The Mahabharata Home
"Vaisampayana said, 'Recollecting the words spoken by Vasudeva, Yudhishthira once more addressed that scion of Vrishni's race, saying, 'How, O Kesava, could wicked Duryodhana say it? O thou of unfading glory, what should we do in view of the occasion that hath come? By acting in what way may we keep on the track of our duty? Thou, O Vasudeva, art acquainted with the views of Duryodhana, Karna, and Sakuni, the son of Suvala. Thou knowest also what views are entertained by myself and my brothers. Thou hast heard the words uttered by both Vidura and Bhishma. O thou of great wisdom, thou hast also heard in their entirety the words of wisdom spoken by Kunti. Overlooking all these, tell us, O thou of mighty arms, after reflection, and without hesitation, what is for our good.'
"Hearing these words of king Yudhishthira the Just, that were fraught with virtue and profit. Krishna replied, in a voice deep as that of the clouds or cymbals, saying, 'Responding to his advantage and consistent with both virtue and profit, those words that were uttered by me in the Kuru court found no response in the Kuru prince Duryodhana with whom deceit supplieth the place of wisdom. That wretch of wicked understanding listeneth not in the least to the counsels of Bhishma or Vidura or mine. He transgresseth everybody. He wisheth not to earn virtue, nor doth he wish for fame. That wicked-souled wight, relying upon Karna, regardeth everything as already won. Indeed, Suyodhana of wicked heart and sinful in his resolves, even ordered my incarceration but he did not, however, obtain the fruition of that wish. Neither Bhishma nor Drona said anything on that subject. Indeed, all of them follow Duryodhana, except Vidura, O thou of unfading glory, Sakuni, the son of Suvala, and Karna, and Dussasana, all equally foolish, gave foolish and vindictive Duryodhana much improper advice regarding thee.
[paragraph continues] Indeed, what use is there in my repeating to thee all that the Kuru prince hath said? In brief, that wicked-souled wight beareth no good will towards thee. Not even in all these kings together, that form thy army, is that measure of sinfulness and wickedness which resideth in Duryodhana alone. As regards ourselves, we do not desire to make peace with the Kauravas by abandoning our property. War, therefore, is that which should now take place.'
"Vaisampayana continued, 'Hearing these words uttered by Vasudeva, all the kings (there present), O Bharata, without saying anything, looked at Yudhishthira's face. And Yudhishthira, understanding the intention of those monarchs, said, with Bhima and Arjuna and the twins, 'Draw up the troops in battle array.' And the word of command having been passed, a great uproar rose amongst the Pandava army and all the soldiers were filled with joy. King Yudhishthira the Just, however, beholding the (impending) slaughter of those that deserved not to be slain, began to sigh deeply, and addressing Bhimasena and Vijaya, said, 'That for the sake of which I accepted an exile into the woods and for which I suffered so much misery, that great calamity overtaketh us of a set purpose. That for which we strove so much leaveth us as if on account of our very striving. On the other hand, a great distress overtaketh us, although we did nothing to invite it. How shall we fight with those reverend superiors (of ours) whom we on no account can slay? What kind of victory shall we achieve by slaying our preceptors of venerable age?'
"Hearing these words of king Yudhishthira the Just, Savyasachin repeated to his elder brother all those words that Vasudeva had said. And addressing Yudhishthira, Arjuna continued, 'Thou hast, O king, certainly understood all the words spoken by Kunti and Vidura, that were repeated to thee by Devaki's son. I know it for certain that neither Vidura nor Kunti would say anything that is sinful. Besides this, O son of Kunti, we cannot withdraw without engaging in battle.'
"Hearing this speech of Savyasachin, Vasudeva also said unto Partha, 'It is even so (as thou hast said). The sons of Pandu then, O great king, made up their minds for war, and passed that night with their soldiers in great happiness.'"
Next: Section CLVI