I am encouraged by my friends to keep it up. Two at the moment, Raghu and BSIK Murthy:-).
As I browse the web, I see that the interest in Shantiparva is immense. One website allows us to down load Shantiparva in sanskrit as an ebook in pdf format . Impressive! And there are many more websites which deal with Shantiparva. Anyway I continue with my translation of vachana bharata.
Bheeshma continues, 'A king should take care to appoint the right persons to help him in protecting his people. Persons who are courageous, devoted, respectable, born to good and noble families, healthy and strong bodied, cultured, disciplined, with self-respect, who are not contemptuous of others, educated, experienced in the ways of the world, who also think of the after-life, followers of dharma, virtuous and who are stable, and who keep the company of similar and like minded people.'
'Do not employ 2 or 3 persons to do one job! It will create jealousies and disagreements. Only those, who are eager to earn a good name for themselves, who are conservative, who do not dislike others who are able, who do not attempt harmful ventures, who do not give up dharma because of their desires, fear, anger or greed, those who act quickly, from a good family and endowed with good character, forgiving and tolerant, free from self-praise, are eligible to become your ministers. In the same manner, one who is able to discriminate and help you in protecting the good and avoid the bad should be your Priest. While the welfare of the people is your responsibility, the welfare of the king is his job. If these two have a good relationship, the people will live happy.'
'You should not trust anyone implicitly, at the same time if you do not trust anyone, it is worse than death. It is better if the king takes care of the affairs of the state on his own. The treasurer should be given full protection; greedy ministers who are after money will trouble him. If someone reports that the treasury is getting emptied, you should talk to them in secrecy and obtain facts. You should judge and determine, who likes you, who is polite because he is afraid and who is neutral.'
Bheeshma narrates a story of a rishi who out of kindness keeps changing his dog to different forms to protect it from his various predators, a cheetah, a tiger and so on. The story ends when he changes it into a शरभ 'sharabha', a mythical animal, of which even a lion is afraid. But when the sharabha tries to eat the rishi, he converts it back into a dog and drives him out of his hermitage.
'The lesson is that a intelligent king will verify the qualities of his deputies before appointing them.
It is risky to allow one who is not from a proper lineage to get closer. If a person who is not from a good family is allowed to gain importance, he may become your enemy. Whereas, even if you scold one from a noble family he will not react and go against you.'
I had not heard of this mythical animal, sharabha, while it is fairly straight forward mythical animal in mahabharata, there is more to it if you go online to check.
In Puranic literature, Sharabha is associated with god Shiva, who incarnates as Sharabha to subdue fierce manifestations of Vishnu. The legend of Sharabha fighting Narasimha - the man-lion form of Vishnu - brings to fore the overt rivalry between the devotees of Vishnu (Vaishnavite sect) and those of Shiva (Shaivite sect), which exposes the gory blood-letting aspect. According to Roy, the Narasimha-Sharabha encounter may be a shaivite version of Vedic tale of Vishnu piercing the boar. Shiva Purana describes Sharabha as thousand-armed, lion-faced and with matted hair, wings and eight feet. Sharabha Upanishad portrays Sharabha with two heads, two wings, eight legs of the lion with sharp claws and a long tail. Kalika Purana which mentions Shiva as Sharabha subduing Varaha
- the boar form of Vishnu - describes Sharabha as black in colour, with
four feet downwards and four feet uplifted, with an enormous body. It
also has a long face and nose, nails, eight legs, eight tusks, a cluster
of manes, and a long tail. It jumps high repeatedly making a loud cry.