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Chapter 8

Mahabharata English - ASRAMAVASIKA PARVA

“Yudhishthira said, ‘O lord of Earth, I shall do as thou biddest me. Oforemost of kings, I should be further instructed by thee. Bhishma hasascended to Heaven. The slayer of Madhu has departed (for Dwaraka).Vidura and Sanjaya also will accompany thee to the forest. Who else,therefore, than thee will teach me? Those instructions which thouimparted today, desirous of doing good to me, I shall certainly follow, Olord of Earth. Be thou assured of this, O king.’

“Vaisampayana continued, ‘Thus addressed by king Yudhishthira the just,of great intelligence, the royal sage, Dhritarashtra, O chief of theBharatas, wished to obtain the king’s permission (about his retirement tothe forest). And he said, ‘Cease, O son, great has been my toil.’ Havingsaid these words, the old king entered the apartments of Gandhari. Untothat husband of hers who resembled a second Lord of all creatures, whileresting on a seat, Gandhari of righteous conduct, conversant with theopportuneness of everything, said these words, the hour being suited tothem,–‘Thou hast obtained the permission of that great Rishi, viz.,Vyasa himself. When, however, wilt thou go to the forest, with thepermission of Yudhishthira?’

“Dhritarashtra said, ‘O Gandhari, I have received the permission of myhigh-souled sire. With the permission of Yudhishthira (next obtained), Ishall soon retire into the woods. I desire, however, to give away somewealth capable of following the status of Preta, in respect of all thosesons of mine who were addicted to calamitous dice. Verily, I desire tomake those gifts, inviting all the people to my mansion.'[26]

“Vaisampayana continued, ‘Having said so (to Gandhari), Dhritarashtrasent for Yudhishthira. The latter, at his uncle’s command, brought allthe articles necessary. Many Brahmanas residing in Kuru-jangala, and manyKshatriyas, many Vaisyas, and many Sudras also, came to Dhritarashtra’smansion, with gratified hearts. The old king, coming out of the innerapartments, beheld them all, as also his subjects assembled together.Beholding all those assembled citizens and inhabitants of the provinces,and his well-wishers also thus gathered together, and the large number ofBrahmanas arrived from diverge realms, king Dhritarashtra of greatintelligence, O monarch, said these words,–‘Ye all and the Kurus havelived together for many long years, well-wishers of each other, and eachemployed in doing good to the other. What I shall now say in view of theopportunity that has come, should be accomplished by you all even asdisciples accomplish the biddings of their preceptors. I have set myheart upon retiring into the woods, along with Gandhari as my companion.Vyasa has approved of this, as also the son of Kunti. Let me have yourpermission too. Do not hesitate in this. That goodwill, which has alwaysexisted between you and us, is not to be seen, I believe, in other realmsbetween the rulers and the ruled. I am worn out with this load of yearson my head. I am destitute of children. Ye sinless ones, I am emaciatedwith fasts, along with Gandhari. The kingdom having passed toYudhishthira, I have enjoyed great happiness. Ye foremost of men, I thinkthat happiness has been greater than what I could expect fromDuryodhana’s sovereignty. What other refuge can I have, old as I am anddestitute of children, save the woods? Ye highly blessed ones, it behovesyou to grant me the permission I seek. Hearing these words of his, allthese residents of Kurujangala, uttered loud lamentations, O best of theBharatas, with voices choked with tears. Desirous of telling thosegrief-stricken people something more, Dhritarashtra of great energy, oncemore addressed them and said as follows.'”

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