Mahabharata (English)

by Kisari Mohan Ganguli | 2,566,952 words | ISBN-10: 8121505933

The English translation of the Mahabharata is a large text describing ancient India. It is authored by Krishna-Dwaipayana Vyasa and contains the records of ancient humans. Also, it documents the fate of the Kauravas and the Pandavas family. Another part of the large contents, deal with many philosophical dialogues such as the goals of life. Book...

Section XXIX

"Vaisampayana said, 'Then Saradvata’s son, Kripa said,

'What the aged Bhishma has said concerning the Pandavas is reasonable, suited to the occasion, consistent with virtue and profit, agreeable to the ear, fraught with sound reason, and worthy of him. Listen also to what I would say on this subject. It behoves you to ascertain the track they have followed and their abode also by means of spies,[1] and to adopt that policy which may bring about your welfare. O child, he that is solicitous of his welfare should not disregard even an ordinary foe. What shall I say, then, O child, of the Pandavas who are thorough masters of all weapons in battle.

When, therefore, the time comes for the reappearance of the high-souled Pandavas, who, having entered the forest,[2] are now passing their days in close disguise, you should ascertain your strength both in your own kingdom and in those of other kings. Without doubt, the return of the Pandavas is at hand. When their promised term of exile is over, the illustrious and mighty sons of Pritha, endued with immeasurable prowess, will come hither bursting with energy. Do you, therefore, in order to conclude an advantageous treaty with them, have recourse to sound policy and address thyself to increase your forces and improve the treasury. O child, ascertaining all these, reckon you your own strength in respect of all your allies weak and strong.[3]

Ascertaining the efficiency, and weakness, and indifference of your forces, as also who amongst them are well-affected and who are disaffected, we should either fight the foe or make treaty with him. Having recourse to the arts of conciliation, disunion, chastisement, bribery, presents and fair behaviour, attack your foes and subdue the weak by might, and win over your allies and troops and by soft speeches. When you have (by these means) strengthened your army and filled your treasury, entire success will be thine. When you have done all this, you will be able to fight with powerful enemies that may present themselves, let alone the sons of Pandu deficient in troops animals of their own. By adopting all these expedients according to the customs of your order, you will, O foremost of men, attain enduring happiness in due time!'"

Footnotes and references:


The word tirtha here means, as Nilakantha rightly explains spies and not holy spots.


Satram is explained by Nilakantha to mean here 'false disguise.' I think, however, such an interpretation to be far-fetched. It evidently means 'forest',--the use of 'pravisteshu' in connection with it almost settles the point.


This sloka is not correctly printed in any of the texts that I have seen. The reading that I adopt is that the second word is the participle of the root budh and not the instrumental of budhi; the last word again of the second line is a compound of valavatsu and avaleshu instead of (as printed in many books) valavatswavaleshu. Any other reading would certainly be incorrect. I have not consulted the Bombay text.


This concludes Section XXIX of Book 4 (Virata Parva) of the Mahabharata, of which an English translation is presented on this page. This book is famous as one of the Itihasa, similair in content to the eighteen Puranas. Book 4 is one of the eighteen books comprising roughly 100,000 Sanskrit metrical verses.

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