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Chapter 119

Mahabharata English - SANTI PARVA

“Bhishma said, ‘That king who, guided by the lesson to be drawn from thestory of the dog, appoints his servants to offices for which each is fit,succeeds in enjoying the happiness that is attached to sovereignty. A dogshould not, with honours, be placed in a position above that for which heis fit. If a dog be placed above the situation which is fit for him, hebecomes intoxicated with pride. Ministers should be appointed to officesfor which they are fit and should possess such qualifications as areneeded for their respective occupations. Appointments on unfit personsare not at all approved. That king who confers on his servants officesfor which each is fit, succeeds, in consequence of such merit, to enjoythe happiness attaching to sovereignty. A Sarabha should occupy theposition of a Sarabha; a lion should swell with the might of a lion; atiger should be placed in the position of a tiger; and a leopard shouldbe placed as a leopard. Servants should, according to the ordinance, beappointed to offices for which each is fit. If thou wishest to achievesuccess, thou shouldst never appoint servants in situations higher thanwhat they deserve. That foolish king who, transgressing precedent,appoints servants to offices for which they are not fit, fails to gratifyhis people. A king that desires to possess accomplished servants shouldnever appoint persons that are destitute of intelligence, that arelow-minded, that are without wisdom, that are not masters of theirsenses, and that are not of high birth. Men that are honest, possessed ofhigh birth, brave, learned, destitute of malice and envy, high-minded,pure in behaviour, and clever in the transaction of business, deserve tobe appointed as ministers. Persons that are possessed of humility, readyin the performance of their duties, tranquil in disposition, pure inmind, adorned with diverse other gifts of nature and are never theobjects of calumny in respect of the offices they hold should be theintimate associates of the king. A lion should always make a companion ofa lion. If one that is not a lion becomes the companion of a lion, oneearns all the advantages that belong to a lion. That lion, however who,while engaged in discharging the duties of a lion, has a pack of dogsonly for his associates, never succeeds in consequence of suchcompanionship, in accomplishing those duties. Even thus, O ruler of men,may a king succeed in subjugating the whole earth if he has for hisministers men possessed of courage, wisdom, great learning, and highbirth. O foremost of royal masters, kings should never entertain aservant that is destitute of learning and sincerity and wisdom and greatwealth. These men that are devoted to the services of their master arenever slopped by any impediments. Kings should always speak in soothingterms unto those servants that are always engaged in doing good to theirmasters. Kings should always, with great care, look after theirtreasuries. Indeed, kings have their roots in their treasuries. A kingshould always seek to swell his treasury. Let thy barns, O king, befitted with corn. And let their keep be entrusted to honest servants. Dothou seek to increase thy wealth and corn. Let thy servants, skilled inbattle, be always attentive to their duties. It is desirable that theyshould be skilful in the management of steeds. O delighter of the Kurus,attend to the wants of thy kinsmen and friends. Be thou surrounded withfriends and relatives. Seek thou the good of thy city. By citing theprecedent of the dog I have instructed thee about the duties thoushouldst adopt towards thy subjects. What further dost thou wish tohear?'”

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