The Mahabharata Home
"The holy one said, It was only through affection that I said all this, desiring to know thy mind, and not from the desire of reproaching thee, nor from pride of learning, nor from wrath, nor from desire of making a speech. I know thy magnanimity of soul, and also thy strength, and
thy deeds. It is not for that reason that I reproached thee. O son of Pandu, a thousand times greater will be the benefit conferred by thee on the Pandava's cause than that which thou thinkest thyself to be capable of conferring on it. Thou, O Bhima, with thy kinsmen and friends, art exactly that which one should be that has taken his birth in a family like thine, that is regarded by all the kings of the earth. The fact, however, is that they can never arrive at the truth, who under the influence of doubt proceed to enquire about the consequences hereafter of virtue and vice, or about the strength and weakness of men. For it is seen that what is the cause of the success of a person's object becometh also the cause of his ruin. Human acts, therefore, are doubtful in their consequences. Learned men, capable of judging of the evils of actions pronounce a particular course of action as worthy of being followed. It produces, however, consequences, the very opposite of what were foreseen, very much like the course of the wind. Indeed, even those acts of men that are the results of deliberation and well-directed policy, and that are consistent with considerations of propriety, are baffled by the dispensations of Providence. Then, again, Providential dispensations, such as heat and cold and rain and hunger and thirst, that are not the consequences of human acts, may be baffled by human exertion. Then again, besides those acts which a person is pre-ordained (as the result of the act of past lives) to go through, one can always get rid of all other acts begun at his pleasure, as is testified by both the Smritis and the Srutis. Therefore, O son of Pandu, one cannot go on the world without acting. One should, hence, engage in work knowing that one's purpose would be achieved by a combination of both Destiny and Exertion. He that engageth in acts under this belief is never pained by failure, nor delighted by success. This, O Bhimasena, was the intended import of my speech. It was not intended by me that victory would be certain in an encounter with the foe. A person, when his mind is upset should not lose his cheerfulness and must yield neither to langour nor depression. It is for this that I spoke to thee in the way I did. When the morrow comes, I will go, O Pandava, to Dhritarashtra's presence. I will strive to make peace without sacrificing your interests. If the Kauravas make peace, then boundless fame will be mine. Your purposes will be achieved, and they also will reap great benefit. If, however, the Kauravas, without listening to my words, resolve to maintain their opinion, then there will undoubtedly be a formidable war. In this war burthen resteth on thee, O Bhimasena. That burthen should also be borne by Arjuna, while other warriors should all be led by both of you. In case of war happening, I will certainly be the driver of Vibhatsu's car, for that, indeed, is Dhananjaya's wish and not that I myself am not desirous of fighting. It is for this that, hearing thee utter thy intention, I rekindled that thy energy, O Vrikodara.'"
Next: Section LXXVIII