12. SANTI PARVA (369)

OM! HAVING BOWED down to Narayana, and Nara, the foremost of male beings,and unto the goddess Saraswati, must the word Jaya be uttered.

Bhimasena said, “Thy understanding, O king, has become blind to thetruth, like that of a foolish and unintelligent reciter of the Veda inconsequence of his repeated recitation of those scriptures.

“Yudhisthira said, ‘I wish to know, O royal sage, whether any fault isincurred by one who from interested or disinterested friendship impartsinstructions unto a person belonging to a low order of birth! Ograndsire, I desire to hear this, expounded to me in detail.

“Yudhishthira said, ‘Tell me, O grandsire, how kings desirous of victoryshould, O bull of Bharata’s race, lead their troops to battle even byoffending slightly against the rules of righteousness!’

“Yudhishthira said, ‘Of what disposition, of what behaviour, of whatform, how acoutred, and how armed should the combatants be in order thatthey may be competent for battle?’

“Yudhishthira said. ‘What are the well-known indications, O bull ofBharata’s race, of the (future) success of an army? I desire to knowthem.’

“Yudhishthira said, ‘Tell me, O grandsire, how a kin should behavetowards foe that is mild, towards one that is fierce, and towards onethat has many allies and a large force.’

“Yudhishthira said, ‘How should a righteous king, who is opposed by hisown officers, whose treasury and army are no longer under his control,and who has no wealth, conduct himself for acquiring happiness?’

“The sage said, ‘If, on the other hand, O Kshatriya, thou thinkest thatthou hast any prowess still, I shall discourse to thee about that line ofpolicy which thou mayst adopt for recovering thy kingdom.

“The king said, ‘I do not desire, O Brahmana, to support life by deceitor fraud. I do not desire wealth, however great, which is to be earned byunrighteous means.

“Yudhishthira said, ‘Thou hast, O scorcher of foes, described the courseof duties, the general conduct, the means of livelihood, with theirresults, of Brahmanas and Kshatriyas and Vaisyas and Sudras.

“Yudhishthira said, ‘The path of duty is long. It has also, O Bharata,many branches. What, however, according to thee, are those duties thatmost deserve to be practised? What acts, according to thee, are the mostimportant among all duties, by the practice of which I may earn thehighest merit both here and hereafter?’

“Yudhishthira said, ‘How, O Bharata, should a person act who desires toadhere to virtue? O bull of Bharata’s race, possessed as thou art oflearning, tell me this, questioned by me.

“Arjuna said, ‘In this connection an old history is cited, viz., thediscourse between certain ascetics and Sakra, O bull of Bharata’s race!

“Yudhishthira said, ‘Creatures are seen to be afflicted by diverse meansand almost continually. Tell me, O grandsire, in what way can oneovercome all those difficulties.’

“Yudhishthira said, ‘Many persons here that are not really of tranquilsouls appear in outward form as men of tranquil souls. There are againothers that are really of tranquil souls but that appear to be otherwise.How, O sire, shall we succeed in knowing these people?’

“Yudhishthira said, ‘What acts should be done by a king, and what arethose acts by doing which a king may become happy? Tell me this indetail, O thou that art the foremost of all persons acquainted withduties.’

“Yudhishthira said, ‘Tell me O bull of Bharata’s race, how a king,without the usual aids, having obtained a kingdom that is so precious apossession, behave himself towards a powerful foe.’

“Yudhishthira said, ‘How, O Bharata, should a learned man adorned withmodesty behave, O chastiser of foes, when assailed with harsh speeches inthe midst of assemblies by an ignorant person swelling with conceit?'[346]

“Yudhishthira said, ‘O grandsire, O thou that art possessed of greatwisdom, I have one great doubt that perplexes me.

“Bhishma said, ‘In this connection is cited the following history ofolden times.

“Bhishma said, ‘The dog transformed into a tiger, gratified with theflesh of slain beasts, slept at his ease.

“Bhishma said, ‘Having once more assumed his proper form, the dog becamevery cheerless. The Rishi, reproving him, drove the sinful creature fromhis hermitage.

“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.

“Vaisampayana said, ‘Hearing these words of Arjuna, O chastiser of foes,Nakula of mighty arms and a broad chest, temperate in speech andpossessed of great wisdom, with face whose colour then resembled that ofcopper, looked at the king, that foremost of all righteous persons, andspoke these words, besieging his brother’s heart (with reason).’

“Yudhishthira said, ‘Thou hast, O Bharata, discoursed upon the manyduties of king-craft that were observed and laid down in days of old bypersons of ancient times conversant with kingly duties.

“Yudhishthira said, ‘O grandsire, thou hast now finished thy discourseupon the duties of kings. From what thou hast said it seems thatChastisement occupies a high position and is the lord of everything foreverything depends upon Chastisement.

“Bhishma said, ‘In this connection is cited the old story that follows.There was among the Angas a king of great splendour, called Vasuhoma.

“Yudhishthira said, ‘I wish, O sire, to hear the settled conclusions onthe subject of Virtue, Wealth, and Pleasure. Depending upon which ofthese does the course of life proceed? What are the respective roots ofVirtue, Wealth, and Pleasure? What are again the results of those three?They are sometimes see n to mingle with one another, and sometimes toexist separately and independently of one another.’

“Yudhishthira said, ‘All persons on earth, O foremost of men, applaudvirtuous behaviour. I have, however, great doubts with respect to thisobject of their praise. If the topic be capable of being understood byus, O foremost of virtuous men, I desire to hear everything about the wayin which virtuous behaviour can be acquired. How indeed, is thatbehaviour acquired, O Bharata! I desire to hear it. Tell me also, Oforemost of speakers, what has been said to be the characteristics ofthat behaviour.’

“Yudhishthira said, ‘Thou hast said, O grandsire, that behaviour is thefirst (of requisites for a man). Whence, however, does Hope arise? Tellme what it is. This great doubt has taken possession of my mind.

“Bhishma said, ‘The king, having entered that large forest, came upon anasylum of ascetics.

“Bhishma said, ‘Then that best of Rishis, viz., the regenerate Rishabha,sitting in the midst of all those Rishis, smiled a little and said thesewords:

“The king said, ‘I am a king called by the name of Viradyumna. My famehas spread in all directions. My son Bhuridyumna hath been lost.

“Yudhishthira said, ‘Like one that drinks nectar I am never satiated withlistening to thee as thou speakest. As a person possessing a knowledge ofself is never satiated with meditation, even so I am never satiated withhearing thee.

“Sahadeva said, ‘By casting off all external objects only, O Bharata, onedoes not attain to success. By casting off even mental attachments, theattainment of success is doubtful.

“Yudhishthira said, ‘What course of conduct should be adopted by a kingshorn of friends, having many enemies, possessed of an exhaustedtreasury, and destitute of troops, O Bharata!

“Yudhishthira said, ‘What, besides this, should be done by a king that isweak and procrastinating, that does not engage in battle from anxiety forthe lives of his friends, that is always under the influence of fear, andthat cannot keep his counsels secret?

“Yudhishthira said, ‘When practices fraught with high morality andbeneficial to the world, (viz., those that appertain to righteous rule)disappear, when all the means and resources for the support of life fallinto the hands of robbers, when, indeed, such a calamitous time sets in,by what means should a Brahmana, O grandsire, who from affection isunable to desert his sons and grandsons, subsist?’

“Bhishma said, ‘The king should, by drawing wealth from his own kingdomas also from the kingdoms of his foes, fill his treasury. From thetreasury springs his religious merit,

“Bhishma said, ‘In this connection, persons acquainted with thescriptures declare this text in respect of duty, viz., for a Kshatriyapossessed of intelligence and knowledge, (the earning of) religious meritand (the acquisition of) wealth, constitute his obvious duties.

“Bhishma said, ‘In this connection is cited the old story of a robber whohaving in this would been observant of restraints did not meet withdestruction in the next.

“Bhishma said, ‘In this connection, viz., the method by which a kingshould fill his treasury, persons acquainted with the scriptures of oldendays cite the following verses sung by Brahman himself.

“Bhishma said, ‘These two, viz., one that provides for the future, andone possessed of presence of mind, always enjoy happiness.

“Yudhishthira said, ‘Thou hast, O bull of Bharata’s race, said that thatintelligence which provides against the future, as well as that which canmeet present emergencies, is everywhere superior, while procrastinationbrings about destruction.

“Yudhishthira said, ‘Thou hast laid it down, O mighty one, that no trustshould be placed upon foes. But how would the king maintain himself if hewere not to trust anybody? From trust, O king, thou hast said, greatdanger arises to kings.

Vaisampayana said, “When Kunti’s son, king Yudhishthira the just,remained speechless after listening to his brothers who were tellingthese truths of the Vedas, that foremost of women, viz.,

“Yudhishthira said, ‘When both righteousness and men, O Bharata, decay inconsequence of the gradual lapse of Yuga, and when the world becomesafflicted by robbers, how, O Grandsire, should a king then behave?'[419]

“Yudhishthira said, ‘When the high righteousness suffers decay and istransgressed by all, when unrighteousness becomes righteousness, andrighteousness assumes the form of its reverse,

“Yudhishthira said, ‘If that which is so horrible and which likefalsehood should never be an object of regard, be cited (as duty), thenwhat act is there from which I should forbear? Why also should notrobbers then be respected? I am stupefied! My heart is pained! All theties that bind me to morality are loosened! I cannot tranquillise my mindand venture to act in the way suggested by you.’

“Yudhishthira said, ‘O grandsire, O thou of great wisdom, O thou that areconversant with every kind of scripture, tell me what the merit is of onewho cherishes a suppliant that craves for protection.’

“Bhishma said, ‘In one of the branches of that tree, a pigeon withbeautiful feathers, O king, lived for many years with his family. Thatmorning his wife had gone out in search of food but had not yet returned.

“Bhishma said, ‘Hearing those piteous lamentations of the pigeon on thetree, the she-pigeon seized by the fowler began to say to herself asfollows.’

“Bhishma said, ‘Hearing these words fraught with morality and reason thatwere spoken by his wife, the pigeon became filled with great delight andhis eyes were bathed in tears of joy.

“Bhishma said, ‘The fowler, seeing the pigeon fall into the fire, becamefilled with compassion and once more said, ‘Alas, cruel and senselessthat I am, what have I done!

“Bhishma said, ‘After the fowler had left that spot, the she-pigeon,remembering her husband and afflicted with grief on his account, weptcopiously and indulged in these lamentations, ‘I cannot, O dear lord,recollect a single instance of thy having done me an injury!

“Bhishma said, ‘The fowler, O king, happened to see that pair whileseated on their celestial car. Beholding the couple he became filled withsorrow (at the thought of his own misfortune) and began to reflect uponthe means of obtaining the same end.

Vaisampayana said, “Hearing these words of Yajnasena’s daughter, Arjunaonce more spoke, showing proper regard for his mighty-armed eldestbrother of unfading glory.

“Yudhishthira said, ‘O best of the Bharatas, when a person commits sinfrom want of judgment, how may he be cleansed from it? Tell me everythingabout it.’

“Bhishma said, ‘Thus addressed, Janamejaya replied unto the sage, saying,’Thou rebukest one that deserves to be rebuked.

“Saunaka said, ‘I shall for these reasons discourse to thee ofrighteousness, to thee whose heart has been exceedingly agitated.Possessed of knowledge and great strength, and with a contented heart,thou seekest righteousness of thy own will.

“Yudhishthira said, ‘Hast thou, O grandsire, ever seen or heard of anymortal restored to life after having succumbed to death?’

“Yudhishthira said, “If a person, weak, worthless, and light-hearted, Ogrand sire, doth from folly provoke, by means of unbecoming and boastfulspeeches, a

“Narada said, ‘Without doubt, O Salmali, the terrible and irresistiblegod of the wind always protects thee from friendliness or amity.

“Bhishma continued, ‘Having said these words unto the Salmali. thatforemost of all persons conversant with Brahma, viz., Narada, representedunto the god of the wind all that the Salmali had said about him.’

“Bhishma said, ‘Having settled this in his mind, the Salmali. in sorrow,himself caused all his branches, principal and subsidiary, to be cut off.

“Yudhishthira said, ‘I desire, O bull of Bharata’s race, to hear indetail the source from which sin proceeds and the foundation upon whichit rests.’

“Yudhishthira said, ‘Thou hast said, O grandsire, that the foundation ofall evils is covetousness. I wish, O sire, to hear of ignorance indetail.’

Vaisampayana said, “After the conclusion of Arjuna’s speech, Bhimasena ofgreat wrath and energy, mustering all his patience, said these words untohis eldest brother, ‘Thou art, O monarch, conversant with all duties.

“Yudhishthira said, ‘O grandsire, O thou of virtuous soul, what, indeed,is said to be productive of great merit[458] for a person attentivelyengaged in the study of the Vedas and desirous of acquiring virtue?

“Bhishma said, ‘They that are possessed of knowledge say that everythinghas penance for its root.

“Yudhishthira said, ‘Brahmanas and Rishis and Pitris and the gods allapplaud the duty of truth. I desire to hear of truth. Discourse to meupon it, O grandsire! What are the indications, O king, of truth? How mayit be acquired? What is gained by practising truth, and how? Tell me allthis.’

“Yudhishthira said, ‘Tell me, O thou of great wisdom, everything aboutthat from which spring wrath and lust, O bull of Bharata’s race, andsorrow and loss of judgment, and inclination to do (evil to others), andjealousy and malice and pride, and envy, and slander, and incapacity tobear the good of others, and unkindness, and fear. Tell me everythingtruly and in detail about all these.’

“Yudhishthira said, ‘I know what benevolence is, in consequence of myobservation of persons that are good.

“Bhishma said, ‘For enabling such pious and impoverished Brahmanas ashave been robbed of their wealth (by thieves), as are engaged in theperformance of sacrifices, as are well conversant with all the

“Vaisampayana said, ‘Upon the completion of this discourse, Nakula whowas an accomplished swordsman thus questioned the Kuru grandsire lying onhis bed of arrows.’

“Vaisampayana said, ‘When Bhishma, after having said this, became silent,Yudhishthira (and the others) returned home.

“Yudhishthira said, ‘O grandsire, O thou that art possessed of greatwisdom, I shall ask thee a question.

“Bhishma said, ‘After that night had passed away and that best ofBrahmanas had left the house, Gautama, issuing from his abode, began toproceed towards the sea, O Bharata!

“Yudhishthira said, ‘Discontent, heedless attachment to earthly goods,the absence of tranquillity, might, folly, vanity, and anxiety,–affectedby these sins, O Bhima, thou covetest sovereignty.

“Bhishma said, ‘Hearing these sweet words, Gautama became filled withwonder. Feeling at the same time a great curiosity, he eyed Rajadharmanwithout being able to withdraw his gaze from him.’

“Bhishma said, ‘Led into a spacious apartment, Gautama was introduced tothe king of the Rakshasas.

“Bhishma said, ‘There, under that banian, for the protection of hisguest, the prince of birds had kindled and kept up a fire with high andblazing flames.[496] On one side of the fire, the bird slept trustfully.

“Bhishma said, ‘The Rakshasa king then caused a funeral pyre to be madefor that prince of cranes and adorned it with jewels and gems, andperfumes, and costly robes.

“YUDHISHTHIRA SAID, ‘THOU hast, O grandsire, discoursed upon theauspicious duties (of person in distress) connected with the duties ofkings. It behoveth thee now, O king, to tell me those foremost of dutieswhich belong to those who lead the (four) modes of life.’

“Yudhishthira said, ‘Time, which is destructive of every created thing,is passing on.[512] Tell me, O grandsire, what is that good thing whichshould be sought.’

“Yudhishthira said, ‘Tell me, O grandsire, whence and how happiness andmisery come to those that are rich, as also those that are poor, but wholive in the observance of different practices and rites.'[521]

“Yudhishthira said, ‘If any person, desiring to accomplish acts (ofcharity and sacrifices), fails to find (the necessary) wealth, and thirstof wealth overwhelms him, what is that which he must do for obtaininghappiness?’

“Bhishma continued, ‘In this connection is also cited the old narrativeof the verses sung by Janaka the ruler of the Videhas, who had attainedto tranquillity of soul.

“Yudhishthira said, ‘O thou that art conversant with the conduct of men,tell me by what conduct a person may succeed in this world, freed fromgrief. How also should a person act in this world so that he may attainto an excellent end?’

Vaisampayana said, “When Yudhishthira, after saying these words, becamesilent, Arjuna, afflicted by that speech of the king, and burning withsorrow and grief, once more addressed his eldest brother, saying, ‘Peoplerecite this old history,

“Yudhishthira said, ‘Which of these, O grandsire, viz., kinsmen, or acts,or wealth, or wisdom should be the refuge of a person? Questioned by me,answer me this!’

“Yudhishthira said, ‘Tell me, O grandsire, if gifts, sacrifices,penances, and dutiful services returned to preceptors, are productive ofwisdom and high felicity.'[543]

“Yudhishthira said, ‘Whence has this universe consisting of mobile andimmobile creatures been created? Whom does it go to when destruction setsin?

“Bharadwaja said, ‘Tell me, O best of Brahmanas, how the puissant Brahmanresiding within Meru, created these diverse kinds of objects.’

“Bharadwaja said, ‘When the high-souled Brahman has created thousands ofcreatures, why is it that only these five elements which he createdfirst, which pervade all the universe and which are great creatures, havecome to have the name of creatures applied to them exclusively?'[554]

“Bharadwaja said, ‘How does bodily fire or heat, entering the body,reside there? How also does the wind, obtaining space for itself, causethe body to move and exert itself?’

“Bharadwaja said, ‘If it is the wind that keeps us alive, if it is thewind that causes us to move and exert, if it is the wind that causes usto breathe and to speak, then it seems that life is worth little.

“Bhrigu said, ‘There is no destruction of the living creature, or of whatis given, or of our other acts. The creature that dies only goes intoanother form. The body along dissolves away. The living creature, thoughdepending upon the body, does not meet with destruction when the body isdestroyed.

“Bhrigu said, ‘Brahman first created a few Brahmanas who came to becalled Prajapatis (lords of creation).