Vidura Nīti – Conversation between Dhrutharashtra and Vidura – Chapter 38 – Slokas 1 – 47

Vidura uvācha, “Hey King! When any esteemed elderly man comes near, then the prana (life-force) of a youthful man moves upwards; when he stands up to receive the elderly man and offers pranaams, then the prana (life-force) returns to its true place.


It is imperative for a resolute man that when a saintly person comes to his house as a guest, he should first offer him a seat, wash his feet with water, then should make kind queries of his well-being and share the same with him and then offer him food after ascertaining his needs.


The exemplary persons have stated that a Brahman who is well-versed in the Vedas in whose house because of the provider’s greed, fear and niggardliness, water, madhupark (a dish of milk, curds, ghee, sugar, honey and water) and cows are not accepted is said to be meaningless/futile.


A doctor, one who creates splits/fissures in operations, one who is corrupted/tainted in Brahmacharya, a thief, a cruel man, a drunkard, one who kills the foetus in the womb, a military man and the seller of the Vedas – all these are unworthy of having their feet washed and if they come to one’s house as a guest, then they are worthy of being welcomed/received with special love that is to say respect.


Salt, cooked rice, curds, milk, honey, oil, ghee, sesame, meat, flowers, roots, green vegetables, red cloth and all types of gandha (scents) and jaggery – all these are unworthy of being sold.


The mendicant who does not get angry, who mixes mud and cow-dung, who thinks of stone and gold as the same, who is bereft of grief, who is free from reconciliation and enmity, is devoid of reproach and praise, who has forsaken likes and dislikes and who is pensive is only called a sannyāsi.


That pious ascetic who eats the forest rice/grains, bulbous roots, fruit of the hingota (Indian Almond tree) and green vegetables to sustain himself, keeps his mind under control, performs agnihotra, who is always cautious and aware of offering service to guests despite living in the forest is considered to be exemplary.


One who speaks ill of an intelligent man should definitely not think that he will be unaffected. The arms of an intelligent man are very long and he will hit back with those same arms when harassed.


One who is not a vessel of trust should not be trusted; but one who is a vessel of trust should also not be trusted too much. The fear that is born from trust can even remove a root.


It is imperative for men to be bereft of envy and malice, to be a protector of women, to divide the wealth in a just/fair manner, to be dear to all, to be clean and speak only sweet words near women but never to be in their control.


Women are said to be the lakshmi of the house. They are exceedingly blessed/fortunate, worthy of honour, sacred and the glory of the house; therefore, they should be protected in a special way.


The duty of protecting the chambers should be handed over to the father; the management of the kitchen should be handed over to the mother; a man equal to one should be appointed for the service to the cows and the work of farming should be done by himself. One should engage in commerce/business activities through servants and serve Brahmans through the sons.


Agni (fire) is born from water, kshatriyas from Brahmans and iron from stone/rock. Even if its force pervades everything, it becomes calm in its point of origin.


One born in a noble family, one who is lustrous/glorious like agni (fire) and a forgiving and incorruptible saintly person always remain composed/unflappable like the agni (fire) that is inherent in wood.


A king who does not externally project himself to his counsel that is no man is privy to his heart/inside and sees everything with equal vision will experience wealth and prosperity forever.


It is better not to speak previously about doing works connected to dharmakāma and artha but instead to show by actually doing it. By doing that, one’s counsel is not evident on others.


It is imperative to introspect/deliberate either at a mountain peak or in someplace in the palace in solitude or go to a place in the forest which is not covered with grass.


Bharata! One who is not a friend, one who is not erudite even though he is a friend and one’s whose mind is not under control despite being learned are not worthy of being privy to one’s secret counsel.


A king should not make anyone his minister without thoroughly testing him because the burden of attaining wealth and the protection of the incantation/counsel rests on the minister. That king is only the best among kings whose audience/assembly finds out only after the completion of all the works of dharmaartha and kāma in entirety. That king who keeps his incantation/counsel a secret will without a doubt attain success.


One who engages in karma that are bad under the influence of delusion will get washed away from his own life as those works will have a reverse effect/result.


Only the observance/practice of superlative/best karmas gives happiness but if those karmas are not practised/observed, then it is deemed as the reason for repentance.


Just like how a Brahman who has not studied the Vedas cannot rule over the one who performs the shraadh (ceremony for the ancestors), similarly one who does not know these six traits/characteristics namely reconciliation, enmity, vehicle, seat, perception of duality and cover/refuge is not authorized to hear a secret counsel/consultation.


Hey King! That king who is famous/renowned for his knowledge on these six qualities of reconciliation, enmity and others, knows about existence/situation, augmentation/advancement and diminution/depletion and whose disposition/temperament is praised by all will have an earth/land that is dependent/subservient to him.


That earth/land of the one who’s anger and joyfulness does not go in vain, who takes care of important works himself and possesses knowledge of the treasury will give ample/substantial wealth.


The Lord of the earth should remain happy with the possession of his title of king and his lordly/kingly canopy/umbrella. He should give his servants ample wealth and should not keep it for himself.


Brahmans will be known by a Brahman, a woman will be known by her husband, a minister will be known by his king and other kings will be known only by a king.


An enemy who is worthy of being killed when captured should not be spared. If one’s strength/power is not much, then he should become courteous/indulgent and spend time with him and when he becomes powerful, he should kill him; because if the enemy is not killed then fear gets instilled in one quickly.


The anger that rises towards a devatha, Brahman, king, elderly person, a child and a sick person should always be controlled with utmost effort.


An intelligent man should forsake a meaningless/futile contention/quarrel served by foolish persons. He will get fame in this world for that and will not have to face a catastrophe.


A king whose happiness does not yield any benefit/fruit and whose anger is also meaningless is not wanted by the people just like how a woman does not want a eunuch as her husband.


Wealth is acquired from intelligence and foolishness is the cause for penury – there is no such rule/law. The circle/cycle of the universe is known only to the savant and not others.


Bharata! A foolish person will always disrespect great venerable persons of education, virtue, position/age, intelligence, wealth and lineage.


One who’s character is deplorable/objectionable, is foolish, who sees flaws in virtues, is against dharma, who speaks bad words and is hot tempered will see disaster falling upon him quickly.


One who does not indulge in trickery/cheating, who is a provider/donor, who does not violate/transgress a pledge and a well-said word will make all the elements his.


A king who does not deceive/dupe anyone, is astute, is grateful, is intelligent and soft-natured will acquire helpers/supporters meaning he will get help even when the treasury is exhausted.


Resoluteness, control over the mind, control over the sensory organs, sacredness/chastity, compassion/mercy, soft words and not being disloyal to a friend – these seven matters increase wealth and prosperity.


Hey King! A king who does not divide the wealth in an appropriate manner among the dependents, who is of wicked disposition, is ungrateful and is graceless/shameless should be forsaken in this world.


One who is guilty himself but makes an innocent saintly person angry is like a man who lives in a house with a serpent and doesn’t get a good night’s sleep/rest.


Bharata! Those people on whom an accusation/charge/reproach will bring impediments in the maintenance and protection of one’s well-being are like the devathas and must always be kept happy.


The one who hands over his wealth and other materials to women, deluded persons, degenerates and lowly persons will be in doubt.


Hey King! Where the rule/governance is in the hands of women, gamblers and children, there the people are compared to those sitting on boats of stone/rock in the river who become helpless and drown in the ocean of adversity/misfortune.


Bharata! I consider those people who engage in works only as much as required and do not put their hands in more as pandits; because putting one’s hands in more than necessary is the cause for friction/conflict.


The man whom gamblers praise, whom dancers sing praises of and whom prostitutes boast about is considered to be as good as dead.


Bharata! You have forsaken the great archer and the infinitely glorious Pandavas and put the burden of this illustrious/grand wealth and prosperity on Duryodhana.


And hence, you will quickly see this foolish Duryodhana who is under the rapture/illusion of wealth and prosperity fall from the empire of the three worlds like a sacrificial offering and see this kingdom becoming corrupted/degenerated.”

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