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.
From it all creatures are born.  All the worlds of living creatures are established upon food.  Hence food is applauded.  The deities, Rishis, Pitris, and men, all praise food.  King Rantideva, in days of old, proceeded to Heaven by making gifts of food.  Food that is good and that has been acquired lawfully, should be given, with a cheerful heart, unto such Brahmanas as are possessed of Vedic lore.  That man has never to take birth in an intermediate order, whose food, given with a cheerful heart is taken by a thousand Brahmanas.  A person, O chief of men, by feeding ten thousand Brahmanas, becomes cleansed of the piety and devoted to Yoga practices.  A Brahmana conversant with the Vedas, by giving away food acquired by him as alms, unto a Brahmana devoted to the study of the Vedas, succeeds in attaining to happiness here.  That Kshatriya who, without taking anything that belongs to a Brahmana, protects his subjects lawfully, and makes gifts of food, obtained by the exercise of his strength, unto Brahmanas foremost in Vedic knowledge, with concentrated heart, succeeds by such conduct, O thou of righteous soul, in cleansing himself, O son of Pandu, of all his sinful acts.  That Vaisya who divides the produce of his fields into six equal shares and makes a gift of one of those shares unto Brahmanas, succeeds by such conduct in cleansing himself from every sin.  That Sudra who, earning food by hard labour and at the risk of life itself, makes a gift of it to Brahmanas, becomes cleansed from every sin.  That man who, by putting forth his physical strength, earns food without doing any act of injury to any creature, and makes gift of it unto Brahmanas succeeds in avoiding all calamities.  A person by cheerfully making gifts of food acquired by lawful means unto Brahmanas pre-eminent for Vedic lore, becomes cleansed of all his sins.  By treading in the path of the righteous one becomes freed from all sins.  A person by making gifts of such food as is productive of great energy, becomes himself possessed of great energy.  The path made by charitable persons is always trod by those that are endued with wisdom.  They that make gifts of food are regarded as givers of life.  The merit they acquire by such gifts is eternal.  Hence, a person should, under all circumstances, seek to earn food by lawful means, and having earned to make always gifts of it unto deserving men.  Food is the great refuge of the world of living creatures.  By making gifts of food, one has never to go to hell.  Hence, one should always make gifts of food, having earned it by lawful means.  The householder should always seek to eat after having made a gift of food unto a Brahmana.  Every man should make the day fruitful by making gifts of food.[518] A person by feeding, O king, a thousand Brahmanas all of whom are conversant with duties and the scriptures and the sacred histories, has not to go to Hell and to return to this world for undergoing rebirths.  Endued with the fruition of every wish, he enjoys great felicity hereafter.  Possessed of such merit, he sports in happiness, freed from every anxiety, possessed of beauty of form and great fame and endued with wealth.  I have thus told thee all about the high merit of gifts of food.  Even this is the root of all righteousness and merit, as also of all gifts, O Bharata!’”

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