Mahabharata Stories: 37 – Vidura Neeti (Part 2)

The Law of Dharma – 2

The one who has truly experienced the bliss of being wise can show the path to wisdom. The rest of the world simply has to tread the path and find bliss. This is plain thinking. Yet, how difficult we find it being simply followers! This being the case, we need constant reminders on righteousness, lest we stray. Vidura, an incarnation of Dharmaraja himself, was the embodiment of dharma on earth.

Dhritarashtra was in a disturbed frame of mind and Vidura taught him the qualities of the wise and the foolish: A king should worship FIVE things – father, mother, preceptor, fire and soul. SIX faults that lead to unhappiness are sleep, dullness, lethargy, fear, anger and procrastination. He should renounce the SEVEN sins. EIGHT things glorify a king – wisdom, family of birth, learning, self-restraint, cautious speech, strength, gifting with discrimination, gratitude. NINE doors, three pillars and five witnesses make up the human body and they are presided over by the soul. Virtue is lacking in these TEN – the intoxicated, the inattentive, the crazy, the fatigued, the angry, the starving, the dejected, the covetous, the frightened and the lustful.

One who is composed even in times of immense grief; one that bears no malice but is kind and forgiving to all is praiseworthy. Just as a bee collects honey without injuring the flower, the king should tax his subjects without burdening them.

Mere birth in a high family without good behaviour cannot command respect. Envy is incurable. Intoxication of wealth is much more harmful than wine, for only a fall brings such a man to his senses.

To attract prosperity and to successfully control those around him, a king should first control his own senses.

The body is the chariot, the soul is the charioteer and the senses are the horses. Training these horses well, a wise man embarks upon a peaceful journey through life. Lack of training of the senses leads one to misery.

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Control of speech is very difficult. Well-spoken words do good, while ill spoken words result in evil. A forest razed to the ground can grow back again but a heart pierced by harsh words can never recover.

One who makes no attempt to rise above his senses is ordained to defeat by the gods and he loses the power of discrimination. The veiled intellect leads him to defeat.

Kindness to all creatures is as great as, if not greater than, bathing in all the holy rivers. So long as the world remembers a man for his good deeds, he is glorified in heaven.

Gold is tested in fire; a man of high-birth by his behavior; an honest man by his conduct; a brave man is tested in calamity; a self-restrained man in times of poverty; friends and foes are tested in bad times. These are the eight paths to righteousness: sacrifice, study, asceticism, and gift – these four could also be practiced for selfish motives while truth, forgiveness, mercy, contentment – these four exist only in the great.

One must do that during the day that enables one to pass the night in happiness; that during the eight months which gives happiness during the four rainy months; that during youth which ensures happiness in old age; that during your entire life, which gives you a happy afterlife.

We shall reflect on more of Vidura’s eternal wisdom after pausing awhile to think…

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