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Sunday, October 30, 2016

Rishi Narada - Maha Bharata Series 13

Book 2, Section 5:  Rishi Narada, is described as one who is conversant with the Vedas and the six Angas,Upanishadas, with ithihaasas and Puranas, Nyaya (logic), Samkhya and Yoga systems of philosophy, with knowledge of everything that ever happened throughout the ages. He was eloquent, resolute, intelligent, possessed of powerful memory. He was ever desirous of humbling the celestials and Asuras by fomenting quarrels among them. He was a thorough master of every branch of learning, fond of war and music, and possessed of these and numberless other accomplishments.

Narada tends to roam in the realm of the gods and of men and having wandered over the different worlds, came into that Sabha and asks Yudhishtra a stream of questions all pointing to the details of a good monarch. “ Is the wealth you earn being spent on proper objects? Do you enjoy the pleasure in virtue? Are you enjoying the pleasures of life? Are you weighed down by them? Are you pursing dharma and wealth without sacrificing one for the other or both for pleasure?  

Narada also states: The six attributes of kings are cleverness of speech, readiness in providing means, intelligence in dealing with the foe, memory, and acquaintance with morals and politics). Their means are seven: sowing dissensions, chastisement, conciliation, gifts, incantations, medicine and magic. Are you aware of your strengths and weaknesses? Are you aware of the strength and weakness of your foes? I hope your seven principal officers of state the governor of the citadel, the commander of forces, the chief judge, the general in interior command, the chief priest, the chief physician, and the chief astrologer have not succumbed to the influence of your enemies.  

The victories of kings depend on good counsels and I hope you have such learned ministers who are well-versed and incorruptible. Are they under your control?

Narada asks other questions such as: Are your forts always filled with treasure, food, weapons, water, engines and instruments, as also with engineers and bowmen? Is the commander of your forces possessed of sufficient confidence, brave, intelligent, patient, well-conducted, devoted to you, and competent? Do you know that the misery caused by arrears of pay and irregularity in the distribution of rations drives the troops to mutiny?

I hope you recognize persons of learning and humility, and skill in every kind of knowledge with gifts of wealth and according to their qualifications. Do you also support the wives and children of men that have given their lives for you?

Can everyone in your kingdom approach you without fear, as if you were their mother and father? Have you constructed large tanks and lakes all over thy kingdom at proper distance? Do you supply your farmers with seed and food and not tax them too heavily. Make sure you take care of the blind, the dumb, the lame, the deformed, the friendless, and ascetics that have no homes.

Do you administer justice fairly without any favoritism, with punishment for those who deserve it and worship for those that deserve it? I hope you seek to cure bodily diseases by medicines and fasts, and mental illness with the advice of the aged?

Narada goes on: I hope that with passions under complete control and with singleness of mind, you strive to perform the sacrifices called Vajapeya and Pundarika ?  And keep free from the fourteen vices of kings, viz., atheism, untruthfulness, anger, incautiousness, procrastination, non-visit to the wise, idleness, restlessness of mind, taking counsels with only one man, consultation with persons unacquainted with the science of profit, abandonment of a settled plan, divulgence of counsels, non-accomplishment of beneficial projects, and undertaking everything without reflection? Also get rid of these six evils, O monarch, viz., sleep, idleness, fear, anger, weakness of mind, and procrastination?'

Somewhere during this discourse, Narada says: “ Vedas bear fruit when one performs agnihotra and sacrifices; wealth bears fruit when one enjoys it and also gives to charity; a wife when she bears children and knowledge when it results in humility and good behavior”.

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