OM! HAVING BOWED down unto Narayana, and Nara the foremost of malebeings, and unto the goddess Saraswati, must the word Jaya be uttered.

“Yudhishthira said, ‘How was Nahusha plunged into distress? How was hehurled down on the earth? How, indeed, was he deprived of the sovereigntyof the gods? It behoveth thee to recite everything to me.’

“Yudhishthira said, ‘Where do those foolish, wretched, and sinful men go,O chief of men, that steal or misappropriate such articles as belong toBrahmanas?’

“Yudhishthira said, ‘O grandsire, it has been said that all pious menattain to the same region after death. Is it true, O Bharata, that thereis difference of position or status among them?’

“Yudhishthira said, ‘Thou hast discoursed to us on diverse kinds of gift,on tranquillity of soul, on Truth, on compassion, on contentment withone’s wedded wife, and the merits of gift.

“Yudhishthira said, ‘Man, it is said, is endued with a period of lifeextending for a hundred years, and with energy and might that areconsiderable.

“Yudhishthira said, ‘Tell me, O chief of Bharata’s race, how the eldestbrother should behave towards his younger brothers and how the youngerbrothers should behave towards their eldest brother.’

“Yudhishthira said, ‘The disposition is seen, O grandsire, in all theorders of men, including the very Mlechchhas, of observing fasts.

“Yudhishthira said, ‘O high-souled grandsire, thou hast duly discoursedto us on the subject of Sacrifices, including the merits in detail thatattach to them both here and hereafter.

“Yudhishthira said, ‘Do thou tell me, O grandsire, of that which isregarded as the foremost of all Tirthas. Indeed, it behoveth thee toexpound to me what that Tirtha is which conduces to the greatestpurity.'[501]

“Yudhishthira said, ‘It behoveth thee, O grandsire, to tell me what arethe highest, the most beneficial, and the most certain fruit of all hindsof fasts k this world.’

“Yudhishthira said, ‘Tell me, O grandsire, in what kind of man or woman,O chief of the Bharatas, does the goddess of prosperity always reside?’

“Vaisampayana said, ‘Approaching the Kuru grandsire, venerable in years,viz., Bhishma, who was then lying on his bed of arrows, Yudhishthirapossessed of great wisdom put the following question.’

“Yudhishthira said, ‘O grandsire, O thou that art possessed of greatwisdom and conversant with all the scriptures. I desire to know thoseexcellent ordinances in consequence of which mortal creatures have totravel through their rounds of rebirth.

“Yudhishthira said, ‘Thou hast told me, O regenerate one, what the end isof unrighteousness or sin. I desire now to hear, O foremost of speakers,of what the end is of Righteousness.

“Yudhishthira said, ‘Abstention from injury, the observance of the Vedicritual, meditation, subjugation of the senses, penances, and obedientservices rendered to the preceptors,–which amongst these is fraught withthe greatest merit with respect to a person?’

“Vaisampayana said, ‘After this, king Yudhishthira, endued with greatenergy, and the foremost of eloquent men, addressed his grandsire lyingon his bed of arrows, in the following words.’

“Yudhishthira said, ‘Thou hast told it many times that abstention frominjury is the highest religion. In Sraddhas, however, that are performedin honour of the Pitris, persons for their own good should make offeringsof diverse kinds of meat.

“Yudhishthira said, ‘Alas, those cruel men, who, discarding diverse kindsof food, covet only flesh, are really like great Rakshasas!

“Yudhishthira said, ‘Desiring to die or desiring to live, many personsgive up their lives in the great sacrifice (of battle).

“Vyasa said, ‘It is in consequence of a meritorious act, O worm, thatthou, though born in the intermediate order of being, art not stupefied.

“Bhishma said, ‘Having cast off the status of a worm and taken birth as aKshatriya of great energy, the person (of whom I am speaking),remembering his previous transformations, O monarch, began to undergosevere austerities.

“Yudhishthira said, ‘It behoveth, O king to tell me truly which of thetwo viz., man or woman derives the greater pleasure from an act of unionwith each other. Kindly resolve my doubt in this respect.”

“Yudhishthira said, ‘Which amongst these three is superior, viz.,knowledge, penances, and gifts? I ask thee, O foremost of righteouspersons! Do tell me this, O grandsire!’

“Bhishma said, ‘Thus addressed by Vyasa, Maitreya, who was a worshipperof acts, who had been born in a race endued with great prosperity, whowas wise and possessed of great learning said unto him these words’.

“Bhishma said, ‘Thus addressed, the holy one replied unto Maitreya,saying ‘by good luck, thou art endued with knowledge.

“Yudhishthira said, ‘O thou that art conversant with all duties, I desireto hear, in detail, what the excellent behaviour is of good and chastewomen. Do thou, O grandsire, discourse to me on this.’

“Yudhishthira said, ‘Which is of superior efficacy, Conciliation orGifts? Tell me, O chief of Bharata’s race, which of these two is superiorin point of efficacy.’

“Yudhishthira said, ‘Tell me, O grandsire, how a poor man, desirous ofachieving his own good, should bear himself after having acquired thestatus of humanity and come into this region of acts that is so difficultto attain.

“Bhishma said, ‘The chief of the deities, Indra, after the Pitri hasceased to speak, addressed the puissant Hari, saying, ‘O Lord, what arethose acts by which thou becomest gratified? How, indeed, do men succeedin gratifying thee?’

“Vibhavasu (otherwise called Surya) said, ‘There are two offerings. Oneof those consists of a palmful of water and the other called Akshataconsists of rice-grains with ghee.

“Vayu said, ‘I shall recite some duties the observance of which isfraught with happiness to mankind. Do ye listen also with concentratedattention to certain transgressions with the secret causes upon whichthey depend.

“Lomasa said, ‘The Pitris of those men who, without having wedded wivesof their own, betake themselves to the wives of other people, becomefilled with disappointment when the time for the Sraddhas comes.

“Yudhishthira said, ‘What should a man do in order to pass pleasantlythrough this and the other world. How, indeed, should one conductoneself? What practices should one adopt with this end in view?’

“Bhishma said, ‘The Rishis there assembled, together with the Pitris andthe deities, then, with concentrated attention, questioned Arundhati (thespouse of Vasishtha) who was endued with great ascetic merit.

“Bhishma said, ‘Then all the highly blessed deities and the Pitris, andthe highly blessed Rishis also, addressing the Pramathas, said,[557] ‘Yeare all highly blessed beings.

“Bhishma said, ‘After this, the Grandsire Brahman, sprang from theprimeval lotus and resembling the lotus (in agreeableness and fragrance),addressed the deities with Vasava, the lord of Sachi, at theirhead,–Yonder sits the mighty Naga who is a resident of the netherregions.

“Maheswara said, ‘Searching your memories, excellent are the duties yeall have recited. Listen all of you now to me as I declare some mysteriesrelating to religion and duty.

“Skanda said, ‘I shall now declare a duty that is approved of by me. Doye listen to it with concentrated attention.

“Yudhishthira said, ‘Who are those persons, O Bharata, from whom aBrahmana in this world may accept his food? From whom may a Kshatriya, aVaisya, and a Sudra take their food respectively?’

“Yudhishthira said, ‘Thou hast told me in full of those from whom foodmay be accepted and of those from whom it should not be taken. But I havegrave doubts on one point.

“Yudhishthira said, ‘O Bharata, of the two things charity and devotion,do thou condescend to tell me, O sire, which is the better in this world?Do thou, by this, remove a great doubt from my mind.’

“Yudhishthira said, ‘I have heard from thee, O sire, the names of thosekings that have ascended to heaven.

“Yudhishthira said, ‘O grandsire, thou art possessed of great wisdom.Indeed, thou art fully conversant with every branch of learning.

“Yudhishthira said, ‘O son of the River Ganga, thou hast heard all thenames of Maheshwara, the Lord of the universe. Do thou tell us, Ograndsire, all the names that are applied, O puissant one, unto Him whois called Isa and Sambhu.

“Bhishma said, ‘Then Narada, that holy Rishi, that friend of Narayana,recited the following narrative of the discourse between Sankara and hisspouse Uma.’

“The blessed and holy one said, ‘In days of yore, a blessed woman wascreated by Brahman, called Tilottama, by culling grains of beauty fromevery beautiful object in the universe.

“Uma said, ‘Forest recluses reside in delightful regions, among thesprings and fountains of rivers, in bowers by the sides of streams andrills, on hills and mountains, in woods and forests, and in sacred spotsfull of fruits and roots.

“Uma said, ‘O holy one, O thou that didst tear off the eyes of Bhaga andthe teeth of Pushan, O destroyer of the sacrifice of Daksha, O three-eyeddeity, I have a great doubt. In days of yore, the Self-born One createdthe four orders.

“Uma said, ‘O holy one, O Lord of all beings, O thou that art worshippedby the deities and Asuras equally, tell me what are the duties andderelictions of men.

“Uma said, ‘By what disposition, what conduct, what acts, and what gifts,does a man succeed in attaining to Heaven?’

“Narada said, ‘Having said these words, the puissant Mahadeva himselfbecame desirous of hearing (instead of talking), and with that view hequestioned his dear spouse who was seated by his side and she was fullyinclined to act up to his desire.’

“The Rishis said, ‘O wielder of Pinaka, O tearer of the eyes of Bhaga, Othou that art worshipped by all the universe, we desire to hear the gloryof Vasudeva.’

“Narada said, ‘At the conclusion of Mahadeva’s speech, loud roars wereheard in the firmament. Thunders bellowed, with flashes of lightening.

“Vaisampayana said, ‘Having heard all the duties in their entirety andall those sacred acts and objects that cleanse human beings of theirsins. Yudhishthira once more addressed the son of Santanu in thefollowing words.’

“The blessed Krishna said, ‘Bowing my head with great joy unto that massof energy and effulgence,

“Yudhishthira said, ‘O grandsire, O thou of great wisdom, O thou that artconversant with all branches of knowledge, what is that subject of silentrecitation by reciting which every day one may acquire the merit ofrighteousness in a large measure?

“Yudhishthira said, ‘Who deserve to be worshipped? Who are they unto whomwe should bow? How, indeed, should we behave towards whom? What course ofconduct, O grandsire, towards what classes of persons is regardedfaultless?’

“Yudhishthira said, ‘Tell us, O king, what is that reward attached to theworship of Brahmanas, seeing which thou worshippest them, O thou ofsuperior intelligence! Indeed, what is that success, flowing from theirworship, guided by which thou worshippest them?’

“The god of wind said, ‘Hear, O deluded man, what the attributes are thatbelong to Brahmanas all of whom are endued with high souls.

“The god of wind said, ‘Once on a time, O king, a ruler of the name ofAnga desired to give away the whole earth as sacrificial present unto theBrahmanas.

“Bhishma said, “Thus addressed, king Arjuna remained silent. The god ofwind once more spoke to him, ‘Listen now, O king, to the story of thegreatness of the Brahmana Agastya.

“Bhishma said, ‘Thus addressed, Arjuna remained silent. The god of windonce more addressed him, saying, ‘Hear me, O foremost one of theHaihayas, as I narrate to thee the achievement of the high-souled Atri.

“Bhishma said, ‘Hearing these words of the god of wind, Arjuna remainedsilent. At this, the god of wind once more addressed him, saying, ‘Whenthe denizens of heaven, with Indra at their head, found themselves withinthe mouth of the Asura Mada, at that time Chyavana took away from themthe earth.

“Yudhishthira said, ‘Thou always worshippest, O king, Brahmanas ofpraiseworthy, vows. Whatever, however is that fruit seeing which thouworshippest them, O king? O thou of high vows, beholding what prosperityattaching to the worship of the Brahmanas dost thou worship them? Tell meall this, O thou of mighty arms!

“Yudhishthira said, ‘Do thou tell us, O slayer of Madhu, what theprosperity is that attaches to the worship of the Brahmanas. Thou artwell-conversant with this topic. Verily, our grandsire knows thee.’

“Upamanyu said, ‘There was in the Krita age, O sire, a Rishi celebratedunder the name of Tandi. With great devotion of heart he adored, with theaid of Yoga-meditation, the great God for ten thousand years.

“Yudhishthira said, ‘It behoveth thee, O slayer of Madhu, to expound tome that knowledge which thou hast acquired through the grace of Durvasa!O foremost of all persons endued with intelligence, I desire to knoweverything about the high blessedness and all the names of thathigh-souled one truly and in detail![616]

“Vasudeva said, ‘O mighty-armed Yudhishthira, listen to me as I recite tothee the many names of Rudra as also the high blessedness of thathigh-souled one.

“Vaisampayana said, ‘After Krishna, the son of Devaki, had said thesewords, Yudhishthira once more asked Bhishma the son of Santanu, saying,’O thou of great intelligence; O foremost of all persons conversant withduties, which, indeed, of the two, direct perception and the scriptures,is to be regarded as authority for arriving at a conclusion?’

“Yudhishthira said, ‘It is seen that if a person happens to beunfortunate, he fails to acquire wealth, how great so ever his strength.

“Bhishma said, ‘If one does acts oneself that are good or causes othersto accomplish them, one should then expect to attain to the merits ofrighteousness.

“Vaisampayana said, ‘That perpetuator of Kuru’s race, viz., Yudhishthirathe son of Pandu, desirous of obtaining such good as is destructive ofsins, questioned Bhishma who was lying on a bed of arrows, (in thefollowing words).’

“Janamejaya said, ‘When that foremost person among the Kauravas, viz.,Bhishma, was lying on a bed of arrows,–a bed that is always coveted byheroes,–and when the Pandavas, were sitting around him, my greatgrandsire Yudhishthira of much wisdom, heard these expositions ofmysteries with respect to the subject of duty and had all his doubtssolved.

“Vaisampayana said, ‘Then the royal son of Kunti, having duly honouredthe citizens and the inhabitants of the province, dismissed them to theirrespective homes.

“Vaisampayana said, ‘Having said so unto all the Kurus, Bhishma, the sonof Santanu, remained silent for sometime, O chastiser of foes He thenheld forth his life-breaths successively in those parts of his body whichare indicated in Yoga.

“Vasudeva said, ‘Concentrating his mind, O Yudhishthira. the regenerateRishi Upamanyu, with hands joined together in reverence uttered thisabstract of names (applying to Mahadeva), commencing from the beginning.’

“Vaisampayana said, ‘After Vasudeva had ceased to speak, the great Yogin,viz. the Island-born Krishna, addressed Yudhisthira, saying,–O son, dothou recite this hymn consisting of the thousand and eight names ofMahadeva, and let Maheswara be gratified with thee.

“Yudhishthira said, ‘I ask, O chief of Bharata’s race, what is the originof the saying, about discharging all duties jointly at the time of aperson’s taking the hand of his spouse in marriage?

“Yudhishthira said, ‘O grandsire, O wisest of men, O thou that artlearned in all the scriptures, I have listened to this great story, Oforemost of intelligent men.

“Bhishma said, ‘Thus commanded, the lady said,–Be it so. She thenbrought oil (for rubbing the Rishi’s body therewith) and a piece of clothfor his wear during the ablutions.

“Yudhishthira said, ‘Tell me why had that lady no fear of Ashtavakra’scurse although Ashtavakra was endued with great energy? How also didAshtavakra succeed in coming back from that place?'”

“Yudhishthira said, ‘Whom do the eternal Brahmanas strictly observingreligious rites call a proper object of gifts? Is a Brahmana that bearsthe symbols of the order of life he follows to be regarded as such or onewho does not bear such indications is to be so regarded?'[202]

“Yudhishthira said, ‘I desire thee, O grandsire, to tell me what theordinances are that have been laid down by the acts touching the deitiesand the (deceased) ancestors on occasions of Sraddhas.’

“Yudhishthira said, ‘O royal son of Bharata’s race, it behoveth thee toanswer this question of mine truly and in detail. What are thosecircumstances under which a person may become guilty of Brahmanicidewithout actually slaying a Brahmana!’

“Yudhishthira said, ‘It has been said that sojourns to sacred waters asfraught with merit; that ablutions in such waters is meritorious; andthat listening to the excellence of such waters is also meritorious.

“Vaisampayana said,–‘Equal unto Vrihaspati in intelligence and Brahmahimself in forgiveness, resembling Sakra in prowess and Surya in energy,Bhishma the son of Ganga, of infinite might, had been overthrown inbattle by Arjuna.

“Yudhishthira said, ‘Thou O grandsire, art endued with wisdom andknowledge of the scriptures, with conduct and behaviour, with diversekinds of excellent attributes, and also with years. Thou artdistinguished above others by intelligence and wisdom and penances.

“Bhishma said, ‘Thus addressed by Indra, Matanga of restrained vows andwell regulated soul, (without hearkening to the counsels of the chief ofthe celestials), stood for a hundred years on one foot, O thou ofunfading glory.

“Bhishma said, ‘Thus advised by Indra, Matanga, observant of vows,refused, to hear what he was bid.

“Yudhishthira said, ‘If, O prince, Brahmanahood be so difficult ofattainment by the three classes (Kshatriyas, Vaisyas and Sudras), howthen did the high souled Viswamitra, O king, though a Kshatriya (bybirth), attain to the status of a Brahmana?

“Yudhishthira said, ‘I have heard this great narrative, O perpetuator ofKuru’s race. Thou, O foremost of eloquent men, hast said that the statusof a Brahmana is exceedingly difficult of acquisition.

“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.’

“Yudhishthira said,–‘O grandsire, O thou of great wisdom, O thou thatart conversant with all branches of knowledge, I desire to hear theediscourse on topics connected with duty and Righteousness.

“Yudhishthira said, ‘Which act, O grandsire, is the foremost of all thosethat have been laid down for a king? What is that act by doing which aking succeeds in enjoying both this world and the next?’

“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.

“Bhishma said, ‘O blessed king, Brahmana, by birth alone, becomes anobject of adoration with all creatures and are entitled, as guests, toeat the first portion of all cooked food.

“Bhishma said, ‘In this connection is cited the old history of thediscourse between Sakra and Samvara. Do thou listen to it, OYudhishthira. Once upon a time Sakra, assuming the guise of an asceticwith matted locks on his head and body smeared with ashes all over, rodeon an ugly car and repaired to the presence of the Asura Samvara.’

“Yudhishthira said, ‘Which amongst these three persons, O grandsire,should be regarded as the best for making gifts unto, viz., one who is athorough stranger, or one who is living with and who has been known tothe giver for a long time, or one who presents himself before the giver,coming from a long distance?’

“Yudhishthira said, ‘O best of the Bharatas, I wish to hear theediscourse on the disposition of women. W omen are said to be the root ofall evil. They are all regarded as exceedingly frail.’