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This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 1,984 pages of information about The Mahabharata of Krishna-Dwaipayana Vyasa, Volume 2.
are you now desirous of fighting, having let the proper opportunity slip?  An unwise or an unrighteous man may win prosperity by means of fighting; but a wise and a righteous man, were he free from pride to betake to fight (against better instinct), doth only fall away from a prosperous path.  O Pritha’s son, your understanding inclines not to an unrighteous course.  From wrath you ever committed a sinful act.  Then what is the cause, and what is the reason, for which you are now intent to do this deed, against the dictates of wisdom?  Wrath, O mighty king, is a bitter drug, though it has nothing to do with disease; it brings on a disease of the head, robs one of his fair fame, and leads to sinful acts.  It is drunk up (controlled) by those that are righteous and not by those that are unrighteous.  I ask you to swallow it and to desist from war.  Who would incline himself to wrath which leads to sin?  Forbearance would be more beneficial to you than love of enjoyments where Bhishma would be slain, and Drona with his son, and Kripa, and Somadatta’s son, and Vikarna and Vivingsati, and Karna and Duryodhana.  Having slain all these, what bliss may that be, O Pritha’s son, which you will get?  Tell me that!  Even having won the entire sea-girt earth, you will never be free from decrepitude and death, pleasure and pain, bliss and misery.  Knowing all this, do not be engaged in war.  If you are desirous of taking this course, because your counsellors desire the same, then give up (everything) to them, and run away.  You should not fall away from this path which leads to the region of the gods!’”

SECTION XXVIII

“Yudhishthira said, ’Without doubt, O Sanjaya, it is true that righteous deeds are the foremost of all our acts, as thou sayest.  Thou shouldst, however, ensure me having first ascertained whether it is virtue or vice that I practise.  When vice assumes the aspects of virtue and virtue itself wholly seems as vice, and virtue, again, appears in its native form, they that are learned should discriminate it by means of their reason.  So, again, virtue and vice, which are both eternal and absolute, exchange their aspects during seasons of distress.  One should follow without deviation the duties prescribed for the order to which he belongs by birth.  Know, O Sanjaya, that duties in seasons of distress are otherwise.  When his means of living are totally gone, the man, that is destitute should certainly desire those other means by which he may be able to discharge the sanctioned duties of his order.  One that is not destitute of his means of living, as also one that is in distress, are, O Sanjaya, both to be blamed, if they act as if the state of each were otherwise.  When the Creator hath ordained expiation for those Brahmanas, who, without wishing for self-destruction, betake themselves to acts not sanctioned for them, this proves that people may, in season of distress, betake to acts not ordained for the orders to which

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