Niti-sataka 3 :: The greatness of the hero and the duties of the king.

It is a bit hard to divide the Nitisatakam into categores, since it is does tend to repeat certain themes. At any rate, the next 15 verses mostly talk about the characteristics of a hero and of a ruler.

santy anye'pi bṛhaspati-prabhṛtayaḥ sambhāvitāḥ pañcaṣās
tān praty eṣa viśeṣa-vikrama-rucī rāhur na vairāyate |
dvāv eva grasate divākara-niśā-prāṇeśvarau bhāskarau
bhrātaḥ parvaṇi paśya dānava-patiḥ śīrṣāvaśeṣākṛtiḥ || 34 ||

There are five or six planets like Jupiter in the sky
that are certainly great and influential, but Rahu
does not pick enmity with them; he seeks greater prey.
Just look, brother! Though he is left with nothing but a head,
when the proper moment comes, he attacks
the great luminaries of the sky, the sun and the moon.

vahati bhuvana-śreṇiṁ śeṣaḥ phaṇā-phalaka-sthitāṁ
kamaṭha-patinā madhye-pṛṣṭhaṁ sadā sa ca dhāryate |
tam api kurute kroḍādhīnaṁ payodhir anādarād
ahaha mahatāṁ niḥsīmānaś caritra-vibhūtayaḥ || 35 ||

Ananta Sesha carries the planetary systems on his hoods,
but still must be held firm on Kurmadeva's back;
the ocean carelessly washes over even that greatest of turtles:
just see how how the glories of the great are without limit.

varaṁ pakṣa-cchedaḥ samadamaghavan-mukta-kuliśa-
prahārair udgacchad-bahula-dahanodgāra-gurubhiḥ |
tuṣārādreḥ sūnor ahaha pitari kleśa-vivaśe
na cāsau sampātaḥ payasi payasāṁ patyur ucitaḥ || 36 ||

It would have been better for the son of the Himalayas
to accept the blows of intoxicated Indra's
numerous, fiery, blazing thunderbolts
as they cut off the wings of his father,
rather than running of to hide in the waters of the ocean.

The son of the Himalayas was named Mainaka (the son of Menaka).

maṇiḥ śāṇollīḍhaḥ samara-vijayī heti-dalito
mada-kṣīṇo nāgaḥ śaradi saritaḥ śyāna-pulināḥ |
kalā-śeṣaś candraḥ surata-mṛditā bāla-vanitā
tan-nimnā śobhante galita-vibhavāś cārthiṣu narāḥ ||44||

A number of things become more lustrous,
even as they diminish in size or quantity:
a jewel that has been cut and polished,
a wounded victor in battle,
an elephant that has become thin from rutting,
rivers in the autumn season, with their extended banks,
the moon of the dark fortnight
and a young girl after making love.

And what to speak of a generous man

whose coffers are diminished by charity.

parikṣīṇaḥ kaścit spṛhayati yavānāṁ prasṛtaye
sa paścāt sampūrṇaḥ kalayati dharitrīṁ tṛṇa-samām |
ataś cānaikāntyād guru-laghutayā'rtheṣu dhaninām
avasthā vastūni prathayati ca saṅkocayati ca ||45||

Things' values increase or diminish according to circumstances:
a man who has suddenly become poverty stricken
sees the value of the sesame seed he wishes to plant.
And when the crops come in and he is rich,
he looks on the world as though it were grass.

rājan dudhukṣasi yadi kṣiti-dhenum etāṁ
tenādya vatsam iva lokam amuṁ puṣāṇa
tasmiṁś ca samyag aniśaṁ paripoṣyamāṇe
nānā-phalaiḥ phalati kalpalateva bhūmiḥ ||46||

O King! If you want to milk
the wish-fulfilling cow that is this earth,
then take care of her calves, your subjects.
If they are well protected and cared for,
then this earth becomes like the heavenly trees
that provide unlimited fruits of every variety.

satyānṛtā ca paruṣā priya-vādinī ca
hiṁsrā dayālur api cārthaparā vadānyā
nitya-vyayā pracura-nitya-dhanāgamā ca
vārāṅganeva nṛpa-nītir aneka-rūpā ||47||

The task of a king takes many forms
even like that of a public woman:
sometimes he must speak the truth and sometimes lie;
he must sometimes speak gentle words and sometimes be harsh;
he must sometimes be cruel and sometimes compassionate,
sometimes miserly and sometimes generous,
he must sometimes spend profusely
and sometimes he gathers untold riches.

A clever courtesan and a king have similar dealings. No wonder it is not proper for a sannyasi to associate with them. hā hanta hanta visa-bhakṣaṇato'py asādhu. And yet, it appears to be a necessity for the life of politics. The end justifies the means. Bhartrihari goes on to describe the virtues of a good king.

ājñā kīrtiḥ pālanaṁ brāhmaṇānāṁ
dānaṁ bhogo mitra-saṁrakṣaṇaṁ ca
yeṣām ete ṣaḍguṇā na pravṛttāḥ
ko'rthas teṣāṁ pārthivopāśrayeṇa ||48||

A firm rule, a reputation for virtue,
a commitment to protect the Brahmins,
charity, a royal manner in enjoyments,
and loyalty to his friends and allies –
What is gained by taken shelter
of a ruler who does not possess these six qualities?

A king is expected to have the royal manner, meaning a harem of many queens and slave girls, I imagine. At least that is how I interpret bhogaḥ. The commentary has aiśvaryopabhogaḥ, which comes down to the same thing. A more general meaning could perhaps be that the king takes pleasure in his kingdom, indicating a happiness in his relation with his subjects, a kind of noblesse oblige. alam ativistareṇa.


Naren, Bandung said…
I Love read your nitisataka translation daily.

IT is much better than some other works.

where is sloka 37 - 43 ?

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