The Teachings of Bhishma
By Michael Dolan, B.V. Mahayogi
Levels of Meaning in the Mahabharata
The Mahābhārata conceals many levels of meaning. It is saga and epic, history and holy writ. It is the story of kings and heroes, of conflicts between empires, but it is also the story spiritual journeys of quests for inner truths.
These levels of meanings reveal themselves not only through the teachings of saints and sages but also through the lives and stories of the hero’s journeys. Heros like Arjuna, Yudhisthira, and Karna all have important stories to tell not only through their words but also through their deeds and the examples of their lives.
At the center of our telling is Bhishma, son of the Ganges, last of the old guard.
Saved at birth by his father Shantanu the Adi-Raja, Bhishma is bound by an oath to support his father’s rule. His oath denies him kingdom and companionship: He has sworn never to marry in order to support the rule of his step-brothers, the puissant Chitrangada and the sensitive, boyish Vichitravirya. When they die untimely, it is Bhishma’s half-brother Vyāsa who at the behest of the royal matriarch, Satyavati, populates the line and continues the dynasty. In carrying out his vow to this father, Bhishma supports the rule of his stepmother’s children and grandchildren. He lends his arms to the blind Dhritarasthra and his sons while lending a hand to the sons of Pandu. Bhishma’s word is everything to him. His vow is sacrosanct.
Maintaining in the Dynasty
While the rivalry between the sons of Pandu and their cousins grows, Bhishma does his best to support harmony in the realm. His advice is to split the kingdom in half and let the two sides of the dynasty rule in peace. But an easy peace is not Hastinapura’s destiny. And while Bhishma’s heart is with the Pandavas, he has given his word to the Kauravas and must honor his sacrosanct vow to protect Dhritarashtra and his sons.
Oaths of Loyalty
Covert ally of Yudhisthira and the new order led by Krishna and the Pandavas, Bhishma is bound by his old oaths of loyalty to Dhritarasthra and has tied his fate to that of Duryodhana and the armies of the Kurus. He leads these armies as their general until confronted by a face from his past: Shikhandi, the alter-ego of Amba, a woman he had wronged. Unable to fight against a woman, he allows Arjuna to pierce his body with arrows until he lies supine, pierced from head to toe, unable to fight any longer.
Bhishma is a kshatriya. His religion is raja-dharma. To fully understand Bhishma’s sense of honor we must look forward a number of centuries to the Japanese code of Bushido and the honor of the Samurai. His character is noble, his death, tragic. He gives his life to guard the old social order, even knowing that it will soon end. The Battle of Kurukshetra ushers in the beginning of Kali-yuga where the old feudal order of sages and saintly kings will die.
Death of the Vedic Age
In the divine tragedy of the Mahabharata, Bhishma’s death marks the death of the Vedic age. In his time he fought the violent avatara of Parashuram to a draw in their duel for the honor of Amba. If Parashurama’s avatar was intended to restore respect for the brahmanas, Bhishma understands the need to protect the brahmanas and heed their advice. He knows that proper raja-dharma means the enlightened king must always rule with regard for the teachings of saints and sages.
Bhishma’s speech: The Shanti and Anushasana Parvas
At the end of the epic, Bhishma recites the essential meaning of the poem while pierced by thousands of arrows and suspended between the earth and sky on their points. The old order of kings has been destroyed. The new order will be led by Yudhisthira. But Yudhisthira is filled with doubts. Like Arjuna who loses his nerve at the beginning of the war, Yudhisthira has no stomach for rule. He wants to renounce the kingdom and go to the forest, to wash his hands of the blood of his generation.
Yudhisthira approaches the dying Bhishma for advice: How to rule? What is the purpose of a king? What is Raja-dharma? Bhishma is the model of raja-dharma, even though he has abstained from taking the throne because of the oath he swore to his father. In the family headed by a blind king, Bhishma’s word is law. He expounds the law of raja-dharma to the young king Yudhisthira, and his teachings take up almost a third of the entire Mahabharata, in the Shanti and Anushasana Parvas.
The dharma of kings and the yoga of self-discovery
Bhishma’s teachings on life, rule, the dharma of kings, and the yoga of self-discovery contain the essence of truth. Throughout the conversation between the new and old order, Yudhisthira proves himself to be worthy of the dialogue.
It may be argued that Bhishma is a poetical character, and therefore that his teachings are not worthy of discussion. But Bhishma’s character is mythical or legendary matters little. Here we have a carefully preserved historical record of political theory from the Vedic age and its argument for raja-dharma. Close attention must be paid. While the letters of Cicero and the diary of Julius Caesar may give us some insight into Roman, even Plato’s teachings do not explore the political views of Homer. Odysseus does not pause on the plains of Troy to give us his view of kings and their duty according to the ancient Greeks. And Bhishma’s political, social, and spiritual views are valuable precisely because of their universality. His words have withstood centuries of analysis because they strike at the core of human life.
Bhishma and the art of war
Sun Tzu’s the Art of War offers strategies not only for warriors, but for deal-makers and entrepreneurs. In the same way, the teachings of Bhishma are useful because they teach us to live as kings. Bhishma’s teachings on raja-dharma are useful especially if we consider his teachings personally and take them as a form of self-help literature.
Bhishma expounds his views of kingship with the flexibility and wisdom of a veteran warrior and general who has seen generations of rulers. His views on raja-dharma are not only congruent with the ancient Vedic Laws of Manu, but tempered by the experience of rulers on the cusp of the age of Kali. Any discussion of Bhishma’s views on kingship and social dharma is bound to end in dispute, since so many schools of interpretation about his teachings have arisen over the centuries. These schools have been influenced both by scriptural dogma as well as by the Byzantine politics of India over the last 30 or so centuries. The fact that many of his ideas are still hotly debated gives strength to his original teachings which are well worth discovering as we shall see.
The old social order
The old social order of varnas and ashrams had been challenged in Bhishma’s time. Despotic warlords saw no need to rule as enlightened kings and shrugged off the advice of brahmanas. They even went so far as to persecute the brahmanas, as we have seen in the story of Parashurama and Kartavirya Arjuna. According to the evidence of Mahabharata, the avatar Parashurama descended in order to chastise the warrior class or kshatriyas. The Kurukshetra war ended the dominance of the kshatriyas. But with the receding power of kings, what would replace the old order?
With the march of time, the old feudal order would collapse and with its decay a new order would rise, one based on capital, money, and exploitation. Banks would be more important than kings. The thousand-year rise of the capitalist society saw the destruction of guilds, social ranks, and caste systems. As social interactions became monetized the social roles foreseen in Vedic society disappeared. Money became the great equalizer. But at what cost? The decay of integrated social classes and organization and the diaspora of citizens from one area to the next based on economic advantage would destroy the old order completely.
The decay of civilization in Kali-yuga
Kali-yuga is the age of iron, the descent of civilization. Manu’s ideal system decayed into a corrupt feudalism of Zamindars and local chieftains and an iron-clad caste system with no social mobility in India, choking social mobility. Was this version of the so-called “caste” system the true social and political theory of Vedic antiquity? Or are many of these constructs of recent invention, born from the need to provide a scriptural basis for a corrupt social authority? A careful reading of the Mahabharata will reveal that Bhishma’s teachings are often much more profound and subtle than was previously thought, as we shall see.
It is easy to dismiss previous ways of life as primitive.
But were the ancient Greeks and Romans really so much more primitive than we are? The murals found at the ruins of Pompeii celebrate all the seven arts: architecture, sculpture, poetry, painting, dance, gourmet food, drama, literature. The pyramids of Egypt hold secrets yet undiscovered. The ancient Vedic civilization recorded in the Sanskrit of the Mahabharata reveals that Vyasa was well-acquainted with all the refined meanings of grammar, logic, rhetoric, arithmetic, geometry, music and astronomy. Why are we so determined to call them “primitive?”
Proud of our technology we dismiss the ancients. But if modern Western Civilization has brought wealth, it has also brought misfortune. When Gandhi was asked what he thought of Western Civilization, he famously responded, “It would be a nice idea.”
Modern Civilization and the prophecy of Bhishma
One only needs to glance at one’s favorite internet news source to discover that money and the mafia of power have brought untold plague and pestilence. From daily stress to the algorithms that control our lives; from the identity politics of racism and discrimination, to fascism, and despotism to the destruction of individual freedom and privacy, one hardly needs to read science fiction to see the development of a dystopian society. How prescient that an ancient warrior impaled by arrows on the battlefield predicts the decay of society in Kali-yuga thousands of years ago.
Modern problems and ancient wisdom
Cicero’s Reflections on Old Age are as valuable to us today as when he first wrote them; why not look into Bhishma’s reflections on royal duty? Unlike the prescriptions of western religion, Bhishma’s dharma is not simply a set number of rules--of sins, of “do’s and don’ts.” His conversation with Yudhishthira is a study in reflection that demands an intuitive absorption of values, principles, and practice.
What is dharma?
Dharma is the inner theme of the Mahabharata. While the Mahabharata may be read on many levels, the entire work is a study of kingship and of kingly rule. The Ramayana gives us the godly Ram as the ideal king, but the kings and princes who move through the pages of the Mahabharata are living and breathing human beings with all the sins and foibles of earthly mortals. They may do their best to rule as saintly or “godly” kings, but these royals are not god-kings in the sense of the Egyptian pharaohs, the Roman Caesars, or even the Incan Atahualpa. From Shantanu--whose romantic love drives his lust for Satyavati--to the blind king Dhritarasthra, these are not absolute rulers and despots, but mortals. Yudhisthira is certainly not a man-god, nor does he strive to be. He is a philosopher king after the mold of Plato’s Republic--trained to rule by brahmanas and warlords alike. His own chagrin at the tragedy of Kurukshetra makes him a reluctant warlord--one who is eager for a rule based on peace.
Why does Yudhisthira want to hear from his enemy Bhishma?
His reluctance to rule, his sense of the tragedy of war and the human condition impels Yudhisthira to seek Bhīma’s advice both as patriarch of the family, as warrior, and as a great king who knows the true meaning of raja-dharma.
Yudhisthira’s questions, of course, are not limited to knowledge about raja-dharma. Their discussion is wide-ranging and includes a number of different topics, but let’s focus for a moment on his advice to kings.
Yudhisthira is to inherit a broken system. Bhishma’s father Shantanu was called Adi-raja--the original king. But after his reign no one else in the Mahabharata will be awarded such a title. No one can approach Shantanu’s ideal rule. Shantanu’s ancestors such as Bharata are idealized as belonging to a golden past whose likes we shall never see again. The proper rule of kings was broken by Duryodhana who has usurped the throne. While externally dharmic, Duryodhana’s real-politik is highly unethical, even Machiavellian. He does whatever is necessary through whatever means--arson, sabotage, poisoning, lies and bribes--to maintain power.
But Yudhisthira is not a cynical politician. He seeks truth, and if he is to wield power, his rule must be in the service of truth. In the aftermath of the terrible slaughter of the battle of Kurukshetra, Yudhisthira is ambivalent. How will he govern this broken kingdom when all the noble kings and princes of the realm lie dead? It is in this moment that he consults Bhishma, whose selflessness was seen in his abdication. Bhishma is a man of his word, a man of truth. And yet he has held command over all those allied to Hastinapura. What advice will he give?
Bhishma will expound on dharma but even these teachings are esoteric and hidden. Bhishma does not list the rules of dharma, but speaks in parables and stories whose moral is left to the reader. His understanding of dharma is not explicit, but implicit in the karmic unfolding of the tales he tells. His meaning is not overt, but occult, especially since the inner sense of dharma is vitiated by the dawning of kali-yuga. Bhishma’s words are cloaked in the Sanskrit artistry of Vyāsa, the poet and prophet who has given life to epic. The subtlety of both Bhishma’s narrative and Vyasa’s poetic power makes the Mahabharata a work of essential truth and beauty, not a moral fable for children.
Bhishma’s discourse from the bed of arrows, his dying words to the grieving prince who must now rule the empire echo the teachings of Krishna in the Bhagavad-gita and recapitulate the moral and spiritual meaning of entire work. And so it is difficult to encapsulate in a short article.
But whereas the Bhagavad-Gita addresses a hero and encourages him on his spiritual journey to surrender, Bhishma addresses a king and admonishes him to duty in this world. Here we are asked to be faithful to the ideals of kingly action and told how a proper ruler can and should conduct himself.
Yudhisthira is overwhelmed with grief, much as Arjuna at the beginning of the war. But where Arjuna’s challenge was to fight against all odds, Yudhisthira’s is to maintain peace with dharma.
Dharma-Raja and raja-dharma
Yudhisthira is often called dharma-raja. His conduct throughout the epic as well as his conversation with the Yaksha shows that he knows all about dharma, at least theoretically. And yet, their conversation is not a dry academic exercise between two people who know all the answers. As a practical matter, the new king needs to know “how does one rule in dharma?”
Apart from his personal interest in enlightenment and truth, Yudhisthira is interested in how to maintain the balance of the cosmic order. This question forms the basis of their dialogue. Bhishma points out that spiritual truth may not always form the basis of political action. Maintaining a balance is no easy task. He often speaks as an oracle whose truths are ambiguous and deep. While this world is temporary and we must strive for spiritual perfection, Bhishma advises Yudhisthira to be a king and play his role within the dharmic system until he is no longer necessary.
Maintaining the tension between social dharma and spiritual realization is one of the key difficulties throughout the Mahabharata and Bhishma’s teachings. And so the old warrior, while waiting for his own spiritual destiny to unfold at the moment of his death, weaves the fabric of raja-dharma with his words. Telling fascinating stories that avoid touching on the main narrative of Mahabharata, Bhishma speaks at great length on how kings should think and act.
Kings must endure both victory and defeat
In the end, Bhishma tells Yudhisthira eṣa rājñāṃ paro dharmaḥ sahyauh jayaparājayau, “It is the highest dharma of kings to persevere both in victory and defeat.” MHB XII.107.27 Bhishma’s idea of kingship is not Gandhian. As the Hegelian General Von Clausewitz once framed the problem, War is the continuation of politics by other means.” When war is the inevitable resolution of a conflict a true king will not shy from the battle. A king is often forced to go to war. Bhishma understands the emptiness of politics and the futility of war as does Yudhisthira. But he also knows the value of battle. He advises Yudhisthira to be stoic and impartial, to conduct his rule with dharma, but not to avoid conflict in the name of harmony.
Kingship and Karma
Yudhisthira is also concerned with expiating the sins of battle, of washing his soul clean from so much slaughter. Bhishma gives advise on the expiation of sin, but Yudhisthira is doubtful about the use of so many rituals. The old warrior concludes that the holy name of God is the most powerful way of becoming from from sin. Author of the Vishnu-sahasra-nama, the one thousand names of Vishnu, Bhishma, son fo the Ganges, calmly explains his arguments to Yudhisthira with a wealth of illustrations and stories drawn from the Puranas as well as his own experience with saints and sages throughout his long life.
Yudhisthira’s crisis at the end of war mirrors Arjuna at its beginning
One might think that Yudhisthira would rejoice with his victory as do his brothers. But he is crushed with melancholy, having discovered that their great rival in the fight, Karna, is in fact their older brother, savagely killed by Arjuna in a moment of helplessness. Yudhisthira is at a moment of crisis; he can either accept the kingdom and rule, or turn his back on his brothers and renounce the world to walk the path of truth.
It is within this framework that Bhishma discourses on raja-dharma. He tries to convince Yudhishthira that the path of truth may be pursued even as a king. Truth is not merely a matter of keeping one’s word, but of aligning one’s actions with the principles of dharma. This is the true virtue of raja-dharma.
The kings duty is to rule in harmony with truth, but to avoid extremes
A king may sometimes break promises in his political life, but he must live in harmony with truth both in word and deed. Aristotle defined virtue in a similar way, as a disposition towards “right living” avoiding extremes of deficiency and excess, which he considered vices. Moral virtue should be seen through one’s example and practice more than through argument, reasoning and instruction. Yudhisthira’s grief, his pacifism and melancholy are not kingly in this sense, but extremes to be avoided and Bhishma tries to teach him the right path.
The true king is impartial and avoids administering justice personally
The Kurukshetra war has involved the Pandavas on a personal level; in part, the battle serves as justice for the wrongs done to them by Duryodhana and company. But Bhishma explains that kings must not apply justice for personal reasons. Family rule as a model of kingship is no longer viable. In the golden age of kings, the nobles may have been beyond reproach as in the case of Lord Ram. But the Age of Kali will demand a model of justice that is impartial. Justice must be actively pursued, not simply resorted to in case of emergency. With Kali-yuga begins the long, dark, night of the soul. Kings must rule accordingly.
War, Peace, and Justice
Justice will ensure peace. During peace time, the trumpets of war must be laid aside. The demonstration of royal power, the pomp and ceremony of noblesse oblige may entertain the public for some time. But the true test of proper rule will be seen in the impartial meting out of justice. This will be the true test of kings and Bhishma exhorts Yudhisthira to take this responsibility seriously.
For Bhishma, then, rule involves walking the path of raja-dharma, following the pragmatic and morally correct behavior and attitudes of monarchy. One must be prepared for crisis and know how to act in the moment and lead with the courage of conviction. And at the same time one must balance these principles with one’s own sincere spiritual journey, never forgetting that this world is temporary and illusory.
Mahabharata and Dharma
We have seen that Mahabharata is a profound argument on the nature of dharma. In all of epic poetry there is nothing quite like the conversation between the ancient and dying warrior Bhishma impaled on a bed of arrows and the melancholy king Yudhisthira who has won victory over the Kurus at the cost of the destruction of the entire dynasty. How kingly virtue or raja-dharma functions at different levels--both socially and spiritually--is at the core of Bhishma’s teachings to the young king Yudhisthira. A complete analysis of the stories and teachings that make up Bhishma’s long oratory is beyond the scope of this short piece, but we shall take up the subject again later. I have included a few exracts from Bhishma’s teachings below.
What follows is a compilation and translation of some of the sayings of Bhishma extracted from the Shanti Parva of Mahabharata,
Bhishma’s Wisdom Aphorism and Quotes
1. Wherever there is Krishna there is dharma, and wherever there is dharma there is eternal victory.
2. One’s predetermined karma and one’s personal effort complement each other—When fanned into flames, embers become fire; so karma increases with effort.
3. One keeps himself light through the practice of dharma, like a boat he crosses the ocean of material existence.
4. There is a special place in eternal hell for the thankless and ungrateful.
5. A gift without sweet words is like a dish without a dessert—such gifts give no satisfaction without flattery.
6. Heartfelt connections are based on love and trust.Trust and confidence are bonds of the heart-- hard to break, but once broken impossible to repair. Bonds of the heart that are always broken and repaired lack love confidence, and trust.
7. A ruler may achieve his objects and master his foes by showing both sides of his character. He may be hard as steel but must also be soft as butter, according to the situation.
8. Work should never be done half-way. One should be always careful to do a job completely. Even a splinter of a thorn left in the body may lead to infection.
9. Fire, debts, and enemies should be dealt with quickly and completely. If any remainder is left, they may keep growing.
10. The weak should not be inimical to the strong, Engage not in barren hostility.
11. Kings have five natural friends: Learning, courage, skill, strength and patience.
12. In man there is nothing equal to intelligence.
13. O son of Kunti: Love those who have no greed; love those who have no worldly attachment; love those who who are situated in truth and simplicity; love those who do not deviate from right conduct, them love.
14. Who, undeterred, perseveres in his effort steadily, by God’s grace, shall soon receive what he desired.
15. Both rich and poor, learned and fool, along with all their good and evil karma are all subject to His will, for He is Time the Destroyer.
16. There is no satisfaction for material ambition. When poor a man wants to be rich; when he’s rich he wants to be king; when he becomes king he wants to be a god; when a god, he wants to be Indra.
17. It is just as impossible to fulfill lust as it is to fill the subterranean world of the dead with the infinite souls of this world.
18. Whenever our personal effort is successful, destiny and karma must be in the background.
19. O Bharat, happy is the king, who is equal-minded, who always tells the truth, who is unattached to the things of this the world, who is free from sin, and who avoids wasteful effort.
20. Detachmente is a value: Without giving up attachments we cannot be happy; without such renunciation we can’t reach God; without renunciation we can not sleep peacefully; therefore give up everything, surrender to God and be happy.
21. O king, Just as an oil fire cannot be extinguished with water, the fire of anger can’t be extinguished by scriptural wisdom, money, punishment, or persuasion.
22. The faces of friends and foes like clouds change moment to moment.
23. Never trust anyone untrustworthy, nor put excessive trust in the trustworthy.
24. This world is a world of exploitation. Everyone does what they do out of selfishness; there is no such things as love.
25. In the end there are no friends and enemies; there is only self-interest. There is no relation without exploitation.
26. Timing is everything. An ill-timed action has no gain; A well-timed action gains everything.
27. One can never return a true favor done in good will. The first gift was free and open, the return only a response in kind.
28. A king who acts carefully with deliberation chooses the right time and place for favors; by planting well-placed favors the king gets the desired fruit.
29. For the wealthy and honored, loss of status is worse than death
30. The iron law of politics: The poor are weak; the wealthy are powerful.
31. Even the saints and sages who live in forests and practice meditation have acquaintances, friends, and enemies.
32. Howsoever pure and fair a man be, he earns blame from others.
33. Whose good deeds are not for show, whose words are sweet, whose wealth goes for good objects, he sails safe over extreme dangers.
34. There is no need to kill the evil; One who does evil is already among the living dead. To kill him is to kill one who is already dead.
35. It may sometimes be just to tell lies where lies are truth and truth is falsehood.
36. It is best to speak the truth, since there is no dharma greater than truth.
37. The scriptures explain dharma, but there is disagreement about their interpretation. The scriptures speak only of dharma, but not everything that is dharma is there.
38. A true knower of dharma is one who seeks truth in determining what is truth and what is untruth.
39. For the sins of hostility to friends, ingratitude, the murder of women, or the murder of one’s guru there is no expiation, nor is any atonement known for these sins.
40. One’s father and mother give birth to the body. But the second birth that one gets through the guru’s teaching is uncorruptable, transcendental, and immortal.
41. Even in democracies not everyone has the right to know the confidential secrets of State.
42. In race and clan all may be equal under the law, but in artistry, intelligence, beauty and wealth, all are different.
43. A brahmana without education is as useless as an elephant made of wood, a deer made of leather. In the same way a king who cannot protect his citizens is is like an impotent man, a barren field, a rainless cloud, or an uneducated Brahmin.
44. The Vedas hold that all wealth belongs to the king except that of the Brahmins
45. Brahmins, O King, who, forsake their duty and, engage, in lowly deeds, are no better than shudras.
46. Yajna, study of Vedas, ahimsa, words of malice for none, reverent hospitality, control of senses, austerity, truth and giving – these are the symptoms of a true brahman.
47. Greed and jealousy are the two enemies of democracies, families and kingdoms. These two great faults fan the fire of dissension.
48. Democracies have been ruined by internal dissension.
49. In battle aim at victory as the dharma and root of all happiness.
50. As well wisher of his kingdom, a wise king ever tries to avoid war, So long as some treaty can be made, one must not go to war.
51. Surely, the king should regard his subjects as his children and grandchildren, but in discharge of his kingly duties, no partiality of affection he should betray.
52. Be, O King, like the gardener, for like the charcoal-maker.
53. By mercy and softness alone a kingdom cannot be governed.
54. The king should be ever prepared like Yama, the Lord of Death, to punish the enemies.
55. If there were no punishment in this world, all would have destroyed each other.
56. What is the weakness in me? What attachment? Which fault persists? Why do I earn blame? One should always ponder over these.
57. A righteous king, on ascending the throne, should establish his lordship over all, subduing some by gifts, some by force, and some by sweet words.
58. Between an individual and a group the group should be preferred. But if an individual exceeds many in merit, and a choice is to be made, the group should be forsaken for the individual.
59. Too many cooks spoil the broth. For one work only one person should be appointed, not two or three, for they may work well together.
60. Agriculture, cattle breeding and trade these are means of livelihood in this world; supporting all beings’ birth and growth, the triple knowledge sustains in higher worlds too.
61. The fruit-bearing trees, O Yudhishthira, must not be felled.
62. Love all creatures, O King, and conduct. Yourself with truth, simplicity, cool mind, mercy and the like.
63. The learned, the warriors, the rich the religious, the ascetics, the saints, the truth-speakers and the wise they are the people’s protectors.
64. Seven qualities the king’s envoy should have: well-born, well-bred, clever, fluent talker, man of pleasant words, endowed with good memory, exact in giving messages.
65. The members of your court, O son, should be truth-telling, straightforward, masters of their sense, humble, and men of apt words.
66. As chief minister the king should choose one who is elegant in looks, is free of malice, forgiving, soft-spoken, is of noble birth and noble conduct.
67. A king must trust some chosen friends, but he should be alert at all times.
68. The man of dharma is the king’s fifth friend, On the side neither of one nor of two he goes where is dharma; he is with the king who respects dharma.
69 Four kinds of friends a king has; Friends for common purpose, family friends, natural friends, and artificial friends.
70. Raising money from just and fair taxes, taking care of the nation on right principles, for the nation’s god the king should work all the hours.
71. The protector of the king’s treasury is the target of all its looters, If not protected by the king, untimely death at their hands he meets.
72. Seven things a king must protect; himself, minister, treasury, sceptre, friend, nation and city.
73. Protection of all beings and compassion for them, this is the great dharma.
74. The protection of his people, is the king’s foremost dharma.
75. Strong are the roots of that king whose people are prosperous, wealthy and loyal, and whose ministers and employees are content.
75. It is the king who makes the satyayuga. Also the treta and the dwapara; He is the cause of the kaliyuga too.
76. As pieces of wood, floating on the sea, at times join together and then separate, so do people in this world meet and separate.
77. In cycles man’s joys and sorrows move.
78. This body is the cause of happiness, but it is also the cause of great sorrow.
79. Happiness or sorrow, thing pleasant or thing unpleasant, the wise should gladly receive all that comes, and never lose heart.
80. Do good deeds today; Don’t let the moment pass through your hands.
81. Grief cannot touch those who understand that loss and gain come and go.
82. Living free from attachments and possessions is happiness in this world.
83. One who wants nothing sleeps well, Loss of hope is the greatest happiness.
84. Lust and desire leads to ruin. Whoever chases desires is ruined in the pursuit.
85. There are many paths to dharma, no sincere effort is fruitless.
86. No truth is higher than dharma, nor sin worse than lies.
87. There can be no austerity like truth, no sorrow like passion. There is no eye like wisdom and no happiness like self-abnegation.
89. The human form of life can award death or immortality; through attachment to this world there is death, by attachment to truth one may find immortality.
90. One attains success in learning, self-control, and prosperity through constant practice, discipline and effort.
91. Dharma, O King, is the root of existence.
92. The message of the Veda is dharma; dharma is the right path to spiritual harmony.
93. The inner movements of the saints are unknown to us. Just as birds leave no footprints in the sky, and fish leave no traces in their watery wake, so the inner lives of saints are unknown and unseen to common men.
94. Self-control and compassion are the basis of dharma; and yet forgiveness is often mistaken as weakness.
95. While there are many gateways to dharma and saints and sages have different opinions, the basis of dharma is self-control.
96. The sages have concluded that nonviolence, honesty in speech, self-restraint, and compassion are considered proper austerity or tapa-- not the mortification of the body.
97. Untruth is death, honesty is godly.
98. Narayana and Nara are manifestations of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Krishna, manifesting in dual form. Narayana is Vishnu, the awesome form of God, whereas Krishna is “Nara” the human-like form.
99. In the conversation on the battlefield between Krishna and Arjuna, Vasudeva Krishna represents Narayana the Godhead and Arjuna represents all human beings who are his servants.
99. In the conversation on the battlefield between Krishna and Arjuna, Vasudeva Krishna represents Narayana the Godhead and Arjuna represents all human beings who are his servants.
100. Satyam—Truth-- means dharma, or proper adjustment with one’s duty, tapa or self-restraing, and Yoga, living in harmony with spirit. Truth is the eternal Brahman, Truth is the supreme sacrifice, Truth sustains reality.