The Mahabharata Home
"Yudhishthira said, 'What should a man do in order to pass pleasantly through this and the other world. How, indeed, should one conduct oneself? What practices should one adopt with this end in view?'
"Bhishma said, 'One should avoid the three acts that are done with the body, the four that are done with speech, the three that are done with the mind, and the ten paths of action. The three acts that are done with the body and should be wholly avoided are the destruction of the lives of other creatures, theft or appropriation of what belongs to other persons, and the enjoyment of other people's wives. The four acts that are done with speech, O king, and that should never be indulged in or even thought of, are evil conversation, harsh words, publishing other people's faults, and falsehood. Coveting the possessions of others, doing injury to others, and disbelief in the ordinances of the Vedas, are the three acts done with the mind which should always be avoided. 1 Hence, one should never do any evil act in word, body, or mind. By doing good and evil acts, one is sure to enjoy or endure the just consequences thereof. Nothing can be more certain than this.'"
36:1 I give, in the affirmative form of speech, the three mental acts that are directed to be avoided. In the original, these are given in the negative form. Absence of coveting the possessions of others is the act that is directed to be followed. So compassion for all creatures is prescribed; and, lastly, the belief is directed to be entertained that acts have fruits, for the Vedas declare as such. He that does not believe that acts have fruits disbelieve the very Vedas which of course, is a sinful act.
Next: Section XIV