The Mahabharata Home
"Vaisampayana said,--'Thus addressed by Vidura, king Dhritarashtra became highly pleased, O monarch, with the act of Yudhishthira and Jishnu. Inviting then, after proper examination, thousands of deserving Brahmanas and superior Rishis, for the sake of Bhishma, as also of his sons and friends, and causing a large quantity of food and drink to be prepared, and cars and other vehicles and clothes, and gold and jewels and gems, and slaves both male and female, and goats and sheep, and blankets and costly articles to be collected, and villages and fields, and other kines of wealth to be kept ready, as also elephants and steeds decked with ornaments, and many beautiful maidens who were the best of their sex, that foremost of kings gave them away for the advancement of the dead, naming each of them in due order as the gifts were made. Naming Drona, and Bhishma, and Somadatta, and Valhika, and king Duryodhana, and each one of his other sons, and all his well-wishers with Jayadratha numbering first, those gifts were made in due order. With the approval of Yudhishthira, that Sraddha-sacrifice became characterised by large gifts of wealth and profuse presents of jewels and gems and other kinds of treasure. Tellers and scribes on that occasion, under the orders of Yudhishthira, ceaselessly asked the old king.--Do thou command, O monarch, what gifts should be made to these. All things are ready here.--As soon as the king spoke, they gave away what he directed. 1 Unto him that was to receive a hundred, a thousand was given, and unto him that was to receive a thousand was given ten thousand, at the command of the royal son of Kunti. 2 Like the, clouds vivifying the crops with their downpours, that royal cloud gratified the Brahmanas by downpours of wealth. After all those gifts had been distributed, the king, O thou of great intelligence, then deluged the assembled guests of all the four orders with repeated surges of food and drink of diverge tastes. Verily, the Dhritarashtra-ocean, swelling high, with jewels and gems for its waters, rich with the villages and fields and other foremost of gifts constituting its verdant islands, heaps of diverse kinds of precious articles for its rich caves, elephants and steeds for its alligators and whirlpools, the sound of Mridangas for its deep roars, and clothes and wealth and precious stories for its waves, deluged the Earth. It was even in this way, O king, that that monarch made gifts for the advancement in the other world of his sons and grandsons and Pitris as also of himself and Gandhari. At last when he became tired with the
task of making gifts in such profusion, that great Gift-sacrifice carne to an end. Even thus did that king of Kuru's race perform his Gift-sacrifice. Actors and mimes continually danced and sang on the occasion and contributed to the merriment of all the guests. Food and drink of diverse tastes were given away in large quantities. Making gifts in this way for ten days, the royal son of Amvika, O chief of Bharata's race, became freed from the debts he owed to his sons and grandsons."'
24:1 The usual way in which gifts are made at the present day on occasions of Sraddhas and marriages or other auspicious rites very nearly resembles what is described here. Instead of dedicating each gift with mantras and water and making it over to the receiver, all the articles in a heap are dedicated with the aid of mantras. The guests are then assembled, and are called up individually. The Adhyaksha or superintendent, according to a list prepared, names the gifts to be made to the guest called up. The tellers actually make them over, the scribes noting them down.
24:2 Each gift that was indicated by Dhritarashtra was multiplied ten times at the command of Yudhishthira.
Next: Section XV