Chapter 8

Vaishampayana said, “Even after hearing the words of Vidura, the chief ofthe Kurus, afflicted with grief on account of the death of his sons, felldown senseless on the Earth. Beholding him fall down in that state, hisfriends, as also the island-born Vyasa, and Vidura, and Sanjaya, andother well-wishers, and the attendants who used to wait at the gates andwho enjoyed his confidence, sprinkled cool water over his body, andfanned him with palm leaves, and gently rubbed him with their hands. Fora long while they comforted the king while in that condition. Themonarch, recovering his senses after a long time, wept for a long while,overwhelmed with grief on account of the death of his sons. He said, Fieon the state of humanity! Fie on the human body! The woes that aresuffered in this life frequently arise from the very state of humanity.Alas, O lord, great is the grief, like poison or fire, that one suffersat the loss of sons, of wealth, of kinsmen, and relatives. That griefcauses the limbs to burn and our wisdom to be destroyed. Overwhelmed withthat grief, a person regards death to be preferable. This calamity thathas overtaken me through ill-luck is even like that. It will not, I see,end except with life itself. O best of regenerate ones, I shall,therefore, put an end to my life this very day. Having said these wordsunto his high-souled sire, that foremost of all persons conversant withBrahman, Dhritarashtra, overwhelmed with grief, became stupefied. Theking, O monarch reflecting on his woes, became speechless. Hearing thesewords of his, the puissant Vyasa thus spoke unto his son afflicted withgrief on account of the death of his children.

“Vyasa said, O mighty-armed Dhritarashtra, listen to what I say. Thou artpossessed of learning, thou hast great intelligence, and thou, O puissantone, art skilled in understanding duties. Nothing of that which should beknown is unknown to thee, O scorcher of foes! Without doubt, thou knowestthe instability of all things doomed to death. When the world of life isunstable when this world itself is not eternal, when life is sure to endin death, why then, O Bharata, dost thou grieve? Before thy very eyes, Oking, the concatenation of facts brought about by Time making thy son thecause, produced this hostility. This destruction of the Kurus, O king,was inevitable. Why then dost thou grieve for those heroes that haveattained to the highest end? O thou of mighty arms, the high-souledVidura knew everything. With all his might he had endeavoured, O king, tobring about peace. It is my opinion that the course marked out by Destinycannot be controlled by anyone, even if one struggles for eternity. Thecourse that was settled by the gods was heard directly by me. I willrecite it to thee, so that tranquillity of mind may be thine. Oncebefore, without any fatigue, I repaired very quickly to the court ofIndra. There I beheld all the denizens of heaven assembled together.There were, O sinless one, all the celestial rishis also, headed byNarada. There, O monarch, I saw also the Earth (in her embodied form).The latter had repaired to the gods for the accomplishment of aparticular mission. Approaching the gods, she said, “That which ye allshould do for me hath, ye blessed ones, been already promised by youwhile you were in Brahmas abode. Let that be accomplished soon.” Hearingthese words of hers, Vishnu, the adored of all the worlds, smilinglyaddressed her in the midst of the celestial conclave, saying, “The eldestof the hundred sons of Dhritarashtra, who is known by the name ofDuryodhana, will accomplish thy business. Through that king, thy purposewill be achieved. For his sake, many kings will assemble together on thefield of Kuru. Capable of smiting, they will cause one another to beslain through the instrumentality of hard weapons. It is evident, Ogoddess, that thy burthen will then be lightened in battle. Go quickly tothy own place and continue to bear the weight of creatures, O beauteousone!” From this thou wilt understand, O king, that thy son Duryodhana,born in Gandharis womb, was a portion of Kali, sprung for the object ofcausing a universal slaughter. He was vindictive, restless, wrathful, anddifficult of being gratified. Through the influence of Destiny hisbrothers also became like him. Shakuni became his maternal uncle andKarna his great friend. Many other kings were born on earth for aiding inthe work of destruction. As the king is, so do his subjects become. Ifthe king becomes righteous, even unrighteousness (in his dominions)assumes the shape of righteousness. Servants, without doubt, are affectedby the merits and defects of their masters. Those sons of thine, O king,having obtained a bad king, have all been destroyed. Conversant withtruth, Narada, knew all this. Thy sons, through their own faults, havebeen destroyed, O king! Do not grieve for them, O monarch! There is nocause for grief. The Pandavas have not, O Bharata, the least fault inwhat has happened. Thy sons were all of wicked souls. It is they thatcaused this destruction on earth. Blessed be thou; Narada had trulyinformed Yudhishthira of all this in his court on the occasion of therajasuya sacrifice, saying, “The Pandavas and the Kauravas, encounteringeach other, will meet with destruction. Do that, O son of Kunti, whichthou shouldst!” Upon these words of Narada, the Pandavas became filledwith grief. I have thus told thee that which is an eternal secret of thegods. This will destroy thy grief and restore to thee a love of thylife-breath, and cause thee to cherish affection for the Pandavas, forall that has happened has been due to what had been ordained by the gods.O thou of mighty arms, I had learnt all this sometime before. I alsospoke of it to king Yudhishthira the just on the occasion of his foremostof sacrifices, the rajasuya. When I secretly informed him of all this,Dharmas son endeavoured his best for preserving peace with the Kauravas.That, however, which is ordained by the gods proved too powerful (to befrustrated by him). The fiat, O king of the Destroyer, is incapable ofbeing baffled anyhow by mobile and immobile creatures. Thou art devotedto virtue and possessed of superior intelligence, O Bharata! Thou knowestalso that which is the way and that which is not the way of allcreatures. If king Yudhishthira learns that thou art burning with griefand losing thy senses frequently, he will cast off his very life-breath.He is always compassionate and possessed of wisdom. His kindness extendseven to all the inferior creatures. How is it possible, O king, that hewill not show compassion to thee, O monarch? At my command, and knowingthat what is ordained is inevitable, as also from kindness to thePandavas, continue to bear thy life, O Bharata! If thou livest thus, thyfame will spread in the world. Thou shalt then be able to acquire aknowledge of all duties and find many years for obtaining ascetic merit.This grief for the death of thy sons that has arisen in thy heart, like ablazing fire, should always be extinguished, O king, by the water ofwisdom!””

Vaishampayana continued, “Hearing these words of Vyasa of immeasurableenergy and reflecting upon them for a little while, Dhritarashtra said, Obest of regenerate ones, I am exceedingly afflicted by a heavy load ofgrief. My senses are repeatedly forsaking me and I am unable to bear upmy own self. Hearing, however, these words of thine about what had beenordained by the gods, I shall not think of casting off my life-breath andshall live and act without indulging in grief! Hearing these words ofDhritarashtra, O monarch, Satyavatis son, Vyasa, disappeared then andthere.”

Chapter 7
Chapter 9
Rate This Article: