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Chapter 78

Mahabharata English - SABHAKRIYA PARVA

Vaisampayana said,–“As soon as Vidura endued with great foresight cameunto him king Dhritarashtra, the son of Amvika, timidly asked hisbrother,–‘How doth Yudhishthira, the son of Dharma, proceed along?

Andhow Arjuna? And how the twin sons of Madri? And how, O Kshatta, dothDhaumya proceed along? And how the illustrious Draupadi? I desire to heareverything, O Kshatta; describe to me all their acts.’

Vidura replied,–‘Yudhishthira, the son of Kunti, hath gone away coveringhis face with his cloth. And Bhima, O king, hath gone away looking at hisown mighty arms. And Jishnu (Arjuna) hath gone away, following the kingspreading sand-grains around. And Sahadeva, the son of Madri, hath goneaway besmearing his face, and Nakula, the handsomest of men, O king, hathgone away, staining himself with dust and his heart in great affliction.And the large-eyed and beautiful Krishna hath gone away, covering herface with her dishevelled hair following in the wake of the king, weepingand in tears. And O monarch, Dhaumya goeth along the road, with kusagrass in hand, and uttering the aweful mantras of Sama Veda that relateto Yama.’

Dhritarashtra asked,–“Tell me, O Vidura, why is it that the Pandavas areleaving Hastinapore in such varied guise.”

“Vidura replied,–‘Though persecuted by thy sons and robbed of hiskingdom and wealth the mind of the wise king Yudhishthira the just hathnot yet deviated from the path of virtue. King Yudhishthira is alwayskind, O Bharata, to thy children. Though deprived (of his kingdom andpossessions) by foul means, filled with wrath as he is, he doth not openeyes. ‘I should not burn the people by looking at them with angryeyes,’–thinking so, the royal son of Pandu goeth covering his face.Listen to me as I tell thee, O bull of the Bharata race, why Bhima goethso. ‘There is none equal to me in strength of arms,’ thinking so Bhimagoeth repeatedly stretching forth his mighty arms. And, O king, proud ofthe strength of his arms, Vrikodara goeth, exhibiting them and desiringto do unto his enemies deeds worthy of those arms. And Arjuna the son ofKunti, capable of using both his arms (in wielding the Gandiva) followeththe footsteps of Yudhishthira, scattering sand-grains emblematical of thearrows he would shower in battle. O Bharata, he indicateth that as thesand-grains are scattered by him with ease, so will he rain arrows withperfect ease on the foe (in time of battle). And Sahadeva goethbesmearing his lace, thinking ‘None may recognise me in this day oftrouble.’ And, O exalted one, Nakula goeth staining himself with dustthinking, ‘Lest otherwise I steal the hearts of the ladies that may lookat me.’ And Draupadi goeth, attired in one piece of stained cloth, herhair dishevelled, and weeping, signifying–‘The wives of those for whom Ihave been reduced to such a plight, shall on the fourteenth year hence bedeprived of husbands, sons and relatives and dear ones and smeared allover with blood, with hair dishevelled and all in their feminine seasonsenter Hastinapore having offered oblations of water (unto the manes ofthose they will have lost). And O Bharata, the learned Dhaumya withpassions under full control, holding the kusa grass in his hand andpointing the same towards the south-west, walketh before, singing themantras of the Sama Veda that relate to Yama. And, O monarch, thatlearned Brahamana goeth, also signifying, ‘When the Bharatas shall beslain in battle, the priests of the Kurus will thus sing the Soma mantras(for the benefit of the deceased).’ And the citizens, afflicted withgreat grief, are repeatedly crying out, ‘Alas, alas, behold our mastersare going away! O fie on the Kuru elders that have acted like foolishchildren in thus banishing heirs of Pandu from covetousness alone. Alas,separated from the son of Pandu we all shall become masterless. What lovecan we bear to the wicked and avaricious Kurus? Thus O king, have thesons of Kunti, endued with great energy of mind, gone away,–indicating,by manner and signs, the resolutions that are in their hearts. And asthose foremost of men had gone away from Hastinapore, flashes oflightning appeared in the sky though without clouds and the earth itselfbegan to tremble. And Rahu came to devour the Sun, although it was notthe day of conjunction And meteors began to fall, keeping the city totheir right. And jackals and vultures and ravens and other carnivorousbeasts and birds began to shriek and cry aloud from the temples of thegods and the tops of sacred trees and walls and house-tops. And theseextraordinary calamitous portents, O king, were seen and heard,indicating the destruction of the Bharatas as the consequence of thy evilcounsels.”

Vaisampayana continued,–“And, O monarch, while king Dhritarashtra andthe wise Vidura were thus talking with each other, there appeared in thatassembly of the Kauravas and before the eyes of all, the best of thecelestial Rishis. And appealing before them all, he uttered theseterrible words, On the fourteenth year hence, the Kauravas, inconsequence of Duryodhana’s fault, will all be destroyed by the might ofBhima and Arjuna’. And having said this, that best of celestial Rishis,adorned with surpassing Vedic grace, passing through the skies,disappeared from the scene. Then Duryodhana and Karna and Sakuni, the sonof Suvala regarding Drona as their sole refuge, offered the kingdom tohim. Drona then, addressing the envious and wrathful Duryodhana andDussasana and Karna and all the Bharata, said, ‘The Brahamanas have saidthat the Pandavas being of celestial origin are incapable of being slain.The sons of Dhritarashtra, however, having, with all the kings, heartilyand with reverence sought my protection, I shall look after them to thebest of my power. Destiny is supreme, I cannot abandon them. The sons ofPandu, defeated at dice, are going into exile in pursuance of theirpromise. They will live in the woods for twelve years. Practising theBrahmacharyya mode of life for this period, they will return in anger andto our great grief take the amplest vengeance on their foes. I hadformerly deprived Drupada of his kingdom in a friendly dispute. Robbed ofhis kingdom by me, O Bharata, the king performed a sacrifice forobtaining a son (that should slay me). Aided by the ascetic power of Yajaand Upayaja, Drupada obtained from the (sacrificial) fire a son namedDhrishtadyumna and a daughter, viz., the faultless Krishna, both risenfrom the sacrificial platform. That Dhrishtadyumna is the brother-in-lawof the sons of Pandu by marriage, and dear unto them. It is for him,therefore that I have much fear. Of celestial origin and resplendent asthe fire, he was born with bow, arrows, and encased in mail. I am a beingthat is mortal. Therefore it is for him that I have great fear. Thatslayer of all foes, the son of Parshatta, hath taken the side of thePandavas. I shall have to lose my life, if he and I ever encounter eachother in battle. What grief can be greater to me in this world than this,ye Kauravas that Dhrishtadyumna is the destined slayer of Drona–thisbelief is general. That he hath been born for slaying me hath been heardby me and is widely known also in the world. For thy sake, O Duryodhana,that terrible season of destruction is almost come. Do without loss oftime, what may be beneficial unto thee. Think not that everything hathbeen accomplished by sending the Pandavas into exile. This thy happinesswill last for but a moment, even as in winter the shadow of the top ofthe palm tree resteth (for a short time) at its base. Perform variouskinds of sacrifices, and enjoy, and give O Bharata, everything thoulikest. On the fourteenth year hence, a great calamity will overwhelmthee.'”

Vaisampayana continued,–“Hearing these words of Drona, Dhritarashtrasaid,–‘O Kshatta, the preceptor hath uttered what is true. Go thou andbring back the Pandavas. If they do not come back, let them go treatedwith respect and affection. Let those my sons go with weapons, and cars,and infantry, and enjoying every other good thing.'”

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