The Mahabharata Home
"Vidura said, 'The heart of a young man, when an aged and venerable person cometh to his house (as a guest), soareth aloft. By advancing forward and saluting him, he getteth it back. He that is self-controlled, first offering a seat, and bringing water and causing his guest's feet to be washed and making the usual enquiries of welcome, should then speak of his own affairs, and taking everything into consideration, offer him food. The wise have said that man liveth in vain in whose dwelling a Brahmana conversant with mantras doth not accept water, honey and curds, and kine from fear of being unable to appropriate them, or from miserliness and unwillingness with which the gifts are made. A physician, a maker of arrows, even one that hath given up the vow of Brahmacharya before it is complete, a thief, a crooked-minded man, a Brahmana that drinks, one that causeth miscarriage, one that liveth by serving in the army, and one that selleth the Vedas, when arrived as a guest, however undeserving he may be the offer of water should be regarded (by a householder) as exceedingly dear. A Brahmana should never be a seller of salt, of cooked food, curds, milk, honey, oil, clarified butter, sesame, meat, fruits, roots, potherbs, dyed clothes, all kinds of perfumery, and treacle. He that never giveth way to anger, he that is above grief, he that is no longer in need of friendship and quarrels, he that disregardeth both praise and blame, and he that standeth aloof from both what is agreeable and disagreeable, like one perfectly withdrawn from the world, is a real Yogin of the Bhikshu order. That virtuous ascetic who liveth on rice growing wild, or roots, or potherbs, who hath his soul under control, who carefully keepeth his fire for worship, and dwelling in the woods is always regardful of guests, is indeed, the foremost of his brotherhood. Having wronged an intelligent person, one should never gather assurance from the fact that one liveth at a distance from the person wronged. Long are the arms which intelligent persons have, by which they can return wrongs for wrongs done to them, One should never
put trust on him who should not be trusted, nor put too much trust on him who should be trusted, for the danger that ariseth from one's having reposed trust on another cutteth off one's very roots. One should renounce envy, protect one's wives, give to others what is their due, and be agreeable in speech. One should be sweet-tongued and pleasant in his address as regards one's wives, but should never be their slave. It hath been said that wives that are highly blessed and virtuous, worthy of worship and the ornaments of their homes, are really embodiments of domestic prosperity. They should, therefore, be protected particularly. One should devolve the looking over of his inner apartments on his father; of the kitchen, on his mother; of the kine, on somebody he looks upon as his own self, but as regards agriculture, one should look over it himself. One should look after guests of the trader-caste through his servants, and those of the Brahmana caste through his sons. Fire hath its origin in water; Kshatriyas in Brahmanas; and iron in stone. The energy of those (i.e., fire, Kshatriyas, and iron) can affect all things but is neutralised as soon as the things come in contact with their progenitors. Fire lieth concealed in wood without showing itself externally. Good and forgiving men born of high families and endued with fiery energy, do not betray any outward symptoms of what is within them. That king whose counsels cannot be known by either outsiders or those about him, but who knoweth the counsels of others through his spies, enjoyeth his prosperity long. One should never speak of what one intends to do. Let anything thou doest in respect of virtue, profit, and desire, be not known till it is done. Let counsels be not divulged. Ascending on the mountain-top or on the terrace of a palace, or proceeding to a wilderness devoid of trees and plants, one should, in secrecy, mature his counsels. O Bharata, neither a friend who is without learning, nor a learned friend who hath no control over his senses, deserveth to be a repository of state secrets. O king, never make one thy minister without examining him well, for a king's finances and the keeping of his counsels both depend on his minister. That king is the foremost of rulers, whose ministers know his acts in respect of virtue, profit and desire, only after they are done. The king whose counsels are kept close, without doubt, commandeth success. He that from ignorance committeth acts that are censurable, loseth his very life in consequence of the untoward results of those acts. The doing of acts that are praise-worthy is always attended with ease. Omission to do such acts leadeth to repentance. As a Brahmana without having studied the Vedas is not fit to officiate at a Sraddha (in honour of the Pitris), so he that hath not heard of the six (means for protecting a kingdom) deserveth not to take part in political deliberations. O king, he that hath an eye upon increase, decrease, and surplus, he that is conversant with the six means and knoweth also his own self, he whose conduct is always applauded, bringeth the whole earth under subjection to himself. He whose anger and joy are productive of consequences, he who looketh over personally what should be done, he who hath
his treasury under his own control, bringeth the whole earth under subjection to himself. The king should be content with the name he wins and the umbrella that is held over his head. He should divide the wealth of the kingdom among these that serve him. Alone he should not appropriate everything. A Brahmana knoweth a Brahmana, the husband understandeth the wife, the king knoweth the minister, and monarchs know monarchs. A foe that deserveth death, when brought under subjection should never be set free. If one be weak one should pay court to one's foe that is stronger, even if the latter deserves death; but one should kill that foe as soon as one commandeth sufficient strength, for, if not killed, dangers soon arise from him. One should, with an effort, control his wrath against the gods, kings, Brahmanas, old men, children, and those that are helpless. He that is wise should avoid unprofitable quarrels such as fools only engage in. By this one winneth great fame in this world and avoideth misery and unhappiness. People never desire him for a master whose grace is fruitless and whose wrath goest for nothing, like women never desiring him for a husband who is a eunuch. Intelligence doth not exist for the acquisition of wealth, nor is idleness the cause of adversity; the man of wisdom only knoweth, and not others, the cause of the diversities of condition in this world. The fool, O Bharata, always disregardeth those that are elderly in years, and eminent in conduct and knowledge, in intelligence, wealth, and lineage. Calamities soon come upon them that are of wicked disposition, devoid of wisdom, envious, or sinful, foul-tongued, and wrathful. Absence of deceitfulness, gift, observance of the established rules of intercourse, and speech well-controlled, bring all creatures under subjection. He that is without deceitfulness, he that is active, grateful, intelligent, and guileless, even if his treasury be empty, obtaineth friends, counsellors, and servants. Intelligence, tranquillity of mind, self-control, purity, absence of harsh speech and unwillingness to do anything disagreeable to friends,--these seven are regarded as the fuel of prosperity's flame. The wretch who doth not give to others their due, who is of wicked soul, who is ungrateful, and shameless, should, O king, be avoided. The guilty person who provoketh another about him that is innocent, cannot sleep peacefully at night, like a person passing the night with a snake in the same room. They, O Bharata, who upon being angry endanger one's possessions and means of acquisition, should always be propitiated like the very gods. Those objects that depend upon women, careless persons, men that have fallen away from the duties of their caste, and those that are wicked in disposition, are doubtful of success. They sink helplessly. O king, like a raft made of stone, who have a woman, a deceitful person, or a child, for their guide. They that are competent in the general principles of work, though not in particular kinds of work are regarded by men as learned and wise for particular kinds of work, are subsidiary, That man who is highly spoken of by swindlers, mimes and women of ill fame, is more dead than alive, Forsaking these mighty bowmen of immeasurable
energy, viz., the son of Pandu, thou hast. O Bharata, devolved on Duryodhana, the cares of a mighty empire. Thou shalt, therefore, soon see that swelling affluence fall off, like Vali fallen off from the three worlds.'"
Next: Section XXXIX