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Chapter 247

Mahabharata English - ARANYAKA PARVA

Duryodhana said, “That slayer of hostile heroes, Arjuna, then approachingChitrasena, smilingly addressed him in these manly words: ‘O hero, Oforemost of the Gandharvas, it behoveth thee to set my brothers atliberty. They are incapable of being insulted as long as the sons ofPandu are alive.’ ‘Thus addressed by the illustrious son of Pandu, thechief of the Gandharvas, O Karna, disclosed unto the Pandavas the objectwe had in view in proceeding to that place, viz., that we came there forcasting our eyes on the sons of Pandu with their wife, all plunged inmisery. And while the Gandharva was disclosing those counsels of ours,overwhelmed with shame I desired the earth to yield me a crevice, so thatI might disappear there and then. The Gandharvas then, accompanied by thePandavas, went to Yudhishthira, and, disclosing unto him also counsels,made us over, bound as we were, to him. Alas, what greater sorrow couldbe mine than that I should thus be offered as a tribute untoYudhishthira, in the very sight of the women of our household, myself inchains and plunged in misery, and under the absolute control of myenemies. Alas, they, who have ever been persecuted by me, they unto whomI have ever been a foe released me from captivity, and wretch that I am,I am indebted to them for my life. If, O hero, I had met with my death inthat great battle, that would have been far better than that I shouldhave obtained my life in this way. If I had been slain by the Gandharvas,my fame would have spread over the whole earth, and I should haveobtained auspicious regions of eternal bliss in the heaven of Indra.Listen to me therefore, ye bulls among men, as to what I intend to donow. I will stay here forgoing all food, while ye all return home. Letall my brothers also go to Hastinapura. Let all our friends, includingKarna, and all our relatives headed by Dussasana, return now to thecapital. Insulted by the foe, I myself will not repair thither. I who hadbefore wrested from the foe his respect, I who had always enchanced therespect of my friends, have now become a source of sorrow unto friendsand of joy unto enemies. What shall I now say unto the king, going to thecity named after the elephant? What will Bhishma and Drona, Kripa, andDrona’s son, Vidura and Sanjaya, Vahuka and Somadatta and other reveredseniors,–what will the principal men of the other orders and men ofindependent professions, say to me and what shall I say unto them inreply? Having hitherto stayed over the heads of my enemies, havinghitherto trod upon their breasts, I have fallen away from my position.How shall I ever speak with them? Insolent men having obtained prosperityand knowledge and affluence, are seldom blest for any length of time likemyself puffed up with vanity. Alas, led by folly I have done a highlyimproper and wicked act, for which, fool that I am, I have fallen intosuch distress. Therefore, will I perish by starving, life having becomeinsupportable to me. Relieved from distress by the foe, what man ofspirit is there who can drag on his existence? Proud as I am, shorn ofmanliness, the foe hath laughed at me, for the Pandavas possessed ofprowess have looked at me plunged in misery!”

Vaisampayana continued, ‘While giving way to such reflections Duryodhanaspoke unto Dussasana thus: ‘O Dussasana, listen to these words of mine, Othou of the Bharata race! Accepting this installation that I offer thee,be thou king in my place. Rule thou the wide earth protected by Karna andSuvala’s sons. Like Indra himself looking after the Maruts, cherish thouthy brothers in such a way that they may all confide in thee. Let thefriends and relatives depend on thee like the gods depending on him of ahundred sacrifices. Always shouldst thou bestow pensions on Brahmanas,without idleness, and be thou ever the refuge of thy friends andrelatives. Like Vishnu looking after the celestials, thou shouldst alwayslook after all consanguineous relatives. Thou shouldst also ever cherishthy superiors. Go, rule thou the earth gladdening thy friends andreproving thy foes.’ And clasping his neck, Duryodhana said, ‘Go!’Hearing these words of his, Dussasana in perfect cheerlessness andoverwhelmed with great sorrow, his voice choked in tears, said, withjoined hands and bending his head unto his eldest brother, ‘Relent!’ Andsaying this he fell down on earth with heavy heart. And afflicted withgrief that tiger among men, shedding his tears on the feet of his brotheragain said, ‘This will never be! The earth may split, the vault of heavenmay break in pieces, the sun may cast off his splendour, the moon mayabandon his coolness, the wind may forsake its speed, the Himavat may bemoved from its site, the waters of the ocean may dry up, and fire mayabandon its heat, yet I, O king, may never rule the earth without thee.’And Dussasana repeatedly said, ‘Relent, O king! Thou alone shall be kingin our race for a hundred years.’ And having spoken thus unto the king,Dussasana began to weep melodiously catching, O Bharata, the feet of hiseldest brother deserving of worship from him.

“And beholding Dussasana and Duryodhana thus weeping, Karna in greatgrief approached them both and said, ‘Ye, Kuru princes, why do you thusyield to sorrow like ordinary men, from senselessness? Mere weeping cannever ease a sorrowing man’s grief. When weeping can never remove one’sgriefs, what do you gain by thus giving way to sorrow? Summon patience toyour aid to not gladden the foe by such conduct. O king, the Pandavasonly did their duty in liberating thee. They that reside in the dominionsof the king, should always do what is agreeable to the king. Protected bythee, the Pandavas are residing happily in thy dominion. It behoveth theenot to indulge in such sorrow like an ordinary person. Behold, thyuterine brothers are all sad and cheerless at seeing thee resolved to putan end to thy life by forgoing food. Blest be thou! Rise up and come tothy city and console these thy uterine brothers.”

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