“Yudhishthira said, ’If Brahmanas that are in the observance of a vow (viz., fast) eat, at the invitation of a Brahmana, the Havi (offered at a Sraddha), can they be charged with the transgression or a violation of their vow, or should they refuse the invitation of a Brahmana when such invitation is received by them? Tell me this, O grandsire!’
“Bhishma said, ’Let those Brahmanas eat, impelled by desire, who are observant of such vows as are not indicated in the Vedas. As regards those Brahmanas, however, that are observant of such vows are indicated in the Vedas, they are regarded as guilty of a breach of their vow, O Yudhishthira, by eating the Havi of a Sraddha at the request of him who performs the Sraddha.’
“Yudhishthira said, ’Some people say that fast is a penance. Is penance really identifiable with fast or is it not so? Tell me this, O grandsire!’
“Bhishma said, ’People do regard a regular fast for a month or a half month as a penance. The truth, however, is that one who mortifies one’s own body is not to be regarded either as an ascetic or as one conversant with duty. Renunciation, however, is regarded as the best of penances. A Brahmana should always be an abstainer from food, and observe the vow called Brahmacharya. A Brahmana should always practise self-denial restraining even speech, and recite the Vedas. The Brahmana should marry and surround himself with children and relatives, from desire of achieving righteousness. He should never sleep. He should abstain from meat.