Yesterday I was listening to an American political radio show, and I was surprised to hear a reference to Hinduism. An African American activist who was being interviewed said the following:

In an Indian spiritual text called the Mahabharata, someone asked a question "When is peace not peace?" And Arjuna answered "When it is tyranny."

The activist was using the quote to make a point about relations between blacks and whites in America, but my question is, does any such quote occur in the Mahabharata?

I can imagine Arjuna saying that peace is not peace when it is tyranny, to describe why it is necessary to fight the Kauravas rather than just living in peace under the rule of the Kauravas. I can also imagine something like this occurring in a dialogue between Arjuna and Krishna (inside or outside the Bhagavad Gita) with Arjuna asking the question and Krishna answering it, and the activist might have misremembered it as Arjuna answering. Or this quote could have no scriptural basis.

  • Something related was said by Indra. Indra said, 'Upon the disappearance of kingly duties and of the science of chastisement, all creatures became exceedingly afflicted, O sinless one, in consequence of the tyranny of kings. RajadharmanusAsana Parva.
    – iammilind
    Nov 11, 2017 at 4:27
  • 3
    As per this post you have already read Vyasa's Mahabharata, then how come you yourself don't know the answer yet?
    – Rickross
    Nov 11, 2017 at 8:12
  • 1
    Do you really believe in words of any person quoting anything taking names of Indian Scriptures. Even in india, people keep on saying in that Puraana it is that written. Tgey have not even seen the Puraana. The Activist may not even know who wrote MahaBharata.
    – user9392
    Nov 11, 2017 at 8:36
  • 4
    @Rickross Because I don't know it by heart. Nov 11, 2017 at 13:20
  • 2
    @Rickross I certainly have lots of knowledge and memory of the Mahabharata, but not to the extent that for every single quote X in the Mahabharata, I would be able to answer, is X in the Mahabharata or not. (Although I would be able to answer it for many important or memorable quotes.) It seems like the sort of line that occurs in the Udyoga Parva of the Mahabharata in the prelude to the war, but I don't know whether this specific line occurs or not. The general sentiment behind the line, that some forms of peace are intolerable, is certainly something that occurs in the Udyoga Parva. Nov 11, 2017 at 15:28


You must log in to answer this question.

Browse other questions tagged .