Mahaabhaarat | Kathaa-G | 12-Shaanti Parv

12-Shaanti Parv, 56-59
Kathaa-G - 12-Shaanti - page 10

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Yudhishthir Questions Bheeshm-1

In these pages all questions put up by Yudhishthir to Bheeshm are given in blue. Bheeshm's answers are not given here in full, only some main important points, which may be relevant to our modern lives, are given.

[12-56] Vaishampaayan Jee said - "Yudhishthir asked - "People conversant with duty and morality say that kingly duties are the highest, I also think the same, so please discourse on those duties. Morality, profit and pleasure depend on kingly duties. As the Sun dispels darkness, so this science destroys every kind of evil consequences. Keshav regards you the foremost of all people, so all of us expect the highest knowledge from you."

Bheeshm said - "Bowing to Dharm and Keshav I tell you the duties of a king. You should always exert yourself with promptness. For without promptness of exertion, mere Destiny is ascertained from the results of what is begun with exertion. Do not indulge in grief if whatever you have begun ends in a disaster, because you then will exert yourself in the same act with redoubled attention. There is nothing greater duty than Truth. Truth inspires confidence and finds happiness here and after. A king, by concealing his own weaknesses, knowing the enemy' weaknesses, keeping his own counsel and by following straightforward conduct, obtains prosperity. Never punish Braahman. Manu says, "Fire has sprung from water, Kshatriya have born from Braahman, and iron from stone. These three (fire, Kshatriya and iron) can exert their force on every other thing, but if they come into contact with their progenitors, their force becomes neutralized. When iron strikes stone, fire battles with water, or a Kshatriya cherishes the enmity with Braahman, all three become weak. As a mother disregards everything to do good to her child, a king should behave in the same way with his subjects.

It is not that a king should never indulge in Vyasan (bad habits) but never should be attached to them, such person can be overcome by anyone. A king should never indulge with his servants even in jests, because if he mixes with them too freely they start disregarding him, they start asking the things which they should never ask for, and take the food that is for their master."

[12-57] Bheeshm said - "O Yudhishthir, A King should always be ready for action. That king is not praise worthy who escapes his work. Shukra says that as a snake swallows the mice, this Earth swallows two people - one that King who goes back from the battle and two that Braahman who is too much attached to his wife and children. A king should wage the war to whom he should wage the war, and should extend friendship to whom he should extend the friendship, whether he is your Guru or your friend. Even King Marutt has also said - "Even that Guru should also be punished who cannot decide what one should do and what one should not. Jadu's son king Sagar exiled his own eldest son Asmanjas to do good for his people because he drowned the children of citizens in Sarayoo River. Rishi Uddaalak cast off his favorite son Shwetketu of great penance because he used to invite Braahman with false promises of entertainment. The happiness of his subjects, observance of Truth, and sincerity of behavior are the foremost duties of a king. A king should always conceal his counsels in the respect of these three - morality, profit and pleasure.

Manu has said - "One should abandon these six people like a leaky boat on the sea - a preceptor who doesn't speak; a priest who has not studied scriptures; a king who doesn't protect; a wife that utters disagreeable statements; a cow-herd that just wanders around; and a barber that desires to go to woods." The Divine poet Usanaa (Shukra), Indra, Manu, Bharadwaaj and sage Gaurashir all have composed treatises on kings duties, and all praise protection of the subjects as the highest. Brihaspati says - "By exertion Amrit was extracted, by exertion Asur were slain, by exertion Indra himself got the sovereignty on Earth and Heaven, so the hero of the exertion is superior than speech. The heroes of speech worship the heroes of exertion." After saying this Bheeshm said - "I have told you a portion of king's duties, now tell me what more you wish to know." Vyaas, Vaasudev, Kripaa and others exclaimed, "Excellent, Excellent". Yudhishthir then touched Bheeshm's feet and said - "I will ask you the points tomorrow for which I have doubts in my mind." After this they circumambulated Bheeshm and went away to Hastinaapur.

Next day they again gathered around Bheeshm and Yudhishthir asked him - "When did the word "Raajan" came into existence? Why one man who is exactly the same as others in all physical characteristics, is called Raajaa and governs the world possessing people of great bravery and intelligence?"

Bheeshm said - "Listen to it carefully as how did it start in Sat Yug. At first there was no sovereignty, no crimes, no punishment and so no punisher. But after some time errors began to spring in their hearts and virtues began to decline. People started taking others things, lust also got hold of them, then arose anger in them and because of this they swayed from their righteous path. Ved and righteousness disappeared from the world. Then all went to Brahmaa and prayed him to do their good. Brahmaa gave them a book which he composed himself on the topics like Virtue, Profit and Pleasure containing 100,000 chapters. This triple aggregate was treated in respect of Emancipation (Goodness, Passion, Darkness and another - the practice of duty without desiring its results) in it. Another triple aggregate related to punishment - Conversation (in respect of the wealth of merchants and traders), Growth (in respect of the penance and ascetics) and Destruction (in respect of thieves and wicked men) - since all these depend on punishment; was treated in it. Another aggregate of six - consisting of the hearts of men, place, Time, means, overt acts, alliances, and causes were treated in it. The knowledge of Ved; many kinds of behaviors; treatises of three kinds - bad, middling, and good made through fear, good offices, and gifts of wealth were described in it. The four kinds of time to make journey, the three kinds of victory (that secured righteously, that won by wealth, and that obtained by deceitful ways); three kinds of attributes - bad, middling and good; of the aggregate of five (counselors, kingdom, fort, army and treasury); punishment of two kinds - open (eight kinds) and secret (eight kinds) all were treated in it. The fierce vices born from temper and lust in all of ten kinds were mentioned in it. Four kinds of lust born from hunting, drinking, gambling and sexual indulgence were also described in it.

First it was mastered by Shiv. Then seeing the short life of human beings, Shiv abridged it in 5,000 lessons called "Bahudantak". After this Brihaspati abridged it in 3,000 lessons and called it "Brihaspatya". Later the preceptor of Yog, Kavi, reduced it further to 1,000 lessons. Then Devtaa went to Vishnu and asked Him - "Tell us who is the superior most among mortals?" Naaraayan reflected a little then produced a man called Viraaj, but he did not want the sovereignty on Earth. He had a son named Krittimat who also renounced pleasure and enjoyment. Krittimat also had a on named named Kardam who was also a great Tapaswee. Kardam had a son named Anang, and Anang had a son named Atibal.

As Atibal got the kingdom after the death of his father he became the slave of his passions. Now Mrityu had a daughter born from his mind, named Suneetaa. She was married to Atibal and gave birth to a son named Vane. Vane was a malicious king so Rishi killed him with Abhimantrit Kush grass blades. Then uttering some Mantra those Rishi pierced his right thigh and there came out a short-limbed, dark complexioned person. Rishi said to him - "Nishad (sit) here." So he was called Nishaad and the people born from him lived in forests and Vindhya mountain. Then they pierced his right arm from which came out a man like a second Indra. He was clad in mail, armed with weapons, well-versed in warfare and was fully acquainted with Ved. He said to Rishi - "I have very good understanding of righteousness, tell me what should I do with it?" Rishi said - "Do all in which righteousness resides." Shukraachaarya became his priest, Baalkhilyaadi became his counselors, and Saaraswat became his companions. Great Rishi Garg became his astrologer. Thus this Prithu was eighth from Vishnu.

A little before, two people came into existence - Soot and Maagadh. Prithu gave the place near sea coast to Soot and a country to Maagadh, since then it is known as Magadh. The Earth was very uneven, Prithu made it even by the point of his bow. In every Manvantar the Earth is uneven. Then he was crowned as the king of Prithvi. The Earth herself came to him to offer him jewels and gems. Meru gave him heaps of gold. All kinds of species started their lives as soon as Prithu thought of them. When he proceeded to sea, the water used to be solidified, mountains gave him way and his standard was never obstructed anywhere. He drew from the Earth 17 types of crops for the food of many kinds of living beings. Because he satisfied all people he was called Raajan (the king); and because he comforted Braahman, he was called Kshatriya also; and the Earth was called Prithvi after his name. Vishnu Himself gave him power and said - "No one will ever supersede you." and entered his body because of his severe Tap.

You also do as he did. The conduct of a king should be from his own intelligence. At that time a golden lotus was born from Vishnu's brow and from it was born the goddess Shree. She was married to Dharm, then only Dharm got Arth (wealth). All the three - Dharm, Arth and Shree were established in sovereignty. Established by God no one supersedes the king. Whoever saw the amiable face of Prithu became obedient to him and he regarded him as wealthy, and highly blessed.

Thus, O Yudhishthir, histories of all past events, origin of Rishi, the planets and stars, the duties of all four modes of life are all treated in that book. Whatever things or objects are on Earth are all included in the book of Brahmaa. Since that time the people have started saying the there is no difference between a god and a king. Now what other thing I should speak upon?"


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Created by Sushma Gupta On 03/09/02
Modified on 11/30/12