The Mahabharata of Krishna-Dwaipayana Vyasa, Volume 3 eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 2,413 pages of information about The Mahabharata of Krishna-Dwaipayana Vyasa, Volume 3.
robbers everywhere in his kingdom and never pardon any one from caprice.  The king, O Bharata, earns a fourth part of the merit that his subjects earn under his protection.  By only protecting his subjects the king acquires a fourth part of the merit that his subjects acquire by study, by gifts, by pouring libations, and by worshipping the gods.  The king acquires a fourth part also of the sin that his subjects commit in consequence of any distress in the kingdom arising from the king’s neglect in discharging the duty of protection.  Some say that the king earns a moiety, and some say the full measure, of whatever sin is caused by his becoming cruel and untruthful in speech.  Listen now to the means by which the king may be cleansed of such sins.  If the king fails to restore to a subject the wealth that has been stolen away by thieves, he should then compensate the injured from his own treasury, or, in case of inability, with wealth obtained from his dependents.  All the orders should protect the wealth of a Brahmana even as they should the Brahmana’s boy or life.  The person that offends against Brahmanas should be exiled from the kingdom.  Everything is protected by protecting the Brahmana’s wealth.  Through the grace of the Brahmana, which may thus be secured, the king becomes crowned with success.  Men seek the protection of a competent king like creatures seeking relief from the clouds or birds seeking refuge in a large tree.  A cruel and covetous king, with lustful soul and ever seeking the gratification of his desire never succeeds in protecting his subjects.’

“Yudhishthira, said, ’I do not, for a moment, desire the happiness that sovereignty bestows or sovereignty itself for its own sake.  I desire it, however, for the sake of the merit one may acquire from it.  It seems to me that no merit is attached to it.  No need for sovereignty then by which no merit can be acquired.  I shall, therefore, retire into the woods from desire of earning merit.  Laying aside the rod of chastisement, and subduing my senses, I shall go to the woods which are sacred and seek to acquire the merit of righteousness by becoming an ascetic subsisting upon fruit and roots.’

“Bhishma said, ’I know, O Yudhishthira, what the nature of thy heart is, and how inoffensive is thy disposition.  Thou wilt not, however, by inoffensiveness alone, succeed in ruling thy kingdom.  Thy heart is inclined to mildness, thou art compassionate, and thou art exceedingly righteous.  Thou art without energy, and thou art virtuous and full of mercy.  People, therefore, do not regard thee much.  Follow the conduct of thy sire and grandsire.  Kings should never adopt that conduct which thou desirest to adopt.  Never be touched by such anxiety (after doing thy duty), and never adopt such inoffensiveness of conduct.  By becoming so, thou wouldst not succeed in earning that merit of righteousness which arises from protecting subjects.  The behaviour thou wishest to adopt, impelled by thy own intelligence

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The Mahabharata of Krishna-Dwaipayana Vyasa, Volume 3 from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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