“Yudhishthira said, ‘What men, O chief of Bharata’s race, are worthy ofreverent homage in the three worlds? Tell me this in detail verily. I amnever satiated with hearing thee discourse on these topics.’
“Bhishma said, ‘In this connection is cited the old narrative of thediscourse between Narada and Vasudeva. Beholding Narada on one occasionworshipping many foremost of Brahmanas with joined hands, Kesavaaddressed him saying, Whom dost thou worship? Whom amongst theseBrahmanas, O holy one dost thou worship with so great reverence? If it isa matter that I can heard of, I then wish to hear it. Do, O foremost ofrighteous men, tell me this!'
“Narada said, ‘Hear, O Govinda, as to who those are whom I amworshipping, O grinder of foes. Who else is there in this world that somuch deserves to hear this? I worship the Brahmanas, O puissant one, whoconstantly worship Varuna and Vayu and Aditya and Parjanya and the deityof Fire, and Sthanu and Skanda and Lakshmi and Vishnu and the Brahmanas,and the lord of speech, and Chandramas, and the Waters and Earth and thegoddess Saraswati. O tiger of Vrishni’s race, I always worship thoseBrahmanas that are endued with penances, that are conversant with theVedas, that are always devoted to Vedic study, and that are possessed ofhigh worth. O puissant one, I bow down my head unto those persons who arefreed from boastfulness, who discharge, with an empty stomach, the ritesin honour of the deities, who are always contented with what they haveand who are endued with forgiveness. I worship them, O Yadava, that areperformers of sacrifices, that are of a forgiving disposition, and selfrestrained, that are masters of their own senses, that worship truth andrighteousness, and that give away land and kine unto good Brahmanas.I bow unto them, O Yadava, that are devoted to the observance ofpenances, that dwell in forests, that subsist upon fruits and roots, thatnever store anything for the morrow, and that are observant of all theacts and rites laid down in the scriptures. I bow unto them, O Yadava,that feed and cherish their servants, that are always hospitable toguests, and that eat only the remnants of what is offered to the deities.I worship them that have become irresistible by studying the Vedas, thatare eloquent in discoursing on the scriptures, that are observant of thevow of Brahmacharyya, and that are always devoted to the duties ofofficiating at the sacrifices of others and of teaching disciples. Iworship them that are endued with compassion towards all creatures, andthat study the Vedas till noon (i.e. till their backs are heated by thesun). I bow unto them, O Yadava, that strive to obtain the grace of theirpreceptors, that labour in the acquisition of their Vedas, that are firmin the observance of vows, that wait, with dutiful obedience, upon theirpreceptors and seniors, and that are free from malice and envy. I bowunto them, O Yadava, that are observant of excellent vows, that practicetaciturnity, that have knowledge of Brahman, that are firm in truth, thatare givers of libations of clarified butter and oblations of meat. I bowto them, O Yadava, that subsist upon eleemosynary alms, that areemaciated for want of adequate food and drink, that have lived in theabodes of their preceptors, that are averse to and destitute of allenjoyments, and that are poor in the goods of this Earth. I bow untothem, O Yadava, that have no affection for things of this Earth, thathave no quarrels to wage with others, that do not clothe themselves, thathave no wants, that have become irresistible through the acquisition ofthe Vedas, that are eloquent in the exposition of righteousness, and thatare utterers of Brahma, I bow unto them that are devoted to the practiceof the duty of compassion towards all creatures, that are firm in theobservance of truth, that are self-restrained, and that are peaceful intheir behaviour. I bow unto them, O Yadava, that are devoted to theworship of deities and guests, that are observant of the domestic mode oflife, and that follow the practice of pigeons in the matter of theirsubsistence. I always bow unto those persons whose aggregate ofthree exists, without being weakened, in all their acts, and who areobservant of truth and righteous behaviour, I bow unto them, OKesava, that are conversant with Brahma, that are endued with knowledgeof the Vedas, that are attentive to the aggregate of three, that are freefrom cupidity, and that are righteous in their behaviour. I bow untothem, O Madhava, that subsist upon water only, or upon air alone, or uponthe remnants of the food that is offered to deities and guests, and thatare observant of diverse kinds of excellent vows. I always worship themthat have no spouses (in consequence of the vow of celibacy theyobserve), that have spouses and the domestic fire (in consequence of thedomestic mode of life they lead), that are the refuge of the Vedas, andthat are the refuge of all creatures in the universe (in consequence ofthe compassion they feel towards them). I always bow unto those Rishis, OKrishna, that are the creators of the universe, that are the elders ofthe universe, that are the eldest members of the race or the family, thatare dispellers of the darkness of ignorance, and that are the best of allpersons in the universe (for righteousness of behaviour and knowledge ofthe scriptures). For these reasons, do thou also, O scion of Vrishni’srace, worship every day those regenerate persons of whom I speak.Deserving as they are of reverent worship, they will when worshipped,confer happiness on thee, O sinless one. Those persons of whom I speakare always givers of happiness in this world as well as in the next.Reverenced by all, they move about in this world, and if worshipped bythee are sure to grant thee happiness. They who are hospitable to allpersons that come unto them as guests, and who are always devoted toBrahmanas and kine, as also to truth (in speech and behaviour), succeedin crossing all calamities and obstacles. They who are always devoted topeacefulness of behaviour, as also they who are freed from malice andenvy, and they who are always attentive to the study of the Vedas,succeed in crossing all calamities and obstacles. They who bow unto allthe deities (without showing a preference for any and thereby provingtheir tolerance), they who betake themselves to one Veda as their refuge,they who are possessed of faith and are self-restrained, succeed incrossing all calamities and obstacles. They who worship the foremost ofBrahmanas with reverence and are firm in the observance of excellent vowsand practise the virtue of charity, succeed in crossing all calamitiesand obstacles. They who are engaged in the practice of penances, they whoare always observant of the vow of celibacy, and they whose souls havebeen cleansed by penances, succeed in crossing all calamities andobstacles. They who are devoted to the worship of the deities and guestsand dependants, as also of the Pitris, and they who eat the remnant ofthe food that is offered to deities, Pitris, guests and dependants,succeed in crossing all calamities and obstacles. They who, havingignited the domestic fire, duly keep it burning and worship it withreverence and they who have duly poured libations (to the deities) inSoma-sacrifices, succeed in crossing all calamities and obstacles. Theywho behave as they should towards their mothers and fathers andpreceptors and other seniors even as thou, O tiger among the Vrishnis,dost behave, succeed in crossing all calamities and obstacles–Havingsaid these words, the celestial Rishi ceased speaking.’
“Bhishma continued. ‘For these reasons, do thou also, O son of Kunti,always worship with reverence the deities, the Pitris, the Brahmanas, andguests arrived at thy mansion and as the consequence of such conduct thouart sure to attain to a desirable end!'”