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Chapter 4

Mahabharata English - ASRAMAVASIKA PARVA

“Vyasa said, ‘O mighty-armed Yudhishthira, do without any scruple whatDhritarashtra of Kuru’s race hag said. This king is old. He has, again,been made sonless. I think he will not be able to bear his grief long.The highly blessed Gandhari, possessed of great wisdom and endued withkindly speech, bears with fortitude her excessive grief owing to the logsof her song. I also tell thee (what the old king says). Do thou obey mywords. Let the old king have thy permission. Let him not die aninglorious death at home. Let this king follow the path of all royalsages of old. Verily, for all royal sages, retirement into the woodscomes at last.'”

“Vaisampayana said, ‘Thus addressed at that time by Vyasa of wonderfuldeeds, king Yudhishthira the just, possessed of mighty energy, said untothe great ascetic these words, ‘Thy holy self is held by us in greatreverence. Thou alone art our preceptor. Thou alone art the refuge ofthis our kingdom as also of our race. I am thy son. Thou, O holy one, artmy father. Thou art our king, and thou art our preceptor. The son should,agreeably to every duty, be obedient to the commands of his sire.’

“Vaisampayana continued, ‘Thus addressed by the king. Vyasa, thatforemost of poets, foremost of all persons conversant with the Vedas,endued with great energy once more said unto Yudhishthira these words,’It is even so, O mighty-armed one. It is even as thou sayest, O Bharata.This king has reached old age. He is now in the last stage of life.Permitted both by me and thee, let this lord of Earth do what heproposes. Do not stand as an impediment in his way. Even this is thehighest duty, O Yudhishthira, of royal sages. They should die either inbattle or in the woods agreeably to the scriptures. Thy royal sire,Pandu, O king of kings, reverenced this old king as a disciple reverenceshis preceptor. (At that time) he adored the gods in many great sacrificeswith profuse gifts consisting of hills of wealth and jewels, and ruledthe Earth and protected his subjects wisely and well. Having obtained alarge progeny and a swelling kingdom, he enjoyed great influence forthirteen years while you were in exile, and gave away much wealth.Thyself also, O chief of men, with thy servants, O sinless one, hastadored this king and the famous Gandhari with that ready obedience which.a disciple pays to his preceptor. Do thou grant permission to thy father.The time has come for him to attend to the practice of penances. He doesnot harbour, O Yudhishthira, even the slightest anger against any of you.’

“Vaisampayana continued, ‘Having said these words, Vyasa soothed the oldking. Yudhishthira then answered him, saying, ‘So be it.’ The greatascetic then left the palace for proceeding to the woods. After the holyVyasa had gone away, the royal son of Pandu softly said these words untohis old father, bending himself in humility,–What the holy Vyasa hassaid, what is thy own purpose, what the great bowman Kripa has said, whatVidura has expressed, and what has been asked for by Yuyutsu and Sanjaya,I shall accomplish with speed. All these are worthy of my respect, forall of them are well-wishers of our race. This, however, O king, I beg ofthee by bending my head. Do thou first eat and afterwards go to thyforest retreat.'”

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