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Mahabharata Quotes - 101 Quotes From the Mahabharat

Mahabharata Quotes is a collection of 101 quotes from various chapters of the Mahabharat. The quotes have been collected over a period of 10 ten years. Sources include books, magazines, newspapers and speeches.

It is he who is never discouraged who greatens and tastes the eternal joy.

Nothing is superior to truthfulness, nor anything more terrible than falsehood.

By dominating the senses one increases the intelligence.

Gold is tested by the fire, the good man by his acts, heroes by perils, the prudent man by difficult circumstances, friends and enemies by needs.

Like a fish that does not know anything other than water to be its element, so a deluded one foolishly falls in Prakriti’s net and migrates from body to body like a fish, from one body of water to another, thinking that water is the element in which it alone can live.

As experience can seldom be gained but by travelling in regions remote from one’s home, so salvation can never be attained except by acting according to principles that are very high, compared with the ordinary level of our desire and propensities.

Every act should be done thoroughly; one should be always heedful. For, such a minute thing as a thorn, if extracted badly, leads to obstinate gangrene.

As greed grows, ignorance grows with it, the root of greediness is but loss of clear thinking, loss of judgment, and so ignorance is an inseparable companion of greed.

101 Quotes From the Mahabharat

The words of truth are good. But words that bring goodness are better than truth. Those words that bring goodness to the living indeed constitute truth. This is my verdict.

Just fasting cannot wash off sins. Fasting dries up flesh and blood only.

The penance of one who practises non-violence becomes everlasting. He always gets the merits of performing sacrifices. One who is non-violent is like a mother and father to all living beings.

A companion is a friend for the traveller. The wife is a friend for one who stays at home. A doctor is a friend for the diseased; and charity is a friend for one who is dying.

Awareness of self is immortality, and false knowledge which cause unawareness of the Self is indeed real death.

Those who are attached to the senses and are driven by desire and identify themselves with their bodies lead hollow lives devoid of any significance and undergo repeated cycles of birth and death.

The wise ones, overcoming desires, destroy all karma, good as well as bad, and become free from birth and death.

Through realization of the Supreme Self, death truly gets conquered.

Death conquers only those who identify themselves with bodily life.

Death overpowers a man who thinks: “This has been done, this is yet to be done, and this is half done.

O desire! I have understood your root cause. You are caused by samkalpa (intention). If I don’t make any samkalpa, then you will be destroyed with your roots.

Every day people go to the abode of the King of Death, and yet those who remain hope to live forever. What can be a greater wonder than this?

There are those who only see the honey atop a tree and not the fall. They sorrow when their greed for honey dislodges them.

A man who starts a fire and then covers it up in a garment, sorrows when he is scorched. Such a person is not regarded as learned.

Whatever is there in this world to be known concerning the various ways and goal of life, is there in this book; and whatever is not here is nowhere to be found. (Sage Vyasa on the Mahabharata.)

Listen to the essence of dharma. Having heard it, try to hold on to it. This is the essence of dharma – what you consider as unpleasant and harmful to yourself, do not do to others.’ (In other words, do unto others what you want others to do unto you.)

‘I know what is right but I cannot do it; I know what is wrong but cannot desist from doing it.’ (Duryodhana in the Mahabharat)


There are two forces: fate and human effort - All men depend on and are bound by these, there is nothing else. (Kripa in Mahabharata )

The intoxication with power is worse than drunkenness with liquor and such, for who is drunk with power does not come to his senses before he falls. (Vidura in Mahabharata)

It is he who is never discouraged who greatens and tastes the eternal joy.

Never goes a sin without its due return; and deeds of noble goodness, or dire sin, bear their just fruit, here, in this very life. Never is there escape from consequence, because the Great Judge dwells within each heart….

Seek information, but not from the unreliable; ask for advice but not from the unwise…

When a person abstains from doing wrong to any creature, in thought, word, or deed, he is said to attain to the state of oneness with God…

Be generous, not wasteful; give, not indiscriminately…

The root of all mental ailments is affection. Affection makes a man attached and that leads to misery.

Just as water quenches fire, knowledge quenches mental ailments.

Something that is thought of in one way, may turn out to be another.

Those who are learned in the ancient accounts have said that a war is the worst.

Valour at the right place and right time is recommended for our welfare.

The learned do not gauge how much of load a chariot can take on the words of its maker.

A war guarantees victory only if it is at the right time and the right place. But if it is conducted at the wrong time, it does not bring any fruits.

Just as a hot iron ball affects the water in a pot, mental pain affects the body.

Attachment is the root of all unhappiness and attachment causes fear.

Every kind of happiness and unhappiness results from attachment.

It is attachment that leads to the desire for material objects. Both are evil, but attachment is more evil than the desire for material objects.

Gold is tested by the fire, the good man by his acts, heroes by perils, the wise man by difficult circumstances, friends and enemies by great needs.

With kindness conquer rage; with goodness malice; with generosity defeat all meanness; with the straight truth defeat lies and deceit.

Time is the seed of the universe.

Self restraint, forgiveness, patience, energy, contentment, truthfulness of speech, modesty, abstention from injury, from the evil practices and cleverness, these are productive of happiness.

A person of good acts and good, agreeable and sweet speech has no equal.

Let a man fix his mind on the reality and, having done this, he will transcend time.

This is the sum of duty. Do nothing at all to others which would cause you pain if done to you.

Faults as small as mustard seed you see very well in others but faults as large as a melon of your own you never see.

Do throughout your life that which will bring happiness in your life hereafter.

What is more numerous than grass?
The thoughts that arise in the mind of man are more numerous.

What is the highest refuge of virtue?
Liberty is the highest refuge of virtue.

Who is the friend granted by gods to man?
The wife is the friend bestowed on man by the gods.

The most valuable of all possessions?
Knowledge

The best of all gains?
Health.

The best of all kinds of happiness?
Contentment.

Pride is a consciousness of ones being himself an actor or sufferer in life.

Patience is subjugating the senses.

A true holy bath consists in washing the mind clean of all impurities.

Study of the Vedas is not enough if a man does not conduct himself properly.

The most wonderful thing in this world is that day after day there enter into the temple of death countless lives. Looking on this spectacle, the rest of them, those who remain, believe themselves to be permanent, immortal.

Anger is a great vice. So too is pride. Together they can destroy a man’s commonsense. Their explosive combination can even destroy his basic sense of self preservation.

When a person is strong, valorous, skilled and intelligent, why question his lineage? Like a river’s noble course, deeds should proclaim the warrior.

Though one may be reputed to be a great teacher, it is his student’s prowess that will prove the worth of his teachings. Not just by words but by deeds must he prove his merit as a great teacher.

Sanatsujata Quotes in the Mahabharata

The learned are of the opinion that death results from ignorance. Ignorance is death and so, knowledge, the absence of ignorance, is immortality.

The pursuit of Brahman or self knowledge is immortality.

Swayed by pride, men walk in paths that are unrighteous. None among them succeeds in attaining his real nature.

The natural inclination of man towards pursuits that are unreal is alone the cause of the senses being misled. The soul that is constantly affected by the pursuit of objects that are unreal, worships only earthly enjoyments that surround it. The desire for enjoyment first strikes a man. Lust and wrath soon follow behind. These three lead foolish men to death.

Sanatsujata is a Rishi that Vidura introduces to Dhrirashtra and this happens in the Vidhur Neeti 
Chapter

Sri Krishna Quotes on Truthfulness from the Mahabharata

Our scriptures enjoin that everyone must speak the truth. In our tradition, no spiritual austerity is considered superior to the practice of truthfulness.

It is sometimes difficult to determine how to practice truthfulness in extreme situations. In a situation where telling a lie is as spiritually beneficial as speaking truth there is no harm in lying.

If being truthful is spiritually harmful, then it is better to lie. Lying should never be for selfish gains.

Sometimes lying is as good as speaking truth.

Those who understand the deeper meaning of righteousness do not see any unrighteousness in one who lies in order to save innocent lives.

Source - Karna Parva of the Mahabharat


Sage Narada Advice to Yudhisthira

Grieve not for anyone. This world is entirely in the hands in the Lord. He is the one Who brings people together; makes them live together for a while and then part forever.

Consider the bullock. The master pierces its nostrils and threads a rope through it. He then loads the back of the animal with the burden it has to carry. The bullock has to move in the direction in which the master pulls the rope and it has to carry the burden the master chooses to place on its back. It has no choice in the matter. Even so, man is tied by the ropes whose names are Rules of Conduct: Dharma.

Propelled by Dharma man carries to the Home of the Lord the burdens imposed on him. No man is free to do as he pleases.

When a child plays with toys he brings a few of them together, plays with them for a while and separates them as suits his whim. Even so, human beings are brought together in this world and they are parted by the wish of the Lord.

Consider the essential truth about the life of every human being. The human body is impermanent as you know. And the atman is imperishable. Considered either way, there is no cause to mourn the disappearance of the elders.

This body which is the conglomeration of the five elements is governed only by Time. Nothing else is able either to protect it or to destroy it.

Sage Narada Advice to Yudhishtira who was sad after Dhritarashtra left for the forest.

Mahabharata Quotes on Dharma

That which upholds is called dharma; all beings are sustained by dharma.
Anything that is capable of holding things together – know it for certain, that is dharma.   (Mahabharata, 12.110.11)

Do not do to others what is not agreeable to oneself. This, in brief, is dharma; everything else proceeds from desire.   (Mahabharata, 13.114.8)

The wise speak of dharma as residing in the minds of all beings. Therefore, let goodwill flow for all beings from the mind.

He indeed is called wise who is not swayed from his goal by anger, delight, pride, shame, arrogance, or self-importance.  (Mahabharata, 5.33.17)

He indeed is called wise whose actions are not affected by climatic changes – heat and cold – fear, lust, and change of fortune – prosperity or poverty. (Mahabharata, 5.33.19)

Quotes from Yaksha Prashna in Mahabharata

What is heavier than earth, higher than mountains, faster than wind and more numerous than straws?

Yudhishthira: One’s mother is heavier than earth; one’s father is higher than mountains. The mind is faster than wind and our worries are more numerous than straws.

What is more in number than grasses? What does not close its eyes while sleeping? What does not move even after birth? What does not have a heart? What grows with speed? Who is a friend, for one who goes abroad?

Yudhishthira: Worries outnumber grasses. The fish does not close its eyes while sleeping (symbolism of ever awake atman). Eggs do not move even after birth. A stone does not have a heart. The river grows with speed. Education is the only friend of people who go abroad.

What is that which, when renounced, makes one loveable? What is that which when renounced makes one happy and wealth?

Yudhishthira: Pride, if renounced makes one lovable, by renouncing desire one become wealthy, and to by renouncing avarice one becomes happy.