Annals of Ruci inddently narrated in the discourse between Markandeya and Kraushtika ||88||
1Suta said: The God Hari related all about the different ages or cycles of time to the gods Hara, Brahma, etc. Now hear me nattate the Hymn known as the Pitri-Stotram which the holy Markandeya heard of yore from the lips of Krouncaki.
2Markandeya said: -Once in days of yore, the patriarch Ruci, who was shorn of all vanity and attachment to world and its concerns, started out on a journey, free and friendless, with a view to see the different countries of the world.
3The departed Manes of the patriarch viewed him from their abodes, trudging the land houseless and alone, and passing his nights in bleak and unsheltered wildernesses without fire or friends to share in the perils of his journey. To him did they address as follows:
4O son, why hast thou foregone the pleasures of blessed matrimony, and why dost thou roam about cheerless and disconsolate without being bound in holy wedlock with an eligible bride?
5By duly propitiating the gods and one’s departed Manes, and by attending to the wants of the needy and the holy sages, a householder, O son, becomes entitled to an elevated station after death.
6By uttering the Svaha Mantras (casting libations of clarified butter in fire) a householder is enabled to appease the gods, and a repetition of the Svadha Mantra leads to the propitiation of his departed Manes. Practice of free and hearty hospitality endears him to his guests, while servants and dependants eating his bread, look upon him as the mainstay of their lives.
7-8O thou holy one among mortals, from day to day, thus thou hast been incurring more and more debts to the gods. Thy obligations to us, thy departed Manes, are getting heavier, and thy debts to the beings at large, as an inmate of the created universe, stand undischarged even up to the present moment. Where is the chance of thy working up to a better life, O my son, if you fail to marry and propagate children and to take to the life of an anchorite afterwards, as laid down in the books of the Sastra.
9Thy present conduct, therefore, brings thee nothing but misery and dooms thee to the pangs of successive rebirths even after the cessation of the torments of that particular hell to which the souls of the “sonless are consigned”
10To which Ruci thus replied: -Marriage is the parent of sin and misery, O fathers, and serves only to lower a man in the world to come.
11This thought alone has therefore desisted me from being united with a wife. In a moment, it makes a man doubtful of his own spiritual life and therefore serves as a stumbling block in the way of his own salvation. Thinking of this I have hitherto refrained from marrying a wife.
12It is better that an unwedded person, though fondly attached to life and its cares, should wash his soul daily with the water of pure knowledge than that he would marry and forget all about his spiritual self, and become of the earth and earthly.
13It is imperatively obligatory on a man to subjugate his senses, and to constantly cleanse his soul of the mire, which his multifarious acts and promiscuous contact with a large concourse of created beings deposit upon it.
14To which the spirits of his fathers thus replied: -O son, certainly it is incumbent on all of us to wash our souls of all impurities by subduing our senses, still the way thou treads, O darling, is not the proper road to salvation.
15-16The effects of good or evil deeds done by thee in a previous existence, would not fetter thy soul in the event of thy performing the five daily sacrifices peculiar to a householder (Pancayania) and practising pemincesand charities without any regard to their ulterior effects, and simply as a passive and involuntary instrument for the discharge of thy duties and for the absolution of thy daily sins.
17The effects of good or bad deeds done by a person in a prior existence, are constantly worn away by his actual experiences of pleasure or pain in this life.
18Wise men thus absolve their soul and protect it from being any way fettered with the bonds of Nescience. The soul thus guarded, can never be soiled with the mire of sin.
19Ruci said: -Acts have been condemned in the Vedas by the celestial Brahmana as the direct resultants of Nescience, and wherefore, O fathers, -do you knowingly direct me to the path of action?
20To which the spirits of his fathers thus replied: -All is illusion in the universe and this universe itself is an illusion, O darling, and it is wrong to say that Nescience proceeds from action alone.
21On the contrary action primarily leads to the expansion or true knowledge and this brooks no contradiction. The good and the honest shun the evil incidental to the omission of a good act, and this self-imposed restraint leads to salvation.
22A restraint of a contrary nature tends to degenerate a soul. Thou hast considered it better to cherish pure thoughts in a pure soul, but it avails thee nothing, my son, so long as any charge of neglect or omission of duty may be laid at thy door.
23Nescience, like an active poison, has its utility in the universe, which, being judiciously employed, rather serves to unfold the spirit than to tighten its shackles.
24Therefore do thou lawfully take a wife, O son. Otherwise in the absence of any provision for the future world, thy whole life would prove a miserable failure.
25Ruci said: -I have grown old, O fathers, and who shall marry his daughter to an old man? Moreover, marriage is a luxury which the poor can hardy afford to indulge in.
26The Manes said: -Our descent into the lower regions as well as the degradation of thy own Self, it certain, O son, if thou dost not profit by our advice.
27Saying this the spirits of his (Ruci’s) fathers vanished in the air like a lamp light suddenly blown out by the wind.
28The holy sage Markandeya of mighty penance, narrated the entire discourse between Rud and his departed Manes to Krouncaki.