“Yudhishthira said, ’What should be the indications of those kine that deserve to be given away? What are those kine that should be passed over in the matter of gifts? What should be the character of those persons unto whom kine should be given? Who, again, are those unto whom kine should not be given?
“Bhishma said, ’A cow should never be given unto one that is not righteous in behaviour, or one that is sinful, or one that is covetous or one that is untruthful in speech, or one that does not make offerings unto the Pitris and deities. A person, by making a gift of ten kine unto a Brahmana learned in the Vedas, poor in earthly wealth, possessed of many children, and owning a domestic are, attains to numerous regions of great felicity. When a man performs any act that is fraught with merit assisted by what he has got in gift from another, a portion of the merit attaching to that act becomes always his with whose wealth the act has been accomplished. He that procreates a person, he that rescues a person, and he that assigns the means of sustenance to a person are regarded as the three sires. Services dutifully rendered to the preceptor destroys sin. Pride destroys even great fame. The possession of three children destroys the reproach of childlessness, and the possession of ten kine dispels the reproach of poverty. Unto one that is devoted to the Vedanta, that is endued with great learning, that has been filled with wisdom, that has a complete control over his senses, that is observant of the restraints laid down in the scriptures, that has withdrawn himself from all worldly attachments, unto him that says agreeable words unto all creatures, unto him that would never do an evil act even when impelled by hunger, unto one that is mild or possessed of a peaceful disposition, unto one that is hospitable to all guests,—verily unto such a Brahmana should a man, possessed of similar conduct and owning children and wives, assign the means of sustenance. The measure of merit that attaches to the gift of kine unto a deserving person is exactly the measure of the sin that attaches to the act of robbing a Brahmana of what belongs to him. Under all circumstances should the spoliation of what belongs to a Brahmana be avoided, and his spouses kept at a distance.’”
“Bhishma said, ’In this connection, O perpetuator of Kuru’s race, is recited by the righteous the narrative of the great calamity that overtook king Nriga in consequence of his spoliation of what had belonged to a Brahmans. Some time before, certain young men of Yadu’s race, while searching for water, had come upon a large well covered with grass and creepers. Desirous of drawing water from it, they laboured very much for removing the creepers that covered its mouth. After the mouth had been cleaned, they beheld within the well a very large lizard residing within it. The young men made strong and repeated efforts for rescuing the