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Yudishthira And His Dog

dog1“O Wisest One, Mighty God Indra!” Yudishthira cried, “this hound hath eaten with me, starved with me, suffered with me, loved me! Must I desert him now?”“Yea,” declared the God of Gods, Indra, “all the joys of Paradise are yours forever, but leave here your hound.”Then exclaimed Yudishthira in anguish, “Can it be that a god can be so destitute of pity? Can it be that to gain this glory I must leave behind all that I love? Then let me lose such glory forever!”The brow of Indra darkened.“It is decreed,” he replied sternly, “As you know, the very merit of prayer itself is lost if a dog touched him who is praying. He who enters Paradise must enter pure. Beside the stony highway you left the wife Draupadi and your brothers. Surely for this common creature you will not give up the joys of the Blessed!”Gently Yudishthira laid his hand upon the hound’s head and turned to depart.“All powerful Indra,” he answered quietly, but firmly, “the dead are dead. I could not succor them. There are four deadly sins: to reject a suppliant, to slay a nursing mother, and to injure an old friend. But to these I add a fifth, as sinful: to desert the lowliest friend when you pass out of sorrow into good fortune! Farewell, then, Lord Indra, I go – and my hound with me.”- from the Mahabharata

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