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Chapter 138

Mahabharata English - ANUSASANA PARVA

“Yudhishthira said, ‘I have heard from thee, O sire, the names of thosekings that have ascended to heaven. O thou whose power is great in theobservance of the vow of truth by following the religion of gift. Howmany kinds of gift are there that should be given? What are the fruits ofthe several kinds of gifts respectively? For what reasons, what kinds ofgifts, made to what persons are productive of merits? Indeed, unto whatpersons should what gifts be made? For what reasons are how many kinds ofgifts to be made? I desire to hear all this in detail.'”

“Bhishma said, ‘Listen, O son of Kunti, in detail to me, O sinless one asI discourse on the subject of gifts. Indeed, I shall tell you, O Bharata,how gifts should be made unto all the orders of men. From desire ofmerit, from desire of profit, from fear, from free choice, and from pity,gifts are made, O Bharata! Gifts, therefore, should be known to be offive kinds. Listen now to the reasons for which gifts are thusdistributed in five classes. With mind freed from malice one should makegifts unto Brahmanas, for by making gifts unto the one acquires fame hereand great felicity hereafter. (Such gifts are regarded as made fromdesire of merit.) He is in the habit of making gifts; or he has alreadymade gifts to me. Hearing such words from solicitors one gives away allkinds of wealth unto a particular solicitor. (Such gifts are regarded asmade from desire of profit.) I am not his, nor is he mine. Ifdisregarded, he may injure me. From such motives of fear even a man oflearning and wisdom may make gifts unto an ignorant wretch. (Such giftsare regarded as made from fear.) This one is dear to me, I am also dearto him. Influenced by considerations like these, a person ofintelligence, freely and with alacrity, make gifts unto a friend. (Suchgifts are regarded as made from free choice.) The person that solicits meis poor. He is, again, gratified with a little. From considerations suchas these, one should always make gifts unto the poor, moved by pity.(Gifts made from such considerations are regarded as made from pity.)These are the five kinds of gift. They enhance the giver’s merits andfame. The Lord of all creatures (Brahman himself) has said that oneshould always make gifts according to one’s power.'”

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