The Mahabharata Home
"Yudhishthira said, 'O royal son of Bharata's race, it behoveth thee to answer this question of mine truly and in detail. What are those circumstances under which a person may become guilty of Brahmanicide without actually slaying a Brahmana!'
"Bhishma said, 'Formerly, O monarch, I had one day requested Vyasa to explain to me this very subject. I shall now narrate to thee what Vyasa told me on that occasion. Do thou listen to it with undivided attention. Repairing to the presence of Vyasa, I addressed him, saying,--Thou, O great ascetic, art the fourth in descent from Vasishtha. Do thou explain to me this. What are those circumstances under which one becomes guilty of Brahmanicide without actually slaying a Brahmana,--Thus addressed by me, the son of Parasara's loins, O king, well-skilled 'n the science of morality, made me the following answer, at once excellent and fraught with certainty, Thou shouldst know that man as guilty of Brahmanicide who having of his own will invited a Brahmana of righteous conduct to his house for giving him alms subsequently refuses to give anything to him on the pretence of there being nothing in the house. Thou shouldst, O Bharata, know that man as guilty of Brahmanicide who destroys
the means of living of a Brahmana learned in the Vedas and all their branches, and who is freed from attachments to worldly creatures and goods. Thou shouldst, O king, know that man to be guilty of Brahmanicide, who causes obstructions in the way of thirsty kine while employed in quenching that thirst. Thou shouldst take that man as guilty of Brahmanicide who, without studying the Srutis that have flowed from preceptor to pupil for ages and ages together, finds fault with the Srutis or with those scriptures that have been composed by the Rishis. Thou shouldst know that man as guilty of Brahmanicide who does not bestow upon a suitable bride-groom his daughter possessed of beauty and other excellent accomplishments. Thou shouldst know that foolish and sinful person to be guilty of Brahmanicide who inflicts such grief upon Brahmanas as afflict the very core of their hearts. Thou shouldst know that man to be guilty of Brahmanicide who robs the blind, the lame, and idiots of their all. Thou shouldst know that man to be guilty of Brahmanicide who sets fire to the retreats of ascetics or to woods or to a village or a town.'"
Next: Section XXV