'The Deities said, 'The Asura named Taraka who has received boons from thee, O puissant one, is afflicting the deities and the Rishis. Let his death be ordained by thee. O Grandsire, great has been our fear from him. O illustrious one, do thou rescue us. We have no other refuge than thee.'
"Brahman said, 'I am equal in my behaviour towards all creatures. I cannot, however, approve of unrighteousness. Let Taraka, that opponent of the deities and Rishis, be quickly destroyed. The Vedas and the eternal duties shall not be exterminated, ye foremost of celestials! I have ordained what is proper in this matter. Let the fever of your hearts be dispelled.'
"The Deities said, 'In consequence of thy having granted him boons, that son of Diti has been proud of his might. He is incapable of being slain, by the deities. How then will his death be brought about? The boon which, O Grandsire, he has obtained from thee is that he should not be slayable by deities or Asuras or Rakshasas. The deities have also been cursed by the spouse of Rudra in consequence of their endeavour in former days to stop propagation. The curse denounced by her has been, O lord of the universe, even this, viz., that they are not to have any offspring.'
"Brahman said, 'Ye foremost of deities, Agni was not there at the time
the curse was denounced by the goddess. Even he will beget a son for the destruction of the enemies of the gods. Transcending all the deities and Danavas and Rakshasas and human beings and Gandharvas and Nagas and feathery creatures, the offspring of Agni with his dart, which in his hands will be a weapon incapable of being baffled if once hurled at the foe, will destroy Taraka from whom your fear hath arisen. Verily, all other enemies of yours will also be slain by him. Will is eternal. That Will is known by the name of Kama and is identical with Rudra's seed a portion of which fell into the blazing form of Agni. That energy, which is a mighty substance, and which resembles a second Agni, will be cast by Agni into Ganga for producing a child upon her in order to effect the destruction of the enemies of the gods. Agni did not come within the range of Uma's curse. The eater of sacrificial libations was not present there when the curse was denounced. Let the deity of fire, therefore, be searched out. Let him now be set to this task. Ye sinless ones, I have told you what the means are for the destruction of Taraka. The curses of those that are endued with energy fail to produce any effect upon those that are endued with energy. Forces, when they come into contact with something that is endued with stronger force, become weakened. They that are endued with penances are competent to destroy even the boon-giving deities who are indestructible. Will, or Like, or Desire (which is identifiable with Agni) sprang in former times and is the most eternal of all creatures. Agni is the Lord of the universe. He is incapable of being apprehended or described. Capable of going everywhere and existing in all things, he is the Creator of all beings. He lives in the hearts of all creatures. Endued with great puissance, He is older than Rudra himself. Let that eater of sacrificial libations, who is a mass of energy, be searched out. That illustrious deity will accomplish this desire of your hearts.' Hearing these words of the Grandsire, the high-souled gods then proceeded to search out the god of fire with hearts cheerful in consequence of their purpose having been achieved. The gods and the Rishis then searched every part of the three worlds, their hearts filled with the thought of Agni and eagerly desiring to obtain a sight of him. Endued with penances, possessed of prosperity, celebrated over all the worlds, those high-souled ones, all crowned with ascetic success, sojourned over every part of the universe, O foremost one of Bhrigu's race. They failed, however, to find out the eater of sacrificial libations who had concealed himself by merging his self into self. 1 About this time, a frog, living in water, appeared on the surface thereof from the nethermost regions, with cheerless heart in consequence of having been scorched by the energy of Agni. The little creature addressed the deities who had become penetrated with fear and who were all very eager to obtain a sight of the deity of fire, saying, 'Ye gods, Agni is now residing in the nethermost regions. Scorched by the energy of that deity, and unable to bear it longer, I have come
hither. The illustrious bearer of sacrificial libations, ye gods, is now under the waters. He has created a mass of waters within which he is staying. All of us have been scorched by his energy. If, ye gods, ye desire to obtain a sight of him,--verily, if ye have any business with him,--do ye go to him thither. Do, indeed, repair thither. As regards ourselves, we shall fly from this place, ye deities, from fear of Agni.' Having said this much, the frog dived into the water'. The eater of sacrificial libations learnt of the treachery of the frog. Coming to that animal, he cursed the whole batrachian race, saying, 'Ye shall henceforth be deprived of the organ of taste. Having denounced this curse on the frog, he left the spot speedily for taking up his abode elsewhere. Verily, the puissant deity did not show himself. Seeing the plight to which the frogs were reduced for having done them a service, the deities, O best of the Bhrigus, showed favour unto those creatures. I shall tell thee everything regarding it. Do thou listen to me, O mighty-armed hero.'
"The Deities said, 'Though deprived of tongues through the curse of Agni and, therefore, reft of the sensation of taste, ye shall yet be able to utter diverse kinds of speech. Living within holes, deprived of food, reft of consciousness, wasted and dried up, and more dead than alive, all of you will be held by the Earth nevertheless. Ye shall also be able to wander about at night-time when everything is enveloped in thick darkness.' Having said this unto the frogs, the deities once more went over every part of the earth for finding out the deity of blazing flames. In spite of all their efforts, however, they failed to get at him. Then, O perpetuator of Bhrigu's race, an elephant, as large and mighty as the elephant of Sakra, addressed the gods, saying, 'Agni is now residing within this Aswattha tree!' Incensed with wrath, Agni cursed all the elephants, O descendant of Bhrigu saying, 'Your tongues will be bent back.' Having been pointed out by the elephants, the deity of fire cursed all elephants even thus and then went away and entered the heart of the Sami tree from the desire of residing within it for some time. Listen now, O puissant hero, what favour was shown unto the elephants, O foremost one of Bhrigu's race, by the deities of unbaffled prowess who were all gratified with the service a representative of their had done them.'
"The Deities said, 'With the aid of even your tongues bent inwards ye shall be able to eat all things, and with even those tongues ye shall be able to utter cries that will only be indistinct. Having blessed the elephants in this way, the denizens of Heaven once more resumed their search after Agni. Indeed, having issued out of the Aswattha tree, the deity of fire had entered the heart of Sami. This new abode of Agni was divulged by a parrot. The gods thereupon proceeded to the spot. Enraged with the conduct of the parrot, the deity of blazing flames cursed the whole parrot race, saying, 'Ye shall from this day be deprived of the power of speech.' Indeed, the eater of sacrificial libations turned up the tongues of all the parrots. Beholding Agni at the place pointed out by the parrot, and witnessing the curse denounced upon him, the gods, feeling a compassion
for the poor creature, blessed him, saying, 'In consequence of thy being a parrot, thou shalt not be wholly deprived of the power of speech. Though thy tongue has been turned backwards, yet speech thou shalt have, confined to the letter K. Like that of a child or an old man, thy speech shall be sweet and indistinct and wonderful.' Having said these words unto the parrot, and beholding the deity of fire within the heart of the Sami, the gods made Sami wood a sacred fuel fit for producing fire in all religious rites. It was from that time that fire is seen to reside in the heart of the Sami. Men came to regard the Sami as proper means for producing fire (in sacrifice). 1 The waters that occur in the nethermost regions had come into contact with the deity of blazing flames. Those heated waters, O thou of Bhrigu's race, are vomited forth by the mountain springs. In consequence, indeed, of Agni having resided in them for some time, they became hot through his energy. Meanwhile, Agni, beholding the gods, became grieved. Addressing the deities, he asked them, 'What is the reason of your presence here?' Unto him the deities and the great Rishi said, 'We wish to set thee to a particular task. It behoveth thee to accomplish it. When accomplished, it will redound greatly to thy credit.'
"Agni said, 'Tell me what your business is. I shall, ye gods, accomplish it. I am always willing to be set by you to any task you wish. Do not scruple, therefore, to command me.'"
"The Deities said, 'There is an Asura of the name of Taraka who has been filled with pride in consequence of the boon he has obtained from Brahman. Through his energy he is able to oppose and discomfit us. Do thou ordain his destruction. O sire, do thou rescue these deities, these Prajapatis, and these Rishis, O highly blessed Pavaka! O puissant one, do thou beget a heroic son possessed of thy energy, who will dispel, O bearer of sacrificial libations, our fears from that Asura. We have been cursed by the great goddess Uma. There is nothing else then thy energy which can be our refuge now. Do thou, therefore, O puissant deity, rescue us all.' Thus addressed, the illustrious and irresistible bearer of sacrificial libations answered, saying, 'Be it so', and he than proceeded towards Ganga otherwise called Bhagirathi. He united himself in (spiritual) congress with her and caused her to conceive. Verily, in the womb of Ganga the seed of Agni began to grow even as Agni himself grows (when supplied with fuel and aided by the wind). With the energy of that god, Ganga became exceedingly agitated at heart. Indeed, she suffered great distress and became unable to bear it. When the deity of blazing flames cast his seed endued with great energy into the womb of Ganga, a certain Asura (bent on purposes of his own) uttered a frightful roar. In consequence of that frightful roar uttered by the Asura for purposes of his own (and not for terrifying her), Ganga became very much terrified and her eyes rolled in fear and betrayed her agitation. Deprived of consciousness, she became unable to bear her body
and the seed within her womb. The daughter of Jahnu, inseminated with the energy of the illustrious deity, began to tremble. Overwhelmed with the energy of the seed she held in her womb, O learned Brahmana, she then addressed the deity of blazing fire, saying, 'I am no longer capable, O illustrious one, of bearing thy seed in my womb. Verily, I am overcome with weakness by this seed of thine. The health I had in days before is no longer mine. I have been exceedingly agitated, O illustrious one, and my heart is dead within me, O sinless one. O foremost of all persons endued with penances, I am in capable of bearing thy seed any longer. I shall cast it off, compelled by the distress that has overtaken me, and not by caprice. There has been no actual contact of my person with thy seed, O illustrious deity of blazing flames! Our union, having for its cause the distress that has overtaken the deities, has been suitable and not of the flesh, O thou of great splendour. Whatever merit or otherwise there may be in this act (intended to be done by me), O eater of sacrificial libations, must belong to thee. Verily, I think, the righteousness or unrighteousness of this deed must be thine.' Unto her the deity of fire said, 'Do thou bear the seed. Do, indeed, bear the foetus endued with my energy. It will lead to great results. Thou art, verily, capable of bearing the entire earth. Thou wilt gain nothing by not holding this energy.' That foremost of streams, though thus passed by the deity of fire as also by all the other deities, cast off the seed on the breast of Meru, that foremost of all mountains. Capable (somehow) of bearing that seed, yet oppressed by the energy of Rudra (for Agni is identical with Rudra), she failed to hold that seed longer in consequence of its burning energy. After she had cast it off, through sheer distress, that blazing seed having the splendour of fire, O perpetuator of Bhrigu's race, Agni saw her, and asked that foremost of streams, 'Is it all right with the foetus thou hast cast off? Of what complexion has it been, O goddess? Of what form does it look? With what energy does it seem to be endued? Do thou tell me all about it.'
"Ganga said, 'The foetus is endued with the complexion of gold. In energy it is even like thee, O sinless one! Of an excellent complexion, perfectly stainless, and blazing with splendour, it has illuminated the entire mountain. O foremost of all persons endued with penances, the fragrance emitted by it resembles the cool perfume that its scattered by lakes adorned with lotuses and Nyphoea stellata, mixed with that of the Nauclea Cadamba. With the splendour of that foetus everything around it seemed to be transformed into gold even as all things on mountain and low land seem to be transformed into gold by the rays of the Sun. Indeed, the splendour of that foetus, spreading far, falls upon mountains and rivers and springs. Indeed, it seems that the three worlds, with all their mobile and immobile creatures, are being illuminated by it. Even of this kind is thy child, O illustrious bearer of sacrificial libations. Like unto Surya or thy blazing self, in beauty it is even like a second Soma.' Having said these words, the goddess disappeared there and then. Pavaka also, of great energy, having accomplished the business of the deities proceeded to the
place he liked, O delighter of the Bhrigus. It was in consequence of the result of this act that the Rishis and the deities bestowed the name of Hiranyaretas upon the deity of fire. 1 And because the Earth held that seed (after the goddess Ganga had cast it upon her), she also came to be called by the name of Vasumati. Meanwhile; that foetus, which had sprung from Pavaka and been held for a time by Ganga, 2 having fallen on a forest of reeds, began to grow and at last assumed a wonderful form. The presiding goddess of the constellation Krittika beheld that form resembling the rising sun. She thenceforth began to rear that child as her son with the sustenance of her breast. For this reason, that child of pre-eminent splendour came to be called Kartikeya after her name. And because he grew from seed that fell out of Rudra's body, he came to be called Skanda. The incident also of his birth having taken place in the solitude of a forest of reeds, concealed from everybody's view, led to his being called by the name of Guha. It was in this way that gold came into existence as the offspring of the deity of blazing flames. 3 Hence it is that gold came to be looked upon as the foremost of all things and the ornament of the very gods. It was from this circumstance that gold came to be called by the name of Jatarupam. 4 It is the foremost of all costly things, and among ornaments also it is the foremost. The cleanser among all cleansing things, it is the most auspicious of all auspicious objects. Gold is truly the illustrious Agni. the Lord of all things, and the foremost of all Prajapatis. The most sacred of all sacred things is gold, O foremost of re-generate ones. Verily, gold is said to have for its essence Agni and Soma.'
"Vasishtha continued, 'This history also, O Rama, called Brahmadarsana, was heard by me in days of yore, respecting the achievement of the Grandsire Brahman who is identifiable with the Supreme Soul. To a sacrifice performed in days of yore by that foremost of gods, viz., Lord Rudra, O thou of great might, who on that occasion had assumed the form of Varuna, there came the Munis and all the deities with Agni at their head. To that sacrifice also came all the sacrificial limbs (in their embodied forms), and the Mantra called Vashat in his embodied form. All the Samans also and all the Yajushes, numbering by thousands and in their embodied forms, came there. The Rig-Veda also came there, adorned with the rules of orthoepy. The Lakshanas, the Suras, the Niruktas, the Notes arranged in rows, and the syllable Om, as also Nigraha and Pragraha, all came there and took their residence in the eye of Mahadeva. The Vedas with the Upanishads, Vidya and Savitri, as also, the Past, the Present, and
the Future, all came there and were held by the illustrious Siva. The puissant Lord of all then poured libations himself into his own self. Indeed, the wielder of Pinaka caused that Sacrifice of multifarious form to look exceedingly beautiful. He is Heaven, Firmament, Earth, and the Welkin. He is called the Lord of the Earth. He is the Lord whose sway is owned by all obstacles. He is endued with Sri and He is identical with the deity of blazing flames. That illustrious deity is called by various names. Even He is Brahman and Siva and Rudra and Varuna and Agni and Prajapati. He is the auspicious Lord of all creatures. Sacrifice (in his embodied form), and Penance, and all the union rites, and the goddess Diksha blazing with rigid observances, the several points of the compass with the deities that respectively preside over them, the spouses of all the deities, their daughters, and the celestial mothers, all came together in a body to Pasupati, O perpetuator of Bhrigu's race. Verily, beholding that sacrifice of the high-souled Mahadeva who had assumed the form of Varuna, all of them became highly pleased. Seeing the celestial damsels of great beauty, the seed of Brahman came out and fell upon the earth. In consequence of the seed having fallen on the dust, Pushan (Surya) took up that dust mixed with the particles of seed from the earth with his hands and cast it into the sacrificial fire. Meanwhile, the sacrifice with the sacred fire of blazing flames was commenced and it went on. Brahman (as the Hotri) was pouring libations on the fire. While thus employed, the grandsire became excited with desire (and his seed came out). As soon as that seed came out, he took it up with the sacrificial ladle and poured it as a libation of ghee, O delighter of the Bhrigus, with the necessary Mantras, on the blazing fire. From that seed, Brahman of great energy caused the four orders of creatures to spring into existence. That seed of the Grandsire was endued with the three attributes of Sattwa, Rajas, and Tamas. From that element in it which represented the principle of Rajas, sprang all mobile creatures endued with the principle of Pravritti or action. 1 From the element of Tamas in it, sprang all immobile creatures. The principle of Sattwa, however, which dwelt in that seed, entered both kinds of existences. That attribute of Sattwa is of the nature of Tejas or Light (being identical with Buddhi or the Understanding). It is eternal and of it is unending Space. 2 In all creatures the attribute of Sattwa is present and is identical with that light which shows what is right and what is wrong. When the seed of Brahman was thus poured as a libation on that sacrificial fire, there sprang from it, O mighty one, three beings into existence. They were three male persons, endued with bodies that partook of the characters of the circumstances from which they respectively sprang. One arose first from the flames of the fire (called Bhrig) and hence he came to be called by the
name of Bhrigu. A second came from the burning charcoals (called Angara) and hence he came to be called by the name of Angiras. The third sprang from a heap of extinguished charcoals and he came to be called by the name of Kavi. It has been already said that the first came out with flames emanating from his body and hence he was called Bhrigu. From the rays of the sacrificial fire sprang another called Marichi. From Marichi (afterwards) sprang Kasyapa. It has been already said that from the (burning) charcoals sprang Angiras. The (diminutive) Rishis called Valakhilyas sprang from the blades of Kusa grass spread out in that sacrifice. From the same blades of Kula grass, O thou of great puissance, sprang Atri. From the ashes of the fire sprang all those that are numbered among the regenerate Rishis, viz., the Vaikhanasas, endued with penances and devoted to Vedic lore and all excellent accomplishments. From the eyes of Agni sprang the twin Aswins endued with great beauty of person. At last, from his ears, sprang all the Prajapatis. The Rishis sprang from the pores of Agni's body. From his sweat sprang Chhandas, and from his strength sprang Mind. For this reason, Agni has been said to be all the deities in his individual self, by Rishis endued with Vedic lore, guided by the authority of the Vedas. The pieces of wood that keep alive the flames of Agni are regarded as the Months. The Juices that the fuel yields constitute the Fortnights. The liver of Agni is called the Day and Night, and his fierce light is called the Muhurtas. The blood of Agni is regarded as the source of the Rudras. From his blood sprang also the gold-complexioned deities called the Maitradevatas. From his smoke sprang the Vasus. From his flames sprang the Rudras as also the (twelve) Adityas of great effulgence. The Planets and Constellations and other stars that have been set in their respective orbits in the firmament, are regarded as the (burning) charcoals of Agni. The first Creator of the universe declared Agni to be Supreme Brahma and Eternal, and the giver of all wishes. This is verily a mystery.
"After all these births had taken place, Mahadeva who had assumed the form of Varuna (for his sacrifice) and who had Pavana for his soul, said, 'This excellent Sacrifice is mine. I am the Grahapati in it. The there beings that first sprang from the sacrificial fire are mine. Without doubt, they should be regarded as my offspring. Know this, ye gods who range through the skies! They are the fruits of this Sacrifice.'"
"Agni said, 'These offspring have sprung from my limbs. They have all depended upon me as the cause of their starting into life. They should, therefore, be regarded, as my children. Mahadeva in the form of Varuna is in error in respect of this matter. 1 After this, the master of all the worlds, the Grandsire of all creatures, viz., Brahman, then said, 'These children are mine. The seed was mine which I poured upon the sacrificial fire. I am the accomplisher of this Sacrifice. It was I who poured on the sacrificial fire the seed that came out of myself. The fruit is always his
who has planted the seed. The principal cause of these births is the seed owned by me.' The deities then repaired to the presence of the Grandsire and having bowed their heads unto him joined their hands in reverence and they said unto him, "All of us, O illustrious one, and the entire universe of mobile and immobile creatures, are thy offspring. O sire, let Agni of blazing flames, and the illustrious and puissant Mahadeva who has, for this sacrifice, assumed the form of Varuna, have their wish (in the matter of the offspring).' At these words, although born of Brahman, the puissant Mahadeva in the form of Varuna, the ruler of all aquatic creatures received the firstborn one, viz., Bhrigu endued with the effulgence of the sun as his own child. The Grandsire then intended that Angiras should become the son of Agni. Conversant with the truth in respect of everything, the Grandsire then took Kavi as his own son. Engaged in procreating creatures for peopling the earth, Bhrigu who is regarded as a Prajapati thence came to be called as Varuna's offspring. Endued with every prosperity, Angiras came to be called the offspring of Agni, and the celebrated Kavi came to be known as the child of Brahman himself. Bhrigu and Angiras who had sprung from the flame and the charcoals of Agni respectively, became the procreators of extensive races and tribes in the world. Verily, these three, viz., Bhrigu and Angiras and Kavi, regarded as Prajapati, are the progenitors of many races and tribes. All are the children of these three. Know this, O puissant hero. Bhrigu begot seven sorts all of whom became equal to him in merits and accomplishments. Their names are Chyavana, Vajrasirsha, Suchi, Urva, Sukra, that giver of boons, Vibhu, and Savana. These are the seven. They are children of Bhrigu and are hence Bhargavas. They are also called Varunas in consequence of their ancestor Bhrigu having been adopted by Mahadeva in the form of Varuna. Thou belongest to the race of Bhrigu. Angiras begot eight sons. They also are known as Varunas. Their names are Vrihaspati, Utathya, Payasya, Santi, Dhira, Virupa, Samvarta, and Sudhan was the eighth. These eight are regarded also as the offspring of Agni. Freed from every evil, they are devoted to knowledge only. The sons of Kavi who was appropriated by Brahman himself are also known as Varunas. Numbering eight, all of them became progenitors of races and tribes. Auspicious by nature, they are all conversant with Brahma. The names of the eight sons of Kavi are Kavi, Kavya, Dhrishnu, Usanas endued with great intelligence, Bhrigu, Viraja, Kasi, and Ugra conversant with every duty. These are the eight sons of Kavi. By them the whole world has been peopled. They are all Prajapatis, and by them have been procreated many offspring. Thus, O chief of Bhrigu's race, hath the whole world been peopled with the progeny of Angiras, and Kavi and Bhrigu. The puissant and supreme Lord Mahadeva in the form of Varuna which he had assumed for his sacrifice had first, O learned Brahmana, adopted both Kavi and Angiras. Hence, these two are regarded as of Varuna. After that the eater of sacrificial libations, viz., the deity of blazing flames, adopted Angiras. Hence, all the progeny of Angiras
are known as belonging to the race of Agni. The Grandsire Brahman was, in olden days, gratified by all the deities who said unto him, 'Let these lords of the universe (referring to Bhrigu and Angiras and Kavi and their descendants) rescue us all. Let all of them become progenitors of offspring (for peopling the earth). Let all of them become endued with penances. Through thy grace, let all these rescue the world (from becoming an uninhabited wilderness). Let them become procreators and extenders of races and tribes and let them increase thy energy. Let all of them become thorough masters of the Vedas and let them be achievers of great deeds. Let all of them be friends to the cause of the deities. Indeed, let all of them become endued with auspiciousness. Let them become founders of extensive races and tribes and let them be great Rishis. Let all of them be endued with high penances and let all of them be devoted to high Brahmacharya, All of us, as also all these are thy progeny, O thou of great puissance. Thou, O Grandsire, art the Creator of both, deities and the Brahmanas. Marichi is thy first son. All these also that are called Bhargavas are thy progeny. (Ourselves also are so). Looking at this fact, O Grandsire, we shall all aid and support one another. All these shall, in this way, multiply their progeny and establish thyself at the commencement of each creation after the universal destruction.' Thus addressed by them, Brahman, the Grandsire of all the worlds, said unto them, 'So be it! I am gratified with you all! Having said so unto the deities he proceeded to the place he had come from. Even this is what happened in days of old in that sacrifice of the high-souled Mahadeva, that foremost one of all the deities, in the beginning of creation, when he for the purposes of his sacrifice had assumed the form of Varuna. Agni is Brahman. He is Pasupati. He is Sarva. He is Rudra. He is Prajapati. 1 It is well-known that gold is the offspring of Agni. When fire is not obtainable (for the purposes of a sacrifice), gold is used as substitute. Guided by the indications afforded by the auditions of the Veda, one that is conversant with authorities and that knows the identity of gold with fire, acts in this way. Placing a piece of gold on some blades of Kusa grass spread out on the ground, the sacrificer pours libations upon it. Upon also the pores of an ant-hill, upon the right ear of a goat, upon a piece of level earth, upon the waters of a Tirtha, or on the hand of a Brahmana, if libations are poured, the illustrious deity of fire becomes gratified and regards It as a source of his own aggrandisement as also that of the deities through his. Hence, it is that we have heard that all the deities regard Agni as their refuse and are devoted to him. Agni sprang from Brahman, and from Agni sprang gold. 2 Hence, it has been heard by us, that those persons observant of righteousness that make gifts of gold are regarded as giving away all the deities. The man who makes gifts of gold attains to a very high end. Regions of blazing effulgence are his. Verily, O Bhargava, he becomes
installed as the king of kings in heaven. That person who, at sunrise, makes a gift of gold according to the ordinance and with proper Mantras, succeeds in warding off the evil consequences foreshadowed by ominous dreams. The man who, as soon as the sun has risen, makes a gift of gold becomes cleansed of all his sins. He who makes a gift of gold at midday destroys all his future sins. He who with restrained soul, makes a gift of gold at the second twilight succeeds in attaining to a residence with Brahman and the deity of wind and Agni and Soma in their respective regions. Such a man attains to auspicious fame in regions of great felicity that belong to Indra himself. Attaining to great fame in this world also, and cleansed of all his sins, he sports in joy and happiness. Verily, such a man attains to many other regions of happiness and becomes unequalled for glory and fame. His course perfectly unobstructed, he succeeds in going everywhere at will. He has never to fall down from the regions to which he attains and the glory he acquires becomes great. Indeed, by making gifts of gold one attains to innumerable regions of felicity all of which he enjoys for eternity. That man who, having ignited a fire at sunrise, makes gifts of gold in view of the observance of a particular vow, succeeds in attaining to the fruition of all his wishes. It has been said that gold is identical with Agni. The gift of gold, therefore, is productive of great felicity. The gift of gold leads to the possession of those merits and accomplishments that are desired, and cleanses the heart. 1 I have thus told thee, O sinless one, the origin of gold. O thou of puissance, hear how Kartikeya grew up, O delighter of Bhrigu's race. After a long time Kartikeya grew up. He was then, O perpetuator of Bhrigu's race, chosen by all the deities with Indra at their head, as the generalissimo of the celestial forces. He slew the Daitya Taraka as also many other Asuras, at the command of the chief of the celestials, O Brahmana, and actuated also by the desire of benefiting all the worlds. I have also, O thou of great might, discoursed to thee on the merits of making gifts of gold. Do thou, therefore, O foremost of all speakers make gifts of gold.'
"Bhishma continued, 'Thus addressed by Vasishtha, Jamadagni's son of great prowess then made gifts of gold unto the Brahmanas and became cleansed of his sins. I have thus told thee, O king, everything about the merits of the gifts of gold and about its origin also, O Yudhishthira. Do thou also, therefore, make abundant gifts of gold unto the Brahmanas. Verily, O king, by making such gifts of gold, thou wilt surely be cleansed of all thy sins!'"