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Chapter 39

Mahabharata English - SANTI PARVA

“Vaisampayana said, ‘At the time the Parthas entered the city, thousandsupon thousands of the citizens came out to behold the sight. Thewell-adorned squares and streets, with crowd swelling at each momentlooked beautiful like the ocean swelling at the rise of the moon. Thelarge mansions that stood on the street-sides, decked with every ornamentand full of ladies, seemed to shake, O Bharata, with their weight. Withsoft and modest voices they uttered the praises of Yudhishthira, of Bhimaand Arjuna, and of the two sons of Madri. And they said, ‘Worthy of allpraise art thou. O blessed princess of Panchala, that waitest by the sideof those foremost of men even like Gautami by the side of the (seven)Rishis. Thy acts and vows have borne their fruits, O lady!’ In thisstrain, O monarch, the ladies praised the princess Krishna. Inconsequence of those praises, O Bharata, and their speeches with oneanother, and the shouts of joy (uttered by the men’ ), the city becamefilled with a loud uproar. Having passed through the streets with suchbehaviour as befitted him, Yudhishthira then entered the beautiful palace(of the Kurus) adorned with every ornament. The people belonging to thecity and the provinces, approaching the palace, uttered speeches thatwere agreeable to his ears, ‘By good luck, O foremost of kings, thou hastvanquished thy enemies, O slayer of foes! By good luck, thou hastrecovered thy kingdom through virtue and prowess. Be, O foremost ofkings, our monarch for a hundred years, and protect thy subjectsvirtuously like Indra protecting the denizens of heaven.’ Thus adored atthe palace-gate with blessed speeches, and accepting the benedictionsuttered by the Brahmanas from every side, the king, graced with victoryand the blessings of the people, entered the palace that resembled themansion of Indra himself, and then descended from his car. Entering theapartments, blessed Yudhishthira approached the household gods andworshipped them with gems and scents and floral wreaths. Possessed ofgreat fame and prosperity, the king came out once more and beheld anumber of Brahmanas waiting with auspicious articles in their hands (forpronouncing benedictions on him). Surrounded by those Brahmanas desirousof uttering benedictions on him, the king looked beautiful like thespotless moon in the midst of the stars. Accompanied by his priestDhaumya and his eldest uncle, the son of Kunti cheerfully worshipped,with due rites, those Brahmanas with (gift of) sweets, gems, and gold inprofusion, and kine and robes, O monarch, and with diverse other articlesthat each desired. Then loud shouts of ‘This is a blessed day’ arose,filling the entire welkin, O Bharata. Sweet to the ear, that sacred soundwas highly gratifying to the friends and well-wishers (of the Pandavas).The king heard that sound uttered by those learned Brahmanas and that wasas loud and clear as the sound of a flock of swans. He listened also tothe speeches, fraught with melodious words and grave import, of thosepersons well conversant with the Vedas. Then, O king, the peal of drumsand the delightful blare of conchs, indicative of triumph, arose. Alittle while after when the Brahmanas had become silent, a Rakshasa ofthe name of Charvaka, who had disguised himself as a Brahmana, addressedthe king. He was a friend of Duryodhana and stood therein the garb of areligious mendicant. With a rosary, with a tuft of hair on his head, andwith the triple staff in his hand, he stood proudly and fearlessly in themidst of all those Brahmanas that had come there for pronouncingbenedictions (upon the king), numbering by thousands, O king, and all ofwhom were devoted to penances and vows. That wicked wight, desirous ofevil unto the high-souled Pandavas and without having consulted thoseBrahmanas, said these words unto the king.’

“Charvaka said, ‘All these Brahmanas, making me their spokesman, aresaying, ‘Fie on thee! Thou art a wicked king. Thou art a slayer ofkinsmen. What shalt thou gain, O son of Kunti, by having thusexterminated thy race? Having slain also thy superiors and preceptor, itis proper for thee to cast away thy life.’ Hearing these words of thatwicked Rakshasa the Brahmanas there became deeply agitated. Stung by thatspeech, they made a loud uproar. And all of them, with king Yudhishthira.O monarch, became speechless from anxiety and shame.’

“Yudhishthira said, ‘I bow down to you and beseech you humbly, begratified with me. It doth not behove you to cry fie on me. I shall soonlay down my life.'[122]

“Vaisampayana continued, ‘Then all those Brahmanas, O king, loudly said,’These are not our words. Prosperity to thee, O monarch!’ Thosehigh-souled persons, conversant with the Vedas, with understandingrendered clear by penances, then penetrated the disguise of the speakerby means of their spiritual sight.’ And they said, ‘This is the RakshasaCharvaka, the friend of Duryodhana. Having put on the garb of a religiousmendicant, he seeks the good of his friend Duryodhana. We have not, Othou of righteous soul, said anything of the kind. Let this anxiety ofthine be dispelled. Let prosperity attend upon thee with thy brothers.’

“Vaisampayana continued, ‘These Brahmanas then, insensate with rage,uttered the sound Hun. Cleansed of all sins, they censured the sinfulRakshasa and slew him there (with that very sound). Consumed by theenergy of those utterers of Brahma, Charvaka fell down dead, like a treewith all its sprouts blasted by the thunder of Indra. Duly worshipped,the Brahmanas went away, having gladdened the king with theirbenedictions. The royal son of Pandu also, with all his friends, feltgreat happiness.

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