Chapter 163

Mahabharata English - ANUSASANA PARVA

“Yudhishthira said, ‘It is seen that if a person happens to beunfortunate, he fails to acquire wealth, how great so ever his strength.On the other hand, if one happens to be fortunate, he comes to thepossession of wealth, even if he be a weakling or a fool. When, again,the time does not come for acquisition, one cannot make an acquisitionwith even one’s best exertion. When, however, the time comes foracquisition, one wins great wealth without any exertion. Hundreds of menmay be seen who achieve no result even when they exert their best. Manypersons, again, are seen to make acquisitions without any exertion. If,wealth were the result of exertion, then one could, with exertion,acquire it immediately. Verily, if the case were so, no man of learningcould then be seen to take the protection for the sake of his livelihood,of one destitute of learning, Among men, that which is not (destined) tobe attained, O chief of the Bharatas, is never attained. Men are seen tofail in achieving results even with the aid of their best exertions. Onemay be seen to seek wealth by hundreds of means (and yet failing toacquire it); while another, without at all seeking it, becomes happy inits possession. Men may be seen doing evil acts continually (for wealth)and yet failing to acquire it. Others are in the enjoyment of wealthwithout doing any evil act whatever. Others, again, who are observant ofthe duties assigned to them by the scriptures, are without wealth. Onemay be seen to be without any knowledge of the science of morals andpolicy even after one has studied all the treatises on that science. One,again, may be seen appointed as the prime minister of a king withouthaving at all studied the science of morals and policy. A learned man maybe seen that is possessed of wealth. One destitute of learning may beseen owning wealth. Both kinds of men, again, may be seen to be entirelydestitute of wealth. If, by the acquisition of learning one could acquirethe happiness of wealth, then no man of learning could be found living,for the very means of his subsistence, under the protection of onedestitute of learning. Indeed, if one could obtain by the acquisition oflearning, all desirable objects like a thirsty individual having histhirst slaked upon obtaining water, then none in this world would haveshown idleness in acquiring learning. If, one’s time has not come, onedoes not die even if one be pierced with hundreds of shafts. On the otherhand, one lays down one’s life, if one’s hour has come, even if it be ablade of grass with which one is struck.’

“Bhishma said, ‘If one, setting oneself to undertaking involving evengreat exertions, fails to earn wealth, one should then practise severeausterities. Unless seeds be sown, no crops appear. It is by making gifts(to deserving persons in this life) that one acquires (in one’s nextlife) numerous objects of enjoyment, even as one becomes possessed ofintelligence and wisdom by waiting upon those that are venerable foryears. The wise have said that one becomes possessed of longevity bypractising the duty of abstention from cruelty to all creatures. Hence,one should make gifts and not solicit (or accept them when made byothers). One should worship those individuals that are righteous. Verily,one should be sweet-speeched towards all, and always do what is agreeableto others. One should seek to attain to purity (both mental andexternal). Indeed, one should always abstain from doing injury to anycreature. When in the matter of the happiness and woe of even insects andants, their acts (of this and past lives) and Nature constitute thecause, it is meet, O Yudhishthira, that thou shouldst he tranquil!'”[627]

Chapter 162
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