“Bhishma continued, ’Hearing these words of Indra. Vishnu smiled a little and then said, ’It was with my circular disc that the Daityas were slain. It was with my two feet that the world was covered. Assuming the form of a boar I slew Hiranyaksha. Assuming the form of a dwarf I conquered (the Asura) king Vali. Those high-souled men who worship these gratify me. Verily, they who worship me in these forms never meet with discomfiture. If one beholding a Brahmana leading the Brahmacharya mode of life arrived at one’s house, offers unto him the first portion of one’s food that belongs as of right to a Brahmana, and eats what remains thereafter, one is regarded as eating Amrita. If one, after adoring the morning twilight, stands with face directed towards the sun, one reaps the merit that attaches to the performance of ablutions in all tirthas and becomes cleansed of all sins. Ye Rishis possessed of wealth of penances, I have told you in details what constitutes a great mystery. On what else shall I discourse unto you? Tell me your doubts.’
“Baladeva said, ’Listen now to another great mystery that is fraught with happiness to men. Ignorant persons, unacquainted with it, meet with much distress at the hands of other creatures. That man who, rising at early dawn, touches a cow, ghee, and curds, as also mustard seeds and the larger variety thereof called Priyangu, becomes cleansed of all sins. As regards Rishis possessed of wealth of penances, they always avoid all creatures both before and behind, as also all that is impure while performing Sraddhas.
“The deities said, ’If a person, taking a vessel of copper, filling it with water, and facing the east, resolves upon a fast or the observance of a particular vow, the deities become gratified with him and all his wishes become crowned with success. By observing fasts, or vows in any other way, men of little understandings gain nothing. In uttering the resolution about the observance of fasts and in making offerings to the deities, the use of a vessel of copper is preferable. In presenting the offerings to the deities, in (giving and accepting) alms, in presenting the ingredients of the Arghya and in offering oblations of water mixed with sesame seeds to the Pitris, a vessel of copper should be used. By doing these acts in any other way, one acquires little merit. Even these mysteries have been laid down relating to how the deities are gratified.’
“Dharma said, ’The offerings made in all rites in honour of the deities and in those in honour of the Pitris should never be given away to a Brahmana that has accepted service under the king, or that rings the bell or attends to subsidiary duties in acts of worship or at Sraddhas, or that keeps kine, or that is engaged in trade, or that follows some art as a profession, or that is an actor, or that quarrels with friends or that is destitute of Vedic studies, or that marries a Sudra woman. The performer