The Mahabharata Home
"Janamejaya said, 'After the soldiers had been arrayed thus in order of battle (on the field of Kurukshetra), what, O bull among Brahmanas, did the Kauravas then do, urged as they were by destiny itself?'
"Vaisampayana said, 'After the soldiers, O bull of the Bharata race, had been arrayed thus in order of battle, Dhritarashtra, O, king, said these words to Sanjaya.'
"Dhritarashtra said, 'Come, O Sanjaya, tell me with the fullest details all that hath happened in the encampment of the Kuru and the Pandava troops. I regard destiny to be superior, and exertion useless, for
although I understand the evil consequences of war that will lead only to ruin, still I am unable to restrain my son who rejoices in gambling and considers deceit to be wisdom. Understanding everything, I am not yet able to secure my own welfare. O Suta, my understanding is capable of seeing the defects (of measures), but when I approach Duryodhana, that understanding of mine turneth away (from that right path). When such is the case, O Sanjaya, that will be which must be. Indeed, the sacrifice of one's corporeal body in battle is the laudable duty of every Kshatriya.'
"Sanjaya said, 'This question, O great king, that thou hast put, is indeed, worthy of thee. It behoveth thee not, however, to impute entire fault to Duryodhana only. Listen to me, O king, as I speak of this exhaustively. That man who cometh by evil in consequence of his own misconduct, should never impute the fault to either time or the gods. O great king, he amongst men who perpetrateth every wicked act, deserveth to be slain in consequence of his perpetrating those acts. Afflicted with injuries in consequence of the match at dice, the sons of Pandu, however, with all their counsellors quietly bore all those injuries, looking up, O best of men, to thy face alone. Hear from me fully, O king, of the slaughter that is about to take place in battle, of steeds and elephants and kings endued with immeasurable energy. Hearing patiently, O thou that art endued with great wisdom, of the destruction of the world in the fierce battle that has been brought about, come to this conclusion and no other, viz., that man is never the agent of his acts right or wrong. Indeed, like a wooden machine, man is not an agent (in all he does). In this respect, three opinions are entertained; some say that everything is ordained by God; some say that our acts are the result of free-will; and others say that our acts are the result of those of our past lives. Listen then, therefore, with patience, to the evil that hath come upon us.'"
Next: Section CLXI