any act, as per the results of his deeds in past life.
Acting in outside world is like doing cultivation. God gives us air and water. Unless we dig the earth, we cannot get water. Unless one churns with Arani, he cannot get fire. Whateverbe the act, manual attempt is necessary. Then only God helps us. Without making any manual attempt, depending solely on God does not yield any result. Therefore, for any act or deed, manual attempt is prerequisite. Then only God helps us.” said Siva.
“O Parameswara! you said that after death, Jeeva enters another body. How Jeeva enters the womb of another body.” asked Parvati.
“When male and female join together, (Veerya) semen from male mixes with Soanitha of female and enters the womb of female and forms into an egg. For this process, manual attempt and divine help are necessary. In this connection, I tell you a divine secret.
In the past, human beings had memories of previous birth. Hence, human beings corrected themselves time to time and attain Punya. After death, they go to heaven and enjoy heavenly pleasures. As a result, every human being was going to heaven and there was heavy rush in heaven. Providing heavenly pleasures for human beings had become a difficult task for divine bodies. All divine bodies prayed Brahma for a solution. Brahma withdrew the power of memory of past birth to human beings. In that place, Brahma created desires, lust, passion, anger, greediness etc. in human beings. As a result, desires of human beings increased day by day. To accomplish those desires, human beings indulged in bad deeds. If the desires are not fulfilled, they get angry. In that wrath, they commit great sins. As a result, the inflow of human beings to heaven considerably decreased. But the inflow to hell considerably increased. Brahma maintained equilibrium between the heaven and hell. As a result of the arrangement made by Brahma, human beings lost the power of memorising past birth and acquired the knowledge of past birth only through vedas and scriptures.” said Parameswara.
“O Siva! on earth some believe re-birth and some do not believe. Human beings are entertaining this doubt since times immemorial. Can you enlighten me about re-birth.” asked Parvati.
“O Parvati! This doubt arose not only in human beings but also in divine bodies. There is no definite opinion about it. But as per Vedas and scriptures, there is rebirth.” said Parameswara.
“O Parameswara! soon after death, human beings leave this body. Without body, how Yama takes him to Yamaloka?” asked Parvati.
“O Parvati! soon after death, jeeva leaves this body. Servants of Yama put Jeeva in another subtile body and take it to Yamaloka. If they did virtuous deeds, they will be produced before Yama who sends them to Punya Lokas. If they did less virtuous deeds, they will be sent back to earth to take birth as human beings. If they committed sins, they will be sent to hell.” said Siva.
“O Parameswara! What is hell. Tell me about it.” asked Parvati.
“O Parvati! Beneath earth, there are five hells. They are Rourava, Harourava, Kantakavana, Agnikunda, Panchakashta. As per the sins committed by humans, they will be sent to above hells where their subtile bodies are burnt, cut, beaten, bit by dogs, bit by insects etc. After undergoing those punishments, first they take birth as insects and then as animals and at last as human beings.” said Eswara.
“O Siva! You told about sins. What are sins? What are their characteristics?” asked Parvati.
“O Parvati! Human being commits sins in three ways, viz., with mind, with speach and with body. Weeping for other’s wealth and trying to steal it; sadistic mentality of enjoying untoward incidents happened in his presence and not trying to avert them; causing hurdles to the virtuous deeds and trying to stop them; ...these are all sins committed by mind.
Telling lies; abusing others; speaking harsh words about others; ... these are all sins committed by speech.
Kicking, beating and killing; wrongful confinement; overeating; drinking wine; raping, adultery..... these are all sins committed by body. Of all these sins, consuming liquor is a greatest sin. Consequences of drinking are hazardous. Consuming liquor throws human being into hell.” said Maha Siva.
“O Maheswara! you told me about Papa (sins). Kindly tell me about Punya (virtuous deeds)?” asked Parvati.
“O Parvati! Punya are of three kinds. They are Ouparamika, Nirapakarana and Sopakarana. Ouparamika means abstaining from doing wrong deeds. This needs no money. Intention in mind is sufficient. By observing this, he enjoys pleasures. Abstaining from doing wrong deeds is in our hands. If we are unable to abstain from wrong deeds, hell is certain. Simply abstaining from doing wrong deeds is not sufficient. It should be followed by studying Vedas, scriptures, puranas etc and also follow them scrupulously. Controlling of mind and sense organs is a must. By observing above, one can enjoy pleasures both on earth and in heaven.
Nirupakarana means cleanliness (Soucha). Simply cleaning the body is not sufficient. Mind also shall be kept clean and pure. One shall speak truth; maintain peace; control sense organs; control mind; perform vratas and upavasas and maintain good character and brahmacharya. This is called Nirupakarana.
The Soucha(cleanliness) is of two kinds. Bahya Soucha (Outward Soucha) and abhyantara soucha (inside Soucha). Bahya Soucha means keeping the body clean and neat; consuming neat food; speaking and acting what he sees and hears: and speaking truth always. Abhyantara Suchi means keeping the mind clean, uninfluenced by any desires or passions.
By taking holy dip in holy rivers, only body will be clean. Rivers confluence with sea are called Thirthas. By taking holy dip in those rivers, one attains Punya because several sages and saints might have taken holy dip in those rivers.
The third one is Sopakarana. Performing charities, Pitara ceremonies, and worship of God are called Sopakarana. Grahasthas give away their money earned by lawful means to virtuous brahmins who studied Veda, as charity and acquire Punya.
These charities are of three kinds. Giving away money beyond his capacity is best. Giving away money upto his might is better. Not giving anything to others, though he got capacity to give is worst. By making Danas, people acquire Punya. Some repent themselves after making Danas. Some give wide publicity to the Danas they made. Both will not get the benefit of such Danas. Danas shall always be made without others knowledge.” said Paramasiva.
“O Paramasiva! Kindly tell me about the things to be given in charity” asked Parvati.
“O Parvati! out of all Danas, food and water are best. By offering food and water to guests, poor and needy, they attain heavenly pleasures. Then comes gold which is equivalent to fire. Giving away gold is equivalent to giving away fire. Next comes cows. By performing Godaana, they remain in heaven for long time. Next comes Bhoodaana. By performing Bhoodaana, they remain in heaven as along as earth remains. Then comes Kanyadaana. By performing Kanyadaana, Yama and other deities satisfy. Next comes Vidya daanaa. Imparting education shall be made only to those who are eligible. Some may be illiterate and they cannot impart education to others. They may get the education imparted to others by spending money and appointing teachers.
“O Maheswara! kindly tell me about performing of Yajnas and Yagas.” asked Parvati.
“O Parvati! Yajnas are of two kinds. One is Vaidika Yajna and second is Loukika Yajna. Vaidika Yajna may be performed by Brahmins, Kshatriyas and Vysyas by spending their lawfully earned money. Performing Yajnas with the help of Ritviks is called Vaidika Yajna. Performing Poojas, taking processions, arranging musical and dance programmes, offering dhoopa, deepa, naivedyams, chariot processions etc are all called Loukika Yajnas. Both are dearest to deities. Performing the above Yajnas are best and acquire Punya. Both Deva Yajnas and Loukika Yajnas shall be performed with great concentration and devotion. They shall not performed with absentmindedness or feeling for the expenditure. In such case, they may not attain the fruits of those Yajnas.” said Maheswara.
“O Parameswara! you told me about Deva Yajnas. Kindly enlighten me about Pitru Yajnas also.” asked Parvati.
“O Parvati! Performing Pinda Pradana to Pitaras at Varanasi, Gaya, Prayaaga gives enormous results. For performing Pitara Yajnas, Magha, Bhadrapada Bahula Paksha, Amavasya, Dwadasi, Navami are best, that too during after noon only. While performing Pitara Yajnas, one shall not get angry. The mind shall be clean and pure. Sukla Paksha, morning times, even Tidhis are not suitable for Pitara Karmas.
Brahmins who studied Vedas shall be called for Nimantrana (means taking part in Pitara Karmas). Persons with diseases, handicapped, equal Gotra people, widower are not eligible for Pitara Karmas. Other caste people are not suitable. While performing Pitara Karmas, Brahmins shall be worshipped by offering chandan, flowers, new clothes and sumptuous food. Then Pinda Pradana be performed.” said Parama Siva.
“O Parama Siva! You said that soon after death, humans take another birth. If so, for whom and for what purpose these Pitara ceremonies are performed?” asked Parvati.
“O Parvati! the doubt you expressed is a divine secret. Pitaras are also equal to Divine bodies. Divine bodies stay northwards and Pitaras stay southwards. Divine worshipis called Havya and Pitara worship is called Kavya. If Pitara ceremonies are performed, pitaras satisfy and bless him with wealth and prosperity. Pitaras are worshipped by divine bodies, Asuras, Garudas, Yakshas etc.
O Parvati! one who gets small amount gives away the entire amount is equal to one who gets big amount and gives away the entire amount to others as charity. Therefore, charities shall be made according to might. But all charities shall be made with love and affection and not with malice.
O Parvati! I tell you about some more dharmas. Come to the rescue of people suffering with diseases by supplying medicines to them; helping others who are in troubles and in need; offering food and water to pilgrims; performing funeral ceremonies to uncared for dead bodies; consoling those who are suffering with troubles; are main dharmas to be observed by humans” said Maheswara.
“O Maheswara, I heard that Dharma are of four kinds. Kindly enlighten me about them.” asked Parvati.
“O Parvati! I now explain about dharmas enunciated in Vedas and Sastras. Dharmas are of five kinds. Jati dharma, Kula dharma, Gana dharma, Sareera dharma and Kala dharma” said Maheswara.
“O Maheswara! tell me about the pleasures in Punya Lokas” asked Parvati.
“In Punya Lokas, the flowers blosom as per the seasons. There Amrutha is staple food. Clothes are stainless. Ornaments shine always. All move friendly in Punya lokas. All are of Satva guna. There is no place for anger, greediness etc. Except pleasure thereis nothing. No diseases and old age. Eternal plelasure prevails always.” said Maheswara.
“O Maheswara! after death, who decide about who goes to heaven and who goes to hell?” asked Parvati.
“Those who do not cause harm to others; those who lead virtuous life; those who worship teachers and learned; those who speak truth always; who who are kind towards poor and needy; those who worship guests are all eligible to go to heaven.
Those who are harsh in speech; those who always tell lies; those who grab others’ property; those who lust others’ wives always; those who hate their friends and relatives; those who always keep company with wrong doers; those who develop hatredness towards virtuous people; are all eligible to go to hell.
“O Maheswara! there are several dharmas. What is the best of all?” asked Parvati.
“ O Parvati! purushardhas are four. Dharma, Ardha, Kama and Moksha. The pleasures derived from the first three viz., Dharma, Ardha and Kama, are temporary and liable to be vanished at any moment. The last one Moksha is eternal and imperishable. Therefore, Moksha is best of all the four purushardhas.
Now I tell you how to get Moksha. After attaining Grihastha Ashram, one discharges all debts viz., Devaruna, Pitru runa, Rushiruna, Manushyaruna. Then he goes to Varaprastha. There he lives in forests in calm atmosphere with stable mind. He learns Sankhya from sages and saints in forests. Sankhya means the knowledge about 25 tatvas. Then he practices Yoga. Sankhya and Yoga are one and the same. Then he conquers pleasures and sorrows, likes and dislikes etc., duals. He observes cleanliness, brahmacharya, peaceful life and limited food habits. He turns his mind towards Paramatma. After removing all hurdles, he proceeds towards Moksha. This is Moksha dharma. Mosha dharma is attained through constant practice. Moksha liberates human being from birth and death cycle. Unless one is aversed towards Samsara, he cannot travel towards Moksha.
O Parvati! Unless one abandons all his sorrows, desires, aspirations, greediness etc., and attains equality and equal feeling, he cannot develop aversion and dispassion towards worldly affairs. Dispassion and aversion towards worldly affairs develops in the following manner. One shall not mind and feel even if his nearest relatives die or even if he loses his entire wealth. Lamenting for the expired relatives increases the sorrow and never diminishes. Therefore, lamentation is unnecessary. Pleasures and sorrows are coming and going one after other. Even Devendra was afflicted with pleasures and sorrows, one by one.
All the creatures visible to the naked eye are subject to change and decay. One who realises this truth never laments. Therefore, it is unwise to lament for those who are destined to die. Receiving other’s properties and being avaricious are also unwise. One who receives wealth from others binds himself as silkworm binds itself with silk thread.
O Parvati! The main avocations of human being are earning money, spending money, aspiring for money and lamenting for the money lost. Therefore, for all kinds of sorrows, money is root cause. Without money, there is no sorrow. Avarice for money destroys human being. There is no sorrow greater than avarice. Avarice accompanies human being from birth and accompanies him till death. Therefore, avarice is a dreadful disease which takes away the life of human being.
Desires sprout one after another. Desires never die until they are accomplished. Fire never extinguishes by pouring ghee. Similarly, if one desire is accomplished, another desire sprouts. It is never ending process. Unless one controls his desires, he suffers a lot. Human being shall control his sense organs. If we let loose our sense organs, they indulge in many untowards incidents and cause hardship to human being. If one controls his sense organs, he enjoys enormous pleasures both on earth and in heaven.
For those who are always engaged in earning money, spending money and enjoying sensual pleasures, mruthyu lurks behind them always. His money, his charities never save him from mruthyu. Death is imminent for those who are born. Moksha is the only solution to get rid of this birth and death cycle.
Whilel Days, months and years are passing, human being comes near his death. His span of life diminishes day by day. Therefore, waste of time and laziness shall be put an end.. One who realises that his life span diminishes day by day, he gets aversion towards Samsara. That aversion leads to liberation. O Parvati! one who discards desire towards worldly pleasures, he can conquer his mind and attains Liberation from birth and death cycle.
O Parvati! now I tell you about Sankhya Yoga. Sankhya Yoga is the best medicine to liberate from Samsara. Sankhya Yogis attain liberation by acquiring Jnana. Performing Tapas and making this body decayed is wasteful effort. Acquiring Jnana only leads to Moksha. Prikriti is also called Avyakta. From out of the Prakriti, Mahat tatva, Ahankara, mind, sense organs, five elements, their attributes were born. All are put together 24. The 25th Tatva is Atma. This Atma is influenced by Satva, Rajas and Tamas. This invisible prakriti is an atom. Atom is one and it is indivisible and invisible. This is the main element for creation.
Pleasure, satisfaction, splendour are the qualities of Satva. Pleasures and sorrows, likes and dislikes etc., duals are the qualities of Rajas. Ignorance; fear, delusion that he is aware of all, over confidence; laziness are the qualities of tamas. These three elements are inherent in every human being, ofcourse, with smaller and larger quantities.
If one is endowed with Satva, he is always jubilant, and shines with splendour. If one is endowed with Rajas, always influenced by anger and sorrow. If one is endowed with Tamas, he wants everything for himself and laments for not fulfilling those desires. If the human being is not influenced by any of these three elements, he conquers his sense organs. According to the results of his deeds influenced by the above three lements, Jeeva takes birth as divine body, human body or as beast , bird or insect.
Mahat Tatva is also called intellect. Intellect is the sign of awareness and knowledge. Ahankara is the root cause for the entire creation. If Ahankara is discarded, liberation is attained. Next is mind. Mind acts in the outside world through sense organs.
This body is made up of five elements and their attributes. This body is not Atma. Body is different from Atma. Jeevatma shines in the body in invisible form. Human beings always are in delusion that they are the body and everything is done by them only. Whoever thinks that he is different from body and whoever turns his mind from Prakriti to Paramatma, he attains liberation. Liberation is not possible unless passion towards body is diminished. This Tatva is 25th Tatva. It shines devoid of Prakriti.
Above this 25th Tatva, there is Paramatma Tatva. It is 26th Tatva. This Tatva is eternal, all pervasive and omnipotent and omnipresent, not visible to sense organs. It is called Paramatma. This is the abode of Moksha.
O Parvati! This Sankhya Yoga was enunciated by Saint Kapila. Now I tell you about Yoga. Body, sense organs, mind, intellect, atma are all one and the same. They are not different. This is Yoga. Performing Agnihotra daily, less talking, possessiong satva, making charities, studying vedas, maintaining cleanliness always; speaking truth..... are all good qualities which perish all sins. Then only, one is eligible to practice Yoga.
Before practising Yoga, one has to cosntrol his mind and maintain cleanliness. One has to sit on a soft seat, by keeping his body straight from waist to head. Sense organs and mind shall be combined together. Mind to be turned towards Atma. Prana and apaana air shall be regulated. In this manner, Prana air goes up to head. Jeevatma shines as Paramatma.
For practising Yoga, laziness, absentmindedness, over avarice, teasing others, diseases, dreams, greediness, fear, lust, wrath, strong desire to enjoy pleasures, ficklemindedness etc are bitter enemies. Those who are endowed with the above qualities are not fit to practice Yoga. If Yoga is practiced with great devotion, he may attain Ashta Siddhis. Such Yogi can go anywhere as he likes. Such Yogi shall not sleep constantly. He shall take limited food. Everything shall be in limit. This is Yoga Dharma.” said Maheswara.
“O Maheswara! To join Paramatma, what are the things to be done by devotees?” asked Parvati.
“O Parvati! either for divine bodies or for human bodies, knowing about Paramatma is impracticable. Sankhya and Yoga are the real nature of Paramatma. I am Paramatma. I am ancient; I am indestructible. Truth is my nature. None can behold me without my mercy. One can behold me by thinking about me, praising me, prostrating before me constantly.
I told about four Ashrams, Pasupata Maha Vrata to four brahmins. Those four brahmins taught them to their students. Likewise, they were spread throughout the world. Linga is my svaroopa (symbol).To worship Linga, I created Vibhooti (ash). Yogis apply Vibhooti to their bodies, shave their heads, and live by alms. By controlling their mind and keeping mind in me, they enjoy eternal happiness. Such Yogis only join me.
Only for my worship in a formless state, I created Siva Lingas. One who worships me in Linga form, I bless them. Such Lingas can be bathed either with water or with milk, ghee etc. Sandle paste, flowers, incense, lamp, fruits and food items can be offered to me. Worshipping Lingas is equivalent to worshipping me as Parameswara.
O Parvati! I told you about me. I want to know about Stree dharma. Why cannot you tell me?” asked Maheswara.
With shyness on her face Parvati said: “O Maheswara! How can I teach you about anything as you are aware of everything. I tell you about Stree Dharma as far as I know.
Before maturity, female is called Kanya. Either parents or brothers of her father and mother, or her own brothers are entitled to perform her marriage with a suitable bridegroom. After marriage, her husband is conferred with all rights over the woman. Husband is her master, God and everything. Only with the permission of husband only. wife performs divine worships, Pitara tarpanas, and guest worship. Wife shall always be the well wisher of her husband. Such a devoted wife enjoy pleasures not in this world but also in other world.
Wife shall always serve sumptuous food to her husband and shall give sexual pleasures to her husband whenever he wants. Wife shall never be indifferent to her husband. She shall remind her husband about his daily rituals. If her husband got another wife, first wife shall not quarrel with her. Wife shall not cheat her husband in any manner. Whether the husband is poor or rich, ugly or beautiful, intelligent or idiot, healthy or unhealthy; handicapped or good phisique, the wife shall regard him with love and affection. A woman shall not sit on a couch even along with her aged son, while she is alone. Feeding animals and birds, poor feeding, worshipping pitaras are the main duties of a wife.
O Parameswara! All the ladies are not virtuous. There are some cantankerous ladies. Such ladies favour other males than husband. They are born in Asuric Amsa. They are fickle minded. They always favour sensual pleasures. They indulge in committing cruel acts. Such ladies are spendthrifts and angry women. They never lover their husband and children. They neglect household duties and behave carelessly. They indulge in speaking falsehood. They always feel drowsy. They go to hell.
But there is one exception. A female with children shall not perform Sati Sahagamana.leaving the children as orphans. It is against Dharma.” said Parvati to Maheswara..
In this manner, Narada told Sri Krishna the conversation between Parvati and Maheswara” said Bhishma to Dharmaja. .
“O Grandsire Bhishma! I heard with great devotion the conversation between Siva and Parvarti. But I got another doubt. What is meant by Parama Pada. How can one attain that Parama Pada.” asked Dharmaja.
“O Dharmaja! eligibility to attain Parama Pada is constant devotion towards Narayana, constant worship of Narayana; hearing the stories of Narayana and serving wise and learned.” said Bhishma.
“O Grandisre Bhishma! human beings are always suffering with poverty, diseases, sorrows etc. What is the remedy for them to attain peace?” asked Dharmaja.
“O Dharmaja! those who are suffering with poverty, diseases and sorrows shall worship the following deities with great devotion. They are......Brahma, Vishnu, Maheswara, Vinayaka, Kumaraswamy, Agni, Vayu, Sun, Moon, Devendra, Varuna, Yama, Kubera, Kamadhenu, seven seas, Ganga, Yamuna etc. rivers, maruttus, Asvins, Vasuvus, Rudras, divine bodies, Pitaras, Valakhilyas, Sidhas, Vedavyasa, Valmeeki, Narada, Agastya, Goutama, Kashyapa, Athri, Kanva etc. sages and saints; Rambha, Oorvasi etc. Apasarasa; Dharma, Tapas, Satya, day and night, stars, planets, Asvini etc. stars; months, seasons, years, Vainateyas, Sarpents; Kasi, Gaya, Prayaga etc. pilgrim centres; Naimisaranya, Dandakaranya etc. forests; Meru mountain, Himalaya Mountain, Kailasa Mountain etc.mountains; the entire earth; Raavi, banyan etc. huge trees; brahmins, emperors and kings. One shall pray the above to save him from poverty, diseases and sorrows and bestow him with wealth and prosperity.
Then one shall chant Narayana Manthra. “Om Namo Bhagavate Vasudevaya, Namah Purushottamaya; Namah Sarvaloka Gurave; Namah Sarva Loka Prite; Namah Sarva Lokeswaraya; Namah Sarvaloka Visishtaya; Namah sarvaloka Sukhapradaya; Namah Sarva Loka Kartre; Namah sarvaloka Bharthre; Namah Sarvaloka Nidhaye, Namah Sarvalokodhbhava karaaya; Namo Vishnave; Prabha Vishnave. This is Narayana Maha Japa. One who chants this Japa daily is deprived all fears and sins and sorrows. They attain all prosperity.” said Bhishma to Dharmaja “Narayna Maha Mantra”.
Then Dharmaja asked Bhishma: “O Bhishma! Who is the greatest deity in all Lokas? Whose name human beings have to chant constantly? By worshipping whom, mankind attains wealth and prosperity? What is the best Japa of all Japas? By chanting which Japa, human beings are liberated from this birth and death cycle. Kindly tell me.” asked Dharmaja.
“O Dharmaja! The King of Kings of all Lokas is Ananta. He is also called Purushottama. Human beings worship Purushottama with one thousand names. Whoever worships the Almighty with thousand names with great devotion, that Almighty, who has no beginning or end; who is worshipped by one and all; who is Sarva Dharma Svaroopa; who bestows mankind with all kinds of boons; who is master of all Lokas; who is creator of the entire universe; vanish all the sins of mandkind.
Best Dharma of all Dharmas is to worship that Almighty. He is also called Vishnu (All Pervasive). He is the cause for the entire Universe. At the end of Yuga, the entire animate and inanimate objects join him. At the beginning of another Yuga, the entire animate and inanimate objects come out of him. He is Vishnu. If Vishnu is worshipped with his thousand names, all sins vanish.” said Bhishma.
with Visvam, Vishnu, Vashatkaara, Bhootabhavya, Bhavat prabhu.... till Radhaangapani Yakshobhya, Sarva Praharanayudha.... all thousand Vishnu names were taught by Bhishma to Dharmaja. (It is called Vishnu sahasra Nama stotra).
“O Dharmaja! these are the thousand names of Vishnu. Keeping your welfare in mind, I taught you these thousand names. One who reads the thousand names of Vishnu (Vishnu Sahasra Nama Stotra) daily, he always gets all kinds of plealsures and riches. If Brahmin reads the above thousand names, he gets the fruits of studying Vedas; Kshatriya gets all kinds of victories; Vysya all kinds of riches; and Soodra enjoys all kinds of pleasures. Dharma, Ardha, Kama and Moksha are attained by all who reads Vishnu Sahasra Nama Stotra daily. All get rid of all their diseases by a reading of Vishnu sahasra Nama Stotra. Bad attributes like cruelty, anger, greediness, envy etc. never dare to touch those who worship Vishnu with thousand names.
Heaven where Sun and moon are moving; earth where animate and inanimate objects are moving; seven seas, all rivers and riverlets; Deva, danava, gandharva, garuda, Yaksha, Pannaga etc all act according to the order of Vishnu. Body, Mind, Intellect; vigour, valour, nature and its conents are all the embodiment of Vishnu. Vishnu is the master of all the dharmas enunciated in sastras. Sankhya, Yoga, Tantra, Shilpa, Vedas, Karmas are born out of Vishnu. Vishnu is the Atma of all beings in three lokas. Vishnu is omnipresent. All human beings shall read Vishnu sahastra Nama Stotra for their well being.
O Dharmaja! you also read Vishnu Sahasra Nama Stotra daily. Youwill be bestowed with long life and prosperity.” said Bhishma to Dharmaja.
“O Grandisre Bhishma! who is fit to be saluted? With the pleasure of whom we attain all kinds of welfare? With the curses of whom, we suffer all kinds of hardships?” asked Dharmaja.
“O Dharmanandana! either to salute or worship, Brahmins are fit and eligible. If Brahmins are made to suffer, even Devendra shall suffer. If Brahmins are happy, entire universe will be hapy. Brahmins are the basis for the entire universe. They are the bridge between humans and dharma. To preach and impart all kinds of Sastrs, Brahmisn are eligible. The wealth of brahmins is tapas and their truthfulness. If Brahmins are fed atleast one time in a day, all sins are vanished.” said Bhishma.
“O Bhishma! you are praising about Brahmins to a great extent. What are the best qualities of brahmins? what are the fortunes that are obtained by worshipping brahmins?” asked Dharmaja.
“O Dharmanandana! in this connection, I tell you about the conversation between Vayu and Arjuna. In ancient times, there was a king called Kartaveeryaarjuna. He ruled seven islands. He got thousand hands. He was endowed with great vigour and valour.
One day he proclaimed loudly: “None are equal to me in the entire Universe”.
On hearing this, a demon from sky answered: “O King! you are ignorant. Brahmins are greater than you. How can you proclaim yourself greater than all?” heckled the demon.
“What? Brahmins are greater than me. Those brahmins are depending on Kings. How can they be greater than us? Besides, if we are worshipped, we save them, otherwise we destroy them?” said Karvaveeryarjuna
Unable to talk, demon went away. Meanwhile, Vayu appeared before Kartaveeryarjuna and said:
“OKing! I am Vayu. I counter your argument. You said you are protecting Brahmins. It is not. Only with the grace of brahmins only, you are protecting your people. Therefore, none is greater than brahmins in the entire Universe. Are you not aware that Indra who lusted Ahalya was subjected to the curse of Goutama. Had not Agastya drunk the oceans on the earth! Have you forgotten about Bhrigu cursing Agni.” asked Vayu. Kartaveeryarjuna kept quiet without giving any reply. Vayu continued to say thus:
“O King! in this connection I tell you one thing. In ancient times, Uchadhya, born in Angirasa clan, desired to marry the daughter of Chandra. accepting his request, Chandra gave his daughter to Uchadhya. But Varuna lusted the wife of Uchadhya. One day, while Uchadhya went for bathing, Varuna kidnapped the wife of Uchadhya and confined her in his chambers. Having come to know about this, Narada informed the same to Uchadhya. Uchadhya told Narada: “O Narada! Varuna is a Dikpalaka. Is it proper on his part to take away other’s wife.Kindly convey my sentiment to Varuna.” said Uchadhya
Narada went to Varuna and told him about it. But Varuna was blind with lust on Uchadhya’s wife. “Even if you say, I never leave the wife of Uchadhya” said Varuna. Narada went back to Uchadhya and said: “O Uchadhya! Varuna did not even regard my words. He said bluntly that he never leave your wife. Besides that he necked me out.” Narada said.
Uchadhya was enraged with great wrath. Varuna was the master of water. Uchadhya drank the entire deposits of water on earth. Earth was left waterless and became desert. Varuna shivered. He brought the wife of Uchadhya with honours and handedover her to her husband and prayed mercy. Merciful Uchadhya pardoned Varuna. Therefore, O King! Brahmins are greater than divine bodies.” said Vayu. Still Kartaveeryarjuna kept quiet.
Vayu continued to say: “O King! Once all divine bodies were defeated at the hands of Rakshasas. They went to Saint Agasthya and sought for his advice. Agasthya with the power of his Tapas, gained victory to divine bodies. At another time, while Rakshasas were teasing and ill treating divine bodies, they went to Vasishta. Saint Vasishta grew angry and destroyed all rakshasas and reduced them to ashces. Therefore, O King! Brahmins and Saints like Agasthya and Vasishta are greater than divine bodies and Rakshasas.” said Vayu. Still Kartaveeryarjuna was silent.
Vayu continued to say: “O King! once there was a fiercest fight between divine bodies and rakshasas. In that battle, with the missili launched by Rahu, both Sun and moon fainted and fell down, as a result, the entire Universe plunged in darkness. Rakshasas began to chase divine bodies and beat them. All divine bodies approached Saint Athri for rescue. Saint Athri with his power of Tapas, made Sun and Moon to regain consciousness and healed their wounds. With the power of his Tapas, Saint Athri destroyed all Rakshasas. Hence, Saint Athri, the Brahmin, is greater than all. Is it not.” asked Vayu.
Vayu continued to say: “O King! Once Devendra ordered that Asvins are not eligible to consume Soma juice. Asvins took refuge with Chyavana. For the sake of Asvins, Chyavana became the enemy of Devendra. Devendra tried to kill Chyavana. Devendra hurled his Vajrayudha against Chyavana. With the power of his Tapas, Chyavana reduced Vajrayudha into pieces. Chyavana sent a demon against Devendra. That demon swallowed Indra and other divine bodies. Indra and other divine bodies realised their mistake and prayed for mercy. Chyavana pardoned them. Indra again ordered that Asvins are also eligible to consume Soma Juice. That Chyavana was a Brahmin. O King! is it not sufficient to say that Brahmins are greater than Indra and other divine bodies.” said Vayu. Still Kartaveeryarjuna did not agree the greatness of Brahmins.
Vayu continued to say: “O King! your Guru is Dattatreya. He is a Brahmin. With his kindness and blessings only he has come upto this stage and shining as King of Kings. Not only yourself, right from divine bodies upto ordinary human beings, every body is leading their lives only with the blessings of Brahmins. Therefore, you also worship Brahmins.” said Vayu.
With these words, the pride and aggrandizement of Kartaveeryarjuna vanished. He became wise and learned and agreed that Brahmins are greater than all. Therefore, Dharmaja! Brahmins are worshipped by one and all.” said Bhishma.
“O Grandisre Bhishma! I am not satisfied with what you said about Brahmins. I intend to hear more from you about Brahmins and their influence. Kindly tell me.” asked Dharmaja.
Bhishma said: “O Dharmaja! my limbs, speech, mind have become weak. I am tired. Besides that, Dakshina Ayana is coming to an end. Soon after Uttara Ayana enters, I have to leave this body. Only few days are left for my departure. Sri Krishna will answer your further questions.
O Dharmaja! I know Krishna Tatva. Sri Krishna, in the form of Varaha Avatara, held the entire earth on his face. As Krishna, he did many miracles. The creation of this Universe is nothing but the miracle of Krishna. Krishna created Brahma in a lotus sprouted from his naval and Brahma created this Universe. Though it is called creation of Brahma, in fact, the entire Universe was created by Srimannarayana.
Whenver Dharma is in peril at the hands of demons, Krishna takes birth in some form or other and destroys those demons and uphold Dharma. The entire creation is embodiment of Krishna. Krishna praised during Yajnas with Veda hymns. Sri Krishna was praised in Vedas. All Vedas are born from Krishna. Sacred fire in Yajna, master of Yajna, offerings in Yajna and the results of Yajna are the forms of Sri Krishna. Splendour of Sun, moon and stars is Sri Krishna. Truth, Amrutha, Moskha are the forms of Sri Krishna.” said Bhishma.
On hearing this, Dharmaja prostrated before Sri Krishna and prayed “O Krishna! I would to like hear the influence of Brahmins even more. Kindly tell me.” asked Dharmaja.
“O Dharmaja! on a prior occasion, I told Pradyumna about this. I repeat the same to you. Carefully listen.
To attain Dharma, Ardha, Kama and Moksha; to perform worship of deities and Pitaras; to enjoy pleasures on this earth; Brahmins are the basis. Brahmins cause long life, name and fame and wealth even to Divine bodies. If Brahmins are enraged with wrath, they can reduce anybody into ashes. If Brahmins are satisfied, they bless others with long life and prosperity. Whoever makes charities to Brahmins, they attain pleasures both on earth and in heaven. In this connection, I tell you an astonishing story.
There was a Brahmin Saint called Doorvasa. Once he visited my house. He was a wonderful character. Once he appears pleasant. Next moment he is angry. Immediately, he smiles. Next moment he is disgusted. He never takes food if you request him. Next moment he orders for food. He consumes all food items intended for many people. Once he lies on bed. Next moment he lies on ground. He slips away without informing anybody.Next moment he appears before us. He behaves like this in an unusual manner.
Such Doorvaasa asked me to get Payasam. I got Payasam prepared and offered him. He consumed little quantity. He asked me to rub the remaining Payasam to his body. I obeyed his orders. At that time my wife, Rukmini was standing by my side. Dooravasa took some Payasam and rubbed it on her body. He sent for a chariot. Doorvasa tied Rukmini to chariot as horse. While Rukmini was drawing the chariot, Doorvasa drove the chariot in the street. He was beating Rukmini with hunter. I never get angry for his heinous acts. I also followed the chariot. But Yadavas were enraged with great wrath. Unable to do anything, they were abusing Doorvasa.
Unable to draw the chariot, Rukmini fell down. Doorvasa got down the chariot and sprinkled some mud on her face and ran away towards south. I also ran behind him and requested to come back. Doorvasa said:
“O Krishna! I made you and your wife to suffer a lot. Krishna! you have conquered your anger. I bless you with a boon. All human beings love you more than themselves. You are worshipped by one and all. O Krishna! when I asked you to rub payasam to my body, you applied Payasam to my entire body except on toe. Your death is in your toe. After death, you go back to Vaikuntham. Krishna! you worship not only me but also all Brahmins at large.” said Doorvasa.
He went back to Rukmini. “O mother Rukmini! You live long with tremondous beauty and welfare. You are considered and worshipped as eldest of all 16,000 wives of Krishna.” so saying Doorvasa went away.
Since then our bodies were shining with great splendour. Our house was filled with all kinds of riches. Therefore, Dharmaja! you also worship Brahmins always.” said Krishna.
Dharmaja asked Krishna: “O Krishna! I heard that Doorvasa was born with the Amsa of Lord Siva. Kindly tell me about it.”
“O Dharmaja! Siva is also called Mahadeva. There is no God higher than Siva. If Siva opens his third eye, all those who donot believe Vedas, perish. You know how yaga performed by Daksha was destroyed as it was performed without inviting Siva. It was Siva who destroyed Thripurasura and saved divine bodies. While destroying those three cities, Siva launched a miraculous Astra. After destruction, Siva kept that Astra on his thigh. That Astra attained the form of a Brahmin. All divine bodies astonished beholding that Brahmin. Parameswara named that Brahmin as Doorvasa. The same Doorvasa visited my house as stated above.” said Sri Krishna.
“O Sri Krishna! I am told that even by chanting the main names of Siva, one can attain all kinds of pleasures and at last Moksha. Kindly tell me those names and their meanings!” asked Dharmaja.
“O Dharmaja! In fact, either me or even Brahma
Agni, Vayu, Devendra, Sun, Vasuvu, Marut etc divine bodies are all the forms of Siva. Eswara Tatva is a great Tatva. All sages and saints praise Siva as Maheswara. He is also called Hara. Because his nature is harsh, he is called Rudra. Because he is the main deity, he is called Mahadeva.
As he rewards pleasant results for the virtuous deeds, he is called Siva. As he shines with great splendour, he is called Sthaanuvu. As he is shining in all the creatures, he is called Bahurupa. As his hair shines in grey colour, he is called Dhoorjati. As all Visvedevatas were born out of him, he is called Visvaroopa. As he shines with many eyes, he is called Sarvata Chakshuvu. As he is the master of all cattle like creatures, he is called Pasupati. As he moves only on Ox, he is called Vrishabha Vahana.
Maha Siva creates and destroys this Universe. There are several names in Veda for Maha Siva. If Parameswara is worshipped with all his names, he enjoys pleasures both in earth and heaven. In this connection, Vyasa wrote a Stotra about Siva. If that Stotra is read every day, all kinds of fortunes are attained by him.” said Sri Krishna to Dharmaja.
Then Dharmaja asked Bhishma: “O Grandsire Bhishma! I heard that Dharma is of several kinds. What is the best dharma to be followed?” asked Dharmaja.
“O Dharmanandana! even virtuous people do not know the real nature of dharma. Dharma changes according to time. At times, Dharma loses its own characteristics. Those who do not know the real nature of Dharma, propagates Adharma as Dharma, as a result of which common people suffer much. Real nature of Dharma can be known only by study of Vedas and sastras but not by the minds influenced by greediness, desires and aggrandizement. If we solely depend on our mind and intellect, we may always misinterpret Adharma as Dharma. Real nature of Dharma can be known only through virtuous persons who study Vedas and perform Yajnas and Yagas.
O Dharmaja! to know the real nature of Dharma, there are three methods. Ancient sages and saints followed the above three methods. Non-violence, speaking truth, and without anger are the best methods to follow dharma. Follow the above methods and be happy. Worship Brahmins and remove all kinds of doubts from your mind and have peaceful mind. That is the best dharma.” said Bhishma.
“O Grandsire Bhishma! who follows dharma and who hates dharma?” asked Dharmaja.
“Dharmaja! those who are more influenced by Rajas and Tamas always hate dharma. Such people go to hell. Those who always speak truth regards Dharma. Such people go to heaven. Only virtuous people follow dharma.” said Bhishma.
“O Grandsire Bhishma! who are Sadhus? andwho are not Sadhus?” asked Dharmaja.
“O Dharmaja! Those who are not Sadhus(wicked people) do not know themselves what is Dharma. They do not even atleast try to know about Dharma. They decline to hear anything about dharma. They never study Vedas and Sastras. These are called Asadhus.
Sadhus (virtuous people) always try to know themselves about Dharma. They read Vedas and Puranas and acquire knowledge about Dharma. Some Sadhus hear about Dharma from wise and learned. These are called Sadhus (virtuous people).
Now I tell you about the behaviour of Sadhus (virtuous people). They never consume food without offering to guests. They alwlays prostrate before elders. They always speak truth. Deceitfulness cannot be seen in their behaviour. They alwlays try to rescue people who are in danger. They satisfy with their own wives and they never look at other ladies. They always regard teachers. They donot know what sorrow is.
Sadhus keep their sense organs under their control. If they commit any sin unknowingly, they immediately perform Prayaschitta. They perform charities secretely, without any propaganda. They love their fellowmen. They never harm others, either human beings or beasts or birds. These are the qualities of Sadhus” said Bhishma.
“O Grandsire Bhishma! Some people earn money without any effort and some people do not get a single pie inspite of their strenuous efforts. Some people, inspite of having plenty of money, are not inclined to enjoy the life. Some people, without learning anything from any Guru, acquire more knowledge and intelligence. Some people, inspite of serving many gurus, learn nothing. Some people, inspite of suffering with number of diseases and receiving death blows with lethal weapons, do not meet their death. But some people, even though they are strong and mighty, meet their death by receiving a smallest blow from a small piece of stick. What is the reason for all these adversities?
“O Dharmaja! the only answer for all the above questions is the result of their deeds in past life. Without sowing seeds, plants never sprout. Similarly, good or bad deeds done in past life give good and bad results in the present life. By making charities in past life, one gets enormous wealth in present life without any effort. Tapas made in past life yields pleasures in present life. Service done to elders and gurus in past life results in acquiring knowledge and intelligence without studying under any guru. If one observes non violence in past life lives for long in present life. Therefore, Sadhu people shall observe nonviolence, make charities, regard gurus, serve elders and guests etc. Then only they enjoy plealsures in next life.
Those who observe Dharma, make charities, preaching dharma to others; performing holy bath, sandhya, japa daily and timely, taking limited food twice a day, attain liberation.
O Dharmanandana! Vyasa is your well wisher. Krishna is your God father. With their help, rule the Kindgom. You will always be victorious.” said Bishma. Dharmandana was satisfied with his words.
Beholding Bhishma, Vyasa said: “O Santanava! with your preachings, Dharmaja became wise and learned. Not only Dharmaja, his brothers, Dhritarashtra, Krishna and other kings, sages, saints etc. have become enlightened. Kindly permit Dharmaja to proceed to Hastinapura. He will come again at appropriate time.” said Vyasa.
Bhishma called Dharmaja near to him and said: “Dharmaja! have you heard the words of Vyasa. In obedience to his words, yourself and your brothers proceed to Hastinapura and rule Kuru Kingdom to the plealsure of one and all. I wish your mind to remain always in observing Dharma. Perform Yajnas and Yagas, worship guests and regard your friends and relatives. . For the present, proceed to Hastinapura. After Sun enters Makara rasi, kindly come over here.” said Bhishma.
After taking leave from Bhishma, other sages and saints assembled there, Dharmaja along with his brother, Sri Krishna, Dhritarashtra and others went back to Hastinapura. He took the blessings of Gandhari and Kunti. Then he went to his wife Droupadi and enquired about her welfare.
Then he conducted general assembly and enquired about the welfare of the people. He provided food and shelter to the widows and orphans who lost their husbands and parents in the battle. Her was enthroned as King and Emperor of Kuru Dynasty and Dharmaja began to rule the Hastinapura Kingdom.
Fifty days passed. Sun entered Makara Rasi. Uttara Ayana started. Dharmaja, accompanied by his brothers, mother Kunti, Dhritarashtra, Gandhari, Sri Krishna, Vidura, Yuyutsa, Sanjaya, Kripacharya, Dhoumya, carrying new clothes, pooja items, proceeded to the place where Bhishma was lying on arrow bed. He got down the chariot at a distance and went to Bhishma by walk. Krishna and others also accompanied Dharmaja by walk. By that time, saints Vyasa, Narada, Devala and other sages and saints assembled there. Dharmaja saluted all of them.
Dharmaja went near Bhishma. Bhishma was closing his eyes.
“O Grandisre! I am Dharmaja. I have come here. I am saluting you. Kindly open your eyes. Kindly listen me. Uttara Ayana started. I have brought holy fire and other items for worship. Sri Krishna, my brothers, Dhritarashtra also are here.” said Dharmaja.
Bhishma slowly opened his eyes. He took the hand of Dharmaja into his hand and caressed it. “Kumara! Have you come, Now it is Magha masa, Sukla Paksha. I am very happy.” said Bhishma. Then Bhishma looked at Dhritarashtra:
“O Dhritarashtra Kumara! You know all dharmas. You need not worry about the past. Pandavas look after you and your wife as their parents. You also treat them as your sons. They serve you always. Kindly be kind towards Dharmaja and advice him suitably in his day to day administration. O King Dhritarashtra! I know that Dharmaja has got paternal affection towards you. He knows not what cruelty is . You also treat him with affection. Kindly listen me. Your sons are immoral, wicked, greedy, enraged with wrath. Hence they perished in war. You need not lament for them.” said Bhishma.
Beholding Sri Krishna, Bhishma said: “O Krishna! You are all pervasive. You are worshipped by one and all including divine bodies. You are adorned by Sankha, Chakra, mace and lotus in four hands. You are Trivikrama, Varada, Parama Purusha. I salute you. Be kind towards me. I am your devotee. You are my strength. I have no wife and children. Hence bless me with kindness. Permit me to leave this body. Be kind towards Pandavas, protect them, and lead them in right path. Many a time I told Suyodhana...."Where Krishna is, there is victory." Still he did not heed my advice. He killed all his men and killed himself.
O Krishna! I know your Tatva. In the past, to protect this Universe, two sages called Nara and Narayana were born. I heard through Narada and Vyasa that they are Krishna and Arjuna.” said Bhishma.
On hearing these words, Krishna said: “O DevaVrata (original name of Bhishma), you are not at fault. You are virtuous. You bear utmost devotion and respect towards your father, Santana. Hence, even Mrutyu is at your beck and call, waiting like a slave for your command. I am permitting you. You can leave this body and join your original status as Vasuvus.” said Sri Krishna.
On hearing these words, Bhishma was very happy. He gave away all his wealth acquired by him by conquering other kings, as charity to Brahmins, poor and needy. He looked at Pandavas, Dhritarashtra and other sages and saints:
“I am seeking permission from all of you.” so saying Bhishma hugged each and everybody.
“Shed anger and cruelty and live peacefully” that were the last words of Bishma.
Then he remained silent. By yoga, he joined Jeevatma with Paramatma. All vayus in his body were proceeding upwards. He was withdrawing his lives from each and every limb. Every body was praising Bhishma for his Yoga. Suddenly, his jeevatma pierced out of his head and rushed into heaven as meteor with great splendor.
Divine bodies showered flowers. Trumpets were blown. Divine bodies, Sidhas, Sadhyas praised Bhishma. In this manner, Bhishma entered heaven.
Then Dharmaja, his brothers, Vidura, Yuyutsa made arrangements for cremation. They arranged pyre with sandal wood logs. All had holy dip in Ganges. Chanting veda hymns, sacred fire was lit. Nakula and Sahadeva lifted the head portion of body while Dhritarashtra and Dharmaja lifted the legs portion of the body. The body was decorated with flowers and kept on a vehcile. . While Nakula, Sahadeva, Dhritarashtra and Dharmaja were carrying body, Bhima and Arjuna were holding fans. Yuyutsa held the umbrella. Dhoumya was conductng the rituals. All of them kept the body on the pyre. Ghee was poured over the body of Bhishma. The pyre was lit. In this manner, the last journey of Bhishma was conducted with great splendour.
After funeral ceremony, all of them had a holy dip in Ganges and offered Tarpana with water and gingelly seeds to Bhishma.
Lamenting for the death of his son Bhishma, Ganga came out of the river in human form.
“O Devavrata! There is no hero with such vigour and valour equivalent to you, in all the three lokas. My son is virtuous. He knows kshatriya dharma very much. He was kind and affectionate towards others. He was a great executive. While worshipping his parents, there is no match for him. He was an expert in all crafts. He got utmost respect towards elders. He could attack his own Guru, Parasurama. But, alas, he was defeated at the hands of Sikhandi and laid on arrow bed. Now he left this world.” Ganga was lamenting for the death of his son, Deva vrata.
Vyasa, who was present there, beholding Ganga, said: “O Mata Bhagiradhi! Dont lement for the death of your son. He attained higher regions. Your son is Vasuvu. Due to a curse, he was born as human being. After death, he joined Vasuvus. Your son was not defeated by Sikhandi. Not only Sikhandi, even Devendra also could not defeat your son. Your son, Bhishma, out of his own volition, got all arrows pierced into his body and laid on arrow bed. None defeated him. All this time, he kept death at a distance. Soon after Uttara Ayana enters, he left this mortal body. Hence there is no need to lament for such a great son.” said Vyasa.
Sri Krishna, Pandavas, Dhritarashtra, Vidura, Yuyutsu and others, with the permission of Ganga, left that place. Ganga, leaving the human form, immersed in Ganga waters.