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Chapter 69

Mahabharata English - SABHAKRIYA PARVA

“Karna said,–‘Of all the persons in the assembly, three, viz., Bhishma,Vidura, and the preceptor of the Kurus (Drona) appear to be independent;for they always speak of their master as wicked, always censure him, andnever wish for his prosperity.

O excellent one, the slave, the son, andthe wife are always dependent. They cannot earn wealth, for whatever theyearn belongeth to their master. Thou art the wife of a slave incapable ofpossessing anything on his own account. Repair now to the innerapartments of king Dhritarashtra and serve the king’s relatives. Wedirect that that is now thy proper business. And, O princess, all thesons of Dhritarashtra and not the sons of Pritha are now thy masters. Ohandsome one, select thou another husband now,–one who will not makethee a slave by gambling. It is well-known that women, especially thatare slaves, are not censurable if they proceed with freedom in electinghusbands. Therefore let it be done by thee. Nakula hath been won, as alsoBhimasena, and Yudhishthira also, and Sahadeva, and Arjuna. And, OYajnaseni, thou art now a slave. Thy husbands that are slaves cannotcontinue to be thy lords any longer. Alas, doth not the son of Pritharegards life, prowess and manhood as of no use that he offereth thisdaughter of Drupada, the king of Panchala, in the presence of all thisassembly, as a stake at dice?'”

Vaisampayana continued,–“Hearing these words, the wrathful Bhimabreathed hard, a very picture of woe. Obedient to the king and bound bythe tie of virtue and duty, burning everything with his eyes inflamed byanger, he said,–‘O king, I cannot be angry at these words of this son ofa Suta, for we have truly entered the state of servitude. But O king,could our enemies have said so unto me, it thou hadst not played stakingthis princess?'”

Vaisampayana continued,–“Hearing these words of Bhimasena kingDuryodhana addressed Yudhishthira who was silent and deprived of hissenses, saying,–‘O king, both Bhima and Arjuna, and the twins also, areunder thy sway. Answer thou the question (that hath been asked byDraupadi). Say, whether thou regardest Krishna as unwon.’ And havingspoken thus unto the son of Kunti, Duryodhana. desirous of encouragingthe son of Radha and insulting Bhima, quickly uncovered his left thighthat was like unto the stem of a plantain tree or the trunk of anelephant and which was graced with every auspicious sign and endued withthe strength of thunder, and showed it to Draupadi in her very sight. Andbeholding this, Bhimasena expanding his red eyes, said unto Duryodhana inthe midst of all those kings and as if piercing them (with his dart-likewords),–‘Let not Vrikodara attain to the regions, obtained by hisancestors, if he doth not break that thigh of thine in the greatconflict. And sparkles of fire began to be emitted from every organ ofsense of Bhima filled with wrath, like those that come out of every crackand orifice in the body of a blazing tree.

Vidura then, addressing everybody, said,–‘Ye kings of Pratipa’s race,behold the great danger that ariseth from Bhimasena. Know ye for certainthat this great calamity that threatens to overtake the Bharatas hathbeen sent by Destiny itself. The sons of Dhritarashtra have, indeed,gambled disregarding every proper consideration. They are even nowdisputing in this assembly about a lady (of the royal household). Theprosperity of our kingdom is at an end. Alas, the Kauravas are even nowengaged in sinful consultations. Ye Kauravas, take to your heart thishigh precept that I declare. If virtue is persecuted, the whole assemblybecometh polluted. If Yudhishthira had staked her before he was himselfwon, he would certainly have been regarded as her master. If, however aperson staketh anything at a time when he himself is incapable of holdingany wealth, to win it is very like obtaining wealth in a dream. Listeningto the words of the king of Gandhara, fall ye not off from this undoubtedtruth.’

“Duryodhana, hearing Vidura thus speak, said,–‘I am willing to abide bythe words of Bhima, of Arjuna and of the twins. Let them say thatYudhishthira is not their master. Yajnaseni will then be freed from herstate of bondage.”

“Arjuna at this, said,–“This illustrious son of Kunti, king Yudhishthirathe just, was certainly our master before he began to play. But havinglost himself, let all the Kauravas judge whose master he could be afterthat.”

Vaisampayana continued,–“Just then, a jackal began to cry loudly in thehoma-chamber of king Dhritarashtra’s palace. And, O king, unto the jackalthat howled so, the asses began to bray responsively. And terrible birdsalso, from all sides, began to answer with their cries. And Viduraconversant with everything and the daughter of Suvala, both understoodthe meaning of those terrible sounds. And Bhishma and Drona and thelearned Gautama loudly cried,–Swashti! Swashti![1] Then Gandhari and thelearned Vidura beholding that frightful omen, represented everything, ingreat affliction, unto the king. And the king (Dhritarashtra) thereuponsaid,–

‘Thou wicked-minded Duryodhana, thou wretch, destruction hath all readyovertaken thee when thou insultest in language such as this the wife ofthese bulls among the Kurus, especially their wedded wife Draupadi. Andhaving spoken those words, the wise Dhritarashtra endued with knowledge,reflecting with the aid of his wisdom and desirous of saving hisrelatives and friends from destruction, began to console Krishna, theprincess of Panchala, and addressing her, the monarch said,–‘Ask of meany boon, O princess of Panchala, that thou desirest, Chaste and devotedto virtue, thou art the first of all my daughters-in-law.

“Draupadi said,–‘O bull of the Bharata race, if thou will grant me aboon, I ask the handsome Yudhishthira, obedient to every duty, be freedfrom slavery. Let not unthinking children call my child Prativindhyaendued with great energy of mind as the son of a slave. Having been aprince, so superior to all men, and nurtured by kings it is not properthat he should be called the child of a slave.

“Dhritarashtra said unto her,–‘O auspicious one, let it be as thousayest. O excellent one, ask thou another boon, for I will give it. Myheart inclineth to give thee a second boon. Thou dost not deserve onlyone boon.

“Draupadi said,–‘I ask, O king, that Bhimasena and Dhananjaya and thetwins also, with their cars and bows, freed from bondage, regain theirliberty.’

‘Dhritarashtra said,–‘O blessed daughter, let it be as thou desirest.Ask thou a third boon, for thou hast not been sufficiently honoured withtwo boons. Virtuous in thy behaviour, thou art the foremost of all mydaughters-in-law.

Draupadi said,–‘O best of kings, O illustrious one, covetousness alwaysbringeth about loss of virtue. I do not deserve a third boon. Therefore Idare not ask any. O king of kings, it hath been said that a Vaisya mayask one boon; a Kshatriya lady, two boons; a Kshatriya male, three, and aBrahmana, a hundred. O king, these my husbands freed from the wretchedstate of bondage, will be able to achieve prosperity by their ownvirtuous acts!'”

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