Vaisampayana said, “Rising from their beds the next day and performing the morning rites laid down in the scriptures, the Pandavas and the Yadavas set out (for the spot where Bhishma lay) on their cars resembling fortified towns. Proceeding to the field of Kuru and approaching the sinless Bhishma, they enquired of that foremost of car-warriors if he had passed the night happily. Saluting all the Rishis, and blessed by them in return, the princes took their seats around Bhishma. Then king Yudhishthira the just possessed of great energy, having worshipped Bhishma duly, said these words with joined hands.
“Yudhishthira said, ’Whence arose the word Rajan (King), that is used, O Bharata, on earth? Tell me this, O scorcher of foes! Possessed of hands and arms and neck like others, having understanding and senses like those of others, subject like others to the same kinds of joy and grief, endued with back, mouth, and stomach similar to those of the rest of the world, having vital fluids and bones and marrow and flesh and blood similar to those of, the rest of the world, inhaling and exhaling breaths like others, possessed of life-breaths and bodies like other men, resembling others in birth and death, in fact, similar to others in respect of all attributes of humanity, for what reason does one man, viz., the king, govern the rest of the world numbering many men possessed of great intelligence and bravery? Whence is it that one man rules the wide world teeming with brave and energetic and high-born men of good behaviour? Why do all men seek to obtain his favour? Why is it that if one man becomes delighted, the whole world becomes delighted, and if that one man is troubled, the whole world becomes troubled? I desire to hear this in detail, O bull of Bharata’s race! O foremost of speakers, discourse to me on this fully. O king, there cannot but be a grave reason for all this since it is seen that the whole world bows down to one man as to a god.
“Bhishma said, ’With concentrated attention, O tiger among kings, listen to it in detail as to how in the Krita age sovereignty first began. At first there was no sovereignty, no king, no chastisement, and no chastiser. All men used to protect one another righteously. As they thus lived, O Bharata, righteously protecting one another, they found the task (after some time) to be painful. Error then began to assail their hearts. Having become subject to error, the perceptions of men, O prince, came to be clouded, and thence their virtue began to decline. When their perceptions were dimmed and when men became subject to error, all of them became covetous. O chief of the Bharatas! And because men sought to obtain objects, which they did not possess, another passion called lust (of acquisition) got hold of them. When they became subject to lust, another passion, named anger, soon soiled them. Once subject to