Sin and Abuse Speech

From The Mahabharata
Santi Parva, Section CLVIII
Translated by Sri Kisari Mohan Ganguli
Yudhishthira said: I desire, O bull of Bharata’s race, to hear in detail the source from which sin proceeds and the foundation upon which it rests.
Bhishma said: Hear, O King, what the foundation is of sin. Covetousness alone is a great destroyer of merit and goodness. From covetousness proceeds sin. It is from this source that sin and irreligiousness flow, together with great misery. This covetousness is the spring of also all the cunning and hypocrisy in the world. It is covetousness that makes men commit sin. From covetousness proceeds wrath; from covetousness flows lust, and it is from covetousness that loss of judgment, deception, pride, arrogance, and malice, as also vindictiveness, loss of prosperity, loss of virtue, anxiety, and infamy spring. Miserliness, cupidity, desire for every kind of improper act, pride of birth, pride of learning, pride of beauty, pride of wealth, pitilessness for all creatures, malevolence towards all, mistrust in respect of all, insincerity towards all, appropriation of other people’s wealth, ravishment of other people’s wives, harshness of speech, anxiety, propensity to speak ill of others, violent craving for the indulgence of lust, gluttony, liability to premature death, violent propensity towards malice, irresistible liking for falsehood, unconquerable appetite for indulging in passions, insatiable desire for indulging in ear, evil-speaking, boastfulness, arrogance, non-doing of duties, rashness, and perpetration of every kind of evil act,- all these proceed from covetousness.
In life. men are unable, whether infants or youth or adults, to abandon covetousness. Such is the nature of covetousness that it never decays even with the decay of life. Like the ocean that can never be filled by the constant discharge of even immeasurable rivers of immeasurable depths, covetousness is incapable of being gratified by acquisitions to any extent.
The covetousness, however, which is never gratified by acquisitions and satisfied by the accomplishment of desires, that which is not known in its real nature by the gods, the Gandharvas, the Asuras, the great snakes, and, in fact, by all classes of beings, that irresistible passion, along with that folly which invites the heart to the unrealities of the world, should ever be conquered by a person of cleansed soul.
Pride, malice, slander, crookedness, and incapacity to hear other people’s good, are vices, that are to be seen in persons of uncleansed soul under the domination of covetousness. Even persons of great learning who bear in their minds all the voluminous scriptures, and who are competent to dispel the doubts of others, show themselves in this respect to be of weak understanding and feel great misery in consequence of this passion. Covetous men are wedded to envy and anger. They are outside the pale of good behaviour. Of crooked hearts, the speeches they utter are sweet. They resemble, therefore, dark pits whose mouths are covered with grass. They attire themselves in the hypocritical cloak of religion. Of low minds, they rob the world, setting up (if need be) the standard of religion and virtue. Relying upon the strength of apparent reasons, they create diverse kinds of schisms in religion. Intent upon accomplishing the purposes of cupidity, they destroy the ways of righteousness.
When wicked-souled persons under the domination of covetousness apparently practise the duties of righteousness, the consequence that results is that the desecrations committed by them soon become current among men. Pride, anger, arrogance, insensibility, paroxysms of joy and sorrow, and self-importance, all these are to be seen in persons swayed by covetousness. Know that they who are always under the influence of covetousness are wicked.

From The Mahabharata
Anusasana Parva, Section LXI
Translated by Sri Kisari Mohan Ganguli
Sin of Abortion
(Sin of foeticide)
Addressing King Yudhishthira, Bhishma said:
There are no men more sinful than those upon whose food children look with wistfulness without being able to eat them duly. If within thy kingdom any learned Brahman languishes with hunger like any of those children, thou shalt then incur the sin of foeticide
(abortion) for having allowed such an act.

From The Mahabharata
Santi Parva, Section CLXV
Translated by Sri Kisari Mohan Ganguli
Addressing King Yudhishthira, Bhishma said:
One guilty of foeticide (abortion) becomes cleansed if he dies of wounds received in battle fought for the sake of kine (cow) and Brahmanas.
He may also be cleansed by casting his person on a blazing fire.
From the Mahabharata
Santi Parva, Section XV
Translated by Sri Kisari Mohan Ganguli

There is no act that is wholly meritorious, nor any that is wholly
wicked.Right or wrong, in all acts, something of both is seen.
Arjuna said: He that takes up a weapon and slays an armed foe advancing against him, does not incur the sin of killing a foetus, for it is the wrath of the advancing foe that provokes the wrath of the slayer.
There is no act that is wholly meritorious, nor any that is wholly wicked. Right or wrong, in all acts, something of both is seen. Subjecting animals to castration, their horns again are cut off. They are then made to bear weights, are tethered and chastised.   In this world that is unsubstantial and rotten with abuses and rendered painful, O monarch, do thou practise the ancient customs of men, following the rules and analogies cited above. Perform sacrifices, give alms, protect thy subjects, and practise righteousness. Slay thy foes, O son of Kunti, and protect thy friends. Let no cheerlessness be thine, O king, while slaying foes. He that does it, O Bharata, does not incur the slightest sin.

Confession of sin
The Mahabharata
Anusasana Parva, Section CLXII
Translated by Sri Kisari Mohan Ganguli

Addressing King Yudhishthira, Bhishma said:
The heart of the sinful man always proclaims the sins he has committed. Those men who have deliberately committed sins meet with destruction by seeking to conceal them from the good. Indeed, they that are confirmed sinners seek to conceal their sinful acts from others. Such persons think that their sins are witnessed by neither men nor the deities.   The sinful man, overwhelmed by his sins, takes birth in a miserable order of being. The sins of such a man continually grow, even as the interests  the usurer charges (on the loan he grants) increase from day to day.

If, having committed a sin, one seeks to have it covered by righteousness, that sin becomes destroyed and leads to righteousness instead of other sins. If a quantity of water be poured upon salt, the salt  immediately dissolves away. Even so, when expiation is performed, sin dissolves away. For these reasons, one should never conceal a sin. Concealed, it is certain to increase. Having committed a sin, one should confess it in the presence of those that are good. They would destroy it immediately.

From The Mahabharata
Anusasana Parva, Section CXI
Translated by Sri Kisari Mohan Ganguli

Vrihaspati said:
That man who, having perpetrated sinful acts through stupefaction of mind, feels the pangs of repentance and sets his heart on contemplation (of the deity), has not to endure the consequences of his sins. One becomes freed from one’s sins in proportion as one repents for them. If one having committed a sin, O king, proclaims it in the presence of Brahmanas (priests) conversant with duties, one becomes quickly cleansed from the obloquy arising from one’s sin. Accordingly as one becomes cleansed therefrom fully or otherwise, like a snake freed from his diseased slough.

Abusive Speech

Mahabharata, Santi Parva, Section CXIV
Translated by Sri Kisari Mohan Ganguli

Yudhishthira said: How, O Bharata, should a learned man adorned with modesty behave, O chastiser of foes, when assailed with harsh speeches in the midst of assemblies by an ignorant person swelling with conceit?
Bhishma said: Listen, O lord of earth, how the subject has been treated of (in the scriptures), how a person of good soul should endure in this world the abusive speeches of persons of little intelligence. If a person, when abused by another, do not yield to wrath, he is then sure to take away (the merit of) all the good deeds that have been done by the abuser. The endurer, in such a case, communicates the demerit of all his own bad acts to the person who under the influence of wrath indulges in abuse. An intelligent man should disregard an abusive language who resembles, after all, only a Tittibha (a bird, Parra Jacana) uttering dissonant cries. One who yields to hate is said to live in vain. A fool may often be heard to say, ‘Such a respectable man was addressed by me in such words amid such an assembly of men,’ and to even boast of that wicked act. He would add, ‘Abused by me, the man remained silent as if dead with shame.’ Even thus does a shameless man boast of an act about which no one should boast.
Such a man among men should carefully be disregarded. The man of wisdom should endure everything that such a person of little intelligence may say. What can a vulgar fellow do by either his praise or his blame? He is even like a crow that caws uselessly in the woods. If those who accuse others by only their words could establish those accusations by such means, then, perhaps, their words would have been regarded to be of some value. As a fact, however, these words are as effective as those uttered by fools invoking death upon them with whom they quarrel.
[Note: In India, the commonest form of verbal abuse among ignorant men and women is ‘Do thou meet with death,’ or ‘Go thou to Yama’s house.’ (Yama is the god of death). What Bhishma says is that as these words are uttered in vain, even so the verbal accusations of wicked men prove perfectly abortive.]
That man simply proclaims his bastardy who indulges in such conduct with words. Indeed, he is even like a peacock that dances while showing such a part of his body as should be ever concealed from the view. A person of pure conduct should never even speak with that wight of sinful conduct who does not scruple to utter anything or do anything. That man who speaks of one’s merits when one’s eye is upon him and who speaks ill of one when one’s eye in withdrawn from him, is really like a dog. Such a person loses all his regions in heaven and the fruits of any knowledge and virtue that he may have.
[Note: A dog is an unclean animal in Hindu estimation.]
The man who speaks ill of one when one’s eye is not upon him, loses without delay the fruits of all his libations on fire and of the gifts he may make unto even a hundred persons. A man of wisdom, therefore, should unhesitatingly avoid a person of such sinful heart who deserves to be avoided by all honest men, as he would avoid the flesh of the dog. That wicked-souled wretch, who proclaims the faults of a high-souled person, really publishes (by that act) his own evil nature even as a snake displays his hood (when interfered with by others). The man of sense who seeks to counteract such a backbiter ever engaged in an occupation congenial to himself, finds himself in the painful condition of a stupid ass sunk in a heap of ashes. A man who is ever engaged in speaking ill of others should be avoided like a furious wolf, or an infuriated elephant roaring in madness, or a fierce dog.
Fie on that sinful wretch who has betaken himself to the path of the foolish and has fallen away from all wholesome restraints and modesty, who is always engaged in doing what is injurious to others, and who is regardless of his own prosperity. If an honest man wishes to exchange words with such wretches when they seek to humiliate him, he should be counselled in these words: Do not suffer thyself to be afflicted. A wordy encounter between a high and a low person is always disapproved by persons of tranquil intelligence. A slanderous wretch, when engaged, may strike another with his palms, or throw dust or chaff at another, or frighten another by showing or grinding his teeth. All this is well known. That man who endures the reproaches and slanders of wicked-souled wights uttered in assemblies, or who read frequently these instructions, never suffers any pain occasioned by speeches.

Om Tat Sat

(My humble salutations to  Brahmasri Sreeman K M Ganguly and Hinduism com  for the collection)


Post a Comment