Srimad Bhagvata Mahapurana Book 11 Chapter 21:1-10

Book 11: Chapter 21

Srimad Bhagvata Mahapurana: Book 11: Chapter 21: Verses 1-10

The glorious Lord began again Abandoning : the aforesaid paths leading to Me, consisting of Devotion, spiritual enlightenment and (disinterested) action, they who enjoy the trifling pleasures of sense with their fickle senses undergo transmigration. What goes by the name of devotion to one's own duty has been proclaimed to be a virtue. The contrary of it (viz., devotion to another's duty), however, is a fault. Such is the conclusion about the nature of both (viz., virtue and fault). Purity and impurity (fitness for use or otherwise), virtue and fault (goodness or otherwise) and good and evil consequences are determined in regard to homogeneous substances in order to regulate one's natural proneness to betake oneself to a particular substance, by creating a doubt (in one's mind) about it. (Of these) purity and impurity are determined for the purpose of knowing the righteous way as distinguished from the unrighteous; virtue and fault are defined in order to regulate usage (what is intrinsically good is used in exceptional cases notwithstanding its impurity); and good and evil consequences are determined in order to enable one to make one's living (one is permitted to use an impure substance in exceptional circumstances only to the extent necessary for maintaining one's existence), O sinless one 1 Such a course of conduct has been shown by Me (in the form of Manu and other divine Law-givers) for men bearing the responsibility of upholding the cause of virtue. Earth, water, fire, the air and etherthese five elements coupled with the Self (Spirit) enter into the constitution of the bodies of all created beings from Brahma (the foremost of created beings) down to the immobile creation (the plant or vegetable kingdom, the lowest species of life). (That is to say, all created beings are one in point of the material stuff of which they are constituted as well as in point of their Jivahood or spiritual essence). (Yet) in order to enable these creatures (by regulating their activity) to attain their purpose (of life in the form of Dharma or religious merit, Artha or material possessions, Kama or gratification of the senses and Moksa or final beatitude) diverse names and forms (viz., Brahmana, Ksatriya and so on) are invented by the Vedas with reference to the bodies though made up of the same substance, 0 Uddhava ! In order (however) to regulate the activities (of created beings) goodness and otherwise are attributed by Me (in the form of the Vedas) even to entities like space and time (including the fruit and motive of actions, as well as those qualified for various types of actions), nay, to substances, 0 most noble one! Of (all) tracts of land, that which is untrodden by the black deer is unholy, more so that which is lacking in devotion to the Brahmanas. Even that which is hallowed by the presence of the black deer is unholy if destitute of righteous men. The tract known by the name of Kikata (comprising the territories of Anga, Vanga and Kalinga*, roughly corresponding to the modern district of Bhagalpur in Bihar and the states of Bengal and Utkala) is unholy if not inhabited by good men.tThe land mostly inhabited by Mlecchas t and barren land (too) is likewise) unholy. (A period of) time which is fit for the performance of righteous actions from the point of view of (adequate supply of) requisite articles or by itself is valuable (from that point of view); whereas (a period of) time in which a (sacred) rite (already commenced) has to be abandoned (for scarcity of requisite materials or political upheaval) and (even so) that which is declared as unifit for any (religious) rite (due to impurity occasioned by the death of a blood relation or other near relative or childbirth in one's own house or family) is impure. The purity and impurity of a substance are brought about by another substance as well as by the word of mouth (of a Brahmana), by a purificatory process (and otherwise), nay, by (flux of) time§ and by largeness and smallness of area respectively (as in the case [1] of a tank polluted by the touch of a low-born person), by physical fitness and otherwise or by knowledge and the affluent circumstances (or otherwise) of the individual concerned. (Nay,) the sin which the aforementioned agencies (of pollution) bring to a soul (by polluting a substance) really do so (only) according to the local conditions and other circumstances

of the individual concerned.



  1. ' A Smrti text says:One travelling in the territories of Anga, vanga and Kalinga, Saurastra and Magadha except on a pilgrimage deservesto undergo the rite of investiture with the sacred thread once more."" That land indeed is most holy where resides a noble and deserving person I" $ In the Baudhayana Smrti a Mleccha has been characterized as follows :-- He Is called a Mleccha, who eats the bovine flesh, speaks much that is self-contradictory and is destitute of all goodconduct.'

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