“Yudhishthira said, ’Thou hast told me, O regenerate one, what the end is of unrighteousness or sin. I desire now to hear, O foremost of speakers, of what the end is of Righteousness. Having committed diverse acts of sin, by what acts of people succeed in attaining to an auspicious end in this world? By what acts also do people attain to an auspicious end in heaven?’
“Vrihaspati said, ’By committing sinful acts with perverted mind, one yields to the sway of unrighteousness and as a consequence goeth to hell. That man who, having perpetrated sinful acts through stupefaction of mind, feels the pangs of repentance and sets his heart on contemplation (of the deity), has not to endure the consequences of his sins. One becomes freed from one’s sins in proportion as one repents for them. If one having committed a sin, O king, proclaims it in the presence of Brahmanas conversant with duties, one becomes quickly cleansed from the obloquy arising from one’s sin. Accordingly as one becomes cleansed therefrom fully or otherwise, like a snake freed from his diseased slough. By making, with a concentrated mind, gifts of diverse kinds unto a Brahmana, and concentrating the mind (on the deity), one attains to an auspicious end. I shall now tell thee what those gifts are, O Yudhisthira, by making which a person, even if guilty of having committed sinful acts, may become endued with merit. Of all kinds of gifts, that of food is regarded as the best. One desirous of attaining to merit should, with a sincere heart, make gifts of food. Food is the life-breath of men.