The Mahabharata Home
"Yudhishthira said, 'Thou hast laid it down, O mighty one, that no trust should be placed upon foes. But how would the king maintain himself if he were not to trust anybody? From trust, O king, thou hast said, great danger arises to kings. But how, O monarch, can a king, without trusting others, conquer his foes? Kindly remove this doubt of mine. My mind has become confused, O grandsire, at what I have heard thee say on the subject of mistrust.'
"Bhishma said, 'Listen, O king, to what happened at the abode of Brahmadatta, viz., the conversation between Pujani and king Brahmadatta. There was a bird named Pujani who lived for a long time with king Brahmadatta in the inner apartments of his palace at Kampilya. Like the bird Jivajivaka, Pujani could mimic the cries of all animals. Though a bird by birth, she had great knowledge and was conversant with every truth. While living there, she brought forth an offspring of great splendour. At the very same time the king also got by his queen a son. Pujani, who was grateful for the shelter of the king's roof, used every day to go to the shores of the ocean and bring a couple of fruits for the nourishment of her own young one and the infant prince. One of those fruits she gave to her own child and the other she gave to the prince. The fruits she brought were sweet as nectar, and capable of increasing strength and energy. Every day she brought them and everyday she disposed of them in the same way. The infant prince derived great strength from the fruit of Pujani's giving that he ate. One day the infant prince, while borne on the arms of his nurse, saw the little offspring of Pujani. Getting down from the nurse's arms, the child ran towards the bird, and moved by childish impulse, began to Play with it, relishing the sport highly. At length, raising the bird which was of
the same age with himself in his hands, the prince pressed out its young life and then came back to his nurse. The dam, O king, who had been out in her search after the accustomed fruits, returning to the palace, beheld her young one lying on the ground, killed by the prince. Beholding her son deprived of life, Pujani, with tears gushing down her cheeks, and heart burning with grief, wept bitterly and said, 'Alas, nobody should live with a Kshatriya or make friends with him or take delight in any intercourse with him. When they have any object to serve, they behave with courtesy. When that object has been served they cast off the instrument. The Kshatriyas do evil unto all. They should never be trusted. Even after doing an injury they always seek to soothe and assure the injured for nothing. I shall certainly take due vengeance, for this act of hostility, upon this cruel and ungrateful betrayer of confidence. He has been guilty of a triple sin in taking the life of one that was horn on the same day with him and that was being reared with him in the same place, that used to eat with him, and that was dependent on him for protection.' Having said these words unto herself, Pujani, with her talons, pierced the eyes of the prince, and deriving some comfort from that act of vengeance, once more said, 'A sinful act, perpetrated deliberately, assails the doer without any loss of time. They. on the other hand, who avenge themselves of an injury, never lose their merit by such conduct. If the consequence of a sinful act be not seen in the perpetrator himself, they would certainly be seen, O king, in his sons or son's sons or daughter's sons. Brahmadatta, beholding his son blinded by Pujani and regarding the act to have been a proper vengeance for what his son had done, said these words unto Pujani.'
"Brahmadatta said, 'An injury was done by us to thee. Thou hast avenged it by doing an injury in return. The account has been squared. Do not leave thy present abode. On the other hand, continue to dwell here, O Pujani.'
"Pujani said, 'If a person having once injured another continues to reside with that other, they that are possessed of learning never applaud his conduct. Under such circumstances it is always better for the injurer to leave his old place. One should never place one's trust upon the soothing assurances received from an injured party. The fool that trusts such assurances soon meets with destruction. Animosity is not quickly cooled. The very sons and grandsons of persons that have injured each other meet with destruction (in consequence of the quarrel descending like an inheritance). In consequence again of such destruction of their offspring, they lose the next world also. Amongst men that have injured one another, mistrust would be productive of happiness. One that has betrayed confidence should never be trusted in the least. One who is not deserving of trust should not be trusted; nor should too much trust be placed upon a person deserving of trust. The danger that arises from blind confidence brings about a destruction that is complete. One should seek to inspire others with confidence in one's self. One, however, should never repose confidence on others. The father and the mother only are the foremost of friends. The wife is merely a vessel for drawing the seeds. The son is only one's seed. The brother is a foe. The friend or companion requires to have his palms oiled if he is to remain so. One's own self it is that enjoys or suffers
one's happiness or misery. Amongst persons that have injured one another, it is not advisable there should be (real) peace. The reasons no longer exists for which I lived here. The mind of a person who has once injured another becomes naturally filled with mistrust, if he sees the injured person worshipping him with gifts and honours. Such conduct, especially when displayed by those that are strong, always fills the weak with alarm. A person possessed of intelligence should leave that place where he first meets with honour in order to meet only with dishonour and injury next. In spite of any subsequent honour that he might obtain from his enemy, he should behave in this way. I have dwelt in thy abode for a longtime, all along honoured by thee. A cause of enmity, however, has at last arisen. I should, therefore, leave this place without any hesitation.'
"Brahmadatta said, 'One who does an injury in return for an injury received is never regarded as offending. Indeed, the avenger squares his account by such conduct. Therefore, O Pujani, continue to reside here without leaving this place.'
"Pujani said, 'No friendship can once more be cemented between a person that has injured and him that has inflicted an injury in return. The hearts of neither can forget what has happened.'
"Brahmadatta said, 'It is necessary that a union should take place between an injurer and the avenger of that injury. Mutual animosity, upon such a union, has been seen to cool. No fresh injury also has followed in such cases.'
"Pujani said, 'Animosity (springing from mutual injuries) can never die. The person injured should never trust his foes, thinking, 'O, I have been soothed with assurances of goodwill.' In this world, men frequently meet with destruction in consequence of (misplaced) confidence. For this reason it is necessary that we should no longer meet each other. They who cannot be reduced to subjection by the application of even force and sharp weapons, can be conquered by (insincere) conciliation like (wild) elephants through a (tame) she-elephant.'
"Brahmadatta said, 'From the fact of two persons residing together, even if one inflicts upon the other deadly injury, an affection arises naturally between them, as also mutual trust as in the case, of the Chandala and the dog. Amongst persons that have injured one another, co-residence blunts the keenness of animosity. Indeed, that animosity does not last long, but disappears quickly like water poured upon the leaf of a lotus.'
"Pujani said, 'Hostility springs from five causes. Persons possessed of learning know it. Those five causes are woman, land, harsh words, natural incompatibility, and injury. 1 When the person with whom hostility occurs happens to be a man of liberality, he should never be slain, particularly by a Kshatriya, openly or by covert means. In such a case, the man's fault should be properly
weighed. 1 When hostility has arisen with even a friend, no further confidence should be reposed upon him. Feelings of animosity lie hid like fire in wood. Like the Aurvya fire within the waters of the ocean, the fire of animosity can never be extinguished by gifts of wealth, by display of prowess, by conciliation, or by scriptural learning. The fire of animosity, once ignited, the result of an injury once inflicted, is never extinguished, O king, without consuming out the right one of the parties. One, having injured a person, should never trust him again as one's friend, even though one might have (after the infliction of the injury) worshipped him with wealth and honours. The fact of the injury inflicted fills the injurer with fear. I never injured thee. Thou also didst never do me an injury. For this reason I dwelt in thy abode. All that is changed, and at present I cannot trust thee.'
"Brahmadatta said, 'It is Time that does every act, Acts are of diverse kinds, and all of them proceed from Time. Who, therefore, injures whom? 2 Birth and Death happen in the same way. Creatures act (i.e., take birth and live) in consequence of Time, and it is in consequence also of Time that they cease to live. Some are seen to die at once. Some die one at a time. Some are seen to live for long periods. Like fire consuming the fuel, Time consumes all creatures. O blessed lady, I am, therefore, not the cause of your sorrow, nor art thou the cause of mine. It is Time that always ordains the weal and woe of embodied creatures. Do thou then continue to dwell here according to thy pleasure, with affection for me and without fear of any injury from me. What thou hast done has been forgiven by me. Do thou also forgive me, O Pujani!'
"Pujani said, 'If Time, according to thee, be the cause of all acts, then of course nobody can cherish feelings of animosity towards anybody on earth. I ask, however, why friends and kinsmen, seek to avenge themselves the slain. Why also did the gods and the Asuras in days of your smite each other in battle? If it is Time that causes weal and woe and birth and death, why do physicians, then seek, to administer medicines to the sick? If it is Time that is moulding everything, what need is there of medicines? Why do people, deprived of their senses by grief, indulge in such delirious rhapsodies? If Time, according to thee, be the cause of acts, how can religious merit be acquired by persons performing religious acts? Thy son killed my child. I have injured him for that. I have by that act, O king, become liable to be slain by thee. Moved by grief for my son, I have done this injury to thy son. Listen now to the reason why I have become liable to be killed by thee. Men wish for birds either to kill them for food or to keep them in cages for sport. There is no third reason besides such slaughter or immurement for which men would seek individuals of our species. Birds, again, from fear of being either killed or immured by men seek safety in Right. Persons conversant with the Vedas have said that death and immurement are both painful. Life is dear unto all. All creatures are made miserable by grief and pain. All creatures wish for happiness. Misery
arises from various sources. Decrepitude, O Brahmadatta, is misery. The loss of wealth is misery. The adjacence of anything disagreeable or evil is misery. Separation or dissociation from friends and agreeable objects is misery. Misery arises from death and immurement. Misery arises from causes connected with women and from other natural causes. The misery that arises from the death of children alters and afflicts all creatures very greatly. Some foolish persons say that there is no misery in others' misery. 1 Only he who has not felt any misery himself can say so in the midst of men. He, however, that has felt sorrow and misery, would never venture to say so. One that has felt the pangs of every kind of misery feels the misery of others as one's own. What I have done to thee, O king, and what thou has done to me, cannot be washed away by even a hundred years After what we have done to each other, there cannot be a reconciliation. As often as thou wilt happen to think of thy son, thy animosity towards me will become fresh. If a person after avenging oneself of an injury, desires to make peace with the injured, the parties cannot be properly reunited even like the fragments of an earthen vessel. Men conversant with scriptures have laid it down that trust never produces happiness Usanas himself sang two verses unto Prahlada in days of old. He who trusts the words, true or false, of a foe, meets with destruction like a seeker of honey, in a pit covered with dry grass. 2 Animosities are seen to survive the very death of enemies, for persons would speak of the previous quarrels of their deceased sires before their surviving children. Kings extinguish animosities by having recourse to conciliation but, when the opportunity comes, break their foes into pieces like earthen jars full of water dashed upon stone. If the king does injury to any one, he should never trust him again. By trusting a person who has been injured, one has to suffer great misery.
"Brahmadatta said, 'No man can obtain the fruition of any object by withholding his trust (from others). By cherishing fear one is always obliged to live as a dead person.'
"Pujani said, 'He whose feet have become sore, certainly meets with a fall if he seeks to move, move he may howsoever cautiously. A man who has got sore eyes, by opening them against the wind, finds them exceedingly pained by the wind. He who, without knowing his own strength, sets foot on a wicked path and persists in walking along it, soon loses his very life as the consequence. The man who, destitute of exertion, tills his land, disregarding the season of rain, never succeeds in obtaining a harvest. He who takes every day food that is nutritive, be it bitter or astringent or palatable or sweet, enjoys a long life. He, on the other hand, who disregards wholesome food and takes that which is injurious without an eye to consequences, soon meets with death. Destiny and Exertion exist, depending upon each other. They that are of high souls achieve good and great feats, while eunuchs only pay court to Destiny. Be it harsh or mild, an act that is beneficial should be done.
[paragraph continues] The unfortunate man of inaction, however, is always overwhelmed by all sorts of calamity. Therefore, abandoning everything else, one should put forth his energy. Indeed, disregarding everything, men should do what is productive of good to themselves. Knowledge, courage, cleverness, strength, and patience are said to be one's natural friends. They that are possessed of wisdom pass their lives in this world with the aid of these five. Houses, precious metals, land, wife, and friends,--these are said by the learned to be secondary sources of good. A man may obtain them everywhere. A person possessed of wisdom may be delighted everywhere. Such a man shines everywhere. He never inspires anybody with fear. If sought to be frightened, he never yields to fear himself. The wealth, however little, that is possessed at any time by an intelligent man is certain to increase. Such a man does every act with cleverness. In consequence of self-restraint, he succeeds in winning great fame. Home-keeping men of little understanding have to put up with termagant wives that eat up their flesh like the progeny of a crab eating up their dam. There are men who through loss of understanding become very cheerless at the prospect of leaving home. They say unto themselves,--These are our friends! This is our country! Alas, how shall we leave these?--One should certainly leave the country of one's birth, if it be afflicted by plague or famine. One should live in one's own country, respected by all, or repair to a foreign country for living there. I shall, for this reason, repair to some other region. I do not venture to live any longer in this place, for I have done a great wrong to thy child, O king, one should from a distance abandon a bad wife, a bad son, a bad king, a bad friend, a bad alliance, and a bad country. One should not place any trust on a bad son. What joy can one have in a bad wife? There cannot be any happiness in a bad kingdom. In a bad country one cannot hope to obtain a livelihood. There can be no lasting companionship with a bad friend whose attachment is very uncertain. In a bad alliance, when there is no necessity for it, there is disgrace. She indeed, is a wife who speaks only what is agreeable. He is a son who makes the sire happy. He is a friend in whom one can trust. That indeed, is one's country where one earns one's living. He is a king of strict rule who does not oppress, who cherishes the poor and in whose territories there is no fear. Wife, country, friends, son, kinsmen, and relatives, all these one can have if the king happens to be possessed of accomplishments and virtuous eyes. If the king happens to be sinful, his subjects, inconsequence of his oppressions, meet with destruction. The king is the root of one's triple aggregate (i.e., Virtue, Wealth, and Pleasure). He should protect his subjects with heedfulness. Taking from his subjects a sixth share of their wealth, he should protect them all. That king who does not protect his subjects is truly a thief. That king who, after giving assurances of protection, does not, from rapacity, fulfil them,--that ruler of sinful soul,--takes upon himself the sins of all hi subjects and ultimately sinks into hell. That king, on the other hand, who, having given assurances of protection, fulfils them, comes to be regarded as a universal benefactor in consequence of protecting all his subjects. The lord of all creatures, viz., Manu, has said that the king has seven attributes: he is mother, father, preceptor, protector, fire, Vaisravana and Yama. The king
by behaving with compassion towards his people is called their father. The subject that behaves falsely towards him takes birth in his next life as an animal or a bird. By doing good to them and by cherishing the poor, the king becomes a mother unto his people. By scorching the wicked he comes to be regarded as fire, and by restraining the sinful he comes to be called Yama. By making gifts of wealth unto those that are dear to him, the king comes to be regarded as Kuvera, the grantor of wishes. By giving instruction in morality and virtue, he becomes a preceptor, and by exercising the duty of protection he becomes the protector. That king who delights the people of his cities and provinces by means of his accomplishments, is never divested of his kingdom in consequence of such observance of duty. That king who knows how to honour his subjects never suffers misery either here or hereafter. That king whose subjects are always filled with anxiety or overburdened with taxes, and overwhelmed by evils of every kind, meets with defeat at the hands of his enemies. That king, on the other hand, whose subjects grow like a large lotus in a lake succeeds in obtaining every reward here and at last meets with honour in heaven. Hostility with a person that is powerful is, O king, never applauded. That king who has incurred the hostility of one more powerful than himself, loses both kingdom and happiness.'
"Bhishma continued, 'The bird, having said these words, O monarch, unto king Brahmadatta, took the king's leave and proceeded to the region she chose. I have thus recited to thee, O foremost of kings, the discourse between Brahmadatta and Pujani. What else dost thou wish to hear?'
305:1 The hostility between Krishna and Sisupala was due to the first of these causes; that between the Kurus and the Pandavas to the second; that between Drona and Drupada to the third; that between the cat and the mouse to the fourth; and that between the bird and the king (in the present story) to the fifth.
306:1 The sense seems to be that the act which has led to the hostility should be calmly considered by the enemy before he gives way to anger.
306:2 If it is Time that does all acts, there can be no individual responsibility.
307:1 i.e., they are indifferent to other people's sorrow.
307:2 Honey-seekers direct their stops through hill and dale by marking intently the course of the flight of bees. Hence they meet with frequent falls.
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