Bhishma Charitra

by Kartik Pandya | 2011 | 48,028 words | ISBN-10: 8171101966

The English translation of the Bhishma Charitra, an important Mahakavya (epic poem) consisting of 20 cantos. This book details the life and legends of Devavrata Bhishma: a major character in the Mahabhara and relative to both the Pandavas and Kauravas. The Bhisma Charitra (Bhismacaritam) was written by Dr. Hari Narayan Dikshit, an important author...

Canto 18 - Description of King’s Duties of Protecting his Subjects

1. At that time, knowing an inevitable and marvellous gathering of wise people, common people also desired to listen to his (Bhīṣma Pitāmaha’s) advice and thus were present there. Whom does loyalty not attract?

2. Bhīṣma Pitāmaha happily told his dear one Yudhiṣṭhira who has come back there after taking rest with sensible Kṛṣṇa and his brothers, having curiosity to know about dharma and having faith in dharma.

3. O son! By seeing you as a king, my soul has become very happy today. I consider those people very lucky who have received you sinless as the king.

4. Those people must have done some meritorious deeds in their previous birth. (Because) Here on the earth people do not get desired wife and righteous king without their meritorious deeds.

5. As people do not get popularity without merits and without merits one does not acquire the poetic skill; similarly without merits they do not get a righteous king too.

6. I know that you are aware of the duties of a king and there is no doubt that you are the incarnation of Dharma. O dear son! Whatever you wish to know, ask me now and get to know from me; do not hesitate.

7. By hearing these words of Bhīṣma Pitāmaha and thinking himself, Yudhiṣṭhira with folded hands asked the question to Bhīṣma Pitāmaha about how to protect his subjects.

8. He told him that, O respected one! I have come unto you. I now desire to know about how to protect my subjects. I am confident that by the propagation of the duties of protecting people advocated by you even kings will be benefited.

9. After that having meditated upon Lord Kṛṣṇa and setting own mind for the propagation of righteousness amongst people, he started giving lectures on how to protect people.

10. He told that even eminent scholars have put the suggestion that people select such a person as a king in whose rein they can live happily, earn their livelihood and eat peacefully.

11. When there was no king on this earth, there was overbearing influence of wicked persons. As a result, people being tortured select a king.

12. And thence there had been harmonious relation between both. People started following the command of their king; and the king started protecting his subjects.

13. Without king the sense of peace and prosperity, humanity, nobility and venerability are indeed devoid of grace like a widow; this fact was realised by people in the presence of kings only.

14. Without king any one’s daughters, mothers, sisters and females cannot live with respect and happiness in their own houses. It proves the fact that the king is the only root of people’s happiness.

15. In the absence of a king, people can neither worship nor follow righteousness nor can they earn nor can they have enjoyment nor get the benefit of salvation. The successful completion of these four goals of human life is possible only in the patronage of a king. It proves the fact that the king is the only root of people’s happiness.

16. And in the king’s ruling all people divert to their duties properly as per four classes of caste-system and four hermitage system, surely work and swell with happiness and pride.

17. Therefore all the subjects should be faithful to their king who provides them with all kinds of happiness. And thinking the same, in the ancient time the sages have developed and laid down the codes of conduct.

18. Accordingly people are always expected to see their king respectfully; follow his commands happily; and do not doubt in his endeavour.

19. For the increment of king’s treasure, they are expected to pay their royaltaxes happily. In that activity never they show laziness nor do they do any manipulation. The growth of the state or nation depends on the royal-tax payers.

20. By offering bribe to royal officers they should not make them in their side. Those, who bring in practice the bribes like poison, never do good of the kingdom or of the king.

21. All subjects are expected to take education and initiation on time. They should not be lazy in these tasks. Though belonging from a good family and being rich, illiterate people do not get respect in the society.

22. Students should be devoted to their teachers as well as should subjugate their sense organs too; and during that time they should not interrupt in the activities of governance and society.

23. And during their time of education they should take the initiation of hard-working. They should never look at the hard work with the feeling of inferiority. The scholars have showed hard-work as the friend of knowledge.

24. People should happily work hard for their livelihood. They should not get rid off from hard work. The saints have considered hard-work to be the root cause of prosperity.

25. Without completing education, without reaching to the state of youth and without starting employment in the society, one should not get married (i.e. one should not start with the gṛhastha-dharma). The sea should not be crossed without a ship (i.e. by swimming).

26. People are expected to educate their daughters too like their sons. They should never be partial in that matter. Both in the form of two wheels are equally expected to fetch the vehicle which is in the form of society.

27. The fathers of their sons should not ask for dowry from the girls’ parents at the time of their sons’ marriage. For such petty wealth they should not disregard their nobility and good qualities.

28. People are ever expected not to insult women whether they are mothers or wives; sisters or daughters. (As) Women are considered to be the goddess of the earth.

29. By the dignity of women, the society prospers with peace and happiness; and by their insult quarrel is originated. Therefore people should accept the good cause only for the good work.

30. People must practise dharma righteously. They should earn money righteously. They should worship the god of love also righteously and they should not expect salvation in an unrighteous way.

31. Business people should not hike the prices of their saleable goods under the influence of greed. The purpose of commerce is to make the goods of routine life available to the common people; and not to loot their wealth.

32. The traders should not commit adulteration in their saleable goods nor should they commit any cheating in their measure and weight. The wealth earned through unrighteous means and the increment made by the loss to the people, gives birth to calamity in the house of those persons.

33. All the farmers of the state leaving inferiority complex should always get engaged in farming with hard work. So that the common people do not have to suffer for grain. The saints have showed all the living being as primarily in need of food.

34. The teachers are expected to communicate the message of Indian culture satisfying the minds of people, the sense of Indian civilization inspiring the love for nation and the sense of devotion towards the mother land.

35. Those working in the offices should neither be bribee nor foolish. The government jobs are not for harassing the people; undoubtedly its purpose is to serve the people.

36. All people should make their bodies sturdy and sound along with their spiritual development. Not only has the study of scriptures protected the person, but sometimes the knowledge and practice of weapons indeed has protected the person.

37. All people should keep faith in their nation’s ceremonies, places of pilgrims, temples, and schools, places of worship, rivers, mountains and forests. The saints, scholars and sages have believed to be the residence of the soul of a country in them.

38. All people including children to elders of all the castes and of all the hermitages together should expect the welfare of their king in return to their meritorious deeds.

39. The unsullied merits resulting from the repeated study of the Vedas in the schools get always protected and accumulated. The students are expected to dedicate one part of those merits as per the rule to their king.

40. Those who are living house-hold lives and accumulating their merits by performing five great sacrifices, are expected to dedicate some portion of those merits from their cluster as per the rule to their king.

41. Those who are living forest lives and accumulating their merits by penance, should dedicate one part of those merits as per the rule to their king.

42. Those who become ascetics by renouncing everything of their own and who accept infinite compassion, forgiveness, friendship, happiness and mercy, should dedicate some portion of merits acquired by them in the form of cluster to their king.

43. All the subjects (people) become able to follow their duties only when they have the patronage of some king. Therefore the king receives the portion of merits from all people.

44. That king who protects the Vedas and the other scriptures; and who makes the arrangement of education for his subjects; and who always nurtures the teachers and students; acquires the merits of brahmacarya āśrama.

45. That king who develops different sources of earning for his subjects; who protects their families; and who motivates them to follow their duties; acquires the merits of gṛhastha āśrama.

46. There is no doubt that the king acquires the merits of gṛhastha āśrama who always protects the males and females who have come to places of worship, different vratas, the places of pilgrims, festivals ad who have taken his refuge.

47. And that king, who always respects guests, daily actions, own hereditary, friends and noble people, acquires the merits of vānaprastha āśrama.

48. That king who protects mountains, rivers, cascades, forests, forest products and ascetics; acquires the merits of vānaprastha āśrama.

49. That king, having inclination towards knowledge, which protects the scholars of the Vedas and the ascetics wishing welfare of the society, acquires the merits of sanyāsa āśrama.

50. Therefore the scholars have showed the rājadharma to be the best among others, as they have showed gṛhastha āśrama among all the four āśramas. A king never falls in the bad condition at any place who protects and nurtures his subjects well.

51. Therefore o son! Giving aside all worries, rule the kingdom. By it you will be happy here and hereafter. All the duties on the earth depend on the duty of a king; and the preaching of Lord Kṛṣṇa is always helpful.

52. These teachings of Bhīṣma Pitāmaha, which were throwing light on the duties of a king and his subjects, were able to influence the mind of listeners; and which were very tranquil. Hearing these words, the mind of Yudhiṣṭhira became doubtless. The strong medicine immediately gives its remedial effect (result).

53. Thus by hearing the duties of people, they all become doubtless in their respective duties. After that all the kings and people having bowed down to Bhīṣma Pitāmaha went away from there peacefully.

Like what you read? Consider supporting this website: