Description of Holy Places: The Death of Sakalya ||60||
1On hearing his words the sages said to Suta of wide knowledge—“O intelligent Sir, how were the Vedas classified before? Please tell us that.”
2Suta said: O highly intelligent sage, in the Svayambhuva Manvantara, when Dvapara had set in, Brahma said this to Manu. I shall repeat it.
3“O dear one, when a Yuga passes away, Brahmanas become deficient in energy and vigour. All of them become enveloped by the defects of the new Yuga.
4Only very little (of the previous glory) remains to be seen. Only a ten-thousandth part of what existed originally at the beginning of Krita Age remains.
5Power, splendour, strength and eloquence—everything perishes. Hence Vedas should be classified, lest there should be utter destruction (of that lore).
6When the Vedas perish, Yajna perishes. When Yajna perishes, Devas perish. Then everything perishes.
7The original Vedas consisted of four Padas and a hundred thousand Mantras. It has increased ten times. The entire Yajna yields all desires”.
8On being addressed thus, Lord Manu, engaged in the welfare of the worlds said, “So be it”. He divided the Vedas into four books (compendia).
9It was at the instance of Brahma and with a desire for the well-being of the world (that he divided the Veda). It is by the present classification of the Vedas that you have to imagine the (extent etc. of) the Vedas.
10I shall narrate to you (the classification of the Vedas) in accordance with present Manvantara. It is by adopting the process of inference of what is beyond perception that you understand (the classification), O excellent ones.
11In this Yuga, the son of Parasara who is glorified as a part of Vishnu and who is well-known as Dvaipayana, the scorcher (vanquisher) of enemies, was made Vyasa (the arranger of the Vedas).
12-13Urged by god Brahma, he undertook the work of classifying the Veda. He adopted four disciples for (preservation and continuity of) of the Vedas. (They were) Jaimini, Sumantu, Vaisampayana, Paila (was the fourth of them) and the fifth Lomaharsana.
14He formally made the Brahmana Paila the propounder of the Rgveda and Vaisampayana the expounder of the Yajur-veda.
15He accepted Jaimini as the propounder of the Sama Veda. Similarly he took the excellent sage Sumantu as the expounder of the Atharva Veda.
16The saintly Lord accepted me as the narrator of Itihasa and Puranas.
17The Yajurveda was one single compilation. He divided it into four. There were four sacrificial priests. He organised sacrifice through them.
18He ordained the work of the priest Adhvaryu by means of Yajur Mantras, that of Hotri by Rik mantras, that of Udgatr by the Saman Mantras and that of Brahma (the presiding priest) by Atharvan Mantras. He established Brahma in the Yajna by means of the Atharvana (Veda).
19Thereafter, he picked up (selected) Rik Mantras and compiled the Rig Veda. He ordained the duties of Hotri, the performer of a sacrifice and the benefactor of the world.
20With the Samans, (he) arranged Samaveda and thereby evolved Udgatri. By means of Atharva Veda he established rites for kings.
21He, an expert in the meanings of the Puranas, composed the compendiums of Puranas by compiling narratives, sub-narratives, poems and songs, and the traditional conduct of the ancient races.
22Whatever remained he included in the Yajurveda and organised it with sacrifice. It is the definite decision of scriptures that Yajurveda is that which enables one to perform sacrifice.
23He gathered the scattered Yajur Mantras duly, with the collaboration of Rtviks who were the masters of the Vedas. By means of it the horse-sacrifice is performed. It is utilised in it.
24-25Taking up the Rik Mantras, Paila divided them into two groups. He handed them over to his two disciples, one section was given to Indrapramati and the other was given to Baskala. The excellent Brahmana Baskali composed four Sam- hitas (compendiums) and taught his disciples who were suitable and who served him attentively.
26He taught the first branch (compilation) to Bodha, the second to Agnimathara, the third to Parasara and the last to Yajnavalkya.
27The excellent Brahmana Indrapramati taught the blessed and renowned MaRikandeya one of the Samhitas.
28Markandeya of great fame, taught his eldest son Satyasravas. Satyasravas taught to Satyahita.
29That master (of Vedic Lore) taught his son Satyasri who was truthful, noble-souled and eagerly devoted to truthfulness and piety.
30Satyasri had three very brilliant disciples. They were highly learned and very anxious to learn scriptures.
31Sakalya was the first among them. Another was Rathantara. The third was Bharadvaja, son of Baskala. The three were the expounders of the branches of that Veda.
32In the horse-sacrifice of Janaka the Brahmana Sakalya (also known as) Devamitra, perished as he was too proud of his knowledge.
33Samsapayana said: How did that sage, too proud of his knowledge, perish? How did the argument arise in the horse-sacrifice of Janaka?
34Why did the argument arise at all and with whom? Narrate all this in the manner that happened, as far as you know. On hearing the words of the sages Suta replied:
35Suta said: At the horse-sacrifice of Janaka there was a great congregation of sages. Thousands of sages, desirous of witnessing the sacrifice of the saintly king Janaka, came there from various places.
36On seeing the Brahmanas assembled there, a desire to know more about them arose in him. “Who is the most excellent Brahmana among these? How shall I decide it?”. Thinking thus in his mind, he conceived of an intelligent method.
37He collected a thousand cows, more than a thousand gold pieces and gems, slaves and villages. He then announced to the sages: “O excellent and blessed ones, I bow to you all with my head.
38O excellent Brahmanas, the wealth that is brought here is offered to the most excellent sage among you. It is offered as the price of your learning”.
39On hearing the words of Janaka, those sages, experts in the Vedas, saw and coveted the vast wealth. With full confidence in their knowledge, they began to challenge one another.
40With their minds hovering round the wealth, one said, “This wealth (should be) mine”. Another said, “Tell me. Is this not mine? Why are you in doubt?” Thus as a result of the allurement of wealth, they began to argue with one another.
41-43There was a great scholar Yajnavalkya, son of Brahmavaha. He was highly brilliant, a great saint. He was born of the very body of Brahma. The most excellent among the knowers of Brahman, he told his disciple clearly, “O, take away this wealth. O dear one, take this home. This is undoubtedly mine. I am the expounder of all the Vedas. None else is equal to me. If any Brahmana wishes to challenge me, let him do so without delay”.
44Thereupon that vast concourse of Brahmanas became agitated like the ocean at the time of dissolution. The cool and calm Yajnavalkya smilingly told them:
45“O learned ones, O speakers of truth, do not be angry. Trying to know one another, we shall argue in the proper manner”.
46-47Then their arguments took various turns. They discussed thousands of important topics on the subtle subject of philosophy. The secular, Vedic and spiritual topics were also discussed. All branches of leaning were touched. In the course of argument some cursed and some exhibited their excellent qualities. The kings were excluded from discussion. Thus the Brahmanas continued discussion for the sake of wealth.
48The sages ranged on one side. Yajnavalkya stood on the other side. Thereafter, all those sages were individually questioned by the intelligent Yajnavalkya. They however failed to reply.
49After defeating the sages in argument, the sage Yajnavalkya of great splendour, a repository of Brahmanic knowledge, spoke to Sakalya who had initiated discussion:
50“O Sakalya, speak out what you have to say. Why are you sitting meditating quietly? Full of sluggishness and false prestige, you are like a pair of bellows inflated by wind”.
51On being attacked thus Sakalya with his face and eyes red like copper due to anger, spoke to Yajnavalkya harshly in the presence of all sages:
52“Ignoring (abandoning) us as well as these excellent Brahmanas like blades of grass, you wish to seize all by yourself the vast wealth offered for learning.”
53Heairng this from Sakalya, Yajnavalkya spoke: “Know that the strength of persons established in Brahman, is their learning and their insight into reality.
54Desire is connected with wealth. Hence we desire wealth. Brahmanas consider that asking question freely out of desire is the wealth of Brahmanas. Hence we ask questions as we please.
55This has been the condition laid down by the saintly kingjanaka. Hence the wealth is being taken by me”.
On hearing his words, the infuriated Sakalya spoke to Yajnavalkya asking questions as he pleased:
56“Now tell me the answers to these questions precisely”. Then a great debate ensued between the two experts in Brahman.
57Sakalya asked him more than a thousand questions. Yajnavalkya answered those all even as the sages were listening.
58When Sakalya ceased arguing, Yajnavalkya said, “O Sakalya, answer a single question of mine, which I willingly put to you. The stake for this argument is a curse. If you are unable to answer you will die”.
59Urged by him, a question was asked by Yajnavalkya. Unable to understand its answer, Sakalya died immediately.
60Sakalya died being afflicted by inability to answer the question. Thus there was a great dispute between the sages covetous of wealth and Yajnavalkya.
61-62Answering hundreds and thousands of questions put by all of them, Yajnavalkya, who had deep penetration into the essence of those questions took the entire wealth. He spread his fame everywhere. He, the sage of controlled senses, left for home along with his disciples and was quite happy.
63Sakalya (otherwise known as) Devamitra, was a noble, excellent Brahmana. He was intelligent and excellent among those who know the implications of grammar. He had composed five Samhitas.
64He had five disciples, viz. Mudgala, Golaka, Khaliya, Matsya and Sai sir eya (the fifth one).
65Sakapurna Rathitara expounded (compiled) three Samhitas. This excellent Brahmana composed Nirukta as his fourth work.
66He had four disciples, viz. Ketava, Dalaki, Dharma- sarman and Devasarman. They were Brahmanas who observed holy rites.
67When Sakalya died those present there incurred the sin of Brahmin-slaughter. Worried thus they approached Brahma.
68On knowing mentally their situation, Brahma sent them to Pavana Pura. “All of you go there, your sin will be washed off immediately.
69After bowing to the twelve suns, the deity Valuka, the eleven Rudras and particularly the son of Vayu (Hanu- man) and after taking a dip in the four holy pools, you will surmount (expunge) the sin of Brahmana’s slaughter”.
70On hearing this, they hastened to that city. They performed holy ablution in accordance with injunctions and visited the deities.
71They bowed to Uttaresvara. By the grace of Vadavas they became free from sins and attained the solar region.
72Ever since that time, that holy centre became a destroyer of sins. This holy city of Vayu had been built by the Wind-god formerly.
73When Hanuman, the son of the Wind-god, born of (the womb of) Anjana, the great god of truthful exploits was born, this holy centre was created by Vayu, the son of god Brahma.
74-75Here the Sudras born in the world and dedicated to the Brahmanas were taxed heavily for their livelihood and for the performance of Brahma Yajna. In this manner, the great administration of the Brahmanas took root here. Even a slayer of cow, an ungrateful person, a wine addict or the defiler of one’s preceptor’s bed becomes free from all sins after bowing to Vadaditya.