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Chapter 237

Mahabharata English - ARANYAKA PARVA

Vaisampayana said, “They then all saw king Dhritarashtra, O Janamejaya,and having seen him, enquired after his welfare, and were, in return,asked about their welfare. Then a cow-herd named Samanga, who had beeninstructed beforehand by them, approaching the king, spoke unto him ofthe cattle. Then the son of Radha and Sakuni, O king, addressingDhritarashtra, that foremost of monarchs, said, ‘O Kaurava, ourcattle-stations are now in a delightful place. The time for their tale asalso for marking the calves hath come. And, O monarch, this also is anexcellent season for thy son to go ahunting! It behoveth thee, therefore,to grant permission to Duryodhana to go thither.’

“Dhritarashtra replied, ‘The chase of the deer, as also the examinationof cattle is very proper, O child! I think, indeed, that the herdsmen arenot to be trusted. But we have heard that those tigers among men, thePandavas, are now staying in the vicinity of those cattle stations. Ithink, therefore, ye should not go thither yourselves! Defeated bydeceitful means they are now living in the deep forest in greatsuffering. O Radheya, they are mighty warriors and naturally able, theyare now devoted to ascetic austerities. King Yudhishthira will not sufferhis wrath to be awakened, but Bhimasena is naturally passionate. Thedaughter of Yajnasena is energy’s self. Full of pride and folly, ye arecertain to give offence. Endued with ascetic merit she will certainlyconsume you, or perhaps, those heroes, armed with swords and weapons!Nor, if from force of numbers, ye seek to injure them in any respect,that will be a highly improper act, although, as I think, ye will neverbe able to succeed. The mighty-armed Dhananjaya hath returned thence tothe forest. While unaccomplished in arms, Vivatsu had subjugated thewhole earth before. A mighty warrior as he is and accomplished in armsnow, will he not be able to slay you all? Or, if in obedience to mywords, ye behave carefully having repaired thither, ye will not be ableto live happily there in consequence of the anxiety ye will feel owing toa state of continued trustlessness. Or, some soldier of yours may do someinjury to Yudhishthira, and that unpremeditated act will be ascribed toyour fault. Therefore, let some faithful men proceed there for the workof tale. I do not think it is proper for thee, Bharata, to go thitherthyself.”

“Sakuni said, ‘The eldest of the sons of Pandu is cognisant of morality.He pledged in the midst of the assembly, O Bharata, that he would livefor twelve years in the forest. The other sons of Pandu are all virtuousand obedient to Yudhishthira. And Yudhishthira himself, the son of Kunti,will never be angry with us. Indeed, we desire very much to go on ahunting expedition, and will avail of that opportunity for supervisingthe tale of our cattle. We have no mind to see the sons of Pandu. We willnot go to that spot where the Pandavas have taken up their residence, andconsequently no exhibition of misconduct can possibly arise on our part.’

Vaisampayana continued, “Thus addressed by Sakuni, that lord of men,Dhritarashtra, granted permission, but not very willingly, to Duryodhanaand his counsellors to go to the place. And permitted by the monarch theBharata prince born of Gandhari started, accompanied by Karna andsurrounded by a large host. And he was also accompanied by Dussasana andSuvala’s son of great intelligence and by many other brothers of his andby ladies in thousands. And as the mighty-armed prince started forbeholding the lake that was known by the name of Dwaitavana, the citizens(of Hastina), also accompanied by their wives began to follow him to thatforest. Eight thousand cars, thirty thousand elephants, nine thousandhorses, and many thousands of foot-soldiers, and shops and pavilions andtraders, bards and men trained in the chase by hundreds and thousandsfollowed the prince. And as the king started, followed by this largeconcourse of people, the uproar that was caused there resembled, O king,the deep tumult of the ranging winds in the rainy season. And reachingthe lake Dwaitavana with all his followers and vehicles, king Duryodhanatook up his quarters at the distance of four miles from it.”

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