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Friday, August 21, 2009

Vidur Neeti

Vidur Neeti is a compendium of knowledge which pertains to every aspect of life. It is recorded as a dialogue between the blind King Dhrit-Rashtra and his prime minister Vidur. It is about five thousand years old and predates any other work on polity, policy, economics and achievement of success in one’s endeavors.

Image result for vidur neetiChanakya’s Arthshastra written in 450 B.C. borrows heavily from Vidur Neeti. It is a masterly work in the art of governance, statecraft, intelligence gathering, economics and warfare.The original text is in Sanskrit and appears as two line Shlokas (couplet). I have tried to be as close to the original text as possible. English is not a suitable language for expressing Vedic thought, as it lacks subtlety. Sanskrit is the language of the future. As the speed of computer chips increases, it will not be possible to write software in English as instructions to the CPU will lag behind. Sanskrit is the only language with grammar rules so perfect, a whole line can condensed into one word. It is thus an ideal tool for writing software. A lot of cutting edge research is being done now to use Sanskrit as an instructional tool. Some of the finest minds in computer technology are involved in this research. In the saga of the Indian epic Mahabharat, at the end of their exile for twelve years and a year long secret existence the Pandavas appeared in Virat Nagar. 

They asked for their half of the kingdom from the blind king Dhrit-Rashtra. Duryodhan the eldest son of Dhrit-Rashtra refused to part with anything without a fight. This led to deliberations amongst the elders in the family as a war was undesirable for both factions. King Drupad sent his chief religious advisor as emissary to Dhrit-Rashtra but it produced no result. Sanjay who was the ex charioteer of the Kaurav king also spoke to Dhrit-Rashtra but a satisfactory resolution to the crisis could not be found. War clouds loomed large on the horizon. Vidur was the prime minister of Dhrit-Rashtra and it was towards him that he turned for advice. Dhrit-Rashtra said, “Sanjay has just left. He has condemned my stand on this issue and tomorrow in the general assembly he will argue against my decision in favor of Yudhishthir. I do not know what Yudhishthir has in mind, but I am agonizing over this issue. I cant sleep. You are an adept in politics and theology and must tell me what is good for me.”

Vidur said,” Those who are weak and without means, those whose wealth has been lost, a man in the throes of passion and one who is a thief, do not find sleep. Those who desire the luxuries available to other people also remain sleepless. O king are you distressed by any one of these reasons?”

Dhrit-Rashtra said,” You are a savant of political thought and are considered a superior in the lineage of Raj-Rishis. I want to hear your advice which is closely aligned with Dharma and very beneficial.”

Vidur replied,” O Dhrit-Rashtra, he who has all the qualities of a king, and is fit to be the ruler of the three worlds (visible, astral and causal), he who should be very dear to you, but was sent into exile by you. Yudhishthir is ethical, dutiful, truthful, valorous, kind and determined and yet he is undergoing many problems in exile because he is trying to maintain your honor. You may be a scholar in religion and policy but you are blind and therefore should not be a king. ”

“How can you hope for happiness and prosperity when you are dependent upon rogues like Duryodhan, Shakuni, Duh-Shasan and Karn?”

“ One who knows his inner self and his self worth and does not digress beyond the boundary of his capacity, only he is fit to be called a man of wisdom.”

“One who treads the righteous path and remains away from deeds condemned by Dharma, one who loves God and is pious, only he is fit to be called a savant.”

“One who is impervious to anger, happiness, pride, shame, sulking and rudeness only such a man is a fit to be called a wise man.”

"He whose future plans, the extent to which he has achieved them and his next moves are not known to anyone; he is a wise man.”

Rajiv Sethi
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