THE POET’S OWN WORDS
A. M. SRINIVASACHARIAR
Raghavan M.A., Ph.D.
of his sons and grandsons, his kinsmen and friends (who had been killed in the
battle) and afflicted with grief, the wise king Yudhishthira became disgusted
with the kingdom.
प्रविवेश ह ॥
by Krishna himself, Vyasa and others also, Yudhishthira entered his city
he sat on an excellent golden seat, facing the East. Then all the subjects with
the chief priest at their head, met Yudhishthira, taking auspicious objects in
शुक्ले सर्वतोभद्र आसने।
the high-souled Yudhishthira and Draupadi on a white, square seat covered with
the tiger’s skin Krishna then arose, and taking the conch filled with
coronation-water, anointed Yudhishthira, son of Kunti, as king.
पृथिवी च वशे स्थिता।
sending away all the citizens and the men from the country, king Yudhishthira
approached Krishna, the best of men, and smiling, said sweetly on that
occasion: ”Lord, whose valour pervades all the three worlds! By your grace, we have got the kingdom back and
the world is in our control.
Lord spoke not anything to Yudhishthira, the subduer of enemies, who was
talking in that manner; He was absorbed in contemplation.
wonder! You of immense valour! What is it that you are meditating upon?”
मे तद्गतं मनः॥
on the bed of arrows, looking like a fire that is dying out, that illustrious
man, Bhishma, is thinking of me; therefore my mind has gone to him.
is the greatest of those who knows the Dharmas; and when
is dead, Yudhishthira, the world would be like the night that has lost the
पृच्छ यत्ते मनोगतम्’।
taking hold of his feet in reverence ask of him what is in your mind.”
भीष्मे कौरवाणां धुरन्धरे।
तस्मात्त्वां चोदयाम्यहम् ॥
that Bhishma, the Kaurava chief, passes away, knowledge(of several things) will
dwindle; hence do I urge you.”
स च राजा युधिष्ठिरः।
चत्वारः पाण्डवाश्च ते।
that Krishna, that king Yudhishthira, Kripa and all those (others) and those
four Pandavas proceeded quickly to Kurukshetra by swift horses.
they saw Bhishma lying on the bed of arrows, on the bank of the river Oghavati,
attended upon by sages.
a slightly dejected mind, Krishna said thus to Bhishma.
जनस्य शान्तये’ ॥
of men, remove by your wisdom the sorrow that has risen in the mind of
Yudhishthira; those like you, with an abundance of excellent wisdom, are the
persons for calming the bewildered people.’
by contemplation upon you, I seem to have turned into a youth; Krishna,
by your grace, I am competent to speak of what promotes welfare.
to the great Dharma, obeisance to the creator Krishna. Making obeisance to the Brahmins, I will
speak of the eternal Dharmas.”
of all, you best of the Kurus (Yudhishthira), the king who wants to please his
subjects, must conduct himself towards gods and Brahmins in the prescribed
निश्चित्य मुह्यते ॥
always strive with exertion; Without exertion, Fate will not achieve their
purpose for kings. I consider human
endeavour as greater; by believing in Fate, one confounds oneself.”
राज्ञां वै सिद्धिकारकम्।
except truthfulness brings success to kings.
Adopt straightforwardness in all actions.
king who is always soft is violated on all sides; and the world dreads the
severe; so, one should adopt both (softness and severity).”
of ample sacrificial gifts! Avoid all vicious addictions”.
king following Dharma must always stand for whatever is good for the world,
renouncing what is pleasant to himself.”
king is the best king in whose country, the people move about witout fear, like
sons in their father’s house.”
own self must be conquered by the king for all time; then only are his enemies
to be conquered. Adopting virtue and
material good, he should avoid passion and anger.”
Harassing the subjects in his ignorance by taxes not found in the texts, and
motivated by Artha only, the king does harm to himself.”
योगक्षेमं च वृत्तिं च नित्यमेव प्रकल्पयेत्॥
king should always make arrangements for the security and maintenance of the
poor, the helpless, the old and the widowed women.”
there be no beggars and no thieves in your kingdom.’
“I think that the eye of the weak, of the sage and of the serpent is most
unbearbale; do not assail the weak.”
भुञ्जीथा दुर्बलं जनम्॥
consider that the powerless must never be insulted; let not the eyes of the
weak burn you and your kinsmen. If one
insulted, beaten or harassed, does not get his saviour, in that kingdom, divine
punishment kills the king. (My) son, remaining in power, don’t you live upon
the powerless people. The tears that
fall from those who weep, being falsely accused, kills the sons and cattle of
those who make the false accusation.”
king should build up his victory by means other than war; victory through war is said to be the worst.
through Dharma is better than victory through a sinful act.
hear that which forms the basis of sin.
Avarice, that huge rapacious animal, (is the one basis of sin); it is
from avarice that sin proceeds; from it proceed sin, unrighteousness and worst
misery; this is the root-cause of fraud; everything proceeds from avarice. By the self-possessed person, this avarice,
along with delusion, has to be conquered.”
पापानां चैव याः क्रियाः॥
hate, delusion, exhilaration, dejection, conceit, anger, pride, laziness, being
pained at others’ prosperity and acts of sin – these are indicated as
“We have not heard in the entire universe of another Dharma equal to
self-control. Forbearance, fortitude, non-injury, equanimity, truthfulness,
straightforwardness, conquest of the senses, adeptness in the discharge of
one’s duties, softness, a sense of shame at doing what ought not to be done,
absence of fickleness, non-wretchedness, absence of flurry, contentment,
sweet-speech, not hurting and freedom from envy – the sum total of all these is
ब्रह्म सनातनम् ।
सर्वं सत्ये प्रतिष्ठितम्॥
is the eternal Dharma; truthfulness is the eternal Brahman; truthfulness is the
greatest offering to God; everything is based on truthfulness.”
धृतिश्च सततं दया।
is of thirteen kinds in the universe: Truth-speaking, equanimity, self-control
without doubt, absence of jealousy, forbearance, sense of shame, endurance,
freedom from spite, renunciation, meditation, nobility, freedom from the
effects of happiness and misery, constant mercifulness, non-injury – these are
the thirteen forms of Truthfulness [ Actually there are 14 in the list]
षोडशीं कलाम् ॥
happiness which is the fulfilment of desires in this world and that great
happiness, which is in heaven, these are not equal to even one-sixteenth of the
happiness that is in the cessation of desire.
one withdraws all desires into himself, as a tortoise its limbs, then the light
and splendour of the soul become manifest within oneself.”
he does not fear and when of him none is afraid, when he neither likes nor
dislikes, then does a man become the Brahman.
When, being a man of wisdom, he does not sin against any being, in act,
mind or speech, then does a man become the Brahman.”
ननु कस्मान्न बुध्यसे॥
मा त्वां कालोऽत्यगादयम्।
world is struck with death and surrounded by old age. Days and nights speed by: why are you not
awake? Even now, do what is to your
welfare; let not time pass you. Even as your acts are not finished, death drags
“Immortality and death- both are established in the body; death takes place out
of ignorance; immortality comes as a result of truth.”
is no eye equal to learning, no penance equal to truth, no misery like passion,
no happiness like sacrifice’.
happiness, one should not become excited; nor should one get into a fever, on getting
poverty is happiness in this world, is wholesome, good and free from any
trouble; it is the path in which one has no enemies, a difficult path, but easy
for the good. To the pure person who
owns nothing, I find here none equal.
I weighed on the scales poverty
and kingdom; superior in its virtues, poverty weighed more. Eternally alarmed
is the rich man, like one in the jaws of death.”
much association with riches confounds the undiscerning person. Pride of his
own beauty and wealth come to him then”
नात्यक्त्वा विन्दते परम्।
सर्वं सुखी भवेत् ॥
without giving up does one attain happiness; not without giving up does one
attain the Supreme; not without giving up
does one rest without fear; giving up everything, one becomes happy.”
च यस्य स्यात्स सुखी नरः॥
man is happy who has universal equanimity, who does not worry himself, who
speaks the truth, who has disgust (for mundane things) and no desire to do this
शाम्य निर्विद्य कामुक॥
up all desires is better than realising them. Nobody has, till now, finished
with all his desires to do things. Turn
away from desires to do things and you, creature of desire! with disgust (for
things), quiet yourself.’
भूतानां प्रज्ञा लाभः परो मतः।
लोके प्रज्ञा स्वर्गो मतस्सताम्॥’
is the support of beings; knowledge is considered the greatest acquisition;
knowledge is the greatest happiness in the world; knowledge is considered by
the good as heaven.”
तृष्णा नाद्भिः प्रशाम्यति।
is no contentment when the dear object is attained; (the fire of) greed is not
extinguished by the waters (of objects realised); as fire by fuel, it only
blazes forth more.”
पुत्तिका इव पक्षिषु।
येषां धर्मो न कारणम्॥
chaff among the grains and gnats among the birds are those among men, with whom
Dharma is not the motive force.’
स्वर्गं सत्येन गच्छति।
तम एव च ॥
is the Godhead, truth is penance; one goes to heaven by truth. Falsehood is of the form of darkness; by
darkness, one is taken down. Heaven,
they say, is light, and hell, darkness.
words pleasing to the ears of all beings must be spoken; reviling, scandal and
violence in language are forbidden; insulting others, egotism and hypocrisy are
सन्तापाद् भ्रश्यते श्रियः ।
न संशयः ॥
beauty is lost by (the effects of) annoying oneself; such a one falls from
prosperity; his life dwindles and surely his Dharma also declines. Being without sorrow bestows happiness and
should not hit a man at his weak points; should not speak wickedly; should not
receive big things from inferior persons; should not speak that cutting word
which leads one to the world of sin, the word at which another would shudder.
secret meaning of the Vedas is truth; of truth, self-control; of self-control,
release from bondage; this is the all-comprehensive gospel.
who are always taking pleasure in sex and eating, those who steal others’
possessions, and those men who are always violent in tongue – considering them
as bereft of Dharma, the gods avoid them from a distance.’