The Mahabharata Home
Vaisampayana said,--"As soon as Vidura endued with great foresight came unto him king Dhritarashtra, the son of Amvika, timidly asked his brother,--'How doth Yudhishthira, the son of Dharma, proceed along? And how Arjuna? And how the twin sons of Madri? And how, O Kshatta, doth Dhaumya proceed along? And how the illustrious Draupadi? I desire to hear everything, O Kshatta; describe to me all their acts.'
Vidura replied,--'Yudhishthira, the son of Kunti, hath gone away covering his face with his cloth. And Bhima, O king, hath gone away looking at his own mighty arms. And Jishnu (Arjuna) hath gone away, following the king spreading sand-grains around. And Sahadeva, the son of Madri, hath gone away besmearing his face, and Nakula, the handsomest of men, O king, hath gone away, staining himself with dust and his heart in great affliction. And the large-eyed and beautiful Krishna hath gone away, covering her face with her dishevelled hair following in the wake of the king, weeping and in tears. And O monarch, Dhaumya goeth along the road, with kusa grass in hand, and uttering the aweful mantras of Sama Veda that relate to Yama.'
Dhritarashtra asked,--"Tell me, O Vidura, why is it that the Pandavas are leaving Hastinapore in such varied guise."
"Vidura replied,--'Though persecuted by thy sons and robbed of his kingdom and wealth the mind of the wise king Yudhishthira the just hath not yet deviated from the path of virtue. King Yudhishthira is always kind, O Bharata, to thy children. Though deprived (of his kingdom and possessions) by foul means, filled with wrath as he is, he doth not open eyes. 'I should not burn the people by looking at them with angry eyes,'--thinking so, the royal son of Pandu goeth covering his face. Listen to me as I tell thee, O bull of the Bharata race, why Bhima goeth so. 'There is none equal to me in strength of arms,' thinking so Bhima goeth repeatedly stretching forth his mighty arms. And, O king, proud of the strength of his arms, Vrikodara goeth, exhibiting them and desiring to do unto his enemies deeds worthy of those arms. And Arjuna the son of Kunti, capable of using both his arms (in wielding the Gandiva) followeth the footsteps of Yudhishthira, scattering sand-grains emblematical of the arrows he would shower in battle. O Bharata, he indicateth that as the sand-grains are scattered by him with ease, so will he rain arrows with perfect ease on the foe (in time of battle). And Sahadeva goeth besmearing his lace, thinking 'None may recognise me in this day of trouble.' And, O exalted one, Nakula goeth staining himself with
dust thinking, 'Lest otherwise I steal the hearts of the ladies that may look at me.' And Draupadi goeth, attired in one piece of stained cloth, her hair dishevelled, and weeping, signifying--'The wives of those for whom I have been reduced to such a plight, shall on the fourteenth year hence be deprived of husbands, sons and relatives and dear ones and smeared all over with blood, with hair dishevelled and all in their feminine seasons enter Hastinapore having offered oblations of water (unto the manes of those they will have lost). And O Bharata, the learned Dhaumya with passions under full control, holding the kusa grass in his hand and pointing the same towards the south-west, walketh before, singing the mantras of the Sama Veda that relate to Yama. And, O monarch, that learned Brahamana goeth, also signifying, 'When the Bharatas shall be slain in battle, the priests of the Kurus will thus sing the Soma mantras (for the benefit of the deceased).' And the citizens, afflicted with great grief, are repeatedly crying out, 'Alas, alas, behold our masters are going away! O fie on the Kuru elders that have acted like foolish children in thus banishing heirs of Pandu from covetousness alone. Alas, separated from the son of Pandu we all shall become masterless. What love can we bear to the wicked and avaricious Kurus? Thus O king, have the sons of Kunti, endued with great energy of mind, gone away,--indicating, by manner and signs, the resolutions that are in their hearts. And as those foremost of men had gone away from Hastinapore, flashes of lightning appeared in the sky though without clouds and the earth itself began to tremble. And Rahu came to devour the Sun, although it was not the day of conjunction And meteors began to fall, keeping the city to their right. And jackals and vultures and ravens and other carnivorous beasts and birds began to shriek and cry aloud from the temples of the gods and the tops of sacred trees and walls and house-tops. And these extraordinary calamitous portents, O king, were seen and heard, indicating the destruction of the Bharatas as the consequence of thy evil counsels."
Vaisampayana continued,--"And, O monarch, while king Dhritarashtra and the wise Vidura were thus talking with each other, there appeared in that assembly of the Kauravas and before the eyes of all, the best of the celestial Rishis. And appealing before them all, he uttered these terrible words, On the fourteenth year hence, the Kauravas, in consequence of Duryodhana's fault, will all be destroyed by the might of Bhima and Arjuna'. And having said this, that best of celestial Rishis, adorned with surpassing Vedic grace, passing through the skies, disappeared from the scene. Then Duryodhana and Karna and Sakuni, the son of Suvala regarding Drona as their sole refuge, offered the kingdom to him. Drona then, addressing the envious and wrathful Duryodhana and Dussasana and Karna and all the Bharata, said, 'The Brahamanas
have said that the Pandavas being of celestial origin are incapable of being slain. The sons of Dhritarashtra, however, having, with all the kings, heartily and with reverence sought my protection, I shall look after them to the best of my power. Destiny is supreme, I cannot abandon them. The sons of Pandu, defeated at dice, are going into exile in pursuance of their promise. They will live in the woods for twelve years. Practising the Brahmacharyya mode of life for this period, they will return in anger and to our great grief take the amplest vengeance on their foes. I had formerly deprived Drupada of his kingdom in a friendly dispute. Robbed of his kingdom by me, O Bharata, the king performed a sacrifice for obtaining a son (that should slay me). Aided by the ascetic power of Yaja and Upayaja, Drupada obtained from the (sacrificial) fire a son named Dhrishtadyumna and a daughter, viz., the faultless Krishna, both risen from the sacrificial platform. That Dhrishtadyumna is the brother-in-law of the sons of Pandu by marriage, and dear unto them. It is for him, therefore that I have much fear. Of celestial origin and resplendent as the fire, he was born with bow, arrows, and encased in mail. I am a being that is mortal. Therefore it is for him that I have great fear. That slayer of all foes, the son of Parshatta, hath taken the side of the Pandavas. I shall have to lose my life, if he and I ever encounter each other in battle. What grief can be greater to me in this world than this, ye Kauravas that Dhrishtadyumna is the destined slayer of Drona--this belief is general. That he hath been born for slaying me hath been heard by me and is widely known also in the world. For thy sake, O Duryodhana, that terrible season of destruction is almost come. Do without loss of time, what may be beneficial unto thee. Think not that everything hath been accomplished by sending the Pandavas into exile. This thy happiness will last for but a moment, even as in winter the shadow of the top of the palm tree resteth (for a short time) at its base. Perform various kinds of sacrifices, and enjoy, and give O Bharata, everything thou likest. On the fourteenth year hence, a great calamity will overwhelm thee.'"
Vaisampayana continued,--"Hearing these words of Drona, Dhritarashtra said,--'O Kshatta, the preceptor hath uttered what is true. Go thou and bring back the Pandavas. If they do not come back, let them go treated with respect and affection. Let those my sons go with weapons, and cars, and infantry, and enjoying every other good thing.'"
Next: Section LXXX