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Chapter 3

Mahabharata English - VIRATA PARVA

Yudhishthira said, “Tender, possessed of a graceful presence, anddeserving of every luxury as thou art, what office wilt thou, O heroicNakula, discharge while living in the dominions of that king? Tell me allabout it!”

Nakula said, “Under the name of Granthika, I shall become the keeper ofthe horses of king Virata. I have a thorough knowledge (of this work) andam skilful in tending horses. Besides, the task is agreeable to me, and Ipossess great skill in training and treating horses; and horses are everdear to me as they are to thee, O king of the Kurus. At my hands evencolts and mares become docile; these never become vicious in bearing arider or drawing a car.[3] And those persons in the city of Virata thatmay enquire of me, I shall, O bull of the Bharata race, say,–Formerly Iwas employed by Yudhishthira in the charge of his horses. Thus disguised,O king, I shall spend my days delightfully in the city of Virata. No onewill be able to discover me as I will gratify the monarch thus![4]

Yudhishthira said, “How wilt thou, O Sahadeva, bear thyself before thatking? And what, O child, is that which thou wilt do in order to live indisguise.”

Sahadeva replied, “I will become a keeper of the kine of Virata’s king. Iam skilled in milking kine and taking their history as well as in tamingtheir fierceness. Passing under the name of Tantripal, I shall perform myduties deftly. Let thy heart’s fever be dispelled. Formerly I wasfrequently employed to look after thy kine, and, O Lord of earth, I havea particular knowledge of that work. And, O monarch, I am well-acquaintedwith the nature of kine, as also with their auspicious marks and othermatters relating to them. I can also discriminate bulls with auspiciousmarks, the scent of whose urine may make even the barren being forthchild. Even thus will I live, and I always take delight in work of thiskind. Indeed, no one will then be able to recognise me, and I willmoreover gratify the monarch,”

Yudhishthira said, “This is our beloved wife dearer to us than our lives.Verily, she deserveth to be cherished by us like a mother, and regardedlike an elder sister. Unacquainted as she is with any kind of womanlywork, what office will Krishna, the daughter of Drupada, perform?Delicate and young, she is a princess of great repute. Devoted to herlords, and eminently virtuous, also, how will she live? Since her birth,she hath enjoyed only garlands and perfume? and ornaments and costlyrobes.”

Draupadi replied, “There is a class of persons called Sairindhris,[5] whoenter the services of other. Other females, however (that arerespectable) do not do so. Of this class there are some. I shall givemyself out as a Sairindhri, skilled in dressing hair. And, O Bharata, onbeing questioned by the king, I shall say that I served as a waitingwoman of Draupadi in Yudhishthira’s household. I shall thus pass my daysin disguise. And I shall serve the famous Sudeshna, the wife of the king.Surely, obtaining me she will cherish me (duly). Do not grieve so, Oking.”

“Yudhishthira said, “O Krishna, thou speakest well. But O fair girl, thouwert born in a respectable family. Chaste as thou art, and always engagedin observing virtuous vows, thou knowest not what is sin. Do thou,therefore, conduct thyself in such a way that sinful men of evil heartsmay not be gladdened by gazing at thee.”

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