Shanti Parva Mahabharata Book XII Chapter 108

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Mahabharata Book XII Chapter 108: English


"Yudhishthira said, 'Thou hast, O scorcher of foes, described the course of duties, the general conduct, the means of livelihood, with their results, of Brahmanas and Kshatriyas and Vaisyas and Sudras. Thou hast discoursed also on the duties of kings, the subject of their treasuries, the means of filling them, and the topic of conquest and victory. Thou hast spoken also of the characteristics of ministers, the measures, that lead to the advancement of the subjects, the characteristics of the sixfold limbs of a kingdom, the qualities of armies, the means of distinguishing the wicked, and the marks of those that are good, the attributes of those that are equal, those that are inferior, and those that are superior, the behaviour which a king desirous of advancement should adopt towards the masses, and the manner in which the weak should be protected and cherished. Thou hast discoursed on all these subjects, O Bharata, laying down instructions that are plain according to what has been inculcated hi sacred treatise. Thou hast spoken also of the behaviour that should be adopted by kings desirous of conquering their foes.

About Ganas

  • I desire now, O foremost of intelligent men, to listen to the behaviour that one should observe towards the multitude of courageous men that assemble round a king! Ganas1
  • I desire to hear how these may grow, how they may be attached to the king, O Bharata, how may they succeed in subjugating their foes and in acquiring friends.
  • It seems to me that disunion alone can bring about their destruction. I think it is always difficult to keep counsels secret when many are concerned.
  • I desire to hear all this in detail, O scorcher of foes! Tell me also, O king, the means by which they may be prevented from falling out with the king.'
  • "Bhishma said, 'Between the aristocracy on the one side and the kings on the other, avarice and wrath, O monarch, are the causes that produce enmity. 2 One of these parties (viz., the king,) yields to avarice. As a consequence, wrath takes possession of the other (the aristocracy). Each intent upon weakening and wasting the other, they both meet with destruction.
  • By employing spies, contrivances of policy, and physical force, and adopting the arts of conciliation, gifts, and disunion and applying other methods for producing weakness, waste, and fear, the parties assail each other.
  • The aristocracy of a kingdom, having the characteristics of a compact body, become dissociated from the king if the latter seeks to take too much from them. Dissociated from the king, all of them become dissatisfied, and acting from fear, side with the enemies of their ruler.
  • If again the aristocracy of a kingdom be disunited amongst themselves, they meet with destruction. Disunited, they fall an easy prey to foes. The nobles, therefore, should always act in concert. If they be united together, they may earn acquisitions of value by means of their strength and prowess. Indeed, when they are thus united, many outsiders seek their alliance.
  • Men of knowledge applaud those nobles that art united with one another in bonds of love. If united in purpose, all of them can be happy. They can (by their example) establish righteous courses of conduct. By behaving properly, they advance in prosperity.
  • By restraining their sons and brothers and teaching them their duties, and by behaving kindly towards all persons whose pride has been quelled by knowledge, 1 the aristocracy advance in prosperity.
  • By always attending to the duties of setting spies and devising means of policy, as also to the matter of filling their treasuries, the aristocracy, O thou of mighty arms, advance in prosperity.
  • By showing proper reverence for them that are possessed of wisdom and courage and perseverance and that display steady prowess in all kinds of work, the aristocracy advance in prosperity. Possessed of wealth and resources, of knowledge of the scriptures and all arts and sciences, the aristocracy rescue the ignorant masses from every kind of distress and danger. Wrath (on the of part the king), rupture, 2 terror, chastisement, persecution, oppression, and executions, O chief of the Bharatas, speedily cause the aristocracy to fall away from the king and side with the king's enemies.
  • They, therefore, that are the leaders of the aristocracy should be honoured by the king. The affairs of the kingdom, O king, depend to a great extent upon them. Consultations should be held with only those that are the leaders of the aristocracy, and secret agents should be placed, O crusher of foes, with them only.
  • The king should not, O Bharata, consult with every member of the aristocracy. The king, acting in concert with the leaders, should do what is for the good of the whole order.
  • When, however, the aristocracy becomes separated and disunited and destitute of leaders, other courses of action should be followed.
  • If the members of the aristocracy quarrel with one another and act, each according to his own resources, without combination, their prosperity dwindles away and diverse kinds of evil occur.
  • Those amongst them that are possessed of learning and wisdom should tread down a dispute as soon as it happens. Indeed, if the seniors of a race look on with indifference, quarrels break out amongst the members.
  • Such quarrels bring about the destruction of a race and produce disunion among the (entire order of the) nobles. Protect thyself, O king, from all fears that arise from within.
  • Fears, however, that arise from outside are of little consequence. The first kind of fear, O king, may cut thy roots in a single day. Persons that are equal to one another in family and blood, influenced by wrath or folly or covetousness arising from their very

natures, cease to speak with one another. This is an indication of defeat.

  • It is not by courage, nor by intelligence, nor by beauty, nor by wealth, that enemies succeed in destroying the aristocracy. It is only by disunion and gifts that it can be reduced to subjugation. For this reason, combination has been said to be the great refuge of the aristocracy.'" 1


  • 233:1 The word is Gana. it literally means an assemblage. There can be no doubt that throughout this lesson the word has been employed to denote the aristocracy of wealth and blood that surround a throne.
  • 233:2 If the king, moved by avarice, taxes them heavily, the aristocracy resent it and seek to pull down the king.
  • 234:1 i.e., learned men of humility.
  • 234:2 Probably, with the king.
  • 235:1 The Burdwan Pundits make a mess of the last two verses. In 31, there is an incorrect reading in the Bengal texts. It is Pradhanaccha for pradanaccha. The Burdwan version repeats the error. K.P. Singha, of course, avoids it, but his version is rather incomplete.

Mahabharata Book XII Chapter 108: Sanskrit

 1 [य]
     बराह्मणक्षत्रियविशां शूथ्राणां च परंतप
     धर्मॊ वृत्तं च वृत्तिश च वृत्त्युपायफलानि च
 2 राज्ञां वृत्तं च कॊशश च कॊशसंजननं महत
     अमात्यगुणवृथ्धिश च परकृतीनां च वर्धनम
 3 षाड्गुण्य गुणकल्पश च सेना नीतिस तदैव च
     थुष्टस्य च परिज्ञानम अथुष्टस्य च लक्षणम
 4 समहीनाधिकानां च यदावल लक्षणॊच्चयः
     मध्यमस्य च तुष्ट्यर्दं यदा सदेयं विवर्धता
 5 कषीणसंग्रह वृत्तिश च यदावत संप्रकीर्तिता
     लभुनाथेश रूपेण गरन्द यॊगेन भारत
 6 विजिगीषॊस तदा वृत्तम उक्तं चैव तदैव ते
     गणानां वृत्तिम इच्छामि शरॊतुं मतिमतां वर
 7 यदा गणाः परवर्धन्ते न भिथ्यन्ते च भारत
     अरीन हि विजिगीषन्ते सुहृथः पराप्नुवन्ति च
 8 भेथमूलॊ विनाशॊ हि गणानाम उपलभ्यते
     मन्त्रसंवरणं थुःखं बहूनाम इति मे मतिः
 9 एतथ इच्छाम्य अहं शरॊतुं निखिलेन परंतप
     यदा च ते न भिथ्येरंस तच च मे बरूहि पार्दिव
 10 [भ]
    गणानां च कुलानां च राज्ञां च भरतर्षभ
    वैरसंथीपनाव एतौ लॊभामर्षौ जनाधिप
11 लॊभम एकॊ हि वृणुते ततॊ ऽमर्षम अनन्तरम
    तौ कषयव्यय संयुक्ताव अन्यॊन्यजनिताश्रयौ
12 चारमन्त्रबलाथानैः सामथानविभेथनैः
    कषयव्यय भयॊपायैः कर्शयन्तीतरेतरम
13 तत्र थानेन भिथ्यन्ते गणाः संघातवृत्तयः
    भिन्ना विमनसः सर्वे गच्छन्त्य अरिवशं भयात
14 भेथाथ गणा विनश्यन्ति भिन्नाः सूपजपाः परैः
    तस्मात संघातयॊगेषु परयतेरन [[गणाः सथा
15 अर्दा हय एवाधिगम्यन्ते संघातबलपौरुषात
    बाह्याश च मैत्रीं कुर्वन्ति तेषु संघातवृत्तिषु
16 ज्ञान वृद्धान परशंसन्तः शुश्रूषन्तः परस्परम
    विनिवृत्ताभिसंधानाः सुखम एधन्ति सर्वशः
17 धर्मिष्ठान वयवहारांश च सदापयन्तश च शास्त्रतः
    यदावत संप्रवर्तन्तॊ विवर्धन्ते [[गणॊत्तमाः
18 पुत्रान भरातॄन निगृह्णन्तॊ विनये च सथा रताः
    विनीतांश च परगृह्णन्तॊ विवर्धन्ते [[गणॊत्तमाः
19 चारमन्त्रविधानेषु कॊशसंनिचयेषु च
    नित्ययुक्ता महाबाहॊ वर्धन्ते सर्वतॊ [[गणाः
20 पराज्ञाञ शूरान महेष्वासान कर्मसु सदिरपौरुषान
    मानयन्तः सथा युक्ता विवर्धन्ते [[गणा नृप
21 थरव्यवन्तश च शूराश च शस्त्रज्ञाः शास्त्रपारगाः
    कृच्छ्रास्व आपत्सु संमूढान गणान उत्तारयन्ति ते
22 करॊधॊ भेथॊ भयॊ थण्डः कर्शनं निग्रहॊ वधः
    नयन्त्य अरिवशं सथ्यॊ गणान भरतसत्तम
23 तस्मान मानयितव्यास ते गणमुख्याः परधानतः
    लॊकयात्रा समायत्ता भूयसी तेषु पार्दिव
24 मन्त्रगुप्तिः परधानेषु चारश चामित्रकर्शन
    न गणाः कृत्स्नशॊ मन्त्रं शरॊतुम अर्हन्ति भारत
25 गणमुख्यैस तु संभूय कार्यं गणहितं मिदः
    पृदग गणस्य भिन्नस्य विमतस्य ततॊ ऽनयदा
    अर्दाः परत्यवसीथन्ति तदानर्दा भवन्ति च
26 तेषाम अन्यॊन्यभिन्नानां सवशक्तिम अनुतिष्ठताम
    निग्रहः पण्डितैः कार्यः कषिप्रम एव परधानतः
27 कुलेषु कलहा जाताः कुलवृथ्धैर उपेक्षिताः
    गॊत्रस्य राजन कुर्वन्ति गणसंभेथ कारिकाम
28 आभ्यन्तरं भयं रक्ष्यं सुरक्ष्यं बाह्यतॊ भयम
    अभ्यन्तराथ भयं जातं सथ्यॊ मूलं निकृन्तति
29 अकस्मात करॊधलॊभाथ वा मॊहाथ वापि सवभावजात
    अन्यॊन्यं नाभिभाषन्ते तत्पराभव लक्षणम
30 जात्या च सथृशाः सर्वे कुलेन सथृशास तदा
    न तु शौर्येण बुथ्ध्या वा रूपथ्रव्येण वा पुनः
31 भेथाच चैव परमाथाच च नाम्यन्ते रिपुभिर गणाः
    तस्मात संघातम एवाहुर गणानां शरणं महत

Mahabharata Book XII Chapter 108: Transliteration

 1 [y]
     brāhmaṇakṣatriyaviśāṃ śūdrāṇāṃ ca paraṃtapa
     dharmo vṛttaṃ ca vṛttiś ca vṛttyupāyaphalāni ca
 2 rājñāṃ vṛttaṃ ca kośaś ca kośasaṃjananaṃ mahat
     amātyaguṇavṛddhiś ca prakṛtīnāṃ ca vardhanam
 3 ṣāḍguṇya guṇakalpaś ca senā nītis tathaiva ca
     duṣṭasya ca parijñānam aduṣṭasya ca lakṣaṇam
 4 samahīnādhikānāṃ ca yathāval lakṣaṇoccayaḥ
     madhyamasya ca tuṣṭyarthaṃ yathā stheyaṃ vivardhatā
 5 kṣīṇasaṃgraha vṛttiś ca yathāvat saṃprakīrtitā
     labhunādeśa rūpeṇa grantha yogena bhārata
 6 vijigīṣos tathā vṛttam uktaṃ caiva tathaiva te
     gaṇānāṃ vṛttim icchāmi śrotuṃ matimatāṃ vara
 7 yathā gaṇāḥ pravardhante na bhidyante ca bhārata
     arīn hi vijigīṣante suhṛdaḥ prāpnuvanti ca
 8 bhedamūlo vināśo hi gaṇānām upalabhyate
     mantrasaṃvaraṇaṃ duḥkhaṃ bahūnām iti me matiḥ
 9 etad icchāmy ahaṃ śrotuṃ nikhilena paraṃtapa
     yathā ca te na bhidyeraṃs tac ca me brūhi pārthiva
 10 [bh]
    gaṇānāṃ ca kulānāṃ ca rājñāṃ ca bharatarṣabha
    vairasaṃdīpanāv etau lobhāmarṣau janādhipa
11 lobham eko hi vṛṇute tato 'marṣam anantaram
    tau kṣayavyaya saṃyuktāv anyonyajanitāśrayau
12 cāramantrabalādānaiḥ sāmadānavibhedanaiḥ
    kṣayavyaya bhayopāyaiḥ karśayantītaretaram
13 tatra dānena bhidyante gaṇāḥ saṃghātavṛttayaḥ
    bhinnā vimanasaḥ sarve gacchanty arivaśaṃ bhayāt
14 bhedād gaṇā vinaśyanti bhinnāḥ sūpajapāḥ paraiḥ
    tasmāt saṃghātayogeṣu prayateran gaṇāḥ sadā
15 arthā hy evādhigamyante saṃghātabalapauruṣāt
    bāhyāś ca maitrīṃ kurvanti teṣu saṃghātavṛttiṣu
16 jñānavṛddhān praśaṃsantaḥ śuśrūṣantaḥ parasparam
    vinivṛttābhisaṃdhānāḥ sukham edhanti sarvaśaḥ
17 dharmiṣṭhān vyavahārāṃś ca sthāpayantaś ca śāstrataḥ
    yathāvat saṃpravartanto vivardhante gaṇottamāḥ
18 putrān bhrātṝn nigṛhṇanto vinaye ca sadā ratāḥ
    vinītāṃś ca pragṛhṇanto vivardhante gaṇottamāḥ
19 cāramantravidhāneṣu kośasaṃnicayeṣu ca
    nityayuktā mahābāho vardhante sarvato gaṇāḥ
20 prājñāñ śūrān maheṣvāsān karmasu sthirapauruṣān
    mānayantaḥ sadā yuktā vivardhante gaṇā nṛpa
21 dravyavantaś ca śūrāś ca śastrajñāḥ śāstrapāragāḥ
    kṛcchrāsv āpatsu saṃmūḍhān gaṇān uttārayanti te
22 krodho bhedo bhayo daṇḍaḥ karśanaṃ nigraho vadhaḥ
    nayanty arivaśaṃ sadyo gaṇān bharatasattama
23 tasmān mānayitavyās te gaṇamukhyāḥ pradhānataḥ
    lokayātrā samāyattā bhūyasī teṣu pārthiva
24 mantraguptiḥ pradhāneṣu cāraś cāmitrakarśana
    na gaṇāḥ kṛtsnaśo mantraṃ śrotum arhanti bhārata
25 gaṇamukhyais tu saṃbhūya kāryaṃ gaṇahitaṃ mithaḥ
    pṛthag gaṇasya bhinnasya vimatasya tato 'nyathā
    arthāḥ pratyavasīdanti tathānarthā bhavanti ca
26 teṣām anyonyabhinnānāṃ svaśaktim anutiṣṭhatām
    nigrahaḥ paṇḍitaiḥ kāryaḥ kṣipram eva pradhānataḥ
27 kuleṣu kalahā jātāḥ kulavṛddhair upekṣitāḥ
    gotrasya rājan kurvanti gaṇasaṃbheda kārikām
28 ābhyantaraṃ bhayaṃ rakṣyaṃ surakṣyaṃ bāhyato bhayam
    abhyantarād bhayaṃ jātaṃ sadyo mūlaṃ nikṛntati
29 akasmāt krodhalobhād vā mohād vāpi svabhāvajāt
    anyonyaṃ nābhibhāṣante tatparābhava lakṣaṇam
30 jātyā ca sadṛśāḥ sarve kulena sadṛśās tathā
    na tu śauryeṇa buddhyā vā rūpadravyeṇa vā punaḥ
31 bhedāc caiva pramādāc ca nāmyante ripubhir gaṇāḥ
    tasmāt saṃghātam evāhur gaṇānāṃ śaraṇaṃ mahat