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Chapter 54

Mahabharata English - SABHAKRIYA PARVA

“Duryodhana said,–‘He that is devoid of intellect but hath merely heardof many things, can scarcely understand the real import of thescriptures, like the spoon that hath no perception of the taste of thesoup it toucheth.

Thou knowest everything, but yet confoundest me. Like aboat fastened to another, thou and I are tied to each other. Art thouunmindful of thy own interests? Or, dost thou entertain hostile feelingtowards me? These thy sons and allies are doomed to destruction, inasmuchas they have thee for their ruler, for thou describest as attainable inthe future what is to be done at the present moment. He often trippethwhose guide acts under the instructions of others. How then can hisfollowers expect to come across a right path? O king, thou art of maturewisdom; thou hast the opportunity to listen to the words of old, and thysenses also are under thy control. It behoveth thee not to confound uswho are ready to seek our own interests. Vrihaspati hath said that theusage of kings are different from those of common people. Therefore kingsshould always attend to their own interests with vigilance. Theattainment of success is the sole criterion that should guide the conductof a Kshatriya. Whether, therefore, the means is virtuous or sinful, whatscruples can there be in the duties of one’s own order? He that isdesirous of snatching the blazing prosperity of his foe, should, O bullof the Bharata race, bring every direction under his subjection like thecharioteer taming the steeds with his whip. Those used to handlingweapons say that, a weapon is not simply an instrument that cuts but is ameans, whether covert or overt, that can defeat a foe. Who is to bereckoned a foe and who a friend, doth not depend on one’s figure ordimensions. He that paineth another is, O king, to be regarded a foe byhim that is pained. Discontent is the root of prosperity. Therefore, Oking, I desire to be discontented. He that striveth after the acquisitionof prosperity is, O king, a truly politic person. Nobody should beattached to wealth and affluence, for the wealth that hath been earnedand hoarded may be plundered. The usages of kings are even such. It wasduring a period of peace that Sakra cut off the head of Namuchi afterhaving given a pledge to the contrary, and it was because he approved ofthis eternal usage towards the enemy that he did so. Like a snake thatswalloweth up frogs and other creatures living in holes, the earthswalloweth up a king that is peaceful and a Brahmana that stirreth notout of home. O king, none can by nature be any person’s foe. He is one’sfoe, and not anybody else, who hath common pursuits with one. He thatfrom folly neglecteth a growing foe, hath his vitals cut off as by adisease that he cherished without treatment. A foe, howeverinsignificant, if suffered to grow in prowess, swalloweth one like thewhite ants at the root of a tree eating off the tree itself. O Bharata, OAjamida, let not the prosperity of the foe be acceptable to thee. Thispolicy (of neglecting the foe) should always be borne on their heads bythe wise even like a load. He that always wisheth for the increase of hiswealth, ever groweth in the midst of his relatives even like the bodynaturally growing from the moment of birth. Prowess conferreth speedygrowth. Coveting as I do the prosperity of the Pandavas. I have not yetmade it my own. At present I am a prey to doubts in respect of myability. I am determined to resolve those doubts of mine. I will eitherobtain that prosperity of theirs, or lie down having perished in battle.O king when the state of my mind is such, what do I care now for life,for the Pandavas are daily growing while our possessions know noincrease?'”

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