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Chapter 83

Mahabharata English - UDYOGA PARAVA

“Arjuna said, ‘Thou art now, O Kesava, the best friend of all the Kurus.Related with both the parties, thou art the dear friend of both. Itbehoveth thee to bring about peace between the Pandavas and the sons ofDhritarashtra. Thou, O Kesava, art competent and, therefore, it behoveththee to bring about a reconciliation. O lotus-eyed one, proceeding hencefor peace, O slayer of foes, say unto our ever-wrathful brotherSuyodhana, what, indeed, should be said, ‘If the foolish Duryodhana dothnot accept thy auspicious and beneficial counsels fraught with virtue andprofit, he will surely then be the victim of his fate.’

“The holy one said, ‘Yes, I will go to king Dhritarashtra, desirous ofaccomplishing what is consistent with righteousness, what may bebeneficial to us, and what also is for the good of the Kurus.’

“Vaisampayana continued, ‘The night having passed away, a bright sunarose in the east. The hour called Maitra set in, and the rays of the sunwere still mild. The month was (Kaumuda Kartika) under the constellationRevati. It was the season of dew, Autumn having departed. The earth wascovered with abundant crops all around. It was at such a time thatJanardana, the foremost of mighty persons, in enjoyment of excellenthealth, having heard the auspicious, sacred-sounding and sweet words ofgratified Brahmanas, like Vasava himself hearing the adorations of the(celestial) Rishis,–and having also gone through the customary acts andrites of the morning, purified himself by a bath, and decked his personwith unguents and ornaments, worshipped both the Sun and Fire. And havingtouched the tail of a bull and reverently bowed to the Brahmanas, walkedround the sacred fire, and cast his eyes on the (usual) auspiciousarticles placed in view, Janardana recollected Yudhishthira’s word andaddressed Sini’s grandson Satyaki, seated near, saying, ‘Let my car bemade ready and let my conch and discus along with my mace, and quiversand darts and all kinds of weapons, offensive and defensive, be placed onit, for Duryodhana and Karna and Suvala’s son are all of wicked souls,and foes, however contemptible, should never be disregarded by even apowerful person. Understanding the wishes of Kesava, the wielder of thediscus and the mace, his attendants immediately addressed themselves toyoke his car. And that car resembled in effulgence the fire that showsitself at the time of the universal dissolution, and itself in speed. Andit was provided with two wheels that resembled the sun and the moon inlustre. And it bore emblazonments of moons, both crescent and full, andof fishes, animals, and birds and it was adorned with garlands of diverseflowers and with pearls and gems of various kinds all around. And enduedwith the splendour of the rising sun, it was large and handsome. Andvariegated with gems and gold, it was furnished with an excellentflag-staff bearing beautiful pennons. And well-supplied with everynecessary article, and incapable of being resisted by the foe, it wascovered with tiger-skins, and capable of robbing the fame of every foe,it enhanced the joy of the Yadavas. And they yoked unto it thoseexcellent steeds named Saivya and Sugriva and Meghapushpa and Valahaka,after these had been bathed and attired in beautiful harness. Andenhancing the dignity of Krishna still further, Garuda, the lord of thefeathery creation, came and perched on the flag-staff of that carproducing a terrible rattle. And Saurin then mounted on that car, high asthe summit of the Meru, and producing a rattle, deep and loud as thesound of the kettle-drum or the clouds and which resembled the celestialcar coursing at the will of the rider. And taking Satyaki also upon it,that best of male beings set out, filling the earth and the welkin withthe rattle of his chariot-wheels. And the sky became cloudless, andauspicious winds began to blow around, and the atmosphere freed from thedust became pure. Indeed, as Vasudeva set out, auspicious animals andbirds, whirling by the right side, began to follow him, and cranes andpeacocks and swans all followed the slayer of Madhu, uttering cries ofgood omens. The very fire, fed with Homa libations in accompaniment withMantras, freed from smoke blazed up cheerfully, sending forth its flamestowards the right. And Vasishtha and Vamadeva, and Bhuridyumna and Gaya,and Kratha and Sukra and Kusika and Bhrigu, and other Brahmarshis andcelestial Rishis united together, all stood on the right side of Krishna,that delighter of the Yadavas, that younger brother of Vasava. And thusworshipped by those and other illustrious Rishis and holy men, Krishnaset out for the residence of the Kurus. And while Krishna was proceeding,Yudhishthira, the son of Kunti, followed him, as also Bhima and Arjunaand those other Pandavas, viz., the twin sons of Madri. And the valiantChekitana and Dhrishtaketu, the ruler of the Chedis, and Drupada and theking of Kasi and that mighty car-warrior Sikhandin, and Dhrishtadyumna,and Virata with his sons, and the princes of Kekaya also,–all theseKshatriyas followed that bull of the Kshatriya race to honour him. Andthe illustrious king Yudhishthira the just, having followed Govinda tosome distance, addressed him in these words in the presence of all thosekings. And the son of Kunti embraced that foremost of all persons, whonever, from desire, or anger, or fear, or purpose of gain committed theleast wrong, whose mind was ever steady, who was a stranger tocovetousness, who was conversant with morality and endued with greatintelligence and wisdom, who knew the hearts of all creatures and was thelord of all, who was the God of gods, who was eternal, who was possessedof every virtue, and who bore the auspicious mark on his breast. Andembracing him the king began to indicate what he was to do.’

“Yudhishthira said, ‘That lady who hath brought us from our infancy; whois ever engaged in facts and ascetic penances and propitiatory rites andceremonies; who is devoted to the worship of the gods and guests; who isalways engaged in waiting upon her superiors who is fond of her sons,bearing for them an affection that knows no bounds; who, O Janardana, isdearly loved by us; who, O grinder of foes, repeatedly saved us from thesnares of Suyodhana, like a boat saving a ship-wrecked crew from thefrightful terrors of the sea; and who, O Madhava, however undeserving ofwoe herself, hath on our account endured countless sufferings,–should beasked about her welfare-Salute and embrace, and, oh, comfort her over andover, overwhelmed with grief as she is on account of her sons by talkingof the Pandavas. Ever since her marriage she hath been the victim,however undeserving, of sorrow and griefs due to the conduct of herfather-in-law, and suffering hath been her position. Shall I, O Krishna,ever see the time when, O chastiser of foes, my afflictions being over, Ishall be able to make my sorrowing mother happy? On the eve of our exile,from affection for her children, she ran after us in anguish, cryingbitterly. But leaving her behind, we went into the woods. Sorrow doth notnecessarily kill. It is possible, therefore, that she is alive, beinghospitably entertained by the Anartas, though afflicted with sorrow onaccount of her sons. O glorious Krishna, salute her for me, the Kuru kingDhritarashtra also, and all those monarchs who are senior to us in age,and Bhishma, and Drona, and Kripa, and king Vahlika, and Drona’s son andSomadatta, and in fact, every one of the Bharata race, and also Viduraendued with great wisdom, that counsellor of the Kurus, of profoundintellect and intimate acquaintance with morality,–should all, O slayerof Madhu, be embraced by thee!’ Having in the presence of the kings, saidthese words unto Kesava, Yudhishthira, with Krishna’s permission, cameback having at first walked round him. Then Arjuna, proceeding a fewsteps, further said unto his friend, that bull among men, that slayer ofhostile heroes, that invincible warrior of Dasarha’s race, ‘It is knownto all the kings, O illustrious Govinda, that at our consultation it wassettled that we should ask back the kingdom. If without insulting us, ifhonouring thee, they honestly give us what we demand, then, O mightyarmed one, they would please me greatly and would themselves escape aterrible danger. If, however, Dhritarashtra’s son, who always adoptsimproper means, acts otherwise, then I shall surely, O Janardana,annihilate the Kshatriya race.’

“Vaisampayana continued, ‘When Arjuna said these words, Vrikodara wasfilled with delight. And that son of Pandu continually quivered withrage; and while still quivering with rage and the delight that filled hisheart upon hearing Dhananjaya’s words, he set forth a terrible shout. Andhearing that shout of his, all the bowmen trembled in fear and steeds andelephants were seen to pass urine and excreta. And having addressedKesava then and informed him of his resolution. Arjuna with Janardana’spermission, came back, having first embraced him. And after all the kingshad desisted following him, Janardana set out with a cheerful heart onhis car drawn by Saivya, Sugriva, and others. And those steeds ofVasudeva, urged by Daruka, coursed onwards, devouring the sky anddrinking the road. And on his way Kesava of mighty arms met with someRishis blazing with Brahmic lustre, standing on both sides of the road,And soon alighting from his car, Janardana saluted them reverently. Andworshipping them duly, he enquired of them, saying, ‘Is there peace inall the world? Is virtue being duly practised? And the other three ordersobedient to the Brahmanas? And having duly worshipped them, the slayer ofMadhu again said, ‘Where have ye been crowned with success? Whither wouldye go, and for what object? What also shall I do for yourselves? What hasbrought your illustrious selves down on the earth?’ Thus addressed,Jamadagni’s son, the friend of Brahma–that lord of both gods andAsuras,–approached Govinda the slayer of Madhu, embraced him, and said,’The celestial Rishis of pious deeds, and Brahmanas of extensiveacquaintance with the scriptures, and royal sages, O Dasarha, andvenerable ascetic,–these witnesses, O illustrious one, of the formerfeats of gods and Asuras,–are desirous of beholding all the Kshatriyasof the earth assembled from every side as also the counsellors sitting inthe assembly, the kings, and thyself the embodiment of truth, OJanardana. O Kesava, we will go thither for beholding that grand sight.We are also anxious, O Madhava, to listen to those words fraught withvirtue and profit, which will be spoken by thee, O chastiser of foes,unto the Kurus in the presence of all the kings. Indeed, Bhishma, andDrona, and others, as also the illustrious Vidura and thyself, O tigeramong the Yadavas,–Ye all will be assembled together in conclave! Wedesire, O Madhava, to hear the excellent, truthful, and beneficial wordsthat thou wilt utter and they also, O Govinda. Thou art now informed ofour purpose, O thou of mighty arms. We will meet thee again. Go thithersafely, O hero. We hope to see thee in the midst of the conclave, seatedon an excellent seat mustering all thy energy and might.'”

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