From The Mahabharata
Santi Parva, Section CLXIV
Translated by Sri Kisari Mohan Ganguli
Yudhishthira said: I know what benevolence is, in consequence of my observation of persons that are good. I do not, however, know them that are malevolent, nor the nature of their acts, O Bharata. Indeed, people avoid malevolent persons of cruel deeds even as they avoid thorns and pitfalls and fire. It is evident, O Bharata, that he who is malevolent is sure to burn (with misery) both here and hereafter. Therefore, O thou of Kuru’s race, tell me what, in truth, the acts of such a person are.
Bhishma said: Malevolent persons always do wicked acts and feel an irresistible inclination for doing them. They slander others and incur obloquy themselves. They always regard themselves as cheated of what is their due. A malevolent person brags of his own acts of charity. He sees others with malicious eyes. He is very mean. He is deceitful and full of cunning. He never gives others their dues. He is arrogant. He keeps evil company and is always boastful. He fears and suspects all with whom he comes into contact. He is of foolish understanding. He practises miserliness. He praises his associates. He cherishes an inordinate aversion and hatred for all recluses who have retired into the woods. He takes delight in injuring others.
He is utterly regardless of distinguishing the merits and faults of others. He is full of lies. He is discontented. He is exceedingly covetous and always acts cruelly. Such a person regards a virtuous and accomplished man as a pest, and thinking everybody else to be like himself never trusts anyone. Such a person proclaims the faults of other people however unsuspected those faults might be. With regard to such faults, however, as similar to those that stain his own self, he does not refer to them even remotely, for the sake of the advantage he reaps from them. He regards the person that does him good as a simpleton whom he has cleverly deceived. He is filled with regret for having at any time made any gift of wealth even unto a benefactor. Know him for a malevolent and wicked person who quietly and alone takes comestibles and drinks and other kinds of food that are regarded choice, even when persons are standing by with wishful eyes. He on the other hand, who dedicates the first portion to Brahmanas and takes what remains, dividing it with friends and kinsmen, attains to great felicity in the next world and infinite happiness here. I have now, O chief of Bharata, said unto thee what the indications are of the wicked and malevolent man. Such a person should always be avoided by a man of wisdom.
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