Chapter 10

Mahabharata English - ASRAMAVASIKA PARVA

“Vaisampayana said, ‘Thus addressed, O thou of Kuru’s race, by the oldking, the citizens and the inhabitants of the provinces stood sometimelike men deprived of consciousness. King Dhritarashtra, finding themsilent, with their throats choked by grief, once more addressed them,saying, ‘Ye best of men, old as I am, sonless, and indulging, throughcheerlessness of heart, in diverse lamentations along with this my weddedwife, I have obtained the permission, in the matter of my retirement intothe forest, of my sire, the Island-born Krishna himself, as also of kingYudhishthira, who is conversant with every duty, ye righteous denizens ofthis kingdom. Ye sinless ones, I, with Gandhari, repeatedly solicit youwith bent heads. It behoves you all to grant us permission.’

“Vaisampayana continued, ‘Hearing these pitiable words of the Kuru king,O monarch, the assembled denizens of Kurujangala all began to weep.Covering their faces with their hands and upper garments, all those menburning with grief, wept for a while as fathers and mothers would weep(at the prospect of a dear son about to leave them for ever). Bearing intheir hearts, from which every other thought had been dispelled, thesorrow born of Dhritarashtra’s desire to leave the world, they lookedlike men deprived of all consciousness. Checking that agitation of heartdue to the announcement of Dhritarashtra’s desire of going to the forest,they gradually were able to address one another, expressing their wishes.Settling their words in brief, O king, they charged a certain Brahmanawith the task of replying unto the old monarch. That learned Brahmana, ofgood behaviour, chosen by unanimous consent, conversant with all topics,master of all the Richs, and named Samba, endeavoured to speak. Takingthe permission of the whole assembly and with its full approbation, thatlearned Brahmana of great intelligence, conscious of his own abilities,said these words unto the king,–‘O monarch, the answer of this assemblyhas been committed to my care. I shall voice it, O hero. Do thou receiveit, O king. What thou gayest, O king of kings, is all true, O puissantone. There is nothing in it that is even slightly untrue. Thou art ourwell-wisher, as, indeed, we are thine. Verily, in this race of kings,there never wag a king who coming to rule his subjects became unpopularwith them. Ye have ruled us like fathers or brothers. King Duryodhananever did us any wrong. Do that, O king, which that righteous-souledascetic, the son of Satyavati, has said. He is, verily, our foremost ofinstructors. Left by thee, O monarch, we shall have to pass our days ingrief and sorrow, filled with remembrance of thy hundreds of virtues. Wewere well protected and ruled by king Duryodhana even as we had beenruled by king Santanu, or by Chitrangada, or by thy father, O monarch,who was protected by the prowess of Bhishma, or by Pandu, that ruler ofEarth, who was overlooked by thee in all his acts. Thy son, O monarch,never did us the slightest wrong. We lived, relying on that king astrustfully as on our own father. It is known to thee how we lived (underthat ruler). After the same manner, we have enjoyed great happiness, Omonarch, for thousands of years, under the rule of Kunti’s son of greatintelligence and wisdom[27]. This righteous-souled king who performssacrifices with gifts in profusion, follows the conduct of the royalsages of old, belonging to thy race, of meritorious deeds, having Kuruand Samvara and others and Bharata of great intelligence among them.There is nothing, O monarch, that is even slightly censurable in thematter of this Yudhishthira’s rule. Protected and ruled by thee, we haveall lived in great happiness. The slightest demerit is incapable of beingalleged against thee and thy son. Regarding what thou hast said aboutDuryodhana in the matter of this carnage of kinsmen, I beg thee, Odelighter of the Kurus (to listen to me).’

“The Brahmana continued, ‘The destruction that has overtaken the Kuruswas not brought about by Duryodhana. It was not brought about by thee.Nor was it brought about by Karna and Suvala’s son. We know that it wasbrought about by destiny, and that it was incapable of beingcounteracted. Verily, destiny is not capable of being resisted by humanexertion. Eight and ten Akshauhinis of troops, O monarch, were broughttogether. In eight and ten days that host was destroyed by the foremostof Kuru warriors, viz., Bhishma and Drona and Kripa and others, and thehigh-souled Karna, and the heroic Yuyudhana, and Dhrishtadyumna, and bythe four sons of Pandu, that is, Bhima and Arjuna and twins. This(tremendous) carnage, O king, could not happen without the influence ofdestiny. Without doubt, by Kshatriyas in particular, should foes be slainand death encountered in battle. By those foremost of men, endued withscience and might of arms, the Earth has been exterminated with hersteeds and cars and elephants. Thy son was not the cause of that carnageof high-souled kings. Thou wert not the cause, nor thy servants, norKarna, nor Suvala’s son. The destruction of those foremost ones of Kuru’srace and of kings by thousands, know, was brought about by destiny. Whocan say anything else in this? Thou art regarded as the Guru and themaster of the whole world. We, therefore, in thy presence, absolve thyrighteous-souled son. Let that king, with all his associates, obtain theregions reserved for heroes. Permitted by foremost of Brahmanas, let himsport blissfully in heaven. Thou also shalt attain to great merit, andunswerving steadiness in virtue. O thou of excellent vows, follow thoufully the duties indicated in the Vedas. It is not necessary for eitherthee or ourselves to look after the Pandavas. They are capable of rulingthe very Heavens, what need then be said of the Earth? O thou of greatintelligence, in prosperity as in adversity, the subjects of thiskingdom, O foremost one of Kuru’s race, will be obedient to the Pandavaswho have conduct for their ornament. The son of Pandu makes thosevaluable gifts which are always to be made to foremost of regeneratepersons in sacrifices and in obsequial rites, after the manner of all thegreat kings of antiquity. The high-minded son of Kunti is mild, andself-restrained, and is always disposed to spend as if he were a secondVaisravana. He has great ministers that attend on him. He iscompassionate to even his foes. Indeed, that foremost one of Bharata’srace is of pure conduct. Endued with great intelligence, he is perfectlystraight-forward in his dealings and rules and protects us like a fatherprotecting his children. From association with him who is the son ofDharma, O royal sage, Bhima and Arjuna and others will never do us theleast wrong. They are mild, O thou of Kuru’s race, unto them that aremild, and fierce like snakes of virulent poison unto them that arefierce. Possessed of great energy, those high-souled ones are alwaysdevoted to the good of the people. Neither Kunti, nor thy(daughter-in-law) Panchali, nor Ulupi, nor the princess of the Sattwatarace, will do the least wrong to these people.[28] The affection whichthou hast shown towards us and which in Yudhishthira is seen to exist ina still larger measure is incapable of being forgotten by the people ofthe city and the provinces. Those mighty car-warriors, viz., the son ofKunti, themselves devoted to the duties of the righteousness, willprotect and cherish the people even if these happen to be unrighteous. Dothou, therefore, O king, dispelling all anxiety of heart on account ofYudhishthira, set thyself to the accomplishment of all meritorious acts,O foremost of men.’

“Vaisampayana continued, ‘Hearing these words, fraught with righteousnessand merit, of that Brahmana and approving of them, every person in thatassembly said, ‘Excellent, Excellent’ and accepted them as his own.Dhritarashtra also, repeatedly applauding those words, slowly dismissedthat assembly of his subjects. Thus honoured by them and looked upon withauspicious glances, the old king, O chief of Bharata’s race, joined hishands and honoured them all in return. He then entered his own mansionwith Gandhari. Listen now to what he did after that night had passedaway.”‘

Chapter 11
Chapter 9
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