The Mahabharata Home
"Vaisampayana said, 'The Pandavas alighted, at a distance, from their cars and proceeded on foot to the retreat of the king, bending themselves in humility. All the combatants also, and all the denizens of the kingdom, and the spouses of the Kuru chiefs, followed them on foot. The Pandavas then reached the sacred retreat of Dhritarashtra which abounded with herds of deer and which was adorned with plantain plants. Many ascetics of rigid vows, filled with curiosity, came there for beholding the Pandavas who had arrived at the retreat. The king, with tears in his eyes, asked them, saying,--'Where has my eldest sire, the perpetuator of Kuru's race, gone?' They answered, O monarch, telling him that he had gone to the Yamuna for his ablutions, as also for fetching flowers and waters. Proceeding quickly on foot along the path pointed out by them, the Pandavas beheld all of them from a distance. Desirous of meeting with their sire they walked with a rapid pace. Then
[paragraph continues] Sahadeva ran with speed towards the spot where Pritha was. Touching the feet of his mother, he began to weep aloud. With tears gushing down her cheeks, she saw her darling child. Raising her son up and embracing him with her arms, she informed Gandhari of Sahadeva's arrival. Then seeing the king and Bhimasena and Arjuna, and Nakula, Pritha endeavoured to advance quickly towards them. She was walking in advance of the childless old couple, and was dragging them forward. The Pandavas, beholding her, fell down on the earth. The puissant and high-souled monarch, endued with great intelligence, recognising them by their voices and also by touch, comforted them one after another. Shedding tears, those high-souled princes, with due formalities, approached the old king and Gandhari, as also their own mother. Indeed, regaining their senses, and once more comforted by their mother, the Pandavas took away from the king and their aunt and mother the jars full of water which they had been carrying, forbearing them themselves. The ladies of those lions among men, and all the women of the royal household, as also all the inhabitants of the city and provinces, then beheld the old king. King Yudhishthira presented all those individuals one after another to the old king, repeating their names and races, and then himself worshipped his eldest sire with reverence. Surrounded by them all, the old monarch, with eyes bathed in tears of joy, regarded himself as once more staying in the midst of the city called after the elephant. Saluted with reverence by all his daughters-in-law headed by Krishna, king Dhritarashtra, endued with great intelligence, with Gandhari and Kunti, became filled with joy. He then reached his forest-retreat that was applauded by Siddhas and Charanas, and that then teemed with vast crowds of men all desirous of beholding him, like the firmament teeming with innumerable stars."
Next: Section XXV