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Chapter 14

Mahabharata English - STRI PARVA

Vaishampayana said, “Commanded by Dhritarashtra, those bulls of Kurusrace, the Pandava brothers, accompanied by Keshava, then proceeded to seeGandhari. The faultless Gandhari, afflicted with grief on account of thedeath of her hundred sons, recollecting that king Yudhishthira the justhad slain all his enemies, wished to curse him. Understanding her evilintentions towards the Pandavas, the son of Satyavati addressed himselffor counteracting them at the very outset. Having cleansed himself by thesacred and fresh water of the Ganga, the great rishi, capable ofproceeding everywhere at will with the fleetness of the mind, came tothat spot. Capable of seeing the heart of every creature with hisspiritual vision and with his mind directed towards it, the sage made hisappearance there. Endued with great ascetic merit and ever intent onsaying what was for the benefit of creatures, the rishi, addressing hisdaughter-in-law at the proper moment, said, Do not avail thyself of thisopportunity for denouncing a curse. On the other hand, utilize it forshowing thy forgiveness. Thou shouldst not be angry with the Pandavas, OGandhari! Set thy heart on peace. Restrain the words that are about tofall from thy lips. Listen to my advice. Thy son, desirous of victory,had besought thee every day for the eighteen days that battle lasted,saying, “O mother, bless me who am fighting with my foes.” Implored everyday in these words by thy son desirous of victory, the answer thou alwaysgavest him was, “Thither is victory where righteousness is!” I do not, OGandhari, remember that any words spoken by thee have become false. Thosewords, therefore, that thou, implored by Duryodhana, saidst unto him,could not be false. Thou art always employed in the good of allcreatures. Having without doubt reached the other shore in that dreadfulbattle of Kshatriyas, the sons of Pandu have certainly won the victoryand a measure of righteousness that is much greater. Thou wert formerlyobservant of the virtue of forgiveness. Why wouldst thou not observe itnow? Subdue unrighteousness, O thou that art conversant withrighteousness. There is victory where righteousness is. Remembering thyown righteousness and the words spoken by thyself, restrain thy wrath, OGandhari! Do not act otherwise, O thou that art beautiful in speech.Hearing these words, Gandhari said, O holy one, I do not cherish any illfeelings towards the Pandavas, nor do I wish that they should perish. Inconsequence, however, of grief for the death of my sons, my heart is verymuch agitated. I know that I should protect the Pandavas with as muchcare as Kunti herself protects them, and that Dhritarashtra also shouldprotect them as I should. Through the fault of Duryodhana and of Shakunithe son of Subala, and through the action of Karna and Duhshasana,extermination of the Kurus hath taken place. In this matter the slightestblame cannot attach to Vibhatsu or to Prithas son Vrikodara, or to Nakulaor Sahadeva, or to Yudhishthira himself. While engaged in battle, theKauravas, swelling with arrogance and pride, have fallen along with manyothers (that came to their aid). I am not grieved at this. But there hasbeen one act done by Bhima in the very presence of Vasudeva (that movesmy resentment). The high-souled Vrikodara, having challenged Duryodhanato a dreadful encounter with mace, and having come to know that my son,while careering in diverse kinds of motion in the battle, was superior tohim in skill, struck the latter below the navel. It is this that moves mywrath. Why should heroes, for the sake of their lives, cast offobligations of duty that have been determined by high-souled personsconversant with every duty?”

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