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Mahabharata Thoughts - A Collection of 108 Thoughts From Mahabharata

This collection of Mahabharata Thoughts is mainly from books and the holy epic Mahabharat. The quotes have been collected over a period of 10 years from talks, books, magazines and newspapers. This is an attempt to collect 108 thoughts from the Mahabharata.

Engrossment in worldliness
Harassment of others
Coveting other’s wealth
Acquisition of wealth through dishonest means
Defense of incorrect knowledge
Indulging in the senses
Cruelty to one's spouse (seven types of evil as mentioned in the Mahabharata)


O sexual desire! I know thy root. Thou art born of thought. I shall not think of thee and thou will cease to exist.

There is no eye equal to the eye of knowledge; there is no asceticism equal to that of truth, there is no happiness equal to that of renunciation…


There is no greater pleasure for a knowledge person than loneliness, equanimity, truth, virtue, firmness, gentleness, straightforwardness, and renunciation of all actions.

Conquer the anger of others by non-anger; conquer evil doers by saintliness; conquer the miser by gifts; conquer falsehood by truth.

A wound caused by the arrow is healed leaving behind only a scar, a forest felled by the axe grows again but a wound cut by speech does not heal.

I am (Bhagavan Sri Krishna) is always present wherever the Brahman, truthfulness, self-control, purity, dharma, humility, prosperity, fortitude and forgiveness exist.

In a fight between a boar and a dog, when either one dies, the hunter gains. (The boar and the dog are fighting over some animal).

…always practice non-violence, austerities, generosity, forgiveness, and truth with supreme cheerfulness. Where there is Dharma, victory exists there.

What does this battle face us? Destiny is difficult to cross. We desire riches. All of us have assembled to fight, because of our greed for wealth. What will we accomplish with that wealth?

If one utters a lie for the sake of saving lives, one is not touched by the stain of falsehood.

Men are confounded by the darkness of anger and delight. Bound down by many different kind of nooses, they are not content with their own riches. Because of desire and ignorance, they repeatedly come under Yama’s control. They are like ones without eyes being led by ones without eyes and are borne by their own deeds. There is only one path followed by learned ones. When one sees it, one overcomes death. Such a great person does not become attached.

A man who has not controlled his soul cannot know the Supreme Being.

All rituals and pujas are ineffective if one cannot control the mind and restrain the senses.

Unwavering renunciation of senses, steady abandonment of desire, and constant avoidance of violence is mark of true knowledge.

Mastering of the senses is the true path to knowledge.

Know that the wise regard death as delusion.

A man who follows his desires is destroyed, together with the desires.

A man who can conquer his desires can withstand all passion.

People rush towards the desire and fall into hell. The sense of ego kills such a person first. Desire and anger grasp him and kill him later.

If a man thinks of nothing (has no desire) how can a tiger made of straw attack him?

If the soul is confused through anger and desire, death exists within one’s own body.

One who is established in knowledge has no fear of death.

For yogis who practice yoga, mediation is the supreme strength.

Those who know the Vedas say that there are two kinds of meditation – concentration of the mind and pranayama.

All these senses must be stilled by the mind. The mind must be stilled with intelligence. Having done this, one should be as motionless as a stone. He must be as motionless as a pillar. Like the mountain, he must not move. When learned one who know about the techniques, are like this, they are said to be united in yoga.

The creator of the world can be seen through the wealth of intelligence and the lamp of the mind.

Those who know about the truth of the Vedas say that Brahman is the dispeller of darkness. It is located beyond darkness. It is without attributes. It has the characteristic of being without traits.

One becomes learned through the sacred texts.

One attains greatness through austerities.

One becomes intelligent by serving the elders.

Rain is the best among those that descend. Seeds are supreme among those that are sown.

A person who does not render offerings to the five – gods, guests, servants, ancestors and himself – breathes, but is not alive.

The mind is swifter than the wind.

Worries are more numerous than men.

Desires can never be satisfied by the gratification of desires. The more they are enjoyed, the more they grow, as fire by the pouring of fuel in it.

Desire and anger, they are the foes of human beings.

Imparting knowledge is conferring a great boon. Giving of food is most meritorious. He who acts thus obtains great merit, and will be freed from all sin.

Conquer desire and you will win the world.

Anger is only another form of desire.

Health is the greatest gain.

Contentment is the greatest wealth.

Faith is the best friend.

Nirvana is the highest happiness.

O desire, I know where your roots lie. You are born of thought, I shall not think of you, and you will cease to exist, along with your roots.

Pride, malice, slander, crookedness, and incapacity to her other people’s good, are vices, that are to be seen in persons of uncleansed soul under the domination of covetousness.

Man should never forsake Dharma or duty out of lust, fear, or greed; for Dharma is eternal, and pleasure and pain are fleeting.

Austerity is the key foundation for attaining the Supreme.

Through austerity one overcomes nineteen defects and secures twelve excellences that lead to Supreme Knowledge.

The nineteen defects are anger, lust, greed, malice pride, etc. There are also seven types of wickedness, namely engrossment in worldliness, harassment of others, coveting other’s wealth, acquisition of wealth through dishonest means, defense of incorrect knowledge, indulging in the senses and cruelty to one’s spouse.

The twelve excellence include knowledge of truth, service to others, mind control, absence of jealousy, forbearance in happiness and misery and compassion.

Since the time he is born on earth, many different kinds of joy and sorrow afflict a man.

If you roam around, thinking all the happenings in the materialistic world to be insignificant, you will obtain happiness.

A person with nothing sleeps, and awakes in happiness.

Desires fulfilled bring no joy in heaven. Put all of them together and they do not weigh in the scales against the joy found in the death of desire.

Not possessing anything is the medication for happiness in the world. But this path is extremely difficult.

Desire and anger, they are the foes of the world. They corrode all wisdom and learning. Desire is insatiable and the senses are its slaves. Unrestrained, the senses erode the knowledge acquired through meditation and study.

A prayer from Durga Stotram from Mahabharata

When worshipped by your devotees,
You remove their ignorance and bondage,
Their fear, disease and threat of death.

You protect their children and their goods.

I, who have lost everything, appeal to you for help.
Protect me, O lotus-eyed savior.

I am fighting for truth,
Protect me with al the power of truth,
O Durga, shelter me in your wide lap.

You who are ever loving and merciful to devotees,
Help me!
Durga Stotram from Mahabharata

Thoughts by Kripacharya on Destiny and Hard Work from Mahabharata

All men are subjected to and governed by these two forces, destiny and hard work. There is nothing higher than these two.

Our acts do not become successful in consequence of destiny alone, nor of hard work alone. Success springs from the union of the two.

All purposes, high and low, are dependent on a union of those two. In the whole world, it is through these two that men are seen to act as also to abstain. What result is produced by the clouds pouring on a mountain? What results are not produced by them pouring upon a cultivated field?

Hard work without destiny and destiny without hard work are both fruitless! If the rains properly moisten a well-tilled soil, the seed produces great results. This is how we humans achieve success.

Hard work succeeds with the aid of destiny. Similarly destiny can bring success only with the help of hard work.

The hard work even of a competent man, even when well directed, without the help of destiny, will not be fruitful.

Among men, those are idle and without intelligence, disapprove of hard work. This however, is not the opinion of the wise.

One who is busy in action is capable of supporting life. He, on the other hand, that is idle, never obtains happiness. In this world of men it is generally seen that they that are addicted to action are always inspired by the desire of successful outcomes. If one devoted to action succeeds in gaining his object or fails to obtain the fruit of his acts, he does not become censurable in any respect. If anyone in the world is seen to luxuriously enjoy the fruits of action without doing any action, he is generally seen to incur ridicule and become an object of hatred. This is the opinion of those that are endued with intelligence.