desisted and entered the sacrificial fire from desire
of surveying the nether world, and wishing to avoid
the sight of (other) defects in that sacrifice.
The deer, then, with joined hands, once more begged
of Satya (to be cut in pieces and poured into the
sacrificial fire). Satya, however, embraced him
in friendship and dismissed him, saying, ’Go!’
At this, the deer seemed to leave that place.
But after he had gone eight steps he returned, and
said, ’Verily, do thou slay me. Truly do
I say, slain by thee I am sure to attain to a righteous
end. I give thee (spiritual) vision. Behold
the celestial Apsaras and the beautiful vehicles of
the high-souled Gandharvas.’ Beholding
(that sight) for a protracted space of time, with
longing eyes, and seeing the deer (solicitous of sacrifice),
and thinking that residence in heaven is attainable
by only slaughter, he approved (of the counsels the
deer had given). It was Dharma himself who had
become a deer that lived in those woods for many years.
(Seeing the Brahmana tempted by the prospect he beheld),
Dharma provided for his salvation and counselled him,
saying, ’This (viz., slaughter of living creatures)
is not conformable to the ordinances about Sacrifices.
The penances, which had been of very large measure,
of that Brahmana whose mind had entertained the desire
of slaying the deer, diminished greatly in consequence
of that thought itself. The injuring of living
creatures, therefore, forms no part of sacrifice.
Then the illustrious Dharma (having assumed his real
form), himself assisted that Brahmana, by discharging
the priestly office, to perform a sacrifice. The
Brahmana, after this, in consequence of his (renewed)
penances, attained to that state of mind which was
his spouse’s. Abstention from injury is
that religion which is complete in respect of its rewards.
The religion, however, of cruelty is only thus far
beneficial that it leads to heaven (which has a termination).
I have spoken to thee of that religion of Truth which,
indeed, is the religion of those that are utterers
“Yudhishthira said, ’By what means doth
a man become sinful, by what doth he achieve virtue,
by what doth he attain to Renunciation, and by what
doth he win Emancipation?’
“Bhishma said, ’Thou knowest all duties.
This question that thou askest is only for confirmation
of thy conclusions. Listen now to Emancipation,
and Renunciation, and Sin, and Virtue to their very
roots. Perceiving any one of the five objects
(viz., form, taste, scent, sound, and touch), desire
runs after it at first. Indeed, obtaining them
within the purview of the senses, O chief of Bharata’s
race, desire or aversion springs up. One, then,
for the sake of that object (i.e., for acquisition
of what is liked and avoidance of what is disliked)
strives and begins acts that involve much labour.
One endeavours one’s best for repeatedly enjoying