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27-Vidur Neeti

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27-Dhritraashtra's Distress and Vidur Neeti

It is only in sorrow that we realize who is dear to us. Dhritraashtra is unhappy and unable to sleep because of the war. He sends for Vidur, though it is well past midnight. He wants to talk to his half-brother Vidur, for he knows that only he has foresight and only he is just. Vidur arrives and answers Dhritraashtra's all questions.

He tells him that one should be impartial and just while making up one's mind. One should not incline towards his dear ones only. Dhritraashtra knows well that Duryodhan's quest is unjust and he has still made a mistake to support his son. As a father, it was his duty to advise his son rightly. Vidur's words of advice have validity even today.

Vidur says the body is like a chariot and Gyaan is its charioteer. Our senses are like horses. Gyaan is what controls the senses. He points out that in Dhritraashtra's case, he has allowed his affection for his son to rule his life, thus depriving Yudhishthir of his kingdom. In all ways, Yudhishthir is more worthy of the kingdom than Duryodhan. One who is ruled by his senses and not by sense becomes disturbed in mind.

When Dhritraashtra asks him - "Vidur, Who loses his sleep?" Vidur replies - "He who desires what belongs to others loses sleep. A man whose opponent is strong loses sleep. In the dispute between the Paandav and the Kaurav, certainly Kaurav are facing a strong enemy. The Kaurav are also coveting a kingdom that is not theirs rightfully. And when Dhritraashtra has been supportive of his sons' wrong desires and actions, he goes without sleep."

Vidur lists the qualities a ruler should possess: he should be righteous, generous and brave, and he should know how to protect his subjects; he should be learned. On all these counts, Yudhishthir is much superior to Duryodhan. On the one hand are the Paandav - Yudhishthir the just who never wavers from the path of righteousness; strong Bheem; Arjun, the master archer; and the twins Nakul and Sahadev. On the other side Duryodhan has a fleet of deceitful people like Shakuni, Dushaasan. Would it be proper to entrust the kingdom to him? Vidur asks Dhritraashtra. Thus, the cause for Dhritraashtra' s distress is Dhritraashtra himself.

The great scholar and Minister Vidur is rendering his learned treatise on statecraft and lifestyle management to his King and elder brother Dhritraashtra -- "O Bull of Kuru race, The fire itself is very potent. Through fire, we cook food, through fire we offer oblations to all Gods, through fire we dispose off the garbage. Fire was the first god we started worshipping. .." agnimeele purohitam... is the beginning of the Rig Ved". But the same fire inundates forests, the same fire in the hands of a terrorist as gunpowder of a bomb causes terrible explosions and destroy life and all good things in the shortest possible time. The leader of the armed forces shouts "Fire.." as his first war command. The subtle self, innate in ourselves is also like fire. Tended with calmness, this inner self gives us peace and bestows some purposefulness for our life. If this soul is neglected, we are lost for ever. Even man should serve with due diligence and sincerity the following five fires. They are (1) his father (2) his mother 3) the fire itself (4) his own pure inner self and (5) the preceptor. Fire when properly channeled is the most benevolent and rewarding force one can have at his disposal. But the same fire, if neglected or made angry can destroy the whole world including the one who has fomented it."

--Right from birth we are all taught that the most important things in our life in the order of priority should be mother, father, preceptor and the God. This is because the first three are before us as the physical manifestation of God while God himself stays in the background as a noble but invisible presence. The parents always work for the benefit of their offspring and would happily sacrifice everything they have for their benefit. They may not think of any rewards for this. However all their life, dreams and expectations are hovering around their children. Spontaneous love is flowing from them like the nectar of the rays of moonlight soothing the child.... for them we are only children whatever our ages might be. But when their feelings get disturbed involuntarily because of some wrong actions and deeds of the children, a destructive fire springs out from sorrow, and this fire, if not assuaged in time can burn up the son or daughter. Applying value standards and criticism to justify disrespectful treatment are of no use when it comes to our parents. No one can become superior to his parents. After all we are originated from them.

--The preceptor or Guru is also to be equated to our parents. Every person who has, at any point of time, enriched our knowledge or helped us out in directing our own lives in a better way is a Guru. The neighbor, the boss, the colleague, the subordinate, the friend, all in addition to our teachers in academics should be treated as gurus. God himself has manifested as Guru in the shapes of Krishn, Shankar, Dakshinaamoorti, Vyaas, Hayagreev, Dattaatreya, Raamaanuj, Jesus, The Prophet.., the list is very lengthy. Will it be possible for us to fight the enraged fire coming from a provocated preceptor and continue our existence?

--Vidur is giving advice to the king Dhritraashtra. He says, "My dear brother, if you desire prosperity and blessedness for yourself, you as a Grihasth (or noble householder), should permit only four types of people to live with you for support and sustenance (1) The age old and ailing relative though distant, who has no other person to look up to, (2) a well bred and learned person who is in difficult financial conditions, (3) A bosom friend who has become indigent by the will of fate and (4) a sister who is not having the fortune to have a child of her own (and either widowed or abandoned by her husband)'
[Udyog Parv, Prajaagaran Parv, 33/59]

With one mind and intellect, the King should decide two things - what he should do and what he should not do. The three types of persons around you - friends, enemies and neutrals should be brought under your control using four methods - Saam (endearment through respect and negotiations), Daam (Dhan or through gifts), Dand (this can be minor punishment to complete annihilation) and Bhed (divide and rule or causing unrest through and lack o faith between enemies). The five senses of organs of perception should be brought under control using six forms of political diplomacy - Sandhi, Vigraha, Yaan, Aasan, Dwaitee Bhaav, Sanshraya (pacts, war, visits, embassies causing inter-sefissures, and apparent capitulation) and abstraining from the seven deadly sins - carnal desire, gambling, hunting, intoxicants, harsh words, harsh punishments and hoarding wealth through foul means.
[Udyog Parv, Prajaagaran Parv, 33/43]

Eko Dharmah Param Shreyah Kshamaikaa Shaantiruttamaa, Vidyaikaa Paramaa Drishti Rahaimsaikaa Suhaavahaa
Adhered to the right path espoused by Dharm alone can lead to fame and well being of the ruler and the ruled. Only persistence patience can bring about eternal peace, the only real vision is supplied by education alone and the cardinal principle that ensures universal well being is non-violence. [reads like Gandhian literature, but written 3 millennia ago]
[Udyog Parv, Prajaagaran Parv, 33/48]

Learned people should always shun the advice from the following four types of people--
(1) Those with limited knowledge, but think that they are great scholars
(2) Those who have made procrastination and inventing excuses as their life style
(3) Those who are impulsive and never think of consequences of their words
(4) Those who are deceitful and hand out advice which would be sweet and agreeable to the senses for the present but would cause irreparable damage in the long run.

MBH, Udyog Parv, Vidur Neeti Vaakya, Adhyaaya 33
Vidur in his treatise on lifestyle as presented by him to his elder brother and king Dhritraashtra enumerates eight situations in life in this
earth which bring to humans the greatest pleasure. "O the scion of Bharat, these are the eight best sources of extreme happiness on this Earth. Such pleasures can be enjoyed only in this world. They are :-

(1) Happy get-together with friends.
(2) Coming into possession of immense wealth.
(3) Embracing one's own son
(4) Dropping down in utter exhaustion and exhilaration after union with one's love
(5) Pleasant conversation with close friends at the proper time.
(6) Elevation of position and enhancement of reputation in one's own preferred circle
(7) to be fortunate in acquiring or achieving things which one has been awaiting to happen with pleasant anticipation.
(8) Being respected and felicitated in the respectable and popular public assemblies and fora.
Vidura appears to have left out nothing from the checklist. However, the company of friends, the embrace of a son and honor in an assembly appear to be even more pleasurable among the eight.



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Created by Sushma Gupta On 05/27/04
Modified on 05/19/12