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Chapter 4

Mahabharata English - VIRATA PARVA

Yudhishthira said, “Ye have already said what offices ye willrespectively perform. I also, according to the measure of my sense, havesaid what office I will perform. Let our priest, accompanied bycharioteers and cooks, repair to the abode of Drupada, and there maintainour Agnihotra fires. And let Indrasena and the others, taking with thenthe empty cars, speedily proceeded to Dwaravati. Even this is my wish.And let all these maid-servants of Draupadi go to the Panchalas, with ourcharioteers and cooks. And let all of them say,–We do not know where thePandavas have gone leaving us at the lake of Dwaitavana.”

Vaisampayana said, “Having thus taken counsel of one another and told oneanother the offices they would discharge, the Pandavas sought Dhaumya’sadvice. And Dhaumya also gave them advice in the following words, saying,Ye sons of Pandu, the arrangements ye have made regarding the Brahmanas,yours friends, cars, weapons, and the (sacred) fires, are excellent. Butit behoveth thee, O Yudhishthira, and Arjuna specially, to make provisionfor the protection of Draupadi. Ye king, ye are well-acquainted with thecharacters of men. Yet whatever may be your knowledge, friends may fromaffection be permitted to repeat what is already known. Even this issubservient to the eternal interests of virtue, pleasure, and profit. Ishall, therefore speak to you something. Mark ye. To dwell with a kingis, alas, difficult. I shall tell you, ye princes, how ye may reside inthe royal household, avoiding every fault. Ye Kauravas, honourably orotherwise, ye will have to pass this year in the king’s palace,undiscovered by those that know you. Then in the fourteenth year, ye willlive happy. O son of Pandu, in this world, that cherisher and protectorof all beings, the king, who is a deity in an embodied form, is as agreat fire sanctified with all the mantras. [6] One should presenthimself before the king, after having obtained his permission at thegate. No one should keep contact with royal secrets. Nor should onedesire a seat which another may covet. He who doth not, regarding himselfto be a favourite, occupy (the king’s) car, or coach, or seat, orvehicle, or elephant, is alone worthy of dwelling in a royal household.He that sits not upon a seat the occupation of which is calculated raisealarm in the minds of malicious people, is alone worthy of dwelling in aroyal household. No one should, unasked offer counsel (to a king). Payinghomage in season unto the king, one should silently and respectfully sitbeside the king, for kings take umbrage at babblers, and disgrace layingcounsellors. A wise person should not contact friendship with the king’swife, nor with the inmates of the inner apartments, nor with those thatare objects of royal displeasure. One about the king should do even themost unimportant acts and with the king’s knowledge. Behaving thus with asovereign, one doth not come by harm. Even if an individual attain thehighest office, he should, as long as he is not asked or commanded,consider himself as born-blind, having regard to the king’s dignity, forO repressers of foes, the rulers of men do not forgive even their sonsand grandsons and brothers when they happen to tamper with their dignity.Kings should be served with regardful care, even as Agni and other god;and he that is disloyal to his sovereign, is certainly destroyed by him.Renouncing anger, and pride, and negligence, it behoveth a man to followthe course directed by the monarch. After carefully deliberating on allthings, a person should set forth before the king those topics that areboth profitable and pleasant; but should a subject be profitable withoutbeing pleasant, he should still communicate it, despite itsdisagreeableness. It behoveth a man to be well-disposed towards the kingin all his interests, and not to indulge in speech that is alikeunpleasant and profitless. Always thinking–I am not liked by theking–one should banish negligence, and be intent on bringing about whatis agreeable and advantageous to him. He that swerveth not from hisplace, he that is not friendly to those that are hostile to the king, hethat striveth not to do wrong to the king, is alone worthy to dwell in aroyal household. A learned man should sit either on the king’s right orthe left; he should not sit behind him for that is the place appointedfor armed guards, and to sit before him is always interdicted. Let none,when the king is engaged in doing anything (in respect of his servants)come forward pressing himself zealously before others, for even if theaggrieved be very poor, such conduct would still be inexcusable.[7] Itbehoveth no man to reveal to others any lie the king may have toldinasmuch as the king bears ill will to those that report his falsehoods.Kings also always disregard persons that regard themselves as learned. Noman should be proud thinking–I am brave, or, I am intelligent, but aperson obtains the good graces of a king and enjoys the good things oflife, by behaving agreeably to the wishes of the king. And, O Bharata,obtaining things agreeable, and wealth also which is so hard to acquire,a person should always do what is profitable as well as pleasant to theking. What man that is respected by the wise can even think of doingmischief to one whose ire is great impediment and whose favour isproductive of mighty fruits? No one should move his lips, arms andthighs, before the king. A person should speak and spit before the kingonly mildly. In the presence of even laughable objects, a man should notbreak out into loud laughter, like a maniac; nor should one show(unreasonable) gravity by containing himself, to the utmost. One shouldsmile modestly, to show his interest (in what is before him). He that isever mindful of the king’s welfare, and is neither exhilarated by rewardnor depressed by disgrace, is alone worthy of dwelling in a royalhousehold. That learned courtier who always pleaseth the king and his sonwith agreeable speeches, succeedeth in dwelling in a royal household as afavourite. The favourite courtier who, having lost the royal favour forjust reason, does not speak evil of the king, regains prosperity. The manwho serveth the king or liveth in his domains, if sagacious, should speakin praise of the king, both in his presence and absence. The courtier whoattempts to obtain his end by employing force on the king, cannot keephis place long and incurs also the risk of death. None should, for thepurpose of self-interest, open communications with the king’s enemies.[8]Nor should one distinguish himself above the king in matters requiringability and talents. He that is always cheerful and strong, brave andtruthful, and mild, and of subdued senses, and who followeth his masterlike his shadow, is alone worthy to dwell in a royal household. He thaton being entrusted with a work, cometh forward, saying,–I will dothis–is alone worthy of living in a royal household. He that on beingentrusted with a task, either within the king’s dominion or out of it,never feareth to undertake it, is alone fit to reside in a royalhousehold. He that living away from his home, doth no remember his dearones, and who undergoeth (present) misery in expectation of (future)happiness, is alone worthy of dwelling in a royal household. One shouldnot dress like the king, nor should one indulge, in laughter in theking’s presence nor should one disclose royal secrets. By acting thus onemay win royal favour. Commissioned to a task, one should not touch bribesfor by such appropriation one becometh liable to fetters or death. Therobes, ornaments, cars, and other things which the king may be pleased tobestow should always be used, for by this, one winneth the royal favour.Ye children, controlling your minds, do ye spend this year, ye sons ofPandu, behaving in this way. Regaining your own kingdom, ye may live asye please.”

Yudhishthira said, “We have been well taught by thee. Blessed be thou.There is none that could say so to us, save our mother Kunti and Viduraof great wisdom. It behoveth thee to do all that is necessary now for ourdeparture, and for enabling us to come safely through this woe, as wellas for our victory over the foe.”

Vaisampayana continued, “Thus addressed by Yudhishthira, Dhaumya, thatbest of Brahmanas, performed according to the ordinance the ritesordained in respect of departure. And lighting up their fires, heoffered, with mantras, oblations on them for the prosperity and successof the Pandavas, as for their reconquest of the whole world. And walkinground those fires and round the Brahmanas of ascetic wealth, the six setout, placing Yajnaseni in their front. And when those heroes haddeparted, Dhaumya, that best of ascetics, taking their sacred fires, setout for the Panchalas. And Indrasena, and others already mentioned, wentto the Yadavas, and looking after the horses and the cars of the Pandavaspassed their time happily and in privacy.”

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