The Mahabharata Home
"Satyaki said, 'Even as a man's heart is, so doth he speak! Thou art speaking in strict conformity with the nature of thy heart. There are brave men, and likewise those that are cowards. Men may be divided into these two well defined classes. As upon a single large tree there may be two boughs one of which beareth fruits while the other doth not, so from the self-same line of progenitors may spring persons that are imbecile as well as those that are endowed with great strength O thou bearing the sign of a plough on thy banner, I do not, in sooth, condemn the words thou hast spoken, but I simply condemn those, O son of Madhu, who are listening to thy words! How, indeed, can he, who unblushingly dares attach even the slightest blame in the virtuous king Yudhishthira be permitted to speak at all in the midst of the assembly? Persons clever in the game of dice challenged the magnanimous Yudhishthira unskilled as he is in play, and confiding in them he was defeated! Can such persons be said to have virtuously won the game? If they had come to Yudhishthira while playing in this house with his brothers and defeated him there, then what they would have won would have been righteously won. But they challenged Yudhishthira who was bound in conscience to follow the rules observed by the military caste, and they won by a trick. What is there in this conduct of theirs that is righteous? And how can this Yudhishthira here, having performed to the utmost the stipulations entered into by way of stakes in the play, freed from the promise of a sojourn in the forest, and therefore entitled to his ancestral throne, humble himself? Even if Yudhishthira coveted other people's possessions, still it would not behove him to beg! How can they be said to be righteous and not intent on usurping the throne when, although the Pandavas have lived out their sojourn of concealment unrecognised, they still say that the latter had been recognised? They were besought by Bhishma and the magnanimous Drona, but they would not yet consent to give back to the Pandavas the throne that belongeth to them by right of birth. The means with which I would beseech them would be sharp arrows. I shall fight and with a strong hand force them to prostrate themselves at the feet of the illustrious son of Kunti. If, however, they do not bow at the feet of the wise Yudhishthira, then they and their partisans must go to the regions of Yama. When Yuyudhana (myself) is enraged and resolved to fight, they, to be sure, are unequal to withstand his impetus, as mountains are unable to resist that of the thunderbolt. Who can withstand Arjuna in fight, or him who hath the discus for his
weapon in battle, or myself as well? Who can withstand the unapproachable Bhima? And who, having regard for his life, would come near the twin brothers who firmly grasp their bows and resemble the death-dealing Yama in intelligence? Who would approach Dhrishtadyumna, the son of Drupada, or these five sons of the Pandavas who have added lustre to Draupadi's name, rivalling their fathers in valour, equal to them in every respect and full of martial pride, or him of the powerful bow, Subhadra's son, irresistible by even the gods themselves; or Gada, or Pradyumna, or Samva, resembling Yama or the thunderbolt or fire? We shall slay Dhritarashtra's son and Sakuni and Karna in battle, and place the Pandava on the throne. There is no sin in slaying them that are bent on slaying us: but to be a beggar before foes is both impious and infamous. I ask you to be diligent in doing that which is heartily desired by Yudhishthira. Let Pandu's son get back the kingdom resigned by Dhritarashtra! Either Yudhishthira should get back his kingdom this very day or all our enemies shall lie down on the earth slain by me!'
Next: Section IV