The Mahabharata of Krishna-Dwaipayana Vyasa, Volume 3 Books 8, 9, 10, 11 and 12 online

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while his foes increase in number. In consequence of malice towards the
Brahmanas springing from his folly, the goddess of prosperity who had
formerly dwelt with him became enraged and deserted the Asura Vali, the
son of Virochana. Deserting the Asura she repaired to Indra, the chief of
the deities. Beholding the goddess living with Purandara, Vali indulged
in many vain regrets. This, O puissant one, is the result of malice and
pride. Be thou awakened, O Mandhatri, so that the goddess of prosperity
may not in wrath desert thee. The Srutis declare that Unrighteousness
begat a son named Pride upon the goddess of prosperity. This Pride, O
king, led many among the gods and the Asuras to ruin. Many royal sages
also have suffered destruction on his account. Do thou, therefore,
awaken, O king! He who succeeds in conquering him becomes a king. He, on
the other hand, who suffers himself to be conquered by him, becomes a
slave. If, O Mandhatri, thou wishest for an eternal life (of felicity),
live as a king should that does not indulge in these two, viz., Pride and
Unrighteousness! Abstain from companionship with him that is intoxicated
(with pride), him that is heedless (of the dictates of honesty), him that
is a scoffer of religion, him that is insensate, and forbear to pay court
to all of them when united. Keep thyself aloof from the company of
ministers whom thou hast once punished and especially of women, as also
from mountains and uneven lands and inaccessible fastnesses and elephants
and horses and (noxious) reptiles. Thou shouldst also give up wandering
in the night, and avoid the faults of stinginess and vanity and
boastfulness and wrath. Thou shouldst never have intercourse with unknown
women, or those of equivocal sex, or those that are lewd, or those that
are the wives of other men, or those that are virgins. When the king does
not restrain vice, a confusion of castes follows, and sinful Rakshasas,
and persons of neutral sex, and children destitute of limbs or possessed
of thick tongues, and idiots, begin to take birth in even respectable
families. Therefore, the king should take particular care to act
righteously, for the benefit of his subjects. If a king acts heedlessly,
a great evil becomes the consequence. Unrighteousness increases causing a
confusion of castes. Cold sets in during the summer months, and
disappears when its proper season comes. Drought and flood and pestilence
afflict the people. Ominous stars arise and awful comets appear on such
occasions. Diverse other portents, indicating destruction of the kingdom,
make their appearance. If the king does not take measures for his own
safety and does not protect his subjects, the latter first meet with
destruction and then destruction seizes the king himself. Two persons
combining together snatch the wealth of one, and many acting in concert
rob the two. Maidens are deflowered. Such a state of things is said to
arise from the king's faults. All rights of property come to an end among
men, when the king, abandoning righteousness, acts heedlessly.'"'"


"'"Utathya said, 'If the deity of the clouds pours rain seasonably and the
king acts virtuously, the prosperity that ensues maintain the subjects in
felicity. That washerman who does not know how to wash away the filth of
cloth without taking away its dye, is very unskilful in his profession.
That person among Brahmanas or Kshatriyas or Vaisyas who, having fallen
away from the proper duties of his order, has become a Sudra, is truly to
be compared to such a washerman. Menial service attaches to the Sudra;
agriculture to the Vaisya; the science of chastisement to the Kshatriya,
and Brahmacharya, penances, mantras, and truth, attach to the Brahmana.
That Kshatriya who knows how to correct the faults of behaviour of the
other orders and to wash them clean like a washerman is really their
father and deserves to be their king. The respective ages called Krita,
Treta, Dwapara and Kali, O bull of Bharata's race, are all dependent on
the conduct of the king. It is the king who constitutes the age.[269]
The four orders, the Vedas and the duties in respect of the four modes of
life, all become confused and weakened when the king becomes heedless.
The three kinds of Fire, the three Vedas, and sacrifices with Dakshina,
all become lost when the king becomes heedless. The king is the creator
of all creatures, and the king is their destroyer. That king who is of
righteous soul is regarded as the creator, while he that is sinful is
regarded as the destroyer. The king's wives, sons, kinsmen, and friends,
all become unhappy and grieve when the king becomes heedless. Elephants
and steeds and kine and camels and mules and asses and other animals all
lose their vigour when the king becomes unrighteous. It is said, O
Mandhatri, that the Creator created Power (represented by the king) for
the object of protecting Weakness. Weakness is, indeed, a great being,
for everything depends upon it.[270] All creatures worship the king. All
creatures are the children of the king. If, therefore, O monarch, the
king becomes unrighteous, all creatures come to grief. The eyes of the
weak, of the Muni, and of the snake of virulent poison, should be
regarded as unbearable. Do not, therefore, come into (hostile) contact
with the weak. Thou shouldst regard the weak as always subject to
humiliation. Take care that the eyes of the weak do not burn thee with
thy kinsmen. In a race scorched by the eyes of the weak, no children take
birth. Such eyes burn the race to its very roots. Do not, therefore, come
into (hostile) contact with the weak. Weakness is more powerful than even
the greatest Power, for that Power which is scorched by Weakness becomes
totally exterminated. If a person, who has been humiliated or struck,
fails, while shrieking for assistance, to obtain a protector, divine
chastisement overtakes the king and brings about his destruction. Do not,
O sire, while in enjoyment of Power, take wealth from those that are
Weak. Take care that that the eyes of the Weak do not burn thee like a
blazing fire. The tears shed by weeping men afflicted with falsehood slay
the children and animals of those that have uttered those falsehoods.
Like a cow a sinful act perpetrated does not produce immediate
fruits.[271] If the fruit is not seen in the perpetrator himself, it is
seen in his son or in his son's son, or daughter's son. When a weak
person fails to find a rescuer, the great rod of divine chastisement
falls (upon the king). When all subjects of a king (are obliged by
distress to) live like Brahmanas, by mendicancy, such mendicancy brings
destruction upon the king. When all the officers of the king posted in
the provinces unite together and act with injustice, the king is then
said to bring about a state of unmixed evil upon his kingdom. When the
officers of the king extort wealth, by unjust means or acting from lust
or avarice, from persons piteously soliciting mercy, a great destruction
then is sure to overtake the king. A mighty tree, first starting into
life, grows into large proportions. Numerous creatures then come and seek
its shelter. When, however, it is cut down or consumed in a
conflagration, those that had recourse to it for shelter all become
homeless.[272] When the residents of a kingdom perform acts of
righteousness and all religious rites, and applaud the good qualities of
the king, the latter reaps an accession of affluence. When, on the other
hand, the residents, moved by ignorance, abandon righteousness and act
unrighteously, the king becomes overtaken by misery. When sinful men
whose acts are known are allowed to move among the righteous (without
being punished for their misdeeds), Kali then overtakes the rulers of
those realms.[273] When the king causes chastisement to overtake all
wicked people, his kingdom thrives in prosperity. The kingdom of that
king certainly thrives who pays proper honours to his ministers and
employs them in measures of policy and in battles. Such a ruler enjoys
the wide earth for ever. That king who duly honours all good acts and
good speeches succeeds in earning great merit. The enjoyment of good
things after sharing them with others, paying proper honours to the
ministers, and subjugation or persons intoxicated with strength, are said
to constitute the great duty of a king. Protecting all men by words,
body, and deeds, and never forgiving his son himself (if he has
offended), constitute the great duty of the king. The maintenance of
those that are weak by sharing with them the things he has, and thereby
increasing their strength constitute the duty of the king. Protection of
the kingdom, extermination of robbers, and conquering in battle,
constitute the duty of the king. Never to forgive a person however dear,
if he has committed an offence by act or word, constitutes the duty of
the king. Protecting those that solicit shelter, as he would protect his
own children, and never depriving one of the honours to which he is
entitled constitute the duty of the king.[274] Adoring the deities, with
a devoted heart, in sacrifices completed by presents, and subduing lust
and envy, constitute the duty of the king. Wiping the tears of the
distressed, the helpless, and the old, and inspiring them with joy,
constitute the duty of the king. Aggrandising friends, weakening foes,
and honouring the good, constitute the duty of the king. Cheerfully
observing the obligations of truth, always making gifts of land,
entertaining guests, and supporting dependents, constitute the duty of
the king. That king who favours those that deserve favours and chastises
those that deserve chastisement earns great merit both here and
hereafter. The king is Yama himself. He is, O Mandhatri, the god
(incarnate) unto all that are righteous. By subduing his senses he
succeeds in acquiring great affluence. By not subduing them he incurs
sin.[275] Paying proper honours unto Ritwijas and priests and preceptors,
and doing good offices unto them constitute the duty of the king. Yama
governs all creatures without observing distinctions. The king should
imitate him in his behaviour by restraining all his subjects duly. The
king is said to resemble the Thousand-eyed (Indra) in every respect.
That, O bull among men, should be regarded as righteousness which is
regarded as such by him. Thou shouldst, without being heedless, cultivate
forgiveness, intelligence, patience, and the love of all creatures. Thou
shouldst also ascertain the strength and weakness of all men and learn to
distinguish between right and wrong. Thou shouldst conduct thyself with
propriety towards all creatures, make gifts, and utter agreeable and
sweet words. Thou shouldst maintain the residents of thy city and the
provinces in happiness. A king who is not clever, never succeeds in
protecting his subjects. Sovereignty, O sire, is a very happy burthen to
bear. Only that king who is possessed of wisdom and courage, and who is
conversant with the science of chastisement, can protect a kingdom. He,
on the other hand, who is without energy and intelligence, and who is not
versed in the great science, is incompetent to bear the burthen of
sovereignty. Aided by ministers of handsome features and good birth,
clever in business, devoted to their master, and possessed of great
learning, thou shouldst examine the hearts and acts of all men including
the very ascetics in the forests. Conducting thyself thus, thou wilt be
able to learn the duties of all orders of men. That will aid thee in
observing thy own duties, whether when thou art in thy country or when
thou repairest to other realms. Amongst these three objects, viz.,
Virtue, Profit, and Pleasure, Virtue is the foremost. He that is of
virtuous soul obtains great happiness both here and hereafter. If men be
treated with honour, they can abandon (for the sake of the honour thou
mayst give them) their very wives and sons. By attaching good men to
himself (by doing good offices unto them), by gifts, sweet words,
heedfulness and purity of behaviour, a king may win great prosperity. Do
not, therefore, O Mandhatri, be heedless to these qualities and acts. The
king should never be heedless in looking after his own laches, as also
after those of his foes. He should act in such a way that his foes may
not be able to detect his laches, and he should himself assail them when
theirs are visible. This is the way in which Vasava, and Yama, and
Varuna, and all the great royal sages have acted. Do thou observe the
same conduct. Do thou, O great king, adopt this behaviour which was
followed by those royal sages. Do thou soon, O bull of Bharata's race,
adept this heavenly road. The gods, the Rishis, the Pitris, and the
Gandharvas, possessed of great energy, sing the praises, both here and
hereafter, of that king whose conduct is righteous.'"

"'Bhishma continued, "Thus addressed by Utathya, O Bharata, Mandhatri
unhesitatingly did as he was directed, and became the sole lord of the
wide earth. Do thou also, O king, act righteously like Mandhatri. Thou
wilt then, after ruling the earth, obtain an abode in heaven."'"


"'Yudhishthira said, "How should a righteous king, who is desirous of
adhering to a course of righteousness, behave? I ask thee this, O
foremost of men! Answer me, O Grandsire!"

"'Bhishma said, "In this connection is cited the old story of what
Vamadeva gifted with great intelligence and acquainted with the true
import of everything sang in ancient time. Once upon a time, king
Vasumanas, possessed of knowledge and fortitude and purity of behaviour,
asked the great Rishi Vamadeva of high ascetic merit, saying, 'Instruct
me, O holy one, in words fraught with righteousness and of grave import,
as to the conduct to be observed by me so that I may not fall away from
the duties prescribed for me.' Unto him of a golden complexion and seated
at his ease like Yayati, son of Nahusha, that foremost of ascetics, viz.,
Vamadeva, of great energy, said as follows:

"'"Vamadeva said, 'Do thou act righteously. There is nothing superior to
righteousness. Those kings that are observant of righteousness, succeed
in conquering the whole earth. That king who regards righteousness to be
the most efficacious means for accomplishing his objects, and who acts
according to the counsels of those that are righteous, blazes forth with
righteousness. That king who disregards righteousness and desires to act
with brute force, soon falls away from righteousness and loses both
Righteousness and Profit. That king who acts according to the counsels of
a vicious and sinful minister becomes a destroyer of righteousness and
deserves to be slain by his subjects with all his family. Indeed, he very
soon meets with destruction. That king who is incompetent to discharge
the duties of state-craft, who is governed by caprice in all his acts,
and who indulges in brag, soon meets with destruction even if he happens
to be ruler of the whole earth. That king, on the other hand, who is
desirous of prosperity, who is free from malice, who has his senses under
control, and who is gifted with intelligence, thrives in affluence like
the ocean swelling with the waters discharged into it by a hundred
streams. He should never consider himself to have a sufficiency of
virtue, enjoyments, wealth, intelligence, and friends. Upon these depends
the conduct of the world. By listening to these counsels, a king obtains
fame, achievements, prosperity, and subjects. Devoted to virtue, that
king who seeks the acquisition of virtue and wealth by such means, and
who begins all his measures after reflecting upon their objects, succeeds
in obtaining great prosperity. That king who is illiberal, and without
affection, who afflicts his subjects by undue chastisements, and who is
rash in his acts, soon meets with destruction. That king who is not
gifted with intelligence fails to see his own faults. Covered with infamy
here, he sinks into hell hereafter. If the king gives proper honour to
them that deserve it, makes gifts, and recognises the value of sweet
speeches by himself uttering them on all occasions, his subjects then
dispel the calamities that overtake him, as if these had fallen upon
themselves. That king who has no instructor in the ways of righteousness
and who never asks others for counsels, and who seeks to acquire wealth
by means that caprice suggests, never succeeds in enjoying happiness
long. That king, on the other hand, who listens to the instructions of
his preceptors in matters connected with virtue, who supervises the
affairs of his kingdom himself, and who in all his acquisitions is guided
by considerations of virtue, succeeds in enjoying happiness for a long


"'"Vamadeva continued, 'When the king, who is powerful, acts unrighteously
towards the weak, they who take their birth in his race imitate the same
conduct. Others, again, imitate that wretch who sets sin agoing. Such
imitation of the man ungoverned by restraints soon brings destruction
upon the kingdom. The conduct of a king who is observant of his proper
duties, is accepted by men in general as a model for imitation. The
conduct, however, of a king who falls away from his duties, is not
tolerated by his very kinsfolk. That rash king who, disregarding the
injunctions laid down in the scriptures, acts with highhandedness in his
kingdom, very soon meets with destruction. That Kshatriya who does not
follow the conduct observed from days of old by other Kshatriyas,
conquered or unconquered, is said to fall away from Kshatriya duties.
Having seized in battle a royal foe that did some good to the conqueror
on a former occasion, that king who does not, actuated by malice, pay him
honours, is said to fall away from Kshatriya duties. The king should
display his power, live cheerfully, and do what is necessary in seasons
of danger. Such a ruler becomes the beloved of all creatures and never
falls away from prosperity. If thou doest disservice to any person, thou
shouldst, when the turn comes, do him service. One who is not loved
becomes an object of love, if he does what is agreeable. Untruthful
speeches should be avoided. Thou shouldst do good to others without being
solicited. Thou shouldst never abandon righteousness from lust or wrath
or malice. Do not give harsh answers when questioned by anybody. Do not
utter undignified speeches. Never be in a hurry to do anything. Never
indulge in malice. By such means is a foe won over. Do not give way to
exclusive joy when anything agreeable occurs, nor suffer thyself to be
overwhelmed with sorrow when anything disagreeable occurs. Never indulge
in grief when thy pecuniary resources are exhausted, and always remember
the duty of doing good to thy subjects. That king who always does what is
agreeable by virtue of his disposition achieves success in all his
measures and is never shorn of prosperity. The king should always, with
heedfulness, cherish that devoted servant who abstains from doing what is
injurious to his master and who always does what is for his good. He
should appoint in all great affairs persons that have subjugated their
senses, that are devotedly loyal and of pure behaviour, and that are
possessed of ability. That person, who by the possession of such
qualifications pleases the king and who is never heedless in taking care
of the interests of his master should be appointed by the king in the
affairs of his kingdom. On the other hand, the king becomes divested of
prosperity by appointing to important offices men that are fools and
slaves of their senses, that are covetous and of disrespectable conduct,
that are deceitful and hypocritical, that are malicious, wicked-souled,
and ignorant, that are low-minded, and addicted to drink, gambling,
women, and hunting. That king, who, first protecting his own self,
protects others that deserve protection, feels the satisfaction of
finding his subjects growing in prosperity. Such a king succeeds also in
obtaining greatness. A king should, by secret agents that are devoted to
him, watch the conduct and acts of other kings. By such means can he
obtain superiority. Having injured a powerful king, one should not
comfort himself with the thought that he (the injurer) lives at a great
distance from the injured. Such a king when injured falls upon the
injurer like the hawk swooping down upon its prey, in moments of
heedlessness. A king whose power has been consolidated and who is
confident of his own strength, should assail a neighbour who is weaker
than himself but never one that is stronger. A king who is devoted to
virtue, having acquired the sovereignty of the earth by prowess, should
protect his subjects righteously and slaughter foes in battle. Everything
belonging to this world is destined to destruction. Nothing here is
durable. For this reason, the king, adhering to righteousness, should
protect his subjects righteously. The defence of forts, battle,
administration of justice, consultations on questions of policy, and
keeping the subjects in happiness, these five acts contribute to enlarge
the dominions of a king. That king who takes proper care of these is
regarded to be the best of kings. By always attending to these, a king
succeeds in protecting his kingdom. It is impossible, however, for one
man to supervise all these matters at all times. Making over such
supervision to his ministers, a king may govern the earth for ever.[277]
The people make such a person their king who is liberal, who shares all
objects of enjoyment with others, who is possessed of a mild disposition,
who is of pure behaviour, and who will never abandon his subjects. He is
obeyed in the world who, having listened to counsels of wisdom, accepts
them, abandoning his own opinions. That king who does not tolerate the
counsels of a well-wisher in consequence of their opposition to his own
views, who listens with inattention to what is said unto him in
opposition to his views, and who does not always follow the conduct of
high and noble persons conquered or unconquered, is said to fall away
from the duties of Kshatriyas. From ministers that have once been
chastised, from women in especial, from mountains and inaccessible
regions, from elephants and horses and reptiles, the king should always,
with heedfulness, protect his own self.[278] That king who, abandoning
his chief ministers, makes favourites of low persons, soon falls into
distress, and never succeeds in compassing the (intended) ends of his
measures. That king of infirm soul, who, yielding to the influence of
wrath and malice, does not love and honour those amongst his kinsmen that
are possessed of good qualities, is said to live on the very verge of
destruction. That king, who attaches to himself accomplished persons by
doing good to them even though he may not like them at heart, succeeds in
enjoying fame for ever. Thou shouldst never impose taxes unseasonably.
Thou shouldst not be grieved at the occurrence of anything disagreeable,
nor rejoice exceedingly at anything agreeable. Thou shouldst always set
thyself to the accomplishment of good acts. Who amongst the dependent
kings is truly devoted to thee, and who is loyal to thee from fear, and
who amongst them has faults, should always be ascertained by thee. The
king, even if he be powerful, should trust them that are weak, for in
moments of heedlessness the weak may assail the powerful like a flock of
vultures seizing their prey. A man of sinful soul seeks to injure his
master even if the latter be sweet-speeched and possessed of every
accomplishment. Do not, therefore, place thy confidence upon such men.
Nahusha's son Yayati, in declaring the mysteries of king-craft, said that
a person engaged in ruling men should slay even foes that are


"'"Vamadeva said, 'The king should win victories without battles. Victories
achieved by battles are not spoken of highly, O monarch, by the wise.
When the sovereign's own power has not been confirmed, he should not seek
to make new acquisitions. It is not proper that a king whose power has
not been consolidated should seek to make such acquisitions. The power of
that king whose dominions are wide and abound with wealth, whose subjects
are loyal and contented, and who has a large number of officers, is said
to be confirmed. That king whose soldiery are contented, gratified (with
pay and prize), and competent to deceive foes can with even a small force
subjugate the whole earth. The power of that king whose subjects, whether
belonging to the cities or the provinces, have compassion for all

Online LibraryUnknownThe Mahabharata of Krishna-Dwaipayana Vyasa, Volume 3 Books 8, 9, 10, 11 and 12 → online text (page 90 of 194)