“The man of faith, devoted to piety, and constant in the exercise of virtue, on reading this section is freed from sin. The believer that constantly heareth recited this section of the Bharata, called the Introduction, from the beginning, falleth not into difficulties. The man repeating any part of the introduction in the two twilights is during such act freed from the sins contracted during the day or the night. This section, the body of the Bharata, is truth and nectar. As butter is in curd, Brahmana among bipeds, the Aranyaka among the Vedas, and nectar among medicines; as the sea is eminent among receptacles of water, and the cow among quadrupeds; as are these (among the things mentioned) so is the Bharata said to be among histories.
“He that causeth it, even a single foot thereof, to be recited to Brahmanas during a Sradha, his offerings of food and drink to the manes of his ancestors become inexhaustible.
“By the aid of history and the Puranas, the Veda may be expounded; but the Veda is afraid of one of little information lest he should it. The learned man who recites to other this Veda of Vyasa reapeth advantage. It may without doubt destroy even the sin of killing the embryo and the like. He that readeth this holy chapter of the moon, readeth the whole of the Bharata, I ween. The man who with reverence daily listeneth to this sacred work acquireth long life and renown and ascendeth to heaven.
“In former days, having placed the four Vedas on one side and the Bharata on the other, these were weighed in the balance by the celestials assembled for that purpose. And as the latter weighed heavier than the four Vedas with their mysteries, from that period it hath been called in the world Mahabharata (the great Bharata). Being esteemed superior both in substance and gravity of import it is denominated Mahabharata on account of such substance and gravity of import. He that knoweth its meaning is saved from all his sins.
’Tapa is innocent, study is harmless, the ordinance of the Vedas prescribed for all the tribes are harmless, the acquisition of wealth by exertion is harmless; but when they are abused in their practices it is then that they become sources of evil.’”
“The Rishis said, ’O son of Suta, we wish to hear a full and circumstantial account of the place mentioned by you as Samanta-panchaya.’
“Sauti said, ’Listen, O ye Brahmanas, to the sacred descriptions I utter O ye best of men, ye deserve to hear of the place known as Samanta-panchaka. In the interval between the Treta and Dwapara Yugas, Rama (the son of Jamadagni) great among all who have borne arms, urged by impatience of wrongs, repeatedly smote the noble race of Kshatriyas. And when that fiery meteor, by his own valour, annihilated the entire tribe of the Kshatriyas, he formed at Samanta-panchaka five lakes of blood. We are told that his reason