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According to Mahabharata, Vidura was the half-brother of kings Dhritarashtra and Pandu of

Hastinapura. He was the son of Sage Vyasa and Parishrami, the maid to queens Ambika and
Vidura was raised and educated by Bhishma but since he did not carry the royal blood, he was
made counselor to his brothers, the kings instead of becoming one himself. He was a friend of the
Pandavas and a great devotee of Krishna. In spite of being a royal minister he led a simple life.
Greatly respected for his wisdom and intellect, Vidura took over the reins of government for all
practical purposes after Pandu’s abdication and Dhritarashtra succession to the throne, and guided
his brother until Duryodhana came of age.
Vidura was the most respected adviser of the Pandavas after Krishna and greatly protested against
the humiliation of Draupadi in the Kaurava court. When Duryodhana rebuked Vidura, calling him
ungrateful, Dhritarashtra did nothing to reprimand his son for disrespecting such a great man. It was
this incident that made Vidura severe ties with the Kurus and side with the Pandavas at the onset of
the Kurukshetra war.
The teachings of Vidura in Mahabharata are called Vidura Neethi. It is in the Upayoga parva of
Mahabharata that Vidura gives advice about various topics that are still valid to date and touches on
issues like relationships, how to identify the reality of people, obtain victory and attain Moksha.
The Neethi is narrated in the form of a conversation between Vidura and King Dhritraashtra in the
great epic and is often cited as the precursor of the more famous Chanakya Neeti.
Below is a selection of verses from Vidura Neeti with English translations that are still relevant today:

Mark of a Wise Man
आतमजजनन समजरमभभ ततततकज धमरतनतयतज ।
यमरजरननजपकररतनत स वव पतणणत उचयतत ॥
Yamarthaannaapakarshanti sa vai pandita uchyate 1.20



That one is wise who does not deviate from the higher goals of life, rooted as he is in Selfknowledge, endeavour, forbearance and adherence to dharma.
यसय ककतयन न तवघनतनत शशतमम षणन भयन रततभ ।
समक दतद धरसमक दतद धवजर स वव पतणणत उचयतत ॥

तनतशचतवज यभ पदरकद रमतत नजनतवरसतत कमरणभ । अवनधयकजलश वशयजतमज स वव पतणणत उचयतत ॥ Nishchitwaa yah prakramate Avandhyakaalo vashyaatmaa sa vai pandita uchyate 1. love. who does not take long rests before the task is accomplished. Mark of a fool . fear. न हषयतयजतमसममजनत नजवमजनत न तपयतत गजन गश हदरद इवजकशभयश यभ स पतणणत उचयतत ॥ । Na hrishyatyaatmasammaane Gaango hrada ivaakshobhyo yah sah pandita uchyate 1.28 nechchhanti shochitum That one is wise who does not hanker after the unattainable. who does not waste his time and who has control over his mind. heat. does not become dejected when dishonoured and is not swayed by emotions under the most trying circumstances. नजपदरजपयमतभवजञछतनत नषटन नत चछतनत शशतचतम मद । आपतसम च न मम हतनत स वव पतणणत उचयतत ॥ Naapraapyamabhivaanjhanti nashtam Aapatsu ch na muhyanti sa vai pandita uchyate 1. who does not worry over what is lost and who faces calamities without losing his senses.45 वज vidyaamaishwaryameva । vaa That one is wise who. affluence or poverty.Yasya krityam na vighnanti sheetamushnam Samriddhirasamriddhir vaa sa vai pandita uchyate 1.29 naantarvasati karmanah That one is wise whose endeavours are preceded by a firm commitment. अररन महजनतमजसजद तवचरतयसमम ननदश यभ स पतणणत उचयतत ॥ तवदजमव शवयरमतव Artham mahaantamaasaadya Vicharatyasamunnaddho yah sah pandita uchyate 1. learning or control over others goes about his job without being conceited in the least.24 bhayam ratih That one is wise whose actions or endeavours are not obstructed by cold. even after acquiring great wealth.31 naavamaanena tapyate That one is wise who does not rejoice when honoured.

51 Alone one should not apply thought to a matter of substance.117 पदरशजनतन । करशतयकजयर prashaantam naastameti karotyakaaryam That one is of sterling conduct and character who does not inflame the enmity which has cooled down. . entertains doubts about everything and takes a long time for actions which should be done with the utmost urgency.39 vichikitsate That one is a fool who spreads out his actions. is not conceited and at the same time is not self-deprecating. hurts and kills his friend and always engages himself in wrongful activity. तकपतयनयजनद तह यशच कद रदतयनशशजनभ स च मरढतमश नरभ॥ दशरत ण वतरमजन सवयमद Kshipatyanyam hi doshena vartamaanah Yashcha krudhatyaneeshaanah sa cha mooddhatamo narah 2. एकशचजरजरनद न तचनतयत तद Ekashchaarthaan na chintayet 1.38 That one is a fool who makes the enemy his friend. does not engage in wrongful actions on the ground that he is passing through a difficult period. समसजरयतत ककतयजतन तचरमद करशतत तकपदरजरर स मरढश भरतररभ ॥ सवरतदर तवतचतकतसतत । Samsaarayati krityaani sarvatra Chiram karoti kshipraathe sa mooddho bharatarshabha 1. न न न तमजयरशशलन परमजहमरजयजरभ ॥ वव रमम दशपयतत दपरमजरशहतत नजसतमत तत दमगरतशऽसमशतत Na vairamuddeepayati Na darpamaarohati Na durgatosmeeti Tamaaryasheelam paramaahuraaryaah 1.43 तरज। swayam tathaa That one is the greatest fool who finds fault with others when he himself has such faults and who gets angry when he himself has no control over the one at whom the anger is directed.अतमतदरन कमरतत कमरचजरभतत दमषटन तमजहममररढचत तसन ॥ तमतदरन तमतदरन दत तषट तहनतसत च। Amitram kurute mitram mitram dweshti hinasti cha Karma chaarabhate dushtam tamaahurmooddha chetasam 1.

कमजगम णशहशकतजनजन शकतजनजन भररणन कमज । Kshamaa gunohyashaktaanaam shaktaanaam bhooshanam kshamaa 1. In fact. for the strong patience (forgiveness) is an adornment. one would shine in this world. one will not able to speak much that is pregnant with meaning and is expressed in picturesque language. सम दमषकरतमश वजकसन यमश तह नक पतत अररवचच तवतचतदरन च न शकयश बहमभजतरतम मद ॥ मतभ Vaaksamyamo hi nripate sudushkaratamo Arthavachcha vichitram cha na shakyam bahu bhaashitum 2. giving to others according to one’s capacity and gratefulness – these eight qualities adorn a person. दत कमरणश अबदरवन पररन कतशचतद असतशऽनचरयनसतरज ॥ नरभ कमवरननतसमन ललशकत Dwe karmanee narah Abruvan parusham kashchit asatonarchayamstathaa 1. अषटज गम णज: पम ररन दशपयतनत पदरजज परजकद रमशचजबहमभजतरतज च दजनन यरजशतकत ककतजतज च ॥ Ashtaa gunaah Prajnaa cha kaulyam Paraakramashchaabahubhaashitaa Daanam yathaashakti kritajnataa cah च ककलयन cha च purusham damah दमभ शदरतशच shrutam । deepayanti cha cha Intelligence. not speaking harsh words and not flattering or giving respect to bad characters. Control of the senses वशयत तनददरयन तजतजतमजनन परशकयकजतरणन धशरन अतयनतन शदरशतनररतवतत ॥ धक तदणणन Vashyendriyam Jitaatmaanam Pareekshyakaarinam dheeram atyantam shreernishevate तवकजतररम dhrutadandam । vikaarishu . valour. control of the senses. namely.54 For the weak patience (forgiveness) is a quality.76 । maatah O King! Control on speech is considered to be one of the most difficult things to achieve. control on speech (not being talkative). noble birth. learning.59 तवरशचतत । kurvannasminloke virochate By doing two things.

buddhi (intellect) is the charioteer and the senses are the horses. एतजनयतनगक हशतजतन अतवधत यज इवजदजनतजभ हयजभ पतर कमसजरतरमद ॥ वयजपजदतयतम मपयलन । Etaanyanigriheetaani Avidheyaa ivaadaantaah hayaah pathi kusaarathim vyaapaadayitumapyalam Just like the uncontrolled horses will throw the unskilled charioteer to the ground. धमजरररक यभ पतरतजय शदरशपदरजणधनदजरत भयभ तकपदरन स पतरहशयतत ॥ सयजतदतनददरय Dahrmaarthau yah parityajya Shreepraanadhanadaarebhyah kshipram sa pariheeyate वशजनम गभ syaadindriya । vashaanugah One who forsakes dharma (virtue) and artha (matrial things) and is always under the control of his senses will soon lose his charm. the seses which are not subdued and are not under contorl are capable of destroying a person. who punish wrong-doers. his energy. his weath and his wife. intellect and the senses. आतमनजतमजनमतनवचछत तद आतमजहत वजतमनश बन धमभ आतमव व तरपम रजतमनभ ॥ मनशबम दशतनददरयव यरतवभ। Aatmanaatmaanamanvichchhet mano Aatmaa hyevaatmano bandhuraatmaiva ripuraatmanah buddheendriyairyataih One should try to understand his real self by controlling his mind. ररभ शरशरन पम ररसय रजजनद आतमज तव रपदरमतभ कमशलश सदशवव दजरनतव भ सम खन यजतत ररशव धशरभ ॥ तनयनतत तनददरयजणयसय चजशवजभ Rathah shareeram purushasya rajan aatmaa niyantendriyaanyasya Tairapramattah kushaee sadashwairdaantaih sukham yaati ratheeva dheerah । chaashwaah This body is the chariot. whose actions are preceded by a thorough examination of its pros and cons and who is of great determination.Goddess Lakshmi is always with people who keep their senses and mind under control. पन चवव परजयनद लशकत दत वजनद तपततनद मनम षयजन शच तभकरनद अतततर पन चमजनद ॥ यश: पदरजपनशतत कतवल । . The controlled mind is the friend of the self and the uncontrolled mind in the enemy of the self. One who controls all these travels happily in this world like the charioteer who has controlled the horses of the chariot.

namely. excessive sleep. the ritwik who does not repeat the vedas. departed souls of parents and ancestors. रटद दशरज: पम ररत णतह तनददरज तनददरज भयन कद रशधभ आलसयन दशररसतर तदरतज ॥ हजतवयजभ भरतततमचछतज Shat doshaah purusheneha haatavyaah Nidraa tandraa bhayam krodhah aalasyam deerghasootritaa । bhootimichchhataa One who desires to be prosperous and happy should give up these six faults . sluggishness. those on whom you depend and those who depend on you. those who are neutral. devas. laziness and procrastination in decision-making. रणव व तम गम णजभ सतयन दजनन अनजलसयन अनसरयज कमज धक ततभ॥ पम न सज न हजतवयज कदजचन । . enemies. anger. the wife who always says unpleasant things. namely. renunciates and guests one will achieve fame and recognition. पन च तवजऽनम गतमषयतनत तमतदरजणयतमतदरज मधयसरज उपजशवयशपजशतवनभ ॥ यतदर Pancha twaanugamishyanti Mitraanyamitraa madhyasthaa upajeevyopjeevinah यतदर गतमषयतस yatr yatra । gamishyasi These five will follow you wherever you go meaning you will find them wherever you go – friends. the king who does not protect his subjects. the cowherd who does not want to go out of the village ( grama) (for grazing the cattle) and the barber who wants to go out into the forest. रतणमजनद पम ररश अपदरवकतजरन आचजयरन आरतकतजरन रजजजनन गदरजमकजमन च गशपजलन वनकजमन च नजतपतमद॥ जहजतद अनधयजतयनमद तभननन ऋततवजमद भजयजरन Shadimaan purusho jahyaat bhinnam Apravaktaaram aachaaryam anadhyaayinam Arakshitaaram raajaanam bhaaryaam Graama kaamam cha gopaalam vanakaamam cha naapitam नजवतमवजणरवत । चजऽतपदरयवजतदनशन naavamivaarnave rithwijam chaapriyavaadineem These six are to abandoned by a man like a broken vessel (boat or ship) in the sea – the achaarya who does not teach. fear.Panchaiva poojayan loke yashah Devaan pitreen manushyaamshcha bhikshoon atithi panchamaan praapnoti kevalam By worshipping (serving) the five. human beings.

one who is always suspicious and one who lives on the fortunes of others – these six are always sad. giving. an obedient son. not finding fault even in something good. रणव तत हवमनयनतत आचजयरन तशतकतजभ तशषयजभ नजरशन तवगतकजमसतम नजवन तनसतशणरकजनतजरज अनजतम रजशच तचतकततसतमद ॥ तनतयन ककतदजरजशच ककतजररशच मजतरन परवशरपकजतरणजन । पदरयशजकन . moha (attachment). mada (arrogance). a loving wife who always speaks what will cheer up the husband. ईषयशर रक णश असन तमषटभ परभजगयशपजशवश च रणव तत तनतय दम:तखतजभ ॥ Eershyee ghrinee asantushtah Parabhaagyopajeevee cha shadaithe nitya dukhitaah कद रशधनश तनतयशन तकतभ krodhano । nityashankitah One who envies . ( namely kama (lust).Shadaiva tu gunaah pumsaa na Satyam daanam anaalasyam anasooyaa kshamaa dhritih haatavyaa kadaachana These six qualities should never be abandoned – truthfulness. maatsyarya (jealousy)) and who has conquered his senses – sin will not touch that person. lobha (greed). not being lazy. रणणजमजतमतन न स पजपव भ कमतशऽनररभ यम जयतत तवतजतत तनददरयभ ॥ तनतयजनजमव शवयरन Shannaam aatmani nityaanaam Na sa paapaih kuto anarthaih yujyate vijitendriyah यशऽतधगचछतत। aishwaryam yo adhigachchhati He who gains control on the six enemies who are ever present in a person. krodha (anger). one who is always angry. one who hates. अरजरगमश तपदरयज च वशयशच रटद जशवलशकसय सम खजतन रजजनद ॥ भजयर पम तदरशऽररकरश Arthaagamo Priyaa cha Vashyascha putro Shat jeevalokasya sukhaani raajan तनतयमरशतगतज तपदरयवजतदनश च । तवदज च च nityamarogitaa bhaaryaa arthakaree cha cha vidyaa priyavadinee cha Having a steady inflow of money (income). one who is not content. forgiveness and determination or courage. what to talk of misfortunes. skill or learning which enables one to earn a living – these will make a man’s life happy and joyful. an ever healthy body.

inflicting very harsh punishment for minor offences and misuse of the treasury. Women. use of harsh words. company of good people. one whose sex urge has been satisfied to the woman. gambling. The seven bad habits सपत दशरज सदज पदरजयशश यव तवरनशयतनत तसतदरयशऽकजभ मक गयज र णमत व च ॥ महचच दणणपजरषयन अररदर रजजनद पजनन हजतवयज ककतमरलज वजकपजरषयन Saptadoshaah sadaa raajnaa haatavyaa Praayasho yairvinashyanti kritamoola Striyokshaah mrigayaa paanam vaakpaarushyam Mahachcha dandapaarushyam arthadooshanameva cha च cha वयसनशदयजभ अपशशवरजभ। पन चमन vyasanodayaah apeeshwaraah panchamam The following seven bad habits will lead to the downfall of even a well-established king. नवदजरतमदन वत शम कत तदरजजतधतषषतन तवदजनद यश वत द स परभ कतवभ॥ ततदरसररणन पन चशजतखकन । . Students who have completed their studies to their teacher. not to be in debt. one who has crossed the river to the boatman and one who has recovered from his illness to the doctor. the married man to his mother. आरशगयमजनक णयमतवपदरवजसभ सददतभमरनमषयव ससह सवपदरतययज रटद जशवलशकसय सम खजतन रजजनद ॥ सन परद यशगभ। वक ततरभशतवजसभ Aarogyamaanrinyamavipravaasah Sadbhirmanushyaissaha Swapratyayaa Shat jeevalokasya sukhaani raajan samprayogah vrittirabheetavaasah Good health.Shadete hyavamanyante nityam poorvopakaarinaam Aachaaryam shikshitaah shishyaah kritadaaraashcha maataram Naareem vigatakaamaastu krithaarthaashcha prayojakam Navam nisteernakaantaaraa anaaturaashcha chikitsakam The following six people show no respect to their benefactors once their need is fulfilled. intoxicating drinks. hunting. one whose work has been satisfactorily accomplished to the person who did the job. earning a livelihood by one’s own skill or knowledge and living without fear – these six things make one’s like happy and joyful. not being forced to live in an alien land.

one who is insane. one who is not cautious or careful. pitta and kapha) five witnesses (sensory organs) is the home of the Atman is the real Jnaani (knower) दश धमरन न जजनतनत मतभ पदरमतभ उनमतभ तवरमजणशच लम बधशच भशतभ तसमजदत तत रम सवर रम न पदरसजजत त पतणणतभ ॥ धक तरजषटद र शदरजनतभ कजमश च तनबशध कद रदश तत तजनद । बम भम तकतभ॥ दश । Dasha dharmam na jaananti dhritaraashtra nibodha taan Mattah pramattah unmattah shraantah kruddho bubhukshitah Tvaramaanashcha lubdhashcha bheetah kaamee cha te dasha Tasmaad etheshu sarveshu na prasajjeta panditah One who is intoxicated. Then all one’s efforts will bear fruit without any difficulty. one who is greedy.Navadwaaramidam veshma trishthoonam Kshetrajnaadhishthhitam vidwaan yo veda sa parah kavih panchasaakshikam He who knows that this body with its nine openings ( mouth. तचकशतररतन नजनयत जनजभ मनतदरत नजलपशऽपयसय चयवतत कतशचदररभ॥ तवपदरककतन च जजनतनत समयगनम तषषतत कमर गम पतत Chikeershitam viprakritam Naanye janaah karma Mantre gupte Naalpopyasya chyavate kashchidarthaah यसय तकतञचतद। च cha jaananti samyaganushthhite yasya kinchit cha One should maintain secrecy abount what one wants to accomplish and what one wants to avoid so that no one else knows about them. one who is overcome by fatigue. one who is in a hurry. nose etc) three pillars ( vata. one who is full of fear and one who is lustful – these ten do not know what is dharma ( Their state of mind do not give them the capacity to distinguish between dharma and adharma. eyes. years. पदरजपयजपदन उदशगमतनवचछतत दम:खन च धम रन धरसतसय तजतजभ सपतनजभ Praapyaapadam Udyogamanvichchhati वयरतत न च कजलत सहतत cha कदजतचतद अपदरमतभ महजतमज vyathate na kadaachidapramattah .) Therefore the wise should avoid the company of such people. The plan of action arrived at after consultation should also be kept a secret and executed properly and efficiently. one who is hungry.

has the capacity to endure pain and suffering and can shoulder responsibilities – for such a person victory over his enemies is guaranteed. न सवत नजनयसय दतवज स कथयतत सतपम ररजयरशशल:॥ दम:खत सम खत वव कमरतत पदरहररन पदरहषटभ। कमरतत ऽनम तजपन भवतत पशचजतद न Na swe sukhe vai Naanyasya dukhe Datwaa na pashchaat Sa kathyate satpurushaarysheelah kurute praharsham prahrishtah anutaapam bhavati kurute One who is not overjoyed on his good fortune. यभ ईरम रभ परतवतत रम सम ख सकभजगय सतकजरत तसय वयजतधरननतकभ ॥ रपत वजतप Yah eershuh paravitteshu Sukha soubhaagya satkaare tasya vyaadhiranantakah roope vaapi कमलजनवयत । kulaanwaye . The branches of a tree which are alreay bent and almost touching the ground are not bent again. यदतपतन पदरणमतत यचच सवयन नतन दजर न ततद सननमयनतयतप॥ न ततद Yadataptam pranamati na Yachcha swayam natam daaru na tat sannamayantyapi सनतजपयनतयतप tat । santaapayantyapi Metal which can bend without heating is not heated. does not enjoy the misfortune of others and having gifted a thing to someone later does not regrets his giving – such a person is said to be of very exemplary conduct and character. beauty is protected by cleanliness and the clan or family is protected by good conduct. सतयत न रकयतत धमशर मक जयज रकयतत रपन कमलन वक ततन रकयतत ॥ तवदज Satyena rakshyate dharmo Mrijayaa rakshyate roopam kulam vrittena rakshyate यशगत न vidyaa रकयतत yogena । rakshyate Dharma is protected by Truth. Learning is protected by Yoga .Dukham cha Dhuramdharastasya jitaah sapatnaah kaale sahate mahaatmaa One who does not lose heart even when facing difficulties but puts in efforts to overcome them.

For him there is no cure. family reputation.One who envies others’ wealth. (He deserves wealth and fortune). fortune or respect in society is really a sick person. सतननयचछतत यश वत गन स तशदरयश भजजनन रजजनद यशचजपतसम न मम हतत ॥ Sanniyachchhati yo vegam Sa shriyo bhaajanam raajan yashchaapatsu na muhyati उततरतन कद रशधहररयशभ utthitam । krodhaharshayoh O King! One who controls anger and joy which arise in the mind with great force and does not lose his cool in calamities is a fit repository of wealth and fortune. . noble birth. beauty. happiness.