The Mahabharata Home
"Lomasa said, 'The Pitris of those men who, without having wedded wives of their own, betake themselves to the wives of other people, become filled with disappointment when the time for the Sraddhas comes. He who betakes himself to the wives of other people, he who indulges in sexual union with a woman that is barren, and he who appropriates what belongs to a Brahmana, are equally sinful. Without doubt, the Pitris of such people cut them off without desiring to have any intercourse with them. The offerings they make fail to gratify the deities and the Pitris. Hence, one should always abstain from sexual congress with women that are the wedded wives of others, as also with women that are barren. The man who desires his own good should not appropriate what belongs to a Brahmana. Listen now to another mystery, unknown to all with regard to religion. One should, endued with faith, always do the bidding of one's preceptor and other seniors. On the twelfth lunar day, as also on the day of the full moon, every month, one should make gifts unto Brahmanas of ghee and the offerings that constitute Akshata. Listen to me as I say
what the measure is of the merit that such a person acquires. By such an act one is said to increase Soma and the Ocean. Vasava, the chief of the celestials, confers upon him a fourth part of the merits that attach to a Horse-sacrifice. By making such gifts, a person becomes endued with great energy and prowess. The divine Soma, well-pleased with him, grants him the fruition of his wishes. Listen now to another duty, together with the foundation on which it rests, that is productive of great merit. In this age of Kali, that duty, if performed, brings about much happiness to men. That man who, rising at early dawn and purifying himself by a bath, attires himself in white robes and with the concentrated attention makes gifts unto Brahmanas of vessels full of sesame seeds, who makes offerings unto the Pitris of water with sesame seeds and honey, and who gives lamps as also the food called Krisara acquires substantial merits. Listen to me as I say what those merits are. The divine chastiser of Paka has ascribed these merits to the gift of vessels of copper and brass filled with sesame seeds. He who makes gifts of kine, he who makes gifts of land that are productive of eternal merit, he who performs the Agnishtoma sacrifice with copious presents in the form of Dakshina to the Brahmanas, are all regarded by the deities as acquiring, merits equal to those which one acquires by making gifts of vessels filled with sesame seeds. Gifts of water with sesame seeds are regarded by the Pitr is as productive of eternal gratification to them. The grandsires all become highly pleased with gifts of lamps and Krisara. I have thus recited the ancient ordinance, laid down by the Rishis, that is highly applauded by both the Pitris and the deities in their respective regions.'"
Next: Section CXXX