Page images


gems or gold, long life; a giver of a house, the most exalted mansion ; a giver of silver, exquisite beauty ;

231. A giver of clothes, the same station with CHANDRA ; a giver of a horse, the same station with Aswi; a giver of a bull, eminent fortune; a giver of a cow, the mansion of SU'RYA;

232. A giver of a carriage or a bed, an excellent consort; a giver of safety, supreme dominion; a giver of grain, perpetual delight; a giver of scriptural knowledge, union with GOD :

233. Among all those gifts, of water, food, kine, land, clothes, tila, gold, clarified butter, and the rest, a gift of spiritual knowledge is consequently the most important;

234. And for whatever purpose a man bestows any gift, for a similar purpose he shall receive, with due honour, a similar reward.

235. Both he, who respectfully bestows a present, and he who respectfully accepts it, shall go to a seat of bliss; but, if they act otherwise, to a region of horrour.

236. LET not a man be proud of his rigorous devotion ; let him not, having sacrificed, utter a falsehood ; let him not, though injured, insult a priest; having made a donation, let him never proclaim it:

237. By falsehood, the sacrifice becomes vain; by pride, the merit of devotion is lost; by insulting priests, life is diminished; and by proclaiming a largess, its fruit is destroyed.

238. GIVING no pain to any creature, let him collect virtue by degrees, for the sake of acquiring a companion to the next world, as the white ant by degrees builds his nest.

239. For, in his passage to the next world, neither his father, nor his mother, nor his wife, nor his son, nor his kinsmen, will remain in his company: his virtue alone will adhere to him.

* “A giver of silver, exquisite beauty." Beauty has been assigned as the reward for a gift of silver, apparently because it made a sort of pun; rúpya implying both silver and beautiful. Similar cases occur throughout the work, in which a play upon words has been allowed, when no solid reason could be assigned for any other allotment of rewards or punishments. In the twelfth chapter many such are to be observed.

240. Single is each man born ; single he dies; single he receives the reward of his good, and single the punishment of his evil, deeds :

241. When he leaves his corse, like a log or a lump of clay, on the ground, his kindred retire with averted faces ; bụt his virtue accompanies his soul.

242. Continually, therefore, by degrees, let him collect virtue, for the sake of securing an inseparable companion; since with virtue for his guide, he will traverse a gloom, how hard to be traversed !

243. A man, habitually virtuous, whose offences have been expiated by devotion, is instantly conveyed after death to the higher world, with a radiant form and a body of ethereal substance.*

244. HE, who seeks to preserve an exalted rank, must constantly form connexions with the highest and best families, but avoid the worst and the meanest;

245. Since a priest, who connects himself with the best and highest of men, avoiding the lowest and worst, attains eminence; but sinks, by an opposite conduct, to the class of the servile.

246. HE, who perseveres in good actions, in subduing his passions, in bestowing largesses, in gentleness of manners, who bears hardships patkently, who associates not with the malignant, who gives pain to no sentient being, obtains final beatitude.

247. Wood, water, roots, fruit, and food placed before him without his request, he may accept from all men; honey also, and protection from danger.

248. Gold, or other alms, voluntarily brought and presented, but unasked and unpromised, BRAHMA' considered as receivable even from a sinner :

249. Of him, who shall disdain to accept such alms,

* This verse has not been translated with the same felicity and exactness which distinguish the rest : perhaps it might be rendered more in consonance with the general spirit of the version thus (See v. 167. Chap. II.):

Yes, verily! Sovereign virtue instantly conducts the man whose sins have been expiated by penance, to the higher world, with a radiant and etherial body.'

neither will the manes eat the funeral oblations for fifteen years, nor will the fire convey the burnt sacrifice to the


250. A bed, houses, blades of cusa, perfumes, water, flowers, jewels, butter-milk, ground rice, fish, new milk, flesh-meat, and green vegetables, let him not proudly reject.

251. When he wishes to relieve his natural parents or spiritual father, his wife or others, whom he is bound to maintain, or when he is preparing to honour deities or guests, he may receive gifts from any person, but must not gratify himself with such presents :

252. If his parents, however, be dead, or if he live without them in his own house, let him, when he seeks nourishment for himself, receive presents invariably from good men alone.

253. A labourer in tillage, a family friend, a herdsman, a slave, a barber, a poor stranger offering his humble duty, are men of the servile class, who may eat the food of their superiours :

254. As the nature of the poor stranger is, as the work is, which he desires to perform, and as he may show most respect to the master of the house, even thus let him offer his service;

255. For he, who describes himself to worthy men, in a manner contrary to truth, is the most sinful wretch in this world : he is the worst of thieves, a stealer of minds.

256. All things have their sense ascertained by speech;

proceed: consequently, a falsifier of speech falsifies every thing.

257. WHEN he has paid, as the law directs, his debts to the sages, to the manes, and to the gods, by reading the scripture, begetting a son, and performing regular sacrifices, he may resign all to his son of mature age, and reside in his family-house, with no employment, but that of an umpire.

258. Alone, in some solitary place, let him constantly, meditate on the divine nature of the soul, for by such meditation he will attain happiness.

259. Thus has been declared the mode, by which a Bráhmen, who keeps house, must continually subsist, together with the rule of devotion ordained for a pupil returned from his preceptor; a laudable rule, which increases the best of the three qualities.

260. A priest, who lives always by these rules, who knows the ordinances of the Véda, who is freed from the bondage of sin, shall be absorbed in the divine essence.



1. THE sages, having heard those laws delivered for the

conduct of house-keepers, thus addressed the highminded BHRIGU, who proceeded in a former birth

from the genius of fire. 2. How, Lord, can death prevail over Bráhmens, who know the scriptural ordinances, and perform their duties as they have been declared ? 3. Then he, whose disposition was perfect virtue, even

BHRIGU, the son of MENU, thus answered the great

Rishis : Hear, from what sin proceeds the inclination of death, to destroy the chief of the twice-born :

4. Through a neglect of reading the Véda, through a desertion of approved usages, through supine remissness in performing holy rites, and through various offences in diet, the genius of death becomes eager to destroy them.

5. Garlick, onions, leeks, and mushrooms (which no twiceborn man must eat), and all vegetables raised in dung.

6. Red gums or resins, exuding from trees, and juices from wounded stems, the fruit sélu,* and the thickened milk of a cow within ten days after her calving, a priest must avoid with great care.

7. Rice-pudding boiled with tila, frumenty, rice-milk, and baked bread, which have not been first offered to some deity, flesh-meat also, the food of gods, and clarified butter, which have not first been touched, while holy texts were recited,

8. Fresh milk from a cow, whose ten days are not passed, the milk of a camel, or any quadruped with a hoof not cloven, that of an ewe, and that of a cow in heat, or whose calf is dead or absent from her,

* The sélu is the cordia myxa.

« PreviousContinue »