The Mahabharata 15
Category: Hindu
3:38 h
The Mahābhārata is one of the two major Sanskrit epics of ancient India, the other being the Rāmāyaṇa. It narrates the struggle between two groups of cousins in the Kurukshetra War and the fates of the Kaurava and the Pāṇḍava princes and their succession. Along with the Rāmāyaṇa, it forms the Hindu Itihasa.

The Mahabharata

BOOK 15: Asramavasika Parva

Kisari Mohan Ganguli, tr


(Asramavasa Parva)

OM! AFTER HAVING bowed down to Narayana, and Nara, the foremost of men, and unto the goddess Saraswati also, must the word Jaya be uttered.

“Janamejaya said ‘After having acquired their kingdom, how did my grandsires, the high-souled Pandavas, conduct themselves towards the high-souled king Dhritarashtra? How, indeed, did that king who had all his counsellors and sons slain, who was without a refuge, and whose affluence had disappeared, behave? How also did Gandhari of great fame conduct herself? For how many years did my high-souled grandsires rule the kingdom? It behoveth thee to tell me all this.’

“Vaisampayana said, ‘Having got back their kingdom, the high-souled Pandavas, their foes all slain, ruled the Earth, placing Dhritarashtra at their head. Vidura, and Sanjaya and Yuyutsu of great intelligence, who was Dhritarashtra’s son by his Vaisya wife, used to wait upon Dhritarashtra. The Pandavas used to take the opinion of that king in all matters. Indeed, for ten and five years, they did all things under the advice of the old king. Those heroes used very often to go to that monarch and sit beside him, after having worshipped his feet, agreeably to the wishes of king Yudhishthira the just. They did all things under the command of Dhritarashtra who smelt their heads in affection. The daughter of king Kuntibhoja also obeyed Gandhari in everything. Draupadi and Subhadra and the other ladies of the Pandavas behaved towards the old king and the queen as if they were their own father-in-law and mother-in-law. Costly beds and robes and ornaments, and food and drink and other enjoyable articles, in profusion and of such superior kinds as were worthy of royal use, were presented by king Yudhishthira unto Dhritarashtra. Similarly Kunti behaved towards Gandhari as towards a senior. Vidura, and Sanjaya, and Yuyutsu, O thou of Karu’s race, used to always wait upon the old king whose sons had all been slain. The dear brother-in-law of Drona, viz., the very Superior Brahmana, Kripa, that mighty bowman, also attended upon the king. The holy Vyasa also used to often meet with the old monarch and recite to him the histories of old Rishis and celestial ascetics and Pitris and Rakshasas. Vidura, under the orders of Dhritarashtra, superintended the discharge of all acts of religious merit and all that related to the administration of the law. Through the excellent policy of Vidura, by the expenditure of even a small wealth, the Pandavas obtained numerous agreeable services from their feudatories and followers. King Dhritarashtra liberated prisoners and pardoned those that were condemned to death. King Yudhishthira the just never said anything to this. On those occasions when the son of Amvika went on pleasure excursions, the Kuru king Yudhishthira of great energy used to give him every article of enjoyment. Aralikas, and juice-makers, and makers of Ragakhandavas waited on king Dhritarashtra as before. Pandu’s son, collected costly robes and garlands of diverse kinds and duly offered them to Dhritarashtra. Maireya wines, fish of various kinds, and sherbets and honey, and many delightful kinds of food prepared by modifications (of diverse articles), were caused to be made for the old king as in his days of prosperity. Those kings of Earth who came there one after another, all used to wait upon the old Kuru monarch as before. Kunti, and Draupadi, and she of the Sattwata race, possessed of great fame, and Ulupi, the daughter of the snake chief, and queen Chitrangada, and the sister of Dhrishtaketu, and the daughter of Jarasandha, — these and many other ladies, O chief of men, used to wait upon the daughter of Suvala like maids of all work. That Dhritarashtra, who was deprived of all his children, might not feel unhappy in any matter, was what Yudhishthira often said unto his brothers to see. They also, on their part, listening to these commands of grave import from king Yudhishthira, showed particular obedience to the old king. There was one exception, however. It embraced Bhimasena. All that had followed from that match at dice which had been brought about by the wicked understanding of Dhritarashtra, did not disappear from the heart of that hero. (He remembered those incidents still).”’


“Vaisampayana said, ‘Thus worshipped by the Pandavas, the royal soil of Amvika passed his time happily as before, waited upon and honoured by the Rishis. That perpetuator of Kuru’s race used to make those foremost of offerings which should be given to the Brahmanas. The royal son of Kunti always placed those articles under Dhritarashtra’s control. Destitute of malice as king Yudhishthira was, he was always affectionate towards his uncle. Addressing his brothers and councillors, the king said, ‘King Dhritarashtra should be honoured both by myself and you all. He. indeed, is a well-wisher of mine who is obedient to the commands of Dhritarashtra. He, on the other hand, who behaves otherwise towards him, is my enemy. Such a man should certainly be punished by me. On days of performing the rites ordained for the Pitris, as also in the Sraddhas performed for his sons and all well-wishers, the high-souled Kuru king Dhritarashtra, gave away unto Brahmanas, as each deserved, as profuse measures of wealth as he liked. King Yudhishthira the just, and Bhima, and Arjuna, and the twins, desirous of doing what was agreeable to the old king, used to execute all his orders. They always took care that the old king who was afflicted with the slaughter of his sons and grandsons, — with, that is, grief caused by the Pandavas themselves, — might not die of his grief Indeed, the Pandavas bore themselves towards him in such a way that that Kuru hero might not be deprived of that happiness and all those articles of enjoyment which had been his while his sons lived. The five brothers, viz., the sons of Pandu, behaved themselves even thus towards Dhritarashtra, living under his command. Dhritarashtra also, seeing them so humble and obedient to his commands and acting towards him as disciples towards preceptors, adopted the affectionate behaviour of a preceptor towards them in return. Gandhari, by performing the diverse rites of the Sraddha and making gifts unto Brahmanas of diverse objects of enjoyment, became freed from the debt she owed to her slain children. Thus did that foremost of righteous men, viz., king Yudhishthira the just, possessed of great intelligence, along with his brothers, worship king Dhritarashtra.’

“Vaisampayana continued, ‘Possessed of great energy, that perpetuator of Kuru’s race, viz., the old king Dhritarashtra, could not notice any ill-will in Yudhishthira Seeing that the high-souled Pandavas were in the observance of a wise and righteous conduct, king Dhritarashtra, the son of Amvika, became gratified with them. Suvala’s daughter, Gandhari, casting off all sorrow for her (slain) children, began to show great affection for the Pandavas as if they were her own children. Endued with great energy, the Kuru king Yudhishthira, never did anything that was disagreeable to the royal son of Vichitraviryya. On the other hand, he always behaved towards him in a highly agreeable way. Whatever acts, grave or light, were directed by king Dhritarashtra, or the helpless Gandhari to be done, were all accomplished with reverence, O monarch, by that slayer of hostile heroes, viz., the Pandava king. The old king became highly gratified with such conduct of Yudhishthira. Indeed, he was grieved at the remembrance of his own wicked son. Rising every day at early dawn, he purified himself and went through his recitations, and then blessed the Pandavas by wishing them victory in battle. Making the usual gifts unto the Brahmanas and causing them to utter benedictions, and Pouring libations on the sacred fire, the old king prayed for long life to the Pandavas. Indeed, the king had never derived that great happiness from his own sons which he always derived from the sons of Pandu. King Yudhishthira at that time became as agreeable to the Brahmanas as to the Kshatriyas, and the diverse bands of Vaisyas and Sudras of his realm. Whatever wrongs were done to him by the sons of Dhritarashtra, king Yudhishthira, forgot them all, and reverenced his uncle. If any man did anything that was not agreeable to the son of Amvika, he became thereby an object of hatred to the intelligent son of Kunti. Indeed, through fear of Yudhishthira, nobody could talk of the evil deeds of either Duryodhana or Dhritarashtra. Both Gandhari and Vidura also wore well pleased with the capacity the king Ajatasatru showed for bearing wrongs. They were, however, not so pleased, O slayer of foes, with Bhima. Dharma’s son, Yudhishthira, was truly obedient to his uncle. Bhima, however, at the sight of Dhritarashtra, became very cheerless. That slayer of foes, seeing Dharma’s son reverencing the old king, reverenced him outwardly with a very unwilling heart.”’


“Vaisampayana said, ‘The people who lived in the Kuru kingdom failed to notice any variance in the cordiality that subsisted between king Yudhishthira and the father of Duryodhana. When the Kuru king recollected his wicked son, he then could not but feel unfriendly, in his heart, towards Bhima. Bhimasena also, O king, impelled by a heart that seemed to be wicked, was unable to put up with king Dhritarashtra. Vrikodara secretly did many acts that were disagreeable to the old king. Through deceitful servitors he caused the commands of his uncle to be disobeyed. Recollecting the evil counsels of the old king and some acts of his, Bhima, one day, in the midst of his friends, slapped his armpits, in the hearing of Dhritarashtra and of Gandhari. The wrathful Vrikodara, recollecting his foes Duryodhana and Karna and Dussasana, gave way to a transport of passion, and said these harsh words: ‘The sons of the blind king, capable of fighting with diverse kinds of weapons, have all been despatched by me to the other world with these arms of mine that resemble a pair of iron clubs. Verily, these are those two arms of mine, looking like maces of iron, and invincible by foes, coming within whose clasp the sons of Dhritarashtra have all met with destruction. These are those two well-developed and round arms of mine, resembling a pair of elephantine trunks. Coming within their clasp, the foolish sons of Dhritarashtra have all met with destruction. Smeared with sandal-paste and deserving of that adornment are those two arms of mine by which Duryodhana has been despatched to the other world along with all his sons and kinsmen.’ Hearing these and many other words, O king, of Vrikodara, that were veritable darts, king Dhritarashtra gave way to cheerlessness and sorrow. Queen Gandhari, however, who was conversant with every duty and possessed of great intelligence, and who knew what Time brings on its course, regarded them as untrue. After five and ten years had passed away, O monarch, king Dhritarashtra afflicted (constantly) by the wordy darts of Bhima, became penetrated with despair and grief. King Yudhishthira the son of Kunti, however, knew it not; nor Arjuna of white steeds, nor Kunti; nor Draupadi possessed of great fame; nor the twin sons of Madri, conversant with every duty and who were always engaged in acting after the wishes of Dhritarashtra. Employed in doing the behests of the king, the twins never said anything that was disagreeable to the old king. Then Dhritarashtra one day honoured his friends by his confidence. Addressing ‘them with tearful eyes, He said these words.’

“Dhritarashtra said, ‘How the destruction of the Kurus has happened is well known to you. All that was brought about by my fault though the Kauravas approved of all my counsels. Fool that I was, I installed the wicked minded Duryodhana, that enhancer of the terrors of kinsmen, to rule over the Kurus. Vasudeva had said unto me, ‘Let this sinful wretch of wicked understanding be killed along with all his friends and counsellors.’ I did not listen to those words of grave import. All wisemen gave me the same beneficial advice. Vidura, and Bhishma, and Drona, and Kripa, said the same thing. The holy and high-souled Vyasa repeatedly said the same, as also Sanjaya and Gandhari. Overwhelmed, however, by filial affection, I could not follow that advice. Bitter repentance is now my lot for my neglect. I also repent for not having bestowed that blazing prosperity, derived from sires and grand sires, on the high-souled Pandavas possessed of every accomplishment. The eldest brother of Gada foresaw the destruction of all the kings; Janarddana, however, regarded that destruction as highly beneficial. So many Anikas of troops, belonging tome, have been destroyed. Alas, my heart is pierced with thousands of darts in consequence of all these results. Of wicked understanding as I am, now after the lapse of five and ten years, I am seeking to expiate my sins. Now at the fourth division of the day or sometimes at the eighth division, with the regularity of a vow, I eat a little food for simply conquering my thirst. Gandhari knows this. All my attendants are under the impression that I eat as usual. Through fear of Yudhishthira alone I concealed my acts, for if the eldest son of Pandu came to know of my vow, he would feel great pain. Clad in deer-skin, I lie down on the Earth, spreading a small quantity of Kusa grass, and pass the time in silent recitations. Gandhari of great fame passes her time in the observance of similar vows. Even thus do we both behave, we that have lost a century of gong none of whom even retreated from battle. I do not, however, grieve for those children of mine. They have all died in the observance of Kshatriya duties.’ Having said these words, the old king then addressed Yudhishthira in particular and said, ‘Blessed be thou, O son of the princess of Yadu’s race. Listen now to what I say. Cherished by thee, O son, I have lived these years very happily. I have (with thy help) made large gifts and performed Sraddhas repeatedly. I have, O son, to the best of my power, achieved merit largely. This Gandhari, though destitute of sons, has lived with great fortitude, looking all the while at me. They whom inflicted great wrongs on Draupadi and robbed thee of thy affluence, — those cruel wights — have all left the world, slain in battle agreeably to the practice of their order.

I have nothing to do for them, O delighter of the Kurus. Stain with their faces towards battle, they have attained to those regions which are for wielders of weapons. I should now accomplish what is beneficial and meritorious for me as also for Gandhari. It behoveth thee, O great king, to grant me permission. Thou art the foremost of all righteous persons. Thou art always devoted to righteousness. The king is the preceptor of all creatures. It is for this that I say so. With thy permission, O hero, I shall retire into the woods, clad in rags and barks. O king, alone with this Gandhari, I shall live in the woods, always blessing thee. It is meet, O son, for the members of our race, to make over sovereignty, when old age comes, to children and lead the forest mode of life. Subsisting there on air alone, or abstaining from all food, I shall, with this wife of mine, O hero, practise severe austerities. Thou shalt be a sharer of these penances, O son, for thou art the king. Kings are sharers of both auspicious and inauspicious acts done in their kingdom.’

“Yudhishthira said, ‘When thou, O king, art thus subject to grief, sovereignty does not please me at all. Fie on me that am of wicked understanding, devoted to the pleasures of rule, and utterly heedless of my true concerns. Alas, I, with all my brothers, was ignorant of thyself having so long been afflicted with grief, emaciated with fasts, abstaining from food, and lying on the bare ground. Alas, foolish that I am, I have been deceived by thee that hast deep intelligence, inasmuch as, having inspired me with confidence at first thou hast latterly undergone such grief. What need have I of kingdom or of articles of enjoyment, what need of sacrifices or of happiness, when thou, O king, hast undergone go much affliction? I regard my kingdom as a disease, and myself also as afflicted. Plunged though I am in sorrow, what, however, is the use of these words that I am addressing thee? Thou art our father, thou art our mother; thou art our foremost of superiors. Deprived of thy presence, how shall we live? O best of king, let Yuyutsu, the son of thy loins, be made king, or, indeed, anybody else whom thou mayst wish. I shall go into the woods. Do thou rule the kingdom. It behoveth thee not to burn me that am already burned by infamy. I am not the king. Thou art the king. I am dependent on thy will. How can I dare grant permission to thee that art my preceptor? O sinless one, I harbour no resentment in my heart on account of the wrongs done to us by Suyodhana. It was ordained that it should be so. Both ourselves and others were stupefied (by fate). We are thy children as Duryodhana and others were. My conviction is that Gandhari is as much my mother as Kunti. If thou, O king of kings, goest to the woods leaving me, I shall the, follow thee. I swear by my soul. This Earth, with her belt of seas, go full of wealth, will not be a source of joy to me when I am deprived of thy presence. All this belongs to thee. I gratify thee, bending my head. We are all dependent on thee, O king of kings. Let the fever of thy heart be dispelled. I think, O lord of Earth, that all this that has come upon thee is due to destiny. By good luck, I had thought, that waiting upon thee and executing thy commands obediently, I would rescue thee from the fever of thy heart.’

“Dhritarashtra said, ‘O delighter of the Kurus, my mind is fixed, O son, on penances. O puissant one, it is meet for our race that I should retire into the woods. I have lived long under thy protection, O son, I have for many years been served by thee with reverence. I am now old. It behoveth thee, O king, to grant me permission (to take up my abode in the woods).’

“Vaisampayana continued, ‘Having said these words unto king Yudhishthira, the just, king Dhritarashtra, the son of Amvika, trembling the while and with hands joined together, further said unto the high-souled Sanjaya and the great car-warrior Kripa, these words, ‘I wish to solicit the king through you. My mind has become cheerless, my mouth has become dry, through the weakness of age and the exertion of speaking.’ Having said so, that perpetuator of Kuru’s race, viz., the, righteous-souled old king, blessed with prosperity, leaned on Gandhari and suddenly looked like one deprived of life. Beholding him thus seated like one deprived of consciousness, that slayer of hostile heroes, viz., the royal son of Kunti, became penetrated by a poignant grief.

“Yudhishthira said, ‘Alas, he whose strength was equal to that of a hundred thousand elephants, alas, that king sitteth today, leaning on a woman. Alas! he by whom the iron image of Bhima on a former occasion wag reduced to fragments, leaneth today on a weak woman. Fie on me that am exceedingly unrighteous! Fie on my understanding! Fie on my knowledge of the scripture! Fie on me for whom this lord of Earth lieth today in a manner that is not becoming of him! I also shall fast even as my preceptor. Verily, I shall fast if this king and Gandhari of great fame abstain from food.’

“Vaisampayana continued, ‘The Pandava king, conversant with every duty, using his own hand, then softly rubbed with cold water the breast and the face of the old monarch. At the touch of the king’s hand which was auspicious and fragrant, and on which were jewels and medicinal herbs, Dhritarashtra regained his senses.

“Dhritarashtra said, ‘Do thou again touch me, O son of Pandu, with thy hand, and do thou embrace me. O thou of eyes like lotus petals, I am restored to my senses through the auspicious touch of thy hand. O ruler of men, I desire to smell thy head. The clasp of thy arms is highly gratifying to me. This is the eighth division of the day and, therefore, the hour of taking my food. For not having taken my food, O child of Kuru’s race, I am so weak as to be unable to move. In addressing my solicitations to thee, great hag been my exertion. Rendered cheerless by it, O son, I had fainted. O perpetuator of Kuru’s race, I think that receiving the touch of thy hand, which resembles nectar in its vivifying effects I have been restored to my senses.’

“Vaisampayana said, ‘Thus addressed, O Bharata, by the eldest brother of his father, the son of Kunti, from affection, gently touched every part of his body. Regaining his life-breaths, king Dhritarashtra embraced the son of Pandu with his arms and smelled his head. Vidura and others wept aloud in great grief. In consequence, however, of the poignancy of their sorrow, they said nothing to either the old king or the son of Pandu. Gandhari, conversant with every duty, bore her sorrow with fortitude, and loaded as her heart was, O king, said nothing. The other ladies, Kunti among them, became greatly afflicted. They wept, shedding copious tears, and sat surrounding the old king. Then ‘Dhritarashtra, once more addressing Yudhishthira, said these words, Do thou, O king, grant me permission to practise penances. By speaking repeatedly, O son, my mind becomes weakened. It behoveth thee not, O son, to afflict me after this.’ When that foremost one of Kuru’s race was saying go unto Yudhishthira, a loud sound of wailing arose from all the warriors there present. Beholding his royal father of great splendour, emaciated and pale, reduced to a state unbecoming of him, worn out with fasts, and looking like a skeleton covered with skin, Dharma’s son Yudhishthira shed tears of grief and once more said these words. ‘O foremost of men, I do not desire life and the Earth. O scorcher of foes, I shall employ myself in doing what is agreeable to thee. If I deserve thy favour, if I am dear to thee, do thou eat something. I shall then know what to do.’ Endued with great energy, Dhritarashtra then said to Yudhishthira, — ‘I wish, O son, to take some food, with thy permission.’ When Dhritarashtra said these words to Yudhishthira, Satyavati’s son Vyasa came there and said as follows.`


“Vyasa said, ‘O mighty-armed Yudhishthira, do without any scruple what Dhritarashtra of Kuru’s race hag said. This king is old. He has, again, been made sonless. I think he will not be able to bear his grief long. The highly blessed Gandhari, possessed of great wisdom and endued with kindly speech, bears with fortitude her excessive grief owing to the logs of her song. I also tell thee (what the old king says). Do thou obey my words. Let the old king have thy permission. Let him not die an inglorious death at home. Let this king follow the path of all royal sages of old. Verily, for all royal sages, retirement into the woods comes at last.’”

“Vaisampayana said, ‘Thus addressed at that time by Vyasa of wonderful deeds, king Yudhishthira the just, possessed of mighty energy, said unto the great ascetic these words, ‘Thy holy self is held by us in great reverence. Thou alone art our preceptor. Thou alone art the refuge of this our kingdom as also of our race. I am thy son. Thou, O holy one, art my father. Thou art our king, and thou art our preceptor. The son should, agreeably to every duty, be obedient to the commands of his sire.’ “Vaisampayana continued, ‘Thus addressed by the king. Vyasa, that foremost of poets, foremost of all persons conversant with the Vedas, endued with great energy once more said unto Yudhishthira these words, ‘It is even so, O mighty-armed one. It is even as thou sayest, O Bharata. This king has reached old age. He is now in the last stage of life. Permitted both by me and thee, let this lord of Earth do what he proposes. Do not stand as an impediment in his way. Even this is the highest duty, O Yudhishthira, of royal sages. They should die either in battle or in the woods agreeably to the scriptures. Thy royal sire, Pandu, O king of kings, reverenced this old king as a disciple reverences his preceptor. (At that time) he adored the gods in many great sacrifices with profuse gifts consisting of hills of wealth and jewels, and ruled the Earth and protected his subjects wisely and well. Having obtained a large progeny and a swelling kingdom, he enjoyed great influence for thirteen years while you were in exile, and gave away much wealth. Thyself also, O chief of men, with thy servants, O sinless one, hast adored this king and the famous Gandhari with that ready obedience which a disciple pays to his preceptor. Do thou grant permission to thy father. The time has come for him to attend to the practice of penances. He does not harbour, O Yudhishthira, even the slightest anger against any of you.’

“Vaisampayana continued, ‘Having said these words, Vyasa soothed the old king. Yudhishthira then answered him, saying, ‘So be it.’ The great ascetic then left the palace for proceeding to the woods. After the holy Vyasa had gone away, the royal son of Pandu softly said these words unto his old father, bending himself in humility, — What the holy Vyasa has said, what is thy own purpose, what the great bowman Kripa has said, what Vidura has expressed, and what has been asked for by Yuyutsu and Sanjaya, I shall accomplish with speed. All these are worthy of my respect, for all of them are well-wishers of our race. This, however, O king, I beg of thee by bending my head. Do thou first eat and afterwards go to thy forest retreat.’”


“Vaisampayana said, ‘Having received the king’s permission, king Dhritarashtra of great energy then proceeded to his own palace, followed by Gandhari. With weakened strength and slow motion, that king of great intelligence walked with difficulty, like the leader, worn out with age, of an elephantine herd. He was followed by Vidura of great learning, and his charioteer Sanjaya, as also that mighty bowman Kripa, the son of Saradwata. Entering his mansion, O king, he went through the morning rites and after gratifying many foremost of Brahmanas he took some food. Gandhari conversant with every duty, as also Kunti of great intelligence, worshipped with offers of various articles by their daughters-in-law, then took some food, O Bharata. After Dhritarashtra had eaten, and Vidura also and others had done the same, the Pandavas, having finished their meals, approached and sat around the old king. Then the son of Amvika, O monarch, addressing Kunti’s son who was seated near him and touching his back with his hand, said, ‘Thou shouldst always, O delighter of the Kurus, act without heedlessness as regards everything connected with thy kingdom consisting of eight limbs, O foremost of rulers, and in which the claims of righteousness should ever be kept foremost. Thou art possessed, O son of Kunti, of intelligence and learning. Listen to me, O king, as I tell thee what the means are by which, O son of Pandu, the kingdom is capable of being righteously protected. Thou shouldst always, O Yudhishthira, honour those persons that are old in learning. Thou shouldst listen to what they would say, and act accordingly without any scruple. Rising at dawn, O king, worship them with due rites, and when the time comes for action, thou shouldst consult them about thy (intended) acts. When, led by the desire of knowing what would be beneficial to thee in respect of thy measures, thou honourest them; they will, O son, always declare what is for thy good, O Bharata. Thou shouldst always keep thy senses, as thou keepest thy horses. They will then prove beneficial to thee, like wealth that is not wasted. Thou shouldst employ only such ministers as have passed the tests of honesty, (i.e., as are possessed of loyalty, disinterestedness, continence, and courage), as are hereditary officers of state, possessed of pure conduct, self-restrained, clever in the discharge of business, and endued with righteous conduct. Thou shouldst always collect information through spies in diverse disguises, whose faithfulness have been tasted, who are natives of thy kingdom, and who should not be known to thy foes. Thy citadel should be properly protected with strong walls and arched gates. On every side the walls, with watch-towers on them standing close to one another, should be such as to admit of six persons walking side by side on their top. The gates should all be large and sufficiently strong. Kept in proper places those gates should be carefully guarded. Let thy purposes be accomplished through men whose families and conduct are well known. Thou shouldst always protect thy person also with care, in matters connected with thy food, O Bharata, as also in the hours of sport and eating and in matters connected with the garlands thou wearest and the beds thou liest upon. The ladies of thy household should be properly protected, looked over by aged and trusted servitors, of good behaviour, well-born, and possessed of learning, O Yudhishthira. Thou shouldst make ministers of Brahmanas possessed of learning, endued with humility, well-born, conversant with religion and wealth, and adorned with simplicity of behaviour. Thou shouldst hold consultations with them. Thou shouldst not, however, admit many persons into thy consultations. On particular occasions thou mayst consult with the whole of thy council or with a portion of it. Entering a chamber or spot that is well protected (from intruders) thou shouldst hold thy consultation. Thou mayst hold thy consultation in a forest that is divested of grass. Thou shouldst never consult at night time. Apes and birds and other animals that can imitate human beings should all be excluded from the council chamber, as also idiots and lame and palsied individuals. I think that the evils that flow from the divulgence of the counsels of kings are such that they cannot be remedied. Thou shouldst repeatedly refer, in the midst of thy counsellors, to the evils that arise from the divulgence of counsels, O chastiser of foes, and to the merits that flow from counsels properly kept. Thou shouldst, O Yudhishthira, act in such a manner as to ascertain the merits and faults of the inhabitants of thy city and the provinces. Let thy laws, O king, be always administered by trusted judges placed in charge thereof, who should also be contented and of good behaviour. Their acts should also be ascertained by thee through spies. Let thy judicial officers, O Yudhishthira, inflict punishments, according to the law, on offenders after careful ascertainment of the gravity of the offences. They that are disposed to take bribes, they that are the violators of the chastity of other people’s wives, they that inflict heavy punishments, they that are utterers of false speeches, they that are revilers, they that are stained by cupidity, they that are murderers, they that are doers of rash deeds, they that are disturbers of assemblies and the sports of others, and they that bring about a confusion of castes, should, agreeably to considerations of time and place, be punished with either fines or death. In the morning thou shouldst see those that are employed in making thy disbursements. After that thou shouldst look to thy toilet and then to thy food. Thou shouldst next supervise thy forces, gladdening them on every occasion. Thy evenings should be set apart for envoys and spies. The latter end of the night should be devoted by thee to settle what acts should be done by thee in the day. Mid-nights and mid-days should be devoted to thy amusements and sports. At all times, however thou shouldst think of the means for accomplishing thy purposes. At the proper time, adorning thy person, thou shouldst sit prepared to make gifts in profusion. The turns for different acts, O son, ceaselessly revolve like wheels. Thou shouldst always exert thyself to fill thy treasuries of various kinds by lawful means. Thou shouldst avoid all unlawful means towards that end. Ascertaining through thy spies who thy foes are that are bent on finding out thy laches, thou shouldst, through trusted agents, cause them to be destroyed from a distance. Examining their conduct, thou shouldst O perpetuator of Kuru’s race, appoint thy servants. Thou shouldst cause all thy acts to be accomplished through thy servitors: whether they are appointed for those acts or not. The commandant of thy forces should be of firm conduct, courageous, capable of bearing hardships, loyal, and devoted to thy good. Artisans and mechanics, O son of Pandu, dwelling in thy provinces, should always do thy acts like kine and asses. Thou shouldst always, O Yudhishthira, be careful to ascertain thy own laches as also those of thy foes. The laches also of thy own men as also of the men of thy foes should equally be ascertained. Those men of thy kingdom, that are well skilled in their respective vocations, and are devoted to thy good, should be favoured by thee with adequate means of support. A wise king, O ruler of men, should always see that the accomplishments of his accomplished subjects might be kept up. They would then be firmly devoted to thee, seeing that they did not fall away from their skill.’”


“Dhritarashtra said, Thou shouldst always ascertain the Mandalas that belong to thee, to thy foes, to neutrals, and to those that are disposed equally towards thee and thy foes, O Bharata. The Mandalas also of the four kinds of foes, of these called Atatayins, and of allies, and the allies of foes, should be distinguished by thee, O crusher of foes. The ministers of state, the people of the provinces, the garrisons of forts, and the forces, O foremost one of Kuru’s race, may or may not be tampered with. (Thou shouldst, therefore, behave in such a manner that these may not be tampered with by thy foes). The twelve (enumerated above), O son of Kunti, constitute the principal concerns of kings. These twelve, as also sixty, having Ministers for their foremost, should be looked after by the king. Professors conversant with the science of politics call these by the name of Mandala. Understand, O Yudhishthira, that the six incidents (of peace, war, march, halt, sowing dissensions, and conciliation) depend upon these. Growth and diminution should also be understood, as also the condition of being stationary. The attributes of the sixfold incidents, O thou of mighty arms, as resting on the two and seventy (already enumerated), should also be carefully understood. When one’s own side has become strong and the side of the foe his become weak, it is then, O son of Kunti, that the king should war against the foe and strive to will victory. When the enemy is strong and one’s own side is weak, then the weak king, if possessed of intelligence, should seek to make peace with the enemy. The king should collect a large store of articles (for his commissariat). When able to march out, he should on no account make a delay, O Bharata. Besides, he should on that occasion set his men to offices for which they are fit, without being moved by any other consideration. (When obliged to yield a portion of his territories) he should give his foe only such land as does not produce crops in abundance. (When obliged to give wealth), he should give gold containing much base metal. (When obliged to give a portion of his forces), he should give such men as are not noted for strength. One that is skilled in treaties should, when taking land or gold or men from the foe, take what is possessed of attributes the reverse of this. In making treaties of peace, the son of the (defeated) king, should be demanded as a hostage, O chief of the Bharatas. A contrary course of conduct would not be beneficial, O son. If a calamity comes over the king, he should, with knowledge of means-and counsels, strive to emancipate himself from it. The king, O foremost of monarchs, should maintain the cheerless and the destitute (such as the blind, the deaf and dumb, and the diseased) among his people. Himself protecting his own kingdom, the king, possessed of great might, should direct all his efforts, either one after another or simultaneously, against his foes. He should afflict and obstruct them and seek to drain their treasury. The king that desires his own growth should never injure the subordinate chieftains that are under his sway. O son of Kunti, thou shouldst never seek to war with that king who desires to conquer the whole Earth. Thou shouldst seek to gain advantages by producing, with the aid of thy ministers, dissensions among his aristocracy and subordinate chieftains. A powerful king should never seek to exterminate weak kings, for these do good to the world by cherishing the good and punishing the wicked. O foremost of kings, thou shouldst live, adopting the behaviour of the cane. If a strong king advances against a weak one, the latter should make him desist, by adopting conciliation and other modes. If unable to stop the invader in this way, then he, as also those that are disposed to do him good, should fall upon the foe for battling with him. Indeed, with his ministers and treasury and citizens, he should thus adopt force against the invader. If battling with the foe becomes hopeless, then he should fall, sacrificing his resources one after another. Casting off his life in this way, he will attain to liberation from all sorrow.’”


“Dhritarashtra said, ‘O best of kings, thou shouldst also reflect properly on war and peace. Each is of two kinds. The means are various, and the circumstances also, under which war or peace may be made, are various, O Yudhishthira. O thou of Kuru’s race, thou shouldst, with coolness, reflect on the two (viz., thy strength and weakness) with regard to thyself. Thou shouldst not suddenly march against a foe that is possessed of contented and healthy soldiers, and that is endued with intelligence. On the other hand, thou shouldst think carefully of the means of vanquishing him. Thou shouldst march against a foe that is not provided with contented and healthy combatants. When everything is favourable, the foe may be beaten. After that, however, the victor should retire (and stay in a strong position). He should next cause the foe to be plunged into various calamities, and sow dissensions among his allies. He should afflict the foe and inspire terror in his heart, and attacking him weaken his forces. The king, conversant with the scriptures that marches against a foe, should think of the three kinds of strength, and, indeed, reflect on his own strength and of his foe. Only that king, O Bharata, who is endued with alacrity, discipline, and strength of counsels, should march against a foe. When his position is otherwise, he should avoid defensive operations. The king should provide himself with power of wealth, power of allies, power of foresters, power of paid soldiery, and power of the mechanical and trading classes, O puissant one. Among all these, power of allies and power of wealth are superior to the rest. The power of classes and that of the standing army are equal. The power of spies is regarded by the king as equal in efficacy to either of the above, on many occasions, when the time comes for applying each. Calamity, O king, as it overtakes rulers should be regarded as of many forms. Listen, O thou of Kuru’s race, as to what those diverge forms are. Verily of various kinds are calamities, O son of Pandu. Thou shouldst always count them, distinguishing their forms, O king, and strive to meet them by applying the well-known ways of conciliation and the rest (without concealing them through idleness). The king should, when equipt with a good force, march (out against a foe), O scorcher of enemies. He should attend also to the considerations of time and place, while preparing to march, as also to the forces he has collected and his own merits (in other respects). That king who is attentive to his own growth and advancement should not march unless equipt with cheerful and healthy warriors. When strong, O son of Pandu, he may march in even an unfavourable season. The king should make a river having quivers for its stones, steeds and cars for its current, and standards for the trees that cover its banks, and which is miry with foot-soldiers and elephants. Even such a river should the king apply for the destruction of his foe. Agreeably to the science known to Usanas, arrays called Sakata, Padma, and Vijra, should be formed, O Bharata, for fighting the enemy. Knowing everything about the enemy’s strength through spies, and examining his own strength himself the king should commence war either within his own territories or within those of his foe. The king should always gratify his army, and hurl all his strongest warriors (against the enemy). First ascertaining the state of his kingdom, he should apply conciliation or the other well-known means. By all means, O king, should the body be protected. One should do that which is highly beneficial for one both here and hereafter. The king, O monarch, by behaving duly according to these ways, attains to Heaven hereafter, after ruling his subjects righteously in this world. O foremost one of Kuru’s race, it is even thus that thou shouldst always seek the good of thy subjects for attaining to both the worlds. Thou hast been instructed in all duties by Bhishma, by Krishna, and by Vidura, I should also, O best of kings, from the affection I bear thee, give thee these instructions. O giver of profuse presents in sacrifices, thou shouldst do all this duly. Thou shalt, by conducting thyself in this way, become dear to thy subjects and attain to felicity in Heaven. That king who adores the deities in a hundred horse-sacrifices, and he who rules his subjects righteously, acquire merit that is equal.’”


“Yudhishthira said, ‘O lord of Earth, I shall do as thou biddest me. O foremost of kings, I should be further instructed by thee. Bhishma has ascended to Heaven. The slayer of Madhu has departed (for Dwaraka). Vidura and Sanjaya also will accompany thee to the forest. Who else, therefore, than thee will teach me? Those instructions which thou imparted today, desirous of doing good to me, I shall certainly follow, O lord of Earth. Be thou assured of this, O king.’

“Vaisampayana continued, ‘Thus addressed by king Yudhishthira the just, of great intelligence, the royal sage, Dhritarashtra, O chief of the Bharatas, wished to obtain the king’s permission (about his retirement to the forest). And he said, ‘Cease, O son, great has been my toil.’ Having said these words, the old king entered the apartments of Gandhari. Unto that husband of hers who resembled a second Lord of all creatures, while resting on a seat, Gandhari of righteous conduct, conversant with the opportuneness of everything, said these words, the hour being suited to them, — ‘Thou hast obtained the permission of that great Rishi, viz., Vyasa himself. When, however, wilt thou go to the forest, with the permission of Yudhishthira?’

“Dhritarashtra said, ‘O Gandhari, I have received the permission of my high-souled sire. With the permission of Yudhishthira (next obtained), I shall soon retire into the woods. I desire, however, to give away some wealth capable of following the status of Preta, in respect of all those sons of mine who were addicted to calamitous dice. Verily, I desire to make those gifts, inviting all the people to my mansion.’

“Vaisampayana continued, ‘Having said so (to Gandhari), Dhritarashtra sent for Yudhishthira. The latter, at his uncle’s command, brought all the articles necessary. Many Brahmanas residing in Kuru-jangala, and many Kshatriyas, many Vaisyas, and many Sudras also, came to Dhritarashtra’s mansion, with gratified hearts. The old king, coming out of the inner apartments, beheld them all, as also his subjects assembled together. Beholding all those assembled citizens and inhabitants of the provinces, and his well-wishers also thus gathered together, and the large number of Brahmanas arrived from diverge realms, king Dhritarashtra of great intelligence, O monarch, said these words, — 'Ye all and the Kurus have lived together for many long years, well-wishers of each other, and each employed in doing good to the other. What I shall now say in view of the opportunity that has come, should be accomplished by you all even as disciples accomplish the biddings of their preceptors. I have set my heart upon retiring into the woods, along with Gandhari as my companion. Vyasa has approved of this, as also the son of Kunti. Let me have your permission too. Do not hesitate in this. That goodwill, which has always existed between you and us, is not to be seen, I believe, in other realms between the rulers and the ruled. I am worn out with this load of years on my head. I am destitute of children. Ye sinless ones, I am emaciated with fasts, along with Gandhari. The kingdom having passed to Yudhishthira, I have enjoyed great happiness. Ye foremost of men, I think that happiness has been greater than what I could expect from Duryodhana’s sovereignty. What other refuge can I have, old as I am and destitute of children, save the woods? Ye highly blessed ones, it behoves you to grant me the permission I seek. Hearing these words of his, all these residents of Kurujangala, uttered loud lamentations, O best of the Bharatas, with voices choked with tears. Desirous of telling those grief-stricken people something more, Dhritarashtra of great energy, once more addressed them and said as follows.’”


“Dhritarashtra said, ‘Santanu duly ruled this Earth. Similarly, Vichitraviryya also, protected by Bhishma, ruled you. Without doubt, all this is known to you. It is also known to you how Pandu, my brother, was dear to me as also to you. He also ruled you duly. Ye sinless ones, I have also served you. Whether those services have come up to the mark or fallen short of it, it behoveth you to forgive me, for I have attended to my duties without heedlessness. Duryodhana also enjoyed this kingdom without a thorn in his side. Foolish as he was and endued with wicked understanding, he did not, however, do any wrong to you. Through the fault, however, of that prince of wicked understanding, and through his pride, as also through my own impolicy, a great carnage has taken place of persons of the royal order. Whether I have, in that matter, acted rightly or wrongly, I pray you with joined hands to dispel all remembrance of it from your hearts. — This one is old; this one has lost all his children; this one is afflicted with grief; this one was our king; — this one is a descendant of former kings; — considerations like these should induce you to forgive me. This Gandhari also is cheerless and old. She too has lost her children and is helpless. Afflicted with grief for the loss of her sops, she solicits you with me. Knowing that both of us are old and afflicted and destitute of children, grant us the permission we seek. Blessed be you, we seek your protection. This Kuru king, Yudhishthira, the son of Kunti, should be looked after by you all, in prosperity as well as in adversity. He will never fall into distress, he that has for his counsellors four such brothers of abundant prowess. All of them are conversant with both righteousness and wealth, and resemble the very guardians of the world. Like the illustrious Brahman himself, the Lord of the universe of creatures, this Yudhishthira of mighty energy will rule you. That which should certainly be said is now said by me. I make over to you it this Yudhishthira here as a deposit. I make you also a deposit in the hands of this hero. It behoves you all to forget and forgive whatever injury has been done to you by those sons of mine that are no longer alive, or, indeed, by any one else belonging to me. Ye never harboured any wrath against me on any previous occasion. I join my hands before you who are distinguished for loyalty. Here, I bow to you all. Ye sinless one, I, with Gandhari by my side, solicit your pardon now for anything done to you by those sons of mine, of restless understandings, stained by cupidity, and ever acting as their desires prompted.’ Thus addressed by the old monarch, all those citizens and inhabitants of the provinces, filled with tears, said nothing but only looked at one another.”’


“Vaisampayana said, ‘Thus addressed, O thou of Kuru’s race, by the old king, the citizens and the inhabitants of the provinces stood sometime like men deprived of consciousness. King Dhritarashtra, finding them silent, with their throats choked by grief, once more addressed them, saying, ‘Ye best of men, old as I am, sonless, and indulging, through cheerlessness of heart, in diverse lamentations along with this my wedded wife, I have obtained the permission, in the matter of my retirement into the forest, of my sire, the Island-born Krishna himself, as also of king Yudhishthira, who is conversant with every duty, ye righteous denizens of this kingdom. Ye sinless ones, I, with Gandhari, repeatedly solicit you with bent heads. It behoves you all to grant us permission.’

“Vaisampayana continued, ‘Hearing these pitiable words of the Kuru king, O monarch, the assembled denizens of Kurujangala all began to weep. Covering their faces with their hands and upper garments, all those men burning with grief, wept for a while as fathers and mothers would weep (at the prospect of a dear son about to leave them for ever). Bearing in their hearts, from which every other thought had been dispelled, the sorrow born of Dhritarashtra’s desire to leave the world, they looked like men deprived of all consciousness. Checking that agitation of heart due to the announcement of Dhritarashtra’s desire of going to the forest, they gradually were able to address one another, expressing their wishes. Settling their words in brief, O king, they charged a certain Brahmana with the task of replying unto the old monarch. That learned Brahmana, of good behaviour, chosen by unanimous consent, conversant with all topics, master of all the Richs, and named Samba, endeavoured to speak. Taking the permission of the whole assembly and with its full approbation, that learned Brahmana of great intelligence, conscious of his own abilities, said these words unto the king, — ‘O monarch, the answer of this assembly has been committed to my care. I shall voice it, O hero. Do thou receive it, O king. What thou gayest, O king of kings, is all true, O puissant one. There is nothing in it that is even slightly untrue. Thou art our well-wisher, as, indeed, we are thine. Verily, in this race of kings, there never wag a king who coming to rule his subjects became unpopular with them. Ye have ruled us like fathers or brothers. King Duryodhana never did us any wrong. Do that, O king, which that righteous-souled ascetic, the son of Satyavati, has said. He is, verily, our foremost of instructors. Left by thee, O monarch, we shall have to pass our days in grief and sorrow, filled with remembrance of thy hundreds of virtues. We were well protected and ruled by king Duryodhana even as we had been ruled by king Santanu, or by Chitrangada, or by thy father, O monarch, who was protected by the prowess of Bhishma, or by Pandu, that ruler of Earth, who was overlooked by thee in all his acts. Thy son, O monarch, never did us the slightest wrong. We lived, relying on that king as trustfully as on our own father. It is known to thee how we lived (under that ruler). After the same manner, we have enjoyed great happiness, O monarch, for thousands of years, under the rule of Kunti’s son of great intelligence and wisdom. This righteous-souled king who performs sacrifices with gifts in profusion, follows the conduct of the royal sages of old, belonging to thy race, of meritorious deeds, having Kuru and Samvara and others and Bharata of great intelligence among them. There is nothing, O monarch, that is even slightly censurable in the matter of this Yudhishthira’s rule. Protected and ruled by thee, we have all lived in great happiness. The slightest demerit is incapable of being alleged against thee and thy son. Regarding what thou hast said about Duryodhana in the matter of this carnage of kinsmen, I beg thee, O delighter of the Kurus (to listen to me).’

“The Brahmana continued, ‘The destruction that has overtaken the Kurus was not brought about by Duryodhana. It was not brought about by thee. Nor was it brought about by Karna and Suvala’s son. We know that it was brought about by destiny, and that it was incapable of being counteracted. Verily, destiny is not capable of being resisted by human exertion. Eight and ten Akshauhinis of troops, O monarch, were brought together. In eight and ten days that host was destroyed by the foremost of Kuru warriors, viz., Bhishma and Drona and Kripa and others, and the high-souled Karna, and the heroic Yuyudhana, and Dhrishtadyumna, and by the four sons of Pandu, that is, Bhima and Arjuna and twins. This (tremendous) carnage, O king, could not happen without the influence of destiny. Without doubt, by Kshatriyas in particular, should foes be slain and death encountered in battle. By those foremost of men, endued with science and might of arms, the Earth has been exterminated with her steeds and cars and elephants. Thy son was not the cause of that carnage of high-souled kings. Thou wert not the cause, nor thy servants, nor Karna, nor Suvala’s son. The destruction of those foremost ones of Kuru’s race and of kings by thousands, know, was brought about by destiny. Who can say anything else in this? Thou art regarded as the Guru and the master of the whole world. We, therefore, in thy presence, absolve thy righteous-souled son. Let that king, with all his associates, obtain the regions reserved for heroes. Permitted by foremost of Brahmanas, let him sport blissfully in heaven. Thou also shalt attain to great merit, and unswerving steadiness in virtue. O thou of excellent vows, follow thou fully the duties indicated in the Vedas. It is not necessary for either thee or ourselves to look after the Pandavas. They are capable of ruling the very Heavens, what need then be said of the Earth? O thou of great intelligence, in prosperity as in adversity, the subjects of this kingdom, O foremost one of Kuru’s race, will be obedient to the Pandavas who have conduct for their ornament. The son of Pandu makes those valuable gifts which are always to be made to foremost of regenerate persons in sacrifices and in obsequial rites, after the manner of all the great kings of antiquity. The high-minded son of Kunti is mild, and self-restrained, and is always disposed to spend as if he were a second Vaisravana. He has great ministers that attend on him. He is compassionate to even his foes. Indeed, that foremost one of Bharata’s race is of pure conduct. Endued with great intelligence, he is perfectly straight-forward in his dealings and rules and protects us like a father protecting his children. From association with him who is the son of Dharma, O royal sage, Bhima and Arjuna and others will never do us the least wrong. They are mild, O thou of Kuru’s race, unto them that are mild, and fierce like snakes of virulent poison unto them that are fierce. Possessed of great energy, those high-souled ones are always devoted to the good of the people. Neither Kunti, nor thy (daughter-in-law) Panchali, nor Ulupi, nor the princess of the Sattwata race, will do the least wrong to these people. The affection which thou hast shown towards us and which in Yudhishthira is seen to exist in a still larger measure is incapable of being forgotten by the people of the city and the provinces. Those mighty car-warriors, viz., the son of Kunti, themselves devoted to the duties of the righteousness, will protect and cherish the people even if these happen to be unrighteous. Do thou, therefore, O king, dispelling all anxiety of heart on account of Yudhishthira, set thyself to the accomplishment of all meritorious acts, O foremost of men.’

“Vaisampayana continued, ‘Hearing these words, fraught with righteousness and merit, of that Brahmana and approving of them, every person in that assembly said, ‘Excellent, Excellent’ and accepted them as his own. Dhritarashtra also, repeatedly applauding those words, slowly dismissed that assembly of his subjects. Thus honoured by them and looked upon with auspicious glances, the old king, O chief of Bharata’s race, joined his hands and honoured them all in return. He then entered his own mansion with Gandhari. Listen now to what he did after that night had passed away.”’


“Vaisampayana said, ‘After that night had passed away, Dhritarashtra, the son of Amvika, despatched Vidura to Yudhishthira’s mansion. Endued with great energy and the foremost of all persons possessed of intelligence, Vidura, having arrived at Yudhishthira’s mansion, addressed that foremost of men, that king of unfading glory, in these words, ‘King Dhritarashtra has undergone the preliminary rites for accomplishing his purpose of retiring into the woods. He will set out for the woods, O king, on the coming day of full moon of the month of Kartika. He now solicits from thee, O foremost one of Kuru’s race, some wealth. He wishes to perform the Sraddha of the high-souled son of Ganga, as also of Drona and Somadatta and Valhika of great intelligence, and of all his sons as also of all well-wishers of his that have been slain, and, if thou permittest it, of that wicked-souled wight, viz., the ruler of the Sindhus.’ Hearing these words of Vidura, both Yudhishthira, and Pandit’s son Arjuna of curly hair, became very glad and applauded them highly. Bhima, however, of great energy and unappeasable wrath, did not accept those words of Vidura in good spirits, recollecting the acts of Duryodhana. The diadem-decked Phalguna, understanding the thoughts of Bhimasena, slightly bending his face downwards, addressed that foremost of men in these words, ‘O Bhima, our royal father who is advancing in years, has resolved to retire into the woods. He wishes to make gifts for advancing the happiness of his slain kinsmen and well-wishers now in the other world. O thou of Kuru’s race, he wishes to give away wealth that belongs to thee by conquest. Indeed, O mighty-armed one, it is for Bhishma and others that the old king is desirous of making those gifts. It behoves thee to grant thy permission. By good luck it is, O thou of mighty arms that Dhritarashtra today begs wealth of us, he who was formerly begged by us. Behold the reverse brought about by Time. That king who was before the lord and protector of the whole Earth, now desires to go into the woods, his kinsmen and associates all slain by foes. O chief of men, let not thy views deviate from granting the permission asked for. O mighty-armed one, refusal, besides bringing infamy, will be productive d demerit. Do thou learn your duty in this matter from the king, thy eldest brother, who is lord of all. It becometh thee to give instead of refusing, O chief of Bharata’s race. Vibhatsu who was saying so wag applauded by king Yudhishthira the just. Yielding to wrath, Bhimasena said these words, ‘O Phalguna, it is we that shall make gifts in the matter of Bhishma’s obsequies, as also of king Somadatta and of Bhurisravas, of the royal sage Valhika, and of the high-souled Drona, and of all others. Our mother Kunti shall make such obsequial offerings for Karna. O foremost of men, let not Dhritarashtra perform those Sraddhas. Even this is what I think. Let not our foes be gladdened. Let Duryodhana and others sink from a miserable to a more miserable position. Alas, it was those wretches of their race that caused the whole Earth to be exterminated. How hast thou been able to forget that anxiety of twelve long years, and our residence in deep incognito that was so painful to Draupadi? Where was Dhritarashtra’s affection for us then? Clad in a black deer-skin and divested of all thy ornaments, with the princess of Panchala in thy company, didst thou not follow this king? Where were Bhishma and Drona then, and where was Somadatta? Thou hadst to live for thirteen years in the woods, supporting thyself on the products of the wilderness. Thy eldest father did not then look at thee with eyes of parental affection. Hast thou forgotten, O Partha, that it was this wretch of our race, of wicked understanding, that enquired of Vidura, when the match at dice was going on, — ‘What has been won?’ Hearing thus far, king Yudhishthira, the son of Kunti, endued with great intelligence, rebuked him and told him to be silent.”’


“Arjuna said, ‘O Bhima, thou art my elder brother and, therefore, my senior and preceptor. I dare not say anything more than what I have already said. The royal sage Dhritarashtra deserves to be honoured by us in every respect. They that are good, they that are distinguished above the common level, they that break not the distinctions which characterise the good, remember not the wrongs done to them but only the benefits they have received.’ Hearing these words of the high-souled Phalguna, the righteous-souled Yudhishthira, the son of Kunti, addressed Vidura and said these words, ‘Instructed by me, O Kshattri, do thou say unto the Kuru king that I shall give him as much wealth from my treasury as he wishes to give away for the obsequies of his song, and of Bhishma and others among his well-wishers and benefactors. Let not Bhima be cheerless at this!’

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