Chapter 72

Mahabharata English - SABHAKRIYA PARVA

Janamejaya said,–“How did the sons of Dhritarashtra feel, when they cameto know that the Pandavas had, with Dhritarashtra’s leave, leftHastinapore with all their wealth and jewels?”

Vaisampayana said,–“O king, learning that the Pandavas had beencommanded by the wise Dhritarashtra to return to their capital, Dussasanawent without loss of time unto his brother. And, O bull of the Bharatarace, having arrived before Duryodhana with his counsellor, the prince,afflicted with grief, began to say,–‘Ye mighty warriors, that which wehad won after so much trouble, the old man (our father) hath thrown away.Know ye that he hath made over the whole of that wealth to the foes. Atthese words, Duryodhana and Karna and Sakuni, the son of Suvala, all ofwhom were guided by vanity, united together, and desirous ofcounteracting the sons of Pandu, approaching in haste saw privately thewise king Dhritarashtra–the son of Vichitravirya and spake unto himthese pleasing and artful words. Duryodhana said,–

‘Hast thou not heard, O king, what the learned Vrihaspati the preceptorof the celestials, said in course of counselling Sakra about mortals andpolitics? Even these, O slayer of foes, were the words of Vrihaspati,’Those enemies that always do wrong by stratagem or force, should beslain by every means.’ If, therefore, with the wealth of the Pandavas, wegratify the kings of the earth and then fight with the sons of Pandu,what reverses can overtake us? When one hath placed on the neck and backof venomous snakes full of wrath for encompassing his destruction, is itpossible for him to take them off? Equipped with weapon and seated ontheir cars, the angry sons of Pandu like wrathful and venomous snakeswill assuredly annihilate us, O father. Even now Arjuna proceedeth,encased in mail and furnished with his couple of quivers, frequentlytaking up the Gandiva and breathing hard and casting angry glancesaround. It hath (also) been heard by us that Vrikodara, hastily orderinghis car to be made ready and riding on it, is proceeding along,frequently whirling his heavy mace. Nakula also is going along, with thesword in his grasp and the semi-circular shield in his hand. And Sahadevaand the king (Yudhishthira) have made signs clearly testifying to theirintentions. Having ascended their cars that are full of all kinds ofarms, they are whipping their horses (for going to Khandava soon) andassembling their forces. Persecuted thus by us they are incapable offorgiving us those injuries. Who is there among them that will forgivethat insult to Draupadi? Blest be thou. We will again gamble with the sonof Pandu for sending them to exile. O bull among men, we are competent tobring them thus under our sway. Dressed in skins, either we or theydefeated at dice, shall repair to the woods for twelve years. Thethirteenth year shall have to be spent in some inhabited countryunrecognised; and, if recognised, an exile for another twelve years shallbe the consequence. Either we or they shall live so. Let the play begin,casting the dice, let the sons of Pandu once more play. O bull of theBharata race, O king, even this is our highest duty. This Sakuni knowethwell the whole science of dice. Even if they succeed in observing thisvow for thirteen years, we shall be in the meantime firmly rooted in thekingdom and making alliances, assemble a vast invincible host and keepthem content, so that we shall, O king, defeat the sons of Pandu if theyreappear. Let this plan recommend itself to thee, O slayer of foes.

“Dhritarashtra said,–Bring back the Pandavas then, indeed, even if theyhave gone a great way. Let them come at once again to cast dice.”

Vaisampayana continued,–“Then Drona, Somadatta and Valhika, Gautama,Vidura, the son of Drona, and the mighty son of Dhritarashtra by hisVaisya wife, Bhurisravas, and Bhishma, and that mighty warriorVikarna,–all said, ‘Let not the play commence. Let there be peace. ButDhritarashtra, partial to his sons, disregarding the counsels of all hiswise friends and relatives, summoned the sons of Pandu.”

Chapter 73
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