What is the answer to Bhishma’s question in Mahabharata, “Is it the king who makes the age, or the age which makes the king?”?

Answer by Raakhee V. Menon:

My opinion/answer is exactly the same as the grandsire Bhishma himself said…

Whether it is the king that makes the age, or, it is the age that makes the king, is a question about which thou shouldst not entertain any doubt. The truth is that the king makes the age.[1]

Many mediocre kings have come and gone. And then there were a handful that broke the monotony and brought about major changes. Some of them expanded their kingdoms, some of them amended administrative policies drastically to favor the common man, some of them were exceptionally cruel, and so on and so forth.

But an age is marked by the illustrious pursuits of the king who ruled the land during that period. They were the ones powerful and wealthy enough to make a difference on a large scale.

We could make an exhaustive list of all the great kings who actually made a difference to the world around them.

None of them rose to their stature due to the current situation of their respective kingdoms. They rose to fame due to the revolutionary changes they brought about. They age they ruled in came to be known after them.

The wise grandsire’s words ring true to this day.

Footnotes

[1] Santi Parva: Rajadharmanusasana Parva: Section LXIX

What is the answer to Bhishma’s question in Mahabharata, “Is it the king who makes the age, or the age which makes the king?”?

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