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Chapter 118

Mahabharata English - SANTI PARVA

“Bhishma said, ‘Having once more assumed his proper form, the dog becamevery cheerless. The Rishi, reproving him, drove the sinful creature fromhis hermitage. An intelligent king should, guided by this precedent,appoint servants, each fit for the office assigned to him, and exerciseproper supervision over them, having first ascertained theirqualifications in respect of truthfulness and purity, sincerity, generaldisposition, knowledge of the scripture, conduct, birth, self-restraint,compassion, strength, energy, dignity, and forgiveness. A king shouldnever take a minister without first having examined him. If a kinggathers round him persons of low birth, he can never be happy. A personof high birth, even if persecuted without any fault by his royal master,never sets his heart, in consequence of the respectability of his blood,upon injuring his master. An individual, however, that is mean and of lowbirth, having obtained even great affluence from his connection with somehonest man, becomes an enemy of the latter if only he is reproached inwords.[351] A minister should be possessed of high birth and strength; heshould be forgiving and self-restrained, and have all his sense undercontrol; he should be free from the vice of rapacity, contented with hisjust acquisitions, delighted with the prosperity of his master andfriends, conversant with the requirements of place and time, everemployed in attaching men to himself or his master by doing good officesto them, always attentive to his duties, desiring the good of his master,always heedful, faithful in the discharge of his own duties., a thoroughmaster of the art of war and peace, conversant with the king’srequirements in respect of the great aggregate of three, beloved by boththe citizens and the inhabitants of the provinces, acquainted with allkinds of battle-array for piercing and breaking the enemy’s ranks,competent to inspire the forces of his master with cheerfulness and joy,capable of reading signs and gestures, acquainted with all requirementsin respect of march, skilled in the art of training elephants, free frompride, confident of his own powers, clever in the transaction ofbusiness, always doing what is right, of righteous conduct, surrounded byrighteous friends, of sweet speech, possessed of agreeable features,capable of leading men, well-versed in policy, possessed ofaccomplishments, energetic in action, active, possessed of ingenuity, ofa sweet temper, modest in address, patient, brave, rich, and capable ofadapting his measures to the requirement of place and time. That king whosucceeds in obtaining such a minister can never be humiliated oroverpowered by any one. Indeed, his kingdom gradually spreads over theearth like the light of the moon. A king, again, who is conversant withthe scriptures, who regards righteousness to be superior to everything,who is always engaged in protecting his subjects, and who is possessed ofthe following virtues, obtains the love of all. He should be patient,forgiving, pure in conduct, severe when the occasion requires itacquainted with the efficacy of exertion, respectful in his behaviourtowards all his seniors, possessed of a knowledge of the scriptures,ready to listen to the instructions and counsels of those that arecompetent to instruct and give counsel, capable of judging correctly amiddifferent or opposite courses of action suggested to him, intelligent, ofa retentive memory, ready to do what is just, self-restrained, alwayssweet-speeched, forgiving even unto enemies, practising charitypersonally, possessed of faith, of agreeable features, ready to extendthe hand of succour to persons plunged in distress, possessed ofministers that always seek his good, free from the fault of egoism, neverwithout a wife,[352] and undisposed to do anything with haste. He shouldalways reward his ministers when they achieve anything signal. He shouldlove those that are devoted to him. Avoiding idleness, he should alwaysattract men to himself by doing good to them. His face should always becheerful. He should always be attentive to the wants of his servants andnever give way to wrath. He should, besides, be magnanimous. Withoutlying aside the lord of chastisement, he should wield it with propriety.He should make all men about him act righteously. Having spies for hiseyes, he should always supervise the concerns of his subjects, and shouldbe conversant in all matters connected with virtue and wealth. A kingthat is possessed of these hundred qualifications earns the love of all.Every ruler should strive to be such. The king should also, O monarch,search for good warriors (to enlist in his army) that should all bepossessed of the necessary qualifications, for aiding him in protectinghis kingdom. A king that desires his own advancement should neverdisregard his army. That king whose soldiers are brave in battle,grateful, and versed in the scriptures, whose army consists offoot-soldiers conversant with the treatises on religion and duty, whoseelephant-warriors are fearless, whose car-warriors are skilled in theirown mode of fighting and well-versed in shooting arrows and in wieldingother weapons, succeeds in subjugating the whole earth. That king who isalways employed in attaching all men to himself, who is ready forexertion, who is rich in friends and allies, becomes the foremost ofrulers. A king who has succeeded in attaching all men unto himself, may,O Bharata, with the aid of even a thousand horsemen of courage, succeedin conquering the whole earth.'”

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