Words of Bhisma, Vidhur & Yudhister

  • By Shyam Sunder
  • December 2002

Yudhishthira’s Answers      

201. Brahman makes the sun rise, the gods keep him company, Dharma causes him to set, in Truth is he established.

202. By study of the Vedas one becomes learned, by tapa one attains the great status, by patience one gets a companion, and by serving the old one becomes wise.

203. In Brahmins study of the Vedas is their godliness, tapa the dharma of the pious, death the human attribute, and slander is the conduct of the evil ones.

204. In Kshatriyas arms and weapons are their godliness, yajna the dharma of the pious, fear the human attribute, denial of protection the conduct of the evil ones.

205. Of yajna life is the sama, mind the yajus, rik the refuge, and rik the law.

206. For cultivators rain is of foremost value; for sowers, seed; for the honored rich, cows; for those who give birth son.

207. Who does not nourish the five-god guests, dependants, ancestors and soul-he, though breathing, is not alive.

208. Than earth the mother is weightier, than heaven the father is higher, than air the mind is fleeter, than grass-blades anxieties are more numerous.

209. A fish does not close its eyes in sleep; an egg does not move after birth; a stone is without heart; a river proceeds in speed.

210. Of one away from home the companion is the friend; of the householder the wife is the friends; of the ailing the physician is the friends; of one on deathbed charity is the friend.

211. Fire is the guest of all creatures; the cow’s milk is nectar; the eternal laws are the sanatan dharma; the air is the whole world.

212. The sun is the lonely traveler; the moon takes new births; fire is the remedy against cold; the earth is the largest field.

213. Of dharma skill is the principal seat; of glory, charity; of heaven, truth; and of happiness, good conduct.

214. Of man the son is his soul; the wife is the friend bestowed by gods; the clouds are the support of life; charity is the greatest refuge.
215. Of laudable things, skill is the best; of riches, knowledge of Vedas is the best; of again, health is the best, of joys, contentment is the best.

216. Non-cruelty is the highest dharma; the dharma of the three Vedas is ever fruitful; by control of mind one is devoid of grief; an alliance with the good never breaks.

217. Abandoning pride a man becomes lovable; abandoning anger he does not regret; abandoning desire he becomes rich, abandoning greed he becomes happy.

218. To Brahmins one gives for the sake of dharma, to mimes and dancers for fame. To employees for their maintenance, and to kings for fear.

219. By ignorance the world is enveloped, by tamas it remains unenlightened, for greed man abandons friends, for worldly attachments he does not go to heaven.

220. Like dead is a poor man, like dead is a country without king, like dead is a shraddha without learned priest, like dead is a yajna without gifts to Brahmins.

221. The saintly ones are the direction; space is water; earth is food; asking is poison; the Brahmin'’ presence is the time of a shraaddha.

222. To remain engaged in one’s own dharma is tapa; the control of mind is self-control; tolerance of dualities is forgiveness; to keep off from unworthy acts is sense of shame.

223. Knowledge of the Reality is true knowledge; peace of heart is true calm; to wish happiness for all is true mercy; equanimity of heart is true simplicity.

224. Anger is the formidable enemy; covetousness the unending malady; who lives for the good of all, is man saintly, the cruel man is a man unsaintly.

225. Not to know dharma is ignorance; self-esteem is pride; non-doing of one’s dharma is laziness; and ignorance is grief.

226. Stability in one’s dharma is stability indeed; subjugation of senses is patience true. Cleaning oneself of mental impurities is the true bath, and protection of creatures true charity.

227. Know the knower of dharma as learned; the atheist is called a fool. The cause of worldliness is desire; envy is the burning of the heart.

228. Big ignorance constitutes the ego; to fly the flag of one’s righteousness is hypocrisy; the fruit of giving is grace of gods; to speak ill of others is wickedness.

229. When dharma and wife, unopposed to each other, are combined in a man’s possession, then dharma, gain and desire, the three mutual opposites also go together.

230. Who has a false understanding of Vedas, scriptures, Brahmins, gods and ancestors, goes to perpetual hell.

231. Who having wealth, out of avarice, neither gives nor himself enjoys it, saying ‘I have nothing’, also goes to perpetual hell.

232. Neither birth, nor study, nor learning, O Yaksha, is the cause of Brahminhood, Indeed it is conduct that constitutes it.

233. Who speaks agreeable words, is agreeable to all. Who acts with judgement, mostly succeeds. Who makes many friends, lives happily. Who is devoted to dharma, attains higher regions.

234. Who is not in debt and lives in his motherland, even though he cooks in his house but scanty vegetables, and that too only once a while, is yet happy.

235. Day after day numberless creatures go to death, yet those who remain behind, expect for themselves life immortal. Than this what can be a greater wonder?

236. Arguments don’t lead to conclusions, scriptures differ, no single Rishi is final, Dharma’s essence is hid deep, so that alone is the path, which is trodden by the great.

237. This world of delusions is like a pan, the sun is the fire, days and nights the fuel, months and seasons the wooden ladle, and time is the cook cooking all creatures this is the news.

238. To whom the agreeable and the disagreeable, weal and woe, past and future, are the same, the richest of all he is called.

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