Chapter 53

Mahabharata English - ASWAMEDHA PARVA

“Vaisampayana said, ‘As he of Vrishni’s race was proceeding to Dwaraka,those foremost princes of Bharata’s race, those chastisers of foesembraced him and fell back with their attendants. Phalguna repeatedlyembraced the Vrishni hero, and as long as he was within the range ofvision, he repeatedly turned his eyes towards him. With great difficulty,the son of Pritha withdrew his gaze that had fallen on Govinda. Theunvanquished Krishna also (did the same). The indications that weremanifested on the occasion of that high-souled one’s departure, I shallnow detail. Do thou listen to me. The wind blew with great speed beforethe car, clearing the path of sand-grains and dust and thorns. Vasavarained pure and fragrant showers and celestial flowers before the wielderof Saranga. As the mighty-armed hero proceeded, he came upon the desertill supplied with water. There he beheld that foremost of ascetics, namedUtanka, of immeasurable energy. The hero of large eyes and great energyworshipped that ascetic. He was then worshipped by the ascetic in return.Vasudeva then enquired after his welfare. That foremost of Brahmanas,viz., Utanka, politely accosted by Madhava, honoured him duly and thenaddressed him in these words.–‘O Saurin, having repaired to the mansionsof the Kurus and the Pandavas, hast thou succeeded in establishing adurable understanding between them such as should exist between brothers?It behoves thee to tell me everything. Dost thou come, O Kesava, afterhaving united them in peace,–them that are thy relatives and that areever dear to thee, O foremost one of Vrishni’s race? Will the five sonsof Pandu, and the children of Dhritarashtra, O scorcher of foes, sport inthe world in joy with thee? Will all the kings enjoy happiness in theirrespective kingdoms, in consequence of the pacification of the Kauravasbrought about by thee? Has that trust, O son, which I had always reposedon thee, borne fruit with regard to the Kauravas?’

“The blessed and holy one said, ‘I strove my best at first, for bringingabout a good understanding, in regard to the Kauravas. When I could notby any means succeed in establishing them on peace, it happened that allof them, with their relatives and kinsmen, met with death. It isimpossible to transgress destiny by either intelligence or might. O greatRishi, O sinless one, this also cannot be unknown to thee. They (theKauravas) transgressed the counsels which Bhishma and Vidura gave themreferring to me.[168] Encountering one another they then became guests ofYama’s abode. Only the five Pandavas constitute the remnant of theunslain, all their friends and all their children having beenslaughtered. All the sons of Dhritarashtra also with their children andkinsmen, have been slain.’ When Krishna had said these words, Utanka,filled with wrath, and with eyes expanded in rage, addressed him in thesewords.

“Utanka said,–‘Since, though able, O Krishna, thou didst not rescuethose foremost ones of Kuru’s race, who were thy relatives and,therefore, dear to thee, I shall, without doubt, curse thee. Since thoudidst not forcibly compel them to forbear, therefore, O slayer of Madhu,I shall, filled with wrath, denounce a curse on thee. It seems, OMadhava, that though fully able (to save them), thou wert indifferent tothese foremost of Kurus who, overwhelmed by insincerity and hypocrisyhave all met with destruction.’

“Vasudeva said, ‘O scion of Bhrigu’s race, listen to what I say indetail. Do thou accept my apologies also. O thou of Bhrigu’s race, thouart an ascetic. After having heard my words relating to the soul, thoumayst then utter thy curse. No man is able, by a little ascetic merit, toput me down. O foremost of ascetics, I do not wish to see the destructionof all thy penances. Thou hast a large measure of blazing penances. Thouhast gratified thy preceptors and seniors.[169] O foremost of regenerateones, I know that thou hast observed the rules of Brahmacharyya from thedays of thy infancy. I do not, therefore, desire the loss or diminutionof thy penances achieved with so much pain.'”

Chapter 54
Chapter 52
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