Vaisampayana said: Kind Dhritarashtra endued with great wisdom (then) said to the orderly in waiting, ‘I desire to see Vidura. Bring him here without delay.’
Despatched by Dhritarashtra, the messenger went to Kshatri and said: O (thou) of great wisdom, our lord the mighty king desires to see you.
Thus addressed, Vidura (set out and) coming to the palace, spoke unto the orderly: Apprise Dhritarashtra of my arrival.
Thereupon the orderly went to Dhritarashtra and said: O foremost of kings, Vidura is here at thy command. He wishes to behold thy feet. Command me as to what he is to do.
Thereupon Dhritarashtra said: Let Vidura of great wisdom and foresight enter. I am never unwilling or unprepared to see Vidura.
The orderly then went out and spoke unto Vidura: O Kshatri, enter the inner apartments of the wise king. The king says that he is never unwilling to see you.
Vaisampayana continued: Having entered Dhritarashtra’s chamber, Vidura said with joined hands unto that ruler of men who was then plunged in thought: O thou of great wisdom, I am Vidura, arrived here at thy command. If there is anything to be done, here I am, command me!
Dhritarashtra said: O Vidura, Sanjaya has come back. He has gone away after rebuking me. Tomorrow he will deliver, in the midst of the court, Ajatashatru’s message. I have not been able today to ascertain what the message is of the Kuru hero. Therefore, my body is burning, and that has produced sleeplessness. Tell us what may be good for a person that is sleepless and burning. Thou art, O child, versed in both religion and profit. Ever since Sanjaya has returned from the Pandavas, my heart knows no peace. Filled with anxiety about what he may deliver, all my senses have been disordered.
Vidura said: Sleeplessness overtakes thief, a lustful person, him that has lost all his wealth, him that has failed to achieve success, and him also that is weak and has been attacked by a strong person. I hope, O king, that none of these grave calamities have overtaken thee. I hope, thou dost not grieve, coveting the wealth of others.
Dhritarashtra said: I desire to hear from you words that are beneficial and fraught with high morality. In this race of royal Rishis thou alone are reverenced by the wise.
Vidura replied: King Yudhishthira, graced with every virtue, is worthy of being the sovereign of the three worlds; yet, O Dhritarashtra, however worthy of being kept by thy side, he was exiled by thee. Thou art, however, possessed of qualities which are thy very reverse of those possessed by him. Although virtuous and versed in morality, thou hast yet no right to share in the kingdom owing to thy loss of sight. [Note: King Dhritarashtra was blind]. In consequence of his inoffensiveness and kindness, his righteousness, love of truth and energy, and his remembering the reverence that is due to thee, Yuthishthira patiently bears innumerable wrongs. Having bestowed on Duryodhana and Suvala’s son and Karna, and Dussasana the management of the empire, how canst thou hope for prosperity?
Mark of Wisdom
He that is not served from the high ends of life by the aid of self-knowledge, exertion, forbearance and steadiness in virtue, is called wise. These again are the marks of a wise man, viz., adherence to acts, worthy of praise and rejection of what is blameable, faith, and reverence. He whom neither anger nor joy, nor pride, nor false modesty, nor stupefaction, nor vanity, can draw away from the high ends of life, is considered as wise. He whose intended acts, and proposed counsels remain concealed from foes, and whose acts become known only after they have been done, is considered wise. He whose proposed actions are never obstructed by heat or cold, fear of attachment, prosperity or adversity, is considered wise.
He whose judgment dissociated from desire, follows both virtue and profit, and who disregarding pleasure chooses such ends as are serviceable in both worlds, is considered wise. They that exert to the best of their might, and act also to the best of their might, and disregard nothing as insignificant, are called wise. He that understands quickly, listens patiently, pursues his objects with judgment and not from desire and spends not his breath on the affairs of others without being asked, is said to possess the foremost mark of wisdom. They that do not strive for objects that are unattainable, that do not grieve for what is lost and gone, that do not suffer their minds to be clouded amid calamities, are regarded to possess intellects endued with wisdom.
He who strives, having commenced anything, till it is completed. Who never wastes his time, and who has his soul under control, is regarded wise. They that are wise, O bull of the Bharata race, always delight in honest deeds, do what tends to their happiness and prosperity, and never sneer at what is good. He who exults not at honours, and grieves not at slights, and remains cool and unagitated like a lake in the course of Ganga (Ganges), is reckoned as wise. That man who knows the nature of all creatures (viz., that everything is subject to destruction), who is cognisant also of the connections of all acts, and who is proficient in the knowledge of the means that man may resort to (for attaining their objects), is reckoned as wise. He who speaks boldly, can converse on various subjects, knows the science of argumentation, possesses genius, and can interpret the meaning of what is writ in books, is reckoned as wise. He whose studies are regulated by reason, and whose reason follows the scriptures, and who never abstains from paying respect to those that are good, is called a wise man.
He, on the other hand, who is ignorant of scriptures yet vain, poor yet proud, and who resorts to unfair means for the acquisition of his objects, is a fool. He who, forsaking his own, concerns himself with the objects of others, and who practises deceitful means for serving his friends, is called a fool. He, who wishes for those things that should not be desired, and forsakes those that may legitimately be desired, and who bears malice to those that are powerful, is regarded to be a foolish soul.
He who regards his foe as his friend, who hates and bears malice to his friend, and who commits wicked deeds, is said to be a person of foolish soul. O bull of the Bharata race, he who divulges his projects, doubts in all things, and spends a long time in doing what requires a short time, is a fool. He who does not perform the Sraddha for the Pitris (oblations offered to the manes), nor worships the deities, nor acquires noble-minded friends, is said to be a person of foolish soul. That worst of men who enters a place uninvited, and talks much without being asked, and reposes trust on untrustworthy wights, is a fool.
That man who being himself guilty casts the blame on others, and who though impotent gives vent to anger, is the most foolish of men. That man, without knowing his own strength and dissociated from both virtue and profit, desires an object difficult of acquisition, without again adopting adequate means, is said to be destitute of intelligence. O king, he who punishes one that is undeserving of punishment, pays homage to persons without their knowledge, and waits upon misers, is said to be of little sense.
But he that, having attained immense wealth and prosperity or acquired (vast) learning, does not bear himself haughtily, is reckoned as wise.
Who again, is more heartless than he, who, though possessed of affluence, eats himself and wears excellent robes himself without distributing his wealth among his dependents? While one person commits sins, many reap the advantage resulting there from; (yet in the end) it is the doer alone to whom the sin attaches while those that enjoy the fruit escape unhurt. When a bowman shoots an arrow, he may or may not succeed in slaying even a single person, but when an intelligent individual applies his intelligence (viciously), it may destroy an entire kingdom with the king.
Discriminating the two by means of the one, bring under thy subjection the three by means of four, and also conquering the five and knowing the six, and abstaining from the seven, be happy.
Poison slays but one person, and a weapon also but one; wicked counsels, however, destroy an entire kingdom with king and subject. Alone one should not partake of any savoury viand, nor alone reflect on concerns of profit, nor alone go upon a journey, nor alone remain awake among sleeping companions.
That Being who is One without a second, and whom, O king, thou has not been able to comprehend, is Truth’s self, and the way to heaven, even like a boat in the ocean.
There is one only defect in forgiving persons, and not another; that defect is that people take a forgiving person to be weak. That defect however, should not be taken into consideration, for forgiveness is a great power. Forgiveness is a virtue of the weak, and an ornament of the strong. Forgiveness subdues (all) in this world; what is there that forgiveness cannot achieve? What can a wicked person do unto him who carries the sabre of forgiveness in his hand? Fire falling on a grassless ground is extinguished of itself. And unforgiving individual defiles himself with many enormities. Righteousness is the one highest good; and forgiveness is the one supreme peace; knowledge is one supreme contentment; and benevolence, one sole happiness.
Even as a serpent devours animals living in holes, the earth devours these two, viz., a king who is incompetent to fight, and a Brahmana (Brahmin) who does not sojourn to holy places. A man may attain renown in this world by doing two things, viz., by refraining from harsh speech, and by disregarding those that are wicked. O tiger among men, these two have not a will of their own, viz., those women who covet men simply because the latter are coveted by others of their sex, and that person who worships another simply because the latter is worshipped by others. These two are like sharp thorns afflicting the body, viz., the desires of a poor man, and the anger of the impotent. These two persons never shine because of their incompatible acts, viz., a householder without exertion, and a beggar busied in schemes.
These two, O king, live (as it were) in a region higher than heaven itself, viz., a man of power endued with forgiveness, and poor man that is charitable. Of things honestly got, these two must be looked upon as misuse, viz., making gifts to the unworthy and refusing the worthy.
These two should be thrown into the water, tightly binding weights to their necks, viz., a wealthy man that does not give away, and a poor man that is proud. These two, O tiger among men, can pierce the orb itself of the sun, viz., a mendicant accomplished in Yoga, and a warrior that has fallen in open fight.
O bull of the Bharata race, persons versed in the Vedas have said that men’s means are good, middling and bad. Men also, O king, are good, indifferent and bad. They should, therefore, be respectively employed in that kind of work for which they may be fit.
These three, O king, cannot have wealth of their own, viz., the wife, the slave, and the son, and whatever may be earned by them would be his to whom they belong.
Great fear springs from these three crimes, viz., theft of other’s property, outrage on other’s wives, and breach with friend. These three, besides, being destructive to one’s own self, are the gates of hell, viz., lust, anger, and covetousness. Therefore, every one should renounce them. [Note: Compare from The Bhagavad Gita, Chapter 16, verse 21. The Blessed Lord said: “Triple is the gate of this hell, destructive of the self – lust, anger and greed; therefore one should abandon these three.”]
These three should never be forsaken even in imminent danger, viz., a follower, one who seeks protection, saying: ‘I am thine’, and lastly one who has come to your abode. Verily, O Bharata, liberating a foe from distress, alone amounts in point of merit, to these three taken together, viz., conferring a boon, acquiring a kingdom and obtaining a son.
Learned men have declared that a king, although powerful, should never consult with these four, viz., men of small sense, men that are procrastinating, men that are indolent, and men that are flatterers. O sire, crowned with prosperity and leading the life of a householder, let these four dwell with thee, viz., old consanguineous relatives, high-born persons fallen into adversity, poor friends, and issueless sisters.
On being asked by the chief of the celestials, Vrihaspati, O mighty king, declared four things capable of fructifying or occurring within a single day, viz., the resolve of the gods, the comprehensions of the intelligent persons, the humility of learned men, and the destruction of the sinful. These four that are calculated to remove fear, bring on fear when they are improperly performed, viz., the Agni-hotra (sacred fire ceremony), the vow of silence, study, and sacrifice (in general).
O bull of the Bharata race, these five fires should be worshipped with regard by a person, viz., father, mother, fire (proper), soul and preceptor. By serving these five, men attain great fame in this world, viz., the gods, the Pitris, men, beggars, and guests. These five follow thee wherever you go, viz., friends, foes, those that are indifferent, dependants, and those that are entitled to maintenance.
Of the five senses beholding to man, if one springs a leak, then from that single hole runs out all his intelligence, even like water running out from a perforated leathern vessel.
These six faults should be avoided by a person who wishes to attain prosperity, viz., sleep, drowsiness, fear, anger, indolence and procrastination. These six should be renounced like a splitting vessel in the sea, viz., a preceptor that cannot expound the scriptures, a priest that is illiterate, a king that is unable to protect, a wife that speaks disagreeable words, a cow-herd that does not wish to go to the fields, and a barber that wishes to renounce a village for the woods. Verily those six qualities should never be forsaken by men, viz., truth, charity, diligence, benevolence, forgiveness and patience. These six are instantly destroyed, if neglected, viz., kine (cow), service, agriculture, a wife, learning, and the wealth of a Sudra. These six forget those who have bestowed obligations on them, viz., educated disciples, their preceptors; married persons, their mothers; persons whose desires have been gratified, women; they who have achieved success, they who had rendered aid; they who have crossed a river, the boat (that carried them over); and patients that have been cured, their physicians.
Health, unindebtedness (being debt free), living at home, companionship with good men, certainty as regards the means of livelihood, and living without fear, these six, O king, conduce to the happiness of men.
These six are always miserable, viz., the envious, the malicious, the discontented, the irascible, the ever suspicious and those depending upon the fortunes of others. These six, O king, comprise the happiness of men, viz., acquirement of wealth, uninterrupted health, a beloved and a sweet-speeched wife, an obedient son, and knowledge that is lucrative. [Note: the sixth item was inadvertently omitted by the translator.]
He that succeeds in gaining the mastery over the six that are always present in the human heart, being thus the master of his senses, never commits sin, and therefore, suffers calamity. These six may be seen to subsist upon other six, viz., thieves, upon persons that are careless; physicians, upon persons that are ailing; women, upon persons suffering from lust; priests, upon them that sacrifice; a king, upon persons that quarrel; and lastly, men of learning, upon them that are without it.
A king should renounce these seven faults that are productive of calamity, inasmuch as they are able to effect the ruin of even monarchs firmly established; these are women, dice, hunting, drinking, harshness of speech, severity of punishment, and misuse of wealth.
These eight are the immediate indications of a man destined to destruction, viz., hating the Brahmanas (Brahmins), dispute with Brahmanas, appropriation of a Brahmana’s possessions, taking the life of a Brahmana, taking a pleasure in reviling Brahmanas, grieving to hear the praises of Brahmanas, forgetting them on ceremonious occasions, and giving vent to spite when they ask for anything. These transgressions a wise man should understand and understanding, eschew.p
These eight, O Bharata, are the very cream of happiness, and these only are attainable here, viz., meeting with friends, accession of immense wealth, embracing a son, union for intercourse, conversation with friends in proper time, the advancement of persons belonging to one’s own party, the acquisition of what had been anticipated, and respect in society.
These eight qualities glorify a man, viz., wisdom, high birth, self-restraint, learning, prowess, moderation in speech, gift according to one’s power, and gratitude.
This house has nine doors, three pillars, and five witnesses. It is presided over by the soul. That learned man who knows all this is truly wise.
O Dhritarashtra, these ten do not know what virtue is, viz., the intoxicated, inattentive, the raving, the fatigued, the angry, the starving, the hasty, the covetous, the frightened, and the lustful. Therefore, he that is wise must eschew the company of these. In this connection is cited the old story about what transpired between Suyodhana and Prahlad, the chief of the Asuras in relation to the latter’s son. That king who renounces lust and anger, who bestows wealth upon proper recipients, and is discriminating, learned, and active, is regarded as an authority of all men. Great prosperity attends upon that king who knows how to inspire confidence in others, who inflicts punishment on those whose guilt has been proved, who is acquainted with the proper measure of punishment, and who knows when mercy is to be shown.
He is a wise person who does not disregard even a weak foe; who proceeds with intelligence in respect of a foe, anxiously watching for an opportunity; who does not desire hostilities with persons stronger than himself; and who displays his prowess in season. That illustrious person, who does not grieve when a calamity has already come upon him, who exerts with all his senses collected, and who patiently bears misery in season, is certainly the foremost of persons, and all his foes are vanquished.
He who does not live away from hope uselessly, who does not make friends with sinful persons, who never outrages another’s wife, who never betrays arrogance, and who never commits a theft or shows ingratitude or indulgence in drinking is always happy. He who never boastfully strives to attain the three objects of human pursuit, who when asked, tells the truth, who quarrels not even for the sake of friends, and who never becomes angry though slighted, is reckoned as wise.
He who bears not malice towards others but is kind to all, who being weak disputes not with others, who speaks not arrogantly, and forgets a quarrel, is praised everywhere.
That man who never assumes a haughty mien, who never censures others praising himself the while, and never addresses harsh words to others for getting himself, is ever loved by all.
He who rakes not up old hostilities, who behaves neither arrogantly nor with too much humility, and who even when distressed never commits an improper act, is considered by respectable men a person of good conduct. He who exults not at his own happiness, nor delights in another’s misery, and who repents not after having made a gift, is said to be a man of good nature and conduct. He who desires to obtain a knowledge of the customs of different countries, and also the languages of different nations, and of the usages of different orders of men, knows at once all that is high and low; and wherever he may go, he is sure to gain an ascendancy over even those that are glad.
The intelligent man who relinquishes pride, folly, insolence, sinful acts, disloyalty towards the king, crookedness of behaviour, enmity with many, and also quarrels with men that are drunk, mad and wicked, is the foremost of his species. The very gods bestow prosperity upon him who daily practises self-restraint, purification, auspicious rites, worship of the gods, expiatory ceremonies, and other rites of universal observance. The acts of that learned man are well conceived and well applied who forms matrimonial alliances with persons of equal positions and not with those that are inferior, who place those before him that are more qualified, and who talks, behaves and makes friendships with persons of equal position.
He who eats frugally after dividing the food amongst his dependants, who sleeps little after working much, and who, when solicited gives away even unto his foes, has his soul under control, and calamities always keep themselves aloof from him. He whose counsels are well kept and well carried out into practice, and whose acts in consequence thereof are never known by others to injure men, succeeds in securing even his most trifling objects.
He who is intent upon abstaining from injury to all creatures, who is truthful, gentle, charitable, and pure in mind, shines greatly among his kinsmen like a precious gem of the purest ray having its origin in an excellent mine. That man, who feels shame even though his faults are not known to any save himself, is highly honoured among all men. Possessed of a pure heart and boundless energy and abstracted within himself, he shines in consequence of his energy like the very sun.
King Pandu consumed by a Brahmana’s curse, had five sons born unto him in the woods that are like five Indras (king of gods). O son of Ambika, thou hast brought up those children and taught them everything. They are obedient to thy commands. Giving them back their just share of the kingdom, O sire, filled with joy, be thou happy with thy sons. Then, O monarch, thou shalt inspire confidence in both the gods and men.