"And one day, O grinder of foes, the Kuru and the Pandava princes, with Drona's leave, set out in their cars on a hunting excursion. A servant, O king, followed the party at leisure, with the usual implements and a dog. Having come to the woods, they wandered about, intent on the purpose they had in view. Meanwhile, the dog also, in wandering alone in the woods, came upon the Nishada prince (Ekalavya). And beholding the Nishada of dark hue, of body besmeared with filth, dressed in black and bearing matted locks on head, the dog began to bark aloud.
"Thereupon the Nishada prince, desirous of exhibiting his lightness of hand, sent seven arrows into its mouth (before it could shut it). The dog, thus pierced with seven arrows, came back to the Pandavas. Those heroes, who beheld that sight, were filled with wonder, and, ashamed of their own skill, began to praise the lightness of hand and precision of aim by auricular precision (exhibited by the unknown archer). And they thereupon began to seek in those woods for the unknown dweller therein that had shown such skill. And, O king, the Pandavas soon found out the object of their search ceaselessly discharging arrows from the bow. And beholding that man of grim visage, who was totally a stranger to them, they asked, 'Who art thou and whose son?' Thus questioned, the man replied, 'Ye heroes, I am the son of Hiranyadhanus, king of the Nishadas. Know me also for a pupil of Drona, labouring for the mastery of the art of arms.'
"Vaisampayana continued, 'The Pandavas then, having made themselves acquainted with everything connected with him, returned (to the city), and going unto Drona, told him of that wonderful feat of archery which they had witnessed in the woods. Arjuna, in particular, thinking all the while, O king, Ekalavya, saw Drona in private and relying upon his preceptor's affection for him, said, 'Thou hadst lovingly told me, clasping me, to thy bosom, that no pupil of thine should be equal to me. Why then is there a pupil of thine, the mighty son of the Nishada king, superior to me?"
'Vaisampayana continued, 'On hearing these words, Drona reflected for a moment, and resolving upon the course of action he should follow, took Arjuna with him and went unto the Nishada prince. And he beheld Ekalavya with body besmeared with filth, matted locks (on head), clad in rags, bearing a bow in hand and ceaselessly shooting arrows therefrom. And when Ekalavya saw Drona approaching towards him, he went a few steps forward, and touched his feet and prostrated himself on the ground. And the son of the Nishada king worshipping Drona, duly represented himself as his pupil, and clasping his hands in reverence stood before him (awaiting his commands). Then Drona, O king, addressed Ekalavya, saying, 'If, O hero, thou art really my pupil, give me then my fees.' On hearing these words, Ekalavya was very much gratified, and said in reply, 'O illustrious preceptor, what shall I give? Command me; for there is nothing, O foremost of all persons conversant with the Vedas, that I may not give unto my preceptor.' Drona answered, 'O Ekalavya, if thou art really intent on making me a gift, I should like then to have the thumb of thy right hand.'
"Vaisampayana continued, 'Hearing these cruel words of Drona, who had asked of him his thumb as tuition-fee, Ekalavya, ever devoted to truth and desirous also of keeping his promise, with a cheerful face and an unafflicted heart cut off without ado his thumb, and gave it unto Drona. After this, when the Nishada prince began once more to shoot with the help of his remaining fingers, he found, O king, that he had lost his former lightness of hand. And at this Arjuna became happy, the fever (of jealousy) having left him.
"Two of Drona's pupils became very much accomplished in the use of mace. These were Druvodhana and Bhima, who were, however, always jealous of each other. Aswatthaman excelled everyone (in the mysteries of the science of arms). The twins (Nakula and Sahadeva) excelled everybody in handling the sword. Yudhishthira surpassed everybody as a car-warrior; but Arjuna, however, outdistanced everyone in every respect—in intelligence, resourcefulness, strength and perseverance. Accomplished in all weapons, Arjuna became the foremost of even the foremost of car-warriors; and his fame spread all over the earth to the verge of the sea. And although the instruction was the same, the mighty Arjuna excelled all (the princes in lightness of hand). Indeed, in weapons as in devotion to his preceptor, he became the foremost of them all. And amongst all the princes, Arjuna alone became an Atiratha (a car-warrior capable of fighting at one time with sixty thousand foes). And the wicked sons of Dhritarashtra, beholding Bhimasena endued with great strength and Arjuna accomplished in all arms, became very jealous of them.
"O bull among men, one day Drona desirous of testing the comparative excellence of all his pupils in the use of arms, collected them all together after their education had been completed. And before assembling them together, he had caused an artificial bird, as the would be aim, to be placed on the top of a neighbouring tree. And when they were all together, Drona said unto them, 'Take up your bows quickly and stand here aiming at that bird on the tree, with arrows fixed on your bowstrings; shoot and cut off the bird's head, as soon as I give the order. I shall give each of you a turn, one by one, my children.'
"Vaisampayana continued, 'Then Drona, that foremost of all Angira's sons first addressed Yudhishthira saying, 'O irrepressible one, aim with thy arrow and shoot as soon as I give the order. Yudhishthira took up the bow first, as desired, O king, by his preceptor, and stood aiming at the bird. But, O bull of Bharata's race, Drona in an instant, addressing the Kuru prince standing with bow in hand, said, 'Behold, O prince, that bird on top of the tree.' Yudhishthira replied unto his preceptor, saying, 'I do.' But the next instant Drona again asked him, 'What dost thou see now, O prince? Seest thou the tree, myself or thy brothers?' Yudhishthira answered, 'I see the tree, myself, my brothers, and the bird.' Drona repeated his question, but was answered as often in the same words. Drona then, vexed with Yudhishthira, reproachingly said, 'Stand thou apart. It is not for thee to strike the aim.' Then Drona repeated the experiment with Duryodhana and the other sons of Dhritarashtra, one after another, as also with his other pupils, Bhima and the rest, including the princes that had come unto him from other lands. But the answer in every case was the same as Yudhishthira's viz., 'We behold the tree, thyself, our fellow-pupils, and the bird.' And reproached by their preceptor, they were all ordered, one after another, to stand apart.'"
(Sambhava Parva continued)
"Vaisampayana said, 'When everyone had failed, Drona smilingly called Arjuna and said unto him, 'By thee the aim must be shot; therefore, turn thy eyes to it. Thou must let fly the arrow as soon as I give the order. Therefore, O son, stand here with bow and arrow for an instant.' Thus addressed, Arjuna stood aiming at the bird as desired by his preceptor, with his bow bent. An instant after Drona asked him as in the case of others, 'Seest thou, O Arjuna, the bird there, the tree, and myself?' Arjuna replied, 'I see the bird only, but nor the tree, or thyself.' Then the irrepressible Drona, well-pleased with Arjuna, the instant after, again said unto that mighty car-warrior amongst the Pandavas, 'If thou seest the vulture, then describe it to me.' Arjuna said, I see only the head of the vulture, not its body.' At these words of Arjuna, the hair (on Drona's body) stood on end from delight. He then said to Partha, 'Shoot.' And the latter instantly let fly (his arrow) and with his sharp shaft speedily struck off the head of the vulture on the tree and brought it down to the ground. No sooner was the deed done than Drona clasped Phalguna to his bosom and thought Drupada with his friends had already been vanquished in fight.
"Some time after, O bull of Bharata's race, Drona, accompanied by all of his pupils, went to the bank of the Ganga to bathe in that sacred stream. And when Drona had plunged into the stream, a strong alligator, sent as it were, by Death himself seized him by the thigh. And though himself quite capable, Drona in a seeming hurry asked his pupil to rescue him. And he said, 'O, kill this monster and rescue me.' Contemporaneously with this speech, Vibhatsu (Arjuna) struck the monster within the water with five sharp arrows irresistible in their course, while the other pupils stood confounded, each at his place. Beholding Arjuna's readiness, Drona considered him to be the foremost of all his pupils, and became highly pleased. The monster, in the meantime cut into pieces by the arrows of Arjuna, released the thigh of illustrious Drona and gave up the ghost. The son of Bharadwaja then addressed the illustrious and mighty car-warrior Arjuna and said, 'Accept, O thou of mighty arms, this very superior and irresistible weapon called Brahmasira with the methods of hurling and recalling it. Thou must not, however, ever use it against any human foe, for if hurled at any foe endued with inferior energy, it might burn the whole universe. It is said, O child, that this weapon hath not a peer in the three worlds. Keep it, therefore, with great care, and listen to what I say. If ever, O hero, any foe, not human, contendeth against thee thou mayst then employ it against him for compassing his death in battle.' Pledging himself to do what he was bid, Vibhatsu then, with joined hands, received that great weapon.
The preceptor then, addressing him again, said, 'None else in this world will ever become a superior bowman to thee. Vanquished thou shall never be by any foe, and thy achievements will be great.'"
(Sambhava Parva continued)
"Vaisampayana said, 'O thou of Bharata's race, beholding the sons of Dhritarashtra and Pandu accomplished in arms, Drona, O monarch, addressed king Dhritarashtra, in the presence of Kripa, Somadatta, Valhika, the wise son of Ganga (Bhishma), Vyasa, and Vidura, and said, 'O best of Kuru kings, thy children have completed their education. With thy permission, O king, let them now show their proficiency.' Hearing him, the king said with a gladdened heart, 'O best of Brahmanas, thou hast, indeed, accomplished a great deed. Command me thyself as to the place and the time where and when and the manner also in which the trial may be held. Grief arising from my own blindness maketh me envy those who, blessed with sight, will behold my children's prowess in arm. O Kshatri (Vidura), do all that Drona sayeth. O thou devoted to virtue, I think there is nothing that can be more agreeable to me.' Then Vidura, giving the necessary assurance to the king, went out to do what he was bid. And Drona endued with great wisdom, then measured out a piece of land that was void of trees and thickets and furnished with wells and springs. And upon the spot of land so measured out, Drona, that first of eloquent men, selecting a lunar day when the star ascendant was auspicious, offered up sacrifice unto the gods in the presence of the citizens assembled by proclamation to witness the same. And then, O bull among men, the artificers of the king built thereon a large and elegant stage according to the rules laid down in the scriptures, and it was furnished with all kinds of weapons. They also built another elegant hall for the lady-spectators. And the citizens constructed many platforms while the wealthier of them pitched many spacious and high tents all around.
"When the day fixed for the Tournament came, the king accompanied by his ministers, with Bhishma and Kripa, the foremost of preceptors, walking ahead, came unto that theatre of almost celestial beauty constructed of pure gold, and decked with strings of pearls and stones of lapis lazuli. And, O first of victorious men, Gandhari blessed with great good fortune and Kunti, and the other ladies of the royal house-hold, in gorgeous attire and accompanied by their waiting women, joyfully ascended the platforms, like celestial ladies ascending the Sumeru mountain. And the four orders including the Brahmanas and Kshatriyas, desirous of beholding the princes' skill in arms, left the city and came running to the spot. And so impatient was every one to behold the spectacle, that the vast crowd assembled there in almost an instant. And with the sounds of trumpets and drums and the noise of many voices, that vast concourse appeared like an agitated ocean.
"At last, Drona accompanied by his son, dressed in white (attire), with a white sacred thread, white locks, white beard, white garlands, and white sandal-paste rubbed over his body, entered the lists. It seemed as if the Moon himself accompanied by the planet Mars appeared in an unclouded sky. On entering Bharadwaja performed timely worship and caused Brahmanas versed in mantras to celebrate the auspicious rites. And after auspicious and sweet-sounding musical instruments had been struck up as a propitiatory ceremony, some persons entered, equipped with various arms. And then having girded up their loins, those mighty warriors, those foremost ones of Bharata's race (the princes) entered, furnished with finger-protectors (gauntlet), and bows, and quivers. And with Yudhishthira at their head, the valiant princes entered in order of age and began to show wonderful skill with their weapons. Some of the spectators lowered their heads, apprehending fall of arrows while others fearlessly gazed on with wonder. And riding swiftly on horses and managing them 'dexterously' the princes began to hit marks with shafts engraved with their respective names. And seeing the prowess of the princes armed with bows and arrows, the spectators thought that they were beholding the city of the Gandharvas, became filled with amazement. And, O Bharata, all on a sudden, some hundreds and thousands, with eyes wide open in wonder, exclaimed, 'Well done! Well done!' And having repeatedly displayed their skill and dexterity in the use of bows and arrows and in the management of cars, the mighty warriors took up their swords and bucklers, and began to range the lists, playing their weapons. The spectators saw (with wonder) their agility, the symmetry of their bodies, their grace, their calmness, the firmness of their grasp and their deftness in the use of sword and buckler. Then Vrikodara and Suyodhana, internally delighted (at the prospect of fight), entered the arena, mace in hand, like two single-peaked mountains. And those mighty-armed warriors braced their loins, and summoning all their energy, roared like two infuriate elephants contending for a cow-elephant; and like two infuriated elephants those mighty heroes faultlessly (in consonance with the dictates of the science of arm) careered right and left, circling the lists. And Vidura described to Dhritarashtra and the mother of the Pandavas (Kunti) and Gandhari, all the feats of the princes.'"
(Sambhava Parva continued)
"Vaisampayana continued, 'Upon the Kuru king and Bhima, the foremost of all endued with strength, having entered the arena, the spectators were divided into two parties in consequence of the partiality swaying their affections. Some cried, 'Behold the heroic king of the Kurus!'—some—'Behold Bhima!'—And on account of these cries, there was, all on a sudden, a loud uproar. And seeing the place become like a troubled ocean, the intelligent Bharadwaja said unto his dear son, Aswatthaman, 'Restrain both these mighty warriors so proficient in arms. Let not the ire of the assembly be provoked by this combat of Bhima and Duryodhana.'
"Vaisampayana continued, 'Then the son of the preceptor of the princes restrained those combatants with their maces uplifted and resembling two swollen oceans agitated by the winds that blow at the universal dissolution. And Drona himself entering the yard of the arena commanded the musicians to stop, and with a voice deep as that of the clouds addressed these words, 'Behold ye now that Partha who is dearer to me than my own son, the master of all arms, the son of Indra himself, and like unto the younger brother of Indra, (Vishnu)! And having performed the propitiatory rites, the youthful Phalguna, equipped with the finger protector (gauntlet) and his quiver full of shafts and bow in hand, donning his golden mail, appeared in the lists even like an evening cloud reflecting the rays of the setting sun and illumined by the hues of the rainbow and flashes of lightning.
"On seeing Arjuna, the whole assembly were delighted and conchs began to be blown all around with other musical instruments. And there arose a great uproar in consequence of the spectators' exclaiming,—'This is the graceful son of Kunti!'—'This is the middle (third) Pandava!'—'This is the son of the mighty Indra!'—'This is the protector of the Kurus'—'This is the foremost of those versed in arms!'—'This is the foremost of all cherishers of virtue!'—'This is the foremost of the persons of correct behaviour, the great repository of the knowledge of manners!' At those exclamations, the tears of Kunti, mixing with the milk of her breast, wetted her bosom. And his ears being filled with that uproar, that first of men, Dhritarashtra, asked Vidura in delight, 'O Kshatri, what is this great uproar for, like unto that of the troubled ocean, arising all on a sudden and rending the very heavens?' Vidura replied, 'O mighty monarch, the son of Pandu and Pritha, Phalguna, clad in mail hath entered the lists. And hence this uproar!' Dhritarashtra said, 'O thou of soul so great, by the three fires sprung from Pritha who is even like the sacred fuel, I have, indeed, been blessed, favoured and protected!'
"Vaisampayana continued, 'When the spectators, excited with delight, had somewhat regained their equanimity, Vibhatsu began to display his lightness in the use of weapons. By the Agneya weapon, he created fire, and by the Varuna weapon he created water, by the Vayavya weapon, he created air, and by the Parjanya weapon he created clouds. And by the Bhauma weapon, he created land, and by the Parvatya weapon, he brought mountains into being. By the Antardhana weapon all these were made to disappear. Now the beloved one of his preceptor (Arjuna) appeared tall and now short; now he was seen on the yoke of his car, and now on the car itself; and the next moment he was on the ground. And the hero favoured by his practised dexterity, hit with his various butts—some tender, some fine and some of thick composition. And like one shaft, he let fly at a time into the mouth of a moving iron-boar five shafts together from his bow-string. And that hero of mighty energy discharged one and twenty arrows into the hollow of a cow's horn hung up on a rope swaying to and fro. In this manner, O sinless one, Arjuna showed his profound skill in the use of sword, bow, and mace, walking over the lists in circles.
"And, O Bharata, when the exhibition had well-nigh ended, the excitement of the spectators had cooled, and the sounds of instruments had died out there was heard proceeding from the gate, the slapping of arms, betokening might and strength, and even like unto the roar of the thunder. And, O king, as soon as this sound was heard, the assembled multitude instantly thought, 'Are the mountains splitting or is the earth itself rending asunder, or is the welkin resounding with the roar of gathering clouds? And then all the spectators turned their eyes towards the gate. And Drona stood, surrounded by the five brothers, the sons of Pritha, and looked like the moon in conjunction with the five-starred constellation Hasta. And Duryodhana, that slayer of foes, stood up in haste and was surrounded by his century of haughty brothers with Aswatthaman amongst them. And that prince, mace in hand, thus surrounded by his hundred brothers with uplifted weapons appeared like Purandara in days of yore, encircled by the celestial host on the occasion of the battle with the Danavas.'"
(Sambhava Parva continued)
"Vaisampayana continued, 'When the spectators, with eyes expanded with wonder, made way for that subjugator of hostile cities, Karna, that hero with his natural mail and face brightened with ear-rings, took up his bow and girded on his sword, and then entered the spacious lists, like a walking cliff. That far-famed destroyer of hostile hosts, the large-eyed Karna, was born of Pritha in her maidenhood. He was a portion of the hot-beamed Sun and his energy and prowess were like unto those of the lion, or the bull, or the leader of a herd of elephants. In splendour he resembled the Sun, in loveliness the Moon, and in energy the fire. Begotten by the Sun himself, he was tall in stature like a golden palm tree, and, endued with the vigour of youth, he was capable of slaying a lion. Handsome in features, he was possessed of countless accomplishments. The mighty-armed warrior, eyeing all around the arena, bowed indifferently to Drona and Kripa. And the entire assembly, motionless and with steadfast gaze, thought, 'Who is he?' And they became agitated in their curiosity to know the warrior. And that foremost of eloquent men, the offspring of the Sun, in a voice deep as that of the clouds, addressed his unknown brother, the son of the subduer of the Asura, Paka (Indra), saying, 'O Partha, I shall perform feats before this gazing multitude; excelling all thou hast performed! Beholding them, thou shall be amazed.' And, O thou best of those blest with speech, he had hardly done when the spectators stood up all at once, uplifted by some instrument, as it were. And, O tiger among men, Duryodhana was filled with delight, while Vibhatsu was instantly all abashment and anger. Then with the permission of Drona, the mighty Karna, delighting in battle, there did all that Partha had done before. And, O Bharata, Duryodhana with his brothers thereupon embraced Karna in joy and then addressed him saying, 'Welcome O mighty-armed warrior! I have obtained thee by good fortune, O polite one! Live thou as thou pleasest, and command me, and the kingdom of the Kurus.' Kama replied, 'When thou hast said it, I regard it as already accomplished. I only long for thy friendship. And, O lord, my wish is even for a single combat with Arjuna.' Duryodhana said, 'Do thou with me enjoy the good things of life! Be thou the benefactor of thy friend, and, O represser of enemies, place thou thy feet on the heads of all foes."
"Vaisampayanacontinued, 'Arjuna, after this, deeming himself disgraced, said unto Karna stationed amidst the brothers like unto a cliff, 'That path which the unwelcome intruder and the uninvited talker cometh to, shall be thine, O Karna, for thou shall be slain by me.' Karna replied, 'This arena is meant for all, not for thee alone, O Phalguna! They are kings who are superior in energy; and verily the Kshatriya regardeth might and might alone. What need of altercation which is the exercise of the weak? O Bharata, speak then in arrows until with arrows I strike off thy head today before the preceptor himself!'
"Vaisampayana continued, 'Hastily embraced by his brothers, Partha that subduer of hostile cities, with the permission of Drona, advanced for the combat. On the other side, Karna, having been embraced by Duryodhana with his brothers, taking up his bow and arrows, stood ready for the fight. Then the firmament became enveloped in clouds emitting flashes of lightning, and the coloured bow of Indra appeared shedding its effulgent rays. And the clouds seemed to laugh on account of the rows of white cranes that were then on the wing. And seeing Indra thus viewing the arena from affection (for his son), the sun too dispersed the clouds from over his own offspring. And Phalguna remained deep hid under cover of the clouds, while Karna remained visible, being surrounded by the rays of the Sun. And the son of Dhritarashtra stood by Karna, and Bharadwaja and Kripa and Bhishma remained with Partha. And the assembly was divided, as also the female spectators. And knowing the state of things, Kunti the daughter of Bhoja, swooned away. And by the help of female attendants, Vidura, versed in the lore of all duties, revived the insensible Kunti by sprinkling sandal-paste and water on her person. On being restored to consciousness, Kunti, seeing her two sons clad in mail, was seized with fear, but she could do nothing (to protect them). And beholding both the warriors with bows strung in their hands the son of Saradwat, viz., Kripa, knowing all duties and cognisant of the rules regulating duels, addressed Karna, saying 'This Pandava, who is the youngest son of Kunti, belongeth to the Kaurava race: he will engage in combat with thee. But, O mighty-armed one, thou too must tell us thy lineage and the names of thy father and mother and the royal line of which thou art the ornament. Learning all this, Partha will fight with thee or not (as he will think fit). Sons of kings never fight with men of inglorious lineage.'
"Vaisampayana continued, 'When he was thus addressed by Kripa, Karna's countenance became like unto a lotus pale and torn with the pelting showers in the rainy season. Duryodhana said, 'O preceptor, verily the scriptures have it that three classes of persons can lay claim to royalty, viz., persons of the blood royal, heroes, and lastly, those that lead armies. If Phalguna is unwilling to fight with one who is not a king, I will install Karna as king of Anga.'
"Vaisampayana said, 'At that very moment, seated on a golden seat, with parched paddy and with flowers and water-pots and much gold, the mighty warrior Karna was installed king by Brahmanas versed in mantras. And the royal umbrella was held over his head, while Yak-tails waved around that redoubtable hero of graceful mien. And the cheers, having ceased, king (Karna) said unto the Kaurava Duryodhana, 'O tiger among monarchs, what shall I give unto thee that may compare with thy gift of a kingdom? O king, I will do all thou biddest!' And Suyodhana said unto him, 'I eagerly wish for thy friendship.' Thus spoken to, Karna replied, 'Be it so.' And they embraced each other in joy, and experienced great happiness.'"
(Sambhava Parva continued)
"Vaisampayana said, 'After this, with his sheet loosely hanging down, Adhiratha entered the lists, perspiring and trembling, and supporting himself on a staff.
"Seeing him, Karna left his bow and impelled by filial regard bowed down his head still wet with the water of inauguration. And them the charioteer, hurriedly covering his feet with the end of his sheet, addressed Karna crowned with success as his son. And the charioteer embraced Karna and from excess of affection bedewed his head with tears, that head still wet with the water sprinkled over it on account of the coronation as king of Anga. Seeing the charioteer, the Pandava Bhimasena took Karna for a charioteer's son, and said by way of ridicule, 'O son of a charioteer, thou dost not deserve death in fight at the hands of Partha. As befits thy race take thou anon the whip. And, O worst of mortals, surely thou art not worthy to sway the kingdom of Anga, even as a dog doth not deserve the butter placed before the sacrificial fire.' Karna, thus addressed, with slightly quivering lips fetched a deep sigh, looked at the God of the day in the skies. And even as a mad elephant riseth from an assemblage of lotuses, the mighty Duryodhana rose in wrath from among his brothers, and addressed that performer of dreadful deeds, Bhimasena, present there, 'O Vrikodara, it behoveth thee not to speak such words. Might is the cardinal virtue of a Kshatriya, and even a Kshatriya of inferior birth deserveth to be fought with. The lineage of heroes, like the sources of a lordly river, is ever unknown. The fire that covereth the whole world riseth from the waters. The thunder that slayeth the Danavas was made of a bone of (a mortal named) Dadhichi. The illustrious deity Guha, who combines in his composition the portions of all the other deities is of a lineage unknown. Some call him the offspring of Agni; some, of Krittika, some, of Rudra, and some of Ganga. It hath been heard by us that persons born in the Kashatriya order have become Brahmanas. Viswamitra and others (born Kshatriyas) have obtained the eternal Brahma. The foremost of all wielders of weapons, the preceptor Drona hath been born in a waterpot and Kripa of the race of Gotama hath sprung from a clump of heath. Your own births, ye Pandava princes, are known to me. Can a she-deer bring forth a tiger (like Karna), of the splendour of the Sun, and endued with every auspicious mark, and born also with a natural mail and ear-rings? This prince among men deserveth the sovereignty of the world, not of Anga only, in consequence of the might of his arm and my swearing to obey him in everything. If there be anybody here to whom all that I have done unto Karna hath become intolerable, let him ascend his chariot and bend his bow with the help of his feet.'
"Vaisampayana continued, 'Then there arose a confused murmur amongst the spectators approving of Duryodhana's speech. The sun, however, went down, but prince Duryodhana taking Karna's hand led him out of the arena lighted with countless lamps. And, O king, the Pandavas also, accompanied by Drona and Kripa and Bhishma, returned to their abodes. And the people, too, came away, some naming Arjuna, some Karna, and some Duryodhana (as the victor of the day). And Kunti, recognising her son in Karna by the various auspicious marks on his person and beholding him installed in the sovereignty of Anga, was from motherly affection, very pleased. And Duryodhana, O monarch, having obtained Karna (in this way), banished his fears arising out of Arjuna's proficiency in arms. And the heroic Karna, accomplished in arms, began to gratify Duryodhana by sweet speeches, while Yudhishthira was impressed with the belief that there was no warrior on earth like unto Karna.'"
(Sambhava Parva continued)
"Vaisampayana continued, 'Beholding the Pandavas and the son of Dhritarashtra accomplished in arms, Drona thought the time had come when he could demand the preceptorial fee. And, O king, assembling his pupils one day together, the preceptor Drona asked of them the fee, saying, 'Seize Drupada, the king of Panchala in battle and bring him unto me. That shall be the most acceptable fee.' Those warriors then answering, 'So be it', speedily mounted up on their chariots, and for bestowing upon their preceptor the fee he had demanded, marched out, accompanied by him. Those bulls among men, smiting the Panchalas on their way, laid siege to the capital of the great Drupada. And Duryodhana and Karna and the mighty Yuyutsu, and Duhsasana and Vikarna and Jalasandha and Sulochana,—these and many other foremost of Kshatriya princes of great prowess, vied with one another in becoming the foremost in the attack. And the princes, riding in first class chariots and following the cavalry, entered the hostile capital, and proceeded along the streets.
"Meanwhile, the king of Panchala, beholding that mighty force and hearing its loud clamour, came out of his palace, accompanied by his brothers. Though king Yajnasena was well-armed, the Kuru army assailed him with a shower of arrows, uttering their war-cry. Yajnasena, however, not easy to be subdued in battle, approaching the Kurus upon his white chariot, began to rain his fierce arrows around.
"Before the battle commenced, Arjuna, beholding the pride of prowess displayed by the princes, addressed his preceptor, that best of Brahmanas, Drona, and said, 'We shall exert ourselves after these have displayed their prowess. The king of Panchala can never be taken on the field of the battle by any of these. Having said this, the sinless son of Kunti surrounded by his brothers, waited outside the town at a distance of a mile from it. Meanwhile Drupada beholding the Kuru host, rushed forward and pouring a fierce shower of arrows around, terribly afflicted the Kuru ranks. And such was his lightness of motion on the field of battle that, though he was fighting unsupported on a single chariot, the Kurus from panic supposed that there were many Drupadas opposed to them. And the fierce arrows of that monarch fell fast on all sides, till conchs and trumpets and drums by thousands began to be sounded by the Panchalas from their houses (giving the alarm). Then there arose from the mighty Panchala host a roar terrible as that of the lion, while the twang of their bow-strings seemed to rend the very heavens. Then Duryodhana and Vikarna, Suvahu and Dirghalochana and Duhsasana becoming furious, began to shower their arrows upon the enemy. But the mighty bowman, Prishata's son, invincible in battle, though very much pierced with the arrows of the enemy, instantly began, O Bharata, to afflict the hostile ranks with greater vigour. And careering over the field of battle like a fiery wheel, king Drupada with his arrows smote Duryodhana and Vikarna and even the mighty Karna and many other heroic princes and numberless warriors, and slaked their thirst for battle. Then all the citizens showered upon the Kurus various missiles like clouds showering rain-drops upon the earth. Young and old, they all rushed to battle, assailing the Kurus with vigour. The Kauravas, then, O Bharata, beholding the battle become frightful, broke and fled wailing towards the Pandavas.
"The Pandavas, hearing the terrible wail of the beaten host, reverentially saluted Drona and ascended their chariots. Then Arjuna hastily bidding Yudhishthira not to engage in the fight, rushed forward, appointing the sons of Madri (Nakula and Sahadeva) the protectors of his chariot-wheels, while Bhimasena ever fighting in the van, mace in hand, ran ahead. The sinless Arjuna, thus accompanied by his brothers, hearing the shouts of the enemy, advanced towards them, filling the whole region with the rattle of his chariot-wheels. And like a Makara entering the sea, the mighty-armed Bhima, resembling a second Yama, mace in hand, entered the Panchala ranks, fiercely roaring like the ocean in a tempest. And Bhima, mace in hand, first rushed towards the array of elephants in the hostile force, while Arjuna, proficient in battle, assailed that force with the prowess of his arms. And Bhima, like the great Destroyer himself, began to slay those elephants with his mace. Those huge animals, like unto mountains, struck with Bhima's mace, had their heads broken into pieces. Covered with stream of blood, they began to fall upon the ground like cliffs loosened by thunder. And the Pandavas prostrated on the ground elephants and horses and cars by thousands and slew many foot-soldiers and many car-warriors. Indeed, as a herdsman in the woods driveth before him with his staff countless cattle with ease, so did Vrikodara drive before him the chariots and elephants of the hostile force.
"Meanwhile, Phalguna, impelled by the desire of doing good unto Bharadwaja's son, assailed the son of Prishata with a shower of arrows and felled him from the elephant on which he was seated. And, O monarch, Arjuna, like unto the terrible fire that consumeth all things at the end of the Yuga, began to prostrate on the ground horses and cars and elephants by thousands. The Panchalas and the Srinjayas, on the other hand, thus assailed by the Pandava, met him with a perfect shower of weapons of various kinds. And they sent up a loud shout and fought desperately with Arjuna. The battle became furious and terrible to behold. Hearing the enemy's shouts, the son of Indra was filled with wrath and assailing the hostile host with a thick shower of arrows, rushed towards it furiously afflicting it with renewed vigour. They who observed the illustrious Arjuna at that time could not mark any interval between his fixing the arrows on the bowstring and letting them off. Loud were the shouts that rose there, mingled with cheers of approval. Then the king of the Panchalas, accompanied by (the generalissimo of his forces) Satyajit, rushed with speed at Arjuna like the Asura Samvara rushing at the chief of the celestials (in days of yore). Then Arjuna covered the king of Panchala with a shower of arrows. Then there arose a frightful uproar among the Panchala host like unto the roar of a mighty lion springing at the leader of a herd of elephants. And beholding Arjuna rushing at the king of Panchala to seize him, Satyajit of great prowess rushed at him. And the two warriors, like unto Indra and the Asura Virochana's son (Vali), approaching each other for combat, began to grind each other's ranks. Then Arjuna with great force pierced Satyajit with ten keen shafts at which feat the spectators were all amazed. But Satyajit, without losing any time, assailed Arjuna with a hundred shafts. Then that mighty car-warrior, Arjuna, endued with remarkable lightness of motion, thus covered by that shower of arrows, rubbed his bow-string to increase the force and velocity of his shafts. Then cutting in twain his antagonist's bow, Arjuna rushed at the king of the Panchalas, but Satyajit, quickly taking up a tougher bow, pierced with his arrows Partha, his chariot, charioteer, and horses. Arjuna, thus assailed in battle by the Panchala warrior, forgave not his foe. Eager to slay him at once, he pierced with a number of arrows his antagonist's horses, flags, bow, clenched (left) fist, charioteer, and the attendant at his back. Then Satyajit, finding his bows repeatedly cut in twain and his horses slain, desisted from the fight.
"The king of the Panchalas, beholding his general thus discomfited in the encounter, himself began to shower his arrows upon the Pandava prince. Then Arjuna, that foremost of warriors, crowned with success, began to fight furiously, and quickly cutting his enemy's bow in twain as also his flagstaff which he caused to fall down, pierced his antagonist's horses, and charioteer also with five arrows. Then throwing aside his bow Arjuna took his quiver, and taking out a scimitar and sending forth a loud shout, leaped from his own chariot upon that of his foe. And standing there with perfect fearlessness he seized Drupada as Garuda seizeth a huge snake after agitating the waters of the ocean. At the sight of this, the Panchala troops ran away in all directions.
"Then Dhananjaya, having thus exhibited the might of his arm in the presence of both hosts, sent forth a loud shout and came out of the Panchala ranks. And beholding him returning (with his captive), the princes began to lay waste Drupada's capital. Addressing them Arjuna said, 'This best of monarchs, Drupada, is a relative of the Kuru heroes. Therefore, O Bhima, slay not his soldiers. Let us only give unto our preceptor his fee.'
"Vaisampayana continued, 'O king, thus prevented by Arjuna, the mighty Bhimasena, though unsatiated with the exercise of battle, refrained from the act of slaughter. And, O bull of the Bharata race, the princes then, taking Drupada with them after having seized him on the field of battle along with his friends and counsellors, offered him unto Drona. And Drona beholding Drupada thus brought under complete control—humiliated and deprived of wealth—remembered that monarch's former hostility and addressing him said, 'Thy kingdom and capital have been laid waste by me. But fear not for thy life, though it dependeth now on the will of thy foe. Dost thou now desire to revive thy friendship (with me)?' Having said this, he smiled a little and again said, 'Fear not for thy life, brave king! We, Brahmanas, are ever forgiving. And, O bull among Kshatriyas, my affection and love for thee have grown with me in consequence of our having sported together in childhood in the hermitage. Therefore, O king, I ask for thy friendship again. And as a boon (unasked), I give thee half the kingdom (that was thine). Thou toldest me before that none who was not a king could be a king's friend. Therefore is it, O Yajnasena, that I retain half thy kingdom. Thou art the king of all the territory lying on the southern side of the Bhagirathi, while I become king of all the territory on the north of that river. And, O Panchala, if it pleaseth thee, know me hence for thy friend.'
"On hearing these words, Drupada answered, 'Thou art of noble soul and great prowess. Therefore, O Brahmana, I am not surprised at what thou doest. I am very much gratified with thee, and I desire thy eternal friendship.'
"Vaisampayana continued, 'After this, O Bharata, Drona released the king of Panchala, and cheerfully performing the usual offices of regard, bestowed upon him half the kingdom. Thenceforth Drupada began to reside sorrowfully in (the city of) Kampilya within (the province of) Makandi on the banks of the Ganga filled with many towns and cities. And after his defeat by Drona, Drupada also ruled the southern Panchalas up to the bank of the Charmanwati river. And Drupada from that day was well-convinced that he could not, by Kshatriya might alone, defeat Drona, being very much his inferior in Brahma (spiritual) power. And he, therefore, began to wander over the whole earth to find out the means of obtaining a son (who would subjugate his Brahmana foe).
"Meanwhile Drona continued to reside in Ahicchatra. Thus, O king, was the territory of Ahicchatra full of towns and cities, obtained by Arjuna, and bestowed upon Drona.'
(Sambhava Parva continued)
"Vaisampayana continued, 'After the expiration, O king, of a year from this, Dhritarashtra, moved by kindness for the people, installed Yudhishthira, the son of Pandu, as the heir-apparent of the kingdom on account of his firmness, fortitude, patience, benevolence, frankness and unswerving honesty (of heart). And within a short time Yudhishthira, the son of Kunti, by his good behaviour, manners and close application to business, overshadowed the deeds of his father. And the second Pandava, Vrikodara, began to receive continued lessons from Sankarshana (Valarama) in encounters with the sword and the mace and on the chariot. And after Bhima's education was finished, he became in strength like unto Dyumatsena himself and continuing to live in harmony with his brothers, he began to exert his prowess. And Arjuna became celebrated for the firmness of his grasp (of weapons), for his lightness of motion, precision of aim, and his proficiency in the use of the Kshura, Naracha, Vala and Vipatha weapons, indeed, of all weapons, whether straight or crooked or heavy. And Drona certified that there was none in the world who was equal to Arjuna in lightness of hand and general proficiency.
"One day, Drona, addressing Arjuna before the assembled Kaurava princes, said, 'There was a disciple of Agastya in the science of arms called Agnivesa. He was my preceptor and I, his disciple. By ascetic merit I obtained from him a weapon called Brahmasira which could never be futile and which was like unto thunder itself, capable of consuming the whole earth. That weapon, O Bharata, from what I have done, may now pass from disciple to disciple. While imparting it to me, my preceptor said, 'O son of Bharadwaja, never shouldst thou hurl this weapon at any human being, especially at one who is of poor energy. Thou hast, O hero, obtained that celestial weapon. None else deserveth it. But obey the command of the Rishi (Agnivesa). And, look here, Arjuna, give me now the preceptorial fee in the presence of these thy cousins and relatives.' When Arjuna, on hearing this, pledged his word that he would give what the preceptor demanded, the latter said, 'O sinless one, thou must fight with me when I fight with thee.' And that bull among the Kuru princes thereupon pledged his word unto Drona and touching his feet, went away northward. Then there arose a loud shout covering the whole earth bounded by her belt of seas to the effect that there was no bowman in the whole world like unto Arjuna. And, indeed, Dhananjaya, in encounters with the mace and the sword and on the chariot as also with the bow, acquired wonderful proficiency. Sahadeva obtained the whole science of morality and duties from (Vrihaspati) the spiritual chief of celestials, and continued to live under the control of his brothers. And Nakula, the favourite of his brothers taught by Drona, became known as a skilful warrior and a great car-warrior (Ati-ratha). Indeed, Arjuna and the other Pandava princes became so powerful that they slew in battle the great Sauvira who had performed a sacrifice extending over three years, undaunted by the raids of the Gandharvas. And the king of the Yavanas himself whom the powerful Pandu even had failed to bring under subjection was brought by Arjuna under control. Then again Vipula, the king of the Sauviras, endued with great prowess, who had always shown a disregard for the Kurus, was made by the intelligent Arjuna to feel the edge of his power. And Arjuna also repressed by means of his arrows (the pride of) king Sumitra of Sauvira, also known by the name of Dattamitra who had resolutely sought an encounter with him. The third of the Pandava princes, assisted by Bhima, on only a single car subjugated all the kings of the East backed by ten thousand cars. In the same way, having conquered on a single car the whole of the south, Dhananjaya sent unto the kingdom of the Kurus a large booty.
"Thus did those foremost of men, the illustrious Pandavas, conquering the territories of other kings, extend the limits of their own kingdom. But beholding the great prowess and strength of those mighty bowmen, king Dhritarashtra's sentiments towards the Pandavas became suddenly poisoned, and from that day the monarch became so anxious that he could hardly sleep.'"
(Sambhava Parva continued)
"Vaisampayana continued, 'On hearing that the heroic sons of Pandu endued with excess of energy had become so mighty, king Dhritarashtra became very miserable with anxiety. Then summoning unto his side Kanika, that foremost of minister, well-versed in the science of politics and an expert in counsels the king said, 'O best of Brahmanas, the Pandavas are daily overshadowing the earth. I am exceedingly jealous of them. Should I have peace or war with them? O Kanika, advise me truly, for I shall do as thou biddest.
"Vaisampayana continued, 'That best of Brahmanas, thus addressed by the king, freely answered him in these pointed words well-agreeing with the import of political science."
"Listen to me, O sinless king, as I answer thee. And, O best of Kuru kings, it behoveth thee not to be angry with me after hearing all I say. Kings should ever be ready with uplifted maces (to strike when necessary), and they should ever increase their prowess. Carefully avoiding all faults themselves they should ceaselessly watch over the faults of their foes and take advantage of them. If the king is always ready to strike, everybody feareth him. Therefore the king should ever have recourse to chastisement in all he doeth. He should so conduct himself that, his foe may not detect any weak side in him. But by means of the weakness he detecteth in his foe he should pursue him (to destruction). He should always conceal, like the tortoise concealing its body, his means and ends, and he should always keep back his own weakness from, the sight of others. And having begun a particular act, he should ever accomplish it thoroughly. Behold, a thorn, if not extracted wholly, produceth a festering sore. The slaughter of a foe who doeth thee evil is always praiseworthy. If the foe be one of great prowess, one should always watch for the hour of his disaster and then kill him without any scruples. If he should happen to be a great warrior, his hour of disaster also should be watched and he should then be induced to fly. O sire, an enemy should never be scorned, however contemptible. A spark of fire is capable of consuming an extensive forest if only it can spread from one object to another in proximity. Kings should sometimes feign blindness and deafness, for if impotent to chastise, they should pretend not to notice the faults that call for chastisement. On occasions, such as these, let them regard their bows as made of straw. But they should be always on the alert like a herd of deer sleeping in the woods. When thy foe is in thy power, destroy him by every means open or secret. Do not show him any mercy, although he seeketh thy protection. A foe, or one that hath once injured thee, should be destroyed by lavishing money, if necessary, for by killing him thou mayest be at thy ease. The dead can never inspire fear. Thou must destroy the three, five and seven (resources) of thy foes. Thou must destroy thy foes root and branch. Then shouldst thou destroy their allies and partisans. The allies and partisans can never exist if the principal be destroyed. If the root of the tree is torn up, the branches and twigs can never exist as before. Carefully concealing thy own means and ends, thou shouldst always watch thy foes, always seeking their flaws. Thou shouldst, O king, rule thy kingdom, always anxiously watching thy foes. By maintaining the perpetual fire by sacrifices, by brown cloths, by matted locks, and by hides of animals for thy bedding, shouldst thou at first gain the confidence of thy foes, and when thou has gained it thou shouldst then spring upon them like a wolf. For it hath been said that in the acquisition of wealth even the garb of holiness might be employed as a hooked staff to bend down a branch in order to pluck the fruits that are ripe. The method followed in the plucking of fruits should be the method in destroying foes, for thou shouldst proceed on the principle of selection. Bear thy foe upon thy shoulders till the time cometh when thou canst throw him down, breaking him into pieces like an earthen pot thrown down with violence upon a stony surface. The foe must never be let off even though he addresseth thee most piteously. No pity shouldst thou show him but slay him at once. By the arts of conciliation or the expenditure of money should the foe be slain. By creating disunion amongst his allies, or by the employment of force, indeed by every means in thy power shouldst thou destroy thy foe.'
"Dhritarashtra said, 'Tell me truly how a foe can be destroyed by the arts of conciliation or the expenditure of money, or by producing disunion or by the employment of force.'
"Kanika replied, 'Listen, O monarch, to the history of a jackal dwelling in days of yore in the forest and fully acquainted with the science of politics. There was a wise jackal, mindful of his own interests who lived in the company of four friends, viz., a tiger, a mouse, a wolf, and a mongoose. One day they saw in the woods a strong deer, the leader of a herd, whom, however, they could not seize for his fleetness and strength. They thereupon called a council for consultation. The jackal opening the proceedings said, 'O tiger, thou hast made many an effort to seize this deer, but all in vain simply because this deer is young, fleet and very intelligent. Let now the mouse go and eat into its feet when it lieth asleep. And when this is done, let the tiger approach and seize it. Then shall we all, with great pleasure feast on it.' Hearing these words of the jackal, they all set to work very cautiously as he directed. And the mouse ate into the feet of the deer and the tiger killed it as anticipated. And beholding the body of the deer lying motionless on the ground, the jackal said unto his companions, 'Blessed be ye! Go and perform your ablutions. In the meantime I will look after the deer.' Hearing what the jackal said, they all went into a stream. And the jackal waited there, deeply meditating upon what he should do. The tiger endued with great strength, returned first of all to the spot after having performed his ablutions. And he saw the jackal there plunged in meditation. The tiger said, 'Why art thou so sorrowful, O wise one! Thou art the foremost of all intelligent beings. Let us enjoy ourselves today by feasting on this carcass.' The jackal said, 'Hear, O mighty-armed one, what the mouse hath said. He hath even said, O, fie on the strength of the king of the beasts! This deer hath been slain by me. By might of my arm he will today gratify his hunger.' When he hath boasted in such a language, I, for my part, do not wish to touch this food.' The tiger replied, 'If, indeed, the mouse hath said so, my sense is now awakened. I shall, from this day, slay with the might of my own arms, creatures ranging the forest and then feast on their flesh.' Having said this, the tiger went away.
"And after the tiger had left the spot, the mouse came. And seeing the mouse come, the jackal addressed him and said, 'Blest be thou, O mouse, but listen to what the mongoose hath said. He hath even said, The carcass of this deer is poison (the tiger having touched it with his claws). I will not eat of it. On the other hand, if thou, O jackal, permittest it, I will even slay the mouse and feast on him.' Hearing this the mouse became alarmed and quickly entered his hole. And after the mouse had gone, the wolf, O king, came there having performed his ablutions. And seeing the wolf come, the jackal said unto him, 'The king of the beasts hath been angry with thee. Evil is certain to overtake thee. He is expected here with his wife. Do as thou pleasest.' Thus was the wolf also, fond of animal flesh, got rid of by the jackal. And the wolf fled, contracting his body into the smallest dimensions. It was then that the mongoose came. And, O king, the jackal, seeing him come, said, 'By the might of my arm have I defeated the others who have already fled. Fight with me first and then eat of this flesh as you please.' The mongoose replied, 'When, indeed, the tiger, the wolf, and the intelligent mouse have all been defeated by thee, heroes as they are, thou seemest to be a greater hero still. I do not desire to fight with thee.' Saying this, the mongoose also went away.
"Kanika continued, 'When they all had thus left the place, the jackal, well-pleased with the success of his policy, alone ate up that flesh. If kings always act in this way, they can be happy. Thus should the timid by exciting their fears, the courageous by the arts of conciliation, the covetous by gift of wealth, and equals and inferiors by exhibition of prowess be brought under thy sway. Besides all this, O king, that I have said, listen now to something else that I say.'
"Kanika continued, 'If thy son, friend, brother, father, or even the spiritual preceptor, anyone becometh thy foe, thou shouldst, if desirous of prosperity, slay him without scruples. By curses and incantations, by gift of wealth, by poison, or by deception, the foe should be slain. He should never be neglected from disdain. If both the parties be equal and success uncertain, then he that acteth with diligence groweth in prosperity. If the spiritual preceptor himself be vain, ignorant of what should be done and what left undone, and vicious in his ways, even he should be chastised. If thou art angry, show thyself as if thou art not so, speaking even then with a smile on thy lips. Never reprove any one with indications of anger (in thy speech). And O Bharata, speak soft words before thou smitest and even while thou art smiting! After the smiting is over, pity the victim, and grieve for him, and even shed tears. Comforting thy foe by conciliation, by gift of wealth, and smooth behaviour, thou must smite him when he walketh not aright. Thou shouldst equally smile the heinous offender who liveth by the practice of virtue, for the garb of virtue simply covereth his offences like black clouds covering the mountains. Thou shouldst burn the house of that person whom thou punishest with death. And thou shouldst never permit beggars and atheists and thieves to dwell in thy kingdom. By a sudden sally or pitched battle by poison or by corrupting his allies, by gift of wealth, by any means in thy power, thou shouldst destroy thy foe. Thou mayest act with the greatest cruelty. Thou shouldst make thy teeth sharp to give a fatal bite. And thou should ever smite so effectually that thy foe may not again raise his head. Thou shouldst ever stand in fear of even one from whom there is no fear, not to speak of him from whom there is such. For if the first be ever powerful he may destroy thee to the root (for thy unpreparedness). Thou shouldst never trust the faithless, nor trust too much those that are faithful, for if those in whom thou confidest prove thy foes, thou art certain to be annihilated. After testing their faithfulness thou shouldst employ spies in thy own kingdom and in the kingdoms of others. Thy spies in foreign kingdoms should be apt deceivers and persons in the garb of ascetics. Thy spies should be placed in gardens, places of amusement, temples and other holy places, drinking halls, streets, and with the (eighteen) tirthas (viz., the minister, the chief priest, the heir-presumptive, the commander-in-chief, the gate-keepers of the court, persons in the inner apartments, the jailor, the chief surveyor, the head of the treasury, the general executant of orders, the chief of the town police, the chief architect, the chief justice, the president of the council, the chief of the punitive department, the commander of the fort, the chief of the arsenal, the chief of the frontier guards, and the keeper of the forests), and in places of sacrifice, near wells, on mountains and in rivers, in forests, and in all places where people congregate. In speech thou shouldst ever be humble, but let thy heart be ever sharp as razor. And when thou art engaged in doing even a very cruel and terrible act, thou shouldst talk with smiles on thy lips. If desirous of prosperity, thou shouldst adopt all arts—humility, oath, conciliation. Worshipping the feet of others by lowering thy head, inspiring hope, and the like. And, a person conversant with the rules of policy is like a tree decked with flowers but bearing no fruit; or, if bearing fruit, these must be at a great height not easily attainable from the ground; and if any of these fruits seem to be ripe care must be taken to make it appear raw. Conducting himself in such a way, he shall never fade. Virtue, wealth and pleasure have both their evil and good effects closely knit together. While extracting the effects that are good, those that are evil should be avoided. Those that practise virtue (incessantly) are made unhappy for want of wealth and the neglect of pleasure. Those again in pursuit of wealth are made unhappy for the neglect of two others. And so those who pursue pleasure suffer for their inattention to virtue and wealth. Therefore, thou shouldst pursue virtue, wealth and pleasure, in such a way that thou mayest not have to suffer therefrom. With humiliation and attention, without jealousy and solicitous of accomplishing thy purpose, shouldst thou, in all sincerity, consult with the Brahmanas. When thou art fallen, thou shouldst raise thyself by any means, gentle or violent; and after thou hast thus raised thyself thou shouldst practise virtue. He that hath never been afflicted with calamity can never have prosperity. This may be seen in the life of one who surviveth his calamities. He that is afflicted with sorrow should be consoled by the recitation of the history of persons of former times (like those of Nala and Rama). He whose heart hath been unstrung by sorrow should be consoled with hopes of future prosperity. He again who is learned and wise should be consoled by pleasing offices presently rendered unto him. He who, having concluded a treaty with an enemy, reposeth at ease as if he hath nothing more to do, is very like a person who awaketh, fallen down from the top of a tree whereon he had slept. A king should ever keep to himself his counsels without fear of calumny, and while beholding everything with the eyes of his spies, he should take care to conceal his own emotions before the spies of his enemies. Like a fisherman who becometh prosperous by catching and killing fish, a king can never grow prosperous without tearing the vitals of his enemy and without doing some violent deeds. The might of thy foe, as represented by his armed force, should ever be completely destroyed, by ploughing it up (like weeds) and mowing it down and otherwise afflicting it by disease, starvation, and want of drink. A person in want never approacheth (from love) one in affluence; and when one's purpose hath been accomplished, one hath no need to approach him whom he had hitherto looked to for its accomplishment. Therefore, when thou doest anything never do it completely, but ever leave something to be desired for by others (whose services thou mayest need). One who is desirous of prosperity should with diligence seek allies and means, and carefully conduct his wars. His exertions in these respects should always be guided by prudence. A prudent king should ever act in such a way that friends and foes may never know his motive before the commencement of his acts. Let them know all when the act hath been commenced or ended, and as long as danger doth not come, so long only shall thou act as if thou art afraid. But when it hath overtaken thee, thou must grapple with it courageously. He who trusteth in a foe who hath been brought under subjection by force, summoneth his own death as a crab by her act of conception. Thou shouldst always reckon the future act as already arrived (and concert measures for meeting it), else, from want of calmness caused by haste, thou mayest overlook an important point in meeting it when it is before thee. A person desirous of prosperity should always exert with prudence, adopting his measures to time and place. He should also act with an eye to destiny as capable of being regulated by mantras and sacrificial rites; and to virtue, wealth, and pleasure. It is well-known that time and place (if taken into consideration) always produce the greatest good. If the foe is insignificant, he should not yet be despised, for he may soon grow like a palmyra tree extending its roots or like a spark of fire in the deep woods that may soon burst into an extensive conflagration. As a little fire gradually fed with faggots soon becometh capable of consuming even the biggest blocks, so the person who increaseth his power by making alliances and friendships soon becometh capable of subjugating even the most formidable foe. The hope thou givest unto thy foe should be long deferred before it is fulfilled; and when the time cometh for its fulfilment, invent some pretext for deferring it still. Let that pretext be shown as founded upon some reason, and let that reason itself be made to appear as founded on some other reason. Kings should, in the matter of destroying their foes, ever resemble razors in every particular; unpitying as these are sharp, hiding their intents as these are concealed in their leathern cases, striking when the opportunity cometh as these are used on proper occasions, sweeping off their foes with all their allies and dependants as these shave the head or the chin without leaving a single hair. O supporter of the dignity of the Kurus, bearing thyself towards the Pandavas and others also as policy dictateth, act in such a way that thou mayest not have to grieve in future. Well do I know that thou art endued with every blessing, and possessed of every mark of good fortune. Therefore, O king, protect thyself from the sons of Pandu! O king, the sons of Pandu are stronger than their cousins (thy sons); therefore, O chastiser of foes, I tell thee plainly what thou shouldst do. Listen to it, O king, with thy children, and having listened to it, exert yourselves (to do the needful). O king, act in such a way that there may not be any fear for thee from the Pandavas. Indeed, adopt such measures consonant with the science of policy that thou mayest not have to grieve in the future.'
"Vaisampayana continued, 'Having delivered himself thus Kanika returned to his abode, while the Kuru king Dhritarashtra became pensive and melancholy.'"
"Vaisampayana said, 'Then the son of Suvala (Sakuni), king Duryodhana, Duhsasana and Kama, in consultation with one another, formed an evil conspiracy. With the sanction of Dhritarashtra, the king of the Kurus, they resolved to burn to death Kunti and her (five) sons. But that wise Vidura, capable of reading the heart by external signs, ascertained the intention of these wicked persons by observing their countenances alone. Then the sinless Vidura, of soul enlightened by true knowledge, and devoted to the good of the Pandavas, came to the conclusion that Kunti with her children should fly away from her foes. And providing for that purpose a boat strong enough to withstand both wind and wave, he addressed Kunti and said, 'This Dhritarashtra hath been born for destroying the fame and offspring of the (Kuru) race. Of wicked soul, he is about to cast off eternal virtue. O blessed one, I have kept ready on the stream a boat capable of withstanding both wind and wave. Escape by it with thy children from the net that death hath spread around you.'
"Vaisampayana continued, 'Hearing these words, the illustrious Kunti was deeply grieved, and with her children, O bull of Bharata's race, stepped into the boat and went over the Ganges. Then leaving the boat according to the advice of Vidura, the Pandavas took with them the wealth that had been given to them (while at Varanavata) by their enemies and safely entered the deep woods. In the house of lac, however, that had been prepared for the destruction of the Pandavas, an innocent Nishada woman who had come there for some purpose, was, with her children burnt to death. And that worst of Mlechchhas, the wretched Purochana (who was the architect employed in building the house of lac) was also burnt in the conflagration. And thus were the sons of Dhirtarashtra with their counsellors deceived in their expectations. And thus also were the illustrious Pandavas, by the advice of Vidura, saved with their mother. But the people (of Varanavata) knew not of their safety. And the citizens of Varanavata, seeing the house of lac consumed (and believing the Pandavas to have been burnt to death) became exceedingly sorry. And they sent messengers unto king Dhritarashtra to represent everything that had happened. And they said to the monarch, 'Thy great end hath been achieved! Thou hast at last burnt the Pandavas to death! Thy desire fulfilled, enjoy with thy children. O king of the Kurus, the kingdom.' Hearing this, Dhritarashtra with his children, made a show of grief, and along with his relatives, including Kshattri (Vidura) and Bhishma the foremost of the Kurus, performed the last honours of the Pandavas.'
"Janamejaya said, 'O best of Brahmanas, I desire to hear in full this history of the burning of the house of lac and the escape of the Pandavas there from. That was a cruel act of theirs (the Kurus), acting under the counsels of the wicked (Kanika). Recite the history to me of all that happened. I am burning with curiosity to hear it.'
"Vaisampayana said, 'O chastiser of all foes, listen to me, O monarch, as I recite the (history of the) burning of the house of lac and the escape of the Pandavas. The wicked Duryodhana, beholding Bhimasena surpass (everybody) in strength and Arjuna highly accomplished in arms became pensive and sad. Then Karna, the offspring of the Sun, and Sakuni, the son of Suvala, endeavoured by various means to compass the death of the Pandavas. The Pandavas too counteracted all those contrivances one after another, and in obedience to the counsels of Vidura, never spoke of them afterwards. Then the citizens, beholding the son of Pandu possessed of accomplishments, began, O Bharata, to speak of them in all places of public resort. And assembled in courtyards and other places of gathering, they talked of the eldest son of Pandu (Yudhishthira) as possessed of the qualifications for ruling the kingdom. And they said, 'Dhritarashtra, though possessed of the eye of knowledge, having been (born) blind, had not obtained the kingdom before. How can he (therefore) become king now? Then Bhishma, the son of Santanu, of rigid vows and devoted to truth, having formerly relinquished the sovereignty would never accept it now. We shall, therefore, now install (on the throne) with proper ceremonies the eldest of the Pandavas endued with youth, accomplished in battle, versed in the Vedas, and truthful and kind. Worshipping Bhishma, the son of Santanu and Dhritarashtra conversant with the rules of morality, he will certainly maintain the former and the latter with his children in every kind of enjoyment.
"The wretched Duryodhana, hearing these words of the parting partisans of Yudhishthira, became very much distressed. Deeply afflicted, the wicked prince could not put up with those speeches. Inflamed with jealousy, he went unto Dhritarashtra, and finding him alone he saluted him with reverence and distressed at (the sight of) the partiality of the citizens for Yudhishthira, he addressed the monarch and said, 'O father, I have heard the parting citizens utter words of ill omen. Passing thee by, and Bhishma too, they desire the son of Pandu to be their king. Bhishma will sanction this, for he will not rule the kingdom. It seems, therefore, that the citizens are endeavouring to inflict a great injury on us. Pandu obtained of old the ancestral kingdom by virtue of his own accomplishments, but thou, from blindness, didst not obtain the kingdom, though fully qualified to have it. If Pandu's son now obtaineth the kingdom as his inheritance from Pandu, his son will obtain it after him and that son's son also, and so on will it descend in Pandu's line. In that case, O king of the world, ourselves with our children, excluded from the royal line, shall certainly be disregarded by all men. Therefore, O monarch, adopt such counsels that we may not suffer perpetual distress, becoming dependent on others for our food. O king, if thou hadst obtained the sovereignty before, we would certainly have succeeded to it, however much the people might be unfavourable to us.'"
(Jatugriha Parva continued)
"Vaisampayana continued, "King Dhritarashtra whose knowledge only was his eyes, on hearing these words of his son and recollecting everything that Kanika had, said unto him, became afflicted with sorrow, and his mind also thereupon began to waver. Then Duryodhana and Karna, and Sakuni, the son of Suvala, and Duhsasana as their fourth, held a consultation together. Prince Duryodhana said unto Dhritarashtra, 'Send, O father, by some clever contrivance, the Pandavas to the town of Varanavata. We shall then have no fear of them.' Dhritarashtra, on hearing these words uttered by his son, reflected for a moment and replied unto Duryodhana, saying, 'Pandu, ever devoted to virtue, always behaved dutifully towards all his relatives but particularly towards me. He cared very little for the enjoyments of the world, but devotedly gave everything unto me, even the kingdom. His son is as much devoted to virtue as he, and is possessed of every accomplishment. Of world-wide fame, he is again the favourite of the people. He is possessed of allies; how can we by force exile him from his ancestral kingdom? The counsellors and soldiers (of the state) and their sons and grandsons have all been cherished and maintained by Pandu. Thus benefited of old by Pandu, shall not, O child, the citizens slay us with all our friends and relatives now on account of Yudhishthira?"
"Duryodhana replied, 'What thou sayest, O father, is perfectly true. But in view of the evil that is looming on the future as regards thyself, if we conciliate the people with wealth and honours, they would assuredly side with us for these proofs of our power. The treasury and the ministers of state, O king, are at this moment under our control. Therefore, it behoveth thee now to banish, by some gentle means, the Pandavas to the town of Varanavata; O king, when the sovereignty shall have been vested in me, then, O Bharata, may Kunti with her children come back from that place.'
"Dhritarashtra replied, 'This, O Duryodhana, is the very thought existing in my mind. But from its sinfulness I have never given expression to it. Neither Bhishma, nor Drona, nor Kshattri, nor Gautama (Kripa) will ever sanction the exile of the Pandavas. In their eyes, O dear son, amongst the Kurus ourselves and the Pandavas are equal. Those wise and virtuous persons will make no difference between us. If therefore, we behave so towards the Pandavas, shall we not, O son, deserve death at the hands of the Kurus, of these illustrious personages, and of the whole world?'
"Duryodhana answered, 'Bhishma hath no excess of affection for either side, and will, therefore, be neutral (in case of dispute). The son of Drona (Aswatthaman) is on my side. There is no doubt that where the son is, there the father will be. Kripa, the son of Saradwat, must be on the side on which Drona and Aswatthaman are. He will never abandon Drona and his sister's son (Aswatthaman). Kshattri (Vidura) is dependent on us for his means of life, though he is secretly with the foe. It he sides the Pandavas, he alone can do us no injury, Therefore, exile thou the Pandavas to Varanavata without any fear. And take such steps that they may go thither this very day. By this act, O father, extinguish the grief that consumeth me like a blazing fire, that robbeth me of sleep, and that pierces my heart even like a terrible dart.'"
(Jatugriha Parva continued)
"Vaisampayana said, Then prince Duryodhana, along with his brothers began to gradually win over the people to his side by grants of wealth and honours. Meanwhile, some clever councillors, instructed by Dhritarashtra, one day began to describe (in court) the town of Varanavata as a charming place. And they said, The festival of Pasupati (Siva) hath commenced in the town of Varanavata. The concourse of people is great and the procession is the most delightful of all ever witnessed on earth. Decked with every ornament, it charmed the hearts of all spectators.' Thus did those councillors, instructed by Dhritarashtra, speak of Varanavata, and whilst they were so speaking, the Pandavas, O king, felt the desire of going to that delightful town. And when the king (Dhritarashtra) ascertained that the curiosity of the Pandavas had been awakened, the son of Ambika addressed them, saying, 'These men of mine often speak of Varanavata as the most delightful town in the world. If therefore, ye children, ye desire to witness that festival, go to Varanavata with your followers and friends and enjoy yourselves there like the celestials. And give ye away pearls and gems unto the Brahmanas and the musicians (that may be assembled there). And sporting there for some time as ye please like the resplendent celestials and enjoying as much pleasure as ye like, return ye to Hastinapura again.'
"Vaisampayana continued, 'Yudhishthira, fully understanding the motives of Dhritarashtra and considering that he himself was weak and friendless, replied unto the king, saying, 'So be it.' Then addressing Bhishma, the son of Santanu, the wise Vidura, Drona, Valhika, the Kaurava, Somadatta, Kripa, Aswatthaman, Bhurisravas, and the other councillors, and Brahmanas and ascetics, and the priests and the citizens, and the illustrious Gandhari, he said slowly and humbly, 'With our friends and followers we go to the delightful and populous town of Varanavata at the command of Dhritarashtra. Cheerfully give us your benedictions so that acquiring prosperity, therewith we may not be touched by sin.' Thus addressed by the eldest of Pandu's sons, the Kaurava chiefs all cheerfully pronounced blessings on them, saying, 'Ye sons of Pandu, let all the elements bless you along your way and let not the slightest evil befall you.'
"The Pandavas, having performed propitiatory rites for obtaining (their share of) the kingdom, and finishing their preparations, set out for Varanavata.'"
(Jatugriha Parva continued)
"Vaisampayana said, 'The wicked Duryodhana became very pleased when the king, O Bharata, had said so unto Pandavas. And, O bull of Bharata's race, Duryodhana, then, summoning his counsellor, Purochana in private, took hold of his right hand and said, 'O Purochana, this world, so full of wealth, is mine. But it is thine equally with me. It behoveth thee, therefore, to protect it. I have no more trustworthy counsellor than thee with whom to consult. Therefore, O sire, keep my counsel and exterminate my foes by a clever device. O, do as I bid thee. The Pandavas have, by Dhritarashtra, been sent to Varanavata, where they will, at Dhritarashtra's command, enjoy themselves during the festivities. Do that by which thou mayest this very day reach Varanavata in a car drawn by swift mules. Repairing thither, cause thou to be erected a quadrangular palace in the neighbourhood of the arsenal, rich in the materials and furniture, and guard thou the mansion well (with prying eyes). And use thou (in erecting that house) hemp and resin and all other inflammable materials that are procurable. And mixing a little earth with clarified butter and oil and fat and a large quantity of lac, make thou a plaster for lining the walls, and scatter thou all around that house hemp and oil and clarified butter and lac and wood in such a way that the Pandavas, or any others, may not, even with scrutiny behold them there or conclude the house to be an inflammable one. And having erected such mansion, cause thou the Pandavas, after worshipping them with great reverence, to dwell in it with Kunti and all their friends. And place thou there seats and conveyances and beds, all of the best workmanship, for the Pandavas, so that Dhritarashtra may have no reason to complain. Thou must also so manage it all that none of Varanavata may know anything till the end we have in view is accomplished. And assuring thyself that the Pandavas are sleeping within in confidence and without fear, thou must then set fire to that mansion beginning at the outer door. The Pandavas thereupon must be burnt to death, but the people will say that they have been burnt in (an accidental) conflagration of their house.
"Saying, 'So be it' unto the Kuru prince, Purochana repaired to Varanavata in a car drawn by fleet mules. And going thither, O king, without loss of time, obedient to the instructions of Duryodhana, did everything that the prince had bid him do."
(Jatugriha Parva continued)
"Vaisampayana said, 'Meanwhile the Pandavas got into their cars, yoking thereto some fine horses endued with the speed of wind. While they were on the point of entering their cars, they touched, in great sorrow, the feet of Bhishma, of king Dhritarashtra, of the illustrious Drona, of Kripa, of Vidura and of the other elders of the Kuru race. Then saluting with reverence all the older men, and embracing their equals, receiving the farewell of even the children, and taking leave of all the venerable ladies in their household, and walking round them respectfully, and bidding farewell unto all the citizens, the Pandavas, ever mindful of their vows, set out for Varanavata. And Vidura of great wisdom and the other bulls among the Kurus and the citizens also, from great affliction, followed those tigers among men to some distance. And some amongst the citizens and the country people, who followed the Pandavas, afflicted beyond measure at beholding the sons of Pandu in such distress, began to say aloud, 'King Dhritarashtra of wicked soul seeth no things with the same eye. The Kuru monarch casteth not his eye on virtue. Neither the sinless Yudhishthira, nor Bhima the foremost of mighty men, nor Dhananjaya the (youngest) son of Kunti, will ever be guilty (of the sin of waging a rebellious war). When these will remain quiet, how shall the illustrious son of Madri do anything? Having inherited the kingdom from their father, Dhritarashtra could not bear them. How is that Bhishma who suffers the exile of the Pandavas to that wretched place, sanctions this act of great injustice? Vichitravirya, the son of Santanu, and the royal sage Pandu of Kuru's race both cherished us of old with fatherly care. But now that Pandu that tiger among men, hath ascended to heaven, Dhritarashtra cannot bear with these princes his children. We who do not sanction this exile shall all go, leaving this excellent town and our own homes, where Yudhishthira will go.'
"Unto those distressed citizens talking in this way, the virtuous Yudhishthira, himself afflicted with sorrow, reflecting for a few moments said, 'The king is our father, worthy of regard, our spiritual guide, and our superior. To carry out with unsuspicious hearts whatever he biddeth, is indeed, our duty. Ye are our friends. Walking round us and making us happy by your blessings, return ye to your abodes. When the time cometh for anything to be done for us by you, then, indeed, accomplish all that is agreeable and beneficial to us.' Thus addressed, the citizens walked round the Pandavas and blessed them with their blessings and returned to their respective abodes.
"And after the citizens had ceased following the Pandavas, Vidura, conversant with all the dictates of morality, desirous of awakening the eldest of the Pandavas (to a sense of his dangers), addressed him in these words. The learned Vidura, conversant with the jargon (of the Mlechchhas), addressed the learned Yudhishthira who also was conversant with the same jargon, in the words of the Mlechchha tongue, so as to be unintelligible to all except Yudhishthira. He said, 'He that knoweth the schemes his foes contrive in accordance with the dictates of political science, should, knowing them, act in such a way as to avoid all danger. He that knoweth that there are sharp weapons capable of cutting the body though not made of steel, and understandeth also the means of warding them off, can never be injured by foes. He liveth who protecteth himself by the knowledge that neither the consumer of straw and wood nor the drier of the dew burneth the inmates of a hole in the deep woods. The blind man seeth not his way: the blind man hath no knowledge of direction. He that hath no firmness never acquireth prosperity. Remembering this, be upon your guard. The man who taketh a weapon not made of steel (i.e., an inflammable abode) given him by his foes, can escape from fire by making his abode like unto that of a jackal (having many outlets). By wandering a man may acquire the knowledge of ways, and by the stars he can ascertain the direction, and he that keepeth his five (senses) under control can never be oppressed y his enemies.'
"Thus addressed, Pandu's son, Yudhishthira the just replied unto Vidura, that foremost of all learned men, saying, 'I have understood thee.' Then Vidura, having instructed the Pandavas and followed them (thus far), walked around them and bidding them farewell returned to his own abode. When the citizens and Bhishma and Vidura had all ceased following, Kunti approached Yudhishthira and said, 'The words that Kshattri said unto thee in the midst of many people so indistinctly as if he did not say anything, and thy reply also to him in similar words and voice, we have not understood. If it is not improper; for us to know them I should then like to hear everything that had passed between him and thee.'
"Yudhishthira replied, 'The virtuous Vidura said unto me that we should know that the mansion (for our accommodation at Varanavata) hath been built of inflammable materials. He said unto me, 'The path of escape too shall not be unknown to thee,'—and further,—'Those that can control their senses can acquire the sovereignty of the whole world.'—The reply that I gave unto Vidura was, 'I have understood thee.'
"Vaisampayana continued, 'The Pandavas set out on the eighth day of the month of Phalguna when the star Rohini was in the ascendant, and arriving at Varanavata they beheld the town and the people.'"
(Jatugriha Parva continued)
"Vaisampayana said, 'Then all the citizens (of Varanavata) on hearing that the son of Pandu had come, were filled with joy at the tidings, speedily came out of Varanavata, in vehicles of various kinds numbering by thousands, taking with them every auspicious article as directed by the Sastras, for receiving those foremost of men. And the people of Varanavata, approaching the sons of Kunti blessed them by uttering the Jaya and stood surrounding them. That tiger among men, viz., the virtuous Yudhishthira thus surrounded by them looked resplendent like him having the thunderbolt in his hands (viz., Indra) in the midst of the celestials. And those sinless ones, welcomed by the citizens and welcoming the citizens in return, then entered the populous town of Varanavata decked with every ornament. Entering the town those heroes first went, O monarch, to the abodes of Brahmanas engaged in their proper duties. Those foremost of men then went to the abodes of the officials of the town, and then of the Sutas and the Vaisyas and then to those of even the Sudras, O bull of Bharata's race, thus adored by the citizens, the Pandavas at last went with Purochana going before them, to the palace that had been built for them, Purochana then began to place before them food and drink and beds and carpets, all of the first and most agreeable order. The Pandavas attired in costly robes, continued to live there, adored by Purochana and the people having their homes in Varanavata.
"After the Pandavas had thus lived for ten nights, Purochana spoke to them of the mansion (he had built) called 'The Blessed Home,' but in reality the cursed house. Then those tigers among men, attired in costly dress, entered that mansion at the instance of Purochana like Guhyakas entering the palace (of Siva) on the Kailasa mount. The foremost of all virtuous men, Yudhishthira, inspecting the house, said unto Bhima that it was really built of inflammable materials. Smelling the scent of fat mixed with clarified butter and preparations of lac, he said unto Bhima, 'O chastiser of foes, this house is truly built of inflammable materials! Indeed, it is apparent that such is the case! The enemy, it is evident, by the aid of trusted artists well-skilled in the construction of houses, have finely built this mansion, after procuring hemp, resin, heath, straw, and bamboos, all soaked in clarified butter. This wicked wretch, Purochana, acting under the instruction of Duryodhana, stayeth here with the object of burning me to death when he seeth me trustful. But, O son of Pritha, Vidura of great intelligence, knew of this danger, and, therefore, hath warned me of it beforehand. Knowing it all, that youngest uncle of ours, ever wishing our good from affection hath told us that this house, so full of danger, hath been constructed by the wretches under Duryodhana acting in secrecy.'
"Hearing this, Bhima replied, 'If, sir, you know this house to be so inflammable, it would then be well for us to return thither where we had taken up our quarters first.' Yudhishthira replied, 'It seems to me that we should rather continue to live here in seeming unsuspiciousness but all the while with caution and our senses wide awake and seeking for some certain means of escape. If Purochana findeth from our countenances that we have fathomed designs, acting with haste he may suddenly burn us to death. Indeed, Purochana careth little for obloquy or sin. The wretch stayeth here acting under the instruction of Duryodhana. If we are burnt to death, will our grandfather Bhishma be angry? Why will he, by showing his wrath, make the Kauravas angry with him? Or, perhaps, our grandfather Bhishma and the other bull of Kuru's race, regarding indignation at such a sinful act to be virtuous, may become wrathful. If however, from fear of being burnt, we fly from here, Duryodhana, ambitious of sovereignty will certainly compass our death by means of spies. While we have no rank and power, Duryodhana hath both; while we have no friends and allies, Duryodhana hath both; while we are without wealth, Duryodhana hath at his command a full treasury. Will he not, therefore, certainly destroy us by adopting adequate means? Let us, therefore, by deceiving this wretch (Purochana) and that other wretch Duryodhana, pass our days, disguising ourselves at times. Let us also lead a hunting life, wandering over the earth. We shall then, if we have to escape our enemies, be familiar with all paths. We shall also, this very day, cause a subterranean passage to be dug in our chamber in great secrecy. If we act in this way, concealing what we do from all, fire shall never be able to consume us. We shall live here, actively doing everything for our safety but with such privacy that neither Purochana nor any of the citizens of Varanavata may know what we are after.'"
(Jatugriha Parva continued)
"Vaisampayana continued, 'A friend of Vidura's, well-skilled in mining, coming unto the Pandavas, addressed them in secret, saying, 'I have been sent by Vidura and am a skilful miner. I am to serve the Pandavas. Tell me what I am to do for ye. From the trust he reposeth in me Vidura hath said unto me, 'Go thou unto the Pandavas and accomplish thou their good. What shall I do for you? Purochana will set fire to the door of thy house on the fourteenth night of this dark fortnight. To burn to death those tigers among men, the Pandavas, with their mother, is the design of that wicked wretch, the son of Dhritarashtra. O son of Pandu, Vidura also told thee something in the Mlechchha tongue to which thou also didst reply in same language. I state these particulars as my credentials.' Hearing these words, Yudhishthira, the truthful son of Kunti replied, 'O amiable one, I now know thee as a dear and trusted friend of Vidura, true and ever devoted to him. There is nothing that the learned Vidura doth not know. As his, so ours art thou. Make no difference between him and us. We are as much thine as his. O, protect us as the learned Vidura ever protecteth us. I know that this house, so inflammable, hath been contrived for me by Purochana at the command of Dhritarashtra's son. That wicked wretch commanding wealth and allies pursueth us without intermission. O, save us with a little exertion from the impending conflagration. If we are burnt to death here, Duryodhana's most cherished desire will be satisfied. Here is that wretch's well-furnished arsenal. This large mansion hath been built abutting the high ramparts of the arsenal without any outlet. But this unholy contrivance of Duryodhana was known to Vidura from the first, and he it was who enlightened us beforehand. The danger of which Kshattri had foreknowledge is now at our door. Save us from it without Purochana's knowledge thereof.' On hearing these words, the miner said, 'So be it,' and carefully beginning his work of excavation, made a large subterranean passage. And the mouth of that passage was in the centre of that house, and it was on a level with the floor and closed up with planks. The mouth was so covered from fear of Purochana, that wicked wretch who kept a constant watch at the door of the house. The Pandavas used to sleep within their chambers with arms ready for use, while, during the day, they went a-hunting from forest to forest. Thus, O king, they lived (in that mansion) very guardedly, deceiving Purochana by a show of trustfulness and contentment while in reality they were trustless and discontented. Nor did the citizens of Varanavata know anything about these plans of the Pandavas. In fact, none else knew of them except Vidura's friend, that good miner.'"
(Jatugriha Parva continued)
"Vaisampayana said, 'Seeing the Pandavas living there cheerfully and without suspicion for a full year, Purochana became exceedingly glad. And beholding Purochana so very glad, Yudhishthira, the virtuous son of Kunti, addressing Bhima and Arjuna and the twins (Nakula and Sahadeva) said, 'The cruel-hearted wretch hath been well-deceived. I think the time is come for our escape. Setting fire to the arsenal and burning Purochana to death and letting his body lie here, let us, six persons, fly hence unobserved by all!'