The Mahabharata Home
"Kunti said, 'It is even so, O mighty-armed son of Pandu, as thou sayest. Ye kings, formerly when ye were cheerless, it was even in this way that I excited you all. Yes, seeing that your kingdom was wrested from you by a match at dice, seeing that you all fell from happiness, seeing that you were domineered over by kinsmen, I instilled courage and high thoughts into your minds. Ye foremost of men, I encouraged you in order that they that were the sons of Pandu might not be lost, in order that their fame might not be lost. You are all equal to Indra. Your prowess resembles that of the very gods. In order that you might not live, watching the faces of others, I acted in that way. 1 I instilled courage into thy heart in order that thou who art the foremost of all righteous persons, who art equal to Vasava, might not again go into the woods and live in misery. I instilled courage into your hearts in order that this Bhima who is possessed of the strength of ten thousand elephants and whose prowess and manliness are widely known, might not sink into insignificance and ruin. I instilled courage into your hearts in order that this Vijaya, who was born after Bhimasena, and who is equal unto Vasava himself might not be cheerless. I instilled courage into your hearts in order that Nakula and Sahadeva, who are always devoted to their seniors, might not be weakened and rendered cheerless by hunger. I acted in that way in order that this lady of well-developed proportions and of large expansive eyes might not endure the wrongs inflicted on her in the public hall without being avenged. In the very sight of you all, O Bhima, Dussasana, through folly, dragged her trembling all over like a plantain plant, during the period of her functional illness, and after she had been won at dice, as if she were a slave. All this was known to me. Indeed, the race of Pandu had been subjugated (by foes). The Kurus, viz., my father-in-law and others, were cheerless when she, desirous of a protector, uttered loud lamentations like a she-osprey. When she was dragged by her fair locks by the sinful Dussasana with little intelligence, I was deprived of my senses, O king. Know, that for enhancing your energy, I instilled that courage into your hearts by reciting the words of Vidula, O my sons. I instilled courage into your hearts, O my sons, in order that the race of Pandu, represented by my children, might not be lost. The sons and grandsons of that person who brings a race to infamy never succeed in attaining to the regions of the righteous. Verily, the ancestors of the Kaurava race were in danger of losing those regions of felicity which had become theirs. As regards myself, O my sons, I, before this, enjoyed the great fruits of that sovereignty which my husband had acquired. I made large gifts. I duly drank the Soma juice in sacrifice. 2 It was not for my own sake that I had urged Vasudeva with the stirring words of Vidula. It was
for your sake that I had called upon you to follow that advice. O my sons, I do not desire the fruits of that sovereignty which has been won by my children. O thou of great puissance, I wish to attain, by my penances, to those regions of felicity which have been acquired by my husband. By rendering obedient service to my father-in-law and mother-in-law both of whom wish to take up their abode in the woods, and by penances, I desire, O Yudhishthira, to waste my body. Do thou cease to follow me, O foremost one of Kuru's race, along with Bhima and others. Let thy understanding be always devoted to righteousness. Let thy mind be always great.'"
28:1 To live watching the faces of others is to live in dependence on others.
28:2 It has been pointed out before that mahadana means gifts of such things as elephants, horses, cars and other vehicles, boats, etc. The giver wins great merit by making them, but the receiver incurs demerit by acceptance, unless he happens to be a person of exceptional energy. To this day, acceptors of such gifts are looked upon as fallen men.
Next: Section XVIII