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Chapter 7

Mahabharata English - ASRAMAVASIKA PARVA

“Dhritarashtra said, ‘O best of kings, thou shouldst also reflectproperly on war and peace. Each is of two kinds. The means are various,and the circumstances also, under which war or peace may be made, arevarious, O Yudhishthira.[18] O thou of Kuru’s race, thou shouldst, withcoolness, reflect on the two (viz., thy strength and weakness) withregard to thyself. Thou shouldst not suddenly march against a foe that ispossessed of contented and healthy soldiers, and that is endued withintelligence. On the other hand, thou shouldst think carefully of themeans of vanquishing him.[19] Thou shouldst march against a foe that isnot provided with contented and healthy combatants. When everything isfavourable, the foe may be beaten. After that, however, the victor shouldretire (and stay in a strong position). He should next cause the foe tobe plunged into various calamities, and sow dissensions among his allies.He should afflict the foe and inspire terror in his heart, and attackinghim weaken his forces. The king, conversant with the scriptures thatmarches against a foe, should think of the three kinds of strength, and,indeed, reflect on his own strength and of his foe.[20] Only that king, OBharata, who is endued with alacrity, discipline, and strength ofcounsels, should march against a foe. When his position is otherwise, heshould avoid defensive operations.[21] The king should provide himselfwith power of wealth, power of allies, power of foresters, power of paidsoldiery, and power of the mechanical and trading classes, O puissantone.[22] Among all these, power of allies and power of wealth aresuperior to the rest. The power of classes and that of the standing armyare equal. The power of spies is regarded by the king as equal inefficacy to either of the above, on many occasions, when the time comesfor applying each. Calamity, O king, as it overtakes rulers should beregarded as of many forms. Listen, O thou of Kuru’s race, as to whatthose diverge forms are. Verily of various kinds are calamities, O son ofPandu. Thou shouldst always count them, distinguishing their forms, Oking, and strive to meet them by applying the well-known ways ofconciliation and the rest (without concealing them through idleness). Theking should, when equipt with a good force, march (out against a foe), Oscorcher of enemies. He should attend also to the considerations of timeand place, while preparing to march, as also to the forces he hascollected and his own merits (in other respects). That king who isattentive to his own growth and advancement should not march unlessequipt with cheerful and healthy warriors. When strong, O son of Pandu,he may march in even an unfavourable season. The king should make a riverhaving quivers for its stones, steeds and cars for its current, andstandards for the trees that cover its banks, and which is miry withfoot-soldiers and elephants. Even such a river should the king apply forthe destruction of his foe. Agreeably to the science known to Usanas,arrays called Sakata, Padma, and Vijra, should be formed, O Bharata, forfighting the enemy.[23] Knowing everything about the enemy’s strengththrough spies, and examining his own strength himself the king shouldcommence war either within his own territories or within those of hisfoe.[24] The king should always gratify his army, and hurl all hisstrongest warriors (against the enemy). First ascertaining the state ofhis kingdom, he should apply conciliation or the other well-known means.By all means, O king, should the body be protected. One should do thatwhich is highly beneficial for one both here and hereafter. The king, Omonarch, by behaving duly according to these ways, attains to Heavenhereafter, after ruling his subjects righteously in this world. Oforemost one of Kuru’s race, it is even thus that thou shouldst alwaysseek the good of thy subjects for attaining to both the worlds.[25] Thouhast been instructed in all duties by Bhishma, by Krishna, and by Vidura,I should also, O best of kings, from the affection I bear thee, give theethese instructions. O giver of profuse presents in sacrifices, thoushouldst do all this duly. Thou shalt, by conducting thyself in this way,become dear to thy subjects and attain to felicity in Heaven. That kingwho adores the deities in a hundred horse-sacrifices, and he who ruleshis subjects righteously, acquire merit that is equal.'”

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