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Quotes from Mahabharata

A collection of my favourite quotes from the Mahabharata with verse numbers from various recensions.


nārāyaṇaṃ namaskṛtya naraṃ caiva narōttamam dēvīṃ sarasvatīṃ vyāsaṃ tatō jayam-udīrayēt

This ṣaṭ-namaskāra must be performed before beginning the writing of any book. This verse offers obeisances to Nārāyaṇa, Nara, Narōttama, Dēvī, Sarasvatī and Vyāsa.

First up is Nārāyaṇa, because He is the Supreme Principle. All the Vedas, Purāṇas and Itihāsas are meant to glorify Him alone. In order to reach Him, we need two energies guiding us: Nara and Narōttama. Nara signifies the triad of Garuḍa, Śēṣa, and Rudra. Narōttama denotes the pair of Brahmadēva and Vāyudēva. Then one prays to Lakṣmīdevī who is the presiding deity of all Vedas. Sarasvatī-Bhāratī are due next since they are the deities of speech. Lastly, one prays to Guru Vyāsadēva, who is an avatāra of Viṣṇu Himself. Source

ahanya-hani bhūtāni gacchantīha yamālayam śeṣāḥ sthāvaram-icchanti kimāścaryam-ataḥ param — BORI N/A, KE 3.314.118, PPSS N/A, GP 3.313.116

Hundreds and thousands of living entities meet death at every moment, but a foolish living being nonetheless thinks himself deathless and does not prepare for death. This is the most wonderful thing in this world.

(PPSS skips all verses between GP3.313.87—3.313.118 aka KE3.314.89—3.314.120)

nāyaṃ parasya sukṛtaṃ duṣkṛtaṃ cāpi sevate
karoti yādṛṡaṃ karma tādṛṡam pratipadyate
— BORI 12.279.21, KE 12.296.22, PPSS 12.274.21, GP 12.290.22

As a man himself sows, so he himself reaps; no man inherits the good or evil act of another man. The fruit is of the same quality as the action.

Happiness comes due to good actions, suffering results from evil actions, by actions, all things are obtained, by inaction, nothing whatsoever is enjoyed. If one’s action bore no fruit, then everything would be of no avail, if the world worked from fate alone, it would be neutralized.

—Mahabharata, 13.6.10 & 19

Bhagavad Gita: 4.8

yo māṁ paśhyati sarvatra sarvaṁ cha mayi paśhyati tasyāhaṁ na praṇaśhyāmi sa cha me na praṇaśhyati 6.30

BG 6.30: For those who see me everywhere and see all things in me, I am never lost, nor are they ever lost to me.

Viṣṇu-sahasranāma: Anuṡāsana Parva, Dāna-dharma-parva

BORI Critical Ed.: Chapter 135
Gita Press: Chapter 151
Nilakantha: Chapter 151
Acharya app (chinnajeeyar) Telugu: Chapter 151
Chinnajeeyar Sripati Stutimāla: Chapter 254
Kumbhkonam: Chapter 254
K.M.Ganguli/M.N.Dutt: Chapter 149
P.P.S.Sastri: Chapter 140