"'Thus, O Krishna, afflicted with numerous griefs, and in great distress, am I living, with Dhaumya at our head, but deprived of the company of the adorable Kunti! Why do these that are gifted with strength and possessed of the prowess of the lion, sit indifferently, beholding me thus afflicted by enemies so despicable? Suffering such wrongs at the hands of wicked and evil-doing foes of small strength, am I to burn in grief so long? Born I was in a great race, coming into the world in an extraordinary way! I am also the beloved wife of the Pandavas, and the daughter-in-law of the illustrious Pandu! The foremost of women and devoted to my husbands, even I, O Krishna, was seized by hair, O slayer of Madhu, in the sight of the Pandavas, each of whom is like an Indra himself!'
"Saying this the mild-speeched Krishna hid her face with her soft hands like the buds of lotus, and began to weep. And the tears of Panchali begot of grief washed her deep, plump and graceful breasts crowned with auspicious marks. And wiping her eyes and sighing frequently she said these words angrily and in a choked voice, 'Husbands, or sons, or friends, or brothers, or father, have I none! Nor have I thee, O thou slayer of Madhu, for ye all, beholding me treated so cruelly by inferior foes, sit still unmoved! My grief at Karna's ridicule is incapable of being assuaged! On these grounds I deserve to be ever protected by thee, O Kesava, viz., our relationship, thy respect (for me), our friendship, and thy lordship (over me).'"
Vaisampayana continued, "In that assembly of heroes Vasudeva then spake unto the weeping Draupadi as follows, 'O fair lady, the wives of those with whom thou art angry, shall weep even like thee, beholding their husbands dead on the ground, weltering in blood and their bodies covered with the arrows of Vivatsu! Weep not, lady, for I will exert to the utmost of my powers for the sons of Pandu! I promise thou shalt (once more) be the queen of kings! The heavens might fall, or the Himavat might split, the earth might be rent, or the waters of the ocean might dry up, but my words shall never be futile!' Hearing those words of Achyuta in reply, Draupadi looked obliquely at her third husband (Arjuna). And, O mighty king, Arjuna said unto Draupadi, 'O thou of beautiful coppery eyes, grieve not! O illustrious one, it shall be even as the slayer of Madhu hath said! It can never be otherwise, O beautiful one!'
"Dhrishtadyumna said, 'I will slay Drona, Sikhandin will slay the grandfather. And Bhimasena will slay Duryodhana, and Dhananjaya will slay Karna. And, O sister, assisted by Rama and Krishna, we are invincible in battle by even the slayer himself of Vritra—what are the sons of Dhritarashtra?'"
Vaisampayana continued, "After these words had been spoken, all the heroes there turned their faces towards Vasudeva, who then in their midst began to speak as follows."
"Vasudeva said, 'O lord of earth, if I had been present at Dwaraka, then, O king, this evil would not have befallen thee! And, O irrepressible one, coming unto the gambling-match, even if uninvited by the son of Amvika (Dhritarashtra), or Duryodhana, or by the other Kauravas, I would have prevented the game from taking place, by showing its many evils, summoning to my aid Bhishma and Drona and Kripa, and Vahlika! O exalted one, for thy sake I would have told the son of Vichitravirya—O foremost of monarchs, let thy sons have nothing to do with dice!—I would have shown the many evils (of dice) through which thou hast fallen into such distress and the son of Virasena was formerly deprived of his kingdom! O king, unthought of evils, befall a man from dice! I would have described how a man once engaged in the game continueth to play (from desire of victory). Women, dice, hunting and drinking to which people become addicted in consequence of temptation, have been regarded as the four evils that deprive a man of prosperity. And those versed in the Sastras are of opinion that evils attend upon all these. They also that are addicted to dice know all its evils. O thou of mighty arms, appearing before the son of Amvika, I would have pointed out that through dice men in a day lose their possessions, and fall into distress, and are deprived of their untasted wealth, and exchange harsh words! O perpetuator of the Kuru race, I would have pointed out these and other attendant evils! If he had accepted my words thus addressed, the welfare of the Kurus as also virtue itself would both have been secured! And, O foremost of kings, if he had rejected my gentle counsels offered as medicine, then, O best of the Bharata race, I would have compelled him by force! And, if those who wait at his court, professing to be his friends but in reality his foes, had supported him, then I would have slain them all, along with those gamblers, there present! O Kauravya, it is owing to my absence from the Anartta country at that time that thou hast fallen into such distress begot of dice! O thou best of Kurus, O son of Pandu, on arriving at Dwarka I learnt from Yuyudhana all about thy calamity! And, O foremost of kings, directly I heard it with a heart sore agitated by grief, have I speedily come here wishing to see thee, O king! Alas! O bull of the Bharata race, ye have all fallen into dire distress! I see thee with thy brothers plunged in misfortune!'"
"Yudhishthira said, 'O Krishna, why wert thou absent (from the Anartta country)? And, O descendant of the Vrishni race, while thou wert away, where didst thou dwell? And what didst thou do while out of thy kingdom?'
"Krishna said, 'O bull of the Bharata race, I had gone for the purpose of destroying the (arranging) city Salwa. And, O foremost of the Kauravas, listen to the reasons I had for so doing! The heroic son of Damaghosha, the well-known king Sisupala of mighty arms and great energy, was slain by me, O best of Bharatas, at thy Rajasuya sacrifice, because that wicked one could not from anger bear to see the first worship offered to me! Hearing that he had been slain, Salwa, burning with fierce anger, came to Dwaraka, while, O Bharata, it was empty, myself being away, residing with you here. And having arrived there on a car made of precious metals and hence called the Souva, he had an encounter with the youthful princes of the Vrishni race—those bulls of that line—and fought with them mercilessly. And slaughtering many youthful Vrishnis of heroic valour, the wicked one devastated all the gardens of the city. And, O thou of mighty arms, he said, "Where is that wretch of the Vrishni race, Vasudeva, the evil-souled son of Vasudeva? I will humble in battle the pride of that person so eager for fight! Tell me truly, O Anarttas! I will go there where he is. And after killing that slayer of Kansa and Kesi, will I return! By my weapon I swear that I will not return without slaying him!" And exclaiming repeatedly—Where is he? Where is he? the lord of Saubha rusheth to this place and that, desirous of encountering me in battle. And Salwa also said, "Impelled by wrath for the destruction of Sisupala I shall today send to the mansion of Yama that treacherous miscreant of mean mind." And, O king, he further said, "That Janardana shall I slay, who, wretch that he is, hath killed my brother who was but a boy of tender years, and who was slain not on the field of battle, unprepared as he was!" Having, O great king, wailed thus, and having, O son of the Kuru race, abused me thus, he rose into the sky on his car of precious metals capable of going anywhere at will! On returning (to my kingdom) I heard what, O Kaurava, the evil-minded and wicked king of Maticka had said regarding myself! And, O descendant of the Kuru race, I was agitated with wrath, and, O king, having reflected upon everything, I set my heart upon slaying him! And, learning, O Kauravya, of his oppression of the Anarttas, of his abuse of myself, and of his excessive arrogance, I resolved upon the destruction of that wretch! And, O lord of earth, I accordingly set out (from my city), for slaying the (lord of) the Saubha. And searching him here and there, I found him in an island in the midst of the ocean! Then, O king, blowing my conch called the Panchajanya obtained from the sea, and challenging Salwa to combat, I stood for the fight! At that instant, I had an encounter with numerous Danavas, all of whom, however, I subdued and prostrated on the ground. O mighty-armed one, it was owing to this affair that I could not then come (unto thee)! As soon as I heard of the unfair game of dice at Hastinapura, I have come here desirous of seeing ye who have been plunged in distress.'"
"Yudhishthira said, 'O illustrious Vasudeva of mighty arms, tell thou in detail of the death of the lord of Saubha. My curiosity hath not been appeased by the narration.'
"Vasudeva said, 'O mighty-armed king, hearing that the son of Srutaslavas (Sisupala) had been slain by me, Salwa, O best of the Bharata race, came to the city of Dwaravati! And, O son of Pandu, the wicked king, stationing his forces in array, besieged that city around and above. And stationing himself in the upper regions, the king began his fight with the city. And that encounter commenced with a thick shower of weapons from all sides. And, O bull of the Bharata race, the city at that time was well-fortified on all sides, according to the science (of fortification), with pennons, and arches, and combatants, and walls and turrets, and engines, and miners, and streets barricaded with spiked wood-works and towers and edifices with gate-ways well-filled with provisions, and engines for hurling burning brands and fires, and vessels, of deer-skins (for carrying water), and trumpets, tabors, and drums, lances and forks, and Sataghnis, and plough-shares, rockets, balls of stone and battle-axes and other weapons and shield embossed with iron, and engines for hurling balls and bullets and hot liquids! And the city was also well-defended by numerous cars, and, O tiger among Kurus, by Gada and Shamva and Uddhava and others, and by warriors of prowess tried in battle, all well-born and capable of encountering any foe! And these all placing themselves on commanding posts, aided by cavalry and standard-bearers, began to defend the town. And Ugrasena and Uddhava and others, to prevent carelessness, proclaimed throughout the city that nobody should drink. And all the Vrishnis and the Andhakas, well-knowing that they would be slain by Salwa if they behaved carelessly, remained sober and watchful. And the police soon drove out of the city all mimes and dancers and singers of the Anartta country. And all the bridges over rivers were destroyed, and boats forbidden to ply, and the trenches (around the city) were spiked with poles at the bottom. And the land around the city for full two miles was rendered uneven, and holes and pits were dug thereon, and combustibles were secreted below the surface. Our fort, O sinless one, is naturally strong and always well-defended and filled with all kinds of weapons! And in consequence of the preparations made, our city was more prepared than ever to meet the foe. And, O chief of the Bharatas, in consequence of all this, the city looked like that of Indra himself. And, O king, at the time of Salwa's approach, nobody could either enter or leave the town of the Vrishnis and the Andhakas without presenting the sign that had been agreed upon. And all the streets of the town and the open spaces were filled with numerous elephants and horses! And, O thou of mighty arms, the combatants were all specially gratified with allowances and wages, and rations, and weapons, and dresses! And amongst the combatants there was none who was not paid in gold, and none who was not paid at all, and none who was not somehow obliged, and none who was not of tried valour! And, O thou of eyes like lotus-leaves, it was thus Dwaraka, abounding in well-ordered arrangements, was defended by Ahuka (Ugrasena)!'"
"Vasudeva continued, 'O king of kings, Salwa, the lord of Saubha, came towards our city with an immense force consisting of infantry, cavalry and elephants! And the army headed by king Salwa, consisting of four kinds of forces, occupied a level ground commanding a copious water-supply. And forsaking cemeteries and temples dedicated to the gods, and sacred trees, and grounds covered by ant-hills, that host occupied every other place. And the roads (leading to the city) were blocked up by the divisions of the army, and the secret entrances also were all blocked up by the enemy's camp. And, O Kauravya, like unto the lord of birds (Garuda), the ruler of Saubha rushed towards Dwaraka, bringing with him, O bull among men, his host equipped with all kinds of arms, skilled in all weapons, consisting of a dense display of cars and elephants and cavalry abounding in banners, and well-paid and well-fed foot-soldiers possessed of great strength and bearing every mark of heroism and furnished with wonderful chariots and bows. And beholding the army of Salwa, the youthful princes of the Vrishni race resolved to encounter it sallying out of the city. And, O king, Charudeshna, Samva, and the mighty warrior Pradyumna, O descendant of the Kuru race, sallied out, ascending on their chariots, and clad in mail, and decked with ornaments, with colours flying, resolved to encounter the mighty and countless host of Salwa! And Samva taking up his bows eagerly attacked on the field of battle Kshemavriddhi, the commander of Salwa's forces and his chief counsellor also! And, O thou foremost of Bharatas, the son of Jambavati then began to shower arrows in a continuous stream even as Indra showereth down rain! And, O mighty king, then Kshemavriddhi, the commander of Salwa's forces, bore that shower of arrows, immovable as the Himavat! And, O foremost of kings, Kshemavriddhi on his part, discharged at Samva a mightier volley of shafts, aided by his powers of illusion! And dispersing by counter illusion that discharge inspired by illusion, Samva showered on his (adversary's) car a thousand arrows! Then pierced by the shafts on Samva and overwhelmed there with Kshemavriddhi, the commander of the hostile host, left the field by the help of his fleet steed! And when the wicked general of Salwa had left the field, a mighty Daitya called Vegavat rushed at my son! And, O best of monarchs, thus attacked, the heroic Samva, the perpetuator of the Vrishni race, bore that onset of Vegavat, keeping his ground. And, O son of Kunti, the heroic Samva, of prowess incapable of being baffled, whirling a quickly-going mace, hurled it speedily at Vegavat! And, O king, struck with that mace, Vegavat fell down on the ground, like a weather-beaten and faded lord of the forest of decayed roots! And on that heroic Asura of mighty energy, being slain with the mace, my son entered within that mighty host and began to fight with all. And, O great king, a well-known Danava named Vivindhya, a mighty warrior wielding a large and powerful bow, encountered Charudeshna! And, O monarch, the encounter between Charudeshna and Vivindhya was as fierce as that in days of yore between Vritra and Vasava! And enraged with each other the combatants pierced each other with their arrows, uttering loud roars like unto two powerful lions! Then the son of Rukmini fixed on his bow-string a mighty weapon possessing the splendour of fire or the sun, and capable of destroying all foes, having first vivified it with incantations! Then, O monarch, that mighty warrior my son, fired with wrath, challenged Vivindhya and discharged the weapon at him. And the Danava struck with that weapon, fell down on the ground a lifeless corpse! And beholding Vivindhya slain, and the whole host waver, Salwa advanced again on his beautiful car capable of going everywhere. And, O king of mighty arms, beholding Salwa on that beautiful car of his, the combatants of Dwaraka wavered with fear! But, O thou of the Kuru race, Pradyumna sailed out, and, O great king, bidding the Anarttas be of good cheer, said, "Waver ye not, and staying behold me fight! Even I shall, by force, repel that car with Salwa on it! Ye Yadavas, this day, I shall, with my weapons like unto serpents discharged from my bow with my hand, destroy this host of the lord of Saubha! Be of good cheer, ye all! Fear not! The lord of Saubha will be slain today! Attached by me, the wretch will meet with destruction together with his car!" O son of Pandu, upon Pradyumna speaking thus with cheerful heart, the Yadava host, O hero, remained on the field, and began to fight cheerfully!'"
"Vasudeva continued, 'O bull of the Bharata race, having spoken thus unto the Yadavas, the son of Rukmini (Pradyumna) ascended his golden car. And the car he rode was drawn by excellent steeds in mail. And over it stood a standard bearing the figure of a Makara with gaping mouth and fierce as Yama. And with his steeds, more flying than running on the ground, he rushed against the foe. And the hero equipped with quiver and sword, with fingers cased in leather, twanged his bow possessed of the splendour of the lightning, with great strength, and transferring it from hand to hand, as if in contempt of the enemy, spread confusion among the Danavas and other warriors of the city of Saubha. And as hot in contempt of the foe, and continuously slew the Danavas in battle, no one could mark the slightest interval between his successive shafts. And the colour of his face changed not, and his limbs trembled not. And people only heard his loud leonine roars indicative of wonderful valour. And the aquatic monster with mouth wide open, that devourer of all fishes, placed on golden flag-staff of that best of cars, struck terror into the hearts of Salwa's warriors. And, O king, Pradyumna, the mower of foes rushed with speed against Salwa himself so desirous of an encounter! And, O perpetuator of the Kuru race, braved by the heroic Pradyumna in that mighty battle, the angry Salwa could ill bear the challenge! And that conqueror of hostile cities, Salwa, maddened by anger, descended from his beautiful car of unchecked speed, resolved to encounter Pradyumna. And the people beheld the fight between Salwa and the foremost of Vrishni heroes, which was even like unto the encounter between Vasava with Vali. And, O hero, mounting on his beautiful car decked with gold and furnished with flags and flag-staffs and quivers, the illustrious and mighty Salwa began to discharge his arrows at Pradyumna! Pradyumna also by the energy of his arms, overwhelmed Salwa in the combat by a thick shower of arrows. The king of Saubha, however, thus attacked in battle by Pradyumna, endured him not, but discharged at my son arrows that were like blazing fire. But the mighty Pradyumna parried off that arrowy shower. Beholding this, Salwa rained on my son other weapons of blazing splendour. Then, O foremost of monarchs, pierced by the shafts of Salwa, the son of Rukmini discharged without loss of time an arrow that was capable of entering the vitals of a foe in fight. And that winged shaft shot by my son, piercing Salwa's mail, entered his heart—whereupon he fell down, in a swoon. And beholding the heroic king Salwa fallen down deprived of sense, the foremost of the Danavas fled away rending the ground beneath their feet. And, O lord of the earth, the army of Salwa sent up exclamations of Oh! and Alas! seeing their king, the lord of Saubha, drop down bereft of sense! And O son of the Kuru race, regaining his senses, the mighty Salwa rose and all of a sudden discharged his arrows on Pradyumna. Then the heroic and mighty armed Pradyumna, sorely pierced by his adversary about his throat, was enfeebled on his car. And, O mighty king, wounding the son of Rukmini, Salwa sent up a shout like unto the roar of a lion, and filling the entire earth with it! And, O Bharata, when my son became senseless, Salwa, without losing a moment, again discharged at him other shafts difficult to bear. And pierced with numberless arrows and deprived of his senses, Pradyumna, O chief of the Kuru race, became motionless on the field of battle!'"
"Vasudeva continued, 'O king, afflicted with the arrows of Salwa, when Pradyumna became senseless the Vrishnis who had come to the fight were all disheartened and filled with grief! And the combatants of the Vrishni and Andhaka races burst into exclamations of Oh! and Alas! while great joy was felt by the enemy and beholding him thus deprived of sense, his trained charioteer, the son of Daruka, soon carried him off the field by the help of his steeds. The car had not gone far when that best of warriors regained his senses, and taking up his bow addressed his charioteer, saying, "O son of the Suta tribe, what hast thou done? Why dost thou go leaving the field of battle? This is not the custom of the Vrishni heroes in battle! O son of a Suta, hast thou been bewildered at the sight of a Salwa in that fierce encounter? Or hast thou been disheartened, beholding the fight? O! tell me truly thy mind!" The charioteer answered, "O son of Janardana, I have not been confounded, nor hath fear taken possession of me. On the other hand, O son of Kesava, the task, I ween, of vanquishing Salwa is difficult for thee! Therefore, O hero, I am slowly retiring from the field. This wretch is stronger than thou art! It behoveth a charioteer to protect the warrior on the car, however, when he is deprived of his senses! O thou gifted with length of days, thou shouldst always be protected by me, even as it behoveth thee to protect me! Thinking that the warrior on the car should always be protected (by his charioteer), I am carrying thee away! Further, O thou of mighty arms, thou art alone, while the Danavas are many. Thinking, O son of Rukmini, that thou art not equal to them in the encounter, I am going away!"'
"Vasudeva continued, 'When the charioteer had spoken thus, he, O Kauravya, who hath the makara for his mark replied unto him, saying, "Turn the car! O son of Daruka, never do so again; never, O Suta, turn thou from the fight, while I am alive! He is no son of the Vrishni race who forsaketh the field or slayeth the foe fallen at his feet and crying I am thine! or killeth a woman, a boy, or an old man, or a warrior in distress, deprived of his car or with his weapons broken! Thou art born in the race of charioteers and trained to thy craft! And, O son of Daruka, thou art acquainted with the customs of the Vrishnis in battle! Versed as thou art with all the customs of the Vrishnis in battle, do thou, O Suta, never again fly from the field as thou hast done! What will the irrepressible Madhava, the elder brother of Gada, say to me when he heareth that I have left the field of battle in bewilderment or that I have been struck on the back—a run-away from the combat! What will the elder brother of Kesava, the mighty-armed Baladeva, clad in blue and inebriate with wine, say, when he returneth? What also, O Suta, will that lion among men, the grand-son of Sini (Satyaki), that great warrior, say on hearing that I have forsaken the fight? And, O charioteer, what will the ever-victorious Shamva, the irrepressible Charudeshna. and Gada, and Sarana, and Akrura also of mighty arms, say unto me! What also will the wives of the Vrishni heroes when they meet together, say of me who had hitherto been considered as brave and well-conducted, respectable and possessed of manly pride? They will even say This Pradyumna is a coward who cometh here, leaving the battle! Fie on him! They will never say, Well done! Ridicule, with exclamation of Fie, is to me or a person like me, O Suta, more than death! Therefore, do thou never again leave the field of battle! Reposing the charge on me, Hari the slayer of Madhu, hath gone to the sacrifice of the Bharata lion (Yudhishthira)! Therefore, I cannot bear to be quiet now! O Suta, when the brave Kritavarman was sallying out to encounter Salwa, I prevented him, saying I will resist Salwa. Do thou stay! For honouring me the son of Hridika desisted! Having left the field of battle, what shall I say unto that mighty warrior when I meet him? When that irrepressible one of mighty arms—the holder of the conch, the discus, and the mace—returneth, what shall I say unto him of eyes like lotus leaves? Satyaki, and Valadeva, and others of the Vrishni and Andhaka races always boast of me! What shall I say unto them? O Suta, having left the field of battle and with wounds of arrows on my back while being carried away by thee, I shall, by no means, be able to live! Therefore, O son of Daruka, turn that car speedily, and never do so again even in times of greatest danger! I do not, O Suta, think life worth much, having fled from the field like a coward, and my back pierced, with the arrows (of the enemy)! Hast thou ever seen me, O son of Suta, fly in fear from the field of battle like a coward? O son of Daruka, it behoved thee not to forsake the battle, while my desire of fight was not yet gratified! Do thou, therefore, go back to the field."'"
"Vasudeva continued, 'Thus addressed, the son of Suta race replied in haste unto Pradyumna, that foremost of all endued with strength, in these sweet words, "O son of Rukmini, I fear not to guide the horses on the field of battle, and I am acquainted also with the customs of the Vrishnis in war! It is not otherwise in the least! But, O thou blest with length of days, those that guide the car are taught that the warrior on the car is, by all means, to be protected by his charioteer! Thou wert also much afflicted! Thou wert much wounded by the arrows shot by Salwa. Thou wert also deprived of thy senses, O hero! Therefore is it that I retired from the field. But, O chief of the Satwatas, now that thou hast regained thy senses without much ado, do thou, O son of Kesava, witness my skill in guiding the horses! I have been begotten by Daruka, and I have been duly trained! I will now penetrate into the celebrated array of Salwa without fear!"'
"Vasudeva continued, 'Saying this, O hero, the charioteer, pulling the reins, began to lead the horses with speed towards the field of battle. And, O king, struck with the whip and pulled by the reins those excellent steeds seemed to be flying in the air, performing various beautiful motions, now circular, now similar, now dissimilar, now to the right, now to the left. And, O king, those steeds understanding as it were the intention of Daruka's son endued with such lightness of hand, burned with energy, and seemed to go without touching the ground with their feet! That bull among men wheeled round Salwa's host so easily that they who witnessed it wondered exceedingly. And the lord of Saubha, unable to bear that manoeuvre of Pradyumna, instantly sent three shafts at the charioteer of his antagonist! The charioteer, however, without taking any note of the force of those arrows, continued to go along the right. Then the lord of Saubha, O hero, again discharged at my son by Rukmini, a shower of various kinds of weapons! But that slayer of hostile heroes, the son of Rukmini, showing with a smile his lightness of hand, cut all those weapons off as they reached him. Finding his arrows cut by Pradyumna, the lord of Saubha, having recourse to the dreadful illusion natural to Asuras began to pour a thick shower of arrows. But cutting into pieces those powerful Daitya weapons shot at him in mid-career by means of his Brahma weapon, Pradyumna discharged winged shafts of other kings. And these delighting in blood, warding off the shafts of Daitya, pierced his head, bosom and face. And at those wounds Salwa fell down senseless. And on the mean-minded Salwa falling down, afflicted with Pradyumna's arrows, the son of Rukmini aimed another arrow at him, capable of destroying every foe. And beholding that arrow worshipped by all the Dasarhas, and flaming like fire and fatal as a venomous snake, fixed on the bow-string, the firmament was filled with exclamations of Oh! and Alas! Then all the celestials with Indra and the lord of treasures (Kubera) at their head sent Narada and the god of wind endued with the speed of the mind. And these two approaching the son of Rukmini delivered unto him the message of the celestial, saying, O hero, king Salwa is not to be slain by thee! Do thou draw back the arrow. He is unslayable by thee in fight! There breatheth not a person who cannot be killed by that arrow! O thou of mighty arms, the Creator hath ordained his death at the hands of Krishna, the son of Devaki! Let this be not falsified!—Thereupon with a glad heart, Pradyumna withdrew that best of arrows from his excellent bow and deposited it back in his quiver. And then, O foremost of kings, the mighty Salwa, afflicted with the arrows of Pradyumna, rose disheartened, and speedily went away. Then O king, the wicked Salwa, thus afflicted by the Vrishnis, mounted on his car of precious metals, and leaving Dwaraka scudded through the skies!'"
"Vasudeva said, 'When Salwa had left the city of the Anarttas, I returned to it, O king, on the completion of thy great Rajasuya sacrifice! On my arrival I found Dwaraka shorn of its splendour, and, O great monarch, there were not sounds of Vedic recitation or sacrificial offering. And the excellent damsels were all destitute of ornaments, and the gardens were devoid of beauty. And alarmed by the aspect, I asked the son of Hridika saying, "Why is it that the men and women of the city of the Vrishnis are so woe-begone, O tiger among men?" O thou best of kings thus asked the son of Hridika (Kritavarman) relate to me in detail the invasion of the city by Salwa, and his subsequent departure from it. And, O thou foremost of Bharatas, hearing all, even then I made up my mind to slay Salwa. And encouraging the citizens, O best of Bharatas, I cheerfully addressed king Ahuka, and Anakdundhuvi, and the chief heroes of the Vrishni race, saying, "Do ye, O bulls among the Yadavas, stay in the city, taking every care, and know that I go to slay Salwa! I return not to the city of Dwaravati without slaying him. I will again come to ye having compassed the destruction of Salwa together with his car of precious metals. Do ye strike up the sharp and middle and flat notes of the Dundhuvi so dreadful to foes!" And O thou bull of the Bharata race, thus adequately encouraged by me, those heroes cheerfully said unto me, "Go and slay the enemies!" And thus receiving the benedictions of those warriors with glad hearts, and causing the Brahmanas to utter auspicious words and bowing down to the best of the regenerate ones, and to Siva also, I set out on my car unto which were yoked the horses Saivya, and Sugriva, filling all sides with the clatter (of my wheels) and blowing that best of conchs, the Panchajanya! And, O king, O tiger among men, accompanied by my redoubted and victorious army consisting of the four kinds of the forces so persevering in battle, I set out. And leaving many countries, and mountains, crowned with trees, and pieces of water, and streams, I at last arrived at the country of Matrikavarta. It is there, O thou tiger among men, that I heard that Salwa was coursing on his car of precious metals near the ocean, and I followed in his pursuit. And, O thou slayer of thy foes, having reached the main, Salwa on his car of costly metals was in the midst of the deep heaving with billows! And on seeing me from a distance, O Yudhishthira, that one of wicked soul himself challenged me repeatedly to the fight. And many arrows capable of piercing to the quick, discharged from my bow reached not his car. And at this I was wroth! And, O king, that essentially sinful wretch of a Daitya's son of irrepressible energy, on his part began to shoot thousand upon thousands of arrows in torrents! And, O Bharata, he rained shafts upon my soldiers and upon my charioteer and upon my steeds! But without thinking of the shafts, we continued the conflict. Then the warriors following Salwa poured on me straight arrows by thousands. And the Asuras covered my horses and my car and Daruka with arrows capable of piercing the very vitals. And, O hero, I could not at that time see either my horses, or my car, or my charioteer Daruka! And I with my army was covered with weapons. And, O son of Kunti, superhumanly skilled in weapons, I also let fly from my bow arrows by tens of thousands, inspiring them with mantras! But as that car of costly metals was in the sky, full two miles off, it could not, O Bharata, be seen by my troops. They could therefore only remaining on the field of battle look on like spectators in a place of amusement, cheering me on by shouts loud as the roar of the lion, and also by the sound of their clapping. And the tinted arrows shot by the fore-part of hand penetrated into the bodies of the Danavas like biting insects. And then arose cries in the car of precious metals from those that were dying of wounds by those sharp arrows and falling into the waters of the mighty ocean. And the Danavas deprived of their arms, necks, and wearing the form of Kavandhas,—fell, sending up tremendous roars. And as they fell they were devoured by animals living in the waters of the ocean. And then I powerfully blew the Panchajanya obtained from the waters and graceful as the lotus-stalk and white as milk or the Kunda flower or the moon or silver. And seeing his soldiers fall, Salwa the possessor of the car of precious metals, began to fight with the help of illusion. And then he began to ceaselessly hurl at me maces, and ploughshares, and winged darts and lances, and javelins, and battle-axes, and swords and arrows blazing like javelins and thunderbolts, and nooses, and broad swords, and bullets from barrels, and shafts, and axes, and rockets. And permitting them to come towards me, I soon destroyed them all by counter-illusion. And on this illusion being rendered ineffectual, he began the contest with mountain peaks. And, O Bharata, then there was darkness and light alternately, and the day was now fair, and now gloomy, and now hot, and now cold. And there was a perfect shower of coals, and ashes, and weapons. And creating such illusion the enemy fought with me. And ascertaining it I destroyed his illusion by counter-illusion. And in the due time I showered arrows all round. And then, O mighty king, the dome of heaven blazed as with a hundred suns, and, O son of Kunti, with one hundred moons, and thousands and ten thousands of stars! And then none could ascertain whether it was day or night, or distinguish the points of the horizon. And, becoming bewildered, I fixed on my bowstring the weapon called Pragnastra. And, O son of Kunti, the weapon went like unto flakes of pure cotton blown away by the winds! And a great fight took place, calculated to make the down on one's body stand on end. And O best of monarchs, having regained light, I again fought with the enemy!'"
"Vasudeva said, 'O thou tiger among men, my great enemy king Salwa, thus encountered by me in battle, again ascended the sky. And O mighty monarch, inspired with the desire of victory, that wicked one hurled at me Sataghnis, and mighty maces, and flaming lances, and stout clubs, and as the weapons came along the sky, I speedily resisted them with my swift arrows, and cut them in two or three pieces before they came at me. And there was a great noise in the welkins. And Salwa covered Daruka, and my steeds, and my car also with hundreds of straight shafts. Then, O hero, Daruka, evidently about to faint, said unto me, "Afflicted with the shafts of Salwa I stay in the field, because it is my duty to do so. But I am incapable of doing so (any longer). My body hath become weak!" Hearing these piteous words of my charioteer, I looked at him, and found the driver wounded with arrows. Nor was there a spot on his breasts or the crown of his head, or body or his arms which was not, O thou foremost of sons of Pandu, covered with shafts! And blood flowed profusely from his wounds inflicted by arrows, and he looked like unto a mountain of red chalk after a heavy shower. And, O thou of mighty arms, seeing the charioteer with the reins in his hands thus pierced and enfeebled by the shafts of Salwa in the field of battle, I cheered him up!
"'And, O Bharata, about this time, a certain person, having his home in Dwaraka quickly coming to my car, addressed me like a friend, delivering to me, O hero, a message from Ahuka! He seemed to be one of Ahuka's followers. And sadly and in a voice choked in sorrow, know, O Yudhishthira, he said words—"O warrior, Ahuka, the lord of Dwaraka, hath said these words unto thee! O Kesava, hear what thy father's friend sayeth: O son of the Vrishni race, O thou irrepressible one, in thy absence today Salwa, coming to Dwaraka, hath by main force killed Vasudeva! Therefore, no need of battle any more. Cease, O Janardana! Do thou defend Dwaraka! This is thy principal duty!"—Hearing these words of his, my heart became heavy, and I could not ascertain what I should do and what I should not. And, O hero, hearing of that great misfortune, I mentally censured Satyaki, and Baladeva, and also that mighty Pradyumna. Having reposed on them the duty of protecting Dwaraka and Vasudeva, I had gone, O son of the Kuru race, to effect the destruction of Salwa's city. And in a sorrowful heart, I asked myself,—Doth that destroyer of foes, the mighty-armed Baladeva, live, and Satyaki, and the son of Rukmini and Charudeshna possessed of prowess, and Shamva and others? For, O thou tiger among men, these living, even the bearer himself of the thunderbolt could by no means destroy Suta's son (Vasudeva)! And, thought I, It is plain that Vasudeva is dead and equally plain that the others with Baladeva at their head have been deprived of life—This was my certain conclusion. And, O mighty king, thinking of the destruction of those all, I was overwhelmed with grief! And it was in this state of mind that I encountered Salwa afresh. And now I saw, O great monarch, Vasudeva himself falling from the car of precious metals! And, O warrior I swooned away, and, O king of men, my sire seemed like unto Yayati after the loss of his merit, falling towards the earth from heaven! And like unto a luminary whose merit hath been lost saw my father falling, his head-gear foul and flowing loosely, and his hair and dress disordered. And then the bow Sharanga dropped from my hand, and, O son of Kunti I swooned away! I sat down on the side of the car. And, O thou descendant of the Bharata race, seeing me deprived of consciousness on the car, and as if dead, my entire host exclaimed Oh! and Alas! And my prone father with out-stretched arms and lower limbs, appeared like a dropping bird. And him thus falling, O thou of mighty arms, O hero, the hostile warriors bearing in their hands lances and axes struck grievously! And (beholding this) my heart trembled! and soon regaining my consciousness, O warrior, I could not see in that mighty contest either the car of costly metals, or the enemy Salwa, or my old father! Then I concluded in my mind that it was certainly illusion. And recovering my senses, I again began to discharge arrows by hundreds.'"
"Vasudeva continued, 'Then O thou foremost of the Bharata race, taking up my beautiful bow, I began to cut off with my arrows the heads of the enemies of the celestials, from off that car of costly metals! And I began to discharge from the Sharanga many well-looking arrows of the forms of snakes, capable of going at a great height and possessing intense energy. And, O perpetuator of the Kuru race, I could not then see the car of costly metals, for it had vanished, through illusion! I was then filled with wonder! That host of Danavas then, O Bharata, of frightful visages and hair, set up a loud howl while I was waiting for it, in that fierce battle. I then, with the object of destroying them, fixed on my bow-string the weapon capable of piercing the foes if but his sound was inaudible. Upon this, their shouts ceased. But those Danavas that had sent up that shout were all slain by those shafts of mine blazing as the Sun himself, and capable of striking at the perception of sound alone. And after the shout had ceased at one place, O mighty king, another yell proceeded from another quarter. Thitherto also I sent my shafts. In this way, O Bharata, the Asuras began to send up yells in all the ten quarters above and across. These were all slain by me, viz., those that were in the skies and that were invisible, with arrows of diverse forms, and celestial weapons inspired with mantras. Then, O hero, that car of precious metals capable of going anywhere at will, bewildering my eyes, reappeared at Pragjyotisha! And then the destroying Danavas of fierce forms suddenly drowned me with a mighty shower of rocks. And, O thou foremost of monarchs, torrents of rocks falling upon me covered me up, and I began to grow like an ant-hill (with its summits and peaks)! And covered along with my horses and charioteer and flagstaffs, with crags on all sides, I disappeared from sight altogether. Then those foremost of heroes of the Vrishni race who were of my army were struck with panic, and all on a sudden began to fly in all directions. And beholding me in that plight, O king, the heaven, the firmament, and the earth were filled with exclamation of Oh! and Alas! And then, O monarch, my friends filled with sorrow and grief began to weep and wail with heavy hearts! And delight filled the hearts of the enemies. And O thou who never waverest, I heard of this after I had defeated the foe! And then wielding the thunderbolt, that favourite (weapon) of Indra, capable of riving stones, I destroyed that entire mass of crags! But my steeds, afflicted with the weight of the stones and almost on the point of death began to tremble. And beholding me, all my friends rejoiced again even as men rejoice on seeing the sun rise in the sky, dispersing the clouds. And seeing my horses almost in their last gasp for breath, afflicted with that load of stones, my charioteer said unto me in words suitable to the occasion, "O thou of the Vrishni race, behold Salwa the owner of the car of precious metals sitting (yonder). Do not disregard him! Do thou exert thyself! Do thou abandon thy mildness and consideration for Salwa. Slay Salwa, O thou of mighty arms! O Kesava, do not let him live! O hero, O thou destroyer of those that are not thy friends (enemies), an enemy should be slain with every exertion! Even a weak enemy who is under the feet of a man endued with strength, should not be disregarded by the latter: that (shall I say) of one that dareth us to the fight? Therefore, O thou tiger among men, putting forth every exertion, slay him, O lord, O thou foremost of the Vrishni race! Do thou not delay again! This one is not capable of being vanquished by milder measures. And he cannot in my opinion be thy friend who is fighting thee and who devastated Dwaraka!" O Kaunteya, hearing such words of my charioteer, and knowing that what he said was true, I directed my attention to the fight (afresh), with the view of slaying Salwa and destroying the car of costly metals! And, O hero, saying unto Daruka, "Stay a moment" I fixed on my bow-string my favourite weapon of fire, blazing and of celestial origin, of irresistible force, and incapable of being baffled, bursting with energy, capable of penetrating into everything, and of great splendour! And saying, "Destroy the car of precious metals together with all those enemies that are in it" I launched with the might of my arms and in wrath with mantras, the great powerful discus Sudarsana which reduceth to ashes in battle Yakshas and Rakshasas and Danavas and kings born in impure tribes, sharp-edged like the razor, and without stain, like unto Yama the destroyer, and incomparable, and which killeth enemies. And rising into the sky, it seemed like a second sun of exceeding effulgence at the end of the Yuga. And approaching the town of Saubha whose splendour had disappeared, the discus went right through it, even as a saw divideth a tall tree. And cut in twain by the energy of the Sudarsana it fell like the city of Tripura shaken by the shafts of Maheswara. And after the town of Saubha had fallen, the discus came back into my hands. And taking it up I once more hurled it with force saying, "Go thou unto Salwa." The discus then cleft Salwa in twain who in that fierce conflict was at the point of hurling a heavy mace. And with its energy it set the foe ablaze. And after that brave warrior was slain, the disheartened Danava women fled in all directions, exclaiming Oh! and Alas! And taking my chariot in front of the town of Saubha I cheerfully blew my conch and gladdened the hearts of my friends. And beholding their town, high as the peak of the Meru, with its palaces and gate-ways utterly destroyed, and all ablaze, the Danavas fled in fear. And having thus destroyed the town of Saubha and slain Salwa, I returned to the Anarttas and delighted my friends. And, O king, it is for this reason that I could not come to the city named after the elephant (Hastinapura), O destroyer of hostile heroes! O warrior, if I had come, Suyodhana would not have been alive or the match at dice would not have taken place. What can I do now? It is difficult to confine the waters after the dam is broken!'"
Vaisampayana continued, "Having addressed the Kaurava thus, that foremost of male persons, of mighty arms, the slayer of Madhu, possessed of every grace, saluting the Pandavas, prepared for departure. And the mighty-armed hero reverentially saluted Yudhishthira the just, and the king in return and Bhima also smelt the crown of his head. And he was embraced by Arjuna, and the twins saluted him with reverence. And he was duly honoured by Dhaumya, and worshipped with tears by Draupadi. And causing Subhadra and Abhimanyu to ascend his golden car, Krishna mounted it himself, worshipped by the Pandavas. And consoling Yudhishthira, Krishna set out for Dwaraka on his car resplendent as the sun and unto which were yoked the horses Saivya and Sugriva. And after he of the Dasharha race had departed, Dhrishtadyumna, the son of Prishata, also set out for his own city, taking with him the sons of Draupadi. And the king of Chedi, Dhrishtaketu also, taking his sister with him set out for his beautiful city of Suktimati, after bidding farewell to the Pandavas. And, O Bharata, the Kaikeyas also, with the permission of Kunti's son possessed of immeasurable energy, having reverentially saluted all the Pandavas, went away. But Brahmanas and the Vaisyas and the dwellers of Yudhishthira's kingdom though repeatedly requested to go, did not leave the Pandavas. O foremost of kings, O bull of the Bharata race, the multitude that surrounded those high-souled ones in the forest of Kamyaka looked extraordinary. And Yudhishthira, honouring those high-minded Brahmanas, in due time ordered his men, saying 'Make ready the car.'"
Vaisampayana continued, "After the chief of the Dasharhas had departed, the heroic Yudhishthira, and Bhima, and Arjuna, and the twins, each looking like unto Shiva, and Krishna, and their priest, ascending costly cars unto which were yoked excellent steeds, together went into the forest. And at time of going they distributed Nishkas of gold and clothes and kine unto Brahmanas versed in Siksha and Akshara and mantras. And twenty attendants followed them equipped with bows, and bowstrings, and blazing weapons, and shafts and arrows and engines of destruction. And taking the princess's clothes and the ornaments, and the nurses and the maid-servants, Indrasena speedily followed the princes on a car. And then approaching the best of Kurus, the high-minded citizens walked round him. And the principal Brahmanas of Kurujangala cheerfully saluted him. And together with his brothers, Yudhishthira the just, on his part saluted them cheerfully. And the illustrious king stopped there a little, beholding the concourse of the inhabitants of Kurujangala. And the illustrious bull among the Kurus felt for them as a father feeleth for his sons, and they too felt for the Kuru chief even as sons feel for their father! And that mighty concourse, approaching the Kuru hero, stood around him. And, O king, affected, with bashfulness, and with tears in their eyes, they all exclaimed, 'Alas, O lord! O Dharma!' And they said, 'Thou art the chief of the Kurus, and the king of us, thy subjects! Where dost thou go, O just monarch, leaving all these citizens and the inhabitants of the country, like a father leaving his sons? Fie on the cruel-hearted son of Dhritarashtra! Fie on the evil-minded son of Suvala! Fie on Karna! For, O foremost of monarchs, those wretches ever wish unto thee who art firm in virtue! Having thyself established the unrivalled city of Indraprastha of the splendour of Kailasa itself, where dost thou go, leaving it, O illustrious and just king, O achiever of extraordinary deeds! O illustrious one, leaving that peerless palace built by Maya, which possesseth the splendour of the palace of the celestials themselves, and is like unto a celestial illusion, ever guarded by the gods, where dost thou go, O son of Dharma?' And Vibhatsu knowing the ways of virtue, pleasure, and profit said unto them in a loud voice, 'Living in the forest, the king intendeth to take away the good name of his enemies! O we with the regenerate ones at your head, versed in virtue and profit, do you approaching the ascetics separately and inclining them to grace, represent unto them what may be for our supreme good!' Upon hearing these words of Arjuna, the Brahmanas and the other orders, O king, saluting him cheerfully walked round the foremost of virtuous men! And bidding farewell unto the son of Pritha, and Vrikodara, and Dhananjaya and Yajnaseni, and the twins, and commanded by Yudhishthira, they returned to their respective abodes in the kingdom with heavy hearts."
Vaisampayana said, "After they had departed, Yudhishthira the virtuous son of Kunti, unwavering in his promises, addressed all his brothers, saying, 'We shall have to dwell in the solitary forest for these twelve years. Search ye, therefore, in this mighty forest for some spot abounding in birds and deer and flowers and fruits, beautiful to behold, and auspicious, and inhabited by virtuous persons and where we may dwell pleasantly for all these years!' Thus addressed by Yudhishthira, Dhananjaya replied unto the son of Dharma, after reverencing the illustrious king as if he were his spiritual preceptor. And Arjuna said, 'Thou hast respectfully waited upon all the great and old Rishis. There is nothing unknown to thee in the world of men. And O bull of the Bharata race, thou hast always waited with reverence upon Brahmanas including Dwaipayana and others, and Narada of great ascetic merit, who with senses under control, ever goeth to the gates of all the world from the world of the gods unto that of Brahma, including that of the Gandharvas and Apsaras! And thou knowest, without doubt, the opinions of the Brahmanas, and, O king, their prowess also! And O monarch, thou knowest what is calculated to do us good! And O great king, we will live wherever thou likest! Here is this lake, full of sacred water, called Dwaitavana, abounding with flowers, and delightful to look at, and inhabited by many species of birds. If, O king, it pleaseth thee, here should we like to dwell these twelve years! Thinkest thou otherwise?' Yudhishthira replied, 'O Partha, what thou hast said recommendeth itself to me! Let us go that sacred and celebrated and large lake called Dwaitavana!'"
Vaisampayana continued, "Then the virtuous son of Pandu, accompanied by numerous Brahmanas, all went to the sacred lake called Dwaitavana. And Yudhishthira was surrounded by numerous Brahmanas some of whom sacrificed with fire and some without it and some of whom, devoted to the study of the Vedas, lived upon alms or were of the class called Vanaprasthas. And the king was also surrounded by hundreds of Mahatmas crowned with ascetic success and of rigid vows. And those bulls of the Bharata race, the sons of Pandu setting out with those numerous Brahmanas, entered the sacred and delightful woods of Dwaita. And the king saw that mighty forest covered on the close of summer with Salas, and palms, and mangoes, and Madhukas, and Nipas and Kadamvas and Sarjjas and Arjunas, and Karnikars, many of them covered with flowers. And flocks of peacocks and Datyuhas and Chakoras and Varhins and Kokilas, seated on the tops of the tallest trees of that forest were pouring forth their mellifluous notes. And the king also saw in that forest mighty herds of gigantic elephants huge as the hills, with temporal juice trickling down in the season of rut, accompanied by herds of she-elephants. And approaching the beautiful Bhogavati (Saraswati), the king saw many ascetics crowned with success in the habitations in that forest, and virtuous men of sanctified souls clad in barks of trees and bearing matted locks on their heads. And descending from their cars, the king that foremost of virtuous men with his brothers and followers entered that forest like Indra of immeasurable energy entering heaven. And crowds of Charanas and Siddhas, desirous of beholding the monarch devoted to truth, came towards him. And the dwellers of that forest stood surrounding that lion among kings possessed of great intelligence. And saluting all the Siddhas, and saluted by them in return as a king or a god should be, that foremost of virtuous men entered the forest with joined hands accompanied by all those foremost of regenerate ones. And the illustrious and virtuous king, saluted in return by those virtuous ascetics that had approached him, sat down in their midst at the foot of a mighty tree decked with flowers, like his father (Pandu) in days before. And those chiefs of the Bharata race viz., Bhima and Dhananjaya and the twins and Krishna and their followers, all fatigued, leaving their vehicles, sat themselves down around that best of kings. And that mighty tree bent down with the weight of creepers, with those five illustrious bowmen who had come there for rest sitting under it, looked like a mountain with (five) huge elephants resting on its side."
Vaisampayana said, "Having fallen into distress, those princes thus obtained at last a pleasant habitation in that forest. And there in those woods abounding with Sala trees and washed by the Saraswati, they who were like so many Indras, began to sport themselves. And the illustrious king, that bull of the Kuru race, set himself to please all the Yatis and Munis and the principal Brahmanas in that forest, by offerings of excellent fruits and roots. And their priest, Dhaumya endued with great energy, like unto a father to those princes, began to perform the sacrificial rites of Ishti and Paitreya for the Pandavas residing in that great forest. And there came, as a guest, unto the abode of the accomplished Pandavas living in the wood after loss of their kingdom, the old Rishi Markandeya, possessed of intense and abundant energy. And that bull of the Kuru race, the high-souled Yudhishthira, possessed of unrivalled strength and prowess, paid his homage unto that great Muni, reverenced by celestials and Rishis of men, and possessed of the splendour of blazing fire. And that illustrious and all-knowing Muni, of unrivalled energy, beholding Draupadi and Yudhishthira and Bhima and Arjuna, in the midst of the ascetics, smiled, recollecting Rama in his mind. And Yudhishthira the just, apparently grieved at this, asked him, saying, 'All these ascetics are sorry for seeing me here. Why is it that thou alone smilest, as if in glee, in the presence of these?' Markandeya replied, 'O child, I too am sorry and do not smile in glee! Nor doth pride born of joy possess my heart! Beholding to-day the calamity, I recollect Rama, the son of Dasaratha, devoted to truth! Even that Rama, accompanied by Lakshman, dwelt in the woods at the command of his father. O son of Pritha, I beheld him in days of old ranging with his bow on the top of the Rishyamuka hills! The illustrious Rama was like unto Indra, the lord of Yama himself, and the slayer of Namuchi! Yet that sinless one had to dwell in the forest at the command of his father, accepting it as his duty. The illustrious Rama was equal unto Sakra in prowess, and invincible in battle. And yet he had to range the forest renouncing all pleasures! Therefore should no one act unrighteously, saying,—I am mighty! Kings Nabhaga and Bhagiratha and others, having subjugated by truth this world bounded by the seas, (finally) obtained, O child, all the region hereafter. Therefore, should no one act unrighteously, saying,—I am mighty! And, O exalted of men, the virtuous and truthful king of Kasi and Karusha was called a mad dog for having renounced his territories and riches! Therefore, should no one act unrighteously, saying,—I am mighty! O best of men, O son of Pritha, the seven righteous Rishis, for having observed the ordinance prescribed by the Creator himself in the Vedas, blaze in the firmament. Therefore, should no one act unrighteously, saying,—I am mighty! Behold, O king, the mighty elephants, huge as mountain cliffs and furnished with tusks, transgress not, O exalted of men, the laws of the Creator! Therefore, should none act unrighteously saying, Might is mine! And, O foremost of monarchs, behold all the creatures acting according to their species, as ordained by the Creator. Therefore, should none act unrighteously, saying, Might is mine. O son of Pritha, in truth, and virtue, and proper behaviour, and modesty, thou hast surpassed all creatures, and thy fame and energy are as bright as fire or the Sun! Firm in thy promises, O illustrious one, having passed in the woods thy painful exile, thou wilt again, O king, snatch from the Kauravas thy blazing prosperity with the help of thy own energy!'"
Vaisampayana continued, "Having spoken these words unto Yudhishthira (seated) in the midst of the ascetics with friends, the great Rishi having also saluted Dhaumya and all the Pandavas set out in a northerly direction!"
Vaisampayana said, "While the illustrious son of Pandu continued to dwell in the Dwaita woods, that great forest became filled with Brahmanas. And the lake within that forest, ever resounding with Vedic recitations, became sacred like a second region of Brahma. And the sounds of the Yajus, the Riks, the Samas, and other words uttered by the Brahmanas, were exceedingly delightful to hear. And the Vedic recitations of the Brahmanas mingling with the twang of bows of the sons of Pritha, produced a union of the Brahmana and Kshatriya customs that was highly beautiful. And one evening the Rishi Vaka of the Dalvya family addressed Yudhishthira, the son of Kunti seated in the midst of the Rishis, saying, 'Behold, O chief of the Kurus, O son of Pritha, the homa time is come of these Brahmanas devoted to ascetic austerities, the time when the (sacred) fires have all been lit up! These all, of rigid vows, protected by thee, are performing the rites of religion in this sacred region! The descendants of Bhrigu and Angiras, along with those of Vasishta and Kasyapa, the illustrious sons of Agastya, the offspring of Atri all of excellent vows, in fact, all the foremost Brahmanas of the whole, are now united with thee! Listen, O son of the Kuru race born of Kunti, thyself with thy brothers, to the words I speak to thee! As are aided by the wind consumeth the forest, so Brahma energy mingling with Kshatriya energy, and Kshatriya might mingling with Brahma power, might, when they gathered force, consume all enemies! O child, he should never desire to be without Brahmanas who wisheth to subdue this and the other world for length of days! Indeed, a king slayeth his enemies having obtained a Brahmana conversant, with religion and worldly affairs and freed from passion and folly. King Vali cherishing his subjects practised those duties that lead to salvation, and knew not of any other means in this world than Brahmanas. It was for this that all the desires of Virochana's son, the Asura (Vali), were ever gratified, and his wealth was ever inexhaustible. Having obtained the whole earth through the aid of the Brahmanas, he met with destruction when he began to practise wrong on them! This earth with her wealth never adoreth long as her lord a Kshatriya living without a Brahmana! The earth, however, girt by the sea, boweth unto him who is ruled by a Brahmana and taught his duties by him! Like an elephant in battle without his driver, a Kshatriya destitute of Brahmanas decreaseth in strength! The Brahmana's sight is without compare, and the Kshatriya's might also is unparalleled. When these combine, the whole earth itself cheerfully yieldeth to such a combination. As fire becoming mightier with the wind consumeth straw and wood, so kings with Brahmanas consume all foes! An intelligent Kshatriya, in order to gain what he hath not, and increase what he hath, should take counsel of Brahmanas! Therefore, O son of Kunti, for obtaining what thou hast not and increasing what thou hast, and spending what thou hast on proper objects and persons, keep thou with thee a Brahmana of reputation, of a knowledge of the Vedas, of wisdom and experience! O Yudhishthira. Thou hast ever highly regarded the Brahmanas. It is for this that thy fame is great and blazeth in the three world!'"
Vaisampayana continued, "Then all those Brahmanas who were with Yudhishthira worshipped Vaka of the Dalvya race, and having heard him praise Yudhishthira became highly pleased. And Dwaipayana and Narada and Jamadagnya and Prithusravas; and Indradyumna and Bhalaki and Kritachetas and Sahasrapat; and Karnasravas and Munja and Lavanaswa and Kasyapa; and Harita and Sthulakarana and Agnivesya and Saunaka; and Kritavak and Suvakana, Vrihadaswa and Vibhavasu; and Urdharetas and Vrishamitra and Suhotra and Hotravahana; these and many other Brahmanas of rigid vows then adored Yudhishthira like Rishis adoring Purandara in heaven!"
Vaisampayana said, "Exiled to the woods the sons of Pritha with Krishna seated in the evening, conversed with one another afflicted with sorrow and grief. And the handsome and well informed Krishna dear unto her lords and devoted to them, thus spake unto Yudhishthira, 'The sinful, cruel, and wicked-minded son of Dhritarashtra certainly feeleth no sorrow for us, when, O king, that evil-hearted wretch having sent thee with myself into the woods dressed in deer-skin feeleth no regret! The heart of that wretch of evil deeds must surely be made of steel when he could at that time address thee, his virtuous eldest brother, in words so harsh! Having brought thee who deservest to enjoy every happiness and never such woe, into such distress, alas, that wicked-minded and sinful wretch joyeth with his friends! O Bharata, when dressed in deer-skin thou hast set out for the woods, only four persons, O monarch, viz., Duryodhana, Karna, the evil-minded Sakuni, and Dussasana that bad and fierce brother of Duryodhana, did not shed tears! With the exception of these, O thou best of the Kurus, all other Kurus filled with sorrow shed tears from their eyes! Beholding this thy bed and recollecting what thou hadst before, I grieve, O king, for thee who deservest not woe and hast been brought up in every luxury! Remembering that seat of ivory in thy court, decked with jewels and beholding this seat of kusa grass, grief consumeth me, O king! I saw thee, O king, surrounded in thy court by kings! What peace can my heart know in not beholding thee such now? I beheld thy body, effulgent as the sun, decked with sandal paste! Alas, grief depriveth me of my senses in beholding thee now besmeared with mud and dirt! I saw thee before, O king, dressed in silken clothes of pure white! But I now behold thee dressed in rags! Formerly, O king, pure food of every kind was carried from thy house on plates of gold for Brahmanas by thousands! And, O king, food also of the best kind was formerly given by thee unto ascetics both houseless and living in domesticity! Formerly, living in dry mansion thou hadst ever filled with food of every kind plates by thousands, and worshipped the Brahmanas gratifying every wish of theirs! What peace, O king, can my heart know in not beholding all this now? And, O great king, these thy brothers, endued with youth and decked with ear-rings, were formerly fed by cook with food of the sweet flavour and dressed with skill! Alas, O king, I now behold them all, so undeserving of woe, living in the woods and upon what the wood may yield! My heart, O King knoweth no peace! Thinking of this Bhimasena living in sorrow in the woods, doth not thy anger blaze up, even though it is time? Why doth not thy anger, O king, blaze up upon beholding the illustrious Bhimasena who ever performeth everything unaided, so fallen into distress, though deserving of every happiness? Why, O king, doth not thy anger blaze up on beholding that Bhima living in the woods who was formerly surrounded with numerous vehicles and dressed in costly apparel? This exalted personage is ready to slay all the Kurus in battle. He beareth, however, all this sorrow, only because he waiteth for the fufilment of thy promise! This Arjuna, O king, though possessed of two hands, is equal, for the lightness of his hand in discharging shafts, to (Kaitavirya) Arjuna of a thousand arms! He is even (to foes), like unto Varna himself at the end of the Yuga! It was by the prowess of his weapons that all the kings of the earth were made to wait upon the Brahmanas at thy sacrifice! Beholding that Arjuna that tiger among men worshipped by both the celestials and the Danavas so anxious, why, O king, dost thou not feel indignant? I grieve, O Bharata, that thy wrath doth not blaze up at sight of that son of Pritha in exile, that prince who deserveth not such distress and who hath been brought up in every luxury! Why doth not thy wrath blaze up at sight of that Arjuna in exile, who, on a single car, hath vanquished celestials and men and serpents? Why, O king, doth not thy wrath blaze up at sight of that Arjuna in exile who, honoured with offerings of cars and vehicles of various forms and horses and elephants, forcibly took from the kings of the earth their treasures, who is the chastiser of all foes, and who at one impetus can throw full five hundred arrows? Why, O king, doth not thy wrath blaze up at sight of Nakula, in exile, who so fair and able-bodied and young, is the foremost of all swordsmen? Why, O king, dost thou pardon the foe, O Yudhishthira, at sight of Madri's son, the handsome and brave Sahadeva in exile? Why doth not thy anger blaze up, O king, it sight of both Nakula and Sahadeva overwhelmed with grief, though so undeserving of distress? Why also, O king, dost thou pardon the foe at sight of myself in exile who, born in the race of Drupada and, therefore, the sister of Dhrishtadyumna, am the daughter-in-law of the illustrious Pandu and the devoted wife of heroes? Truly, O thou best of the Bharatas, thou hast no anger, else why is it that thy mind is not moved at sight of thy brothers and myself (in such distress)? It is said that there is no Kshatriya in the world who is bereft of anger. I now behold in thee, however, a refutation of the proverb! That Kshatriya, O son of Pritha, who discovereth not his energy when the opportunity cometh, is ever disregarded by all creatures! Therefore, O king, thou shouldst not extend thy forgiveness to the foe. Indeed, with thy energy, without doubt, thou mayst slay them all! So also, O king, that Kshatriya who is not appeased when the time for forgiveness cometh, becometh unpopular with every creature and meeteth with destruction both in this and the other world!'"
"Draupadi continued, 'On this subject, the ancient story of the conversation between Prahlada and Vali, the son of Virochana, is quoted as an example. One day Vali asked his grand-father Prahlada, the chief of the Asuras and the Danavas, possessed of great wisdom and well-versed in the mysteries of the science of duty, saying, "O sire, is forgiveness meritorious or might and energy such? I am puzzled as regards this; O sire, enlighten me who ask thee this! O thou conversant with all duties, tell me truly which of these is meritorious? I will strictly obey whatever thy command may be!" Thus asked (by Vali), his wise grandfather, conversant with every conclusion, replied upon the whole subject unto his grand-son who had sought at his hands the resolution of his doubts. And Prahlada said, "Know, O child, these two truths with certainty, viz., that might is not always meritorious and forgiveness also is not always meritorious! He that forgiveth always suffereth many evils. Servants and strangers and enemies always disregard him. No creature ever bendeth down unto him. Therefore it is, O child, that the learned applaud not a constant habit of forgiveness! The servants of an ever-forgiving person always disregard him, and contract numerous faults. These mean-minded men also seek to deprive him of his wealth. Vile-souled servants also appropriate to themselves his vehicles and clothes and ornaments and apparel and beds and seats and food and drink and other articles of use. They do not also at the command of their master, give unto others the things they are directed to give. Nor do they even worship their master with that respect which is their master's due. Disregard in this world is worse than death. O child, sons and servants and attendants and even strangers speak harsh words unto the man who always forgiveth. Persons, disregarding the man of an ever-forgiving temper, even desire his wife, and his wife also, becometh ready to act as she willeth. And servants also that are ever fond of pleasure, if they do not receive even slight punishments from their master, contract all sorts of vices, and the wicked ever injure such a master. These and many other demerits attach to those that are ever-forgiving!
"'"Listen now, O son of Virochana, to the demerits of those that are never forgiving! The man of wrath who, surrounded by darkness, always inflicteth, by help of his own energy, various kinds of punishment on persons whether they deserve them or not, is necessarily separated from his friends in consequence of that energy of his. Such a man is hated by both relatives and strangers. Such a man, because he insulteth others, suffereth loss of wealth and reapeth disregard and sorrow and hatred and confusion and enemies. The man of wrath, in consequence of his ire, inflicteth punishments on men and obtaineth (in return) harsh words. He is divested of his prosperity soon and even of life, not to say, of friends and relatives. He that putteth forth his might both upon his benefactor and his foe, is an object of alarm to the world, like a snake that hath taken shelter in a house, to the inmates thereof. What prosperity can he have who is an object of alarm to the world? People always do him an injury when they find a hole. Therefore, should men never exhibit might in excess nor forgiveness on all occasions. One should put forth his might and show his forgiveness on proper occasions. He that becometh forgiving at the proper time and harsh and mighty also at the proper time, obtaineth happiness both in this world and the other.
"'"I shall now indicate the occasions in detail of forgiveness, as laid down by the learned, and which should ever be observed by all. Hearken unto me as I speak! He that hath done thee a service, even if he is guilty of a grave wrong unto thee, recollecting his former service, shouldst thou forgive that offender. Those also that have become offenders from ignorance and folly should be forgiven for learning and wisdom are not always easily attainable by man. They that having offended thee knowingly, plead ignorance should be punished, even if their offences be trivial. Such crooked men should never be pardoned. The first offence of every creature should be forgiven. The second offence, however, should be punished, even if it be trivial. If, however, a person committeth an offence unwillingly, it hath been said that examining his plea well by a judicious enquiry, he should be pardoned. Humility may vanquish might, humility may vanquish weakness. There is nothing that humility may not accomplish. Therefore, humility is truly fiercer (than it seemeth)! One should act with reference to place and time, taking note of his own might or weakness. Nothing can succeed that hath been undertaken without reference to place and time. Therefore, do thou ever wait for place and time! Sometimes offenders should be forgiven from fear of the people. These have been declared to be times of forgiveness. And it hath been said that on occasions besides these, might should be put forth against transgressors."'
"Draupadi continued, 'I, therefore, regard, O king, that the time hath come for thee to put forth thy might! Unto those Kurus the covetous sons of Dhritarashtra who injure us always, the present is not the time for forgiveness! It behoveth thee to put forth thy might. The humble and forgiving person is disregarded; while those that are fierce persecute others. He, indeed, is a king who hath recourse to both, each according to its time!'"
"Yudhishthira said, 'Anger is the slayer of men and is again their prosperor. Know this, O thou possessed of great wisdom, that anger is the root of all prosperity and all adversity. O thou beautiful one, he that suppresseth his anger earneth prosperity. That man, again, who always giveth way to anger, reapeth adversity from his fierce anger. It is seen in this world that anger is the cause of destruction of every creature. How then can one like me indulge his anger which is so destructive of the world? The angry man commiteth sin. The angry man killeth even his preceptors. The angry man insulteth even his superiors in harsh words. The man that is angry faileth to distinguish between what should be said and what should not. There is no act that an angry man may not do, no word that an angry man may not utter. From anger a man may slay one that deserveth not to be slain, and may worship one that deserveth to be slain. The angry man may even send his own soul to the regions of Yama. Beholding all these faults, the wise control their anger, desirous of obtaining high prosperity both in this and the other world. It is for this that they of tranquil souls have banished wrath. How can one like us indulge in it then? O daughter of Drupada, reflecting upon all this, my anger is not excited. One that acteth not against a man whose wrath hath been up, rescueth himself as also others from great fear. In fact, he may be regarded to be the physician of the two (viz., himself and angry man). If a weak man, persecuted by others, foolishly becometh angry towards men that are mightier than he, he then becometh himself the cause of his own destruction. And in respect of one who thus deliberately throweth away his life, there are no regions hereafter to gain. Therefore, O daughter of Drupada, it hath been said that a weak man should always suppress his wrath. And the wise man also who though persecuted, suffereth not his wrath to be roused, joyeth in the other world—having passed his persecutor over in indifference. It is for this reason hath it been said that a wise man, whether strong or weak, should ever forgive his persecutor even when the latter is in the straits. It is for this, O Krishna, that the virtuous applaud them that have conquered their wrath. Indeed, it is the opinion of the virtuous that the honest and forgiving man is ever victorious. Truth is more beneficial than untruth; and gentleness than cruel behaviour. How can one like me, therefore, even for the purpose of slaying Duryodhana, exhibit anger which hath so many faults and which the virtuous banish from their souls? They that are regarded by the learned of foresight, as possessed of (true) force of character, are certainly those who are wrathful in outward show only. Men of learning and of true insight call him to be possessed of force of character who by his wisdom can suppress his risen wrath. O thou of fair hips, the angry man seeth not things in their true light. The man that is angry seeth not his way, nor respecteth persons. The angry man killeth even those that deserve not to be killed. The man of wrath slayeth even his preceptors. Therefore, the man possessing force of character should ever banish wrath to a distance. The man that is overwhelmed with wrath acquireth not with ease generosity, dignity, courage, skill, and other attributes belonging to real force of character. A man by forsaking anger can exhibit proper energy, whereas, O wise one, it is highly difficult for the angry man to exhibit his energy at the proper time! The ignorant always regard anger as equivalent to energy. Wrath, however hath been given to man for the destruction of the world. The man, therefore, who wisheth to behave properly, must ever forsake anger. Even one who hath abandoned the excellent virtues of his own order, it is certain, indulgeth in wrath (if behaveth properly). If fools, of mind without light, transgress in every respect, how, O faultless one, can one like me transgress (like them)? If amongst men there were not persons equal unto the earth in forgiveness, there would be no peace among men but continued strife caused by wrath. If the injured return their injuries, if one chastised by his superior were to chastise his superior in return, the consequence would be the destruction of every creature, and sin also would prevail in the world. If the man who hath ill speeches from another, returneth those speeches afterwards; if the injured man returneth his injuries; if the chastised person chastiseth in return; if fathers slay sons, and sons fathers and if husbands slay wives, and wives husbands; then, O Krishna, how can birth take place in a world where anger prevaileth so! For, O thou of handsome face, know that the birth of creatures is due to peace! If the kings also, O Draupadi, giveth way to wrath, his subjects soon meet with destruction. Wrath, therefore, hath for its consequence the destruction and the distress of the people. And because it is seen that there are in the world men who are forgiving like the Earth, it is therefore that creatures derive their life and prosperity. O beautiful one, one should forgive under every injury. It hath been said that the continuation of species is due to man being forgiving. He, indeed, is a wise and excellent person who hath conquered his wrath and who showeth forgiveness even when insulted, oppressed, and angered by a strong person. The man of power who controleth his wrath, hath (for his enjoyment) numerous everlasting regions; while he that is angry, is called foolish, and meeteth with destruction both in this and the other world. O Krishna, the illustrious and forgiving Kashyapa hath, in this respect, sung the following verses in honour of men that are ever forgiving, "Forgiveness is virtue, forgiveness is sacrifice, forgiveness is the Vedas, forgiveness is the Shruti. He that knoweth this is capable of forgiving everything. Forgiveness is Brahma; forgiveness is truth; forgiveness is stored ascetic merit; forgiveness protecteth the ascetic merit of the future; forgiveness is asceticism; forgiveness is holiness; and by forgiveness is it that the universe is held together. Persons that are forgiving attain to the regions obtainable by those that have preformed meritorious sacrifices, or those that are well-conversant with the Vedas, or those that have high ascetic merit. Those that perform Vedic sacrifices as also those that perform the meritorious rites of religion obtain other regions. Men of forgiveness, however, obtain those much-adored regions that are in the world of Brahma. Forgiveness is the might of the mighty; forgiveness is sacrifice; forgiveness is quiet of mind. How, O Krishna, can one like us abandon forgiveness, which is such, and in which are established Brahma, and truth, and wisdom and the worlds? The man of wisdom should ever forgive, for when he is capable of forgiving everything, he attaineth to Brahma. The world belongeth to those that are forgiving; the other world is also theirs. The forgiving acquire honours here, and a state of blessedness hereafter. Those men that ever conquer their wrath by forgiveness, obtain the higher regions. Therefore hath it been said that forgiveness is the highest virtue." Those are the verses sung by Kashyapa in respect of those that are everforgiving. Having listened, O Draupadi, to these verses in respect of forgiveness, content thyself! Give not way to thy wrath! Our grandsire, the son of Santanu, will worship peace; Krishna, the son of Devaki, will worship peace; the preceptor (Drona) and Vidura called Kshatri will both speak of peace; Kripa and Sanjaya also will preach peace. And Somadatta and Yuyutshu and Drona's son and our grandsire Vyasa, every one of them speaketh always of peace. Ever urged by these towards peace, the king (Dhritarashtra) will, I think, return us our kingdom. If however, he yieldeth to temptation, he will meet with destruction. O lady, a crisis hath come in the history of Bharatas for plunging them into calamity! This hath been my certain conclusion from some time before! Suyodhana deserveth not the kingdom. Therefore hath he been unable to acquire forgiveness. I, however, deserve the sovereignty and therefore is it that forgiveness hath taken possession of me. Forgiveness and gentleness are the qualities of the self-possessed. They represent eternal virtue. I shall, therefore, truly adopt those qualities.'"
"Draupadi said, 'I bow down unto Dhatri and Vidhatri who have thus clouded thy sense! Regarding the burden (thou art to bear) thou thinkest differently from the ways of thy fathers and grand-fathers! Influenced by acts men are placed in different situations of life. Acts, therefore, produce consequences that are inevitable; emancipation is desired from mere folly. It seemeth that man can never attain prosperity in this world by virtue, gentleness, forgiveness, straight-forwardness and fear of censure! If this were not so, O Bharata, this insufferable calamity would never have overtaken thee who art so undeserving of it, and these thy brothers of great energy! Neither in those days of prosperity nor in these days of thy adversity, thou, O Bharata, hath ever known anything so dear to thee as virtue, which thou hast even regarded as dearer to thee than life! That thy kingdom is for virtue alone, that thy life also is for virtue alone, is known to Brahmanas and thy superiors and even the celestials! I think thou canst abandon Bhimasena and Arjuna and these twin sons of Madri along with myself but thou canst not abandon virtue! I have heard that the king protecteth virtue; and virtue, protected by him, protecteth him (in return)! I see, however, that virtue protecteth thee not! Like the shadow pursuing a man, thy heart, O tiger among men, with singleness of purpose, ever seeketh virtue. Thou hast never disregarded thy equals, and inferiors and superiors. Obtaining even the entire world, thy pride never increased! O son of Pritha, thou ever worshippest Brahmanas, and gods, and the Pitris, with Swadhas, and other forms of worship! O son of Pritha, thou hast ever gratified the Brahmanas by fulfilling every wish of theirs! Yatis and Sannyasins and mendicants of domestic lives have always been fed in thy house from off plates of gold where I have distributed (food) amongst them. Unto the Vanaprasthas thou always givest gold and food. There is nothing in thy house thou mayest not give unto the Brahmanas! In the Viswadeva sacrifice, that is, for thy peace, performed in thy house, the things consecrated are first offered unto guests and all creatures while thou livest thyself with what remaineth (after distribution)! Ishtis Pashubandhas, sacrifices for obtaining fruition of desire, the religious rites of (ordinary) domesticity, Paka sacrifices, and sacrifices of other kinds, are ever performed in thy house. Even in this great forest, so solitary and haunted by robbers, living in exile, divested of thy kingdom, thy virtue hath sustained no diminution! The Aswamedha, the Rajasuya, the Pundarika, and Gosava, these grand sacrifices requiring large gifts have all been performed by thee! O monarch, impelled by a perverse sense during that dire hour of a losing match at dice, thou didst yet stake and lose thy kingdom, thy wealth, thy weapons, thy brothers, and myself! Simple, gentle, liberal, modest, truthful, how, O king could thy mind be attracted to the vice of gambling? I am almost deprived of my sense, O king, and my heart is overwhelmed with grief, beholding this thy distress, and this thy calamity! An old history is cited as an illustration for the truth that men are subjects to the will of God and never to their own wishes! The Supreme Lord and Ordainer of all ordaineth everything in respect of the weal and woe, the happiness and misery, of all creatures, even prior to their births guided by the acts of each, which are even like a seed (destined to sprout forth into the tree of life). O hero amongst men, as a wooden doll is made to move its limbs by the wirepuller, so are creatures made to work by the Lord of all. O Bharata, like space that covereth every object, God, pervading every creature, ordaineth its weal or woe. Like a bird tied with a string, every creature is dependent on God. Every one is subject to God and none else. No one can be his own ordainer. Like a pearl on its string, or a bull held fast by the cord passing through its nose, or a tree fallen from the bank into the middle of the stream, every creature followeth the command of the Creator, because imbued with His Spirit and because established in Him. And man himself, dependent on the Universal Soul, cannot pass a moment independently. Enveloped in darkness, creatures are not masters of their own weal or woe. They go to heaven or hell urged by God Himself. Like light straws dependent on strong winds, all creatures, O Bharatas, are dependent on God! And God himself, pervading all creatures and engaged in acts right and wrong, moveth in the universe, though none can say This is God! This body with its physical attributes is only the means by which God—the Supreme Lord of all maketh (every creature) to reap fruits that are good or bad. Behold the power of illusion that hath been spread by God, who confounding with his illusion, maketh creatures slay their fellows! Truth-knowing Munis behold those differently. They appear to them in a different light, even like the rays of the Sun (which to ordinary eyes are only a pencil of light, while to eyes more penetrating seem fraught with the germs of food and drink). Ordinary men behold the things of the earth otherwise. It is God who maketh them all, adopting different processes in their creation and destruction. And, O Yudhishthira, the Self-create Grandsire, Almighty God, spreading illusion, slayeth his creatures by the instrumentality of his creatures, as one may break a piece of inert and senseless wood with wood, or stone with stone, or iron with iron. And the Supreme Lord, according to his pleasure, sporteth with His creatures, creating and destroying them, like a child with his toy (of soft earth). O king, it doth seem to me that God behaveth towards his creatures like a father or mother unto them. Like a vicious person, He seemeth to bear himself towards them in anger! Beholding superior and well-behaved and modest persons persecuted, while the sinful are happy, I am sorely troubled. Beholding this thy distress and the prosperity of Suyodhana, I do not speak highly of the Great Ordainer who suffereth such inequality! O sir, what fruits doth the Great Ordainer reap by granting prosperity to Dhritarashtra's son who transgresseth the ordinances, who is crooked and covetous, and who injureth virtue and religion! If the act done pursueth the doer and none else, then certainly it is God himself who is stained with the sin of every act. If however, the sin of an act done doth not attach to the doer, then (individual) might (and not God) is the true cause of acts, and I grieve for those that have no might!'"
"Yudhishthira said, 'Thy speech, O Yajnaseni, is delightful, smooth and full of excellent phrases. We have listened to it (carefully). Thou speakest, however, the language of atheism. O princess, I never act, solicitous of the fruits of my actions. I give away, because it is my duty to give; I sacrifice because it is my duty to sacrifice! O Krishna, I accomplish to the best of my power whatever a person living in domesticity should do, regardless of the fact whether those acts have fruits or not. O thou of fair hips, I act virtuously, not from the desire of reaping the fruits of virtue, but of not transgressing the ordinances of the Veda, and beholding also the conduct of the good and wise! My heart, O Krishna, is naturally attracted towards virtue. The man who wisheth to reap the fruits of virtue is a trader in virtue. His nature is mean and he should never be counted amongst the virtuous. Nor doth he ever obtain the fruits of his virtues! Nor doth he of sinful heart, who having accomplished a virtuous act doubteth in his mind, obtain the fruits of his act, in consequence of that scepticism of his! I speak unto thee, under the authority of the Vedas, which constitute the highest proof in such matters, that never shouldst thou doubt virtue! The man that doubteth virtue is destined to take his birth in the brute species. The man of weak understanding who doubteth religion, virtue or the words of the Rishis, is precluded from regions of immortality and bliss, like Sudras from the Vedas! O intelligent one, if a child born of a good race studieth the Vedas and beareth himself virtuously, royal sages of virtuous behaviour regard him as an aged sage (not withstanding his years)! The sinful wretch, however, who doubteth religion and transgresseth the scriptures, is regarded as lower even than Sudras and robbers! Thou hast seen with thy own eyes the great ascetic Markandeya of immeasurable soul come to us! It is by virtue alone that he hath acquired immortality in the flesh. Vyasa, and Vasistha and Maitreya, and Narada and Lomasa, and Suka, and other Rishis have all, by virtue alone, become of pure soul! Thou beholdest them with thy own eyes as furnished with prowess of celestial asceticism, competent to curse or bless (with effect), and superior to the very gods! O sinless one, these all, equal to the celestials themselves, behold with their eyes what is written in the Vedas, and describe virtue as the foremost duty! It behoveth thee not, therefore, O amiable Queen, to either doubt or censure God or act, with a foolish heart. The fool that doubteth religion and disregardeth virtue, proud of the proof derived from his own reasoning, regardeth not other proofs and holdeth the Rishis, who are capable of knowing the future as present as mad men. The fool regardeth only the external world capable of gratifying his senses, and is blind to everything else. He that doubteth religion hath no expiation for his offence. That miserable wretch is full of anxiety and acquireth not regions of bliss hereafter. A rejector of proofs, a slanderer of the interpretation of the Vedic scriptures, a transgressor urged by lust and covetousness, that fool goeth to hell. O amiable one, he on the other hand, who ever cherisheth religion with faith, obtaineth eternal bliss in the other world. The fool who cherisheth not religion, transgressing the proofs offered by the Rishis, never obtaineth prosperity in any life, for such transgression of the scriptures. It is certain, O handsome one, that with respect to him who regardeth not the words of the Rishis or the conduct of the virtuous as proof, neither this nor the other world existeth. Doubt not, O Krishna, the ancient religion that is practised by the good and framed by Rishis of universal knowledge and capable of seeing all things! O daughter of Drupada, religion is the only raft for those desirous of going to heaven, like a ship to merchants desirous of crossing the ocean. O thou faultless one, if the virtues that are practised by the virtuous had no fruits, this universe then would be enveloped in infamous darkness. No one then would pursue salvation, no one would seek to acquire knowledge nor even wealth, but men would live like beasts. If asceticism, the austerities of celibate life, sacrifices, study of the Vedas, charity, honesty,—these all were fruitless, men would not have practised virtue generation after generation. If acts were all fruitless, a dire confusion would ensue. For what then do Rishis and gods and Gandharvas and Rakshasas who are all independent of human conditions, cherish virtue with such affection? Knowing it for certain that God is the giver of fruits in respect of virtue, they practise virtue in this world. This, O Krishna, is the eternal (source of) prosperity. When the fruits of both knowledge and asceticism are seen, virtue and vice cannot be fruitless. Call to thy mind, O Krishna, the circumstances of thy own birth as thou that heard of them, and recall also the manner in which Dhrishtadyumna of great prowess was born! These, O thou of sweet smiles, are the best proofs (of the fruits of virtue)! They that have their minds under control, reap the fruits of their acts and are content with little. Ignorant fools are not content with even that much they get (here), because they have no happiness born of virtue to acquire to in the world hereafter. The fruitlessness of virtuous acts ordained in the Vedas, as also of all transgressions, the origin and destruction of acts are, O beautiful one, mysterious even to the gods. These are not known to any body and everybody. Ordinary men are ignorant in respect of these. The gods keep up the mystery, for the illusion covering the conduct of the gods is unintelligible. Those regenerate ones that have destroyed all aspirations, that have built all their hopes on vows and asceticism, that have burnt all their sins and have acquired minds where quest and peace and holiness dwell, understand all these. Therefore, though you mayst not see the fruits of virtue, thou shouldst not yet doubt religion or gods. Thou must perform sacrifices with a will, and practise charity without insolence. Acts in this world have their fruits, and virtue also is eternal. Brahma himself told this unto his (spiritual) sons, as testified to by Kashyapa. Let thy doubt, therefore, O Krishna, be dispelled like mist. Reflecting upon all this, let thy scepticism give way to faith. Slander not God, who is the lord of all creatures. Learn how to know him. Bow down unto him. Let not thy mind be such. And, O Krishna, never disregard that Supreme Being through whose grace mortal man, by piety, acquireth immortality!'"