The Mahabharata Home
"Dhritarashtra said, Thou shouldst always ascertain the Mandalas that belong to thee, to thy foes, to neutrals, and to those that are disposed equally towards thee and thy foes, O Bharata. 2 The Mandalas also of the four kinds of foes, of these called Atatayins, and of allies, and the allies of foes, should be distinguished by thee, O crusher of foes. 3 The ministers of state, the people of the provinces, the garrisons of forts, and the forces, O foremost one of Kuru's race, may or may not be tampered with. (Thou shouldst, therefore, behave in such a manner that these may not be tampered with by thy foes). The twelve (enumerated above), O son of Kunti, constitute the principal concerns of kings. These twelve, as also sixty, having Ministers for their foremost, should be looked after by the king. 4 Professors conversant with the science of politics call these by the name of Mandala. Understand, O Yudhishthira, that the six incidents (of peace, war, march, halt, sowing dissensions, and conciliation) depend upon these. Growth and diminution should also be understood, as also the condition of being stationary. The attributes of the sixfold incidents, O thou of mighty arms, as resting on the two and seventy (already enumerated), should also be carefully understood. When one's own side has become strong and the side of the foe his become weak, it is then, O son of Kunti, that the king should war against the foe and strive to will
victory. When the enemy is strong and one's own side is weak, then the weak king, if possessed of intelligence, should seek to make peace with the enemy. The king should collect a large store of articles (for his commissariat). When able to march out, he should on no account make a delay, O Bharata. Besides, he should on that occasion set his men to offices for which they are fit, without being moved by any other consideration. (When obliged to yield a portion of his territories) he should give his foe only such land as does not produce crops in abundance. (When obliged to give wealth), he should give gold containing much base metal. (When obliged to give a portion of his forces), he should give such men as are not noted for strength. One that is skilled in treaties should, when taking land or gold or men from the foe, take what is possessed of attributes the reverse of this. 1 In making treaties of peace, the son of the (defeated) king, should be demanded as a hostage, O chief of the Bharatas. A contrary course of conduct would not be beneficial, O son. If a calamity comes over the king, he should, with knowledge of means-and counsels, strive to emancipate himself from it. 2 The king, O foremost of monarchs, should maintain the cheerless and the destitute (such as the blind, the deaf and dumb, and the diseased) among his people. Himself protecting his own kingdom, the king, possessed of great might, should direct all his efforts, either one after another or simultaneously, against his foes. He should afflict and obstruct them and seek to drain their treasury. The king that desires his own growth should never injure the subordinate chieftains that are under his sway. O son of Kunti, thou shouldst never seek to war with that king who desires to conquer the whole Earth. Thou shouldst seek to gain advantages by producing, with the aid of thy ministers, dissensions among his aristocracy and subordinate chieftains. A powerful king should never seek to exterminate weak kings, for these do good to the world by cherishing the good and punishing the wicked. O foremost of kings, thou shouldst live, adopting the behaviour of the cane. 3 If a strong king advances against a weak one, the latter should make him desist, by adopting conciliation and other modes. If unable to stop the invader in this way, then he, as also those that are disposed to do him good, should fall upon the foe for battling with him. Indeed, with his ministers and treasury and citizens, he should thus adopt force against the invader. If battling with the foe becomes hopeless, then he should fall, sacrificing his resources one after another. Casting off his life in this way, he will attain to liberation from all sorrow.'"
12:2 The word Mandala has been explained below in verse 5. The distinction between Udasinas and Madhyasthas, as explained by Nilakantha, is that the former are neutrals, while the latter are those who cherish equal sentiments towards both the parties.
12:3 The four kinds of foes, as explained by the commentator, are (1) foes proper, (2) allies of foes, (3) those that wish victory to both sides, and (4) those that wish defeat to both sides. As regards Atatayins, they are six, viz., (1) he that sets fire to one's house, (2) he that mixes poison with one's food, (3) he that advances, weapon in hand, with hostile intent, (4) he that robs one of one's wealth, (5) he that invades one's fields, and (6) he that steals one's wife.
12:4 The sixty are thus made up. Eight consisting of agriculture and the rest; twenty-eight consisting of forces and the rest; fourteen consisting of atheists and the rest and eighteen consisting of counsels and the rest.
13:1 i.e., land that is fertile, gold that is pure, and men that are strong.
13:2 The wards Kasyanchidapadi should be construed with what follows.
13:3 The cane yields when pressure is directed towards it. In the Santi Parva occurs the detailed conversation between the Ocean and the Rivers. The former enquired why, when the Rivers washed down the largest trees, they could not wash into the Ocean a single cane. The answer was that the cane was yielding; the trees were not so.
Next: Section VII