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Chapter 95

Mahabharata English - UDYOGA PARAVA

“Vaisampayana said, ‘And after all the kings had been seated and perfectsilence had ensued, Krishna possessing fine teeth and having a voice deepas that of the drum, began to speak. And Madhava although he addressedDhritarashtra, spoke in a voice deep as the roll of clouds in the rainyseason, making the whole assembly hear. And he said, ‘In order that, OBharata, peace may be established between the Kurus and the Pandavaswithout a slaughter of the heroes, I have come hither. Besides this, Oking, I have no other beneficial words to utter, O chastiser of foes,everything that should be learnt in this world is already known to thee.This thy race, O king, owing to its learning and behaviour, and owingalso to its being adorned with every accomplishment, is mostdistinguished among all royal dynasties. Joy in the happiness of others,grief at sight of other people’s misery, desire to alleviate distress,abstention from injury, sincerity, forgiveness, and truth,–these, OBharata, prevail amongst the Kurus. Then thy race, therefore, O king, isso noble, it would be a pity if anything improper were done by any onebelonging to it, and greater pity still if it were done by thee. O chiefof the Kurus, thou art the first of those that should restrain the Kurusif they behave deceitfully towards strangers or those numbering withthemselves. Know, O thou of Kuru’s race, that those wicked sons of thine,headed by Duryodhana, abandoning both virtue and profit, disregardingmorality, and deprived of their senses by avarice, are now acting mostunrighteously towards, O bull of men, their foremost of kinsmen. Thatterrible danger (which threatens all) hath its origin in the conduct ofthe Kurus. If thou becomest indifferent to it, it will then produce auniversal slaughter. If, O Bharata, thou art willing, thou mayest be ableto allay that danger even yet, for, O bull of Bharata’s race, peace, Ithink, is not difficult of acquisition. The establishment of peace, Oking, depends on thee and myself, O monarch. Set right thy sons, O thouof Kuru’s race, and I will set the Pandavas right. Whatever be thycommand, O king, it behoveth thy sons with their followers to obey it. Ifagain they live in obedience to thee, that would be the very best theycould do. If thou strivest for peace by restraining thy sons, it will beto thy profit, O king, as also to the benefit of the Pandavas. Havingreflected carefully, act thou thyself, O king. Let those sons of Bharata(the Pandavas), be, O ruler of men, thy allies. Supported by thePandavas, O king, seek thou both religion and profit. By every exertionin thy power, thou canst not have, O king, such allies as they who aresuch. Protected by the illustrious sons of Pandu, Indra himself at thehead of the celestials will not be able to vanquish thee. How would it bepossible then for mere earthly kings to withstand thy prowess? If withBhishma, and Drona, and Kripa, and Karna, and Vivingsati, andAswatthaman, Vikarna, and Somadatta, and Vahlika and the chief of theSindhus, and the ruler of the Kalingas, and Sudakshina, the king of theKamvojas, there were Yudhishthira, and Bhimasena and Savyasachin, and thetwins, and if Satyaki of mighty energy, and Yuyutsu, that mighty carwarrior, are stationed, who is there, O bull of Bharata’s race, of suchmisdirected intelligence that would fight these? If, O slayer of foes,thou hast both the Kurus and the Pandavas at thy back, the sovereignty ofthe whole world and invincibility before all foes will be thine. All therulers of the earth, O monarch, that are either equal to thee orsuperior, will then seek alliance with thee. Protected on all sides bysons, grandsons, fathers, brothers, and friends, thou wilt then be ableto live in exceeding happiness. Keeping these before thee and treatingthem with kindness as in days of yore, thou, O monarch, wilt enjoy thesovereignty of the whole earth. With these as thy supporters and with thesons of Pandu also, thou wilt, O Bharata, be able to conquer all thyfoes. Even this is thy best advantage. If, O chastiser of foes, thou artunited with thy sons and kinsmen and counsellors, thou wilt’ enjoysovereignty of the whole earth won for thee by them. In battle, O greatking, nothing but wholesale destruction is visible. Indeed, in thedestruction of both the parties, what merit dost thou see? If thePandavas are slaughtered in battle, or if thy own mighty sons fall, tellme, O bull of Bharata’s race, what happiness wilt thou enjoy? All of themare brave and skilled in weapons. All of them are desirous of battle, thePandavas as also thy sons. Oh, save them from the terrible danger thatthreatens them. After the battle thou wilt not behold all the Kurus orall the Pandavas, Car-warriors slain by car-warriors, thou wilt beholdthe heroes of both parties reduced in numbers and strength. All therulers of the earth, O best of kings, have been assembled together.Inflamed with wrath, they will certainly exterminate the population ofthe earth. Save, O king, the world. Let not the population of the earthbe exterminated. O son of Kuru’s race, if thou regainest thy naturaldisposition, the earth may continue to be peopled as now. Save, O king,these monarchs, who are all of pure descent, endued with modesty andliberality and piety, and connected with on another in bonds ofrelationship or alliance, from the terrible danger that threatens them.Abandoning wrath and enmity, O chastiser of foes, let these kings,embracing one another in peace, eating and drinking with one another,dressed in excellent robes and decked with garlands, and doing courtesiesto one another, return to their respective homes. Let the affection thouhadst for the Pandavas be revived in thy bosom, and let it, O bull ofBharata’s race, lead to the establishment of peace. Deprived of theirfather while they were infants, they were brought up by thee. Cherishthem now as becomes thee, O bull of Bharata’s race, as if they were thyown sons. It is thy duty to protect them. And especially it is so whenthey are distressed. O bull of Bharata’s race, let not thy virtue andprofit be both lost. Saluting and propitiating thee, the Pandavas havesaid unto thee, ‘At thy command we have, with our followers, sufferedgreat misery. For these twelve years have we lived in the woods, and forthe thirteenth year have we lived incognito in an uninhabited part of theworld. We broke not our pledge, firmly believing that our father alsowould abide by his. That we violated not our word is well-known to theBrahman as who were with us. And as we, O bull of the Bharata race, haveabided by our promise, also do thou abide by thine. Long have we sufferedthe greatest misery, but let us now have our share of the kingdom. Fullyconversant as thou art with virtue and profit, it behoveth thee to rescueus. Knowing that our obedience is due to thee, we have quietly undergonemuch misery. Behave thou then unto us like a father or brother. Apreceptor should behave as a preceptor towards his disciples, and asdisciples we are willing to behave as such towards thee, our preceptor.Act thou, therefore, towards us as a preceptor should. If we go wrong, itis the duty of our father to set us right. Therefore, set us on the wayand tread thou also the excellent path of righteousness.’ Those sons ofthine, O bull of the Bharata race, have also said unto these kingsassembled in the court these words, ‘If the members of an assembly areconversant with morality, nothing improper should be permitted by them tohappen. Where, in the presence of the virtuous members of an assembly,righteousness is sought to be overpowered by unrighteousness, and truthby the untruth, it is those members themselves that are vanquished andslain. When righteousness, pierced by unrighteousness, seeketh theprotection of an assembly, if the arrow is not extracted, it is themembers themselves that are pierced by that arrow. Indeed, in that case,righteousness slayeth the members of that assembly, like a river eatingaway the roots of the trees on its bank.’ Judge now, O bull of theBharata race. The Pandavas, with their eyes turned towards righteousnessand reflecting on everything, are maintaining a calm attitude, and whatthey have said is consistent with truth and virtue and justice. O rulerof men, what canst thou say unto them, but that thou art willing to givethem back their kingdom? Let these rulers of earth that are sitting heresay (what the answer should be)! If it appears to thee that what I havesaid after reflecting well on virtue to be true, save all theseKshatriyas, O bull of the Bharata race, from the meshes of death. Effectpeace, O chief of Bharata’s race, and yield not to anger. Giving unto thePandavas their just share of the paternal kingdom, enjoy thou then, withthy sons, O chastiser of foes, happiness and luxury, thy wishes being allcrowned with success. Know that Yudhishthira always treadeth the paththat is trod by the righteous. Thou knowest also, O king, what thebehaviour of Yudhishthira is towards thee and thy sons. Although thouhadst sought to burn him to death and hadst exiled him from humanhabitation, yet he came back and once more repose confidence in thee.Again, didst thou with thy sons, banish him to Indraprastha? While there,he brought all the kings of the earth to subjection and yet looked up tothy face, O king, without seeking to disregard thee. Although he behavedin this way, yet Suvala’s son, desirous of robbing him of his dominionsand wealth and possessions, applied the very efficacious means of dice.Reduced to that condition and even beholding Krishna dragged into theassembly, Yudhishthira of immeasurable soul, did not yet swerve from theduties of a Kshatriya. As regards myself, I desire, O Bharata, thy goodas also theirs. For the sake of virtue, of profit, of happiness, makepeace, O king, and do not allow the Earth’s population to be slaughtered,regarding evil as good and good as evil. Restrain thy sons, O monarch,who have from covetousness proceeded too far. As regards the sons ofPritha, they are equally ready to wait upon thee in dutiful service or tofight. That which, O chastiser of foes, seems to thee to be for thy good,do thou adopt!’

“Vaisampayana continued, ‘All the rulers of earth there present highlyapplauded these words of Kesava within their hearts, but none of themventured to say anything in the presence of Duryodhana.’

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