Chapter 10

Mahabharata English - SANTI PARVA

Bhimasena said, “Thy understanding, O king, has become blind to thetruth, like that of a foolish and unintelligent reciter of the Veda inconsequence of his repeated recitation of those scriptures. If censuringthe duties of kings thou wouldst lead a life of idleness, then, O bull ofBharata’s race, this destruction of the Dhartarashtras was perfectlyuncalled for. Are forgiveness and compassion and pity and abstention frominjury not to be found in anybody walking along the path of Kshatriyaduties? If we Knew that this was thy intention, we would then have nevertaken up arms and slain a single creature. We would then have lived bymendicancy till the destruction of this body. This terrible battlebetween the rulers of the earth would also have never taken place. Thelearned have said this all that we see is food for the strong. Indeed,this mobile and immobile world is our object of enjoyment for the personthat is strong. Wise men acquainted with Kshatriya duties have declaredthat they who stand in the way of the person taking the sovereignty ofthe earth, should be slain. Guilty of that fault, those that stood asenemies of our kingdom have all been slain by us. Having slain them, OYudhishthira, righteously govern this earth. This our act (in refusingthe kingdom) is like that of a person who having dug a well stops in hiswork before obtaining water and comes up smutted with mire. Or, this ouract is like that of a person who having climbed up a tall tree and takenhoney there from meets with death before tasting it. Or, it is like thatof a person who having set out on a long way comes back in despairwithout having reached his destination. Or, it is like that of a personwho having slain all his foes, O thou of Kuru’s race, at last Falls byhis own hand. Or, it is like that of a person afflicted with hunger, whohaving obtained food, refuses to take it, or of a person under theinfluence of desire, who having obtained a woman reciprocating hispassion, refuses to meet with her. We have become objects of censure, OBharata, because, O king, we follow thee that art of feebleunderstanding, in consequence of thyself being our eldest brother. We arepossessed of mighty arms; we are accomplished in knowledge and enduedwith great energy. Yet we are obedient to the words of a eunuch as if wewere entirely helpless. We are the refuge of all helpless persons. Yet,when people see us so, why would they not say that in respect of theacquisition of our objects we are entirely powerless? Reflect on thisthat I say. It has been laid down that (a life of) renunciation should beadopted, only in times of distress, by kings overcome with decrepitude ordefeated by foes. Men of wisdom, therefore, do not applaud renunciationas the duty of a Kshatriya. On the other hand, they that are of clearsight think that the adoption of that course of life (by a Kshatriya)involves even the loss of virtue. How can those that have sprung fromthat order, that are devoted to the practices of that order, and thathave refuge in them, censure those duties? Indeed, if those duties becensurable, then why should not the Supreme Ordainer be censured?[15] Itis only those persons that are reft of prosperity and wealth and that areinfidels in faith, that have promulgated this precept of the Vedas (aboutthe propriety of a Kshatriya’s adoption of a life of renunciation) as thetruth. In reality, however, it is never proper for a Kshatriya to do so.He who is competent to support life by prowess, he who can supporthimself by his own exertions, does not live, but really falls away fromhis duty, by the hypocritical externals of a life of renunciation. Thatman only is capable of leading a solitary life of happiness in the woodswho is unable to support sons and grandsons and the deities and Rishisand guests and Pitris. As the deer and boars and birds (though they leada forest life) cannot attain to heaven, even so those Kshatriyas that arenot bereft of prowess yet not given to doing good turns cannot attain toheaven by leading only a forest life. They should acquire religious meritby other ways. If, O king, anybody were to obtain success fromrenunciation, then mountains and trees would surely obtain it! Theselatter are always seen to lead lives of renunciation. They do not injureany one. They are, again, always aloof from a life of worldliness and areall Brahmacharins. If it be the truth that a person’s success dependsupon his own lot in life and not upon that of other, then (as a personborn in the Kshatriya order) thou shouldst betake thyself to action. Hethat is reft of action can never have success. If they that fill onlytheir own stomachs could attain to success, then all aquatic creatureswould obtain it, for these have none else to support save their ownselves. Behold, the world moves on, with every creature on it employed inacts proper to its nature. Therefore, one should betake oneself toaction. The man reft of action can never obtain success.'”

Chapter 188
Chapter 187
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