Chapter 127

Mahabharata English - UDYOGA PARAVA

“Vaisampayana said, ‘Hearing in that assembly of the Kurus these wordsthat were disagreeable to him, Duryodhana replied unto the mighty-armedKesava of great fame, saying. ‘It behoveth thee, O Kesava, to speak afterreflecting on all circumstances. Indeed, uttering such harsh words, thou,without any reason, findest fault with me alone, addressed regardfully asthou always art by the sons of Pritha, O slayer of Madhu. But dost thoucensure me, having surveyed the strength and weakness (of both sides)?Indeed, thyself and Kshattri, the King, the Preceptor, and the Grandsire,all reproach me alone and not any other monarch. I, however, do not findthe least fault in myself. Yet all of you, including the (old) kinghimself, hate me. O repressor of foes, I do not, even after reflection,behold any grave fault in me, or even O Kesava, any fault however minute.In the game at dice, O slayer of Madhu, that was joyfully accepted bythem, the Pandavas were vanquished and their kingdom was won by Sakuni.What blame can be mine as regards that? On the other hand, O slayer ofMadhu, the wealth that was won from the Pandavas then, was ordered by me,to be returned unto them. It cannot, again, O foremost of victors, be anyfault of ours that the invincible Pandavas, were defeated once again atdice and had to go to the Woods. Imputing what fault to us, do theyregard us as their enemies? And, O Krishna, though (really) weak, why dothe Pandavas yet so cheerfully seek a quarrel with us, as if they werestrong? What have we done to them? For what injury (done to them) do thesons of Pandu, along with the Srinjayas, seek to slaughter the sons ofDhritarashtra? We shall not in consequence of any fierce deed, or(alarming) word (of theirs), bow down to them in fear, deprived of oursenses. We cannot bow down to Indra himself, let alone the sons of Pandu.I do not, O Krishna, see the man, observant of Kshatriya virtues, whocan, O slayer of foes, venture to conquer us in battle. Let alone thePandavas, O slayer of Madhu, the very gods are not competent to vanquishBhishma, Kripa, Drona and Karna, in battle. If, O Madhava, we are, in theobservance of the practices of our order, cut off with weapons in battle,when our end comes, even that will lead us to heaven. Even this, OJanardana, is our highest duty as Kshatriyas, viz., that we should layourselves down on the field of battle on a bed of arrows. If, withoutbowing to our enemies, ours be the bed of arrows in battle, that, OMadhava, will never grieve us. Who is there, born in a noble race andconforming to Kshatriya practices, that would from fear bow to an enemy,desirous only of saving his life? Those Kshatriyas that desire their owngood, accept regardfully this saying of Matanga, viz., that (as regards aKshatriya), one should always keep himself erect, and never bow down, forexertion alone is manliness; one should rather break at the knots thanbend. A person like me should only bow down to the Brahmanas for the sakeof piety, without regarding anybody else. (As regards persons other thanBrahmanas), one should, as long as one lives, act according to Matanga’ssaying. Even this is the duty of Kshatriyas; even this is ever myopinion. That share in the kingdom which was formerly given them by myfather shall never again, O Kesava, be obtainable by them as long as Ilive. As long, O Janardana, as king Dhritarashtra liveth, both ourselvesand they, sheathing our weapons, O Madhava, should live in dependence onhim. Given away formerly from ignorance or fear, when I was a child anddependent on others, the kingdom, O Janardana, incapable of being givenaway again, shall not, O delighter of Vrishni’s race, be obtainable bythe Pandavas. At present, O Kesava of mighty arms, as long as I live,even that much of our land which may be covered by the point of a sharpneedle shall not, O Madhava, be given by us unto the Pandavas.'”

Chapter 128
Chapter 126
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