The Mahabharata Home
"Bhishma said, 'Having settled this in his mind, the Salmali. in sorrow, himself caused all his branches, principal and subsidiary, to be cut off. Casting off his branches and leaves and flowers, at morn the tree looked steadily at the Wind, as he came towards him. Filled with rage and breathing hard, the Wind advanced, felling large trees, towards that spot where the Salmali stood. Beholding him divested of top and branches and leaves and flowers, the Wind, filled with joy, smilingly addressed that lord of the forest which had before such a gigantic appearance, these words.'
"The Wind said, 'Filled with rage, O Salmali, I would have done to thee precisely what thou hast done to thyself by lopping off all thy branches. Thou art now divested of thy proud top and flowers, and thou art now without thy shoots and leaves. In consequence of thy own evil counsels, thou hast been brought under my power.'
"Bhishma continued, 'Hearing these words of the Wind, the Salmali felt great shame. Remembering also the words that Narada had said, he began to repent greatly for his folly. Even in this way, O tiger among kings, a weak and foolish person, by provoking the enmity of a powerful one, is at last obliged to repent like the Salmali in fable. Even when possessed of equal might, people do not suddenly wage hostilities with those that have injured them. On the other hand, they display their might gradually, O king! A person of foolish understanding should never provoke the hostility of one that is possessed of intelligence. In such cases the intelligence of the intelligent man penetrates (the subject upon which it is employed) like fire penetrating a heap of dry grass. Intelligence is the most precious possession that a person call have. Similarly, O king, a man can have nothing here more valuable than might. One should, therefore, overlook the wrongs inflicted by a person possessed of superior strength, even as one should overlook (from compassion) the acts of a child, and idiot, or one that is blind or deaf. The wisdom of this saying is witnessed in thy case, O slayer of foes. The eleven Akshauhinis (of Duryodhana), O thou of great splendour, and the seven (collected by thyself), were not, in might equal to the single-handed Arjuna of high soul. All the troops (of Duryodhana), therefore, were routed and slain by that illustrious Pandava, that son of Paka's chastiser, as he coursed on the field of battle, relying on his own strength. I have. O Bharata, discoursed to thee of the duties of kings and the morality of duties in detail. What else. O king, dost thou wish to hear!'"
Next: Section CLVIII