"Yudhishthira said, 'Tell me, O grandsire, what reply was given by either the Brahmana or the monarch to Virupa after the conclusion of the latter's speech. What kind of end was it, amongst those described by thee, that they obtained? What, indeed, was the discourse that happened between them, and what did they do there?'
"Bhishma said, 'The Brahmana, saying, 'Let it be as thou hast said, 'worshipped Dharma and Yama and Time and Mrityu and Heaven, all of whom were worthy of worship. He also worshipped all those foremost of Brahmanas that had come there by bending his head unto them. Addressing the monarch then, he said, 'Endued with the reward of my recitations, O royal sage, attain thou to a position of eminence. With thy leave I shall set myself to my recitations again. O thou of great might, the goddess Savitri gave me a boon, saying, 'Let thy devotion to recitations be continuous.'
"The king said, 'If thy success (in recitation) has b.-come fruitless (in consequence of thy having given away those fruits unto me), and if thy heart be set upon practising again, go, O learned Brahmana, half and half with me, and let the reward of thy recitations themselves be thine.' 2
"The Brahmana said, 'Thou hast made strenuous efforts before all these persons (for making me a sharer of the rewards in store for thee as the consequences of thy own acts). Let us then become equal in respect of our rewards (in next life), and let us go to receive that end which is ours.' Knowing the resolve to which they came there, the chief of the gods came to that spot, accompanied by the deities and the Regents of the world. The Sadhyas, the Viswas, the Mantras, diverse kinds of loud and sweet music, the Rivers, the Mountains, the Seas, the Sacred Waters, the Penances, the Ordinances about yoga, the Vedas, the Sounds that accompany the singing of the Samans, Saraswati, Narada, Parvata, Viswavasu, the Hahas, the Huhus, the Gandharva Chitrasena with all the members of his family, the Nagas, the Sadhyas, the
[paragraph continues] Munis, the god of gods, viz., Prajapati, and the inconceivable and thousand-headed Vishnu himself, came there. Drums and trumpets were beat and blown in the firmament. Celestial flowers were rained down upon those high-souled beings. Bands of Apsaras danced all around. Heaven, in his embodied form, came there. Addressing the Brahmana, he said, 'Thou hast attained to success. Thou art highly blessed.' Next addressing the monarch, he said, 'Thou also, O king, hast attained to success.' Those two persons then, O monarch (viz., the Brahmana and the king), having done good to each other, withdrew their senses from the objects of the world. Fixing the vital breaths Prana, Apana, Samana, Udana and Vyana in the heart, they concentrated the mind in Prana and Apana united together. They then placed the two united breaths in the abdomen, and directed their gaze to the tip of the nose and then immediately below the two eye-brows. They next held the two breaths, with the aid of the mind, in the spot that intervenes between the two eye-brows, bringing them there very gradually. With bodies perfectly inactive, they were absorbed with fixed gaze. Having control over their souls, they then placed the soul within the brain. Then piercing the crown of the high-souled Brahmana a fiery flame of great splendour ascended to heaven. Loud exclamations of woe, uttered by all creatures, were then heard on all sides. Its praises hymned by all, that splendour then entered Brahman's self. The Great grandsire, advancing forward, addressed that splendour which had assumed a form of the tallness of a span, saying, 'Welcome!' And once more he uttered these words, 'Verily, Reciters attain to the same end with the yogins. The attainment by the yogin of his end is an object of direct vision unto all these (here assembled). As regards Reciters, there is this distinction, that the honour is ordained for them of Brahman's advancing forward to receive them (after their departure from earth). 1 Dwell thou in me.' Thus spoke Brahman and once more imparted consciousness into that splendour. Indeed, the Brahmana then, freed from all anxieties, entered the mouth of the Creator. The monarch (Ikshvaku) also, after the same manner, entered the divine Grandsire like that foremost of Brahmanas. The (assembled) deities saluted the self-born and said, 'A very superior end is, indeed, ordained for Reciters. This exertion (that we have seen thee put forth) is for Reciters. As regards ourselves, we came hither for beholding it. Thou hast made these two equal, rendered them equal honour, and bestowed upon them an equal end. The high end that is reserved for both yogins and Reciters has been seen by us today. Transcending all regions (of felicity), these two are capable of going whithersoever they wish.'
"Brahman said, 'He also that would read the great Smriti (viz., the Veda), and he too, who would read the other auspicious Smritis that follow the former (viz., Manu's and the rest), would, in this way, attain to the same region with me. He also who is devoted to yoga, will, without doubt, acquire in this manner, after death, the regions that are mine. I go hence. Go ye all
to your respective places for the accomplishment of your ends.'
"Bhishma continued, 'Having said these words, that foremost of gods disappeared there and then. The assembled deities, having previously taken his leave, returned to their respective abodes. All those high-souled beings, having honoured Dharma, proceeded with well-pleased hearts, O monarch, walking behind that great deity. These are the rewards of reciters and this their end. I have described them to thee as I myself had heard of them. What else, O monarch, dost thou wish to hear of?'"