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104. He, who receives food, when his life could not otherwise be sustained, from any man whatever, is no more tainted by sin, than the subtil ether by mud :
105. AJI GARTA, dying with hunger, was going to destroy his own son (named SuʼNAH-s'E'P'HA) by selling him for some cattle ; yet he was guilty of no crime, since he only sought a remedy against famishing :
106. VA'MADE'VA, who well knew right and wrong, was by no means rendered impure, though desirous, when oppressed with hunger, of eating the flesh of dogs for the preservation of his life :
107. BHARADWA'Ja, eminent in devotion, when he and his son were almost starved in a dreary forest, accepted several cows from the carpenter VRIDHU:
103. VISWA'MITRA too, than whom none better knew the distinctions between virtue and vice, resolved, when he was perishing with hunger, to eat the haunch of a dog, which he had received from a Chandala.
109. Among the acts generally disapproved, namely, accepting presents from low men, assisting them to sacrifice, and explaining the scripture to them, the receipt of presents is the meanest in this world, and the most blamed in a Bráhmen after his present life;
110. Because assisting to sacrifice and explaining the scripture are two acts always performed for those, whose minds have been improved by the sacred initiation ; but gifts are also received from a servile man of the lowest class.
111. The guilt, incurred by assisting low men to sacrifice and by teaching them the scripture, is removed by repetitions of the gayatri and oblations to fire; but that, incurred by accepting gifts from them, is expiated only by abandoning the gifts and by rigorous devotion.
112. It were better for a Bráhmen, who could not maintain himself, to glean ears and grains after harvest from the field of any person whatever : gleaning whole ears would be better than accepting a present, and picking up single grains would be still more laudable.
113. Bráhmens, who keep house, and are in want of any metals except gold and silver, or of other articles for good uses, may ask the king for them, if he be of the military class; but a king, known to be avaricious and unwilling to give, must not be solicited.
114. The foremost, in order, of these things may be received more innocently than that, which follows it: a field untilled, a tilled field, cows, goats, sheep, precious metals or gems, new grain, dressed grain.
115. THERE are seven virtuous means of acquiring property; succession, occupancy or donation, and purchase or exchange, which are allowed to all classes ; conquest, which is peculiar to the military class ; lending at interest, husbandry or commerce, which belong to the mercantile class ; and acceptance of presents, by the sacerdotal class, from respectable men.
116. Learning, except that contained in the scriptures, art, as mixing perfumes and the like, work for wages, menial service, attendance on cattle, traffick, agriculture, content with little, alms, and receiving high interest on money, are ten modes of subsistence in times of distress.
117. Neither a priest nor a military man, though distressed, must receive interest on loans, but each of them, if he please, may pay the small interest permitted by law, on borrowing for some pious use, to the sinful man, who demands it.
118. A MILITARY king, who takes even a fourth part of the crops of his realm at a time of urgent necessity, as of war or invasion, and protects his people to the utmost of his power, commits no sin :
119. His peculiar duty is conquest, and he must not recede from battle ; so that, while he defends by his arms the merchant and husbandman, he may levy the legal tax as the price of protection. ·
120. The tax on the mercantile class, which in times of prosperity must be only a tuelfth part of their crops, and a fiftieth of their personal profits, may be an eighth of their crops in a time of distress, or a sixth, which is the medium, or even a fourth in great public adversity ; but a twentieth of their gains on money, and other moveables, is the highest tax : serving men, artisans, and mechanicks, must assist by their labour, but at no time pay taxes.
121. IF a Súdra want a subsistence and cannot attend a priest, he may serve a Cshatriya ; or, if he cannot wait on a soldier by birth, he may gain his livelihood by serving an opulent Vaisya.
122. To him, who serves Bráhmens with a view to a heavenly reward, or even with a view to both this life and the next, the union of the word Bráhmen with his name of servant will assuredly bring success.
123. Attendance on Bráhmens is pronounced the best work of a Súdra : whatever else he may perform will comparatively avail him nothing.
124. They must allot him a fit maintenance according to their own circumstances, after considering his ability, his exertions, and the number of those, whom he must provide with nourishment :
125. What remains of their dressed rice must be given to him; and apparel which they have worn, and the refuse of their grain, and their old household furniture.
126. THERE is no guilt in a man of the servile class who eats leeks and other forbidden vegetables : he must not have the sacred investiture : he has no business with the duty of making oblations to fire and the like; but there is no prohibition against his offering dressed grain as a sacrifice, by way of discharging his own duty.
127. Even Súdras, who were anxious to perform their entire duty, and, knowing what they should perform, imitate the practice of good men in the household sacraments, but without any holy text, except those containing praise and salutation, are so far from sinning, that they acquire just applause :
128. As a Súdra, without injuring another man, performs the lawful acts of the twice-born, even thus, without being censured, he gains exaltation in this world and in the next.
129. No superfluous collection of wealth must be made by a Súdra, even though he has power to make it, since a servile man, who has amassed riches, becomes proud, and, by his insolence or neglect, gives pain even to Bráhmens.
130. Such, as have been fully declared, are the several duties of the four classes in distress for subsistence; and, if they perform them exactly, they shall attain the highest beatitude.
131. Thus has been propounded the system of duties, religious and civil, ordained for all classes : I next will declare the pure law of expiation for sin.
ON PENANCE AND EXPIATION,
1. Him, who intends to marry for the sake of having issue; him, who wishes to make a sacrifice; him, who travels; him, who has given all his wealth at a sacred rite; him, who desires to maintain his preceptor, his father, or his mother; him, who needs a maintenance for himself, when he first reads the Vedas ; and him, who is afflicted with illness;
2. These nine Bráhmens let mankind consider as virtuous mendicants, called snátacas; and, to relieve their wants, let gifts of cattle or gold be presented to them in proportion to their learning :
3. To these most excellent Bráhmens must rice also be given, with holy presents at oblations to fire and within the consecrated circle ; but the dressed rice, which others are to receive, must be delivered on the outside of the sacred hearth : gold and the like may be given any where.
4. On such Bráhmens as well know the Veda, let the king bestow, as it becomes him, jewels of all sorts, and the solemn reward for officiating at the sacrifice.
5. HE, who has a wife, and, having begged money to defray his nuptial expences, marries another woman, shall have no advantage but sensual enjoyment: the offspring belongs to the bestower of the gift.
6. LET every man, according to his ability, give wealth to Bráhmens detached from the world and learned in scripture : such a giver shall attain heaven after this life.
7. HE alone is worthy to drink the juice of the moonplant, who keeps a provision of grain sufficient to supply those, whom the law commands him to nourish, for the term of three years or more ;