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Chapter 96

Mahabharata English - SANTI PARVA

“Bhishma said, ‘A king should never desire to subjugate the earth byunrighteous means, even if such subjugation would make him the sovereignof the whole earth. What king is there that would rejoice after obtainingvictory by unfair means? A victory stained by unrighteousness isuncertain and never leads to heaven. Such a victory, O bull of Bharata’srace, weakens both the king and the earth. A warrior whose armour hasfallen off, or who begs for quarter, saying, ‘I am thine’ or joining hishands, or who has laid aside his weapon, may simply be seized but neverslain. If a hostile king be vanquished by the troops of the invader, thelatter should not himself fight his vanquished foe. On the other hand, heshould bring him to his palace and persuade him for a whole year to say,’I am thy slave!’ Whether he says or does not say this, the vanquishedfoe, by living for a year in the house of his victor, gains a new leaseof life.[282] If a king succeeds in bringing by force a maiden from thehouse of his vanquished foe, he should keep her for a year and ask herwhether she would wed him or any one else. If she does not agree, sheshould then be sent back. He should behave similarly in respect of allother kinds of wealth (such as slave) that are acquired by force. Theking should never appropriate the wealth confiscated from thieves andothers awaiting execution. The kine taken front the enemy by force shouldbe given away to the Brahmanas so that they may drink the milk of thoseanimals. The bulls taken from the enemy should be set to agriculture workor returned to the enemy.[283] It is laid down that a king should fightone that is a king. One that is not a king should never strike one thatis a king. If a Brahmana, desirous of peace, fearlessly goes between twocontending armies, both should immediately abstain from fight. He wouldbreak an eternal rule that would slay or wound a Brahmana. If anyKshatriya breaks that rule, he would become a wretch of his order. Inaddition to this, that Kshatriya who destroys righteousness andtransgresses all wholesome barriers does not deserve to be reckoned as aKshatriya and should be driven from society. A king desirous of obtainingvictory should never follow such conduct. What gain can be greater thanvictory won righteously? The excitable classes (of a kingdom recentlyconquered) should, without delay, be conciliated with soothing speechesand gifts. This is a good policy for the king to adopt. If instead ofdoing this, these men be sought to be governed with impolicy, they wouldthen leave the kingdom and side with (the victor’s) foes and wait for theaccession of calamities (in order that they may then make head againstthe victor). Discontented men, watching for the calamities of the king,promptly side with the latter’s foes. O monarch, in times of danger. Anenemy should not be deceived by unfair means, nor should be woundedmortally. For, if struck mortally, his very life may pass away.[284] If aking possessed of little resources be gratified therewith, he wouldregard life alone to be much.[285] That king whose dominions areextensive and full of wealth, whose subjects are loyal, whose servantsand officers are all contented, is said to have his roots firm. That kingwhose Ritwijas and priests and preceptors and others about him that arewell-versed in all scriptures and deserving of honours are dulyrespected, is said to be conversant with the ways of the world. It was bysuch behaviour that Indra got the sovereignty of the world. It is by thisbehaviour that earthly kings succeed in obtaining the status of Indra.King Pratardana, subjugating his foes in a great battle, took all theirwealth, including their very grain and medicinal herbs, but left theirland untouched. King Divodasa, after subjugating his foes, brought awaythe very remnants of their sacrificial fires, their clarified butter(intended for libations), and their food. For this reason he was deprivedof the merit of his conquests.[286] King Nabhaga (after his conquests)gave away whole kingdoms with their rulers as sacrificial presents untothe Brahmanas, excepting the wealth of learned Brahmanas and ascetics.The behaviour, O Yudhishthira, of all the righteous kings of old, wasexcellent, and I approve of it wholly. That king who desires his ownprosperity should seek for conquests by the aid of every kind ofexcellence but never with that of deceit or with pride.'”

FOLLOW US ON:
Chapter 97
Chapter 95
🙏 धर्म और आध्यात्म को जन-जन तक पहुँचाने में हमारा साथ दें| 🙏