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Chapter 7

Mahabharata English - VIRATA PARVA

Vaisampayana said, “Then tying up in his cloth dice made of gold and setwith lapis lazuli, and holding them below his arm-pit, kingYudhishthira,–that illustrious lord of men–that high-souled perpetuatorof the Kuru race, regarded by kings, irrepressible in might, and likeunto a snake of virulent poison,–that bull among men, endued withstrength and beauty and prowess, and possessed of greatness, andresembling in form a celestial though now like unto the sun enveloped indense clouds, or fire covered with ashes, first made his appearance whenthe famous king Virata was seated in his court. And beholding with hisfollowers that son of Pandu in his court, looking like the moon hid inclouds and possessed of a face beautiful as the full moon, king Virataaddressed his counsellors and the twice-born ones and the charioteers andthe Vaisyas and others, saying, “Enquire ye who it is, so like a kingthat looketh on my court for the first time. He cannot be a Brahmana.Methinks he is a man of men, and a lord of earth. He hath neither slaves,nor cars, nor elephants with him, yet he shineth like the very Indra. Themarks on his person indicate him to be one whose coronal locks haveundergone the sacred investiture. Even this is my belief. He approachethme without any hesitation, even as an elephant in rut approacheth anassemblage of lotuses!’

“And as the king was indulging in these thoughts, that bull among men,Yudhishthira, came before Virata and addressed him, saying, ‘O greatking, know me for a Brahmana who, having lost his all hath come to theefor the means of subsistence. I desire, O sinless one, to live herebeside thee acting under thy commands,[11] O lord. The king then,well-pleased, replied unto him saying, ‘Thou art welcome. Do thou thenaccept the appointment thou seekest!’ And having appointed the lion amongkings in the post he had prayed for, king Virata addressed him with aglad heart, saying, ‘O child, I ask thee from affection, from thedominions of what king dost thou come hither? Tell me also truly what isthy name and family, and what thou hast a knowledge of.'”

Yudhishthira said, “My name is Kanka, and I am a Brahmana belonging tothe family known by the name of Vaiyaghra. I am skilled in casting dice,and formerly I was a friend of Yudhishthira.”

Virata replied, “I will grant thee whatever boon thou mayst desire. Dothou rule the Matsyas.–I shall remain in submission to thee. Evencunning gamblers are liked by me. Thou, on the other hand, art like agod, and deservest a kingdom.”

Yudhishthira said, “My first prayer, O lord of earth, is that I may notbe involved in any dispute (on account of dice) with low people. Further,a person defeated by me (at dice) shall not be permitted to retain thewealth (won by me). Let this boon be granted to me through thy grace.”

Virata replied, “I shall certainly slay him who may happen to displeasethee, and should be one of the twice-born ones, I shall banish him frommy dominions. Let the assembled subjects listen! Kanka is as much lord ofthis realm as I myself, Thou (Kanka) shalt be my friend and shalt ridethe same vehicles as I. And there shall also be at thy disposal apparelin plenty, and various kinds of viands and drinks. And thou shalt lookinto my affairs, both internal and external. And for thee all my doorsshall be open. When men out of employ or of strained circumstances willapply to thee, do thou at all hours bring their words unto me, and I willsurely give them whatever they desire. No fear shall be thine as long asthou residest with me.”

Vaisampayana said, “Having thus obtained an interview with Virata’s king,and received from him boons, that heroic bull among men, began to livehappily, highly regarded by all. Nor could any one discover him as helived there.”

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