The Mahabharata Home
"Yudhishthira said, 'O Bharata, of the two things charity and devotion, do thou condescend to tell me, O sire, which is the better in this world? Do thou, by this, remove a great doubt from my mind.'
"Bhishma said, 'Do thou, listen to me as I recite the names of the princes who having been devoted to virtue, and having cleansed their hearts by penances and practised gifts and other acts of piety, undoubtedly attained to the different celestial regions. The Rishi Atreya revered by all, attained, O monarch, to the excellent celestial regions, by imparting the knowledge of the unconditional Supreme Being to his pupils. King Sivi, the son of Usinara, by offering the life of his dear son, for the benefit of a Brahmana, was translated from this world to heaven. And Pratardana, the king of Kasi, by giving his son to a Brahmana, secured to himself unique and undying fame in this as well as in the other world. Rantideva, the son of Sankriti, attained to the highest heaven by duly making gifts to the high-souled Vasishtha. Devavriddha too went to heaven by giving a hundred-ribbed and excellent golden umbrella to a Brahmana for a sacrifice. The worshipful Amvarisha too has attained to the region of the gods, by making a gift of all his kingdom to a Brahmana of great power. King Janamejaya of the solar race, went to the highest heaven by making a gift of ear-rings, fine vehicles, and cows to Brahmanas. The Royal sage Vrishadarbhi went to heaven by making gifts of various jewels and beautiful houses to Brahmanas. King Nimi of Vidarva, attained to heaven with his sons, friends and cattle, by giving his daughter and kingdom to the high-souled Agastya. The far-famed Rama, the son of Jamadagni, attained to the eternal regions, far beyond his expectation, by giving lands to Brahmanas. Vasishtha, the prince of Brahmanas, preserved all the creatures at a time of great drought when the god Parjjanya did not bestow his grateful showers upon the earth, and for this act he has secured eternal bliss for himself. Rama, the son of Dasaratha, whose fame is very high in this world, attained to the eternal regions by making gifts of wealth at sacrifices. The far-famed royal sage Kakshasena, went to heaven by duly making over to the high-souled Vasishtha the wealth which he had deposited with him. Marutta, the son of Parikshita and the grandson of Karandhama, by giving his daughter in marriage to Angiras, immediately went to heaven. The highly devout king of Panchalal Brahmadatta, attained the blessed way by giving
away a precious conch-shell. King Mitrasaha, by giving his favourite wife Madayanti to the high-souled Vasishtha, ascended to heaven. Sudyumna, the son of Manu, by causing the proper punishment to be inflicted upon the high-souled Likhita, attained to the most blessed regions. The celebrated royal sage Saharachitta went to the blessed regions, by sacrificing his dear life for the sake of a Brahmana. The king Satadyumna went to heaven by giving to Maudgaya a golden mansion replete with all the objects of desire. In ancient times, king Sumanyu by giving to Sandilya heaps of food looking like a hill, proceeded to heaven. The Salwa prince Dyutimat of great splendour attained to the highest regions by giving his kingdom to Richika. The Royal sage Madiraswa by giving his slender-waisted daughter to Hiranyahasta went to the region of the gods. The lordly Lomapada attained all the vast objects of his desire by giving his daughter Santa in marriage to Rishyasringa. The royal sage Bhagiratha, by giving his famous daughter Hansi in marriage to Kautsa, went to the eternal regions. King Bhagiratha by giving hundreds and thousands of kine with their young ones to Kohala attained to the most blessed regions. These and many other men, O Yudhishthira, have attained to heaven, by the merit of their charities and penances and they have also returned from thence again and again. Their fame will endure as long as the world will last. I have related to thee, O Yudhishthira, this story of those good householders who have attained to eternal regions by dint of their charities and penances. By their charities and by performing sacrifices and by procreating offspring, these people have attained to the heavenly regions. O foremost scion of Kuru's race, by always performing acts of charity, these men applied their virtuous intellects to the performance of sacrifices and charities. O mighty prince, as night has approached I shall explain to thee in the morning whatever doubts may arise in thy mind.'"
Next: Section CXXXVIII