“Bhishma said, ‘Drawing the bow-string, destruction of foes, agriculture,trade, tending cattle, and serving others for wealth, these are improperfor a Brahmana. An intelligent Brahmana, leading a domestic mode of life,should duly perform the six Vedic acts. The retirement of a Brahmana intothe woods, after having duly discharged all the duties of the domesticmode of life, is applauded. A Brahmana should avoid service of the king,wealth obtained by agriculture, sustenance derived from trade, all kindsof crooked behaviour, companionship with any but his wedded wives, andusury. That wretched Brahmana who falls away from his duties and whosebehaviour becomes wicked, becomes, O king, a Sudra. The Brahmana who wedsa Sudra woman, who becomes vile in conduct or a dancer or a villageservant or does other improper acts, becomes a Sudra. Whether he recitesthe Vedas or not, O king, if he does such improper acts, he becomes equalto a Sudra and on occasions of feeding he should be assigned a placeamongst Sudras. Such Brahmanas become equal to Sudras, O king, and shouldbe discarded on occasions of worshipping the Gods. Whatever presentsof food dedicated to the gods and the Pitris are made unto Brahmanas thathave transgressed all restraints or become impure in behaviour oraddicted to wicked pursuits and cruel acts or fallen away from theirlegitimate duties, confer no merit (on the giver). For this reason, Oking, self-restraint and purity and simplicity have been laid down as theduties of a Brahmana. Besides these, O monarch, all the four modes, oflife were laid down by Brahman For him. He that is self-restrained, hasdrunk the Soma in sacrifices, is of good behaviour, has compassion forall creatures and patience to bear everything, has no desire of betteringhis position by acquisition of wealth, is frank and simple, mild, freefrom cruelty, and forgiving, is truly a Brahmana and not he that issinful in acts. Men desirous of acquiring virtue, seek the assistance, Oking, of Sudras and Vaisyas and Kshatriyas. If, therefore, the members ofthese (three) orders do not adopt peaceful duties (so as to be able toassist others in the acquisition of virtue), Vishnu, O son of Pandu,never extends his grace to them. If Vishnu be not pleased, the happinessof all men in heaven, the merit arising from the duties laid down for thefour orders, the declarations of the Vedas, all kinds of sacrifices, andall other religious acts of men, and all the duties in respect of theseveral modes of life, become lost.
“‘Listen now, O son of Pandu, to those duties that should be observed inthe four modes of life. These should be known by the Kshatriya whodesires the members of the three (other) orders (in his kingdom) tostrictly adhere to the respective duties of those modes. For a Sudra whois desirous of hearing (Such scriptures as are not forbidden in hiscase), who has accomplished his duties, who has begotten a son,between whom and the superior orders there is not Much difference inconsequence of the purity of his conduct, all the modes of life have beenlaid down excepting the observance of universal peacefulness andself-restraint (which are not necessary for him). For a Sudra practisingall these duties as also for a Vaisya, O king, and a Kshatriya, theBhikshu mode of life has been laid down. Having discharged the duties ofhis order, and having also served the kin, a Vaisya of venerable years,with the king’s permission, may betake himself to another mode of life.Having studied the Vedas duly and the treatises on the duties of kings, Osinless one, having begotten children and performed other acts of a likenature, having quaffed the Soma and ruled over and protected all hissubjects righteously, O foremost of speakers, having performed theRajasuya, the horse sacrifice, and other great sacrifices, having invitedlearned Brahmanas for reciting the scriptures and made presents unto themaccording to their desires, having obtained victories small or great inbattle, having placed on his throne the son of his loins or someKshatriya of good birth for the protection of subjects, having worshippedthe Pitris by performing with due rites the sacrifices laid down forhonouring them, having attentively worshipped the gods by performingsacrifices and the Rishis by studying the Vedas, the Kshatriya, who inold age desires another mode of life, may, O king, adopt it by leavingthat one which immediately precedes it, and by that means he is sure toobtain (ascetic) success. A Kshatriya, for leading the life of a Rishi, Oking, may adopt the Bhikshu mode of life; but he should never do so forthe sake of enjoying the pleasures of the world. Having left the domesticmode of life, he may adopt the life of mendicancy by begging, what wouldbarely support his life. A life of mendicancy is not obligatory upon thethree orders (viz. Kshatriyas, Vaisyas. and Sudras), O giver of profusepresents! Inasmuch, however, as they can adopt it if they choose, thismode of life, therefore, is open to the four orders. Amongst men, thehighest duties are those which are practised by Kshatriyas. The wholeworld is subject to the might of their arms. All the duties, principaland subordinate, of the three other orders, are dependent (for theirobservance) upon the duties of the Kshatriya. The Vedas have declaredthis. Know that as the footprints of all other animals are engulfed inthose of the elephant, even so all the duties of the other orders, underevery circumstance, are engulfed, in those of the Kshatriya. Menconversant with the scriptures say that the duties of the other threeorders afford small relief or protection, and produce small rewards. Thelearned have said that the duties of the Kshatriya afford great reliefand produce great rewards. All duties have kingly duties for theirforemost. All the orders are protected by them. Every kind ofrenunciation occurs in kingly duties, O monarch, and renunciation hasbeen said to be in eternal virtue and the foremost of all. If thescience of chastisement disappears, the Vedas will disappear. All thosescriptures also that inculcate the duties of men become lost. Indeed, ifthese ancient duties belonging to the Kshatriyas be abandoned, all theduties in respect of all the modes of life, become lost. All kinds ofrenunciation are seen in kingly duties: all kinds or initiation occur inthem; all kinds of learning are connected with them; and all kinds ofworldly behaviour enter into them. As animals, if slaughtered by thevulgar, become the means of destroying the virtue and the religious actsof the slaughterers, even so all other duties, if deprived of theprotection given by kingly duties, become liable to attack anddestruction, and men, full of anxiety, disregard the practices laid downfor them.'”