Vaisampayana said,–“The kings present in that assembly, from tear ofDuryodhana, uttered not a word, good or ill, although they beheldDraupadi crying piteously in affliction like a female osprey, andrepeatedly appealing to them.
And the son of Dhritarashtra beholdingthose kings and sons and grand sons of kings all remaining silent, smileda little, and addressing the daughter of the king of Panchala, said,–OYajnaseni, the question thou hast put dependeth on thy husbands–on Bhimaof mighty strength, on Arjuna, on Nakula, on Sahadeva. Let them answerthy question. O Panchali, let them for thy sake declare in the midst ofthese respectable men that Yudhishthira is not their lord, let themthereby make king Yudhishthira the just a liar. Thou shalt then be freedfrom the condition of slavery. Let the illustrious son of Dharma, alwaysadhering to virtue, who is even like Indra, himself declare whether he isnot thy lord. At his words, accept thou the Pandavas or ourselves withoutdelay. Indeed, all the Kauravas present in this assembly are floating inthe ocean of thy distress. Endued with magnanimity, they are unable toanswer thy question, looking at thy unfortunate husbands.'”
Vaisampayana continued,–“Hearing these words of the Kuru king, all whowere present in the assembly loudly applauded them. And shoutingapprovingly, they made signs unto one another by motions of their eyesand lips. And amongst some that were there, sounds of distress such as’O! and ‘Alas!” were heard. And at these words of Duryodhana, sodelightful (to his partisans), the Kauravas present in that assemblybecame exceedingly glad. And the kings, with faces turned sideways,looked upon Yudhishthira conversant with the rules of morality, curiousto hear what he would say. And every one present in that assembly becamecurious to hear what Arjuna, the son of Pandu never defeated in battle,and what Bhimasena, and what the twins also would say. And when that busyhum of many voices became still, Bhimasena, waving his strong andwell-formed arms smeared with sandalpaste spake these words,–‘If thishigh-souled king Yudhishthira the just, who is our eldest brother, hadnot been our lord, we would never have forgiven the Kuru race (for allthis). He is the lord of all our religious and ascetic merits, the lordof even our lives. If he regardeth himself as won, we too have all beenwon. If this were not so, who is there amongst creatures touching theearth with their feet and mortal, that would escape from me with his lifeafter having touched those locks of the princess of Panchala? Beholdthese mighty, well-formed arms of mine, even like maces of iron. Havingonce come within them, even he of a hundred sacrifices is incapable ofeffecting an escape. Bound by the ties of virtue and the reverence thatis due to our eldest brother, and repeatedly urged by Arjuna to remainsilent, I am not doing anything terrible. If however, I am once commandedby king Yudhishthira the just, I would slay these wretched sons ofDhritarashtra, making slaps do the work of swords, like a lion slaying anumber of little animals.”
Vaisampayana continued,–“Unto Bhima who had spoken these words Bhishmaand Drona and Vidura said, ‘Forbear, O Bhima. Everything is possible withthee.'”