The Mahabharata Home
"Yudhishthira said, 'Here are met the Pandavas and the Srinjayas, and Krishna, and Yuyudhana and Virata, O son of the Suta Gavalgana, tell us all that Dhritarashtra hath directed thee to say.'
"Sanjaya said, 'I greet Yudhishthira, and Vrikodara and Dhananjaya, and the two sons of Madri, and Vasudeva the descendant of Sura, and Satyaki, and the aged ruler of the Panchalas, and Dhrishtadyumna, the son of Prishata. Let all listen to the words I say from a desire for the welfare of the Kurus. King Dhritarashtra, eagerly welcoming the chance of peace, hastened the preparation of my car for this journey here. Let it be acceptable to king Yudhishthira with his brothers and sons and relations. Let the son of Pandu prefer peace. The sons of Pritha are endowed with every virtue with steadiness and mildness and candour. Born in a high family, they are humane, liberal, and loath to do any act which would bring on shame. They know what is proper to be done. A base deed is not befitting you, for you are so high-minded, and have such a terrible following of troops. If you committed a sinful act, it would be a blot on your fair name, as a drop of collyrium on a white cloth. Who could knowingly be ever guilty of an act, which would result in universal slaughter, which would be sinful and lead to hell,--an act consisting in the destruction (of men), an act the result of which, whether it be victory or defeat, is or the self-same value? Blessed are they that have served their relative's cause. They are the true sons and friends and relatives (of Kuru's race) who would lay down life, life which is liable to be abused by misdeeds, in order to ensure the welfare of the Kurus. If you, ye sons of Pritha, chastise the Kurus, by defeating and slaying all your foes,--that subsequent life of yours would be equivalent to death, for what, in sooth, is life after having killed all your kinsfolk? Who, even if he were Indra himself with all the gods on his side, would be able to defeat you who are aided by Kesava and Chekitanas, and Satyaki, and are protected by Dhrishtadyumna's arms? Who again, O king, can defeat in battle the Kurus who are protected by Drona and Bhishma, and Aswatthaman, and Salya, and Kripa and Karna with a host of Kshatriya kings? Who, without loss to himself, is able to slay the vast force assembled by Dhritarashtra's son? Therefore it is, that I do not see any good either in victory or in defeat. How can the sons of Pritha, like base persons of low lineage, commit an act of unrighteousness? Therefore, I appease, I prostrate myself before Krishna and the aged kin I g of the Panchalas. I betake myself to you as my refuge, with joined hands, so that both the Kurus and the Srinjayas may be benefited. It is not likely that either Krishna or Dhananjaya will not act up to these my words. Either of them would lay down his life, if besought (to do so). Therefore, I say this for the success of my mission. This is the desire of the king and his counsellor Bhishma, that there may be confirmed peace between you (and the Kurus).'"
Next: Section XXVI