The Mahabharata Home
"Vaisampayana said, 'Hearing the peaceful words of the king that were fraught with both virtue and profit, king Drupada's daughter Krishna, of long black tresses, afflicted with great grief, applauding Sahadeva and that mighty car-warrior Satyaki, addressed Madhava seated by his side. And beholding Bhimasena declare for peace, that intelligent lady, overwhelmed with woe and with eyes bathed in tears, said, 'O slayer of Madhu, it is known to thee, O thou of mighty arms, by what deceitful
means, O righteous one, the son of Dhritarashtra with his counsellors robbed the Pandavas, O Janardana. of their happiness. Thou knowest also, O thou of Dasarha's race, what message was privately delivered to Sanjaya by the king. Thou hast also heard all that was said unto Sanjaya. O thou of great effulgence, these words were even these, 'Let only five villages be granted to us, viz., Avishthala, and Vrikasthala, and Makandi, and Varanavata, and for the fifth, any other,--O thou of mighty arms, O Kesava, even this was the message that was to have been delivered to Duryodhana and his counsellors. But, O Krishna, O thou of Dasarha's race, hearing those words of Yudhishthira, endued with modesty and anxious for peace, Suyodhana hath not acted according to them. If, O Krishna, Suyodhana desireth to make peace without surrendering the kingdom, there is no necessity of going thither for making such a peace. The Pandavas with the Srinjayas, O thou of mighty arms, are quite able to withstand the fierce Dhritarashtra host inflamed with rage. When they are no longer amenable to this arts of conciliation, it is not proper, O slayer of Madhu, that thou shouldst show them mercy. Those enemies, O Krishna, with whom peace cannot be established by either conciliation or presents, should be treated with severity by one desirous of saving his life. Therefore, O mighty-armed Achyuta, heavy should be the punishment that deserves to be speedily inflicted upon them by thyself aided by the Pandavas and the Srinjayas. Indeed, even this would become the son of Pritha, and add to thy glory, and if accomplished, will, O Krishna, be a source of great happiness to the whole Kshatriya race. He that is covetous, whether belonging to the Kshatriya or any other order, save of course a Brahmana, even if most sinful, ought surely to be slain by a Kshatriya, who is true to the duties of his own order. The exception in the case of a Brahmana, O sire, is due to a Brahmana's being the preceptor of all the other orders, as also the first sharer of everything. Persons conversant with the scriptures declare, O Janardana, that sin is incurred in slaying one that deserveth not to be slain. So there is equal sin in not slaying one that deserveth to be slain. Act thou, therefore, O Krishna, in such a way with the forces of the Pandavas and the Srinjayas, that sin may not touch thee. From excess of confidence in thee, O Janardana, I will repeat what hath been said again and again. Whatever woman, O Kesava, is there on earth like me? I am the daughter of king Drupada, risen from the sacrificial alter. I am the sister of Dhrishtadyumna, thy dear friend, O Krishna. I have by marriage become a lady of Ajamida's race,--the daughter-in-law of the illustrious Pandu. I am the queen of Pandu's sons, who resemble five Indras in splendour. I have, by these five heroes, five sons that are all mighty car-warriors, and that are morally bound to thee, O Krishna, as Abhimanyu himself. Being such, O Krishna, I was seized by the hair, dragged into the assembly and insulted in the very sight of the sons of Pandu and in thy life-time. O Kesava, the sons of Pandu, the Panchalas, and the Vrishnis being all alive, exposed to the
gaze of the assembly I was treated as a slave by those sinful wretches. And when the Pandavas beholding it all sat silent without giving way to wrath, in my heart I called upon thee. O Govinda, saying,--Save me, O save me!--Then the illustrious king Dhritarashtra, my father-in-law, said unto me, 'Ask thou any boon, O princess of Panchala. Thou deservest boons and even honour at my hands.' Thus addressed I said, 'Let the Pandavas be free men with their cars and weapons.' Upon this the Pandavas, O Kesava, were freed but only to be exiled into the woods. O Janardana, thou knowest all these sorrows of mine. Rescue me, O lotus-eyed one, with my husbands, kinsmen, and relatives, from that grief. Morally, O Krishna, I am the daughter-in-law of both Bhishma and Dhritarashtra. Though such, I was yet forcibly made a slave. Fie to Partha's bowmanship, oh, fie to Bhimasena's might since Duryodhana, O Krishna, liveth for even a moment. If I deserve any favour at thy hands, if thou hast any compassion for me, let thy wrath, O Krishna, be directed towards the sons of Dhritarashtra.'
"Vaisampayana continued, 'Having said this, the beautiful Krishna of eyes that were black in hue and large like lotus leaves, bathed in tears, and walking like a cow-elephant, approached the lotus-eyed Krishna, and taking with her left hand her own beautiful tresses of curly ends, deep-blue in hue and scented with every perfume, endued with every auspicious mark, and though gathered into a braid, yet soft and glossy like a mighty snake, spake these words, 'Lotus-eyed one that art anxious for peace with the enemy, thou shouldst, in all thy acts, call to thy mind these tresses of mine seized by Dussasana's rude hands! If Bhima and Arjuna, O Krishna, have become so low as to long for peace, my aged father then with his war like sons will avenge for me in battle. My five sons also that are endued with great energy, with Abhimanyu, O slayer of Madhu, at their head, will fight with the Kauravas. What peace can this heart of mine know unless I behold Dussasana's dark arm severed from his trunk and pulverised to atoms? Thirteen long years have I passed in expectation of better times, hiding in my heart my wrath like a smouldering fire. And now pierced by Bhima's wordy darts that heart cf mine is about to break, for the mighty-armed Bhima now casteth his eye on morality. Uttering these words with voice choked in tears, the large-eyed Krishna began to weep aloud, with convulsive sobs, and tears gushed down her cheeks. And that lady, with hips full and round, began to drench her close and deep bosom by the tears she shed which were hot as liquid fire. The mighty-armed Kesava then spoke, comforting her in these words, 'Soon wilt thou, O Krishna, behold the ladies of Bharata's race weep as thou dost. Even they, O timid one, will weep like thee, their kinsmen and friends being slain. They with whom, O lady, thou art angry, have their kinsmen and warriors already slain. With Bhima and Arjuna and the twins, at Yudhishthira's command, and agreeably to fate, and what hath been ordained by the Ordainer, I will accomplish all this. Their hour having arrived, the sons
of Dhritarashtra, if they do not listen to my words, will surely lie down on the earth turned as morsels of dogs and jackals. The mountains of Himavat might shift their site, the Earth herself might spilt into a hundred fragments, the firmament itself with its myriads of stars might fall down, still my words can never be futile. Stop thy tears, I swear to thee, O Krishna, soon wilt thou see thy husbands, with their enemies slain, and with prosperity crowning them.'"
Next: Section LXXXIII