The Mahabharata Home
"Devasthana said, 'In this connection is cited an old history, viz., the discourse that Vrihaspati, asked by Indra, delivered unto him. Vrihaspati said, 'Contentment is the highest heaven, contentment is the highest bliss. There is nothing higher than contentment. Contentment stands as the highest. When one draws away all his desires like a tortoise drawing in all it limbs, then the natural resplendence of his soul soon manifests itself. When one does not fear any creature, nor any creature is frightened at one, when one conquers one's desire and aversion, then is one said to behold one's soul. When one, indeed, in word and thought, seeks to injure nobody and cherishes no desire, one is said to attain to Brahma. Thus, O son of Kunti, whatever religion is followed by creatures, they obtain corresponding fruits. Awaken thyself by this consideration, O Bharata! 1 Some praise Peacefulness, some praise Exertion; some there are that praise Contemplation; and some praise both Peacefulness and Exertion. 2 Some praise sacrifice; others, renunciation. Some praise gifts; others, acceptance. Some, abandoning everything, live in silent meditation. Some praise sovereignty and the cherishing, of subjects, after slaving, cutting and piercing (foes). Some are for passing their days in retirement. Observing all this, the conclusion of the learned is that that religion which consists in not injuring any creature is worthy of the approbation of the righteous. Abstention from injury, truthfulness of speech, justice, compassion, self-restraint, procreation (of offspring) upon one's own wives, amiability, modesty, patience,--the practice of these is the best of a religions as said by the self-create Manu himself. Therefore, O son of Kunti, do thou observe this religion with care. That Kshatriya, who, conversant with the truths or royal duties, takes sovereignty upon himself, restraining his soul at all times, equally regarding that which is dear and that which is not, and subsisting upon the remains of sacrificial feasts, who is engaged in restraining the wicked and cherishing the righteous, who obliges his subjects to tread in the path of virtue and who himself treads in that path, who at last transmits his crown to his son and betakes himself to the woods, there to live on the products of the wilderness and act according to the ordinances or the Vedas after having cast off all idleness, that Kshatriya who conducts himself thus, conforming in everything to the well-known duties of kings, is sure to obtain excellent fruits in both this world and the next. That final emancipation, of which thou speakest, is exceedingly difficult to obtain, and its pursuit is attended with many impediments. They that adopt such duties and practise
charity and ascetic penances, that are possessed of the quality of compassion and are freed from desire and wrath, that are engaged in ruling their subjects with righteousness and fighting for the sake of kine and Brahmanas, attain hereafter to a high end. For the Rudras with the Vasus and the Adityas, O scorcher of foes, and the Sadhyas and hosts of kings adopt this religion. Practising without heedlessness the duties inculcated by that religion, they attain to heaven through those acts of theirs.'"
38:1 The Srutis declare that he who frightens others is frightened himself; while he who frightens not, is not himself frightened. The fruits won by a person correspond with his practices. Yudhishthira is, therefore, exhorted to take the sovereignty, for sovereignty, righteously exercised and without attachment, will crown him with bliss hereafter.
38:2 Naikam na chapare is explained by Nilakantha thus. Literally, this means that it is not that others do not (praise) ekam or contemplation," i.e., some there are that praise contemplation or meditation.
Next: Section XXII