Vidura then, addressing everybody, said,—'Ye kings of Pratipa's race, behold the great danger that ariseth from Bhimasena. Know ye for certain that this great calamity that threatens to overtake the Bharatas hath been sent by Destiny itself. The sons of Dhritarashtra have, indeed, gambled disregarding every proper consideration. They are even now disputing in this assembly about a lady (of the royal household). The prosperity of our kingdom is at an end. Alas, the Kauravas are even now engaged in sinful consultations. Ye Kauravas, take to your heart this high precept that I declare. If virtue is persecuted, the whole assembly becometh polluted. If Yudhishthira had staked her before he was himself won, he would certainly have been regarded as her master. If, however a person staketh anything at a time when he himself is incapable of holding any wealth, to win it is very like obtaining wealth in a dream. Listening to the words of the king of Gandhara, fall ye not off from this undoubted truth.'
"Duryodhana, hearing Vidura thus speak, said,—'I am willing to abide by the words of Bhima, of Arjuna and of the twins. Let them say that Yudhishthira is not their master. Yajnaseni will then be freed from her state of bondage."
"Arjuna at this, said,—"This illustrious son of Kunti, king Yudhishthira the just, was certainly our master before he began to play. But having lost himself, let all the Kauravas judge whose master he could be after that."
Vaisampayana continued,—"Just then, a jackal began to cry loudly in the homa-chamber of king Dhritarashtra's palace. And, O king, unto the jackal that howled so, the asses began to bray responsively. And terrible birds also, from all sides, began to answer with their cries. And Vidura conversant with everything and the daughter of Suvala, both understood the meaning of those terrible sounds. And Bhishma and Drona and the learned Gautama loudly cried,—Swashti! Swashti! Then Gandhari and the learned Vidura beholding that frightful omen, represented everything, in great affliction, unto the king. And the king (Dhritarashtra) thereupon said,—
'Thou wicked-minded Duryodhana, thou wretch, destruction hath all ready overtaken thee when thou insultest in language such as this the wife of these bulls among the Kurus, especially their wedded wife Draupadi. And having spoken those words, the wise Dhritarashtra endued with knowledge, reflecting with the aid of his wisdom and desirous of saving his relatives and friends from destruction, began to console Krishna, the princess of Panchala, and addressing her, the monarch said,—'Ask of me any boon, O princess of Panchala, that thou desirest, Chaste and devoted to virtue, thou art the first of all my daughters-in-law.
"Draupadi said,—'O bull of the Bharata race, if thou will grant me a boon, I ask the handsome Yudhishthira, obedient to every duty, be freed from slavery. Let not unthinking children call my child Prativindhya endued with great energy of mind as the son of a slave. Having been a prince, so superior to all men, and nurtured by kings it is not proper that he should be called the child of a slave.
"Dhritarashtra said unto her,—'O auspicious one, let it be as thou sayest. O excellent one, ask thou another boon, for I will give it. My heart inclineth to give thee a second boon. Thou dost not deserve only one boon.
"Draupadi said,—'I ask, O king, that Bhimasena and Dhananjaya and the twins also, with their cars and bows, freed from bondage, regain their liberty.'
'Dhritarashtra said,—'O blessed daughter, let it be as thou desirest. Ask thou a third boon, for thou hast not been sufficiently honoured with two boons. Virtuous in thy behaviour, thou art the foremost of all my daughters-in-law.
Draupadi said,—'O best of kings, O illustrious one, covetousness always bringeth about loss of virtue. I do not deserve a third boon. Therefore I dare not ask any. O king of kings, it hath been said that a Vaisya may ask one boon; a Kshatriya lady, two boons; a Kshatriya male, three, and a Brahmana, a hundred. O king, these my husbands freed from the wretched state of bondage, will be able to achieve prosperity by their own virtuous acts!'"
"Karna said,—'We have never heard of such an act (as this one of Draupadi), performed by any of the women noted in this world for their beauty. When the sons of both Pandu and Dhritarashtra were excited with wrath, this Draupadi became unto the sons of Pandu as their salvation. Indeed the princess of Panchala, becoming as a boat unto the sons of Pandu who were sinking in a boatless ocean of distress, hath brought them in safety to the shore.'"
Vaisampayana continued,—"Hearing these words of Karna in the midst of the Kurus,—viz., that the sons of Pandu were saved by their wife,—the angry Bhimasena in great affliction said (unto Arjuna),—'O Dhananjaya, it hath been said by Devala three lights reside in every person, viz., offspring, acts and learning, for from these three hath sprung creation. When life becometh extinct and the body becometh impure and is cast off by relatives, these three become of service to every person. But the light that is in us hath been dimmed by this act of insult to our wife. How, O Arjuna, can a son born from this insulted wife of ours prove serviceable to us?
"Arjuna replied,—'Superior persons, O Bharata, never prate about the harsh words that may or may not be uttered by inferior men. Persons that have earned respect for themselves, even if they are able to retaliate, remember not the acts of hostility done by their enemies, but, on the other hand, treasure up only their good deeds.'
'Bhima said,—'Shall I, O king, slay, without loss of time all these foes assembled together, even here, or shall I destroy them, O Bharata, by the roots, outside this palace? Or, what need is there of words or of command? I shall slay all these even now, and rule thou the whole earth, O king, without a rival. And saying this, Bhima with his younger brothers, like a lion in the midst of a herd of inferior animals, repeatedly cast his angry glances around. But Arjuna, however, of white deeds, with appealing looks began to pacify his elder brother. And the mighty-armed hero endued with great prowess began to burn with the fire of his wrath. And, O king, this fire began to issue out of Vrikodara's ears and other senses with smoke and sparks and flames. And his face became terrible to behold in consequence of his furrowed brows like those of Yama himself at the time of the universal destruction. Then Yudhishthira forbade the mighty hero, embracing him with his arms and telling him 'Be not so. Stay in silence and peace.' And having pacified the mighty-armed one with eyes red in wrath, the king approached his uncle Dhritarashtra, with hands joined in entreaty."
"Yudhishthira said,—'O king, thou art our master. Command us as to what we shall do. O Bharata, we desire to remain always in obedience to thee.
"Dhritarashtra replied.—'O Ajatasatru, blest be thou. Go thou in peace and safety. Commanded by me, go, rule thy own kingdom with thy wealth. And, O child, take to heart this command of an old man, this wholesome advice that I give, and which is even a nutritive regimen. O Yudhishthira, O child, thou knowest the subtle path of morality. Possessed of great wisdom, thou art also humble, and thou waitest also upon the old. Where there is intelligence, there is forbearance. Therefore, O Bharata, follow thou counsels of peace. The axe falleth upon wood, not upon stone. (Thou art open to advice, not Duryodhana). They are the best of men that remember not the acts of hostility of their foes; that behold only the merits, not the faults, of their enemies; and that never enter into hostilities themselves. They that are good remember only the good deeds of their foes and not the hostile acts their foes might have done unto them. The good, besides, do good unto others without expectation of any good, in return. O Yudhishthira, it is only the worst of men that utter harsh words in quarrelling; while they that are indifferent reply to such when spoken by others. But they that are good and wise never think of or recapitulate such harsh words, little caring whether these may or may not have been uttered by their foes. They that are good, having regard to the state of their own feelings, can understand the feelings of others, and therefore remember only the good deeds and not the acts of hostility of their foes. Thou hast acted even as good men of prepossessing countenance do, who transgress not the limits of virtue, wealth, pleasure and salvation. O child, remember not the harsh words of Duryodhana. Look at thy mother Gandhari and myself also, if thou desirest to remember only what is good. O Bharata, look at me, who am thy father unto you and am old and blind, and still alive. It was for seeing our friends and examining also the strength and weakness of my children, that I had, from motives of policy, suffered this match at dice to proceed. O king those amongst the Kurus that have thee for their ruler, and the intelligent Vidura conversant with every branch of learning for their counsellor, have, indeed, nothing to grieve for. In thee is virtue, in Arjuna is patience, in Bhimasena is prowess, and the twins, those foremost of men, is pure reverence for superiors. Blest be thou, O Ajatasatru. Return to Khandavaprastha, and let there be brotherly love between thee and thy cousins. Let thy heart also be ever fixed on virtue.'"
Vaisampayana continued,—"That foremost of the Bharatas—king Yudhishthira the just—then, thus addressed by his uncle, having gone through every ceremony of politeness, set out with his brothers for Khandavaprastha. And accompanied by Draupadi and ascending their cars which were all of the hue of the clouds, with cheerful hearts they all set out for that best of cities called Indraprastha."
Janamejaya said,—"How did the sons of Dhritarashtra feel, when they came to know that the Pandavas had, with Dhritarashtra's leave, left Hastinapore with all their wealth and jewels?"
Vaisampayana said,—"O king, learning that the Pandavas had been commanded by the wise Dhritarashtra to return to their capital, Dussasana went without loss of time unto his brother. And, O bull of the Bharata race, having arrived before Duryodhana with his counsellor, the prince, afflicted with grief, began to say,—'Ye mighty warriors, that which we had won after so much trouble, the old man (our father) hath thrown away. Know ye that he hath made over the whole of that wealth to the foes. At these words, Duryodhana and Karna and Sakuni, the son of Suvala, all of whom were guided by vanity, united together, and desirous of counteracting the sons of Pandu, approaching in haste saw privately the wise king Dhritarashtra—the son of Vichitravirya and spake unto him these pleasing and artful words. Duryodhana said,—
'Hast thou not heard, O king, what the learned Vrihaspati the preceptor of the celestials, said in course of counselling Sakra about mortals and politics? Even these, O slayer of foes, were the words of Vrihaspati, 'Those enemies that always do wrong by stratagem or force, should be slain by every means.' If, therefore, with the wealth of the Pandavas, we gratify the kings of the earth and then fight with the sons of Pandu, what reverses can overtake us? When one hath placed on the neck and back of venomous snakes full of wrath for encompassing his destruction, is it possible for him to take them off? Equipped with weapon and seated on their cars, the angry sons of Pandu like wrathful and venomous snakes will assuredly annihilate us, O father. Even now Arjuna proceedeth, encased in mail and furnished with his couple of quivers, frequently taking up the Gandiva and breathing hard and casting angry glances around. It hath (also) been heard by us that Vrikodara, hastily ordering his car to be made ready and riding on it, is proceeding along, frequently whirling his heavy mace. Nakula also is going along, with the sword in his grasp and the semi-circular shield in his hand. And Sahadeva and the king (Yudhishthira) have made signs clearly testifying to their intentions. Having ascended their cars that are full of all kinds of arms, they are whipping their horses (for going to Khandava soon) and assembling their forces. Persecuted thus by us they are incapable of forgiving us those injuries. Who is there among them that will forgive that insult to Draupadi? Blest be thou. We will again gamble with the son of Pandu for sending them to exile. O bull among men, we are competent to bring them thus under our sway. Dressed in skins, either we or they defeated at dice, shall repair to the woods for twelve years. The thirteenth year shall have to be spent in some inhabited country unrecognised; and, if recognised, an exile for another twelve years shall be the consequence. Either we or they shall live so. Let the play begin, casting the dice, let the sons of Pandu once more play. O bull of the Bharata race, O king, even this is our highest duty. This Sakuni knoweth well the whole science of dice. Even if they succeed in observing this vow for thirteen years, we shall be in the meantime firmly rooted in the kingdom and making alliances, assemble a vast invincible host and keep them content, so that we shall, O king, defeat the sons of Pandu if they reappear. Let this plan recommend itself to thee, O slayer of foes.
"Dhritarashtra said,—Bring back the Pandavas then, indeed, even if they have gone a great way. Let them come at once again to cast dice."
Vaisampayana continued,—"Then Drona, Somadatta and Valhika, Gautama, Vidura, the son of Drona, and the mighty son of Dhritarashtra by his Vaisya wife, Bhurisravas, and Bhishma, and that mighty warrior Vikarna,—all said, 'Let not the play commence. Let there be peace. But Dhritarashtra, partial to his sons, disregarding the counsels of all his wise friends and relatives, summoned the sons of Pandu."
Vaisampayana said,—'O monarch, it was then that the virtuous Gandhari, afflicted with grief on account of her affection for her sons, addressed king Dhritarashtra and said, "When Duryodhana was born, Vidura of great intelligence had said, 'It is well to send this disgrace of the race to the other world. He cried repeatedly and dissonantly like a jackal. It is certain he will prove the destruction of our race. Take this to heart, O king of the Kurus. O Bharata, sink not, for thy own fault, into an ocean of calamity. O lord, accord not thy approbation to the counsels of the wicked ones of immature years. Be not thou the cause of the terrible destruction of this race. Who is there that will break an embankment which hath been completed, or re-kindle a conflagration which hath been extinguished? O bull of the Bharata race, who is there that will provoke the peaceful sons of Pritha? Thou rememberest, O Ajamida, everything, but still I will call thy attention to this. The scriptures can never control the wicked-minded for good or evil. And, O king, a person of immature understanding will never act as one of mature years. Let thy sons follow thee as their leader. Let them not be separated from thee for ever (by losing their lives). Therefore, at my word, O king, abandon this wretch of our race. Thou couldst not, O king, from parental affection, do it before. Know that the time hath come for the destruction of race through him. Err not, O king. Let thy mind, guided by counsels of peace, virtue, and true policy, be what it naturally is. That prosperity which is acquired by the aid of wicked acts, is soon destroyed; while that which is won by mild means taketh root and descendeth from generation to generation."
"The king, thus addressed by Gandhari who pointed out to him in such language the path of virtue, replied unto her, saying,—'If the destruction of our race is come, let it take place freely. I am ill able to prevent it. Let it be as they (these my sons) desire. Let the Pandavas return. And let my sons again gamble with the sons of Pandu."
Vaisampayana said,—'The royal messenger, agreeably to the commands of the intelligent king Dhritarashtra, coming upon Yudhishthira, the son of Pritha who had by that time gone a great way, addressed the monarch and said,—'Even these are the words of thy father-like uncle, O Bharata, spoken unto thee, 'The assembly is ready. O son of Pandu, O king Yudhisthira, come and cast the dice.'
Yudhishthira said,—'Creatures obtain fruits good and ill according to the dispensation of the Ordainer of the creation. Those fruits are inevitable whether I play or not. This is a summons to dice; it is, besides the command of the old king. Although I know that it will prove destructive to me, yet I cannot refuse.'
Vaisampayana continued,—"Although (a living) animal made of gold was an impossibility, yet Rama suffered himself to be tempted by a (golden) deer. Indeed, the minds of men over whom calamities hang, became deranged and out of order. Yudhishthira, therefore, having said these words, retraced his steps along with his brothers. And knowing full well the deception practised by Sakuni, the son of Pritha came back to sit at dice with him again. These mighty warriors again entered that assembly, afflicting the hearts of all their friends. And compelled by Fate they once more sat down at ease for gambling for the destruction of themselves."
"Sakuni then said,—'The old king hath given ye back all your wealth. That is well. But, O bull of the Bharata race, listen to me, there is a stake of great value. Either defeated by ye at dice, dressed in deer skins we shall enter the great forest and live there for twelve years passing the whole of the thirteenth year in some inhabited region, unrecognised, and if recognised return to an exile of another twelve years; or vanquished by us, dressed in deer skins ye shall, with Krishna, live for twelve years in the woods passing the whole of the thirteenth year unrecognised, in some inhabited region. If recognised, an exile of another twelve years is to be the consequence. On the expiry of the thirteenth year, each is to have his kingdom surrendered by the other. O Yudhishthira, with this resolution, play with us, O Bharata, casting the dice.'
"At these words, they that were in that assembly, raising up their arms said in great anxiety of mind, and from the strength of their feelings these words,—'Alas, fie on the friends of Duryodhana that they do not apprise him of his great danger. Whether he, O bull among the Bharatas, (Dhritarashtra) understandeth or not, of his own sense, it is thy duty to tell him plainly."
"Vaisampayana continued,—King Yudhishthira, even hearing these various remarks, from shame and a sense of virtue again sat at dice. And though possessed of great intelligence and fully knowing the consequences, he again began to play, as if knowing that the destruction of the Kurus was at hand.
"And Yudhishthira said,—'How can, O Sakuni, a king like me, always observant of the uses of his own order, refuse, when summoned to dice? Therefore I play with thee."
"Sakuni answered,—'We have many kine and horses, and milch cows, and an infinite number of goats and sheep; and elephants and treasures and gold and slaves both male and female. All these were staked by us before but now let this be our one stake, viz., exile into the woods,—being defeated either ye or we will dwell in the woods (for twelve years) and the thirteenth year, unrecognised, in some inhabited place. Ye bulls among men, with this determination, will we play."
"O Bharata, this proposal about a stay in the woods was uttered but once. The son of Pritha, however, accepted it and Sakuni took up the dice. And casting them he said unto Yudhishthira,—'Lo, I have won."
Vaisampayana said,—"Then the vanquished sons of Pritha prepared for their exile into the woods. And they, one after another, in due order, casting off their royal robes, attired themselves in deer-skins. And Dussasana, beholding those chastisers of foes, dressed in deer-skins and deprived of their kingdom and ready to go into exile, exclaimed 'The absolute sovereignty of the illustrious king Duryodhana hath commenced. The sons of Pandu have been vanquished, and plunged into great affliction. Now have we attained the goal either by broad or narrow paths. For today becoming superior to our foes in point of prosperity as also of duration of rule have we become praiseworthy of men. The sons of Pritha have all been plunged by us into everlasting hell. They have been deprived of happiness and kingdom for ever and ever. They who, proud of their wealth, laughed in derision at the son of Dhritarashtra, will now have to go into the woods, defeated and deprived by us of all their wealth. Let them now put off their variegated coats of mail, their resplendent robes of celestial make, and let them all attire themselves in deer-skins according to the stake they had accepted of the son of Suvala. They who always used to boast that they had no equals in all the world, will now know and regard themselves in this their calamity as grains of sesame without the kernel. Although in this dress of theirs the Pandavas seem like unto wise and powerful persons installed in a sacrifice, yet they look like persons not entitled to perform sacrifices, wearing such a guise. The wise Yajnasena of the Somake race, having bestowed his daughter—the princess of Panchala—on the sons of Pandu, acted most unfortunately for the husbands of Yajnaseni—these sons of Pritha are as eunuchs. And O Yajnaseni, what joy will be thine upon beholding in the woods these thy husbands dressed in skins and thread-bare rags, deprived of their wealth and possessions. Elect thou a husband, whomsoever thou likest, from among all these present here. These Kurus assembled here, are all forbearing and self-controlled, and possessed of great wealth. Elect thou one amongst these as thy lord, so that these great calamity may not drag thee to wretchedness. 'The sons of Pandu now are even like grains of sesame without the kernel, or like show-animals encased in skins, or like grains of rice without the kernel. Why shouldst thou then longer wait upon the fallen sons of Pandu? Vain is the labour used upon pressing the sesame grain devoid of the kernel!'
"Thus did Dussasana, the son of Dhritarashtra, utter in the hearing of the Pandavas, harsh words of the most cruel import. And hearing them, the unforbearing Bhima, in wrath suddenly approaching that prince like a Himalayan lion upon a jackal, loudly and chastisingly rebuked him in these words,—Wicked-minded villain, ravest thou so in words that are uttered alone by the sinful? Boastest thou thus in the midst of the kings, advanced as thou art by the skill of the king of Gandhara. As thou piercest our hearts hear with these thy arrowy words, so shall I pierce thy heart in battle, recalling all this to thy mind. And they also who from anger or covetousness are walking behind thee as thy protectors,—them also shall I send to the abode of Yama with their descendants and relatives."
Vaisampayana continued,—Unto Bhima dressed in deer-skins and uttering these words of wrath without doing any thing, for he could not deviate from the path of virtue, Dussasana abandoning all sense of shame, dancing around the Kurus, loudly said, 'O cow! O cow!'
Bhima at this once more said,—Wretch darest thou, O Dussasana, use harsh words as these? Whom doth it behove to boast, thus having won wealth by foul means? I tell thee that if Vrikodara, the son of Pritha, drinketh not thy life-blood, piercing open thy breast in battle, let him not attain to regions of blessedness, I tell thee truly that by slaying the sons of Dhritarashtra in battle, before the very eyes of all the warriors, I shall pacify this wrath of mine soon enough.'"
Vaisampayana continued,—"And as the Pandavas were going away from the assembly, the wicked king Duryodhana from excess of joy mimiced by his own steps the playful leonine trade of Bhima. Then Vrikodara, half turning towards the king said, Think not ye fool that by this thou gainest any ascendency over me slay thee shall I soon with all thy followers, and answer thee, recalling all this to thy mind. And beholding this insult offered to him, the mighty and proud Bhima, suppressing his rising rage and following the steps of Yudhishthira, also spake these words while going out of the Kaurava court, 'I will slay Duryodhana, and Dhananjaya will slay Karna, and Sahadeva will slay Sakuni that gambler with dice. I also repeat in this assembly these proud words which the gods will assuredly make good, if ever we engage in battle with the Kurus, I will slay this wretched Duryodhana in battle with my mace, and prostrating him on the ground I will place my foot on his head. And as regards this (other) wicked person—Dussasana who is audacious in speech, I will drink his blood like a lion.
"And Arjuna said,—O Bhima, the resolutions of superior men are not known in words only. On the fourteenth year from this day, they shall see what happeneth.
"And Bhima again said,—'The earth shall drink the blood of Duryodhana, and Karna, and the wicked Sakuni, and Dussasana that maketh the fourth.'
"And Arjuna said,—'O Bhima, I will, as thou directest, slay in battle this Karna so malicious and jealous and harsh-speeched and vain. For doing what is agreeable to Bhima, Arjuna voweth that he will slay in battle with his arrows this Karna with all his followers. And I will send unto the regions of Yama also all those other kings that will from foolishness fight against me. The mountains of Himavat might be removed from where they are, the maker of the day lose his brightness, the moon his coldness, but this vow of mine will ever be cherished. And all this shall assuredly happen if on the fourteenth year from this, Duryodhana doth not, with proper respect, return us our kingdom.'"
Vaisampayana continued,—"After Arjuna had said this, Sahadeva the handsome son of Madri, endued with great energy, desirous of slaying Sakuni, waving his mighty arms and sighing like snake, exclaimed, with eyes red with anger—'Thou disgrace of the Gandhara kings, those whom thou thinkest as defeated are not really so. Those are even sharp-pointed arrows from whose wounds thou hast run the risk in battle. I shall certainly accomplish all which Bhima hath said adverting to thee with all thy followers. If therefore thou hast anything to do, do it before that day cometh. I shall assuredly slay thee in battle with all thy followers soon enough, it thou, O son of Suvala, stayest in the light pursuant to the Kshatriya usage.'
"'Then, O monarch hearing these words of Sahadeva, Nakula the handsomest of men spake these words,—'I shall certainly send unto the abode of Yama all those wicked sons of Dhritarashtra, who desirous of death and impelled by Fate, and moved also by the wish of doing what is agreeable to Duryodhana, have used harsh and insulting speeches towards this daughter o Yajnasena at the gambling match. Soon enough shall I, at the command of Yudhishthira and remembering the wrongs to Draupadi, make the earth destitute of the sons of Dhritarashtra.'
Vaisampayana continued,—"And those tigers among men, all endued with long arms, having thus pledged themselves to virtuous promises approached king Dhritarashtra."
Yudhishthira said,—'I bid farewell unto all the Bharatas, unto my old grand-sire (Bhishma), king Somadatta, the great king Vahlika, Drona, Kripa, all the other kings, Aswathaman, Vidura, Dhritarashtra, all the sons of Dhritarashtra, Yayutsu, Sanjaya, and all the courtiers, I bid fare well, all of ye and returning again I shall see you."
Vaisampayana continued,—"Overcome with shame none of those that were present there, could tell Yudhishthira anything. Within their hearts, however, they prayed for the welfare of that intelligent prince.
Vidura then said,—The reverend Pritha is a princess by birth. It behoveth her not to go into the woods. Delicate and old and ever known to happiness the blessed one will live, respected by me, in my abode. Known this, ye sons of Pandu. And let safety be always yours.'
Vaisampayana continued,—'The Pandavas thereupon said,—O sinless one, let it be as thou sayest. Thou art our uncle, and, therefore like as our father. We also are all obedient to thee. Thou art, O learned one, our most respected superior. We should always obey what thou choosest to command. And, O high-souled one, order thou whatever else there is that remaineth to be done.
"Vidura replied,—'O Yudhishthira, O bull of the Bharata race, know this to be my opinion, that one that is vanquished by sinful means need not be pained by such defeat. Thou knowest every rule of morality; Dhananjaya is ever victorious in battle; Bhimasena is the slayer of foes; Nakula is the gatherer of wealth; Sahadeva hath administrative talents, Dhaumya is the foremost of all conversant with the vedas; and the well-behaved Draupadi is conversant with virtue and economy. Ye are attached to one another and feel delight at one another's sight and enemies can not separate you from one another, and ye are contented. Therefore, who is there that will not envy ye? O Bharata, this patient abstraction from the possession of the world will be of great benefit to thee. No foe, even if he were equal to sakra himself, will be able to stand it. Formerly thou wert instructed on the mountains of Himavat by Meru Savarni; in the town of Varanavata by Krishna Dwaipayana; on the cliff of Bhrigu by Rama; and on the banks of the Dhrishadwati by Sambhu himself. Thou hast also listened to the instruction of the great Rishi Asita on the hills of Anjana; and thou becamest a disciple of Bhrigu on the banks of the Kalmashi. Narada and this thy priest Dhaumya will now become thy instructors. In the matter of the next world, abandon not these excellent lessons thou hast obtained from the Rishis. O son of Pandu. thou surpassest in intelligence even Pururavas, the son of Ila; in strength, all other monarchs, and in virtue, even the Rishis. Therefore, resolve thou earnestly to win victory, which belongeth to Indra; to control thy wrath, which belongeth to Yama; to give in charity, which belongeth to Kuvera; and to control all passions, which belongeth to Varuna. And, O Bharata, obtain thou the power of gladdening from the moon, the power of sustaining all from water; forbearance from the earth; energy from the entire solar disc; strength from the winds, and affluence from the other elements. Welfare and immunity from ailment be thine; I hope to see thee return. And, O Yudhishthira, act properly and duly in all seasons,—in those of distress—in those of difficulty,—indeed, in respect of everything, O son of Kunti, with our leave go hence. O Bharata, blessing be thine. No one can say that ye have done anything sinful before. We hope to see thee, therefore, return in safety and crowned with success."
Vaisampayana continued,—"Thus addressed by Vidura, Yudhishthira the son of Pandu, of prowess incapable of being baffled, saying, 'So be it,' bowing low unto Bhishma and Drona, went away."
Vaisampayana said,—'Then when Draupadi was about to set out she went unto the illustrious Pritha and solicited her leave. And she also asked leave of the other ladies of the household who had all been plunged into grief. And saluting and embracing every one of them as each deserved, she desired to go away. Then there arose within the inner apartments of the Pandavas a loud wail of woe. And Kunti, terribly afflicted upon beholding Draupadi on the eve of her journey, uttered these words in a voice choked with grief,—
'O child, grieve not that this great calamity hath overtaken thee. Thou art well conversant with the duties of the female sex, and thy behaviour and conduct also are as they should be. It behoveth me not, O thou of sweet smiles, to instruct thee as to thy duties towards thy lords. Thou art chaste and accomplished, and thy qualities have adorned the race of thy birth as also the race into which thou hast been admitted by marriage. Fortunate are the Kauravas that they have not been burnt by thy wrath. O child, safely go thou blest by my prayers. Good women never suffer their hearts to the unstung at what is inevitable. Protected by virtue that is superior to everything, soon shalt thou obtain good fortune. While living in the woods, keep thy eye on my child Sahadeva. See that his heart sinketh not under this great calamity.'
"Saying 'So be it!' the princess Draupadi bathed in tears, and clad in one piece of cloth, stained with blood, and with hair dishevelled left her mother-in-law. And as she went away weeping and wailing Pritha herself in grief followed her. She had not gone far when she saw her sons shorn of their ornaments and robes, their bodies clad in deerskins, and their heads down with shame. And she beheld them surrounded by rejoicing foes' and pitied by friends. Endued with excess of parental affection, Kunti approached her sons in that state, and embracing them all, and in accents choked by woe, She said these words,—
"Ye are virtuous and good-mannered, and adorned with all excellent qualities and respectful behaviour. Ye are all high-minded, and engaged in the service of your superiors. And ye are also devoted to the gods and the performance of sacrifices. Why, then, hath this calamity overtaken you. Whence is this reverse of fortune? I do not see by whose wickedness this sin hath overtaken you. Alas I have brought you forth. All this must be due to my ill fortune. It is for this that ye have been overtaken by this calamity, though ye all are endued with excellent virtues. In energy and prowess and strength and firmness and might, ye are not wanting. How shall ye now, losing your wealth and possessions, live poor in the pathless woods? If I had known before that ye were destined to live in the woods, I would not have on Pandit's death come from the mountains of Satasringa to Hastinapore. Fortunate was your father, as I now regard, for he truly reaped the fruit of his asceticism, and he was gifted with foresight, as he entertained the wish of ascending heaven, without having to feel any pain on account of his sons. Fortunate also was the virtuous Madri, as I regard her today, who had, it seems, a fore-knowledge of what would happen and who on that account, obtained the high path of emancipation and every blessing therewith. All, Madri looked upon me as her stay, and her mind and her affections were ever fixed on me. Oh, fie on my desire of life, owing to which suffer all this woe. Ye children, ye are all excellent and dear unto me. I have obtained you alter much suffering. I cannot leave you. Even I will go with you. Alas, O Krishna, (Draupadi), why dost thou leave me so? Everything endued with life is sure to perish. Hath Dhata (Brahma) himself forgotten to ordain my death? Perhaps, it is so, and, therefore, life doth not quit me. O Krishna, O thou who dwellest in Dwaraka, O younger brother of Sankarshana, where art thou? Why dost thou not deliver me and these best of men also from such woe? They say that thou who art without beginning and without end deliverest those that think of thee. Why doth this saying become untrue. These my sons are ever attached to virtue and nobility and good fame and prowess. They deserve not to suffer affliction. Oh, show them mercy. Alas, when there are such elders amongst our race as Bhishma and Drona and Kripa, all conversant with morality and the science of worldly concerns, how could such calamity at all come? O Pandu, O king, where art thou? Why sufferest thou quietly thy good children to be thus sent into exile, defeated at dice? O Sahadeva, desist from going. Thou art my dearest child, dearer, O son of Madri, than my body itself. Forsake me not. It behoveth thee to have some kindness for me. Bound by the ties of virtue, let these thy brothers go. But then, earn thou that virtue which springeth from waiting upon me.'"
Vaisampayana continued,—"The Pandavas then consoled their weeping mother and with hearts plunged in grief set out for the woods. And Vidura himself also much afflicted, consoling the distressed Kunti with reasons, and led her slowly to his house. And the ladies of Dhritarashtra's house, hearing everything as it happened, viz., the exile (of the Pandavas) and the dragging of Krishna into the assembly where the princes had gambled, loudly wept censuring the Kauravas. And the ladies of the royal household also sat silent for a long time, covering their lotus-like faces with their fair hands. And king Dhritarashtra also thinking of the dangers that threatened his sons, became a prey to anxiety and could not enjoy peace of mind. And anxiously meditating on everything, and with mind deprived of its equanimity through grief, he sent a messenger unto Vidura, saying, 'Let Kshatta come to me without a moment's delay.'
"At this summons, Vidura quickly came to Dhritarashtra's palace. And as soon as he came, the monarch asked him with great anxiety how the Pandavas had left Hastinapore."
Vaisampayana said,—"As soon as Vidura endued with great foresight came unto him king Dhritarashtra, the son of Amvika, timidly asked his brother,—'How doth Yudhishthira, the son of Dharma, proceed along? And how Arjuna? And how the twin sons of Madri? And how, O Kshatta, doth Dhaumya proceed along? And how the illustrious Draupadi? I desire to hear everything, O Kshatta; describe to me all their acts.'
Vidura replied,—'Yudhishthira, the son of Kunti, hath gone away covering his face with his cloth. And Bhima, O king, hath gone away looking at his own mighty arms. And Jishnu (Arjuna) hath gone away, following the king spreading sand-grains around. And Sahadeva, the son of Madri, hath gone away besmearing his face, and Nakula, the handsomest of men, O king, hath gone away, staining himself with dust and his heart in great affliction. And the large-eyed and beautiful Krishna hath gone away, covering her face with her dishevelled hair following in the wake of the king, weeping and in tears. And O monarch, Dhaumya goeth along the road, with kusa grass in hand, and uttering the aweful mantras of Sama Veda that relate to Yama.'
Dhritarashtra asked,—"Tell me, O Vidura, why is it that the Pandavas are leaving Hastinapore in such varied guise."
"Vidura replied,—'Though persecuted by thy sons and robbed of his kingdom and wealth the mind of the wise king Yudhishthira the just hath not yet deviated from the path of virtue. King Yudhishthira is always kind, O Bharata, to thy children. Though deprived (of his kingdom and possessions) by foul means, filled with wrath as he is, he doth not open eyes. 'I should not burn the people by looking at them with angry eyes,'—thinking so, the royal son of Pandu goeth covering his face. Listen to me as I tell thee, O bull of the Bharata race, why Bhima goeth so. 'There is none equal to me in strength of arms,' thinking so Bhima goeth repeatedly stretching forth his mighty arms. And, O king, proud of the strength of his arms, Vrikodara goeth, exhibiting them and desiring to do unto his enemies deeds worthy of those arms. And Arjuna the son of Kunti, capable of using both his arms (in wielding the Gandiva) followeth the footsteps of Yudhishthira, scattering sand-grains emblematical of the arrows he would shower in battle. O Bharata, he indicateth that as the sand-grains are scattered by him with ease, so will he rain arrows with perfect ease on the foe (in time of battle). And Sahadeva goeth besmearing his lace, thinking 'None may recognise me in this day of trouble.' And, O exalted one, Nakula goeth staining himself with dust thinking, 'Lest otherwise I steal the hearts of the ladies that may look at me.' And Draupadi goeth, attired in one piece of stained cloth, her hair dishevelled, and weeping, signifying—'The wives of those for whom I have been reduced to such a plight, shall on the fourteenth year hence be deprived of husbands, sons and relatives and dear ones and smeared all over with blood, with hair dishevelled and all in their feminine seasons enter Hastinapore having offered oblations of water (unto the manes of those they will have lost). And O Bharata, the learned Dhaumya with passions under full control, holding the kusa grass in his hand and pointing the same towards the south-west, walketh before, singing the mantras of the Sama Veda that relate to Yama. And, O monarch, that learned Brahamana goeth, also signifying, 'When the Bharatas shall be slain in battle, the priests of the Kurus will thus sing the Soma mantras (for the benefit of the deceased).' And the citizens, afflicted with great grief, are repeatedly crying out, 'Alas, alas, behold our masters are going away! O fie on the Kuru elders that have acted like foolish children in thus banishing heirs of Pandu from covetousness alone. Alas, separated from the son of Pandu we all shall become masterless. What love can we bear to the wicked and avaricious Kurus? Thus O king, have the sons of Kunti, endued with great energy of mind, gone away,—indicating, by manner and signs, the resolutions that are in their hearts. And as those foremost of men had gone away from Hastinapore, flashes of lightning appeared in the sky though without clouds and the earth itself began to tremble. And Rahu came to devour the Sun, although it was not the day of conjunction And meteors began to fall, keeping the city to their right. And jackals and vultures and ravens and other carnivorous beasts and birds began to shriek and cry aloud from the temples of the gods and the tops of sacred trees and walls and house-tops. And these extraordinary calamitous portents, O king, were seen and heard, indicating the destruction of the Bharatas as the consequence of thy evil counsels."
Vaisampayana continued,—"And, O monarch, while king Dhritarashtra and the wise Vidura were thus talking with each other, there appeared in that assembly of the Kauravas and before the eyes of all, the best of the celestial Rishis. And appealing before them all, he uttered these terrible words, On the fourteenth year hence, the Kauravas, in consequence of Duryodhana's fault, will all be destroyed by the might of Bhima and Arjuna'. And having said this, that best of celestial Rishis, adorned with surpassing Vedic grace, passing through the skies, disappeared from the scene. Then Duryodhana and Karna and Sakuni, the son of Suvala regarding Drona as their sole refuge, offered the kingdom to him. Drona then, addressing the envious and wrathful Duryodhana and Dussasana and Karna and all the Bharata, said, 'The Brahamanas have said that the Pandavas being of celestial origin are incapable of being slain. The sons of Dhritarashtra, however, having, with all the kings, heartily and with reverence sought my protection, I shall look after them to the best of my power. Destiny is supreme, I cannot abandon them. The sons of Pandu, defeated at dice, are going into exile in pursuance of their promise. They will live in the woods for twelve years. Practising the Brahmacharyya mode of life for this period, they will return in anger and to our great grief take the amplest vengeance on their foes. I had formerly deprived Drupada of his kingdom in a friendly dispute. Robbed of his kingdom by me, O Bharata, the king performed a sacrifice for obtaining a son (that should slay me). Aided by the ascetic power of Yaja and Upayaja, Drupada obtained from the (sacrificial) fire a son named Dhrishtadyumna and a daughter, viz., the faultless Krishna, both risen from the sacrificial platform. That Dhrishtadyumna is the brother-in-law of the sons of Pandu by marriage, and dear unto them. It is for him, therefore that I have much fear. Of celestial origin and resplendent as the fire, he was born with bow, arrows, and encased in mail. I am a being that is mortal. Therefore it is for him that I have great fear. That slayer of all foes, the son of Parshatta, hath taken the side of the Pandavas. I shall have to lose my life, if he and I ever encounter each other in battle. What grief can be greater to me in this world than this, ye Kauravas that Dhrishtadyumna is the destined slayer of Drona—this belief is general. That he hath been born for slaying me hath been heard by me and is widely known also in the world. For thy sake, O Duryodhana, that terrible season of destruction is almost come. Do without loss of time, what may be beneficial unto thee. Think not that everything hath been accomplished by sending the Pandavas into exile. This thy happiness will last for but a moment, even as in winter the shadow of the top of the palm tree resteth (for a short time) at its base. Perform various kinds of sacrifices, and enjoy, and give O Bharata, everything thou likest. On the fourteenth year hence, a great calamity will overwhelm thee.'"
Vaisampayana continued,—"Hearing these words of Drona, Dhritarashtra said,—'O Kshatta, the preceptor hath uttered what is true. Go thou and bring back the Pandavas. If they do not come back, let them go treated with respect and affection. Let those my sons go with weapons, and cars, and infantry, and enjoying every other good thing.'"
Vaisampayana said,—"defeated at dice, after the Pandavas had gone to the woods, Dhritarashtra, O king, was overcome with anxiety. And while he was seated restless with anxiety and sighing in grief, Sanjaya approaching him said, 'O lord of the earth having now obtained the whole earth with all its wealth and sent away the sons of Pandu into exile, why is it, O king, that thou grievest so?"
Dhritarashtra said,—'What have they not to grieve for who will have to encounter in battle those bulls among warriors—the sons of Pandu—fighting on great cars and aided by allies?'
"Sanjaya said,—"O king, all this great hostility is inevitable on account of thy mistaken action, and this will assuredly bring about the wholesale destruction of the whole world. Forbidden by Bhishma, by Drona, and by Vidura, thy wicked-minded and shameless son Duryodhana sent his Suta messenger commanding him to bring into court the beloved and virtuous wife of the Pandavas. The gods first deprive that man of his reason unto whom they send defeat and disgrace. It is for this that such a person seeth things in a strange light. When destruction is at hand, evil appeareth as good unto the understanding polluted by sin, and the man adhereth to it firmly. That which is improper appeareth as proper, and that which is proper appeareth as improper unto the man about to be overwhelmed by destruction, and evil and impropriety are what he liketh. The time that bringeth on destruction doth not come with upraised club and smash one's head. On the other hand the peculiarity of such a time is that it maketh a man behold evil in good and good in evil. The wretches have brought on themselves this terrible, wholesale, and horrible destruction by dragging the helpless princess of Panchala into the court. Who else than Duryodhana—that false player of dice could bring into the assembly, with insults, the daughter of Drupada, endued with beauty and intelligence, and conversant with every rule of morality and duty, and sprung not from any woman's womb but from the sacred fire? The handsome Krishna, then in her season, attired in one piece of stained cloth when brought into the court cast her eyes upon the Pandavas. She beheld them, however, robbed of their wealth, of their kingdom, of even their attire, of their beauty, of every enjoyment, and plunged into a state of bondage. Bound by the tie of virtue, they were then unable to exert their prowess. And before all the assembled kings Duryodhana and Karna spake cruel and harsh words unto the distressed and enraged Krishna undeserving of such treatment. O monarch, all this appeareth to me as foreboding fearful consequences.'
Dhritarashtra said,—'O Sanjaya, the glances of the distressed daughter of Drupada might consume the whole earth. Can it be possible that even a single son of mine will live? The wives of the Bharatas, uniting with Gandhari upon beholding virtuous Krishna, the wedded wife of the Pandavas, endued with beauty and youth, dragged into the court, set up frightful wail. Even now, along with all my subjects, they weep every day. Enraged at the ill treatment of Draupadi, the Brahmanas in a body did not perform that evening their Agnihotra ceremony. The winds blew mightily as they did at the time of the universal dissolution. There was a terrible thunder-storm also. Meteors fell from the sky, and Rahu by swallowing the Sun unseasonably alarmed the people terribly. Our war-chariots were suddenly ablaze, and all their flagstaffs fell down foreboding evil unto the Bharatas. Jackals began to cry frightfully from within the sacred fire-chamber of Duryodhana, and asses from all directions began to bray in response. Then Bhishma and Drona, and Kripa, and Somadatta and the high-souled Vahlika, all left the assembly. It was then that at the advice of Vidura I addressed Krishna and said, 'I will grant thee boons, O Krishna, indeed, whatever thou wouldst ask? The princess of the Panchala there begged of me the liberation of the Pandavas. Out of my own motion I then set free the Pandavas, commanding them to return (to their capital) on their cars and with their bows and arrows. It was then that Vidura told me, 'Even this will prove the destruction of the Bharata race, viz., this dragging of Krishna into the court. This daughter of the King of Panchala is the faultless Sree herself. Of celestial origin, she is the wedded wife of the Pandavas. The wrathful sons of Pandu will never forgive this insult offered unto her. Nor will the mighty bowmen of the Vrishni race, nor the mighty warriors amongst the Panchalas suffer this in silence. Supported by Vasudeva of unbaffled prowess, Arjuna will assuredly come back, surrounded by the Panchala host. And that mighty warrior amongst them, Bhimasena endued with surpassing strength, will also come back, whirling his mace like Yama himself with his club. These kings will scarcely be able to bear the force of Bhima's mace. Therefore, O king, not hostility but peace for ever with the sons of Pandu is what seemeth to me to be the best. The sons of Pandu are always stronger than the Kurus. Thou knowest, O king, that the illustrious and mighty king Jarasandha was slain in battle by Bhima with his bare arms alone. Therefore, O bull of the Bharata race, it behoveth thee to make peace with the sons of Pandu. Without scruples of any kind, unite the two parties, O king. And it thou actest in this way, thou art sure to obtain good luck, O king. It was thus, O son of Gavalgani, that Vidura addressed me in words of both virtue and profit. And I did not accept this counsel, moved by affection for my son."
The End of Sabha Parva
1. A word of benediction, similar to 'Amen.'
Translated into English Prose from the Original Sanskrit Text
Kisari Mohan Ganguli
Scanned at sacred-texts.com, 2003. Proofed at Distributed Proofing, Juliet Sutherland, Project Manager. Additional proofing and formatting at sacred-texts.com, by J. B. Hare.
Om! Having bowed down to Narayana, and Nara the foremost of male beings, and the goddess Saraswati also, must the word Jaya be uttered.
"Janamejaya said, 'O thou foremost of regenerate ones, deceitfully defeated at dice by the sons of Dhritarashtra and their counsellors, incensed by those wicked ones that thus brought about a fierce animosity, and addressed in language that was so cruel, what did the Kuru princes, my ancestors—the sons of Pritha—(then) do? How also did the sons of Pritha, equal unto Sakra in prowess, deprived of affluence and suddenly over whelmed with misery, pass their days in the forest? Who followed the steps of those princes plunged in excess of affliction? And how did those high souled ones bear themselves and derive their sustenance, and where did they put up? And, O illustrious ascetic and foremost of Brahmanas, how did those twelve years (of exile) of those warriors who were slayers of foes, pass away in the forest? And undeserving of pain, how did that princess, the best of her sex, devoted to her husbands, eminently virtuous, and always speaking the truth, endure that painful exile in the forest? O thou of ascetic wealth tell me all this in detail, for, O Brahmana, I desire to hear thee narrate the history of those heroes possessed of abundant prowess and lustre. Truly my curiosity is great.'
"Vaisampayana said, 'Thus defeated at dice and incensed by the wicked sons of Dhritarashtra and their counsellors, the sons of Pritha set out from Hastinapura. And issuing through Vardhamana gate of the city, the Pandavas bearing their weapons and accompanied by Draupadi set out in a northernly direction. Indrasena and others, with servants numbering altogether fourteen, with their wives, followed them on swift cars. And the citizens learning of their departure became overwhelmed with sorrow, and began to censure Bhishma and Vidura and Drona and Gautama. And having met together they thus addressed one another fearlessly.
'Alas, our families, we ourselves, and our homes are all gone, when the wicked Duryodhana, backed by the son of Suvala, by Karna and Dussasana, aspireth to this kingdom. And, Oh, our families, our (ancestral) usages, our virtue and prosperity, are all doomed where this sinful wretch supported by wretches as sinful aspireth to the kingdom! And, Oh, how can happiness be there where these are not! Duryodhana beareth malice towards all superiors, hath taken leave of good conduct, and quarreleth with those that are near to him in blood. Covetous and vain and mean, he is cruel by nature. The whole earth is doomed when Duryodhana becometh its ruler. Thither, therefore, let us proceed whither the merciful and high-minded sons of Pandu with passions under control and victorious over foes, and possessed of modesty and renown, and devoted to pious practices, repair!'
"Vaisampayana said, 'And saying this, the citizens went after the Pandavas, and having met them, they all, with joined hands, thus addressed the sons of Kunti and Madri.
'Blest be ye! Where will ye go, leaving us in grief? We will follow you whithersoever ye will go! Surely have we been distressed upon learning that ye have been deceitfully vanquished by relentless enemies! It behoveth you not to forsake us that are your loving subjects and devoted friends always seeking your welfare and employed in doing what is agreeable to you! We desire not to be overwhelmed in certain destruction living in the dominions of the Kuru king. Ye bulls among men, listen as we indicate the merits and demerits springing respectively from association with what is good and bad! As cloth, water, the ground, and sesame seeds are perfumed by association with flowers, even so are qualities ever the product of association. Verily association with fools produceth an illusion that entangleth the mind, as daily communion with the good and the wise leadeth to the practice of virtue. Therefore, they that desire emancipation should associate with those that are wise and old and honest and pure in conduct and possessed of ascetic merit. They should be waited upon whose triple possessions, viz., knowledge (of the Vedas), origin and acts, are all pure, and association with them is even superior to (the study of the) scriptures. Devoid of the religious acts as we are, we shall yet reap religious merit by association with the righteous, as we should come by sin by waiting upon the sinful. The very sight and touch of the dishonest, and converse and association with them; cause diminution of virtue, and men (that are doomed to these), never attain purity of mind. Association with the base impaireth the understanding, as, indeed, with the indifferent maketh it indifferent, while communion with the good ever exalteth it. All those attributes which are spoken of in the world as the sources of religious merit, of worldly prosperity and sensual pleasures, which are regarded by the people, extolled in the Vedas, and approved by the well-behaved, exist in you, separately and jointly! Therefore, desirous of our own welfare, we wish to live amongst you who possess those attributes!
"Yudhishthira said, 'Blessed are we since the people with the Brahmanas at their head, moved by affection and compassion credit us with merits we have not. I, however, with my brothers, would ask all of you to do one thing. Ye should not, through affection and pity for us, act otherwise! Our grandfather Bhishma, the king (Dhritarashtra), Vidura, my mother and most of my well-wishers, are all in the city of Hastinapura. Therefore, if ye are minded to seek our welfare, cherish ye them with care, uniting together as they are overwhelmed with sorrow and afflictions. Grieved at our departure, ye have come far! Go ye back, and let your hearts be directed with tenderness towards the relatives I entrust to you as pledges! This, of all others, is the one act upon which my heart is set, and by doing this ye would give me great satisfaction and pay me your best regards!
"Vaisampayana continued, 'Thus exhorted by Yudhishthira the just, the people in a body set up a loud wail exclaiming,—Alas, O king! And afflicted and overwhelmed with sorrow on remembering the virtues of Pritha's son, they unwillingly retraced their steps asking leave of the Pandavas.
'The citizens having ceased to follow, the Pandavas ascended their cars, and setting out reached (the site of) the mighty banian tree called Pramana on the banks of the Ganges. And reaching the site of the banian tree about the close of the day, the heroic sons of Pandu purified themselves by touching the sacred water, and passed the night there. And afflicted with woe they spent that night taking water alone as their sole sustenance. Certain Brahmanas belonging to both classes, viz., those that maintained the sacrificial fire and those that maintained it not, who had, with their disciples and relatives, out of affection followed the Pandavas thither also passed the night with them. And surrounded by those utterers of Brahma, the king shone resplendent in their midst. And that evening, at once beautiful and terrible, those Brahmanas having lighted their (sacred) fires, began to chant the Vedas and hold mutual converse. And those foremost of Brahmanas, with swan-sweet voices spent the night, comforting that best of Kurus—the king."
"Vaisampayana said, 'When that night passed away and day broke in, those Brahmamas who supported themselves by mendicancy, stood before the Pandavas of exalted deeds, who were about to enter the forest. Then king Yudhishthira, the son of Kunti, addressed them, saying, "Robbed of our prosperity and kingdom, robbed of everything, we are about to enter the deep woods in sorrow, depending for our food on fruits and roots, and the produce of the chase. The forest too is full of dangers, and abounds with reptiles and beasts of prey. It appeareth to me that ye will certainly have to suffer much privation and misery there. The sufferings of the Brahmanas might overpower even the gods. That they would overwhelm me is too certain. Therefore, O Brahmana, go ye back whithersoever ye list!'
"The Brahmanas replied, 'O king, our path is even that on which ye are for setting out! It behoveth thee not, therefore, to forsake us who are thy devoted admirers practising the true religion! The very gods have compassion upon their worshippers,—specially upon Brahmanas of regulated lives!'
"Yudhishthira said, 'We regenerate ones, I too am devoted to the Brahmanas! But this destitution that hath overtaken me overwhelmed me with confusion! These my brothers that are to procure fruits and roots and the deer (of the forest) are stupefied with grief arising from their afflictions and on account of the distress of Draupadi and the loss of our kingdom! Alas, as they are distressed, I cannot employ them in painful tasks!'
"The Brahmanas said, 'Let no anxiety, O king, in respect of our maintenance, find a place in thy heart! Ourselves providing our own food, we shall follow thee, and by meditation and saying our prayers we shall compass thy welfare while by pleasant converse we shall entertain thee and be cheered ourselves.'
"Yudhishthira said, 'Without doubt, it must be as ye say, for I am ever pleased with the company of the regenerate ones! But my fallen condition maketh me behold in myself an object of reproach! How shall I behold you all, that do not deserve to bear trouble, out of love for me painfully subsisting upon food procured by your own toil? Oh, fie upon the wicked sons of Dhritarashtra!'
"Vaisampayana continued. 'Saying this, the weeping king sat himself down upon the ground. Then a learned Brahmana, Saunaka by name versed in self-knowledge and skilled in the Sankhya system of yoga, addressed the king, saying, 'Causes of grief by thousands, and causes of fear by hundreds, day after day, overwhelm the ignorant but not the wise. Surely, sensible men like thee never suffer themselves to be deluded by acts that are opposed to true knowledge, fraught with every kind of evil, and destructive of salvation. O king, in thee dwelleth that understanding furnished with the eight attributes which is said to be capable of providing against all evils and which resulteth from a study of the Sruti (Vedas) and scriptures! And men like unto thee are never stupefied, on the accession of poverty or an affliction overtaking their friends, through bodily or mental uneasiness! Listen, I shall tell the slokas which were chanted of old by the illustrious Janaka touching the subject of controlling the self! This world is afflicted with both bodily and mental suffering. Listen now to the means of allaying it as I indicate them both briefly and in detail. Disease, contact with painful things, toil and want of objects desired.—these are the four causes that induce bodily suffering. And as regards disease, it may be allayed by the application of medicine, while mental ailments are cured by seeking to forget them yoga-meditation. For this reason, sensible physicians first seek to allay the mental sufferings of their patients by agreeable converse and the offer of desirable objects And as a hot iron bar thrust into a jar maketh the water therein hot, even so doth mental grief bring on bodily agony. And as water quencheth fire, so doth true knowledge allay mental disquietude. And the mind attaining ease, the body findeth ease also. It seemeth that affection is the root of all mental sorrow. It is affection that maketh every creature miserable and bringeth on every kind of woe. Verily affection is the root of all misery and of all fear, of joy and grief of every kind of pain. From affection spring all purposes, and it is from affection that spring the love of worldly goods! Both of these (latter) are sources of evil, though the first (our purposes) is worse than the second. And as (a small portion of) fire thrust into the hollow of a tree consumeth the tree itself to its roots, even so affection, ever so little, destroyeth both virtue and profit. He cannot be regarded to have renounced the world who hath merely withdrawn from worldly possessions. He, however, who though in actual contact with the world regardeth its faults, may be said to have truly renounced the world. Freed from every evil passion, soul dependent on nothing with such a one hath truly renounced the world. Therefore, should no one seek to place his affections on either friends or the wealth he hath earned. And so should affection for one's own person be extinguished by knowledge. Like the lotus-leaf that is never drenched by water, the souls of men capable of distinguishing between the ephemeral and the everlasting, of men devoted to the pursuit of the eternal, conversant with the scriptures and purified by knowledge, can never be moved by affection. The man that is influenced by affection is tortured by desire; and from the desire that springeth up in his heart his thirst for worldly possessions increaseth. Verily, this thirst is sinful and is regarded as the source of all anxieties. It is this terrible thirst, fraught with sin that leaneth unto unrighteous acts. Those find happiness that can renounce this thirst, which can never be renounced by the wicked, which decayeth not with the decay of the body, and which is truly a fatal disease! It hath neither beginning nor end. Dwelling within the heart, it destroyeth creatures, like a fire of incorporeal origin. And as a faggot of wood is consumed by the fire that is fed by itself, even so doth a person of impure soul find destruction from the covetousness born of his heart. And as creatures endued with life have ever a dread of death, so men of wealth are in constant apprehension of the king and the thief, of water and fire and even of their relatives. And as a morsel of meat, if in air, may be devoured by birds; if on ground by beasts of prey; and if in water by the fishes; even so is the man of wealth exposed to dangers wherever he may be. To many the wealth they own is their bane, and he that beholding happiness in wealth becometh wedded to it, knoweth not true happiness. And hence accession of wealth is viewed as that which increaseth covetousness and folly. Wealth alone is the root of niggardliness and boastfulness, pride and fear and anxiety! These are the miseries of men that the wise see in riches! Men undergo infinite miseries in the acquisition and retention of wealth. Its expenditure also is fraught with grief. Nay, sometimes, life itself is lost for the sake of wealth! The abandonment of wealth produces misery, and even they that are cherished by one's wealth become enemies for the sake of that wealth! When, therefore, the possession of wealth is fraught with such misery, one should not mind its loss. It is the ignorant alone who are discontented. The wise, however, are always content. The thirst of wealth can never be assuaged. Contentment is the highest happiness; therefore, it is, that the wise regard contentment as the highest object of pursuit. The wise knowing the instability of youth and beauty, of life and treasure-hoards, of prosperity and the company of the loved ones, never covet them. Therefore, one should refrain from the acquisition of wealth, bearing the pain incident to it. None that is rich free from trouble, and it is for this that the virtuous applaud them that are free from the desire of wealth. And as regards those that pursue wealth for purposes of virtue, it is better for them to refrain altogether from such pursuit, for, surely, it is better not to touch mire at all than to wash it off after having been besmeared with it. And, O Yudhishthira, it behoveth thee not to covet anything! And if thou wouldst have virtue, emancipate thyself from desire of worldly possessions!'
"Yudhishthira said, 'O Brahmana, this my desire of wealth is not for enjoying it when obtained. It is only for the support of the Brahmanas that I desire it and not because I am actuated by avarice! For what purpose, O Brahmana, doth one like us lead a domestic life, if he cannot cherish and support those that follow him? All creatures are seen to divide the food (they procure) amongst those that depend on them. So should a person leading a domestic life give a share of his food to Yatis and Brahmacharins that have renounced cooking for themselves. The houses of the good men can never be in want of grass (for seat), space (for rest), water (to wash and assuage thirst), and fourthly, sweet words. To the weary a bed,—to one fatigued with standing, a seat,—to the thirsty, water,—and to the hungry, food should ever be given. To a guest are due pleasant looks and a cheerful heart and sweet words. The host, rising up, should advance towards the guest, offer him a seat, and duly worship him. Even this is eternal morality. They that perform not the Agnihotra not wait upon bulls, nor cherish their kinsmen and guests and friends and sons and wives and servants, are consumed with sin for such neglect. None should cook his food for himself alone and none should slay an animal without dedicating it to the gods, the pitris, and guests. Nor should one eat of that food which hath not been duly dedicated to the gods and pitris. By scattering food on the earth, morning and evening, for (the behoof of) dogs and Chandalas and birds, should a person perform the Viswedeva sacrifice. He that eateth the Vighasa, is regarded as eating ambrosia. What remaineth in a sacrifice after dedication to the gods and the pitris is regarded as ambrosia; and what remaineth after feeding the guest is called Vighasa and is equivalent to ambrosia itself. Feeding a guest is equivalent to a sacrifice, and the pleasant looks the host casteth upon the guest, the attention he devoteth to him, the sweet words in which he addresseth him, the respect he payeth by following him, and the food and drink with which he treateth him, are the five Dakshinas in that sacrifice. He who giveth without stint food to a fatigued wayfarer never seen before, obtaineth merit that is great, and he who leading a domestic life, followeth such practices, acquireth religious merit that is said to be very great. O Brahmana, what is thy opinion on this?"
"Saunaka said, 'Alas, this world is full of contradictions! That which shameth the good, gratifieth the wicked! Alas, moved by ignorance and passion and slaves of their own senses, even fools perform many acts of (apparent merit) to gratify in after-life their appetites! With eyes open are these men led astray by their seducing senses, even as a charioteer, who hath lost his senses, by restive and wicked steeds! When any of the six senses findeth its particular object, the desire springeth up in the heart to enjoy that particular object. And thus when one's heart proceedeth to enjoy the objects of any particular sense a wish is entertained which in its turn giveth birth to a resolve. And finally, like unto an insect falling into a flame from love of light, the man falleth into the fire of temptation, pierced by the shafts of the object of enjoyment discharged by the desire constituting the seed of the resolve! And thenceforth blinded by sensual pleasure which he seeketh without stint, and steeped in dark ignorance and folly which he mistaketh for a state of happiness, he knoweth not himself! And like unto a wheel that is incessantly rolling, every creature, from ignorance and deed and desire, falleth into various states in this world, wandering from one birth to another, and rangeth the entire circle of existences from a Brahma to the point of a blade of grass, now in water, now on land, and now against in the air!
'This then is the career of those that are without knowledge. Listen now to the course of the wise they that are intent on profitable virtue, and are desirous of emancipation! The Vedas enjoin act but renounce (interest in) action. Therefore, shouldst thou act, renouncing Abhimana, performance of sacrifices, study (of the Vedas), gifts, penance, truth (in both speech and act), forgiveness, subduing the senses, and renunciation of desire,—these have been declared to be the eight (cardinal) duties constituting the true path. Of these, the four first pave the way to the world of the pitris. And these should be practised without Abhimana. The four last are always observed by the pious, to attain the heaven of the gods. And the pure in spirit should ever follow these eight paths. Those who wish to subdue the world for purpose of salvation, should ever act fully renouncing motives, effectually subduing their senses, rigidly observing particular vows, devotedly serving their preceptors, austerely regulating their fare, diligently studying the Vedas, renouncing action as mean and restraining their hearts. By renouncing desire and aversion the gods have attained prosperity. It is by virtue of their wealth of yoga that the Rudras, and the Sadhyas, and the Adityas and the Vasus, and the twin Aswins, rule the creatures. Therefore, O son of Kunti, like unto them, do thou, O Bharata, entirely refraining from action with motive, strive to attain success in yoga and by ascetic austerities. Thou hast already achieved such success so far as thy debts to thy ancestors, both male and female concerned, and that success also which is derived from action (sacrifices). Do thou, for serving the regenerate ones endeavour to attain success in penances. Those that are crowned with ascetic success, can, by virtue of that success, do whatever they list; do thou, therefore, practising asceticism realise all thy wishes."
"Vaisampayana said, 'Yudhishthira the son of Kunti, thus addressed by Saunaka, approached his priest and in the midst of his brothers said, 'The Brahmanas versed in the Vedas are following me who am departing for the forest. Afflicted with many calamities I am unable to support them. I cannot abandon them, nor have I the power to offer them sustenance: Tell me, O holy one, what should be done by me in such a pass.'
"Vaisampayana said, 'After reflecting for a moment seeking to find out the (proper) course by his yoga powers, Dhaumya, that foremost of all virtuous men, addressed Yudhishthira, in these words, 'In days of old, all living beings that had been created were sorely afflicted with hunger. And like a father (unto all of them), Savita (the sun) took compassion upon them. And going first into the northern declension, the sun drew up water by his rays, and coming back to the southern declension, stayed over the earth, with his heat centered in himself. And while the sun so stayed over the earth, the lord of the vegetable world (the moon), converting the effects of the solar heat (vapours) into clouds and pouring them down in the shape of water, caused plants to spring up. Thus it is the sun himself, who, drenched by the lunar influence, is transformed, upon the sprouting of seeds, into holy vegetable furnished with the six tastes. And it is these which constitute the food of all creatures upon the earth. Thus the food that supporteth the lives of creatures is instinct with solar energy, and the sun is, therefore, the father of all creatures. Do thou, hence, O Yudhishthira, take refuge even in him. All illustrious monarchs of pure descent and deeds are known to have delivered their people by practising high asceticism. The great Karttavirya, and Vainya and Nahusha, had all, by virtue of ascetic meditation preceded by vows, delivered their people from heavy afflictions. Therefore, O virtuous one, as thou art purified by the acts do thou likewise, entering upon a file of austerities. O Bharata, virtuously support the regenerate ones.'
"Janamejaya said, 'How did that bull among the Kurus, king Yudhishthira, for the sake of the Brahmanas adore the sun of wonderful appearance?"
"Vaisampayana said, 'Listen attentively, O king, purifying thyself and withdrawing thy mind from every other thing. And, O king of kings, appoint thou a time. I will tell thee everything in detail, And, O illustrious one, listen to the one hundred and eight names (of the sun) as they were disclosed of old by Dhaumya to the high-souled son of Pritha. Dhaumya said, 'Surya, Aryaman, Bhaga, Twastri, Pusha, Arka, Savitri. Ravi,
Gabhastimat, Aja, Kala, Mrityu, Dhatri, Prabhakara, Prithibi, Apa, Teja, Kha, Vayu, the sole stay, Soma, Vrihaspati, Sukra, Budha, Angaraka, Indra, Vivaswat, Diptanshu, Suchi, Sauri, Sanaichara, Brahma, Vishnu, Rudra, Skanda, Vaisravana, Yama, Vaidyutagni, Jatharagni, Aindhna, Tejasampati, Dharmadhwaja, Veda-karttri, Vedanga, Vedavahana, Krita, Treta, Dwapara, Kali, full of every impurity, Kala, Kastha, Muhurtta, Kshapa, Yama, and Kshana; Samvatsara-kara, Aswattha, Kalachakra, Bibhavasu, Purusha, Saswata, Yogin, Vyaktavyakta, Sanatana, Kaladhyaksha, Prajadhyaksha, Viswakarma, Tamounda, Varuna, Sagara, Ansu, Jimuta, Jivana, Arihan, Bhutasraya, Bhutapati, Srastri, Samvartaka, Vanhi, Sarvadi, Alolupa, Ananta, Kapila, Bhanu, Kamada, Sarvatomukha, Jaya, Visala, Varada, Manas, Suparna, Bhutadi, Sighraga, Prandharana, Dhanwantari, Dhumaketu, Adideva, Aditisuta, Dwadasatman, Aravindaksha, Pitri, Matri, Pitamaha, Swarga-dwara, Prajadwara, Mokshadwara, Tripistapa, Dehakarti, Prasantatman, Viswatman, Viswatomukha, Characharatman, Sukhsmatman, the merciful Maitreya. These are the hundred and eight names of Surya of immeasurable energy, as told by the self-create (Brahma). For the acquisition of prosperity, I bow down to thee, O Bhaskara, blazing like unto gold or fire, who is worshipped of the gods and the Pitris and the Yakshas, and who is adored by Asuras, Nisacharas, and Siddhas. He that with fixed attention reciteth this hymn at sunrise, obtaineth wife and offspring and riches and the memory of his former existence, and by reciting this hymn a person attaineth patience and memory. Let a man concentrating his mind, recite this hymn. By doing so, he shall be proof against grief and forest-fire and ocean and every object of desire shall be his.'
"Vaisampayana continued, 'Having heard from Dhaumya these words suitable to the occasion, Yudhishthira the just, with heart concentrated within itself and purifying it duly, became engaged in austere meditation, moved by the desire of supporting the Brahmanas. And worshipping the maker of day with offerings of flowers and other articles, the king performed his ablutions. And standing in the stream, he turned his face towards the god of day. And touching the water of the Ganges the virtuous Yudhishthira with senses under complete control and depending upon air alone for his sustenance, stood there with rapt soul engaged in pranayama. And having purified himself and restrained his speech, he began to sing the hymn of praise (to the sun).'
'Yudhishthira said, "Thou art, O sun, the eye of the universe. Thou art the soul of all corporeal existences. Thou art the origin of all things. Thou art the embodiment of the acts of all religious men. Thou art the refuge of those versed in the Sankhya philosophy (the mysteries of the soul), and thou art the support of the Yogins. Thou art a door unfastened with bolts. Thou art the refuge of those wishing for emancipation. Thou sustainest and discoverest the world, and sanctifiest and supportest it from pure compassion. Brahmanas versed in the Vedas appearing before thee, adore thee in due time, reciting the hymns from the respective branches (of the Vedas) they refer. Thou art the adored of the Rishis. The Siddhas, and the Charanas and the Gandharvas and the Yakshas, and the Guhyakas, and the Nagas, desirous of obtaining boons follow thy car coursing through the skies. The thirty-three gods with Upendra (Vishnu) and Mahendra, and the order of Vaimanikas have attained success by worshipping thee. By offering thee garlands of the celestial Mandaras the best of the Vidyadharas have obtained all their desires. The Guhyas and the seven orders of the Pitris—both divine and human—have attained superiority by adoring thee alone. The Vasus, the Manilas, and the Rudras, the Sadhyas, the Marichipas, the Valikhilyas, and the Siddhas, have attained pre-eminence by bowing down unto thee. There is nothing that I know in the entire seven worlds, including that of Brahma which is beyond thee. There are other beings both great and endued with energy; but none of them hath thy lustre and energy. All light is in thee, indeed, thou art the lord of all light. In thee are the (five) elements and all intelligence, and knowledge and asceticism and the ascetic properties. The discus by which the wielder of the Saranga humbleth the pride of Asuras and which is furnished with a beautiful nave, was forged by Viswakarman with thy energy. In summer thou drawest, by thy rays, moisture from all corporeal existences and plants and liquid substances, and pourest it down in the rainy season. Thy rays warm and scorch, and becoming as clouds roar and flash with lightning and pour down showers when the season cometh. Neither fire nor shelter, nor woolen cloths give greater comfort to one suffering from chilling blasts than thy rays. Thou illuminest by thy rays the whole Earth with her thirteen islands. Thou alone are engaged in the welfare of the three worlds. If thou dost not rise, the universe becometh blind and the learned cannot employ themselves in the attainment of virtue, wealth and profit. It is through thy grace that the (three) orders of Brahmanas, Kshatriyas and Vaisyas are able to perform their various duties and sacrifices. Those versed in chronology say that thou art the beginning and thou the end of a day of Brahma, which consisteth of a full thousand Yugas. Thou art the lord of Manus and of the sons of the Manus, of the universe and of man, of the Manwantaras, and their lords. When the time of universal dissolution cometh, the fire Samvartaka born of thy wrath consumeth the three worlds and existeth alone And clouds of various hues begotten of thy rays, accompanied by the elephant Airavata and the thunderbolt, bring about the appointed deluges. And dividing thyself into twelve parts and becoming as many suns, thou drinkest up the ocean once more with thy rays. Thou art called Indra, thou art Vishnu, thou art Brahma, thou art Prajapati. Thou art fire and thou art the subtle mind. And thou art lord and the eternal Brahma. Thou art Hansa, thou art Savitri, thou art Bhanu, Ansumalin, and Vrishakapi. Thou art Vivaswan, Mihira, Pusha, Mitra, and Dharma. Thou art thousand-rayed, thou art Aditya, and Tapana, and the lord of rays. Thou art Martanda, and Arka, and Ravi, and Surya and Saranya and maker of day, and Divakara and Suptasaspti, and Dhumakeshin and Virochana. Thou art spoken of as swift of speed and the destroyer of darkness, and the possessor of yellow steeds. He that reverentially adoreth thee on the sixth or the seventh lunar day with humility and tranquillity of mind, obtaineth the grace of Lakshmi. They that with undivided attention adore and worship thee, are delivered from all dangers, agonies, and afflictions. And they that hold that thou art everywhere (being the soul of all things) living long, freed from sin and enjoying an immunity from all diseases. O lord of all food, it behoveth thee to grant food in abundance unto me who am desirous of food even for entertaining all my guests with reverence. I bow also to all those followers of thine that have taken refuge at thy feet—Mathara and Aruna and Danda and others, including Asani and Kshuva and the others. And I bow also to the celestial mothers of all creatures, viz., Kshuva and Maitri and the others of the class. O, let them deliver me their supplient.'
"Vaisampayana said, 'Thus, O great king, was the sun that purifier of the world, adored (by Yudhishthira). And pleased with the hymn, the maker of day, self-luminous, and blazing like fire showed himself to the son of Pandu. And Vivaswan said, 'Thou shall obtain all that thou desirest. I shall provide thee with food for five and seven years together. And, O king, accept this copper-vessel which I give unto thee. And, O thou of excellent vows, as long as Panchali will hold this vessel, without partaking of its contents fruits and roots and meat and vegetables cooked in thy kitchen, these four kinds of food shall from this day be inexhaustible. And, on the fourteenth year from this, thou shall regain thy kingdom.'
"Vaisampayana continued, 'Having said this, the god vanished away. He that, with the desire of obtaining a boon, reciteth this hymn concentrating his mind with ascetic abstraction, obtaineth it from the sun, however difficult of acquisition it may be that he asketh for. And the person, male or female, that reciteth or heareth this hymn day after day, if he or she desireth for a son, obtaineth one, and if riches, obtaineth them, and if learning acquireth that too. And the person male or female, that reciteth this hymn every day in the two twilights, if overtaken by danger, is delivered from it, and if bound, is freed from the bonds. Brahma himself had communicated this hymn to the illustrious Sakra, and from Sakra was it obtained by Narada and from Narada, by Dhaumya. And Yudhishthira, obtaining it from Dhaumya, attained all his wishes. And it is by virtue of this hymn that one may always obtain victory in war, and acquire immense wealth also. And it leadeth the reciter from all sins, to the solar region.'