Quotes from Mahabharata

Quotes taken from:
Books 1-5: J.A.B. van Buitenen translation (University of Chicago Press)
Book 10: Translated by W.J. Johnson (Oxford University Press)
Books 6-9, 11-18: Kisari Mohan Ganguli translation (Munshiram Manoharlal Publishers)



Whatever is here, is found elsewhere. But what is not here, is nowhere else.
(The Book of the Beginning)

Poets have told it before, poets are telling it now, other poets shall tell this history on earth in the future.
(The Book of the Beginning)


Mortification is not dregs, Vedic study is not dregs, and the nature-given rules of the Veda are not dregs, the vigorous acquisition of wealth is not dregs - but that is what they become when they are beaten by the beings.
(The Book of the Beginning)


All this is rooted in Time, to be or not to be, to be happy or not to be happy.


"To save a family, abandon a man; to save the village, abandon a family; to save the country, abandon a village; to save the soul, abandon the earth."
-- Vidura quoting Kavya (The Book of the Assembly Hall)


When the Gods deal defeat to a person, they first take his mind away, so that he sees things wrongly. .............. Time does not raise a stick and clobber a man's head; the power of Time is just this upended view of things.
-- Dhrtarastra (The Book of the Assembly Hall)


Discontent is the root of fortune.
-- Duryodhana (The Book of the Assembly Hall)


Revenge is not always better, but neither is forgiveness; learn to know them both, son, so that there is no problem.
-- Prahlada (quoted by Draupadi) (The Book of the Forest)


A grey head does not make an elder. .... Not by years, not by grey hairs, not by riches or many relations did the seers make the Law: He is great to us who has learning.
-- Astavakra (The Book of the Forest)


Those seeds of grains they call rice and so forth, they are all alive, good brahmin, what do you think of that? ....... Come to think of it, no one fails here to hurt.
--- Hunter to the brahmin who was critical of hunting and meat eating (The Book of the Forest)


Be he ever so wise and strong, wealth confounds a man. In my view, anyone living in comfort fails to reason.
-- Nahusa (in the form of a boa) (The Book of the Forest)


When shown the door, take the door, and put no trust in kings.
--- Dhaumya to Yudhisthira (The Book of Virata)


I do not blame you, Maharaja, for hitting an innocent man. For, cruelty comes quick to the powerful.
-- Yudhisthira to Virata (The Book of Virata)


A man should avoid these six like a leaking boat in the ocean: a teacher who does not teach, a priest who has not studied, a king who fails to protect, a wife who is abusive, a cowherd who wants a village, and a barber who wants a forest.
--- Vidura (The Book of the Effort)


Those prone to get drunk get drunk on knowledge, wealth, and good birth; but the same are triumphs of the strict.
------ Vidura (The Book of the Effort)


The intoxication with power is worse than drunkeness with liquor and such, for who is drunk with power does not come to his senses before he falls.
---- Vidura (The Book of the Effort)


Cleverness does not always lead to gain nor stupidity to poverty.
---- Vidura (The Book of the Effort)


Man is not the master of destiny, but a wooden doll that is strung on a string ...
--- Dhrtarastra (The Book of the Effort)


Once war has been undertaken, no peace is made by pretending there is no war.
---- Duryodhana (The Book of the Effort)


There are two forces: fate and human effort - All men depend on and are bound by these, there is nothing else.
-- Krpa (The Book of the Sleeping Warriors)


He is a fool that practises truth without knowing the difference between truth and falsehood.
-- Krishna to Arjuna (The Book of Karna)


Morality is even so difficult of being understood.
== Krishna to Arjuna (The Book of Karna)


Janaka said: Unlimited is my wealth. At the same time I have noting. If the whole of (my Kingdom) Mithila be consumed in a conflagration, I shall incur no loss of wealth.
(The Book of Peace)


On should practise what one considers to be one's duty, guided by reasons, instead of blindly following the practices of the world.
-- Tuladhara, the mechant to the Brahman Jajali (The Book of Peace)


What thy thyself said unto me at that time (at the approach of the Battle), Kesava, through affection, has, all been forgotten by me ... Repeatedly, however, have I been curious on the subject of these truths.
Arjuna to Krishna (The Book of the Horse Sacrifice)


It is exceedingly disagreeable to me to learn that thou didst not, from folly, receive what I imparted. The recollection of all that I told thee on that occasion will not come to me now.
krishna to Arjuna (The Book of the Horse Sacrifice)


Brahma said: Well, I shall now tell you somehing more. With even a thousand (explanations), one that has a bad understanding succeeds not in acquiring knowledge. One, however, that is endured with intelligence succeeds in attaining happiness, through only a fourth share (of explanations).
-- Krishna to Arjuna quoting ... . (The Book of the Horse Sacrifice)


All this has Time for its root. Time, is indeed the seed of the universe, O Dhanajaya. It is time again, that withdraws everything at its pleasure.
-- Vyasa to Arjuna (The Book of the Clubs)


Without doubt, all kings, O son, must once see Hell.
-- Dharma to Yudhisthira (The Book of Ascent to Heaven)