The Mahabharata of Krishna-Dwaipayana Vyasa, Volume 4 eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 1,582 pages of information about The Mahabharata of Krishna-Dwaipayana Vyasa, Volume 4.
gifts of earth.  Aditya and Varuna and Vishnu and Brahman and Soma and Hutasana, and the illustrious and trident-bearing Mahadeva, all applaud the man that makes a gift of earth.  Living creatures spring into life from the earth and it is into the earth that they become merged when they disappear.  Living creatures which are distributed into four classes (i.e., viviparous, oviparous, filthborn, and vegetables) have earth for their constituent essence.  The earth is both the mother and father of the universe of creatures, O monarch.  There is no element, O ruler of men, that can compare with earth.  In this connection is cited the old narrative of a discourse between the celestial preceptor Vrihaspati and Indra the ruler of Heaven, O Yudhishthira.  Having adored Vishnu in a hundred sacrifices each of which was distinguished by plentiful gifts as Dakshina, Maghavat put this question to Vrihaspati, that foremost of all eloquent persons.’

“Maghavat said, ’O illustrious one, by what gift does one succeed in coming to Heaven and attaining to beatitude?  O foremost of speakers, do thou tell me of that gift which is productive of high and inexhaustible merit.’

“Bhishma continued, ’Thus addressed by the chief of the celestials the preceptor of the deities, viz., Vrihaspati of great energy, said these words in reply unto him of a hundred sacrifices.  Endued as he is with the merits that attach to the gift of earth, the region of felicity reserved for the person who makes gift of such earth as is auspicious and rich with every taste, never become exhausted.[331] That king, O Sakra, who desires to have prosperity and who wishes to win happiness for himself, should always make gifts of earth, with due rites, unto deserving persons.  If after committing numerous sins a person makes gifts of earth unto members of the regenerate class, he casts off all those sins like a snake casting off its slough.  The person that makes a gift of earth is said to make gifts of everything, that is, of seas and rivers and mountains and forests.  By making a gift of earth, the person is said to give away lakes and tanks and wells and streams.  In consequence of the moisture of earth, one is said to give away articles of diverse tastes by making a gift of earth.  The man who makes a gift of earth is regarded as giving away herbs and plants possessed of high and efficacious virtues, trees adorned with flowers and fruit, delightful woods, and hillocks.  The merit that a person acquires by making a gift of earth is incapable of being acquired by the performance of even such great sacrifices as the Agnishtoma and others with plentiful gifts in the shape of Dakshina.  The giver of earth, it has been already said, rescues ten generations of both his paternal and maternal races.  Similarly, by taking away earth that was given away, one hurls oneself into hell and casts ten generations of both one’s paternal and maternal lines into the same place of misery.  That man

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