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Chapter 49

Mahabharata English - SABHAKRIYA PARVA

Janamejaya said,–“O thou foremost of all conversant with the Vedas, howdid that game at dice take place, fraught with such evil to the cousinsand through which my grand-sires, the son of Pandu, were plunged intosuch sorrow?

What kings also were present in that assembly, and whoamongst them approved of the gambling match and who amongst them forbadeit? O sinless one, O chief of regenerate ones, I desire thee to recite indetail all about this, which, indeed, was the cause of the destruction ofthe world.”

Santi said,–“Thus addressed by the king, the disciple of Vyasa, enduedwith great energy and conversant with the entire Vedas, narratedeverything that had happened.”

Vaisampayana said,–“O best of the Bharatas, O great king, if thoudesirest to hear, then listen to me as I narrate to thee everything againin detail.

“Ascertaining the opinion of Vidura, Dhritarashtra the son of Amvika,calling Duryodhana told him again in private–‘O son of Gandhari, havenothing to do with dice. Vidura doth not speak well of it. Possessed ofgreat wisdom, he will never give me advice that is not for my good. Ialso regard what Vidura sayeth as exceedingly beneficial for me. Do that,O son, for I regard it all as for thy good also. Indeed, Vidura knowethwith all its mysteries the science (of political morality) that theillustrious and learned and wise Vrihaspati, the celestial Rishi who isthe spiritual guide of Vasava–had unfolded unto the wise chief of theimmortals. And O son, I always accept what Vidura adviseth. O king, asthe wise Uddhava is ever regarded amongst the Vrishnis, so is Vidurapossessed of great intelligence esteemed as the foremost of the Kurus.Therefore, O son, have nothing to do with dice. It is evident that dicesoweth dissensions. And dissensions are the ruin of the kingdom.Therefore, O son, abandon this idea of gambling. O son, thou hastobtained from us what, it hath been ordained, a father and a mothershould give unto their son, viz., ancestral rank and possessions. Thouart educated and clever in every branch of knowledge, and hast beenbrought up with affection in thy paternal dwelling. Born the eldest amongall thy brothers, living within thy own kingdom, why regardest thouthyself as unhappy? O thou of mighty arms, thou obtainest food and attireof the very best kind and which is not obtainable by ordinary men. Whydost thou grieve yet. O son, O mighty-armed one, ruling thy largeancestral kingdom swelling with people and wealth, thou shinest assplendidly as the chief of the celestials in heaven. Thou art possessedof wisdom. It behoveth thee to tell me what can be the root of this griefthat hath made thee so melancholy.

“Duryodhana replied,–‘I am a sinful wretch, O king, because I eat anddress beholding (the prosperity of the foes). It hath been said that manis a wretch who is not filled with jealousy at the sight of his enemy’sprosperity. O exalted one, this kind of prosperity of mine doth notgratify me. Beholding that blazing prosperity of the son of Kunti, I amvery much pained. I tell thee strong must be my vitality, in as much as Iam living even at the sight of the whole earth owning the sway ofYudhishthira. The Nipas, the Chitrakas, the Kukkuras, the Karaskaras, andthe Lauha-janghas are living in the palace of Yudhishthira like bondsmen.The Himavat, the ocean, the regions on the sea-shore, and the numberlessother regions that yield jewels and gems, have all acknowledgedsuperiority of the mansion of Yudhishthira in respect of wealth itcontaineth. And, O Monarch, regarding me as the eldest and entitled torespect, Yudhishthira having received me respectfully, appointed me inreceiving the jewels and gems (that were brought as tribute). O Bharata,the limit and the like of the excellent and invaluable jewels that werebrought there have not been seen. And O king, my hands were fatigued inreceiving that wealth. And when I was tired, they that brought thosevaluable articles from distant regions used to wait till I was able toresume my labour. Bringing jewels from the lake Vindu, the Asuraarchitect Maya constructed (for the Pandavas) a lake-like surface made ofcrystal. Beholding the (artificial) lotuses with which it was filled, Imistook it, O king for water. And seeing me draw up my clothes (whileabout to cross it), Vrikodara (Bhima) laughed at me, regarding me aswanting in jewels and having lost my head at the sight of the affluenceof my enemy. If I had the ability, I would, O king, without the loss of amoment, slay Vrikodara for that. But, O monarch, if we endeavour to slayBhima now, without doubt, ours will be the fate of Sisupala. O Bharata,that insult by the foe burneth me. Once again, O king, beholding asimilar lake that is really full of water but which I mistook for acrystal surface, I fell into it. At that, Bhima with Arjuna once morelaughed derisively, and Draupadi also accompanied by other females joinedin the laughter. That paineth my heart exceedingly. My apparel havingbeen wet, the menials at the command of the king gave me other clothes.That also is my great sorrow. And O king, hear now of another mistakethat I speak of. In attempting to pass through what is exactly of theshape of a door but through which there was really no passage, I struckmy forehead against stone and injured myself. The twins Nakula andSahadeva beholding from a distance that I was so hit at the head came andsupported me in their arms, expressing great concern for me. And Sahadevarepeatedly told me, as if with a smile,–‘This O king, is the door. Gothis way!’ And Bhimasena, laughing aloud, addressed me and said,–‘O sonof Dhritarashtra, this is the door. And, O king I had not even heard ofthe names of those gems that I saw in that mansion. And it is for thesereasons that my heart so acheth.”

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