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Chapter 8

Mahabharata English - UDYOGA PARAVA

“Vaisampayana said, ‘O king, having learnt the news from the messengers,Salya, accompanied by a large body of troops and by his sons, all of whomwere mighty in battle, was coming to the Pandavas. His encampment coveredan area of one and a half yojana, so large was the force owned by thatbest of men. He was the master, O king, of an Akshauhini and had greatprowess and valour. And there were in his army heroes bearing armour ofvarious colours, with diverse kinds of banners and bows and ornaments andcars and animals, all wearing excellent garlands, and various robes andornaments. And hundreds and thousands of foremost of Kshatriyas were theleaders of his troops, dressed and decorated in the manner of theirnative land. And he proceeded by slow marches, giving rest to his troops,towards the place where the Pandava was. And the creatures of the earthfelt oppressed and the earth trembled under the tread of his troops. Andking Duryodhana, hearing that magnanimous and mighty hero was on his way,hastened towards him and paid him honours, O best of the Bharata race andcaused finely decorated places of entertainment to be constructed atdifferent spots for his reception, on beautiful sites, and whither manyartists were directed to entertain the guests. And those pavilionscontained garlands and meat and the choicest viands and drinks, and wellsof various forms, capable of refreshing the heart, and tanks of variousforms, and edibles, and roomy apartments. And arriving at thosepavilions, and waited upon like a very god by the servants of Duryodhanalocated at different spots, Salya reached another house of entertainmentresplendent as a retreat of the celestials. And there, greeted withchoice creature-comforts fit for beings superior to man, he deemedhimself superior even to the lord himself of the gods and thought meanlyof Indra as compared with himself. And that foremost of Kshatriyas,well-pleased, asked the servants, saying, ‘Where are those men ofYudhishthira, who have prepared these places of refreshment? Let thosemen who made these be brought to me. I deem them worthy of being rewardedby me. I must reward them, let it so please the son of Kunti!’ Theservants, surprised, submitted the whole matter to Duryodhana. And whenSalya was exceedingly pleased and ready to grant even his life,Duryodhana, who had remained concealed, came forward and showed himselfto his maternal uncle. And the kind of the Madras saw him and understoodthat it was Duryodhana who had taken all the trouble to receive him. AndSalya embraced Duryodhana and said, ‘Accept something that you maydesire.’

“Duryodhana thereupon said, ‘O thou auspicious one, let thy word be true,grant me a boon. I ask thee to be the leader of all my army.’

“Vaisampayana continued, ‘And hearing this, Salya said, ‘Be it so! Whatelse is to be done?’ And the son of Gandhari repeated again and again,’It is done.’ And Salya said, ‘O Duryodhana, O best of men, go to thy owncity. I shall proceed to pay a visit to Yudhishthira, the subduer offoes. O king, I shall speedily come back, O ruler of men. That best ofmen, Pandu’s son Yudhishthira, must, by all means, be visited by me.’ Andbearing this Duryodhana said, ‘O king, O ruler of the earth, having seenthe Pandava, come speedily back. I depend entirely upon thee, O king ofkings. Remember the boon that thou hast granted me.’ And Salya answered,’Good betide thee! I shall come speedily back. Repair to thy own city, Oprotector of men.’ And then those two kings Salya and Duryodhana embracedeach other. And having thus greeted Salya, Duryodhana came back to hisown city. And Salya went to inform the sons of Kunti of that proceedingof his. And having reached Upaplavya, and entered the encampment, Salyasaw there all the sons of Panda. And the mighty-armed Salya having metthe sons of Panda, accepted as usual water for washing his feet, and thecustomary gifts of honour including a cow. And the king of the Madras,that slayer of foes, first asked them how they were, and then with greatdelight embraced Yudhishthira, and Bhima, and Arjuna, and the sons of hissister the two twin-brothers. And when all had sat down, Salya spoke toYudhishthira, the son of Kunti, saying, ‘O tiger among kings, O thoudelighter of the race of Kuru, is it all well with thee? O best ofvictors, how fortunately hast thou spent the term of thy residence in thewilderness, O king, O lord of monarchs, it was an exceedingly hard taskthat thou hast performed by dwelling in the wilderness together with thybrothers and this noble lady here. And awfully difficult task again wasthat sojourn of thine,–the period of concealment,–which task also thouhast performed, O descendant of Bharata; for one pulled down from athrone it is nothing but hardship that awaits him. O king, where is thereany happiness for him! O afflicter of thy foes, in compensation for allthis vast misery wrought by Dhritarashtra’s son, thou wilt attain toproportional happiness after having killed thy foes, O great king, O lordof men, the ways of the world are known to thee. Therefore, O my son,thou art never guided by avarice in any of thy dealings. O descendant ofBharata, do thou treat on the foot-prints of ancient saintly kings. Myson, Yudhishthira, be steady in the path of liberality, andself-abnegation, and truth. And, O royal Yudhishthira, mercy and selfcontrol, and truth and universal sympathy, and everything wonderful inthis world, are to be found in thee. Thou art mild, munificent,religious, and liberal, and thou regardest virtue as the highest good. Oking, many are the rules of virtue that prevail amongst men, and allthose are known to thee. O my son, O afflicter of foes, thou knowest infact everything relating to this world. O king, O best of Bharata’s race,how lucky it is that thou hast come out of this difficulty of thine. Howlucky, O king, O foremost of monarchs, O lord, it is that I see thee, sovirtuous a soul, a treasure-house of righteousness, freed with thyfollowers from this.’

“Vaisampayana continued, ‘Then, O descendant of Bharata, the king spokeof his meeting with Duryodhana and gave a detailed account regarding thatpromise of his and that boon granted by himself. And Yudhishthira said, Ovaliant king, it has been well-done by thee that being pleased at heartthou hast plighted thy truth to Duryodhana. But good betide thee, O rulerof the earth, I ask thee to do one thing only. O king, O best of men,thou wilt have to do it solely for my sake, though it may not be properto be done. O valiant one, hear what I submit to thee. O great king, thouart equal to Krishna on the field of battle. When, O best of kings, thesingle combat between Karna and Arjuna will take place, I have no doubtthou wilt have to drive Karna’s car. On that occasion, if thou artinclined to do good to me, thou must protect Arjuna. O king, thou mustlikewise so act that the Suta’s son Karna may be dispirited and thevictory may be ours. Improper it no doubt is; but, O my uncle, for allthat thou must do it. Salya said, ‘Good betide thee. Listen, O son ofPanda. Thou tellest me to so act that the vile son of the Suta may bedispirited in fight. To be sure, I shall be his charioteer’ on the field,for he always considers me equal to Krishna. O tiger like descendant ofKuru, I shall certainly speak to him, when desirous of fighting on thefield of battle, words contradictory and fraught with harm to him, sothat bereft of pride and valour, he may be easily slain by hisantagonist. This I tell thee truly. Asked by thee to do it, this I amdetermined to do, O my son. Whatever else I may be able to bring about, Ishall do for thy good. Whatever troubles were suffered by thee togetherwith Draupadi on the occasion of the game at dice, the rude inhuman wordsuttered by the Suta’s son, the misery inflicted by the Asura Jata and byKichaka, O illustrious one, all the miseries experienced by Draupadi,like those formerly experienced by Damayanti,–will all, O hero, end injoy. Thou shouldst not be aggrieved at this; for Destiny is all powerfulin this world; and, O Yudhishthira, high-minded persons have to enduremiseries of various kinds, nay, even the gods themselves, O king, havesuffered misfortunes. O king, O descendant of Bharata, it is narratedthat the high-minded Indra, the chief of the celestials, had to enduretogether with his wife very great misery, indeed.’

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