Vidura’s advice to King Dritarashtra
In Vidura Neeti, which occurs in the Udyoga Parva of Mahabharata, Vidura expounds, for the benefit of King Dhritarashtra, the basic principles of morality conducive to happiness here and hereafter. The intelligent man who shuns hypocrisy and delusion, slander and sinful acts, enmity with the many and disputation with the drunken, the insane and the wicked is pre-eminent among men. The King is depicted as Blind man and his wife too follows him by blinding herself.
His 100 sons are misled by uncle and friends and Blind King is unable to see his son’s mistakes and tries to cover him up every time.
Vidura, the advisor of king explains how he became blind in his son’s love and is now supporting all his senseless decisions.
These decisions lead to war between cousins and ultimately the king’s 100 sons are killed for their wrong deeds.
But the advices of vidura remain and are still applicable for everyone to be an ideal person in the society.
Here are some of them :
Vidura said: Five types of people cannot sleep â€“ one who lusts after another man’s wife, a thief, one who has lost or thinks he would lose all his wealth, an unsuccessful man, an oppressed man. Surely avarice and greed are not to be found in you!
Dhritarashtra wrenched at the insight and unusual cynicism in his brother’s voice. Again, he asked him to help him sleep. Vidura said: You have not been able to sleep for so many years! Right from when the Pandavas were sent to the forest, nay right from Duryodhana’s birth when you knew that he was not destined to rule. Jealousy has been the prime occupant in your heart. You ask me how you can sleep. Right now, if you return to the Pandavas what is theirs by right, you can sleep like a child. You are not wise; you are foolish!
Dhritarashtra asked: Dear brother, tell me the qualities of a wise and a foolish man.
Vidura said: Listen carefully. A wise king should use the ONE to discriminate the TWO; control the THREE using the FOUR; conquer the FIVE; know the SIX; abstain from the SEVEN.
ONE means the intellect; TWO stands for right and wrong; THREE means friend, enemy and stranger; FOUR means gift, appeasement, estrangement and severity; FIVE are the senses; SIX are the different relationships between kingdoms – war, treaty etc.; SEVEN are the greatest vices â€“ women, dice, hunting, harsh speech, drinking, severe punitive acts and wasting wealth.
A king can then be happy. Poison and weapon can kill only one man but wicked counsel destroys a whole kingdom. The highest good is RIGHTEOUSNESS; the supreme peace is FORGIVENESS; supreme contentment is KNOWLEDGE; supreme happiness is BENEVOLENCE.
A king can become great by doing two things â€“ refraining from harsh speech and avoiding the wicked.
Three crimes are considered terrible â€“ theft, wrath of another man’s wife, breaking the trust of friendship. Three things destroy the soul â€“ lust, anger and covetousness. Three are essential and should be protected â€“ a follower, one seeking protection and one that has come to your abode.
A king should ever avoid these four â€“ men of small sense, men that procrastinate, indolent men and flatterers.