The Vyasa Neeti by Veda Vyasa is contained in chapters 113 to 117 of Brahmapurana (Part III).
The deities and Manes are to be duly worshipped by the householder by means of the Havya and Kavya offerings. The guests and kinsmen should be honoured with cooked rice.
The living beings, the servants, animals, birds, even ants, the mendicants who beg for alms, and all other travellers who come to the house are to be received hospitably.
Brahmins observing the disciplined conduct of life of the good should be honoured by the good householder.
The sages said:
O Brahmin! The Nitya and Naimittika rites have been recounted by you. Human activities are three-fold, namely, Nitya, Naimittika and Kamya. O Sage! Even as you recount, we wish to hear the rules of good conduct by pursuing which a man attains to happiness here and hereafter.
Good conduct should always be preserved by a householder. There is no welfare here or hereafter to one who is devoid of good conduct.
Sacrifices, charitable gifts and austerities are not conducive to the prosperity of the person who transgresses the rules of good conduct.
A person who maintains good conduct attains to the longevity of Brahma. Virtue and good conduct should always be maintained. Virtue is the symbol of good conduct.
O Brahmins! I shall recount the form and general outline of good conduct. One shall maintain it with great concentration. A householder should endeavour to achieve the three-fold aim of life. The achievement of the householder here (in this life) and hereafter depends on the realization thereof.
With one-fourth of his wealth, the self-possessed man shall achieve the other-worldly welfare. With half of his wealth, he shall sustain himself as well as perform the Nitya and Naimittka rites. With the remaining one-fourth, he shall increase his original capital. O Brahmins! If one pursues thus, oneís wealth becomes fruitful.
Similarly, for the sake of overcoming the effects of sins, virtuous rites should be performed by a learned man. That component of dharma which has the fruit of welfare in the world hereafter should be accomplished here itself.
The three, namely, dharma, artha and kama are of two types each. One type causes sinful effect; the other type is not antagonistic. One thinks of these as mutually complementary.
O excellent Brahmins! Know them to be conducive to the contrary results. (For example), the wealth that is conducive to virtue is intrinsically virtuous. That which does not afflict the soul is virtue. Kama (desire) is split into two by the other two, dharma and artha; and the other two are split into two each by kama.
One shall get up in the Brahma-muhurta and think about virtue and wealth. After getting up, one shall perform the Achamana rite. After taking bath and making oneself pure, one shall worship the Sandhyaas. The early Sandhyaa at dawn shall be performed even when the stars are seen. One shall perform the evening Sandhyaa at dusk even when the sun is visible. One shall perform Sandhyaas daily. Except for reasons beyond oneís control, one shall not forsake them.
O Brahmins! One shall avoid evil utterances, falsehoods and harsh words. One shall eschew ignoble scriptures, evil arguments and service of ignoble persons.
One shall perform Homa both in the evening and in the morning, with perfect restraint over the self. One shall not see sunrise and sunset directly.
Washing the teeth, applying collyrium, embellishing the hair, looking into the mirror and the Tarpana rite to the deities are the activities to be performed in the forenoon.
Fasces should not be discharged on the path leading to the rural residences, holy centres and fields, not in a ploughed field, nor in a cow-pen.
One shall not look at the naked wife of another man; one shall not look at oneís own ordure. (One shall avoid) seeing, touching and talking to a woman in her menses.
One shall not discharge urine or fasces into the waters (of a tank, etc). Nor shall one indulge in sexual intercourse under water. One shall not stand on fasces or urine, or on hairs or ashes. One shall not stand over the sharp edge of any cutting instrument.
An intelligent man shall not stand on scattered husk, burning coal, bits of ropes, clothes, etc on the road or in a ground.
After performing the rite of worship of the Pitris, deities, human beings and other living beings, the householder deserves to take food in accordance with his affluence.
After performing the Aachamana rite, without unnecessary talk, remaining pure, the householder shall sit facing the east or the north and take food with the mind therein. He shall keep the hands between the knees.
Except in the case of decomposition of food, the wise man shall not complain about the defects of food at the time of taking it. One shall avoid taking salt directly. (Salt should be mixed with food and then taken in.) He shall avoid wasting any food.
The self-possessed man shall not discharge urine or fasces while standing or walking. He shall not eat any food defiled or left over by others. If one is defiled by the leavings of food, one shall not speak anything. One shall avoid reciting the Veda, too.
One shall not look at the sun, moon or the stars as one pleases. One shall avoid using a seat, bed or a vessel if it is torn or broken.
One shall honour and greet elderly persons by standing up and offering them seats. An intelligent man shall talk in a way favourable to them (elderly persons). He shall follow them. He shall not act against them.
No intelligent man shall take food, worship the deities or invoke them with a single cloth on. O Brahmins! No intelligent man shall perform a sacrifice if there is no fire. No man shall take bath or lie down completely naked. One shall not scratch head simultaneously with both hands.
Head-bath should not be repeatedly undertaken by an intelligent man without cause. One who has already had head-bath should not touch any limb with oil.
One shall avoid studying the Veda during the holidays. One should never disregard or insult Brahmins, fires, cows and the sun.
One shall discharge fasces and urine facing the north during the day, and facing the south during the night. During distress one shall discharge them as one pleases.
One shall not speak of the misdeeds of the preceptor. If the preceptor is angry, one shall propitiate him. One shall not listen to others who slander him.
Priority in access to the path shall be given to the Brahmins, to the King, to one who is miserable, to one of superior learning, to a pregnant woman, to one who is afflicted by sickness, to a greater person, to the deaf, mute or blind, to one who is elated and to one who has become mad.
A learned man shall circumambulate a temple, a tree in a monastery, cross-roads, and the preceptor who is of superior learning. One shall never wear shoes, clothes, garlands, etc worn by others.
One shall avoid taking oil-bath or indulging in sexual intercourse with women on the eighth, fourteenth and fifteenth lunation as well as on auspicious days.
No wise man shall ever stand with arms and upper leg raised up. One shall not throw up the feet. One shall not keep one leg over another.
One shall avoid reviling, wounding the sensitive spots of and slandering an unchaste woman or a boy who has indulged in an unworthy act or a fallen fellow.
A clever man shall never be arrogant, proud and harsh. One shall not laugh at or find fault with a fool, a mad fellow, a person in distress, an ugly person, a person with deficient limbs or a poor person. One shall not lift up another manís stick to chastise a disciple or a son.
A wise man should not drag a seat with his leg and sit thereon. One shall not prepare a cake of wheat flour or a dish of rice and peas mixed together or meat solely for oneself.
Food should be taken in the evening and in the morning after worshipping the guests.
O Brahmins! One shall always clean the teeth sitting silently facing the east or the north. One shall avoid the forbidden creeper. No man shall ever sleep with his head placed towards the north or the west. One shall place oneís head towards the south or the east.
One should never take oneís bath in scented water, especially in the morning. If, at all, one has to take oneís bath at other times during the day, it should be only during the eclipse. The limbs should not be wiped off with the edges of a cloth or with oneís hands.
One shall never shake tresses or the clothes. No learned man shall ever apply unguents before taking bath.
One shall never wear a red or a black cloth, or one of variegated colour. No one shall exchange clothes or ornaments with others.
A cloth should be abandoned if it is excessively worn out and the threads come off, if it is defiled by worms and hairs or if it is touched by dogs.
One shall avoid the meat if it is licked by a dog, if it is defiled after the essence has been taken away, that of the back or the forbidden one.
A man shall never take in salt directly. O Brahmins! A foodstuff that has been left over for a long time, that has become dry or that has become stale should be eschewed.
O excellent Brahmins! The resultant products of sugarcane juice, milk, vegetables and flour as well as the products of gravy need not be abandoned even if they are left over for a long time.
One shall avoid lying down at the times of sunrise and sunset. A man shall never take food if he has not taken his bath, if he is sleeping, if his mind dwells on other things, if he is seated on the bed or on the bare ground or if he has not given a part of it to his servants. While taking food he shall not make sounds.
One shall take food only after taking bath in the morning as well as in the evening.
A learned man shall not approach carnally the wives of other men. Sexual intercourse with the wives of other men destroys the merits of Ishtapurta and also longevity. There is nothing as destructive of the span of life of a man as the outraging of the modesty of the wives of other men.
It is only after duly performing the rite of Achamana that one should perform the holy rites of deities, Pitris, and fire-god. The obeisance to the preceptor as well as the routine of taking food shall be performed only after the Achamana rite. The water used for the Achamana rite should be clean. It should be devoid of smell and foam. No sound should be made at that time. It should be serenely performed.
One shall sit facing the east or the north, and then perform the rite of Achamana. Before that rite one shall wash oneís hands and feet after applying clay. The clay taken for this purpose shall not be that taken from under water, that taken from residential localities, that taken from the ant-hill, that from the ratsí den or that which remains after performing the purificatory rites. One shall avoid these five types of clay.
With great concentration and keeping the hands between knees, one shall perform the Achamana rite three or four times. After wiping off the limbs and whirling the water round the head, and after performing the Achamana rite perfectly, one shall perform the other holy rites. One shall perform the Achamana rite after sneezing, licking, breaking the wind, spitting, etc. After touching what should not be touched (and as expiation thereof), one shall look at the sun or touch the right ear.
These rites are in accordance with their availability. If the previous one is not available, the latter one is sought; when the previous one is available, the latter is not performed.
One shall not grind oneís teeth, nor beat oneís own body. While sleeping, meditating or taking food, one shall eschew the self-study of the Veda.
One shall avoid sexual intercourse and journey during sandhya (dusk). One shall perform Tarpana rite unto the Pitris, with full faith, in the early afternoon. The head-bath and the holy rites unto deities and the Pitris shall be done in the afternoon. One shall get the shaving done facing the east or the north.
For matrimony, one shall avoid a girl with crippled limbs or one wanting a limb even if she is free from ailments or born of a noble family. One shall marry a girl removed by (not less than) seven generations on his fatherís side and (not less than) five generations on his motherís side.
One shall protect oneís wife. One shall avoid jealousy as well as sleeping and indulgence in sexual intercourse during the day. One shall eschew infliction of pain on animals, and all other activities that cause distress and sorrow to others.
In respect of all castes, a woman in her monthly course should be avoided for the first four nights. To prevent the birth of a female child, one shall avoid the fifth night also.
Thereafter, one shall carnally approach oneís wife on the sixth night or other nights even in number. Boys will be born (if intercourse is carried) on even nights and girls on nights, odd in number.
Unrighteous persons indulge in sexual intercourse on auspicious and other days and impotent persons during dusk time. A clever man shall avoid Rikta days.
Even if rude people speak a lot, one shall never listen to them.
An honourable seat should not be offered to a person who is not magnificent.
After shaving, vomiting or sexual intercourse with a woman, an intelligent person shall take bath along with the clothes worn. He shall take bath also after going to the cremation ground.
O Brahmins! One shall not make slanderous remarks about the followers, or laugh at deities, Veda, Brahmins, noble and truthful persons, preceptor, chaste women, the Brahman, yajnas and ascetics.
One shall be in perfectly auspicious dress, clad in white garments, and embellished with white flowers. One shall never be inauspicious in dress and features. One shall not be on friendly terms with arrogant persons, mad fellows, the foolish and impolite, persons of no good conduct, those who are defiled by the defects of age and caste, those who habitually spend much, those who are enemies, those who are censured, those who are inefficient in their work, those who are in contact with lecherous persons, those who have no money, those who are solely interested in arguing and other base men.
One shall stand up while meeting friends, persons who are initiated, Kings, religious students who have finished studies and become householders, and the father-in-law. When they come to oneís house one shall greet them in accordance with oneís affluence.
O Brahmins! After honouring and worshipping them in accordance with oneís capacity, one shall bid them farewell to their respective places, after they have stayed for a year.
One shall then offer worship. One shall offer oblations into the fire in due order. The first oblation shall be offered to Brahma, the second to Prajapati, the third to the Grhyas and the fourth to Kasyapa. After offering oblation to Anumati, one shall offer the domestic oblation.
The holy rites that have been recounted by me at the time of laying down the rules regarding the Nitya rites shall then be performed. The Vaisvadeva rite shall be performed thereafter.
O Brahmins! Even as I recount, listen.
After allotting the different divisions in the abodes (places) in regard to deities, one shall offer three oblations in the water jar to Parjanya, Aapah (waters) and Dharitree (earth). One shall offer oblation in every quarter to Vayu beginning with the east, and in due order. Then one shall offer oblations to Brahma, to the firmament and to the sun in due order. Subsequently, with purity, one shall offer oblations to the Visvadevas, to all living beings, to Ushas (dawn) and to the Bhootapati (the Lord of living beings). In the south, one shall offer oblations to the Pitris after saying ëSvadhaa cha namahí making it anticlockwise. One shall duly offer the water mixed with the remnant of cooked rice in the south-east, uttering ëYaksma etat teí. Thereafter one shall perform the rite of obeisance to deities and Brahmins.
The line at the root of the thumb of the right hand is known as the Brahma-Tirtha for the rite of Aachamana.
The spot between the index finger and the thumb is cited as the Pitr- Tirtha. Except in the case of Naandeemukha type of Pitris, water libation shall be offered by means of this spot to the Pitris. The Tirtha pertaining to deities is at the tip of fingers. The holy rite unto deities is by means of Pitr-tirtha. The Tirtha of Prajapati should be assigned at the root of the little finger. Thus, by means of these Tirthas alone should all the rites be performed to the respective deities along with the Pitris. They should never be performed through the Tirthas of others.
The rite of Aachamana by means of Brahma-Tirtha is excellent. The rites of Pitris shall always be performed by means of Pitr-Tirtha; the rites of the deities by means of Deva-Tirtha and the rite of Prajapati by means of the Tirtha of Prajapati. With the same, one shall perform the rites of water libation and offering the ball of rice unto the Nandimukha category of the Pitris. Everything connected with Prajapati shall be performed by means of Prajaapatya Tirtha.
No shrewd man shall hold water and fire together. One shall not stretch oneís legs in front of oneís preceptors, deities, the Pitris and Brahmins.
One should not look at a cow suckling her calf; one should not drink water with the palms joined together to form a cup; an intelligent man shall not cause delay in the short and long periods of cleaning. One shall not blow fire with the mouth.
O Brahmins! One should not stay in a place where there is no one who offers debt; a physician, a Brahmin well-versed in the Veda and a river abounding in water.
An intelligent man shall always stay where the King is strong, interested in virtue and has complete control over his servants. Whence can one have happiness if the King is bad?
It is conducive to happiness to stay at a place where the citizens are united, where they abide by justice, where they are peaceful and where they rival with one another (to work for the welfare of all).
A shrewd man shall live in that country where the husbandmen are generally not very arrogant and where all medicines are available.
O Brahmins! One shall not stay in that place where there is anyone eager to conquer, a previous enemy and people who continuously celebrate festivals, together.
A learned man shall stay among his fellow travellers of very good conduct. One shall always stay at a place where the King cannot be thwarted, and where the earth yields plenty of vegetables.
Thus, O Brahmins! I have mentioned everything for the welfare of you all. Henceforth, I shall state the rules of procedure regarding the food-intake.
Cooked rice, though stale, can be taken in if it is soaked in oil. It can be kept thus for a long time. Wheat, barley and milk products kept for a long time can be eaten even if they are devoid of oil.
Hare, tortoise, alligator, porcupine and fish with darts may be eaten. The village boar and the cock should be avoided.
Even if one eats meat, one is not defiled if it is the remnant of offerings unto the Pitris, deities, etc, if it is cooked in Sraddha at the request of the Brahmins and is sprinkled with holy water, or if it is taken as a medicine.
Conch, rock, gold, silver, rope, garments, vegetables, roots, fruits, baskets of split bamboos, hides, jewel-studded cloth, coral pearl, (ordinary) vessels and vessels used for drinking soma juice can be cleaned with water.
The cleansing of stony vessels may be with water or by scrubbing with a stone. The cleansing of oily vessels is by means of hot water.
The sieves, deer skins, mortars and pestles, or clothes in a bundle are cleaned by just sprinkling (of water over the bundle). The cleansing of all types of bark-garments is by means of clay and water.
The cleansing of wool and all types of hairs is done with the kalka (paste) after being boiled well of white mustard or sesame seeds. The cleansing of cotton dress shall be with water and ash; that of wood, ivory, bones and horns is through paring.
The purity of pots made of clay is effected by baking them. What is received by way of alms, the hand of an artisan and the mouth of the harlot is pure. Perfect knowledge, passage through the street, that which is consecrated by servants, that which is praised at the outset, that which is past after a long time, that which is hidden by many, that which is light, that which has many boys within, that in which old people are active, the chambers of barn and storage for sugarcane, grain, etc and the two breasts of a woman are pure.
The flowing waters devoid of odour are pure. A plot of land becomes pure by the efflux of time, by being burnt, by being swept or when herds of cows pass over it.
(The ground becomes purified) by smearing (with cow-dung), by scraping, by sprinkling (with water), and by sweeping. If cooked rice is defiled by hairs or worms, if it is sniffed at by a cow or if flies settle on it, clay, water and ash must be put over it for the sake of purity.
The purity of (a vessel) made of Udumbara tree, tin or lead is affected by means of alkaline water. The purity of bell metal vessels is affected by means of water mixed ashes. If a liquid is defiled by contact with impurities, it is to be filtered or its foul smell is to be dispelled by means of clay and water. One shall remove the colour and the (bad) odour of other materials, too (similarly).
The (piece of) meat dropped down by a chandala (low-caste person), beasts and birds of prey, etc is pure (intrinsically). Oil, etc that is spilt on the street is pure. The water that gives satisfaction to a cow is pure.
Dust particles, fire, the shadow of horses and cows, rays (of the sun), wind, earth, sprays (of water), flies, etc are not defiled by means of their contact with (other) defiled things. Goats and horses are pure in their mouths, but not the mouths of cows and calves. The flow of milk of the mother is pure. A bird felled down by an arrow is pure. Seats, beds, vehicles, river banks, grasses, etc are purified by the rays of the sun and the moon, and by the wind, like the articles of trade.
One shall duly perform the rite of Achamana after traversing through streets, after a bath and during the activities of eating and drinking. One shall perform Achamana after wearing a cloth.
Those touched by the foul marshy water of the street get purified by contact with wind. So is the purity of a platform built of baked bricks.
One shall take away the upper part of the cooked food defiled much and leave it off, and sprinkle the remaining part with water along with clay. The person who partakes of defiled food is to fast for three nights and perform the rite of Achamana by means of water, to become pure. This atonement is prescribed when the partaking is due to ignorance. If it were to be with full knowledge, that defect does not abate.
After touching a woman in her monthly course or a woman who has come into contact with her, or a woman who has just given birth to a child, and persons belonging to the meanest caste, one shall take bath for purity. So also, one shall take bath after touching persons who have carried a dead body. If a Brahmin touches a human bone, he can become pure by taking an oil-bath. If he does not take oil-bath, he shall have to perform the Achamana rite, touch a cow and look at the sun. (He shall then become pure.)
One shall not tread on spittle or vomited matter.
The leavings after food, fasces, urine, and water used for washing the feet shall be cast out of the house.
Without concluding the rite of offering five Pindas, one shall not take bath in the water belonging to others.
One shall take bath in natural water reservoirs (literally, those dug by gods), in eddies, the Ganges (and other) rivers.
An intelligent man shall never remain in gardens and other places at wrong times.
One shall never converse with those persons who are hated by the people, as well as women bereft of sons.
One becomes purified by looking at the sun if one touches or converses with the persons who speak in contempt of deities, manes, scriptures, performance of sacrifices and saintly persons.
This selfsame purificatory rite should be performed by intelligent persons after looking at a woman in her monthly course, a dead body that has been left abandoned and lying (unattended), persons devoid of righteousness or persons of other religions, a woman who has just given birth to a child, a eunuch, a naked man, a man of the lowest caste, persons who have carried a dead body and those who are enamoured of other menís wives.
A person who is conversant with righteousness becomes purified by taking a bath if he touches a mendicant not worthy of being fed, a heretic, a cat, an ass, a cook, a fallen man, an outcaste (a person ostracized), a chandala (low-caste person), those who bear dead bodies, a country- pig and a woman in her monthly course. Similarly, one has to take bath for purification if one touches any person defiled by a woman who has just given birth to a child, a person who has been polluted due to child-birth, a person who fails to perform his daily round of duties at home, a person abandoned by brahmins or the meanest man who commits sins by his (indiscriminate) eating.
One shall never fail to perform the daily duty of observing rituals. Only on the occurrence of a death or birth (in his family), a Brahmin shall refrain from the rites of performing sacrifice, offering sacrificial fire, etc.
(In similar circumstances), a kshatriya shall refrain from performing the daily rites for twelve days, a vaisya for half a month and a sudra for a month.
Thereafter all these people shall perform their duties duly.
Water (libation) should be offered to the dead man (body) by the members of his gotra after taking it out of the house. The bones of a dead person shall be collected on the first, fourth, seventh or the ninth day. They shall be gathered by the members of his gotra on the fourth day.
After the rite of sanchayana (collection of bones after cremation), the touch of their limbs is laid down in the Sastras. The prescribed rites should be performed by the members of the gotra of the dead person after the rite of sanchayana.
On the day of death in a family, two sagotrikas (sapindas) can touch each other, for they are related to each other. If death takes place owing to weapons, hanging, fire or enemy the prescription is the same as mentioned afore. If death takes place owing to protest fasts or starvation, men are purified immediately. But the sagotrikas will have pollution for three days.
When a sagotrika dies after the death of another (that is immediately thereafter), a single purificatory rite is sufficient. The routine daily rites should, however, be performed. The same is the procedure when a birth takes place.
According to injunctions, the father shall take bath at the birth of a son. He shall take bath along with the clothes he is wearing at the time of the birth.
Even in the case of (post-natal pollution), if another birth takes place while pollution is current, the purity is mentioned as having been affected in the course of days of the previous birth. The people of different castes shall duly perform their duties and rituals after ten, twelve, fifteen or thirty days, as the case may be, as ordained in the Sastras.
After the ordained period, the rite of Eloddista-sraaddha should be performed in regard to the dead man and gifts given to the Brahmins.
Whatever was pleasing unto, whatever was liked by him (the dead man) in the house should be given to a worthy Brahmin by the person (performing the rites) who wishes that the same should be inexhaustible.
When the days of pollution are past, the people shall touch water by their vehicles and weapons. After offering water libations and pindas to the dead, people of all castes will have fulfilled all their due rites.
They shall perform all rites maintaining purity for prosperity here and hereafter. The Veda should be studied everyday. One should try to be a learned scholar.
One should earn and amass wealth righteously. One should assiduously perform sacrifice whereby the Atman will not be infuriated. O Brahmins! Sacrifice shall not be treated with contempt. Without hesitation one shall perform that rite which need not be concealed by a great man.
O Brahmins! If a householder practises the foregoing conduct of life thus, he attains virtue, wealth and love. It is splendid for him here and hereafter.
This is an esoteric secret. It is conducive to longevity and affluence. It increases intellect. It dispels sins. It is meritorious. It bestows glory, health and nourishment. It is auspicious. It confers fame and renown. It increases splendour and strength. It is a means of attainment of heaven. It should always be practised by men, o excellent sages. It should be practised by Brahmins, Kshatriyas, Vaisyas and Sudras.
This should be known carefully by those who desire prosperity. He who understands and practises it on all occasions shall be rid of sins. He is honoured in the heavenly world.
O excellent Brahmins! This is the essence of all that has been related. It is the virtuous path mentioned in Srutis and Smrtis. This secret should not be imparted to anyone, least to an atheist, a defiled mind. Nor should it be imparted to an arrogant fellow, a foolish person or a prattler of unsound arguments.
Assignment of duties to different Castes and stages of Life
The sages said:
O holy one! We wish to hear about the special duties of different castes. O excellent Brahmin! Recount the duties of the four varnas (castes) and ashramas also.
Listen, with restraint, to the duties of different castes, namely, Brahmanas, Kshatriyas, Vaisyas and Sudras in due order as they are being recounted by me.
A Brahmin shall be devoted to (the practice of) sympathy, charitable gift, austerities, sacrifice unto the gods and study of his own branch of the Veda. He shall regularly perform water libations. He shall maintain sacrificial fires.
For his livelihood, he shall perform sacrifices on behalf of others. He shall teach Vedic lore to the twice-born. O Brahmins! For performing sacrifices, he shall accept monetary gifts with discretion.
O Brahmins! He shall do everything beneficial to the world. He shall not perform what is detrimental to anyone. Friendliness to all living beings is the excellent asset of a Brahmin.
O Brahmins! He shall view a cow and another manís precious gem as equal. O Brahmins! His carnal approach to his wife during the permissible period after the days of menstruation is commended.
A Kshatriya shall give charitable gifts to the Brahmins as much as they wish. O Brahmins! He should perform different sacrifices and read the Veda.
He shall maintain himself through his weapons. Protection of Earth is his excellent means of livelihood. Sustenance of Earth is his primary duty.
Rulers of men (kings) are content only by due sustenance of Earth, since the protection of the King himself is accomplished by such holy rites as sacrifice.
By chastising the wicked and protecting the good, the King attains the desired worlds. He is the one who establishes and stabilizes different castes.
O excellent sages! Brahma, the grandfather of the worlds, granted breeding of cattle, trading activities and agriculture as means of livelihood unto a Vaisya.
For him, reading of the Veda, sacrifice, charitable gifts, practice of piety and the performance of compulsory and optional rites are also recommended.
The holy rites of a Sudra depend upon the collaboration of the twice-born. For that purpose, he supports and nourishes them through riches earned by purchase and sale of articles, or by practising arts and crafts. A Sudra shall offer charitable gifts. He shall worship by means of Pakayajnas (offering cooked food unto gods). He shall perform rites unto the Pitris.
There are certain virtuous observances common to the four varnas. All of them can accept gifts for sustaining their dependents.
O excellent Brahmins! They should carnally approach their own respective wives during the permissible period after the days of menstruation.
Kindness and sympathy towards all living beings, forbearance, absence of over-exertion, auspiciousness, loving and gentle speech, friendliness, absence of desire, abstention from miserliness and being devoid of jealousy are recounted as the noble characteristics of all the varnas.
O Brahmins! These alone are the characteristics common to people of all castes. There are special qualities and subsidiary duties of the Brahmins and others.
In times of adversity, the vocation of a Kshatriya or a Vaisya is recommended for a Brahmin; the vocation of a Vaisya to a Kshatriya and the vocation of a Sudra to both a Kshatriya and a Vaisya.
O Brahmins! In case of incompetence, such assignment of vocations shall be avoided. One shall pursue oneís own vocation even during adversity; and chaotic mixing up of vocations shall not be effected.
O Brahmins! Thus, the duties of a Brahmin (and of other castes) have been mentioned by me. Understand now the respective duties of the people of various stages of life even as I explain them to you.
A boy who has been invested with the sacred thread shall be devoted to the study of Veda, residing in the abode of his preceptor, O Brahmins!
A student shall be mentally pure. He shall be engaged, with devotion, in the practice of cleanliness. He shall render service to the preceptor. He shall grasp the Veda intelligently and with devotion.
O Brahmins! With concentration and purity of mind, he shall make obeisance to the sun-god and fire-god at dawn as well as at dusk. He shall salute the preceptor, too.
O excellent Brahmins! He shall stand when the preceptor remains standing. He shall follow when the preceptor goes ahead. When the preceptor is seated, he shall be seated at a lower level. He shall avoid whatever is not to the liking of the preceptor.
He shall sit in front of him. Without his mind dwelling on anything else, he shall repeat the Vedic text recited by the preceptor. Thereafter, on being permitted by him, he shall partake of the cooked food received as alms.
He shall take bath in the water wherein the preceptor has taken bath. Early in the morning everyday he shall fetch water for libation and sacrificial twigs for the preceptor.
Having learnt the required Vedic texts, he shall offer fees to his preceptor. On getting his permission, he shall return home and enter the stage of a householder.
The householder propitiates the Manes by means of oblations, deities by sacrifices, guests by cooked food, sages by regular recitation of Vedic texts, the spirits and other living beings by oblations, etc and the entire world by the truthfulness of words. Thus he attains celestial regions by his own actions.
The recluses and brahmacharins (religious students) who sustain themselves by cooked food received as alms depend on the householder. Hence the stage of householder is the noblest.
O Brahmins! Some Brahmins are engaged in disseminating the Vedic knowledge. Some wander over the earth for pilgrimage, taking holy dips in sacred waters. Some wander visiting different countries of the world. They have no abode of their own. They do not prepare their own food. To these people, the householder offers a home for rest in the evening. Hence it is said that the householder sustains and supports them.
The householder should welcome them. He should speak sweet words always. He shall give them gifts. He shall offer seats, food and beds to those who come to his house.
A guest, returning disappointed from a personís house, goes taking away the merits of the householder after handing over his own sins.
Dishonouring (others), egotism, arrogance, slandering, attacking and speaking harsh words to others are despicable for a householder.
The householder who duly adheres to what is thus enjoined becomes liberated from bondage, and attains to the most exalted worlds.
O Brahmins! At a ripe old age, the householder who has duly fulfilled his duties shall entrust his sons with the duty of looking after his wife, and retire to the forest. Or he can allow his wife to accompany him.
O Brahmins! There he shall stay as a sage sustaining himself with leaves, roots and fruits. He shall let the beard and facial hairs grow. He shall have matted hairs on his head. He shall sleep on the bare ground. He can be the guest of anyone.
O excellent Brahmins! His wearing apparel and upper garments shall consist of leather, darbha grass or kaasa plants. Taking head-bath thrice a day (in rivers or lakes) is recommended for him.
Worship of the deities, offering ghee into the fire, greeting and honouring visitors and guests, begging alms and offering oblations are highly recommended in his case.
Massaging his limbs by means of oil obtained from forest produce is also commended. O leading Brahmins! Ability to bear the extremes of cold and heat is a form of penance unto him.
The forest-dwelling recluse who regularly performs duties fixed for him shall burn off his defects like fire. He shall attain to the eternal worlds.
O excellent ones! Follow me even as I relate the nature and general characteristics of the stage of a mendicant sage called the fourth stage (of life) by the wise.
O excellent Brahmins! A mendicant shall eschew affection and attachment unto his sons, wife and assets. He shall enter the fourth stage of life after eschewing competitive spirit and rivalry.
O excellent Brahmins! He shall leave off the enterprises of the three varnas. He shall behave alike unto friends and others. He shall be friendly to all creatures.
He shall maintain yogic practice. He shall never injure the oviparous, viviparous and other creatures mentally, verbally or physically. He shall refrain from all attachments.
He shall never stay in a single place permanently. In a village he shall stay for a single night. In a city he shall stay for five successive nights. He has neither pleasurable attachment nor hatred unto the lower creatures and birds.
For sustaining himself, he shall visit, begging for alms, the houses of men of noble caste where coal has ceased to burn but the inmates have not yet taken food.
He shall not be dejected when nothing is obtained. He shall not be over-joyed when something is obtained. He shall have that much which is necessary to maintain his life. He shall be out of all attachment to quantities.
He shall have absolute contempt for over-cherished acquisitions. Even the liberated sage is bound by over-cherished acquisitions.
Eschewing such defects (emotions) as passion, anger, arrogance, greed, delusion, etc, the full-fledged saint shall be free from all possessions.
After offering freedom from fear to all living beings, he shall wander over the earth. Liberated from the shackles to his physical body, he shall have no cause of fear anywhere.
By means of sacrificial offerings such as ghee acquired through begging, the Brahmin-sage shall perform the symbolic Agnihotra in his own body. He shall perform Homa unto bodily fire through his mouth. He attains to the other worlds through the funeral pyre.
He, who is pure, endowed with good conceptions and intellect, and passes through the stage of life pertaining to salvation in the manner mentioned above, becomes calm like the fire wherein no fuel is consigned. That twice-born attains to the world of Brahma.
Characteristics of mixed Castes
The sages said:
O highly blessed One! You are omniscient. You are engaged in activities beneficial to all. O Sage! There is nothing past, present or future that is not known to you. O highly intelligent One! By what activities does the downward fall of the varnas take place? Tell us. We wish to hear how and by what means does a Sudra attain to the status of a Brahmin and a Brahmin to that of a Sudra.
The beautiful peak of the Himalayas is embellished by different minerals. It is covered by various trees and creepers. It is endowed with wonderful features. The Three-eyed lord of deities, that Supreme God, the Destroyer of the three cities was seated thereon. The Goddess of charming eyes, the daughter of the King of mountains, bowed down to the Lord, O Brahmins, and put this question formerly unto Him. O excellent sages! I shall describe that. Listen.
O Three-eyed lord! O Destroyer of the eyes of Bhaga, the teeth of Pusan and the sacrifice of Daksha! I have this great doubt (to be cleared). The arrangement (of the people) into four castes had been formerly brought about by the self-born lord. What are those activities as a result of which a Vaisya attains to the status of a sudra? By what means does a Kshatriya become a Brahmin or a Vaisya become a Kshatriya? O Lord! By what activity does a Kshatriya attain to the status of a Sudra? O Lord of goblins! Please clarify this doubt of mine. How do the persons of the three varnas attain to Brahmin-hood naturally?
O Goddess! Brahmin-hood is very difficult to attain. The Brahmins are naturally auspicious; the Kshatriyas, Vaisyas and Sudras are not auspicious.
The Brahmins fall off their status by performing evil deeds. For this reason, one is forced to a lower level even after attaining to the most excellent of castes.
One who, whether a Kshatriya or a Vaisya, adheres to the characteristics of a Brahmin attains to Brahmin-hood.
He who forsakes Brahmin-hood and resorts to the activities and features of a Kshatriya slides from the status of a Brahmin, and is born of a Kshatriya womb, thereafter.
Even after attaining the rare distinction of being a Brahmin, if a person becomes greedy and deluded with deficient intellect and resorts to the activities of a Vaisya, that Brahmin attains to Vaisya caste in a later life. A Vaisya (in similar circumstances) attains to Sudra caste. A Brahmin deviating from his duties shall thereafter attain to Sudra caste.
That person who has fallen off his varna attains to hell. He who falls off the world of Brahma is born of the womb of a Sudra woman.
O highly blessed Lady of sacred activities! If a Kshatriya or a Vaisya eschews his own duties and resorts to the occupation of a Sudra, he falls off his original status, and becomes one of mixed castes. A Brahmin or Kshatriya or a Vaisya, on becoming one of mixed castes, attains to Sudra caste.
A Sudra who maintains his own duties, who is endowed with wisdom and perfect knowledge, who is conversant with piety and who is engaged in holy activities attains to the fruit of those holy activities.
O Goddess! This, too, another thing pertaining to the Atman, has been cited by Brahma. Eternal achievement is resorted to by those who are desirous of righteous activities.
O Goddess! The food cooked by a person of the mixed caste ugra is despicable. The food collectively cooked, the food pertaining to sraddha, the food defiled by pollution owing to the birth or death of someone in the family and the food that is loudly proclaimed should not be eaten. The food cooked by a Sudra should never be eaten.
The food cooked by a Sudra is despised by gods and noble men, O Goddess! That which is uttered by Brahma is authoritative.
A Brahmin, a person who maintains sacrificial fire or who performs sacrifice attains to the caste of Sudra if he were to die with the remnants of the food cooked by a Sudra within the stomach. This is certain.
A Brahmin takes birth in the womb of a woman of the caste as the person whose food he generally uses for sustenance, or the remnants of whose food remain undigested in his stomach at the time of his death.
After happily attaining to the rare privilege of being born a Brahmin, if one slights it off, or if one partakes of forbidden food, one falls off the status of a Brahmin.
A Brahmin falls off his status if he is a wine-addict, a Brahmin-slayer, a thief, a robber, one who has violated the vow of holy observances, an unclean one who refrains from regular study of the Veda, a sinner, a greedy person, one who indulges in misdemeanour, a knave, one who does not observe religious vows, the husband of a Sudra woman, one who has taken food for sustenance from a bastard, one who sells soma-juice and one who serves a mean person.
A Brahmin who defiles the bed of his preceptor, who hates his preceptor, who delights in despising his preceptor or who is hostile to Brahmins falls off his status.
O Goddess! By performing these splendid holy rites, a Sudra attains to Brahmin-hood and a Vaisya the status of a Kshatriya.
A Sudra attains to the status of a Vaisya if he performs his duties justly and in accordance with the injunctions of his caste, if he is hospitable to all and partakes of the food left by them, if he assiduously renders service to and attends upon the persons of superior castes, if he is not dejected or disheartened in his attempt, if he remains an excellent man, if he clings to the path of the good, if he honours and worships the twice-born and the gods, if he observes hospitality to all as a holy rite, if he approaches his wife only on the permissive nights after the period of menstruation, if he is regular in habits and taking food, if he is an expert at his work, if he seeks good persons for companionship, if he partakes of the food left by others, and if he does not partake of meat without consecrating it.
A Vaisya becomes a Brahmin if he is truthful in speech and an expert in the employment of peaceful means, if he is not affected by mutually opposite extremes, if he does not boast about himself, if he performs daily sacrifices, if he is devoted to the study of the Veda, if he maintains purity, if he controls his sense organs, if he honours Brahmins, and if he is not envious of any of the four varnas.
Taking meals twice a day, that Vaisya observes the duties of a householder. He does not hesitate to eat the remnants of food. He controls his diet. He is devoid of passionate desire. He is not arrogant. He performs Agnihotra carrying out Homa in accordance with injunctions. He entertains everyone that goes to him as his guest and partakes of his learning. He duly maintains the three sacrificial fires.
A Vaisya, who is pure, is reborn in a noble family of Kshatriyas. That Vaisya who is reborn as a Kshatriya shall be purified with the consecratory rites on his maturity. After investiture with the sacred thread, he shall be devoted to all holy observances. Thus consecrated, he becomes a Brahmin. He gives charitable gifts and performs sacrifices with rich monetary gifts. Always seeking refuge in the sacrificial fires and continuing the study of the Veda, he shall hope to achieve heaven.
A Kshatriya shall study the Veda with a desire for the attainment of heaven. He shall seek refuge in the three sacrificial fires. He shall always make gifts so that his hands remain wet. He shall protect the subjects righteously.
He shall be truthful. He shall perform truthful deeds, with his vision on purity for ever. By self-imposed righteous punishments he shall burn off his sins. He shall acquire virtue, love and wealth. He shall be self-controlled by his organs of action. He shall partake of only a sixth of the produce of his subjects. He shall be shrewd in monetary dealings.
He shall not indulge freely in licentious activities. He shall be virtuous. He shall carnally approach his wife only during the prescribed periods after the days of menstruation. He shall be strict in the observance of fasts and other holy rites. He shall be engaged in the study of the Veda. He shall be pure.
Even in his house, he shall always sleep in the well-protected apartments free from strangers. He shall be hospitable to all in regard to the three aims of life, namely, virtue, love and wealth.
He shall be pure in mind. To the Sudras who are desirous of food he shall say, ëWell, it is readyí. He shall not look at anything with selfishness or passionate love. He shall gather all the things necessary for the manes, gods and guests. He shall duly perform worship, in his abode, even by resorting to alms. He shall duly perform Agnihotra twice everyday. He shall be prepared to face even death in battle for the welfare of cows and Brahmins.
Such a Kshatriya shall become a Brahmin. He shall purify himself by reciting mantras for maintenance of the three sacrificial fires. He shall become richly equipped with perfect knowledge and wisdom. He shall consecrate himself. He shall master the Veda.
O gentle Lady! A virtuous Vaisya shall become a Kshatriya by performing his own duties. By the fruits of these activities in a lower birth, he can become so.
Even a Sudra who is richly endowed with the knowledge of the Veda can become a Brahmin and cultured. Even a Brahmin may forfeit his Brahmin-hood and become a Sudra if his conduct is mean, and if his diet and culture are debased.
Brahma himself has said that even a Sudra should be considered a Brahmin, O Gentle lady, if he is virtuous, purified by holy rites or has conquered his sense-organs. A Sudra who clings to his duties faithfully and truthfully should be considered purer than the twice-born ones.
Neither the womb of birth, nor the consecratory rites, nor the Vedic knowledge, nor the lineage can be the cause of Brahmin-hood. Conduct is the real cause. All men are Brahmins if their conduct is pure. Even a Sudra who strictly adheres to good conduct attains to Brahmin-hood.
O Lady of splendid hips! The inherent quality of a Brahmin is the same everywhere. He is a Brahmin in whom the attribute-less, faultless, pure Brahman resides.
O gentle Lady! Those persons who are free from impurities are the exponents and guides of good conduct. All these issues were mentioned by Brahma himself, the Bestower of boons, while creating the subjects.
The Brahmin is, as it were, a great mobile field that has feet. If any one sows seeds therein, they fructify after death. A person who desires prosperity shall always be contented. He shall always cling to the path of the good. He shall regularly study the Veda, but should not make it his means of livelihood. A Brahmin who acts this way, who abides by the path of the good, who maintains the sacrificial fire and who studies the Veda regularly becomes eligible to attain to liberation.
O gentle Lady! After attaining to Brahmin-hood, the man of controlled-self shall protect it by holy rites such as acceptance of monetary gifts only from worthy persons.
O Lady of pure smiles! Thus, the secret doctrine has been recounted to you as to how a Sudra becomes a Brahmin or how a Brahmin falling off virtue attains to the status of a Sudra.
Review of Virtue – 1
O Lord of all living beings! O Lord saluted by deities and demons! O powerful Lord! Please clear my doubts in regard to the notions of piety and sin among men.
All embodied beings are bound in three ways, that is, thought, word and deed. How are they released there-from?
O Lord! By what habitual practice, by what holy rite, by what sort of conduct and good quality do men go to heaven?
O goddess Uma of perfect knowledge of the principles of piety! O gentle Lady of permanent adherence to virtue! Your question is conducive to the welfare and wisdom of all living beings.
Persons of tranquility, engaged in truth and piety and devoid of all external symbols, are free from doubts. They are fettered neither by piety nor by blasphemy.
Those persons who are omniscient, who are conversant with the principles of creation and annihilation, who see everything and who are devoid of passionate attachment to anything are released from the bonds of karma.
Those who do not injure anybody or anything, whatsoever, mentally, verbally or physically and those who are not involved in anything are not bound by karma.
Those who refrain from violence to living beings, who possess good conduct and mercifulness, and who have equanimity to othersí hatred and love are released from the bonds of karma. They have self-control.
Those who are merciful to living beings, who are worthy of being trusted by living creatures and who have eschewed violent activities go to heaven.
Those who are indifferent to othersí assets, who always avoid other menís wives and who enjoy the riches virtuously acquired by them go to heaven.
Those men who always associate with other menís wives as though they were their own mothers, sisters and daughters go to heaven.
Those who cling to their own wives, who carnally approach them only during the prescribed period after the days of menstruation and who never indulge themselves in vulgar lechery go to heaven.
Those who desist from stealth, who are content with their own wealth and who enjoy their own good luck go to heaven.
Those who view other menís wives with eyes enveloped by chastity, who have conquered their sense organs and who value good conduct very much go to heaven.
This divinely evolved path should be resorted to by men. Only a path untarnished by sins should always be resorted to by wise men. Only a path that never needlessly harms others should be resorted to by wise men. A path of such holy rites as charitable gifts and austerities, a path of good conduct, cleanliness and mercy should be resorted to by those who wish to attain to heaven. No other path shall be resorted to.
O sinless Lord of living beings! Recount to me those activities wherein a man is fettered verbally but is again released there-from.
Those who never utter a sin-based lie either for their own sake or for othersí sake go to heaven.
Those who never utter falsehood either for livelihood, or for virtue or out of desire for the same go to heaven.
Those who welcome others speaking sweet, sinless and polished words with clearly pronounced syllables go to heaven.
Those who never speak harsh, incisive and cruel words and who never indulge in slanderous gossip are good men who go to heaven.
Those who do not speak calumnious words or words that antagonize their friends or inflict pain on others go to heaven.
Those who desist from knavish blabber, those who avoid antagonistic activities and those who speak gently go to heaven.
Those who, out of anger, do not utter words that wound the hearts of others and those who attain to peace, in not being angry, go to heaven.
O gentle Lady! This act of piety relating to word (speech) should be resorted to by men. False (speech) should be eschewed by wise men that possess the auspicious quality of truthfulness.
O highly blessed Lord of gods! O Pinaka-wielding Lord! Tell me about those mental acts whereby a man is held in bondage.
O Lady of weal! Those who possess virtues of thought do always go to heaven. Listen even as I narrate them.
O Lady of splendid countenance! Man is held in bondage by his mind. Listen how his inner working binds him.
When another manís property is seen (known) kept in a forest or a lonely place, (good men) do not even think of appropriating it. They go to heaven.
Good men do not become overjoyed on seeing other menís property left in a lonely place whether in the village or in the house. (Nor do they think of appropriating it.) They go to heaven.
Similarly, good men do not even think of molesting lecherously the wives of others (on meeting them) in lonely spots. They go to heaven.
Good men mentally view friends and enemies alike. They have a friendly attitude towards all. They go to heaven.
Good men are learned, merciful, pure and truthful; they are contented with their own riches. They go to heaven.
Good men are devoid of enmity. They do not overstrain themselves. They always maintain a friendly attitude. They are merciful towards all living beings. They go to heaven.
They possess knowledge. They perform holy rites. They are fond of their friends. They understand piety and sin. They go to heaven.
Good men, O gentle Lady, are indifferent to the accumulating fruits of auspicious and inauspicious deeds; they go to heaven.
After attaining to prosperity, good men are devoted to gods and learned Brahmins. They shun the sinful. They go to heaven.
They go to heaven owing to the splendid results of holy rites. O gentle Lady! Those who tread the path of heaven have been enumerated by me. What more do you wish to hear?
O great Lord, I have a certain doubt concerning mortals Hence it behooves you to explain it fully.
O Lord, by means of what holy rite does a man attain to a long life? By what type of penance, O Lord of gods, does he obtain a great span of life?
By means of what activity does man on earth get longevity reduced? O uncensored Lord, it behooves you to narrate the consequences of actions.
Differences are observed in men. Some are highly fortunate. Others are less fortunate. Some are born noble and others are born ignoble.
Some are very odious in appearance as if they are made of wood. Others are very pleasing to behold.
Some appear to be evil-minded. Some appear to be highly learned. Others have highly developed intellect with pure wisdom and prescience.
O Lord, some are men of very few words. Others are highly eloquent. Hence it behooves you to explain this diversity.
O gentle Lady! I shall explain to you the outcome of the fruits of actions whereby all men in the mortal world deservedly experience their respective benefits. If a man raises his weapon and kills a host of living beings, he is sure to fall into hell. Even a yogi goes to hell if he injures living beings.
One who is ruthless to all living beings, one who causes heartburn even unto germs and worms, one who is extremely merciless and one who never affords refuge (unto others) falls into hell. One who does not act that way is a pious soul and is reborn in human form.
A man of violent nature goes to hell. A nonviolent man goes to heaven. The man who goes to hell undergoes terrible and unbearable torture in hell.
If anyone, by any means, survives and comes out of hell and attains to human birth, he becomes short-lived.
O gentle Lady! One who commits sinful actions, violence, etc is inimical to all living beings and becomes short-lived.
On account of his splendid activity, O gentle Lady, a good man eschews slaughter of living beings. He lays aside his weapons. He does not mete out punishment (to others). He never injures others. He neither kills, nor abets slaughter. He does not encourage killing. He does not make anyone kill another.
Such a person is friendly to all living beings. He views others as himself. A man of this type, O gentle Lady, attains to divinity. He enjoys pleasures and happiness deservedly. He rejoices if ever he happens to be re-born in the mortal world. This is the path of men of good conduct and activity. As a result of their avoidance of injury to living beings, they are destined to live long. This has been declared by Brahma.
Review of Virtue – 2
What are those things which a man should regularly do in order to attain to heaven? What should be his conduct and what holy rites should he perform? What should he give in charity?
Any man coming under this category, O gentle Lady, goes over to the world of gods: He should be a donor. He should honour Brahmins. The highly intelligent one should distribute edibles and foodstuffs, cooked food and drinks, clothes, etc among the poor, the distressed and the wretched. He should build places of rest and assembly chambers, sheds for giving water to travellers, etc. He should dig lotus ponds.
He should be pure in mind and body. He should perform the daily routine of duties enjoined. He should make charitable gifts of seats, beds, vehicles, houses, jewels, money, plants, fertile fields, young women, etc always with a tranquil mind.
Such a person spends a long time in heaven enjoying unsurpassed pleasures. He sports about in Nandana and other gardens rejoicing in the company of celestial damsels. O great Goddess! O gentle Lady! After returning from heaven, he is re-born among men in a highly blessed family endowed with wealth and grain.
There, he will be possessed of desirable qualities. He will be joyous. The man becomes rich. He enjoys great pleasures and accomplishes great deeds.
These highly blessed living beings of charitable disposition are those spoken of formerly by Brahma as men of pleasing appearance liked by all.
Other men, O gentle Lady, are the twice-born ones of miserly nature who do not give anything to anyone. Those thoughtless ones do not give foodstuffs even when they have them.
Even after seeing the poor, the blind and the wretched mendicants, even on beings requested by them, they turn away because they are gluttonous and covetous of palatable things.
They never give away money, garments, means of enjoyment, gold, cows or items of cooked food.
They are highly greedy and covetous, atheists, devoid of liberal- mindedness. Men of this nature, O gentle Lady, are the thoughtless ones who go to hell.
After the lapse of some time, when they take human birth, those men of deficient intellect are born in some family devoid of wealth.
They are tormented by hunger and thirst. They are boycotted by the world. Devoid of any hope for the enjoyment of pleasure, they keep on living their evil lives.
They are born of families of inferior worldly pleasures. Those men are engrossed in spurious pleasures. O gentle Lady, it is by these activities that men become devoid of wealth.
There are other types of haughty people who are arrogant and engrossed in other activities. These narrow-minded people do not offer seat unto those who deserve one. These thoughtless people do not yield way unto those who deserve one. They do not honour those worthy of honour owing to consecrated rites. Being thoughtless, they do not offer water for washing feet or drinking.
They do not lovingly address their splendid and desirable elders in view of the fact that they are overwhelmed by greed that has increased owing to their arrogance. They insult those who are worthy of honour. They slight elders.
All men of this sort, O gentle Lady, invariably fall into hell. If, somehow, those men come out of hell after many years, they take birth in the despicable families of svapaakas, pulkasas of thoughtless despicable nature. It is in these families that those people who slight and insult preceptors and elders are born.
O gentle Lady! He who is neither arrogant nor overwhelmed by false pride or prestige, he who worships deities and guests, he who is worthy of worship by the whole world, he who performs obeisance, he who speaks sweet words, he who is pleasing to all due to his activities, he who is fond of all living beings, he who does not hate anyone, he who has pleasing countenance, he who speaks polished sweet words full of love, he who offers words of welcome unto all living beings, he who does not violently hit or injure anybody, he who honours everyone as one deserves by good actions, he who stands aside after offering the path unto one who deserves it, he who worships his preceptor always, he who takes pleasure in receiving guests or he who worships honourable visitors attains to heaven.
After his sojourn in heaven, he takes birth in the mortal world in an excellent family. There he enjoys all sorts of pleasures, and possesses all jewels. He gives to the deserving ones charitable gifts in accordance with their merits. He is devoted to pious rites. He is honoured by all living beings. He is bowed to by the entire world. He obtains the fruits of his actins. This is the means of virtue declared by the Creator himself, and I have described it.
He who has a horrible habit, he who is terrifying unto all animals, O splendid Lady, he who tortures and harasses living creatures with his hands and feet, with a rope or a stick and with clods of earth, columns or other means, he whose mind is bent on violence, he who makes creatures suffer or he who approaches living creatures making them tremble with fear falls into hell.
After the lapse of some-time, if he attains human form or birth, he is born in a debased family overwhelmed by many kinds of suffering. He is hated by the world. He is the lowliest among men as a result of his actions. This, O gentle Lady, should be understood in regard to human beings in the midst of their kith and kin.
The opposite kind of man looks at all living beings with kindness. He is like a father to them. His eyes are full of fondness and friendship. He is devoid of inimical feelings. He has perfect control over his sense-organs. Being merciful, he does not cause fear in the living beings. He does not kill them.
He earns the confidence of all living creatures. He does not injure any living being with his perfectly controlled organs of action. He does not cause them any harm or frighten them by means of a rope, a stick, clods of earth or a weapon. The actions of the man are always splendid.
A man of such habits and conduct goes to heaven. There, in a divine mansion, he lives joyously like gods. If, after the end of his tenure in heaven, he returns to the mortal world, he enjoys increased happiness. He has less stress and strain. He is devoid of terrifying grief. He enjoys pleasures. He has no strenuous labour to undertake. He is always free from mental agony. This, O gentle Lady, is the path of the good where there is no affliction.
Some of these men are observed to be clever and mightily enthusiastic. They are richly endowed with wisdom and prescience. They are intelligent, and experts on the subjects of wealth. Others, O Lord, are evil-minded and devoid of wisdom and prescience. What is that action as a result of which a man becomes intelligent? How does a man become deficient in wisdom? O Siva! Clear this doubt of mine.
O Lord, the most excellent one among the virtuous! Some are blind by birth. Some others, O Lord, are distressed by sickness. Some men are observed to be impotent. Please tell me the reason thereof.
Men of the following type attain heaven: They who enquire after the welfare or otherwise of the Brahmins well versed in the Veda and of the persons of accomplishment conversant with virtue, and they who avoid inauspicious activities and resort to splendid ones attain to heaven. In this world, they attain to happiness and then go to heaven later. If anyone among them takes human birth, he is born with an extraordinary intellect. His learning is befitting the performance of sacrifices, and is auspicious.
Those who cast their evil eye on other menís wives are born blind owing to that evil conduct.
Men of sinful actions who look at a naked woman with a defiled mind become distressed owing to sickness.
Foolish men of evil conduct who indulge in sexual acts with beasts become deficient, and defiled in wisdom as well as impotent. They become eunuchs.
O the most Excellent one among the gods! What is a despicable action? What is it that is not despicable by doing which a man attains to prosperity and renown?
He who seeks the path of prosperity and enquires Brahmins about it, he who seeks virtue and he who yearns for good qualities attains to heaven.
If, at any time, he takes up human birth, O gentle Lady, he is born highly intelligent, wise and endowed with memory.
This, O gentle Lady, is the path of virtue of the good. It should be followed. It is conducive to prosperity. This has been described by me for the perpetual benefit of men in the world.
There are some men of deficient wisdom who hate virtue. They do not wish to approach Brahmins well-versed in the Veda.
Some men observe holy rites. They have faith, and they closely adhere to the path of self-control (subjugation of sense-organs). Others are devoid of holy observances. They swerve from the path of discipline. They can be compared to demons.
Still others are regular performers of holy sacrifices. There are others devoid of delusion. Tell me how they become so. What is that action as a result of which they become so?
The holy scriptures, in the understanding of the sages, prescribe the limits of pious activities in the world. There are holy men who obey them as their Authority. They are seen to be men of steadfast holy rites.
Those who are deluded call sin by the name of virtue. They do not observe holy rites. They do not observe rules of decorum and morality. They are said to be Brahmarakshasas. If, owing to the lapse of time or owing to their endeavour, they are born as men, they do become base men devoid of homas and vasatkaaras. In order to clear your doubts, O gentle Lady, the ocean of virtue has been expounded by me. Men may be efficient or inefficient in its observance.