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Chapter 197

Mahabharata English - ADI PARVA

“Vaisampayana said, ‘Then the illustrious king of Panchala, addressingprince Yudhishthira in the form applicable to Brahmanas, cheerfullyenquired of that illustrious son of Kunti, saying, ‘Are we to know you asKshatriyas, or Brahamanas, or are we to know you as celestials whodisguising themselves as Brahmanas are ranging the earth and come hitherfor the hand of Krishna?

O tell us truly, for we have great doubts! Shallwe not be glad when our doubts have been removed? O chastiser of enemies,have the fates been propitious unto us? Tell us the truth willingly!Truth becometh monarchs better than sacrifices and dedications of tanks.Therefore, tell us not what is untrue. O thou of the beauty of acelestial, O chastiser of foes, hearing thy reply I shall makearrangements for my daughter’s wedding according to the order to which yebelong.’

“Hearing these words of Drupada, Yudhishthira answered, saying ‘Be notcheerless, O king; let joy fill thy heart! The desire cherished by theehath certainly been accomplished. We are Kshatriyas, O king, and sons ofthe illustrious Pandu. Know me to be the eldest of the sons of Kunti andthese to be Bhima and Arjuna. By these, O king, was thy daughter won amidthe concourse of monarchs. The twins (Nakula and Sahadeva) and Kunti waitwhere Krishna is. O bull amongst men, let grief be driven from thy heart,for we are Kshatriyas. Thy daughter, O monarch, hath like a lotus beentransferred only from one lake into another. O king, thou art our reveredsuperior and chief refuge. I have told thee the whole truth.’

“Vaisampayana continued, ‘Hearing those words, the king Drupada’s eyesrolled in ecstasy. And. filled with delight the king could not, for somemoments answer Yudhishthira. Checking his emotion with great effort, thatchastiser of foes at last replied unto Yudhishthira in proper words. Thevirtuous monarch enquired how the Pandavas had escaped from the town ofVaranavata. The son of Pandu told the monarch every particular in detailof their escape from the burning palace of lac. Hearing everything thatthe son of Kunti said, king Drupada censured Dhritarashtra, that ruler ofmen. And the monarch gave every assurance unto Yudhishthira, the son ofKunti. And that foremost of eloquent men then and there vowed to restoreYudhishthira to his paternal throne.

“Then Kunti and Krishna and Bhima and Arjuna and the twins, commanded bythe king, to reside there, treated by Yajnasena with due respect. Thenking Drupada with his sons, assured by all that had happened, approachingYudhishthira, said, ‘O thou of mighty arms, let the Kuru prince Arjunatake with due rites, the hand of my daughter on this auspicious day, andlet him, therefore, perform the usual initiatory rites of marriage.’

“Vaisampayana continued, ‘Hearing these words of Drupada, the virtuousking Yudhishthira replied, saying, ‘O great king, I also shall have tomarry.’ Hearing him, Drupada said, ‘If it pleaseth thee, take thou thehand of my daughter thyself with due rites. Or, give Krishna in marriageunto whomsoever of thy brothers thou likest.’ Yudhishthira said, ‘Thydaughter, O king, shall be the common wife of us all! Even thus it hathbeen ordered, O monarch, by our mother. I am unmarried still, and Bhimaalso is so amongst the sons of Pandu. This thy jewel of a daughter hathbeen won by Arjuna. This, O king, is the rule with us; to ever enjoyequally a jewel that we may obtain. O best of monarchs, that rule ofconduct we cannot now abandon. Krishna, therefore, shall become thewedded wife of us all. Let her take our hands, one after another beforethe fire.’

‘Drupada answered, ‘O scion of Kuru’s race, it hath been directed thatone man may have many wives. But it hath never been heard that one womanmay have many husbands! O son of Kunti, as thou art pure and acquaintedwith the rules of morality, it behoveth thee not to commit an act that issinful and opposed both to usage and the Vedas. Why, O prince, hath thyunderstanding become so?’ Yudhishthira said in reply, ‘O monarch,morality is subtle. We do not know its course. Let us follow the waytrodden by the illustrious ones of former ages. My tongue never utteredan untruth. My heart also never turneth to what is sinful. My mothercommandeth so; and my heart also approveth of it. Therefore, O king, thatis quite conformable to virtue. Act according to it, without anyscruples. Entertain no fear, O king, about this matter.’

“Drupada said, ‘O son of Kunti thy mother, and my son Dhrishtadyumna andthyself, settle amongst yourselves as to what should be done. Tell me theresult of your deliberations and tomorrow I will do what is proper.’

“Vaisampayana continued, ‘After this, O Bharata, Yudhishthira, Kunti andDhrishtadyumna discoursed upon this matter. Just at that time, however,the island-born (Vyasa), O monarch, came there in course of hiswanderings.'”

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