Vaisampayana told Janamejaya the story of Mahabharata.
While Bhishma was clearing off the doubts raised by Dharmaja, Dharmaja again asked Bhishma thus:
“O Grandsire Bhishma! What is the right time to wage war against enemies and what are the preparations to be made for war. Kindly tell me” asked Dharmaja.
“O Dharmaja! One should not proceed with the war during rainy season and winter season. You should start making war preparations even before summer and after harvest. After harvest, food grains will be available in abundance. You can continue the war for long.
While proceeding against the enemy, you should choose a path where water and grass is available in plenty. You should carry sufficient number of flags, armoury, swords, shields, chariots etc. Conches, trumpets etc shall be blown with great sound which should create terror in the minds of enemies. You have to always camp on plains. While the enemy troops are proceeding through difficult passes or while they are tired and while they are taking rest, you have to suddenly attack them and kill them.
You have to choose convenient paths for your troops, cavalry, elephant forces and chariots. I will tell you how to array the troops in the war front. Foot soldiers with swords and spears shall stand in the forefront. Behind them should stand the bowmen with bows and arrows. The cavalry should stand behind them. Behind the cavalry should stand the elephant forces. Behind the elephant forces, the chariots should be stationed.
While arraying the forces, the Army General shall keep in mind the ability and talent of the different kinds of forces. The warriors from Gandhara, Sindh and Souveera regions are experts in sword fight and using spears. The soldiers from Ouseenara area are experts in using all kinds of weapons. The warriors from eastern regions are experts in moving elephant forces. Yavana, Kambhoja warriors are experts in horse fight. Ghoorjara warriors are experts in archery skills. Warriors from Malava region are experts in car fighting.” said Bhishma.
“O Grandsire! What are the qualities to be possessed by our army to acquire easy victory?” asked Dharmaja.
“Dharmaja! You have to always fill courage in the minds of all kinds of forces. You have to keep the forces always cheerful. Good omens should appear before proceeding for war. It is highly sinful to wage war unreasonably, without any provocation. Killing the enemy while fleeing away is a great sin. Even if your forces are smaller in number, if you proceed against the enemy with greatest vigour and valour, the enemy will flee. King shall have patience but within certain limits. Over patience is always dangerous. If the enemy is provoking you for war, better to conquer him without observing patience.” said Bhishma.
“O Grandsire! What would be the behaviour of a king with regard to his enemy.” asked Dharmaja.
“Dharmaja! Wait and kill the enemy without hurry. First, the king has to lure the enemy with soft words and then kill him while he is relaxing. The King shall never be light hearted with regard to his enemies. At the same time, the king should not provoke the enemy unnecessarily. While peace talks are in progress, King shall never provoke the enemy for war. When his time is bad, the King should take a step backward and enter into a peace pact. Then he should wait for an opportunity and kill the enemy. King shall eliminate enemies one by one slowly but not in hasty manner. King shall never bear grudge against his enemies at a time because all his enemies may unite together and do away with the king.” said Bhishma.
“O Grandsire Bhishma! What would be the behaviour of a king with regard to a defeated enemy.” asked Dharmaja.
“O Dharmaja! In the past, Kshemadarsi, King of Kosala lost his kingdom and exiled to forests. There he met his ex-minister, by name Kalakavruksheeya. Kalakavruksheeya told Kshemadarsi thus:
“If we are aware of the truth that all these wealth and pleasures are not eternal, we live happily whether we are wealthy or poor. When we are not capable of protecting our own father and mother from death, how can we protect our wealth and happiness? Even if we lament for our kith and kin, we cannot get back them alive. Similarly, we cannot get back our wealth and happiness, even if we feel sorrow for ever. If we are aware of this truth, we feel eternal happiness, whether we are rich or poor. We have to satisfy that everything is the blessing of God. If we are blessed, the wealth and prosperity will be showered on us, unasked for. If we are not blessed, complete destruction will happen. Therefore, wealth and prosperity are not eternal. Whether we are rich or poor, we have to lead a peaceful and contended life. If our time is bad, it is better to be friendly even with our enemy. When time is in your favour, you have to acquire sufficient army and defeat your enemy.” said Kalakavruksheeya.
Then Kalakavruksheeya went as an emissary on behalf of King of Kosala, to the King of Videha and entered into a peace pact. Kosala King and Videha King entered into matrimonial alliances.
Therefore, Dharmaja! For a Kshatriya, victory or defeat is quite natural. He should not care for either.” said Bhishma.
“O Grandsire, Bhishma! Kindly tell me how to control the employees in the inner apartments and also in the working places.” asked Dharmaja.
“O Dharmaja! Employees working in treasuries, in secretariat, military personnel working in armouries are called staff. The other workers are called sub-staff. King has to regard all of them equally and kind heartedly. As people from different castes and communities are drawn as staff members, they naturally divide themselves according to their castes and communities and quarrel with each other. Jealousy and hatred may develop amongst them. The administration will be spoiled. Therefore, King has to take care that such things shall not happen. King shall treat all of them equally and impartially and see that they should not feel inequality. Unless the staff is united, the Kingdom cannot flourish with peace and prosperity.” said Bhishma.
“O Grand Sire Bhishma! Dharma is four kinds. Of these, which is best? Kindly tell me” asked Dharmaja.
“Dharmaja! Mother, father, preceptor are to be worshipped and to be followed. That is the foremost dharma. Mother, father and preceptor are equal to three vedas, three sacred fires and Brahma, Vishnu and Maheswara. Of these, mother is most respectable. Speaking truth is the best of all. Telling a lie is a great sin.
But there are some exceptions. While one’s life and property are in danger, he can speak a lie. While saving himself and others, he can speak a lie. A truth which is harmful to general public is not acceptable but a lie which is for betterment of the society is acceptable.” told Bhishma.
“O Grandsire! Who can get rid of their sins?” asked Dharmaja.
“O Dharmaja! Those who scrupulously follow Varna Ashrama Dharmas, who are not entangled in worldly vices, who remain with patience even if they are unnecessarily blamed; who worship guests; who study vedas; who worship sacred fire daily, who fight with enemy without turning back; who always speak truth; who worship all deities equally with the same devotion; can vanquish their sins effortlessly. Such people will always be protected by Lord Vishnu. As Lord Vishnu, in the form of Sri Krishna, is by your side, no sin will dare to approach you.” said Bhishma.
“O son of Ganga! Some appear to be soft but cruel in mind and some appear to be harsh but soft in mind. How can we assess them and know their inner mind?” asked Dharmaja.
“Dharma! In answer to your question, I will tell the story of a fox and tiger. King Pourika ruled the city Purika. He was so cruel and autocrat. After his death, he took birth as a fox in a forest. He wanted to lead the life as fox in a virtuous and non-violent manner. He was living by eating leaves, roots and fruits. The other foxes told him: “By birth, we are non vegetarian. How can you live as vegetarian? ” The fox remained silent.
On hearing this, a tiger who was ruling that forest came down to the fox. “I heard that you are kindhearted and virtuous. I want to make friendship with you. All are of the opinion that I am a cruel animal. If I am by your side, that blame can be removed.” said the tiger.
“O King of Tigers! What you said is true. But I am not interested in these worldly pleasures. Hence I cannot accept your offer. But I will be by your side and give proper advice from time to time. I will make friendship with you. But your kith and kin and friends may not like it. They may develop grudge and enemity against you. If you do not accede to their evil thoughts, I will be your friend .” said the fox.
Tiger readily agreed to his words. Both tiger and fox were moving together as friends. But the other tigers did not like this. They wanted to create differences between the tiger and fox. One day, they kept the meat intended for the tiger, in the cave of the fox. They went to the tiger and complained that the fox grabbed the meat. Believing their words, Tiger ordered the fox to be killed. On hearing this, the mother of the tiger chastised the tiger.
“O my son! You are committing a mistake. Without knowing the truth, you ordered the fox to be killed. It is wrong. Has the fox told anything at any time against your own tigers? Your servants are cheaters from the beginning. Dont heed their words. It is quite natural that idiots will envy learned, ugly will envy handsome; have-nots will always envy haves. But you are a king. You have to use your mind and take a proper decision without haste. O my son! By outward appearance, some times dharma may appear as Adharma. In the same manner, some times, Adharma may appear to be Dharma. Wise and learned should try to know the difference and act accordingly. You know so much about fox. After all, for the sake of a piece of meat, will the fox behave like this? Think for yourself. Is it proper on your part to order the fox to be killed, basing on the scandals spread by your wretched companions. It is quite unbecoming of a King. A king should always consider everything scrupulously and take a proper decision. Hasty decisions are always dangerous. ” said the mother of Tiger.
Meanwhile, fox arrived there and came to know about this. “O King of Tigers! In the beginning, you praised me as virtuous and righteous. With the same voice, you are now blaming me. You promised me that you will never heed to the words of your companions. Now you have violated your promise. I cannot remain here anymore.” so saying the fox went away.
Therefore, Dharmaja! Hasty decisions taken basing on some scandals spread by some wretch and evil, are always dangerous.” said Bhishma.
“O Grandsire! What would be the behaviour of a king to remain happy and peaceful?” asked Dharmaja.
“O Dharmaja! The King shall never be lazy and shall not postpone any work for tomorrow. Delay is always dangerous. King shall never feel inability and helplessness to do anything. Without the above two qualities, the King will always be happy and peaceful. I will tell you a story about lazyness. Once, a camel did penance about Brahma. Brahma appeared. Camel prayed Brahma that its neck should stretch for 100 yojanas. Brahma blessed the camel as such. Camel stopped roaming for its food. It stationed at one convenient place and stretched its head to a long distance and picked its food. Once there was a heavy rain. The camel stretched its neck and kept its head in a nearby cave. A fox rushed into the cave in search of food. The fox found the head of camel without body. The fox cut the neck of camel into pieces and ate it. The lazy camel met its tragic death. Therefore, laziness and idleness are always dangerous.” said Bhishma.
“O Grandsire Bhishma! If the forces of enemy are greater than our forces, tell me how to fight with the enemy?” asked Dharmaja.
“O Dharmaja! Once, the ocean asked the rivers thus: “O rivers! While you are flowing with great current into the sea, trees with huge trunks standing on the banks will fall and float in the rivers. But small grass stems will never fall. What is the secret?” asked the ocean.
“It is so simple. The large trees standing on our banks will stand erect with great pride. They cannot withstand our current and fall down. But the grass stems will bow their heads to the current and raise their heads after the current has subsided.” said the river.
Therefore, Dharmaja! A weak king should first assess the strength and power of his enemy and act accordingly. He should not foolishly enter into war.” said Bhishma.
“O Bhishma! If I am unable to get suitable candidates for being appointed in higher positions, what should I do?” asked Dharmaja.
“O Dharmaja! In this connection, I will tell you one story. In the past, in a forest, a saint was doing tapas. In his Ashram, there were many domestic and cruel animals and they were living amicably, without enmity with each other. One faithful dog was always accompanying the saint where ever he went .A tiger could not tolerate this. One day the tiger jumped upon the dog. The dog was shivering with fear. The saint transformed the dog into another tiger. On seeing the tiger, the first tiger fled away. At another time, an elephant attacked the dog. The saint transformed the dog into an elephant. The first elephant fled away. Likewise, whenever any cruel animal attacked the dog, the saint transformed the dog into such an animal. Beholding this the dog entertained a doubt. “Out of pity, the saint was transforming me into several cruel animals. Out of the same pity, the saint may transform another dog into a cruel animal and that cruel animal may attack me. Then what about my fate? Therefore, I will kill this saint.” So thinking the dog while she was in the form of a tiger, tried to kill the saint. With his divine vision, the saint could grasp the idea of the dog. The saint transformed it into its original form, as a dog, permanently.
Therefore, Dharmaja! If you appoint wicked and bad people in higher positions, they will never forget their original qualities. Therefore, you have to assess their character and conduct and then appoint them in higher positions. If a person is possessed of vigour, valour, truthfulness, righteousness, and devotion, even if he is lowborn, he can be appointed in higher positions. You need not consider his caste. Lion will always develop friendship with another lion not with a dog. But while appointing workers, you have to give preference to both caste and skill. A worker with skill and devotion can discharge any kind of duty entrusted to him. But King shall always keep watch over his workers by installing spies amongst them.
I will now tell about Danda Neeti to be observed by the King. This Danda Neeti is intended to protect righteous persons and punish wrong doers and wicked people. Lord Vishnu will be in the form of Danda Neeti. If Danda Neeti is observed scrupulously, the King will acquire pleasures, happiness, morality, profits, strength and protection. If the King fails to apply Danda Neeti, Adharma, corruption and cowardice will prevail in his kingdom. Therefore, keeping in view the welfare of the society, King shall follow Dandaneeti. I will now tell you how this Danda Neeti came into existence.
Once Brahma intended to perform one Yaga. He was searching for a suitable Ritvik (Chief Priest). Once he sneezed. Out of his sneeze, a Ritvik was born. His name was Kshuta. Keeping Kshuta as Ritvik, Brahma performed the Yajna. Then Brahma, along with Vishnu went to Lord Siva. At the request of Brahma and Vishnu, Lord Siva created Danda neeti and studied it. Lord Siva also created Four Vedas (Rigveda, Yajurveda, Sama Veda and Adharvana Veda), six Vedangas (Kalpa, Siksha, Vyakarana, Chandas, Niruktam and Jyotisham); in total 10 subjects; all puranas into one subject, all Dharma Sastras into one subject, legal jurisprudence one subject, Meemaasa one subject......total 14 subjects. Medical science, Dhanurveda, Gandharva, Ardha Sastra, total four subjects. In all 18 subjects. Lord siva created these 18 subjects. Lord Siva handed over these 18 subjects and Danda Neeti to Lord Vishnu. Lord Vishnu handed over these 18 subjects to Kshuta for being spread all over the universe and kept Danda Neeti for himself. Vishnu gave Danda Neeti to be studied to Angeerasa; Angeerasa gave to Indra, Indra to Mareechi, Mareechi to Bhirigu and Bhrigu to several sages and saints. In this manner, Danda Neeti was spread all over the universe.” said Bhishma.
“O Grandsire Bhishma! Tell me how a King shall observe Dharma, Ardha and Kama in his daily life.” asked Dharmaja.
“One should not be enamoured of Kama and desires and the pleasures derived from it. That man cannot achieve Dharma and Ardha. He will always land in trouble. To follow Dharma, Ardha is essential. But King should not forget dharma, while acquring wealth. King shall discard desires and its pleasures. Therefore, Dharma and Ardha are greater than Kama.” told Bhishma.
“O Grandsire! Character is most important for a human being. Do tell me essentials of good character” asked Dharmaja.
“O son of Dharma! While you and your brothers were happy in Indraprastha, Suyodhana was burning with jealousy at Hastinapura. He could not control himself. He approached his father, Dhritarashtra and told him that he could not tolerate the prosperity of Pandavas. Dhritarashtra told Suyodhana thus:
“O my son! When compared to your riches and wealth, the wealth of Dharmaja is meagre but Dharmaja possesses good character. Hence he appears to be wealthier than you.You also develop good character. Then you also will feel wealthiest of all. Your ancestors Mandhata, Nabhagha etc. possessed good character and were worshipped by one and all. Once Prahlada conquered Indra by virtue of his good character and he acquired the control of all the three Lokas. The defeated Indra approached Brihaspati for help. Brihaspati directed him to Sukracharya. Sukracharya in turn directed to approach Prahlada. Indra, under the guise of a brahmin youth, approached Prahlada and was serving him. One day Prahlada asked the brahmin youth about his desire. “O Prahlada! how could you conquer Indra and his three regions.” asked Indra. “I never felt that I am a king and emperor. I have no pride or aggrandizement. I always respect Brahmins. My character made me highest of all and brought me this victory.” said Prahlada. “Then I pray you to give away your character to me” asked Indra. Prahlada gave away his character to Indra. Endowed with character in abundance, Indra went away.
A glorious form came out of Prahlada. Prahlada asked him “Who are you?”. “I am your character. You have given me to Indra I am going to Indra”. Along with character, Dharma, truth, righteousness, strength also left Prahlada. At last, a splendid lady came out of Prahlada. Prahlada asked her “Who are you?”. “I am your wealth and prosperity. Wherever there is character, I will be there. You have relinquished your character. I am also leaving you.” “Kindly tell who was that brahmin youth?” asked Prahlada. “He is Indra. He approached you under the guise of Brahmin youth to get back his control over Svarga and the three regions. He got your character as charity. You lost your character. Prahlada! Character is most important to a human being. Dharma will flourish only with good character. Truth will flourish with dharma. With dharma, vigour, valour, strength will flourish. Where there is strength, wealth and prosperity will be there. Therefore, character is most important.” so saying wealth and prosperity left Prahlada.
‘Suyodhana! You have no character. Hence you are feeling jealous of others. Character means not to cause harm to others even by his thoughts, words and deeds; treating all the human beings equally; refraining from degrading himself and acting according to the pleasure of one and all. It is called character. If you keep this in mind, victory is yours always.” said Dhritarashtra.
Therefore, Dharmaja! You were born with good character. Victory is always yours.” said Bhishma.
“O Grandsire! There is no end for desires and aspirations. If one is unable to accomplish his desire, sorrow will follow. I tried my level best to be friendly with Suyodhana but in vain. I am very much annoyed. Therefore, it is very difficult to suppress the desires and aspirations.” said Dharmaja.
“O Dharmaja! In this connection I will tell you one story. Once, Sumitra,king of Haihaya went into forest for hunting. He shot one animal. But the animal escaped and fled away. The King chased the animal and was tired. He entered the Ashram of a saint. The saint gave him water and some fruits. The name of Saint was Rishabha. “What made you to come over here?” asked Rishabha. “O Saint! I hunted one animal. It escaped. I chased it and entered your Ashram. I am very much distressed as I lost the animal hunted by me.” said Sumitra.
“King Sumitra! I will tell you one thing. Once I went to Badarika Ashram. There I found a saint. A king came to that saint and told him that he lost his son in a forest and was searching for his son. “O King! You lost your son. You are aspiring for your son to be returned to you. There is no wrong. Even if you do not find your son, you should not feel disgusted. You make your trials and search vigorously for your son. You may get back your son or may not. Dont feel distressed. Anyhow, I will find out your son and get him back.” said the Saint. With his divine power, he brought back his son and handed him over to the King. Therefore, King Sumitra, indulging in hunting is wrong. Searching for an animal which is lost and feeling disgusting for not finding that animal is another wrong. Dont go for hunting unnecessarily” said the Saint.
Therefore, Dharmaja! there is no wrong in aspiring for something. But one should not resort to misdeeds to accomplish his aspirations. Then only a man can live happily. Either a humanbeing or king shall earn money because money is quite essential for day to day living or to run administration. But one should not resort to unlawful acts for the sake of money. One should not acquire money or wealth beyond his capacity. One should not strive to become wealthiest of all. It will lead to dire consequences. But earning money is quite essential. Nobody will respect a person without money.
Dharmaja! King shall be more diligent in appointing staff in his army. Thiefs, decoits shall not be appointed in the army. Unscrupulous people will always cause harm to the King. In the past, there was a hunter living in a forest. Though hunting was his profession, he was leading righteous life. He worshipped his parents and saints in the neighbouring Ashrams. The other hunters who were cruel in nature, desired to have him as their leader. They approached him and said: “You have good qualities as well as great strength. You be our leader. We will follow your foot steps.” said the hunters.
“I got some principles. You should not either kill or cause harm to infants, saints, ladies. You should not abduct ladies and outrage their modesty. You should not even hunt female animals. You should not cause harm to cows and brahmins. You should not destroy standing crops in the fields. You should not harass others for the sake of money. If you follow these principles, I will be your leader.” said the hunter. The other hunters agreed. From then onwards, they were transformed into righteous people. With his good qualities and righteous behaviour, that hunter could transform other hunters also into righteous people.
Dharmaja! I will tell you another story. In a pond there were three fishes. They are named as Dheerghadarsi, Praptakaljna and Dheerghasotra. Summer set in. The water in the pond was drying day by day. Dheerghadarsi told the other two fish: “Friends! In this pond, the water is getting dried up. Before the pond is completely dried up, let us move to another pond where there is sufficient water.” said Dheerdarsi. “No I do not agree with you. Let us wait till it is completely dried up. Then we will think about our move. Why should we worry now itself?” said Prapta Kalajna. “Yes what he said is correct. Still there is sufficient water in this pond. For the present there is no worry” said Dheergha sootra. Then Dheerghadarsi alone moved to another pond where there was plenty of water. The summer became severe. The water in the pond completely dried up. Fishermen came there with their fishing nets. Praptaklajna caught the thread of a net and hanging as if it was dead. When the fisherman took out the net from the pond, Praptakalajna jumped into nearby drainage pit and saved its life. But Deerghasootra was caught by the fisherman and killed. Dheergha darsi foresaw the dangerous situation and saved its life. Praptakalajna instantaneously workedout a plan and saved its life. Without any plan, Dheerghasootra died. Therefore for a king foresight is compulsory” said Bheeshma.
“O Grandsire Bhishma! If a king is defeated and caught by the enemy, how can he get out of that calamity?” asked Dharmaja.
“Dharmaja! in this connection I will tell you one story. In a forest,there was a big banyan tree. At the foot of the tree, a rat was living in a hole and a cat was living on a branch. One day, the cat was caught in the net spread by a hunter. As the cat was in the net, the rat was moving around for food without fear. Meanwhile, an owl was coming that side to catch the rat. Rat was afraid of the owl. Rat came running to the cat. “O cat!An owl is coming to eat me. I will save you by biting the net. Will you save from the owl” asked the rat. “Sure, I will certainly save you. But you have to save me” said the cat. “Certainly, I will save you” said the rat and sat by the side of the cat. Beholding cat and rat sitting side by side, the owl ran away. Then the cat asked the rat to bite the net and release her. “Wait. Dont be hurry, I will certainly release you from the net” said Rat. “O rat, I saved you. why you are hesitating to save me.” asked cat.
“O cat! now the hunter will come. Seeing him at a distance, I will bite the net. With the fear of hunter, you will climb the tree, I will enter my hole. If I bite the net now itself, you will certainly eat me. You are more stronger than me. Even if I do friendship for the present, I cannot believe you for ever. I think it is better to be more careful.” said rat.
“Oh what is this? I saved your life. Why cannot you save me.” asked cat. “Trust me cat. I will certainly save you. I know when and how to save you.” said the rat. Meanwhile, the hunter was coming with a big knife. Beholding the hunter, the rat hurriedly bit the threads of the net. The cat ran and climbed the tree. The rat ran into the hole. The cat was very happy.
“O friend, rat, I am very glad to have such a truthful friend like you. Let us be friends from now on wards. I saved you without hesitation. But you did not trust me. Why?” asked the rat. “ O Cat! you are correct. Every body is not capable of recognising who is a friend and who is a foe. Friends are becoming foes and foes are turning into friends. Even if we do friendship with a more powerful person to achieve an object, we have to leave him soon after the task is accomplished. You helped me. In turn, I helped you. That is all. We live as before. If necessity comes, we will help each other. You are my born enemy. God created me as a prey to you. Even I do friendship with you, you will eat me if your mind is changed. Even if your mind is not changed, your kith and kin will not keep quiet. I know you are starving for food throughout the night. If I come out, you will certainly eat me. How can I come before you.” said the rat. “ No no, don’t think like that. How can I forget your help? Because of you only, I am alive. How can I eat you?” said Cat.
“I am also telling the same think. You helped me. I helped you. That is enough. I cannot make friendship with you. Sukraneeti says like this: Out of necessity, if we make friendship with more powerful enemy, soon after the task is accomplished, we have to discard him. If we trust an enemy because he helped us, we will land in trouble. We should not trust an untrustworthy person. We have to trust a trustworthy person to some extent only. Blind belief is always dangerous. Even if he is a reliable friend, we have to pretend as if we trust him. But we should not trust him. Therefore, I live as before without trusting you. You also never trust hunters and their nets.” said the rat.
Therefore, Dharmaja! Even if you take the help of your enemy to conquer another enemy, you have to discard him soon after the task is over.” said Bhishma.
“O Grandsire Bhishma! Kindly tell me whom we have to believe and whom we should not believe. Or can we trust one and all or treat all others as untrustworthy.” asked Dharmaja.
“Dharmaja! Once upon a time, King Brahma Datta developed friendship with a parrot. The parrot got a son. Both the son of the King and the son of parrot were playing. One day, the son of the King killed the son of parrot. Enraged with wrath, the parrot pierced the eyes of king’s son with his claws. He became blind. Then the parrot went to the king and told him: “O king! Your son killed my little parrot and committed a sin. He reaped the consequences. I have not committed any sin. I cannot remain with you anymore. I am going away.” said the parrot. “O parrot! What you said is correct. You are not afflicted with any sin by making my boy blind. But your leaving me is not proper. Let us continue our friendship.” said the king.
“O King! I pierced your son’s eyes. You are bearing grudge upon me. Our reunion is impossible.” said the parrot. “No No. dont say like that. My son killed your little parrot. You made my son blind. Tit for Tat. I am not such a fool to leave your friendship.” said the King. “O king! Once our friendship is broken, it will never be restored even by your sweet words. Grudges will arise out of four elements. (1) by grabbing other’s landed property; (2) land disputes between brothers ; (3)by wordy quarrel between ladies; (4)by hurting others’ feelings. Ill feelings, once started, never end. Once ill feelings start, one should not trust his own parents, brothers, children, bosom friends etc. As I caused harm to your son, you bear grudge against me and it will never end. I cannot continue our friendship believing your sweet words” said the parrot.
“O parrot! All these things will happen by passage of time. We cannot control them. How can I lose your friendship.” said the King. “O King! Though you are soft spoken, the grudge and jealousy are apparent from your words. I cannot remain here anymore.” so saying the parrot flew away.
Therefore, a king shall not trust either his own kith and kin or the people in his kingdom blindly. The king shall appear to be soft spoken but harsh in mind. He appears to be trusting one and all but he shall not trust anybody. With the help of his brothers and cousins, king shall conquer his enemies, and reward them suitably but keep them at a distance. King has to bear his enemies on his shoulders in need and throw them down. Drinking, gambling, hunting and sensual pleasures are natural for Kings. But king shall not exceed his limits and be ever vigilant. King shall keep secrecy till the intended task is accomplished. A king may make promises to the public that he will reward them with certain benefits, but prolong the matter for a long time and at last turn down their request for one reason or other. An incompletely discharged debt, incompletely extinguished fire, incompletely subsided grudge, are always harmful.” said Bhishma.
“O Grandsire! When Dharma deteriorates, famines will occur. What would be the fate of twice born (Dwijas) Brahmins, Kshatriyas and Vysyas during such famines.” asked Dharmaja.
“O Dharmaja! In this connection, I will tell you about the conversation between Visvamitra and a low-caste man. During the interregnum between Treta Yuga and Dwapara Yuga, there was a severe famine. All the rivers and tanks dried up. Cattle were dying. Kings grabbed all the grains remained with the people by way of taxes. Strong were robbing poor. Brahmins transgressed their own dharma and gave up performance of Yajnas and yagas. Unable to bear the hunger, people were dying. During that period, Saint Visvamitra, unable to bear hunger, was going in search of food. By evening, he entered a hamlet where lowcaste people were living. He fell down before a hut. A dead body of a skin-peeled dog, was kept before the hut, for drying. Unable to bear hunger, Visvamitra tried to steal the meat of that dog. That was noticed by a low-caste man.
“Who are you? Why you are stealing the meat of a dog?” asked that man.” I am Saint Visvamitra. I have no food since two days. I am burning with hunger. To save my life, there is no wrong in consuming dog’s meat. Hence I am taking this meat. The Holy Fire consumes each and everything. Same thing with me.” said Visvamitra
“O Saint! Of all the meat, dog’s meat is repulsive. Search for another animal.” asked that man. “As long as Brahman is by my side, I will not be afflicted with any sin. Let me save my life. If I am alive, I will vanquish this sin by performing Yajnas and yagas. I will not leave this life-saving meat.” said Visvamitra.
“O Saint! You are a great saint. Consuming dog’s meat is sinful and unholy.” said that man. “Dont you know that Saint Agasthya consumed meat of Rakshasas. But his name and fame was not diminished. Same thing with me also.” said Visvamitra. “O Saint! Saint Agastya consumed Rakshasas to save the three Lokas. But you are consuming dog meat only to subside your hunger. How can you equate yourself with Saint Agasthya.” said that man. “My body is filled with Awareness of Brahman. Whatever I do is right. Let me eat this meat” said Visvamitra. “Unable to leave this meat, you are saying all these stories. Is it not?” said that man. “I want to retain my life in this body. Please give me this meat. As I am taking this meat with your permission, I will not be afflicted with any sin of committing theft.” said Visvamitra. “O Saint Visvamitra! You are a great saint. I am a low-caste man. How can you take this meat through my hands as charity. I cannot speak more harshly. Take this meat and do whatever you like.” said that man.
Saint Visvamitra consumed that meat and retained his life. Later there were rains and crops were grown. Visvamitra performed many Yajnas and yagas and wiped out that sin committed by him by eating dog meat. Therefore, during hard and difficult days, nothing is wrong.” said Bhishma.
“O Bhishma! What would be the higher regions available for a person who rescued refugees and those who were in danger.” asked Dharmaja.
“O Dharmaja! One day, a hunter went into the forest for hunting and caught some parrots and pigeons. While he was returning home, there was heavy rain with wind. He took shelter under a big tree. He was shivering with cold. He prayed the tree and the deities to save him from the rain and wind and he promised that he will never hunt and kill any animal.
On the branches of that tree a pigeon couple was residing in a nest. The female pigeon went out to fetch food. The male pigeon remained in the nest. “It is dead of night. My wife has not yet returned to nest. She might be suffering a lot in this heavy wind and rain. Without my wife, my life is waste.” the male pigeon was weeping. The male pigeon did not know that the female pigeon was caught by the hunter and kept in his basket.She heard the pathetic words of her husband. “I am so fortunate that I got such a lovely, caring husband.” her heart filled with joy. She cried aloud saying that she was there in the basket. The male pigeon understood its signal.
The female pigeon told her husband: “Today,
the hunter is our guest. Kindly make some arrangements for his comfortable
stay here” said the female pigeon. The male pigeon came down to
the hunter: “You are my guest. Kindly tell me how can I serve
you” asked male pigeon. “For the present, I am shivering
with cold” said the hunter. The male pigeon collected some dry
sticks here and there and lit them. In that fire, the hunter made himself
warm. He expressed about his hunger. “We are birds. We never store
food. Whenever we feel hunger, we go in search of food. We are your
food. Eat me.” so saying the male pigeon fell in the fire. The
hunter was shocked. “I am a wretch . I do not have the knowledge
and wisdom which this pigeon have. My life is waste.” He repented
for his past life and let off all the birds and pigeons caught by him.
“O Grandisre! Tell me how a human being will get rid of his sin committed by him without his knowledge?” asked Dharmaja.
“O Dharmaja! By repentence and performing Asvamedhayaga, all sins, committed either knowingly or unknowingly, will be vanished.” said Bhishma.
Before Dharmaja asking another question, Bhishma told Dharmaja the following story: “Dharmaja! In Vidisha town, in a brahmin family, a boy died. His father and relatives took that body to a burial ground for cremation. Before cremating the body, all the relatives were lamenting for the death of the boy. One eagle and one jackal saw this. The eagle wanted to eat that dead body before sunset as it could not see during nights. The Jackal wanted to eat that body, if the eagle leaves that place. Unless the sun sets in, the eagle will never leave that place. Hence eagle was hurrying them and jackal was delaying them.
The eagle told the relatives: “How long you lament for the dead body. He will never return. The sun is going to set in. During night, demons will come and kill all of you. Hence cremate the body and go away before sunset.” said the eagle. “No. Dont be afraid of the words of eagle. You weep as you like. How can you leave such a beautiful handsome boy? It is not even sunset. Dont be afraid. Having heard your lamentations, any deity may give life to your boy.” said jackal. The relatives again sat around the dead body and began to weep. “How you are paying heed to the words of this foolish Jackal, I do not understand. Look. The body of the body is decomposed. How can he get back his life. The cruel Yama had already taken away the life of this boy. There is no use of lamenting. Cremate the body and leave this place as early as possible” said the eagle.
When they were about to go, the Jackal stopped them. “That eagle is so cruel. My heart is burning while looking at that handsome boy. How can you leave this body. Weep loudly. Some deity will come and give rebirth to your child” said jackal. “I was born 1500 years back. So far, I have not seen anybody coming alive after death. After death, there will be rebirth in another body not in the same body.” said eagle. “Kindly hear one word. In the past, Sri Rama gave life to the dead body of a brahmin boy. Similarly, Saint Narada gave life to the son of Srunjaya. Likewise, some Sidha or Rakshasa will give life to your boy.” said eagle.
Meanwhile, darkness plunged in. Lord Siva arrived there. All the relatives prostrated before Siva and prayed for the life of the boy. Lord Siva gave life to the boy. Therefore, Dharmaja, like Siva, you should also go to the rescue of your subjects. Beware of the people who behave like jackal and eagle, to meet their own ends.
I will tell you another story. In the Himalaya Regions there was a big tree with huge trunk and long branches spread out for a long distance. One day Saint Narada was passing through and saw that tree. “O king of trees! You have spread your branches for a long distance and giving shelter to thousands of birds. You are not shaken even for great cyclones and heavy winds. How can you remain unshaken without being uprooted by heavy winds? What is the reason?” asked Narada. The heart of that tree was filled with pride. “O Saint Narada! After all, Vayu Deva is nothing before my strength. He has not even 1/18th of power which I possess. He cannot do anything.” said the tree. “I heard that even great mountains will be washed away by the power of Vayudeva. All the creatures in this universe are depending on Vayu.” said Narada. “But I am having a large trunk and long branches spread for long distnce. How will Vayu shake me?” said the tree.
Narada went away and informed Vayu about their conversation. Vayu came down to the tree. “Is it true that you told Narada that you are more powerful than me” asked Vayu. “Yes, I said so. You are nothing before me” said the tree. “Simply because Brahma took shelter in your shade for a while and praised you, you are boasting yourself with pride. I will see tomorrow about your strength” Vayu went away. The tree realised his mistake. “unncessarily I disputed with Narada. Now I am in danger. I am nothing before Vayu.” thought the tree. During night, the tree cut its branches for itself and remained without branches. Next day, Vayu arrived there and saw the huge tree without branches. “You have done what I wanted to do. I need not do anything” Vayu went away.
Thereore, Dharmaja! The weak should not pick up quarrel with strong.” said Bhishma.
“O Grandsire, Bhishma! What is the basis for committing a sin? Where is it? How to recognise sin?” asked Dharmaja.
“O Dharmaja! For all kinds of sins, the root is greediness, being covetous. The root cause of greediness is unsatisfied desires; sexual desires; anger; jealousy, breach of trust; lusting others’ wives; lack of patience; over covetous; these are all the root causes for greediness. However high he may be, he will be drowned by greediness.” said Bhishma.
“I heard that for all calamities and distresses, ignorance is the root. Tell me about ignorance?” asked Dharmaja.
“Dharmaja! Ignorance will always follow greediness. If we discard greediness, ignorance will end automatically.” said Bhishma.
“Grandsire! of all the Dharmas, what is the best Dharma?” asked Dharmaja.
“Dharmaja! Of all the Dharmas! Control of sense organs is the best Dharma. Control of sense organs coupled with wisdom will cause higher regions. One who controls his sense organs can conquer the six evils (arishadvargas) and attain Brahma Loka. Of all the Dharmas, Tapas is foremost. Tapas means, taking limited food and restricting our movements righteously. Tapas will destroy all kinds of sins and develop truthfulness and cleanliness.”said Bhishma.
“O Grandsire! All the divine personalities, Pitaras, brahmins will always appreciate Satya Vrata. What are the characteristics of Satya Vrata?” asked Dharmaja.
“O Son of Pandu! Treating all the living beings
equally; control of sense organs; patience; courage; honesty; performing
yajnas and yagas; making charities to poor and needy; lack of jealousy
and hatred non violence etc. are all the forms of Satya Vrata. Satya
Vrata is the root for all Dharmas. By practising Satya Vrata, one will
attain salvation.Even performance of one hundred Asvamedha yagas are
not equal to Satya Vrata.” said Bhishma.
“Dharmaja! Kama sprouts out of the thoughts moving in the mind. If we know the root of Kama, we can eradicate kama. If we do not like the others’ acts, we will get anger. Patience will extinguish anger. Out of the thought that I should possess all and everything is eternal, greediness will sprout. The thought that none is mine and everything is bound to destroy will eradicate greediness. Virtuous behaviour will destroy lust and passion. Taking birth in upper class, higher education and wealthiness will cause egoism. All are equal and none are on highest pedestal will eradicate egoism.
If Rajas and Tamas are on higher levels, jealousy and hatred will arise. By developing Satva, they will vanish. Arishadvarga will cause all kinds of harms and disasters in human life. If you are not influenced by them, you will be the happiest person. If mental stability is lacking, all these six wolves will fall upon us and destroy us. If you attack them with mental courage, they will fly away. Dharmaja! Sons of Dhritarashtra were the abode for these six evils. Hence they were destroyed. As you are not influenced by those six evils, you attained victory.
A person who constantly makes others to suffer is worst of all the above. He will be in the habit of grabbing other’s wealth and properties. One who shares his wealth and pleasures with others will be worshipped in this loka and upper Lokas. One who accumulates wealth sufficient for three coming years is equivalent to one who performed Yajna. Inspite of accumulating wealth, if Vysyas refrained from performing Yajnas, the King can confiscate their wealth and spend it for performance of Yajnas. Inspite of accumulating wealth, if Sudras did not spend either for his sake or for the sake of poor, King can confiscate half of his property and spend it for social welfare schemes. If the brahmins could not get sufficient food and shelter, it is the fault of the King. King should protect Brahmins as they are instruments to install Dharma.
If a righteous person sails with a wicked person either in drinking, dining or walking, for some time, he will be transformed into a wicked personality. Telling a lie is a great sin. But there are some exceptions. Telling a lie is not a sin with regard to ladies, marriage affairs, informing a death message, while the life and property is in danger. If anybody blames others unnecessarily, the person who blames will be inflicted with the same sin. Neglecting parents is a greatest sin” said Bhishma.
Nakula who was well versed in sword fight, asked some questions: “O Grandsire! Out of all weapons, bow and arrows are best. But when the bow is broken in war, to save himself, one can fight with sword. Kindly tell me about sword fight and its origin.” asked Nakula.
“Nakula! Brahma created living beings in this world and they were living happily. At that time, Daityas were harrassing Devatas and saints. Brahma did Tapas for thousand years in Himalayas. Then he performed one Yaga. Out of that Yaga fire, a fierce demon came out. That demon was transformed into a big sword. Brahma thought about Siva in mind. Siva appeared before Brahma. Brahma gave that sword to Siva. With that sword, Siva killed all Daityas.
Then Siva gave that sword to Vishnu. That Sword and skills of sword fight were passed on from Vishnu to Mareechi, Mareechi to Parasurama, Parasurama to several Saints, from Saints to Indra, from Indra to Dikpalakas and from Dikpalakas to Manuvu. As inheritance, the skills of sword fight were inherited by Dushyanta from Manu. Dushyanta taught the skills of sword fight to his son, Bharata. In the later years, it was inherited by Drona. From Drona you all acquired those skills. Amongst the five, you alone learnt those skills with greatest devotion and became an expert in sword fight.” said Bhishma.
By that time, the Sun was about to set. Sri Krishna, Dharmaja and other Pandavas and others retired to their own places of stay. After taking some rest, Dharmaja was talking with his uncle Vidura. Dharmaja asked Vidura about the degrees in Dharma Ardha and Kama and Moksha. Vidura answered thus:
“Dharmaja! One should acquire wealth following Dharma. With that wealth, he can accomplish his desires. Therefore, of all, Dharma is best. Middle is Ardha (wealth). Least is Kama (desires).” said Vidura.
“Uncle! You told me that wealth is necessary either for Dharma or Kama. But even for Sanyasis, money is required for their day to day living. Therefore, wealth is best, in my opinion.” said Dharmaja.
“Yes. Dharma and Ardha are interdependent. There is no use of having either Dharma or Ardha. Without wealth, how can the desires be fulfilled.” asked Nakula and Sahadeva.
“You are right. One should acquire wealth according to Dharma. Therefore, Dharma is supreme. Desires are hidden in Dharma and Ardha, as butter in curd. For a happy living, desires are necessary. Human being enjoys pleasures as bee extracts honey from flower. Therefore, in the life of a humanbeing, all the three are essential. One who lives alone with desires is worst. One who acquires wealth and enjoys pleasures is middle. One who acquires wealth adopting Dharma and enjoys pleasures is the best.” said Vidura.
Then Dharmaja told his brothers: “Everybody who takes birth shall undergo old age and death. Dharma, Ardha and Kama, though, for the present, give pleasures, will end in sorrow. Therefore, everybody shall strive for attaining Moksha. But attaining Moksha is not so easy. Keeping himself constantly in touch with Dharma, Ardha and Kama is not desirable. By enjoying sensual pleasures, one will become arrogant, selfish, ego centered. Therefore, human being shall not be succumbed to the sensual pleasures and strive for Moksha.” said Dharmaja.
Next day, as usual all of them went to Bhishma. Dharmaja asked Bhishma about some doubts.
“Grandsire! Who are intimate to King and who are not required by the King. Tell me.” asked Dharmaja.
“O son of Pandu! Those who are possessed of patience; virtues, truthfulness; who are not greedy, covetous, arrogant, angry; fickle minded, will acquire wealth and prosperity to the King. Those who are wicked, greedy, over-ambitious, timid, corrupt, drunkard and who forgets the help done to him, will be harmful to the King. In this connection, I will tell you one story.
A brahmin, abandoning his kula-dharma, married a low caste lady and was moving with her relatives. He was addicted to hunting, drinking, eating meat and enjoying sensual pleasures. With a view to earn more money, he joined some merchants and was travelling with them. While they were going in a forest, an elephant chased them. The brahmin youth ran away and took shelter under a big tree.
On that tree, a crane called Naadeejangha was living. Beholding the Brahmin, Nadijangha asked him: “O Brahmin! Who are you! From where you are coming? Where are you going?” asked Nadijangha.
“I am the son of Goutama. I abandoned my regular rituals fit for Brahmin, and study of Vedas, and married a low caste lady to enjoy sensual pleasures. To earn more money, I joined some merchants. When an elephant chased us, I ran away and reached this place” said the Brahmin.
“Dont worry. I will eradicate your poverty. Enjoy my hospitality.” said Nadijangha. The crane brought some fresh fish from the nearby river and fried them and served them to the Brahmin. The Brahmin consumed those fish.
“O Brahmin! A good friend, silver, gold and wisdom will eradicate poverty. Of these four, a good friend is great. I am the son of Kashyapa. Make friendship with me. You will acquire all kinds of riches. At a distnce of three yojanas, my friend, Viroopaksha, is ruling Madhuvrajapura. He is the king of Rakshasas. You approach him and tell him that you are my friend. He will certainly help you.” said Nadijangha.
The brahmin went to Viroopaaksha and introduced himself as the friend of Nadi jangha. “I want wealth” asked Brahmin. Virupaksha asked him: “Who are you? What is your caste?” asked Virupaksha. “I am brahmin. I married a low caste lady. I am addicted to drinking and hunting. With a view to earn more money,I joined some merchants. As an elephant chased us, I ran and made friendship with Nadijangh. Now I am before you.” said the brahmin. “Whoever you are I am not concerned. You are the friend of my friend, Nadijangha. I will certinly help you.” said Virupaksha. Virupaksha gave him gold and silver coins, diamonds etc. in abundance. Carrying those bags on his back, brahmin went back to Nadijangha. Nadijangha was very happy that Virupaksha helped the Brahmin. For that night the brahmin slept there. At dead of night, Brahmin was thinking about next day’s food. Then he killed the crane, Nadijangha and cut him into pieces and bundled it. He started to move further.
Next day morning, Virupaksha was waiting for Nadijangha. He suspected the bad character of the brahmin. He sent his men to find out the welfare of Nadijangha. They went and found Brahmin with a bundle of meat. They produced him before Virupaksha. Virupaksha was of the opinion that the Brahmin killed Nadijangha. He ordered his men to kill him and eat his meat. His men refused to eat the meat of brahmin as he deceived his own friend, Nadijangha. They beat the brahmin unto death and threw him away. Even dogs did not come near him. The brahmin was waiting for his death. Virupaksh joined the pieces of meat of Nadijangha and cremated him.
Meanwhile, Devendra arrived there. Virupaksha prayed Devendra to give life to Nadijangha. “Virupaksha! dont worry. Nadijangha is also a friend of Brahmadeva. Brahma is also waiting for his arrival. Look at that side. A cow was giving milk to its calf. Some drops of milk are sprinkling on the ashes of Nadijangha. With the blessings of Brahma, Nadijangha is getting life.” said Mahendra. Nadijangha rose from the ashes and came near Virupaksha. “Virupaksha, my friend, this Brahmin is my friend. Please give him back all his gold, silver and diamonds. Let him live happily”. Virupaksha gave him back all his wealth. Carrying those bags on his back, the Brahmin went away.
Therefore, Dharmaja! Even a person who kills brahmin may get rid of his sin but a person who deceives his friend will never be pardoned. A good friend will give happiness not only in this world but in the other worlds also. Amongst friend and wealth, a good friend is greater. Making friendship with a high born and a virtuous person is always essential.” said Bhishma.
“O Grandsire! You told me many things.Whether people are following those principles in the outside world? If so, how?” asked Dharmaja.. Bhishma told Dharmaja thus:
In this manner, Vaisampayana told Janamejaya the story of Mahabharata.