Mahabharata Santi Parva - Translation by KM Ganguly

Mahabharata Adiparva

Section XXV

Vaisampayana said, "Hearing the words of the Island-born Rishi and seeing Dhananjaya angry, Yudhishthira, the son of Kunti, saluted Vyasa and made the following answer.

"Yudhishthira said, 'This earthly sovereignty and the diverse enjoyments (appertaining thereto) fail to give any joy to my heart. On the other hand, this poignant grief (consequent upon the loss of my kinsmen) is eating away its core. Hearing the lamentations of these women who have lost their heroic husbands and children, I fail to attain peace, O sage!'"

Vaisampayana continued, "Thus addressed, the virtuous Vyasa that foremost of all persons conversant with Yoga, possessed of great wisdom and intimately acquainted with the Vedas, said unto Yudhisthira (the following words).

"Vyasa said, 'No man can acquire anything by his own acts or by sacrifices and worship. No man can give anything to a fellow man. Man acquires everything through Time. The Supreme Ordainer has made the course of Time the means of acquisition. By mere intelligence or study of the scriptures, men, if Time be unfavourable, cannot acquire any earthly possession. Sometimes an ignorant fool may succeed in winning wealth. Time is the efficacious means for the accomplishment of all acts. During times of adversity, neither science, nor incantations, nor drugs, yield any fruits. In times, however, of prosperity, those very things, properly applied, become efficacious and bear success. By Time the winds blow violently: by Time the clouds become rain-charged; by Time tanks become adorned with lotuses of different kinds; by Time trees in the forest become decked with flowers. By Time nights become dark or lighted. By Time the Moon becomes full. If the Time for it does not come, trees do not bear flowers and fruits. If the Time for it does not come, the currents of rivers do not become fierce. Birds and snakes and deer and elephants and other animals never become excited when the Time for it does not come. If the Time for it does not come, women do not conceive. It is with Time that winter, and summer, and the rainy season come. If the Time for it does not come, no one is born and no one dies. If the Time does not come, the infant does not acquire power of speech. If the Time does not come, one does not acquire youth. It is with Time that the seed sown puts forth its sprouts. If the Time does not come, the Sun does not appear above the horizon, nor, when the Time for it does not come, does he repair to the Asta hills. If the Time for it does not come, the Moon does not wax nor wane, nor the ocean, with its high billows, rise and ebb. In this connection is instanced the old story recited, O Yudhishthira, by king Senajit in grief. The irresistible course of Time affects all mortals. All earthly things, ripened by Time, suffer destruction. Some, O king, slay some men. The slayers, again, are slain by others. This is the language of the world. Really, however, no one stays and no one is slain. Some one thinks men slay (their fellow-men). Another thinks men do not slay. The truth is that the birth and destruction of all creatures have been ordained to happen in consequence of their very nature. Upon the loss of one's wealth or the death of one's wife or son or sire, one cries out, saying 'Alas, what grief!' and dwelling upon that sorrow always enhances it. Why do you, like a foolish person, indulge in grief? Why do you grieve for them that are subject to grief?  Behold, grief is increased by indulgence as fear is by yielding to. This body even is not mine. Nothing in this earth is mine. Or, the things of this earth belong as much to others as to me. The wise, seeing, this, do not suffer themselves to be deluded. There are thousands of causes for sorrow, and hundreds of causes for joy. These

every day affect the ignorant only, but not him that is wise. These, in course of Time. become objects of affection or aversion, and appearing as bliss or woe revolve (as if in a wheel) for affecting living creatures. There is only sorrow in this world but no happiness. It is for this that sorrow only is felt. Indeed, sorrow springs from that affliction called desire, and happiness springs from the affliction called sorrow. Sorrow comes after happiness, and happiness after sorrow. One does not always suffer sorrow or always enjoy happiness. Happiness always ends in sorrow, and sometimes proceeds from sorrow itself. He, therefore, that desires eternal happiness must abandon both. When sorrow must arise upon the expiration of happiness, and happiness upon the expiration of sorrow, one should, for that, cast off, like a (snake-bit) limb of one's body, that from which one experiences sorrow or that heart-burning which is nurtured by sorrow or that which is the root of his anxiety.  Be it happiness or sorrow, be it agreeable or disagreeable, whatever comes should be borne with an unaffected heart. O amiable one, if thou abstainest, in even a slight measure, from doing what is agreeable to your wives and children, thou shalt then know who is whose and why so and for what. They that are highly stupid and they that are masters of their souls enjoy happiness here. They however, that occupy an intermediate place suffer misery. This, O Yudhishthira, is what Senajit of great wisdom said, that person who was conversant with what is good or bad in this world, with duties, and with happiness and misery. He who is grieved at other people's griefs can never be happy. There is no end of grief, and grief arises from happiness itself. Happiness and misery, prosperity and adversity, gain and loss, death and life, in their turn, wait upon all creatures. For this reason the wise man of tranquil soul should neither be elated with joy nor be depressed with sorrow. To be engaged in battle has been said to be the Sacrifice for a king; a due observance of the science of chastisement is his Yoga; and the gift of wealth in sacrifices in the form of Dakshina is his Renunciation. All these should be regarded as acts that sanctify him. By governing the kingdom with intelligence and policy, casting off pride, performing sacrifices, and looking at everything and all persons with kindness and impartiality, a high-souled king, after death, sports in the region of the gods. By winning battles, protecting his kingdom, drinking the Soma juice, advancing his subjects, wielding judiciously the rod of Chastisement, and casting off his body at last in fight, a king enjoys happiness in heaven. Having studied all the Vedas and the other scriptures duty, having protected the kingdom properly, and having caused all the four orders to adhere to their respective duties, a king becomes sanctified and finally sports in heaven. He is the best of kings whose conduct, even after his death, is applauded by the inhabitants of city and country and by his counsellors and friends."