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Chapter 1

Mahabharata English - ASRAMAVASIKA PARVA

OM! AFTER HAVING bowed down to Narayana, and Nara, the foremost of men,and unto the goddess Saraswati also, must the word Jaya be uttered.

“Janamejaya said ‘After having acquired their kingdom, how did mygrandsires, the high-souled Pandavas, conduct themselves towards thehigh-souled king Dhritarashtra? How, indeed, did that king who had allhis counsellors and sons slain, who was without a refuge, and whoseaffluence had disappeared, behave? How also did Gandhari of great fameconduct herself? For how many years did my high-souled grandsires rulethe kingdom? It behoveth thee to tell me all this.’

“Vaisampayana said, ‘Having got back their kingdom, the high-souledPandavas, their foes all slain, ruled the Earth, placing Dhritarashtra attheir head. Vidura, and Sanjaya and Yuyutsu of great intelligence, whowas Dhritarashtra’s son by his Vaisya wife, used to wait uponDhritarashtra. The Pandavas used to take the opinion of that king in allmatters. Indeed, for ten and five years, they did all things under theadvice of the old king. Those heroes used very often to go to thatmonarch and sit beside him, after having worshipped his feet, agreeablyto the wishes of king Yudhishthira the just. They did all things underthe command of Dhritarashtra who smelt their heads in affection. Thedaughter of king Kuntibhoja also obeyed Gandhari in everything. Draupadiand Subhadra and the other ladies of the Pandavas behaved towards the oldking and the queen as if they were their own father-in-law andmother-in-law. Costly beds and robes and ornaments, and food and drinkand other enjoyable articles, in profusion and of such superior kinds aswere worthy of royal use, were presented by king Yudhishthira untoDhritarashtra. Similarly Kunti behaved towards Gandhari as towards asenior. Vidura, and Sanjaya, and Yuyutsu, O thou of Karu’s race, used toalways wait upon the old king whose sons had all been slain. The dearbrother-in-law of Drona, viz., the very Superior Brahmana, Kripa, thatmighty bowman, also attended upon the king. The holy Vyasa also used tooften meet with the old monarch and recite to him the histories of oldRishis and celestial ascetics and Pitris and Rakshasas. Vidura, under theorders of Dhritarashtra, superintended the discharge of all acts ofreligious merit and all that related to the administration of the law.Through the excellent policy of Vidura, by the expenditure of even asmall wealth, the Pandavas obtained numerous agreeable services fromtheir feudatories and followers. King Dhritarashtra liberated prisonersand pardoned those that were condemned to death. King Yudhishthira thejust never said anything to this. On those occasions when the son ofAmvika went on pleasure excursions, the Kuru king Yudhishthira of greatenergy used to give him every article of enjoyment. Aralikas, andjuice-makers, and makers of Ragakhandavas waited on king Dhritarashtra asbefore.[1] Pandu’s son, collected costly robes and garlands of diversekinds and duly offered them to Dhritarashtra. Maireya wines, fish ofvarious kinds, and sherbets and honey, and many delightful kinds of foodprepared by modifications (of diverse articles), were caused to be madefor the old king as in his days of prosperity. Those kings of Earth whocame there one after another, all used to wait upon the old Kuru monarchas before. Kunti, and Draupadi, and she of the Sattwata race, possessedof great fame, and Ulupi, the daughter of the snake chief, and queenChitrangada, and the sister of Dhrishtaketu, and the daughter ofJarasandha,–these and many other ladies, O chief of men, used to waitupon the daughter of Suvala like maids of all work. That Dhritarashtra,who was deprived of all his children, might not feel unhappy in anymatter, was what Yudhishthira often said unto his brothers to see. Theyalso, on their part, listening to these commands of grave import fromking Yudhishthira, showed particular obedience to the old king. There wasone exception, however. It embraced Bhimasena. All that had followed fromthat match at dice which had been brought about by the wickedunderstanding of Dhritarashtra, did not disappear from the heart of thathero. (He remembered those incidents still).”‘

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