The Mahabharata Home
"Yudhishthira said, 'It is seen that if a person happens to be unfortunate, he fails to acquire wealth, how great so ever his strength. On the other hand, if one happens to be fortunate, he comes to the possession of wealth, even if he be a weakling or a fool. When, again, the time
does not come for acquisition, one cannot make an acquisition with even one's best exertion. When, however, the time comes for acquisition, one wins great wealth without any exertion. Hundreds of men may be seen who achieve no result even when they exert their best. Many persons, again, are seen to make acquisitions without any exertion. If, wealth were the result of exertion, then one could, with exertion, acquire it immediately. Verily, if the case were so, no man of learning could then be seen to take the protection for the sake of his livelihood, of one destitute of learning, Among men, that which is not (destined) to be attained, O chief of the Bharatas, is never attained. Men are seen to fail in achieving results even with the aid of their best exertions. One may be seen to seek wealth by hundreds of means (and yet failing to acquire it); while another, without at all seeking it, becomes happy in its possession. Men may be seen doing evil acts continually (for wealth) and yet failing to acquire it. Others are in the enjoyment of wealth without doing any evil act whatever. Others, again, who are observant of the duties assigned to them by the scriptures, are without wealth. One may be seen to be without any knowledge of the science of morals and policy even after one has studied all the treatises on that science. One, again, may be seen appointed as the prime minister of a king without having at all studied the science of morals and policy. A learned man may be seen that is possessed of wealth. One destitute of learning may be seen owning wealth. Both kinds of men, again, may be seen to be entirely destitute of wealth. If, by the acquisition of learning one could acquire the happiness of wealth, then no man of learning could be found living, for the very means of his subsistence, under the protection of one destitute of learning. Indeed, if one could obtain by the acquisition of learning, all desirable objects like a thirsty individual having his thirst slaked upon obtaining water, then none in this world would have shown idleness in acquiring learning. If, one's time has not come, one does not die even if one be pierced with hundreds of shafts. On the other hand, one lays down one's life, if one's hour has come, even if it be a blade of grass with which one is struck.'
"Bhishma said, 'If one, setting oneself to undertaking involving even great exertions, fails to earn wealth, one should then practise severe austerities. Unless seeds be sown, no crops appear. It is by making gifts (to deserving persons in this life) that one acquires (in one's next life) numerous objects of enjoyment, even as one becomes possessed of intelligence and wisdom by waiting upon those that are venerable for years. The wise have said that one becomes possessed of longevity by practising the duty of abstention from cruelty to all creatures. Hence, one should make gifts and not solicit (or accept them when made by others). One should worship those individuals that are righteous. Verily, one should be sweet-speeched towards all, and always do what is agreeable to others. One should seek to attain to purity (both mental and
external). Indeed, one should always abstain from doing injury to any creature. When in the matter of the happiness and woe of even insects and ants, their acts (of this and past lives) and Nature constitute the cause, it is meet, O Yudhishthira, that thou shouldst he tranquil!'" 1
Next: Section CLXIV