The Mahabharata Home
"Bhishma said, 'It is said that the preservation and growth of the kingdom rest upon the king. The preservation and growth of the king rest upon the king's priest. That kingdom enjoys true felicity where the invisible fears of the subjects are dispelled by the Brahmana and all visible fears are dispelled by the king with the might of his arms. In this connection is cited the old narrative of the discourse between king Muchukunda and Vaisravana. King Muchukunda, having subjugated the whole earth, repaired to the lord of Alaka for testing his strength. King Vaisravana created (by ascetic power) a large force of Rakshasas. These ground the forces led by Muchukunda. Beholding the slaughter of his army, king Muchukunda, O chastiser of foes, began to rebuke his own learned priest (Vasishtha). Thereupon that foremost of righteous persons viz., Vasishtha, underwent very severe penances and, causing those Rakshasas to be slain, ascertained the true course upon which Muchukunda was bent. When king Vaisravana's troops were being slaughtered, he showed himself unto Muchukunda and said these words.'
"The Lord of treasures said, 'Many kings of old, more powerful than thou art, aided by their priests, had never approached me thus? All of them were skilled in weapons and all of them were possessed of might. Regarding me as the grantor of weal and woe, they approached me for offering worship. In truth, if thou hast might of arms, it behoves thee to display it. Why dost thou act so proudly, aided by Brahmana might?' Enraged at these words, Muchukunda, without pride and fear, said unto the lord of treasures these words fraught with reason and justice, 'The self-born Brahman created the Brahmana and the Kshatriya. They have a common origin. If they apply their forces separately, they would never be able to uphold the world. The power of penances and mantras was bestowed upon Brahmanas; the might of arms and of weapons was bestowed upon Kshatriyas. Aggrandised by both kinds of might, kings should protect their subjects. I am acting in that way. Why dost thou, O lord of Alaka, rebuke me then?' Thus addressed, Vaisravana said unto Muchukunda and his priest, 'I never, without being ordered by the (self-created) bestow sovereignty upon any one. Nor do I ever, without being ordered, take it away from any one. Know this, O king! Do thou rule then the whole earth without bounds.' Thus addressed, king Muchukunda replied, saying, 'I do not, O king, desire to enjoy sovereignty obtained as gift from thee! I desire to enjoy sovereignty obtained by the might of my own arms.'
"Bhishma continued, 'At these words of Muchukunda, Vaisravana, seeing the king fearless in the observance of Kshatriya duties, became filled with surprise. King Muchukunda, devoted to Kshatriya duties, continued to rule the entire earth obtained by the might of his own arms. That virtuous king who rules his kingdom, aided by and yielding precedence to the Brahmana, succeeds in subjugating the whole earth and achieving great fame. The Brahmana
should every day perform his religious rites and the Kshatriya should always be armed with weapons. Between them they are the rightful owners of everything in the universe.'"
Next: Section LXXV