“Bhishma said, ‘One should always offer the most reverent worship untothe Brahmanas. They have Soma for their king, and they it is who conferhappiness and misery upon others. They, O king, should always becherished and protected as one cherishes and protects one’s own sires andgrandsires, and should be adored with bows and gifts of food andornaments and other articles of enjoyment, as also with such things asthey may desire. The peace and happiness of the kingdom flow from suchrespect shown to the Brahmanas even as the peace and happiness of allliving creatures flow from Vasava, the chief of the celestials. LetBrahmanas of pure behaviour and Brahma-effulgence be born in a kingdom.Kshatriyas also that are splendid car-warriors and that are capable ofscorching all foes, should be desired (amongst those that settle in akingdom). This was said unto me by Narada. There is nothing higher, Oking, than this, viz., the act of causing a Brahmana possessed of goodbirth, having a knowledge of morality and righteousness, and steadfast inthe observance of excellent vows, to take up his residence in one’smansion. Such an act is productive of every kind of blessing. Thesacrificial offerings given unto Brahmanas reach the very deities whoaccept them. Brahmanas are the sires of all creatures. There is nothinghigher than a Brahmana. Aditya, Chandramas, Wind, Water, Earth, Sky andthe points of the compass, all enter the body of the Brahmana and takewhat the Brahmana eats. In that house where Brahmanas do not eat,the Pitris refuse to eat. The deities also never eat in the house of thewretch who hates the Brahmanas. When the Brahmanas are gratified, thePitris also are gratified. There is no doubt in this. They that give awaythe sacrificial butter unto the Brahmanas become themselves gratified (inthis and the other world). Such men never meet with destruction. Verily,they succeed in attaining to high ends. Those particular offerings insacrifices with which one gratifies the Brahmanas go to gratify both thePitris and the deities. The Brahmana is the cause of that sacrificewhence all created things have sprung. The Brahmana is acquainted withthat from which this universe has sprung and unto which, when apparentlydestroyed, it returns. Indeed the Brahmana knows the path that leads toHeaven and the other path that leads to the opposite place. The Brahmanais conversant with what has happened and what will happen. The Brahmanais the foremost of all two-legged beings. The Brahmana, O chief of theBharatas, is fully conversant with the duties that have been laid downfor his order. Those persons that follow the Brahmanas are nevervanquished. Departing from this world, they never meet with destruction.Indeed victory is always theirs. Those high-souled persons,–indeed,those persons that have subdued their souls,–who accept the words thatfall from the lips of the Brahmanas, are never vanquished. Victory alwaysbecomes theirs. The energy and might of those Kshatriyas who scorcheverything with their energy and might become neutralised when theyencounter the Brahmanas. The Bhrigus conquered the Talajanghas. The sonof Angiras conquered the Nipas. Bharadwaja conquered the Vitahavyas asalso the Ailas. O chief of Bharata’s race. Although all these Kshatriyaswere capable of using diverse kinds of arms, yet the Brahmanas named,owning only black deer skins for their emblems, succeeded in conqueringthem effectually. Bestowing the Earth upon the Brahmanas and illuminatingboth the worlds by the splendour of such a deed, one should accomplishacts through which one may succeed in attaining to the end of allthings. Like fire concealed within wood, everything that is said orheard or read in this world, lies ensconced in the Brahmana. In thisconnection is cited the old history of the conversation between Vasudevaand the Earth, O chief of Bharata’s race!’
“Vasudeva said, ‘O mother of all creatures, O auspicious goddess, Idesire to ask thee for a solution of this doubt of mine. By what act doesa man leading the domestic mode of life succeed in cleansing all hissins?’
“The Earth said, ‘One should serve the Brahmanas. This conduct iscleansing and excellent. All the impurities destroyed of that man whoserves the Brahmanas with reverence. From this (conduct) arisesprosperity. From this arises fame. From this springs forth intelligenceor knowledge of the soul. A Kshatriya by this conduct, becomes a mightycar-warrior and a scorcher of foes and succeeds in acquiring great fame.Even this is what Narada said unto me, viz., that one should alwaysrevere a Brahmana that is well-born, of rigid vows and conversant withthe scriptures, if one desires every kind of prosperity. That man reallygrows in prosperity who is applauded by the Brahmanas, who are higherthan those that are regarded superior to all men high or low. That manwho speaks ill of the Brahmanas soon meets with discomfiture, even as aclod of unbaked earth meets with destruction when cast into the sea.After the same manner, all acts that are hurtful to the Brahmanas aresure to bring about discomfiture and ruin. Behold the dark spots on theMoon and the salt waters of the ocean. The great Indra had at one timebeen marked all over with a thousand sex-marks. It was through the powerof the Brahmanas that those marks became altered into as so many eyes.Behold, O Mahadeva how all those things took place. Desiring fame andprosperity and diverse regions of beautitude in the next world, a personof pure behaviour and soul should, O slayer of Madhu, live in obedienceto the dictates of the Brahmanas.'
“Bhishma continued, ‘Hearing these words of the goddess Earth, the slayerof Madhu, O thou of Kuru’s race, exclaimed,–Excellent, Excellent–andhonoured the goddess in due form. Having heard this discourse between thegoddess Earth and Madhava, do thou, O son of Pritha, always, with raptsoul, worship all superior Brahmanas. Doing this, thou shalt verilyobtain what is highly beneficial for thee!”‘