Chapter 142

Mahabharata English - ADI PARVA

“Vaisampayana continued, ‘On hearing that the heroic sons of Pandu enduedwith excess of energy had become so mighty, king Dhritarashtra becamevery miserable with anxiety.

Then summoning unto his side Kanika, thatforemost of minister, well-versed in the science of politics and anexpert in counsels the king said, ‘O best of Brahmanas, the Pandavas aredaily overshadowing the earth. I am exceedingly jealous of them. Should Ihave peace or war with them? O Kanika, advise me truly, for I shall do asthou biddest.

“Vaisampayana continued, ‘That best of Brahmanas, thus addressed by theking, freely answered him in these pointed words well-agreeing with theimport of political science.”

“Listen to me, O sinless king, as I answer thee. And, O best of Kurukings, it behoveth thee not to be angry with me after hearing all I say.Kings should ever be ready with uplifted maces (to strike whennecessary), and they should ever increase their prowess. Carefullyavoiding all faults themselves they should ceaselessly watch over thefaults of their foes and take advantage of them. If the king is alwaysready to strike, everybody feareth him. Therefore the king should everhave recourse to chastisement in all he doeth. He should so conducthimself that, his foe may not detect any weak side in him. But by meansof the weakness he detecteth in his foe he should pursue him (todestruction). He should always conceal, like the tortoise concealing itsbody, his means and ends, and he should always keep back his own weaknessfrom, the sight of others. And having begun a particular act, he shouldever accomplish it thoroughly. Behold, a thorn, if not extracted wholly,produceth a festering sore. The slaughter of a foe who doeth thee evil isalways praiseworthy. If the foe be one of great prowess, one shouldalways watch for the hour of his disaster and then kill him without anyscruples. If he should happen to be a great warrior, his hour of disasteralso should be watched and he should then be induced to fly. O sire, anenemy should never be scorned, however contemptible. A spark of fire iscapable of consuming an extensive forest if only it can spread from oneobject to another in proximity. Kings should sometimes feign blindnessand deafness, for if impotent to chastise, they should pretend not tonotice the faults that call for chastisement. On occasions, such asthese, let them regard their bows as made of straw. But they should bealways on the alert like a herd of deer sleeping in the woods. When thyfoe is in thy power, destroy him by every means open or secret. Do notshow him any mercy, although he seeketh thy protection. A foe, or onethat hath once injured thee, should be destroyed by lavishing money, ifnecessary, for by killing him thou mayest be at thy ease. The dead cannever inspire fear. Thou must destroy the three, five and seven(resources) of thy foes. Thou must destroy thy foes root and branch. Thenshouldst thou destroy their allies and partisans. The allies andpartisans can never exist if the principal be destroyed. If the root ofthe tree is torn up, the branches and twigs can never exist as before.Carefully concealing thy own means and ends, thou shouldst always watchthy foes, always seeking their flaws. Thou shouldst, O king, rule thykingdom, always anxiously watching thy foes. By maintaining the perpetualfire by sacrifices, by brown cloths, by matted locks, and by hides ofanimals for thy bedding, shouldst thou at first gain the confidence ofthy foes, and when thou has gained it thou shouldst then spring upon themlike a wolf. For it hath been said that in the acquisition of wealth eventhe garb of holiness might be employed as a hooked staff to bend down abranch in order to pluck the fruits that are ripe. The method followed inthe plucking of fruits should be the method in destroying foes, for thoushouldst proceed on the principle of selection. Bear thy foe upon thyshoulders till the time cometh when thou canst throw him down, breakinghim into pieces like an earthen pot thrown down with violence upon astony surface. The foe must never be let off even though he addresseththee most piteously. No pity shouldst thou show him but slay him at once.By the arts of conciliation or the expenditure of money should the foe beslain. By creating disunion amongst his allies, or by the employment offorce, indeed by every means in thy power shouldst thou destroy thy foe.’

“Dhritarashtra said, ‘Tell me truly how a foe can be destroyed by thearts of conciliation or the expenditure of money, or by producingdisunion or by the employment of force.’

“Kanika replied, ‘Listen, O monarch, to the history of a jackal dwellingin days of yore in the forest and fully acquainted with the science ofpolitics. There was a wise jackal, mindful of his own interests who livedin the company of four friends, viz., a tiger, a mouse, a wolf, and amongoose. One day they saw in the woods a strong deer, the leader of aherd, whom, however, they could not seize for his fleetness and strength.They thereupon called a council for consultation. The jackal opening theproceedings said, ‘O tiger, thou hast made many an effort to seize thisdeer, but all in vain simply because this deer is young, fleet and veryintelligent. Let now the mouse go and eat into its feet when it liethasleep. And when this is done, let the tiger approach and seize it. Thenshall we all, with great pleasure feast on it.’ Hearing these words ofthe jackal, they all set to work very cautiously as he directed. And themouse ate into the feet of the deer and the tiger killed it asanticipated. And beholding the body of the deer lying motionless on theground, the jackal said unto his companions, ‘Blessed be ye! Go andperform your ablutions. In the meantime I will look after the deer.’Hearing what the jackal said, they all went into a stream. And the jackalwaited there, deeply meditating upon what he should do. The tiger enduedwith great strength, returned first of all to the spot after havingperformed his ablutions. And he saw the jackal there plunged inmeditation. The tiger said, ‘Why art thou so sorrowful, O wise one! Thouart the foremost of all intelligent beings. Let us enjoy ourselves todayby feasting on this carcass.’ The jackal said, ‘Hear, O mighty-armed one,what the mouse hath said. He hath even said, O, fie on the strength ofthe king of the beasts! This deer hath been slain by me. By might of myarm he will today gratify his hunger.’ When he hath boasted in such alanguage, I, for my part, do not wish to touch this food.’ The tigerreplied, ‘If, indeed, the mouse hath said so, my sense is now awakened. Ishall, from this day, slay with the might of my own arms, creaturesranging the forest and then feast on their flesh.’ Having said this, thetiger went away.

“And after the tiger had left the spot, the mouse came. And seeing themouse come, the jackal addressed him and said, ‘Blest be thou, O mouse,but listen to what the mongoose hath said. He hath even said, The carcassof this deer is poison (the tiger having touched it with his claws). Iwill not eat of it. On the other hand, if thou, O jackal, permittest it,I will even slay the mouse and feast on him.’ Hearing this the mousebecame alarmed and quickly entered his hole. And after the mouse hadgone, the wolf, O king, came there having performed his ablutions. Andseeing the wolf come, the jackal said unto him, ‘The king of the beastshath been angry with thee. Evil is certain to overtake thee. He isexpected here with his wife. Do as thou pleasest.’ Thus was the wolfalso, fond of animal flesh, got rid of by the jackal. And the wolf fled,contracting his body into the smallest dimensions. It was then that themongoose came. And, O king, the jackal, seeing him come, said, ‘By themight of my arm have I defeated the others who have already fled. Fightwith me first and then eat of this flesh as you please.’ The mongoosereplied, ‘When, indeed, the tiger, the wolf, and the intelligent mousehave all been defeated by thee, heroes as they are, thou seemest to be agreater hero still. I do not desire to fight with thee.’ Saying this, themongoose also went away.

“Kanika continued, ‘When they all had thus left the place, the jackal,well-pleased with the success of his policy, alone ate up that flesh. Ifkings always act in this way, they can be happy. Thus should the timid byexciting their fears, the courageous by the arts of conciliation, thecovetous by gift of wealth, and equals and inferiors by exhibition ofprowess be brought under thy sway. Besides all this, O king, that I havesaid, listen now to something else that I say.’

“Kanika continued, ‘If thy son, friend, brother, father, or even thespiritual preceptor, anyone becometh thy foe, thou shouldst, if desirousof prosperity, slay him without scruples. By curses and incantations, bygift of wealth, by poison, or by deception, the foe should be slain. Heshould never be neglected from disdain. If both the parties be equal andsuccess uncertain, then he that acteth with diligence groweth inprosperity. If the spiritual preceptor himself be vain, ignorant of whatshould be done and what left undone, and vicious in his ways, even heshould be chastised. If thou art angry, show thyself as if thou art notso, speaking even then with a smile on thy lips. Never reprove any onewith indications of anger (in thy speech). And O Bharata, speak softwords before thou smitest and even while thou art smiting! After thesmiting is over, pity the victim, and grieve for him, and even shedtears. Comforting thy foe by conciliation, by gift of wealth, and smoothbehaviour, thou must smite him when he walketh not aright. Thou shouldstequally smile the heinous offender who liveth by the practice of virtue,for the garb of virtue simply covereth his offences like black cloudscovering the mountains. Thou shouldst burn the house of that person whomthou punishest with death. And thou shouldst never permit beggars andatheists and thieves to dwell in thy kingdom. By a sudden sally orpitched battle by poison or by corrupting his allies, by gift of wealth,by any means in thy power, thou shouldst destroy thy foe. Thou mayest actwith the greatest cruelty. Thou shouldst make thy teeth sharp to give afatal bite. And thou should ever smite so effectually that thy foe maynot again raise his head. Thou shouldst ever stand in fear of even onefrom whom there is no fear, not to speak of him from whom there is such.For if the first be ever powerful he may destroy thee to the root (forthy unpreparedness). Thou shouldst never trust the faithless, nor trusttoo much those that are faithful, for if those in whom thou confidestprove thy foes, thou art certain to be annihilated. After testing theirfaithfulness thou shouldst employ spies in thy own kingdom and in thekingdoms of others. Thy spies in foreign kingdoms should be apt deceiversand persons in the garb of ascetics. Thy spies should be placed ingardens, places of amusement, temples and other holy places, drinkinghalls, streets, and with the (eighteen) tirthas (viz., the minister, thechief priest, the heir-presumptive, the commander-in-chief, thegate-keepers of the court, persons in the inner apartments, the jailor,the chief surveyor, the head of the treasury, the general executant oforders, the chief of the town police, the chief architect, the chiefjustice, the president of the council, the chief of the punitivedepartment, the commander of the fort, the chief of the arsenal, thechief of the frontier guards, and the keeper of the forests), and inplaces of sacrifice, near wells, on mountains and in rivers, in forests,and in all places where people congregate. In speech thou shouldst everbe humble, but let thy heart be ever sharp as razor. And when thou artengaged in doing even a very cruel and terrible act, thou shouldst talkwith smiles on thy lips. If desirous of prosperity, thou shouldst adoptall arts–humility, oath, conciliation. Worshipping the feet of others bylowering thy head, inspiring hope, and the like. And, a person conversantwith the rules of policy is like a tree decked with flowers but bearingno fruit; or, if bearing fruit, these must be at a great height noteasily attainable from the ground; and if any of these fruits seem to beripe care must be taken to make it appear raw. Conducting himself in sucha way, he shall never fade. Virtue, wealth and pleasure have both theirevil and good effects closely knit together. While extracting the effectsthat are good, those that are evil should be avoided. Those that practisevirtue (incessantly) are made unhappy for want of wealth and the neglectof pleasure. Those again in pursuit of wealth are made unhappy for theneglect of two others. And so those who pursue pleasure suffer for theirinattention to virtue and wealth. Therefore, thou shouldst pursue virtue,wealth and pleasure, in such a way that thou mayest not have to suffertherefrom. With humiliation and attention, without jealousy andsolicitous of accomplishing thy purpose, shouldst thou, in all sincerity,consult with the Brahmanas. When thou art fallen, thou shouldst raisethyself by any means, gentle or violent; and after thou hast thus raisedthyself thou shouldst practise virtue. He that hath never been afflictedwith calamity can never have prosperity. This may be seen in the life ofone who surviveth his calamities. He that is afflicted with sorrow shouldbe consoled by the recitation of the history of persons of former times(like those of Nala and Rama). He whose heart hath been unstrung bysorrow should be consoled with hopes of future prosperity. He again whois learned and wise should be consoled by pleasing offices presentlyrendered unto him. He who, having concluded a treaty with an enemy,reposeth at ease as if he hath nothing more to do, is very like a personwho awaketh, fallen down from the top of a tree whereon he had slept. Aking should ever keep to himself his counsels without fear of calumny,and while beholding everything with the eyes of his spies, he should takecare to conceal his own emotions before the spies of his enemies. Like afisherman who becometh prosperous by catching and killing fish, a kingcan never grow prosperous without tearing the vitals of his enemy andwithout doing some violent deeds. The might of thy foe, as represented byhis armed force, should ever be completely destroyed, by ploughing it up(like weeds) and mowing it down and otherwise afflicting it by disease,starvation, and want of drink. A person in want never approacheth (fromlove) one in affluence; and when one’s purpose hath been accomplished,one hath no need to approach him whom he had hitherto looked to for itsaccomplishment. Therefore, when thou doest anything never do itcompletely, but ever leave something to be desired for by others (whoseservices thou mayest need). One who is desirous of prosperity should withdiligence seek allies and means, and carefully conduct his wars. Hisexertions in these respects should always be guided by prudence. Aprudent king should ever act in such a way that friends and foes maynever know his motive before the commencement of his acts. Let them knowall when the act hath been commenced or ended, and as long as danger dothnot come, so long only shall thou act as if thou art afraid. But when ithath overtaken thee, thou must grapple with it courageously. He whotrusteth in a foe who hath been brought under subjection by force,summoneth his own death as a crab by her act of conception. Thou shouldstalways reckon the future act as already arrived (and concert measures formeeting it), else, from want of calmness caused by haste, thou mayestoverlook an important point in meeting it when it is before thee. Aperson desirous of prosperity should always exert with prudence, adoptinghis measures to time and place. He should also act with an eye to destinyas capable of being regulated by mantras and sacrificial rites; and tovirtue, wealth, and pleasure. It is well-known that time and place (iftaken into consideration) always produce the greatest good. If the foe isinsignificant, he should not yet be despised, for he may soon grow like apalmyra tree extending its roots or like a spark of fire in the deepwoods that may soon burst into an extensive conflagration. As a littlefire gradually fed with faggots soon becometh capable of consuming eventhe biggest blocks, so the person who increaseth his power by makingalliances and friendships soon becometh capable of subjugating even themost formidable foe. The hope thou givest unto thy foe should be longdeferred before it is fulfilled; and when the time cometh for itsfulfilment, invent some pretext for deferring it still. Let that pretextbe shown as founded upon some reason, and let that reason itself be madeto appear as founded on some other reason. Kings should, in the matter ofdestroying their foes, ever resemble razors in every particular;unpitying as these are sharp, hiding their intents as these are concealedin their leathern cases, striking when the opportunity cometh as theseare used on proper occasions, sweeping off their foes with all theirallies and dependants as these shave the head or the chin without leavinga single hair. O supporter of the dignity of the Kurus, bearing thyselftowards the Pandavas and others also as policy dictateth, act in such away that thou mayest not have to grieve in future. Well do I know thatthou art endued with every blessing, and possessed of every mark of goodfortune. Therefore, O king, protect thyself from the sons of Pandu! Oking, the sons of Pandu are stronger than their cousins (thy sons);therefore, O chastiser of foes, I tell thee plainly what thou shouldstdo. Listen to it, O king, with thy children, and having listened to it,exert yourselves (to do the needful). O king, act in such a way thatthere may not be any fear for thee from the Pandavas. Indeed, adopt suchmeasures consonant with the science of policy that thou mayest not haveto grieve in the future.’

“Vaisampayana continued, ‘Having delivered himself thus Kanika returnedto his abode, while the Kuru king Dhritarashtra became pensive andmelancholy.'”

Chapter 143
Chapter 141
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