Vidura Nīti – Conversation between Dhrutharashtra and Vidura – Chapter 40 – Slokas 1 – 32

Vidura uvācha, “Hey King! When one who receives veneration/respect from gentlemen engages in measures of artha as per his capability without attachment, then that exemplary man will attain fame quickly; because when a saintly person becomes pleased with one, then he always remains happy.


One who forsakes immense sum of money acquired/earned through adharma even before he becomes interested in it is likened to a snake who sheds his old snakeskin and therefore, similarly he becomes liberated from his sadness and sleeps happily.


Make strides after telling untruths, gossip around the king, persist/eager to make false charges/accusations on Gurus – these three acts are equal to Brahmahatya.


Seeing flaws in virtues is directly equal to death, to condemn is the murder of Lakshmi as well as deficit in service, impatience/impetuosity and self-praise – these three are the enemies of knowledge.


Laziness, pride-illusion, flightiness, coterie, desperation, arrogance/vanity and lack of renunciation of selfishness – these seven are always considered to be blemishes for students.


Where can a man who wants pleasure get knowledge? There is no happiness/enjoyment for one who wants knowledge; one has to let go of knowledge if he has a yearning for enjoyment/pleasures and enjoyment has to be forsaken if one wants knowledge.


Fire will never be satisfied with fuel, ocean will be never satisfied with rivers, death will not be satisfied with all the beings and a prostitute will not be satisfied with men.


Hope ruins resoluteness, Yamaraja ruins affluence, anger ruins Lakshmi, parsimony ruins glory and absence of essential maintenance ruins all livestock, but O King! But if a Brahman becomes angry/enraged, then, He alone will bring about the devastation of the entire kingdom.


Goats, vessels of bronze, silver, honey, bow, bird, well-versed Brahman, elderly house-holder and a high-born man who is overwhelmed with misfortune/disaster – all these should always be present in your home.


Bharata! The sages have said that for the puja (worship) of devatha, Brahman and guests – goat, bull, chandan (sandalwood), veena, mirror, honey, ghee, water, copper pots/vessels, shankh (counch), shalagram and gorochan (a yellow substance extracted from the cow’s bile that is perfumed) – all these materials should be kept in the house.


O Wise One! Now I will tell you about this valuable and above all auspicious matter – dharma should never be forsaken for desire, fear, greed and for this life. Dharma is eternal, while happiness-sadness is transient. Jeeva is eternal, but his cause is transient. You let go of the transient and remain firm in the eternal and be contented; because contentment/satisfaction is the greatest benefit/advantage.


You set your vision on those great powerful as well as magnanimous kings who ruled over all this earth with wealth-grains and at the end let go of the whole kingdom and plenitude enjoyments here itself and went away in the control of Yamaraja.


Hey King! When the very child whom you have raised with a lot of hardship dies, then a man immediately lifts that body out of his house. First, he will throw about his hair/head and mourn for him vocally with full of compassion, then will give him to a burning pyre like an ordinary wood.


Other people enjoy the wealth of a dead man, either birds eat the man’s body parts or it is burnt. This man is bound by good-sin and his passage to the heavenly worlds is with these two.


O Wise One! Just like how birds leave a tree that is bereft of flowers and fruits, similarly, relatives, friends and son will leave that spirit in the burning pyre and return.


Only the bad or good karma done by a man will pursue him after he has been left in the fire. Hence, it is imperative for a man to slowly endeavour to accumulate dharma.


There is immense darkness in the form of ignorance that extends everywhere in this world and in the heavenly worlds above and right up to the nether worlds below. That puts the sensory organs in great delusion. Hey King! You please know this, so that this will not touch you.


If you can understand this clearly after hearing my words, then you will attain immense glory in this human world and you will not have any fear in this earthbound as well as in the heavenly worlds.


Bharata! This soul is a river. There is only sacred pilgrimage in this. Its origin is from the Satyaswaroop Paramtāmā. Resoluteness is its banks. Compassion is its waves. A man who is engaged in auspicious karma will become pious/blessed by taking a bath in it; because an ātmā that is devoid of delusion is always pure.


You should build a boat/ship of resoluteness to cross over this insurmountable current of the river of sansara (world/earth) in form of birth-death that is full of water of the five sensory organs and which is full of alligators in the form of kāma (desire) and krodha (anger).


One who is older/wiser in intelligence, dharma, knowledge and age and keeps his brothers happy through compliments-reverence and asks questions about their duty-dereliction of duty will never become deluded.


Manhood and generosity should be protected through resoluteness that is momentum of desire and the fire of hunger should be borne with resoluteness. Similarly, hands-legs should be protected through the eyes, eyes-ears should be protected through the mind and mind-speech should be protected through satkarma (good deeds).


The Brahman who has a bath and does sandhya and offers tarpan with water every day, wears yagnopavith at all times, does self-study daily, forsakes the food of fallen people, speaks the truth and does service to the Guru will never fall from Brahmaloka.


kshatriya who studies the Vedas, spreads the kusa on all four sides for the fire for agnihotra and performs different yagnas, takes care of the people of the kingdom and falls to his death in a battle for the benefit of cows and Brahman will go to the upper worlds because of the purification of his inner senses through weapons/arms.


If a vaishya studies the Vedas and the scriptures and helps Brahmans and kshatriyas as well as refugees by giving wealth when needed and inhales the sacred fragrant fumes of the three fires through yagnas, then he will experience divine happiness in the heavenly worlds after his demise.


If a sudra serves Brahmanskshatriyas and vaishyas in a successive fair manner and makes them happy, then he becomes bereft of affliction/sorrow and gets liberated from sins and will experience heavenly pleasures after leaving his physical body.


Maharaja! I have told you about the dharma of the four castes; please listen to the reason as to why I said this. It is because of you that the sons of Pandu have fallen from their kshatriya dharma, that is, you again assign them to raja dharma.”


Dhrutharashtra uvācha, “Vidura! The manner in which you are giving me upadesha every day is correct. Soumya! Whatever you are telling me, is also in consonance with my thoughts.


Whilst I have that thinking towards the Pandavas always, yet the moment I meet Duryodhana that thinking alters.


The strength to violate prarabdha is not there is any being. I accept prarabdha as unalterable/immovable, even the pursuit of the object of life is meaningless in front of it.”

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