(of re-births) among the creatures of the earth, keeping
before it that which is the root of action. Having
made the Soul advance towards itself which is the
spring of every kind of blessedness, having restrained
all desires of the mind, and having cast off all kinds
of action, one may become perfectly independent and
happy. When there is such a path that is trod
by the righteous and that is attainable by Knowledge,
why, O Arjuna, dost thou applaud wealth which is full
of every kind of calamity? Men of olden times
that were conversant with the scriptures, O Bharata,—men
that were always engaged in gifts and sacrifice and
action, were of this opinion. O Bharata!
There are some fools who, accomplished in the science
of argumentation, deny the existence of the Soul,
in consequence of the strength of their convictions
of a previous life. It is very difficult to make
them accept this truth about final emancipation.
Those wicked men, though possessed of great learning,
travel all over the earth, making speeches in assemblies,
and deprecating the true doctrine about emancipation.
O Partha, who else will succeed in understanding that
which we do not understand?’ Indeed, (as those
men cannot understand the true meaning of the scriptures),
similarly they cannot succeed in knowing those wise
and pious persons that are truly great and that have
deep acquaintance with the scriptures. O son
of Kunti, men acquainted with truth obtain Brahma
by asceticism and intelligence, and great happiness
Vaisampayana said, “After Yudhishthira had stopped,
the great ascetic Devasthana, possessed of eloquence,
said these words, fraught with reason, unto the king.”
“Devasthana said, ’Phalguna has told thee
that there is nothing superior to wealth. I shall
discourse to thee on that subject. Listen to me
with undivided attention, O Ajatasatru, thou hast
righteously won the earth. Having won her, it
behoves thee not, O king, to abandon her without cause.
Four modes of life are indicated in the Vedas.
Do thou, O king, duly pass through them, one after
another. At present thou shouldst, therefore,
perform great sacrifices with profuse presents.
Amongst the very Rishis, some are engaged in the sacrifice
represented by Vedic study, and some in that presented
by knowledge. Therefore, O Bharata, thou must
know that the very ascetics also are addicted to action.
The Vaikhanasas, however, are said to preach that
he who does not seek for wealth is superior to him
that seeks for it. I think that he who would follow
that precept would incur many faults. Men collect
together diverse things (for the performance of sacrifices)
simply because of the (Vedic) ordinance. He who,
tainted by his own understanding, giveth away wealth
to an undeserving person without giving it to the deserving,
doth not know that he incurs the sin of killing a
foetus. The exercise of the duty of charity after