Alms-giving should be regarded as part of one’s duty, which it will be sinful to discard. A gift made in the expectation of name, fame or reward will be devoid of its value. Sage Markandeya commend to Yudhishtirar the example of King Sibi, who without even the slightest hesitation or displeasure killed his own son and made food of him to satisfy his guest (Brahma in disguise).
When Brahma asked What made him do that grievous act, the king replied he felt it was his duty to please the guest and failure to do so would be a sin (Sibi’s son was later restored to life by Brahma).
In his discourse Sri T.S Balakrishna Sastrigal said that the dialogue between Markandeya and Yudhishtirar was itself an exposition of Dharmam. The sage related an anecdote about sibi and three other king to explain what constituted the noblest form Dharmam. One king claimed ownership of the cattle which he had already gifted away, while the second him (in his absence) for having asked for it.
The third king described his chariot, out of humility and courtesy, as Narada’s But did not actually part with it. Sage Narada told the three kings that these blemishes in their otherwise clean record of Dharmic deeds lowered their ranks, compared to Sibi. Narada acknowledged Sibi to be superior even to himself.
Markandeya explained that a person became great by faithful adherence to his duties (swadharmam), giving alms to the worthy, speaking truth and leading an immoral life seemed to pro-sons committing sins and leading an immoral life seemed to prosper, while the pious, God-fearing and noble suffered. It was one’s own deeds, good or bad, that resulted in happiness or sorrow; but it was impossible for men to cite one specific deed as the cause for the happiness (or sorrow) one enjoyed (or suffered) at a particular point of time.
God, who is the Sutradhari, established that link. Whoever, endowed with wealth and comforts in the present life, used them for performing good deeds would be endowed with a happy living in future birth; whereas one who committed atrocities, harmed the good and defied the Code of Ethical conduct, would be happy neither in this birth nor in the come
Every creature in the universe is bound by certain rules of behaviour. If anything goes wrong, though insignificant by itself, a series of reactions will be set in motion causing major disorders, which result in serious consequences. When it becomes impossible for the good to discharge their duties, because of the deeds of the wicked, god takes an avatar and sets things in order.