Exploring the Significance of Morality in Mahabharata (Śānti Parva)

In this discussion, we delve into a quote from the Mahabharata's Śānti Parva. This excerpt highlights the profound connection between morality and the essence of human nature. The analogy employed in the quote emphasizes that righteousness is an inherent characteristic that differentiates humans from other beings.
"Those that are not righteous should not be counted among humans even as rains without kernel are not counted among grain, and as cockroaches are not counted among birds." (Śānti Parva, 330.7)


This quote from the Mahabharata's Śānti Parva underscores the pivotal role of morality in shaping the identity of human beings. The analogy used here draws parallels between ethical conduct and essential qualities found in grains and birds, accentuating the significance of moral behavior in distinguishing humans.

The comparison between righteousness and the kernel of grain symbolizes the core essence of human existence. Just as grains without kernels lack substance, individuals without righteousness lack the essence of human nature, which is defined by moral values.

Likewise, the analogy between cockroaches and birds highlights the distinction between species based on inherent characteristics. Similarly, humans are set apart by their capacity for moral reasoning and ethical conduct, which elevates them beyond mere existence.

Key Points

  1. Integral Morality: The quote underlines how morality is intrinsic to human identity, setting humans apart from other forms of life.
  2. Essential Character: The analogy of the kernel in grains underscores morality's role as a fundamental aspect of human nature.
  3. Distinctive Humanity: The analogy of cockroaches and birds highlights how inherent characteristics define species, similar to how morality defines humans.


As individuals, let us recognize the profound significance of morality in shaping our human identity. By embracing ethical values and embodying righteousness, we not only honor the teachings of the Mahabharata but also contribute positively to our communities and societies.

Across different belief systems, the acknowledgment of morality's importance resonates as a shared value. By promoting moral behavior, we can foster understanding and unity, transcending religious and cultural boundaries.

As stewards of our actions, let us strive to cultivate moral virtues and live our lives guided by ethical principles. By doing so, we uphold the teachings of the Mahabharata and affirm the unique essence of humanity defined by its moral character. Bridge of Faiths

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