Vaisampayana said,–“Vidura then, thus commanded against his will by kingDhritarashtra, set out, with the help of horses of high mettle and enduedwith great speed and strength, and quiet and patient, for the abode ofthe wise sons of Pandu.
Possessed of great intelligence, Vidura proceededby the way leading to the capital of the Pandavas. And having arrived atthe city of king Yudhishthira, he entered it and proceeded towards thepalace, worshipped by numberless Brahmanas. And coming to the palacewhich was even like unto the mansion of Kuvera himself, the virtuousVidura approached Yudhishthira, the son of Dharma. Then the illustriousAjamida devoted to truth and having no enemy on earth, reverentiallysaluted Vidura, and asked him about Dhritarashtra and his sons. AndYudhishthira said, “O Kshatta, thy mind seemeth to be cheerless. Dostthou come here in happiness and peace? The sons of Dhritarashtra, I hope,are obedient to their old father. The people also, I hope, are obedientto Dhritarashtra’s rule.’
“Vidura said,–‘The illustrious king, with his sons, is well and happy,and surrounded by his relatives he reigneth even like Indra himself. Theking is happy with his sons who are all obedient to him and hath nogrief. The illustrious monarch is bent on his own aggrandisement. Theking of the Kurus hath commanded me to enquire after thy peace andprosperity, and to ask thee to repair to Hastinapore with thy brothersand to say, after beholding king Dhritarashtra’s newly erected palace,whether that one is equal to thy own. Repairing thither, O son of Pritha,with thy brothers, enjoy ye in that mansion and sit to a friendly matchat dice. We shall be glad if thou goest, as the Kurus have alreadyarrived there. And thou wilt see there those gamblers and cheats that theillustrious king Dhritarashtra hath already brought thither. It is forthis, O king, that I have come hither. Let the king’s command be approvedby thee.
“Yudhishthira said,–‘O Kshatta, if we sit to a match at dice, we mayquarrel. What man is there, who knowing all this, will consent to gamble?What dost thou think fit for us? We all are obedient to thy counsels.’
“Vidura said,–‘I know that gambling is the root of misery, and I stroveto dissuade the king from it. The king, however, hath sent me to thee.Having known all this, O learned one, do what is beneficial.
“Yudhishthira said,–‘Besides the sons of Dhritarashtra what otherdishonest gamblers are there ready for play? Tell us, O Vidura, who theyare and with whom we shall have to play, staking hundreds upon hundredsof our possessions.’
“Vidura said,–‘O monarch, Sakuni, the king of Gandhara, an adept atdice, having great skill of hand and desperate in stakes, Vivingati, kingChitrasena, Satyavrata, Purumitra and Jaya, these, O king, are there.’
“Yudhishthira said,–‘It would seem then that some of the most desperateand terrible gamblers always depending upon deceit are there. This wholeuniverse, however, is at the will of its Maker, under the control offate. It is not free. O learned one, I do not desire, at the command ofking Dhritarashtra to engage myself in gambling. The father alwayswisheth to benefit his son. Thou art our master, O Vidura. Tell me whatis proper for us. Unwilling as I am to gamble, I will not do so, if thewicked Sakuni doth not summon me to it in the Sabha? If, however, hechallengeth me, I will never refuse. For that, as settled, is my eternalvow.”
Vaisampayana continued,–“King Yudhishthira the just having said thisunto Vidura, commanded that preparations for his journey might be madewithout loss of time. And the next day, the king accompanied by hisrelatives and attendants and taking with him also the women of thehousehold with Draupadi in their midst, set out for the capital of theKurus. ‘Like some brilliant body falling before the eyes, Fate deprivethus of reason, and man, tied as it were with a cord, submitteth to thesway of Providence,’ saying this, king Yudhishthira, that chastiser ofthe foe, set out with Kshatta, without deliberating upon that summonsfrom Dhritarashtra. And that slayer of hostile heroes, the son of Panduand Pritha, riding upon the car that had been given him by the king ofValhika, and attired also in royal robes, set out with his brothers. Andthe king, blazing as it were with royal splendour, with Brahmanas walkingbefore him, set out from his city, summoned by Dhritarashtra and impelledby what hath been ordained by Kala (Time). And arriving at Hastinapore hewent to the palace of Dhritarashtra. And going there, the son of Panduapproached the king. And the exalted one then approached Bhishma andDrona and Karna, and Kripa, and the son of Drona, and embraced and wasembraced by them all. And the mighty-armed one, endued with greatprowess, then approached Somadatta, and then Duryodhana and Salya, andthe son of Suvala, and those other kings also that had arrived therebefore him. The king then went to the brave Dusshasana and then to allhis (other) brothers and then to Jayadratha and next to all the Kurus oneafter another. And the mighty-armed one, then surrounded by all hisbrothers, entered the apartment of the wise king Dhritarashtra. And thenYudhishthira beheld the reverend Gandhari, ever obedient to her lord, andsurrounded by her daughters-in-law like Rohini by the stars. And salutingGandhari and blessed by her in return, the king then beheld his olduncle, that illustrious monarch whose wisdom was his eye. KingDhritarashtra then, O monarch, smelt his head as also the heads of thosefour other princes of the Kuru race, viz., the sons of Pandu withBhimasena as their eldest. And, O king, beholding–the handsome Pandavathose tigers among men, all the Kurus became exceedingly glad. Andcommanded by the king, the Pandavas then retired to the chambers allottedto them and which were all furnished with jewels and gems. And when theyhad retired into the chambers, the women of Dhritarashtra’s householdwith Dussala taking the lead visited them. And the daughters-in-law ofDhritarashtra beholding the blazing and splendid beauty and prosperity ofYajnaseni, became cheerless and filled with jealousy. And those tigersamong men, having conversed with the ladies went through their dailyphysical exercises and then performed the religious rites of the day. Andhaving finished their daily devotions, they decked their persons withsandal paste of the most fragrant kind. And desiring to secure good luckand prosperity they caused (by gifts) the Brahmanas to utterbenedictions. And then eating food that was of the best taste theyretired to their chambers for the night. And those bulls among the Kurusthen were put to sleep with music by handsome females. And obtaining fromthem what came in due succession, those subjugators of hostile townspassed with cheerful hearts that delightful night in pleasure and sport.And waked by the bards with sweet music, they rose from their beds, andhaving passed the night thus in happiness, they rose at dawn and havinggone through the usual rites, they entered into the assembly house andwere saluted by those that were ready there for gambling.”