The Mahabharata Home
"Bhishma said, 'That king who, guided by the lesson to be drawn from the story of the dog, appoints his servants to offices for which each is fit, succeeds in enjoying the happiness that is attached to sovereignty. A dog should not, with honours, be placed in a position above that for which he is fit. If a dog be placed above the situation which is fit for him, he becomes intoxicated with pride. Ministers should be appointed to offices for which they are fit and should possess such qualifications as are needed for their respective occupations. Appointments on unfit persons are not at all approved. That king
who confers on his servants offices for which each is fit, succeeds, in consequence of such merit, to enjoy the happiness attaching to sovereignty. A Sarabha should occupy the position of a Sarabha; a lion should swell with the might of a lion; a tiger should be placed in the position of a tiger; and a leopard should be placed as a leopard. Servants should, according to the ordinance, be appointed to offices for which each is fit. If thou wishest to achieve success, thou shouldst never appoint servants in situations higher than what they deserve. That foolish king who, transgressing precedent, appoints servants to offices for which they are not fit, fails to gratify his people. A king that desires to possess accomplished servants should never appoint persons that are destitute of intelligence, that are low-minded, that are without wisdom, that are not masters of their senses, and that are not of high birth. Men that are honest, possessed of high birth, brave, learned, destitute of malice and envy, high-minded, pure in behaviour, and clever in the transaction of business, deserve to be appointed as ministers. Persons that are possessed of humility, ready in the performance of their duties, tranquil in disposition, pure in mind, adorned with diverse other gifts of nature and are never the objects of calumny in respect of the offices they hold should be the intimate associates of the king. A lion should always make a companion of a lion. If one that is not a lion becomes the companion of a lion, one earns all the advantages that belong to a lion. That lion, however who, while engaged in discharging the duties of a lion, has a pack of dogs only for his associates, never succeeds in consequence of such companionship, in accomplishing those duties. Even thus, O ruler of men, may a king succeed in subjugating the whole earth if he has for his ministers men possessed of courage, wisdom, great learning, and high birth. O foremost of royal masters, kings should never entertain a servant that is destitute of learning and sincerity and wisdom and great wealth. These men that are devoted to the services of their master are never slopped by any impediments. Kings should always speak in soothing terms unto those servants that are always engaged in doing good to their masters. Kings should always, with great care, look after their treasuries. Indeed, kings have their roots in their treasuries. A king should always seek to swell his treasury. Let thy barns, O king, be fitted with corn. And let their keep be entrusted to honest servants. Do thou seek to increase thy wealth and corn. Let thy servants, skilled in battle, be always attentive to their duties. It is desirable that they should be skilful in the management of steeds. O delighter of the Kurus, attend to the wants of thy kinsmen and friends. Be thou surrounded with friends and relatives. Seek thou the good of thy city. By citing the precedent of the dog I have instructed thee about the duties thou shouldst adopt towards thy subjects. What further dost thou wish to hear?'"
Next: Section CXX