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.
- निर्वनो वध्यते व्याघ्रो निर्व्याघ्रं छिद्यते वनम् ।
तस्माद्व्याघ्रो वनं रक्षेद्वनं व्याघ्रं च पालयेत् ॥
- nirvanō vadhyatē vyāghrō nirvyāghraṁ chidyatē vanam
tasmādvyāghrō vanaṁ rakṣēdvanaṁ vyāghraṁ ca pālayēt.
- अक्रोधेन जयेत्क्रोधमसाधुं साधुना जयेत् ।
जयेत्कदर्यं दानेन जयेत्सत्येन चानृतम् ॥
- akrōdhēna jayētkrōdha-masādhuṁ sādhunā jayēt
jayētkadaryaṁ dānēna jayētsatyēna cānṛtam.
- यथा च स्वगृहस्थः श्वा व्याघ्रं वनगतं भषेत् ।
तथा त्वं भषसे कर्ण नरव्याघ्रं धनंजयम् ॥
- yathā ca svagṛhasthaḥ śvā vyāghraṁ vanagataṁ bhaṣēt
tathā tvaṁ bhaṣasē Karṇa naravyāghraṁ Dhanañjayam.
- सृगालोऽपि वने कर्ण शशैः परिवृतो वसन् ।
मन्यते सिंहमात्मानं यावत्सिंहन पश्यति ॥
- sṛgālōpi vanē Karṇa śaśaiḥ parivṛtō vasan
manyatē sinhamātmānaṁ yāvatsinhana paśyati.
- धर्मादर्थश्च कामश्च स किमर्थं न सेव्यते
- dharmādarthaśca kāmaśca sa kimarthaṁ na sēvyatē
- Discontent is the root of fortune.
- Sub-parva 27, sect. 50; vol. 2, p. 122.
- When the Gods deal defeat to a person, they first take his mind away, so that he sees things wrongly.
- Sub-parva 28, sect. 72; vol. 2, p. 167.
- 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.
as translated by J. A. B. van Buitenen
- 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.
- People are plagued by their senses if they act without restraint to attain their desires. ... If one is dragged along as the victim of his natural five senses, his adversities wax like the moon in the bright fortnight.
- 5(51)34:53, p. 264
- A chariot, king, is a person's body:
The soul is the driver, the senses his horses;
Undistracted by his fine horses a driver
Who is skilled rides happily, if they are trained.
- 5(51)34:57, p. 264
- Senses out of control suffice to bring one to grief, as untrained and disobedient horses bring a driver to grief on the road. A fool who, guided by his senses, sees profit arising from the unprofitable and the unprofitable from profit mistakes misery for happiness.
- 5(51)34:58, 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.
- See also Golden Rule.
- Once war has been undertaken, no peace is made by pretending there is no war.
- Sub-parva 54, sect. 86; vol. 3, p. 365.
About the Mahabharata
- In the Mahabharata, the ceremony for the oath of a new king includes the admonition: 'Be like a garland-maker, O king, and not like a charcoal burner.' The garland symbolizes social coherence; it is a metaphor for dharmic diversity in which flowers of many colors and forms are strung harmoniously for the most pleasing effect. In contrast, the charcoal burner is a metaphor for the brute-force reduction of diversity into homogeneity, where diverse living substances are transformed into uniformly lifeless ashes.
- Indras Net by Rajiv Malhotra, p.10., 1st ed.
- Quotes from Mahabharata : A collection of wise sayings chosen from Mahabharat.