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 a king can always command flowers of excellent perfumes and heaps of gold.  Possessed of all kinds of wealth the commands of such a king can never be disobeyed anywhere, and cries of victory hail him wheresoever he may approach.  The rewards that attach to gifts of earth consist of residence in heaven, O Purandara, and gold, and flowers, and plants and herbs of medicinal virtue, and Kusa and mineral wealth and verdant grass.  A person by making a gift of earth acquires in his next life nectar yielding earth.  There is no gift that is equal to a gift of earth.  There is no senior worthy of greater respect than the mother.  There is no duty higher than truth.  There is no wealth more precious than that which is given away.’

“Bhishma continued, ’Hearing these words from the son of Angiras, Vasava made a gift unto him of the whole earth with all her jewels and gems and all her wealth of diverse kinds.  If these verses declaring the merit attaching to gifts of earth be recited on the occasion of a Sraddha, neither Rakshasas nor Asuras can succeed in appropriating any share of the offerings made in it.  Without doubt, the offerings one makes unto the Pitris at such a Sraddha become inexhaustible.  Hence, on occasions of Sraddhas, the man of learning should recite these verses on the subject of the merits that attach to gifts of earth, in the presence and hearing of the invited Brahmanas when engaged in eating.  I have thus, O chief of the Bharatas, discoursed unto thee of that gift which is the foremost of all gifts.  What else dost thou wish to hear?’”


“Yudhishthira said, ’When a king becomes desirous of making gifts in this world, what, indeed, are those gifts which he should make, O best of the Bharatas, unto such Brahmanas as are possessed of superior accomplishments?  What gift is that by which the Brahmanas become immediately gratified?  What fruits do they bestow in return?  O thou of mighty arms, tell me what is the high reward attainable through the merit arising from gifts.  What gifts, O king, are productive of rewards both here and hereafter?  I desire to hear all this from thee.  Do thou discourse to me on all this in detail.’

“Bhishma said, ’These very questions were on a former occasion put by me to Narada of celestial appearance.  Hear me as I recite to thee what that celestial sage told me in reply.’

“Narada said, ’The deities and all the Rishis applaud food.  The course of the world and the intellectual faculties have all been established on food.  There has never been, nor will be any gift that is equal to the gifts of food.  Hence, men always desire particularly to make gifts of food.  In this world, food is the cause of energy and strength.  The life-breaths are established on food.  It is food that upholds the wide universe, O puissant one.  All classes of men, householders and mendicants and ascetics, exist, depending upon food.  The

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