The Mahabharata Home
"Vaisampayana said, 'Hearing these words of Krishna, king Dhritarashtra lost no time in addressing Vidura, who was conversant with all dictates of virtue. And the king said, 'Go, O child, unto Gandhari, possessed of great wisdom and foresight and bring her hither. With her I will solicit this wicked-hearted (son of mine). If she can pacify this wicked wretch, of evil heart, we may yet be able to act according to the words of our friend Krishna. It may be that speaking words in recommendation of peace, she may yet succeed in pointing out the right path to this fool, afflicted by avarice and having wicked allies, If she can dispel this great and dreadful calamity (about to be) occasioned by Duryodhana, it will then conduce to the attainment and preservation of happiness and peace for ever and ever.' Hearing these words of the king, Vidura, at Dhritarashtra's command, brought (thither) Gandhari, possessed of great foresight. And Dhritarashtra then addressed Gandhari and said, 'Behold, O Gandhari, this thy son of wicked soul, transgressing all my commands, is about to sacrifice both sovereignty and life in consequence of his lust for sovereignty. Of wicked soul and little understanding, he hath, like one of uncultivated mind, left the court, with his sinful counsellors, disregarding his superiors and setting at naught the words of his well-wishers.'
"Vaisampayana said, 'Hearing these words of her husband, that princess of great fame, Gandhari, desirous of what was highly beneficial, said these words, 'Bring hither, without loss of time, that kingdom-coveting, sick son of mine. He that is of uncultivated heart and sacrificeth both virtue and profit, doth not deserve to govern a kingdom. For all that, however, Duryodhana, who is destitute of humility hath, by every means, obtained a kingdom. Indeed, O Dhritarashtra, thou so fond of thy son, art very much to be blamed for this, for knowing well his sinfulness, thou followest yet his counsel. That son of thine, completely possessed by lust and wrath is now the slave of delusion, and is, therefore, incapable, O king, of being now forcibly turned back by thee. Thou art now reaping the fruit, O Dhritarashtra, of having made over the kingdom to an ignorant fool of wicked soul, possessed by avarice
and having wicked counsellors. Why is the king indifferent (today) to that disunion, which is about to take place between persons related so closely? Indeed, beholding thee disunited with those that are thy own, thy enemies will laugh at thee. Who is there that would use force for getting over that calamity, O king, which can be overcome by conciliation and gift?'
"Vaisampayana continued, 'Kshattri then, and at Dhritarashtra's command, and of his mother's also, once more caused vindictive Duryodhana to enter the court. Expectant of his mother's words, the prince re-entered the court, with eyes red as copper from wrath, and breathing heavily as a snake. And beholding her son, who was treading in a wrong path, enter the court, Gandhari rebuked him severely and said these words for bringing about peace.'
"Gandhari said, 'O Duryodhana, attend, O dear son, to these words of mine that are beneficial to thee as also to all thy followers,--words that thou art competent to obey and that will conduce to thy happiness. O Duryodhana, obey thou the words of thy well-wishers, those words, viz., which that best of the Bharatas--thy father--and Bhishma, and Drona, and Kripa, and Kshattri, have spoken. If thou makest peace, thou wouldst by that render homage to Bhishma, to thy father, to me, and to all thy well-wishers with Drona at their head. O thou of great wisdom, nobody, O best of the Bharatas, succeedeth by his own desire alone in acquiring and keeping or enjoying a kingdom. One that hath not his senses under control, cannot enjoy sovereignty for any length of time. He that hath his soul under control and is endued with great intelligence, can rule a kingdom. Lust and wrath wean away a man from his possessions and enjoyments. Conquering these foes first, a king bringeth the earth under his subjection. Sovereignty over men is a great thing. Those that are of wicked souls may easily desire to win a kingdom, but they are not competent to retain a kingdom (when won). He that desireth to obtain extensive empire must bind his senses to both profit and virtue, for if the senses are restrained, intelligence increaseth, like fire that increaseth when fed with fuel. If not controlled, these can even slay their possessor, like unbroken and furious horses, capable of killing an unskilful driver. One that seeketh to conquer his counsellors without conquering his own self, and to conquer foes without conquering his counsellors, is soon vanquished himself and is ruined. He who conquereth his own self first, taking it for a foe, will not seek in vain to conquer his counsellors and enemies afterwards. Prosperity worshippeth greatly that person who hath conquered his senses and his counsellors, who inflicteth punishments on transgressors, who acteth after deliberation, and who is possessed of wisdom. Lust and wrath that dwell in the body are deprived of their strength by wisdom, like a couple of fishes ensnared in a net with close holes. Those two in consequence of which the gods shut the gates of heaven against one, who freed from worldly propensities is desirous of going thither, are excited by lust and wrath. That king
who knoweth well how to conquer lust and wrath and avarice and boastfulness and pride, can own the sovereignty of the whole earth. That king who is desirous of gaining wealth and virtue and vanquishing his enemies, should always be engaged in controlling his passions. Influenced by lust, or from wrath, he that behaveth deceitfully towards his own kinsmen or others, can never win many allies. Uniting thyself with those chastisers of foes--the heroic sons of Pandu--who are all endued with great wisdom, thou canst, O son, enjoy the earth in happiness. What Bhishma, the son of Santanu, and that mighty car-warrior, Drona, have told thee is, O son, quite true,--Krishna and Dhananjaya are invincible. Seek thou, therefore, the protection of this mighty-armed one, this one that is not worried by exertion, for if Kesava becometh gracious, both sides will be happy. That min, who is not obedient to the wishes of wise and learned friends, always seeking his prosperity, only gladdeneth his enemies. O son, there is no good in battle, no virtue, no profit. How can it bring happiness then? Even victory is not always certain. Do not set thy heart, therefore, on battle. O thou of great wisdom, Bhishma and thy father and Vahlika (formerly) gave unto the Pandavas their share (of the kingdom) from fear. O chastiser of foes, never think of disunion with them. Thou beholdest today the fruit of that (peaceful) cession in the fact of thy sovereignty over the whole earth, with all its thorns removed by those heroes. Give, O chastiser of foes, unto the son of Pandu what is their due. If thou wishest to enjoy, with the counsellors even half (the empire), let their share then be given unto them. Half the earth is sufficient to yield the means of support unto thee and thy counsellors. By acting according to the words of thy well-wishers, thou wilt, O Bharata, win great fame. A quarrel with the sons of Pandu who are all endued with prosperity, who have their souls under complete control, who are possessed of great intelligence and have conquered their passions, will only divest thee of thy great prosperity. Dispelling the wrath of all thy well-wishers, rule thou thy kingdom as becometh thee, giving, O bull of Bharata's race, unto the sons of Pandu the share that belongeth to them. O son, persecution of the sons of Pandu for full thirteen years hath been enough. Augmented by lust and wrath, quench (that fire) now, O thou of great wisdom. Thou that covetest the wealth of the Pandavas are not a match for them, nor this Suta's son, who is exceedingly wrathful, nor this thy brother Dussasana. Indeed, when Bhishma and Drona and Kripa and Karna and Bhimasena and Dhananjaya and Dhrishtadyumna will be enraged, the population of the earth will be exterminated. Under the influence of wrath, do not, O son, exterminate the Kurus. Let not the wide earth be destroyed for thy sake. Of little understanding as thou art, thou thinkest that Bhishma, and Drona, and Kripa, all others will fight (for thee) with all their might. That will never happen, for as regards these, that are endued with self-knowledge, their affection towards the Pandavas and yourselves is equal. If for the sake of the sustenance they have obtained from the king
[paragraph continues] (Dhritarashtra), they consent to yield up their very lives, they will not yet be able to cast angry glances upon king Yudhishthira. It is never seen in this world that men acquire wealth by avarice. Give up thy avarice then, O son, and desist, O bull of Bharat's race.'"
Next: Section CXXX