The Mahabharata Home
"Bhishma said, 'The illustrious Atri, the son of the Grandsire Brahman, said, 'They who make gifts of gold are said to make gifts of everything in the world.' King Harischandra said that the gift of gold is sin-cleansing, leads to long life, and becomes productive of inexhaustible merit unto the Pitris. Manu has said that a gift of drink is the best of all gifts: therefore should a man cause wells and tanks and lakes to be excavated. A well full of water and from which diverse creatures draw water, is said to take off half the sinful acts of the person who has excavated it. The whole race of a person is rescued from hell and sin in whose well or tank or lake kine and Brahmanas and righteous people constantly quench their thirst. That man transcends every kind of calamity from whose well or tank every one draws water without restraint during the summer season. Ghee is said to gratify the illustrious Vrihaspati, Pushan, Bhaga, the twin Aswins, and the deity of fire. Ghee is possessed of high medicinal virtues. It is a high requisite for sacrifice. It is the best of all liquids. The merit a gift of ghee produces is very superior. That man who is desirous of the reward of happiness in the next world, who wishes for fame and prosperity, should with a cleansed soul and having purified himself make gifts of ghee unto the Brahmanas. Upon that man who makes gifts of ghee unto the Brahmanas in the month of Aswin, the twin Aswins, gratified, confer personal beauty. Rakshasas never invade the abode of that man who makes gifts unto the Brahmanas of Payasa mixed with ghee. That man never dies of thirst who makes gifts unto the Brahmanas of jars filled with water. Such a person obtains every necessary of life in abundance, and has never to undergo any calamity or distress. That man, who with great devotion and restrained senses makes gifts unto the foremost of Brahmanas, is said to take a sixth part of the merits won by the Brahmanas by their penances. That man who makes presents unto Brahmanas having the means of life, of firewood for purposes of cooking as also of enabling them to drive cold, finds all his purposes and all his acts crowned with success. Such a one is seen to shine with great splendour over all his enemies. The illustrious deity of fire becomes pleased with such a man. As another reward, he never becomes divested of cattle, and he is sure to achieve victory in battles. The man who makes a gift of an umbrella obtains children and great prosperity. Such a person
is never affected by any eye-disease. The merits also that spring from the performance of a sacrifice become his. That man who makes a gift of an umbrella in the season of summer or rains, has never to meet with any heart-burning on any account. Such a man quickly succeeds in freeing himself from every difficulty and impediment. The highly blessed and illustrious Rishi Sandilya has said that, of all gifts, the gift of a car, O king, is the best.'"
Next: Section LXVI