Chapter 72

Mahabharata English - UDYOGA PARAVA

“Janamejaya said, ‘When good Sanjaya (leaving the Pandava camp) went backto the Kurus, what did my grandsires, the sons of Pandu, then do? Oforemost of Brahmanas, I desire to hear all this. Tell me this,therefore.’

“Vaisampayana said, ‘After Sanjaya had gone, Yudhishthira the just,addressed Krishna of the Dasarha race–that chief of all the Sattwatas,saying, ‘O thou that art devoted to friends, the time hath come forfriends to show their friendship. I do not see any other persons besidesthee that can save us in this season of distress. Relying on thee, OMadhava, we have fearlessly asked back our share from Duryodhana who isfilled with immeasurable pride and from his counsellors. O chastiser offoes, thou protectest the Vrishnis in all their calamities, do thou nowprotect the Pandavas also from a great danger, for they deserve thyprotection.’

“Divine Krishna said, ‘Here am I O mighty-armed one. Tell me what thoudesirest to say, for I will, O Bharata, accomplish whatever thou wilttell me.’

“Yudhishthira said, ‘Thou hast heard what the intention is ofDhritarashtra and his own. All that Sanjaya, O Krishna, said unto me hathcertainly the assent of Dhritarashtra. Sanjaya is Dhritarashtra’s soul,and spoke out his mind. An envoy speaketh according to his instructions,for if he speaketh otherwise he deserveth to be slain. Without lookingequally on all that are his, moved by avarice and a sinful heart,Dhritarashtra seeketh to make peace with us without giving us back ourkingdom. Indeed, at Dhritarashtra’s command we spent twelve years in thewoods and one additional year in concealment, well-believing, O lord,that Dhritarashtra would abide firmly by that pledge of ours. That we didnot deviate from our promise is well-known to the Brahmanas who were withus. The covetous king Dhritarashtra, is now unwilling to observeKshatriya virtues. Owing to affection for his son, he is listening to thecounsels of wicked men. Abiding by counsels of Suyodhana, the king, OJanardana, actuated by avarice and seeking his own good, behavethuntruthfully towards us. What can be more sorrowful, O Janardana, thanthis, that I am unable to maintain my mother and my friends? Having theKasis, the Panchalas, the Chedis, and the Matsyas, for my allies and withthee, O slayer of Madhu, for my protector, I prayed for only fivevillages, etc., Avishthala, Vrikasthala, Makandi, Varanavata, with anyother, O Govinda, as the fifth;–Grant us, we said, five villages ortowns, O sire, where we five may dwell in union, for we do not desire thedestruction of the Bharatas.–The wicked-minded son of Dhritarashtra,however, regarding the lordship of the world to be; in him, doth notagree to even that. What can be more sorrowful than this? When a man bornand brought up in a respectable family, covereth the possessions ofothers, that avarice of his destroyeth his intelligence; and intelligencebeing destroyed, shame is lost; and loss of shame leadeth to diminutionof virtue; and loss of virtue bringeth on loss of prosperity, Destructionof prosperity, in its turn, ruineth a person, for poverty is a person’sdeath. Kinsmen and friends and Brahmanas shun a poor man as birds avoid,O Krishna, a tree that beareth neither Rower nor fruits. Even this, Osire, is death to me that kinsmen shun me, as if I were a fallen one likethe breath of life quitting ‘a dead body. Samvara said that no conditionof life could be more distressful than that in which one is always rackedby the anxiety caused by the thought–I have no meat for today, what willbecome of me tomorrow?–It is said that wealth is the highest virtue, andeverything depends on wealth. They that have wealth are said to live,whereas those that are without wealth are more dead than alive. They thatby violence rob a man of his wealth not only kill the robbed but destroyalso his virtue, profit and pleasure. Some men when overtaken by povertychoose death; others remove from cities to hamlets others retire into thewood; while others, again, become religious mendicants to destroy theirlives. Some for the sake of wealth are driven to madness; others forwealth, live under Subjection to their foes; while many others, again,for the sake of wealth, betake themselves to the servitude of others. Aman’s poverty is even more distressful to him than death, for wealth isthe sole cause or virtue and pleasure. The natural death of a person isnot much regarded, for that is the eternal path of all creatures. Indeed,none among created beings can transgress it. O Krishna, a man who is poorfrom birth is not so much distressed as one, who, having once possessedgreat prosperity and having been brought up in luxury, is deprived ofthat prosperity. Having through his own fault fallen into distress, sucha person blameth the very gods with Indra and his own self. Indeed,knowledge of even the entire scriptures faileth to mitigate his pains.Sometimes he getteth angry with his servants, and sometimes he cherishethmalice towards even his well-wishers. Subject to constant anger, heloseth his very senses, and his senses being clouded, be practiseth evildeeds. Through sinfulness such a person contributeth to a fusion ofcastes. A fusion of castes leadeth to hell and is the foremost of allsinful acts. If he is not awakened in time, he goeth, certainly, OKrishna, to hell., and, indeed, wisdom is the only thing that can awakenhim, for if he obtaineth back the eye of wisdom, he is saved. When wisdomis regained, such a man turneth his attention to scriptures; andattention to scriptures aideth his virtue. Then shame becometh his bestornament. He that hath shame hath an aversion against sin, and hisprosperity also increaseth; and he that hath prosperity truly becometh aman. He that is ever devoted to virtue, and hath his mind under control,and always acteth after deliberation, never inclineth towardsunrighteousness and never engageth in any act that is sinful. He that iswithout shame and sense is neither man nor woman. He is incapable ofearning religious merit, and is like a Sudra. He that hath shamegratifieth the gods, the Pitris, and even his own self, and by this heobtaineth emancipation, which indeed, is the highest aim of all righteouspersons.’

‘Thou hast, O slayer of Madhu, seen all this in me with thy own eyes. Itis not unknown to thee, how, deprived of kingdom, we have lived theseyears. We cannot lawfully abandon that prosperity (which had been ours).Our first-efforts will be such that, O Madhava, both ourselves and theKauravas, united in peace, will quietly enjoy our prosperity. Otherwise,we shall, after slaying the worst of the Kauravas, regain thoseprovinces, although success through bloodshed by destruction of evendespicable foes that are related to us so dearly is the worst of allfierce deeds, O Krishna. We have numerous kinsmen, and numerous also arethe revered seniors that have taken this or that other side. Theslaughter of these would be highly sinful. What good, therefore, canthere be in battle? Alas, such sinful practices are the duties of theKshatriya order! Ourselves have taken our births in that wretched order!Whether those practices be sinful or virtuous, any other than theprofession of arms would be censurable for us. A Sudra serveth; a Vaisyaliveth by trade; the Brahmana have choosen the wooden bowl (for begging),while we are to live by slaughter! A Kshatriya, slayeth a Kshatriya;fishes live on fish; a dog preyeth upon a dog! Behold, O thou of theDasarha race, how each of these followeth his peculiar virtue. O Krishna,Kali is ever present in battle-fields; lives are lost all around. It istrue, force regulated by policy is invoked; yet success and defeat areindependent of the will of the combatants. The lives also of creaturesare independent of their own wishes, and neither weal nor woe can beone’s when the time is not come for it, O best of the Yadu’s race.Sometimes one man killeth many, sometimes many and united together killone. A coward may slay a hero, and one unknown to fame may stay a hero ofcelebrity. Both parties cannot win success, nor both be defeated. Theloss, however, on both sides may be equal. If one flieth away, loss ofboth life and fame is his. Under all circumstances, however, war is asin. Who in striking another is not himself struck? As regard the person,however, who is struck, victory and defeat, O Hrishikesa, are the same.It is true that defeat is not much removed from death, but his loss also,O Krishna, is not less who winneth victory. He himself may not be killed,but his adversaries will kill at least some one that is dear to him, orsome others and thus the man, O sire, deprived of strength and not seeingbefore him his sons and brothers, becometh indifferent, O Krishna, tolife itself. Those that are quiet, modest, virtuous, and compassionate,are generally slain in battle, while they that are wicked escape. Evenafter slaying one’s foes, repentance, O Janardana, possesseth the heart.He that surviveth among the foes giveth trouble, for the survivor,collecting a force, seeketh to destroy the surviving victor. In hopes ofterminating the dispute, one often seeketh to exterminate the foe. Thusvictory createth animosity, and he that is defeated liveth in sorrow. Hethat is peaceful, sleepeth in happiness, giving up all thoughts ofvictory and defeat, whereas he that hath provoked hostility alwayssleepeth in misery, with, indeed, an anxious heart, as if sleeping with asnake in the same room. He that exterminates seldom winneth fame. On theother hand, such a person reapeth eternal infamy in the estimation ofall. Hostilities, waged over so long, cease not; for if there is even onealive in the enemy’s family, narrators are never wanted to remind him ofthe past. Enmity, O Kesava, is never neutralised by enmity; on the otherhand, it is fomented by enmity, like fire fed by clarified butter.Therefore, there can be no peace without the annihilation of one party,for flaws may always be detected of which advantage may be taken by oneside or other. They that are engaged in watching for flaws have thisvice. Confidence in one’s own prowess troubleth the core of one’s heartlike an incurable disease. Without either renouncing that at once, ordeath, there can be no peace. It is true, O slayer of Madhu, thatexterminating the foe by the very roots, may lead to good result in theshape of great prosperity, yet such an act is most cruel. The peace thatmay be brought about by our renouncing the kingdom is hardly differentfrom death, which is implied by the loss of kingdom, in consequence ofthe design of the enemy and the utter ruin of ourselves. We do not wishto give u the kingdom, nor do we wish to see the extinction of our race.Under these circumstances, therefore, the peace that is obtained througheve humiliation is the best. When these that strive for peace by allmeans without of course wishing for war, find conciliation fail, warbecomes in evitable, and then is the time for the display of prowess.Indeed, when conciliation fails, frightful results follow. The learnedhave noticed all this in a canine contest. First, there comes the waggingof tails, then the bark, then the bark in reply, then thecircumambulation, then the showing of teeth, then repeated roars, andthen at last the fight. In such a contest, O Krishna., the dog that isstronger, vanquishing his antagonist, taketh the latter’s meat. The sameis exactly the case with men. There is no difference whatever. They thatare powerful should be indifferent to avoid disputes with the weak whoalways bow down. The father, the king, and he that is venerable in year,always deserve regard. Dhritarashtra, therefore, O Janardana, is worthyof our respect and worship. But, O Madhava, Dhritarashtra’s affection forhis son is great. Obedient to his son, he will reject our submission.What dost thou, O Krishna, think best at this juncture? How may we, OMadhava, preserve both our interest and virtue? Whom also, besides thee,O slayer of Madhu, and foremost of men, shall we consult in thisdifficult affair? What other friend have we, O Krishna, who like thee isso dear to us, who seeketh our welfare so, who is so conversant with thecourse of all actions, and who is so well-acquainted with truth?’

“Vaisampayana continued, ‘Thus addressed, Janardana replied untoYudhishthira the just, saying, ‘I will go to the court of the Kurus forthe sake of both of You. If without sacrificing your interests I canobtain peace, O king, an act of great religious merit will be mine,productive of great fruits. I shall then also save from the meshes ofdeath the Kurus and the Srinjayas inflamed with wrath, the Pandavas andthe Dhritarashtras, and, in fact, this entire earth.’

“Yudhishthira said, It is not my wish, O Krishna, that thou wilt go tothe Kurus, for Suyodhana will never act according to thy words, even ifthou advisest him well. All the Kshatriyas of the world, obedient toDuryodhana’s command, are assembled there. I do not like that thou, OKrishna, shouldst proceed into their midst, If any mischief be done tothee, O Madhava, Jett alone happiness; nothing, not even divinity, noreven the sovereignty over all the gods will delight us.’

“The holy one said, ‘I know, O monarch, the sinfulness of Dhritarashtra’sson, but by going there we will escape the blame of all the kings of theearth. Like other animals before the lion, all the kings of the earthunited together are not competent to stand still before me in battle whenI am enraged. If, after all, they do me any injury, then I will consumeall the Kurus. Even this is my intention. My going thither, O Partha,will not be fruitless, for if our object be not fulfilled, we shall atleast escape all blame.’

“Yudhishthira said, ‘Do, O Krishna, as it pleaseth thee. Blessed be thou,go then to the Kurus. I hope to behold thee return successful andprosperous. Going unto the Kurus, make thou, O Lord, such a peace thatall the sons of Bharata may live together with cheerful hearts andcontentedly. Thou art our brother and friend, dear to me as much as toVibhatsu. Such hath been our intimacy with thee that we apprehend noneglect of our interest from thee. Go thou, there for our good. Thouknowest us, thou knowest our antagonists, thou knowest what our purposesare, and thou knowest also what to say. Thou wilt, O Krishna, say untoSuyodhana such words as are for our benefit. Whether peace is to beestablished by (apparent) sin or by any other means, O Kesava, speak suchwords as may prove beneficial to us.’

Chapter 73
Chapter 71
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