The Mahabharata of Krishna-Dwaipayana Vyasa, Volume 4 eBook

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

SECTION LXII

“Yudhishthira said, ’People accept with affection the declarations of the Srutis which say, ‘This is to be given.’  ’This other thing is to be given!’ As regards kings, again, they make gifts of various things unto various men.  What, however, O grandsire, is the best or foremost of all gifts.’

“Bhishma said, ’Of all kinds of gifts, the gift of earth has been said to be the first (in point of merit).  Earth is immovable and indestructible.  It is capable of yielding unto him who owns it all the best things upon which his heart may be set.  It yields robes and vestments, jewels and gems, animals, paddy and barley.  Amongst all creatures, the giver of earth grows in prosperity for ever and ever.  As long as the earth lasts, so long does the giver thereof grow in prosperity.  There is no gift that is higher, O Yudhishthira, than the gift of earth.  It hath been heard by us that all men have given a little quantity of earth.  All men have made gifts of earth, hence all men enjoy a little of earth.  Whether in this or in the next world all creatures live under conditions dependent upon their own acts.  Earth is Prosperity’s self.  She is a mighty goddess.  She makes him her lord (in next life) who makes gifts of her in this life to other people.  That person, O best of kings, who gives away earth, which is indestructible, as Dakshina, becomes born in next life as a man and becomes also a lord of earth.  The measure of one’s enjoyment in this life is commensurate with the measure of one’s gifts in a previous life.  Even this is the conclusion to which the scriptures point.  For a Kshatriya should either give away the earth in gift or cast off his life in battle.  Even this constitutes the highest source of prosperity with regard to Kshatriyas.  It has been heard by us that earth, when given away, cleanses and sanctifies the giver.  The man that is of sinful behaviour, that is guilty of even the slaughter of a Brahamana and of falsehood, is cleansed by a gift of earth.  Indeed, such a gift rescues even such a sinner from all his sins.  The righteous accept gifts of earth only and no other thing from kings that are sinful.  Like one’s mother, earth, when given away, cleanses the giver and the taker.  This is an eternal and secret name of earth, viz., Priyadatta.[328] Given away or accepted in gift, the name that is dear to her is Priyadatta.  The gift of earth is desirable.  That king who makes a gift of earth unto a learned Brahmana, obtains from that gift a kingdom.  Upon re-birth in this world, such a man without doubt attains to a position that is equal to that of a king.  Hence a king as soon as he gets earth, should make gifts of earth unto the Brahmanas.  None but a lord of earth; is competent to make gifts of earth.  Nor should one that is not a deserving person accept a gift of earth.  They who desire earth should, without doubt, conduct themselves in this way (i.e., make

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The Mahabharata of Krishna-Dwaipayana Vyasa, Volume 4 from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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