The Mahabharata Home
"Yudhishthira said,--"Intelligent as thou art, thou hast said what none else is capable of saying. There is none else on earth who is settler of all doubts. Behold, there are kings in every province employed in benefiting their respective selves. But no one amongst them hath been able to achieve the imperial dignity. Indeed, the title emperor is difficult of acquisition. He that knoweth the valour and strength of others never applaudeth himself.
[paragraph continues] He, indeed, is really worthy of applause (worship) who, engaged in encounters with his enemies, beareth himself commendably. O thou supporter of the dignity of the Vrishni race, man's desires and propensities, like the wide earth itself adorned with many jewels, are varied and extensive. As experience can seldom be gained but by travelling in regions remote from one's home, so salvation can never be attained except by acting according to principles that are very high, compared with the ordinary level of our desire and propensities. I regard peace of mind as the highest object here, for from that quality may proceed my prosperity. In my judgment, if I undertake to celebrate this sacrifice, I shall never win the highest reward. O Janardana, endued with energy and intelligence, these that have been born in our race think that some one amongst them will at one time become the foremost amongst all Kshatriyas. But, O exalted one, we also were all frightened by the fear of Jarasandha and, O sinless one, by the wickedness of that monarch. O thou invincible in battle, the might of thy arm is my refuge. When, therefore, thou taken fright at Jarasandha's might, how should I regard myself strong in comparison with him? Madhava, O thou of the Vrishni race, I am repeatedly depressed by the thought whether Jarasandha is capable or not of being slain by thee, by Rama, by Bhimasena, or by Arjuna. But what shall I say, O Keshava? Thou art my highest authority on everything.'
"On hearing these words, Bhima well-skilled in speech said,--'That king who is without exertion, or who being weak and without resources entereth into hostility with one that is strong, perisheth like an ant-hill. It may be generally seen, however, that even a king that is weak may vanquish an enemy that is strong and obtain the fruition of all his wishes, by wakefulness and by the application of policy. In Krishna is policy, in myself strength, in Arjuna triumphs. So like the three (sacrificial) fires that accomplish a sacrifice, we shall accomplish the death of the king of Magadha."
"Krishna then said,--'One that is immature in understanding seeketh the fruition of his desire without an eye to what may happen to him in future. It is seen that no one forgiveth for that reason a foe that is of immature understanding and inclined to serve his own interests. It hath been heard by us that in the krita age, having brought every one under their subjection, Yauvanaswin by the abolition of all taxes, Bhagiratha by his kind treatment to his subjects, Kartavirya by the energy of his asceticism, the lord Bharata by his strength and valour, and Maruta by his prosperity, all these five became emperors. But, O Yudhishthira, thou who covetest the imperial dignity deserves it, not by one but by all these qualities, viz., victory, protection afforded to thy people, virtue, prosperity, and policy. Know, O bull of the Kuru race, that Jarasandha, the son of Vrihadratha, is even such (i.e., a candidate for the imperial dignity). A hundred dynasties of kings have become unable to oppose Jarasandha. He, therefore,
may be regarded to be an emperor for his strength. Kings that are wearers of jewels worship Jarasandha (with presents of jewels). But, wicked from his childhood, he is scarcely satisfied with such worship. Having become the foremost among all, he attacketh yet with violence kings with crowns on their heads. Nor is there seen any king from whom he taketh not tribute. Thus hath he brought under his sway nearly a hundred kings. How can, O son of Pritha, any weak monarch approach him with hostile intentions? Confined in the temple of Shiva and offered as sacrifice unto him like so many animals, do not these monarchs dedicated unto that god feel the most poignant misery, O bull of the Bharata race? A Kshatriya that dieth in battle is ever regarded with respect. Why shall we not, therefore, meet together and oppose Jarsandha in battle? He hath already brought eighty-six kings; fourteen only are wanting to complete one hundred. As soon as he obtaineth those fourteen, he will begin his cruel act. He that shall be to obstruct that act will surely win blazing renown. And he that will vanquish Jarasandha will surely become the emperor of all the Kshatriyas.'"
Next: Section XVI