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Chapter 97

Mahabharata English - UDYOGA PARAVA

“Vaisampayana said, ‘Having listened to the words of Jamadagnya, theillustrious Rishi Kanwa also said these words unto Duryodhana in thatassembly of the Kurus.’

“Kanwa said, ‘Brahman, the Grandsire of the universe, is indestructibleand eternal. Those illustrious Rishis, Nara and Narayana, are of the samecharacter. Of all the sons of Aditi, Vishnu alone is eternal. He alone isunconquerable and indestructible, existing for ever, the Lord of all, andthe possessor of divine attributes. All others, such as the sun and themoon, earth and water, wind, fire and firmament, planets, and stars, areliable to destruction. All these, when the end of the universe cometh,take leave of the three worlds. They are destroyed and created again andagain. Others also, such as men and animals and birds, and creaturesbelonging to other orders of living existence,–indeed, all that move onthis world of men,–are endued with short lives. And as regards kings,all of them, having enjoyed great prosperity, reach, at last, the hour ofdestruction and are reborn in order to enjoy the fruits of good and evildeeds. It behoveth thee then to make peace with Yudhishthira. Let thePandavas and the Kauravas both rule this earth. O Suyodhana, one shouldnot think in this way, viz., I am strong!–for O bull among men, it isseen that there are persons stronger than those generally regardedstrong. O son of Kuru’s race, physical strength is scarcely regarded asstrength by those that are really strong. As regards the Pandavas, enduedas they all are with prowess equal to that of the celestials, they arealso regarded as strong. In this connection is cited an old story, as anexample, the story, viz., of Matali searching for a bridegroom upon whomto bestow his daughter. The king of the three worlds (Indra) had acharioteer, named Matali, whom he dearly loved. Unto him was born adaughter celebrated over the world for beauty. Endued with the celestialbeauty, that daughter of Matali was known by the name of Gunakesi. And,indeed, in both loveliness and symmetry of bodily figure, she farexcelled other members of her sex. Knowing that the time for giving herway had come, Matali with his wife became very anxious, thinking, Omonarch, of what he was to do next. And he thought within himself, ‘Alas,the birth of a daughter in the families of those that are well-behavedand high-born and possess reputation and humility of character, is alwaysattended with evil results. Daughters, when born in respectable families,always endanger the honour of three families, viz., their maternal andpaternal families and the family into which they are adopted by marriage.Glancing in my mind’s eye the worlds of gods and men, I have searchedboth, but no eligible bridegroom have I found.’

“Kanwa continued, ‘And it so happened that amongst the gods, the Daityasand Gandharvas, men and numerous Rishis, none was regarded by Matali asan eligible husband for his daughter. And having held a consultation thenin the night with his wife Sudharma, Matali set his heart upon making ajourney to the world of the Nagas. And he thought within himself,’Amongst both gods and men I have not found a husband fit, in respect ofbeauty, for my Gunakesi. Surely, one may be found amongst the Nagas.’ Andsaying this, he took his wife’s leave and sniffing the head of hisdaughter, Matali entered the nether regions.'”

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