Vidura Nīti – Conversation between Dhrutharashtra and Vidura – Chapter 34 – Slokas 1 – 86

Dhrutharashtra uvācha, “Hey Wise One! I am burning with anxiety and still awake at this late hour; please tell me what action/act you think is in my interest that I must do because only you are proficient in the knowledge of dharma and artha among us two.

 

O magnanimous Vidura! Please think and contemplate with your intelligence and give me upadesh appropriately. Please tell me surely that which you think is not only conducive to Yudhishtira but which is also auspicious for the Kauravas.

 

Hey Wise One! There are always malefic/disagreeable misgivings/fear in my mind and therefore I only see fear/apprehension everywhere and therefore, with a very restless/disturbed heart I ask you – What does Ajathashatru Yudhishtira want? Please tell me clearly.”

 

Vidura uvācha, “Hey King! A man who does not want the defeat/fall of another should without being asked say what he wishes to whether it is good or bad and whether it is beneficial or disagreeable.

 

Hence O King! I will now tell you that which is beneficial to all the Kauravas. Please listen carefully to my words that are both conducive/beneficial and in accordance with dharma.

 

Bharata! Do not put  your mind on those duplicitous/deceitful actions that have been accomplished after implementing illusory strategies of unjust war, the game of dice and others as well.

 

Similarly, an intelligent man should not become depressed and repentant in the mind when karma done with caution after utilizing good measures/strategies is not successful.

 

The intent should be clearly understood before in any karma done with specific goal/scope. Any work should be undertaken only after carefully thinking through it and no work should commence in haste/impetuously.

 

It is advisable that a resolute/dispassionate person should decide whether to commence a work/action or not only after contemplating the scope/intent and the result as well his own advancement.

 

A king who does not know the position/condition, benefit/vantage, harm/damage, the treasury and the quantum/measure of the kingdom and the punishment cannot sit on the throne.

 

The one who knows the above mentioned measures thoroughly and remains focussed/concentrated on matters of dharma and artha will acquire the kingdom.

 

“Now I have acquired the kingdom” – he should not think like that and behave improperly/unjustly/objectionably. Arrogance destroys wealth in a similar manner to old age spoiling youthful beauty.

 

A fish sees delicious looking bait/feed in the iron hook/nail and greedily swallows it without thinking of the consequences/result and thereby dies.

 

Hence, a man who is looking at his advancement/progress should only eat that which is not harmful or injurious, which is worthy of being eaten, that which can be eaten, can be digested upon being partaken and is beneficial upon digestion.

 

The one who plucks unripe fruits from the trees will not get any juice/delight in that but the seed of that tree gets destroyed.

 

But the one who takes the ripe fruit at the correct time will obtain nectar/delight from that and will receive another fruit from that seed.

 

Like how a bumble bee takes care of the flowers while partaking their nectar similarly a king should also take wealth from his people without putting them into any difficulties.

 

Like how a gardener will pluck each and every flower in the garden and does not cut its root similarly a king should do the needful to protect his people. And not be like the person who breaks the root to make coal/charcoal.

 

What benefit will I gain if I do this and what damage will I incur if I do not do it – it is necessary to think doubly like this in matters of karma and then decide to do or not to do.

 

There are some meaningless/pointless works which are continually unsuccessful and therefore, unworthy of commencement because even the object/purpose of that work will be in vain.

 

A man should not be made the head of a kingdom when there is no benefit to his happiness and where anger is also meaningless similar to a woman who doesn’t want to make a eunuch her husband.

 

An intelligent man will quickly commence works/actions that are small in measures/resources and that reap rich and large rewards and he does not allow obstacles to come in the way of such works/actions.

 

A king who looks at all lovingly and with softness/tenderness like he wants to drink it with his eyes will be loved by all even if he sits quietly.

 

A king should always remain pleased like a tree flowering but is bereft of fruits. If the tree is full of fruits but cannot be reached upon climbing, then it should remain like that. Even if the fruit is unripe, it should project itself as ripe. If it does that, then it will not be destroyed.

 

The people of the kingdom will be pleased with a king who delights his people through these four namely eyes, mind, speech and action.

 

Even if the one whom all the animals are scared of acquires a kingdom extending up to the ocean, he will be forsaken by the people in the kingdom similar to how a deer is scared of a hunter.

 

A king seated in injustice who acquires the kingdom of his ancestors will degrade the kingdom with his karmas/actions similar to how the strong wind sends the clouds hither thither.

 

A king who observes and follows the rites and rituals and moral conduct as per dharma as observed for generations will find his kingdom full of wealth and food grains and attains advancement and increases its prosperity and glory.

 

A king who forsakes dharma and adopts adharma will find his kingdom shrunk/contracted like leather kept on fire.

 

The king should put in the same readiness/preparedness to protect his kingdom like the efforts put into destroying other kingdoms.

 

A kingdom should be acquired only through dharma and its protection must also be done as per dharma because after acquiring Rajyalakshmi (the inherent dharma) neither will the king leave Her and neither will She leave the king.

 

All the words spoken by a useless/meaningless person, a madman and a child who babbles must also be heard/accepted like how gold is extracted from stones/rocks.

 

Just like one who gains his livelihood by gleaning and constantly picks each and every grain, similarly a resolute person should always be looking for emotive/eloquent words, beautiful words/sayings and accumulating good deeds.

 

Cows see through smell/fragrance, Brahmans see through the Vedas, a king sees through his spies and the ordinary people see through their eyes.

 

Hey King! A cow that allows itself to be milked after much difficulty tolerates a lot of grief and discomfort but one who gives milk easily is not troubled by anyone.

 

A metal that curls up even without being heated is not heated in fire. No one tries to bend the tree that is already bending on its own.

 

An intelligent man should also bend in front of a powerful person in accordance with this illustration and when one bends more in front of a powerful person, then it is likened to offering salutations to Indra.

 

Clouds are the protectors or lords of animals/livestock, the minister is the auxiliary of the kings, husband is the ally of women and the Vedas are the brethren of Brahmans.

 

Dharma is protected by SatyaVidya is protected through Yoga, beauty is protected through cleanliness and lineage is protected through virtuous conduct.

 

Pride is protected if kept stowed away safely, a horse is safe by turning and with repeated care and inspection cows are safe and women are protected from dirty clothes.

 

It is my view that a man devoid of virtuous conduct but high-born cannot be the only factor for him to be agreeable/estimable because the virtues/morality of one low-born is also considered excellent.

 

A man who is envious and jealous of another’s wealth, beauty, valour, nobility, happiness, good fortune and prosperity and respect/esteem has a disease that is malignant.

 

Such an intoxicant should not be drunk wherein one does work that is unworthy, displays pramad (lack of discrimination, foolishness, carelessness, delirium and hallucinations) in works that are worthy of engaging in, becomes scared of the advice that springs forth even before success is achieved in the works completed and where intoxication escalates.

 

There is mada (pride and arrogance) in knowledge and learning/education, in wealth and in being high-born. This is mada (pride and arrogance) for proud/conceited people but mada (pride and arrogance) in these three namely knowledge and learning/education, wealth and being high-born becomes measures/resources for dama (control of the senses) for gentlemen.

 

When sometime some work is supplicated/petitioned by gentlemen, then diabolical men who know that they are famously infamous will begin to accept the gentleman.

 

The Saints lend a helping hand to high-minded people; Saints are the aides of Saints; Saints also help diabolical men but diabolical men do not come to the aid of Saints.

 

A well-dressed person wins the hearts of the congregation with the impact/influence of his external appearance; the one who has a cow will overcome the longing/desire for sweetmeats after enjoying/tasting milk, ghee, butter, khova and others; one travelling in the carriage/vehicle will overcome the ride/path/road and a man of modest nature will win over/conquer everyone.

 

Modesty is foremost/pivotal in a man; no purpose can be achieved in this world from the life, wealth and kinsman of one who’s modesty is destroyed.

 

Bharatashreshta! Those men of tamasa nature will have meat in the foods that they partake, those of average/medium caste will have the nectar/juice of cows in the foods that they partake and those who are penniless/impoverished will have more oil in the foods that they partake.

 

A penniless man will always partake delicious food because hunger will create a unique taste in their food and that hunger will always remain scarce/inaccessible for the wealthy ones.

 

Hey King! Wealthy people in this world generally do not have the strength to digest food but even wood will get digested in the stomachs of the penniless/impoverished.

 

Lowly people will be afraid if they do not have a livelihood, the average/medium caste will have fear of death but superlative/praiseworthy men will greatly fear disgrace/dishonour.

 

It is considered that the intoxication upon partaking intoxicants and inebriating material is intoxication itself but the intoxication of prosperity and wealth is a very bad intoxication because a drunk man under the influence of the heady intoxication of wealth and prosperity will not regain his senses unless he becomes depraved/corrupted.

 

As the indiryas (sensory organs) which are not in control are enjoying matters of sensory pleasures, they will receive the same type of difficulties in this universe like how the stars become slighted because of the sun and other planets.

 

A man who is conquered by the innate five sensory organs that control the beings will have sufferings/tribulations that will only increase like the waxing moon of Shukla Paksha.

 

When the mind along with the sensory organs is not conquered and one desires to win over the ministers/aides or desires to conquer enemies without making the ministers their subordinates/bring under their control, then that ajitēndriya purusha (one who has not conquered his senses) is forsaken by all.

 

The one who thinks initially that the mind along with the sensory organs is the enemy and conquers it and thereafter, meets with only failure if he desires to conquer ministers/aides and enemies.

 

Lakshmi will do immense service to the conqueror of the sensory organs and the mind, the one who gives out punishment for the sinners and the gallant man who does the work of taking stock of/sifting through the investigation.

 

Hey King! The human body is the chariot, the intelligence is the charioteer and the sensory organs are the horses. A clever and gallant man who exercises caution and care after keeping these under control will be like a warrior whose horses are under control happily encroaching/infringing upon the path of the universe.

 

Similar to the foolish charioteer who is run down on the path/road as he did not receive education and whose horses did not come under control likewise these sensory organs when not kept under control will be able to kill a man.

 

As the sensory organs are not kept under control, an ignorant man thinks and understands artha as anartha (disaster/catastrophe) and anartha (disaster/catastrophe) as artha and accepts the greatest sorrow as happiness.

 

One who forsakes dharma and artha and comes under the control of the sensory organs will quickly find glory, prosperity, life, wealth as well as woman washing their hands of him.

 

If one who is the lord of excessive wealth has no authority over the sensory organs, then because of not keeping the sensory organs under control will become corrupted/depraved with glory and prosperity.

 

One should desire to know the ātma within himself by making the mind, intelligence and sensory organs his subordinate/submissive because ātma is only one’s friend and ātma is only one’s enemy.

 

One who has on his own conquered his ātma is one whose ātma is only his friend. The true friend is that ātma that has been won over/conquered and that ātma that is not won over/conquered is the enemy.

 

Hey King! Similar to how two big fishes caught in a net with a secret gap/aperture tear the net together similarly these two namely kāma (desire) and krodha (anger) will make discrimination vanish/obsolete.

 

If the one who contemplates on matters of dharma and artha in this universe collects/accumulates provisions/equipment for successful measures/resources, then he remains happy always and is enriched and affluent as he is endowed with those materials.

 

When one wishes to conquer other enemies without conquering the enemies within that are the five sensory organs that spoil the mind, then enemies defeat him.

 

Because of lack of authority over the sensory organs, great saints to their karma and kings to their kingdom remain bound to the worldly pleasures and enjoyment.

 

Even innocent gentlemen who do not forsake sinful diabolical men but remain in their company will receive the punishment equal to those sins like how a wet piece of wood will also start burning when kept along with a dry piece of wood and therefore, one should never mix or keep company with diabolical men.

 

A man who is unable to keep the enemies within that are the five sensory organs that run behind matters of sensory pleasures under control because of delusion will be swallowed by adversities/calamities.

 

To not see any faults in virtues, purity, sacredness, satisfaction/contentedness, speaking agreeable words, control over one’s senses, speaking the truth and straightforwardness are the attributes/qualities that are not there in miscreants.

 

Bharata! Aatmajnāna (knowledge of Self), one who does not get angry, forbearance/of patient disposition, attached to dharma, standing by the words said and charity are the attributes/qualities that are not there in lowly persons.

 

Foolish people will cause grief and pain to wise persons by cursing and condemning them. The one who curses will become a partner to the sin and the one who forgives will be liberated from sin.

 

The strength of diabolical men is violence, the strength of kings is to give punishment, the strength of women is service and the strength of virtuous people is forgiveness.

 

Hey King! It has been understood that it is very difficult for words/speech to completely become restrained but it is also not possible to speak either exceptionally meaningful or miraculous words/speech all the time and therefore, it is fit and proper to maintain complete restraint in speech however arduous it might be.

 

O King! Words spoken in a mellifluous manner is a benediction in many different ways but if the same is said in harsh words, then it will become the cause for great disaster.

 

Even the pointed end of the arrows and a forest chopped down by an axe can sprout/germinate again but the terrible wound caused by uttering harsh words cannot heal.

 

These three arrows namely karninaaleek and naarach can be removed from the body but arrows of harsh words cannot be removed because they pierce the insides of the heart.

 

The arrows of harsh words will emerge from the lips of one and pierce the heart centre of another causing pain and the injured man will dissolve/drown in that agony night and day. Therefore, wise persons should not use this on others.

 

The celestial beings who deliver defeat to those are ones whose intelligence they have captivated earlier and therefore, their vision is to only engage in lowly acts and karma.

 

When the moment for destruction/doom presents itself, the intelligence becomes dirty and thereby, the injustice that is going to appear equal to justice will not emerge from the heart.

 

Bharatashreshta! That intelligence of your sons has already become prevalent/dominant against the Pandavas but you are not recognizing this.

 

Maharaja Dhrutharashtra! The one who is endowed with the regal auspicious markings and can become the lord/king of even Tribhuvan (the three worlds) is your obedient Yudhishtira who is the only one worthy of ruling over this earth.

 

Yudhishtira is well-versed in matters of dharma and artha and is endowed with radiance and intelligence, blessed in entirety with wealth and prosperity and is way ahead of all your sons in every aspect.

 

Rajendra! Yudhishtira who is the epitome of godliness and dharma can bear a lot of grievance and affliction because he is compassionate, sedate in nature and  because of his majestic/glorious intelligence.”

 

[Prajāgara Parva – Vidura Nīti – Conversation between Dhrutharashtra and Vidura – Chapter 34 of Udyoga Parva – Slokas 1 – 86]

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