Vidura Nīti – Conversation between Dhrutharashtra and Vidura – Chapter 35 – Slokas 1 – 77

Dhrutharashtra uvācha, “O Intelligent One! You speak again of matters of dharma and artha. I am not satisfied even now after hearing it. You are speaking about stupendous things with regard to this subject.”


Vidura uvācha, “Hey King! These two namely taking a dip/bath in every teertha and behaving softly towards all animals and beings are considered to be equal but there is an exceptional importance attached to behaving softly towards everyone.


Vibho! You behave in an equally soft manner towards your sons – the Kauravas and the Pandavas. You will attain a great reputation in this world upon doing that and you will reach the heavenly worlds upon your physical demise.


Purushashreshta! A man remains posited in eminence and prestige in the heavenly worlds as long as sacred praises are sung of him in this world.


There is an example on this subject in ancient history that is given in which Virochana’s dispute/altercation with Sudhanva over “Keshini” is described.


Hey King! This is the matter of a time where there was an unmatched beauty by the name of Keshini who presented herself in the Swayamwara sabha with the desire to choose the best man as her husband.


At the same time, Daityakumara Virochana arrived in the hall with the desire to marry her. At that time, Keshini spoke thus to lord of the Daityas 


Keshini uvācha, “Virochana! Are Brahmans the best or Daityas? If Brahmans are the best, then why can’t the Brahman Sudhanva be seated on my bed? Meaning why can’t I marry Sudhanva only?”


Virochana uvācha, “Keshini! I am the best son of Prajapathi and therefore, the best in everything. This entire universe is ours only. What are devathas in front of us? What sort are Brahmans?”


Keshini uvācha, “Virochana! We both will wait here in this place when Sudhanva will arrive early morning tomorrow. Then I will see you both together.”


Virochana uvācha, “Kalyani! I will do as you say. O Shy One! You will see us both Sudhanva and myself present together tomorrow morning.”


Vidura uvācha, “Dhrutharashtra, O foremost among kings! After this, the night fell and it became sunrise and Sudhanva arrived at that place where Keshini was waiting along with Virochana.


Bharatashreshta! Sudhanva went towards Keshini and Prahladakumara, Virochana. Upon seeing the Brahman Sudhanva approach, Keshini rose from her seat and offered him a seat, offered water to wash his feet and offered water to wash his hands.”


Sudhanva uvācha, “Prahladanandan! I can only touch your beautiful golden throne but I cannot sit on this with you because doing that will mean we are equal.”


Virochana uvācha, “Sudhanva! For you only a stool or a mat or a seat of kusa grass is appropriate and you are definitely not worthy of sitting on a throne equal to mine.”


Sudhanva uvācha, “Virochana! A father and son can sit together on one seat, two Brahmans, two kshatriyas, two elderly people, two vaishyas and two sudras also can sit together on one seat but no two other people can sit together on the same seat.


Your father, Prahlada also used to sit below and serve me, Sudhanva seated on a higher position. You are still a child and therefore, you should stay at home and be taken care of meaning that you do not possess knowledge of such matters.”


Virochana uvācha, “Sudhanva! Whatever gold, cows, horses and wealth we asuras possess, I wager them all. So, let us both go and ask the one who is knowledgeable on this subject who among us is the best?”


Sudhanva uvācha, “Virochana! Let the gold, cows and horses remain with you itself. Let us both wager our lives and ask the one who is knowledgeable on this subject.”


Virochana uvācha, “Very good, after putting our lives at stake where shall we go now? I can neither go to the devathas nor can I accept a decision from men.”


Sudhanva uvācha, “After putting our lives at stake, let us both go to your father. I am confident that Prahlada will not be able to tell an untruth even if his son’s life is at stake.”


Vidura uvācha, “Hey King! After mutually putting their lives at stake, the enraged and indignant Virochana and Sudhanva went at the same time together to the place where Prahlada was.”


Prahlada thought to himself – “These two, Sudhanva and Virochana who have never gone anywhere together till now are now seen coming together on the same path looking like an enraged snake.


Seeing Virochana clearly, Prahlada said the following, “Virochana! I ask you have you become friends with Sudhanva? Then how are you both coming together? You both never used to walk together previously.”


Virochana uvācha, “Father! I am not friends with Sudhanva. We have both put our lives at stake and come here. I ask you a legitimate/true question. Please do not give an untrue reply to my question.”


Prahlada uvācha, “Servants! Bring water and madhupark (a dish of milk, curds, ghee, sugar, honey and water) also for Sudhanva. Addressing Sudhanva, Brahman! You are my venerable guest. I have kept well-fattened healthy white cows to be offered to you as dāna (charity).”


Sudhanva uvācha, “Prahlada! I received water and madhupark on the way itself. You give a definitive answer to the question I pose to you – Is Brahman the best or is Virochana?”


Prahlada uvācha, “Brahman! I have only one son and you are present here physically and therefore, how can someone like me, a human being resolve the altercation/dispute between the both of you?”


Sudhanva uvācha, “Mathiman! Please give whatever cows and whatever wealth which is dear to you that you possess to your son Virochana on my behalf but you will have to answer correctly to resolve the altercation/dispute between us.”


Prahlada uvācha, “Sudhanva! Now I will ask you this – One who does not speak the truth meaning decides in an untrue manner, what can the state be of such a felonious speaker?”


Sudhanva uvācha, “The state of the speaker who delivers a sentence that goes against justice and truth is similar to that of a woman who is the second wife or a lover or a mistress to a man, to that of a gambler who has lost in a game of dice and to that of the state of the afflicted body in the night of an aggrieved man hauling/carrying heavy goods.


A king who delivers a wrong/false sentence remains a prisoner inside the kingdom bearing the sufferings of hunger and will see many enemies in the outer gates.


When overpowered by selfishness, five generations for an animal telling lies, ten generations for a cow telling lies, a hundred generations for a horse speaking untruth and one thousand generations for a man speaking lies will fall into hell.


One who tells lies for gold will send all his generations both past and future into hell. A man who tells lies for land and woman will bring about his own destruction and therefore, you should never speak untruths for land and a woman.”


Prahlada uvācha, “Virochana! Sudhanva’s father Angira is more excellent than me and Sudhanva is more excellent than you and his mother is more excellent than your mother and therefore, you have lost to Sudhanva and you are alive today because of him.


Virochana! Now Sudhanva is the lord of your life. Sudhanva! Now if you are willing, I would like to get back Virochana.”


Sudhanva uvācha, “Prahlada! You have accepted only dharma, you have not lied out of selfishness and therefore, I return this rare son of yours back to you.


Prahlada! I have given back your son Virochana to you again but let him come near Keshini Kumari and wash my feet.”


Vidura uvācha, “Hence O King! Do not speak a lie for land. Do not go to the mouth of destruction along with your son and ministers by not speaking the truth out of selfishness for your son.


Devathas will not take the stick like the shepherds/herdsmen to watch over someone. They will endow the ones they want to protect with superlative intelligence.


When the man continues to apply his mind in benediction/welfare, then all his tasks will be successful as intended/desired and there is not an iota of doubt in this.


The Vedas do not expiate the sins of the deluded one who behaves in a deceitful manner and the Vedas will forsake the deluded one in his last moments similar to how the fledglings of a bird will leave the nest when they develop wings.


The following have been said to be worthy of being forsaken – drinking alcohol, quarrelling, animosity towards the group/community, creating differences between husband and wife, creating disagreements/inharmonious thinking within family members, having enmity/bitterness towards the king, having altercations/disputes with woman and man and following a wrong path.


These seven namely a palm reader, one who is in business of stolen goods, a gambler, a doctor, an enemy, a friend and a dancer should never be made a testifier/witness.


These four karmas will set aside fear namely performing agnihotra with respect, respectfully observing silence, respectfully indulging in self-study and respectfully following the principles of performing yagnas but if these four are not accomplished in the appropriate/right manner, then they will confer fear in one.


The following are considered to be killers of Brahman namely a man who torches the house, one who gives poison, one who eats/lives off the money of an illegitimate child, one who sells nectar/juice of somalatha, one who makes the shastras/scriptures, one who backbites, one who betrays/is deceitful to a friend, one who is lascivious to prostitutes and another man’s wife, one who kills the foetus in the womb, a megalomaniac/mastermind, one who is a brahman but drinks alcohol, one is who excessively sharp/vitriolic, one who whines/repeats everything like a cuckoo, an atheist, one who condemns the Vedas, a village priest, three types of vratya and one who asks for protection despite being cruel and strong.


Gold is recognized/identified only in the burning fire, an honest man from his moral conduct and virtues, an excellent man from his profession, the boldness/daring in a man when overcome with fear, a resolute/dispassionate man when in financial difficulties and the test of an enemy or a friend happens in difficult tribulations.


Old age destroys youthful beauty, hope destroys resoluteness, death destroys life/soul, jealousy and envy destroys virtues and morality, anger destroys wealth and prosperity, service to lowly people destroys spiritual nature, disgrace destroys work/action and pride/egotism/arrogance/vanity will destroy everything.


Wealth and prosperity are created by engaging in auspicious karmas, it increases through boldness and resoluteness, roots are firmly established through acumen and ingenuity and it is protected through temperance and self-restraint.


These eight attributes/qualities increase the glory of a man namely intelligence, nobility, control of the senses, knowledge of the scriptures, gallantry, not speaking too much, doing charity as per his capability and being grateful.


O Wise One! There is one quality that firmly establishes a tenacious control over these notable qualities. When the King honours a man, then at that moment this one quality of extraordinary display of respect will bestow glory in a manner excelling the other qualities.


Hey King! These eight attributes/qualities in the human world will give you darshan (vision) of the heavenly worlds and four among these are eternally connected to sages and saints and they remain existent in that only and four qualities are pursued by gentlemen.


Yagna, charity, study of the scriptures and tapa are four qualities that are eternally connected to gentlemen and control over the sensory organs, satya, straight-forwardness and softness are four pursued by the sages and saints.


The following eight have been mentioned to be the paths of dharma – yagnaadhyayana (study/learning), dāna (charity), tapah (austerities), satya (truth), kamā (forgiveness), dayā (compassion) and nirlobhata (free from greed or illusion).


Any conceited man can follow the first four of the eight mentioned to serve his own conceit and pride, but the last four cannot remain in one who is not a mahatma (saintly person).


A congregation is not considered to be a congregation where there are no great or wise/elderly persons present; one who does not speak on matters of dharma are not wise/elderly; where there is no satya, there is no dharma and that which is full of deceit is not the truth.


These ten are the root cause/consideration for the heavenly worlds – satya, poise/attitude of humility and modesty, knowledge of the scriptures, knowledge and wisdom, nobility, virtues and good moral conduct, strength, wealth, mettle/courage and speaking miraculous/startling matters.


A condemnable infamous sinner will only obtain sinful fruits for engaging in sinful and criminal acts and a praiseworthy man will only experience/enjoy immense fruits of good for engaging in auspicious acts.


Hence, a man observing a praiseworthy vow of moral conduct should not commit sin because sin committed frequently will destroy the intelligence.


A man’s whose intelligence is destroyed will commit sin all the time. Similarly, auspicious acts committed frequently will increase the intelligence.


A man’s whose intelligence keeps increasing/expanding will always be engaged in doing auspicious acts. In this way, the man endowed with punyakarma who is engaged in doing auspicious acts will go to punyaloka. Hence, it is imperative that a man concentrates in entirety on doing service for the well-being and engaging in auspicious acts.


One who sees faults in virtues, one who wounds the heart of another, a heartless or merciless person, one who makes enemies and a wicked man who engages in sinful acts will quickly attain great sufferings/hardship.


A man whose intelligence is pure and does not have the vision of seeing fault or blemishes in anyone or anything will always practise and be engaged in good and auspicious karmas and will attain great happiness and will always be respected by all.


A man who acquires good sense (understanding of right and wrong) from intelligent men is only considered to be a pundit because only an intelligent person acquires dharma and artha and is competent to use it effortlessly for his advancement.


It is best to attend to and finish the assigned work during the day so that one can pass the night in pleasure/happiness and it is best to attend to and finish the assigned work in eight months so that one can pass the remaining four months of the year in leisure.


One should work in the early years so that he can pass his old age in happiness and he should be engaged in such work throughout his life that he can be happy in the heavenly worlds also after his physical demise.


A gentleman will praise the food after digestion, will praise the woman after the spotless youth passes, will praise the bravery/courage after winning in combat or war and will praise the tapasvi after crossing over the world of samsara.


The flaws/stains that are kept hidden after acquiring wealth through adharma do not remain hidden but new and different types of blemishes/stains will manifest because the flaws/stains were attempted to be hidden.


The one who rules over the mind and the sensory organs of the disciples/students and keeps it under control is the Guru, the king is the ruler/governor of diabolical men and Suryaputra Yamaraja is the ruler/controller of people who commit sin/crime in secret.


The birthplace of rshis, rivers, vamsa and great personalities and the wicked nature of women cannot be known.


Hey King! One who is attached to and committed to worshipping and doing service to Brahmans, a donor/donator, one who behaves softly towards family members and a virtuous king who rules over the earth forever.


These three types of men namely the valiant, a scholar and one who is well-versed with the dharma of service are like a group of flowers of gold of the creeper that is in the form of earth.


Bharata! The karma that is done after using one’s intelligence and mental acumen is the best, the karma done using physical strength is considered to be average/medium, karma that is done using the thighs is considered to be lowly and work of carrying/transporting heavy burden is considered to be extremely lowly.


Hey King! How can you expect advancement/progress by placing the burden of the kingdom on Duryodhana, Shakuni, the foolish Dusshaasana and Karna?


Bharatashrestha! Pandavas are endowed with all the superlative qualities/attributes and they look upon you as their father and behave thus and therefore, you also look upon them as your own sons and treat them in a manner that is fit and becoming.”

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Create a website or blog at

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: