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Chapter 38

Mahabharata English - UDYOGA PARAVA

“Vidura said, ‘The heart of a young man, when an aged and venerableperson cometh to his house (as a guest), soareth aloft. By advancingforward and saluting him, he getteth it back. He that is self-controlled,first offering a seat, and bringing water and causing his guest’s feet tobe washed and making the usual enquiries of welcome, should then speak ofhis own affairs, and taking everything into consideration, offer himfood. The wise have said that man liveth in vain in whose dwelling aBrahmana conversant with mantras doth not accept water, honey and curds,and kine from fear of being unable to appropriate them, or frommiserliness and unwillingness with which the gifts are made. A physician,a maker of arrows, even one that hath given up the vow of Brahmacharyabefore it is complete, a thief, a crooked-minded man, a Brahmana thatdrinks, one that causeth miscarriage, one that liveth by serving in thearmy, and one that selleth the Vedas, when arrived as a guest, howeverundeserving he may be the offer of water should be regarded (by ahouseholder) as exceedingly dear. A Brahmana should never be a seller ofsalt, of cooked food, curds, milk, honey, oil, clarified butter, sesame,meat, fruits, roots, potherbs, dyed clothes, all kinds of perfumery, andtreacle. He that never giveth way to anger, he that is above grief, hethat is no longer in need of friendship and quarrels, he thatdisregardeth both praise and blame, and he that standeth aloof from bothwhat is agreeable and disagreeable, like one perfectly withdrawn from theworld, is a real Yogin of the Bhikshu order. That virtuous ascetic wholiveth on rice growing wild, or roots, or potherbs, who hath his soulunder control, who carefully keepeth his fire for worship, and dwellingin the woods is always regardful of guests, is indeed, the foremost ofhis brotherhood. Having wronged an intelligent person, one should nevergather assurance from the fact that one liveth at a distance from theperson wronged. Long are the arms which intelligent persons have, bywhich they can return wrongs for wrongs done to them, One should neverput trust on him who should not be trusted, nor put too much trust on himwho should be trusted, for the danger that ariseth from one’s havingreposed trust on another cutteth off one’s very roots. One shouldrenounce envy, protect one’s wives, give to others what is their due, andbe agreeable in speech. One should be sweet-tongued and pleasant in hisaddress as regards one’s wives, but should never be their slave. It hathbeen said that wives that are highly blessed and virtuous, worthy ofworship and the ornaments of their homes, are really embodiments ofdomestic prosperity. They should, therefore, be protected particularly.One should devolve the looking over of his inner apartments on hisfather; of the kitchen, on his mother; of the kine, on somebody he looksupon as his own self, but as regards agriculture, one should look over ithimself. One should look after guests of the trader-caste through hisservants, and those of the Brahmana caste through his sons. Fire hath itsorigin in water; Kshatriyas in Brahmanas; and iron in stone. The energyof those (i.e., fire, Kshatriyas, and iron) can affect all things but isneutralised as soon as the things come in contact with their progenitors.Fire lieth concealed in wood without showing itself externally. Good andforgiving men born of high families and endued with fiery energy, do notbetray any outward symptoms of what is within them. That king whosecounsels cannot be known by either outsiders or those about him, but whoknoweth the counsels of others through his spies, enjoyeth his prosperitylong. One should never speak of what one intends to do. Let anything thoudoest in respect of virtue, profit, and desire, be not known till it isdone. Let counsels be not divulged. Ascending on the mountain-top or onthe terrace of a palace, or proceeding to a wilderness devoid of treesand plants, one should, in secrecy, mature his counsels. O Bharata,neither a friend who is without learning, nor a learned friend who hathno control over his senses, deserveth to be a repository of statesecrets. O king, never make one thy minister without examining him well,for a king’s finances and the keeping of his counsels both depend on hisminister. That king is the foremost of rulers, whose ministers know hisacts in respect of virtue, profit and desire, only after they are done.The king whose counsels are kept close, without doubt, commandethsuccess. He that from ignorance committeth acts that are censurable,loseth his very life in consequence of the untoward results of thoseacts. The doing of acts that are praise-worthy is always attended withease. Omission to do such acts leadeth to repentance. As a Brahmanawithout having studied the Vedas is not fit to officiate at a Sraddha (inhonour of the Pitris), so he that hath not heard of the six (means forprotecting a kingdom) deserveth not to take part in politicaldeliberations. O king, he that hath an eye upon increase, decrease, andsurplus, he that is conversant with the six means and knoweth also hisown self, he whose conduct is always applauded, bringeth the whole earthunder subjection to himself. He whose anger and joy are productive ofconsequences, he who looketh over personally what should be done, he whohath his treasury under his own control, bringeth the whole earth undersubjection to himself. The king should be content with the name he winsand the umbrella that is held over his head. He should divide the wealthof the kingdom among these that serve him. Alone he should notappropriate everything. A Brahmana knoweth a Brahmana, the husbandunderstandeth the wife, the king knoweth the minister, and monarchs knowmonarchs. A foe that deserveth death, when brought under subjectionshould never be set free. If one be weak one should pay court to one’sfoe that is stronger, even if the latter deserves death; but one shouldkill that foe as soon as one commandeth sufficient strength, for, if notkilled, dangers soon arise from him. One should, with an effort, controlhis wrath against the gods, kings, Brahmanas, old men, children, andthose that are helpless. He that is wise should avoid unprofitablequarrels such as fools only engage in. By this one winneth great fame inthis world and avoideth misery and unhappiness. People never desire himfor a master whose grace is fruitless and whose wrath goest for nothing,like women never desiring him for a husband who is a eunuch. Intelligencedoth not exist for the acquisition of wealth, nor is idleness the causeof adversity; the man of wisdom only knoweth, and not others, the causeof the diversities of condition in this world. The fool, O Bharata,always disregardeth those that are elderly in years, and eminent inconduct and knowledge, in intelligence, wealth, and lineage. Calamitiessoon come upon them that are of wicked disposition, devoid of wisdom,envious, or sinful, foul-tongued, and wrathful. Absence of deceitfulness,gift, observance of the established rules of intercourse, and speechwell-controlled, bring all creatures under subjection. He that is withoutdeceitfulness, he that is active, grateful, intelligent, and guileless,even if his treasury be empty, obtaineth friends, counsellors, andservants. Intelligence, tranquillity of mind, self-control, purity,absence of harsh speech and unwillingness to do anything disagreeable tofriends,–these seven are regarded as the fuel of prosperity’s flame. Thewretch who doth not give to others their due, who is of wicked soul, whois ungrateful, and shameless, should, O king, be avoided. The guiltyperson who provoketh another about him that is innocent, cannot sleeppeacefully at night, like a person passing the night with a snake in thesame room. They, O Bharata, who upon being angry endanger one’spossessions and means of acquisition, should always be propitiated likethe very gods. Those objects that depend upon women, careless persons,men that have fallen away from the duties of their caste, and those thatare wicked in disposition, are doubtful of success. They sink helplessly.O king, like a raft made of stone, who have a woman, a deceitful person,or a child, for their guide. They that are competent in the generalprinciples of work, though not in particular kinds of work are regardedby men as learned and wise for particular kinds of work, are subsidiary,That man who is highly spoken of by swindlers, mimes and women of illfame, is more dead than alive, Forsaking these mighty bowmen ofimmeasurable energy, viz., the son of Pandu, thou hast. O Bharata,devolved on Duryodhana, the cares of a mighty empire. Thou shalt,therefore, soon see that swelling affluence fall off, like Vali fallenoff from the three worlds.'”



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