“Vaisampayana continued, “King Dhritarashtra whose knowledge only was hiseyes, on hearing these words of his son and recollecting everything thatKanika had, said unto him, became afflicted with sorrow, and his mindalso thereupon began to waver.
Then Duryodhana and Karna, and Sakuni, theson of Suvala, and Duhsasana as their fourth, held a consultationtogether. Prince Duryodhana said unto Dhritarashtra, ‘Send, O father, bysome clever contrivance, the Pandavas to the town of Varanavata. We shallthen have no fear of them.’ Dhritarashtra, on hearing these words utteredby his son, reflected for a moment and replied unto Duryodhana, saying,’Pandu, ever devoted to virtue, always behaved dutifully towards all hisrelatives but particularly towards me. He cared very little for theenjoyments of the world, but devotedly gave everything unto me, even thekingdom. His son is as much devoted to virtue as he, and is possessed ofevery accomplishment. Of world-wide fame, he is again the favourite ofthe people. He is possessed of allies; how can we by force exile him fromhis ancestral kingdom? The counsellors and soldiers (of the state) andtheir sons and grandsons have all been cherished and maintained by Pandu.Thus benefited of old by Pandu, shall not, O child, the citizens slay uswith all our friends and relatives now on account of Yudhishthira?”
“Duryodhana replied, ‘What thou sayest, O father, is perfectly true. Butin view of the evil that is looming on the future as regards thyself, ifwe conciliate the people with wealth and honours, they would assuredlyside with us for these proofs of our power. The treasury and theministers of state, O king, are at this moment under our control.Therefore, it behoveth thee now to banish, by some gentle means, thePandavas to the town of Varanavata; O king, when the sovereignty shallhave been vested in me, then, O Bharata, may Kunti with her children comeback from that place.’
“Dhritarashtra replied, ‘This, O Duryodhana, is the very thought existingin my mind. But from its sinfulness I have never given expression to it.Neither Bhishma, nor Drona, nor Kshattri, nor Gautama (Kripa) will eversanction the exile of the Pandavas. In their eyes, O dear son, amongstthe Kurus ourselves and the Pandavas are equal. Those wise and virtuouspersons will make no difference between us. If therefore, we behave sotowards the Pandavas, shall we not, O son, deserve death at the hands ofthe Kurus, of these illustrious personages, and of the whole world?’
“Duryodhana answered, ‘Bhishma hath no excess of affection for eitherside, and will, therefore, be neutral (in case of dispute). The son ofDrona (Aswatthaman) is on my side. There is no doubt that where the sonis, there the father will be. Kripa, the son of Saradwat, must be on theside on which Drona and Aswatthaman are. He will never abandon Drona andhis sister’s son (Aswatthaman). Kshattri (Vidura) is dependent on us forhis means of life, though he is secretly with the foe. It he sides thePandavas, he alone can do us no injury, Therefore, exile thou thePandavas to Varanavata without any fear. And take such steps that theymay go thither this very day. By this act, O father, extinguish the griefthat consumeth me like a blazing fire, that robbeth me of sleep, and thatpierces my heart even like a terrible dart.'”