The Mahabharata, Santi Parva, Section CIII
Translated by Sri Kisari Mohan Ganguli
Indra said: What are the indications, O best of regenerate ones, of a wicked person? Questioned by me, tell me how I am to know who is wicked?
Vrihaspati said: A wicked person is he who proclaims the faults of others, and who remains silent when the merits of other people are proclaimed in his presence, feeling a reluctance to join in the chorus. Mere silence on such occasions is no indication of wickedness. A wicked person, however, at such times breathes heavily, bites his lips, and shakes his head. Such a person always mixes in society and speaks irrelevantly [Note: Comments by the translator: i.e. he starts such subjects for conversation as do not arise naturally, for what he has in view is the proclaiming of the faults of other people, a topic in which he alone is interested and not his hearers.]
Such a man never does what he promises, when the eye of the person to whom he has given the assurance is not upon him. When the eye of the person assured is on him, the wicked man does not even allude to the subject. The wicked man eats by himself (and not with others on the same board), and finds fault with the food placed before him, saying, ‘All is not right today as on other days.’ His disposition shows itself in the circumstances connected with his sitting, lying, and riding. Sorrowing on occasions of sorrow and rejoicing on occasions of joy, are the indications of a friend. An opposite behaviour furnishes the indications of an enemy. Keep in thy heart these sayings, O ruler of the gods! The disposition of wicked men can never be concealed. I have now told thee, O foremost of deities, what the indications of a wicked person are. Having listened to the truths laid down in the scriptures, follow them duly, O ruler of the celestials!
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