11. STRI PARVA (27)

Om! Having bowed down unto Narayana and Nara, the foremost of malebeings, and unto the goddess Sarasvati, must the word Jaya be uttered.

Vaishampayana said, “Hearing these words of Vidura, that bull of Bharatasrace (Dhritarashtra) ordered his car to be yoked.

Vaishampayana said, “Dhritarashtra had not proceeded for more than twomiles when he met with those three great car-warriors, Sharadvatas sonKripa, Dronas son (Ashvatthama), and Kritavarma.

Vaishampayana said, “After all the warriors had been slaughtered, kingYudhishthira the just heard that his uncle Dhritarashtra had set out fromthe city called after the elephant.

Vaishampayana said, “Certain maid-servants then came to the king forwashing him. After he had been duly washed, the slayer of Madhu againaddressed him, saying, Thou hast, O king, read the Vedas and diversescriptures.

Vaishampayana said, “Commanded by Dhritarashtra, those bulls of Kurusrace, the Pandava brothers, accompanied by Keshava, then proceeded to seeGandhari.

Vaishampayana said, “Hearing these words of Gandhari, Bhimasena, lookinglike one in fright, said these words for soothing her, Be the actrighteous or unrighteous, it was done by me through fear and for theobject of protecting my own self. It behoveth thee therefore, to forgiveme now.

Vaishampayana said, “Having said these words, Gandhari, though staying onthat spot which was distant from the field of battle, beheld, with herspiritual eye, the slaughter of the Kurus.

Vaishampayana said, “Beholding Duryodhana, Gandhari, deprived of hersenses by grief, suddenly fell down on the earth like an uprootedplantain tree.

“Gandhari said, Behold, O Madhava, my century of sons, incapable offatigue (from exertion in battle), have all been slain by Bhimasena withhis mace in battle!

“Gandhari said, There, O Madhava, my son Vikarna, applauded by the wise,lieth on the bare ground, slain by Bhima and mangled horribly!

Vaishampayana said, “Listen, O Janamejaya, to the nectar-like words thatVidura said unto the son of Vicitravirya and by which he gladdened thatbull among men!

“Gandhari said, He whose might and courage were regarded, O Keshava, as aone and half times superior to those of his sire and thee,

“Gandhari said, Then the mighty Karna, that great bowman, lieth on theground! In battle he was like a blazing fire!

“Gandhari said, Slain by Bhimasena, behold, the lord of Avanti liesthere! Vultures and jackals and crows are feeding upon that hero!

“Gandhari said, There lies Shalya, the maternal uncle himself of Nakula,slain in battle, O sire, by the pious and virtuous Yudhishthira!

“Gandhari said, Behold the son of Somadatta, who was slain by Yuyudhana,pecked at and torn by a large number of birds! Burning with grief at thedeath of his son, Somadatta,

“Gandhari said, Behold that irresistible ruler of the Kambojas, thatbull-necked hero, lying amid the dust, O Madhava, though deserving ofbeing stretched at his ease on Kamboja blankets.

“The holy one said, Arise, arise, O Gandhari, do not set thy heart ongrief! Through thy fault, this vast carnage has taken place!

Vaishampayana said, “Arrived at the auspicious Ganga full of sacredwater, containing many lakes, adorned with high banks and broad shores,and having a vast bed, they cast off their ornaments, upper garments, andbelts and girdles.

“Dhritarashtra said, O thou of great wisdom, my grief has been dispelledby thy excellent words! I desire, however, to again hear thee speak. How,indeed, do those that are wise free themselves from mental grief born ofthe advent of evils and the bereavement of objects that are dear?

“Dhritarashtra said, O foremost speakers, how may the wilderness of thisworld be known? I desire to hear this. Asked by me, tell me this.

“Dhritarashtra said, Tell me in detail everything about the ways of thatintelligence by which this wilderness of duties may be safely covered.

“Dhritarashtra said, Alas, great was the distress of that person and verypainful his mode of life! Tell me, O first of speakers, whence was hisattachment to life and whence his happiness?

“Dhritarashtra said, Excellent is this parable that thou hast recited!Indeed, thou art acquainted with truth! Having listened to thy nectarlikespeech, I desire to hear thee more.

Vaishampayana said, “Even after hearing the words of Vidura, the chief ofthe Kurus, afflicted with grief on account of the death of his sons, felldown senseless on the Earth.


Janamejaya said, “After the holy Vyasa had departed, what, O regeneratesage, did king Dhritarashtra, do? It behoveth thee to tell me this. Whatalso did the Kuru king, the high-souled son of Dharma, do? And how didthose three, Kripa and others, do? I have heard of the feats ofAshvatthama and the mutual denouncement of curses. Tell me what happenednext and what Sanjaya next said (unto the old king).”