“Kunti said, ‘In this connection, O chastiser of foes, is cited an oldstory of the conversation between Vidula and her son. It behoveth thee tosay unto Yudhishthira anything that can be gathered from this or anythingmore beneficial than that.
‘There was a high-born dame of great foresight, named Vidula. She wasfamous, slightly wrathful, of crooked disposition, and devoted toKshatriya virtues. Well-educated, she was known to all the kings of theearth. Of great learning, she had listened to the speeches andinstructions of diverse mien. And the princess Vidula, one day, rebukedher own son, who, after his defeat by the king of the Sindhus, layprostrate with heart depressed by despair. And she said, ‘Thou art not myson, O enhancer of the joys of foes. Begotten thou hast not been bymyself and thy father! Whence hast thou come? Without wrath as thou art,thou canst not be counted as a man. Thy features betray thee to be aeunuch. Sinkest thou in despair as long as thou livest? If thou artdesirous of thy own welfare, bear thou the burthen (of thy affairs on thyshoulders), Do not disgrace thy soul. Do not suffer it to be gratifiedwith a little. Set thy heart on thy welfare, and be not afraid. Abandonthy fears. Rise, O coward. Do not lie down thus, after thy defeat,delighting all thy foes and grieving the friends, and reft of all senseof honour. Little streams are filled up with only a quantity of water.The palms of a mouse are filled with only a small quantity. A coward issoon gratified, with acquisitions that are small. Rather perish inplucking the fangs of a snake than die miserable like a dog. Put forththy prowess even at the risk of thy life. Like a hawk that fearlesslyrangeth the sky, do thou also wander fearlessly or put forth thy prowess,or silently watch thy foes for an opportunity. Why dost thou lie downlike a carcass or like one smitten by thunder? Rise, O coward, do notslumber after having been vanquished by the foe. Do not disappear fromthe sight of all so miserably. Make thyself known by thy deeds. Neveroccupy the intermediate, the low, or the lowest station. Blaze up (like awell-fed fire). Like a brand of Tinduka wood, blaze up even for a moment,but never smoulder from desire, like a flameless fire of paddy chaff. Itis better to blaze up for a moment than smoke for ever and ever. Let noson be born in a royal race, who is either exceedingly fierce orexceedingly mild. Repairing to the field of battle and achieving everygreat feat that is possible for man to achieve, a brave man is freed fromthe debt he oweth to the duties of the Kshatriya order. Such a personnever disgraceth his own self. Whether he gaineth his object or not, hethat is possessed of sense never indulgeth in grief. On the other hand,such a person accomplisheth what should be next done, without caring foreven his life. Therefore, O son, display thy prowess, or obtain that endwhich is inevitable. Why, Indeed, dost thou live, disregarding the dutiesof thy order? All thy religious rites, O eunuch, and all thy achievementsare gone. The every root of all thy enjoyments is cut off. What for thendost thou live? If fall and sink one must, he should seize the foe by thehips (and thus fall with the foe). Even if one’s roots are cut off, heshould not yet give way to despair. Horse of high mettle put forth alltheir prowess for dragging or bearing heavy weights. Remembering theirbehaviour, muster, all thy strength and sense of honour. Know also inwhat thy manliness consists. Exert thyself in raising that race whichhath sunk, in consequence of thee. He that hath not achieved a great featforming the subject of men’s conversation, only increaseth the number ofpopulation. He is neither man nor woman. He whose fame is not founded inrespect of charity, asceticism, truth, learning and acquisition ofwealth, is only his mother’s excreta. On the other hand, he thatsurpasseth others in learning, asceticism, wealth, prowess, and deeds, is(truly) a man. It behoveth thee not to adopt the idle, wretched,infamous, and miserable profession of mendicancy that is worthy only of acoward. Friends never derive any happiness on obtaining that weak personfor a friend, at whose sight foes are delighted, who is despised by men,who is without seats and robes, who is gratified with small acquisitions,who is destitute, and who hath no courage, and is low. Alas, exiled fromour kingdom, driven from home, deprived of all means of enjoyment andpleasure, and destitute, of resources, we shall have to perish from wantof the very means of life! Misbehaving in the midst of those that aregood, and the destroyer of thy race and family, by bringing thee forth, OSanjaya, I have brought forth Kali himself in the shape of a son. Oh, letno woman bring forth such a son (as thou) that art without wrath, withoutexertion, without energy, and that art the joy of foes. Do not smoulder.Blaze thou up, effectively displaying thy prowess. Slay thy foes. For buta moment, for ever so small a space of time, blaze thou up on the headsof thy enemies. He is a man who cherisheth wrath and forgiveth not. He,on the other hand, who is forgiving and without wrath, is neither a mannor woman. Contentment and softness of heart and these two, viz., want ofexertion and fear, are destructive of prosperity. He that is withoutexertion never winneth what is great. Therefore, O son, free thyself, bythy own exertions, from these faults that lead to defeat and downfall.Steel thy heart and seek to recover thy own. A man is called Purushabecause he is competent to trouble his foe (param). He, therefore, wholiveth like a woman is misnamed Purusha (man). A brave king of mightystrength, and who moveth like a lion, may go the way of all creatures.The subjects, however, that reside in his dominions do not yet becomeunhappy. That king, who, disregarding his own happiness and pleasures,seeketh the prosperity of his kingdom, succeedeth soon in gladdening hiscounsellors and friends.’
“Hearing these words, the son said, ‘If thou dost not behold me, of whatuse would the whole earth be to thee, of what use thy ornaments, of whatuse all the means of pleasure and even life itself?’ The mother said,’Let those regions be obtained by our foes which belong to those that arelow. Let those again that are friends go to those regions which areobtainable by persons whose souls are held in respect. Do not adopt thecourse of life that is followed by those wretched persons, who, destituteof strength, and without servants and attendants (to do their bidding)live upon the food supplied by others. Like the creatures of the earththat depend on the clouds, or the gods depending on Indra, let theBrahmanas and thy friends all depend on thee for their sustenance. Hislife, O Sanjaya, is not vain on whom all creatures depend for theirsustenance, like birds repairing to a tree abounding with ripe fruits.The life of that brave man is, indeed, praiseworthy, through whoseprowess friends derive happiness, like the gods deriving happinessthrough the prowess of Sakra. That man who liveth in greatness dependingon the prowess of his own arms, succeedeth in winning fame in this worldand blessed state in the next!'”