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The Mahābhārata is an Sanskrit epic poem written over an extended period from the 4th century BC to the 2nd century AD. The fullest form of The Mahābhārata contains about 2,000,000 words, and is sometimes said to be the longest poem in world literature. Quotations are cited from the translation by J. A. B. van Buitenen et al. (Chicago: Chicago University Press, 1980–), to which page numbers also refer.

Sabha Parva[edit]

Vana Parva[edit]

  • With gentleness one defeats the gentle as well as the hard; there is nothing impossible to the gentle; therefore the gentle is the more severe.
    • Sub-parva 31, sect. 29; vol. 2, p. 277.
  • A gray head does not make an elder. The Gods know him to be an elder who knows, be he a child. Not by years, not by gray hairs, not by riches or many relations did the seers make the Law: "He is great to us who has learning."
    • Sub-parva 33, sect. 133; vol. 2, p. 476.
  • Be he ever so wise and strong, wealth confounds a man. In my view, anyone living in comfort fails to reason.
    • Sub-parva 36, sect. 178; vol. 2, p. 566.

Udyoga Parva[edit]

  • The poor always eat better: hunger sweetens their dishes, and that is rare among the rich. It is generally found in the world that the rich have no appetite, but the poor, O Indra of kings, digest even wood.
    • Sub-parva 51, sect. 34; vol. 3, pp. 263-4.
  • The intoxication with power is worse than drunkenness with liquor and such, for he who is drunk with power does not come to his senses before he falls.
    • Sub-parva 51, sect. 34; vol. 3, p. 264.
  • Do not do to another what is disagreeable to yourself: this is the summary Law.
    • Sub-parva 51, sect. 39; vol. 3, pp. 281-2.
    • Similar formulations appear elsewhere in The Mahābhārata.
  • Once war has been undertaken, no peace is made by pretending there is no war.
    • Sub-parva 54, sect. 86; vol. 3, p. 365.

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