The Mahabharata Home
"The king said, 'I do not desire, O Brahmana, to support life by deceit or fraud. I do not desire wealth, however great, which is to be earned by unrighteous means. At the very outset of our present discourse I excepted these means. By the adoption of only such means as would not lead to censure, of such means as would benefit me in every respect, by practising only such acts as are not harmful in their consequences, I desire to live in this world.. I am incapable of adopting these ways that thou pointest out to me. Indeed, these instructions do not become thee.'
"The sage said, 'These words, O Kshatriya, that thou speakest indicate thee to be possessed of righteous feelings. Indeed, thou art righteous in disposition and understanding, O thou of great experience. I shall strive for the good of you both, viz., for thyself and him. 1 I shall cause a union, eternal and incapable of breach, to be brought about between thee and that king. Who is there that would not like to have a minister like thee that art born of noble race, that abstainest from all acts of unrighteousness and cruelty, that art possessed of great learning, and that art well versed in the art of government and of conciliating all persons? I say this because, O Kshatriya, though divested of kingdom and plunged into great misery, thou still desirest to live adopting a behaviour that is righteous. The ruler of the Videhas, firmly adhering to truth, will come to my abode soon. Without doubt, he will do what I will urge to do.'
"Bhishma continued, "The sage, after this, inviting the ruler of the Videhas, said these words unto him: 'This personage is of royal birth. I know his very heart. His soul is as pure as the surface of mirror or the disc of the autumnal moon. He has been examined by me in every way. I do not see any fault in him. Let there be friendship between him and thee. Do thou repose confidence on him as on myself. A king who is without a (competent) minister cannot govern his kingdom even for three days. The minister should be courageous as also possessed of great intelligence. By these two qualities one may conquer both the worlds. Behold, O king, these two qualities are necessary for ruling a kingdom. Righteous kings have no such refuge as a minister possessed of such attributes. The high-souled person is of royal descent. He walketh along, the path of the righteous. This one who always keeps righteousness in view has been a valuable acquisition. If treated by thee with honour, he will reduce all thy foes to subjection. If he engages in battle with thee, he will do what as a Kshatriya he should do. Indeed, if after the manner of his sires and grandsires he fights for conquering thee, it will be thy duty to fight him, observant as thou art of the Kshatriya duty of conquering antagonists. Without engaging in battle, however, do thou, at my command, employ him under thee from desire of benefiting thyself. Cast thy eyes on righteousness, giving up covetousness that is improper. It behoveth thee not to abandon the duties of thy order from lust or desire of battle. Victory O sire, is not certain. Defeat also is not certain. Remembering this, peace should be made with an enemy by giving him food and other articles of enjoyment. One may see victory and defeat in his own case. They that seek to exterminate a foe are sometimes exterminated themselves in course of their efforts.' Thus addressed, king Janaka, properly saluting and honouring that bull among Brahmanas who deserved every honour, replied unto him, saying, 'Thou art of great learning and great wisdom. That which thou hast said from desire of benefiting us, is certainly advantageous for both of us. Such a course of conduct is highly beneficial (to us). I have no hesitation in saying this. The ruler of Videha then, addressing the prince of Kosala, said these words: 'In observance of Kshatriya duties as also with aid of Policy, I have conquered the world. I have, however, O best of kings, been conquered by thee with thy good qualities. Without cherishing any sense of humiliation (if thou remainest by my side), live thou with me as a victor. 1 I honour thy intelligence, and I honour thy prowess. I do not disregard thee, saying that I have conquered thee. On the other hand, live thou with me as a victor. Honoured duly by me, O king, thou wilt go to my abode. Both the kings then worshipped that Brahmana, and trusting each other, proceeded to the capital of Mithila. The ruler of the Videhas, causing the prince of Kosala to enter his abode, honoured him, who deserved every honour, with offerings of water to wash his feet, honey and curds and the usual articles. King Janaka also bestowed upon his guest his own daughter and diverse kinds of gems and jewels. This
[paragraph continues] (the establishment of peace) is the high duty of kings; victory and defeat are both uncertain.'"
231:1 i.e., for the ruler of Videhas.
232:1 Jitavat is explained by Nilakantha as prapta jaya.
Next: Section CVII