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Chapter 6

Mahabharata English - ASRAMAVASIKA PARVA

“Dhritarashtra said, Thou shouldst always ascertain the Mandalas thatbelong to thee, to thy foes, to neutrals, and to those that are disposedequally towards thee and thy foes, O Bharata.[12] The Mandalas also ofthe four kinds of foes, of these called Atatayins, and of allies, and theallies of foes, should be distinguished by thee, O crusher of foes.[13]The ministers of state, the people of the provinces, the garrisons offorts, and the forces, O foremost one of Kuru’s race, may or may not betampered with. (Thou shouldst, therefore, behave in such a manner thatthese may not be tampered with by thy foes). The twelve (enumeratedabove), O son of Kunti, constitute the principal concerns of kings. Thesetwelve, as also sixty, having Ministers for their foremost, should belooked after by the king.[14] Professors conversant with the science ofpolitics call these by the name of Mandala. Understand, O Yudhishthira,that the six incidents (of peace, war, march, halt, sowing dissensions,and conciliation) depend upon these. Growth and diminution should also beunderstood, as also the condition of being stationary. The attributes ofthe sixfold incidents, O thou of mighty arms, as resting on the two andseventy (already enumerated), should also be carefully understood. Whenone’s own side has become strong and the side of the foe his become weak,it is then, O son of Kunti, that the king should war against the foe andstrive to will victory. When the enemy is strong and one’s own side isweak, then the weak king, if possessed of intelligence, should seek tomake peace with the enemy. The king should collect a large store ofarticles (for his commissariat). When able to march out, he should on noaccount make a delay, O Bharata. Besides, he should on that occasion sethis men to offices for which they are fit, without being moved by anyother consideration. (When obliged to yield a portion of his territories)he should give his foe only such land as does not produce crops inabundance. (When obliged to give wealth), he should give gold containingmuch base metal. (When obliged to give a portion of his forces), heshould give such men as are not noted for strength. One that is skilledin treaties should, when taking land or gold or men from the foe, takewhat is possessed of attributes the reverse of this.[15] In makingtreaties of peace, the son of the (defeated) king, should be demanded asa hostage, O chief of the Bharatas. A contrary course of conduct wouldnot be beneficial, O son. If a calamity comes over the king, he should,with knowledge of means-and counsels, strive to emancipate himself fromit.[16] The king, O foremost of monarchs, should maintain the cheerlessand the destitute (such as the blind, the deaf and dumb, and thediseased) among his people. Himself protecting his own kingdom, the king,possessed of great might, should direct all his efforts, either one afteranother or simultaneously, against his foes. He should afflict andobstruct them and seek to drain their treasury. The king that desires hisown growth should never injure the subordinate chieftains that are underhis sway. O son of Kunti, thou shouldst never seek to war with that kingwho desires to conquer the whole Earth. Thou shouldst seek to gainadvantages by producing, with the aid of thy ministers, dissensions amonghis aristocracy and subordinate chieftains. A powerful king should neverseek to exterminate weak kings, for these do good to the world bycherishing the good and punishing the wicked. O foremost of kings, thoushouldst live, adopting the behaviour of the cane.[17] If a strong kingadvances against a weak one, the latter should make him desist, byadopting conciliation and other modes. If unable to stop the invader inthis way, then he, as also those that are disposed to do him good, shouldfall upon the foe for battling with him. Indeed, with his ministers andtreasury and citizens, he should thus adopt force against the invader. Ifbattling with the foe becomes hopeless, then he should fall, sacrificinghis resources one after another. Casting off his life in this way, hewill attain to liberation from all sorrow.'”

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