Vaisampayana told Janamejaya the story of Mahabharata thus:
Dharma Raja was crowned as King and Emperor of the entire Kuru Kingdom. Though Dharmaja was the King, he was following the mandates of Dhritarashtra, Gandhari and Vidura. He was looking after the welfare of the ladies who lost their husbands in the Great War. Kripacharya, Yuyutsa and Sanjaya were appointed as Honorary Ministers. Dharmaja was serving his mother Kunti affectionaltely and regarding his wife Draupadi as per their previous agreement.
Under the guidance of Dhoumya, Dharmaja performed many Yajnas and yagas, worshipped deities and Pitaras. He was providing adequate funds to look after orphans and poor. Dharmaja was worshipping Sri Krishna similar to God.
One day, he went to the palace where Sri Krishna was staying. At that time, Krishna was rapt in deep meditation. Dharmaja entertained a doubt.
“When Krishna himself is equivalent to God, about whom and for whose sake is Krishna meditating?”
Krishna opened his eyes. Dharmaja with folded hands asked Krishna thus:
“O Krishna! You are in deep meditation. You are the creator and destroyer. You are the beginning ,middle and end of this universe. You are the sole delighted chaitanya in this universe. You are the foremost of all men. For whom you are meditating? What is the reason? Kindly tell me.” asked Dharmaja.
Krishna with smiling face replied thus: “O Dharmaja! A staunch devotee of mine, Bhishma, is meditating about me. My mind is fixed in him. I am enjoying his meditation.” said Krishna.
“O Krishna! My mind is very eager to meet my grandsire, Bhishma. If he beholds me along with you, he will feel very happy.” said Dharmaja.
Even by that time, the great sages and saints viz., Vyasa, Narada, Devala, Devasthana, Vatsya, Devarata etc. arrived at Bhishma. At that time, Bhishma was deeply meditating about Krishna thus:
“O Krishna! You are equivalent to Agni, Sun and Brahma. I am worshipping you about whom great sages and saints, divine bodies could not know who you are. You are the great medicine for the entire woes and sorrows on this earth. You are the beginning, middle and end of this universe. You are Pundarikaksha who is the root cause of the entire universe. You are Hari with thousand heads, thousand eyes, and thousand feet. You are the embodiment of Vedas; you are the subtlest of the subtlest and grossest of the grossest. You are the embodiment of four Vedas and Upanishads.
I pray Lord Krishna who was born from the sacred womb
of Devaki. I pray Vamana who was born from Aditi in 12 forms.
I pray Vishnu for whom Garuda was the vehicle. I pray Vishnu who is visible in the shape of this body and invisible in the form of Atma. I pray you in the form of Atma who is manifest only for great sages and saints. I pray you in the form of great happiness which is enjoyable by great sages and saints who renounced the worldly pleasures.
You are Vishnu for whom the entire earth is feet; navel is sky; head is heaven; two eyes are sun and moon; face is fire; and ears are sides. I pray you in the form of an infant, lying on a banian leaf at the time of Pralayam. I worship the son of Devaki, whose hair is clouds, body joints are rivers and oceans are stomach.
I pray the Almighty from whose face Brahmins were born, from whose arms Kshatriyas were born, from whose thighs Vysyas were born and from whose feet Sudras were born. I pray Lord Vishnu who is the embodiment of time and the root cause for the creation and destruction. I pray you in the form of Adi Sesha who is bearing the entire universe, where great sages and saints and divine bodies are living, as Ananta.
I pray Vishnu with Adityas, Maruts, Asuras, Rudras and Devatas as his limbs. I pray the Almighty who is omnipresent.
I pray Vishnu in the form of Matsyavatara who killed Somakasura and protected Vedas. I pray Vishnu in the form of Varahavatara who bore the entire universe on his sole horn. I pray Vishnu in the form of Narasimhavatara who killed Hiranyakashyapa who was the avowed enemy of the entire universe. I pray Vishnu in the form of Vamana who begged for land measuring three feet. I pray Vishnu in the form of Parasurama who vanquished the entire Kshatriya community, 21 times. I pray Lord Vishnu in the form of Rama who was the son of Dasaradha and killed all demons. I pray Lord Vishnu in the form of Krishna, who was born to Devaki and Vasudeva and who killed Kamsa. I pray Lord Krishna who drove the chariot of Arjuna and vanquished all evils from this earth. I pray Lord Vishnu in the form of Kali who strived hard to install Dharma in Kali Yuga.
O Parameswara, Subrahmanya, Bhaktavatsala, Mahadeva, Visvaprakasa, Hrishikesa, Varada, Narayana, Rajeevanayana, Hiranyanabha, Achyuta, Amrutaroopa, I prostrate on your lotus feet with utmost devotion. Bless me. Nobody on the earth will be frightened if he thinks always about you. You are Para Brahma. You are eternal. You are truth. You are the penance. You are sacred fire. You are havis. You are Vishnu. You are without origin. Bless me with eternal salvation.” prayed Bhishma with utmost devotion.
All the sages and saints assembled there praised Bhishma for his prayers. Sri Krishna was very much pleased with the prayers rendered by Bhishma.
“Dharmaja! Let us go to Bhishma” said Krishna.
Sri Krishna and Satyaki boarded one chariot. Dharmaja and Arjuna boarded another chariot. Bhima, Nakula, Sahadeva boarded one chariot. Kripacharya, Yuyutsa and Sanjaya boarded another chariot. All of them then proceeded towards the place where Bhishma was lying on arrow bed.
Krishna! Being a Brahmin, how was Parasurama so cruel? Is there any reason behind it? You said that Parasurama vanquished the Kshatriya community from this earth. Now there are many Kshatriyas. How they are alive? How they are ruling this earth? Kindly tell me in detail.” asked Dharmaja.
Krishna told Dharmaja the story of Parasurama.
“In the ancient past, there was a king called Jahnu. His son was Ujahnu. Vallabha was the son of Ujahnu. Kusika was the son of Vallabha. Kusika did Tapas about Indra. Indra appeared before him. Kusika prayed Indra to bless him with a son who is supreme in the entire Universe. Indra blessed him with a son. Kousika was born to Kusika. Kousika was also called Gadhi.
Gadhi begot a daughter, called Satyavati. She was married to one Rucheeka. Rucheeka was a great saint. Rucheeka performed one Yaga with an intention to beget children for him and also for his father in law. At the end of Yaga, Rucheeka kept the Havis in two small vessels(charuvulu).
Rucheeka told his wife, Satyavati: “You give this small vessel (charuvu) to your mother. She will beget a son who will be so cruel and kill the entire Kshatriya community. You consume the Havis in the next vessel (charuvu). You will give birth to a son who will become a great brahmin and saint.” said Rucheeka.
After giving the two vessels to his wife, Satyavati, he went for bath. Meanwhile, his mother- in- law along with her husband, arrived there. Satyavati told her mother about the two vessels and gave the first vessel to her mother. But, the mother of Satyavati changed the vessels and consumed the Havis in the second vessel, which was intended for Satyavati. Not knowing about the change of vessels, Satyavati consumed the Havis in the first vessel.
Ruchika returned from bath. He learnt, from his divine vision, about the change of vessels.
“Satyavati! A cruel brahmin is growing in your womb” said Ruchika.
Satyavati realised the mistake and trembled. She requested Ruchika for proper redressal.
“Satyavati! I cannot help it. A great saint will be born to your mother. You will beget a cruel brahmin.” said Ruchika.
“I do not mind even if I am childless. I never give birth to a cruel brahmin” said Satyavati firmly.
“You cannot stop the birth of your son. But, for this time, your son will become a great saint. But his son will be a cruel brahmin.” said Ruchika.
Accordingly, Satyavati gave birth to a son, called Jamadagni. The mother of Satyavati gave birth to a son called Visvamitra. Parasurama was born to Jamadagni. Parasurama, son of Jamadagni, learnt mostly Dhanurveda and acquired expertise in that craft.
At that time, in Haihaya dynasty, there was a king called Kartaviryarjuna who was ruling the earth consisting of seven islands. Kartaviryarjuna was born with thousand hands and he possessed great prowess. He was virtuous too.
Once Agni Deva approached Kartaviryarjuna and requested him to provide him sufficient food. Kartaviryarjuna allowed him to consume some villages under his control. Agni Deva began to consume the villages and also Ashrams of some sages and saints.
In that process, Agni Deva burnt the Ashram of Vasishta. Saint Vasishta was enraged at this act of Agnideva. With his divine vision, he found that Kartaviryarjuna was the root cause for this. “May the thousand hands of Kartaviryarjuna be cut by Parasurama” cursed Vasishta.
Coming to know about this curse, Kartaviryarjuna was very much distressed. In course of time, Kartaviryarjuna begot several sons who were rude, cruel and unruly. Once they all went for hunting. As they were tired, they took rest near the Ashram of Jamadagni. They found the cow and calf belonging to Jamadagni grazing near the Ashram. As they were mischievous, they grabbed the cow and calf and brought them to their city. Kartaviryarjuna did not know about this.
Having come to know about this, Parasurama thought that Kartaviryarjuna was behind this cruel act. He went against Kartaviryarjuna, cut his thousand hands and killed him. Parasurama brought back the cow and calf.
In retaliation, while Parasurama was out of Ashram,
sons of Kartaviryarjuna killed Jamadagni, father of Parasurama. Having
coming to know about this through his mother, Parasurama was enraged.
The grandson of Visvamitra was a man of great pride. He insulted Parasurama by saying that being a coward; he had hidden in forests, unable to attack Kshatriyas. Parasurama was infuriated at this. Parasurama massacred all Kshatriyas indiscriminately. In that manner, Parasurama conquered Kshatriya community 21 times and rooted them out. Then he performed Asvamedha yaga. On that occasion, he gave the entire earth, acquired by him by killing all the Kshatriyas, to Kasyapa, as charity.
Kashyapa was afraid of Parasurama. If he was allowed to stay there, he may kill all the kings of other communities also. Hence, Kashyapa told Parasurama thus: “O Parasurama! You have given away the entire earth acquired by you, as a gift to me. Now nothing remains with you. Hence you cannot stay here. You may go to southern regions.” said Kashyapa.
Parasurama obeyed the words of Kashyapa and proceeded towards south upto the southern ocean. The King of Seas, gave some land to Parasurama, for his stay.
After the departure of Parasurama to southern regions, Kashyapa gave away the entire earth to Brahmins as gift. Henceforth, the earth was called Kashyapi. Then Kashyapa went to forests for performing Tapas.
Some years elapsed. Greediness engulfed the minds of Vysyas and Sudras. They grabbed the entire earth given to brahmins, by force. They even abducted the wives of Brahmins by force.
The Brahmins also were out of control. They forgot their own Dharma. They were addicted to drinking, thefts and abduction of others’ wives. They forgot how to perform Yajnas and Yagas. Adharma was prevailing everywhere.
Unable to bear this Adharma, mother earth began to shrink down. Mother earth thought that only Kshatriya community alone would save the earth by applying Danda Neeti. Beholding Kashyapa, Mother Earth told thus:
“O Kashyapa!after the great massacre of Kshatriyas by Parasurama, I found that scant number of Kshatriyas remain on earth. You bring them together and handover the earth to them. I found that some Haihaya Kings escaped death from Parasurama. One king, by name Vidhooradha, born in Kuru clan, was saved by some bears. One more king in Sudasu clan was saved by Saint Parasara. Gopati, grandson of Emperor Sibi was saved by some cows in forest. Vatsa son of Pratyardhana saved himself by hiding in a cattle shed. Anga, son of Dadhivahana, was saved by Saint Goutama. Bhoori, born in Brihadhradha clan, was saved by some monkeys and brought up on a mountain called Gridhakoota. Sons of Maruts, aged four years, were saved by sea god. All of them belong to Kshatriya community. They can rule this earth effectively.” said mother earth.
Accordingly, saint Kashyapa gathered all those kings
and distributed the entire earth amongst them. Several kshatriya clans
sprouted from those Kings. Now, all those Kshatriya clans were smashed
in Maha Bharata War. But, as before, some kings, here and there, escaped
death” said Sri Krishna.
“O Bhishma! Are you peaceful? Are you suffering with the pain caused by the arrows pierced into your body? There is nothing on this earth unknown to you. Though you were born as Kshatriya, you remained unmarried throughout your life and relinquished your kingdom. You are a rare personality. You are capable of vanquishing divine bodies, demons, Yakshas, Nagas and Gandharvas all at a time. You adopted controlling of your sense organs, speaking truth always, doing penance, performing charities and practicing Dharnurveda. You are the only hero who can control your death, inspite of lying on death bed.
O son of Ganga! Here is Dharmaja who is overcome with sorrow on account of the slaughter of his kinsmen. Dispel his sorrow with your soft words. You know about four castes, four ashramas and their Dharmas. You know much about the virtues enunciated in four Vedas. You have studied Puranas, Itihasa, and Dharma Sastras. You are capable of clearing any doubt from his mind. Kindly clear his doubts.” asked Sri Krishna.
On hearing the words of Sri Krishna, Bhishma said thus:
“Sri Krishna! Parandhama! You create, sustain and destroy the entire universe. You are supreme of all sages. You are capable of dispelling all sorrows. Tell me what to do.” prayed Bhishma.
“O Bhishma! I appreciate your devotion towards me. I always stay where devotion and righteousness prevail. I never stay where devotion and righteousness is absent. After 56 days from today, Sun will move northwards. You can leave this body in that auspicious period and will remain in eternal peace without rebirth. Other Vasuvs are waiting for your arrival. If you leave this world, the entire knowledge and wisdom acquired by you will fade out. Not only Dharmaja, all other kings, sages and saints are waiting to hear your valuable words. Preach Dharma to all of them and extend your knowledge and wisdom to all of them.” said Sri Krishna.
“O Krishna! On hearing your words, I am blessed. I cannot say no to you. Even Brahma cannot say no to you. I am nothing before you. But the arrows pierced into my body are causing unbearable pain. I am unable to speak few words. My throat and tongue are not cooperating. I am unable to speak and give reply to them. Besides that, it is not proper on my part to preach sermons to Dharmaja and others in your presence. It will be as if student is preaching sermons in the presence of his preceptor.” Said Bhishma.
Krishna smiled at Bhishma. “I well understand your difficulty. I will give you three boons. You will be relieved of all pains caused by the arrows pierced into your body. You feel as if nothing had happened to you. From now onwards, you do not feel hunger and thirst. You will not be entangled in these worldly affairs and your mind will always remain in higher regions. Now you can concentrate on divine knowledge and impart your knowledge and wisdom to Dharmaja.” said Sri Krishna.
By that time the sun had set. Sri Krishna, Dharmaja and others, sages and saints took leave from Bhishma and retired to their abodes, saying that they will return back next day morning.
Next day morning, Dharmaja asked Arjuna not to allow any body guards, army personnel and servants to accompany them. Dharmaja and Arjuna on one chariot, Bhima, Nakula and Sahadeva on one chariot, Kripacharya, Yuyutsa and Sanjaya on one chariot and Sri Krishna on separate chariot proceeded towards Bhishma.
Even before their arrival, Narada and other sages and saints assembled there. Sri Krishna, Dharmaja and others alighted their chariots, stood before Bhishma and saluted him. Dharmaja requested Sri Krishna to commence the conversation with Bhishma. Sri Krishna went near Bhishma and enquired about his welfare.
Bhishma said: “O Krishna! With your kind blessings, I am not feeling thirst and hunger. My mind is peaceful. Though I am old in age, I am feeling as if I am young. As per your wish, I will teach Dharmaja what all I know. But why have you entrusted this job to me when you are capable of teaching anything and everything. What is the inner meaning?” asked Bhishma.
“Bhishma! I am the root for the entire wealth, name and fame in this universe. By teaching to Dharmaja I will not get anything more. You are now at the end of your life. I wish you should acquire great name and fame by teaching niceties of Dharma to Dharmaja. I will impart in your mind, celestial understanding, to clear all the doubts of Dharmaja. With this, your fame will be enhanced in this world as long as the sun and moon exist. The answers you are going to give will be regarded on earth to be as authoritative as the declarations of the Vedas. Hence you have to give answers for all the questions to be raised by Dharmaja.” said Sri Krishna.
Bhishma was very happy. “O Krishna! When Dharmaja
was born, all the sages and saints were overwhelmed with great joy.
Dharmaja is a great Dharmika.Dharmaja always speaks truth, be peaceful
and virtuous. Even under the influence of passion, desire or wealth,
he will never transgress Dharma. Let that great personality ask me what
he desires to know and I will answer to the extent possible.”
“O Krishna! As the duty of the Brahmans consists of the practice of charity, study, and penances, so the duty of Kshatriyas is to cast away their bodies, in battle. A Kshatriya should kill his sires and grandsires and brothers and preceptors and relatives and kinsmen that may engage with him in unjust battle. This is their declared duty. As Dharmaja discharged his duty as Kshatriya, he adopted Dharma” said Bhishma.
On hearing these words, Dharmaja came near Bhishma with folded hands. Bhishma with great affection kissed the forehead of Dharmaja.
“O Dharmaja! Without hesitation, ask me all your doubts” said Bhishma.
Dharmaja, after taking permission from all sages and saints, Sri Krishna, and others assembled there, asked Bhishma thus:
“O my grandfather! Amongst all Dharmas, Raja Dharma is greatest. For the sustenance of human beings, Raja Dharma is quite essential. If we refuse to adopt Raja Dharma, Dharma will be vanished and adharma will prevail. Therefore, it is the duty of the king to punish the wrongs committed by his subjects. The virtuous people will regard King as the embodiment of Dharma. Therefore, knowledge of Raja Dharma is a must for a king. Hence kindly let me know the niceties of Raja Dharma. I am inclined to hear them.” asked Dharmaja.
Bhishma began to say about Raja Dharma:
“O Dharmaja! By worshipping deities and brahmins, king will enjoy the respect of his subjects. You should always exert with promptitude, for without promptitude of exertion, mere destiny never accomplishes the objects cherished by kings. These two, viz., exertion and destiny, are equal in their operation. Of them, I regard exertion to be superior, for destiny is ascertained from the results of what is begun with exertion.
Do not indulge in grief if what are commenced ends disastrously, for you should then exert yourself in the same act with redoubled attention. The king should possess peace, character, self control etc. Such a king will acquire fame and pleasures. King should rule the kingdom with great wisdom. For that virtues and truthfulness are quite essential. King should execute Danda Neeti carefully and diligently. Then only a king will become famous.
Iron springs out of stone. Fire springs out of water.
King will be created by Brahmin. But iron will be broken by stone and
fire will be extinguished by water. If Brahmin is disregarded, King
will be ruined. You should keep these words in mind always. As Brahmins
are embodiment of Vedas, regard and respect Brahmins always.
One who lusts the wife of his preceptor, one who kills
infants and children, one who is guilty of treason, one who kills a
brahmin, shall be driven out of the country, even if he is a brahmin.
A brahmin shall not be killed for the above offences.
In this context, we have to remember the words of Brihaspati. By being oversympathetic and mild, king will become cheap in the eyes of public. Then public will never care for the king. If the King is too harsh and wrathful, autocracy will prevail. Therefore the king should neither be too mild nor too wrathful. He should mix compassion and punishment in equal ratio. The King shall not exhibit his anger or hastiness on his subjects.
The King shall always strive hard for the welfare of the people. The king shall always exhibit seriousness in his looks. He should not indulge in loose and liberal talk and mingle freely with his subordinates. In such a case, the subordinates will never care for the King. Besides, they may try to predominate the king and cause harm to the King by working against him.
King shall not spare anybody who violates his rulings. King shall get rid of them soon. If anybody acts with pride and forgets his original status, even if he is a preceptor or a brahmin, he shall be discarded forthwith.
Therefore, Dharmaja! Even if the wrong doer is a preceptor, friend, son, he shall not be pardoned. He should be punished rigorously.
In the ancient past, King Sagara abandoned his son on account of his cruelty towards his subjects. Similarly, Saint Uddalaka discarded his son who ill treated Brahmins .You have to follow them as a role model.
If the king rules the people by observing truthfulness, virtues and forgiveness, people will feel happy. King shall regard the people belonging to four castes equally. King shall keep flatterers away from his association.
King shall put an end to corruption. King shall confiscate the properties of corrupt people and distribute the same among the sufferers. King shall not keep overconfidence upon anybody. Equally, the king shall not keep himself away without trusting anybody. King shall, with his discretion, decide good and bad.
If a king indulges in extracting money from his subjects by unruly methods, his subjects will be his bitter enemies. There is no need of external aggression. The King shall employ economic experts, righteous people with stable mind, clever, honest and intelligent people, people from upper classes in his ministry, for collection of taxes. Under the rule of such a king, people will live happily.
The King shall be of great prowess, vigour and valour. Otherwise, he cannot protect the life and property of his subjects, effectively. A king without prowess is equal to an uneducated priest. Protecting his subjects is the most onerous duty of a king. The King shall always be enthusiastic. The king shall always be eager to vanquish his enemies, either by legal or illegal means. If a king neglects and ignores his enemy as feeble, the enemy will become a spear by his side. Therefore, the King shall put an end to his enemy, however feeble he is.
The King shall not part with any part of his kingdom
at any cost.” said Bhishma.
Next day morning, all of them assembled before Bhishma with folded hands.
Dharmaja asked Bhishma thus: “O grandsire, what is the difference between a common man and a king. I think there is no difference between the two. Both are having two hands, two legs and one head. In that case, how will a King keep control over his subjects, protect them and punish them. How will a King be equivalent to God. Kindly tell me.” asked Dharmaja.
Bhishma continued to say:
“O Dharmaja! In Kritayuga, there was no king. Only Dharma prevailed. All were acting according to Dharma. One was protecting the other. Gradually, greediness and selfishness entered the minds of human beings. Dharma began to diminish from time to time. Men were addicted to evils. Desires sprouted in the minds of human beings. Unable to control the desires, they developed hatred and enmity upon others. They gave up studying Vedas. Adharma prevailed rampantly.
At that juncture, Indra and other divine bodies went to Brahma. “O God Brahma! On earth, studying Vedas diminished. Yajnas and Yagas are not being performed. Dharma declined.” said Indra.
Brahma smiled. “I will take remedial steps. Dont worry.” said Brahma.
Brahma created Neeti Sastra (Moral Science). In that he created King, Minister, citadel, treasury, friends, collecting news, Danda neeti (penal code); he created three kinds of persons viz, enemies, friends and neutrals; sending emissaries and making peace pacts etc., and included four paths to be followed by human beings viz, Dharma, Ardha, Kama and Moksha. This text consisted of one lakh chapters. It was to be followed by the entire universe to keep it pure and spotless.
At that time, a divine body called Visalaksha was born from the forehead of Brahma. That Divine body had no beginning and end; he was the creator of this universe; he was ancient. Siva was born in the name of Visalaksha. Visalaksha studied the one lakh chapters of Neeti Sastra. Visalaksha thought that the life and wisdom of human beings was not sufficient even to study the said Neeti Sastra. Hence he abridged the said Neeti Sastra into ten thousand chapters.
Later that abridged edition was studied by Mahendra who abridged the same into five thousand chapters. Later Brihaspati abridged the same into three thousand chapters. Then Sukracharya abridged the same into one thousand chapters. That was called Sukra Neeti. Later several sages and saints composed the said Sukraneeti into small volumes. In this manner, Neeti Sastra was abridged from time to time.
All the divine bodies went to Lord Vishnu and told
him about the evolution of Neeti Sastra and prayed him to depute one
efficient person to execute the same in the entire universe. Lord Vishnu
created a divine personality with his Amsa. He was called Viraja. Lord
Vishnu made him the King of this Universe. But he refused to rule the
universe. Kardama was the son of Viraja. Kardama also refused to rule
Venu was succumbed to desires and lust. He was teasing his subjects. Great sages and saints churned his right thigh with Darbhas (long grass). From his right thigh, a black, fierce form was born. He was called Asuchi. The sages and saints said: “Nisheeda Nisheeda” (means sit, sit). Hence, the descendants of Asuchi were called as Nishadhas. Nishadhas lived in the Vindhya mountain regions. They were cruel and wicked.
Later, the sages and saints churned the right arm of Venu. A divine personality with natural armour, bow and arrows, chanting vedas, was born. Immediately, Danda Neeti enunciated in the Neeti Sastra influenced him. That divine personality asked the sages and saints the purpose for which he was created.
“Your name is Vainya. You have to shed anger, greediness, wickedness, desires, and egoism and treat the people in the Universe equally. You have to follow the Neeti Sastra and protect Dharma. You should rule the Universe without giving importance to your personal feelings and desires and without fear or favour. You have to execute Danda Neeti and protect Dharma. You have to protect Vedas and Vedangas. You have to avert inter-change of castes and protect Brahmins and righteous persons.” said sages and saints.
“O sages and saints! With the help of Brahmins,
I will execute the works entrusted by you.” said Vaina. Brahmins
also agreed to assist Vainya in ruling the Universe.
O Dharmaja! As the king saved brahmins and people from great disaster, he was called Kshatriya. Therefore, all the descendants of Vainya were called Kshatriyas. All the descendants of Vainya ruled this Universe, following Neeti Sastra and Danda Neeti. As Vainya descended from Lord Vishnu, henceforth, all the kings were regarded as descendants of Vishnu. Therefore, ruling of people was entrusted to Kshatriyas.
Wealth was born from the forehead of Vishnu. Wealth was married to Dharma. Ardha was their son. Therefore, Dharma, wealth and Ardha are always under the influence the King. Therefore, King is above all, though he is having one head, two hands and two legs. He is different and separate from other humans. He is pious, righteous and virtuous. He is entitled to attain Svarga. King descended from Vishnu only is capable of executing Neeti sastra and Danda Neeti. Therefore, Varna-Ashrama Dharmas, Customs and Practices, Vedas, Puranas, Itihasas etc. will be under the control of King. With the blessings of Lord Vishnu, King was endowed with beauty, prowess, tact, temper etc. Therefore, King was treated equivalent to God.
Dharmaja! This is my reply to your question. Have you got any more doubts?” asked Bhishma.
“O Grandsire Bhishma! Kindly enlighten me about four castes viz., Brahmins, Kshatriyas, Vysyas and Sudras; four ashrams viz., Brahmacharya, Grahasthya, Vanaprasta and Sanyasa; how to practice them; and also about Raja Dharma followed in the present world.” asked Dharmaja.
Bhishma said thus:
“O Dharmaja! King has to follow the good qualities viz., speaking truth, shedding anger, loving one’s own wife, not to divulge official secrets to others; keeping good relations with others etc. Controlling sense organs is the utmost quality of a Brahmin. Brahmins shall study Veda daily. He should perform Yajnas and Yagas with utmost devotion. Brahmin shall not indulge in bad habits. He should always remain peaceful. If a Brahmin acquires wealth, he shall distribute the same amongst his sons, poor and needy.
The Kshatriya Dharma is....performing Yajnas and yagas, making charities, studying Vedas, punishing criminals, ruling the people affectionately; fighting with enemy fearlessly etc. Amongst them, fighting in war is the utmost Dharma of Kshatriya. I will narrate now the Vaisya Dharma.
A Vaisya shall study Vedas; shall perform Yajnas and yagas; earn and accumulate wealth legally; engage in cattle rearing and trading etc.
Sudra has to serve Brahmins, Kshatriyas and Vaisyas.
With the permission of King, Sudra can acquire money, paddy and grains.
For performing charities, Sudra can acquire money and paddy even without
the permission of king. The utmost dharma of Brahmins, Kshatriyas and
Vysyas is performing Yajnas and yagas.
One has to observe Brahmacharya with the following characteristics: Serving his guru; studying Aagama Sastras; living by alms; living without love or hatred towards others; performing virtuous deeds always; not interested in outside world activities etc.
While following Grihastha Ashram one has to show love and affection upon his own wife; observe compassion; truthfulness, patience; live in the company of righteous people; worship deities and perform ceremonies for ancestors; perform sacred homa daily; and serve guests etc.
During Vanaprastha Ashtram, the following are the main requisites: he, either alone or with his wife, should retire to the forests. He should shed egoism, control his sense organs, study vedas, keep company with righteous persons etc.
The following are the virtues to be followed by Sanyasi:
A sanyasi can live anywhere and everywhere. He should eat only to live
but not live to eat.
The above four Ahsrams can be followed by Brahmins, Kshatriyas and Vyasyas. But Sudra is entitled only for the first three Ashrams viz., Brahmacharya, Grihastha and Vanaprastha. Sudra is not entitled to observe Sanyasa Ashram.
If the King fails to apply Danda Neeti, it will cause hindrance for performing Yajnas and yagas and harm to the general public. King has to rule the kingdom by applying “Danda neeti”. Then only people will live peacefully. Therefore, amongst all Dharmas, Raja Dharma is the foremost Dharma. The King who follows Raja Dharma is equal to God.
In the ancient past, King Mandhata did Tapas (penance) about Vishnu. Indra appeared before Mandhata.
“O Mandhata! You did Tapas about Vishnu. But it is not so easy to have the blessings of Vishnu. Hence I have come. Tell me what do you want’ asked Indra.
“O Indra! I am vexed with this Samsara and worldly pleasures. Kindly divert my mind towards renunciation and begging.” asked Mandhata.
“O King Mandhata! Amongst all Dharmas, Raja
Dharma is greatest. A King shall renounce Kama, Krodha and follow ‘Danda
Neeti’ and rule the people. That king alone will get higher regions.
You are a king. Living by alms is not your Dharma. Protecting people
and dying in war is Kshatriya Dharma. Living by alms is not Raja Dharma.All
Four Vedas and all scriptures echoe that amongst all human beings, King
is greatest. Nothing is equivalent to virtuous “Danda Neeti”.
Therefore Dharmaja! Be passionate towards guests, poor and needy. Be with pure mind without allowing the feelings of happiness, egoism and sorry into your mind. Shed selfishness and strive hard for the welfare of the people.” said Bhishma.
“O Grandsire Bhishma! You have enlightened me with regard to Varna Ashrama Dharmas. Please tell me by which Dharma, people will live happily.” asked Dharmaja.
Bhishma told Dharmaja thus:
People have to instal one amongst them as King and shall live happily under his rule. In the absence of a King, people will become unruly and indulge in illegal and immoral acts. Professions like cultivation, trade and commerce, rearing cattle will be destroyed. Therefore, people cannot live without a king.
At one point of time, there was chaos in the absence of a king. Robberies, debauchery, cruelty became rampant. There was no king to control them. All the human beings approached Brahma and prayed to him to bless them with a king to protect them.
Lord Brahma appointed Manu as King. Manu declined to be the King for those who always speak falsehood. All the human beings told Manu thus:
“We will pay half of the value of cattle and gold to king. Out of the harvested paddy, one-tenth will be paid towards tax. With that money, you acquire sufficient army, punish the criminals and wrong doers, and protect righteous people. All the people will abide by your rulings. All criminals and wrong doers will be punished by you. One sixth of Dharma acquired by virtuous people will belong to you.” prayed the human beings. Manu accepted their prayers. Then Manu ruled this universe with his prowess in a righteous manner.
Therefore, King Dharmaja! Abiding by the rulings of King is the duty of his subjects. People shall worship King as equivalent to God. If, by mistake, king violates Dharma, people should ignore it. If the people regard the King in the above manner, the enemies also will be afraid of the King. If the subjects dont care for the King, how can we expect enemies to care for the king.
Providing the King with suitable chariots, horses and elephants, crown, throne, good residential palace, sumptuous food, costly garments, faithful body guards etc. is the duty of the people. King is the root for all Dharmas and Raja Dharma. Kingdom without a king is equivalent to a pond without water. Without the protection of King, people cannot live happily. There will be no protection for their life and property. People will be afflicted with fear and anxiety. People can perform Yajnas and Yagas only under the guidance of the King. King will conquer his enemies and distribute their wealth to poor and needy. The King shines like sun while collecting information from spies; the king will behave like Yama while punishing criminals. Therefore, King is regarded as equivalent to God.
One who controls his senses and worships King, will
be honoured by the King. People will be the body of the King and the
King is the soul of people. Therefore, people shall worship king and
King shall protect people.” said Bhishma to Dharmaja.
Bhishma continued to say thus:
“O Dharmanandana! A king shall first conquer himself. One who could not conquer himself cannot conquer his enemies. Conquering himself means conquering his desires, anger, passion, greediness, aggrandizement and jealousy. He should become conqueror of sense organs. Then only he can conquer his enemies effortlessly.
The King shall appoint efficient army personnel to protect the borders of his kingdom, the townships villages in his kingdom, all citadels in his kingdom, main entrances to citadels, his inner apartments etc.
King shall see not only through his physical eyes but also through his spies. The king shall plant spies not only in the kingdoms of his enemies, but also in his own kingdom, and in his inner apartments also. He shall collect information from all sources effectively.
If for any reason, if a King becomes weak, even before his enemy knows about his weakness, the King shall make friendship with another strong King. In case a king is defeated, he should make friendship with his enemy even by paying heavy taxes. Then the King should wait for an opportunity and wage war against the enemy while he is relaxing. The King should kill his enemy either by administering poison or setting fire to his citadel etc and shatter his kingdom.
But the King shall not pick up unnecessary quarrel or battle with his neighbouring kingdoms. He should use the four types of plans, Sama, daana, bedha and danda. First he should send emissaries and warn his enemy in soft words. Next the king shall create differences between his enemy kings. Thirdly, he should make friendship with his enemies even by offering huge gifts. Lastly, the king should resort to war with his enemy.
The king shall rule his people with love and affection. King should collect 1/6th of the income as tax. The king shall draw and execute developmental plans with regard to forests, cattle, mines etc. by employing efficient officers and staff. The King shall supervise the developement plans personally. Then only the kingdom will be developed.
The King shall make arrangements to protect his fort always. The King shall store food grains, grass for cattle, food for horses, medicines, all kinds of machinery in abundance to meet any eventuality. The King should see that wells are dug for supply of drinking water and water for agricultural purposes. King should employ efficient army personnel. The King shall always be vigilant about external aggression and shall make arrangements that the aggressors shall not get food and water on their way.
The King shall always protect his ministers, treasury, army, forts etc. effectively. The King shall always follow Dharma, Ardha and Kama effectively. The King shall equally observe characteristics of Satva, Rajas and Tamas in his day to day life. Even if the King transgresses ardha and kama, he shall not transgress Dharma at any cost. The King shall not succumb to his sensual pleasures.
The King shall abandon the vices arising out of Kama viz., dice game, hunting, lusting, drinking, lavish spending etc., the feelings arise out of anger viz, speaking and behaving rudely, punishing others unnecessarily etc.,
The King shall adopt study of Vedas, performing Yajnas and Yagas, making gifts and charities. The King shall not be influenced by the words of crooks and wretched. The King shall always keep company with virtuous and righteous people and rule the people effectively. The King shall worship Brahmins and deities daily. The King shall offer Pitru Tarpanams. Such a King will be acclaimed not only in this world but in the heaven also.” said Bhishma to Dharmaja.
“O Grandsire! Kindly let me know how the King shall use Danda Neeti.” asked Dharmaja.
Bhishma said thus:
“Even from the beginning, King was applying Danda Neeti in a virtuous manner. By applying Danda Neeti in a virtuous manner, Dharma will prevail. Then only his deeds will yield good results. The life span of people will increase. Earth will give good yield without ploughing. This was the position in Krita Yuga.
After the advent of Treta Yuga, Dharma will slightly diminish. It will move with three feet only. People will be satisfied with that only. Later in Dwapara Yuga, Dharma will move with two feet only. In the coming Kali Yuga, Dharma will move only with one foot. Kings will lose interest in following Dharma. Adharma will increase. Varna Ashrama Dharmas will be transgressed. All this will happen in course of time. Therefore, King has to follow Raja Neeti not according to time but according to the norms in Krita Yuga. Then only Dharma will move with four feet. Otherwise, Dharma will diminish in course of time.
Therefore, the King has to adopt the following principles:
It is the duty of the King to provide all amenities to the people before collecting taxes. (This doctrine is called in legal parlance as Quid Pro Quo.(latin word). It means “something for something”. The Government shall provide amenities to the people equal to the value of taxes collected. This doctrine was enunciated by Bhishma even in Dwapara Yuga).
It is the responsibility of the King to protect his people and also provide all necessities to them. Whatever Yajnas and Yagas he performed, they cannot be equated with the welfare of the people.
Dharmaja! In the past, King Pururava ruled this earth. Once Pururava asked Vayudeva thus:
“O Vayu! Amongst Brahmins and Kshatriyas, who is essential for this earth?”
Vayu said thus: “O Pururava! Brahmins were born from the face of Brahma; Kshatriyas were born from his arms, Vaisyas were born from thighs and Sudras were born from his feet. As Brahmins were born from face, they are entitled to enjoy and give to others as charity, all the wealth on this earth. To execute Danda Neeti, Kshatriya was born. Peace-loving Brahmin was deputed as Purohit to a Kshatriya. King has to provide all kinds of wealth to his Purohit and rule this earth. The duty of a King is to destroy any kind of fear from the minds of people.” said Vayu to Puroorava.” said Bhishma to Dharmaja.
Then Dharmaja asked another question: “O Grandsire Bhishma! What are the duties of a Brahmin to enjoy the respect of one and all.” asked Dharmaja.
Bhishma said thus:
“O son of Pandu, in the past, Sukrcharya told
about the qualities of a Purohit. Under the supervision of Purohit,
King has to perform Yajnas and Yagas and satisfy divine bodies, Garudas
Gandharvas, Vidyadharas etc. Without the protection of Purohit, the
demons will harass the king. Purohit will perform necessary rituals
and avoid all evils. Purohit also will destroy the enemies with his
Mantras and Tantras. Therefore, you have to employ an efficient purohit
and rule the earth. If the Purohit is wicked and greedy, he will cause
harm and much hardship even to the King. Therefore a Purohit must be
virtuous, clean, wise and healthy.
Kshatriya was born out of Brahmin. Brahmin was appointed by Kshatriya. Therefore, both Kshatriya and Brahmin are interdependent. They have to respect each other. Otherwise, people will never respect the king and Purohit. Adharma will prevail. If there is no coordination between Brahmin and Kshatriya, Rudra will be angry. Hence, Brahmin and Kshatriya shall respect each other.
Kubera told Muchikunda about the qualities of Purohit thus:
In the ancient past, King Muchikunda fought with Kubera. Kubera conquered Muchikunda. Muchikunda found fault with his Purohit for his defeat. The Purohit performed Homas, Poojas and penance and with his Mantras and Tantras, he fortified the army of Muchikunda. Then Muchikunda again waged war against Kubera.
Kubera heckled Muchikunda:“You have come again backed by the power of your Purohit but not of your own strength.”
Then Muchikunda told Kubera: “Kubera! The King and Purohit are depending one upon another. Therefore, my purohit is my strength. Let us fight” said Muchikunda.
“O Muchikunda! I wont fight with you. If you want my kingdom, I will gladly give it to you.” said Kubera.
“I dont want your kingdom as charity. I will conquer you and acquire your kingdom.” said Muchikunda.
Kubera felt very much happy for the prowess of Muchikunda.“Muchikunda,I am defeated with your righteousness.” declared Kubera.
Then Muchikunda ruled the entire earth for many years.
Therefore, King Dharmaja! You also rule this earth by protecting your people. That is Raja Dharma.” said Bhishma.
“O Grandsire Bhishma! Suppose if the Brahmins and other caste people abandon their caste professions, what is the duty of the King?” asked Dharmaja.
Bhishma told thus:
“O son of Dharma! In case of great disaster, if anybody transgresses his caste or dharma, they will not be inflicted with any sin. But if a Brahmin holds sword and fights, he looses his Brahmanism and will become Kshatriya. In the same manner, if a Brahmin, leaving his own Dharma does cultivation, trading etc. he will become Vysya. Similarly, if a Brahmin adopts Sudra dharma and serves others for money, he will be called Sudra. In the same manner, people in the other castes also, if they adopt or follow Dharma of other castes, he will be transformed into the other castes and will be deprived of their own castes. They will not be entitled to follow the dharma of their own caste, again.
Therefore, King shall have knowledge about this and see that his subjects shall not transgress their own dharma. The King will get one fourth of Punya or Papa acquired by his subjects. Therefore, if his people transgress Varna, Ashrama Dharmas, the King will get one fourth of the sin acquired by his people.” said Bhishma.
“O Grandsire Bhishma! At no point of time, I was inclined to rule this country and enjoy the royal pleasures. I am doubtful whether I can discharge my duties as a King effectively. Ruling the kingdom is a sinful act. Even against my conscience, I have to apply Danda Neeti against the people and incur their displeasure. Therefore I intend to relinquish this kingdom and retire to forests again” Dharmaja again reiterated his earlier stand.
Bhishma laughed at him:
“You are a Kshatriya. But you are seeking detachment from these worldly pleasures. How is it called Raja Dharma? You are soft minded which not the quality of a Kshatriya is. Neither your father, King Pandu nor your grand father, Vichitra Veerya is here to lead you in right path. Hence listen to my words.
All the Kings who ruled this earth earlier, followed Raja Dharma and Danda Neeti. In the same manner, you also rule this earth. Performing Yajnas and Yagas is Kshatriya Dharma. Refusing to follow Kshatriya Dharma is a sin. You have to follow Varna Ashrama Dharma and you have to make your people to follow Varna Ashrama Dharma. That is Raj Dharma.
In this connection, I will tell you a story. In the past, King of Kekaya went to forests to study vedas. He was caught by a Rakshasa. Kekaya King could not resist that demon. Kekaya King told the demon thus:
“In my kingdom, there are neither thefts nor debauchery. Brahmins are studying Vedas and performing Yajnas and Yagas. Kings are worshipping Brahmins and performing Yajnas. Vysyas are engaged in cattle rearing and trading. Sudras are serving the above three classes. I and my people do not commit any sin. Why have you detained me like this.” asked Kekaya King.
That demon was very happy. That demon appreciated the virtuous ruling of Kekaya King and let him off.” told Bhishma.
Then Dharmaja asked Bhishma: “O Grandsire! How will a brahmin live in his hard days?” asked Dharmaja.
Bhishma said thus:
“If a Brahmin is unable to live peacefully by following his own Dharma, he can adopt Vysya Dharma. But, out of greediness, he shall not trade in salt, gingelly, meat, cows, cattle, food, liquor, ghee and oils etc.” said Bhishma.
“O Grandsire! How are Yajnas to be performed?” asked Dhrmaja.
Bhishma said thus:
“O son of Dharma! Yajnas have to be performed with utmost devotion, care and attention. One should not perform Yajnas in a casual manner. One should not disrespect Vedas. At the end of Yajnas, one has to offer gifts to Brahmins and satisfy them.
Tapas is much better than Yajnas and Yagas. Tapas means, be pleasant, nonviolent, truthful, self control and passionate.” Said Bhishma.
“O Grandsire! Who has the King to trust? In the absence of trustworthy friends, can a king discharge his duties effectively?” asked Dharmaja.
Bhishma said thus:
“King shall not believe anybody blindly. King shall not remain aloof without believing anybody. King shall remain neutral. King shall appear to have believed everybody but be vigilant to accomplish his tasks. A true friend will always wish the welfare of King. With his friendship, King will flourish. If a king entrusts all tasks to a friend who is ever vigilant, those tasks will surely be discharged effectively. King shall always respect a friend who treats pleasures and sorrows equally. If such a friend becomes his Minister, he will surely discharge his duties effectively without giving way for anger, lust or passion.
It is better that King shall have brothers. Even if they are bad, king has to respect them. Because, brothers, relations and friends will be additional strength to King. The enemy kings will never dare to stare at a king who has brothers, friends and relatives in abundance. Even if the King has differences of opinion with his brothers and relatives, he should appear to have good relations with them. Some will be appreciating and boasting the King in his presence but will always be finding faults with the king behind his back. Such people will never hesitate to cause harm to King. Therefore, the King must be vigilant with regard to such people. Identifying and liquidating them forthwith is Raja Neeti.” said Bhishma.
Then Dharmaja asked Bhishma about acquisition of wealth. Bhishma said thus:
For a king acquisition of wealth is a must. It is the responsibility of the King to safeguard the treasury. I will tell you one story.
In the ancient past, there was a sage called Kalakavruksheeya. He was having a crow. He kept it in a cage. He spread rumours that crow was a divine crow which will reveal, past, present and future. Along with the crow, that sage went to the King of Kosala, by name Kshema Darsi.
“O King! This is a divine crow. You are careless with regard to your Treasury. Due to your carelessness, you will land in trouble. This divine crow will tell about your future troubles. This divine crow will reveal details of those who are in your office and digging pits behind you and who will cause harm to you in future.” said the sage.
The King was astonished. The King welcomed the sage and asked him to stay in the palace for that night. On that night, some employees in the royal court killed that crow.
Next day, the sage informed the King about the killing of the crow.
“O King! Now I will tell the truth. My name is Kalakavruksheeya. I was the best friend of your father. After the death of your father, I was not inclined to remain in the kingdom. Hence I retired to forests. After the death of your father, you became the King. I have come here to know about your welfare and about your administration. I have gone round your kingdom. Though you are striving hard to establish a welfare state, I understand that due to the conspiracy of some miscreants, your kingdom is in danger. I wish to reveal that fact to you.
In fact that crow has no divine powers. It is an ordinary crow. I spread such a rumour that it is a divine crow. Everybody including those miscreants in your administration believed it. Apprehending that the crow will reveal their conspiracy, those miscreants killed that crow. Therefore, the real miscreants are very much present in your inner apartments only. Now do as I tell you. You drive me out of your palace scolding me that I am a cheat. Then, by using your intelligence, you find out those culprits, create differences between them, and punish them. That is your present task” said Kalakavruksheeya.
The King was thankful to that sage. Accordingly, the King punished those culprits. Therefore, Dharmaja, a friend shall be of that nature.” said Bhishma.
“O Grandsire Bhishma! What are the qualities and characteristics of a Minister?” asked Dharmaja.
Bhishma said thus:
“Dharmaja! A minister shall possess the following
10. He shall not disclose his faults to the enemies
and shall always find faults of enemies.
The King shall speak with the people with smiling face and make them happy. The people will never feel happy by receiving gifts and hearing sweet words from King. The King shall be kind towards his subjects.” said Bhishma.
“O Grandsire Bhishma! While administering justice and discharging judicial functions, how will a King remain unattached.” asked Dharmaja.
Bhishma said thus:
“Honesty, impartiality and purity are essential qualities of a King while delivering judgments. Those judgments must be legal and lawful. While delivering judgments, King may take the assistance of Brahmins who regard truth. King should give patient hearing to both parties and deliver his judgment according to law following legal principles.
The King shall not be bribed by the rich while administering justice. The sentences shall be commensurate to the offence committed. If the King adopts partiality in delivering judgments, people will never approach the King for justice. The King shall act diligently and legally while imposing punishments viz., hanging (capital punishment), confiscating the properties of the accused and awarding imprisonment. The King shall not be enraged with wrath while the emissaries are expounding the words of their respective Rulers. Killing an emissary or ambassador is great sin. King will go to hell.
I will narrate the qualities of an emissary or ambassador.
I will now tell the qualities of an army general. An Army General shall be an expert in arraying his forces in different unconquerable vyoohas. He must be an expert in manufacturing and launching of several arms and ammunition. He must be well-versed in different kinds of skills in warfare. The King must not be overconfident even with regard to his own sons. The King shall act as if he trusts each and everyone but analyse merits and demerits of each and every person and act accordingly. That is Raja Dharma.” said Bhishma.
“O Grandsire Bhishma! Please enlighten me about the main requisites of a capital and its fort.” asked Dharmaja.
Bhishma told thus:
“Dharmaja! Around the fort there must be a deep trench, with full water and crocodiles. The fort shall be built with sufficient gates protected by security personnel. Inside the city, the streets must be wide, with houses, shops, built on either side of the streets. There must be ware houses storing sufficient food grains, pulses, oils, ghee and other consumables. To protect the fort, there must be several arms and ammunition, good armoury and well armed warriors. The city shall be equipped with well educated scholars, servant maids, servants etc.
It is the duty of the king to give protection to all
his subjects, their wealth and properties, their friends and relatives.
In the important towns and cities in his kingdom, the King shall employ
faithful officers, highest officials, Judges with good salaries and
rule the kingdom without hindrance to Varna Ashrama Dharmas.
During war, kill your enemies. During peace perform Yagas and Yajnas. Identify poor and needy brahmins and extend your helping hand to them. In this connection, I will tell you the words spoken to by Uthadhyu to Mandhata.
“The King was born only to protect Dharma. Therefore, king should shed his anger, desires and aggrandizement and become virtuous. The people will prosper only by adopting Dharma. Dharma was derived from Brahmins. King shall worship Brahmins with great devotion. Along with wealth, King will get egoism. Even the divine bodies or sages and saints will vanish if they are influenced by egoism. Therefore, kings shall not be egoistic.
The King shall not lust for others wives. In such a kingdom, rains will never fall. People will be in pitiable condition. Epidemics will spread. King will be deprived of his prowess. His friends and relatives will leave him. Enemies will invade his kingdom. Therefore the King shall not indulge in such unlawful acts. A virtuous king will feel happy along with his sons, friends and relatives” said Utadhya to Mandhata” told Bhishma to Dharmaja.
“O Grandsire! How will the King prosper in a virtuous path?” asked Dharmaja.
Bhishma said thus:
“O Dharmanandanaa! In the past, Vasumana, King of Kosala questioned Saint Vamadeva in the same manner. Saint Vama Deva gave the following reply:
The King shall show greater interest in ruling the kingdom in a righteous manner rather than earning money. If the king misbehaves to earn more money, that money will not remain with him. Besides he will be defamed and will go to hell. Therefore, earning money in a righteous manner is quite essential for a King.
The King shall always see that his army personnel are living with contentment. This will help the King while fighting with enemy. The King shall not be desirous of waging wars against the neighbouring kings, unnecessarily. The King shall shed anger and egoism and keep friendly relations with neighbouring kingdoms. Such Kings shall not have any enemies.
Even if the neighbouring kings bear enmity with the King, the King shall resolve the problems amicably. While there are internal differences and dissatisfaction in his own army, the King shall not wage war against neighbouring kings. In such a situation, the King should make peace pact with his enemy, at any cost. If the King fails in adopting Sama, Dana, Bedha, and Danda neeti, the King shall adopt Sukra Neeti. That is called “upeksha” means, ignoring the situation for the present without taking any action against enemy.” said Saint Vamadeva to Vasumana” said Bhishma to Dharmaja.
“O Grandsire! While fighting with enemy and conquering him, what kind of principles of war have we to adopt?” asked Dharmaja.
Bhishma said thus:
“The fight shall always be between equals. While the enemy is fighting with four kinds of forces viz., chariots, elephants, horses and foot soldiers, you also use the same forces in battle. While the enemy is fighting alone, you also should attack the enemy alone. If the enemy is adopting wicked ideas and resorting to miracle war, you also should adopt the same strategy.
You should not kill a soldier, who is fleeing away from the battle field; who is in danger; whose sword or bow is broken; who falls from the horse; who is fighting with another person etc. Instead of killing such persons, it is better to die while fighting righteously with enemy.
A king shall not die lying on a bed in his house .A king shall not flee away from the battle field. Dying in battle field is excellent for a king. None should shoot poisonous arrows. Surrounding the enemy”s city, harassing and ill-treating the citizens is a great sin. A King shall not be so cruel. A king should avoid plundering the houses of Brahmins and temples.” said Bhishma.
“O Grandsire! Hence I already told you that there is no greater sin except Raja Dharma. Viewing from any angle, a King shall go to hell.” said Dharmaja.
“What you say is true” said Bhishma. “But there is a remedy. Hospitalisation of those who are injured in the battle, extending financial help to the families of the deceased soldiers, respecting Brahmins, performing Yajnas and Yagas etc. are some of the remedies. Ruling the kingdom as per Raja Dharma will lead to higher regions.” said Bhishma.
“O Grandsire! What regions will be available for those who died in war.” asked Dharmaja.
Bhishma said thus:
“O Dharmaja! Previously, there was a conversation between Indra and Ambarisha. King Ambarisha performed many Yajnas and Yagas. After his death, he went to Svarga. In Svarga Loka he found Sudeva, who worked as a soldier in his army, roaming in a splendid aircraft. Immediately, Ambarisha asked Indra:
“O Indra! In my kingdom, he was a soldier who served me. He did not perform any Yajnas and yagas. For what reason he is enjoying more pleasures than me.” asked Ambarisha.
Indra said thus: “Ambarisha! In the past, there was a Rakshasa called SataSrunga. He had three sons called Sadama, Vidama and Dama. Those three Rakshasas fought with you. You deputed Sudeva to fight with those Rakshasas. You specifically told Sudeva to return only with victory or prefer to die in the battle field. Sudeva attacked those three Rakshasas. Sudeva thought that he was not capable of fighting a miracle war with those Rakshas and his defeat was certain. Hence, Sudeva sent back his army and began to worship Maha Siva. He was about to sacrifice his head at the feet of Maha Siva. Maha Siva appeared before Sudeva and said:
“O Sudeva! You are a great hero. You shall not die like this. You should fight and die in the battle field” so saying, Maha Siva gave Sudeva one divine chariot, divine bow and arrow pouch.
“Go and fight with the enemy. But never set your foot on earth” ordered Maha Siva.
Sudeva rushed against the Rakshasas and killed Sadama and Dama. Beholding the death of his brothers, Vidama was enraged with great wrath and attacked Sudeva. In that confusion, Sudeva forgot the caution of Maha Siva and got down the chariot and set his foot on the ground. Immediately, Vidama cut the head of Sudama with his sword. Sudeva also in turn cut the head of Vidama. Both fell down and died. You got the Victory. As Sudeva died in the battle field while fighting with enemy, he attained higher regions in Svarga. Therefore, King Ambarisha! Performing several Yajnas and Yagas are not equal to a heroic death in battle field.” said Indra to Ambarisha.
Dharmaja! On another occasion, there was a great fight between King Janaka and his enemy. King Janaka summoned all the generals in his army and addressed them: “O Heroes of war! The heroic heaven is ready and waiting for those who die in the battle field. A hell, full of sorrows, is ready for those cowards who flee from battle field. You choose whatever you like” said King Janaka.
Realising the intention of King Janaka, the soldiers fought in the battle field without caring for their lives. King Janaka was victorious. Therefore, Dharmaja! The gates of heaven will always be open for those who die in battle field.” said Bhishma to Dharmaja.
Thus, Vaisampayana told Janamejaya, the story of Mahabharata.