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This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 1,319 pages of information about The Mahabharata of Krishna-Dwaipayana Vyasa, Volume 4.

“Bhishma said, ’Listen to me with concentrated attention, O king, as I explain to thee, O Bharata, these mysteries appertaining to duties, after the same manner in which the holy Vyasa had explained them to me in days of yore.  This subject is a mystery to the very deities, O monarch.  Yama of stainless deeds, with the aid of vows well-observed and Yoga meditation, had acquired the knowledge of these mysteries as the high fruits of his penances.[539] What pleases what deity, what pleases the Pitris, the Rishis, the Pramathas (associates of Mahadeva), the goddess Sri, Chitragupta (the recording assistant of Yama), and the mighty Elephants at the cardinal points of the compass, what constitutes the religion of the Rishis—­the religion, which has many mysteries and which is productive of high fruits,—­the merits of what are called great gifts, and the merits that attach to all the sacrifices, he who knows these, O sinless one, and knowing acts according to his knowledge, becomes freed from stains if he has stains and acquires the merits indicated.  Equal to ten butchers is one oilman.  Equal to ten oilmen is one drinker of alcohol.  Equal to ten drinkers of alcohol is one courtezan.  Equal to ten courtezans is a single (territorial) chief.[540] A great king is said to be equal to half of these all.  Hence, one should not accept, gifts from these.  On the other hand, one should attend to the science, that is sacred and that has righteousness for its indications, of the aggregate of three (viz., Religion, Wealth, and Pleasure).  Amongst these, Wealth and Pleasure are naturally attractive.  Hence, one should, with concentrated attention, listen to the sacred expositions of Religion (in particular), for the fruits are very great of listening to the mysteries of Religion.  One should certainly hear every topic connected with Religion as ordained by the deities themselves.  In it is contained the ritual in respect of the Sraddha in which have been declared the mysteries connected with the Pitris.  The mysteries connected with all the deities have also been explained there.  It comprehends the duties and practices, productive of great merit, of the Rishis also, together with the mysteries attaching to them.  It contains an exposition of the merits o f great sacrifices and those that attach to all kinds of gifts.  Those men who always read the scriptures bearing on these topics, those who bear them properly in their mind, and he who, having listened to them, follows them in practice, are all regarded to be as holy and sinless as the puissant Narayana himself.  The merits that attach to the gift of kine, those that belong to the performance of ablutions in sacred waters, those that are won by the performance of sacrifices,—­all these are acquired by that man who treats guests with reverence.  They who listen to these scriptures, they who are endued with faith, and they who have a pure heart, it is well-known, conquer many regions of happiness.  Those righteous men who are endued

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