“Vaisampayana said, ‘Janardana, the chastiser of foes, after his meetingwith Vidura, went then in the afternoon to his paternal aunt, Pritha. Andbeholding Krishna whose countenance beamed with the effulgence of theradiant sun arrived at her abode, she encircled his neck with her armsand began to pour forth her lamentations remembering her sons. And at thesight, after a long time, of Govinda of Vrishni’s race, the companion ofthose mighty children of hers, the tears of Pritha flowed fast. And afterKrishna, that foremost of warriors, had taken his seat having firstreceived the rites of hospitality, Pritha, with a woe-begone face andvoice choked with tears addressed him, saying. They, who, from theirearliest years have always waited with reverence on their superiors;they, who, in friendship are attached to one another; they, who, depriveddeceitfully of their kingdom had gone to seclusion, however worthy ofliving in the midst of friends and attendants,–they, who have subjugatedboth wrath and joy, are devoted to Brahman’s, and truthful inspeech,–those children of mine, who, abandoning kingdom and enjoymentsand leaving my miserable self behind, had gone to the woods, plucking thevery roots of my heart,–those illustrious sons of Pandu, O Kesava, whohave suffered woe however undeserving of it,–how, alas, did they live inthe deep forest abounding with lions and tigers and elephants? Deprivedin their infancy of their father, they were all tenderly brought up byme. How, also, did they live in the mighty forest, without seeing boththeir parents? From their infancy, O Kesava, the Pandavas were arousedfrom their beds by the music of conchs and drums and flutes. That theywho while at home, used to sleep in high palatial chambers on softblankets and skins of the Runku deer and were waked up in the morning bythe grunt of elephants, the neighing of steeds, the clatter of car-wheelsand the music of conchs and cymbals in accompaniment with the notes offlutes and lyres,–who, adored at early dawn with sacred sounding hymnsuttered by Brahmanas, worshipped those amongst them that deserved suchworship with robes and jewels and ornaments, and who were blessed withthe auspicious benedictions of those illustrious members of theregenerate order, as a return for the homage the latter received,–thatthey, O Janardana, could sleep in the deep woods resounding with theshrill and dissonant cries of beasts of prey can hardly be believed,undeserving as they were of so much woe. How could they, O slayer ofMadhu, who were roused from their beds by music of cymbals and drums andconchs and flutes, with the honeyed strains of songstresses and theeulogies chanted by bards and professional reciters,–alas, how couldthey be waked in the deep woods by the yells of wild beasts? He that isendued with modesty, is firm in truth, with senses under control andcompassions for all creatures,–he that hath vanquished both lust andmalice and always treadeth the path of the righteous, he that ably borethe heavy burthen borne by Amvarisha and Mandhatri Yayati and Nahusha andBharata and Dilip and Sivi the son of Usinara and other royal sages ofold, he that is endued with an excellent character and disposition, hethat is conversant with virtue, and whose prowess is incapable of beingbaffled, he that is fit to become the monarch of the three worlds inconsequence of his possession of every accomplishment, he that is theforemost of all the Kurus lawfully and in respect of learning anddisposition, who is handsome and mighty-armed and hath no enemy,–Oh, howis that Yudhishthira of virtuous soul, and of complexion like that ofpure gold? He that hath the strength of ten thousand elephants and thespeed of the wind, he that is mighty and ever wrathful amongst the sonsof Pandu, he that always doth good to his brothers and is, therefore,dear to them all, he, O slayer of Madhu, that slew Kichaka with all hisrelatives, he that is the slayer of the Krodhavasas, of Hidimva, and ofVaka, he that in prowess is equal unto Sakra, and in might unto theWind-god, he that is terrible, and in wrath is equal unto Madhavahimself, he that is the foremost of all smiters,–that wrathful son ofPandu and chastiser of foes, who, restraining his rage, might,impatience, and controlling his soul, is obedient to the commands of hiselder brother,–speak to me, O Janardana, tell me how is that smiter ofimmeasurable valour, that Bhimasena, who in aspect also justifies hisname–that Vrikodara possessing arms like maces, that mighty second sonof Pandu? O Krishna, that Arjuna of two arms who always regardeth himselfas superior to his namesake of old with thousand arms, and who at onestretch shooteth five hundred arrows, that son of Pandu who in the use ofweapons is equal unto king Kartavirya, in energy unto Aditya, inrestraint of senses unto a great sage, in forgiveness unto the Earth, andin prowess unto Indra himself,–he, by whose prowess, O slayer of Madhu,the Kurus amongst all the kings of the earth have obtained this extensiveempire, blazing with effulgence,–he, whose strength of arms is alwaysadored by the Pandavas,–that son of Pandu, who is the foremost of allcar-warriors and whose prowess is incapable of being frustrated,–he,from an encounter with whom in battle no foe ever escapeth withlife,–he, O Achyuta, who is the conqueror of all, but who is incapableof being conquered by any,–he, who is the refuge of the Pandavas likeVasava of the celestials,–how, O Kesava, is that Dhananjaya now, thatbrother and friend of thine? He that is compassionate to all creatures,is endued with modesty and acquainted with mighty weapons, is soft anddelicate and virtuous,–he that is dear to me,–that mighty bowmanSahadeva, that hero and ornament of assemblies,–he, O Krishna, who isyouthful in years, is devoted to the service of his brothers, and isconversant with both virtue and profit, whose brothers, O slayer ofMadhu, always applaud the disposition of that high-souled andwell-behaved son of mine,–tell me, O thou of the Vrishni race, of thatheroic Sahadeva, that foremost of warriors, that son of Madri, who alwayswaiteth submissively on his elder brothers and so reverentially on me. Hethat is delicate and youthful in years, he that is brave and handsome inperson,–that son of Pandu who is dear unto his brothers as also untoall, and who, indeed, is their very life though walking with a separatebody,–he that is conversant with various modes of warfare,–he that isendued with great strength and is a mighty bowman,–tell me, O Krishna,whether that dear child of mine, Nakula, who was brought up in luxury, isnow well in body and mind? O thou of mighty arms, shall I ever beholdagain Nakula of mine, that mighty car-warrior, that delicate youthbrought up in every luxury and undeserving of woe? Behold, O hero, I amalive today, even I, who could know peace by losing sight of Nakula forthe short space of time taken up by a wink of the eye. More than all mysons, O Janardana, is the daughter of Drupada dear to me. High-born andpossessed of great beauty, she is endued with every accomplishment.Truthful in speech, she chose the company of her lords, giving up that ofher sons, Indeed, leaving her dear children behind, she followeth thesons of Pandu. Waited upon at one time by a large train of servants, andadored by her husbands with every object of enjoyment, the possessor ofevery auspicious mark and accomplishment, how, O Achyuta, is thatDraupadi now? Having five heroic husbands who are all smiters of foes andall mighty bowmen, each equal unto Agni in energy, alas, woe hath yetbeen the lot of Drupada’s daughter. I have not for fourteen long years, Ochastiser of foes, beheld the princess of Panchala, that daughter-in-lawof mine’ who herself hath been a prey to constant anxiety on account ofher children, whom she hath not seen for that period. When Drupada’sdaughter endued with such a disposition, doth not enjoy uninterruptedhappiness, it seemeth, O Govinda, that the happiness one enjoyeth isnever the fruit of one’s acts. When I remember the forcible dragging ofDraupadi to the assembly, then neither Vibhatsu nor Yudhishthira, norBhima, nor Nakula, nor Sahadeva, becometh an object of affection to me.Never before had a heavier grief been mine than what pierced my heartwhen that wretch Dussasana, moved by wrath and covetousness, draggedDraupadi, then in her flow, and therefore clad in a single raiment, intothe presence of her father-in-law in the assembly and exposed her to thegaze of all the Kurus. It is known that amongst those that were present,king Vahlika, Kripa, Somadatta, were pierced with grief at this sight,but of all present in that assembly, it was Vidura whom I worship.Neither by learning, nor by wealth doth one become worthy of homage. Itis by disposition alone that one becomes respectable, O Krishna, enduedwith great intelligence and profound wisdom, the character of theillustrious Vidura, like unto an ornament (that he wears) adorns thewhole world.’
“Vaisampayana continued, ‘Filled with delight at the advent of Govinda,and afflicted with sorrow (on account of her sons) Pritha gave expressionto all her diverse griefs. And she said, ‘Can gambling and the slaughterof deer, which, O chastiser of foes, occupied all wicked kings of old, bea pleasant occupation for the Pandavas? The thought consumeth, O Kesava,that being dragged into the presence of all the Kurus in their assemblyby Dhritarashtra’s sons, insults worse than death were heaped on Krishna,O chastiser of foes, the banishment of my sons from their capital andtheir wanderings in the wilderness,–these and various other griefs, OJanardana, have been mine. Nothing could be more painful to me or to mysons themselves, O Madhava, than that they should have had to pass aperiod of concealment, shut up in a stranger’s house. Full fourteen yearshave passed since the day when Duryodhana first exited my sons. If miseryis destructive of fruits of sins, and happiness is dependent on thefruits of religious merit, then it seems that happiness may still be oursafter so much misery. I never made any distinction betweenDhritarashtra’s sons and mine (so far as maternal affection isconcerned). By that truth, O Krishna, I shall surely behold thee alongwith the Pandavas safely come out of the present strife with their foesslain, and the kingdom recovered by them. The Pandavas themselves haveobserved their vow with such truthfulness sticking to Dharma that theyare incapable of being defeated by their enemies. In the matter of mypresent sorrows, however, I blame neither myself nor Suyodhana, but myfather alone. Like a wealthy man giving away a sum of money in gift, myfather gave me away to Kuntibhoja. While a child playing with a ball inmy hands, thy grandfather, O Kesava, gave me away to his friend, theillustrious Kuntibhoja. Abandoned, O chastiser of foes, by my own father,and my father-in law, and afflicted with insufferable woes, what use, OMadhava, is there in my being alive? On the night of Savyasachin’s birth,in the lying-in-room, an invisible voice told me, ‘This son of thine willconquer the whole world, and his fame will reach the very heavens.Slaying the Kurus in a great battle and recovering the kingdom, thy sonDhanajaya will, with his brothers, perform three grand sacrifices.’ I donot doubt the truth of that announcement. I bow unto Dharma that upholdsthe creation. If Dharma be not a myth, then, O Krishna, thou wilt surelyachieve all that the invisible voice said. Neither the loss of myhusband, O Madhava, nor loss of wealth, nor our hostility with the Kurusever inflicted such rending pains on me as that separation from mychildren. What peace can my heart know when I do not see before me thatwielder of Gandiva, viz., Dhananjaya, that foremost of all bearers ofarms? I have not, for fourteen years, O Govinda, seen Yudhishthira, andDhananjaya, and Vrikodara. Men perform the obsequies of those that aremissed for a long time, taking them for dead. Practically, O Janardana,my children are all dead to me and I am dead to them.
‘Say unto the virtuous king Yudhishthira, O Madhava, that-Thy virtue, Oson, is daily decreasing. Act thou, therefore, in such a way that thyreligious merit may not diminish. Fie to them that live, O Janardana, bydependence on others. Even death is better than a livelihood gained bymeanness. Thou must also say unto Dhananjaya and the ever-ready Vrikodarathat–The time for that event is come in view of which a Kshatriya womanbringeth forth a son. If you allow the time slip without your achievinganything, then, though at present ye are respected by all the world, yewill be only doing that which would be regarded as contemptible. And ifcontempt touches you, I will abandon you for ever. When the time cometh,even life, which is so dear, should be laid down, O foremost of men, thoumust also say unto Madri’s sons that are always devoted to Kshatriyacustoms.–More than life itself, strive ye to win objects of enjoyment,procurable by prowess, since objects won by prowess alone can please theheart of a person desirous of living according to Kshatriya customs.Repairing thither, O mighty-armed one, say unto that foremost of allbearers of arms, Arjuna the heroic son of Pandu,–Tread thou the paththat may be pointed out to thee by Draupadi. It is known to thee, OKesava, that when inflamed with rage, Bhima and Arjuna, each like untothe universal Destroyer himself, can slay the very gods. That was a greatinsult offered unto them, viz., that their wife Krishna, having beendragged into the assembly was addressed in such humiliating terms byDussasana and Karna. Duryodhana himself hath insulted Bhima of mightyenergy in the very presence of the Kuru chiefs. I am sure he will reapthe fruit of that behaviour, for Vrikodara, provoked by a foe, knoweth nopeace. Indeed, once provoked, Bhima forgets it not for a long while, evenuntil that grinder of foes exterminates the enemy and his allies. Theloss of kingdom did not grieve me; the defeat at dice did not grieve me.That the illustrious and beautiful princess of Panchala was dragged intothe assembly while clad in a single raiment and made to hear bitter wordsgrieved me most. What, O Krishna, could be a greater grief to me? Alas,ever devoted to Kshatriya customs and endued with great beauty, theprincess, while ill, underwent that cruel treatment, and thoughpossessing powerful protectors was then as helpless as if she had none. Oslayer of Madhu, having thee and that foremost of all mighty persons,Rama, and that mighty car-warrior Pradyumna for me and my children’sprotectors and having, O foremost of men, my sons the invincible Bhimaand the unretreating Vijaya both alive, that I had still such grief tobear is certainly strange!’
“Vaisampayana continued, ‘Thus addressed by her, Sauri the friend ofPartha, then comforted his paternal aunt, Pritha, afflicted with grief onaccount of her sons. And Vasudeva said, ‘What woman is there, O aunt, inthe world who is like thee? The daughter of king Surasena, thou art, bymarriage, admitted into Ajamida’s race. High-born and highly married,thou art like a lotus transplanted from one mighty lake into another.Endued with every prosperity and great good fortune, thou wert adored bythy husband. The wife of hero, thou hast again given birth to heroicsons. Possessed of every virtue, and endued with great wisdom, itbehoveth thee to bear with patience, both happiness and misery.Overcoming sleep and langour, and wrath and joy, and hunger and thirst,and cold and heat, thy children are always in the enjoyment of thathappiness, which, as heroes, should by theirs. Endued with great exertionand great might, thy sons, without affecting the comforts derivable fromthe senses such as satisfy only the low and the mean, always pursue thathappiness which as heroes they should. Nor are they satisfied like littlemen having mean desires. They that are wise enjoy or suffer the same ofwhatever enjoyable or sufferable, Indeed, ordinary persons, affectingcomforts that satisfy the low and the mean, desire an equable state ofdullness, without excitement of any kind. They, however, that aresuperior, desire either the acutest of human suffering or the highest ofall enjoyments that is given to man. The wise always delight in extremes.They find no pleasure betwixt; they regard the extreme to be happiness,while that which lies between is regarded by them as misery. The Pandavaswith Krishna saluteth thee through me. Representing themselves to bewell, they have enquired after thy welfare. Thou wilt soon behold thembecome the lords of the whole world, with their foe slain, and themselvesinvested with prosperity.’
‘Thus consoled by Krishna, Kunti, afflicted with grief on account of hersons, but soon dispelling the darkness caused by her temporary loss ofunderstanding, replied unto Janardana, saying, ‘Whatever, O mighty-armedone, thou, O slayer of Madhu, regardest as proper to be done, let that bedone without sacrificing righteousness, O chastiser of foes, and withoutthe least guile. I know, O Krishna, what the power of thy truth and ofthy lineage is. I know also what judgment and what prowess thou bringestto bear upon the accomplishment of whatever concerns thy friends. In ourrace, thou art Virtue’s self, thou art Truth, and thou art the embodimentof ascetic austerities. Thou art the great Brahma, and everything restson thee. What, therefore, thou hast said must be true.’
“Vaisampayana continued, ‘Bidding her farewell and respectfully walkinground her, the mighty-armed Govinda then departed for Duryodhana’smansion.'”