“Vaisampayana said, ‘Meanwhile the Kauravas and the Pandavas, afterhaving thus sported there, set out, without Bhima, for Hastinapura, someon horses, some on elephants, while others preferred cars and otherconveyances.
And on their way they said to one another, ‘Perhaps, Bhimahath gone before us.’ And the wicked Duryodhana was glad at heart to missBhima, and entered the city with his brothers in joy.
“The virtuous Yudhishthira, himself unacquainted with vice andwickedness, regarded others to be as honest as himself. The eldest son ofPritha, filled with fraternal love, going unto his mother, said, aftermaking obeisance to her, ‘O mother, hath Bhima come? O good mother, Idon’t find him here. Where may he have gone? We long sought for himeverywhere in the gardens and the beautiful woods; but found him nowhere.At length, we thought that the heroic Bhima preceded us all. Oillustrious dame, we came hither in great anxiety. Arrived here, wherehath he gone? Have you sent him anywhere? O tell me, I am full of doubtsrespecting the mighty Bhima. He had been asleep and hath not come. Iconclude he is no more.’
“Hearing these words of the highly intelligent Yudhishthira, Kuntishrieked, in alarm, and said, ‘Dear son, I have not seen Bhima. He didnot come to me. O, return in haste, and with your brothers search forhim.’
“Having said this in affliction to her eldest son, she summoned Vidura,and said, ‘O illustrious Kshattri, Bhimasena is missing! Where has hegone? The other brothers have all come back from the gardens, only Bhimaof mighty arms does not come home! Duryodhana likes him not. The Kauravais crooked and malicious and low-minded and imprudent. He coveteth thethrone openly. I am afraid he may have in a fit of anger slain mydarling. This afflicts me sorely, indeed, it burns my heart.’
“Vidura replied, ‘Blessed dame, say not so! Protect thy other sons withcare. If the wicked Duryodhana be accused, he may slay thy remainingsons. The great sage hath said that all thy sons will be long-lived.Therefore, Bhima will surely return and gladden thy heart.’
“Vaisampayana continued, ‘The wise Vidura, having said this unto Kunti,returned to his abode, while Kunti, in great anxiety, continued to stayat home with her children.
“Meanwhile, Bhimasena awoke from that slumber on the eighth day, and feltstrong beyond measure in consequence of the nectar he had taken havingbeen all digested. Seeing him awake, the Nagas began to console and cheerhim, saying, ‘O thou of mighty arms, the strength-giving liquor thou hastdrunk will give thee the might of ten thousand elephants! No one now willbe able to vanquish thee in fight. O bull of Kuru’s race, do thou bath inthis holy and auspicious water and return home. Thy brothers aredisconsolate because of thee.’
“Then Bhima purified himself with a bath in those waters, and decked inwhite robes and flowery garlands of the same hue, ate of the paramanna(rice and sugar pudding) offered to him by the Nagas. Then that oppressorof all foes, decked in celestial ornaments, received the adorations andblessings of the snakes, and saluting them in return, rose from thenether region. Bearing up the lotus-eyed Pandava from under the waters,the Nagas placed him in the selfsame gardens wherein he had beensporting, and vanished in his very sight.
“The mighty Bhimasena, arrived on the surface of the earth, ran withspeed to his mother. And bowing down unto her and his eldest brother, andsmelling the heads of his younger brothers, that oppressor of all foeswas himself embraced by his mother and every one of those bulls amongmen. Affectionate unto one another, they all repeatedly exclaimed, ‘Whatis our joy today, O what joy!’
‘Then Bhima, endued with great strength and prowess, related to hisbrothers everything about the villainy of Duryodhana, and the lucky andunlucky incidents that had befallen him in the world of the Serpents.Thereupon Yudhishthira said, ‘Do thou observe silence on this. Do notspeak of this to any one. From this day, protect ye all one another withcare.’ Thus cautioned by the righteous Yudhishthira, they all, withYudhishthira himself, became very vigilant from that day. And lestnegligence might occur on the part of the sons of Kunti, Viduracontinually offered them sage advice.
“Some time after, Duryodhana again mixed in the food of Bhima a poisonthat was fresh, virulent, and very deadly. But Yuyutsu (Dhritarashtra’sson by a Vaisya wife), moved by his friendship for the Pandavas, informedthem of this. Vrikodara, however, swallowed it without any hesitation,and digested it completely. And, though virulent the poison produced noeffects on Bhima.
“When that terrible poison intended for the destruction of Bhima failedof its effect, Duryodhana. Karna and Sakuni, without giving up theirwicked design had recourse to numerous other contrivances foraccomplishing the death of the Pandavas. And though every one of thesecontrivances was fully known to the Pandavas, yet in accordance with theadvice of Vidura they suppressed their indignation.
“Meanwhile, the king (Dhritarashtra), beholding the Kuru princes passingtheir time in idleness and growing naughty, appointed Gautama as theirpreceptor and sent them unto him for instruction. Born among a clump ofheath, Gautama was well-skilled in the Vedas and it was under him (alsocalled Kripa) that the Kuru princes began to learn the use of arms.'”