Who is a Wise Man? According to Vidura Neeti

The “Vidura Neeti” presents a discourse between Vidura, a key figure in the Mahabharata, and Dhritarashtra, the blind king and father of the Kaurava brothers. It delves into the attributes of a true Pandit or wise person from these 15 verses.

You can read these 15 verses in Sanskrit and their meaning in English.


आत्मज्ञानं समारम्भस्तितिक्षा धर्मनित्यता ।
यमर्थान्नापकर्षन्ति स वै पण्डित उच्यते ।।


He is said to be a wise man who, for a consciousness of the power of one’s own self, exertion, forbearance, and constancy in religion do not draw aside from the acquisition of the high ends in life.


निषेवते प्रशस्तानि निन्दितानि न सेवते ।
अनास्तिकः श्रद्दधान एतत् पण्डितलक्षणम् ॥
क्रोधो हर्षश्च दर्पश्च ह्रीः स्तम्भो मान्यमानिता ।
यमर्थान्नापकर्षन्ति स वै पण्डित उच्यते ।।


He is said to be a wise man whom anger, elation, pride, shame, stupefaction and vanity cannot draw aside from acquiring the high ends in life. Attachment to praiseworthy persons and objects and keeping away from those blameable, faith, and reverence are the signs of a wise man.


यस्य कृत्यं न जानन्ति मन्त्रं वा मन्त्रितं परे ।
कृतमेवास्य जानन्ति स वै पण्डित उच्यते ।।

He is said to be a wise man whose proposed acts, and line of action agreed on are not known to others and known only after they have been put into execution.


यस्य कृत्यं न विघ्नन्ति शीतमुष्णं भयं रतिः ।
समृद्धिरसमृद्धिर्वा स वै पण्डित उच्यते ।।

He is called a wise man whose acts are not hampered by cold, heat, fear, lust, prosperity, or adversity.


यस्य संसारिणी प्रज्ञा धर्मार्थावनुवर्तते ।
कामादर्थं वृणीते यः स वै पण्डित उच्यते ।।

He is called a wise man whose wisdom naturally follows both religion and profit and who chooses a course of life that is useful in both worlds and does not act immediately resulting in pleasure.


यथाशक्ति चिकीर्षन्ति यथाशक्ति च कुर्वते ।
न किंचिदवमन्यन्ते नराः पण्डितबुद्धयः ।।

Wise men exert themselves and act to the best of their ability, disregarding nothing.


क्षिप्रं विजानाति चिरं शृणोति
विज्ञाय चार्थं भजते न कामात् ।
नसम्पृष्टो व्युपयुङ्क्ते परार्थे
तत् प्रज्ञानं प्रथमं पण्डितस्य ।।

Meaning: It is the wisdom of the foremost wise man to understand quickly, listen pertinently, and, having understood the effects of action, not to follow them from a desire to get pleasure (but from judgment) and not to connect one’s self with other peoples’ affairs unsolicited.


नाप्राप्यमभिवाञ्छन्ति नष्टं नेच्छन्ति शोचितुम्।
आपत्सु च न मुह्यन्ति नराः पण्डितबुद्धयः ।।

Meaning: Men with the wisdom of a wise man do not strive for the unattainable, do not grieve for what is lost, and do not lose their senses in calamities.


निश्चित्य यः प्रक्रमते नान्तर्वसति कर्मणः ।
अवन्ध्यकालो वश्यात्मा स वै पण्डित उच्यते ।।

Meaning: He is said to be a wise man who exerts himself after having decided on a course of action, does not stop in the middle, does not waste his time, and has himself under control.


आर्यकर्मणि रज्यन्ते भूतिकर्माणि कुर्वते ।
हितं च नाभ्यसूयन्ति पण्डिता भरतर्षभ ।।

Meaning: Wise men rejoice in virtuous deeds, do those that tend to their prosperity, and look not with contempt on what is good.


न हृष्यत्यात्मसम्माने नावमानेन तप्यते ।
गांगो हद इवाक्षोभ्यो यः स पण्डित उच्यते ।।

Meaning: He is said to be a wise man who does not exult in honors to himself, grieves not at insults, and remains un-agitated like a lake near the Ganga.


तत्त्वज्ञः सर्वभूतानां योगज्ञः सर्वकर्मणाम् ।
उपायज्ञो मनुष्याणां नरः पण्डित उच्यते । ।

Meaning: That man is said to be wise who is cognisant of the nature of all creatures (their ultimate destructibility), of the connections (causes and effects) of all acts and the means of human beings (employed in the attainment of their ends).


प्रवृत्तवाक्चित्रकथ ऊहवान् प्रतिभावान् ।
आशुग्रन्थस्य वक्ता च यः स पण्डित उच्यते ।।

Meaning: He is a wise man who speaks boldly, can talk on diverse subjects, can argue well, has genius, and can explain the meaning of what is written in books at once.


श्रुतं प्रज्ञानुगं यस्य प्रज्ञा चैव श्रुतानुगा ।
असम्भिन्नार्यमर्यादः पण्डिताख्यां लभेत सः ।।

Meaning: He gains the reputation of a wise man who regulates his studies by wisdom, whose wisdom follows the scriptures, and whose savvy does not violate the rules framed by great men.


अर्थं महान्तमासाद्य विद्यामैश्वर्यमेव वा ।
विचरत्यसमुन्नद्धो यः स पण्डित उच्यते ।।

He is said to be a wise man who, having acquired immense wealth, learning, or power, conducts himself without arrogance.

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We, a group of youths born into Hindu families, were raised in the rich culture of Vedic Sanatan Dharma, embracing its cultures and traditions. Post-graduation, recognizing the immense value of our Sanatan Dharma for humanity, we initiated the "Why Hindu" project. With guidance from our elders, we aim to create awareness about Hindu Dharma, delve into Vedic scripture, explore Vedic mantras, and elucidate the significance of festivals. Through this endeavor, we strive to share the profound teachings of our heritage, fostering understanding and appreciation for the timeless principles of Sanatan Dharma.

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