“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.
“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, ‘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!
“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?’
“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.
“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?'
“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?’