Mahabharata Quotes - Sabha Parva

Covers of Vols 1 - 6
My earlier post, collected some of the more interesting quotes from the first Parva of the Mahabharata, the Adi Parva. This post continues with a collection collated from the second Parva, the Sabha Parva. This Parva is contained entirely in Vol. 2 of the unabridged translation of the Mahabharata by Dr Bibek Debroy (My reviewsVol.1Vol.2Vol. 3Vol. 4Vol.5 (12), Vol. 6 (123)).

Narad muni's discourse to Yudhishtra, after the latter had settled down in the grand palace at Indraprastha, architected by the asura architect Maya, is quite notable as a piece of mini niti-shastra. I have taken the liberty of including many quotes from it, though I would recommend that people read it in its entirety.

  • "Do you hurt dharma by artha or artha by dharma or both for the sake of pleasures that kama brings?"
    [Sage Narada to Yudhishtra, Sabha Parva, Sabha Parva, Ch 5] (the first sub-Parva in the Sabha Parva is also named "Sabha Parva")

  • "Surely you do not seek the advice from only one, or from too many."
    [Sage Narada to Yudhishtra, Sabha Parva, Sabha Parva, Ch 5]

  • "Do you purchase a single learned man for one thousand foolish ones?"
    [Sage Narada to Yudhishtra, Sabha Parva, Sabha Parva, Ch 5]

  • "Have you appointed superior men in superior positions and medium ones in medium positions?"
    [Sage Narada to Yudhishtra, Sabha Parva, Sabha Parva, Ch 5]



  • "Are your soldiers given their rations and wages on time?"
    [Sage Narada to Yudhishtra, Sabha Parva, Sabha Parva, Ch 5]

  • "Do you first strengthen your base before marching out? Do you attack to win and having won, do you protect?"
    [Sage Narada to Yudhishtra, Sabha Parva, Sabha Parva, Ch 5]

  • "O Yudhishtra! Is your weak enemy restrained with force and is your strong enemy restrained with good counsel or force or both?"
    [Sage Narada to Yudhishtra, Sabha Parva, Sabha Parva, Ch 5]

  • "Knowing the ways of dharma, do you nurture like a father the blind, the dumb, the crippled, the deformed, the orphaned and mendicant ascetics?"
    [Sage Narada to Yudhishtra, Sabha Parva, Sabha Parva, Ch 5]

  • "Out of friendship, some do not notice faults. Out of desire for riches, some say that which is pleasant to hear. Some consider that to be the best course of action which brings them self-gain."
    [Yudhishtra to Krishna, Mantra Parva, Sabha Parva, Ch 12]

  • "It is the policy of the intelligent not to attack stronger enemies with battle formations and armies."
    [Krishna to Yudhishtra, Mantra Parva, Sabha Parva, Ch 16]

  • "It is said that one's preceptor, one's priest, one's relative, a snataka, a friend and a king - these are the six who are deserving of such offerings."
    [Bhishma to Yudhishtra, Arghabhiharana Parva, Sabha Parva, Ch 33]

  • "But then, when Drupada is here, how can Madhava be thus worshipped? ...
    If you consider Krishna to your preceptor, how can Varshneya be shown homage when Drona is here? ...
    If you consider Krishna to be the sacrificial priest, how can you show him homage when the brahman Dvaipayana is present?"
    [Shishupala to Yudhishtra, Arghabhiharana Parva, Sabha Parva, Ch 34]

  • "O Madhusudana! You are not a king and this royal homage to you is like a wife to the impotent or a beautiful sight to the blind."
    [Shishupala to KrishnaArghabhiharana Parva, Sabha Parva, Ch 34]

  • "O Bhishma! How does the killer of a cow, and the killer of a woman, deserve praise?"
    [Shishupala to Bhishma, Arghabhiharana Parva, Sabha Parva, Ch 38]

  • "Your brahmacharya is in vain. There is no doubt that you uphold it as a result of delusion or impotency."
    [Shishupala to Bhishma, Arghabhiharana Parva, Sabha
     Parva, Ch 38
    ]

  • "No self-respecting man but you will admit before respectable ones that his wife had been someone else's first."
    [Shishupala to Krishna, Arghabhiharana Parva, Sabha Parva, Ch 42]

  • "I am full of envy and am burning day and night. I am drying up like a shallow pond in the hot season."
    [Duryodhana to Shakuni, Dyuta Parva, Sabha Parva, Ch 43]

  • "What true man in the worlds has the fortitude to see his rivals prosper, while his own self is in decline?"
    [Duryodhana to ShakuniDyuta Parva, Sabha Parva, Ch 43]

  • "Satisfaction and pride destroy prosperity, so do compassion and fear."
    [Duryodhana to DhritarashtraDyuta Parva, Sabha Parva, Ch 45]

  • "It is said that a man who does not feel envy is a wretch."
    [Duryodhana to DhritarashtraDyuta Parva, Sabha Parva, Ch 46]

  • "This ordinary prosperity does not please me. I am miserable on seeing the blazing prosperity of Kunti's son."
    [Duryodhana to DhritarashtraDyuta Parva, Sabha Parva, Ch 46]

  • "The derision of a rival burns me."
    [Duryodhana to DhritarashtraDyuta Parva, Sabha Parva, Ch 46]

  • "Like a snake swallows rats, the earth swallows up two - the king who does not strive and the brahmana who does not live at home."
    [Duryodhana to DhritarashtraDyuta Parva, Sabha Parva, Ch 50]

  • "Neither disease nor Yama wait for prosperity to come."
    [Duryodhana to DhritarashtraDyuta Parva, Sabha Parva, Ch 51]

  • "It seems that some of the most feared rogues have assembled here."
    [Yudhishtra, Dyuta Parva, Sabha Parva, Ch 52]

  • "Because of his greed, he destroyed both what he had and what he could have had."
    [Vidura to  DhritarashtraDyuta Parva, Sabha Parva, Ch 55]

  • "The minds of kings are always unsteady. After granting protection, they slay with clubs."
    [Vidura to DhritarashtraDyuta Parva, Sabha Parva, Ch 57]

  • "She had protectors, but was without a protector."
    [Dyuta Parva, Sabha Parva, Ch 60]

  • "It is said that the vaishya has one boon and a kshatriya and his wife can have two. O Indra among kings! A king can have three boons and a brahmana one hundred."
    [Droupadi to DhritarashtraDyuta Parva, Sabha Parva, Ch 64]

  • "This happiness will last for a short time, like the shade of a palm tree in the winter."
    [Duryodhana to Dhritarashtra, Anudyuta Parva, Sabha Parva, Ch 71]

  • "When the gods wish to defeat a man, they first take his intelligence away, so that his vision becomes distorted."
    [Dhritarashtra to Sanjay, Anudyuta Parva, Sabha Parva, Ch 72]



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    © 2013, Abhinav Agarwal (अभिनव अग्रवाल). All rights reserved.