“Yudhishthira said, ’Tell me, O grandsire, what is superior to Brahmacharyya? What is the highest indication of virtue? What is the highest kind of purity?’
“Bhishma said,—’I tell thee, O son, that abstention from honey and meat is even superior to Brahmacharyya. Righteousness consists in keeping within boundaries or in self-restraint, the best indication of Righteousness is Renunciation (which is also the highest kind of purity).
“Yudhishthira said, ’In what time should one practise Righteousness? In what time should wealth be sought? In what time should pleasure be enjoyed? O grandsire, do tell me this.’
“Bhishma said,—’One should earn wealth in the first part of one’s life. Then should one earn Righteousness, and then enjoy pleasure. One should not, however, attach oneself to any of these. One should regard the Brahmanas, worship one’s preceptor and seniors, show compassion for all creatures, be of mild disposition and agreeable speech. To utter false-hood in a court of justice, to behave deceitfully towards the king, to act falsely towards preceptors and seniors, are regarded as equivalent (in heinousness) to Brahmanicide. One should never do an act of violence to the king’s person. Nor should one ever strike a cow. Both these offences are equivalent to the sin of foeticide. One should never abandon one’s (homa) fire. One should also never cast off one’s study of the Vedas. One should never assail a Brahmana by words or acts. All these offences are equivalent to Brahmanicide.’
“Yudhishthira said,—’What kind of Brahmanas should be regarded as good? By making presents unto (what kind of) Brahmanas one may acquire great merit? What kind of Brahmanas are they whom one should feed? Tell me all this, O grandsire!’
“Bhishma said, ’Those Brahmanas that are freed from wrath, that are devoted to acts of righteousness, that are firm in Truth, and that practise self-restraint are regarded as good. By making gifts unto them one acquires great merit. One wins great merit by making presents unto such Brahmanas as are free from pride, capable of bearing everything, firm in the pursuit of their objects, endued with mastery over their senses, devoted to the good of all creatures, and disposed to be friendly towards all. One earns great merit by making gifts unto such Brahmanas as are free from cupidity, as are pure of heart and conduct, possessed of learning and modesty, truthful in speech and observant of their own duties as laid down in the scriptures. The Rishis have declared that Brahmana to be a deserving object of gifts who studies the four Vedas with all their branches and is devoted to the six well-known duties (laid down in the scriptures). One acquires great merit by making gifts unto Brahmanas possessed of such qualifications. The man who makes gifts unto a deserving Brahmana multiplies his merit a thousand-fold. A single righteous Brahmana possessed of wisdom and Vedic lore,