The Mahabharata Home
"Yudhishthira said,--'Desirous of the imperial dignity but acting from selfish motives and relying upon courage alone, how, O Krishna, can I despatch ye (unto Jarasandha)? Both Bhima and Arjuna, I regard as my eyes, and thee, O Janardana as my mind. How shall I live, deprived of my eyes and mind. Yama himself cannot vanquish in battle the mighty host of Jarasandha that is endued, besides, with terrible valour. What valour can ye exhibit against it. This affair that promises to terminate otherwise may lead to great mischief. It is my opinion, therefore, that the proposed task should not be undertaken. Listen, O Krishna, to what I for one think. O Janardana, desisting from this act seemeth to me to be beneficial. My heart to-day is afflicted. The Rajasuya appeareth to me difficult of accomplishment.'"
"Vaisampayana said,--"Arjuna who had obtained that excellent of bows and that couple of inexhaustible quivers, and that car with that banner, as also that assembly room, now addressed Yudhishthira and said,--'I have obtained, O king, a bow and weapons and arrows and energy and allies and dominions and fame and strength. Those are always difficult of acquisition, however much they may be desired. Learned men of repute always praise in good society nobleness of descent. But nothing is equal to might. Indeed, O monarch, there is nothing I like more than prowess. Born in a race noted for its valour, one that is without valour is scarcely worthy
of regard. One, however, possessed of valour, that is born in a race not noted for it, is much superior to the former. He, O king, is a Kshatriya in every thing who increaseth his fame and possessions by the subjugation of his enemies. And he that is possessed of valour, though destitute of all (other) merits, will vanquish his foes. One, however, that is destitute of valour, though possessed of every (other) merit, can scarcely accomplish anything. Every merit exists by the side of valour in an incipient state. Concentration of attention, exertion and destiny exist as the three causes of victory. One, however, that is possessed of valour doth not yet deserve success if he acts carelessly. It is for this that an enemy endued with strength sometimes suffers death at the hands of his foes. As meanness overtakes the weak, so folly sometimes overtakes the strong. A king, therefore, that is desirous of victory, should avoid both these causes of destruction. If, for the purpose of our sacrifice, we endeavour to slay Jarasandha and rescue the kings kept by him for a cruel purpose, there is no higher act which we could employ ourselves in. If, however, we do not undertake the task, the world will always think us incompetent. We have certainly the competence, O king! Why should you, therefore, regard us as incompetent? Those that have become Munis desirous of achieving tranquillity of souls, obtain yellow robes with ease. So if we vanquish the foe, the imperial dignity will easily be ours. We shall, therefore fight the foe."
Next: Section XVII