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Chapter 67

Mahabharata English - SABHAKRIYA PARVA

Draupadi said,–‘Wait a little, thou worst of men, thou wicked-mindedDussasana. I have an act to perform–a high duty that hath not beenperformed by me yet. Dragged forcibly by this wretch’s strong arms, I wasdeprived of my senses. I salute these reverend seniors in this assemblyof the Kurus. That I could not do this before cannot be my fault.'”

Vaisampayana said,–“Dragged with greater force than before, theafflicted and helpless Draupadi, undeserving of such treatment, fallingdown upon the ground, thus wept in that assembly of the Kurus,–

“‘Alas, only once before, on the occasion of the Swayamvara, I was beheldby the assembled kings in the amphitheatre, and never even once beheldafterwards. I am to-day brought before this assembly. She whom even thewinds and the sun had seen never before in her palace is to-day beforethis assembly and exposed to the gaze of the crowd. Alas, she whom thesons of Pandu could not, while in her palace, suffer to be touched evenby the wind, is to-day suffered by the Pandavas to be seized and draggedby this wretch. Alas, these Kauravas also suffer their daughter-in-law,so unworthy of such treatment, to be thus afflicted before them. Itseemeth that the times are out of joint. What can be more distressing tome, than that though high-born and chaste, I should yet be compelled toenter this public court? Where is that virtue for which these kings werenoted? It hath been heard that the kings of ancient days never broughttheir wedded wives into the public court. Alas, that eternal usage hathdisappeared from among the Kauravas. Else, how is it that the chaste wifeof the Pandavas, the sister of Prishata’s son, the friend of Vasudeva, isbrought before this assembly? Ye Kauravas, I am the wedded wife of kingYudhishthira the just, hailing from the same dynasty to which the Kingbelonged. Tell me now if I am a serving-maid or otherwise. I willcheerfully accept your answer. This mean wretch, this destroyer of thename of the Kurus, is afflicting me hard. Ye Kauravas, I cannot bear itany longer. Ye kings, I desire ye to answer whether ye regard me as wonor unwon. I will accept your verdict whatever it be.’

“Hearing these words, Bhishma answered, I have already said, O blessedone that the course of morality is subtle. Even the illustrious wise inthis world fail to understand it always. What in this world a strong mancalls morality is regarded as such by others, however otherwise it mayreally be; but what a weak man calls morality is scarcely regarded assuch even if it be the highest morality. From the importance of the issueinvolved, from its intricacy and subtlety, I am unable to answer withcertitude the question thou hast asked. However, it is certain that asall the Kurus have become the slaves of covetousness and folly, thedestruction of this our race will happen on no distant date. O blessedone, the family into which thou hast been admitted as a daughter-in-law,is such that those who are born in it, however much they might beafflicted by calamities, never deviate from the paths of virtue andmorality. O Princess of Panchala, this conduct of thine also, viz. thatthough sunk in distress, thou still easiest thy eyes on virtue andmorality, is assuredly worthy of thee. These persons, Drona and others,of mature years and conversant with morality, sit heads downwards likemen that are dead, with bodies from which life hath departed. It seemethto me, however, that Yudhishthira is an authority on this question. Itbehoveth him to declare whether thou art won or not won.”

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