Dritharashtra is agitated and sends for Vidura and asks him many questions. One of them is about who should reside in a person's house.

Vidura answers that elderly relatives, a good man who is destitute, a poor friend and a childless sister should be in a man's house, for they will all be of benefit to him in one way or another. An elderly relative will offer sound advice, on the basis of his experience, and this advice will be useful to us in times of crisis. He will tell us about the good qualities of our ancestors. A good man, who is destitute, will instil good values in the children of the man who has given him succour. A friend too will offer sage counsel. The sister will protect the property of her brother and make sure no harm comes to him. One's parents and one's Acharya are worthy of worship, says Vidura. Good health, a loving wife, obedient children and education give a man joy. And yet, a man forgets his mother when he has found a wife. After the initial attraction wanes, he gets tired of his wife, and then he forgets her too! We forget the service rendered by a doctor to us when we were sick. A boatman forgets his boat that has helped him cross the river. In other words, we are quick to forget any help people give us. Ingratitude is a dominant trait in us, according to Vidura, explained Kidambi Narayanan.

But while we forget the good that people have done us, we tend to dwell on any unpleasantness we experienced in our interactions with people. We nurse grudges and keep quarrels alive. We should not harp on the misunderstandings we have had with people, but must learn to move forward.

Vidura talks extensively on the need to protect one's relatives. The poor, the worried and the sick among them must be treated with love and kindness. Those who take care of their relatives will enjoy prosperity. We should never lose our temper with the sick, the aged, scholars and God. Just as there are people whose company we should seek, there are those whose company we should shun. In this category come lazy people, cunning people, dissemblers and unfriendly people. To such people, we should never extend our hospitality, for to do so will only bring us trouble.

More In: Faith | Friday Review