Excerpts of discussions between two sages in Mahabharata. While reading, please consider the fact that this was written 5000 years ago and how relevant it is even today!

What are the sorrows of human beings?

Plentiful instances of misery and woe are seen among men in this world! Life with persons that are disagreeable, separation from those that are agreeable and beloved, companionship with the wicked, these are the evils which human beings have to bear. The death of sons and wives, of kinsmen and friends, and the pain of dependence on others, are some of the greatest of evils. There is no more pitiable sight in the world than that of poor men being insulted by others. The acquisitions of family dignity by those that do not have it, the loss of family dignity by those that have it, are noticeable by all. How they that have no family dignity but have prosperity try to get what they want with their wealth.  What can be more pitiable than the calamities and reverses sustained by the gods! Good families suffer due to the actions of ill-born and the poor are insulted by the rich. What can be more pitiable than these? Innumerable examples of such contradictory dispensations are seen in the world. The foolish and the ignorant are cheerful and happy while the learned and the wise suffer misery!

What the joys of good people?

Earned by his own efforts, without having to depend upon any one, he who eats even fruits and vegetables in his own house is entitled to respect. He who eats in another’s house the food given to him in contempt, even if that food be rich and sweet is despicable. If after treating guests and servants and offering food to the forefathers a good person eats what remains, there can be nothing happier than that.

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