Vidura Nīti – Conversation between Dhrutharashtra and Vidura – Chapter 37 – Slokas 1 – 64

Vidura uvācha, “RajendraVichitraveeryanandan! It has been said that Swayambhu Manu has these seventeen types of men in space – those who use their fists to deliver blows/knockout, those that cannot be made to yield/made to submit, those who attempt to subjugate the Indradhanush (bow of Indra) in the rainy season and those trying to capture the rays of the sun that cannot be captured.


The messenger of Yamaraja takes these seventeen types of men to hell with a noose in his hand – one who rules over a man unworthy of being ruled over, one who is happy after violating all tenets of decency, one who serves an enemy, one who attempts to protect a woman unworthy of protection and experiences his well-being through her, asks something from a person who is unworthy of being asked and praises himself (is conceited), engages in lowly actions/acts despite being born in a high-born/noble family, is animus towards strong people despite being weak himself, gives instructions to those without devotion, desires an object that is unworthy and against the scriptures, enjoys drollery/banter with the daughter-in-law despite being a father-in-law and spends time alone with the daughter-in-law without fear and still wants his prestige/eminence in society, transfuses his semen to prostitutes, condemns a woman beyond all limits of decency, after taking items/objects from a person says that he does not remember thus wanting to silence the person, does charity upon being asked and thereafter admires himself and attempts to establish a falsehood as the truth.


Nītidharma states that one should behave with a man in the exact manner that he conducts himself. One who behaves in duplicitous/deceitful manner should be treated likewise and one who behaves in a good/honest manner should be treated with gentility.


Old age destroys youthful beauty, hope destroys the resolute ones, death destroys life, abidance by dharma is destroyed by seeing flaws/faults in others, disgrace/disreputation destroys work, virtues are destroyed by serving lowly persons, wealth and prosperity is destroyed by anger and pride/arrogance/vanity destroys everything/all.”


Dhrutharashtra uvācha, “Vidura! When all the Vedas have stated that the life-span of men is hundred years, then why does he not obtain the full length of his life-span?”


Vidura uvācha, “Hey King! May you be blissful! Exceedingly vain/arrogant/proud, talking excessively, dearth/absence of renunciation, anger, worry/anxiety over only taking care of his needs and well-being and being disloyal to friends – these six sharp swords chop/hack the rays of the longevity/life-span of the body. These only execute/kill men not death.


Bharata! One who has sexual relations with the woman of the man who has faith/trust in him, one who is a mastermind, one marries a sudra lady despite being a Brahman, one who consumes alcohol, one who orders around Brahmans, one who destroys the livelihood of Brahmans, one who sends Brahmans here and there to do service and one who is violent towards refugees – all these are equivalent of Brahmahatya; one should do prayāścitta (expiation) if they become associated with any of them – this is the dictate of the Vedas.


One who obeys the dictates of elderly persons, a diplomat/moralist, a provider/donor, one who partakes the remainder of the food from a yagna, one who is non-violent, one who stays far away from disastrous works, one who is grateful/thankful, one who is honest/truthful and the scholar who is of tender disposition are those who go to the heavenly worlds.


Hey King! A man who always speaks pleasing words can be found effortlessly/spontaneously; but the speaker who is disagreeable/unpleasant but a benefactor and audience/listener are both rare.


A king will receive true help from the one who has sought refuge in dharma and says things that are in one’s best interest despite being disagreeable/unpleasant setting aside the thought that the words uttered may or may not be agreeable to the king.


A man should forsake/renunciate a man to protect/save a lineage, should forsake a lineage to protect/save a village, should forsake a village to protect/save a land/country and should forsake/renunciate the entire earth for the benediction of the ātma.


Wealth should be protected for catastrophes; women should be protected through wealth and one should protect themselves always through wealth and women.


In the earlier days it was observed that playing the game of dice was the reason for animosity amongst people; and therefore, an intelligent man should not play the game of dice even in jest.


PrathipanandanVichitraveeryakumara! Hey King! I had said at the commencement of the game of dice that this was not right but like how a sick man does not like medicine or dietary restrictions similarly you also did not like my words.


Narendra! You are like a crow trying to defeat the peacocks of striking/varicoloured plumage/feathers that are the Pandavas through your sons; abandoning the lions you are protecting the jackals; you will have to do prayāścitta (expiation) for this when the time comes.


Hey Wise One! A king who never gets angry with his devoted servant who is always engaged in works/acts that are beneficial/in his best interest and has innate faith in his king will not be forsaken/forgotten even in a catastrophe.


A king should not shut off the livelihood of servants/attendants and attempt to usurp the kingdom and wealth of others; because when one’s livelihood has been taken away and one is deprived of pleasures and enjoyment even a previously dear minister will become an enemy/adversary at that time and forsake the king.


First one should look into duty and income-expenditure and decide on suitable wages/allowance and others and then gather/collect competent/well-qualified help/support because even the most difficult works are achievable/possible with help and support.


A servant/attendant who understands the intentions of the king and finishes all the works bereft of laziness, one who speaks only in the best interest of the king, one who is devoted to the king and one who is a gentleman and knows the strength of the king should be looked upon as his equal and treated with mercy/kindness.


A servant/attendant who does not respect the dictates of the king, refuses/rejects to do the work assigned to him, is proud of his intelligence and speaks in a hostile/unfavourable manner should be forsaken immediately.


It has been said that a man endowed with these eight qualities is deemed fit to be made an emissary – bereft of ego, devoid of cowardice, one who finishes the work quickly, kind-hearted, pure hearted, one who is not led astray by others, healthy and generous/large-hearted.


A cautious man should not go into another’s house at an unearthly time believing someone, should not stand in the crossroads hiding himself and should not endeavour to obtain the woman that the king desires/wants.


When a king who is surrounded by diabolical assistants/aides is seated in the midst of many people of the council seeking advice, then neither should he refute/disprove their words nor should he say that he does not believe their words but on the other hand he should give some relevant reason/excuse and move away from there.


An exceedingly kind-hearted king, a faithless woman, a syndic, a son, a brother, a widow with small children, a soldier and one who’s authority has been taken away – one should not have any dealings with such people.


These eight qualities increase the glory of a person – intelligence, nobility, knowledge of the scriptures, control of the sensory organs, valour, habit of not speaking too much, doing charity as per one’s capability and gratitude.


Hey Wise One! There is one quality above all these important qualities which establishes its authority firmly over all the others. When the king honours a man, at that time this quality of rājasam’māna (reverence/recognition by the king) adorns the king excelling the aforementioned.


A man who takes bath frequently/daily will attain these ten benefits namely strength, beauty, sweet voice, lustrous/sparkling complexion, tenderness/softness, fragrance, sacredness, glory, delicacy and beautiful women.


A man who eats little will attain the following six benefits – health, longevity/lifespan, strength as well as happiness, his child will be exemplary and other people will not taunt him that he eats a lot.


One who is lethargic, one who eats a lot, one who is animus towards everyone, one who is excessively delusional/deceptive, one who is cruel, one who neglects land and time and a man who dresses in a condemned garb/guise should never be allowed to stay in your house.


One should never ask for help from the following – one who is niggardly even when very unhappy, one who calls names, a foolish man, one who resides in the forest, a trickster/deceiver, a lowly servant, one who is unmerciful/unkind, one who is bound by animosity and an ungrateful man.


One should not serve these six types of lowly persons – one who engages in karma of tribulation/vexation, one who is exceedingly delusional/lacks discrimination/foolish, one who always speaks untruths, one who has unsteady/fluctuating devotion, one who is bereft of affection and one who thinks of himself as clever.


One has expectation of help to attain wealth and the one who helps has expectation of wealth; these two are each other’s refuge and without mutual cooperation/collaboration it is not achieved/accomplished.


One should liberate the sons who are born from the burden of debt and make some provisions for their livelihood; one should arrange marriages of all their daughters with worthy men; and then one should desire to live in the forest as an ascetic.


That which is in the best interest/welfare of all beings and which is agreeable to one should be done by surrendering it to the Supreme Being; this is the moolamantra (the main incantation) for all accomplishments.


How can one have any fear of the destruction of his livelihood in whom there is potential to grow, there is impact/influence, there is radiance/lustre, there is valour and one who is decided on his assiduity/business and duty?


Cast your eye/vision on the demerit of waging a war against the Pandavas; even Indra and the other devathas will have to bear the hardships/anguish if you engage in a battle with them. Besides this there will be animosity among the children, perpetually uneasy life, destruction of reputation/glory and enemies will be pleased.


O Valorous King equal to Indra! Like how a skewed/lopsided comet that rises in the sky creates disturbance/disquiet and disorder/outrage/rampage in the entire universe, similarly the heightened anger of Bheeshma, yours, Dronacharya and King Yudhishtira will bring about the collapse of this universe.


Your hundred sons, Karna and the Pancha Pandavas can together rule over this entire universe that extends till the ocean.


Hey King! Your son is comparable to a forest and the Pandavas are like a tiger residing in that forest. Do not destroy the whole forest along with the tigers and also do not drive away the tigers far away from the forest.


The forest cannot be protected without the tigers and tigers cannot live without the forest because the tigers protect the forest and the forest protects the tigers.


Those people whose mind is always engaged in sin and evil will not desire to know the good qualities in others just like how they will not want to know the demerits/failings in themselves.


One who wants the complete/entire accomplishments of artha should first conduct himself in accordance with dharma. Just like how amrit (nectar) is not far away from the heavens, similarly artha cannot be separated from dharma.


One who’s intelligence has been assiduously put in benediction setting aside sin and evil will know all there is to know in this universe about prakriti (Mother Nature) and vikriti (deformation).


One who offers service to dharmaartha and kāma in compliance with time will attain dharmaartha and kāma both in this world and in the heavenly worlds.


Hey King! One who controls the momentum/intensiveness of anger and joyfulness that has emanated and does not get deluded even in a catastrophe will become entitled for Rajalakshmi (wealth, glory and prosperity).


Hey King! May you be blissful! There are always five types of forces in men; here this. That which is the first force of brawn is considered to be inferior/ignominious. Meeting a minister is the second force. The third force as said by seers is said to be the benefit/advantages of wealth and O King! the inherent force received by the ancestors of one known as the force of the lineage is the fourth force known as “Abhijaath”. Bharata! The force that is created from the aggregation of all these forces and which is the best/superlative force is the fifth known as “Buddhi Bal” (force of intelligence).


One who can do great disservice/wrong to a person should not resound that animosity with him and should not firmly believe that he can do no harm to me and am far away from him.


Can there be any intelligent/wise man who will completely trust a woman, a king, a snake, lessons that have been read, a competent man, an enemy, enjoyment and pleasures and life-span/longevity?


One whose intelligence has been rendered lifeless will not have either any doctor or medicine or homa or mantra or any auspicious work or the use of the Atharva Veda or any type of medicinal herbs.


Bharata! It is imperative that a man does not disrespect a snake, agni (fire), a lion and any person born in his lineage as they are all lustrous/majestic.


Agni (fire) is a great radiance/energy in this universe and remains hidden in the wood and does not burn that wood till it is ignited by other people.


But if that same agni (fire) is churned along with wood and set ablaze, then it will burn all the wood, the forest and will quickly burn all other objects as well with its radiance.


Similarly, the glorious/magnificent Pandavas likened to agni (fire) born in our lineage are endowed with a forgiving nature and are incorruptible and remain concealed like the fire that is hidden within the wood.


You along with your sons are like a creeper and the Pandavas are equal to the mighty tree and a creeper cannot grow unless it takes refuge in the mighty tree.


Hey King! Ambikanandan! Your son is like a forest and understand the Pandavas to be the lion living inside the forest. O Wise One! The forest gets destroyed when forsaken by the lion and the lion also gets destroyed without a forest.”

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