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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.

SECTION XXXV

“Bhishma said, ’O blessed king, Brahmana, by birth alone, becomes an object of adoration with all creatures and are entitled, as guests, to eat the first portion of all cooked food.[261] From them flow all the great objects of life (viz., Righteousness and Wealth and Pleasure and Emancipation).  They are the friends of all creatures in the universe.  They are again the mouths of the deities (for food poured into their mouths is eaten by the deities).  Worshipped with reverence, they wish us prosperity by uttering words fraught with auspiciousness.  Disregarded by our foes, let them be enraged with these, and let them wish evil unto those detractors of theirs, uttering words fraught with severe curses.  In this connection, persons conversant with ancient history repeat the following verses sung of old respecting how in ancient times the Creator, after having created the Brahmanas, ordained their duties.—­A Brahmana should never do anything else than what has been ordained for him.  Protected, they should protect others.  By conducting themselves in this way, they are sure to attain to what is mightily advantageous for them.  By doing those acts that are ordained for them, they are sure to obtain Brahma-prosperity.  Ye shall become the exemplars of all creatures, and reins for restraining them.  A Brahmana possessed of learning should never do that which is laid down for the Sudras.  By doing such acts, a Brahmana loses merit[262].  By Vedic study he is sure to obtain prosperity and intelligence and energy and puissance competent to scorch all things, as also glory of the most exalted kind.  By offering oblations of clarified butter unto the deities, the Brahmanas attain to high blessedness and become worthy of taking the precedence of even children in the matter of all kinds of cooked food, and endued with Brahma-prosperity.[263] Endued with faith that is fraught with compassion towards all creatures, and devoted to self-restraint and the study of the Vedas, ye shall attain to the fruition of all your wishes.  Whatever things exist in the world of men, whatever things occur in the region of the deities, can all be achieved acquired with the aid of penances and knowledge and the observance of vows and restraints.  I have thus recited to thee, O sinless one, the verses that were sung by Brahma himself.  Endued with supreme intelligence and wisdom, the Creator himself ordained this, through compassion for the Brahmanas.  The puissance of those among them that are devoted to penances is equal to the might of kings.  They are verily irresistible, fierce, possessed of the speed of lightning, and exceedingly quick in what they do.  There are amongst them those that are possessed of the might of lions and those that are possessed of the might of tigers.  Some of them are endued with the might of boars, some with that of the deer, and some with that of crocodiles.  Some there are amongst them whose touch resembles

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