The Mahabharata Home
Yudhishthira said, 'Anger is the slayer of men and is again their prosperor. Know this, O thou possessed of great wisdom, that anger is the root of all prosperity and all adversity. O thou beautiful one, he that suppresseth his anger earneth prosperity. That man, again, who always giveth way to anger, reapeth adversity from his fierce anger. It is seen
in this world that anger is the cause of destruction of every creature. How then can one like me indulge his anger which is so destructive of the world? The angry man commiteth sin. The angry man killeth even his preceptors. The angry man insulteth even his superiors in harsh words. The man that is angry faileth to distinguish between what should be said and what should not. There is no act that an angry man may not do, no word that an angry man may not utter. From anger a man may slay one that deserveth not to be slain, and may worship one that deserveth to be slain. The angry man may even send his own soul to the regions of Yama. Beholding all these faults, the wise control their anger, desirous of obtaining high prosperity both in this and the other world. It is for this that they of tranquil souls have banished wrath. How can one like us indulge in it then? O daughter of Drupada, reflecting upon all this, my anger is not excited One that acteth not against a man whose wrath hath been up, rescueth himself as also others from great fear. In fact, he may be regarded to be the physician of the two (viz., himself and angry man). If a weak man, persecuted by others, foolishly becometh angry towards men that are mightier than he, he then becometh himself the cause of his own destruction. And in respect of one who thus deliberately throweth away his life, there are no regions hereafter to gain. Therefore, O daughter of Drupada, it hath been said that a weak man should always suppress his wrath. And the wise man also who though presecuted, suffereth not his wrath to be roused, joyeth in the other world--having passed his persecutor over in indifference. It is for this reason hath it been said that a wise man, whether strong or weak, should ever forgive his persecutor even when the latter is in the straits. It is for this, O Krishna, that the virtuous applaud them that have conquered their wrath. Indeed, it is the opinion of the virtuous that the honest and forgiving man is ever victorious. Truth is more beneficial than untruth; and gentleness than cruel behaviour. How can one like me, therefore, even for the purpose of slaying Duryodhana, exhibit anger which hath so many faults and which the virtuous banish from their souls? They that are regarded by the learned of foresight, as possessed of (true) force of character, are certainly those who are wrathful in outward show only. Men of learning and of true insight call him to be possessed of force of character who by his wisdom can suppress his risen wrath. O thou of fair hips, the angry man seeth not things in their true light. The man that is angry seeth not his way, nor respecteth persons. The angry man killeth even those that deserve not to be killed. The man of wrath slayeth even his preceptors. Therefore, the man possessing force of character should ever banish wrath to a distance. The man that is overwhelmed with wrath acquireth not with ease generosity, dignity, courage, skill, and other attributes belonging to real force of character. A man by forsaking anger can exhibit proper energy, whereas, O wise one, it is highly difficult for
the angry man to exhibit his energy at the proper time! The ignorant always regard anger as equivalent to energy. Wrath, however hath been given to man for the destruction of the world. The man, therefore, who wisheth to behave properly, must ever forsake anger. Even one who hath abandoned the excellent virtues of his own order, it is certain, indulgeth in wrath (if behaveth properly). If fools, of mind without light, transgress in every respect, how, O faultless one, can one like me transgress (like them)? If amongst men there were not persons equal unto the earth in forgiveness, there would be no peace among men but continued strife caused by wrath. If the injured return their injuries, if one chastised by his superior were to chastise his superior in return, the consequence would be the destruction of every creature, and sin also would prevail in the world. If the man who hath ill speeches from another, returneth those speeches afterwards; if the injured man returneth his injuries: if the chastised person chastiseth in return; if fathers slay sons, and sons fathers and if husbands slay wives, and wives husbands; then, O Krishna, how can birth take place in a world where anger prevaileth so! For, O thou of handsome face, know that the birth of creatures is due to peace! If the kings also, O Draupadi, giveth way to wrath, his subjects soon meet with destruction. Wrath, therefore, hath for its consequence the destruction and the distress of the people. And because it is seen that there are in the world men who are forgiving like the Earth, it is therefore that creatures derive their life and prosperity. O beautiful one, one should forgive under every injury. It hath been said that the continuation of species is due to man being forgiving. He, indeed, is a wise and excellent person who hath conquered his wrath and who showeth forgiveness even when insulted, oppressed, and angered by a strong person. The man of power who controleth his wrath, hath (for his enjoyment) numerous everlasting regions; while he that is angry, is called foolish, and meeteth with destruction both in this and the other world. O Krishna, the illustrious and forgiving Kashyapa hath, in this respect, sung the following verses in honour of men that are ever forgiving, 'Forgiveness is virtue; forgiveness is sacrifice, forgiveness is the Vedas, forgiveness is the Shruti. He that knoweth this is capable of forgiving everything. Forgiveness is Brahma; forgiveness is truth; forgiveness is stored ascetic merit; forgiveness protecteth the ascetic merit of the future; forgiveness is asceticism; forgiveness is holiness; and by forgiveness is it that the universe is held together. Persons that are forgiving attain to the regions obtainable by those that have preformed meritorious sacrifices, or those that are well-conversant with the Vedas, or those that have high ascetic merit. Those that perform Vedic sacrifices as also those that perform the meritorious rites of religion obtain other regions. Men of forgiveness, however, obtain those much-adored regions that are in the world of Brahma. Forgiveness is the might of the mighty; forgiveness is sacrifice;
forgiveness is quiet of mind. How, O Krishna, can one like us abandon forgiveness, which is such, and in which are established Brahma, and truth, and wisdom and the worlds? The man of wisdom should ever forgive, for when he is capable of forgiving everything, he attaineth to Brahma. The world belongeth to those that are forgiving; the other world is also theirs. The forgiving acquire honours here, and a state of blessedness hereafter. Those men that ever conquer their wrath by forgiveness, obtain the higher regions. Therefore hath it been said that forgiveness is the highest virtue.' Those are the verses sung by Kashyapa in respect of those that are everforgiving. Having listened, O Draupadi, to these verses in respect of forgiveness, content thyself! Give not way to thy wrath! Our grandsire, the son of Santanu, will worship peace; Krishna, the son of Devaki, will worship peace; the preceptor (Drona) and Vidura called Kshatri will both speak of peace; Kripa and Sanjaya also will preach peace. And Somadatta and Yuyutshu and Drona's son and our grandsire Vyasa, every one of them speaketh always of peace. Ever urged by these towards peace, the king (Dhritarashtra) will, I think, return us our kingdom. If however, he yieldeth to temptation, he will meet with destruction. O lady, a crisis hath come in the history of Bharatas for plunging them into calamity! This hath been my certain conclusion from some time before! Suyodhana deserveth not the kingdom. Therefore hath he been unable to acquire forgiveness. I, however, deserve the sovereignty and therefore is it that forgiveness hath taken possession of me. Forgiveness and gentleness are the qualities of the self-possessed. They represent eternal virtue. I shall, therefore, truly adopt those qualities."
Next: Section XXX