The Mahabharata Home
"Bhishma said, 'Thus addressed, O king, by that messenger, king Drupada, like a thief caught (in the act), could not speak. He exerted himself greatly, by sending sweet-speeched emissaries with his own instruction to them, saying,--This is not so,--in order to pacify his brother. King
[paragraph continues] Hiranyavarman, however, ascertaining once again, that the child of the king of the Panchalas was really a daughter, issued out of his city without losing any time. He then sent messages unto all his powerful friends about that deception practised on his daughter, of which he had heard from her nurses. Then, that best of kings, having mustered a large army, resolved, O Bharata, to march against Drupada. Then, O monarch, king Hiranyavarman held a consultation with his ministers about the ruler of the Panchalas. And it was settled among those high-souled kings that if, O monarch, Sikhandin was really a daughter, they should bind the ruler of the Panchalas and drag him from his city, and installing another king over the Panchalas they should slay Drupada with Sikhandin. Taking that to be the fixed resolution (of all whom he had summoned) king Hiranyavarman once more sent an envoy to the descendant of Prishata, saying 'I will slay thee, be calm.'
"Bhishma continued, 'King Drupada was not naturally courageous. In consequence, again, of that offence of his, he became filled with fear. Sending his envoys again to the ruler of the Dasarnakas, king Drupada, afflicted with grief, approached his wife and took counsel with her. And possessed with great fright and with heart afflicted with grief, the king of the Panchalas said unto his favourite wife, the mother of Sikhandin, these words, 'My powerful brother, king Hiranyavarman, having mustered a large force, is coming towards me in anger. Fools that we both are, what are we now to do in respect of this our daughter? Thy son, Sikhandin, hath been suspected to be a daughter. Under this suspicion, Hiranyavarman with his allies and followed by his army wisheth to slay me thinking that he hath been received by me! O thou of beautiful hips, tell us now what is true or false in this, O beautiful lady! O blessed lady, hearing from thee first, I will settle how to act. I am very much endangered and this child, Sikhandin, also is equally so. Indeed, O queen, O lady of the fairest complexion, thou too art threatened with danger! For the relief of all, tell me who asketh thee what the truth is! O thou of beautiful hips and sweet smiles, hearing what thou hast to say I shall act suitably. Although I have been deceived by thee as to the duties I owe towards a son, yet, O beautiful lady, from kindness I will act towards you both in a suitable manner. Therefore, do not fear, nor let this daughter of thine fear anything. Indeed, I have deceived the king of the Dasarnakas. Tell me, O highly blessed lady, how may I act towards him so that all may yet turn up well!' Indeed, although the king knew everything, yet he addressed his wife in the presence of others in this way, to proclaim his own innocence before others. His queen then answered him in the following words.'"
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