The Mahabharata Home
Vaishampayana said, "After all the warriors had been slaughtered, king Yudhishthira the just heard that his uncle Dhritarashtra had set out from the city called after the elephant. Afflicted with grief on account of the death of his sons, Yudhishthira, O king, accompanied by his brothers, set out for meeting his uncle, filled with sorrow and overwhelmed with grief for the slaughter of his (hundred) sons. The son of Kunti was followed by the high-souled and heroic Krishna of Dasharhas race, and by Yuyudhana, as also by Yuyutsu. The princess Draupadi also, burning with grief, and accompanied by those Pancala ladies that were with her, sorrowfully followed her lord. Yudhishthira beheld near the banks of the Ganga, O king, the crowd of Bharata ladies afflicted with woe and crying like a flight of she-ospreys. The king was soon surrounded by those thousands of ladies who, with arms raised aloft in grief, were indulging in loud lamentations and giving expression to all kinds of words, agreeable and disagreeable: Where, indeed, is that righteousness of the king, where is truth and compassion, since he has slain sires and brothers and preceptors and sons and friends? How, O mighty-armed one, hath thy heart become tranquil after causing Drona, and thy grandsire Bhishma, and Jayadratha, to be slaughtered? What need hast thou of sovereignty, after having seen thy sires and brothers, O Bharata, and the irresistible Abhimanyu and the sons of Draupadi, thus slaughtered? Passing over those ladies crying like a flight of she-ospreys, the mighty-armed king Yudhishthira the just saluted the feet of his eldest uncle. Having saluted their sire according to custom, those slayers of foes, the Pandavas, announced themselves to him, each uttering his own name. Dhritarashtra, exceedingly afflicted with grief on account of the slaughter of his sons, then reluctantly embraced the eldest son of Pandu, who was the cause of that slaughter. Having embraced Yudhishthira the just and spoken a few words of comfort to him, O Bharata, the wicked-souled Dhritarashtra sought for Bhima, like a blazing fire ready to burn everything that would approach it. Indeed, that fire of his wrath, fanned by the wind of his grief, seemed then to be ready to consume the Bhima-forest. Ascertaining the evil intentions cherished by him towards Bhima, Krishna, dragging away the real Bhima, presented an iron statue of the second son of Pandu to the old king. Possessed of great intelligence, Krishna had, at the very outset, understood the intentions of Dhritarashtra, and had, therefore, kept such a contrivance ready for baffling them. Seizing with his two arms that iron Bhima, king Dhritarashtra, possessed of great strength, broke into pieces, thinking it to be Bhima himself in flesh and blood. Endued with might equal to that of 10,000 elephants, the king reduced that statue into fragments. His own breast, however, became considerably bruised and he began to vomit blood. Covered with blood, the king fell down on the ground like a parijata tree topped with its flowery burden. His learned charioteer Sanjaya, the son of Gavalgana, raised the monarch and soothing and comforting him, said, Do not act so. The king then, having cast off his wrath and returned to his normal disposition, became filled with grief and began to weep aloud, saying, Alas, oh Bhima, alas, oh Bhima! Understanding that he was no longer under the influence of wrath, and that he was truly sorry for having (as he believed) killed Bhima, Vasudeva, that foremost of men, said these words, Do not grieve, O Dhritarashtra, for thou hast not slain Bhimasena! That is an iron statue, O king, which has been broken by thee! Understanding that thou wert filled with rage, O bull of Bharatas race, I dragged the son of Kunti away from within the jaws of Death. O tiger among kings, there is none equal to thee in strength of body. What man is there, O mighty-armed one, that would endure pressure of thy arms? Indeed, as no one can escape with life from an encounter with the Destroyer himself, even so no body can come out safe from within thy embrace. It was for this that yonder iron statue of Bhima, which had been caused to be made by thy son, had been kept ready for thee. Through grief for the death of thy sons, thy mind has fallen off from righteousness. It is for this, O great king, that thou seekest to slay Bhimasena. The slaughter of Bhima, however, O king, would do thee no good. Thy sons, O monarch, would not be revived by it. Therefore, do thou approve of what has been by us with a view to secure peace and do not set thy heart on grief!"
Vaishampayana said, "Certain maid-servants then came to the king for washing him. After he had been duly washed, the slayer of Madhu again addressed him, saying, Thou hast, O king, read the Vedas and diverse scriptures. Thou hast heard all old histories, and everything about the duties of kings. Thou art learned, possessed of great wisdom, and indifferent to strength and weakness. Why then dost thou cherish such wrath when all that has overtaken thee is the result of thy own fault? I spoke to thee before the battle. Both Bhishma and Drona, O Bharata, did the same, as also Vidura and Sanjaya. Thou didst not, however, then follow our advice. Indeed, though exhorted by us, thou didst not yet act according to the counsels we offered, knowing that the Pandavas were superior to thee and thine, O Kauravya, in strength and courage. That king who is capable of seeing his own faults and knows the distinctions of place and time, obtains great prosperity. That person, however, who, though counselled by well-wishers, does not accept their words, good or bad, meets with distress and is obliged to grieve in consequence of the evil policy he pursues. Observe thou a different course of life now, O Bharata! Thou didst not keep thy soul under restraint, but suffered thyself to be ruled by Duryodhana. That which has come upon thee is due to thy own fault. Why then dost thou seek to slay Bhima? Recollecting thy own faults, govern thy wrath now. That mean wretch who had, from pride, caused the princess of Pancala to be brought into the assembly has been slain by Bhimasena in just revenge. Look at thy own evil acts as also at those of thy wicked-souled son. The sons of Pandu are perfectly innocent. Yet have they been treated most cruelly by thee and him."
Vaishampayana continued, "After he had thus been told nothing but the truth by Krishna, O monarch, king Dhritarashtra replied unto Devakis son, saying, It is even so, O thou of mighty arms! What thou sayest, O Madhava, is perfectly true. It is parental affection, O thou of righteous soul, that caused me to fall away from righteousness. By good luck, that tiger among men, the mighty Bhima of true prowess, protected by thee, came not within my embrace. Now, however, I am free from wrath and fever. I desire eagerly, O Madhava, to embrace that hero, the second son of Pandu. When all the kings have been dead, when my children are no more, upon the sons of Pandu depend my welfare and happiness. Having said these words, the old king then embraced those princes of excellent frames, Bhima and Dhananjaya, and those two foremost of men, the two sons of Madri, and wept, and comforted and pronounced blessings upon them."
Next: Section 14