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5-Udyog Parv
Kathaa-G - 5 Pre-War - page 6

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Udyog Parv

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Vidur Neeti (1)
[This page on Vidur Neeti is mostly based on Kamala Subramaniam's "Mahabharata" Udyog Parv, Chapter 7; otherwise on Mahabharata, Udyog Parv, Chapter 33 on Internet.]

After Sanjay left, Dhritraashtra's mind was terribly upset. So he called Vidur and told him everything, and said - "Vidur, You love me most even with my all faults, I am not able to sleep, please make me sleep."

Vidur said - "Raajan, Only five kinds of people are not able to sleep. (1) A man who lusts after another's wife, (2) a thief, (3) a man who has lost all his wealth, or the one who thinks all his wealth will be lost, (4) an unsuccessful man, and (5) a weak man oppressed by a strong man. I am sure that none of this description fits you. Avarice and greed are also not found in you." Dhritraashtra was well aware of his brother's sarcastic language, he said - "Just tell me how can I sleep?"

Vidur said - "For the last so many years I have been trying to tell you about the righteousness, Dharm, and your duties, but in vain. Only you are responsible for Paandav's suffering and Kaurav's destruction. How can a sinful person like you can sleep? You can still sleep, if you return Paandav's kingdom to them. You are not wise, you are foolish." Dhritraashtra asked - "What are the characteristics of a foolish and a wise man?"

Vidur said - "King Yudhishthir was worthy to be the king but he was exiled by you. Although you are well versed in morality, but you have no right to be a king because of your loss of sight. And that is why you had to delegate your own authority to Duryodhan, Shakuni, Karn and Dushaasan. Then how can you hope for prosperity? 

Who aspires for higher things and ideals in his life is a wise man. He possesses self-knowledge, exertion, tolerance and steadiness in his behavior. Neither joy, nor anger, nor pride, nor false modesty, nor stupidity, nor vanity can distract his mind from his aim. Desires do not change his actions, he loves only good things. He is unaffected by honors or insults. He is calm, cool and undisturbed. He does not grieve on what is gone. He who knows that all creatures are subject to destruction is wise. On the other hand a fool is always easy to be manipulated. A scripture is a closed book for him. He is vain, he is proud, and when he has to achieve anything he will never hesitate to employ unfair means to achieve it. A person who himself is guilty and blames others for it is called foolish. A sin has a special attribute that one person commits a sin and many have to suffer for it, but in the end the sinner is only the man who commits it, others escape. When a foolish bowman shoots an arrow, he may or may not be able ti kill even a single person; but when a wise person shoots it, he can destroy an entire kingdom including its king.

A wise king should be able to differentiate between the TWO (right and wrong) with the help of ONE (intellect). He must control the THREE (friend, stranger and enemy) by means of the FOUR (Saam, Daam, Dand and Bhed). He has to conquer the FIVE (senses - eyes, ears, skin, nose, tongue) and know the SIX (treaty, war etc) abstain from SEVEN (women, dice, hunting, harshness in speech, drinking severity of punishment and waste of wealth) and be happy. This means that one should be able to differentiate between the right and wrong by his intellect. Friend, stranger and enemy can be won by one of the four - gift etc. The senses must be controlled and a king should be familiar with all kingly behavior - war, treaty etc. The seven should naturally be avoided.

Poison kills only one man and so does the weapon, but bad counseling destroys the whole kingdom with its king and his subjects. Alone one should not take food, or express his views on profit, or go on journey, or remain awake among the sleeping companions. One Being who is one without a second, and which you have not been able to comprehend, is Truth itself. There is only one defect in forgiving person, only one, that is that people take him as weak person. It should not be understood like that because forgiveness has a great power. What is there which forgiveness canot achieve? The highest good is righteousness, one supreme peace is forgiveness, one supreme contentment is knowledge, and one supreme happiness is kindness, 

A man can attain renown in this world by doing two things - by abstaining harsh speech, and by disregarding the wicked. The two will not have the will of their own - the women who love men because other women love them, and a person who worships a man because other people worship him. The two are like sharp thorns - the desire of a poor person, and the anger of the impotent. These two persons can never shine because of their incompatible acts - a household without efforts, and a beggar busy in making schemes. These two live in higher regions - one who forgives and a poor man who makes charity. The two things are as misuse of charity - the charity made to unworthy person, and refusing the worthy person. These two should be thrown in water - a wealthy man who does not give away, and a poor man that is proud.

Ved say that men's means are good, middling and bad; in the same way they themselves are good, indifferent and bad. They should be employed for the same work for which they are fit. These THREE cannot have wealth of their own - the wife, the slave, and the son; because whatever is earned them would be his to whom they belong. Great fear springs from these THREE crimes -  stealing other's property, lust of another's wife, and breach with friends. THREE things destroy the soul - lust, anger and greed. THREE are essentially be protected - a follower, one who seeks protection and one who has come to your abode. These THREE should not be left even in imminent danger - a follower, a person who is in your shelter, and who has come to your house. Liberating a foe from distress alone equals to these THREE taken together - bestowing a Var, acquiring a kingdom and getting a son.

Learned men say that a king should never confer (give power, or to be with) with these FOUR - a person with a small senses, a procrastinator, a habitually lazy and a flatterer. These FOUR when calculated remove fear, but bring fear when performed improperly - the Agni-Hotra, the vow of silence, study, and sacrifice in general.

FIVE things should always be worshipped - father, mother, fire, Guru and the soul. These five follow you wherever you go - friend, foes, those that are indifferent, dependents, and those who need maintenance. These SIX should be avoided - sleep, drowsiness, fear, anger, indolence and procrastination. These SIX qualities should never be forsaken - truth, charity, diligence, kindness, forgiveness and patience. These SIX are always miserable - the envious, the malicious, the discontented, the hot-tempered, the ever-suspicious and dependants on others. These SIX subsist on others - thieves on careless people, physicians on sick people, women on lusty men, priests upon them who sacrifice, a king upon quarreling persons, learned men on men who are without it.

A king should renounce the SEVEN faults - women, dice, hunting, drinking, harshness of speech, severe punishments and misuse of wealth. EIGHT things glorify a man - wisdom, high birth, self-restrain, learning, power, moderation in speech, gifts given with discrimination, and gratitude. This human body is a house with NINE doors, THREE pillars, and FIVE witnesses. It is presided over by the soul. O king, Who knows this is wise.

These TEN do not know what virtue is - the intoxicated, the inattentive, an irrational, the fatigued, the angry, the starving, the dejected, a greedy, the frightened, and the lustful. One who bears no ill-will towards others but is kind to all, talks softly, and forgives a quarrel is praised everywhere. A king should become prosperous without hurting others; as a bee collects honey without destroying the flower, a king should collect taxes from his subjects without hurting them.

Vidur further said - "A wise man should learn good behavior, good words and good acts from everywhere. Virtue is preserved by truthfulness, learning is by preserved by application, beauty is preserved by cleansing the body, and high lineage is preserved by good character. Only lineage, without a good character, does not command respect, while vice versa may be true, (although Vidur was a maid's son, still because of his high character he is respected even today). A man who envies another's wealth, beauty, might, high lineage, happiness, good fortune and honors, suffers from incurable diseases. Intoxication of wealth should be much more condemned than wine, because he cannot be in his senses unless he experiences a fall.

A king should first control himself, then he can be able to control his counselors and enemies. He will be most prosperous who has controlled his senses, or controlled his soul, or is capable of punishing all offenders, or is blessed with extreme patience.

King Paandu has five sons who are like Indra. You brought up them and taught everything yourself, they are always obedient to you, you give them their share and be happy with your sons.


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Created by Sushma Gupta On 03/09/02
Modified on 12/06/10