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Chapter 112

Mahabharata English - SANTI PARVA

“Yudhishthira said, ‘What acts should be done by a king, and what arethose acts by doing which a king may become happy? Tell me this indetail, O thou that art the foremost of all persons acquainted withduties.’

“Bhishma said, ‘I shall tell thee what thou wishest to know. Listen tothe settled truth about what should be done in this world by a king andwhat those acts are by doing which a king may become happy. A king shouldnot behave after the manner disclosed in the high history of a camel ofwhich we have heard. Listen to that history then, O Yudhishthira! Therewas, in the Krita age, a huge camel who had recollection of all the actsof his former life. Observing the most rigid vows, that camel practisedvery severe austerities in the forest. Towards the conclusion of hispenances, the puissant Brahman became gratified with him. The Grandsire,therefore, desired to grant him boons.’

“The camel said, ‘Let my neck, O holy one, become long through thy grace,so that, O puissant lord, I may be able to seize any food that may lieeven at the end of even a hundred Yojanas.’ The high-souled giver ofboons said, ‘Let it be so.’ The camel then, having obtained the boon,returned to his own forest. The foolish animal, from the day of obtainingthe boon, became idle. Indeed, the wretch, stupefied by fate, did notfrom that day go out for grazing. One day, while extending his long neckof a hundred Yojanas, the animal was engaged in picking his food withoutany labour, a great storm arose. The camel, placing his head and aportion of the neck within the cave of a mountain, resolved to wait tillthe storm would be over. Meanwhile it began to pour in torrents, delugingthe whole earth. A jackal, with his wife, drenched by the rain andshivering with cold, dragged himself with difficulty towards that verycave and entered it quickly for shelter. Living as he did upon meat, andexceedingly hungry and tired as he was, O bull of Bharata’s race, thejackal, seeing the camel’s neck, began to eat as much of it as he could.The camel, when he perceived that his neck was being eaten, strove insorrow to shorten it. But as he moved it up and down, the jackal and hiswife, without losing their hold of it, continued to eat it away. Within ashort time the camel was deprived of life. The jackal then, having (thus)slain and eaten the camel, came out of the cave after the storm andshower had ceased. Thus did that foolish camel meet with his death.Behold, what a great evil followed in the train of idleness. As regardsthyself, avoiding idleness and restraining thy senses, do everything inthe world with proper means. Manu himself has said that victory dependsupon intelligence. All acts that are accomplished with the aid ofintelligence are regarded as the foremost, those achieved with the aid ofarms are middling, those achieved with the aid of feet are inferior,while those done by carrying loads are the lowest. If the king is cleverin the transaction of business and restrains his senses, his kingdomendures. Manu himself has said that it is with the aid of theintelligence that an ambitious person succeeds in achieving victories. Inthis world, O Yudhishthira, they who listen to wise counsels that are notgenerally known, that are, O sinless one, possessed of allies, and thatact after proper scrutiny, succeed in achieving all their objects. Aperson possessed of such aids succeeds in ruling the entire earth. O thouthat art possessed of prowess like that of Indra himself, this has beensaid by wise men of ancient times conversant with the ordinances laiddown in the scriptures. I, also, with sight directed to the scriptures,have said the same to thee. Exercising thy intelligence, do thou act inthis world, O king!'”

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