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This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 1,319 pages of information about The Mahabharata of Krishna-Dwaipayana Vyasa, Volume 4.

’Bhishma continued, ’Ashtavakra said,—­So be it and took the hand of the girl.  Indeed, the highly righteous Rishi, having espoused the girl, became filled with joy.  Having taken as his wife that beautiful damsel, the Rishi continued to dwell in his own asylum, freed from (mental) fever of every kind.’”

SECTION XXII

“Yudhishthira said, ’Whom do the eternal Brahmanas strictly observing religious rites call a proper object of gifts?  Is a Brahmana that bears the symbols of the order of life he follows to be regarded as such or one who does not bear such indications is to be so regarded?’[202]

“Bhishma said, ’O monarch, it has been said that gifts should be made unto a Brahmana that adheres to the duties of his own order, whether, he bears the indications of a Brahmachari or not, for both are faultless, viz., he that bears such indications and he that is divested of them.’

“Yudhishthira said, ’What fault does an uncleansed person incur, if he makes gifts of sacrificial butter or food with great devotion unto persons of the regenerate order?’

“Bhishma said, ’Even one that is most destitute of self-restraint becomes, without doubt, cleansed by devotion.  Such a man, O thou of great splendour, becomes cleansed in respect of every act (and not with reference to gift alone).’

“Yudhishthira said, ’It has been said that a Brahmana that is sought to be employed in an act having reference to the deities, should never be examined.  The learned, however, say that with respect to such acts as have reference to the Pitris, the Brahmana that is sought to be employed, should be examined (in the matter of both his conduct and competence).’

“Bhishma said, ’As regards acts that have reference to the deities, these fructify not in consequence of the Brahmana that is employed in doing the rites but through the grace of the deities themselves.  Without doubt, those persons that perform sacrifice obtain the merit attached to those acts, through the grace of the deities.[203] The Brahmanas, O chief of the Bharatas, are always devoted of Brahman.  The Rishi Markandeya, one of the greatest Rishis endued with intelligence in all the worlds, said this in days of yore.’

“Yudhishthira said, ’Why, O grandsire, are there five viz., he that is a stranger, he that is endued with learning (connected with the duties of his order), he that is connected by marriage, he that is endued with penances, and he that adheres to the performance of sacrifices, regarded as proper persons?’[204]

“Bhishma said, ’The first three, viz., strangers, relatives, and ascetics, when possessed of these attributes, viz., purity of birth, devotion to religious acts, learning, compassion, modesty, sincerity, and truthfulness, are regarded as proper persons.  The other two, viz., men of learning and those devoted to sacrifices, when endued with five of these attributes, viz., purity of birth, compassion, modesty, sincerity, truthfulness, are also regarded as proper persons.  Listen now to me, O son of Pritha, as I recite to thee the opinions of these four persons of mighty energy, viz., the goddess Earth, the Rishi Kasyapa, Agni (the deity of fire) and the ascetic Markandeya.’

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