The Mahabharata Home
"Yudhishthira said, 'O grandsire, O thou that art possessed of great wisdom, I have one great doubt that perplexes me. Thou shouldst, O king, resolve it. Thou art an advancer of our family. Thou hast discoursed to us upon the slanderous speeches uttered by wicked-souled wretches of bad conduct. I desire, however, to question thee further. That which is beneficial to a
kingdom, that which is productive of the happiness of the royal line, that which is productive of good and advancement in the future and the present, that which is good in respect of food and drink and as regards also the body, are topics upon which I wish thee to discourse. How should a king who has been placed on the throne and who continues to occupy it, surrounded by friends, ministers, and servants gratify his people. That king who, led away by his affections and predilections, becomes devoted to evil associates, and who pays court to wicked men in consequence of his being enthralled by his senses, finds all servants of good birth and blood disaffected towards him. Such a king never succeeds in obtaining those objects the accomplishment of which depends upon one's having a number of good servants about him. It behoveth thee that art equal to Vrihaspati himself in intelligence to discourse to me upon these duties of kings which are difficult to be ascertained and thereby remove my doubts. Thou, O tiger among men, art ever engaged in accomplishing the good of our race. For this reason thou always discoursest to us on the duties of king-craft. Kshatri (Vidura) also, possessed of great wisdom, always gives us valuable instruction. Hearing instructions from thee that are productive of good to our race and kingdom, I shall be able to pass my days in happiness like a person gratified with having quaffed the deathless Amrita. What classes of servants are to be regarded as inferior and what is possessed of every accomplishment? Aided by what class of servants or by servants of what kind of birth, is it advisable to discharge the duties of ruling? If the king choose to act alone and without servants, he can never succeed in protecting his people. All persons, however, of high birth covet the acquisition of sovereignty.'
"Bhishma said, 'The king, O Bharata, cannot alone rule his kingdom. Without servants to aid him, he cannot succeed in accomplishing any object. Even if he succeeds in gaining any object, he cannot (if alone), retain it. That king whose servants are all possessed of knowledge and wisdom, who are all devoted to the good of their master, and who are of high birth and tranquil disposition, succeeds in enjoying the happiness connected with sovereignty. That king whose ministers are all well born, incapable of being weaned away from him (by means of bribes and other influences), who always live with him, who are engaged in giving advice to their master, who are possessed of wisdom and goodness, who have a knowledge of the relations of things, who can provide for future events and contingencies, who have a good knowledge of the virtues of time, and who never grieve for what is past, succeeds in enjoying the happiness that attaches to sovereignty. That king whose servants share with him his griefs and joys, who always do what is agreeable to him, who always direct their attention to the accomplishment of their master's objects, and all of whom are faithful, succeeds in enjoying the happiness that attaches to sovereignty. The king whose subjects are always cheerful, and high minded, and who always tread in the path of the righteousness, succeeds in enjoying the happiness attached to sovereignty. He is the best of kings all the sources of whose income are managed and supervised by contented and trustworthy men well acquainted with the means of increasing the finances. That king succeeds
in obtaining affluence and great merit whose repositories and barns are supervised by incorruptible, trust-worthy, devoted, and uncovetous servants always bent upon gathering. That king in whose city justice is administered properly with the result of such administration leading to the well known results of fining the plaintiff or the defendant if his case is untrue, and in which criminal laws are administered even after the manner of Sankha and Likhita, succeeds in earning the merit that attaches to sovereignty. That king who attaches his subjects to himself by kindness, who is conversant with the duties of kings, and who attends to the aggregate of six. succeeds in earning the merit that attaches to sovereignty.'"
Next: Section CXVI