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Chapter 77

Mahabharata English - SABHAKRIYA PARVA

Vaisampayana said,–‘Then when Draupadi was about to set out she wentunto the illustrious Pritha and solicited her leave. And she also askedleave of the other ladies of the household who had all been plunged intogrief. And saluting and embracing every one of them as each deserved, shedesired to go away.

Then there arose within the inner apartments of thePandavas a loud wail of woe. And Kunti, terribly afflicted upon beholdingDraupadi on the eve of her journey, uttered these words in a voice chokedwith grief,–

‘O child, grieve not that this great calamity hath overtaken thee. Thouart well conversant with the duties of the female sex, and thy behaviourand conduct also are as they should be. It behoveth me not, O thou ofsweet smiles, to instruct thee as to thy duties towards thy lords. Thouart chaste and accomplished, and thy qualities have adorned the race ofthy birth as also the race into which thou hast been admitted bymarriage. Fortunate are the Kauravas that they have not been burnt by thywrath. O child, safely go thou blest by my prayers. Good women neversuffer their hearts to the unstung at what is inevitable. Protected byvirtue that is superior to everything, soon shalt thou obtain goodfortune. While living in the woods, keep thy eye on my child Sahadeva.See that his heart sinketh not under this great calamity.’

“Saying ‘So be it!’ the princess Draupadi bathed in tears, and clad inone piece of cloth, stained with blood, and with hair dishevelled lefther mother-in-law. And as she went away weeping and wailing Prithaherself in grief followed her. She had not gone far when she saw her sonsshorn of their ornaments and robes, their bodies clad in deerskins, andtheir heads down with shame. And she beheld them surrounded by rejoicingfoes’ and pitied by friends. Endued with excess of parental affection,Kunti approached her sons in that state, and embracing them all, and inaccents choked by woe, She said these words,–

“Ye are virtuous and good-mannered, and adorned with all excellentqualities and respectful behaviour. Ye are all high-minded, and engagedin the service of your superiors. And ye are also devoted to the gods andthe performance of sacrifices. Why, then, hath this calamity overtakenyou. Whence is this reverse of fortune? I do not see by whose wickednessthis sin hath overtaken you. Alas I have brought you forth. All this mustbe due to my ill fortune. It is for this that ye have been overtaken bythis calamity, though ye all are endued with excellent virtues. In energyand prowess and strength and firmness and might, ye are not wanting. Howshall ye now, losing your wealth and possessions, live poor in thepathless woods? If I had known before that ye were destined to live inthe woods, I would not have on Pandit’s death come from the mountains ofSatasringa to Hastinapore. Fortunate was your father, as I now regard,for he truly reaped the fruit of his asceticism, and he was gifted withforesight, as he entertained the wish of ascending heaven, without havingto feel any pain on account of his sons. Fortunate also was the virtuousMadri, as I regard her today, who had, it seems, a fore-knowledge of whatwould happen and who on that account, obtained the high path ofemancipation and every blessing therewith. All, Madri looked upon me asher stay, and her mind and her affections were ever fixed on me. Oh, fieon my desire of life, owing to which suffer all this woe. Ye children, yeare all excellent and dear unto me. I have obtained you alter muchsuffering. I cannot leave you. Even I will go with you. Alas, O Krishna,(Draupadi), why dost thou leave me so? Everything endued with life issure to perish. Hath Dhata (Brahma) himself forgotten to ordain my death?Perhaps, it is so, and, therefore, life doth not quit me. O Krishna, Othou who dwellest in Dwaraka, O younger brother of Sankarshana, where artthou? Why dost thou not deliver me and these best of men also from suchwoe? They say that thou who art without beginning and without enddeliverest those that think of thee. Why doth this saying become untrue.These my sons are ever attached to virtue and nobility and good fame andprowess. They deserve not to suffer affliction. Oh, show them mercy.Alas, when there are such elders amongst our race as Bhishma and Dronaand Kripa, all conversant with morality and the science of worldlyconcerns, how could such calamity at all come? O Pandu, O king, where artthou? Why sufferest thou quietly thy good children to be thus sent intoexile, defeated at dice? O Sahadeva, desist from going. Thou art mydearest child, dearer, O son of Madri, than my body itself. Forsake menot. It behoveth thee to have some kindness for me. Bound by the ties ofvirtue, let these thy brothers go. But then, earn thou that virtue whichspringeth from waiting upon me.'”

Vaisampayana continued,–“The Pandavas then consoled their weeping motherand with hearts plunged in grief set out for the woods. And Vidurahimself also much afflicted, consoling the distressed Kunti with reasons,and led her slowly to his house. And the ladies of Dhritarashtra’s house,hearing everything as it happened, viz., the exile (of the Pandavas) andthe dragging of Krishna into the assembly where the princes had gambled,loudly wept censuring the Kauravas. And the ladies of the royal householdalso sat silent for a long time, covering their lotus-like faces withtheir fair hands. And king Dhritarashtra also thinking of the dangersthat threatened his sons, became a prey to anxiety and could not enjoypeace of mind. And anxiously meditating on everything, and with minddeprived of its equanimity through grief, he sent a messenger untoVidura, saying, ‘Let Kshatta come to me without a moment’s delay.’

“At this summons, Vidura quickly came to Dhritarashtra’s palace. And assoon as he came, the monarch asked him with great anxiety how thePandavas had left Hastinapore.”

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