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Udyoga Parva

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Author  Vyasa
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Similar  Virata Parva, Sauptika Parva, Drona Parva, Shalya Parva, Mausala Parva

Udyoga parva 1

The Udyoga Parva (Sanskrit: उद्योग पर्व), or the Book of Effort, is the fifth of eighteen books of the Indian Epic Mahabharata. Udyoga Parva has 10 sub-books and 198 chapters.


Udyoga Parva describes the period immediately after the exile of Pandavas had ended. The Pandavas return, demand their half of the kingdom. The Kauravas refuse. The book includes the effort for peace that fails, followed by the effort to prepare for the great war - the Kurukshetra War.

Viduraniti, a theory of leadership, is embedded in Udyoga Parva (Chapters 33-40). The Sanatsujatiya, a text commented upon by Adi Shankara, is contained within the Udyoga Parva (Chapters 41-46).

Sampurna mahabharatam udyoga parvam part 1 4 pravachanam by kadimilla varaprasad garu

Structure and chapters

This Parva (book) has 10 sub-parvas (sub-books or little books) and 198 adhyayas (sections, chapters). The following are the sub-parvas:

1. Sainyodyoga Parva (sections: 1 - 19)2. Sanjaya-yana Parva (sections: 20 - 32)3. Prajagara Parva (sections: 33 - 40)4. Sanatsujata Parva (sections: 41 - 46)5. Yanasandhi Parva (sections: 47 - 73)6. Bhagavat-yana Parva (sections: 74 - 150)7. Sainya-niryana Parva (sections: 151 - 159)8. Ulukabhigamana Parva (sections: 160 - 164)9. Rathatiratha-sankhyana Parva (sections: 165 - 172)10. Amvopakkyana Parva (sections: 173 - 198)

English translations

Udyoga Parva was composed in Sanskrit. Several translations of the book in English are available. Two translations from 19th century, now in public domain, are those by Kisari Mohan Ganguli and Manmatha Nath Dutt. The translations vary with each translator's interpretations.

Clay Sanskrit Library has published a 15 volume set of the Mahabharata which includes a translation of Udyoga Parva by Kathleen Garbutt. This translation is modern and uses an old manuscript of the Epic. The translation does not remove verses and chapters now widely believed to be spurious and smuggled into the Epic in 1st or 2nd millennium AD.

According to the Parvasangraha chapter of Adi Parva of one version of the Mahabharata, Vyasa had composed 186 sections in Udyoga Parva, with 6,698 slokas.

J. A. B. van Buitenen completed an annotated edition of Udyoga Parva, based on critically edited and least corrupted version of Mahabharata known in 1975. Debroy, in 2011, notes that updated critical edition of Udyoga Parva, with spurious and corrupted text removed, has 10 sub-books, 197 adhyayas (chapters) and 6,001 shlokas (verses). Debroy's translation of a critical edition of Udyoga Parva has been published in Volume 4 of his series.

Salient features

Udyoga Parva has several embedded treatises, such as a theory of leadership (Viduraniti), a theory of dūta (diplomats, envoys) and a theory of just war.


In Chapters 33 through 40 of Udyoga Parva, also called Prajagara sub-parva, sage Vidura outlines things wise people and leaders should do, and things they should not. These are known as Viduraniti. Some examples of his recommendations for leaders:

  1. He should wish for the prosperity of all, and should never set heart on inflicting misery on any group.
  2. He should pay attention to those who have fallen in distress and adversity. He should not ignore persistent sufferings of those that depend on him, even if the suffering is small.
  3. He should show compassion to all creatures, do what is good for all creatures rather than a select few.
  4. He should never impede the development and growth of agriculture and economic activity by anyone.
  5. He should be always be prepared to protect those that depend on him for their safety and security.
  6. He should be fair and accessible to his people. By means of virtue should he attain success, by means of virtue should he sustain it.
  7. He should consider the welfare of his people as his personal responsibility.
  8. He should encourage learning and transmission of knowledge.
  9. He should encourage profit and virtue. Prosperity depends on good deeds. Good deeds depend on prosperity.
  10. He should avoid friendship with the sinful.
  11. He should never misuse wealth, use harsh speech nor inflict extreme or cruel punishments.
  12. He should only appoint those as ministers (senior positions in his staff) whom he has examined well for their history of virtue, dispositions, activity and whether they give others their due.

Viduraniti also includes few hundred verses with suggestions for personal development and characteristics of a wise person. For example, in Chapter 33, Vidura suggests a wise person refrains from anger, exultation, pride, shame, stupefaction and vanity. He has reverence and faith, he is unhampered in his endeavors by either adversity or prosperity. He believes virtue and profit can go together, exerts and acts to the best of his ability, disregards nothing. He understands quickly, listens carefully, acts with purpose. He does not grieve for what is lost, and does not lose his sense during crisis. He is constantly learning, he seeks enlightenment from everything he experiences. He acts after deciding, and decides after thinking. He neither behaves with arrogance, nor with excessive humility. He never speaks ill of others, nor praises himself. He does not exult in honours to himself, nor grieves at insults; he is not agitated by what others do to him just like a calm lake near river Ganges.

Theory of envoys

J. A. B. van Buitenen, and others, have referred to parts of Udyoga Parva, along with Book 12 of Mahabharata and non-Epic works such as Arthasastra, as a treatise on diplomats and envoys (called dūta, Sanskrit: दूत) involved in negotiations between parties. Broadly, the Parva recognizes four types of envoys - Samdisțārtha are envoys who convey a message but do not have any discretion to negotiate; Parimițārtha are envoys who are granted a circumscribed purpose with some flexibility on wording; Nisrșțārtha are envoys with an overall goal and significant discretion to adapt the details of negotiations to the circumstances; finally, Dūtapranidhi, a full ambassador who has full confidence of the party he represents, understands the interests and Dharma (law, morals, duties) of both parties, and can decide the goal as well as style of negotiations (Krishna acts as such an ambassador in Bhagavat-yana sub-parva of Udyoga Parva).

Udyoga Parva outlines the four methods of negotiations recommended for envoys who are dūtapranidhi: conciliation for the cause of peace and Dharma (sāman), praise your side while dividing the opposition by describing consequences of success and consequences of failure to reach a deal (bheda), bargain with gifts and concessions (dāna), bargain with threats of punishment (daņda). Beyond describing the types of diplomats, Udyoga Parva also lists how the envoy and messengers for negotiations should be selected, the safety and rights of envoys that must be respected by the receiving party regardless of how unpleasant or pleasant the message is. Envoys must be honest, truthful and direct without fear, that they serve not only the cause of king who sends them, but the cause of dharma (law), peace and truth.

Quotations and teachings

Sainyodyoga Parva, Chapter 3:

Sanjayayana Parva, Chapter 25:

Sanjayayana Parva, Chapter 27:

Sanjayayana Parva, Chapter 29:

Prajagara Parva, Chapter 33:

Prajagara Parva, Chapter 33:

Prajagara Parva, Chapter 34:

Prajagara Parva, Chapter 34:

Prajagara Parva, Chapter 34:

Sanat-Sujata Parva, Chapter 42:

Truth is the solemn vow of the good.

Sanat-Sujata Parva, Chapter 43:

Sanat-Sujata Parva, Chapter 44:


Udyoga Parva Wikipedia