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Chapter 48

Mahabharata English - SABHAKRIYA PARVA

Vaisampayana said–“O king, impressed with the great Rajasuya sacrificeof king Yudhishthira, Sakuni, the son of Suvala, having learnt before theintentions of Duryodhana, while accompanying him in the way from theassembly house, and desirous of saying what was agreeable to him,approached Dhritarashtra endued with great wisdom,

and finding themonarch deprived of his eye seated (in his throne), told him thesewords,–‘Know, O great king, O bull of the Bharata race, that Duryodhana,having lost colour, hath become pale and emaciated and depressed and aprey to anxiety. Why dost thou not, after due enquiry, ascertain thegrief that is in the heart of thy eldest son, the grief that is caused bythe foe?’

“Dhritarashtra said,–‘Duryodhana, what is the reason of thy greataffliction. O son of the Kuru race? If it is fit for me to hear it, thentell me the reason. This Sakuni here says that thou hast lost colour,become pale and emaciated, and a prey to anxiety. I do not know what canbe the reason of the sorrow. This vast wealth of mine is at thy control.Thy brothers and all our relations never do anything that is disagreeableto thee. Thou wearest the best apparel and eatest the best food that isprepared with meat. The best of horse carries thee. What it is,therefore, that hath made thee pale and emaciated? Costly beds, beautifuldamsels, mansions decked with excellent furniture, and sport of thedelightful kind, without doubt these all wait but at thy command, as inthe case of the gods themselves Therefore, O proud one, why dost thougrieve, O son, as if thou wert destitute.’

“Duryodhana said,–‘I eat and dress myself like a wretch and pass my timeall the while a prey to fierce jealousy. He indeed is a man, whoincapable of bearing the pride of the foe, liveth having vanquished thatfoe with the desire of liberating his own subjects from the tyranny ofthe foe. Contentment, as also pride, O Bharata, are destructive ofprosperity; and those other two qualities also, viz., compassion andfear. One who acteth under the influence of these, never obtainethanything high. Having beheld Yudhishthira’s prosperity, whatever I enjoybrings me no gratification. The prosperity of Kunti’s son that ispossessed of such splendour maketh me pale. Knowing the affluence of thefoe and my own destitution, even though that affluence is not before me,I yet see it before me. Therefore, have I lost colour and becomemelancholy, pale and emaciated. Yudhishthira supporteth eighty-eightthousand Snataka Brahmanas leading domestic lives, giving unto each ofthem thirty slave-girls. Beside this, thousand other Brahmanas daily eatat his palace the best of food on golden plates. The king of Kambhojasent unto him (as tribute) innumerable skins, black, darkish, and red, ofthe deer Kadali, as also numberless blankets of excellent textures. Andhundreds and thousands and thousands of she-elephants and thirty thousandshe-camels wander within the palace, for the kings of the earth broughtthem all as tribute to the capital of the Pandavas. And, O lord of earth,the kings also brought unto this foremost of sacrifices heaps upon heapsof jewels and gems for the son of Kunti. Never before did I see or hearof such enormous wealth as was brought unto the sacrifice of theintelligent sons of Pandu. And, O king, beholding that enormouscollection of wealth belonging to the foe, I can not enjoy peace of mind.Hundreds of Brahmanas supported by the grants that Yudhishthira hathgiven them and possessing wealth of kine, waited at the palace gate withthree thousands of millions of tribute but were prevented by the keepersfrom entering the mansion. Bringing with them clarified butter inhandsome Kamandalus made of gold, they did not obtain admission into thepalace, and Ocean himself brought unto him in vessels of white copper thenectar that is generated within his waters and which is much superior tothat which flowers and annual plants produce for Sakra. And Vasudeva (atthe conclusion of the sacrifice) having brought an excellent conch bathedthe Sun of Pritha with sea water brought in thousand jars of gold, allwell adorned with numerous gems. Beholding all this I became feverishwith jealousy. Those jars had been taken to the Eastern and the Southernoceans. And they had also been taken on the shoulders of men to theWestern ocean, O bull among men. And, O father, although none but birdsonly can go to the Northern region Arjuna, having gone thither, exactedas tribute a vast quantity of wealth. There is another wonderful incidentalso which I will relate to thee. O listen to me. When a hundred thousandBrahmanas were fed, it had been arranged that to notify this act everyday conches would be blown in a chorus. But, O Bharata, I continuallyheard conches blown there almost repeatedly. And hearing those notes myhair stood on end. And, O great king, that palatial compound, filled withinnumerable monarchs that came there as spectators, looked exceedinglyhandsome like the cloudless firmament with stars. And, O king of men, themonarchs came into that sacrifice of the wise son of Pandu bringing withthem every kind of wealth. And the kings that came there became likeVaisyas the distributors of food unto the Brahmanas that were fed. And Oking, the prosperity that I beheld of Yudhishthira was such that neitherthe chief himself of the celestials, nor Yama or Varuna, nor the lord ofthe Guhyakas owneth the same. And beholding that great prosperity of theson of Pandu, my heart burneth and I cannot enjoy peace.

“Hearing these words of Duryodhana, Sakuni replied,–‘Hear how thoumayest obtain this unrivalled prosperity that thou beholdest in the sonof Pandu, O thou that hast truth for thy prowess. O Bharata, I am anadept at dice, superior to all in the world. I can ascertain the successor otherwise of every throw, and when to stake and when not. I havespecial knowledge of the game. The Son of Kunti also is fond of diceplaying though he possesseth little skill in it. Summoned to play orbattle, he is sure to come forward, and I will defeat him repeatedly atevery throw by practising deception. I promise to win all that wealth ofhis, and thou, O Duryodhana, shalt then enjoy the same.'”

Vaisampayana continued,–“King Duryodhana, thus addressed by Sakuni,without allowing a moment to elapse, said unto Dhritarashtra,–‘This,Sakuni, an adept at dice, is ready to win at dice, O king, the wealth ofthe sons of Pandu. It behoveth thee to grant him permission to do so.’

“Dhritarashtra replied,–‘I always follow the counsels of Kshatta, myminister possessed of great wisdom. Having consulted with him, I willinform thee what my judgment is in respect of this affair. Endued withgreat foresight, he will, keeping morality before his eyes, tell us whatis good and what is proper for both parties, and what should be done inthis matter.’

“Duryodhana said,–‘If thou consultest with Kshatta he will make theedesist. And if thou desist, O king, I will certainly kill myself. Andwhen I am dead, O king, thou wilt become happy with Vidura. Thou wiltthen enjoy the whole earth; what need hast thou with me?'”

Vaisampayana continued,–“Dhritarashtra, hearing these words ofaffliction uttered by Duryodhana from mixed feeling, himself ready towhat Duryodhana had dictated, commanded his servant, saying,–‘Letartificers be employed to erect without delay a delightful and handsomeand spacious palace with an hundred doors and a thousand columns. Andhaving brought carpenters and joiners, set ye jewels and precious stonesall over the walls. And making it handsome and easy of access, report tome when everything is complete. And, O monarch, king Dhritarashtra havingmade this resolution for the pacification of Duryodhana, sent messengersunto Vidura for summoning him. For without taking counsel with Viduranever did the monarch form any resolution. But as regards the matter athand, the king although he knew the evils of gambling, was yet attractedtowards it. The intelligent Vidura, however, as soon as he heard of it,knew that the arrival of Kali was at hand. And seeing that the way todestruction was about to open, he quickly came to Dhritarashtra. AndVidura approaching his illustrious eldest brother and bowing down untohis feet, said these words:

‘O exalted king, I do not approve of this resolution that thou hastformed. It behave thee, O king, to act in such a way that no dispute mayarise between thy children on account of this gambling match.’

Dhritarashtra replied,–‘O Kshatta, if the gods be merciful unto us,assuredly no dispute will ever arise amongst my sons. Therefore,auspicious or otherwise, beneficial or otherwise, let this friendlychallenge at dice proceed. Even this without doubt is what fate hathordained for us. And, O son of the Bharata race, when I am near, andDrona and Bhishma and thou too, nothing evil that even Fate might haveordained is likely to happen. Therefore, go thou on a car yoking theretohorses endued with the speed of the wind, so that thou mayest reachKhandavaprastha even today and bring thou Yudhishthira with thee. And, OVidura, I tell that even this is my resolution. Tell me nothing. I regardFate as supreme which bringeth all this.’ Hearing these words ofDhritarashtra and concluding that his race was doomed, Vidura in greatsorrow went unto Bhishma with great wisdom.”

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