The Mahabharata Home
"Duryodhana said,--'He that is devoid of intellect but hath merely heard of many things, can scarcely understand the real import of the scriptures, like the spoon that hath no perception of the taste of the soup it toucheth. Thou knowest everything, but yet confoundest me. Like a boat fastened to another, thou and I are tied to each other. Art thou unmindful of thy own interests? Or, dost thou entertain hostile feeling towards me? These thy sons and allies are doomed to destruction, inasmuch as they have thee for their ruler, for thou describest as attainable in the future what is to be done at the present moment. He often trippeth whose guide acts under the instructions of others. How then can his followers expect to come across a right path? O king, thou art of mature wisdom; thou hast the opportunity to listen to the words of old, and thy senses also are under thy control. It behoveth thee not to confound us who are ready to seek our own interests. Vrihaspati hath said that the usage of kings are different from those of common
people. Therefore kings should always attend to their own interests with vigilance. The attainment of success is the sole criterion that should guide the conduct of a Kshatriya. Whether, therefore, the means is virtuous or sinful, what scruples can there be in the duties of one's own order? He that is desirous of snatching the blazing prosperity of his foe, should, O bull of the Bharata race, bring every direction under his subjection like the charioteer taming the steeds with his whip. Those used to handling weapons say that, a weapon is not simply an instrument that cuts but is a means, whether covert or overt, that can defeat a foe. Who is to be reckoned a foe and who a friend, doth not depend on one's figure or dimensions. He that paineth another is, O king, to be regarded a foe by him that is pained. Discontent is the root of prosperity. Therefore, O king, I desire to be discontented. He that striveth after the acquisition of prosperity is, O king, a truly politic person. Nobody should be attached to wealth and affluence, for the wealth that hath been earned and hoarded may be plundered. The usages of kings are even such. It was during a period of peace that Sakra cut off the head of Namuchi after having given a pledge to the contrary, and it was because he approved of this eternal usage towards the enemy that he did so. Like a snake that swalloweth up frogs and other creatures living in holes, the earth swalloweth up a king that is peaceful and a Brahmana that stirreth not out of home. O king, none can by nature be any person's foe. He is one's foe, and not anybody else, who hath common pursuits with one. He that from folly neglecteth a growing foe, hath his vitals cut off as by a disease that he cherished without treatment. A foe, however insignificant, if suffered to grow in prowess, swalloweth one like the white ants at the root of a tree eating off the tree itself. O Bharata, O Ajamida, let not the prosperity of the foe be acceptable to thee. This policy (of neglecting the foe) should always be borne on their heads by the wise even like a load. He that always wisheth for the increase of his wealth, ever groweth in the midst of his relatives even like the body naturally growing from the moment of birth. Prowess conferreth speedy growth. Coveting as I do the prosperity of the Pandavas. I have not yet made it my own. At present I am a prey to doubts in respect of my ability. I am determined to resolve those doubts of mine. I will either obtain that prosperity of theirs, or lie down having perished in battle. O king when the state of my mind is such, what do I care now for life, for the Pandavas are daily growing while our possessions know no increase?'"
Next: Section LV