The Brahmin says- O
son! Describe in detail about hell.
Sumati says- O father! Yamadoots carry and lynch those people who eat inedible things, who deceive and dishonour their friends, who indulge in illicit relationships, who desert their wife, and who destroy public properties like garden, water sources etc. Yamadoots tie hands and legs of such people and throw them into the fire. On their way to hell, such people are bitten by crows, storks, wolves, vultures etc. They stay in the inferno for thousand years.
Then they are shifted to another hell named Tama, which is always shrouded in darkness. Sinners who kill the cows and their brothers are thrown into this hell. They panic due to darkness and extreme cold. They get nothing to eat and drink. Moreover, chilling winds aggravates their miseries by making their bones stiff. These sinners then drink their own blood and eat their own flesh. They stay there until all their sins have been attenuated completely.
Then they are thrown into yet another hell named Nikrintan, which revolves like the wheel of a potter. Hoisting the sinners on the wheel, Yamadoots cut their organs but still their sufferings do not end because the cut organs rejoin and get cut repeatedly. This continues for thousand of years. Then the sinners are put in Aprathisth hell where they experience unbearable sorrow and miseries. The sinners are then put in Chakrasankar hell where they are tormented with wheels and huge bells. They are disembowelled and their eyes are also pricked. The sinners have to pass through different hells namely Asipatra, Taptakumbha and Lohakumbha.
AND THE KING OF VIDEHA
Sumati says- I was born
in a Vaishya family, seven births before this present one. In that birth, I once
prevented cows from drinking water. As a result of this sin, I was thrown in the
hell named Daarun where I spent one hundred years without a drop of water.
Suddenly one day, cool pleasant wind began to blow, its cool touch gave some relief to me. I saw that a Yamadoot was guiding a gentle looking man. Besides me, all the inmates of the hell felt extreme joy by the sight of that gentleman. The gentleman was asking that Yamadoot as to why he was being taken to the hell. From the words of that gentleman, it appeared that he was a renowned scholar. That man was in fact the ruler of a kingdom named Videha and was popular as the fosterer of his subjects.
Of Tortures In Hell
Thus asked by the
gentleman, Yamadoots replied politely- 'O king! You once deliberately
prevented your wife Pivari from conceiving because you were more attracted to
your second wife- Sushobhana. It is because of that action that you have been
brought here to undergo severe torture.' The religious minded king said- '
I am willing to go where ever you want to take me, but before doing that I would
like to have answers to my questions. I see many people undergoing severe
tortures in this hell. Big and frightening crows prick their eyes. Tell me, for
what sin they are facing such tortures.'
Yamadoot said- 'O king! Humans suffer or enjoy according to their Karmas. The effect of their Karmas diminishes in proportion to their sufferings. These crows are pricking the eyes of such people who had seduced other women and deceitfully acquired others' wealth. These people will suffer for the same number of years as their eyes blinked during the leering. These crows prick the tongues of those people who had criticised Vedas, deities, Brahmins and teachers. Those who caused differences between friends, husband-wives, father and sons and relatives, or killed the performer of the Yagyas are suffering under the saw. Those who insulted their parents and teachers have been thrown in the pit of pus, faeces and other excretions with their head down. Those who had food before offering it to the deities, guests, servants, father and elders, fire and birds, stay in a pit of pus.
Iron nails are hammered into the ears of those people who gleefully heard the criticism of creatures, deities, Brahmins and Vedas. Those who remarried their daughters to another person despite her former husband being alive are cut into pieces and thrown into saline river. Those who betrayed their friends are tied tightly with a rope. Worms, scorpion, crows and owls then bite their bodies. Those who enjoyed carnal intimacy during daytime or had illicit relations with women are hammered with nails to a prickly Bombax tree. Those who insulted Vedas and fire are thrown from the lofty peaks of mountain. O king! Those who steal gold, those who kill Brahmin, those who drink wine and those who rape the wife of their teacher are burnt in fire.'
says- As a result of accepting money from a degraded person, a Brahmin takes
birth as an ass. A Brahmin who carries out Yagya for a degraded person takes
birth as worm after undergoing severe sufferings in different types of hell. A
person takes birth as an ass or an inferior bird as a result of abusing his
parents. A person who does not worship his tutelary god before eating takes
birth as a monkey. Traitors take birth as fish. Those who steal cereals take
birth as mice.
A Shudra, who manages to establish intimacy with a Brahmin woman, takes birth as a worm. Similarly, killers of woman and children also take birth as worms. Ungrateful people take birth as worm, insects, grasshoppers, scorpion, crows etc. Encroacher of land takes birth as grass shrubs, creepers and inferior trees. Butchers who kill bulls take birth as eunuchs. Thus a person has to face the result of his Karma according to the gravity of his sins.
Sumati says- As Yamadoot began to push the king ahead, all the creatures in hell gave a loud cry- 'O king! Please stay here for few more moments. The wind that blows towards us after touching your body gives us immense joy. This wind has ended our sufferings and pains. Have pity on us.' The king asked the Yamadoot- 'Why are these people so joyous by my presence? Yamadoot said- 'O king! Initially, you used to sustain your body by the leftovers of the deities, ancestors, guests and ascetics. This is the reason why the wind that blows touching your body causing such pleasure to these people.
' The king said- 'If I can eliminate the sufferings of these sinners merely by standing here, I will definitely stay here.' Yamadoot said- 'No, you cannot stay here. It is a place for the sinners only. Come with us. You will have to enjoy the pleasure of your pious action.' The king said- 'No, I will not go anywhere leaving these poor people in this pitiable condition.' Yamadoot said- 'O king! Look, Dharma and Indra have themselves arrived to escort you to the heaven.
' Dharma said- 'O king! You have worshipped me. Hence follow me to the heaven.' The king replied- 'No, I will not go anywhere leaving these thousands of people in the hell.' Indra said- 'Everyone has to taste the fruits of his Karmas. You cannot help them.' The king said- 'O Indra! Tell me, how virtuous was I in my previous life?' Dharma said- ' Though your pious actions are fathomless, be sure that their significance are not much than drops of water in an ocean, the stars in the sky. The kindness you have shown towards these sinners has further enhanced your virtuosity.' The king said- 'If it is so, may all these people be released from their sufferings by the virtue of my good Karmas.' Indra said- 'O king! By your words, your pious action has increased like the height of the mountain and these sinners have also been released from their sufferings.'
of being chaste
and birth of durvaasa, dattatreya and chandrama
says- O son! Tell me, what should I do now?
Sumati says- Now, you should become a Vanprasthi and lead a life of a Bhikshu by having control over your senses. You will attain that rare Yoga, which helps a man to unite with the almighty after freeing him from the cycles of birth, death and re-birth.
Brahmin says- O son! Now explain to me about this Yoga, which bestows liberation to a man.
Sumati says- I am now describing to you, the same text related with Yoga that was once narrated by Dattatreya to Alark.
The Brahmin asked Sumati- Who was Dattatreya's father? How did he acquire the knowledge of Yoga? Who was Alark?
Sumati says- In ancient Pratisthanpur (modern Paithan) there lived a Brahmin. He was inflicted by leprosy because of the sins he had committed in his previous birth. The Brahmin was very short-tempered and used to scoff at his wife frequently. But his wife was very chaste in character and worshipped him like a deity. One day, the Brahmin ordered his wife to carry him to the prostitute's house, as he had become too weak and feeble. Being chaste, the wife collected some money and began to carry the Brahmin on her shoulders to the home of the prostitute. On their way, they reached a place where sage Maandavya was hanged but still was alive. In the darkness, the woman could not see the things clearly and the Brahmin who was riding her shoulders happened to touch the sage. The sage cursed angrily that whoever had touched him would die before sunrise. Hearing the words of the sage, the Brahmin's wife thundered that there would be no sunrise tomorrow.
Words of the woman came to be true as next morning, the Sun did not rise. Thus the whole world was shrouded in darkness as a result of which, the deities became worried. The deities apprehended that without the occurrence of sunrise, the whole universe might be destroyed. They were also worried that without the differentiation of day and night, how could the months be calculated and the seasons known. Even the calculation of year would be impossible. The chastity of Brahmins wife had forced even the mighty sun to eschew its daily routine. As a result of this, religious activities like Havan, Yagya etc. also came to a halt. Seeing them perplexed, Brahma advised the deities to eulogise Ansuya, the wife of sage Atri. All the deities then pleased Ansuya who assured them to convince the wife of the Brahmin to retract her words. After that, Ansuya reached the Brahmin's hut and said to his wife- 'O fortunate one! May you always serve your husband with full dedication. A chaste woman enjoys half the virtues of her husband, which he earns by his religious activities.'
Brahmini said- 'I am blessed today that the deities have at last glanced at me. Now, tell me, what should I do?' Ansuya said- 'O Saadhvi! In the absence of the day, all the religious activities have ceased to exist. The world is on the verge of extinction. Only your wish can protect the world from imminent calamity. Hence, be pleased now and allow the Sun to rise as usual.' Brahmini said- 'O fortunate one! Sage Maandavya had cursed that my husband would die with sunrise. I cannot afford to lose my husband.' Ansuya said- 'Don't worry, O chaste woman! I will resurrect your husband. So, kindly allow the Sun to rise now.'
Then, Ansuya invoked the Sun by offering water as an oblation. However, the leper-inflicted Brahmin died as soon as the Sun rose. Then by the powers of her penance, Ansuya resurrected the Brahmin and transformed him into a disease-free handsome young man. She also blessed the couple to live for hundred years. The deities were pleased with Ansuya and asked her to seek a boon. Ansuya expressed her desire to give birth to the trinity of Brahma, Vishnu and Mahesh as her sons. The trinity blessed her with this boon. In due course of time, Brahma, Vishnu and Mahesh took birth as Chandrama, Dattatreya and Durvaasa from Ansuya.
PREACHES KAARTAVEERYA ARJUN
Sumati says- O father!
After the demise of Kaartaveerya, his ministers and priests decided to crown his
son Arjun as their new king. But Arjun refused saying that he would not become
the king unless and until he had attained the status of a Yogi. Sage Garg then
advised Arjun to worship Dattatreya who had helped the deities to reunite after
the defeat of the demons.
Afterwards, Arjun migrated to Dattatreya's hermitage and began to worship and serve him. Pleased by his penance and service, Dattatreya asked Arjun to seek a boon. Arjun said- 'O lord! Kindly bless me with such a power, which enables me to perform my duties as a king in a just manner. May nobody match me in war and may I have one thousand arms. I wish to get killed only by such a person who is more virtuous than me and may I guide the people towards the right path. May nobody in my kingdom remain poor and may my devotion for your lotus feet be eternal.' Dattatreya said- 'O son! All of your wishes shall come true. With my blessings, you shall rule over all the four directions.' Then, Dattatreya crowned Arjun as the king. Large number of people witnessed his crowning ceremony. Soon after becoming the king, Kaar taveerya Arjun ordered that nobody in his kingdom should wield a weapon except him.
AND THE HORSE KUVALAYA
Sumati says- O father!
Now listen to the tale of a Brahmin named Alark. Long ago, there lived a king
named Shatrujit who had a meritorious son, Ritudhwaj. Prince Ritudhwaj had many
friends with whom he used to play with. In course of time, two sons of Ashwatar,
the king of Nagas became his friends in the guise of Brahmin boys. Both of them
were young and good-looking. Both of them used to pass the entire day in the
company of Ritudhwaj. They would return to their abode in Paatal loka only at
night. On being enquired by their father, they revealed the reason about their
late arrival at home. They said- 'O father! Up there on the land, there
is a prince named Ritudhwaj. He is the son of King Shatrujit. He is very
handsome, gentle, brave, truthful, knowledgeous and meritorious. We enjoy his
company.' Ashwatar said- 'Prince Ritudhwaj is really blessed for
even the meritorious people like you praise him. But have you done anything to
make him happy?' His sons asked- 'What can we do for his pleasure?
We find ourselves incapable of pleasing such a person whose riches are even rare
for Paatal loka.' Ashwatar said- 'Even then, I wish to hear about
the characteristics of your new friend.'
The sons said- O father! Once the prince narrated us a tale, we are going to relate it now. A Brahmin named Gaalav lived in King Shatrujit's kingdom. One day, he arrived in the court of the king riding on a horse and said- 'O king! For the past many months, a wretched demon has been tormenting me and causing severe disturbances in my daily rituals. He is capable of taking any guise at will. Disguising as an elephant, lion, tiger, wolf and many other wild animals, he terrorises me. It has become very difficult for me to do my meditation. One day in my frustration, I let out a deep sigh. As soon as I did so, this divine horse descended from the sky. I heard a heavenly voice, which said- 'O Brahmin! This horse is capable of circumambulating the entire earth without getting tired. It can climb lofty mountains effortlessly and can also run in all the three worlds with the same speed. Hence, this horse shall be renowned as Kuvalaya. Riding it, the son of King Shatrujit will kill the demon that torments you day and night. 'O king! That is the reason that I have arrived in your court with this horse. Kindly accept it and instruct your son to ride it and kill the demon.' King Shatrujit saw his son Ritudhwaj off with the Brahmin riding that divine horse.
goes to paatal loka, killing of demon paatal ketu and marriage with madalasa
Ritudhwaj stayed in the hermitage of sage Gaalav and helped him to perform his
Yagyas without any problem by clearing all the minor obstacles. The demons were
not aware of his arrival in the hermitage. One day, a demon arrived in the
hermitage disguised as a wild boar and began to rub his bushy head against the
body of sage Gaalav. Seeing this, his disciples began to scream. Prince
Ritudhwaj at once rode the horse and wielding a weapon dashed after the boar.
The prince injured the boar with an arrow, which was sickle-shaped. The demons
fled from the scene. Prince Ritudhwaj followed the boar everywhere it went on
the mountains, in the forests and on the riverbank. He was determined to slay
the demon that had been disturbing the sage for long. Ultimately, the boar
jumped into a pit. Ritudhwaj also followed it but could not see the boar
anywhere in the pit. Instead he saw a beautiful town which could have matched
even the abode of Indra. He entered the town where he saw an extremely pretty
girl who was walking briskly. Ritudhwaj tried to know about her destination but
she ignored him and climbed the stairs of a palace. Ritudhwaj also followed her
and in the palace, he saw a beautiful girl sitting on a bedstead. As soon as the
girl saw him, she fainted. Her beauty attracted even Ritudhwaj. He assured her
that there was nothing to be afraid about. Then the same girl whom Ritudhwaj had
sighted earlier came there and began to fan the fainted lady. The prince
enquired about the reason of her unconsciousness. But the girl did not say
anything. Instead she whispered something in the ears of her friend who then
said- 'O stranger! This is the daughter of Vishwavasu, the king of
Gandharvas. Her name is Madalasa. One day, while she was playing in her garden,
a demon Paatalketu abducted her. Since then she stays here in his captivity. On
the coming thirteenth day of this month that demon will marry her. But he
doesn't deserve to be her husband. Yesterday, she was ready to commit suicide
but the cow Surabhi, assured her that a man from the earth would come and kill
the demon. Only he would be suitable for my friend. I am her friend. My name is
Kundala. I am the daughter of Vindhyavan and wife of Pushkarmali. My husband had
been killed by the demon Shumbh. Since then I have been touring various places
of pilgrimage in order to receive salvation. That wretched Paatalketu had taken
the guise of a boar but a brave man has injured him with his arrow. I have
arrived here only to investigate who is that man. Do not worry about my friend's
unconsciousness. She has fainted because of your infatuating handsomeness. She
has begun to love you but her problem is that only that man can marry her who
has injured the boar. This thought has caused her to lose her consciousness. Now
reveal your identity.'
Ritudhwaj said- 'I am the son of King Shatrujit. I have been staying in the hermitage of sage Gaalav to protect the sages. Just a few days back, a boar arrived in the hermitage and began to torment the sages. I have injured that boar with my arrow. Now I have arrived here following that boar and happened to see you.'
Hearing the words of Ritudhwaj, Madalasa felt shy as well as extreme joy. Kundala then said to her friend- 'The prince speaks the truth. Words of Surabhi cannot go wrong.' She then said to Ritudhwaj- 'O brave man! Doubtlessly you have killed the demon, Paatalketu. My friend Madalasa is blessed now. Now its your duty to marry my friend and take her home as your bride.' Ritudhwaj said- 'How can I marry your friend without the permission of my father. I am still not fully independent.' Kundala said- 'Please do not say this. My friend is a divine beauty. Marry her right now.' Prince Ritudhwaj then agreed to marry Madalasa then and there. Madalasa happily remembered their family priest Tumbaru who arrived there instantaneously. In the presence of sacred fire, Tumbaru carried out the rituals of marriage and tied them in nuptial knot. Thereafter blessing the newly wed couple, Tumbaru and Kundala took to their respective paths.
On the other hand, when Ritudhwaj and Madalasa started off riding the horse, Kuvalaya, demons' army surrounded them. A fierce battle followed. In no time, prince Ritudhwaj slayed the entire army and reached his kingdom. There he narrated the whole incident to his father Shatrujit. King Shatrujit felt very much pleased by the prowess of his son and blessed them heartily. Thereafter, Ritudhwaj came to his palace with his wife Madalasa. They then began to live happily.
The newly-wed couple
had hardly spent few months together when King Shatrujit once again instructed
Ritudhwaj to travel across the entire earth and see whether the Brahmins were
performing their religious duties without any obstacles. Ritudhwaj obeyed the
dictates of his father. He used to scale vast distances for the whole day and
returned to his wife only at night. One day he noticed that a sage was staying
at the bank of river Yamuna. He was in fact Taalketu, the younger brother of
Paatalketu. But the prince could not recognise him. That sage approached
Ritudhwaj and requested him to extend his protection over his hermitage, as he
was about to start Yagyas. He also begged for the precious necklace of the
prince on the pretext that he had nothing to pay as Dakshina. The gullible
prince gave his necklace to the sage. Then instructing the prince to guard the
hermitage and promising to return soon, the sage left.
In fact, the sage who was actually a demon arrived in the court of King Shatrujit. Madalasa was also present in the court. He said- 'Prince Ritudhwaj sacrificed his life fighting with the demon while protecting my hermitage. Before his death, he gave me his necklace. His horse has been captured by the demon. I have brought this necklace to you to inform you about that sad incident.' After giving the necklace to Madalasa, the demon returned to the hermitage.
Hearing the news of her husband's death, Madalasa also gave up her life. Mourning soon enveloped the entire palace. Seeing the death of his daughter-in-law, Madalasa, King Shatrujit was in a dilemma as for whose death should he mourn. A little contemplation led him to the conclusion that it would be futile to mourn his son- Ritudhwaj's death because he had died for a noble cause. But his daughter-in-law had followed the steps of her husband, so her death should be mourned for. The queen also supported the king. Thereafter the king performed the last rites of both of them.
When Taalketu returned to his hermitage, he found Ritudhwaj still standing alert. In a sweet tone, Taalketu said- 'I am obliged by you, O prince! Staying here with unwavering mind, you have executed my desired task. I have met my objective, so you may go now.' Prince Ritudhwaj then returned to his palace riding his horse.
prince Ritudhwaj reached the capital, everyone expressed his pleasure with
surprise. Ritudhwaj met everyone happily and went to the palace of his parents.
Though the king and the queen blessed him but sad expression on their face
surprised the prince. Upon enquiry, the king related the entire incident and
also how his wife Madalasa had died. The news of Madalsa's death shocked
Ritudhwaj. Then consoled by his parents and friends, prince Ritudhwaj carried
out the necessary consecrations to pacify the soul of his dead wife. He had
decided never to marry again.
The sons of the Naag said- 'O father! Now prince Ritudhwaj lives like an ascetic. He never casts his eyes on women and only indulges in playing with people of his age. Hence all we can do for him is to keep him happy.'
Hearing the entire tale, Naagraj fell in deep thought. After sometime he said to his sons with a laughter- 'O sons! Now I will do such a thing that will bring back the smile of Ritudhwaj.' Saying this, Naagraj Ashwatar reached Plakshaavataran, a place of pilgrimage at the foothills of Himalayas along with his brother Kambal. There they began to do severe penance to please Goddess Saraswati. At last, Saraswati appeared before them and asked them to seek a boon. Ashwatar requested her to bless both of them with a sweet and melodious voice. After granting them this boon, Goddess Saraswati disappeared. By her blessings, Ashwatar and his brother, Kambal became famous singers. Then they began worshipping Lord Shiva singing sweet and melodious hymns. Pleased by their prayers, Lord Shankar also asked them to seek a boon. At that Ashwatar said- 'O lord! I wish that Ritudhwaj's wife Madalasa takes birth as my daughter.' Lord Shankar said- 'With my blessings, your wish shall come true. During the Shraadh period, you yourself take the middle portion of the Pind (food offered to dead ancestors) and contemplating on me, offer oblations to your ancestors. Madalasa will emerge from your 'middle-hood'.
Bowing before Lord Shiva thereafter, both the brothers returned to their kingdom in Paatal loka. Ashwatar organised a Shraadh in the same way as told by the Lord and consumed the middle portion of the food offered to the ancestors. Then contemplating on the desired object, he let out a deep sigh. Instantaneously, Madalasa emerged from his 'middle-hood'. Ashwatar did not reveal this fact to anybody and made adequate arrangements so that she could live in secrecy.
Thereafter one day, he instructed his sons to bring their friend Ritudhwaj to the palace. Both the sons once again joined the company of Ritudhwaj. One day while playing, they insisted him to visit their palace. The prince gladly accompanied them. In Paatal loka, he was amazed to see his Brahmin friends getting transformed into serpents. They took Ritudhwaj through the streets and lanes of their kingdom. Ultimately they reached the palace of Ashwatar. Introducing Ritudhwaj, the serpent princes said- 'O father! This is our brave friend, Ritudhwaj.' Ritudhwaj greeted Ashwatar respectfully and received his blessings. Ashwatar said to him- 'Long live O prince! My sons always sing praise of your divine virtues. I request you to stay with us for a few months and enjoy the pleasures of Paatal loka.'
RE-UNITES WITH MADALASA
Ritudhwaj stayed in the
palace of Ashwatar. Naagraj did his best to keep Ritudhwaj happy and forget the
sorrow of his wife's separation. During his stay, Ashwatar tried many times to
coax Ritudhwaj into revealing his heartiest desire. But every time Ritudhwaj
intelligently avoided the topic. Once, King Ashwatar, in Ritudhwaj's presence,
asked his sons what should be done to please him. They informed the king that
nothing less than Madalasa would please the prince most and that the prince was
eager to see his deceased wife once more.
Prince Ritudhwaj also said shyly that he would be greatly obliged if Naagraj could help him to have a sight of his deceased wife. Ashwatar said- 'O son! If you wish to see the illusion, come on, have a sight of your deceased wife.' Saying this, Naagraj called Madalasa who was staying secretly in his palace and asked Ritudhwaj- 'Take a good look, O son, if she is your wife.' Seeing his wife before him, the prince fainted. When he regained his consciousness, he stepped forward to touch her but Ashwatar stopped him cautioning that she was not real but illusionary and would vanish as soon as he touched her.
Hearing this, Ritudhwaj once again lost his consciousness. When he regained his consciousness, he uttered nothing but 'She's mine! She's mine!' Seeing the pitiable condition of the prince, Naagraj revealed the whole story of Madalsa's resurrection. Ritudhwaj became extremely joyous after re-uniting with his wife. Then he contemplated on his divine horse as a result of which, it appeared within a moment. Riding the horse, prince Ritudhwaj returned to his kingdom with his wife Madalasa.
OF MADALASA'S SONS
returning to his father's kingdom, Ritudhwaj narrated the whole incident to his
parents of how he regained Madalasa. Then they began to live happily. After many
years, King Shatrujit crowned Ritudhwaj as the king. After King Ritudhwaj's
accession to the throne, Madalasa gave birth to her first son. Ritudhwaj named
the child as Vikrant. After sometime, Madalasa gave birth to her second son whom
Ritudhwaj named as Subahu. Subsequently, their third son was born and named
Shatrumardan. After the naming ceremony of the third son, Madalasa could not
help laughing, as she was very amused by such a name given to her son. The
metaphysical knowledge, which Madalasa gave to her three sons, had helped them
to become ascetics. When their fourth son was born, the king sought her approval
on the name being given to him. This made the queen laugh. The king asked her to
name the child. Madalasa named this child as Alark.
Hearing the name, the king ridiculed its relevance. Madalasa said that the names have significance only for worldly matters. She also reminded the king about the futility of the names given to their previous children. As Madalasa began to preach her fourth son about the metaphysics, the king stopped her by saying that she had already preached all the three sons on the path of renunciation. He requested her to spare the fourth child so that he could grow up and become the king one-day. Madalasa then blessed her son- 'You are blessed my son because you will rule the earth without obstacles. Now cultivate in your heart the desire to do well to others. Never caste your eyes on women other than your wife. Always contemplate on Murari to destroy the evil thoughts in your heart.'
Madalasa used to preach
the little prince while played. When Alark attained boyhood, he asked- 'O
mother! What should I do in order to mastery over physical and metaphysical
matters? How can I serve my subjects in the best possible way?'
Madalasa said- 'Looking after the welfare of the subjects religiously is the supreme duty of a king. He should always be alert against the activities of his enemies. With the help of spies, the king should keep a watch on the activities of his minister so that he could not make friends with the enemies. It is unwise for the king to trust everybody but under certain circumstances, he may trust even his enemies. A king must control his lust but at the same time, he should make efforts to increase the boundaries of his kingdom. Surrendering to sensual comfort is like death for a king. A king should appear as all pervasive and omnipresent. Fostering the subjects with total righteousness enhances the wisdom of the king.'
OF PEOPLE BELONGING TO VARIOUS ASHRAMS
Alark says- 'Tell
me about the duties of the different classes and stages of life.'
Madalasa says- 'Donation, study and Yagya, these three are the religion of a Brahmin. Performing Yagya for others, teaching and accepting donation are the three vocations of Brahmin. Donation, study and Yagya are also the religious duties of Kshatriyas. Protection of land and using weapons are vocation for Kshatriyas. Religious duties of a Vaishya are also same like that of the Brahmins such as donation, study and Yagya. For a living, Vaishya may take up animal rearing, agriculture and trade as profession. Serving all these three above mentioned castes as well as making donations and performing Yagya are the religious duties of a Shudra. Tilling the earth, serving Brahmins, feeding animals, selling and purchasing items are professions of a Shudra. A person belonging to Dwij class may relatively enjoy freedom until his sacred thread ceremony has not been performed. After the sacred thread ceremony, he should come to stay at the home of his teacher and observe celibacy strictly while studying scriptures. There he is expected to serve the Guru sincerely. At the completion of education, he should pay Dakshina to his Guru. He may get married and start the second stage of his life that is Grihasthashram. He should then subsequently opt for Vanprastha and Sanyaas respectively.
After the completion of education and paying all the dues, the disciple is ready to start second stage of his life that is Grihasthashram. For this he should first find a suitable girl from his caste and get married. Grihasthashram is considered as the best stage of life. It is in itself a complete Yagya. As a householder, he is expected to foster those who are dependent on him. During this stage of his life, he should earn his livelihood by occupations ascribed for his caste. He should please the deities by performing Yagyas, his ancestors by making oblations, Prajapatis by producing children, spectres by offering sacrifices of cereals and society by showering love. Even the ascetic and celibates depend on married people for their daily bread. Hence married life or Grihasthashram is stated to be superior among all the Ashrams.
A Grihastha must welcome and treat even his unexpected guests with great warmth. A householder who fails to satisfy his guest never succeeds in religious matters. The Yagyas that are offered in such households go futile. Hence it is not proper for the householder to show ego and abuse a guest otherwise he will have to expiate for it later.
When the children of the householder grow up and his body becomes senile, he should go to the forest after relinquishing the world. There, he should pass his time by indulging himself in austerities and religious activities. This stage is known as Vanprasthashram and is most necessary for the sanctification of his soul. This stage is followed by Sanyaasashram- the stage, which requires complete renunciation, celibacy, control of senses and anger etc. The virtues like truthfulness, sanctity, non-violence, tolerance, forgiveness, kindness, generosity and contentment are the religious merits applicable to all the Ashrams equally. Those who abide by their religion stay in the abode of Brahmaji till the reign of fourteen Indras. The king punishes those who violate this religious code. If the king doesn't punish them, he is himself destroyed. Hence a king must first of all abide by the duties as prescribed for different Ashrams in his life and only then he has the right to punish those people who violate these dictates. '
OF A GRIHASTH (HOUSEHOLDER)
Alark says- What are
the duties of a married man by discharging which he becomes free from all kinds
of bondage and attains salvation. Kindly tell me about these things.
Madalasa says- O son! Those people who discharge their duties as a householder by fostering all the living beings attain to the heaven automatically. All the living creatures of the world including the deities and the dead ancestors are dependent on their nurturing on the householder. They always look at the face of the married man for their living. In fact, Grihasthashram can be compared to a cow that fosters others with her milk. All the four Vedas are present in this 'cow' that is Grihasthashram. Entire universe is reflected in this Ashram.
Daily after the bath in the morning, a Grihastha must perform oblations to the deities, to the sages, Prajapati and ancestors by offering water to them. Then he should perform a Yagya and offer cereals in the sacrificial fire. There are certain places in the house, which are reserved for specific deities and where offerings are made to them. Sacrifice to Brahmaji should be offered in the central part of the home, to Vishwadeva in the eastern side of the home, to Dhanvantari in the northern side, to Indra again in the eastern side, to Yama in the southern side, to Varun in the western side and to Soma in the northern side of the home. At the threshold of the house, sacrifice should be offered to Dhaata and Vidhaata. One must sit facing the south while offering sacrifice to his dead ancestors. For the dogs and birds, sacrifices should be given on the ground in the morning and evening. At the arrival of a guest, a Grihastha must worship him by offering water, cereals, flowers etc. as per his financial condition. If possible, a Grihastha should feed one or more Brahmins in order to pacify his ancestors. He should give alms to a beggar and a celibate. Without giving alms, a Grihastha must not proceed to dine. He should also feed starving and diseased people first. Such kind of living definitely benefits a Grihastha.