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Chapter 12

Mahabharata English - STRI PARVA

Vaishampayana said, “After all the warriors had been slaughtered, kingYudhishthira the just heard that his uncle Dhritarashtra had set out fromthe city called after the elephant. Afflicted with grief on account ofthe death of his sons, Yudhishthira, O king, accompanied by his brothers,set out for meeting his uncle, filled with sorrow and overwhelmed withgrief for the slaughter of his (hundred) sons. The son of Kunti wasfollowed by the high-souled and heroic Krishna of Dasharhas race, and byYuyudhana, as also by Yuyutsu. The princess Draupadi also, burning withgrief, and accompanied by those Pancala ladies that were with her,sorrowfully followed her lord. Yudhishthira beheld near the banks of theGanga, O king, the crowd of Bharata ladies afflicted with woe and cryinglike a flight of she-ospreys. The king was soon surrounded by thosethousands of ladies who, with arms raised aloft in grief, were indulgingin loud lamentations and giving expression to all kinds of words,agreeable and disagreeable: Where, indeed, is that righteousness of theking, where is truth and compassion, since he has slain sires andbrothers and preceptors and sons and friends? How, O mighty-armed one,hath thy heart become tranquil after causing Drona, and thy grandsireBhishma, and Jayadratha, to be slaughtered? What need hast thou ofsovereignty, after having seen thy sires and brothers, O Bharata, and theirresistible Abhimanyu and the sons of Draupadi, thus slaughtered?Passing over those ladies crying like a flight of she-ospreys, themighty-armed king Yudhishthira the just saluted the feet of his eldestuncle. Having saluted their sire according to custom, those slayers offoes, the Pandavas, announced themselves to him, each uttering his ownname. Dhritarashtra, exceedingly afflicted with grief on account of theslaughter of his sons, then reluctantly embraced the eldest son of Pandu,who was the cause of that slaughter. Having embraced Yudhishthira thejust and spoken a few words of comfort to him, O Bharata, thewicked-souled Dhritarashtra sought for Bhima, like a blazing fire readyto burn everything that would approach it. Indeed, that fire of hiswrath, fanned by the wind of his grief, seemed then to be ready toconsume the Bhima-forest. Ascertaining the evil intentions cherished byhim towards Bhima, Krishna, dragging away the real Bhima, presented aniron statue of the second son of Pandu to the old king. Possessed ofgreat intelligence, Krishna had, at the very outset, understood theintentions of Dhritarashtra, and had, therefore, kept such a contrivanceready for baffling them. Seizing with his two arms that iron Bhima, kingDhritarashtra, possessed of great strength, broke into pieces, thinkingit to be Bhima himself in flesh and blood. Endued with might equal tothat of 10,000 elephants, the king reduced that statue into fragments.His own breast, however, became considerably bruised and he began tovomit blood. Covered with blood, the king fell down on the ground like aparijata tree topped with its flowery burden. His learned charioteerSanjaya, the son of Gavalgana, raised the monarch and soothing andcomforting him, said, Do not act so. The king then, having cast off hiswrath and returned to his normal disposition, became filled with griefand began to weep aloud, saying, Alas, oh Bhima, alas, oh Bhima!Understanding that he was no longer under the influence of wrath, andthat he was truly sorry for having (as he believed) killed Bhima,Vasudeva, that foremost of men, said these words, Do not grieve, ODhritarashtra, for thou hast not slain Bhimasena! That is an iron statue,O king, which has been broken by thee! Understanding that thou wertfilled with rage, O bull of Bharatas race, I dragged the son of Kuntiaway from within the jaws of Death. O tiger among kings, there is noneequal to thee in strength of body. What man is there, O mighty-armed one,that would endure pressure of thy arms? Indeed, as no one can escape withlife from an encounter with the Destroyer himself, even so no body cancome out safe from within thy embrace. It was for this that yonder ironstatue of Bhima, which had been caused to be made by thy son, had beenkept ready for thee. Through grief for the death of thy sons, thy mindhas fallen off from righteousness. It is for this, O great king, thatthou seekest to slay Bhimasena. The slaughter of Bhima, however, O king,would do thee no good. Thy sons, O monarch, would not be revived by it.Therefore, do thou approve of what has been by us with a view to securepeace and do not set thy heart on grief!”

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