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Chapter 164

Mahabharata English - ADI PARVA
“Vaisampayana said, ‘After Bhima had pledged himself to accomplish thetask, saying, ‘I will do it,’ the Pandavas, O Bharata, returned home withthe alms they had obtained during the day. Then Yudhishthira, the son ofPandu from Bhima’s countenance alone, suspected the nature of the task hehad undertaken to accomplish.

Sitting by the side of his mother,Yudhishthira asked her in private, ‘What is the task, O mother, thatBhima of terrible prowess seeketh to accomplish? Doth he do so at thycommand or of his own accord?’ Kunti replied, ‘Bhima, that chastiser offoes, will at my command, do this great deed for the good of the Brahmanaand the liberation of this town.’

“Yudhishthira said, ‘What rash act hast thou done, O mother! It isdifficult of being performed and almost amounteth to suicide! The learnednever applaud the abandonment of one’s own child. Why dost thou, Omother, wish to sacrifice thy own child for the sake of another’s? Thouhast, O mother, by this abandonment of thy child, acted not only againstthe course of human practices but also against the teachings of theVedas, That Bhima, relying on whose arms we sleep happily in the nightand hope to recover the kingdom of which we have been deprived by thecovetous son of Dhritarashtra, that hero of immeasurable energy,remembering whose prowess Duryodhana and Sakuni do not sleep a winkduring the whole night and by whose prowess we were rescued from thepalace of lac and various other dangers, that Bhima who caused the deathof Purochana, and relying on whose might we regard ourselves as havingalready slain the sons of Dhritarashtra and acquired the whole earth withall her wealth, upon what considerations, O mother, hast thou resolvedupon abandoning him? Hast thou been deprived of thy reason? Hath thyunderstanding been clouded by the calamities thou hast undergone?’

“On hearing these words of her son, Kunti said, ‘O Yudhishthira, thouneedst not be at all anxious on account of Vrikodara. I have not come tothis resolve owing to any weakness of understanding. Respected by him,and with our sorrows assuaged, we have, O son, been living in the houseof this Brahmana, unknown to the sons of Dhritarashtra. For requiting, Oson, that Brahmana, I have resolved to do this. He, indeed, is a man uponwhom good offices are never lost. The measure of his requital becomethgreater than the measure of the services he receiveth. Beholding theprowess of Bhima on the occasion of (our escape from) the house of lac,and from the destruction also of Hidimva, my confidence in Vrikodara isgreat. The might of Bhima’s arms is equal unto that of ten thousandelephants. It was, therefore, that he succeeded in carrying you all, eachheavy as an elephant, from Varanavata. There is no one on earth equalunto Bhima in might; he may even overcome that foremost of warriors, theholder of the thunderbolt himself. Soon after his birth he fell from mylap on the breast of the mountain. By the weight of his body the mass ofstone on which he fell down broke in pieces. From this also, O son ofPandu, I have come to know Bhima’s might. For this reason have I resolvedto set him against the Brahmana’s foe. I have not acted in this fromfoolishness or ignorance or from motive of gain. I have deliberatelyresolved to do this virtuous deed. By this act, O Yudhishthira, twoobjects will be accomplished; one is a requital of the services renderedby the Brahmana and the other is the acquisition of high religious merit.It is my conviction that the Kshatriya who rendereth help unto a Brahmanain anything acquireth regions of bliss hereafter. So also a Kshatriya whosaveth the life of a Kshatriya achieveth that great fame in this world asin the other. A Kshatriya rendering help unto a Vaisya also on this earthcertainly acquires world-wide popularity. One of the kingly tribe shouldprotect even the Sudra who cometh to him for protection. If he doeth so,in his next life he receiveth his birth in a royal line, commandingprosperity and the respect of other kings. O scion of Puru’s race, theillustrious Vyasa of wisdom acquired by hard ascetic toil told me so inbygone days. It is therefore, that I have resolved upon accomplishingthis.'”

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