The Mahabharata Home
Vaisampayana said, "The righteous-souled Yudhishthira, with an agitated heart and burning with sorrow, began to grieve for that mighty car-warrior Karna. Sighing repeatedly, he addressed Arjuna, saying, 'If, O Arjuna, we had led a life of mendicancy in the cities of the Vrishnis and the Andhakas, then this miserable end would not have been ours in consequence of having exterminated our kinsmen. Our foes, the Kurus, have gained in prosperity, while we have become divested of all the objects of life, for what fruits of righteousness can be ours when we have been guilty of self-slaughter? 1 Fie on the usages of Kshatriyas, fie on might and valour, and fie on wrath, since through these such a calamity hath overtaken us. Blessed are forgiveness, and self-restraint, and purity, with renunciation and humility, and abstention from injury, and truthfulness of speech on all occasions, which are all practised by forest-recluses. Full of pride and arrogance, ourselves, however, through covetousness and folly and from desire of enjoying the sweets of sovereignty, have fallen into this plight. Beholding those kinsmen of ours that were bent on acquiring the sovereignty of the world slain on the field of battle, such grief hath been ours that one cannot gladden us by giving the sovereignty of even the three worlds. Alas, having slain, for the sake of the earth, such lords of earth as deserved not to be slain by us, we are bearing the weight of existence, deprived of friends and reft of the very objects of life. Like a pack of dogs fighting one another for a piece of meat, a great disaster has overtaken us! That piece of meat is no longer dear to us. On the other hand, it shall be thrown aside. They that have been slain should not have been slain for the sake of even the whole earth or mountains of gold, or all the horses and kine in this world. Filled with envy and a hankering for all earthly objects, and influenced by wrath and pleasure, all of them, betaking themselves to the highway of Death, have repaired to the regions of Yama. Practising asceticism and Brahmacharya and truth and renunciation, sires wish for sons endued with every kind of prosperity. Similarly, by fasts and sacrifices and vows and sacred rites and auspicious ceremonies mothers conceive. They then hold the foetus for ten months. Passing their time in misery and in expectation of fruit, they
always ask themselves in anxiety, 'Shall these come out of the womb safely? Shall these live after birth? Shall they grow in might and be objects of regard on earth? Shall they be able to give us happiness in this and the other world?' Alas, since their sons, youthful in years and resplendent with ear-rings, have been slain, therefore, those expectations of theirs rendered fruitless, have been abandoned by them. Without having enjoyed the pleasure of this world, and without having paid off the debts they owed to their sires and the gods, they have repaired to Yama's abode. Alas, O mother, those kings have been slain just at that time when their parents expected to reap the fruits of their might and wealth. 1 They were always fitted with envy and a hankering after earthly objects, and were exceedingly subject to anger and joy. For this, they could not be expected to enjoy at any time or any place the fruits of victory. 2 I think that they among the Panchalas and the Kurus that have fallen (in this battle) have been lost, otherwise he that has slain would, by that act of his, obtain all regions of bliss. 3 We are regarded as the cause of the destruction that has overtaken the world. The fault, however, is really ascribable to the sons of Dhritarashtra. Duryodhana's heart was always set upon guile. Always cherishing malice, he was addicted to deception. Although we never offended him, yet he always behaved falsely towards us. We have not gained our object, nor have they gained theirs. We have not vanquished them, nor have they vanquished us. The Dhartarashtras could not enjoy this earth, nor could they enjoy women and music. They did not listen to the counsels of ministers and friends and men learned in the scriptures. They could not, indeed, enjoy their costly gems and well-filled treasury and vast territories. Burning with the hate they bore us, they could not obtain happiness and peace. Beholding our aggrandisement, Duryodhana became colourless, pale and emaciated. Suvala's son informed king Dhritarashtra of this. As a father full of affection for his son, Dhritarashtra tolerated the evil policy his son pursued. Without doubt, by disregarding Vidura and the high-souled son of Ganga, and in consequence of his neglect in restraining his wicked and covetous son, entirely governed by his passions, the king has met with destruction like my poor self. Without doubt, Suyodhana, having caused his uterine brothers to be slain and having east this couple into burning grief, hath fallen off from his blazing fame. Burning with the hate he bore to us Duryodhana was always of a sinful heart. What other kinsman of high birth could use such language towards kinsmen as he, from desire of battle, actually used in the presence of Krishna? We also have, through Duryodhana's fault, been lost for eternity, like suns burning everything around them with their own energy. That wicked-souled wight,
that embodiment of hostility, was our evil star. Alas, for Duryodhana's acts alone, this race of ours has been exterminated. Having slain those whom we should never have slain, we have incurred the censures of the world. King Dhritarashtra, having installed that wicked-souled prince of sinful deeds, that exterminator of his race, in the sovereignty, is obliged to grieve today. Our heroic foes have been slain. We have committed sin. His possessions and kingdom are gone. Having slain them, our wrath has been pacified. But grief is stupefying me. O Dhananjaya, a perpetrated sin is expiated by auspicious acts, by publishing it wildly, by repentance, by alms-giving, by penances, by trips to tirthas after renunciation of everything, by constant meditation on the scriptures. Of all these, he that has practised renunciation is believed to be incapable of committing sins anew. The Srutis declare that he that practises renunciation escapes from birth and death, and obtaining the right rood, that person of fixed soul attains to Brahma. I shall, therefore, O Dhananjaya, go to the woods, with your leave, O scorcher of foes, disregarding all the pairs of opposites, adopting the vow of taciturnity, and walking in the way pointed out by knowledge. 1 O slayer of foes, the Srutis declare it and I myself have seen it with my eyes, that one who is wedded to this earth can never obtain every kind Of religious merit. Desirous of obtaining the things of this earth, I have committed sin, through which, as the Srutis declare, birth and death are brought about. Abandoning the whole of my kingdom, therefore, and the things of this earth, I shall go to the woods, escaping from the ties of the world, freed from grief, and without affection for anything. Do thou govern this earth, on which peace has been restored, and which has been divested of all its thorns. O best of Kuru's race, I have no need for kingdom or for pleasure.' Having said these words, king Yudhishthira the just stopped. His younger brother Arjuna then addressed him in the following words.
9:1 The Kurus, our foes, having fallen in battle, have all gone to heaven, while grief has become our lot.
10:1 Sanjata Valaratnesu is the true reading.
10:2 The Bombay reading Jayaphalam is correct. The Bengal reading Jammaphalam, however, is not unmeaning.
10:3 What Yudhishthira says here is this: all the warriors that have been slain in this battle have perished, they have not attained to heaven; if, indeed, heaven has been theirs, then the slayers too would obtain heaven, the scriptural ordinance having said so. It is impossible, however, too suppose that men of wrath who have done such wicked deeds should obtain such regions of bliss hereafter.
11:1 Pairs of opposites, such as heat and cold, joy and grief, etc. Comp. Gita.
Next: Section VIII