Sunday, March 31, 2013

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]

  • Saturday, March 30, 2013

    Quotes - Adi Parva

    The Mahabharata is a goldmine of stories, episodes, conversations, and incidents. As I read the Mahabharata - specifically the unabridged translation by Dr Bibek Debroy (it is a task as yet unfinished, primarily because Dr Debroy has completed six volumes of the translation and Penguin is expected to publish the seventh volume in April), I underlined passages, excerpts, dialogues, quotes that caught my eye. Yes, many of the books I read (and own) are littered with these underlinings. A book once owned and read is rarely left in a pristine condition, severely affecting its resale value I suppose.

    I thought of how to collect some of these memorable excerpts into one place, and then decided that organizing them by parva, one post for each of the eighteen major parvas in the epic, would be as good a way as any. Now, based on the first parva, the Adi Parva, it seems that publishing them by parva may indeed work. If it turns out to be impractical, because of the length - too short or too long, then I will adopt a horses for courses strategy. If dharma can be subtle, so can a blog strategy.

    The very first parva is the Adi Parva, and is contained mostly in the first volume of the translation. In this post, I have collected some of the notable quotes from this parva.
    • "Time brings existence and non-existence, pleasure and pain. Time creates all elements and time destroys all beings. ... Time cannot be conquered. Time walks in all elements, pervasive and impartial."
      [Sanjaya to Dhritarashtra, Anukramanika Parva, Adi Parva, Ch 1]
    • "There is no curse that does not have a remedy. O snakes! But he who has been cursed by his mother has no remedy."
      [Vasuki, Astika Parva, Adi Parva, Ch 33]
    • "One who is afflicted by destiny can find a remedy in destiny alone."
      [Elapatra to Vasuki, Astika Parva, Adi Parva, Ch 34]