The Mahabharata Home
"Aswatthaman said, 'The kine, O Karna, have not yet been won, nor have they yet crossed the boundary (of their owner's dominions), nor have they yet reached Hastinapura. Why dost thou, therefore, boast of thyself? Having won numerous battles, and acquired enormous wealth, and vanquished hostile hosts, men of true heroism speak not a word of their prowess. Fire burneth mutely and mutely doth the sun shine. Mutely also doth the Earth bear creatures, both mobile and immobile. The Self-existent hath sanctioned such offices for the four orders that having recourse to them each may acquire wealth without being censurable. A Brahmana, having studied the Vedas, should perform sacrifices himself, and officiate at the sacrifices of others. And a Kshatriya, depending upon the bow, should perform sacrifices himself but should never officiate at the sacrifices of others. And of Vaisya, having earned wealth, should cause the rites enjoined in the Vedas to be performed for himself. A Sudra should always wait upon and serve the other three orders. As regards those that live by practising the profession of flowers and vendors of meat, they may earn wealth by expedients fraught with deceit and fraud. Always acting according to the dictates of the scriptures, the exalted sons of Pandu acquired the sovereignty of the whole earth, and they always act respectfully towards their superiors, even if the latter prove hostile to them. What Kshatriya is there that expressed delight at having obtained a kingdom by means of dice, like this wicked and shameless son of Dhritarashtra? Having acquired wealth in this way by deceit and fraud like a vendor of meat, who that is wise boast of it? In what single combat didst thou vanquish Dhananjaya, or Nakula, or Sahadeva, although thou hast robbed them of their wealth? In what battle didst thou defeat Yudhishthira, or Bhima that foremost of strong men? In what battle was Indraprastha conquered by thee? What thou hast done, however, O thou of wicked deeds, is to drag that princess to court while she was
ill and had but one raiment on? Thou hast cut the mighty root, delicate as the sandal, of the Pandava tree. Actuated by desire of wealth, when thou madest the Pandavas act as slaves, rememberest thou what Vidura said! We see that men and others, even insects and ants, show forgiveness according to their power of endurance. The son of Pandu, however, is incapable of forgiving the sufferings of Draupadi. Surely, Dhananjaya cometh here for the destruction of the sons of Dhritarashtra. It is true, affecting great wisdom, thou art for making speeches but will not Vibhatsu, that slayer of foes, exterminate us all! If it be gods, or Gandharvas or Asuras, or Rakshasas, will Dhananjaya the son of Kunti, desist to fight from panic? Inflamed with wrath upon whomsoever he will fall, even him he will overthrow like a tree under the weight of Garuda! Superior to thee in prowess, in bowmanship equal unto the lord himself of the celestials, and in battle equal unto Vasudeva himself, who is there that would not praise Partha? Counteracting celestial weapons with celestial, and human weapons with human, what man is a match for Arjuna? Those acquainted with the scriptures declare that a disciple is no way inferior to a son, and it is for this that the son of Pandu is a favourite of Drona. Employ thou the means now which thou hadst adopted in the match at dice,--the same means, viz., by which thou hadst subjugated Indraprastha, and the same means by which thou hadst dragged Krishna to the assembly! This thy wise uncle, fully conversant with the duties of the Kshatriya order--this deceitful gambler Sakuni, the prince of Gandhara, let him fight now! The Gandiva, however, doth not cast dice such as the Krita or the Dwapara, but it shooteth upon foes blazing and keen-edged shafts by myriads. The fierce arrows shot from the Gandiva, endued with great energy and furnished with vulturine wings, car, pierce even mountains. The destroyer of all, named Yama, and Vayu, and the horse-faced Agni, leave some remnant behind, but Dhananjaya inflamed with wrath never doth so. As thou hadst, aided by thy uncle, played a dice in the assembly so do fight in this battle protected by Suvala's son. Let the preceptor, if he chooses fight; I shall not, however, fight with Dhananjaya. We are to fight with the king of the Matsyas, if indeed, he cometh in the track of the kine.'"
Next: Section LI