The Mahabharata Home
"Yudhishthira said, 'By adopting that conduct, O thou that art conversant with every kind of behaviour, can a king succeed in easily acquiring, both here and hereafter, objects productive of happiness in the end?'
"Bhishma said, 'There are these thirty-six virtues (which a king should observe). They are connected with thirty-six others. A virtuous person, by attending to those qualities, can certainly acquire great merit. The king should observe his duties without wrath and malice. He should not abandon kindness. He should have faith. He should acquire wealth without persecution and cruelty. He should pursue pleasure without attachments. He should, with cheerfulness, utter what is the agreeable, and be brave without brag. He should be liberal but should not make gifts to persons that are unobserving. He should have prowess without cruelty. He should make alliance, avoiding those that are wicked. He should not act with hostility towards friends. He should never employ persons not devoted to him as his spies and secret agents. He should never accomplish his objects by persecution. He should never, disclose his purposes before persons that are wicked. He should speak of the merits of others but never his own. He should take wealth from his subjects but never from those that are good. He should never employ or take the assistance of persons that are wicked. He should never inflict punishment without careful enquiry. He should never disclose his counsels. He should give away, but not to persons that are covetous. He should repose confidence on others but never on those that have injured him. He should not cherish malice. He should protect his wedded wives. He should be pure and should not always be melted by compassion. He should not indulge much in female companionship. He should take food that is wholesome and never that which is otherwise. He should without pride pay regards to those that deserve them, and serve his preceptors and seniors with sincerity. He should worship the gods without pride. He should seek prosperity, but never do anything that brings infamy. He should wait (upon his seniors) with humility. He should be clever in business but should always wait for the proper time. He should comfort men and never send them away with empty speeches. Having favoured a person, he should not abandon him. He should never strike in ignorance. Having slain his foe he should never indulge in sorrow. He should display temper, but should never do so when there is no occasion. He should be mild, but never to those that have offended. Conduct thyself thus while ruling thy kingdom if thou wishest to have prosperity. The king that behaves otherwise
incurs great danger. That king who observes all these virtues that I have mentioned, reaps many blessings on earth and great rewards in heaven.'
"Vaisampayana continued, 'Hearing these words of Santanu's son, king Yudhishthira, docile in receiving instructions, possessed of great intelligence, and protected by Bhima and others, then worshipped his grandsire and from that time began to rule according to that teaching.'"
Next: Section LXXI