The Mahabharata Home
" Vaisampayana said, 'Upon the retirement of the chief of the Kurus into the forest, the Pandavas, O king, afflicted besides by grief on account of their mother, became very cheerless. The citizens also of Hastinapura were possessed by deep sorrow. The Brahmanas always talked of the old king. 'How, indeed, will the king, who has become old, live in the solitary woods? How will the highly blessed Gandhari, and Pritha, the daughter of Kuntibhoja, live there? The royal sage has always lived in the enjoyment of every comfort. He will certainly be very miserable. Arrived in deep woods, what is now the condition of that personage of royal descent, who is, again, bereft of vision? Difficult is the feat that Kunti has achieved by separating herself from her sons. Alas casting off kingly prosperity, she chose a life in the woods. What, again, is the condition of Vidura who is always devoted to the service of his elder brother? How also is the intelligent son of Gavalgani who is so faithful to the food given him by his master? Verily, the citizens, including those of even nonage meeting together, asked one another these questions. The Pandavas also, exceedingly afflicted with grief, sorrowed for their old mother, and could not live in their city long, Thinking also of their old sire, the king, who had lost all his children, and the highly blessed Gandhari, and Vidura of great intelligence, they failed to enjoy peace of mind. They had no pleasure in sovereignty,
nor in women, nor in the study of the Vedas. Despair penetrated their souls as they thought of the old king and as they repeatedly reflected on that terrible slaughter of kinsmen. Indeed, thinking of the slaughter of the youthful Abhimanyu on the field of battle, of the mighty-armed Karna who never retreated from the fray, of the sons of Draupadi, and of other friends of theirs, those heroes became exceedingly cheerless. They failed to obtain peace or mind upon repeatedly reflecting that the Earth had become divested of both her heroes and her wealth. Draupadi had lost all her children, and the beautiful Subhadra also had become childless. They too were of cheerless hearts and grieved exceedingly. Beholding, however, the son of Virata's daughter, viz., thy sire Parikshit, thy grandsires somehow held their life-breaths.'
Next: Section XXII