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Chapter 115

Mahabharata English - SANTI PARVA

“Yudhishthira said, ‘O grandsire, O thou that art possessed of greatwisdom, I have one great doubt that perplexes me. Thou shouldst, O king,resolve it. Thou art an advancer of our family. Thou hast discoursed tous upon the slanderous speeches uttered by wicked-souled wretches of badconduct. I desire, however, to question thee further. That which isbeneficial to a kingdom, that which is productive of the happiness of theroyal line, that which is productive of good and advancement in thefuture and the present, that which is good in respect of food and drinkand as regards also the body, are topics upon which I wish thee todiscourse. How should a king who has been placed on the throne and whocontinues to occupy it, surrounded by friends, ministers, and servantsgratify his people. That king who, led away by his affections andpredilections, becomes devoted to evil associates, and who pays court towicked men in consequence of his being enthralled by his senses, findsall servants of good birth and blood disaffected towards him. Such a kingnever succeeds in obtaining those objects the accomplishment of whichdepends upon one’s having a number of good servants about him. Itbehoveth thee that art equal to Vrihaspati himself in intelligence todiscourse to me upon these duties of kings which are difficult to beascertained and thereby remove my doubts. Thou, O tiger among men, artever engaged in accomplishing the good of our race. For this reason thoualways discoursest to us on the duties of king-craft. Kshatri (Vidura)also, possessed of great wisdom, always gives us valuable instruction.Hearing instructions from thee that are productive of good to our raceand kingdom, I shall be able to pass my days in happiness like a persongratified with having quaffed the deathless Amrita. What classes ofservants are to be regarded as inferior and what is possessed of everyaccomplishment? Aided by what class of servants or by servants of whatkind of birth, is it advisable to discharge the duties of ruling? If theking choose to act alone and without servants, he can never succeed inprotecting his people. All persons, however, of high birth covet theacquisition of sovereignty.’

“Bhishma said, ‘The king, O Bharata, cannot alone rule his kingdom.Without servants to aid him, he cannot succeed in accomplishing anyobject. Even if he succeeds in gaining any object, he cannot (if alone),retain it. That king whose servants are all possessed of knowledge andwisdom, who are all devoted to the good of their master, and who are ofhigh birth and tranquil disposition, succeeds in enjoying the happinessconnected with sovereignty. That king whose ministers are all well born,incapable of being weaned away from him (by means of bribes and otherinfluences), who always live with him, who are engaged in giving adviceto their master, who are possessed of wisdom and goodness, who have aknowledge of the relations of things, who can provide for future eventsand contingencies, who have a good knowledge of the virtues of time, andwho never grieve for what is past, succeeds in enjoying the happinessthat attaches to sovereignty. That king whose servants share with him hisgriefs and joys, who always do what is agreeable to him, who alwaysdirect their attention to the accomplishment of their master’s objects,and all of whom are faithful, succeeds in enjoying the happiness thatattaches to sovereignty. The king whose subjects are always cheerful, andhigh minded, and who always tread in the path of the righteousness,succeeds in enjoying the happiness attached to sovereignty. He is thebest of kings all the sources of whose income are managed and supervisedby contented and trustworthy men well acquainted with the means ofincreasing the finances. That king succeeds in obtaining affluence andgreat merit whose repositories and barns are supervised by incorruptible,trust-worthy, devoted, and uncovetous servants always bent upongathering. That king in whose city justice is administered properly withthe result of such administration leading to the well known results offining the plaintiff or the defendant if his case is untrue, and in whichcriminal laws are administered even after the manner of Sankha andLikhita, succeeds in earning the merit that attaches to sovereignty. Thatking who attaches his subjects to himself by kindness, who is conversantwith the duties of kings, and who attends to the aggregate of six.succeeds in earning the merit that attaches to sovereignty.'”

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