Bhishma said, ’Listen to me, O king, as I describe, O Bharata, the great blessedness of the science of chastisement, in sacred words of grave import. The science of chastisement forces all men to the observance of the duties of their respective orders. Duly administered, it forces people to virtuous acts. When the four orders attend to their respective duties, when all wholesome barriers are maintained, when peace and happiness are made to flow from the science of chastisement, when the people become freed from all fear, and the three higher orders endeavour, according to their respective duties, to maintain harmony, know that men become truly happy at such times. Whether it is the king that makes the age, or, it is the age that makes the king, is a question about which thou shouldst not entertain any doubt. The truth is that the king makes the age. When, the king rules with a complete and strict reliance on the science of chastisement, the foremost of ages called Krita is then said to set in. Righteousness sets in the Krita age. Nothing of unrighteousness exists then. The hearts of men belonging to all the four orders do not take any pleasure in unrighteousness. Without doubt, all men succeed in acquiring the objects they desire and preserving those that have been acquired. All the Vedic rites become productive of merit. All the seasons become delightful and free from evil. The voice, pronunciation, and minds of all men become clear and cheerful. Diseases disappear and all men become long-lived. Wives do not become widows, and no person becomes a miser. The earth yields crops without being tilled, and herbs and plants grow in luxuriance. Barks, leaves, fruits, and roots, become vigorous and abundant. No unrighteousness is seen. Nothing but righteousness exists. Know these to be the characteristics, O Yudhishthira, of the Krita age. When the king relies upon only three of the four parts of the science of chastisement leaving out a fourth, the age called Treta sets in. A fourth part of unrighteousness follows in the train of such observance (of the great science) by three-fourths. The earth yields crops but waits for tillage. The herbs and plants grow (depending upon tillage). When the king observes the great science by only a half, leaving out the other half, then the age that sets in is called Dwapara. A moiety of unrighteousness follows in the train of such observance of the great science by half. The earth requires tillage and yields crops by half. When the king, abandoning the great science totally, oppresses his subjects by evil means of diverse kinds, the age that sets in is called Kali. During the age called Kali, unrighteousness becomes full and nothing of righteousness is seen. The hearts of men, of all the orders, fall away from their respective duties. Sudras live by adopting lives of mendicancy, and Brahmanas live by serving others. Men fail to acquire the objects they desire and preserve those already acquired.