The Mahabharata of Krishna-Dwaipayana Vyasa, Volume 3 eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 2,886 pages of information about The Mahabharata of Krishna-Dwaipayana Vyasa, Volume 3.
the king’s forces are decreased.  The king should, therefore, fill his treasury (by any means) like to one creating water in a wilderness which is without water.  Agreeably to this code of quasi-morality practised by the ancients, the king should, when the time for it comes,[391] show compassion to his people.  This is eternal duty.  For men that are able and competent,[392] the duties are of one kind.  In seasons of distress, however, one’s duties are of a different kind.  Without wealth a king may (by penances and the like) acquire religious merit.  Life, however, is much more important than religious merit. (And as life cannot be supported without wealth, no such merit should be sought which stands in the way of the acquisition of wealth).  A king that is weak, by acquiring only religious merit, never succeeds in obtaining just and proper means for sustenance; and since he cannot, by even his best exertions, acquire power by the aid of only religious merit, therefore the practices in seasons of distress are sometimes regarded as not inconsistent with morality.  The learned, however, are of opinion that those practices lead to sinfulness.  After the season of distress is over, what should the Kshatriya do?  He should (at such a time) conduct himself in such a way that his merit may not be destroyed.  He should also act in such a way that he may not have to succumb to his enemies.[393] Even these have been declared to be his duties.  He should not sink in despondency.  He should not (in times of distress) seek to rescue (from the peril of destruction) the merit of others or of himself.  On the other hand, he should rescue his own self.  This is the settled conclusion.[394] There is this Sruti, viz., that it is settled that Brahmanas, who are conversant with duties, should have proficiency in respect of duties.  Similarly, as regards the Kshatriya, his proficiency should consist in exertion, since might of arms is his great possession.  When a Kshatriya’s means of support are gone, what should he not take excepting what belongs to ascetics and what is owned by Brahmanas?  Even as a Brahmana in a season of distress may officiate at the sacrifice of a person for whom he should never officiate (at other and ordinary times) and eat forbidden food, so there is no doubt that a Kshatriya (in distress) may take wealth from every one except ascetics and Brahmanas.  For one afflicted (by an enemy and seeking the means of escape) what can be an improper outlet?  For a person immured (within a dungeon and seeking escape) what can be an improper path?  When a person becomes afflicted, he escapes by even an improper outlet.  For a Kshatriya that has, in consequence of the weakness of his treasury and army, become exceedingly humiliated, neither a life of mendicancy nor the profession of a Vaisya or that of a Sudra has been laid down.  The profession ordained for a Kshatriya is the acquisition of wealth by battle and victory.  He should never beg of a member of his own order.  The person
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The Mahabharata of Krishna-Dwaipayana Vyasa, Volume 3 from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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