Tuesday, January 25, 2022
The Mahabharata of Krishna-Dwaipayana Vyasa; Book 1; Sections CXLI~CL
(Sambhava Parva continued)
"Vaisampayana continued, 'After the expiration, O king, of a year from this, Dhritarashtra, moved by kindness for the people, installed Yudhishthira, the son of Pandu, as the heir-apparent of the kingdom on account of his firmness, fortitude, patience, benevolence, frankness and unswerving honesty (of heart). And within a short time Yudhishthira, the son of Kunti, by his good behaviour, manners and close application to business, overshadowed the deeds of his father. And the second Pandava, Vrikodara, began to receive continued lessons from Sankarshana (Valarama) in encounters with the sword and the mace and on the chariot. And after Bhima's education was finished, he became in strength like unto Dyumatsena himself and continuing to live in harmony with his brothers, he began to exert his prowess. And Arjuna became celebrated for the firmness of his grasp (of weapons), for his lightness of motion, precision of aim, and his proficiency in the use of the Kshura, Naracha, Vala and Vipatha weapons, indeed, of all weapons, whether straight or crooked or heavy.
And Drona certified that there was none in the world who was equal to Arjuna in lightness of hand and general proficiency. "One day, Drona, addressing Arjuna before the assembled Kaurava princes, said, 'There was a disciple of Agastya in the science of arms called Agnivesa. He was my preceptor and I, his disciple. By ascetic merit I obtained from him a weapon called Brahmasira which could never be futile and which was like unto thunder itself, capable of consuming the whole earth. That weapon, O Bharata, from what I have done, may now pass from disciple to disciple. While imparting it to me, my preceptor said, 'O son of Bharadwaja, never shouldst thou hurl this weapon at any human being, especially at one who is of poor energy. Thou hast, O hero, obtained that celestial weapon. None else deserveth it. But obey the command of the Rishi (Agnivesa).
And, look here, Arjuna, give me now the preceptorial fee in the presence of these thy cousins and relatives.' When Arjuna, on hearing this, pledged his word that he would give what the preceptor demanded, the latter said, 'O sinless one, thou must fight with me when I fight with thee.' And that bull among the Kuru princes thereupon pledged his word unto Drona and touching his feet, went away northward. Then there arose a loud shout covering the whole earth bounded by her belt of seas to the effect that there was no bowman in the whole world like unto Arjuna. And, indeed, Dhananjaya, in encounters with the mace and the sword and on the chariot as also with the bow, acquired wonderful proficiency. Sahadeva obtained the whole science of morality and duties from (Vrihaspati) the spiritual chief of celestials, and continued to live under the control of his brothers.
And Nakula, the favourite of his brothers taught by Drona, became known as a skilful warrior and a great carwarrior (Ati-ratha). Indeed, Arjuna and the other Pandava princes became so powerful that they slew inbattle the great Sauvira who had performed a sacrifice extending over three years, undaunted by the raids of the Gandharvas. And the king of the Yavanas himself whom the powerful Pandu even had failed to bring under subjection was brought by Arjuna under control. Then again Vipula, the king of the Sauviras, endued with great prowess, who had always shown a disregard for the Kurus, was made by the intelligent Arjuna to feel the edge of his power. And Arjuna also repressed by means of his arrows (the pride of) king Sumitra of Sauvira, also known by the name of Dattamitra who had resolutely sought an encounter with him.
The third of the Pandava princes, assisted by Bhima, on only a single car subjugated all the kings of the East backed by ten thousand cars. In the same way, having conquered on a single car the whole of the south, Dhananjaya sent unto the kingdom of the Kurus a large booty. "Thus did those foremost of men, the illustrious Pandavas, conquering the territories of other kings, extend the limits of their own kingdom. But beholding the great prowess and strength of those mighty bowmen, king Dhritarashtra's sentiments towards the Pandavas became suddenly poisoned, and from that day the monarch became so anxious that he could hardly sleep.'"
(Sambhava Parva continued)
"Vaisampayana continued, 'On hearing that the heroic sons of Pandu endued with excess of energy had become so mighty, king Dhritarashtra became very miserable with anxiety. Then summoning unto his side Kanika, that foremost of minister, well-versed in the science of politics and an expert in counsels the king said, 'O best of Brahmanas, the Pandavas are daily overshadowing the earth. I am exceedingly jealous of them. Should I have peace or war with them? O Kanika, advise me truly, for I shall do as thou biddest. "Vaisampayana continued, 'That best of Brahmanas, thus addressed by the king, freely answered him in these pointed words well-agreeing with the import of political science." "Listen to me, O sinless king, as I answer thee.
And, O best of Kuru kings, it behoveth thee not to be angry with me after hearing all I say. Kings should ever be ready with uplifted maces (to strike when necessary), and they should ever increase their prowess. Carefully avoiding all faults themselves they should ceaselessly watch over the faults of their foes and take advantage of them. If the king is always ready to strike, everybody feareth him. Therefore the king should ever have recourse to chastisement in all he doeth. He should so conduct himself that, his foe may not detect any weak side in him. But by means of the weakness he detecteth in his foe he should pursue him (to destruction). He should always conceal, like the tortoise concealing its body, his means and ends, and he should always keep back his own weakness from, the sight of others. And having begun a particular act, he should ever accomplish it thoroughly. Behold, a thorn, if not extracted wholly, produceth a festering sore.
The slaughter of a foe who doeth thee evil is always praiseworthy. If the foe be one of great prowess, one should always watch for the hour of his disaster and then kill him without any scruples. If he should happen to be a great warrior, his hour of disaster also should be watched and he should then be induced to fly. O sire, an enemy should never be scorned, however contemptible. A spark of fire is capable of consuming an extensive forest if only it can spread from one object to another in proximity. Kings should sometimes feign blindness and deafness, for if impotent to chastise, they should pretend not to notice the faults that call for chastisement. On occasions, such as these, let them regard their bows as made of straw.
But they should be always on the alert like a herd of deer sleeping in the woods. When thy foe is in thy power, destroy him by every means open or secret. Do not show him any mercy, although he seeketh thy protection. A foe, or one that hath once injured thee, should be destroyed by lavishing money, if necessary, for by killing him thou mayest be at thy ease. The dead can never inspire fear. Thou must destroy the three, five and seven (resources) of thy foes. Thou must destroy thy foes root and branch. Then shouldst thou destroy their allies and partisans. The allies and partisans can never exist if the principal be destroyed. If the root of the tree is torn up, the branches and twigs can never exist as before. Carefully concealing thy own means and ends, thou shouldst always watch thy foes, always seeking their flaws.
Thou shouldst, O king, rule thy kingdom, always anxiously watching thy foes. By maintaining the perpetual fire by sacrifices, by brown cloths, by matted locks, and by hides of animals for thy bedding, shouldst thou at first gain the confidence of thy foes, and when thou has gained it thou shouldst then spring upon them like a wolf. For it hath been said that in the acquisition of wealth even the garb of holiness might be employed as a hooked staff to bend down a branch in order to pluck the fruits that are ripe. The method followed in the plucking of fruits should be the method in destroying foes, for thou shouldst proceed on the principle of selection. Bear thy foe upon thy shoulders till the time cometh when thou canst throw him down, breaking him into pieces like an earthen pot thrown down with violence upon a stony surface.
The foe must never be let off even though he addresseth thee most piteously. No pity shouldst thou show him but slay him at once. By the arts of conciliation or the expenditure of money should the foe be slain. By creating disunion amongst his allies, or by the employment of force, indeed by every means in thy power shouldst thou destroy thy foe.' "Dhritarashtra said, 'Tell me truly how a foe can be destroyed by the arts of conciliation or the expenditure of money, or by producing disunion or by the employment of force.' "Kanika replied, 'Listen, O monarch, to the history of a jackal dwelling in days of yore in the forest and fully acquainted with the science of politics. There was a wise jackal, mindful of his own interests who lived in the company of four friends, viz., a tiger, a mouse, a wolf, and a mongoose.
One day they saw in the woods a strong deer, the leader of a herd, whom, however, they could not seize for his fleetness and strength. They thereupon called a council for consultation. The jackal opening the proceedings said, 'O tiger, thou hast made many an effort to seize this deer, but all in vain p. 298 simply because this deer is young, fleet and very intelligent. Let now the mouse go and eat into its feet when it lieth asleep. And when this is done, let the tiger approach and seize it. Then shall we all, with great pleasure feast on it.' Hearing these words of the jackal, they all set to work very cautiously as he directed. And the mouse ate into the feet of the deer and the tiger killed it as anticipated. And beholding the body of the deer lying motionless on the ground, the jackal said unto his companions, 'Blessed be ye!
Go and perform your ablutions. In the meantime I will look after the deer.' Hearing what the jackal said, they all went into a stream. And the jackal waited there, deeply meditating upon what he should do. The tiger endued with great strength, returned first of all to the spot after having performed his ablutions. And he saw the jackal there plunged in meditation. The tiger said, 'Why art thou so sorrowful, O wise one! Thou art the foremost of all intelligent beings. Let us enjoy ourselves today by feasting on this carcass.' The jackal said, 'Hear, O mighty-armed one, what the mouse hath said. He hath even said, O, fie on the strength of the king of the beasts! This deer hath been slain by me. By might of my arm he will today gratify his hunger.' When he hath boasted in such a language, I, for my part, do not wish to touch this food.' The tiger replied, 'If, indeed, the mouse hath said so, my sense is now awakened. I shall, from this day, slay with the might of my own arms, creatures ranging the forest and then feast on their flesh.' Having said this, the tiger went away.
"And after the tiger had left the spot, the mouse came. And seeing the mouse come, the jackal addressed him and said, 'Blest be thou, O mouse, but listen to what the mongoose hath said. He hath even said, The carcass of this deer is poison (the tiger having touched it with his claws). I will not eat of it. On the other hand, if thou, O jackal, permittest it, I will even slay the mouse and feast on him.' Hearing this the mouse became alarmed and quickly entered his hole. And after the mouse had gone, the wolf, O king, came there having performed his ablutions. And seeing the wolf come, the jackal said unto him, 'The king of the beasts hath been angry with thee. Evil is certain to overtake thee. He is expected here with his wife. Do as thou pleasest.' Thus was the wolf also, fond of animal flesh, got rid of by the jackal. And the wolf fled, contracting his body into the smallest dimensions. It was then that the mongoose came.
And, O king, the jackal, seeing him come, said, 'By the might of my arm have I defeated the others who have already fled. Fight with me first and then eat of this flesh as you please.' The mongoose replied, 'When, indeed, the tiger, the wolf, and the intelligent mouse have all been defeated by thee, heroes as they are, thou seemest to be a greater hero still. I do not desire to fight with thee.' Saying this, the mongoose also went away. "Kanika continued, 'When they all had thus left the place, the jackal, well-pleased with the success of his policy, alone ate up that flesh. If kings always act in this way, they can be happy. Thus should the timid by exciting p. 299 their fears, the courageous by the arts of conciliation, the covetous by gift of wealth, and equals and inferiors by exhibition of prowess be brought under thy sway.
Besides all this, O king, that I have said, listen now to something else that I say.' "Kanika continued, 'If thy son, friend, brother, father, or even the spiritual preceptor, anyone becometh thy foe, thou shouldst, if desirous of prosperity, slay him without scruples. By curses and incantations, by gift of wealth, by poison, or by deception, the foe should be slain. He should never be neglected from disdain. If both the parties be equal and success uncertain, then he that acteth with diligence groweth in prosperity. If the spiritual preceptor himself be vain, ignorant of what should be done and what left undone, and vicious in his ways, even he should be chastised. If thou art angry, show thyself as if thou art not so, speaking even then with a smile on thy lips.
Never reprove any one with indications of anger (in thy speech). And O Bharata, speak soft words before thou smitest and even while thou art smiting! After the smiting is over, pity the victim, and grieve for him, and even shed tears. Comforting thy foe by conciliation, by gift of wealth, and smooth behaviour, thou must smite him when he walketh not aright. Thou shouldst equally smile the heinous offender who liveth by the practice of virtue, for the garb of virtue simply covereth his offences like black clouds covering the mountains. Thou shouldst burn the house of that person whom thou punishest with death. And thou shouldst never permit beggars and atheists and thieves to dwell in thy kingdom. By a sudden sally or pitched battle by poison or by corrupting his allies, by gift of wealth, by any means in thy power, thou shouldst destroy thy foe. Thou mayest act with the greatest cruelty. Thou shouldst make thy teeth sharp to give a fatal bite. And thou should ever smite so effectually that thy foe may not again raise his head. Thou shouldst ever stand in fear of even one from whom there is no fear, not to speak of him from whom there is such.
For if the first be ever powerful he may destroy thee to the root (for thy unpreparedness). Thou shouldst never trust the faithless, nor trust too much those that are faithful, for if those in whom thou confidest prove thy foes, thou art certain to be annihilated. After testing their faithfulness thou shouldst employ spies in thy own kingdom and in the kingdoms of others. Thy spies in foreign kingdoms should be apt deceivers and persons in the garb of ascetics. Thy spies should be placed in gardens, places of amusement, temples and other holy places, drinking halls, streets, and with the (eighteen) tirthas (viz., the minister, the chief priest, the heir-presumptive, the commander-in-chief, the gate-keepers of the court, persons in the inner apartments, the jailor, the chief surveyor, the head of the treasury, the general executant of orders, the chief of the town police, the chief architect, the chief justice, the president of the council, the chief of the punitive department, the commander of the fort, the chief of the arsenal, the chief of the frontier guards, and the keeper of the forests), and in places of sacrifice, near wells, on mountains and in rivers, in forests, and in all places where people congregate.
In speech thou shouldst ever be humble, but let thy heart be ever sharp as razor. And when thou art engaged in doing even a very cruel and terrible act, thou shouldst talk with smiles on thy lips. If desirous of prosperity, thou shouldst adopt all arts--humility, oath, conciliation. Worshipping the feet of others by lowering thy head, inspiring hope, and the like. And, a person conversant with the rules of policy is like a tree decked with flowers but bearing no fruit; or, if bearing fruit, these must be at a great height not easily attainable from the ground; and if any of these fruits seem to be ripe care must be taken to make it appear raw. Conducting himself in such a way, he shall never fade. Virtue, wealth and pleasure have both their evil and good effects closely knit together. While extracting the effects that are good, those that are evil should be avoided. Those that practise virtue (incessantly) are made unhappy for want of wealth and the neglect of pleasure.
Those again in pursuit of wealth are made unhappy for the neglect of two others. And so those who pursue pleasure suffer for their inattention to virtue and wealth. Therefore, thou shouldst pursue virtue, wealth and pleasure, in such a way that thou mayest not have to suffer therefrom. With humiliation and attention, without jealousy and solicitous of accomplishing thy purpose, shouldst thou, in all sincerity, consult with the Brahmanas. When thou art fallen, thou shouldst raise thyself by any means, gentle or violent; and after thou hast thus raised thyself thou shouldst practise virtue. He that hath never been afflicted with calamity can never have prosperity. This may be seen in the life of one who surviveth his calamities.
He that is afflicted with sorrow should be consoled by the recitation of the history of persons of former times (like those of Nala and Rama). He whose heart hath been unstrung by sorrow should be consoled with hopes of future prosperity. He again who is learned and wise should be consoled by pleasing offices presently rendered unto him. He who, haying concluded a treaty with an enemy, reposeth at ease as if he hath nothing more to do, is very like a person who awaketh, fallen down from the top of a tree whereon he had slept. A king should ever keep to himself his counsels without fear of calumny, and while beholding everything with the eyes of his spies, he should take care to conceal his own emotions before the spies of his enemies. Like a fisherman who becometh prosperous by catching and killing fish, a king can never grow prosperous without tearing the vitals of his enemy and without going some violent deeds. The might of thy foe, as represented by his armed force, should ever be completely destroyed, by ploughing it up (like weeds) and mowing it down and otherwise afflicting it by disease, starvation, and want of drink. A person in want never approacheth (from love) one in affluence; and when one's purpose hath been accomplished, one hath no need to approach him whom he had hitherto looked to for its accomplishment. Therefore, when thou doest anything never do it completely, but ever leave something to be desired for p. 301 by others (whose services thou mayest need). One who is desirous of prosperity should with diligence seek allies and means, and carefully conduct his wars. His exertions in these respects should always be guided by prudence. A prudent king should ever act in such a way that friends and foes may never know his motive before the commencement of his acts. Let them know all when the act hath been commenced or ended, and as long as danger doth not come, so long only shall thou act as if thou art afraid. But when it hath overtaken thee, thou must grapple with it courageously. He who trusteth in a foe who hath been brought under subjection by force, summoneth his own death as a crab by her act of conception. Thou shouldst always reckon the future act as already arrived (and concert measures for meeting it), else, from want of calmness caused by haste, thou mayest overlook an important point in meeting it when it is before thee. A person desirous of prosperity should always exert with prudence, adopting his measures to time and place. He should also act with an eye to destiny as capable of being regulated by mantras and sacrificial rites; and to virtue, wealth, and pleasure. It is well-known that time and place (if taken into consideration) always produce the greatest good. If the foe is insignificant, he should not yet be despised, for he may soon grow like a palmyra tree extending its roots or like a spark of fire in the deep woods that may soon burst into an extensive conflagration. As a little fire gradually fed with faggots soon becometh capable of consuming even the biggest blocks, so the person who increaseth his power by making alliances and friendships soon becometh capable of subjugating even the most formidable foe. The hope thou givest unto thy foe should be long deferred before it is fulfilled; and when the time cometh for its fulfilment, invent some pretext for deferring it still. Let that pretext be shown as founded upon some reason, and let that reason itself be made to appear as founded on some other reason. Kings should, in the matter of destroying their foes, ever resemble razors in every particular; unpitying as these are sharp, hiding their intents as these are concealed in their leathern cases, striking when the opportunity cometh as these are used on proper occasions, sweeping off their foes with all their allies and dependants as these shave the head or the chin without leaving a single hair. O supporter of the dignity of the Kurus, bearing thyself towards the Pandavas and others also as policy dictateth, act in such a way that thou mayest not have to grieve in future.
Well do I know that thou art endued with every blessing, and possessed of every mark of good fortune. Therefore, O king, protect thyself from the sons of Pandu! O king, the sons of Pandu are stronger than their cousins (thy sons); therefore, O chastiser of foes, I tell thee plainly what thou shouldst do. Listen to it, O king, with thy children, and having listened to it, exert yourselves (to do the needful). O king, act in such a way that there may not be any fear for thee from the Pandavas. Indeed, adopt such measures consonant with the science of policy that thou mayest not have to grieve in the future.' "Vaisampayana continued, 'Having delivered himself thus Kanika returned to his abode, while the Kuru king Dhritarashtra became pensive and melancholy.'"
"Vaisampayana said, 'Then the son of Suvala (Sakuni), king Duryodhana, Duhsasana and Kama, in consultation with one another, formed an evil conspiracy. With the sanction of Dhritarashtra, the king of the Kurus, they resolved to burn to death Kunti and her (five) sons. But that wise Vidura, capable of reading the heart by external signs, ascertained the intention of these wicked persons by observing their countenances alone. Then the sinless Vidura, of soul enlightened by true knowledge, and devoted to the good of the Pandavas, came to the conclusion that Kunti with her children should fly away from her foes. And providing for that purpose a boat strong enough to withstand both wind and wave, he addressed Kunti and said, 'This Dhritarashtra hath been born for destroying the fame and offspring of the (Kuru) race. Of wicked soul, he is about to cast off eternal virtue.
O blessed one, I have kept ready on the stream a boat capable of withstanding both wind and wave. Escape by it with thy children from the net that death hath spread around you.' "Vaisampayana continued, 'Hearing these words, the illustrious Kunti was deeply grieved, and with her children, O bull of Bharata's race, stepped into the boat and went over the Ganges. Then leaving the boat according to the advice of Vidura, the Pandavas took with them the wealth that had been given to them (while at Varanavata) by their enemies and safely entered the deep woods. In the house of lac, however, that had been prepared for the destruction of the Pandavas, an innocent Nishada woman who had come there for some purpose, was, with her children burnt to death.
And that worst of Mlechchhas, the wretched Purochana (who was the architect employed in building the house of lac) was also burnt in the conflagration. And thus were the sons of Dhirtarashtra with their counsellors deceived in their expectations. And thus also were the illustrious Pandavas, by the advice of Vidura, saved with their mother. But the people (of Varanavata) knew not of their safety. And the citizens of Varanavata, seeing the house of lac consumed (and believing the Pandavas to have been burnt to death) became exceedingly sorry. And they sent messengers unto king Dhritarashtra to represent everything that had happened. And they said to the monarch, 'Thy great end hath been achieved!
Thou hast at last burnt the Pandavas to death! Thy desire fulfilled, enjoy with thy children. O king of the Kurus, the kingdom.' Hearing this, Dhritarashtra with his children, made a show of grief, and along with his relatives, including p. 303 [paragraph continues] Kshattri (Vidura) and Bhishma the foremost of the Kurus, performed the last honours of the Pandavas.' "Janamejaya said, 'O best of Brahmanas, I desire to hear in full this history of the burning of the house of lac and the escape of the Pandavas there from. That was a cruel act of theirs (the Kurus), acting under the counsels of the wicked (Kanika). Recite the history to me of all that happened. I am burning with curiosity to hear it.' "Vaisampayana said, 'O chastiser of all foes, listen to me, O monarch, as I recite the (history of the) burning of the house of lac and the escape of the Pandavas.
The wicked Duryodhana, beholding Bhimasena surpass (everybody) in strength and Arjuna highly accomplished in arms became pensive and sad. Then Karna, the offspring of the Sun, and Sakuni, the son of Suvala, endeavoured by various means to compass the death of the Pandavas. The Pandavas too counteracted all those contrivances one after another, and in obedience to the counsels of Vidura, never spoke of them afterwards. Then the citizens, beholding the son of Pandu possessed of accomplishments, began, O Bharata, to speak of them in all places of public resort. And assembled in courtyards and other places of gathering, they talked of the eldest son of Pandu (Yudhishthira) as possessed of the qualifications for ruling the kingdom. And they said, 'Dhritarashtra, though possessed of the eye of knowledge, having been (born) blind, had not obtained the kingdom before. How can he (therefore) become king now?
Then Bhishma, the son of Santanu, of rigid vows and devoted to truth, having formerly relinquished the sovereignty would never accept it now. We shall, therefore, now install (on the throne) with proper ceremonies the eldest of the Pandavas endued with youth, accomplished in battle, versed in the Vedas, and truthful and kind. Worshipping Bhishma, the son of Santanu and Dhritarashtra conversant with the rules of morality, he will certainly maintain the former and the latter with his children in every kind of enjoyment. "The wretched Duryodhana, hearing these words of the parting partisans of Yudhishthira, became very much distressed. Deeply afflicted, the wicked prince could not put up with those speeches. Inflamed with jealousy, he went unto Dhritarashtra, and finding him alone he saluted him with reverence and distressed at (the sight of) the partiality of the citizens for Yudhishthira, he addressed the monarch and said, 'O father, I have heard the parting citizens utter words of ill omen.
Passing thee by, and Bhishma too, they desire the son of Pandu to be their king. Bhishma will sanction this, for he will not rule the kingdom. It seems, therefore, that the citizens are endeavouring to inflict a great injury on us. Pandu obtained of old the ancestral kingdom by virtue of his own accomplishments, but thou, from blindness, didst not obtain the kingdom, though fully qualified to have it. If Pandu's son now obtaineth the kingdom as his inheritance from Pandu, his son will obtain it after him and that son's son also, and so on will it descend in Pandu's line. In that case, O king of the world, ourselves with our children, excluded from the royal line, shall certainly be disregarded by all men. Therefore, O monarch, adopt such counsels that we may not suffer perpetual distress, becoming dependent on others for our food. O king, if thou hadst obtained the sovereignty before, we would certainly have succeeded to it, however much the people might be unfavourable to us.'"
(Jatugriha Parva continued)
"Vaisampayana continued, "King Dhritarashtra whose knowledge only was his eyes, on hearing these words of his son and recollecting everything that Kanika had, said unto him, became afflicted with sorrow, and his mind also thereupon began to waver. Then Duryodhana and Karna, and Sakuni, the son of Suvala, and Duhsasana as their fourth, held a consultation together. Prince Duryodhana said unto Dhritarashtra, 'Send, O father, by some clever contrivance, the Pandavas to the town of Varanavata. We shall then have no fear of them.' Dhritarashtra, on hearing these words uttered by his son, reflected for a moment and replied unto Duryodhana, saying, 'Pandu, ever devoted to virtue, always behaved dutifully towards all his relatives but particularly towards me.
He cared very little for the enjoyments of the world, but devotedly gave everything unto me, even the kingdom. His son is as much devoted to virtue as he, and is possessed of every accomplishment. Of world-wide fame, he is again the favourite of the people. He is possessed of allies; how can we by force exile him from his ancestral kingdom? The counsellors and soldiers (of the state) and their sons and grandsons have all been cherished and maintained by Pandu. Thus benefited of old by Pandu, shall not, O child, the citizens slay us with all our friends and relatives now on account of Yudhishthira?" "Duryodhana replied, 'What thou sayest, O father, is perfectly true.
But in view of the evil that is looming on the future as regards thyself, if we conciliate the people with wealth and honours, they would assuredly side with us for these proofs of our power. The treasury and the ministers of state, O king, are at this moment under our control. Therefore, it behoveth thee now to banish, by some gentle means, the Pandavas to the town of Varanavata; O king, when the sovereignty shall have been vested in me, then, O Bharata, may Kunti with her children come back from that place.' "Dhritarashtra replied, 'This, O Duryodhana, is the very thought existing in my mind.
But from its sinfulness I have never given expression to it. Neither Bhishma, nor Drona, nor Kshattri, nor Gautama (Kripa) will ever sanction the exile of the Pandavas. In their eyes, O dear son, amongst the Kurus ourselves and the Pandavas are equal. Those wise and virtuous persons will make no difference between us. If therefore, we behave so towards the Pandavas, shall we not, O son, deserve death at the hands of the Kurus, of these illustrious personages, and of the whole world?' "Duryodhana answered, 'Bhishma hath no excess of affection for either side, and will, therefore, be neutral (in case of dispute). The son of Drona (Aswatthaman) is on my side.
There is no doubt that where the son is, there the father will be. Kripa, the son of Saradwat, must be on the side on which Drona and Aswatthaman are. He will never abandon Drona and his sister's son (Aswatthaman). Kshattri (Vidura) is dependent on us for his means of life, though he is secretly with the foe. It he sides the Pandavas, he alone can do us no injury, Therefore, exile thou the Pandavas to Varanavata without any fear. And take such steps that they may go thither this very day. By this act, O father, extinguish the grief that consumeth me like a blazing fire, that robbeth me of sleep, and that pierces my heart even like a terrible dart.'"
SECTION CXLV (Jatugriha Parva continued) "Vaisampayana said, Then prince Duryodhana, along with his brothers began to gradually win over the people to his side by grants of wealth and honours. Meanwhile, some clever councillors, instructed by Dhritarashtra, one day began to describe (in court) the town of Varanavata as a charming place. And they said, The festival of Pasupati (Siva) hath commenced in the town of Varanavata. The concourse of people is great and the procession is the most delightful of all ever witnessed on earth. Decked with every ornament, it charmed the hearts of all spectators.' Thus did those councillors, instructed by Dhritarashtra, speak of Varanavata, and whilst they were so speaking, the Pandavas, O king, felt the desire of going to that delightful town.
And when the king (Dhritarashtra) ascertained that the curiosity of the Pandavas had been awakened, the son of Ambika addressed them, saying, 'These men of mine often speak of Varanavata as the most delightful town in the world. If therefore, ye children, ye desire to witness that festival, go to Varanavata with your followers and friends and enjoy yourselves there like the celestials. And give ye away pearls and gems unto the Brahmanas and the musicians (that may be assembled there).
And sporting there for some time as ye please like the resplendent celestials and enjoying as much pleasure as ye like, return ye to Hastinapura again.' "Vaisampayana continued, 'Yudhishthira, fully understanding the motives of Dhritarashtra and considering that he himself was weak and friendless, replied unto the king, saying, 'So be it.' Then addressing Bhishma, the son of Santanu, the wise Vidura, Drona, Valhika, the Kaurava, Somadatta, Kripa, Aswatthaman, Bhurisravas, and the other councillors, and Brahmanas and ascetics, and the priests and the citizens, and the illustrious Gandhari, he p. 306 said slowly and humbly, 'With our friends and followers we go to the delightful and populous town of Varanavata at the command of Dhritarashtra.
Cheerfully give us your benedictions so that acquiring prosperity, therewith we may not be touched by sin.' Thus addressed by the eldest of Pandu's sons, the Kaurava chiefs all cheerfully pronounced blessings on them, saying, 'Ye sons of Pandu, let all the elements bless you along your way and let not the slightest evil befall you.' "The Pandavas, having performed propitiatory rites for obtaining (their share of) the kingdom, and finishing their preparations, set out for Varanavata.'"
(Jatugriha Parva continued)
"Vaisampayana said, 'The wicked Duryodhana became very pleased when the king, O Bharata, had said so unto Pandavas. And, O bull of Bharata's race, Duryodhana, then, summoning his counsellor, Purochana in private, took hold of his right hand and said, 'O Purochana, this world, so full of wealth, is mine. But it is thine equally with me. It behoveth thee, therefore, to protect it. I have no more trustworthy counsellor than thee with whom to consult. Therefore, O sire, keep my counsel and exterminate my foes by a clever device. O, do as I bid thee. The Pandavas have, by Dhritarashtra, been sent to Varanavata, where they will, at Dhritarashtra's command, enjoy themselves during the festivities. Do that by which thou mayest this very day reach Varanavata in a car drawn by swift mules.
Repairing thither, cause thou to be erected a quadrangular palace in the neighbourhood of the arsenal, rich in the materials and furniture, and guard thou the mansion well (with prying eyes). And use thou (in erecting that house) hemp and resin and all other inflammable materials that are procurable. And mixing a little earth with clarified butter and oil and fat and a large quantity of lac, make thou a plaster for lining the walls, and scatter thou all around that house hemp and oil and clarified butter and lac and wood in such a way that the Pandavas, or any others, may not, even with scrutiny behold them there or conclude the house to be an inflammable one. And having erected such mansion, cause thou the Pandavas, after worshipping them with great reverence, to dwell in it with Kunti and all their friends. And place thou there seats and conveyances and beds, all of the best workmanship, for the Pandavas, so that Dhritarashtra may have no reason to complain.
Thou must also so manage it all that none of Varanavata may know anything till the end we have in view is accomplished. And assuring thyself that the Pandavas are sleeping within in confidence and without fear, thou must then set fire to that mansion beginning at the outer door. The Pandavas thereupon must be burnt to death, but the people will say that they have been burnt in (an accidental) conflagration of their house. "Saying, 'So be it' unto the Kuru prince, Purochana repaired to Varanavata in a car drawn by fleet mules. And going thither, O king, without loss of time, obedient to the instructions of Duryodhana, did everything that the prince had bid him do."
SECTION CXLVII (Jatugriha Parva continued)
"Vaisampayana said, 'Meanwhile the Pandavas got into their cars, yoking thereto some fine horses endued with the speed of wind. While they were on the point of entering their cars, they touched, in great sorrow, the feet of Bhishma, of king Dhritarashtra, of the illustrious Drona, of Kripa, of Vidura and of the other elders of the Kuru race. Then saluting with reverence all the older men, and embracing their equals, receiving the farewell of even the children, and taking leave of all the venerable ladies in their household, and walking round them respectfully, and bidding farewell unto all the citizens, the Pandavas, ever mindful of their vows, set out for Varanavata.
And Vidura of great wisdom and the other bulls among the Kurus and the citizens also, from great affliction, followed those tigers among men to some distance. And some amongst the citizens and the country people, who followed the Pandavas, afflicted beyond measure at beholding the sons of Pandu in such distress, began to say aloud, 'King Dhritarashtra of wicked soul seeth no things with the same eye. The Kuru monarch casteth not his eye on virtue. Neither the sinless Yudhishthira, nor Bhima the foremost of mighty men, nor Dhananjaya the (youngest) son of Kunti, will ever be guilty (of the sin of waging a rebellious war).
When these will remain quiet, how shall the illustrious son of Madri do anything? Having inherited the kingdom from their father, Dhritarashtra could not bear them. How is that Bhishma who suffers the exile of the Pandavas to that wretched place, sanctions this act of great injustice? Vichitravirya, the son of Santanu, and the royal sage Pandu of Kuru's race both cherished us of old with fatherly care. But now that Pandu that tiger among men, hath ascended to heaven, Dhritarashtra cannot bear with these princes his children. We who do not sanction this exile shall all go, leaving this excellent town and our own homes, where Yudhishthira will go.' "Unto those distressed citizens talking in this way, the virtuous Yudhishthira, himself afflicted with sorrow, reflecting for a few moments said, 'The king is our father, worthy of regard, our spiritual guide, and our superior. To carry out with unsuspicious hearts whatever he biddeth, is indeed, our duty.
Ye are our friends. Walking round us and making us happy by your blessings, return ye to your abodes. When the time cometh for anything to be done for us by you, then, indeed, accomplish all that is agreeable and p. 308 beneficial to us.' Thus addressed, the citizens walked round the Pandavas and blessed them with their blessings and returned to their respective abodes. "And after the citizens had ceased following the Pandavas, Vidura, conversant with all the dictates of morality, desirous of awakening the eldest of the Pandavas (to a sense of his dangers), addressed him in I these words. The learned Vidura, conversant with the jargon (of the Mlechchhas), addressed the learned Yudhishthira who also was conversant with the same jargon, in the words of the Mlechchha tongue, so as to be unintelligible to all except Yudhishthira.
He said, 'He that knoweth the schemes his foes contrive in accordance with the dictates of political science, should, knowing them, act in such a way as to avoid all danger. He that knoweth that there are sharp weapons capable of cutting the body though not made of steel, and understandeth also the means of warding them off, can never be injured by foes. He liveth who protecteth himself by the knowledge that neither the consumer of straw and wood nor the drier of the dew burneth the inmates of a hole in the deep woods. The blind man seeth not his way: the blind man hath no knowledge of direction. He that hath no firmness never acquireth prosperity. Remembering this, be upon your guard. The man who taketh a weapon not made of steel (i.e., an inflammable abode) given him by his foes, can escape from fire by making his abode like unto that of a jackal (having many outlets).
By wandering a man may acquire the knowledge of ways, and by the stars he can ascertain the direction, and he that keepeth his five (senses) under control can never be oppressed y his enemies.' "Thus addressed, Pandu's son, Yudhishthira the just replied unto Vidura, that foremost of all learned men, saying, 'I have understood thee.' Then Vidura, having instructed the Pandavas and followed them (thus far), walked around them and bidding them farewell returned to his own abode. When the citizens and Bhishma and Vidura had all ceased following, Kunti approached Yudhishthira and said, 'The words that Kshattri said unto thee in the midst of many people so indistinctly as if he did not say anything, and thy reply also to him in similar words and voice, we have not understood.
If it is not improper; for us to know them I should then like to hear everything that had passed between him and thee.' "Yudhishthira replied, 'The virtuous Vidura said unto me that we should know that the mansion (for our accommodation at Varanavata) hath been built of inflammable materials. He said unto me, 'The path of escape too shall not be unknown to thee,'--and further,--'Those that can control their senses can acquire the sovereignty of the whole world.'--The reply that I gave unto Vidura was, 'I have understood thee.' "Vaisampayana continued, 'The Pandavas set out on the eighth day of the month of Phalguna when the star Rohini was in the ascendant, and arriving at Varanavata they beheld the town and the people.'"
SECTION CXLVIII (Jatugriha Parva continued)
"Vaisampayana said, 'Then all the citizens (of Varanavata) on hearing that the son of Pandu had come, were filled with joy at the tidings, speedily came out of Varanavata, in vehicles of various kinds numbering by thousands, taking with them every auspicious article as directed by the Sastras, for receiving those foremost of men. And the people of Varanavata, approaching the sons of Kunti blessed them by uttering the Jaya and stood surrounding them. That tiger among men, viz., the virtuous Yudhishthira thus surrounded by them looked resplendent like him having the thunderbolt in his hands (viz., Indra) in the midst of the celestials. And those sinless ones, welcomed by the citizens and welcoming the citizens in return, then entered the populous town of Varanavata decked with every ornament.
Entering the town those heroes first went, O monarch, to the abodes of Brahmanas engaged in their proper duties. Those foremost of men then went to the abodes of the officials of the town, and then of the Sutas and the Vaisyas and then to those of even the Sudras, O bull of Bharata's race, thus adored by the citizens, the Pandavas at last went with Purochana going before them, to the palace that had been built for them, Purochana then began to place before them food and drink and beds and carpets, all of the first and most agreeable order. The Pandavas attired in costly robes, continued to live there, adored by Purochana and the people having their homes in Varanavata. "After the Pandavas had thus lived for ten nights, Purochana spoke to them of the mansion (he had built) called 'The Blessed Home,' but in reality the cursed house.
Then those tigers among men, attired in costly dress, entered that mansion at the instance of Purochana like Guhyakas entering the palace (of Siva) on the Kailasa mount. The foremost of all virtuous men, Yudhishthira, inspecting the house, said unto Bhima that it was really built of inflammable materials. Smelling the scent of fat mixed with clarified butter and preparations of lac, he said unto Bhima, 'O chastiser of foes, this house is truly built of inflammable materials! Indeed, it is apparent that such is the case! The enemy, it is evident, by the aid of trusted artists well-skilled in the construction of houses, have finely built this mansion, after procuring hemp, resin, heath, straw, and bamboos, all soaked in clarified butter.
This wicked wretch, Purochana, acting under the instruction of Duryodhana, stayeth here with the object of burning me to death when he seeth me trustful. But, O son of Pritha, Vidura of great intelligence, knew of this danger, and, therefore, hath warned me of it beforehand. Knowing it all, that youngest uncle of ours, ever wishing our good from affection hath told us that this house, so full of danger, hath been constructed by the wretches under Duryodhana acting in secrecy.' "Hearing this, Bhima replied, 'If, sir, you know this house to be so inflammable, it would then be well for us to return thither where we had taken up our quarters first.' Yudhishthira replied, 'It seems to me that we should rather continue to live here in seeming unsuspiciousness but all the while with caution and our senses wide awake and seeking for some certain means of escape.
If Purochana findeth from our countenances that we have fathomed designs, acting with haste he may suddenly burn us to death. Indeed, Purochana careth little for obloquy or sin. The wretch stayeth here acting under the instruction of Duryodhana. If we are burnt to death, will our grandfather Bhishma be angry? Why will he, by showing his wrath, make the Kauravas angry with him? Or, perhaps, our grandfather Bhishma and the other bull of Kuru's race, regarding indignation at such a sinful act to be virtuous, may become wrathful. If however, from fear of being burnt, we fly from here, Duryodhana, ambitious of sovereignty will certainly compass our death by means of spies. While we have no rank and power, Duryodhana hath both; while we have no friends and allies, Duryodhana hath both; while we are without wealth, Duryodhana hath at his command a full treasury.
Will he not, therefore, certainly destroy us by adopting adequate means? Let us, therefore, by deceiving this wretch (Purochana) and that other wretch Duryodhana, pass our days, disguising ourselves at times. Let us also lead a hunting life, wandering over the earth. We shall then, if we have to escape our enemies, be familiar with all paths. We shall also, this very day, cause a subterranean passage to be dug in our chamber in great secrecy. If we act in this way, concealing what we do from all, fire shall never be able to consume us. We shall live here, actively doing everything for our safety but with such privacy that neither Purochana nor any of the citizens of Varanavata may know what we are after.'"
SECTION CXLIX (Jatugriha Parva continued)
"Vaisampayana continued, 'A friend of Vidura's, well-skilled in mining, coming unto the Pandavas, addressed them in secret, saying, 'I have been sent by Vidura and am a skilful miner. I am to serve the Pandavas. Tell me what I am to do for ye. From the trust he reposeth in me Vidura hath said unto me, 'Go thou unto the Pandavas and accomplish thou their good. What shall I do for you? Purochana will set fire to the door of thy house on the fourteenth night of this dark fortnight. To burn to death those tigers among men, the Pandavas, with their mother, is the design of that wicked wretch, the son of Dhritarashtra. O son of Pandu, Vidura also told thee something in the Mlechchha tongue to which thou also didst reply in same language. I state these particulars as my credentials.' Hearing these words, Yudhishthira, the truthful son of Kunti replied, 'O amiable one, I now know thee as a dear and trusted friend of Vidura, true and ever devoted to him. There is nothing that the learned Vidura doth not know.
As his, so ours art thou. Make no difference between him and us. We are as much thine as his. O, protect us as the learned Vidura ever protecteth us. I know that this house, so inflammable, hath been contrived for me by Purochana at the command of Dhritarashtra's son. That wicked wretch commanding wealth and allies pursueth us without intermission. O, save us with a little exertion from the impending conflagration. If we are burnt to death here, Duryodhana's most cherished desire will be satisfied. Here is that wretch's well-furnished arsenal. This large mansion hath been built abutting the high ramparts of the arsenal without any outlet. But this unholy contrivance of Duryodhana was known to Vidura from the first, and he it was who enlightened us beforehand. The danger of which Kshattri had foreknowledge is now at our door. Save us from it without Purochana's knowledge thereof.' On hearing these words, the miner said, 'So be it,' and carefully beginning his work of excavation, made a large subterranean passage.
And the mouth of that passage was in the centre of that house, and it was on a level with the floor and closed up with planks. The mouth was so covered from fear of Purochana, that wicked wretch who kept a constant watch at the door of the house. The Pandavas used to sleep within their chambers with arms ready for use, while, during the day, they went a-hunting from forest to forest. Thus, O king, they lived (in that mansion) very guardedly, deceiving Purochana by a show of trustfulness and contentment while in reality they were trustless and discontented. Nor did the citizens of Varanavata know anything about these plans of the Pandavas. In fact, none else knew of them except Vidura's friend, that good miner.'"
SECTION CL (Jatugriha Parva continued)
"Vaisampayana said, 'Seeing the Pandavas living there cheerfully and without suspicion for a full year, Purochana became exceedingly glad. And beholding Purochana so very glad, Yudhishthira, the virtuous son of Kunti, addressing Bhima and Arjuna and the twins (Nakula and Sahadeva) said, 'The cruelhearted wretch hath been well-deceived. I think the time is come for our escape. Setting fire to the arsenal and burning Purochana to death and letting his body lie here, let us, six persons, fly hence unobserved by all!' "Vaisampayana continued, 'Then on the occasion of an almsgiving, O king, Kunti fed on a certain night a large number of Brahmanas.
There came also a number of ladies who while eating and drinking, enjoyed there as they pleased, and with Kunti's leave returned to their respective homes. Desirous of obtaining food, there came, as though impelled by fate, to that feast, in course of her wanderings, a Nishada woman, the mother of five p. 312 children, accompanied by all her sons. O king, she, and her children, intoxicated with the wine they drank, became incapable. Deprived of consciousness and more dead than alive, she with all her sons lay down in that mansion to sleep. Then when all the inmates of the house lay down to sleep, there began to blow a violent wind in the night. Bhima then set fire to the house just where Purochana was sleeping. Then the son of Pandu set fire to the door of that house of lac. Then he set fire to the mansion in several parts all around.
Then when the sons of Pandu were satisfied that the house had caught fire in several parts those chastisers of foes with their mother, entered the subterranean passage without losing any time. Then the heat and the roar of the fire became intense and awakened the townspeople. Beholding the house in flames, the citizens with sorrowful faces began to say, 'The wretch (Purochana) of wicked soul had under the instruction of Duryodhana built his house for the destruction of his employer's relatives. He indeed hath set fire to it. O, fie on Dhritarashtra's heart which is so partial. He hath burnt to death, as if he were their foe, the sinless heirs of Pandu! O, the sinful and wicked-souled (Purochana) who hath burnt those best of men, the innocent and unsuspicious princes, hath himself been burnt to death as fate would have it.' "Vaisampayana continued, 'The citizens of Varanavata thus bewailed (the fate of the Pandavas), and waited there for the whole night surrounding that house.
The Pandavas, however, accompanied by their mother coming out of the subterranean passage, fled in haste unnoticed. But those chastisers of foes, for sleepiness and fear, could not with their mother proceed in haste. But, O monarch, Bhimasena, endued with terrible prowess and swiftness of motion took upon his body all his brothers and mother and began to push through the darkness. Placing his mother on his shoulder, the twins on his sides, and Yudhishthira and Arjuna on both his arms, Vrikodara of great energy and strength and endued with the speed of the wind, commenced his march, breaking the trees with his breast and pressing deep the earth with his stamp.'"