NAKULA AND SAHADEVA OPPOSE YUDHISHTIRA'S RETIREMENT
Nakula refutes Arjuna: Nobles not an exploitative superfluous leisure class.
They too were governed by the principle of work.
Nakula endorsed the stand that performance of prescribed work was the way to be followed. He pointed out that the class of nobles (devas) had not become a leisure class or a superfluous class meant only for pageantry. It continued to be active as a class deliberating on issues pertaining to civil law as the sacrificial altars at Visakha indicated, he said. They too were governed by the principle of work (karma) that one is bound to experience the fruits (phala) of his earlier work. He said that the elder citizens (pitaras) who (as astikas) believed in the existence of an Ultimate authority and power and gave the discrete individuals, bhutas, of the social periphery the necessary aid to enable them to survive as pranis (beings that had breath) performed their deeds in accordance with the rules. He addressed Yudhishtira as parthiva, governor of the agro-pastoral plains. (12-3,4)
It may be noted here that Adityas, Vasus, Rudras and Maruts were the four traditional groups of nobles (devas) who enjoyed several immunities and privileges. Saddhyas, the best among the siddhas who had fulfilled the objectives of their rigorous endeavour, tapas, had been admitted to the ranks of the nobles during the Vedic times. By the end of the Vedic era, Manu Vaivasvata admitted Visvedevas and Asvins to the nobility. Visvedevas were in fact members of the rich bourgeoisie, the upper crust of the commonalty (vis). Yajnavalkya had recommended that the nobles (devas) should be selected from among the Visvedevas.
Asvins were representatives of the working class
Asvins were representatives of the workers (dasas). While the higher ranks of the commonalty were eligible to take the pledge to abide by the code based on truth (satya) and exercise franchise as free citizens (Aryas), the lower ranks could abjure perjury and be treated as nasatyas. They too were represented by the Asvins. Nakula was born to an Asvin who as Dasra represented the Dasas (Shudras).
Vipras taught all; were subordinate to the chief judge, Brahma
Nakula explained that a Vedic scholar and ideologue who went against the rules prescribed in the Vedas was considered to be a high-blown atheist (nastika). A scholar (vipra) who was constantly on the move and performed all acts in violation of the Vedic prescriptions could not be said to go along the path that would lead him to the threshold of the social world of nobles (devayana). The vipras taught the Vedas to and officiated at sacrifices performed by others even if they were not initiated as twice-born, dvijas. They were not eligible to meet the nobles and gain their favour. Nakula pointed out that the house-holder stage of life was superior to the other stages, as expounded by the Brahmana jurists who knew (all) the Vedas, he told Yudhishtira, addressing him as the chief of free men (naradhipa).
A nara was a commoner had walked out of his family and did not feel bound by the codes of his clan and community. A vipra too was a scholar who had parted company with his family. The vipras who had mastered only one of the three Vedas (Rg, Yajur and Sama) were subordinate to the Brahmana jurists who had studied all the four Vedas. His activities made him liable to be equated with atheists. Addressing Yudhishtira as maharaja, an overlord who was head of the state as well as of the judiciary,
Free man, nara, could be one doing constructive work, krta atma
Nakula said that a free man (nara) who disbursed the wealth (vitta) earned in accordance with the dharma code for important desirable and constructive purposes was considered by the smrtis (dharmasastras) to be one doing a constructive work (krta atma) and one who had renounced (tyagi). But one who (was poor and hence) had not experienced (as a house-holder, grhastha) a life of comforts and got established in a higher stage of life (vanaprastha or sanyasa) and gave up his life atma-tyaga was said to be an ignorant (tamasa) type of tyagi, he argued. (5 to 9)
Muni could become bhikshaka
A silent monk (muni) who had no abode and went around and took shelter at the base of a tree and who did not cook food and was engaged in performing yoga and had as a tyagi renounced everything was to be treated as having the status of a bhikshuka, a status lower than that of a bhikshu (who was highly revered), Nakula asserted. Such a bhikshuka was however superior to a common beggar. A scholar who was ever on the move as a vipra educating others and officiating at the rites performed by them and accepted whatever honorarium they paid ignoring rage, low elation and especially slanderous comments about his character and was engaged in studying the Vedas by himself may be called a tyagi, he said. This vipra was not a bhikshu who unlike the vipra did not render useful social service before accepting alms from the host. (12-10,11)
Householder stage too could have merit
Nakula recalled how the social psychologists (known as manishinas) of the past showed that the house-holder stage of life had as much merit as all the other three stages put together. Critical assessment indicated that it facilitated the two objectives, sensual enjoyment (kama) and obtaining a place in the nobility after obtaining discharge from all obligations and freedom (moksha) from worldly bondages. Since then it was determined that what the senior sages (maharshis) who were also legislators followed should be the path to be followed by the social world (loka) of commoners. (12-12,13)
The maharshis lived amidst the commoners and were active householders. They were not vanaprasthas or sanyasis. One who had such an attitude (bhava) as these sages had, deserved to be called, a tyagi and not one who like a fool gave up his home and went to the forest, Nakula asserted. If a free man (nara) who paraded himself as a champion of dharma was found to be given to sexual and other desires (kama) he would be liable to be hanged to death, he pointed out.
Directives to the sages (rshis and rajarshis)
Any work performed under the influence of pride of status (abhimana) would not be rewarded, would not bear fruit (phala), while all acts performed in a spirit of renunciation (tyaga) would be greatly rewarded, he reminded Yudhishtira, addressing him as the head of the state as well as judiciary (maharaja). He also reminded the king (who proposed to resort to asceticism) that the socio-cultural codes (sastras) had asked the sages (rshis) to always follow the rules of tranquility, self-control, bravery, adherence to the laws based on truth, purity, uprightness, performance of sacrifices, steadfastness and adherence to the laws of dharma.
Nakula was referring to the traits expected of Rajarshis. He said the arrangements made before commencement of assemblies for the elders (pitrs), nobles (devas) and guests (atithis) was praised. Even the sages had to entertain them as they too were householders bound to meet the needs of the non-earning cadres. Only fulfillment of all the three pursuits, dharma, artha, kama, yielded the expected results (phalam, siddhi), he said. He was refuting the argument that the stage of householders cared only for artha and kama. (12-14 to 18)
Those who abided by these rules while remaining as house-holders and had renounced (tyaga) all comforts were never frustrated in their desire to rise in social status (to become nobles), Nakula claimed. The chief of the people (prajapati) had arranged while effecting social classification that those recognized as the subjects (prajas) should perform different sacrifices and pay the fees (dakshina). He was one committed to the principles of dharma.
Yajna was institutionalised only after organised state emerged
The editor seems to imply that the system of supervised sacrifices (yajnas) was not in vogue before the social classification was made and before the concept of recognition of a domicile as a praja of the state or social polity was advanced. The practice of yajnas was institutionalized only during the later Vedic times when organized states came into picture. What plants, trees, herbs and animals should be used for such sacrifices too was determined by that chief.
Performing the prescribed sacrificial rites (yajnakarma) is a challenge to one iin the stage of a householder and hence becoming such a householder is difficult and rare. If a householder endowed with cattle, grains and wealth did not perform sacrificial rites it was a permanent stain (liable to be punished), Nakula told Yudhishtira, addressing him as a maharaja, head of the executive as well as the judiciary.
Some sages (rshis) deemed self-education (svadhyaya) as an act of sacrifice. Some others treated formal acquisition of knowledge (jnana) as such an act of sacrifice. And some others considered honing the mind (manas) as an act of great sacrifice (mahayajna). Even the nobles (devas) desired to come in contact with the educated (dvija) who by resorting to the path of keeping the mind content and unperturbed had become an (unattached) individual eligible to be treated as a jurist (brahmabhuta), Nakula said. (12-19 to 25)
Yudhishtira should not speak like an atheist
He charged Yudhishtira with speaking like an atheist (nastika) instead of collecting jewels and wealth from different sources and distributing them at the sacrifices (yajnas). Addressing Yudhishtira as naradhipa, a chief of free men who had dissociated themselves from their families and communities, Nakula asked him not to renounce (tyaga) his family (kutumba) but to perform, rajasuya, asvamedha and sarvamedha sacrifices. These would validate his victory and legitimize his authority to rule the conquered lands. Addressing Yudhishtira as mahipala, governor of the agrarian plains, Nakula asked him to perform those sacrifices (yajnas) prescribed by the jurists (Brahmanas) and like Sakra Indra, the head of the nobility (devapati) worship the chief guest (and witness) at the sacrifice. Even the nobles acknowledged the jurists to be superior to them. Yudhishtira had to formally declare his respect for them. (12-26 to 28)
The king's duties
If a king did not give asylum to his subjects (prajas) who were harassed the mercenaries (dasyus) who were encouraged by his complacency and indifference, he is said to be Kali (the evil times caused by evil deeds) incarnate. Addressing Yudhishtira as Visapati, chief of the (unclassified) commonalty (vis), Nakula said that if entertaining thoughts (cetas) of malice (matsarya) against the communities who were reoriented as educated and cultured (dvijati) they (the Pandavas) did not bestow on them horses and cattle and servant-maids, tools and ornaments, fields and houses and villages and positions in the janapada administration their regime would be treated as kali, decadent, in terms of culture and civilization. A king who did not extend assistance to those who sought asylum with him was guilty of blemished comforts and affluence, Nakula pointed out. (12-29 to 32)
Yudhishtira as maharaja should be in the status of a householder
By not performing the great sacrifices (yajnas) and paying homage to the departed elders (pitrs) with devotion and visiting places of reorientation (tirthas), if he took to asceticism (parivraja), his authority (as the head of the larger society, prabhu) would be shattered, even as clouds are dispersed by winds, Nakula warned Yudhishtira. He would lose the good will of the social world (loka) of commoners as well as that of the nobles and stranded in between, Nakula cautioned. One became a tyagi by giving up attachments to external and internal objects that entangled ones mind (manas) (and not by leaving ones home), he said. He told Yudhishtira who as maharaja was both king and judge, that by remaining in his then status as a householder and following the rules of that stage, he would not in any way be breaching the socio-political constitution (Brahmana). (33- 36)
According to a southern version of the epic, Nakula recalled what some scholars had told him. The world was undifferentiated in the beginning. There was no method to identify different things and senses. None entertained doubts about other others. There was no social classification as nobles (devas) and commoners (manushyas), settled groups (sthavara) and mobile persons (jangama), native community (jati) or stage of life (asrama) and their subdivisions, workers, exclusive pursuit of wealth and sex, other acquisitions and their uses. [Nakula does not refer to the then comparatively new classes (varnas).] In the beginning every thing was dark and the soul (atma) was not linked to mind (manas). There was no individual who could be described as a thinker and the thinkers were not fit to be called intellectuals (buddhi). Only one who lived apart from his social group as atma had intellect (buddhi). That is, intellectuals lived away from social groups, pursuing their enquiries about the unknown in solitude.
Isvara and pranis
Nakula also claimed that Isvara, the great charismatic and benevolent chief of the social periphery whose influence pervaded the social world (loka) of commoners (manushyas) also, had not given definite social structures and identifiable personalities to the pranis who were but breathing and struggling to get bare living space and were at the base level of social hierarchy. Isvara had not provided for them definite ways of worship and prayers (mantras). They could not even think of what they needed and secure and maintain their separate identities.
When sages were appointed to create classes
Nakula explained that it was at that stage of development (of civilization), the charismatic chief, Isvara, nominated some sages who would be creators of social classes and be the chieftains (devatas) who were to be addressed and appealed to in the hymns and formulae (mantras) for help and protection. [The nobles, devas, of the agro-pastoral core society were superior to these chieftains, devatas, of the social periphery and the frontier society.] Devas (nobles) were in their place as ruling elite even before Isvaras emerged as the highest authorities in the frontier society and the social periphery.
According to the non-atheistic (non-Vratya) Saivaite school, Isvara who belonged to the social periphery where the underprivileged lived was superior to its nobility (devatas). The sages who followed the Isvara school of thought visualized a vast cosmos headed by the great intellectual, Brahma. It was Brahmanda. According to Nakula, the sages conducted a sacrifice (yajna) to commemorate the formation of a larger society (visva) and nominated a patriarch (pitamaha) to head it. With the blessings of Isvara, that patriarch began to organize the social world of commonalty.
Isvara school of thought
Whatever the intellectuals of the present commonalty knew had been learnt from that great chief, Isvara, directly or indirectly, Nakula claimed. Nakula said that Isvara whose influence pervaded all areas of the larger society recommended to the great intellectual and jurist, Brahmadeva, at that time of major social unrest and change (pralaya) when the lower ranks of the society surged ahead, the orientation known as purusharthas, dharma, artha, kama and moksha.
Jantus, Pranis, Bhutas and Prakrti not brought under the varna scheme
According to the Isvara school of thought, the lower social strata who were ignorant and inert (tamasic) were subject to joys and sorrows and rise and fall in the social ladder as directed by that high authority, Isvara. They did not have the innate strength or knowledge to assert their power and rise on their own. Their rise and fall were not connected with positive efforts made or sins committed deliberately. These persons were referred to as jantus, weakest elements among those born. They were at a level lower than the pranis who did not have unlike the discrete individuals (bhutas) of the social periphery, individual identities. The pranis who but breathed but could yet be subjected to social classification were enabled by the Isvara, the charismatic leader of the periphery, to think and develop sensory pleasures and be engaged in work prescribed for them.
This enabled these weak elements to join the organized social world where the distinction, prakrti and purusha, masses and leader, had come into existence. Neither the jantus nor the pranis nor the bhutas nor even those included in prakrti had been brought under the scheme of four classes (varnas) then. At the level of prakrti there were conscious efforts at gaining comforts (sukham) and warding off sorrows (dukham). Purusha-prakrti dichotomy came into vogue very late.
Isvara conceived both fourfold schemes
Nakula claimed that both systems of social classificationnobles (devas), feudal lords (asuras), free progressive middle class of scholars and warriors (gandharvas) and commoners (manushyas) engaged in manual workintellectuals (Brahmans), warriors and administrators (Kshatriyas), rich bourgeoisie (Vaisyas) and proletariat (Shudras) were conceived by the Isvara school of thought. Both social classifications, the later Vedic and the post-Vedic, were valid. But both covered only the agro-pastoral core society. Nakula reminded Yudhishtira that the latter and his associates belonged to this school.
Were these classifications unjust to the populations in the lower strata? The weaker sections, pranis, the lower rungs of the macro-society that covered all animate beings, lived and died without attaining any objective or higher status even while they were under the influence of Indra, the head of the benevolent nobility. Nakula charged that the nobles (devas) sacrificed the interests of these beings at the lowest level of the larger society and also of those of the commoners (manushyas). Yet the nobles (devas) were not declared as sinners, he complained.
Sahadeva: Renouncing wealth does not help to become a siddha
Sahadeva said that one could not get the objectives of ones efforts fulfilled and become a siddha by merely renouncing external wealth. It was doubtful whether one could by dissolving (exerting for higher purposes) his body (sarira) and the wealth that it signified, i.e., by dissolving the social body which required him to contribute his physical work to its aims and objectives could get siddhi.
The grants that were bestowed on the members of (social) bodies which did not have external (bahya) wealth (that is wealth located in rural areas) but were engaged in physical labour and the benefits and comforts (sukham), rights and duties prescribed by social laws (dharma) were equally applicable to those who hated them, that is, to the vanquished as to the victors. According to the administrative laws (anusasanam) of the agro-pastoral commonalty (prthvi), and the benefits and comforts (sukham), rights and duties (dharma) the supporters of the victors were not required to earn wealth (dravya) only by physical work.
All claims to personal property unconstitutional (mrtyu)
Permanent lien with usufructory rights is constitutional (Brahma)
The new socio-political constitution (Brahma) had declared all claims to personal (mama) property as dead (mrtyu) and had perpetuated (sasvata) the right to use what was not personal (na-mama) property, Sahadeva pointed out. This indicated that the king had the authority to declare what was invalid personal property (mrtyu) and what was property to be given on permanent lien with usufructory rights (brahma). Such powers invisibly but undoubtedly set against one another the individuals (bhutas) of the periphery who no longer had property, he complained. If according to the rules, the authority granted to the individuals would never get lost (avinasa) (even if they did not actually exert themselves on the fields assigned to them), destruction of their (social) bodies (sarira) per se is not to be deemed to be harassment of those individuals (bhutas).
Path of creative activities
On the contrary, if along with the major social change (pralaya) that led to the emergence (utpatti) of the gentler (sattva) sections of the population the social bodies and also their activities are lost, the path of creative activities (kriyapatha) would be lost, Sahadeva feared. He did not want the creation of a new class of intellectuals to result in the abolition of the groups engaged in constructive work. He said that one who knew more than the knowledge provided by formal education should hence deliberate alone on what the earlier pious men and their predecessors had said.
If according to Yudhishtira the duties prescribed for a ruler who was married and in the householder stage were of a lower (adhama) type why did Manu Svayambhuva and the different emperors follow them, Sahadeva asked. He was referring to the rulers of the epochs (krta and treta). Sahadeva implied that Svayambhuva had only endorsed an ancient practice.
Natural rights not uniform
The life of a civil administrator (nrpa) who acquired the agro-pastoral plains (prthvi) comprising settled groups (sthavara) and mobile population (jangama) did not develop it and enjoy its yields would be deemed fruitless (nishphala), Sahadeva said. If pursuing his life in the forest, he yet held personal property in the plains, he might be said to be living on the benefits accruing from the commonalty (in the mouth of mrtyu) of the plains characterized by insentience. The natural traits of the individuals (bhutas) staying in the rural areas (bahya) were seen to be different from those of the individuals living in the interior of the forests and forests (antara). One who noticed this difference would be freed from fear.
DRAUPADI'S STAND ON DANDANITI
ISVARA SCHOOL OF THOUGHT ON POLITICAL CONTROL
While, Yudhishtiras brothers appealed to him not to resort to retire to the forest, his mother, Kunti, kept silent. But their wife, Draupadi reminded him how he had encouraged them when they were in Dvaitavana when they were in exile. He had made them believe that they would be ruling the country after victory in the battle and would perform sacrifices to commemorate it. She said that one who was impotent would not be able to enjoy the estates (vasudha) or gain wealth (dhana) or have sons in his house. She was pointing out to the laws that had barred eunuchs and impotent men from owning assets (whether fixed or liquid) and from adopting children. Their wealth was liable to be taken over by the state or by their kinsmen. (14-13)
Duties of a kshatriya, of a Brahman and of a king
A Kshatriya who was not empowered to use coercive power (danda) would not shine, would have no influence and would not be able to enjoy the yields of the agrarian (and other lands) (bhumi) owned by him and the subjects (prajas) of a king (raja) would not experience comfort (sukham) if he had no army and police (danda), she said. It was the duty (dharma) of the Brahman to be friendly with all individuals (bhutas), offer charity (danam), be engaged in study and strenuous endeavour (tapas) to discover new means and not that of a king (raja).
The greatest duty (dharma) of the king was to take action against the impious and guilty and protect the pious and innocent. He should never flee from battle. Those who knew dharma expected the king to exhibit both forbearance (kshama) and rage (krodha), be generous (dana) and be ungenerous, cause fear (bhaya) and remove fear, extend aid (anugraha) and impose penalty (nigraha), depending on the circumstances. (14-14 to 17)
Draupadi pointed out to Yudhishtira that he had not obtained the agro-pastoral plains (prthvi) on the basis of the Vedic laws or by gift or by treaty of peace or by an offering in a sacrifice or by request. He had obtained the rich estate (vasundhara) after killing the enemies who had a huge army and were protected by Drona, Karna, Asvattama and Krpa, she reminded him. Addressing him as a maharaja and brave leader (purusha) and head of the society (prabhu), she pointed out that he had brought under his politico-military control (danda) Jambhudvipa which had many janapadas. Addressing him as the chief of free men (naradhipa), she said that he had subjugated by his politico-military might (danda) large regions known as crounchadvipa and sakadvipa to the east of the great mountain, Meru.
He had to control by his might Bhadrasva which was equal to Sakadvipa and was to the north of Meru. He had also subjugated by his might several regions and sub-regions up to the seas. But in spite of his acts of prowess and being worshipped by the communities (dvijatis) who were civilized and educated he was not pleased, she complained. She asked him to praise his brothers who were strong like bulls and elephants and fulfill their expectations and also those of his mother, Kunti.
Follow the rules of Dandaniti to benefit all sectors in all aspects
According to the school of thought that Draupadi represented, the subjects of a king who had no army (danda) could not remain happy. The enlarged social polity comprising nobles (devas), feudal lords (asuras), the free middle class (gandharvas and apsarases), men who knew the secrets of nature (guhyakas), militants (rakshasas), technocrats (nagas) and commoners (manushyas) would have all the benefits, socio-cultural (dharma), politico-economic (artha) and sensual (kama) from the relevant sciences when they were governed in accordance with the provisions of dandaniti.
All these sections would be able to support the ruling elite if the rules prescribed by this science were followed, she pointed out. Then she drew the attention of Yudhishtira to the permanent (sasvata) legislation (sastra) on political policy (niti), introduced by the first Manu, Svayambhuva, following his teacher, Svayambhu. Yudhishtira and all jurists (Brahmans) knew it.
System of monarchy introduced by Pracetases
In order to protect the social world of commonalty (manushyas) from the dread of anarchy, Isvara, the charismatic chief and head of this school of thought, brought into existence a strong and valorous king capable of administering this social world. She was referring to how the Pracetases prevailed on Rudra to introduce the system of monarchy to overcome the ills caused by anarchy and how Adhibala (a very strong person) was selected as the first king (after Kardama, a colleague of Manu Svayambhuva, had declined the offer).
The designations of the officials of the early Vedic polity
This ruler had the powers of the ideal incumbents to the posts of Indra, Agni, Yama, Varuna, Vayu, Kubera, Chandra and Surya, the eight administrators and members of the Vedic cabinet of executives. Draupadi was referring to the pattern that was in force when Vena, a descendant of Adhibala was overthrown and Prthu was installed with a cabinet in which, Kubera, the plutocrat was replaced by a representative of the commonalty, Prthvi.
The king should be able to regulate the executive
In the normative Vedic polity, the king (rajan) had no control over this executive which was nominated by and answerable to the house of nobles (devas). This eight-member executive functioned even in the absence of a head of the state. Manu Svayambhuva preferred that the office of the head of the state should be always filled and he should be able to exercise the powers necessary to regulate (and even function on behalf of any of) the members of this executive. These officials like Indra were eminent members of the ruling elite (nobles, devas).
As the king assumed their powers he was able to control all persons, especially those on the social periphery and at the base of the society through his prowess. According to the later Isvara school of thought, the king had the influence that the sages (legislators) and the Trinity (Brahma, Vishnu and Siva) had over the people. Though young a king should not be disrespected as being but a commoner (manushya).
Necessary to visualise the king as a devata in the form of a commoner
Draupadi was drawing attention to the views of the Atharvan ideologues who had installed young Prthu as ruler after Vena was burnt to death by the people for exceeding his powers. It was necessary to visualize the king as a devata in the form of a commoner (manushya). Kubera was a plutocrat and had the status of a devata, marginally lower than that of an aristocrat, deva. Prthu assumed the powers of Kubera and took charge of the treasury while replacing him by a representative of the commonalty. It may be remarked here that some modern editors of this epic have opted to bypass this account as they have failed to notice the intricacies connected with the formation of the new polity under the Prthu constitution that was welcomed by sages like Kashyapa and Sanatkumara. Prthu was a commoner.
Isvara, the head of the academy outlined Dandaniti which was within the principles of Dharmasastra
Draupadi noted that Yudhishtiras anger had undoubtedly burnt the entire lineage of Dhrtarashtra. She said that a king who was born in a good clan and whose conduct was good and was an intellectual following the path of dharma and exerted in protecting the subjects was respected by the nobles (devas). According to the Isvara school of thought, one who took over different roles (forms suitable to them) after ascertaining the truth with respect to the work, strength, place and time for carrying out the duty (dharma) was favoured with victory and would bestow wealth (on his friends) or pronounce death (for his enemies). But a king should not change his attitude towards friends and foes, this school cautioned. To help such a ruler, Isvara, the benevolent charismatic leader and head of the academy, outlined Dandaniti, the science outlining the policy for using coercing power, which was within the principles of Dharmasastras, according to Draupadi.
Dandaniti had the form and influence of the constitution, Brahma
It had the form (rupa) and influence (tejas) of the socio-political constitution, Brahma, which guarded the interest of all the social worlds (lokas). The fear of Dandaniti forced all persons who were at the base level of the society or on the social periphery whether they were settled in one place or were on the move to yield riches and affluence needed for the social polity. In other words, criminal law was used by the state and the higher echelons of the society to coerce the lower ranks to meet the needs of the former.
As a result, those who belonged to these lower ranks did not deviate from the orientation provided by the codes of dharma. Those among these lower ranks who were insignificant persons and were able to only survive rather than lead an affluent life with respect and did injustice to others should be disciplined by the king, after taking into account the time, place, force to be used and the crime committed.
Dandaniti: lower classes harassed one another; upper classes did not harass the lower
Criminal law, dandaniti, presumed that the lower rungs of the society were engaged in harassing one another among them. It was the duty of the king and the state to set this exploitation at naught. It did not accept the postulate that the civilized and educated classes harassed the lower ranks or one another. It was the crimes committed by the lower ranks against one another amongst themselves that needed use of force by the state.
Isvara school: Dandaniti was what was supreme and not the king or the executive
The Isvara school held that Dandaniti, law of coercive power, was what was supreme and not the executive, the officials of the state including the king. It was Dandaniti that was the king, controller and commander. No royal edict could be passed that did not comply with the provisions of Dandaniti.
Dandaniti not a legislation enacted by the state: It was for all times and protected approved dharmas
Dandaniti was not a legislation enacted by the state. It was like the lord (prabhu) of the larger commonalty who protected it. It had no destruction (vinasa). It ensured protection to the approved socio-cultural orientations, rights and duties (dharmas) of all classes (varnas) and all stages of life (asramas). [This might have been a later addition.]
Danda, state power, controlled and protected the subjects (prajas). Even if the social worlds (lokas) were not alert (about the threats to the lives and properties of their members), the institution of army and police (danda) was awake and guarded them.
Dandaniti was in force even if the post of the head of the state was vacant
It functioned even when the post of the head of the state was vacant. Draupadi noted that the learned treated coercive power (danda) as being within the framework of dharma, which is authorized social conduct and regulatory mechanism. This institution, danda, and its constitution were valid social mechanisms.
Danda has to be used but not arbitrarily
This spokesperson of the Isvara school of thought pointed out that Dandaniti warned the king not to use coercive power, danda, in an arbitrary manner and without giving thought to its implications. If he did mot exercise the power given by it against the guilty because of indolence or complacency, like the fish, the mighty in the world of commoners would swallow the weaker. Dandaniti required state power to be used to protect the weak against coercion and exploitation by the mighty. If its provisions were not used, social hierarchies would be upset and there would be no good and honest men left in the world, this school warned.
Social laws (dharma) cannot replace state power (danda)
Dandaniti, criminal law applicable to all social sectors
The fear of danda, coercive power of the state, was useful as the world (loka) of commoners was controlled by it. Dandaniti is useful and necessary, it says. It is implied that social laws (dharmas) are not adequate and cannot replace state power, danda. This school would not treat Dandaniti, criminal law, as necessary only to control and regulate the lower rungs of the society. Not only the commoners (manushyas), but also the nobles (devas), feudal lords (asuras), the free middle class of intellectuals, warriors and administrators (gandharvas), the militants (rakshasas), the mobile technocrats and workers (uragas) and the free messengers (suparnas) were all forced to stay within the proper path, vexed by Dandaniti.
Immunities claimed were not recognized; All were equal
It did not recognize the immunities claimed by these Vedic cadres and treated all human beings as equal. If it was altered all the classes and communities would be ruined and all barriers would be broken, it was warned. This spokesperson refuted the claim that varnasrama dharma which altered the Vedic social order radically by introducing the concept of four varnas made Dandaniti redundant.
Draupadi would visualize danda as a dark and fierce person whose very presence made all (the persons of the lower rungs of the society in areas where he moved) keep quiet. Danda became operative when the king was intelligent and wise and could distinguish correctly among the three values, dharma, artha and kama and spoke only the truth, that is, when he upheld the Vedic laws based on truth (satya). Dandaniti in its origin was a severe deterrent. She was dealing with the validity of the criminal law and the constitutionality of the coercive power of the state as instituted in Dandaniti. Hers was a period when the laws based on truth continued to be in force and Dharmasastra was not deemed to have replaced those laws which were puritanical and inconsiderate to human weaknesses.
King could be executed for violation of laws
A king who used properly the authority vested in him by Dandaniti was eligible to be admitted to the nobility (devas). It controlled the king too and penalized him if he was given to lust and deviated from social (and state) laws, dharma. It had provisions by which the king and his clan could be executed for violation of the laws. Dandaniti could harass his fort and kingdom (that covered the rural areas) and his settled as well as mobile populations and also the sages who lived in the open space (akasa) and the nobles (devas) who refused to accept it.
Dandaniti applicable to all states; had international jurisdiction
It had inter-state jurisdiction and could not be challenged by any state. When it was proclaimed kings were stationed in forts and had jurisdiction over the adjoining rural areas. Dandaniti extended their authority to the urban areas where the nobles resided and the open areas where the sages had their abodes. This took away the immunities and privileges the two cadres enjoyed. Draupadi was referring to the pre-varna socio-political order as it prevailed during the Upanishadic times.
Could be invoked only by recognized kings and not by autocrats
Dandaniti could not be invoked by a foolish or lustful king or by one who had no approved associates. It was to be invoked only by kings who functioned under politico-economic constitutions and not by despots and autocrats. Only one who was pure and followed the policy science (nitisastra) and had good companions and was wise could implement its provisions. He should be just to the people of his state and harsh with his enemies and keep his friends disciplined. He should be patient with the jurists (Brahmans) who freely and fearlessly expressed their views. Such a king would be popular even if he was poor.
Isvara school did not accept that Brahma, chief justice, as a noble
According to Draupadi, the sons of Dhrtarashtra got killed because they deviated from dharma. They were killed by Rudra (who was a Deva of Devas and was honoured by the nobles as their patron) and by Indra (the head of the house of nobles) and by the governors of the regions and by the Pandavas. Pasupata, Brahma and other missiles were in fact the powers exercised by the nobles over certain areas and were used when the Kauravas transgressed into them. The Isvara school did not recognize Brahma, the chief justice, as a member of the nobility. Other schools considered him to be superior to the nobles. It was wrong to presume that the Pandavas won the war by themselves.
She insisted that Yudhishtira should govern the plains and the vast area that he had conquered and enjoy what they gave him. She claimed that the Pandavas had a status equal to the nobles (devas). She told Yudhishtira that Kuntis promise to her should not go in vain. She recalled how she had been molested by the sons of Dhrtarashtra. She was upset as his irrational approach made his younger brothers too adopt irrational ways. If they had not been abnormal they would have kept him in fetters even as lunatics were fettered. He would have been fettered for heresy. She said that it was not wrong to have killed the sons of Dhrtarashtra who were sinners.
Dandaniti permitted killing assailants in self-defence
Exemption approved by socio-political constitution, Brahma
She cited the provisions of Dandaniti drafted by Sukra (Usanas) to defend her stand. It was not wrong to kill ones assailant, a destroyer of ones property, a killer of ones kinsmen, a poisoner, one who killed another without justification and a molester of ones wife, it said. These six were considered to be violent elements (atathayi).
This permission given by Bhargava Usanas was endorsed by the socio-political constitution, Brahma, she claimed. One who forcibly broke into the house of a law-abiding citizen and assaulted him might be killed. This right to kill in self-defence was given to the members of all classes. If the intruder kept poison or inedible food or non-potable water in the house of that citizen or set fire to it, the householder might kill him. The constitution (Brahma) did not place the victim at the mercy of the law-enforcing agencies, as more often than not, there was no government in existence.
Prajapati, chief of the people, implemented the constitution when Brahma, chief justice stood indicted
Law protected cows, Brahmans and women. If a cow or a Brahman (particularly a jurist) was killed or a woman was molested, the offender was to be beaten, even if the offender was Brahma (the chief justice) himself. To be precise, beating cows, character assassination of jurists and molestation of women were serious offences. The patriarch (pitamaha) functioned as interpreter and implementer of the constitution (Brahma) when the chief justice himself stood accused of any of these offences. This direction was given to the king and it refused immunity even to the members of the judiciary from being hauled up for the offences against those who could not protect themselves.
Dandaniti permitted even the judges to take to arms when state was threatened
The socio-political constitution (Brahma) that endorsed the criminal law that was incorporated in Dandaniti permitted the Brahmans to take up arms in self-defence and fight when there was threat to cows (the timid) and Brahmans (the judiciary) and when kings were harassed and when the state was about to be destroyed and when women cried in helplessness. It is not to be presumed that this permission was given to one who was born to Brahman parents (whether they were scholars or teachers or priests). This permission was given only to the members of the judiciary.
Dandaniti did not create an unarmed helpless society
Brahmans had no immunity
When the executive wing of the state had lost its ability to protect the helpless, the judiciary could take up arms to protect the state and the helpless. Dandaniti did not create an unarmed helpless society, for the state was often too weak to protect the weak. Extremist elements among the Brahmans could be killed, Dandaniti said. It was not necessary that they should be produced before the judges (Brahmans). A Brahman who dared to kill a cow or another Brahman might be killed by a state official, a Kshatriya. Others were not permitted to kill a Brahman (jurist) even if the latter had become a violent criminal.
Head of the state could overrule the verdict of the judiciary
A state official, a Kshatriya, might kill a Brahman (jurist) to protect state counsel (mantra) and to regain the family (that might have been lured or kept hostage by the Brahman). The Isvara school permitted the Kshatriyas (the state officials) to fight against a Brahman (jurist) who had deviated from the path of dharma and pronounced harsh verdict against one whom he deemed to be guilty. The verdict of the judiciary could be overruled by the (head of the) state if excessively harsh or wayward.
There are several interpolations in the Mahabharata. The passage that attempts to give protection to all Brahmans and Brahman women in particular is obviously a recent interpolation. It requires the king to punish a killer of a Brahman whether he is a Brahman or a Kshatriya or a Vaisya or a Shudra. Penances for offenders were prescribed because in several areas there was no state to punish the guilty. Desperate Brahmans called for gouging the eyes of those who committed offences against Brahmans. The king was asked to stand by the pious whether the latter were weak or not and punish the sinners even if they were mighty.
No commoner should be punished without the permission of the king
Draupadi, the spokesperson of the Isvara school of polity, told her husband, Yudhishtira, that no commoner whether strong or weak should be punished for a guilt without the knowledge of the king. Any official who breached this rule was liable to be punished. According to Dandaniti, one who disobeyed the order of a king or a state official and one who deviated from the rules binding a witness or the advice given by a judge (Brahman) were liable to be punished.
Protecting the guilty was an offence
One who refused to hand over a criminal who had escaped from the prison or protected an accused was declared to be guilty even if he was born in a respectable clan (kula) or was leader of a large community (prabhu). One who was summoned to the court but took up arms and refused to attend it was declared to be guilty and liable to be punished. He might be deprived of his life and property. No rites were to be performed for one who was executed for revolt against the king. Dandaniti coerced the Brahman priests to deny the criminals, especially traitors, religious liberty. One who performed rites for an executed criminal was liable to pay the second level of fine (five hundred gold coins).
Major crimes; Brahmans continued to be exempt
Raping a married woman, ruining state property, killing others during times of peace, drinking, copulation with the wife of a teacher and betraying a friend were major sins and were made punishable with death. The property of such an offender was to be attached by the court.
This punishment was meant for the three lower classes. If a Brahman was found guilty of such a major crime he was to be exiled, as prescribed during the Vedic times by the constitution, Brahma. Exemptions and lenience shown to Brahmans (intellectuals) continued to be in force even after Dandaniti introduced harsh steps to check crime.
Usanas was lenient
For major crimes, Sukra (Usanas), who was liberal and large-hearted, proposed fine of one thousand gold coins instead of capital punishment, when the guilty belonged to one of the four classes whether it was a woman or a child or an aged person or a cowherd.
Cowherds exempted by Bhishma; Brhaspati prescribed death sentencefor major crimes and for militants
Cowherds had sought exemption from several provisions of Dandaniti. Bhishma agreed to treat them as Kshatriyas rather than as Vaisyas or Shudras. Brhaspati had prescribed death sentence for these major crimes and for militants (atathayis). So, it was not wrong to have prescribed death sentence for the sons of Dhrtarashtra, Draupadi argued. She charged that she had been molested because of Yudhishtira. It was the great noble, Surya, who had saved her from being stripped and humiliated. In the Upanishadic (neo-Vedic) constitution, Surya (Aditya), instead of Indra, headed the nobility. The nobles of Hastinapura came to her rescue. She asked Yudhishtira not to abandon his brothers, but to become famous like Mamdhata and Ambarisha and rule the world after performing the prescribed sacrifices.
ARJUNA'S STAND ON DANDANITI
Dandaniti prominent during transition to post-Vedic polity
The great epic, Mahabharata, deals with the transition from the pre-varna Vedic social order to the post-Vedic varna social system. During this period of transition, Dandaniti, the science outlining the policy for use of coercive power by the state, occupied a prominent place. It was attributed to the school of Usanas (Sukra). No authentic text of the first version of this work is available now and so too the one that dealt with the teachings of Brhaspati on economy and the Arthasastra, politico-economic code, of Pracetas Manu are not available now. However the issues that these schools emphasized and their specific approaches can be brought out by a critical analysis of the stands taken by the different dramatis personae of this epic.
Both controlled and protected the subjects (prajas) of the state
Arjuna took note of Draupadis expectations and her complaints against Yudhishtira and her interpretation of the approach adopted by Dandaniti. He pointed out that the use of coercive power (danda) as recommended by this science both controlled and protected the subjects (prajas) of the state. Though the social world of commoners might not be alert to the threats to its smooth life and to the mutual transactions among its members, the institution that was empowered to exercise the powers vested in it by this science was awake and alert.
Dandaniti within the framework of Dharma
He held that it was wrong to introduce a wedge between the socio-cultural laws (dharma) based on ethics and the laws sanctioning authority to the state to use coercive power (danda). He noted that the scholars recognized only the coercive power (danda) as instituted by dandaniti as being within the framework and principle of dharma, the principle of fairness and justice that have to prevail in the society.
Danda protected dharma, artha and kama
State power (danda) protected not only the socio-cultural values known as dharma but also the wealth (artha) of the subjects and gave them opportunities for sex and enjoyment (kama), the three values of life that every individual was expected to pursue. Of course, it was not relevant to the fourth value, moksha, freedom from bondage to worldly affairs, a right that every individual had, according to the system of four purusharthas. The state, using its power (danda) protected not only the wealth acquired from trade and industry but also the crops cultivated on the lands. Arjuna kept in view the needs of the larger integrated social polity. He appealed to Yudhishtira and others to note the relevance of this approach to the normative human behaviour.
Who could discipline the deviants?
Some refrained from committing crimes because they were afraid that the king might punish them. Some others were afraid of the severe punishment including death sentence that the Vedic official, designated as Yama, would hand out for violation of the prohibitory orders (yamas). In the Vedic polity, it was this official and not the king (raja) who was empowered to discipline the deviants. Some others were afraid of displeasing the higher social world of nobles (devas) who functioned as a court of appeal on specific issues besides laying down social and state policies. Some others refrained from committing sins and offences because they were afraid of one another. The other members of the society had the right to discipline one who acted against its interests.
Better to vest all powers to exercise social control in approved institutions
As there were divergences in the ways in which social control could be exercised, it was better to vest all powers to exercise social control and punish the guilty in the institution approved by dandaniti, Arjuna felt. Some were afraid only of this institution and refrained from swallowing (exploiting) one another.
If that institutionalized power (danda) failed to protect the subjects (prajas), the social world of commoners would be immersed in darkness. The scholars described this power as danda because it controlled those who refused to be controlled and punished the guilty and the riotous. Why was punishment (danda) not applied uniformly? Brahmans could be disciplined by words of censure and Kshatriyas by making them earn wages through physical labour and Vaisyas by imposing fines. Arjuna would not approve intellectuals (Brahmans) being fined or deprived of all facilities and made to live on wages for work.
Kshatriyas who were officials or soldiers and whose livelihood was taken care of by the state or by the local bodies would lose this privilege if they were indicted. Only the rich landlords would be subjected to monetary penalty. Arjuna held that apart from these penalties, no other punishment could be imposed. He ruled out death sentence, exile and corporal punishment and also imposing penance.
Danda protected the commoners against deviance and also their wealth
According to Arjuna, danda was a system which stopped the commoners from behaving in an irrational way and protected their wealth. It may be noted here that unlike the commoners who were liable to be censured by their clans and communities for deviating from normal conduct, most of the persons admitted to the privileges that the subjects (prajas) of the state had were not governed by the dharmas of clans (kulas) and communities (jatis). They had to however consent to accept the orientations that the natives (jana) of the state had developed over a period of time as desadharmas.
Dilemma of the prajas, subjects of the state
The orientations of the clans and communities prevented their members from transgressing into the fields of activity of others. But the subjects (prajas) had a contract with the governing elite of the state and lacked the beneficial social and cultural values (dharmas) that could lead to emotional attachment to the elite. For them state regulation and state protection were necessary. If they violated state laws they were liable to be punished.
State laws, dandaniti not applicable to manavas, citizens of the world
Many commoners preferred to abide by the scheme of four asramas, stages of life, and the rules and regulations governing them. It was not obligatory for any commoner to accept the scheme of four classes, varnas. Those who opted to abide by both schemes, that is, by varnasrama dharma, were referred to as manavas, rather than as manushyas. They were citizens of the world and not subjects of any state. State laws, dandaniti, did not attempt to cover them. Many of the subjects (prajas) of the state were not governed by the social laws (dharmas) of clans and communities and they functioned as individuals. They were subject only to state laws (dandaniti). Most commoners (manushyas) obeyed the laws of their respective clans and communities and the state laws.
Dandaniti, state laws, didnot override dharma, social laws
The commoners who had accepted only the scheme of four stages of life, asramas, stayed within the dos and donts (niyamas and yamas) prescribed for those stages as they were afraid of being punished by the state laws (danda), if they did not. The state accepted that one who had opted for this scheme could not be coerced to function in a way contradictory to the rights and duties of the individual relevant to the stage of life he was in.
Dandaniti did not override the social system advocated by dharma. But coercive power (danda) had to be used to make the commoners abide by the duties that the orientation of sacrifices, yajnas, and voluntary donation, dana, imposed on every individual other than the poor worker who could not spend on these. Incidentally, Arjuna did not refer to study of Vedas, as an essential orientation.
Isa vis-a-vis Indra and Isvara
Arjuna pointed out that none would be in his post of duty if he was not hauled up for lapse in performance of duty. He told the king that it was not possible to gain huge wealth without knowing the secrets of the opponent and without accomplishing difficult tasks and without causing injury to others. (Fish cannot be caught without killing them.) A king who dared not kill would not gain fame or wealth or subjects, he said. He pointed out that an Indra could become Mahendra, head of the committee of Indras. Indra was head of the house of nobles and also the chancellor of exchequer. He was also Isa, the benevolent charismatic chief of the social periphery and all discrete individuals (bhutas), only because he killed his enemies, especially the condemned warlord, Vrtra Asura. [Isa was also referred to as Isvara who ranked higher than Indra. Mahendra had the status of an Isa.]
Vedic officials were obeyed because they could use danda
Arjuna said that the commoners (manushyas) respected only those nobles (devas) who used coercive power. The administrators of the Vedic polity who were designated as Rudra, Skanda, Agni, Indra, Varuna, Yama, Kala, Mrtyu, Vayu, Kubera and Surya and the nobles known as Saddhyas, Vasus, Maruts and Visvedevas were worshipped and obeyed because they were powerful and might use force.
It appears that Arjuna was referring to the neo-Vedic polity in which administration was in the hands of Rudras and Adityas and the other four groups dominated the house of nobles. For the commonalty of the Vedic times, Brahma, the guardian of the constitution was a counsellor and Dhata (who bestowed liberal grants) and Pushan (protector of the crops) were benefactors who did not use coercive power. Arjuna distinguished between two types of nobles.
Nobles of the neo-Vedic social Polity
In the neo-Vedic social polity those nobles who remained self-restrained and were forbearing and had no biases in favour of the rich and mighty or prejudices against the persons at the lower rungs of the society were respected only by a few among the commoners (who formed the main economic sector of the agro-pastoral core society).
The commoners gave part of the surplus of their produce for the maintenance of the nobles who were a leisure class. The lower rungs of the society could barely meet their own needs and were ignored by most of the nobles. Only a few among the nobles treated with the same care and solicitude the lower rungs of the society as they treated the active commoners (manushyas). Arjuna did not find any one in the social world of commonalty who lived without harming others. All species including men live on one another, he said.
Social laws (dharma) full of contradictions
He requested Yudhishtira to continue to be the Isa, the benevolent charismatic leader of the people of the social periphery (where he had spent many years and which had moulded his outlook). [It was far later that the terms, Isa and Isvara were used to refer to God, especially God Siva.] He would describe the Kshatriyas who retired to the forest to live as ascetics, as fools (rather than as heretics). He did not approve the conduct of the ascetics (munis) who lived in the forest in vanaprastha stage along with their wives. He criticized those who cut down herbal plants and killed animals and birds for purposes of sacrifice (yajna). He was sad that these cruel acts were acceptable to the nobles (devas). Social laws (dharma) were full of contradictions and irrationality he pointed out to Yudhishtira and others.
Only state laws (danda) can protect the poor; not social laws (dharma)
Only if the provisions of state laws (dandaniti) were properly implemented, the efforts of those at the lower rungs of the society would prove fruitful, he said. He feared that in the absence of an authority and system of coercive power (danda), they would face ruin. Social laws (dharma) whose supremacy Yudhishtira upheld did not have that power to help and protect the lower strata as the state laws (danda) had, he felt. In the absence of coercive power, the law of fishes (matsyanyaya) would prevail, the large fish swallowing the small ones and growing larger.
Constitution (brahma) to social laws (dharma) and state laws (danda)
Arjuna recalled that Brahmadeva (the chief justice and guardian of the socio-political constitution of the Vedic times) had earlier said that if dandaniti was properly implemented it would protect the subjects (prajas) of the state. They were governed by the state laws while the commoners (manushyas) of the rural areas were governed by the social laws (dharmas) of their respective clans and communities. The constitution (brahma) was superior to both social laws (dharma) and state laws (danda). It would appear that some in the audience questioned this stand and claimed that in the ancient Vedic polity, it was not the king but the official designated as Agni (who represented the commonalty) who controlled the latter.
Function of Agni within the framework of state laws, danda
Agni who headed the council of scholars (Brahmans) was also civil judge. Arjuna would point out that Agni would step in to act with sternness only when the insentient society (mrtyu) of commoners sought his intervention. (Fire had to be kindled.) The function of Agni was within the framework of the state laws, dandaniti. Dandaniti enlightened the people on what was beneficial to them and what was harmful. But for it everything would be dark to them. It disciplined the heretics (nastikas) who found fault with the Vedas and made them not to transgress the limits of freedom of speech.
Purpose of state laws (dandaniti)
Arjuna claimed that Brahma, the chief justice and advocate of the constitution prescribed the state laws (danda) for the happiness of all the four classes (varnas) and for ensuring openness of justice and for protection of their socio-cultural values (dharmas) and wealth (artha). He suggested that the new classes who claimed to be manavas, citizens of the world, should not repudiate the state laws (dandaniti) of the region where they happened to reside, but avail of the benefits which it offered. If state laws were not enforced all bounds of conduct (maryada) would fade and get breached, he warned. The people would not respect the rights of the individual to his personal property and social relations would get upset. Those who opted to follow the asrama scheme would cease to follow them, he cautioned.
The state laws (danda) were necessary to ensure that every one learned what he ought to know. They ensured that the transport system was not disturbed and that servant obeyed their masters and sons their fathers. Social laws were not adequate to maintain social order and discipline. Especially, the subjects of the state could be kept loyal only because it had coercive power (danda). The stability of the current social life of the commoners (manushyas) and the prospects of their gaining a place in the nobility (svarga) through proper conduct were assured because they abided by the state laws (danda). Dandaniti did not disturb their social laws (dharma) or the relations between the two social worlds (lokas), commoners and nobles.
Neither social laws (dharma) nor state laws (danda) were perfect
Arjuna argued that all the efforts of men were connected with the objective of acquiring wealth. The security of that wealth depended on the protection offered by state power (danda, police and army). Of course, social laws (dharmas) were to be respected and followed. They had been formulated and propagated for ensuring that the social world of commoners functioned smoothly. Arjuna noted that there was nothing that was entirely good or entirely bad.
Neither social laws (dharma) nor state laws (danda) were perfect. The commoners were frightened by the operation of different systems of justice. Hence Yudhishtira was requested to follow the older school of social laws (dharma) (and not to insist on varnasrama dharma) and to refrain from exercising the right to asceticism (sanyasa) before completing his duties as Kshatriya householder (grhastha) and retired senior citizen (vanaprastha).
He appealed to Yudhishtira to perform sacrifices and offer charity, protect the beings, especially the weaker sections, and guard dharmas, It was not wrong to kill an assailant. He pointed out that the soul (atma) was not slain and that death was moving of the soul from one social world to another. Arjuna was a student of Krshna. (Shantiparva Ch.15)
Dissuading Yudhishtira From Renouncing Rulership
After silently deliberating on the arguments advanced by his brothers and by his wife against his move to resort to asceticism, Yudhishtira snubbed Bhimasena for his lust for power and wealth. He advised Bhima to give up the burden of administration and to like him resort to asceticism. It was wrong to argue that carrying out the duties of an administrator was equal to renouncing (tyaga) of personal interests. Yudhishtira would advocate acquisition of knowledge and becoming an intellectual (Brahma). He implied that he preferred to be head of the judiciary dealing with the socio-political constitution (Brahma) rather than be the head of the executive wing of the state. This post would enable one to recognize that there were several elements in an object and at the same time there was a common feature in all objects.
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