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Chapter 119

Mahabharata English - ARANYAKA PARVA

Janamejaya said, “O thou of ascetic wealth! when the sons of Pandu andthe Vrishnis reached the holy spot Prabhasa, what did they do and whatconversation was held there by them, for all of them were of mightysouls, proficient in all the branches of science and both the Vrishnisand the sons of Pandu held one another in friendly estimation.”

Vaisampayana said, “When the Vrishnis reached the holy spot Prabhasa, thesacred landing-place on the coast of the sea, they surrounded the sons ofPandu and waited upon them. Then Valarama, resembling in hue the milk ofthe cow and the Kunda flower and the moon and the silver and the lotusroot and who wore a wreath made of wild flowers and who had theploughshare for his arms, spake to the lotuseyed one, saying, ‘O Krishna,I do not see that the practice of virtue leads to any good or thatunrighteous practices can cause evil, since the magnanimous Yudhishthirais in this miserable state, with matted hair, a resident of the wood, andfor his garment wearing the bark of trees. And Duryodhana is now rulingthe earth, and the ground doth not yet swallow him up. From this, aperson of limited sense would believe a vicious course of life ispreferable to a virtuous one. When Duryodhana is in a flourishing stateand Yudhishthira, robbed of his throne, is suffering thus, what shouldpeople do in such a matter?–This is the doubt that is now perplexing allmen. Here is the lord of men sprung from the god of virtue, holding fastto a righteous path, strictly truthful and of a liberal heart. This sonof Pritha would give up his kingdom and his pleasure but would not swervefrom the righteous path, in order to thrive. How is it that Bhishma andKripa and the Brahmana Drona and the aged king, the senior member of thehouse, are living happily, after having banished the sons of Pritha? Fieupon the vicious-minded leaders of Bharata’s race! What will that sinner,the chieftain of the earth, say to the departed forefathers of his race,when the wretch will meet them in the world to come? Having hurled fromthe throne his in-offensive sons, will he be able to declare that he hadtreated them in a blameless way? He doth not now see with his mind’s eyehow he hath become so sightless, and on account of what act he hath grownblind among the kings of this entire earth. Is it not because he hathbanished Kunit’s son from his kingdom? I have no doubt thatVichitravirya’s son, when he with his sons perpetrated this inhuman act,beheld on the spot where dead bodies are burnt, flowering trees of agolden hue. Verily he must have asked them, when those stood before himwith their shoulders projected forward towards him, and with their largered eyes staring at him, and he must have listened to their evil advice,since he fearlessly sent away Yudhishthira to the forest, who had all hisweapons of war with him and was borne company by his younger brothers.This Bhima here, whose voracious appetite is like that of a wolf, is ableto destroy with the sole strength of his powerful arms, and without thehelp of any weapons of war, a formidable array of hostile troops. Theforces in the field of battle were utterly unmanned on hearing hiswar-cry. And now the strong one is suffering from hunger and thirst, andis emaciated with toilsome journeys. But when he will take up in his handarrows and diverse other weapons of war, and meet his foes in the fieldof battle, he will then remember the sufferings of his exceedinglymiserable forest-life, and kill his enemies to a man: of a certainty do Ianticipate this. There is not throughout the whole world a single soulwho can boast of strength and prowess equal to his. And his body, alas!is emaciated with cold, and heat and winds. But when he will stand up forfight, he will not leave a single man out of his foes. This powerfulhero, who is a very great warrior when mounted on a car–this Bhima, ofappetite rivalling a wolf’s conquered single-handed all the rulers of menin the east, together with, those who followed them in battle; and hereturned from those wars safe and uninjured. And that same Bhima,miserably dressed in the bark of trees, is now leading a wretched life inthe woods. This powerful Sahadeva vanquished all the kings in the south;those lords of men who had gathered on the coast of the sea,–look at himnow in an anchorite’s dress. Valiant in battle Nakula vanquishedsingle-handed the kings who ruled the regions towards the west,–and henow walks about the wood, subsisting on fruit and roots, with a mattedmass of hair on the head, and his body besmeared all over with dirt. Thisdaughter of a king, who is a great soldier when mounted on a car, tookher rise from beneath the altar, during the pomp of sacrificial rites.She hath been always accustomed to a life of happiness; how is she nowenduring this exceedingly miserable life in this wood! And the son of thegod of virtue,–virtue which stands at the head of all the there pursuitsof life–and the son of the wind-god and also the son of the lord ofcelestials, and those two sons of the celestial physicians,–being thesons of all those gods and always accustomed to a life of happiness, howare they living in this wood, deprived of all comforts? When the son ofVirtue met with defeat, and when his wife, his brothers, his followers,and himself were all driven forth, and Duryodhana began to flourish, whydid not the earth subside with all its hills?”

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