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Chapter 249

Mahabharata English - ARANYAKA PARVA

Vaisampayana said, “Beholding king Duryodhana, incapable of putting upwith an insult, seated with the resolution of giving up life by forgoingfood, Sakuni, the son of Suvala, said these words to comfort him. Sakunisaid, O son of the Kuru race, you have just heard what Kama hath said.His words are, indeed fraught with wisdom. Why wouldst thou abandoningfrom foolishness the high prosperity that I won for thee, cast off thylife today, O king, yielding to silliness? It seemeth to me to-day thatthou hast never waited upon the old. He that cannot control suddenaccession of joy or grief, is lost even though he may have obtainedprosperity, like an unburnt earthen vessel in water. That king who isentirely destitute of courage, who hath no spark of manliness, who is theslave of procrastination, who always acts with indiscretion, who isaddicted to sensual pleasures, is seldom respected by his subjects.Benefited as thou has been, whence is this unreasonable grief of thine?Do not undo this graceful act done by the sons of Pritha, by indulging insuch grief. When thou shouldst joy and reward the Pandavas, thou artgrieving, O king? Indeed, this behaviour of thine is inconsistent. Becheerful, do not cast away thy life; but remember with a pleased heartthe good they have done thee. Give back unto the sons of Pritha theirkingdom, and win thou both virtue and renown by such conduct. By actingin this way, thou mayst be grateful. Establish brotherly relations withthe Pandavas by being friends, and give them their paternal kingdom, forthen thou wilt be happy!'”

Vaisampayana continued, “Hearing these words of Sakuni, and seeing thebrave Dussasana lying prostrate before him unmanned by fraternal love,the king raised Dussasana and, clasping him in his well round arms, smelthis head from affection. And hearing these words of Karna and Sauvala,king Duryodhana lost heart more than ever, and he was overwhelmed withshame and utter despair overtook his soul. And hearing all that hisfriends said, he answered with sorrow, ‘I have nothing more to do withvirtue, wealth, friendship, affluence, sovereignty, and enjoyments. Donot obstruct my purpose, but leave me all of you. I am firmly resolved tocast away my life by forgoing food. Return to the city, and treat mysuperiors there respectfully.’

“Thus addressed by him, they replied unto that royal grinder of foes,saying, ‘O monarch, the course that is thine, is also ours, O Bharata.How can we enter the city without thee?'”

Vaisampayana continued, “Though addressed in all manner of ways by hisfriends and counsellors and brothers and relatives, the king wavered notfrom his purpose. And the son of Dhritarashtra in accordance with hispurpose spread Kusa grass on the earth, and purifying himself by touchingwater, sat down upon that spot. And clad in rags and Kusa grass he sethimself to observe the highest vow. And stopping all speech, that tigeramong kings, moved by the desire of going to heaven, began to pray andworship internally suspending all external intercourse.

“Meanwhile the fierce Daityas and the Danavas who had been defeated ofold by the celestials and had been dwelling in the nether regions havingascertained Duryodhana’s purpose and knowing that if the king died theirparty would be weakened, commenced a sacrifice with fire for summoningDuryodhana to their presence. And mantra knowing persons then commencedwith the help of formulae declared by Brihaspati and Usanas, those ritesthat are indicated in the Atharva Veda and the Upanishads and which arecapable of being achieved by mantras and prayers. And Brahmins of rigidvows, well-versed in the Vedas and the branches, began, with rapt soul,to pour libations of clarified butter and milk into the fire, utteringmantras. And after those rites were ended, a strange goddess, O king,with mouth wide open, arose (from the sacrificial fire), saying, ‘What amI to do?’ And the Daityas with well-pleased hearts, commanded her,saying, ‘Bring thou hither the royal son of Dhritarashtra, who is evennow observing the vow of starvation for getting rid of his life.’ Thuscommanded, she went away saying, ‘So be it.’ And she went in thetwinkling of an eye to that spot where Suyodhana was. And taking up theking back to the nether regions, and having brought him thus in a moment,she apprised the Danavas of it. And the Danavas beholding the kingbrought into their midst in the night, united together, and all of themwith well-pleased hearts and eyes expanded in delight addressed theseflattering words to Duryodhana.”

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