What should a man hold on to? Is it karma or wealth or wisdom to discriminate?
Bheeshma declares that wisdom is superior and the one to depend upon. He narrates a story of Kashyapa, a rishi putra who is knocked down by the chariot of a rich merchant. He is badly hurt and decides to give up his life and starts crying. Indra comes in the guise of a fox and talks to him.
Fox tells Kashyapa that it wished it had ten fingers. It could then pull out a thorn from its body, remove insects from it and cover itself with clothes. A man can do it! So he should be grateful that he is not born as a rat, a snake or an insect. The fox advises him to follow dharma and improve his chances in the afterlife. Something only a human can do. If not he runs the risk of being born as a fox instead. Indra's message: One who is fortunate to be born as a human should not give in so easily. Suddenly Kashyapa realises he is talking to lord Indra, gets up and seeks permission respectfully and goes home.
Grandfather, is there a benefit in Yagna, Charity, Penance and Service to gurus?
All good karmas are beneficial and follows the doer of good karma and at the right time its benefits are seen. It is like the tree which bears fruit and flowers at the appointed time. Your karma finds you like the calf is able to find its mother among thousand other cows. A good karma washes away your sins and you are benefited.
How was this world created, the animate and the inanimate? Where do they go when destroyed?
Bheeshma quotes from Manu Brihaspati samvada. The world was created from the imperishable, अक्षर. From it came the sky and from it the air; from it came vital power तेजस्; from it came water and from it came the world. At the end of the world the process is reversed. He also speaks of 'wells' into which the sky merges into पर the supreme and does not come back. He then describes 'Para' and says that it cannot be understood unless one has अध्यात्मज्ञान, knowledge of the supreme spirit.
A number of compact sanskritised kannada words are used to describe the qualities of the supreme. To translate them correctly is a challenge that at the moment I unable to take. In any case there are more answers to this question today, scientific and otherwise.
Similarly his question about the difference between Sankhya and yoga can also be left alone for the present. There are so many who have written about this subject.
There is one more question: Did any king achieve a higher state without relinquishing his order as householder गृहस्थाश्रम? What is shape of his salvation?
Bheeshma again narrates a story which illustrates that a householder has as much opportunity as a sanyasi to achieve liberation.
I see that while Shantiparva ends here, Bheeshma still has a few things to say in the next parva, named Anushashana parva; अनुशासन. The word is translated as laying down the law, precept.