Sacred Texts  Hinduism  Mahabharata  Index  Previous  Next 


"Yudhishthira said, 'Tell me, O thou of great wisdom, everything about that from which spring wrath and lust, O bull of Bharata's race, and sorrow and loss of judgment, and inclination to do (evil to others), and jealousy and malice and pride, and envy, and slander, and incapacity to bear the good of others, and unkindness, and fear. Tell me everything truly and in detail about all these.'

"Bhishma said, 'These thirteen vices are regarded as very powerful foes of all creatures. These, O Monarch, approach and tempt men from every side. They goad and afflict a heedless man or one that is insensate. Indeed, as soon as they see a person, they assail him powerfully like wolves jumping upon their prey. From these proceed all kinds of grief. From these proceed all

p. 354

kinds of sin. Every mortal, O foremost of men, should always know this. I shall now speak to thee of their origin, of the objects upon which they rest, and of the means of their destruction, O lord of the earth! Listen, first, O king, with undivided attention, to the origin of wrath truly and in detail. Anger springs from covetousness. It is strengthened by the faults of others. Through forgiveness it remains dormant, and through forgiveness it disappears. As regards lust, it springs from resolution. Indulgence strengthens it. When the man of wisdom resolutely turns away from it, it disappears and dies. Envy of others proceeds from between wrath and covetousness. It disappears in consequence of compassion and knowledge of self. In consequence of compassion for all creatures, and of that disregard for all worldly objects (that knowledge brings in its train), it disappears. It also arises from seeing the faults of other people. But in men of intelligence it quickly disappears in consequence of true knowledge. 1 Loss of judgment has its origin in ignorance and proceeds from sinfulness of habit. When the man whom this fault assails begins to take delight in (the company and counsels of) wise men, the vice at once and immediately hides its head. Men, O thou of Kuru's race, see conflicting scriptures. From that circumstance springs the desire for diverse kinds of action. When true Knowledge has been gained, that desire is allayed. The grief of an embodied creature proceeds from affection which is awakened by separation. When, however, one learns that the dead do not return (whatever the grief one may feel for them), it subsides. Incapacity to bear other people's good proceeds from wrath and covetousness. Through compassion for every creature and in consequence of a disregard for all earthly objects, it is extinguished. Malice proceeds from the abandonment of truth and indulgence in wickedness. This vice, O child, disappears in consequence of one's waiting upon the wise and good. Pride, in men, springs from birth, learning, and prosperity. When those three, however, are truly known, that vice instantly disappears. Jealousy springs from lust and delight in low and vulgar people. In consequence of wisdom it is destroyed. From errors (of conduct) inconsistent with the ordinary course of men, and through disagreeable speeches expressive of aversion, slander takes its rise. It disappears, O king, upon a survey of the whole world. When the person that injures is powerful and the injured one is unable to avenge the injury, hate shows itself. It subsides, however, through kindliness. Compassion proceeds from a sight of the helpless and miserable persons with whom the world abounds. That sentiment disappears when one understands the strength of virtue. 2 Covetousness in all creatures spring from ignorance. Beholding the instability of all objects of enjoyment, it suffers destruction. It has been said that tranquillity of soul can alone subdue all these thirteen faults. All these thirteen faults

p. 355

stained the sons of Dhritarashtra. Thyself, always desirous of truth, hast conquered all of those vices in consequence of thy regard for seniors.'"


354:1 In the Bengal texts, verse 9 is a triplet. In the second line the correct reading is nirvedat and not nirdesat. Avadya is fault. Vinivartate is understood at the end of the third line, as suggested by Nilakantha. Both the Bengali versions of 9 are incomplete, the Burdwan one being also incorrect.

354:2 The commentator explains that compassion, like the faults enumerated above, agitates the heart and should be checked for the sake of individual happiness or tranquillity of soul.

Next: Section CLXIV