The Mahabharata Home
"Draupadi said, 'I bow down unto Dhatri and Vidhatri who have thus clouded thy sense! Regarding the burden (thou art to bear) thou thinkest differently from the ways of thy fathers and grand-fathers! Influenced by acts men are placed in different situations of life. Acts, therefore, produce consequences that are inevitable; emancipation is desired from mere folly. It seemeth that man can never attain prosperity in this world by virtue, gentleness, forgiveness, straight-forwardness and fear of censure! If this were not so, O Bharata, this insufferable calamity would never have overtaken thee who art so undeserving of it, and these thy brothers of great energy! Neither in those days of prosperity nor in these days of thy adversity, thou, O Bharata, hath ever known anything so dear to thee as virtue, which thou hast even regarded as dearer to thee than life? That thy kingdom is for virtue alone, that thy life also is for
virtue alone, is known to Brahmanas and thy superiors and even the celestials! I think thou canst abandon Bhimasena and Arjuna and these twin sons of Madri along with myself but thou canst not abandon virtue! I have heard that the king protecteth virtue; and virtue, protected by him, protecteth him (in return)! I see, however, that virtue protecteth thee not! Like the shadow pursuing a man, thy heart, O tiger among men, with singleness of purpose, ever seeketh virtue. Thou hast never disregarded thy equals, and inferiors and superiors. Obtaining even the entire world, thy pride never increased! O son of Pritha, thou ever worshippest Brahmanas, and gods, and the Pitris, with Swadhas, and other forms of worship! O son of Pritha, thou hast ever gratified the Brahmanas by fulfilling every wish of theirs! Yatis and Sannyasins and mendicants of domestic lives have always been fed in thy house from off plates of gold where I have distributed (food) amongst them. Unto the Vanaprasthas thou always givest gold and food. There is nothing in thy house thou mayest not give unto the Brahmanas! In the Viswadeva sacrifice, that is, for thy peace, performed in thy house, the things consecrated are first offered unto guests and all creatures while thou livest thyself with what remaineth (after distribution)! Ishtis Pashubandhas, sacrifices for obtaining fruition of desire, the religions rites of (ordinary) domesticity, Paka sacrifices, and sacrifices of other kinds, are ever performed in thy house. Even in this great forest, so solitary and haunted by robbers, living in exile, divested of thy kingdom, thy virtue hath sustained no diminution! The Aswamedha, the Rajasuya, the Pundarika, and Gosava, these grand sacrifices requiring large gifts have all been performed by thee! O monarch, impelled by a perverse sense during that dire hour of a losing match at dice, thou didst yet stake and loss thy kingdom, thy wealth, thy weapons, thy brothers, and myself! Simple, gentle, liberal, modest, truthful, how, O king could thy mind be attracted to the vice of gambling? I am almost deprived of my sense, O king, and my heart is overwhelmed with grief, beholding this thy distress, and this thy calamity! An old history is cited as an illustration for the truth that men are subjects to the will of God and never to their own wishes! The Supreme Lord and Ordainer of all ordaineth everything in respect of the weal and woe, the happiness and misery, of all creatures, even prior to their births guided by the acts of each, which are even like a seed (destined to sprout forth into the tree of life). O hero amongst men, as a wooden doll is made to move its limbs by the wire-puller, so are creatures made to work by the Lord of all. O Bharata, like space that covereth every object, God, pervading every creature, ordaineth its weal or woe. Like a bird tied with a string, every creature is dependent on God. Every one is subject to God and none else. No one can be his own ordainer. Like a pearl on its string, or a bull held fast by the cord passing through its nose, or a tree fallen from the bank
into the middle of the stream, every creature followeth the command of the Creator, because imbued with His Spirit and because established in Him. And man himself, dependent on the Universal Soul, cannot pass a moment independently. Enveloped in darkness, creatures are not masters of their own weal or woe. They go to heaven or hell urged by God Himself. Like light straws dependent on strong winds, all creatures, O Bharatas, are dependent on God! And God himself, pervading all creatures and engaged in acts right and wrong, moveth in the universe, though none can say This is God! This body with its physical attributes is only the means by which God--the Supreme Lord of all maketh (every creature) to reap fruits that are good or bad. Behold the power of illusion that hath been spread by God, who confounding with his illusion, maketh creatures slay their fellows! Truth-knowing Munis behold those differently. They appear to them in a different light, even like the rays of the Sun (which to ordinary eyes are only a pencil of light, while to eyes more penetrating seem fraught with the germs of food and drink). Ordinary men behold the things of the earth otherwise. It is God who maketh them all, adopting different processes in their creation and destruction. And, O Yudhishthira, the Self-create Grandsire, Almighty God, spreading illusion, slayeth his creatures by the instrumentality of his creatures, as one may break a piece of inert and senseless wood with wood, or stone with stone, or iron with iron. And the Supreme Lord, according to his pleasure, sporteth with His creatures, creating and destroying them, like a child with his toy (of soft earth). O king, it doth seem to me that God behaveth towards his creatures like a father or mother unto them. Like a vicious person, He seemeth to bear himself towards them in anger! Beholding superior and well-behaved and modest persons persecuted, while the sinful are happy, I am sorely troubled. Beholding this thy distress and the prosperity of Suyodhana, I do not speak highly of the Great Ordainer who suffereth such inequality! O sir, what fruits doth the Great Ordainer reap by granting prosperity to Dhritarashtra's son who transgresseth the ordinances, who is crooked and covetous, and who injureth virtue and religion! If the act done pursueth the doer and none else, then certainly it is God himself who is stained with the sin of every act. If however, the sin of an act done doth not attach to the doer, then (individual) might (and not God) is the true cause of acts, and I grieve for those that have no might!'"
Next: Section XXXI