(Swayamvara Parva continued)
"Vaisampayana continued, 'When all the monarchs had desisted from stringing that bow, the high-souled Jishnu arose from among the crowd of Brahmanas seated in that assembly. And beholding Partha possessing the complexion of Indra's banner, advancing towards the bow, the principal Brahmanas shaking their deer-skins raised a loud clamour. And while some were displeased, there were others that were well-pleased. And some there were, possessed of intelligence and foresight, who addressing one another said, 'Ye Brahmanas, how can a Brahmana stripling unpractised in arms and weak in strength, string that bow which such celebrated Kshatriyas as Salya and others endued with might and accomplished in the science and practice of arms could not? If he doth not achieve success in this untried task which he hath undertaken from a spirit of boyish unsteadiness, the entire body of Brahmanas here will be rendered ridiculous in the eyes of the assembled monarchs. Therefore, forbid this Brahmana that he may not go to string the bow which he is even now desirous of doing from vanity, childish daring, or mere unsteadiness.' Others replied, 'We shall not be made ridiculous, nor shall we incur the disrespect of anybody or the displeasure of the sovereigns. Some remarked, 'This handsome youth is even like the trunk of a mighty elephant, whose shoulders and arms and thighs are so well-built, who in patience looks like the Himavat, whose gait is even like that of the lion, and whose prowess seems to be like that of an elephant in rut, and who is so resolute, that it is probable that he will accomplish this feat. He has strength and resolution. If he had none, he would never go of his own accord. Besides, there is nothing in the three worlds that Brahmanas of all mortal men cannot accomplish. Abstaining from all food or living upon air or eating of fruits, persevering in their vows, and emaciated and weak, Brahmanas are ever strong in their own energy. One should never disregard a Brahmana whether his acts be right or wrong, by supposing him incapable of achieving any task that is great or little, or that is fraught with bliss or woe. Rama the son of Jamadagni defeated in battle, all the Kshatriyas. Agastya by his Brahma energy drank off the fathomless ocean. Therefore, say ye, 'Let this youth bend the bow and string it with ease' (and many said), 'So be it.' And the Brahmanas continued speaking unto one another these and other words. Then Arjuna approached the bow and stood there like a mountain. And walking round that bow, and bending his head unto that giver of boons—the lord Isana—and remembering Krishna also, he took it up. And that bow which Rukma, Sunitha, Vakra, Radha's son, Duryodhana, Salya, and many other kings accomplished in the science and practice of arms, could not even with great exertion, string, Arjuna, the son of Indra, that foremost of all persons endued with energy and like unto the younger brother of Indra (Vishnu) in might, strung in the twinkling of an eye. And taking up the five arrows he shot the mark and caused it to fall down on the ground through the hole in the machine above which it had been placed. Then there arose a loud uproar in the firmament, and the amphitheatre also resounded with a loud clamour. And the gods showered celestial flowers on the head of Partha the slayer of foes. And thousands of Brahmanas began to wave their upper garments in joy. And all around, the monarchs who had been unsuccessful, uttered exclamations of grief and despair. And flowers were rained from the skies all over the amphitheatre. And the musicians struck up in concert. Bards and heralds began to chant in sweet tones the praises (of the hero who accomplished the feat). And beholding Arjuna, Drupada—that slayer of foes,—was filled with joy. And the monarch desired to assist with his forces the hero if the occasion arose. And when the uproar was at its height, Yudhishthira, the foremost of all virtuous men, accompanied by those first of men the twins, hastily left the amphitheatre for returning to his temporary home. And Krishna beholding the mark shot and beholding Partha also like unto Indra himself, who had shot the mark, was filled with joy, and approached the son of Kunti with a white robe and a garland of flowers. And Arjuna the accomplisher of inconceivable feats, having won Draupadi by his success in the amphitheatre, was saluted with reverence by all the Brahmanas. And he soon after left the lists followed close by her who thus became his wife.'"
(Swayamvara Parva continued)
"Vaisampayana said, 'When the king (Drupada) expressed his desire of bestowing his daughter on that Brahmana (who had shot the mark), all those monarchs who had been invited to the Swayamvara, looking at one another, were suddenly filled with wrath. And they said, 'Passing us by and treating the assembled monarchs as straw this Drupada desireth to bestow his daughter—that first of women,—on a Brahmana! Having planted the tree he cutteth it down when it is about to bear fruit. The wretch regardeth us not: therefore let us slay him. He deserveth not our respect nor the veneration due to age. Owing to such qualities of his, we shall, therefore, slay this wretch that insulteth all kings, along with his son. Inviting all the monarchs and entertaining them with excellent food, he disregardeth us at last. In this assemblage of monarchs like unto a conclave of the celestials, doth he not see a single monarch equal unto himself? The Vedic declaration is well-known that the Swayamvara is for the Kshatriyas. The Brahmanas have no claim in respect of a selection of husband by a Kshatriya damsel. Or, ye kings, if this damsel desireth not to select any one of us as her lord, let us cast her into the fire and return to our kingdoms. As regards this Brahmana, although he hath, from officiousness or avarice, done this injury to the monarchs, he should not yet be slain; for our kingdoms, lives, treasures, sons, grandsons, and whatever other wealth we have, all exist for Brahmanas. Something must be done here (even unto him), so that from fear of disgrace and the desire of maintaining what properly belongeth unto each order, other Swayamvaras may not terminate in this way.'
"Having addressed one another thus, those tigers among monarchs endued with arms like unto spiked iron maces, took up their weapons and rushed at Drupada to slay him then and there. And Drupada beholding those monarchs all at once rushing towards him in anger with bows and arrows, sought, from fear, the protection of the Brahmanas. But those mighty bowmen (Bhima and Arjuna) of the Pandavas, capable of chastising all foes, advanced to oppose those monarchs rushing towards them impetuously like elephants in the season of rut. Then the monarchs with gloved fingers and upraised weapons rushed in anger at the Kuru princes, Bhima and Arjuna, to slay them. Then the mighty Bhima of extraordinary achievements, endued with the strength of thunder, tore up like an elephant a large tree and divested it of its leaves. And with that tree, the strong-armed Bhima, the son of Pritha, that grinder of foes, stood, like unto the mace-bearing king of the dead (Yama) armed with his fierce mace, near Arjuna that bull amongst men. And beholding that feat of his brother, Jishnu of extraordinary intelligence, himself also of inconceivable feats, wondered much. And equal unto Indra himself in achievements, shaking off all fear he stood with his bow ready to receive those assailants. And beholding those feats of both Jishnu and his brother, Damodara (Krishna) of superhuman intelligence and inconceivable feats, addressing his brother, Halayudha (Valadeva) of fierce energy, said, 'That hero there, of tread like that of a mighty lion, who draweth the large bow in his hand four full cubits in length, is Arjuna! There is no doubt, O Sankarshana, about this, if I am Vasudeva. That other hero who having speedily torn up the tree hath suddenly become ready to drive off the monarchs is Vrikodara! For no one in the world, except Vrikodara, could today perform such a feat in the field of battle. And that other youth of eyes like unto lotus-petals, of full four cubits height, of gait like that of a mighty lion, and humble withal, of fair complexion and prominent and shining nose, who had, a little before, left the amphitheatre, is Dharma's son (Yudhishthira). The two other youths, like unto Kartikeya, are, I suspect, the sons of the twin Aswins. I heard that the sons of Pandu along with their mother Pritha had all escaped from the conflagration of the house of lac.' Then Halayudha of complexion like unto that of clouds uncharged with rain, addressing his younger brother (Krishna), said with great satisfaction, 'O, I am happy to hear, as I do from sheer good fortune, that our father's sister Pritha with the foremost of the Kaurava princes have all escaped (from death)!'"
(Swayamvara Parva continued)
"Vaisampayana said, 'Then those bulls among Brahmanas shaking their deer-skins and water-pots made of cocoanut-shells exclaimed, 'Fear not, we will fight the foe!' Arjuna smilingly addressing those Brahmanas exclaiming thus, said, 'Stand ye aside as spectators (of the fray) Showering hundreds of arrows furnished with straight points even I shall check, like snakes with mantras, all those angry monarchs.' Having said this, the mighty Arjuna taking up the bow he had obtained as dower accompanied by his brother Bhima stood immovable as a mountain. And beholding those Kshatriyas who were ever furious in battle with Karna ahead, the heroic brothers rushed fearlessly at them like two elephants rushing against a hostile elephant. Then those monarchs eager for the fight fiercely exclaimed, 'The slaughter in battle of one desiring to fight is permitted.' And saying this, the monarchs suddenly rushed against the Brahmanas. And Karna endued with great energy rushed against Jishnu for fight. And Salya the mighty king of Madra rushed against Bhima like an elephant rushing against another for the sake of a she-elephant in heat; while Duryodhana and others engaged with the Brahmanas, skirmished with them lightly and carelessly. Then the illustrious Arjuna beholding Karna, the son of Vikartana (Surya), advancing towards him, drew his tough bow and pieced him with his sharp arrows. And the impetus of those whetted arrows furnished with fierce energy made Radheya (Karna) faint. Recovering consciousness Karna attacked Arjuna with greater care than before. Then Karna and Arjuna, both foremost of victorious warriors, desirous of vanquishing each other, fought madly on. And such was the lightness of hand they both displayed that (each enveloped by the other's shower of arrows) they both became invisible (unto the spectators of their encounter). 'Behold the strength of my arms.'—'Mark, how I have counteracted that feat,'—those were the words—intelligible to heroes alone—in which they addressed each other. And incensed at finding the strength and energy of Arjuna's arms unequalled on the earth, Karna, the son of Surya, fought with greater vigour. And parrying all those impetuous arrows shot at him by Arjuna, Karna sent up a loud shout. And this feat of his was applauded by all the warriors. Then addressing his antagonist, Karna said, 'O thou foremost of Brahmanas, I am gratified to observe the energy of thy arms that knoweth no relaxation in battle and thy weapons themselves fit for achieving victory. Art thou the embodiment of the science of weapons, or art thou Rama that best of Brahmanas, or Indra himself, or Indra's younger brother Vishnu called also Achyuta, who for disguising himself hath assumed the form of a Brahmana and mustering such energy of arms fighteth with me? No other person except the husband himself of Sachi or Kiriti, the son of Pandu, is capable of fighting with me when I am angry on the field of battle.' Then hearing those words of his, Phalguna replied, saying, 'O Karna, I am neither the science of arms (personified), nor Rama endued with superhuman powers. I am only a Brahmana who is the foremost of all warriors and all wielders of weapons. By the grace of my preceptor I have become accomplished in the Brahma and the Paurandara weapons. I am here to vanquish thee in battle. Therefore, O hero, wait a little.'
"Vaisampayana continued, 'Thus addressed (by Arjuna), Karna the adopted son of Radha desisted from the fight, for that mighty chariot-fighter thought that Brahma energy is ever invincible. Meanwhile on another part of the field, the mighty heroes Salya and Vrikodara, well-skilled in battle and possessed of great strength and proficiency, challenging each other, engaged in fight like two elephants in rut. And they struck each other with their clenched fists and knees. And sometimes pushing each other forward and sometimes dragging each other near, sometimes throwing each other down; face downward, and sometimes on the sides, they fought on, striking, each other at times with their clenched fists. And encountering each other with blows hard as the clash of two masses of granite, the lists rang with the sounds of their combat. Fighting with each other thus for a few seconds, Bhima the foremost of the Kuru heroes taking up Salya on his arms hurled him to a distance. And Bhimasena, that bull amongst men, surprised all (by the dexterity of his feat) for though he threw Salya on the ground he did it without hurting him much. And when Salya was thus thrown down and Karna was struck with fear, the other monarchs were all alarmed. And they hastily surrounded Bhima and exclaimed, 'Surely these bulls amongst Brahmanas are excellent (warriors)! Ascertain in what race they have been born and where they abide. Who can encounter Karna, the son of Radha, in fight, except Rama or Drona, or Kiriti, the son of Pandu? Who also can encounter Duryodhana in battle except Krishna, the son of Devaki, and Kripa, the son of Saradwan? Who also can overthrow in battle Salya, that first of mighty warriors, except the hero Valadeva or Vrikodara, the son of Pandu, or the heroic Duryodhana? Let us, therefore, desist from this fight with the Brahmanas. Indeed, Brahmanas, however offending, should yet be ever protected. And first let us ascertain who these are; for after we have done that we may cheerfully fight with them.'
"Vaisampayana continued, 'And Krishna, having beheld that feat of Bhima, believed them both to be the son of Kunti. And gently addressing the assembled monarchs, saying, 'This maiden hath been justly acquired (by the Brahmana),' he induced them to abandon the fight. Accomplished in battle, those monarchs then desisted from the fight. And those best of monarchs then returned to their respective kingdoms, wondering much. And those who had come there went away saying. 'The festive scene hath terminated in the victory of the Brahmanas. The princess of Panchala hath become the bride of a Brahmana.' And surrounded by Brahmanas dressed in skins of deer and other wild animals, Bhima and Dhananjaya passed with difficulty out of the throng. And those heroes among men, mangled by the enemy and followed by Krishna, on coming at last out of that throng, looked like the full moon and the sun emerging from the clouds.
"Meanwhile Kunti seeing that her sons were late in returning from their eleemosynary round, was filled with anxiety. She began to think of various evils having overtaken her sons. At one time she thought that the sons of Dhritarashtra having recognised her sons had slain them. Next she feared that some cruel and strong Rakshasas endued with powers of deception had slain them. And she asked herself, 'Could the illustrious Vyasa himself (who had directed my sons to come to Panchala) have been guided by perverse intelligence?' Thus reflected Pritha in consequence of her affection for her offspring. Then in the stillness of the late afternoon, Jishnu, accompanied by a body of Brahmanas, entered the abode of the potter, like the cloud-covered sun appearing on a cloudy day.'"
(Swayamvara Parva continued)
"Vaisampayana said, 'Then those illustrious sons of Pritha, on returning to the potter's abode, approached their mother. And those first of men represented Yajnaseni unto their mother as the alms they had obtained that day. And Kunti who was there within the room and saw not her sons, replied, saying, 'Enjoy ye all (what ye have obtained).' The moment after, she beheld Krishna and then she said, 'Oh, what have I said?' And anxious from fear of sin, and reflecting how every one could be extricated from the situation, she took the cheerful Yajnaseni by the hand, and approaching Yudhishthira said, 'The daughter of king Yajnasena upon being represented to me by thy younger brothers as the alms they had obtained, from ignorance, O king, I said what was proper, viz., 'Enjoy ye all what hath been obtained. O thou bull of the Kuru race, tell me how my speech may not become untrue; how sin may not touch the daughter of the king of Panchala, and how also she may not become uneasy.'
"Vaisampayana continued, 'Thus addressed by his mother that hero among men, that foremost scion of the Kuru race, the intelligent king (Yudhishthira), reflecting for a moment, consoled Kunti, and addressing Dhananjaya, said, 'By thee, O Phalguna, hath Yajnaseni been won. It is proper, therefore, that thou shouldst wed her. O thou withstander of all foes, igniting the sacred fire, take thou her hand with due rites.'
"Arjuna, hearing this, replied, 'O king, do not make me a participator in sin. Thy behest is not conformable to virtue. That is the path followed by the sinful. Thou shouldst wed first, then the strong-armed Bhima of inconceivable feats, then myself, then Nakula, and last of all, Sahadeva endued with great activity. Both Vrikodara and myself, and the twins and this maiden also, all await, O monarch, thy commands. When such is the state of things, do that, after reflection, which would be proper, and conformable virtue, and productive of fame, and beneficial unto the king of Panchala. All of us are obedient to thee. O, command us as thou likest.'
"Vaisampayana continued, 'Hearing these words of Jishnu, so full of respect and affection, the Pandavas all cast their eyes upon the princess of Panchala. And the princess of Panchala also looked at them all. And casting their glances on the illustrious Krishna, those princes looked at one another. And taking their seats, they began to think of Draupadi alone. Indeed, after those princes of immeasurable energy had looked at Draupadi, the God of Desire invaded their hearts and continued to crush all their senses. As the lavishing beauty of Panchali who had been modelled by the Creator himself, was superior to that of all other women on earth, it could captivate the heart of every creature. And Yudhishthira, the son of Kunti, beholding his younger brothers, understood what was passing in their minds. And that bull among men immediately recollected the words of Krishna-Dwaipayana. And the king, then, from fear of a division amongst the brothers, addressing all of them, said, 'The auspicious Draupadi shall be the common wife of us all.'
"Vaisampayana continued, 'The sons of Pandu, then, hearing those words of their eldest brother, began to revolve them in their minds in great cheerfulness. The hero of the Vrishni race (Krishna suspecting the five persons he had seen at the Swayamvara to be none else than the heroes of the Kuru race), came accompanied by the son of Rohini (Valadeva), to the house of the potter where those foremost of men had taken up their quarters. On arriving there, Krishna and Valadeva beheld seated in that potter's house Ajatasanu (Yudhishthira) of well developed and long arms, and his younger brothers passing the splendour of fire sitting around him. Then Vasudeva approaching that foremost of virtuous men—the son of Kunti—and touching the feet of that prince of the Ajamida race, said, 'I am Krishna.' And the son of Rohini (Valadeva) also approaching Yudhishthira, did the same. And the Pandavas, beholding Krishna and Valadeva, began to express great delight. And, O thou foremost of the Bharata race, those heroes of the Yadu race thereafter touched also the feet of Kunti, their father's sister. And Ajatasatru, that foremost of the Kuru race, beholding Krishna, enquired after his well-being and asked, 'How, O Vasudeva, hast thou been able to trace us, as we are living in disguise?' And Vasudeva, smilingly answered, 'O king, fire, even if it is covered, can be known. Who else among men than the Pandavas could exhibit such might? Ye resisters of all foes, ye sons of Pandu, by sheer good fortune have ye escaped from that fierce fire. And it is by sheer good fortune alone that the wicked son of Dhritarashtra and his counsellors have not succeeded in accomplishing their wishes. Blest be ye! And grow ye in prosperity like a fire in a cave gradually growing and spreading itself all around. And lest any of the monarchs recognise ye, let us return to our tent.' Then, obtaining Yudhishthira's leave, Krishna of prosperity knowing no decrease, accompanied by Valadeva, hastily went away from the potter's abode.'"
(Swayamvara Parva continued)
"Vaisampayana said, 'When the Kuru princes (Bhima and Arjuna) were wending towards the abode of the potter, Dhrishtadyumna, the Panchala prince followed them. And sending away all his attendants, he concealed himself in some part of the potter's house, unknown to the Pandavas. Then Bhima, that grinder of all foes, and Jishnu, and the illustrious twins, on returning from their eleemosynary round in the evening, cheerfully gave everything unto Yudhishthira. Then the kind-hearted Kunti addressing the daughter of Drupada said, 'O amiable one, take thou first a portion from this and devote it to the gods and give it away to Brahmanas, and feed those that desire to eat and give unto those who have become our guests. Divide the rest into two halves. Give one of these unto Bhima, O amiable one, for this strong youth of fair complexion—equal unto a king of elephants—this hero always eateth much. And divide the other half into six parts, four for these youths, one for myself, and one for thee.' Then the princess hearing those instructive words of her mother-in-law cheerfully did all that she had been directed to do. And those heroes then all ate of the food prepared by Krishna. Then Sahadeva, the son of Madri, endued with great activity, spread on the ground a bed of kusa grass. Then those heroes, each spreading thereon his deer-skin, laid themselves down to sleep. And those foremost of the Kuru princes lay down with heads towards the south. And Kunti laid herself down along the line of their heads, and Krishna along that of their feet. And Krishna though she lay with the sons of Pandu on that bed of kusa grass along the line of their feet as if she were their nether pillow, grieved not in her heart nor thought disrespectfully of those bulls amongst the Kurus. Then those heroes began to converse with one another. And the conversations of those princes, each worthy to lead an army, was exceedingly interesting they being upon celestial cars and weapons and elephants, and swords and arrows, and battle-axes. And the son of the Panchala king listened (from his place of concealment) unto all they said. And all those who were with him beheld Krishna in that state.
"When morning came, the prince Dhristadyumna set out from his place of concealment with great haste in order to report to Drupada in detail all that had happened at the potter's abode and all that he had heard those heroes speak amongst themselves during the night. The king of Panchala had been sad because he knew not the Pandavas as those who had taken away his daughter. And the illustrious monarch asked Dhristadyumna on his return, 'Oh, where hath Krishna gone? Who hath taken her away? Hath any Sudra or anybody of mean descent, or hath a tribute-paying Vaisya by taking my daughter away, placed his dirty foot on my head? O son, hath that wreath of flowers been thrown away on a grave-yard? Hath any Kshatriya of high birth, or any one of the superior order (Brahmana) obtained my daughter? Hath any one of mean descent, by having won Krishna, placed his left foot on my head? I would not, O son, grieve but feel greatly happy, if my daughter hath been united with Partha that foremost of men! O thou exalted one, tell me truly who hath won my daughter today? O, are the sons of that foremost of Kurus, Vichitravirya's son alive? Was it Partha (Arjuna) that took up the bow and shot the mark?'"
"Vaisampayana said, 'Thus addressed Dhrishtadyumna, that foremost of the Lunar princes, cheerfully said unto his father all that had happened and by whom Krishna had been won. And the prince said, 'With large, red eyes, attired in deer-skin, and resembling a celestial in beauty, the youth who strung that foremost of bows and brought down to the ground the mark set on high, was soon surrounded by the foremost of Brahmanas who also offered him their homage for the feat he had achieved. Incapable of bearing the sight of a foe and endued with great activity, he began to exert his prowess. And surrounded by the Brahmanas he resembled the thunder-wielding Indra standing in the midst of the celestials, and the Rishis. And like a she-elephant following the leader of a herd, Krishna cheerfully followed that youth catching hold of his deer-skin. Then when the assembled monarchs incapable of bearing that sight lose up in wrath and advanced for fight, there rose up another hero who tearing up a large tree rushed at that concourse of kings, felling them right and left like Yama himself smiting down creatures endued with life. Then, O monarch, the assembled kings stood motionless and looked at that couple of heroes, while they, resembling the Sun and the Moon, taking Krishna with them, left the amphitheatre and went into the abode of a potter in the suburbs of the town, and there at the potter's abode sat a lady like unto a flame of fire who, I think, is their mother. And around her also sat three other foremost of men each of whom was like unto fire. And the couple of heroes having approached her paid homage unto her feet, and they said unto Krishna also to do the same. And keeping Krishna with her, those foremost of men all went the round of eleemosynary visits. Some time after when they returned, Krishna taking from them what they had obtained as alms, devoted a portion thereof to the gods, and gave another portion away (in gift) to Brahmanas. And of what remained after this, she gave a portion to that venerable lady, and distributed the rest amongst those five foremost of men. And she took a little for herself and ate it last of all. Then, O monarch, they all laid themselves down for sleep, Krishna lying along the line of their feet as their nether pillow. And the bed on which they lay was made of kusa grass upon which was spread their deer-skins. And before going to sleep they talked on diverse subjects in voices deep as of black clouds. The talk of those heroes indicated them to be neither Vaisyas nor Sudras, nor Brahmanas. Without doubt, O monarch, they are bulls amongst Kshatriyas, their discourse having been on military subjects. It seems, O father, that our hope hath been fructified, for we have heard that the sons of Kunti all escaped from the conflagration of the house of lac. From the way in which the mark was shot down by that youth, and the strength with which the bow was strung by him, and the manner in which I have heard them talk with one another proves conclusively, O monarch, that they are the sons of Pritha wandering in disguise.'
"Hearing these words of his son, king Drupada became exceedingly glad, and he sent unto them his priest directing him to ascertain who they were and whether they were the sons of the illustrious Pandu. Thus directed, the king's priest went unto them and applauding them all, delivered the king's message duly, saying, 'Ye who are worthy of preference in everything, the boon-giving king of the earth—Drupada—is desirous of ascertaining who ye are. Beholding this one who hath shot down the mark, his joy knoweth no bounds. Giving us all particulars of your family and tribe, place ye your feet on the heads of your foes and gladden the hearts of the king of Panchala mid his men and mine also. King Pandu was the dear friend of Drupada and was regarded by him as his counterself. And Drupada had all along cherished the desire of bestowing this daughter of his upon Pandu as his daughter-in-law. Ye heroes of features perfectly faultless, king Drupada hath all along cherished this desire in his heart that Arjuna of strong and long arms might wed this daughter of his according to the ordinance. If that hath become possible, nothing could be better; nothing more beneficial; nothing more conducive to fame and virtue, so far as Drupada is concerned.'
"Having said this, the priest remained silent and humbly waited for an answer. Beholding him sitting thus, the king Yudhishthira commanded Bhima who sat near, saying, 'Let water to wash his feet with and the Arghya be offered unto this Brahmana. He is king Drupada's priest and, therefore, worthy of great respect. We should worship him with more than ordinary reverence.' Then, O monarch, Bhima did as directed. Accepting the worship thus offered unto him, the Brahmana with a joyous heart sat at his ease. Then Yudhishthira addressed him and said, 'The king of the Panchalas hath, by fixing a special kind of dower, given away his daughter according to the practice of his order and not freely. This hero hath, by satisfying that demand, won the princess. King Drupada, therefore, hath nothing now to say in regard to the race, tribe, family and disposition of him who hath performed that feat. Indeed, all his queries have been answered by the stringing of the bow and the shooting down of the mark. It is by doing what he had directed that this illustrious hero hath brought away Krishna from among the assembled monarchs. In these circumstances, the king of the Lunar race should not indulge in any regrets which can only make him unhappy without mending matters in the least. The desire that king Drupada hath all along cherished will be accomplished for his handsome princess who beareth, I think, every auspicious mark. None that is weak in strength could string that bow, and none of mean birth and unaccomplished in arms could have shot down the mark. It behoveth not, therefore, the king of the Panchalas to grieve for his daughter today. Nor can anybody in the world undo that act of shooting down the mark. Therefore the king should not grieve for what must take its course.'
"While Yudhishthira was saying all this, another messenger from the king of the Panchalas, coming thither in haste, said, 'The (nuptial), feast is ready.'"
(Vaivahika Parva continued)
"Vaisampayana continued, 'The messenger said, 'King Drupada hath, in view of his daughter's nuptials prepared a good feast for the bride-groom's party. Come ye thither after finishing your daily rites. Krishna's wedding will take place there. Delay ye not. These cars adorned with golden lotuses drawn by excellent horses are worthy of kings. Riding on them, come ye into the abode of the king of the Panchalas.'
"Vaisampayana continued, 'Then those bulls among the Kurus, dismissing the priest and causing Kunti and Krishna to ride together on one of those cars, themselves ascended those splendid vehicles and proceeded towards Drupada's place. Meanwhile, O Bharata, hearing from his priest the words that Yudhishthira had said, king Drupada, in order to ascertain the order to which those heroes belonged, kept ready a large collection of articles (required by the ordinance for the wedding of each of the four orders). And he kept ready fruits, sanctified garlands, and coats of mail, and shields, and carpets, and kine, and seeds, and various other articles and implements of agriculture. And the king also collected, O monarch, every article appertaining to other arts, and various implements and apparatus of every kind of sport. And he also collected excellent coats of mail and shining shields, and swords and scimitars, of fine temper, and beautiful chariots and horses, and first-class bows and well-adorned arrows, and various kinds of missiles ornamented with gold. And he also kept ready darts and rockets and battle-axes and various utensils of war. And there were in that collection beds and carpets and various fine things, and cloths of various sorts. When the party went to Drupada's abode, Kunti taking with her the virtuous Krishna entered the inner apartments of the king. The ladies of the king's household with joyous hearts worshipped the queen of the Kurus. Beholding, O monarch, those foremost of men, each possessing the sportive gait of the lion, with deer-skins for their upper garments, eyes like unto those of mighty bulls, broad shoulders, and long-hanging arms like unto the bodies of mighty snakes, the king, and the king's ministers, and the king's son, and the king's friends and attendants, all became exceedingly glad. Those heroes sat on excellent seats, furnished with footstools without any awkwardness and hesitation. And those foremost of men sat with perfect fearlessness on those costly seats one after another according to the order of their ages. After those heroes were seated, well-dressed servants male and female, and skilful cooks brought excellent and costly viands worthy of kings on gold and silver plates. Then those foremost of men dined on those dishes and became well-pleased. And after the dinner was over, those heroes among men, passing over all other articles, began to observe with interest the various utensils of war. Beholding this, Drupada's son and Drupada himself, along with all his chief ministers of state, understanding the sons of Kunti to be all of royal blood became exceedingly glad.'"
(Vaivahika Parva continued)
"Vaisampayana said, 'Then the illustrious king of Panchala, addressing prince Yudhishthira in the form applicable to Brahmanas, cheerfully enquired of that illustrious son of Kunti, saying, 'Are we to know you as Kshatriyas, or Brahamanas, or are we to know you as celestials who disguising themselves as Brahmanas are ranging the earth and come hither for the hand of Krishna? O tell us truly, for we have great doubts! Shall we not be glad when our doubts have been removed? O chastiser of enemies, have the fates been propitious unto us? Tell us the truth willingly! Truth becometh monarchs better than sacrifices and dedications of tanks. Therefore, tell us not what is untrue. O thou of the beauty of a celestial, O chastiser of foes, hearing thy reply I shall make arrangements for my daughter's wedding according to the order to which ye belong.'
"Hearing these words of Drupada, Yudhishthira answered, saying 'Be not cheerless, O king; let joy fill thy heart! The desire cherished by thee hath certainly been accomplished. We are Kshatriyas, O king, and sons of the illustrious Pandu. Know me to be the eldest of the sons of Kunti and these to be Bhima and Arjuna. By these, O king, was thy daughter won amid the concourse of monarchs. The twins (Nakula and Sahadeva) and Kunti wait where Krishna is. O bull amongst men, let grief be driven from thy heart, for we are Kshatriyas. Thy daughter, O monarch, hath like a lotus been transferred only from one lake into another. O king, thou art our revered superior and chief refuge. I have told thee the whole truth.'
"Vaisampayana continued, 'Hearing those words, the king Drupada's eyes rolled in ecstasy. And. filled with delight the king could not, for some moments answer Yudhishthira. Checking his emotion with great effort, that chastiser of foes at last replied unto Yudhishthira in proper words. The virtuous monarch enquired how the Pandavas had escaped from the town of Varanavata. The son of Pandu told the monarch every particular in detail of their escape from the burning palace of lac. Hearing everything that the son of Kunti said, king Drupada censured Dhritarashtra, that ruler of men. And the monarch gave every assurance unto Yudhishthira, the son of Kunti. And that foremost of eloquent men then and there vowed to restore Yudhishthira to his paternal throne.
"Then Kunti and Krishna and Bhima and Arjuna and the twins, commanded by the king, to reside there, treated by Yajnasena with due respect. Then king Drupada with his sons, assured by all that had happened, approaching Yudhishthira, said, 'O thou of mighty arms, let the Kuru prince Arjuna take with due rites, the hand of my daughter on this auspicious day, and let him, therefore, perform the usual initiatory rites of marriage.'
"Vaisampayana continued, 'Hearing these words of Drupada, the virtuous king Yudhishthira replied, saying, 'O great king, I also shall have to marry.' Hearing him, Drupada said, 'If it pleaseth thee, take thou the hand of my daughter thyself with due rites. Or, give Krishna in marriage unto whomsoever of thy brothers thou likest.' Yudhishthira said, 'Thy daughter, O king, shall be the common wife of us all! Even thus it hath been ordered, O monarch, by our mother. I am unmarried still, and Bhima also is so amongst the sons of Pandu. This thy jewel of a daughter hath been won by Arjuna. This, O king, is the rule with us; to ever enjoy equally a jewel that we may obtain. O best of monarchs, that rule of conduct we cannot now abandon. Krishna, therefore, shall become the wedded wife of us all. Let her take our hands, one after another before the fire.'
'Drupada answered, 'O scion of Kuru's race, it hath been directed that one man may have many wives. But it hath never been heard that one woman may have many husbands! O son of Kunti, as thou art pure and acquainted with the rules of morality, it behoveth thee not to commit an act that is sinful and opposed both to usage and the Vedas. Why, O prince, hath thy understanding become so?' Yudhishthira said in reply, 'O monarch, morality is subtle. We do not know its course. Let us follow the way trodden by the illustrious ones of former ages. My tongue never uttered an untruth. My heart also never turneth to what is sinful. My mother commandeth so; and my heart also approveth of it. Therefore, O king, that is quite conformable to virtue. Act according to it, without any scruples. Entertain no fear, O king, about this matter.'
"Drupada said, 'O son of Kunti thy mother, and my son Dhrishtadyumna and thyself, settle amongst yourselves as to what should be done. Tell me the result of your deliberations and tomorrow I will do what is proper.'
"Vaisampayana continued, 'After this, O Bharata, Yudhishthira, Kunti and Dhrishtadyumna discoursed upon this matter. Just at that time, however, the island-born (Vyasa), O monarch, came there in course of his wanderings.'"
(Vaivahika Parva continued)
"Vaisampayana said, 'Then all the Pandavas and the illustrious king of the Panchalas and all others there present stood up and saluted with reverence the illustrious Rishi Krishna (Dwaipayana). The high-souled Rishi, saluting them in return and enquiring after their welfare, sat down on a carpet of gold. And commanded by Krishna (Dwaipayana) of immeasurable energy, those foremost of men all sat down on costly seats. A little after, O monarch, the son of Prishata in sweet accents asked the illustrious Rishi about the wedding of his daughter. And he said, 'How, O illustrious one, can one woman become the wife of many men without being defiled by sin? O, tell me truly all about this.' Hearing these words Vyasa replied, 'This practice, O king, being opposed to usage and the Vedas, hath become obsolete. I desire, however, to hear what the opinion of each of you is upon this matter.'
"Hearing these words of the Rishi, Drupada spoke first, saying, 'The practice is sinful in my opinion, being opposed to both usage and the Vedas. O best of Brahmanas, nowhere have I seen many men having one wife. The illustrious ones also of former ages never had such a usage amongst them. The wise should never commit a sin. I, therefore, can never make up mind to act in this way. This practice always appeareth to me to be of doubtful morality.
"After Drupada had ceased, Dhrishtadyumna spoke, saying 'O bull amongst Brahmanas, O thou of ascetic wealth, how can, O Brahmana, the elder brother, if he is of a good disposition, approach the wife of his younger brother? The ways of morality are ever subtle, and, therefore, we know them not. We cannot, therefore, say what is conformable to morality and what not. We cannot do such a deed, therefore, with a safe conscience. Indeed, O Brahmana, I cannot say, 'Let Draupadi become the common wife of five brothers.'
"Yudhishthira then spoke, saying, 'My tongue never uttereth an untruth and my heart never inclineth to what is sinful. When my heart approveth of it, it can never be sinful. I have heard in the Purana that a lady of name Jatila, the foremost of all virtuous women belonging to the race of Gotama had married seven Rishis. So also an ascetic's daughter, born of a tree, had in former times united herself in marriage with ten brothers all bearing the same name of Prachetas and who were all of souls exalted by asceticism. O foremost of all that are acquainted with the rules of morality, it is said that obedience to superior is ever meritorious. Amongst all superiors, it is well-known that the mother is the foremost. Even she hath commanded us to enjoy Draupadi as we do anything obtained as alms. It is for this, O best of Brahmanas, that I regard the (proposed) act as virtuous.'
"Kunti then said, 'The act is even so as the virtuous Yudhishthira hath said. I greatly fear, O Brahmana, lest my speech should become untrue. How shall I be saved from untruth?'
"When they had all finished speaking, Vyasa said, 'O amiable one, how shall thou be saved from the consequence of untruth? Even this is eternal virtue! I will not, O king of the Panchalas, discourse on this before you all. But thou alone shalt listen to me when I disclose how this practice hath been established and why it is to be regarded as old and eternal. There is no doubt that what Yudhishthira hath said is quite conformable to virtue.'
"Vaisampayana continued, 'Then the illustrious Vyasa—the master Dwaipayana—rose, and taking hold of Drupada's hand led him to a private apartment. The Pandavas and Kunti and Dhrishtadyumna of Prishata's race sat there, waiting for the return of Vyasa and Drupada. Meanwhile, Dwaipayana began his discourse with illustrious monarch for explaining how the practice of polyandry could not be regarded as sinful.'"
(Vaivahika Parva continued)
"Vaisampayana said, 'Vyasa continued, 'In days of yore, the celestials had once commenced a grand sacrifice in the forest of Naimisha. At that sacrifice, O king, Yama, the son of Vivaswat, became the slayer of the devoted animals. Yama, thus employed in that sacrifice, did not (during that period), O king, kill a single human being. Death being suspended in the world, the number of human beings increased very greatly. Then Soma and Sakra and Varuna and Kuvera, the Sadhyas, the Rudras, the Vasus, the twin Aswins,—these and other celestials went unto Prajapati, the Creator of the universe. Struck with fear for the increase of the human population of the world they addressed the Master of creation and said, 'Alarmed, O lord, at the increase of human beings on earth, we come to thee for relief. Indeed, we crave thy protection.' Hearing those words the Grandsire said, 'Ye have little cause to be frightened at this increase of human beings. Ye all are immortal. It behoveth you not to take fright at human beings.' The celestials replied, 'The mortals have all become immortal. There is no distinction now between us and them. Vexed at the disappearance of all distinction, we have come to thee in order that thou mayest distinguish us from them.' The Creator then said, 'The son of Vivaswat is even now engaged in the grand sacrifice. It is for this that men are not dying. But when Yama's work in connection with the sacrifice terminates, men will again begin to die as before. Strengthened by your respective energies, Yama will, when that time comes, sweep away by thousands the inhabitants on earth who will scarcely have then any energy left in them.'
"Vyasa continued, 'Hearing these words of the first-born deity, the celestials returned to the spot where the grand sacrifice was being performed. And the mighty one sitting by the side of the Bhagirathi saw a (golden) lotus being carried along by the current. And beholding that (golden) lotus, they wondered much. And amongst them, that foremost of celestials, viz., Indra, desirous of ascertaining whence it came, proceeded up along the course of the Bhagirathi. And reaching that spot whence the goddess Ganga issues perennially, Indra beheld a woman possessing the splendour of fire. The woman who had come there to take water was washing herself in the stream, weeping all the while. The tear-drops she shed, falling on the stream, were being transformed into golden lotuses. The wielder of the thunderbolt, beholding that wonderful sight, approached the woman and asked her, 'Who art thou, amiable lady? Why dost thou weep? I desire to know the truth. O, tell me everything.'
"Vyasa continued, 'The woman thereupon answered, 'O Sakra, thou mayest know who I am and why, unfortunate that I am, I weep, if only, O chief of the celestials, thou comest with me as I lead the way. Thou shall then see what it is I weep for." Hearing these words of the lady, Indra followed her as she led the way. And soon he saw, not far off from where he was, a handsome youth with a young lady seated on a throne placed on one of the peaks of Himavat and playing at dice. Beholding that youth, the thief of the celestials said, 'Know, intelligent youth, that this universe is under my sway.' Seeing, however, that the person addressed was so engrossed in dice that he took no notice of what he said, Indra was possessed by anger and repeated, 'I am the lord of the universe. The youth who was none else than the god Mahadeva (the god of the gods), seeing Indra filled with wrath, only smiled, having cast a glance at him. At that glance, however, the chief of the celestials was at once paralysed and stood there like a stake. When the game at dice was over, Isana addressing the weeping woman said, 'Bring Sakra hither, for I shall soon so deal with him that pride may not again enter his heart.' As soon as Sakra was touched by that woman, the chief of the celestials with limbs paralysed by that touch, fell down on the earth. The illustrious Isana of fierce energy then said unto him, 'Act not, O Sakra, ever again in this way. Remove this huge stone, for thy strength and energy are immeasurable, and enter the hole (it will disclose) where await some others possessing the splendour of the sun and who are all like unto thee.' Indra, then, on removing that stone, beheld a cave in the breast of that king of mountains, within which were four others resembling himself. Beholding their plight, Sakra became seized with grief and exclaimed, 'Shall I be even like these?' Then the god Girisha, looking full at Indra with expanded eyes, said in anger, 'O thou of a hundred sacrifices, enter this cave without loss of time, for thou hast from folly insulted me.' Thus addressed by the lord Isana, the chief of the celestials, in consequence of that terrible imprecation, was deeply pained, and with limbs weakened by fear trembled like the wind-shaken leaf of a Himalayan fig. And cursed unexpectedly by the god owning a bull for his vehicle, Indra, with joined hands and shaking from head to foot, addressed that fierce god of multi-form manifestations, saving, 'Thou art, O Bhava, the over-looker of the infinite Universe!' Hearing these words the god of fiery energy smiled and said, 'Those that are of disposition like thine never obtain my grace. These others (within the cave) had at one time been like thee. Enter thou this cave, therefore, and lie there for some time. The fate of you all shall certainly be the same. All of you shall have to take your birth in the world of men, where, having achieved many difficult feats and slaying a large number of men, ye shall again by the merits of your respective deeds, regain the valued region of Indra. Ye shall accomplish all I have said and much more besides, of other kinds of work.' Then those Indras, of their shorn glory said, 'We shall go from our celestial regions even unto the region of men where salvation is ordained to be difficult of acquisition. But let the gods Dharma, Vayu, Maghavat, and the twin Aswins beget us upon our would-be mother. Fighting with men by means of both celestial and human weapons, we shall again come back into the region of Indra.'
"Vyasa continued, 'Hearing these words of the former Indras, the wielder of the thunderbolt once more addressed that foremost of gods, saying, 'Instead of going myself, I shall, with a portion of my energy, create from myself a person for the accomplishment of the task (thou assignest) to form the fifth among these!' Vishwabhuk, Bhutadhaman, Sivi of great energy, Santi the fourth, and Tejaswin, these it is said were the five Indras of old. And the illustrious god of the formidable bow, from his kindness, granted unto the five Indras the desire they cherished. And he also appointed that woman of extraordinary beauty, who was none else than celestial Sri (goddess of grace) herself, to be their common wife in the world of men. Accompanied by all those Indras, the god Isana then went unto Narayana of immeasurable energy, the Infinite, the Immaterial, the Uncreate, the Old, the Eternal, and the Spirit of these universes without limits. Narayana approved of everything. Those Indras then were born in the world of men. And Hari (Narayana) took up two hairs from his body, one of which hairs was black and the other white. And those two hairs entered the wombs of two of the Yadu race, by name Devaki and Rohini. And one of these hairs viz., that which was white, became Valadeva. And the hair that was black was born as Kesava's self, Krishna. And those Indras of old who had been confined in the cave on the Himavat are none else than the sons of Pandu, endued with great energy. And Arjuna amongst the Pandavas, called also Savyasachin (using both hands with equal dexterity) is a portion of Sakra.'
"Vyasa continued, 'Thus, O king, they who have been born as the Pandavas are none else than those Indras of old. And the celestial Sri herself who had been appointed as their wife is this Draupadi of extraordinary beauty. How could she whose effulgence is like that of the sun or the moon, whose fragrance spreads for two miles around, take her birth in any other than an extraordinary way, viz., from within the earth, by virtue of the sacrificial rites? Unto thee, O king, I cheerfully grant this other boon in the form of spiritual sight. Behold now the sons of Kunti endued with their sacred and celestial bodies of old!'
"Vaisampayana continued, 'Saying this, that sacred Brahmana Vyasa of generous deeds, by means of his ascetic power, granted celestial sight unto the king. Thereupon the king beheld all the Pandavas endued with their former bodies. And the king saw them possessed of celestial bodies, with golden crowns and celestial garlands, and each resembling Indra himself, with complexions radiant as fire or the sun, and decked with every ornament, and handsome, and youthful, with broad chests and statures measuring about five cubits. Endued with every accomplishment, and decked with celestial robes of great beauty and fragrant garlands of excellent making the king beheld them as so many three-eyed gods (Mahadeva), or Vasus, or Rudras, or Adityas themselves. And observing the Pandavas in the forms of those Indras of old, and Arjuna also in the form of Indra sprung from Sakra himself, king Drupada was highly pleased. And the monarch wondered much on beholding that manifestation of celestial power under deep disguise. The king looking at his daughter, that foremost of women endued with great beauty, like unto a celestial damsel and possessed of the splendour of fire or the moon, regarded her as the worthy wife of those celestial beings, for her beauty, splendour and fame. And beholding that wonderful sight, the monarch touched the feet of Satyavati's son, exclaiming, 'O great Rishi, nothing is miraculous in thee!' The Rishi then cheerfully continued, 'In a certain hermitage there was an illustrious Rishi's daughter, who, though handsome and chaste, obtained not a husband. The maiden gratified, by severe ascetic penances, the god Sankara (Mahadeva). The lord Sankara, gratified at her penances, told her himself. 'Ask thou the boon thou desirest' Thus addressed, the maiden repeatedly said unto the boon-giving Supreme Lord, 'I desire to obtain a husband possessed of every accomplishment. Sankara, the chief of the gods, gratified with her, gave her the boon she asked, saying, 'Thou shall have, amiable maiden, five husbands.' The maiden, who had succeeded in gratifying the god, said again, 'O Sankara, I desire to have from thee only one husband possessed of every virtue?' The god of gods, well-pleased with her, spake again, saying, 'Thou hast, O maiden, addressed me five full times, repeating, 'Give me a husband.' Therefore, O amiable one, it shall even be as thou hast asked. Blessed be thou. All this, however, will happen in a future life of thine!'
"Vyasa continued, 'O Drupada, this thy daughter of celestial beauty is that maiden. Indeed, the faultless Krishna sprung from Prishata's race hath been pre-ordained to become the common wife of five husbands. The celestial Sri, having undergone severe ascetic penances, hath, for the sake of the Pandavas, had her birth as thy daughter, in the course of thy grand sacrifice. That handsome goddess, waited upon by all the celestials, as a consequence of her own acts becomes the (common) wife of five husbands. It is for this that the self-create had created her. Having listened to all this, O king Drupada, do what thou desirest.'"
(Vaivahika Parva continued)
"Vaisampayana said, 'Drupada, on hearing this, observed, O great Rishi, it was only when I had not heard this from thee that I had sought to act in the way I told thee of. Now, however, that I know all, I cannot be indifferent to what hath been ordained by the gods. Therefore do I resolve to accomplish what thou hast said. The knot of destiny cannot be untied. Nothing in this world is the result of our own acts. That which had been appointed by us in view of securing one only bridegroom hath now terminated in favour of many. As Krishna (in a former life) had repeatedly said, 'O, give me a husband!' the great god himself even gave her the boon she had asked. The god himself knows the right or wrong of this. As regards myself, when Sankara hath ordained so, right or wrong, no sin can attach to me. Let these with happy hearts take, as ordained, the hand of Krishna with the rites.'
"Vaisampayana continued, 'Then the illustrious Vyasa, addressing Yudhishthira the just, said, 'This day is an auspicious day, O son of Pandu! This day the moon has entered the constellation called Pushya. Take thou the hand of Krishna today, thyself first before thy brothers!' When Vyasa had said so, king Yajnasena and his son made preparations for the wedding. And the monarch kept ready various costly articles as marriage presents. Then he brought out his daughter Krishna, decked, after a bath, with many jewels and pearls. Then there came to witness the wedding all the friends and relatives of the king, ministers of state, and many Brahmanas and citizens. And they all took their seats according to their respective ranks. Adorned with that concourse of principal men, with its yard decked with lotuses and lilies scattered thereupon, and beautified with lines of troops, king Drupada's palace, festooned around with diamonds and precious stones, looked like the firmament studded with brilliant stars. Then those princes of the Kuru line, endued with youth and adorned with ear-rings, attired in costly robes and perfumed with sandal-paste, bathed and performed the usual religious rites and accompanied by their priest Dhaumya who was possessed of the splendour of fire, entered the wedding hall one after another in due order, and with glad hearts, like mighty bulls entering a cow-pen. Then Dhaumya, well-conversant with the Vedas, igniting the sacred fire, poured with due mantras libations of clarified butter into that blazing element. And calling Yudhishthira there, Dhaumya, acquainted with mantras, united him with Krishna. Walking round the fire the bridegroom and the bride took each other's hand. After their union was complete, the priest Dhaumya, taking leave of Yudhishthira, that ornament of battles, went out of the palace. Then those mighty car-warriors,—those perpetuators of the Kuru line,—those princes attired in gorgeous dresses, took the hand of that best of women, day by day in succession, aided by that priest. O king, the celestial Rishi told me of a very wonderful and extraordinary thing in connection with these marriages, viz., that the illustrious princess of slender waist regained her virginity every day after a previous marriage. After the weddings were over, king Drupada gave unto those mighty car-warriors diverse kinds of excellent wealth. And the king gave unto them one hundred cars with golden standards, each drawn by four steeds with golden bridles. And he gave them one hundred elephants all possessing auspicious marks on their temples and faces and like unto a hundred mountains with golden peaks. He also gave them a hundred female servants all in the prime of youth and clad in costly robes and ornaments and floral wreaths. And the illustrious monarch of the Lunar race gave unto each of those princes of celestial beauty, making the sacred fire a witness of his gifts, much wealth and many costly robes and ornaments of great splendour. The sons of Pandu endued with great strength, after their wedding were over, and after they had obtained Krishna like unto a second Sri along with great wealth, passed their days in joy and happiness, like so many Indras, in the capital of the king of the Panchalas,'"
(Vaivahika Parva continued)
"Vaisampayana said, 'King Drupada, after his alliance with the Pandavas, had all his fears dispelled. Indeed, the monarch no longer stood in fear even of the gods. The ladies of the illustrious Drupada's household approached Kunti and introduced themselves unto her, mentioning their respective names, and worshipped her feet with heads touching the ground. Krishna also, attired in red silk and her wrists still encircled with the auspicious thread, saluting her mother-in-law with reverence, stood contentedly before her with joined palms. Pritha, out of affection, pronounced a blessing upon her daughter-in-law endued with great beauty and every auspicious mark and possessed of a sweet disposition and good character, saying, 'Be thou unto thy husband as Sachi unto Indra, Swaha unto Vibhavasu, Rohini unto Soma, Damayanti unto Nala, Bhadra unto Vaisravana, Arundhati unto Vasishtha, Lakshmi unto Narayana! O amiable one, be thou the mother of long-lived and heroic children, and possessed of everything that can make thee happy! Let luck and prosperity ever wait on thee! Wait thou ever on husbands engaged in the performance of grand sacrifices. Be thou devoted to thy husbands. And let thy days be ever passed in duly entertaining and reverencing guests and strangers arrived at thy abode, and the pious and the old; children and superiors. Be thou installed as the Queen of the kingdom and the capital of Kurujangala, with thy husband Yudhishthira the just! O daughter, let the whole earth, conquered by the prowess of thy husbands endued with great strength, be given away by thee unto Brahmanas at horse-sacrifice! O accomplished one whatever gems there are on earth possessed of superior virtues, obtain them, O lucky one, and be thou happy for a full hundred years! And, O daughter-in-law, as I rejoice today beholding thee attired in red silk, so shall I rejoice again, when, O accomplished one, I behold thee become the mother of a son!'
"Vaisampayana continued, 'After the sons of Pandu had been married, Hari (Krishna) sent unto them (as presents) various gold ornaments set with pearls and black gems (lapis lazuli). And Madhava (Krishna) also sent unto them costly robes manufactured in various countries, and many beautiful and soft blankets and hides of great value, and many costly beds and carpets and vehicles. He also sent them vessels by hundreds, set with gems and diamonds. And Krishna also gave them female servants by thousands, brought from various countries, and endued with beauty, youth and accomplishments and decked with every ornament. He also gave them many well-trained elephants brought from the country of Madra, and many excellent horses in costly harness, cars drawn by horses of excellent colours and large teeth. The slayer of Madhu, of immeasurable soul, also sent them coins of pure gold by crores upon crores in separate heaps. And Yudhishthira the just, desirous of gratifying Govinda, accepted all those presents with great joy.'"
"Vaisampayana said, 'The news was carried unto all the monarchs (who had come to the Self-choice of Draupadi) by their trusted spies that the handsome Draupadi had been united in marriage with the sons of Pandu. And they were also informed that the illustrious hero who had bent the bow and shot the mark was none else than Arjuna, that foremost of victorious warriors and first of all wielders of the bow and arrows. And it became known that the mighty warrior who had dashed Salya, the king of Madra, on the ground, and who in wrath had terrified the assembled monarchs by means of the tree (he had uprooted), and who had taken his stand before all foes in perfect fearlessness, was none else than Bhima, that feller of hostile ranks, whose touch alone was sufficient to take the lives out of all foes. The monarchs, upon being informed that the Pandavas had assumed the guise of peaceful Brahmanas, wondered much. They even heard that Kunti with all her sons had been burnt to death in the conflagration of the house of lac. They, therefore, now regarded the Pandavas in the light of persons who had come back from the region of the dead. And recollecting the cruel scheme contrived by Purochana, they began to say, 'O, fie on Bhishma, fie on Dhritarashtra of the Kuru race!'
"After the Self-choice was over, all the monarchs (who had come thither), hearing that Draupadi had been united with the Pandavas, set out for their own dominions. And Duryodhana, hearing that Draupadi had selected the owner of white steeds (Arjuna) as her lord, became greatly depressed. Accompanied by his brothers, Aswatthaman, his uncle (Sakuni), Karna and Kripa the prince set out with a heavy heart for his capital. Then Duhsasana, blushing with shame, addressed his brother softly and said, 'If Arjuna had not disguised himself as a Brahmana, he could never have succeeded in obtaining Draupadi. It was for this disguise, O king, that no one could recognise him as Dhananjaya. Fate, I ween, is ever supreme. Exertion is fruitless; fie on our exertions, O brother! The Pandavas are still alive!' Speaking unto one another thus and blaming Purochana (for his carelessness), they then entered the city of Hastinapura, with cheerless and sorrowful hearts. Beholding the mighty sons of Pritha, escaped from the burning house of lac and allied with Drupada, and thinking of Dhrishtadyumna and Sikhandin and the other sons of Drupada all accomplished in fight, they were struck with fear and overcome with despair.
"Then Vidura, having learnt that Draupadi had been won by the Pandavas and that the sons of Dhritarashtra had come back (to Hastinapura) in shame, their pride humiliated, became filled with joy. And, O king, approaching Dhritarashtra, Kshattri said, 'The Kurus are prospering by good luck!' Hearing those words of Vidura, the son of Vichitravirya, wondering, said in great glee, 'What good luck, O Vidura! What good luck!' From ignorance, the blind monarch understood that his eldest son Duryodhana had been chosen by Drupada's daughter as her lord. And the king immediately ordered various ornaments to be made for Draupadi. And he commanded that both Draupadi and his son Duryodhana should be brought with pomp to Hastinapura. It was then that Vidura told the monarch that Draupadi had chosen the Pandavas for her lords, and that those heroes were all alive and at peace, and that they had been received with great respect by king Drupada. And he also informed Dhritarashtra that the Pandavas had been united with the many relatives and friends of Drupada, each owning large armies, and with many others who had come to that self-choice.
"Hearing these words of Vidura, Dhritarashtra said, 'Those children are to me as dear as they were to Pandu. Nay, more. O listen to me why my affection for them now is even greater! The heroic sons of Pandu are well and at ease. They have obtained many friends. Their relatives, and others whom they have gained as allies, are all endued with great strength. Who amongst monarchs in prosperity or adversity would not like to have Drupada with his relatives as an ally?'
"Vaisampayana continued, 'Having heard these words of the monarch, Vidura said, 'O king, let thy understanding remain so without change for a hundred years!' Having said this Vidura returned to his own abode. Then, O monarch, there came unto Dhritarashtra, Duryodhana and the son of Radha, Karna. Addressing the monarch, they said, 'We cannot, O king, speak of any transgression in the presence of Vidura! We have now found thee alone, and will, therefore, say all we like! What is this that thou hast, O monarch, desired to do? Dost thou regard the prosperity of thy foes as if it were thy own, that thou hast been applauding the Pandavas, O foremost of men, in the presence of Vidura? O sinless one, thou actest not, O king, in the way thou shouldst! O father, we should now act every day in such a way as to weaken (the strength of) the Pandavas. The time hath come, O father, for us to take counsel together, so that the Pandavas may not swallow us all with our children and friends and relatives.'"
(Viduragamana Parva continued)
"Vaisampayana said, 'Dhritarashtra replied saying, I desire to do exactly what you would recommend. But I do not wish to inform Vidura of it even by a change of muscle. It was, therefore, O son, that I was applauding the Pandavas in Vidura's presence, so that he might not know even by a sign what is in my mind. Now that Vidura hath gone away, this is the time, O Suyodhana (Duryodhana), for telling me what thou hast hit upon, and what, O Radheya (Karna), thou too hast hit upon.'
"Duryodhana said. 'Let us, O father, by means of trusted and skilful and adroit Brahmanas, seek to produce dissensions between the sons of Kunti and Madri. Or, let king Drupada and his sons, and all his ministers of state, be plied with presents of large wealth, so that they may abandon the cause of Yudhishthira, the son of Kunti. Or, let our spies induce the Pandavas to settle in Drupada's dominions, by describing to them, separately, the inconvenience of residing in Hastinapura, so that, separated from as, they may permanently settle in Panchala. Or, let some clever spies, full of resources, sowing the seeds of dissension among the Pandavas, make them jealous of one another. Or, let them incite Krishna against her husbands. She has many lords and this will not present any difficulty. Or, let some seek to make the Pandavas themselves dissatisfied with Krishna, in which case Krishna also will be dissatisfied with them. Or, let, O king, some clever spies, repairing thither, secretly compass the death of Bhimasena. Bhima is the strongest of them all. Relying upon Bhima alone, the Pandavas used to disregard us, of old. Bhima is fierce and brave and the (sole) refuge of the Pandavas. If he be slain, the others will be deprived of strength and energy. Deprived of Bhima who is their sole refuge, they will no longer strive to regain their kingdom. Arjuna, O king, is invincible in battle, if Bhima protecteth him from behind. Without Bhima, Arjuna is not equal to even a fourth part of Radheya. Indeed, O king, the Pandavas conscious of their own feebleness without Bhima and of our strength would not really strive to recover the kingdom. Or, if, O monarch, coming hither, they prove docile and obedient to us, we would then seek to repress them according to the dictates of political science (as explained by Kanika). Or, we may tempt them by means of handsome girls, upon which the princess of Panchala will get annoyed with them. Or, O Radheya, let messengers be despatched to bring them hither, so that, when arrived, we may through trusted agents, by some of the above methods, cause them to be slain. Strive, O father, to employ any of these (various) methods that may appear to thee faultless. Time passeth. Before their confidence in king Drupada—that bull amongst kings—is established we may succeed, O monarch, to encounter them. But after their confidence hath been established in Drupada, we are sure to fail. These, O father, are my views for the discomfiture of the Pandavas. Judge whether they be good or bad. What, O Karna, dost thou think?'"
(Viduragamana Parva continued)
"Vaisampayana said, 'Thus addressed by Duryodhana, Karna said, 'It doth not seem to me, O Duryodhana, that thy reasoning is well-founded. O perpetuator of the Kuru race, no method will succeed against the Pandavas. O brave prince, thou hast before, by various subtle means, striven to carry out thy wishes. But ever hast thou failed to slay thy foes. They were then living near thee, O king! They were then unfledged and of tender years, but thou couldst not injure them then. They are now living at a distance, grown up, full-fledged. The sons of Kunti, O thou of firm resolution, cannot now be injured by any subtle contrivances of thine. This is my opinion. As they are aided by the very Fates, and as they are desirous of regaining their ancestral kingdom, we can never succeed in injuring them by any means in our power. It is impossible to create disunion amongst them. They can never be disunited who have all taken to a common wife. Nor can we succeed in estranging Krishna from the Pandavas by any spies of ours. She chose them as her lords when they were in adversity. Will she abandon them now that they are in prosperity? Besides women always like to have many husbands, Krishna hath obtained her wish. She can never be estranged from the Pandavas. The king of Panchala is honest and virtuous; he is not avaricious. Even if we offer him our whole kingdom he will not abandon the Pandavas. Drupada's son also possesseth every accomplishment, and is attached to the Pandavas. Therefore, I do not think that the Pandavas can now be injured by any subtle means in thy power. But, O bull amongst men, this is what is good and advisable for us now, viz., to attack and smite them till they are exterminated. Let this course recommend itself to thee. As long as our party is strong and that of the king of the Panchalas is weak, so long strike them without any scruple. O son of Gandhari, as long as their innumerable vehicles and animals, friends, and friendly tribes are not mustered together, continue, O king, to exhibit thy prowess. As long as the king of the Panchalas together with his sons gifted with great prowess, setteth not his heart upon fighting with us, so long, O king, exhibit thy prowess. And, O king, exert thy prowess before he of the Vrishni race (Krishna) cometh with the Yadava host into the city of Drupada, carrying everything before him, to restore the Pandavas to their paternal kingdom. Wealth, every article of enjoyment, kingdom, there is nothing that Krishna may not sacrifice for the sake of the Pandavas. The illustrious Bharata had acquired the whole earth by his prowess alone. Indra hath acquired sovereignty of the three worlds by prowess alone. O king, prowess is always applauded by the Kshatriyas. O bull amongst Kshatriyas, prowess is the cardinal virtue of the brave. Let us, therefore, O monarch, with our large army consisting of four kinds of forces, grind Drupada without loss of time, and bring hither the Pandavas. Indeed, the Pandavas are incapable of being discomfited by any policy of conciliation, of gift, of wealth and bribery, or of disunion. Vanquish them, therefore, by thy prowess. And vanquishing them by thy prowess, rule thou this wide earth. O monarch, I see not any other means by which we may accomplish our end.'
"Vaisampayana continued, 'Hearing these words of Radheya, Dhritarashtra, endued with great strength, applauded him highly. The monarch then addressed him and said, 'Thou, O son of a Suta, art gifted with great wisdom and accomplished in arms. This speech, therefore, favouring the exhibition of prowess suiteth thee well. But let Bhishma, and Drona, and Vidura, and you two, take counsel together and adopt that proposal which may lead to our benefit.'
Vaisampayana continued, "'Then king Dhritarashtra called unto him, all those celebrated ministers and took counsel with them.'"
(Viduragamana Parva continued)
"Vaisampayana said, 'Asked by Dhritarashtra to give his opinion, Bhishma replied, 'O Dhritarashtra, a quarrel with the Pandavas is what I can never approve of. As thou art to me, so was Pandu without doubt. And the sons of Gandhari are to me, as those of Kunti. I should protect them as well as I should thy sons, O Dhritarashtra! And, O king, the Pandavas are as much near to me as they are to prince Duryodhana or to all the other Kurus. Under these circumstances a quarrel with them is what I never like. Concluding a treaty with those heroes, let half the land be given unto them. This is without doubt, the paternal kingdom of those foremost ones of the Kuru race. And, O Duryodhana, like thee who lookest upon this kingdom as thy paternal property, the Pandavas also look upon it as their paternal possession. If the renowned sons of Pandu obtain not the kingdom, how can it be thine, or that of any other descendant of the Bharata race? If thou regardest thyself as one that hath lawfully come into the possession of the kingdom, I think they also may be regarded to have lawfully come into the possession of this kingdom before thee. Give them half the kingdom quietly. This, O tiger among men, is beneficial to all. If thou actest otherwise, evil will befall us all. Thou too shall be covered with dishonour. O Duryodhana, strive to maintain thy good name. A good name is, indeed, the source of one's strength. It hath been said that one liveth in vain whose reputation hath gone. A man, O Kaurava, doth not die so long as his fame lasteth. One liveth as long as one's fame endureth, and dieth when one's fame is gone. Follow thou, O son of Gandhari, the practice that is worthy of the Kuru race. O thou of mighty arms, imitate thy own ancestors. We are fortunate that the Pandavas have not perished. We are fortunate that Kunti liveth. We are fortunate that the wretch Purochana without being able to accomplish his purpose hath himself perished. From that time when I heard that the sons of Kuntibhoja's daughter had been burnt to death, I was, O son of Gandhari, ill able to meet any living creature. O tiger among men, hearing of the fate that overtook Kunti, the world doth not regard Purochana so guilty as it regardeth thee. O king, the escape, therefore, of the sons of Pandu with life from that conflagration and their re-appearance, do away with thy evil repute. Know, O thou of Kuru's race, that as long as those heroes live, the wielder of the thunder himself cannot deprive them of their ancestral share in the kingdom. The Pandavas are virtuous and united. They are being wrongly kept out of their equal share in the kingdom. If thou shouldst act rightly, if thou shouldst do what is agreeable to me, if thou shouldst seek the welfare of all, then give half the kingdom unto them.'"
(Viduragamana Parva continued)
"Vaisampayana said, 'After Bhishma had concluded, Drona spoke, saying, 'O king Dhritarashtra, it hath been heard by us that friends summoned for consultation should always speak what is right, true, and conductive to fame. O sire, I am of the same mind in this matter with the illustrious Bhishma. Let a share of the kingdom be given unto the Pandavas. This is eternal virtue. Send, O Bharata, unto Drupada without loss of time some messenger of agreeable speech, carrying with him a large treasure for the Pandavas. And let the man go unto Drupada carrying costly presents for both the bridegrooms and the bride, and let him speak unto that monarch of thy increase of power and dignity arising from this new alliance with him. And, O monarch, let the man know also that both thyself and Duryodhana have become exceedingly glad in consequence of what hath happened. Let him say this repeatedly unto Drupada and Dhrishtadyumna. And let him speak also about the alliance as having been exceedingly proper, and agreeable unto thee, and of thyself being worthy of it. And let the man repeatedly propitiate the sons of Kunti and those of Madri (in proper words). And at thy command, O king, let plenty of ornaments of pure gold be given unto Draupadi. And let, O bull of Bharata's race, proper presents be given unto all the sons of Drupada. Let the messenger then propose the return of the Pandavas to Hastinapura. After the heroes will have been permitted (by Drupada), to come hither, let Duhsasana and Vikarna go out with a handsome train to receive them. And when they will have arrived at Hastinapura, let those foremost of men be received with affection by thee. And let them then be installed on their paternal throne, agreeably to the wishes of the people of the realm. This, O monarch of Bharata's race, is what I think should be thy behaviour towards the Pandavas who are to thee even as thy own sons.'
"Vaisampayana continued, 'After Drona had ceased, Karna spake again, 'Both Bhishma and Drona have been pampered with wealth that is thine and favours conferred by thee! They are also always regarded by thee as thy trusted friends! What can therefore be more amusing than that they both should give thee advice which is not for thy good? How can the wise approve that advice which is pronounced good by a person speaking with wicked intent but taking care to conceal the wickedness of his heart? Indeed, in a season of distress, friends can neither benefit nor injure. Every one's happiness or the reverse dependeth on destiny. He that is wise and he that is foolish, he that is young (in years) and he that is old, he that hath allies and he that hath none, all become, it is seen everywhere, happy or unhappy at times. It hath been heard by us that there was, of old, a king by name Amvuvicha. Having his capital at Rajagriha, he was the king of all the Magadha chiefs. He never attended to his affairs. All his exertion consisted in inhaling the air. All his affairs were in the hands of his minister. And his minister, named Mahakarni, became the supreme authority in the state. Regarding himself all powerful, he began to disregard the king. And the wretch himself appropriated everything belonging unto the king, his queens and treasures and sovereignty. But the possession of all these, instead of satisfying his avarice, only served to inflame him the more. Having appropriated everything belonging to the king, he even coveted the throne. But it hath been heard by us that with all his best endeavours he succeeded not in acquiring the kingdom of the monarch, his master, even though the latter was inattentive to business and content with only breathing the air. What else can be said, O king, than that monarch's sovereignty was dependent on destiny? If, therefore, O king, this kingdom be established in thee by destiny, it will certainly continue in thee, even if the whole world were to become thy enemy! If, however, destiny hath ordained otherwise, howsoever mayest thou strive, it will not last in thee! O learned one, remembering all this, judge of the honesty or otherwise of thy advisers. Ascertain also who amongst them are wicked and who have spoken wisely and well.'
"Vaisampayana continued, 'Hearing these words of Karna, Drona replied, 'As thou art wicked it is evident thou sayest so in consequence of the wickedness of thy intent. It is for injuring the Pandavas that thou findest fault with us. But know, O Karna, what I have said is for the good of all and the prosperity of the Kuru race. If thou regardest all this as productive of evil, declare thyself what is for our good. If the good advice I have given be not followed, I think the Kurus will be exterminated in no time.'"
(Viduragamana Parva continued)
"Vaisampayana said, 'After Drona had ceased, Vidura spoke, saying, 'O monarch, thy friends without doubt, are saying unto thee what is for thy good. But as thou art unwilling to listen to what they say, their words scarcely find a place in thy ears. What that foremost one of Kuru's race, viz., Bhishma, the son of Santanu, hath said, is excellent and is for thy good. But thou dost not listen to it. The preceptor Drona also hath said much that is for thy good which however Karna, the son of Radha, doth not regard to be such. But, O king, reflecting hard I do not find any one who is better a friend to thee than either of these two lions among men (viz., Bhishma and Drona), or any one who excels either of them in wisdom. These two, old in years, in wisdom, and in learning, always regard thee, O king, and the sons of Pandu with equal eyes. Without doubt, O king of Bharata's race, they are both, in virtue and truthfulness, not inferior to Rama, the son of Dasaratha, and Gaya. Never before did they give thee any evil advice. Thou also, O monarch, hast never done them any injury. Why should, therefore, these tigers among men, who are ever truthful, give thee wicked advice, especially when thou hast never injured them? Endued with wisdom these foremost of men, O king, will never give thee counsels that are crooked. O scion of Kuru's rate, this is my firm conviction that these two, acquainted with all rules of morality, will never, tempted by wealth, utter anything betraying a spirit of partisanship. What they have said, O Bharata, I regard highly beneficial to thee. Without doubt, O monarch, the Pandavas are thy sons as much as Duryodhana and others are. Those ministers, therefore, that give thee any counsel fraught with evil unto the Pandavas, do not really look to thy interests. If there is any partiality in thy heart, O king, for thy own children, they who by their counsel seek to bring it out, certainly do thee no good. Therefore, O king, these illustrious persons endued with great splendour, have not I think, said anything that leadeth to evil. Thou, however, dost not understand it. What these bulls among men have said regarding the invincibility of the Pandavas is perfectly true. Think not otherwise of it, O tiger among men. Blest be thou! Can the handsome Dhananjaya, the son of Pandu, using the right and the left hand with equal activity, be vanquished in battle even by Maghavat himself? Can the great Bhimasena of strong arms possessing the might of ten thousand elephants, be vanquished in battle by the immortals themselves? Who also that desireth to live can overcome in battle the twins (Nagula and Sahadeva) like unto the sons of Yama himself, and well-skilled in fight? How too can the eldest one of the Pandavas in whom patience, mercy, forgiveness, truth, and prowess always live together, be vanquished? They who have Rama (Valadeva) as their ally, and Janardana (Krishna) as their counsellor, and Satyaki as their partisan, have already defeated everybody in war. They who have Drupada for their father-in-law, and Drupada's sons—the heroic brothers, viz., Dhristadyumna and others of Prishata's race for their brothers-in-law, are certainly invincible. Remembering this, O monarch, and knowing that their claim to the kingdom is even prior to thine, behave virtuously towards them. The stain of calumny is on thee, O monarch, in consequence of that act of Purochana. Wash thyself of it now, by a kindly behaviour towards the Pandavas. This kindly behaviour of thine, O monarch, towards the Pandavas will be an act of great benefit to us, protecting the lives of us all that belong to Kuru's race, and leading to the growth of the whole Kshatriya order! We had formerly warred with king Drupada; if we can now secure him as an ally, it will strengthen our party. The Dasarhas, O king, are numerous and strong. Know where Krishna is, all of them must be, and where Krishna is, there victory also must be! O king, who, unless cursed by the gods, would seek, to effect that by means of war which can be effected by conciliation? Hearing that the sons of Pritha are alive, the citizens and other subjects of the realm have become exceedingly glad and eager for beholding them. O monarch, act in a way that is agreeable to them. Duryodhana and Karna and Sakuni, the son of Suvala, are sinful, foolish and young; listen not to them. Possessed of every virtue thou art I long ago told thee, O monarch that for Duryodhana's fault, the subjects of this kingdom would be exterminated.'"
(Viduragamana Parva continued)
"Vaisampayana said, 'Hearing these various speeches, Dhritarashtra said, The learned Bhishma, the son of Santanu, and the illustrious Rishi Drona, and thyself also (O Vidura), have said the truth and what also is most beneficial to me. Indeed, as those mighty car-warriors, the heroic sons of Kunti. are the children of Pandu, so are they, without doubt, my children according to the ordinance. And as my sons are entitled to this kingdom, so are the sons of Pandu certainly entitled to it. Therefore, hasten to bring hither the Pandavas along with their mother, treating them with affectionate consideration. O thou of Bharata's race, bring also Krishna of celestial beauty along with them. From sheer good fortune the sons of Pritha are alive; and from good fortune alone those mighty car-warriors have obtained the daughter of Drupada. It is from good fortune alone that our strength hath increased, and it is from good fortune alone that Purochana hath perished. O thou of great splendour, it is from good fortune that my great grief hath been killed!'
"Vaisampayana continued, 'Then Vidura, at the command of Dhritarashtra, repaired, O Bharata, unto Yajnasena and the Pandavas. And he repaired thither carrying with him numerous jewels and various kinds of wealth for Draupadi and the Pandavas and Yajnasena also. Arrived at Drupada's abode, Vidura conversant with every rule of morality and deep in every science, properly accosted the monarch and waited upon him. Drupada received Vidura in proper form and they both enquired after each other's welfare. Vidura then saw there the Pandavas and Vasudeva. As soon as he saw them he embraced them from affection and enquired after their well being. The Pandavas also along with Vasudeva, in due order, worshipped Vidura of immeasurable intelligence. But Vidura, O king, in the name of Dhritarashtra repeatedly enquired with great affection after their welfare. He then gave, O monarch, unto the Pandavas and Kunti and Draupadi, and unto Drupada and Drupada's sons, the gems and various kinds of wealth that the Kauravas had sent through him. Possessed of immeasurable intelligence, the modest Vidura then, in the presence of the Pandavas and Keshava, addressed the well-behaved Drupada thus:
"With thy ministers and sons, O monarch, listen to what I say. King Dhritarashtra, with ministers, sons, and friends, hath with a joyous heart, O king, repeatedly enquired after thy welfare. And, O monarch, he hath been highly pleased with this alliance with thee. So also, O king, Bhishma of great wisdom, the son of Santanu, with all the Kurus, enquired after thy welfare in every respect. Drona also of great wisdom the son of Bharadwaja and thy dear friend, embracing thee mentally, enquired of thy happiness. And, O king of Panchalas, Dhritarashtra and all the Kurus, in consequence of this alliance with thee regard themselves supremely blest. O Yajnasena, the establishment of this alliance with thee hath made them happier than if they had acquired a new kingdom. Knowing all this, O monarch, permit the Pandavas to re-visit their ancestral kingdom. The Kurus are exceedingly eager to behold the sons of Pandu. These bulls among men have been long absent (from their kingdom). They as well as Pritha must be very eager to behold their city. And all the Kuru ladies and the citizens and our subjects are eagerly waiting to behold Krishna the Panchala Princess. This, therefore, is my opinion, O monarch, that thou shouldst, without delay, permit the Pandavas to go thither with their wife. And after the illustrious Pandavas, O king, will have received thy permission to go thither, I shall send information unto Dhritarashtra by quick messengers. Then, O king, will the Pandavas set out with Kunti and Krishna.'"
(Viduragamana Parva continued)
"Vaisampayana said, 'Hearing these words of Vidura, Drupada said, 'It is even so as thou, O Vidura of great wisdom, hast said. Venerable one, I too have been exceedingly happy in consequence of this alliance. It is highly proper that these illustrious princes should return to their ancestral kingdom. But it is not proper for me to say this myself. If the brave son of Kunti viz., Yudhishthira, if Bhima and Arjuna, if these bulls among men, viz., the twins, themselves desire to go and if Rama (Valadeva) and Krishna, both acquainted with every rule of morality, be of the same mind, then let the Pandavas go thither. For these tigers among men (Rama and Krishna) are ever engaged in doing what is agreeable and beneficial to the sons of Pandu.'
"Hearing this, Yudhishthira said, 'We are now, O monarch, with all our younger brothers, dependent on thee. We shall cheerfully do what thou art pleased to command.'
"Vaisampayana continued, 'Then Vasudeva said, 'I am of opinion that the Pandavas should go. But we should all abide by the opinion of king Drupada who is conversant with every rule of morality.'
"Drupada then spoke, 'I certainly agree with what this foremost of men, thinketh, having regard to the circumstances. For the illustrious sons of Pandu now are to me as they are, without doubt, to Vasudeva. Kunti's son Yudhishthira himself doth not seek the welfare of the Pandavas so earnestly as, Kesava, that tiger among men.'
"Vaisampayana continued, 'Commanded by the illustrious Drupada, the Pandavas, then, O king, and Krishna and Vidura, taking with them Krishna, the daughter of Drupada, and the renowned Kunti, journeyed towards the city called after the elephant, stopping at various places along the way for purposes of pleasure and enjoyment. King Dhritarashtra, hearing that those heroes had neared the capital sent out the Kauravas to receive them. They who were thus sent out were, O Bharata, Vikarna of the great bow, and Chitrasena, and Drona that foremost of warriors, and Kripa of Gautama's line. Surrounded by these, those mighty heroes, their splendour enhanced by that throng slowly entered the city of Hastinapura. The whole city became radiant, as it were, with the gay throng of sight-seers animated by curiosity. Those tigers among men gladdened the hearts of all who beheld them. And the Pandavas, dear unto the hearts of the people, heard, as they proceeded, various exclamations with the citizens, ever desirous of obeying the wishes of those princes, loudly uttered. Some exclaimed, 'Here returns that tiger among men, conversant with all the rules of morality and who always protects us as if we were his nearest relatives.' And elsewhere they said, 'It seems that king Pandu—the beloved of his people—returneth today from the forest, doubtless to do what is agreeable to us.' And there were some that said, 'What good is not done to us today when the heroic sons of Kunti come back to our town? If we have ever given away in charity, if we have ever poured libations of clarified butter on the fire, if we have any ascetic merit, let the Pandavas, by virtue of all those acts stay in our town for a hundred years.'