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Chapter 37

Mahabharata English - UDYOGA PARAVA

“Vidura said, ‘O son of Vichitravirya, Manu, the son of the Self-created,hath, O king, spoken of the following seven and ten kinds of men, asthose that strike empty space with their fists, or seek to bend thevapoury bow of Indra in the sky, or desire to catch the intangible raysof the sun. These seven and ten kinds of foolish men are as follow: hewho seeketh to control a person that is incapable of being controlled; hewho is content with small gains; he who humbly pays court to enemies; hewho seeks to restrain women’s frailty; he who asketh him for gifts whoshould never be asked; he who boasteth, having done anything; he who,born in a high family, perpetrateth an improper deed; he who being weakalways wageth hostilities with one that is powerful; he who talketh to aperson listening scoffingly; he who desireth to have that which isunattainable; he who being a father-in-law, jesteth with hisdaughter-in-law; he who boasteth at having his alarms dispelled by hisdaughter-in-law; he who scattereth his own seeds in another’s field; hewho speaketh ill of his own wife; he who having received anything fromanother sayeth that he doth not remember it, he who, having given awayanything in words in holy places, boasteth at home when asked to makegood his words, and he who striveth to prove the truth of what is false.The envoys of Yama, with nooses in hand, drag those persons to hell. Oneshould behave towards another just as that other behaveth towards him.Even this is consistent with social polity. One may behave deceitfullytowards him that behaveth deceitfully, but honestly towards him that ishonest in his behaviour. Old age killeth beauty; patience, hope; death,life; the practice of virtue, worldly enjoyments; lust, modesty;companionship with the wicked, good behaviour; anger, prosperity; andpride, everything.’

“Dhritarashtra said, ‘Man hath been spoken of in all the Vedas as havinghundred years for the period of his life. For what reason then, do notall men attain the allotted period?’

“Vidura said, ‘Excess of pride, excess in speech, excess in eating,anger, the desire of enjoyment, and intestine dissensions,–these, Oking, are six sharp swords that cut off the period of life allotted tocreatures. It is these which kill men, and not death. Knowing this,blessed be thou!’

‘He who appropriates to himself the wife of one who hath confided in him;he who violates the bed of his preceptor; that Brahmana, O Bharata, whobecomes the husband of a Sudra woman, or drinks wines; he who commendethBrahmanas or becometh their master, or taketh away the lands that supportthem; and he who taketh the lives of those who yield asking forprotection, are all guilty of the sin of slaying Brahmanas. The Vedasdeclare that contact with these requires expiation. He that accepts theteaching of the wise; he that is acquainted with the rules of morality;he that is liberal; he that eateth having first dedicated the food to thegods and Pitris; he that envieth none; he that is incapable of doinganything that injureth others; he that is grateful, truthful, humble andlearned, succeedeth in attaining to heaven.

‘They are abundant, O king, that can always speak agreeable words. Thespeaker, however, is rare, as also the hearer, of words that aredisagreeable but medicinal. That man who, without regarding what isagreeable or disagreeable to his master but keeping virtue alone in view,sayeth what is unpalatable, but medicinal, truly addeth to the strengthof the king. For the sake of the family a member may be sacrificed; forthe sake of the village, a family may be sacrificed; for the sake of akingdom a village may be sacrificed; and for the sake of one’s soul, thewhole earth may be sacrificed. One should protect his wealth in view ofthe calamities that may overtake him; by his wealth one should protecthis wives, and by both his wealth and wives one should protect his ownself. From very olden times it hath been seen that gambling provokethquarrels. Therefore, he that is wise, should not resort to it even injest. O son of Pratipa, at the time of that gambling match I told thee, Oking–this is not proper. But, O son of Vichitravirya, like medicine to asick man, those words of mine were not agreeable to thee. O king, thoudesirest to vanquish the sons of Pandu, who are just as peacocks ofvariegated plumage, whereas thy sons are all as crows. Forsaking lionsthou art protecting jackals! O king, when the time cometh, thou wilt haveto grieve for all this. That master, O sire, who doth not give vent tohis displeasure with devoted servants zealously pursuing his good,enlisteth the confidence of his servants. In fact, the latter adhere tohim even in distress. By confiscating the grants to one’s servants orstopping their pay, one should not seek to amass wealth, for evenaffectionate counsellors deprived of their means of life and enjoyment,turn against him and leave him (in distress). Reflecting first on allintended acts and adjusting the wages and allowances of servants with hisincome and expenditure, a king should make proper alliances, for there isnothing that cannot be accomplished by alliances. That officer who fullyunderstanding the intentions of his royal master dischargeth all dutieswith alacrity, and who is respectable himself and devoted to his master,always telleth what is for his master’s good, and who is fully acquaintedwith the extent of his own might and with that also of those against,whom he may be engaged, should be regarded by the king as his secondself. That servant, however, who commanded (by his master) disregardeththe latter’s injunctions and who enjoined to do anything refuseth tosubmit, proud as he is of his own intelligence and given to arguingagainst his master, should be got rid of without the least delay. Men oflearning say that a servant should be endued with these eight qualities,viz., absence of pride, ability, absence of procrastination, kindness,cleanliness, incorruptibility, birth in a family free from the taint ofdisease, and weightiness of speech. No man should confidently enter anenemy’s house after dusk even with notice. One should not at night lurkin the yard of another’s premises, nor should one seek to enjoy a womanto whom the king himself might make love. Never set thyself against thedecision to which a person hath arrived who keepeth low company and whois in the habit of consulting all he meeteth. Never tell him,–I do notbelieve thee,–but assigning some reason send him away on a pretext. Aking who is exceedingly merciful, a woman of lewd character, the servantof a king, a son, a brother, a widow having an infant son one serving inthe army, and one that hath suffered great losses, should never beengaged in pecuniary transactions of lending or borrowing. These eightqualities shed a lustre on men, viz., wisdom, high lineage, acquaintancewith scriptures, self-restraint, prowess, moderation in speech, gift tothe extent of one’s power, and gratefulness. These high qualities, Osire, are necessarily brought together by one only by gifts. When theking favours a person, that incident (of royal favour) bringeth in allothers and holdeth them together. He that performeth ablutions winneththese ten, viz., strength, beauty, a clear voice, capacity to utter allthe alphabetical sounds, delicacy of touch, fineness of scent,cleanliness, gracefulness, delicacy of limbs, and beautiful women. Hethat eateth sparingly winneth these six, viz., health, long life, andease; his progeny also becometh healthy, and nobody reproacheth him forgluttony. One should not give shelter to these in his house, viz., onethat always acteth improperly, one that eateth too much, one that ishated by all, one that is exceedingly deceitful, one that is cruel, onethat is ignorant of the proprieties of time and place, and one thatdresseth indecently. A person, however distressed, should never solicit amiser for alms, or one that speaketh ill of others, or one that isunacquainted with the shastras, or a dweller in the woods, or one that iscunning, or one that doth not regard persons worthy of regard, or onethat is cruel, or one that habitually quarrels with others, or one thatis ungrateful. A person should never wait upon these six worst of men,viz., one that is a foe, one that always errs, one that is wedded tofalsehood, one that is wanting in devotion to the gods, one that iswithout affection, and one that always regards himself competent to doeverything. One’s purposes depend (for their success) on means; and meansare dependent, again, on the nature of the purposes (sought to beaccomplished by them). They are intimately connected with each other, sothat success depends on both. Begetting sons and rendering themindependent by making some provision for them, and bestowing maidendaughters on eligible persons, one should retire to the woods, and desireto live as a Muni. One should, for obtaining the favours of the SupremeBeing, do that which is for the good of all creatures as also for his ownhappiness, for it is this which is the root of the successful of allone’s objects. What anxiety hath he for a livelihood that hathintelligence, energy, prowess, strength, alacrity and perseverance?

‘Behold the evils of a rupture with the Pandavas which would sadden thevery gods with Sakra. These are, first, enmity between them that are allthy sons; secondly, a life of continued anxiety; thirdly, the loss of thefair fame of the Kurus; and lastly, the joy of those that are thyenemies. The wrath of Bhishma, O thou of the splendour of Indra, ofDrona, and the king Yudhishthira, will consume the whole world, like acomet of large proportions falling transversely on the earth. Thy hundredsons and Karna and the sons of Pandu can together rule the vast earthwith the belt of the seas. O king, the Dhartarashtras constitute a forestof which the Pandavas are, I think, tigers. O, do not cut down thatforest with its tigers! O, let not the tigers be driven from that forest!There can be no forest without tigers, and no tigers without a forest.The forest shelters the tigers and tigers guard the forest!’

They that are sinful never seek so much to ascertain the good qualitiesof others as to ascertain their faults. He that desires the highestsuccess in all matters connected with worldly profit, should from thevery beginning practise virtue, for true profit is never separated fromheaven. He whose soul hath been dissociated from sin and firmly fixed onvirtue, hath understood all things in their natural and adventitiousstates; he that followeth virtue, profit, and desire, in proper seasons,obtaineth, both here and hereafter, a combination of all three. He thatrestraineth the force of both anger and joy, and never, O king, losethhis senses under calamities, winneth prosperity. Listen to me, O king.Men are said to have five different kinds of strength, Of these, thestrength of arms is regarded to be of the most inferior kind. Blessed bethou, the acquisition of good counsellors is regarded as the second kindof strength. The wise have said that the acquisition of wealth is thethird kind of strength. The strength of birth, O king, which onenaturally acquireth from one’s sires and grandsires, is regarded as thefourth kind of strength. That, however, O Bharata, by which all these arewon, and which is the foremost of all kinds of strength, is called thestrength of the intellect. Having provoked the hostility of a person whois capable of inflicting great injury on a fellow creature, one shouldnot gather assurance from the thought that one liveth at a distance fromthe other. Who that is wise that can place his trust on women, kings,serpents, his own master, enemies, enjoyments, and period of life? Thereare no physicians nor medicines for one that hath been struck by thearrow of wisdom. In the case of such a person neither the mantras ofhoma, nor auspicious ceremonies, nor the mantras of the Atharva Veda, norany of the antidotes of poison, are of any efficacy. Serpents, fire,lions, and consanguineous relatives,–none of these, O Bharata, should bedisregarded by a man; all of these are possessed of great power. Fire isa thing of great energy in this world. It lurketh in wood and neverconsumeth it till it is ignited by others. That very fire, when broughtout by friction, consumeth by its energy not only the wood in which itlurketh, but also an entire forest and many other things. Men of highlineage are just like fire in energy. Endued with forgiveness, theybetray no outward symptoms of wrath and are quiet like fire in wood.Thou, O king, with thy sons art possessed of the virtue of creepers, andthe sons of Pandu are regarded as Sala trees. A creeper never growethunless there is a large tree to twine round. O king, O son of Ambika, thyson is as a forest. O sire, know that the Pandavas are the lions of thatforest. Without its lions the forest is doomed to destruction, and lionsalso are doomed to destruction without the forest (to shelter them).'”



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