Mahabharata Anusasana Parva - Translation by KM Ganguly

Mahabharata Adiparva


"Yudhishthira said, 'I have heard from thee, O sire, the names of those kings that have ascended to heaven. O thou whose power is great in the observance of the vow of truth by following the religion of gift. How many kinds of gift are there that should be given? What are the fruits of the several kinds of gifts respectively? For what reasons, what kinds of gifts, made to what persons are productive of merits? Indeed, unto what persons should what gifts be made? For what reasons are how many kinds of gifts to be made? I desire to hear all this in detail.'"

"Bhishma said, 'Listen, O son of Kunti, in detail to me, O sinless one as I discourse on the subject of gifts. Indeed, I shall tell you, O Bharata, how gifts should be made unto all the orders of men. From desire of merit, from desire of profit, from fear, from free choice, and from pity, gifts are made, O Bharata! Gifts, therefore, should be known to be of five kinds. Listen now to the reasons for which gifts are thus distributed in five classes. With mind freed from malice one should make gifts unto Brahmanas, for by making gifts unto the one acquires fame here and great felicity hereafter. (Such gifts are regarded as made from desire of merit.) He is in the habit of making gifts; or he has already made gifts to me. Hearing such words from solicitors one gives away all kinds of wealth unto a particular solicitor. (Such gifts are regarded as made from desire of profit.) I am not his, nor is he mine. If disregarded, he may injure me. From such motives of fear even a man of learning and wisdom may make gifts unto an ignorant wretch. (Such gifts are regarded as made from fear.) This one is dear to me, I am also dear to him. Influenced by considerations like these, a person of intelligence, freely and with alacrity, make gifts unto a friend. (Such gifts are regarded as made from free choice.) The person that solicits me is poor. He is, again, gratified with a little. From considerations such as these, one should always make gifts unto the poor, moved by pity. (Gifts made from such considerations are regarded as made from pity.) These are the five kinds of gift. They enhance the giver's merits and fame. The Lord of all creatures (Brahman himself) has said that one should always make gifts according to one's power.'"