The Mahabharata Home
Vaisampayana continued, "After the chief of the Dasharhas had departed, the heroic Yudhishthira, and Bhima, and Arjuna, and the twins, each looking like unto Shiva, and Krishna, and their priest, ascending costly cars unto which were yoked excellent steeds, together went into the forest. And at time of going they distributed Nishkas of gold and clothes and kine unto Brahmanas versed in Siksha and Akshara and mantras. And twenty attendants followed them equipped with bows, and bowstrings, and blazing weapons, and shafts and arrows and engines of destruction. And taking the princess's clothes and the ornaments, and the nurses and the maid-servants, Indrasena speedily followed the princes on a car. And then approaching the best of Kurus, the high-minded citizens walked round him. And the principal Brahmanas of Kurujangala cheerfully saluted him. And together with his brothers, Yudhishthira the just, on his part saluted them cheerfully. And the illustrious king stopped there a little, beholding the concourse of the inhabitants of Kurujangala. And the illustrious bull among the Kurus felt for them as a father feeleth for his sons, and they too felt for the Kuru chief even as sons feel for their father! And that mighty concourse, approaching the Kuru hero, stood around him. And, O king, affected, with bashfulness, and with tears in their eyes, they all exclaimed, 'Alas, O lord! O Dharma!' And they said, 'Thou art the chief of the Kurus, and the king of us, thy subjects! Where dost thou go, O just monarch, leaving all these citizens and the inhabitants of the country, like a father leaving his sons? Fie on
the cruel-hearted son of Dhritarashtra! Fie on the evil-minded son of Suvala! Fie on Karna! For, O foremost of monarchs, those wretches ever wish unto thee who art firm in virtue! Having thyself established the unrivalled city of Indraprastha of the splendour of Kailasa itself, where dost thou go, leaving it, O illustrious and just king, O achiever of extraordinary deeds! O illustrious one, leaving that peerless palace built by Maya, which possesseth the splendour of the palace of the celestials themselves, and is like unto a celestial illusion, ever guarded by the gods, where dost thou go, O son of Dharma?' And Vibhatsu knowing the ways of virtue, pleasure, and profit said unto them in a loud voice, 'Living in the forest, the king intendeth to take away the good name of his enemies! O we with the regenerate ones at your head, versed in virtue and profit, do you approaching the ascetics separately and inclining them to grace, represent unto them what may be for our supreme good!' Upon hearing these words of Arjuna, the Brahmanas and the other orders, O king, saluting him cheerfully walked round the foremost of virtuous men! And bidding farewell unto the son of Pritha, and Vrikodara, and Dhananjaya and Yajnaseni, and the twins, and commanded by Yudhishthira, they returned to their respective abodes in the kingdom with heavy hearts."
Next: Section XXIV