From The Mahabharata
Karna parva, section XL
Translated by Sri Kisari Mohan Ganguli
Addressing Salya, the king of the Madras:
Karna said: The merits of meritorious men, O Salya are known to them that are themselves meritorious but not to them that are destitute of merit. You, however, are destitute of every merit. How then can you judge of merit and demerit? ….
Hold your tongue, O you that were born in a sinful country. Hear from me, O Salya, the sayings, already passed into proverbs, that men, young and old, and women, and persons arrived in course of their listless wanderings, generally utter, as if those sayings formed part of their studies, about the wicked Mandrakas.
Brahmanas also duly narrated the same things formerly in the courts of kings. Listening to those sayings attentively, O fool, you may forgive or rejoin.
The Madraka is always a hater of friends. He that hates us is a Madraka. There is no friendship in the Madraka who is mean in speech and is the lowest of mankind. The Madraka is always a person of wicked soul, is always untruthful and crooked. It has been heard by us that till the moment of death the Madrakas are wicked. (Amongst the Madrakas) the sire, the son, the mother, the mother-in-law, the brother, the grandson, and other kinsmen, companions, strangers arrived at their homes, slaves male and female, mingle together. The women of the Madrakas mingle, at their own will, with men known and unknown. Of unrighteous conduct, and subsisting upon fried and powdered corn and fish, in their homes, they laugh and cry having drunk spirits and eaten beef. They sing incoherent songs and mingle lustfully with one another, indulging the while in the freest speeches. How then virtue have a place amongst the Madrakas who are arrogant and notorious for all kinds of evil acts?
No one should make friends with a Madraka or provoke hostilities with him. In the Madraka land there is no friendship. The Madraka is always the dirt of humanity. Amongst the Madrakas all acts of friendship are lost as purity amongst the Gandharakas and the libations poured in a sacrifice in which the king is himself the sacrificer and priest.- Then again, it is truly seen that wise men treat a person bit by a scorpion and affected by its poison, even with these words: As a Brahmana (Brahmin) that assists at the religious ceremonies of a Sudra suffers degradation, as one that hates Brahmanas always suffers degradation, even so a person by making an alliance with the Madrakas becomes fallen. As there is no friendship in the Madraka, so, O scorpion, your poison is nought.
With these mantras of the Atharvan I have duly performed the rite of exorcism. Knowing this, O learned one, hold your tongue, or listen to something further that I will say. Those women that, intoxicated by spirits, cast off their robes and dance,- Those women that are not attached (to particular individuals) in the matter of intercourse and that they do as they please without owning any restrictions, I say, that being, as you are the child of one of these women, how can you, O Madraka, be a fit person for declaring the duties of men? Those women that live and answer calls of nature like camels and asses, being as you are the child of one of those sinful and shameless creatures, how can you wish to declare the duties of men?
When a Madraka woman is solicited for the gift of a little quantity of vinegar, she scratches her hips and without being desirous of giving it, says these cruel words, ‘Let no man ask any vinegar of me that is so dear to me. I would give him my son, I would give him my husband, but vinegar I would not give.’ The young Madraka maidens, we hear, are generally very shameless and hairy and gluttonous and impure. These and many other things of a like nature, in respect of all their acts, from the crown of their heads to the tip of their toes, are capable of being asserted of them by myself and others. How, indeed, would the Madrakas and the Sindhu-Sauviras know anything of duty, being born, as they are, in a sinful country, being Mlechhas in their practices, and being totally regardless of all duties?
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