mahabharatam website by markandeyaprasad in memory of vyshnavi

MAARKANDEYA presents MAHAABHAARATHAM

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W E L C O M E

DEDICATED TO MY DEAR NIECE VYSHNAVI KRISHNA

***** UDYOGA PARVA *****

"After praying to Naaraayana, Nara, Sarasvathi and Vyaasa, then one should read the Jayam."

										

This is the fifth of the eighteen parvas. In this, the efforts ( for preparations) of both the sides were described. Hence its name. (Udyoga=effort or endeavour). This parva is of 10 (some say 11 ) sub-parvas, 186 adhyaaayas and 6998 shlokas (remember, the number of sub-parvas and shlokas slightly vary from tradition to tradition).In this parva, diplomacy and philosophy are the main themes. There were four emmisaries sent on missions, two from the Paandavas and two from the Kouravas, to the other side, four being in four different ways and standards. Also, moral and philosophical discourses are abundant in this parva.

Prominent topics are,
1.Vidura's discourse to Dhritharashtra on moral code,
2. Sanathsujaatha's philosophical discourse to Dhritharaashtra,
3.Vidula's story scintilatingly related by Kunthi to Krishna
4.Krishna's speech in Kouravas' hall and the displaying of his omniform manifestation
5.Secret conversation between Karna and Krishna
6.Meeting of Kunthi and Karna
7.Bheeshma's grading the standards of the warriors on either side
and
8. Amba's episode ( a flash-back link to the story in Aadi parva that happened more than 100 years ago. ).

1. SENODYOGA PARVA

Sootha's narration to the assembly of saints at the Nymisha forest continued.

"O great saints! Vyshampaayana proceeded with his recital to the young king Janamejaya at his sacrifice hall.

PAANDAVAS CONSULT WITH THEIR ASSOCIATES

Thus grandly performing Abhimanyu's marriage, Paandavas and their associates happily spent the night with their friends and relatives. In the morning, they all arrived at the court hall of Viraata. The hall was full of beautiful chairs decorated with garlands of fragrant flowers. There were primely seated the two senior kings Viraata and Drupada. Alongwith them were sitting Balaraama and Krishna with their father Vasudeva. Balaraama and Saathyaki sat very near to Drupada. Krishna and Yudhishthira sat beside Viraata. Drupada's sons, Bheema,Arjuna, Nakula and Sahadeva,Pradyumna and Saamba sat together.Viraata's sons sat with Abhimanyu.All the five Junior Paandavas were sitting at a place.With alll these valorous personalities filling the hall, it looked like the sky full of shining planets. They talked to one another for some time as the occasion befits and at the end of that,all kept quite, looking at Krishna for his word.

Krishna looked at the gathering that came up at his behest for the cause of the Paandavas and said. "Dear kings and princes! You all know how this noble king Yudhishthira was mischevously defeated in the cunning dice game by the vile Shakuni.And you all know how he lost his kingdom to them and suceessfully spent the exile of twelve years in the forests and one year incognito in a city. Though they are capable of winning the entire earth with their might,tyey stuck to the path of dharma and chose to undergo the unbearable troubles for these many years. Especially, it is wonderful to see how they spent their critical thirteenth year in your place here, yet unknown to anybody, overcoming the troubles as they did in the forests earlier. Now that those days are gone, Paandavas wish to get back their kingdom. It is time for you all to think and decide what is to be done about this. The course we choose to follow should be righteous and beneficial to the Paandavas as well as the Kouravas. Yudhishthira's share in the kingdom is parental. It is established and known to all. Yet he doesn't want even the heaven to rule through unlawful means. He is ready to be content even with the rulership of a single town if acquired through right means. You all know that the Kouravas never fought with the Paandavas and defeated them but that they clinched the wealth unfairly. You please consider how greedy and cruel they are and how just and right these are. As these have completed the performance of their par of the bet, the Kouravas should now only return the Paandavas' share of the kingdom, as a matter of plain justice. If they failto do so, Paandavas have right to kill all of them to get their land back. When comes to war, both sides will be troubled but we all should strive for the victory of Yudhishthira since he is right. Till now, we did not know what Duryodhana's mind is. Without knowing the intentions of others, it is meaningless to decide our course of action. So, what I feel right is, we should send someone who is impartial, able and careful, to the Kouravas to demand the share of Paandavas and get it back peacefully. If persuasion fails, we will take up alternative action."

Hearing Krishna's words that meant good to both sides, Balaraama spoke. "We heard Krishna speak wishing good to Yudhishthira and Duryodhana alike. We are glad that Yudhishthira is ready to be glad with half the kingdom. May the Kouravas too be nice and agree to this proposal. That brings peace and safety to both the mighty sides.We too will be very happy at that.Even the people of both the lands will prosper if that is attained.I too am of the opinion that an emmissary should go to the Kouravas to know their intentions and convey Yudhishthira's message to them. But the ambassador should nicely wish and talk to all the prominent persons there like Bheeshma, Vidura, Drona, Dhritharaashtra, Duryodhana, his brothers, Kripa, Shakuni and Karna. The emissary should be politely and obediently speak before all those and the citizens to fetch good to Yudhishthira with success.In no case should they be derided or annoyed. Because, this Yudhishthira lost his entire possessions to them by staking as bet in the dice game, purely at his own will, that too, playing with the best hand among them Shakuni, leaving all others like Karna or Duryodhana whom he could have defeated. When his bad luck laughed at him, what is Shakuni to blame for? So, there should not be any harsh words spoken to them. The representative should only plead king Dhritharaashtra for Paandavas' share.We should not at all wish a war with them.The benefits derived out of war are not as stable and permanent as those coming from truce and peace. Hence Duryodhana should only be convinced but not demanded for anything."

Even as Balaraama was saying this, Saathyaki interrupted deriding his words with annoyance. "We see two different branches of the same tree,one with fruits and the other without. From the same house, we see cowardly and valorous ones simultaneously. So are people seen, two kinds, magnanimous and pusilanimous. One speaks as per one's mind, so do you speak per your mind's status. I don't find fault with you for your speech but I am surprised that these people bore with your words of this tone this long. Balaraama! Can any one point out even a trace of fault on the part of Yudhishthira? Had the Kouravas attacked him and defeated him, then they would have been praiseworthy. When they called him to their place, abetted him to play the game he was not goood at, resorted to vile and ruge in it and snatched the kingdom from him, where is commendability in their actions? Even after that unjustified defeat, Yudhishthira kept the terms of the bet and returned successful. Then he can and should only demand his share . Why to request, plead or beg, that too, those evil cousins who have been hostile since childhood? In noway is his demand unjustified. The elders Bheeshma and Drona already dismissed the doubts of the Kouravas asto whether the Paandavas were successful or not in meeting the requirements of exile. If the Kouravas do not listen to reason, I will bring them around with my arrows and make them fall at Yudhishthira's feet. Or if they resist that, they will meet their end in my hands, alongwith their supporters. Why should we step back? Can anyone among them stand before me in battle? Who can think of fighting against Arjuna? Who faces Bheema? Who can wage a war with Krishna? No sane fighter wishes to meet Nakula and Sahadeva in wars. Viraata, Drupada, Dhrishtadyumna, the Junior Paandavas, Abhimanyu, Gada, Pradyumna, Saamba, everyone here is like a wild elephant in battles. Who can sustain their attacks? We shall kill all the Kouravas alongwith Karna and Shakuni and deliver the kingdom to Yudhishthira. No sin in klling the cruel enemies.Let Dhritharaashtra present Yudhishthira with his due share of the kingdom and live happily with his sons.You should all carefully try to attain the desire of Yudhishthira. The final word is, Yudhishthira gets his kingdom back or all the Kouravas fall dead in the war."

The entire hall intently listened Saathyaki's emotional speech and accorded it with claps and praises. Then Drupada took up. " Yes,Saathyaki, you are correct. Duryodhana will not part with the kingdom through gentle methods. Dhritharaashtra blindly supports him. Bheeshma and Drona are tied to him due to their dependency. Karna and Shakuni second him obstinately. Who expects that they will follow dharma in the issue of sharing wealth with others? Balaraama's word is not worth its listening, I feel. In this context, what I feel is adoptable is this. Duryodhana does not deserve conciliations.That rougue takes it as our weakness if we talk gently. Smooth approach with them is as meaningless as fondling an ass.We should do all our efforts suitably. We should send our messengers to all our allies for helping us in the war. Duryodhana too will be sending his men to all the kings for help. Usually the first approacher will be favoured. So let us send our men ahead of Duryodhana to all the prominent kings of the land. We shall invite, as I remember among the countless, Shalya, Dhrishtakethu, Krithavarma, Baahlika, Bhagadaththa, Neela, Danthavakthra, Pourava, Rukmi, Ekalavya with his sons, Dandadhaara, Kshemadhoorthi, Brihadbala, Shruthaayu, Jayathsena, Susharma, Janamejaya, Ugra, Andhaka, Shoora, Rochamana, Brihantha, Senaabindu, Senaajith, Prathivindhya, Chithravarma, Suvaasthuka, Munjakesha, Chedi king, Supaarshva, Subaahu, Suraari, Nadeeja, Karnaveshta, Veeradharma, Bhoomipaala, Durjaya, Aashaadha, Vaayuvega, Poorvapaali, Devaka, Jaanaki, Manimaan, Brihathsena, Aparaajitha, Nishaada, Shroniman,Vasumaan, Baahu, Udbhava, Kshemaka, Vaatadhaana, Dridhaayu, Kaasha, Thunda, the Kaarooshakas, the Kaambhojas, the Risheekas,the Western Anoopas, the Panchanadas, the Paarvatheeyas, the Shakas, the Pahlavas,the Daradas, the Paamshus, Samudrasena with his sons, Saalva's son,the Kalinga king and many others whom you can think of and rely upon. Our task is a big one,surely. And also, we will send our Purohitha to Dhritharaashtra meanwhile,for presenting our arguments before him. Let him be appraised of what he should tell the old king,what message is to be sent to the elders like Bheeshma and Drona and even to the adamant Duryodhana himself."

Krishna appreciated Drupada's words and said. " I admire king Drupada's words. The Somaka chief spoke rightly in consonance with Yudhishthira's interests. His suggestion of sending an emissary is commendable.That is the first step to be taken. Otherwise, we will be to blame. Let the Paandavas and Kouravas decide their issues among themselves. We are equally related to either side. We all came here to attend the marriage celebrations as you all did. Since the marriage is joyfully over, we wish to take leave and move. Sire, Drupada! You are elder and wellwisher to the Paandavas. We all will abide by your words. Dhritharaashtra respects you a lot. Bheeshma and Drona are your friends , in fact. Your action will be appreciated by them all. Your word is our word. You send your person to them. Let the Kouravas listen to your good words and avoid destruction. In case they refuse your proposal and call for a war, you send a word to all the possible allies and then call for us. The adamant Duryodhana will see an angry Arjuna in the battle field and meet his fittng end."

Speaking thus as a conclusion to the meeting, Krishna got ready to move. Viraata honoured him duly and sent him off respectfully.

Krishna having left, Yudhishthira and Viraata consulted with Drupada and discussed the future course of action. Both the senior kings sent their men to kings of all the countries for assistance in the possible war. And in response to their requests, several kings came with their troops. Hearing the news about the efforts of the Paandavas, Duryodhana too likewise sent his ambassadors to various kings, who in turn,moved with their forces to help him. Thus the stragetic efforts of the Paandavas and the Kouravas made the entire earth busy with travelling armies.Many large forces arrived at both the sides, trampling down the earth with their elephants,horses and chariots.

KING DRUPADA SENDS HIS PUROHITHA TO DHRITHARAASHTRA

After further consultations with Viraata and Paandavas, Drupada called his priest, bowed to him and said." Dear Sir, You are elder and mentor to us.Of all the living beings,those with thought are better. And among those who can think, the human beings are better. Of humans, braahmana s are better. Of braahmana s, the learned and of the learned ,the eminent, of the eminent,the pragmatic and among the pragmatic, the true ones are better. As you are a true,learned and elder braahmana , I wish you to be our emissary to Dhritharaashtra. You very well know the nature and behaviour of the Kouravas and the Paandavas too. They deceived and defeated Yudhishthira with the fullest knowledge of Dhritharaashtra who always ignored Vidura's right advice. Though it is improbable that such crooked people will that easily be ready to part with wealth ,there are two benefits from your trip. The first one, your true and correct words will win the hearts of all the prominent warriors there. Vidura too supports your conciliatory words. Bheeshma, Drona,Kripa, Karna and Shakuni will say different opinions. Thus there will be rifts among themselves. Bridging those rifts will be something of a task for them. As they differ and unite, with you protracting the course of things there, Paandavas in the meanwhile, will call for their associates, accumulate the necessary things and make preparations for the war in all respects. Due to your efforts there, they won't be able to finish things as speedily as they otherwise would have done. This is the main purpose of your visit. The second one,if your good words are heedded by Dhritharaashtra, he might choose to obey you. Then you shall speak about the sufferings of the Paandavas, the illegitimate actions of the Kouravas and create a negative opinion about the Kouravas in the minds of the audience. You being an elderly braahmana , engaged in emissary job, no fears shall cast on you. Hence I request you to set out, at the Pushya star, for Yudhishthira's cause. Your efforts will not be useless."

As prayed upon and sent by king Drupada, the old priest started alongwith his disciples to go to Dhritharaashtra, with a view to bring good to the Paandavas and the Kouravas too.

KRISHNA BECOMES ARJUNA'S CHARIOTEER

After the priest left for Hasthipuram, Paandavas reviewed their efforts. Messengers were sent to all the allies already. Now Krishna is to be called for. They felt that sending ordinary messengers to Krishna would belittle his respect and they decided that Arjuna should go in person to Dvaaraka for seeking Krishna's help. And Arjuna started at once. There at Hasthipuram, Duryodhana too was busy in sending men to his friends and associates. He learnt from his spies that Krishna was going to Dvaaraka from Upaplaavyam. Immediately, he took a small retinue with him and set out fast for Dvaaraka to personally meet Krishna and ask for help in the war. Both Arjuna and Duryodhana reached Dvaaraka the same day. They two went to Krishna's palace and learnt that he was sleeping. Duryodhana entered Krishna's room and sat in a chair at his head-side. Arjuna stood with folded hands at Krishna's feet. After a while, Krishna woke up. He opened his eyes and saw Arjuna first. He wished him and turned casually and found Duryodhana sitting there. Krishna wished him too and comforted both of them with procedural offerings. Then he inquired about the purpose of their visit.

Duryodhana smiled and said. " Krishna! You kindly help me in this ensuing war. Your friendship with Arjuna and me is equal. And your relation to both of us is similar and equal too. That apart, I first came to see you on this purpose. It is justified to sanction the request of the first seeker. You are the best of the right and just in the world. Please follow the course suitable to your stature."

Krishna answered. " No doubt you first came here to see me. But I first saw Arjuna, no doubt in this too. Friendship and relationship are common factors. Thus, for your coming first and for Arjuna's being seen first, I will render my help to both of you. Yet, it is right and just to allow first choice to the younger. Arjuna being the younger of you two, he will excercise his selection first. Now, see the choices. A troop of ten lakh ( 10 00 000 . The original word here is arbuda, meaning 10 00 00 000 ! But all prominent commentators interpreted it as 1000000. The Thelugu transalation says 10 000. -Tr) soldiers known as Naaraayanas, as gallant as me in wars, is one part. And I alone, not wielding any weapon, not going to fight, am on the other part. Arjuna, yours is the first choice, by justice. Choose your option and the remaining goes to him."

Arjuna without any thought selected non-fighting Krishna, knowing that he is invincible even to the demons and gods taken together. Duryodhana took the big and strong force feeling happy within, thinking that Krishna was outwitted . Next, he went to see Balaraama and told his purpose. Balaraama said to him," Didn't you hear that I talked for you during Abhimanyu's marriage in Viraata's city ? . I prevailed upon Krishna not to take sides as you and Paandavas are equally related to us. But he did not heed to my words. I cannot bear separation from him , you know. So I decided not to stand with either of you. you are born in a famous lineage, honoured by all the ruling clans. Go and fight bound by the code of warriors. May you get the best."

Duryodhana appreciated his words and took leave from him. Later, he went to Krithavarma. He awarded him a troop ( akshouhini) of army and promised to meet him before the war. Taking both the armies with him Duryodhana left for his city considering Krishna and Paandavas nearly won over in the war.

After Duryodhana left him, Krishna asked Arjuna half jestingly and half seriously. " I truly said that I am not going to fight. Why did you choose me then, giving Duryodhana a clear chance of having the tremendous combating force?"

Arjuna replied, " I know that you are alone able to destroy all the enemies. Though I too can do that myself alone, since you are famous all over the world for your prowess, entire fame goes only to you if you fight in person alongwith me. I wish to gain the fame of routing the enemies by myself and as such I chose you. It is my long-cherished desire to have you as my charioteer in the war. May you accord that chance to me."

Krishna said, " I am glad that you trust in me. I appreciate your vying with me too. I will drive your car as you wish. May that bring your dreams of victory true." Thus cheering each other, they took leave from the elders in the city and started to meet Yudhishthira at Upaplaavyam city.

DURYODHANA INGRATIATES HIMSELF WITH SHALYA

King Shalya of Madra provinces received Paandavas' invitation through their messengers and started with a big army alongwith his brothers and sons to meet Yudhishthira. His army was so big that it covered nearly one and half yojanams while it moved. It consisted of hundreds and thousands of gallant fighters who lead the troops. The soldiers were from many lands and they wore their unique attires. With splendid armours, chariots,banners and weapons the glorious army was making its journey as if trampling down the earth, camping here and there for rest.

Duryodhana heard that news and acted quick. He devised a plan and soon went in person with many skilled workers, himself guised as one among them, to implement his idea. He moved ahead of Shalya in his route and ordered his men to build all along the way ,attractive camps made ready with royal necessities like fine dresses, delicious foods and drinks. He got dug many wells near every camp place. Water-cooled rest-places were built. Various entertainments were also arranged to please Shalya and his followers. Shalya, thinking that Yudhishthira ordered all that for him, enjoyed all those aminities at every camp and was very pleased that such nice preparations were made for him and his forces offering luxurious stay, making him feel surpass Indra. At a certain camp, he could not hold himself any more and asked his men," Who can be these agents of Yudhishthira that are building all these fine camps for us all along ? I wish to grant gratifications to them. Bring them to me. They shall get whatever they want from me."

Duryodhana's men reported this to him immediately. Duryodhana jumped with joy and presented himself before Shalya disclosing his identity and paying due respects to him. Shalya was surprised to see him that way. He embraced him and allowed to ask for anything of his choice. Duryodhana said, " Sire, be true to your word. Grant me a boon O king. Be a leader of armies in the coming war. I am as dear and near to you as the Paandavas. Please join with me and protect me."

Shalya replied. " You said right. Let it be so. What more do you want?"

Duryodhana contently replied, " Nothing more, Sire. I am blessed and honoured ."

Shalya said, " You may leave now for your place. I will proceed to Yudhishthira, talk to him and return to you. Mustn't I see the noble king?" Duryodhana agreed and said," As you say , King. Please remember your promise to me and come back soon after meeting them. I am in your protection." Shalya assured him of that and they parted , each taking his own course.

Shalya reached Paandavas and they respectfully welcomed him offering all the procedural material . He affectionately embraced the bowing nephews and enquired about their well-being. Droupadi, Subhadra and Abhimanyu bowed to him and payed due respects.He blessed them all and made inquiries of their happy living. Then Yudhishthira said to him with folded hands, " We heartfully welcome you to us Sir. Please be seated in this chair and bless us. I hope you and your followers are all well."

Shalya sat with them and talked to Yudhishthira." How are you dear King? It is great grace of gods that you completed the twelve-year-long exile in the forests with all your brothers and this delicate Droupadi. Still more difficult achievement is your successful completion of incognito year. After all, what comforts can a deprived king have? As a reward of undergoing all these terrible troubled due to the wicked Kouravas, you will destroy all enemies and prosper. We all know that you are truthful, righteous, generous and devoted to god. Hold to your path that was followed by earlier great kings . You will elevate yourself in this world and the other one."

And in course of conversation, Shalya told Yudhishthira about all that happened between Duryodhana and himself in the way right from Duryodhana's service to his promise. Yudhishthira said, " It is quite good that your delighted soul promised him what he wanted.But, please concede to my small request, may you be kind to me. Agree to do that for me even if it looks like unacceptable. When Karna and Arjuna meet in their duel, surely you will be made his charioteer. In that case, you should save Arjuna by disparaging Karna to decimate his mental caliber thereby helping us towards victory. As you are our dear uncle, you should do this even though that doesn't befit you and your stature."

Shalya assured him. " I will be opted for driving his vehicle, I am sure too, as they say me to be an equal to Krishna in charioteering. I will deride him bitterly sapping off his enthusiasm and make him vulnerable to Arjuna. You, after having suffered Karna's unwarranted abuses and many severe troubles from the Kouravas, deserve this much help, or even more, from me. Never feel sorrowful that you were to experience such severe miseries as you did. You will soon see good days. Even the great chief of gods, Indra too was once to suffer similar troubles alongwith his wife, before he regained his lost glory. You too will reestablish yourself like him."

Yudhishthira interestedly asked Shalya," How was it that Indra and his wife were to suffer? Can you clearly tell me?"

SHALYA RELATES TO YUDHISHTHIA THE EPISODE OF INDRA,VRITHRA AND NAHUSHA

Shalya began to tell the ancient episode to Yudhishthira." Listen dear Yudhishthira. This is a very ancient episode.
There was once a Prajaapathi named Thvashta. Once he wanted to teach a lesson to Indra for his misdeeds and created a son named Vishvaroopa who had three heads on his neck whence he was named Thrishiras ( one with three heads). The first head was reciting the vedas and drinking Soma , the secon was drinking wine and the third one was casting its fierce looks at all directions as if to consume all. He was good,pious and forbearing. He took up hard penance in the forests and continued it for a very long period. Seeing his powerful penance, Indra became nervous fearing his replacement, should Thrishiras acquire more and more powers through his penance. He thought over it and ordered the divine damsels to somehow lure him out of his penance and make him sink in pleasures. He told them, " You are all with appearances that please the eyes. go haste and use your beauty, music and dance to disturb him and cast off my fears."

They answered him, " Sir,The great soul looks around fiercely as if to burn everything into ashes. Yet, in your interest,we all go together to try to the best of our capacities to seduce him." And they went to Thrishiras. For a long time, they exhibited before him their beautiful forms, attempted various methods to tempt him with their sensual attractions but all went in vain. Seeing Thrishiras fast in his determination, the damsels went back to Indra and reported their failure in the errand. Indra sent them away and fell into thoughts. 'Even a weak enemy, if growing, should not be ignored even by the stronger.' He boiled within himself. Finally, he decided to kill Thrishiras with his thunder-bolt. As decided, he went to Thrishiras and hurled his bolt at him. Hit hard by it, Thrishiras fell dead like a mountain's peak cut off. Even after falling dead, his three heads looked as lively as they were earlier. Indra was baffled and afraid.

At that time, a woodcutter came that way bearing his axe on his shoulder. Indra saw the newcomer and told him to cut off the three heads of the dead person. But the woodcutter didn't agree to do that expressing fears that the handle of the axe would break and he would be committing a sin by doing that unapproved act. Indra urged him, " Dont fear. My power makes your axe as trong as the thunder-bolt." The woodcutter was surprised and asked, " Who can you be? You are employing me to do a mean job." Indra disclosed his identity. "I am Indra, the ruler of the gods. Do as I say. Do not hesitate." But the woodcutter persisted. " No. I won't do. Indra, how dare you resort to such a base act as this? Why are you not afraid of the sin by slaying a braahmana ?" Indra answered. " Man! He is my strongest enemy. I killed him with my bolt but I am still afraid of him. For casting off the sin by his slaying, I will undertake the required pententiary performances. You cut his heads. In return, I will grant you a boon that you will get the head of the scapegoats in the sacrifices. Do haste!"

Then the woodcutter agreed and cut with axe the three heads of Thrishiras. As soon as the heads were cut off, different birds came out of the three heads. Partridges flew out from the veda-reciting head, lapwings from the onlooking head and hawks and sparrows from the wine-drinking head. Indra went back to his abode and the woodcutter too went home but he did not tell anything to anyone.

One year passed and all the beings of the world exclaimed that they could not have Indra as their lord because he was blemished with the deadly sin of slaying of a braahmana . Indra then undertook observations of severe penance for emanicipation from that ghastlly sin. Further, he distributed his sin among the earth, the sea,Women and trees (hence the deserts on the face of earth, salinity in sea water,gum in the trees and the menses in women. -Tr ). In return, he granted each of them with a gift too. Thus freeing himself from the blame, Indra felt successful and happily continued his duties.

Shalya continued. " Thvashta learnt the news of his son's murder by Indra and grew infurious. He bawled out, "How dare Indra kill my son who was not at fault but always austere and engaged in self-mortification! He will get the fruits of his sin. I will create his killer, demon Vrithra. Indra and all the world will see the powers of my strong penances."

Shouting thus, he started oblations with strict discipline and created a gigantic figure named Vrithra. He ordered him, "Vrithra, you the slayer of Indra, grow powerful from my thapas." Vrithra grew as high as the sky unbeholdable like the consuming son and asked what he was to do. Thvashta ordered him to kill Indra and Vrithra straight away went to fight Indra. There occured a terrible fight between them. Vrithra overpowered Indra, caught hold of him and bodily swallowed him in a gulp. All the gods saw the plight of Indra and they instantly created the yawn which possessed Vrithra. Due to its effect, Vrithra gaped his mouth wide and yawned long. Indra jumped out of his mouth in a minuscule form. Since then the yawn resides within the living beings. The gods were happy to see Indra back and the fight resumed. But Indra could not stand before Vrithra whose strength was unsurmountable to him because of Thvashta's cosmic powers. Finally Indra and the gods took to their heels. They all reached the Mandara mountain and together with all the sages they discussed asto what their resort could be. Indra declared that Vrithra was invincible to him and he was helpless in stopping Vrithra's growth and he admitted that he was not as able as he had been earlier.They all decided to invoke lord Vishnu for their help and went to him. They meditated upon Vishnu with devotion and applied to him, " Lord, In the past you measured the three worlds with your three paces ( in vaamana incarnation). You secured the ambrosia for us ( as Mohini) from the demons. You crushed Bali and restored Indra's position (again,in Vaamana incarnation). You are the lord of lords and protector to us. Now, Vrithra occupies the entire universe. We cannot stand before him. Be kind to us and save us from him."

Vishnu spoke," It is my duty to save you. You go to Vrithra and make truce with him. In course of time, gods will win him. I will induct my power into Indra's bolt. At an appropriate time, he will kill his formidable foe."

Hearing that assurance, the gods and sages took Indra to Vrithra and said to that splendid demon. " Vrithra, no doubt you are the most powerful and you pervade the universe. Your fight with Indra consumed many years without any winning result but the world dreads the fight. You two make truce. you will continue to rule the world."

Vrithra paid his respects to the sages and replied," You are all great and respectable. I understand your message. But, hear me too. How can my enemy be my friend? How can two powers exist simultaneously over the same subjects?"

The sages said, "A good person is once made friends with. It is permanent thereafter. It also fetches good . Friendship with good people is the best implement to achieve all the ends. Hence it should not be denied. Nor is it advisable to bear enemity with them or trying to destroy them. Indra is the best among the good. He is true, free from vice and knows the dharma too. Trust in him and be a friend to him. Do not entertain other thoughts."

Vrithra spoke again. " I honour your words. I agree to your proposal if you all accord my wish for my defence. I shall not be liable to death in the hands of Indra or other gods during the day or the night, through any weapon that is either physical or incanted,either dry or wet,either metalic or lithoic. I am ready to oblige you if you assure me of this condition."

That was agreed upon and Vrithra felt relieved. Indra was outwardly friendly with Vrithra but he was very keenly in search of a chance to clear the demon should a scope occur. Obsessed with his persuit of chance, once Indra saw Vrithra moving around on the sea shore during sun-set. Indra thought Vishnu's words. " This is neither the day nor the night. This is the time to kill this powerful enemy by any way,failing which my status will be lost forever.I shall find means to my plan.Here is a big lot of froth on the edge of the sea.This is neither wet nor dry. Nor is it a weapon of any type. I can kill him with this." Thus deciding, Indra dipped his bolt in the foam and hurled it at the unsuspecting Vrithra. Vishnu entered the froth at the same moment and killed Vrithra. With his fall, Indra and all the other celestials felt relieved and immensely thanked lord Vishnu for his grace.

But, soon another trouble cast upon Indra. His violation of the vowed terms with Vrithra made him a liar and that sin added to the earlier one. Indra was deprived of his positional powers. He secluded himself to the end of the worlds and lay in a remote pond like a writhing snake under the water. With Indra abandoning his chair, the three worlds became kingless. Rains failed their timing. Rivers and lakes dried and forests shrivelled. Drought clasped the world . Anarchaism prevailed in the entire system. Seeing the dreadful consequences, the sages and gods together deliberated among themseles. They picked up Nahusha, a king who attained the heaen with his noble deeds, to be a substituite to Indra's place till his return. When asked to do so, he said to them, "Noble sirs, I am not as powerful as Indra. Only the powerful should be the ruler. Power is with Indra alone always. Then, how can I be in his place?" The celestials and the sages answered," We will donate our powers to you. The gods, demons,yakshas,sages,pithris and gandharvas. Whomever you see, their powers will reach you. With that combined power vested in you, you can conduct the world's business. Be righteous and rule the word rightly." Nahusha agreed to their word and he became ruler of the three worlds. After attaining the unforeseen great position his mind tempted from dharma towards pleasures. He spent his time jaunting in the lovely areas of the divine gardens in the heaven,on the Kylaasa hill, on the Himaalayas,on the Mandara,Sahya,Malaya, on the sea shores and in the rivers all the while surrounded by the groups of divine damsels, listening to the divine music from Naarada and Thumburu, enjoying the dances of the gandharvaas like Vishvaavasu. All the seasons obeyed his moods following him in personified forms. The elements behaved at his will. As he was fully indulged in such pleasures, oneday suddenly his eyes ensnared Indra's queen Shachi. Her sight made him mad with lust and he asked the audience," When I am Indra ruling the mortals and the gods, why doesn't his consort attend me? She shall be brought to my palace soon."

Shachi heard that with concern and went to their preceptor Brihaspathi. " Master, You only can save me from this libidinous Nahusha. You always praise me as the virtuous wife of Indra. Your words are in danger. I have no other to rescue me out of this fall." Brihaspathi consoled the terrified queen. " Child, nothing to fear about Nahusha. My words never fail. I will shortly unite your husband with you. You will be in your former status in a short span of time."

Nahusha had information that Brihaspathi offered refuge to Shachi and he became angry with the divine mentor.Seeing him annoyed, the gods and sages tried to pacify him. "Lord, shed this anger. The ruler of the world should not yield to anger as that causes troubles to all the celestials. Control yourself and abstain from the sin of eyeing on other's wife."

But Nahusha heedded not. He countered them, " Didn't Indra molest Ahalya, wife of a hermit even as her husband was alive? Why didn't you stop him then? Aren't you aware of many a vice of Indra ? Why didn't you prevail upon him not to do such unrighteous things? Enough with your teachings. Shachi should be brought to me at once. That brings good to her and you as well."

The gods couldn't answer him but pleaded him to be calm and agreed to entrust Shachi to him. They went to Brihaspathi and told him, " Sir, Nahusha was very angry that you harboured Shachi. He wants her service. We all pray you to send her to him and save us. Nahusha is now superior to Indra . May Shachi honour him and serve him as his consort."

Shachi heard their words trembling with fear and said to Brihaspathi, " Sir, I don't want to go to Nahusha. Save me. Do not disown me under your protection."

The preceptor consoled her, " Don't worry. I am not going to leave the refugee any way. Being a braahmana with the fullest knowledge of dharma, how can I force a virtuous lady to follow a lustful fellow? Gods and sages! Hear what Brahma said of protecting the refugee. ' If one lets down one's refugee, his seeds will not reap; the rains miss him; and he finds no protector when needded. Such a person eats in vain; he falls from his heaven and gods reject his sacrificial oblations. His offspring die early; his parents abandon him and Indra's bolt finishes him'. As such, I won't leave her to his command. Do what is good to you and me too."

They asked Brihaspathi himself. " What is the best course for us now to save Shachi's honour and save ourselves from Nahusha?" Brihaspathi suggested, " A way to serve our purpose can be like this. Let Shachi ask him for some time to decide. Meanwhile we will try to find Indra. Time is a magical thing that serves everything to the deserving. Nahusha, already sunk in pleasures, might deviate further from dharma and bring his own displacement." They approved that plan and urged Shachi to do so, assuring her of safety and restoration of unity with Indra. She too, being wise to the moment, went to see Nahusha with all fears in her mind. He saw the refulgent Shachi and was delighted.

He said to her, " O beauty! I am the ruler of the the three worlds, as you know. Come to me and serve me as my consort." Shachi shuddered with fear and prayed to Brahma in her heart. She managed to say, " Lord of the heaven! I pray you grant me some time. Let me learn about where Indra was and what happened to him. If my efforts do not come to fruition, I will serve you, believe me." Nahusha too agreed and sent her on the condition of returning if nothing is known about Indra. Shachi again went to Brihaspathi. All the gods intently thought of tracing Indra. Finally they prayed to lord Vishnu. " Lord! Indra disappeared being cast with his sins. Extricate Indra from his sins and restore his protection to us." Vishnu instructed them." Let Indra perform an Ashvamedham sacrfice in dedication to me. He will see better days. Nahusha will perish from his own faults. Bear with him till such time." The gods got encouraged with those words and went to the remote place where Indra was hiding and reported Vishnu's instructions to him. The sacrifice was performed in strict adherence to the procedures. Indra distributed his sin among the earth, mountains,rivers and women besides the other living beings. With that he became free from his sins and regainesd his own self.

But, as soon as he saw Nahusha in his place, Indra shuddered and vanished. Shachi flung into distress and wept calling out for her dear husband. She contained herself and began to pray to the goddess of night. " May this night of the Sun's northern solstice bring good to me. I invoke to the goddess of Upashruthi . May she manifest before me." And due to her pious prayings, Upashruthi appeared before her. Shachi requested her, " Goddess Upashruthi! Let me know where Indra is. Let the truth herald the truth." Upashruthi said, " I am pleased with your true sincerity .Let it be so as you wish. I will show you your husband. Follow me." Shachi followed her they both crossed many celestial forests, hills and the Himaalayas too. They reached the Northern end of the earth. There they saw a vast ocean and a large island in it . In that island full of various trees and creepers, there was a big lake. There were five-cloured lotuses occupied by clusters of humming-bees. In the middle of the lake, there was a long stalk with a wide lotus at the end. They broke into the stalk and saw Indra stationed there in a microcosmic form. Shachi exalted Indra's earlier deeds and made him happy.Indra asked her how she knew his place and why she came there. Shachi detailed him everything. " Nahusha was proud with acquisition of your place.He became so audacious to order me to attend his service. He set me a time limit too. If you won't act now, I shall be in his control. I came to inform this and to request you to compose yourself, kill that cruel usurper and rule the heaven again."

A despondent Indra thought for a while and answered. " Shachi, this is not time for direct action. Nahusha is more powerful than me, now. His power is growing day by day,by the offers given by the sages. Listen to my advice and keep it to yourself. You go to Nahusha and feign your readiness to serve him but ask him to come on a sedan borne by the sages. That will do for us."

Shachi agreed and returned. She went alone to Nahusha and saw him privately. Nahusha smirked at her and said. "Shachi, what did you decide? Come and have me. What do you need? Tell me without hesitation. I will do whatever is of interest to you, I promise."

She answered, " I am looking forward for the end of the intervel you granted me. After that I shall be yours.But I have to request you for one thing. If you fullfil this small desire of me, you can have me as yours. Indra has many vehicles for him. Horses, elephants, chariots and fliers. I wish you to have a novel carrier that none had ever had. You are now the greatest among the gods and demons. None is your equal.You can steal half the strngth of the opponent just by seeing him. Such a great personality as you should move around by a unique carrier too. I want you to come to me carried in a palanquin borne by the sages themselves."

Nahusha rejoiced at that. He said, " Yes, I am the lord of all the past, current and future things. My looks will take away the power of my foes. Every thing is within me. My anger can make all that perish. I really deserve a unique carrier. The one you suggested is fine. I like it too. Who can make the sages as bearers, other than a powerful person like me? Your interest willbe done.The seven sages will carry me in a litter. Your interest will be done and you can see my greatness yourself for your pleasure." He sent her away and did what she told him to do. He ordered the saints to carry his palanquin and they obeyed his orders.

Leaving Nahusha, Shachi went to Brihaspathi again. " The time is coming to a close. Quickly search for Indra and save me from insult. I have no power to trace him again." She supplicated to him. Brihaspathi assured her, " Not in the least you worry about this. Nahusha is nearly a gone fellow.He left the dharma to air and made the sages his bearers. I will undertake a powerful sacrifice for getting Indra back and dethroning Nahusha too."

And he performed a particular sacrifice pouring oblations in the blazing fires invoking the fire god Agni to search for Indra whereby the fire god manifested himself into a female form and vanished then and there . Agni thoroughly searched in all the directions in forests,mountains and lands for Indra but could not find him and reported the same to Brihaspathi instantly. He added, " My search went through everywhere except waters where I cannot enter lest I should perish. You know that water,braahmana and stone are the origins of fire, braahmana and iron. These three are powerful elsewhere but not in case of their origins."

Brihaspathi said to Agni. " Agni! You are the face of gods. You convey the sacrificial oblations to them. You lie inherent in all beings ,latently witnessing all their deeds. You are one but have three forms. Without you, the world never runs. All the learned go to the higher worlds only through your worship. You convey the oblations which are nothing but you. You are the main subject of all the sacrifices and rituals. You are the source that makes the worlds you are the one that annihilates them too.The sages say you are the cloud and you are the lightning. your flames are support to to the existence of all. Water is in you and the entire things are within you. Nothing in the entire universe is beyond you. I will empower you with the ancient vedic hymns and that makes you immune to the waters. Agni, go and search in the waters too for Indra."

Thus made immune to waters, Agni searched in all the water beds and finally found Indra where Shachi found him earlier and reported to Brihaspathi about Indra's hiding there in a a miniature form. Brihaspathi went here alongwith all gods and sages. He exalted Indra rekindling his energies. "Indra! You are the one that killed the great demons like Namuchi, Shambara, Bala and Vrithra. You are the sheltr for all in the worlds. You have no equal. You are the base of the power of the gods. See all these gods and sages standing before you for protection. Get back your powers and save all."

Thus being invoked , Indra slowly improved more and more in strength and power and regained his earlier form and person. And he asked his mentor, " Vrithra was killed. What remains to be done for us?" Brihaspathi told him that the mortal Nahusha attained Indra's position and all are being troubled by him. Indra asked Brihaspathi how Nahusha became so and what his penances and powers were. Brihaspathi replied," After you disappeared leaving your position vacant,the gods, sages,pitris and Gandharvas alongwith other prominet celestials asked Nahusha to become Indra. when he pleaded inability and wanted him to be made powerful enough to do the job, they donated their powers to him made him lord of heaven. He later became arrogant and now he moves around carried in a palanquin borne by the sages. His looks are such powerful that he can take away the power of whom he looks at. All gods remain invisible to him for fear os loss of powers. You too should not see into his eyes." As Brihaspathi was telling this, other lords of the heaven Kubera, Yama,Soma and Varuna too came there. They all congratulated Indra for his success against Vrithra. Indra wished them all and asked for their assistance in dethroning Nahusha. They all said that they were afraid of the venomous looks of Nahusha but that they were ready to help him in the task if they were given a share in the oblations. Indra agreed to allow shares to Yama, Soma,Varuna and Kubera. Agni too asked for his share should he help . Indra agreed saying that both Indra and Agni are offered the same oblation in sacrifices. Then Indra appointed Kubera as lord of Yakshas and wealths, Yama as lord of pitris, Varuna as lord of waters. And they were discussing among themselves asto how to win against Nahusha. Suddenly there came sage Agasthya that way. He saw Indra, blessed him and congratulated for his well-being. He said, " Indra! You are victorious against Vishvaroopa and Vrithra. Now, due to your good luck,Nahusha too fell from the heaven making way to you back. I am pleased to see you free from foes now."

Indra welcomed the sage paying all respects to him and asked him as to how Nahusha lost his celebrrated status.Agasthya told him. " Listen this news which makes you happy. He employed us as bearers of his litter. We were all doing that burdensome job somehow. Oneday when we very tired, we asked him if he treats the chants used in consecration of cows as standard or not. He said - no. We all argued with him that those chants were declared as standard by Brahma himself but Nahusha had misinterpreted the texts forgetting the dharma . In the course of argument, Nahusha grew impatient and kicked me on my head with his foot. Then I told him, 'You ignorantly deride what was honoured by earlier sages. You opted to be bodily carried by sages who are as great as Brahma. Still more, you kicked me on my head with your foot. This is the last thing to complete your depravity. You fall down onto the earth and stay there in the form of a terrible serpent for as long as ten thousand years. Then only, you have chance to enter the heaven again.' And instantly he fell off onto the earth transformed into a snake. Thus did the unfit person go out of your way. Now you go back to your position and rule the worlds." Indra honoured Agasthya and bowed to him in greatful reverence. All the gods, sages,pitris,Yakshas,nagas,raakshasaa.Gandharvas,divine damsels, oceans,rivers and mountains appeared before Indra praising him for Agasthya's displacing Nahusha from heaven onto the earth making him as a dirty snake. Indra mounted his elephant Ayraavatha and went back to his place surrounded by the elated gods, met his eager consort and resumed his normal position.Then sage Angiras honoured Indra worshiping him with atharva chants. Indra was pleased and told him that those chants would be known as Atharvaangirasa and Angiras would get a share of oblations too. Later, Indra satisfied all the sages and gods and continued his rule over the worlds.

Shalya continued to Yudhishthira. " Thus, even Indra and his wife were subject to miseries caused by the foes. He too was to remain incognito awaiting victory over his enemies."

Shalya concluded the episode saying,"Just like Indra, yoo too , Yudhishthira, will regain your earlier position after all those excruciating situations you passed through. Duryodhana will meet his fate as Nahusha did. You are shortly going to reestablish your control over the entire earth. This episode, called Indra-vijaya (Indra's victory), if recited or heard, gives wealth and victory.He who listens to this episode before proceeding for war will be successful in that."

Shalya concluded and rose to leave. Yudhishthira offered his parting-respects to Shalya and reminded him of his promise. " You will be chosen to ride Karna's chariot against Arjuna. Do not forget to discourage him by exalting your nephew." Shalya assured him of that and left for Duryodhana's camp with his forces.

ARMIES GATHER ON BOTH SIDES

All the other kings too ,who received invitations to take part in the war, started joing either side of the Paandavas or the Kouravas.

The Saathvatha chief Saathyaki joined Yudhishthira with an army of an Akshouhini. That army comprised soldiers from many countries wielding various weapons and was rich in all aspects. The Chedi king Dhrishtakethu came with one Akshouhini. Magadha prince and Jaraasandha's son Jayathsena brought one Akshouhini to join the Paandava side.The Paandya king too arrived with a huge force of one full Akshouhini,full of the coastal island-dwellers. Drupada's army of one Akshouhini,gathered from all places was under control of his sons and brothers. Viraata too gave one Akshouhini. And other forces collected from other associates amounted to one Akshouhini.Thus there accumulated seven Akshouhinis on Paandavas side.

On the Kouravas side too, forces from their tributories and associates joined . Bhagadaththa of Praagjyothisham came with one Akshouhini. His army comprised soldiers of China and kiraathas. Bhoorishravas and Shalya came with one alshouhini each. Krithavarma arrived with an Akshouhini consisting of Bhojas, Andhas and Kukuras. Jayadratha came with an Akshouhini consisting of Sindhu and Souveera soldiers. Kaambhoja king Sudakshina brought an Akshouhini full of Yavanas and Shakas. The two Avanthi brothers Vinda and Anuvinda came with an army of one Akshouhini. The five Kekaya brothers brought with them an Akshouhini. And many other kings came with their collected armies accounting to a total of three Akshouhinis. Thus the kourava forces numbered to eleven Akshouhinis. There was no place enough to camp in the capital Hasthipuram even to the prominent leaders of the armies. Duryodhana arranged for camps for that large army in and around many places like Panchanadam, kurujaangalam,lohithaka forest,ahichchathram,kaalakootam,Vaaranam, Vaatadhaanam and Yaamuna forest, as those areas were abundant in food,water and grass. The priest of king Drupada travelled to Hasthipuram, watching all along the way the huge collection of those armies.

END OF SENODYOGA PARVA

2. SANJAYA-YAANA PARVA

DRUPADA'S PUROHITHA TALKS TO DHRITHARAASHTRA IN THE COURT HALL

The priest reached the city and obtained admission to Dhritharaashtra's presence. The old king, Bheeshma and Vidura honoured him duly. After inqiring about their well being and health first, the priest spoke to Dhritharaashtra before all the generals. "You all know the traditions of braahmana s and general codes of life too. Yet, I need to tell a bit just as a matter of routine. Dhritharaashtra and Paandu are sons of the same father, as all know. The hereditary lot of wealth is equally enjoyable to either of them, no question about it. When Dhritharaashtra's sons got their father's share, why shouldn't Paandu's sons too get their father's share? you all know how the kingdom came under Dhritharaashtra's control and how Paandavas didn't get their proper share. Even though the Kouravas employed deadly means to destroy them unscrupulously, they could sustain all such attacks just due to their sheer luck. They developed their kingdom on their own but Kouravas and Shakuni deceitfully grasped at it and insulted them and their queen in the full court. Further, they were sent to the forests for thirteen years where they suffered many troubles. Astonishingly, Dhritharaashtra approved all those acts of his sons unmindful of juctice and rights. And the thirteenth year at Viraata's city was like another birth for them.But, now, they are ready to keep aside all that was done to them. They are not of the opinion to wage a war against their cousins unnecessarily. Truce is their first choice. They want their due share but without destruction of braahmana s. There was already an army of seven Akshouhinis at the command of Yudhishthira. Saathyaki, Bheema and The Twins are as good as another thousand troops. All your eleven Akshouhinis are one side and Arjuna alone is one side, anybody knows that. Added to that Krishna joined him . Assessing the mighty army, Arjuna's valour and Krishna's dexterity, which sane person will want a war? Even if Duryodhana has his reasons to go for a war, it is for his good that he should desist from that. Finally, it is upto you , the elders of this clan to bring him around for the benefit of both sides. May you all see to it that their rightful share is conceded to them before it is too late."

Bheeshma heard his words and spoke to him. " Learned one! We are happy to hear from you that Paandavas are at the end of their troubles. It is good that they are safe and Krishna joined them. It gives me pleasure to learn that they are still for peace with Kouravas, not opting for war. What all you said is exactly true, though your tounge is a bit terse and harsh as is natural for a braahmana . It is beyond doubt that Paandavas experienced many troubles both here and in the forests too. They lawfully obtained their father's share earlier and they should get it now too. Arjuna is valorous by nature and has all the asthras at his disposal. Even Indra cannot stand before him, what to speak of others? I reckon that he had no match in all the three worlds."

Even as Bheeshma was talking, Karna interrupted him with anger,looked at Duryodhana and talked to the Purohitha. "braahmana ! What is the use of repeating the list of past incidents? What you said is within the knowledge of everybody. Shakuni played on behalf of Duryodhana and defeated Yudhishthira whereby he went on exile according to the terms of the bet. If they want their share in the kingdom,let them first complete their term of incognito correctly. They can then safely live in the shelter of Duryodhana. Leaving that, if they tend to challenge us simply by trusting in the support of Mathsyas and Paanchaalas, but not as per the terms, they get nothing for their foolishness. Duryodhana will give all his empire even to an enemy if justifed, but not even a percentile to anybody out of fear. If they dare fight us, it takes no time to learn that they are mistaken, once they meet our stalwarts in the war."

Bheeshma was angry with Karna. " What are your cheap words for? Remember what Arjuna achieved against all six of us in the recent war. Your rpeated defeats then disclosed to the world what you are . If we lend a deaf year to this braahmana 's words, we will all bite dust again in Arjuna's hands."

Dhritharaashtra reproved Karna for his hastiness and pleadingly appologised Bheeshma. Then he spoke to the Priest." Sir, I will consult and send my person Sanjaya to Paandavas. You please leave and see them now itself." Saying this, he honoured the priest with felicitations and sent off. Next he called for Sanjaya and told him these words.

DHRITHARAASHTRA SENDS SANJAYA TO PAANDAVAS

"Sanjaya! We are informed that Paandavas were back and stationed at Upaplaavyam. You go and see him. Put the first word that we are happy at his safe overcoming of all troubles and staying comfortably at a place with all aminities and arrangements. Inform him of the well-being of all of us here. Isn't it nice that they are still good enough to us even after being uncermoniously driven out by us ? Sanjaya, I have never seen even a minute fault on their part. They amassed wealth by their own might but they offered it all to me. I see nothing to blame with as they always prefer dharma to pleasures. Tolerant,wise and brave, they regard their friends suiting their class and their friendship never fades away with time. Except this evil Duryodhana and still more eviler Karna, I see no one hating them. These two pour oil in the fire by provoking the anger of otherwise placate Paandavas.My son is in the hands of the death and he wishes to snatch their share out of baseless greed and hatred towards his mighty cousins. How is it wise to think of fighting with Yudhishthira, as he is now? Arjuna alone can destroy all our people and armies. He single-handedly won the entire Northern front upto as far as the Uththarakuru lands. He won the tough Paandyas too. Why humnas? Even Indra was subdued when he let Agni burn the Khaandavam.That made him and his brothers famous in the world. such an eminent Arjuna is now with Krishna himself. Who stands before him bearing his shower-like arrows? Bhemma is no inferior to him in chariot-fight. He is an acs elephant fighter too. No question of his equals in mace-fight. Physically his strength is equal to that of ten thousand elephants. He is well trained in all warfare and a seasoned warrior. He is always angry with us and doesn't care even the gods. The twins are well taught and trained by Arjuna himself. They drive the enemies like the hawks do th clusters of sparrows. Besides their own strength, we heard that Drupada was with them for their cause with all his kinsmen, not caring even for life. Viraata who enjoyed their support and relation is too with them with full devotion. The five deprived Kekaya brothers joined them for supporting in the war with a view to regaining their kingdom through Paandavas. The disciple of Drona, Kripa,Arjuna and Krishna, the terrible Saathyaki is with them. Dhrishtadyumna is like one among the Paandavas, determined to win their cause.The Paandya king with all his fighters joined them.Many other kings from the hills and forests are reported to have been faithful to Yudhishthira. Of all, Krishna the slayer of Shishupaala is with them .We know what tasks Krishna achieved for Paandavas. Imagining Krishna and Arjuna in a single chariot, I tremble with fear. It is better my son doesn't bring a war with them, lest those two should raze us down like Indra and Vishnu did the demons. Than all these, I dread Yudhishthira more. He is as dangerous as calm. As my fears grow, he too grows in power. Once he feels revengeful, there can be nothing to stop him. When such Yudhishthira is followed by all these invincible hands, We had better offer him his share before the things go wrong. I am not my own self thinking of Yudhishthira. You go to him by a speedy chariot and talk to him in my name."

Dhritharaashtra continued. " Sanjaya! Go and see Yudhishthira. Inquire his welfare. Also, there is Krishna, the walking life of Paandavas. Bow to him and ask about his well-being. There are their staunch supporters whom I mentioned. Enquire about their health. Talk to Yudhishthira politely and respectfully, such words as you think fit in the assembly for keeping him cool and placated. In no case should your words annoy him or anybody there or make think of choosing war."

Hearing Dhritharaashtra's cunning words that looked outwardly good but in essence of no substance, Sanjaya started immediately to go to Paandavas.

He reached Upaplaavyam and obtained audience with Yudhishthira in his court hall. After the formal wishes were over, he said to Yudhishthira."It is my great pleasure to see you back safe being served by all your associates. King Dhritharaashtra asks you each through me about your welfare. Is Yudhishthira fine? Is Bheema alright? Is Arjuna well? Are The Twins too well? Is Droupadi well? She is the source and concentration of happiness of all of you. Are your wellwishers well ?"

Yudhishthira answered." Welcome to you, Sanjaya. I am well with all my brothers and wife. Hearing from our old king after a long time and seeing you here from him, I feel as if I saw him in person and that makes me extremely pleased." And he continued, " Tell me Sanjaya , is our learned grandsire Bheeshma well? Is he as affectionate to us as earlier? Are our elders Baahlika and Somadaththa well? How are Bhoorishravas and Shala? Are our teachers Drona and Kripa well? Is Ashvaththaama fine? Are all the warriors on their side sincere for their cause? Are they well treated even as those like Ashvaththaama are present? Are they all well? Is Yuyuthsu well? Is Karna, whom the imbecile Duryodhna follows,well and healthy? Are our elderly women, sisters, daughters-in-law, nieces,nephews,grand-children and the servant maids well, free from all bodily troubles? Do the braahmana s enjoy their endowments provisions freely? Do those we allowed to them still continue? I hope Duryodhana doesn't disturb them. Is he attentive in listening to their problems and does he solve them ? braahmana s are instituted by Brahma as the light to show the path in both the worlds. If they are not cared for, it will be for the damage to the Kouravas themselves. Do the king Dhritharaashtra and his sons grandly allow regards to their counsellors? Are those counsellors dedicated to them without yielding to the enticements of enemies? I believe that all the Kurus there never speak bad of us, and so do Drona,his son and Kripa never think of any fault with us. Do all of them advise Dhritharaashtra and his sons to go for peace? Sanjaya, Didn't it ever occur so, when they faced a group of enemies ahead, they thought of expert Arjuna's arrows showered out in a row with a thunderous sound from his Gaandeevam? For me, I cannot reckon any archer exceeding or equalling him, whose fist can release sixty one hilted arrows in a single load. Do they ever remember frenzy Bheema's valour with his mace that he made the enemies shudder in war like an elephant that treads over the reeds? Do they talk about Nakula's memorable victory over the Kalingas when he crushed them from both sides to an utter defeat ? Once I sent Nakula to defeat Shibis>/a> and Thrigarthas right before your eyes when he brought the entire Western lands under my control. Do they talk of it? When we were at the Dvytha forest, Kouravas came there on the pretext of seeing their cow-houses and walked into Gandharva's trap. I sent Arjuna and Bheema to save them when Arjuna extricated them safe with ease. I hope they won't ever forget it. Peace and wellfare here cannot be felt assured by showing a single act of good gesture. but it is possible only when Duryodhana is subdued by all possible means."

Sanjaya replied." Yudhishthira! What you said is right. Coming to their well-being there, they are all well. Duryodhana's followers comprise both good and crooked. He gives even to the foes,how does he cut in braahmana 's endowments? You did not harm them in the least.Moreover,you did allow advantages to them. Yet,they hate you for no cause.Dhritharaashtra always hears from the learned that betrayal of the loving is the worst sin but he cannot mend his way. For which sin they will meet a fitting result. As you asked, they always remember Bheema,Arjuna and the twins whenever a war occurs. Yudhishthira, if a righteous person like you was to undergo such trying difficulties ,it only establishes the saying that man never knows what is in store for him. And it falls only upon you, to set everything right. The world is unanimous in saying that Paandavas won't swerve from virtue for the sake of benefits. You should use your intellectuality to pave way for the happy living of you, Kouravas verily , Srinjayas and others with you. I request you to allow me to convey what Dhritharaashtra told me last night amidst his sons and followers, to speak to you."

Yudhishthira said, " Sanjaya, Here we are. With us are Srinjayas,Viraata,Krishna and Saathyaki. Go on to speak what Dhritharaashtra told you to.

Sanjaya started. " I pray you each,Yudhishthira,Bheema,Arjuna,Nakula,Sahadeva,Krishna,Saathyaki,Chekithaana,Viraata,Drupada,Dhrishtadyumna and all others present, listen to the message from Dhritharaashtra, as I speak ,for the good of all the Kurus. Very eager to settle peace between his sons and Paandavas, Dhritharaashtra himself ordered for getting a chariot ready for me to run here.May Paandavas like what he said sitting amidst all his men and may they seek peace too. Who doesn't know that Paandavas are well inclined towards Dharma,honest and well conducting ? You abhor unworthy things and are well aware of what is worth doing and what is not. Any mean act is quite unsuitable to you. But, now you are ready with terrible armies. Given your character,this particular act appears like a stain of soot on a white garment. It was just because of your act of kindness that they could survive and see good days,lest they should have gone out of the world, the day they were taken captive by Gandharvas. If such Paandavas prepare themselves ready to kill their own kinsmen that side merely for the sake of kingdom, such a life will be as bad as death for them. Here you are protected by Krishna,Chekithaana, Dhrishtadyumna and Saathyaki whom even the Gods cannot dream of winning. Who can win you? There, they are backed by such stalwarts as Bheeshma,Drona,Kripa,Asvaththaama,Shalya and Karna with many other kings. Can anyone imagine to defeat them? Seeing your and their forces so formidable to each other, I see no difference between win and loss. When total destruction is inevitable from the war and victory brings no benefit but only loss, which sane man opts for it? That is why I beg of Krishna and signior Drupada to see to it that Kurus and Srinjayas will be safe and happy. I pray that Arjuna or Krishna may not speak against this. They will donate even their lives to those who pray to them, then what to talk of obliging with peace efforts? This is the essence of the message from Dhritharaashtra with the approval of the grandsire Bheeshma."

Yudhishthira said with a smile. "Sanjaya! what hint of war did you get from my words that you dread war from us. Avoiding war is always better than allowing it.Then who seeks for it to fall upon? If all the desires come true without any effort, nobody takes pains at all, what to think of going for war? Except the one cursed by gods, who opts for war with no sustainable reason? Paandavas always wish to have comforts only through virtue and righteousness. We all know that one driven by desires becomes blind to dharma. And he finally perishes from their pressure, as desires grow stronger by their enjoyment like a fire growing by consumption of firewood. Hence it is better get rid of them. But Dhritharaashtra wants to enjoy everything with his sons alone, even though our sharing with them does not cause reduction in their pleasures. Or, are we not blessed enough to enjoy such regal pleasures as them, for which the king wants to keep us away from them? Enjoying the wealth confered on him,he himself is not unbiased, but he expects others to be otherwise. He always chose to oblige his greedy son in the past and he bewails now that we are about to attack them. Isn't it like throwing the fire in a forest of dry grass and lamenting when it grows terrific? Didn't the king and his son always decry the learned wellwisher Vidura's advice? And didn't he always support his son's interests at the cost of the virtuous and far-sighted Vidura's repeated teachings? In his thrust of pleasing his adamant, arrogant,incorrigible,egocentric,foul-tounged, harm-bringing, ill-thinking and evil-hearted son, didn't he long back forget the noble course of dharma? Their land and wealth flourished , developed and expanded only as long as they followed Vidura's counsel. In fact, it occured to me during the dice game itself when they did not even appreciate his true words that the end of the Kouravas was probably not far away. Who are his counsels now? Dushshaasana, Shakuni and Karna. Don't you see how imbecile the greedy Duryodhana is? Dhritharaashtra doesn't reckon Vidura.He thinks as badly as Duryodhana that the entire kingdom is under their control with no opponents at all, and all wealth is theirs,as we were sent away on exile. How is peace possible with such people? The reason for their confidence may be Karna who thinks that he can win Arjuna in a hand-to-hand fight. If he is so great a hero, then why couldn't he save Kouravas on many occasions in the past? Even Karna and Duryodhana- not to mention Bheeshma,Drona and others there- know that there is no match to Arjuna. Still, Duryodhana believes that he can retain the kingdom by fighting against Arjuna with success. True,Sanjaya, they will be dreaming like that as long as they won't hear twangs of Arjuna's bow and as long as they won't see frenzy Bheema in the war. As long as my valorous brothers are alive, even Indra cannot snatch their rightful share from them. May the king and his sons comprehend this and may they all not be burnt in the fire of our anger. Sanjaya, you too know how they behaved with us since the beginning. We are ready to forget all that out of our respect to you. For that matter, we were always that way with them. Even now, we wish to be the same way and follow peace as you said. Let my Indraprastha kingdom be given back to me by the honourable Duryodhana. That is the only choice for peace between them and us."

Sanjaya said to Yudhishthira. " O King, Your behaviour is seen and heard by all to be pious and righteous.You studied the Vedas, practsed austerity and performed the best of the sacrificial rites with plenty of gifts to the learned. You almost dedicated yourself for the sake of a right place in the next world. You well know that this life is like a short-lived bubble. It is verily during in this uncertain short span of life that one should try to achieve dharma. Because one who attains dharma shines like a midday sun and one without it ceases due to his sins, despite his command over the entire earth. Desires are so powerful that they tie up their persuers and their persuit causes loss of dharma. Hence a wise person should shed the desires and devote himself to dharma alone. A person ambitious of satisfying his pleasures and desires falls from the path of yoga and dharma and finally gets landed in sorrows. Thus descending from the right path, unmindful of the next world, he suffers after his death too. After all, our good and bad deeds do not get nullified, instead, they lead the doer to other world in their respective paths. And it is very plain that whatever good deeds we think of doing should be done here in this world only, since deeds cannot be done in the other world where only results are awarded. You have surely done all the possible best deeds here to assure your noble place in the other world too.Such a blemishless character of yours cannot afford to resort to sin of killing your dear people in the war for the sake of these transient pleasures like kingdom and wealth. I beseech you, noble king, not to go for a sinful deed sheerly out of anger or pleasure and forego all that was attained. Do not swerve from your right course and harm your truth,sincerity and virtue. We all wish you to gain more and more dharma by sacrifices like Raajasooya and Ashvamedha. If you were to take the course of war for your kingdom thereby leading to the sin of having to kill your grandsires, teachers, cousins and friends, then I feel that it will be better suitable to your noble self even if you opt to live like a mendicant in any of the Andhaka or Vrishni lands. But, in any case,violence will not befit you. Also, if you wish to decide the matter by fighting with them and defeating, you should have done that long back when they were not as strong as now and you where simply as strong as you are now. Because, these stalwarts like, Krishna, Saathyaki, Viraata,and all the kings at your dispoal were already with you at that time too. Then, not choosing to crush the Kouravas with your readily available great strength at that opportune moment, why did you go for the long exile to suffer by all means and at the same time allowing the foe to become stronger and stronger? Why do you opt for a war at the unfavourable moment now? In fact, you did not go for war then because your mind never tempts for an unrighteous cruelty. But, what made you condescend to do the same unworthy thing now? It is not beyond your wisdom that sometimes a clever person loses all his wealth even without a war and a foolish person flourishes even if ever engaged in wars. Not originating from any desease,very sore to bear and awefully troublesome,anger cannot be swallowed by incapable people. You alone are the one to do that. Hence, Yudhishthira, for the sake of all,you swallow down the anger. If out of your vengeful anger you opt for war which will result in slaying of Bheeshma,Drona and his son, what enjoyable end can you reach? If your victory is built upon the killing of Kripa, Shalya, Somadaththa, Vikarna,Vivimshathi,Duryodhana and Karna, will that fetch you any happiness, tell me Sir.Even by getting the entire earth under your control, neither can you shed your likes and dislikes, nor can you avoid aging and death. Or, if you argue that you need kingdom to support your followers around or because they prevail upon you to follow the course of war for that purpose, you may give away all that is presently yours to them and step aside as well. Hence by all means, I see only detriment to you by going for a war ."

Yudhishthira replied. " Sanjaya, You are absolutely correct in saying that dharma is the best course of actions. You yourself assess if I am in the path of virtue or not and then you blame me. Scholars are aware that sometimes virtue appears as non-virtue and sometimes non-virtue appears as virtue. Sometimes virtue appears plainly as virtue itself. One should follow one's defined duty at normal times and one may adopt other duties too in case of absolute asversity, eventhough it is a deviation. But when not in uncommon conditions, one should strive only to follow one's own duty. Deviation in normal times and unduly sticking to original duty in adverse times both are not commendable. I only prefer to follow the course of our ancesters. Never will I wish to possess anything through an unvirtueful means, even if that anything includes entire wordly wealth, heaven, or even Brahma's status. Leave my own claim. You know that Krishna is a common wellwisher to both the sides. All the yadus, vrishnis,kukurus,bhojas and even the Srinjayas follow his advice and flourish. The yadu chiefs like Ugrasena and Saathyaki all look at him for guidance. Babhru, by virtue of being his brother and obeying him, attained the best of the wealth like people get a rain from a new rainy cloud. Such Krishna is standard for us for he best knows the reasonability or otherwise of all actions. You ask him if I will be at fault by following the course of war or begging for conciliation with the wicked adversaries. As he is our dearest relative and the nicest person too, his word will be final and I wont cross that."

Hearing Yudhishthira's strong reply to Sanjaya,Krishna took up and said to Sanjaya. " Sanjaya! I wish welfare and wealth for Paandavas as strongly as I wish the same to Dhritharaashtra and his sons. Except prevailing for peace,I never say another word to Paandavas.Even Yudhishthira would say that to me always before all his brothers. I too would commend that word. Didn't Yudhishthira show his elsewhere impossible conciliatory behaviour with the Kouravas all the while? But given the greed of Dhritharaashtra who extremely dotes to his sons, how can a war be improbable ? You never saw even a trace of vice in either Yudhishthira or me. Then how can you blame Yudhishthira with undertaking of unvirtuous acts? He is doing just what a king should do and he is verily right in that. Sanjaya, the views about acts and their renunciation are diverse. Some state that salvation can be attained only by performing the defined acts while some maintain that renunciation is the only way for that.Can one stave away one's hunger without eating ? Even a renunced monk shall have food from a house-hold for his sustenance. Not all the branches of knowledge can give such result as the one we get from those branches which can fulfil the duty-bound acts. Every act yields its result as we evidently see that drinking of water dispels thirstiness. Even the path of knowledge to salvation is linked with acts. If any one says that sticking to the acts is different from renunciation or knowledge, it is just like blabbering of an idiot. You see the importance and strength of actions. The gods keep themselves only by virtue of acts. The wind blows; day and night run; sun rises and sinks; moon passes through the stars forming months; fire burns ever; earth bears the burden; waters flow for the pleasure of the world; clouds rain thunderously; Indra attained leadership of the gods; Brihaspathi became preceptor of gods; the stars shine; the celestials rudras, vasus,vishvas amd adithyas maintain their status; the lords like Yama and Kubera rule the cardinal points; Gandharvas, Yakshas and apsarasas enjoy their places; the celibate and austere saints get honours; all these things happen because they stick to their defined acts. Even being aware of the duties of braahmana s, kshathriya s and Vyshya s, why do you try to corner Yudhishthira for the sake of the Kouravas? He is bounded to the vedas and is interested in sacrifices like raajasooya and ashvamedha. He is armed and is with his armies too. Still, if he can find a way to achieve his purpose without having to slay the Kouravas, he will go that way shielding his virtue, even hard trying to placate Bheema's anger. Isn't it commendable for the Paandavas even If they meet their end in sticking as firmly as they can to the path of kshathriya s as their ancestors did ? You repeatedly say that peace is the only good means. But, you tell me whether the kshathriya s' code prescribes war or not. You just bring to your mind what the duties of the four orders are and what Paandavas are to do. Then you appreciate or deride them as you can deem fit. Aren't you aware that a braahmana has six duties to do, recital,teaching,performing rituals,conducting rituals,giving alms and talking alms? Similarly, a kshathriya has as his duties, recital, performing rituals,giving alms and providing protection to others. Vyshyaa shall carry out recital,business and agriculture during his household stay, taking care of braahmana s and shoodra s. shoodra should devotedly provide service to all the other three orders, as he is not ordained to recite or perform sacrifices. Again, exercising the responsibility and authority of keeping all the orders within their duties falls upon kshathriya , who should be equitable to all, not driven by unvirtuous desires. First, where did the concept of war come from? When a cruel element would attain power due to ill-luck of others and try to snatch other's things with his power, then there came the thing called war and thereby came weapons and shields. All this equipment was first devised by Indra for killing the attackers. Such a slaying of the greedy attackers will only support our virtue. There has been a bad lot of deceipt from the Kouravas who did not heed to what virtue is. Is it for their good? Dhritharaashtra and his sons somehow snatched Paandavas' kingdom with no valid reason. Yet, all the people there are blind to the ancient kshathriya code. Don't you abhor a thief who steals others' property secretely or publicly? What is the difference between a thief and the old king's son ? Out of his greed and adamance, Duryodhana thinks that the property of the Paandavas temporarily entrusted to them is his own, though without his proprietry on it. Why shouldn't Yudhishthira then take it back by might? Tell them Sanjaya that one has more rights in one's ancestral kingdom than in others' kingdom. Alas, all the kings are brought by the Kouravas to die, as a result of their unseemly acts in the court hall ! Was it a simple crime to drag virtuous Droupadi into hall when she was menstruous? Even the elders like bheesmas did not respond to that. Had they at least objected to that henious act, I would have felt happy and the kouravs would have got good. Did any one except Vidura protest then and talk justice? Ignoring that unmentionable mean act of them, you are trying to teach lessons to Yudhishthira. Remember what happened then,Sanjaya. Droupadi was brave in standing in the hall before the king and his sons and she did extricate herself and her husbands from trouble like saving a ship from troubled waters. Did you forget what Karna said to her then? 'All your husbands are now defeated slaves. you have none to care you. Serve Duryodhana at home. Search for a new husband.' Those harsh words struck into Arjuna's heart,burning him from within, like an arrow piercing into the bones. Dushshaasana laughed at the Paandavas as they were wearing ascetic dresses and offended them by referring to them as eunuchs. Shakuni provoked Yudhishthira remarking that he had nothing to stake except dear Droupadi. Sanjaya, you know how mean all this was,as happened in the hall during the dice game. Imagine the degree of damage caused to fraternity! Still, it is my desire that I will personally come there to make efforts for repairing the damaged cause. If I will be able to arrive at a reasonable solution to this question without loss to Paandavas' interest and Kouravas' welfare, I think my life is blessed. May the Kouravas have the good senses to regard my advice of just and right course. Otherwise, take it granted that Kouravas will be burnt to ashes by Bheema and Arjuna as a result of their own follies. Duryodhana will receive his rewards from the mace-wielding terrific Bheema for his unseemly utterances thrown at the deceived paandavs. Be clear about the difference between both the sides , Sanjaya. Duryodhana is a tree of wrath. Karna is its trunk, Shakuni is the branches, Dushshaasana is the flower and fruit while unwise Dhritharaashtra is the root. And Yudhishthira is a tree of virtues. Arjuna is its trunk,Bheema is the branches, the twins are the flower and fruit while vedas, braahmana s and I are the roots. Also see why there should be peace between these two sides. Dhritharaashtra and his sons are like a forest. Paandavas are like tigers. A forest without tigers is fast cut off and tigers without the protection of a forest are vulnerable. Thus these two should guard each another. Similar is the case of Kouravas and Paandavas. Learn, Sanjaya, that Kouravas are like creepers and Paandavas are like trees. Creepers devoid of trees never last long. In a nut shell, Paandavas are as ready to serve Dhritharaashtra as ready to slay his sons. Let the old king decide what he chooses to make them do. Clearly tell them that the good Paandavas are still for peace even though capable of waging a war and winning it."

Sanjaya heard Krishna's long speech of authoritative tone and finlally sought for leave. " King Yudhishthira! I have conveyed the message of the old king and received your reply to it. Please grant me leave. I seek leave from Krishna,Bheema,Arjuna,Nakula,Sahadeva,Saathyaki and Chekithaana. May good fall upon you all. Are any of my words spoken here offensive to any one here? I request you all to let a kind look upon me."

Yudhishthira said, " Sanjaya, I allow you to take leave, go back to the king. You never mean bad to us. They and we all know that you are pure at heart and you are equipoised to either of us.You never slip a word and never lose temperment even if spoken to provocatively. Your speech is never mean or unmeaningful or harsh. It is always bound by virtue. You are a dear one to us. You are the only alternative to Vidura for the present job. We have seen that you and Arjuna both are very friendly to each other. After going back there, you convey my respects to all the learned braahmana s there,the priests, the ritual conductors, traders, generals, employees and others who are our favourites wishing good to us. Tell them that I am well and inquire in my name, about their health. Convey my obedient bowings to our archery instructor Drona who is the only one that mastered the four quadrants of archery. Also inquire the well-being of his valorous son Ashvaththaama, who is as great a master of archery as his father and looks like a Gandharva. Go to the learned Kripa's house and bow to him and touch his feet as my representation quoting my name. Report my bowings to our grandsire Bheeshma touching his feet. In him are stored wisdom, prowess and mercy.Wasn't it he who rescued the lineage from its perishing? Sanjaya, as my word, request him to decide the things as he deems suitable for the peaceful common welfare of his grandsons. Inform my safety and health to the old king Dhritharaashtra,who is the lead person of our dynasty, who has the credit of serving and learning from the elders. Tell him that we owned a kingdom only due to his kindness to us earlier and now too we wish to be so out of his kindness to us. Please enquire the welfare of his adamant,unwise,vile and cruel eldest son who now rules the entire land. Greet in my name his fitting younger brother Dushshaasana too, who is the best gallant fighter among them. Convey my respects to the saintly elder Baahlika who wishes nothing other than peace among us. Bow for me to the gentle and worthy Somadaththa, who pardons everybody's follies out of his affection. Wish in my name, Bhoorishravas,our loving cousin and the best chariot-fighter among Kurus,whose followers are also just like him. Enquire the welfare of our Vyshya cousin Yuyuthsu,who is wise and learned enough that he never approves war. Chithrasena, a good hand in gambling, an expert in concealed cheating in that game and equally expert in fighting too, may be wished in my name. Enquire welafare of the cunning gaandhaara king Shakuni, a matchless hand in dice, who cultivates arrogance in Duryodhana. Ask about welfare of Karna ,next to none in maddening the already mad and who claims the ability of winning us single-handed. And fervently ask the welfare of the wisest Vidura who is a protector,preceptor,friend,companion,father, mother and favourite to us. Ask him for us to prevail upon the Kouravas to go for peace. And tell my wishes to all the other notable elders of the clan there. Sanjaya, Wish our brothers,sons,grand-children there, all in their suitable way. Mention my enquiries about their health to all those brave kings and their sons that were gathered by Duryodhana, the vashaathis, the shaalvakas, the kekayas, the ambashthas, the thrigarthas, the eastern, the souhern,the western, and the northern as well as their ambassodrs. Wish all the generals, elephant- mounted, chariot-mounted,horsemen,soldiers,ministers, counsellors,accountants, maids, servants,mahouts and house-keepers. Tell the elderly women of the palace that I am well and will see them well soon. Inquire if they are well taken care of by their sons. Ask the young ladies about their well-being inquire if they are abiding by their elder women. Sanjaya, inquire the welfare of the deformed,crippled and invalid people there. Assure them that I will soon undertake their care after settling with my adversaries. Inform the learned braahmana s there that I will shortly revive their endowments which were earlier given by us but curtailed by Duryodhana."

Yudhishthira continued." Sanjaya! Tell my final words to Duryodhana. 'We tolerated your unpardonable actions like Dushshaasana's insulting the innocent Droupadi in the hall,dragging her by her hair even disregarding mother Kunthi, only wishing not to destroy our own clan. We suffered even the harsh exile too for the same reason. Now at least, shed the greed over others' property and leave our eligible half share to us. Entrust my Indraprastham back to me. That is the only way to conciliate. Otherwise, get ready for war. Or, let us have peace even by a part of the land. Concede five towns in all to five of us, Avisthalam, Vrikasthalam, Maakandi, Vaaranaavatham and any one more of your choice. May brothers meet brothers and fathers meet fathers . May Paanchaalas greet Kurus with love! My only wish is to see all of them safe and happy. And you had better understand that I am as well capable to peace as to war. I am prepared as well enough for the gentle as for the harsh measure.'"

Hearing Yudhishthira's conclusion, Arjuna spoke to Sanjaya. " Sanjaya! When you go back there, convey my inquiry about the well-being of our grandsire Bheeshma, teacher Kripa, preceptor Drona, his son Ashvaththaama,Shalya,Baahlika,Somadaththa,Vikarna,Shakuni,Vivimshathi,Chithrasena,Jayathsena, Bhagadaththa, all other elders and all the kings gathered for Duryodhana's cause. Greet them all and their associates in my name in their respective manner.And then, tell my word the evil-minded Duryodhana before all them in his court hall." Having said this, Arjuna spoke to Sanjaya some words which scintilated his men and which would terribly warn the Kouravas. Snjaya said that he would do so and took leave from them and Krishna.

SANJAYA RETURNS TO DHRITHARASHTRA

Sanjaya thus completed the task entrusted by Dhritharaashtra and went back straight to the old king. He traveled fast and reached the city by night, went to the palace and told the keeper there to report him returned from the Paandavas , waiting for immediate audience if the king is awake, since the issue is an importatnt one. The keeper went in and reported the same to the king who eagerly told him to allow Sanjaya in, adding that Sanjaya need not wait at the door as he could meet him anytime. Thus allowed to admit, Sanjaya approched the king bowing and submiting himself. " Sir! I am Sanjaya.I went as directed by you to the Paandavas and talked to them. Yudhishthira was pleased with your act . He wished you about your health and happy living with all your children and grandchildren. He conveyed his wishes to all your followers and dependents too."

Dhritharaashtra asked him fondly." Sanjaya, Is the just king Yudhishthira safe , happy and peaceful with all his broters, friends and associates?"

Sanjaya replied. " He is well with all his dear ones. The amiable king of admirable character wishes now to have his kingdom back from you as was obtained from you in the beginning. He prefers virtue to anything . His mind never tempts for unjust benefits but always wishes only justified claims. After seeing his self-control and your sinful folly towards him, I cannot help feeling that a man is just like a puppet in the hands of destiny, for his sufferings never befitted his character and your deeds shouldn't bring you this glory. Yudhishthira simply stuck to his original virtuous behaviour leaving all the blame to you. King! See what you have done, because of which you earned blame in this world and sin for the next world. Biased in favour of your son,you try to grab his wealth in an uncermonious way, attracting public reproach . This kind of act is not at all fit to you. Though able to settle by might, Yudhishthira was unmindful of that way, due to his respect to you. Even Arjuna who went bodily to the heaven that is paramount to us,to see the gods on their request, is of the same mind. Now, such people are also about to adopt hard measures only due to your faulty attitude. You are the prime reason for this ensuing destruction of the Kouravas. If you refuse to recognise the truth in my words, dear king, the fire of Arjuna will burnt down the forest of your entire clan . When nobody was pleased with that dice game then, you were the only one that felt happy for your selfish son's win and could not come to your good senses. See the result of that sin now ! Admitting the unpleasant counsels and debarring the well-wishing advisors, you yourself depleted your own strength and became uncapable of protecting the vast empire due to your self-inflicted weakness. Alas, what can we do now? As the ancient king Bali understood, it is Time that decides the fate of people,but not humans. Otherwise, how could the just Paandavas be put to such severe difficulties and your cruel sons could enjoy their own kingdom and that of the Paandavas too? However,now, O king, I am thouroughly fatigued with the tedious journey by the chariot. Kindly allow me to retire to bed now to recuperate. I will submit myself before you in the hall tomorrow morning, where you all can hear the response and message of Paandavas." Dhritharaashtra kept silent for a while and allowed Sanjaya ro retire to sleep and report the following morning in the court hall.

END OF SANJAYAYAANA PARVA

3. P R A J A A G A R A P A R V A

DHRITHRAASHTRA INSOMNIAIC - VIDURA TEACHES HIM

After sending Sanjaya home, Dhritharaashtra sunk into thinknig for a long while, worried about what the Paandavas might have said to Sanjaya and wondering about Sanjaya's harsh words to him. At last, he called his attendant and ordered him to send for Vidura immediately. A messenger was accordingly sent and he informed Vidura about the king's orders to see him then itself. Vidura soon came to the king's palace and sent in a word about his waiting. Dhritharashtra allowed him to be brought in saying that Vidura need never to have to wait to see him. Vidura entered the room and bowed declaring himself to the pondering king.He said to the king," King,I am Vidura present before you. Order me if I am to do anything."

Dhritharaashtra replied, " Come near, Vidura. Eversince Sanjaya's return from Paandavas I am not myself. He just blamed me for all that has happened and took leave saying that he would tell tomorrow morning in the court hall what the Paandavas said to him. Thus at present I have no knowledge of what Yudhishthira said. That makes my body and mind both uncomfortable with fears and doubts. I could't sleep a wink at all. You talk something to me to ease my mind in a suitable way. I am sure that you know how to heal a wounded mind with your learned speeches."

Vidura said, " Dear King! Sleeplesness occurs to those such as a helpless weak person attacked by a formidable foe, one in loss of one's property, a person obsessed by unfulfilled desire and a crouchicng thief. Are you afflicted by any of these disasters , or are you ambitious of others' wealth, thereby smouldering within ?."

Dhritharaashtra asked Vidura. " I wish to here from you such glorious words that are worthy and virtuous. You are the best among the learned in our clan."

Vidura said." King, You said you were worrried about what Yudhishthira's words to Sanjaya could be. Yudhishthira is well known for his virtue-boundedness amd purity of behaviour and character. He is full of kingly qualities. Eligible even to rule the three worlds together. You, of course, are wise and learned enogh but are unacceptable to kingship due to your blindness. You resorted to send away on exile such Yudhishthira who in fact was to be clung by you. Due to his mercy and uncruelty alone, he has been tolerating all your harassments to him. After having incurring wrath of such a gentle person, how can you be calm and peaceful? Vesting the authority in Duryodhana, Dushshaasana, Shakuni and Karna who exceed one another in foolishness,how can you hope for safe wealth and prosperity? A wise man should not at all bring on himself a situation like this. Who is, then, a wise man? Wise is a person said to be, if his scholarliness, perseverance, patience and virtuefulness always keep him within the course of right means. He undertakes only those prescribed acts but not others. He believes in god and virtue (dharma). And he is never diverted from the path of right means by anger,pleasure,arrogance,shamelessness and egotism. A wise man's thoughts and plans are never revealed to others in advance, only his actions are known after they are done. Minor impediments like chill, heat,fear,wants,ampleness or scantiness cannot hinder his assignments. He can control the wavering talents to stick to the path of virtue and benefits, prefering benefits to pleasures. Wise men plan to do anything only within their abilities, strain themselves only within their abilities and never disregard anything as unreckonable. He quickly grasps the things, yet thinks about them very long. He chooses the benefits(artha) not for the sake of pleasures (kaama) but only due to their merits. He helps others even when not asked for but doesn't meddle with others' affairs unless he was properly asked to. This is the most importaint quality of a wise man. He never runs after an undesirable interest, nor does he lose his heart for the lost causes,nor is he affected by adversities. A wise man always attempts at only certainly reachable objects. He never drops his efforts in the middle without reaching his goal, all the while keeping his mind under his own control. He does only commendable deeds and shows interest in acts that lead only to good. He never dislikes beneficial advice or advisors. He is not delighted by honours or dejected by insults but remains undisturbed like the deep waters of Ganga. He knows the nature of all the beings and he is wellversed with the ways of accomplishing all deeds. Such a man of wits is said to be wise. He knows all the current and past news. He can expound on any subject extempory and can stretch his imagination to the required levels. His knowledge and thoughts are under mutual control of each other. He never breaks the established moral practices. He remains humble even after attaining wealth, knowledge or great benefits."

Vidura continued ." King, While a wise man is thus distinguished with these qualities, a fool is conspicuously otherwise. A fool is proud though unlearned. He is lured for the things beyond his means and abilities. He wishes to get results without his own suitable efforts. He ignores his own reasonable interests but unduly strives for others' interests. He spoils the works of even his friends. He repels those people who like him and tries to stick to the unwanted ones. He incurs the enemity with the stronger. He makes friends with the hostile people and hates and trobles his wellwishers. He procrastinates the things and falls into dilemma everywhere. He becomes slow at the need of haste. He doesn'toffer propitiations to his bygone ancestors, nor does he worship the gods. He fails to gain dependable friends. He goes uncalled for, speaks more than necessary even when unasked, trusts in undependable fellows, finds faults with others while he himself is loaded with many, and gets angry with others even when incapable. a fool wishes to achieve the things barred from virtue, unmindful of his means and moreover with no efforts of his own. He tries to control the uncontrollable. He engages himself in becoming close to the women of other men. He embraces the covetious ones. Such is a fool described by the moralists."

Vidura continued. " King! If a man, though wealthy enough, prefers to enjoy all alone, not desirous of sharing with the eligible people, is there one crueler than him? Due to folly of one, all will suffer but the sin of the act sticks only to the doer while the suffered are not stained with that. A bowmen's arrow as may kill one person as not, but a clever man's mind accounts for the hostile king and his kingdom." Vidura thus alluded to Dhritharaashtra's unfairness towards Paandavas and continued his moral and philosophical speech every now and then referring to Kouravas' viles and Paandavas' fairness. He resumed from the point of the last sentence, the mind.

" With the one (the mind) you decide the two ( doable and undoable; or temporal and permanent),control the three(friend, enemy and neutral; or desire,anger and greed) with the four (conciliation,differences,truce and attack;or control,forbearance,detachment and dedication), defeat the five (the sensories-eye,ear,tounge,nose and skin i.e. not falling for those things which are enjoyed by these five sensory organs),understand the six (truce,hostility,marching,neutrality, dualism and appealing; or hunger,thirst,grief,illusion,oldage and death) and win the seven (the seven vices viz.woman,drink,gambling,hunting,coarse tounge,harsh punishment and extravagance; or the five sensories,mind and thought) to attain eternal happiness."

Vidura continued his talk to Dhritharaashtra with a mix of moral and philosophical doctrines. " Poison can kill one, knife too can kill one but a leaked out strategy will cost the king and his land as well. One should not alone enjoy delicious foods, alone should not decide things,alone should not travel, alone should not keep awake where all others are asleep. King, you cannot see that The only way to heaven is truth, just like a ship is to cross the seas. The only demerit of the tolerant is that people mistake him to be incompetent. Yet, he is not to blame for that since the incompetent too tolearate as it is their nature, but the tolerance of the able is like an ornament to them. In fact, tolerance subdues everybody. Nothing is impossible to it. If one bears the sword of tolerance, what can the evil people do to him? Fire falling in a place of no dry grass puts itself out. But an intolerant person immolates himself with his own follies.Virtue is the best of benefits. Tolerance is the best peace. Knowledge is the best satisfaction. And harmlessness is the best benefactor."

" The worst persons on the entire face of the earth are only two; a monk attached to deeds and a householder abondoning them. Two people namelessly dissolve into the earth like the beings in an ant-hill eaten out by its occupant snake; a braahmana that doesn't renounce and a king that doesn't stand against his foes. A person is honoured by doing two deeds; not speaking harsh words and not inclining towards bad fellows. Two people in the world are lead by others' beliefs; women desiring one already desired by other women and people worshipping whomever the others worship. There are two prickles that dry out both the body and the mind; desires of a poor man and anger of an incapacitated man. Two people are first eligible to reach beyond the heaven; an able one with forgiveness and a poor man with generous mind. There are two ways of harm for a justly earned wealth; one, utilising for unvirtuous deeds and the other, not utilising for virtuous deeds. Two people are to be thrown in the sea with a rock tied to their neck; one, a wealthy but ungenerous man, and the other, poor but impious. Two persons make their way through the Sun to the Ultimate; one, a sage of unswerved practice of yoga and the other, a fearless warrior killed in the war."

"King, Eminent scholars defined a man's means as of three categories, good, average and bad, as they also categorised men themselves into the same three. And a man of laudible policy should employ the good,average and bad people for the good,average and bad means respectively. There are three people in the world who own nothing;a wife,a servant and a son, as whatever they possess should belong to the husband, the master and the father. There are three self destructive ways to the hell; desire, anger and greed, hence this trio should be subdued. There are three approachers that are never to be abandoned even in troubles; a devoted follower, a dependable associate and a true surrenderor. There are three most wanted achievements; endowing something to the eligible one, ruling a land and begetting a son. But all the three put together too cannot exceed the deed of extricating an enemy from his trouble."

A king with power should debar the four from participating in strategy planning; a half-knowledged man, a procarstinator, a pompous man and a non-fighting man. These four people should live with a prosperous household; an elderly kinsman, a ruined noble, an impoverished friend and childless widowed sister. King, I will tell you the four things that give fruit instantly, as Brihaspathi taught to Indra, intention of the gods, the greatness f the great, obedience of the learned and sins of the evil doers(destruction of them). There are four things that bring damage unless done with respect and devotion to them; Worship of Fire God,Silent penance, study of (vedas)scriptures and sacrificial rites."

" One should worship the five ( as godly as the fire)fires with devotion;father, mother,Fire,preceptor and one's own self. One gains honour in the world by worshippibg or honouring five people; Gods,ancestors,all humans,mendicants and guests. These five will always be with you whereever you are,King; friends, foes,neutrals,dependents and patrons. Even if one among the five of the human's sensories fails from its right path, his learning and intelligance depletes like the water leaking out from a damaged can."

"A prospering person should free himself from these six malignities; excessive sleep,timidness,laxity,anger,sluggishness and procrastination. There are six people whom we should leave like a damaged ship in the sea; a non-teaching preceptor, a non-reciting participant(rithvil) of the sacrifices, a non-protective king, a disagreeable wife, a cow-keeper hanging around the village and a barber moving away from the village. These six qualities are never to be foregone by a man; Truthfulness,generousity,swiftness in action,non-enviousness,forgiveness and courage. There are six means of pleasure to the people in this world; sufficient income,good health,an amiable wife, a beloved wife too, an obedient son and a learning that turns lucrative."

Vidura continued. "If the six internal enemies resident in the mind of a person are subdued by virtue of mastery over the five senses,such a person is never afflicted by sins, what to talk of wordly troubles? There are six people living on six people,no seventh is known; the thives on the careless,the doctors on the ill,the women on the concupiscent, the ritual conductors on the performers, the rulers on the disputacious and the scholars on the unlearned. These six things need constant care, lest they should fade off due to non-supervision even for a small interval; kine,job,agriculture,wife,learning and friendship with the less learned. These six always deride the other six; The students after their education deride their teacher, married sons do their mothers, men of satisfied desire do the women, the beneficiaries do the benefactors, those who crossed the waters do the ship and the recovered patients do their doctors. There are six pleasing things to a person; health, unindebtedness, not having to live away from home, coherence with good intellectuals, an independant livelihood and a fear-free habitation. People of these six kinds are always sad; the jealous,the mean,the uncontented, the irate,the everhesitant and one who subsists on others."

" These seven, the roots of all evils should be avoided by even a well established king,lest these should destroy him; women,gambling,hunting,wine,harsh speech,disproportionately harsh punishments and misutilisation of resources (extravagance)."

"There are eight omens that portend the downfall of a man; he hates the braahmana s learnt in vedas, he opposes them, he grabs at their property, he wishes to harm them,he enjoys their balme,he disapproves their praises, he ignores them at the needy hour and he is irritated at their requests. A wise man should be aware of these and should avoid. These eight are the essence of happiness and are also transiently pleasing; meeting with the beloved, devolution of a great wealth, the embrace of a son, involving in coition, reception of fond words at the moment of need,an elevation among colleagues, attainment of the desired goal and a public honour. These eight qualities highlight a person; talent, cast, fortitude,knowledge,valour,laconic speech,generousity and greatfulness."

" This human body is like a house, of nine doors (eyes,ears,tongue,nose,skin,mind,thought,ego and physical body),of three columns( desire, deed and ignorance),of five onlookers(sound,touch,form,taste and smell) and occupied by the soul(aathma). He who is aware of this secret is the best of the learned."

"King Dhritharaashtra, I tellyou, listen, these ten people cannot know virtue(dharma);arrogant,reckless,insane,depleted,irate,hungry,hasty,greedy,frightened and lustful. Hence these ten classes of people should be kept at an arm's distance."

In this context, there is often quoted an ancient episode related by the demon chief Prahlaada to his son alongwith Sudhanva. ' Such a king is the standard authority to the world, who subdues his anger and desire, who spends for the eligible purposes, who knows the merits and demerits of others,who is learned and who is swift in actions. He possesses wealth, who is able to inculcate confidence in people, who punishes the erring, who knows the levels of punishments and who knows forgiveness too. A steady person will never insult a weak element, will never rise against his enemies until the time favours him, will never choose to fight the stronger foes and never hesitates to attack in time. Victory chooses such an able person, who is not sad in troubles, who always finds a way out and who bears the adversities until the time ripes. A person is always safe and happy if he avoids purposeless leaving of his homestead, friendship with evil elements, attachment to others' wives, arrogant behaviour, hypocrisy, earbiting and wine. A person is praised everywhere, if he doesn't try with mala fide intentions for the three- virtue,benefit and desire; if he tells only truth when asked as a mediator, if he avoids quarrels with his dear ones, if he wisely doesn't get annoyed just by not being honoured by others, if he doesn't vie with others unnecessarily, if he doesn't find fault with others, if he doesn't incur enemity with stronger enemies when he himself is weak, if he doesn't speak more than required and if he keeps his nerve while engaged in arguments. The world likes him, who has a suitable humble attire, who doesn't boast of himself and who doesn't lose his toungue at others uncontrollably. The learned prescribed a gentle man as one who doesn't renew the subsided rivalry, who doesn,t pose himself off, who doesn't lose heart , who doesn't condescend to unworthy deeds due to adversities, who is not delighted at his own pleasures, who is not delighted at others' hardships either and who doesn't repent about the things donated earlier by him. A person enjoys people's love wherever he goes and can rule the public too, if he is sensible enough to understand the various customs,languages and practices of various people. A learned man should avoid pomp,fancy,jealousy,sinful deeds, enemity with the king,slandering,long feud and quarrels with the proud and the mad. The gods make such a man prosper who observes devotedly in his routine, alms,oblations, worship of the gods, all the auspicious deeds, penitences in the prescribed manner and all the customs esatblished by practice of the ancestors. A man of meritorious policies always engages himself with his equals but not inferiors in marriages,friendships,discussions and transactions.He consults with the learned men with nice qualities and as such his policies never fail. Magnanimous is he, who divides among his fellows whatever he has, enjoys the minimum for himself,works a lot but sleeps a little and gives even to the enemies if requested for. He who can keep his thoughts, plans and actions - that are in his favour and in his enemy's detriment - secret from others, whose strategies are well kept private and rightly implemented, not even a minute interest of such a man will never become lost. He who is interested in the welfare of everybody, who is truthful,who is amiable, who is idealistic, who is pious, is adored among his entire clan like a natural gem of great value. He who is ashamed of his own errors even known to himelf alone, will be a leader of all the people and he shines among them like the sun in the sky with his great splendour.' "

Thus did Prahlaada taught to his son, O King. You know that Paandavas were born in the far off forests and lost their father at a very young age. You yourself took care of their brought-up and education. All the five Paandavas as great as Indra are all the while obedient to you. If you give them their due share of the kingdom and live happily with your sons and them all, you will be lauded by mortals and divines alike."

Dhritharaashtra heard all that long speech of Vidura who every now and then alluded to the follies of Dhritharaashtra and his sons as well as virtueousness of Yudhishthira. He only said, " Vidura, you are an expert judge of all the things. Please go on telling me what you deem fit for me to do.I am being burnt with this sleeplessness. All my past follies portend me only some unpleasant occurance to come. You tell me as much as you can which can be of good to us and to Yudhishthira. Also tell me to comfort me, what the thoughts of Yudhishthira could be too."

Vidura told him . " Whether appealing to the listener's mind or not, whether pleasing or not, a welwisher is bound to advise his dear people always. On that principle, I wish to tell you which can be beneficial to both your sons and Paandavas. Listen, King. Never should you resort to actions of crooked intentions deviced with malice, though they may fetch you favourable results. Similarly, if a well employed policy with acceptability fails , then too you need not worry and need not change your course. Whenever a work is undertaken, its consequences should be thoroughly estimated. Decision and implementation should follow fullest deliberations, but should not be done in haste. A wise man should first study the consequences, the results fetched and the probable benefit to himself if any, before taking up a work or not taking up. Only such king who knows the desirable standards of station,defence,developments,loss,treasuries,law and the forces can enjoy the kingship admirably. He should always be aware of virtue and interests. One shouldn't behave unfittingly just because of acquiring kingdom. Misbehaviour is so destructive to wealth as oldage is to beauty. A prospective person should go for what is capable to him and what is manageable too to him later, just like eating so much as eatable and digestable too. Lest, he should destroy himself like a fish getting hooked in its ambition of eating the bait. The timliness is of utmost importance in actions. Premature implementation destroys the results. If a fruit is plucked when it is ripe, we enjoy the fruit's taste and its seeds will give us again fruits in future. If an unripe fruit is picked, the fruit itself is lost and the seeds too become useless. Similarly, extracting benefits from the people should be like a honey bee's artful collection of nectar from each flower,damaging none of them. The collection of benefits for oneself should be like a garland maker's collecting flowers from every plant,with no damage to the plant at all, but it shouldn't be like total destruction of them as is done by a coal maker."

Before undertaking any work, one should look for answer to the question, ' what if I do this or otherwise?'. Than only things could be done or left off. One shouldn't go for a futile task at all, as all the efforts put for it are a sheer waste and if employed elsewhere, might have given useful results. Such a king whose grace brings no benefit and anger brings no fear,is rejected by people as a eunuch is rejected by women to be their husband. A wise man never eats away time in going for such things which can be attained with minimum efforts and will yield huge benefits. People love such king who just looks at everybody as if taking them away with affection though he does no more benefit to them. A true king should be like a tree that is fully blosmed but doesn't show any fruit, that is full of fruits but unclimbable, that is not ripe but looks ripe. The world loves him who pleases it in four ways, by look, by thought, by speech and by deed. A person whom the world dreads like the beasts dread a hunter, will lose his entire things even though he rules the whole earth. If a king becomes prone to wrong policies, he will lose his power just as a cloud fades away hit by winds, though he ascended to a throne that was established from his forefathers' times. A king's wealth and power improve only as long as he follows the virtuous course walked by the learned ancestors. Or, if he chooses to leave virtue, his lands shrink as a skin thrown in the flames. A king should be as much careful in protecting his own state as in looking for a chance to destroy his enemy's. One should attain the kingdom through virtuous means and one should rule it too only through virtuous means. Such a wealth obtained through virtue will never whither away."

"We should adopt the useful essence even from the blabberings of a child or the mad just like we extract gold from the earth. A true learner should pick up every bit of good sayings from all, just like the ascetic ( who lives on shila oe fallen ears of grain) collects the fallen ears of grain.

"Normal people see with their eyes, cattle see with the smell of their scent, braahmana s see with the help of vedas whereas the kings see the things with the help of their spies."

" An unmilking cow is subjected to many troublesome treatments but a smoothly milking cow is free from all that. No one tries to bend an already bent object but an unbent one is forcebly bent even by melting if needded. With this example, a weak one should be submissive to a stronger one. His humility shown to the stronger is the humilty shown to Indra himself."

Cattle are dependents of rains, kings are dependents of their counsels,women are dependents of their husbands and braahmana s are dependents of the vedas.Virtue is protected by truthfulness,talent is protected by practice, beauty is protected by nourishment through anointments and cast or nobility is protected by character and behaviour. Proper measurement saves grain , good training saves horses , continious care saves kine and less attractive attire saves a woman. A mean charactered man's high cast is of no value. Even of the lower births, character is waht matters. Such a man suffers from an un treatable desease, who is jealous of others' knowledge,beauty,valour,birth,luck,pleasures and honours. One should not yield to such qualities which make him do unworthy acts, make him not do worthy acts and make him leak the planned starategies before their implementation. Wealth, knowledge and caste add pride to the bad, whereas these very things add humility to the gentle class. At times, even good people might request the bad ones for some help. Eventhough nothing is done to them, the bad ones make a boast of themselves out of it that they are great, despite their firmly being branded as bad in the world already. The good people are the saviours of the self esteemed. The good people are the saviours of the good people. The good people are the saviours of the bad people too. But never are the bad people the saviours of the good people. A well dressed person wins over the spectators, a man of riches wins over his desire of foods , a man with a carriage wins over the journey and a man of character wins over everything. Character is the essence of anybody. If that vital element is lost, what is the use of his life, wealth and following?"

" The wealthy people feed themselves with foods of meat, the average people eat foods with milk and ghee whereas the poor people eat food with oils. But the poor always take tasty food, since hunger creates tastefulness which case is improbable for the rich.Usually the wealthy people are unable to eat much but the poor are able to digest even wood."

" The least class of people are afraid of their livelihood, the middle class are afraid of death but the best class os people are afraid of insult ( caused by self or others). Of all the prides , the pride of wealth and power is the worst. Its possesser doesn't come to his senses until complete destruction is done. The world is troubled by the senses which uncontrolably hover around their pleasures,like the stars are done by the powerful shiners as the Sun. For a man subdued by his pleasure-mongering senses, his troubles go on increasing like a moon in the bright half of the month. One should understand that one's mind is the one's first enemy. It should be tamed first. Then only he can control others and later can win over his other enemies. If this sequence is not followed, his efforts leave him unsuccessful. Wealth never whithers away from such stable ruler, who has his senses under his control, who fittingly punishes the erring and who weighs the pros and cons before undertaking any work."

" King, This body is like a carriage. The mind is the driver. The senses are its horses. With these tamed horses under the control of the shrewd driver, a composed man travels pleasantly in the path of the world. Unless tamed properly and driven correctly, these horses are able to kill their ineficient driver in the wrong path. A man who is not a master of his own senses, behaves as driven by them and sees a benefit as a detriment, sees a detriment as a benefit and understands a trouble to be a pleasure. One who deviates from virtue and prosperity in persuit of pleasing his senses, will soon lose his power, wealth, family and life . On the other hand, if one takes care of these two, these two will give him victory, pleasure and everything. A person , though a master of wealth, if remins a slave to his senses, such slavery drives him out of his wealth. In essence, a shrewd mind is all to a man, if controled well, it is a friend and if not controlled, it is a foe. Mind is a friend and foe of itself. Just like two large fish contained in a net of small eyes can break through it, the two formidable traits, desire and anger can escape from the control of realisation through its minor flaws. If a person is unable to tame his five internal enemies( five senses ) first, and yet tries to win the external enemies, he will only be inflicted with a thourough defeat. Didn't we here of many great rulers who lost control of their senses and landed in trobules? He who cannot tame his five internal foes of five different interests, will be soon in danger."

" Sticking to the evil people will entail incurrence of equal punishment as to those,like a wet object lying among dry ones is burnt alongwith them. Hence to avoid bad company always."

A mean man cannot possess such traits as goodwill,truthfulness,piety,contentment,pleasing speech,self-control, plain mind and mental stability. Qualities like self realisation, stabilty, dexterity, endurance, virtuefulness, standing by the word and alms without pomp, cannot be seen in mean people."

" Harsh speech and blaming others are two bad characteristics with which the wicked trouble the noble. But the troubler incurs sin and the troubled gets ennobled."

"violence is the strength of the evil, lawful punishment is the strength of kings, service (to husband) is strength of women and forgiveness is strength of the great. Speech control is a difficult thing to attain. It is not possile to speak a lot , yet true,pleasing,meaningful and fitting. Speech properly employed brings good but used improperly, brings detriment. Even a wound by an arrow may be healed, a garden chopped by axes too may be revived; but disturbance caused by speech cannot be repaired to normalcy. Various dangerous arrows pierced into the body can be pulled out with knack, but a harsh word piercing into the heart can never be uprooted. Some people discharge from their toungue arrows of sharp speech which hit others on sensitive spots and make them suffer day and night. A learned man should never do that to others."

The gods curse the thoughts of the one whom they won't bless and his mind goes only after unworthy deeds. When the mind becomes corrupt due to nearing misfortunes, an unworthy thing appears as a worthy thing and it fast sticks to the mind permanently. Similarly, O King, your mind and your son's mind became corrupt from the approaching destruction. Hence you choose to keep enemity with the Paandavas. Yudhishthira is a man of all the kingly qualities. He knows virtue and practises it too. He has borne many of your unjust impositions on him due to his respect to you and due to his own magnanimity. He has been a coronated prince and thus is more fitter to the throne. Further, he is valorous and intelligent too. Still more, he is still within your control, though able enough to rule the three worlds. May such Yudhishthira become the king and may all of your clan be safe and happy for ever."

"Dhritharaashtra did not speak his assent or dissent to Vidura's advice but only said," Vidura, please go on telling me something. I am desirous of hearing some more from you."

Vidura continued.

"Having ablutions in all the wholy waters and sincere equitability to all the beings , both are equal or the latter may be greater than the former. You King, show equitability towards all your sons and Paandavas. That gives you fame in this world as long as you live and high status in the next world too. It is said that one can enjoy in the heaven as long as his fame is talked about in this world. In this context, the elders quote this episode of the demon chief Virochana (Prahlaada's son),Sudhanva and Keshini."

" Once a very beautiful young lady named Keshini was in the process of her svayamvaram (own selection of her husband), wishing to select a nice husband. Virochna, a demon approached there to marry her. She asked him, "Are the braahmana s superior or the Demons? Why can't Sudhanva be my husband? " Virochana answered, " We descend from Brahma and Prajaapathi. Who are braahmana s and gods before us? " Keshini said, " Let us await Sudhanva who comes here tomorrow morning. I will talk to both of you." Virochana agreed and waited till his arrival the next morning. As was told by Keshini, Sudhanva came in the morning to the place where Keshini and Virochana were sitting. Keshini rose from her seat, offered him water to wash his feet and honoured him duly. Then Sudhnva said to Virochana, " I will not accept to occupy the same chair with you. In stead, I only touch your seat." Virochana answered, " Yes. You are eligbile for a stool or bench or grass mat. How can you afford to have the same chair with me? "

Sudhanva said, " A father and his son may share the same seat. Two braahmana s or two kshathriya s or two vyshya s or two shoodra s too can share the same chair. But never can any two of mixed among them share the same seat. Your father himself obeys me by sitting on the floor when I am in a chair. You, fondled and pampered son of a chief, don't yet fully know the customs." Virochana challenged Sudhanva, " Sudhanva! I bet any of our demons' belongings, cows or gold or others. Let us put our question to any learned ones and see whom of us they will decide superior." Sudhanva replied, " Keep your cows and gold with yourself. Let us stake our lives on this."

Virochana said, " I am ready. Where shall we go? I never come to mortals or gods." Sudhanva said, " Why to others? With our deadly bet, we shall go to your father Prahlaada himself, who never speaks other than truth even for his son's sake."

Thus deciding, they both angrily went to Prahlaada. He asked them," What brought you both here? You two never before moved around togrther. Have you made friends with each other? But I see you both angry."

Sudhanva said, " No. No friendship with him is made. We came here to you over a dispute for correct judgement, staking our lives on it." Prahllada replied, " Sudhanva, will you please accept the honey and clothes offered by me? You are honourable to us, great braahmana ! Here is a stout white cow made ready for you as offer."

Sudhanva replied. " All that you offer me is as good as given to me . I ask you a question. Please answer truly. Are the braahmana s superior or this Virochana?". Prahlaada said to Sudhanva," You are here verily a great braahmana yourself. And Sudhanva is my only son. How can a person like me judge a case like this? " Sudhanva said, " Prahlaada, Out of your affection to your son, you may concede him a cow or gold or any other things. But when it comes to the question of justice, you should only be true and honest to the virtue."

Prahlaada asked him, " Sudhanva! Suppose an arbitrator speaks nothing, either justice or otherwise. Or suppose he speaks dishonestly. What happens to such a false speaker?" . Sudhanva answered. "A false judge , O Demon king, will suffer such a night as does a smouldering woman when she got a rival wife, as does a losing gambler or as person who carried heavy weights all the day. A dishonest witness or judge feels a hell of a suffering as such a person who was hindered before the village gates at the end of a long tedious journey, with hostile people all around. Also, it was said that a person lying in case of an animal would throw his five ancestor generations into hell, ten generations if lied for a cow, hundred generations if lied for a horse and a full thousand geerations if lied for decieving or harming a man. A person lying for gold will throw from heaven all his past and future clans-men . And a fellow lying for land will destroy the entire lineage. hence never lie in case of land."

Prahlaada said to them, " Son! Sudhanva's father Angiras is superior to me, so is his mother to yours and so is he to you. you lost to him and now This Sudhanva is master of your life. Sudhanva! I pray you for my son's life."

Sudhanva replied, " Prahlaada, You stuck to truth and virtue even at the cost of your son. You didn't tempt to lie for your son's cause. As such, I allow your son back to you, who, I know, is difficult to get. Now, as I free him, he should wash my feet before this girl." And a realised Virochana did so and relinquished his claim on Keshini in Sudhanva's favour.

Vidura continued to Dhritharaashtra. " o King! Hence, you too take care not to go dishonest for the sake of land, which course will destroy all your clan. May that not happen to you. The gods do not watch abd guard us like the kine. In stead, they simply endow them with fair thoughts, whom they wish to grace with prosperity. The more a man keeps his thoughts pious, the more he prospers. It is to be known that even the vedas cannot save a man from his sins. At an appropriate bad moment suitable for his destruction, even the vedas too disown a sinful man, like the grown-up chicks leave the nest. Wise men say that one should not resort to excessive drinking of wine, quarrelling with everybody, maintaining long feud, seeding differences between a wife and husband, causing enemity among kinsmen, harming the king, culturing disputes among men and women and willfully following a bad track. Also, we should not depend on the witness of a physiognomist, untrue merchant, a former thief, an omen teller, a therapist, an enemy, a friend and a man of impefect character, as these are not considered as dependable in case of judging the disputes."

" Worship of the fire god, penance of silence, study of the vedas and performance of sacrifices, these four give good results if done sincerely, but bring harm if done improperly."

" The code of conduct ordains that all these are as cruelly sinful as slayer of a braahmana - a house-burner, a poisoner,a follower of an adulterine, a Soma ( juice of the now extinct 'Soma' herb used in sacrifices) seller, a weapon maker, an ear biter, a betrayor of friends, an adulterer, an abortionist (foetus killer), a molester of one's preceptor's wife, a drunkard braahmana , a ferrocious minded one, a tortutrer, an atheist, a disdainer of vedas, a corruptionist, a non-vydic braahmana , a cruel-hearted fellow and one capable yet disowner of the refugee."

" Quality of gold is known from its melting, one's virtues are known from one's character, gentleness is known from the way of dealing with others, heroism is known from fearsome situations, courage is known from penury and one's friends and foes are known from one's disasterous days."

"Old age kills beauty; greed kills courage; death kills life; jealousy kills conduct; anger kills proeperity; bad company kills character; lust kills modesty and egotism kills everything. Prosperity comes from sacred deeds, nourishes from our skills, stabilises from our abilities and remains forever from our humility."

" A person shines from these eight qualities - talent, birth ( in a high caste ),self-control, education, valour, being conservative in speech, generousity to one's level and greatfulness. But all these high qualities are exceeded by a sigle thing, 'the regal favour' . Because we see a person favored by a king shines above all, howsoever unreckonable he is before them."

" There are eight things that can create heaven on earth. Of these, four are seen in noble persons and the other four are attained by the noble with efforts. Scrificial performances, alms-giving, recital of vedas and penance are the four that are seen in noble persons whereas the noble people attain with devotion these four - self-contrl, truthfulness, honesty and mercifulness . The path of virtue is of eight types, sacrifice, recital, alms,penance, truth,forgiveness, pity and greedlessness. Of these eight, the first four can be seen practised even due to self-conceit. But the other four cannot be seen in mean class."

" Such an assembly is not a true assembly if there are no learned ones in it. Such learned are not the true learned if they won't speak justice. Such a Justice is not a true justice if there is no truth in it. Such a truth is not a truth if it is influenced by vile."

" Truth, humility,knowledge, studies, high birth, character, strength, wealth,valour and gentle speech are eight ways to heaven. Then, most of these are attainable only from comany of the noble people, hence that is to be sought for. A sinner becomes notorious as sinful and receives only tragic results of his deeds, whereas a noble one does good deeds, becomes known as good in the world and derives only enjoyable results from his deeds. Hence, a true man shall never commit sinful deeds as repeatedly done sins kill away noble thoughts and that leads only to sins again. On the other hand, holy deeds of piety bring fame in the world as a pious man and he enjoys fine results. Hence, piety is to be attained with devotion and without negligence. A man of jealousy, a torturer of others, a sharp-toungued person, a feud-seeder and a deceiver always do sins and soon incur troubles. But, on the other hand, a person of fair-heart and noble thoughts always go for holy deeds alone and never lands into such troubles. Besides he is honoured everywhere. He who ennobles his thoughts and mind from the company of the pious is a true scholar. For it is noble thoughts that bring virtue and benefits thereby paving way to welfare. "

" We should arrange for the night during the daytime itself; should arrange for the four rainy months during the remaining eight months; should arrange for old age during days of youth itself and should try lifelong to take care of our life in the next world."

" A food well and safely digested is commendable. A wife is praiseworthy if she crosses her youth without any blemish on character; a hero is exulted only if he comes victorious from a war and an ascetic is honoured only after he reaches the goal of his penance."

" A protection posed with unjustly attained wealth is not a protection at all, it destroys the earlier wealth too. A preceptor governs the self-restraint, the king governs the wicked but only Lord Yama governs a covert sinner. One should not go looking into the roots of sages, rivers, births of great people and a woman's follies. A kshathriya can rule for long years if he is committed to the worship of braahmana s, if he is honest to his kinsmen and if he is of sound character. O King ! Three people can reap golden flowers from the world, a valorous hero, a learned scholar and a person who knows how to serve others. One's deeds are of three types. The best ones are done with the aid of good thoughts. The moderate ones are attained with strength. The worst ones, that cause troble too sooner or later , are attained with vile and ruge ."

Thus Vidura every now and then taunted Dhriharaashtra and his sons in his speech and now makes a clear mention of his meaning.

King! How can you be sure of your welfare, leaving the authority to the arrogant and ignorant Duryodhana, Dushshaasana, Karna and Shakuni ? There, the Paandavas are known for their good qualities. They treat you as their father and you are to treat them as your sons."

Vidura continued. " We often hear our teachers quote this episode of Aathreya's conversation with the Saadhyas.

Once Daththaathreya was wandering in the form of an ascetic (some say 'swan') when the Saadhyaa group of gods approached him and asked him reverently and obediently. " O great sage! We are the Saadhyas. we bow to you. Our poor minds couldn't see your right self through your outwardly appearance. We pray you to talk to us about the right things. We know that you are strong in studies, learning and practice."

Daththaathreya replied to them. " Dear gods! Let me tell you what I heard from my teachers. The things worthy to be done are - inculcation of restrain, control of senses, devotion to virue and truth , undoing the knot of (ignorance of ) the heart and thereby attaining the state of accepting the desirable and undesirable too as euqal to one's own self . When scolded by others, no need of counter scolding them. The tolerance shown itself will take care of the offenders. And all the amounted virtues of the scolders will devolve upon the bearer of their slandering. One should not reproach others for no reason, should not despise others, should not betray one's friends, should not mingle with the crooked, should not be conceited, should not resort to unworthy conduct and should not possess rude and sharp tounge. Harsh speech hurts not only the heart of others but it aims at their life too. Hence a true virtuous man should avoid that. A person of unpleasant speech that torments others with his cruel tounge is like a man who stations the death in his mouth. Such a person is the worst of the worst and should be avoided at any cost. Even though others throw heart-burning words or piercing shots at him , a wise tolerant man never feels hurt, but in stead he only feels that the ofenders are enriching his own virtues. Just like a fabric getting coated with the dye it is dipped in, a person too gets into the fold of whomever he attaches himself to, may be to a good man or a bad one, may be to a noble or a cheat. We should not talk too much, should not make others talk too much, should not charge at others unless first charged at by others. Moreover, if any one is so cool and composed that he doesn't even retaliate to others' attacks, verbal or physical, and doesn't evevn wish or intend harm to them, such a person is avidly awaited by the gods themselves."

"They say that silence is better than speech; secondly, a true speech is still better; thirdly, a true and appealing speech is still more better; fourthly, a true and appealing speech bound by virtue is further better."

" It is common that a person becomes like whom he moves around with,like whom he follows and like whom he wish to become. Hence a noble association is always prefered. The simple principle is that whatever we are able to shed off, we are relieved of its fancy. Such a shedding of desires destroys grief. A person attains happiness from such a composition which enables him not to mind a win or a loss, not to bear grudge or vengeance, not to be affected by praise or blame, or not to yield to pleasure or sorrow."

" Among the men, the best are those who wish good to all, don't think ill of others, always speak truth, are gentle with others and are self-restraint. The average class are those who keep their word, who are well aware of others' flaws and don't try hard for the useless ends. And the worst category are such , who won't relax their stubborn adherence to anger even after being beaten again and again, won't be greatful, won't be friends to any, won't be amiable to others, won't care for their elderly counsels, won't be self-confident yet and won't concur with their well-wishers. A man should always associate himself only with the best men; may do so with the average class when forced by the circumstances; but should never go with the worst class if he wishes his own good. One may get wealth through the aid of bad people and may even be able to make it manifold through one's abilities, intelligence and efforts; but it is impossible to attain the practices of the noble sect."

" This was what the sage Daththaathreya told briefly to Saadhyas." Vidura concluded. Listening all this, Dhritharaashtra questioned, " Vidura! Even the virtuous and learned gods too incline to the noble sect. Tell me Vidyra, what sort , after all, are of the noble sect ?"

Vidura replied. " Listen, King! The noble class are those in whom these seven pious qualities are conspicuous and stationary. Penance, forbearance, knowledge ( of the vedas), sacrifices, prescribed marriages, perpetual alms of food to the needy and impeccable character. Those people have firm conduct, their ancestors are proud of their descendency,they adhere to virtue with pure mind, they aim at a high honour among their clan and they never leave the path of truth. In contrary, the other class of people degrade their class and clan with their unworthy acts, namely, non-performance of sacrifices, unseemly marriages, non-recital of the vedas and overstepping of the path of virtue. Any class becomes fameless and gets faded away, by their embezzling with the properties of temples, swindling moneies of braahmanas, insulting the braahmana s, hurting the braahmana s and stealing the pedged things by breaching of trust. Even though rich in persons,properties,kine and wealth, a class as a whole loses its identity once its character sinks down. On the other hand, a class even poor in strength and wealth will enjoy its significant place and fame, if sound in character. Of wealth and character, character is to be protected by all means, for wealth may come and go and those without it are not lost. But those without profound character are lost forever. Such a deserted class cannot revive even by accumulation of kine,horses,lands and even scholarly people."

" May our clan not have one who promotes enemity amongst us , one who being a ruler grabs at others' property,one who betrays his friends, one who cheats others, one who lies for his personal benefits, one who eats ahead of the guests or gods and one who eats without offering to the souls of his ancestors. May our society be void of one who hates or kills braahmana s or one who destroys our efforts."

" The houses of the noble always offer food,water,shelter and welcoming word to the oncomers without any recess. Their houses are abodes of truthfulness. The very existence of such noble souls is for the purpose of serving others with devotion. A carriage made of wood is useful in carrying or transporting heavy loads but no tree howsoever large can do that, though they are materially the same. Similarly, people of noble birth too, are capable of executimg any hard assignment, though they appear like the other common class in form and looks. They differ from others in abilities as a carriage does from the wood."

" A man of frightening anger and a man who cannot be served with trust, cannot be a friend to others. A true friend is one in whom people can safely trust like in their father. Others are just like acquaintences. A person who behaves like a true friend eventhough he is not related to us, is the real friend in deed. He can be our recourse and he can be our ultimate saviour. A fickleminded fellow who doesn't learn from the elderly mentors cannot acquire dependable friends. Just as the swans avoid a dry tank, all the benefits elude one whose thoughts are unstable, who is not a master of his own senses and who is not learned enough. A bad fellow gets annoyed and gets pleased unwarrantedly, with moods as wavering as a flying cloud. Those who won't mind to help back their friends that had helped or saved them earlier, are the worst ungreatful and even the carnivorous animals won't touch their corpses. Whether rich or poor, one should respect one'e friends. Actually, one knows the trueness of his friends only by not expressing any wish for help."

Distress spoils form, distress depletes strength, distress destroys wisdom and distress brings bodily deseases. Never feel aggrievd, as grief fetches nothing but in stead it plagues the body and it makes your enemies happier."

" Again and again, a human being takes a birth and meets his death , again and again he prospers and ruins, again and again he begs and is begged, again and again he laments and is lamented about by others. It means that nothing is permanent and as such nothing is to be lamented over. Pleasures and sorrows, gains and losses, successses and failures, births and deaths, all these occur to every one in their turns. Hence a composed man shall not feel happy or sad about these things."

"The mind and the five sensory organs , all six, are highly unstable. As and when any of these is at its crisis, so and then will the wisdom decrease, like water trickles out from a porous pot."

Then Dhritharaashtra interrupted. " Vidura! Yudhishthira was illtreated by me . He remains like a fire subsided but growing internally and ready to burst up. He won't stop before seeing the end of my sons in the war. I see everyone nervous always. I am myself nervous all the while. You please tell me something that staves off this nervousness. "

Vidura answered . " King! I see no other means for peacefulness to you ,than enlightening of mind, penitence, control of senses and sheding of greed. The learned say that, one defeats fears with wisdom, attains greatness and support of the great through penance, acquires wisdom from serving the learned teachers, and attains peacefulness from control of mind (by fixing its instability). Those who don't attach themselves to the virtues acquired by their alms or vedic studies and shed such feelings like hatred and affinity, will be like having attained salvation in this world itself. A well practiced study, a well fought fight, a well executed act and a well observed penance - all these give bliss at their end."

" Unduly biased people cannot have sleep though resting in the softest beds, cannot enjoy time with their most beautiful women too, cannot feel pleasure from the singing of eulogies by their bards. Such people never follow virtue, nor do they feel contented, nor do they enjoy pleasures, nor can they command honour of the world, nor can they like peace. They won't listen to what is good, they can't permanently acquire things, they cannot secure what is obtained. Their destination is nothing except destruction."

" Cows are known for abundance of milk (and other products from it), braahmana s for penance in them, women for unstablity in thoughts and paternal cousins for creating troubles to their siblings or cousins. Firebrands emit smokes when several and burn out when united. Similarly, rival kinsmen too fume angers on their counterparts when apart and destroy them as well as themselves when live together. Though the nature of rival cousins is to vie with and harass their counterparts, Paandavas are exception. They were brought up by you and taken care of by you. They have been bearing out of their patience, many troubles caused by you. They could manage to guard themselves as they are rich in friends and relatives. They have become a living example for what is goodness. You join them with your sons and their common strength becomes invincible, making you haapier ever. Those who harass braahmana s, scholars,women, gentle kinsmen and cows do eject themselves from their safety just like a ripe fruit drops from its stalk. A lone tree, however large, however strong, however deep-rooted, can be demolished by stron winds. Many trees standing together, though small or weak, can withstand against great winds, due to their unity and proximity. Likewise, kinsmen too, become vulnerable to their foes by dividing among themselves and become formidable by being united. A single person howsoever great, wise and valorous he may be,is sure to be taken over by his enemies sooner or later. Kinsmen grow together by unity and love among themselves, looking like the lotuses in the pond to the pleasure of the onlookers."

" Those ought not to be killed are - braahmana s,cows,kinsmen,children,women,refugees and benefactors. Wealth is the only merit in men ( others without that are not counted and wealth covers up all demerits) and desease is nothing short of death to men. Anger is like something that is not a symptom of desease, harsh, torments the mind, entails sins, bitter, torrid and formidable. That cannot be subdued by mean hearts. Only high souls can aontrol it. You king, try to swallow down your anger. Anger causes distress and distress, as I told you a few minutes ago, causes physical and mental deseases. Deseaed cannot enjoy fruit or medicine. They lose comprehension of things and thought.They are always melancholic. Neither wealth nor pleasures can comfort them."

" I told you in the beginning itself, my King, when the gambling started. I invoked you to bar Duryodhana from that vilesome game at least after seeing Droupadi wagered and lost . But you did not listen to my words and didn't hold your son from the path of gambling, proscribed to our class. The strength that incurs the enemity of gentle class is not a true strength at all. Wealth acquired through cruel strength destroys its holders, whereas the same obtained through virtuous strength stays through generations. The secrets of virtue are subtle and are to be followed with care and devotion. May your sons protect Paandavas and may Paandavas guard your sons. May they have common foes and common friends. May they have a common target. May they live long haappy and prosperous. King, You are now the kingpin to your entire clan. Our kuru race ans its walfare rests on you. You protect the exile-worn, yet obedient Paandavas and thereby protect your fame too. You unite your sons and Paandavas so that no others can think of aiming at them. They are in the path of truth and virtue, you bring your son too into that path for their common good."

Vidura continued further. " King! Manu described men of these fourteen types as such foolish as trying to bend the rain bow or catch hold of Sunrays or trying to hit against the sky. 1. Those who try to teach the indoctrinable people, 2. Who feels satisfied too easily for too small achievements, 3. who is incumbered with protection of women and still feels easy, 4. Who believes in his enemies and yet confident of safety, 5. Who begs before the unfit persons, 6. Who boasts of himself unwarrantedly, 7. Who, though of high birth, resorts to indecent things, 8. who himself is weak, yet maintains enemity with stronger foes, 9. who teaches the uninterested, 10. who is desirous of enjoying the undesirable, 11. who allows himself to bawdy jestings with his own daughter-in-law, 12. who seeks protection from his own daughter-in-law ( or her relatives) but still demands respect from her, 13. who illegitimately begets children from others' wives, 14. who throws words at women, 15. who takes from others but pretends to have forgotten and 17. who promises alms but does not deliver yet claims his donation when reminded of it and 17. who tries to pose the bad as good to the world. All these will be dragged to the hell."

" It is justified if a person behaves with others just the same way as they behave with him. True people should be given true treatment and the wicked, a cunning treatment."

Dhritharaashtra querried then. " Vidura, It is said that a man shall live for a hundred years. Then, why is it that everybody doesn't live that long? "

Vidura answered. "As I told you earlier, egotic persistence destroys everything. It is foolish to blame death for the loss of life. There are six flaws like six sharp knives that drive our life away. 1. boundless egotism, 2. too much of harsh talk, 3. too much unwillingness to part with things for others, 4. too much of selfishness, 5. too much of anger and 6. betrayal towards trusting friends. May you save yourself from these dangerous six elements."

It is said that it is equal to the slaying of a braahmana if, 1. one traps a friend's wife, 2. one molests one's teacher's wife, 3. a braahmana marries a shoodra woman, 4. a braahmana takes to drinking, 5. a chieftain of a village destroys the livelihood of thers, 6. anybody employing braahmana s for his personal labour and 7. one kills a refugee . Even mingling with them too requires severe penitences, as our codes prescribed."

" A listener of elders, good at moral policies, generous, feeder of guests and gods before eating for himself, a nonviolence practiser, a person away from disdainable deeds, greatful, true and gentle to others will have the way paved to heaven. "

' King! There are many speakers available always to speak that pleases the listener; but a speaker of good(advice), though displeasing, is scarce , as scarce as its listener too. A true associate to a king is such a one, who, bound to virtue, goes on telling what is good to the king, unmindful of its pleasing or displeasing him. I told you on the day of gambling that there were instances of severe enemity among kings caused by gambling and that the learned should not take it up even for the fun of it. But you didn't mind to care for my words as a sick man rejecting a true medicine. It is said that, if needded, one person should be abandoned for the sake of a clan, a clan be sacrificed for a village, a village for a kingdom and everything for one's own sake. About the case of forced abondoning, our elders said that one should save monies for an exigency, should save women even at the cost of the monies and should save oneself even at the cost of monies and women."

You took up the sides with your sons and cornered the Paandavas just like choosing the crows against the beautiful peacocks. You preferred saving the useless foxes to saving the strong lions and now, when the time of its fruit comes, you lament !"

" The followers of a king heartily trust in him and will never leave him in hard times, provided that he doesn't illtreat them despite their sincere loyalty to him. A king should not resort to the means of expanding his territories at the cost of the wealth and enjoyment of his followers or dependents, for such practice makes even the loyal ones turn bitter and eventually they leave him because of their displeasure over their reduced wealth and pleasures. Before attempting any new venture, a king should assess in detail the possibility or otherwise of its success, should compare the revenues and expenditures to adopt an apt policy and should procure dependable and favourable associates, since any achievement is possible only through loyal associates. A king should as much honour a true associate as verily himself, if the latter is interested in the king's welafare, is well aware of the king's intentions, is able to discharge the entrusted responsibilities without fault, is honest enough to advice for the benefit of the king without fear or favour and knows who is capable of what."

" Such a servant is to be dismissed instantly, as one who doesn't care for the instructions, who offers counters for given orders, who holds himself high and who speaks with a negative approach. A person suitable to be an emissary is one, who is devoid of pride, who is not incompetent, who is not undecisive, who is not vulnerable to be lured,who is compassionate, who is of sound health and who speaks convincingly."

" A man of sensible thoughts shall not be unduly venturesome to have a night-halt in his enemy's place, should not hide in a town sqare during night time and shouldn't desire for a woman whom the king himself desires." " It is neither wise to bluntly oppose a decision coming from a collective plan of wicked majority nor justified to concur with them, yet, one should not openly disclose one's not confiding with them , but should cleverly offer some elusive reply and escape from being witchhunted."

" A too compassionate king, a characterless woman, a royal employee, a son, a brother, a widow, a mother of young children, a worker in armed force and an ousted officer are to be avoided in monetary transactions."

"As I told you earlier, a person shines from these eight qualities - talent, birth ( in a high caste ),self-control, education, valour, being conservative in speech, generousity to one's level and greatfulness. But a king's favourite is ( looked upon ) as good as having all these qualities in him."

" A man with a habbit of bathing daily with the prescribed frequency will have these ten; energy, beauty, vocal clarity,nice voice, soft skin, fine body odour, purity, tenderness, lustre and nice women."

"A man who eats moderately has six benefits; health, longevity,strength, comfort, a healthy offspring and avoidance of being called gluttonous."

"One should not harbour in one's house, a lazy fellow, a glutton, a person whom everybody hates, a cunning deceiver, a cruel fellow, an unintellect ( of suitability of time and place) and a person of abhorable looks. Never should one, even in the gravest of adversities, beg before a miser, a lose-tounge, an uncultured fellow,an insensible one, a deceitful one, one who regards unworthy people, a cruel one, an antogonist and an ungreatful one. One should never associate with these six rougues; a hooligan, a constantly erring person, an infernal liar, a man of erratic trust, an unfriendly one and an extremely arrogant person. Our interests involve our associates and our associates involve in our interests. These two are interdependent, one without the other cannot be consistent."

" Having begotten sons, having seen them settled in their lives,free of encumbrences and having got the daughters married to suitable grooms, one should go reclusive to the forests, in quest of God's path. One should do only what is as good to others as benefcial to one's own self. This will become the basis in the view of God to decide our future rewards. Wherefore does one entertain the fear of smooth living, if one has prosperity ( with the aid of associates), victory ( over foes with aid of associates ), valour ( grown from associates), strength (increased from associates), efforts ( successful from associates) and dedication (coming to fruition with the help of associates) ? As a good associate is helpful in so many ways, one shouldn't forego such people."

Paandavas are such a fine associates you could ever imagine to get, yet you maintain enemity with them whom the gods too dread. You see the flaws in doing that dangerous thing ; enemity with nephews, a constant tension and fear of dangers, an indelible blemish on your fame and a source of delight to your adversaries. The horrible wrath of you,Bheeshma and Yudhishthira is assuming the form of an pmenous comet that portends destruction of this world. May it so haapen that your sons, Karna and the five Paandavas will rule the entire earth amids the seas. Your sons are like a forest and Paandavas are like tigers. Forest guards the tigers and tigers protect the forest. No forest without tigers is safe and no tigers out of forest are safe. Don't destroy the forest and the tigers altogether."

" Crooked people do not so much wish to see others' merits as they wish to see their flaws. One aspiring to the best benefits should first stick on to virtue, as benefits rest only on virtue as ambrosia lies only in the heaven. One whose mind holds itself from sins and commits itself to virtues, will attain the prime knowledge of what is fundamental (prakrithi) and what is derivative (vikrithi) in the whole existence. He who strives for virtue, benefits and desires as per their appropriations, will enjoy all of tem in this world and the next one (though salvation is not assured). He will prosper, who can control the passions of anger or happiness and who is not moved by troubles. A man's strength is said to be of five types, the least is physical strength, higher to it is the strength from associates, next higher is the one from wealth, next higher is one from ancestral sources and influences whereas the the highest is the one from one's own wisdom. This one is as good as a combination of all of the earlier four and the best of all too."

" When one has enemity with a foe capable of harming greatly, one caanot feel safe just because one is far away from him. After all, can any wise man take for granted enemies,women,kings,snakes,masters,study of vedas, the able ones,luxuries and longevity ? For a person falling victim to an able enemy's starategy, there are no physicians, no remedial medicines, no propitiatory rites, no chantings, no auspicious rites, no prepared compositions and no processes from atharva veda too, to allay the effect. A lion, fire, a snake and a kinsman of noble valour shall never be illtreated, as these are very powerful. Fire, which is a great power, lies latently in a wood but that wood cannot be useful until it is kindled by others. The moment that is rubbed with another wood and kindled, it will at once consume the entire forest alongwith itself. Similarly, Paandavas,your kinsmen of high prowess, though as powerful as fire, are calm like a wood with hidden powers due to their patience and forgiveness. Let them not be provoked until they emit fire at us. You must understand that you and your sons are like creepers and Paandavas are like a huge tree. No creeper can survive safe and long without entwining around a huge tree. I repeat my King, your sons are like a forest and Paandavas are like lions. A forest not inhabited by lions is liable for destruction and lions devoid of the shield of forest become vulnerable."

Till now, Vidura quite often pointed out to Dhritharaashtra, what his follies were, how cruel and unjust his son Duryodhana was and how the Paandavas were to be redressed of their grievances caused by him. At times, he was too clear to miss. Now, as a matter of talk, he goes on speaking about some common moral code so as to keep him at ease. He continued.

" When an elder comes near a sitting younger, the lives of the latter will start to fly off to depart him which he regains them by standing, meeting the elder, bowing and declaring himself by his own name. A cultured man shall comfort a good guest by offering him a seat and water, by washing his feet and by inquiring his welfare. Therafter, he should humbly talk of his own welfare and offer him food. If any householder does not offer water, cow, sweets and garment to a learned guest, either out of meanness or fear or miserliness, his life is considered a mere waste. A physician, a weapon-maker, a violator of code of celibacy, a thief,a cruel person, a drunkard, a foetus killer, a arm bearer( for his livelihood) and a seller of vedic knowledge are, howsoever dear they may be, ineligible to offer cow, water etc, but normal treatment must be given as a matter of duty. It is of course,said that salt, cooked rice, curd, milk, honey,oil, ghee ( clarified butter), meat, fruit, roots, vegetables, red (or dyed) garments, perfumes and jaggery are not to be sold."

" A mendicant is one who is devoid of anger, who sees gold and pebbles alike, who doesn't grieve for anything, who doesn't mind friendship or enemity, who doesn't care for blame or praise, who doesn't prefer or deride anything and who doesn't attach himself to anything. A hermit is one who lives on petty grains,roots or vegetables, is confined to forests, is devoted to fire-worship, is master of his mind, is very careful in treating the guests, is a good conductor of his duties and is inclined only to doing virtuesome deeds. When even a hermit is to honour guests, what to talk of a householder?"

" One should not harm a clever enemy and still feel safe just because of the distance from him. A clever man's hands are very long, long enough to settle with his tormentors. Never trust in the untrustful, never trust too much in the trustworthy too. A fear originating from breach of trust will cut into the deepest roots. One should not be jealous, should treat one's wives very carefully and tenderly, should be of a smooth tounge, amiable and pleasing to the women, but should not become subdued to them. Women are the lights of the houses; they are the wealth of the family; tey are pious and respectable; hence they are to be protected with care and concern."

" The harem ( affairs of women like marriages and protection) is to be left to the father, the kitchen ( food affairs) to the mother, cattle to someone who is as good as one's self and agriculture is to be supervised pesonally. Workers may be employed for running normal affairs but sons themselves shall be engaged in charge of service of the braahmana s."

"Fire, kshathriya and iron originate from water,braahmana and stone. Their power prevails everywhere but fails in their sources. Noble men of high origin are really powerful but appear calm, due to their self-control,like the latent fire in the wood.So is the case with the powerful yet tolerant Paandavas."

"Such a king will spread his sight ( spies) everywhere and long enjoy prosperities, whose activities are not scented either by insiders or outsiders. A king should not reveal what he is going to do about his activities regarding virtue, benefits or desires but should disclose only what he actually did. Then, his plans are safe from leakage. To protect secret consultations from overhearing ( by enemies), these should be held preferably on a hillock or in a lonely upper chamber of a palace or in a garden area without thick bushes around. Even a close friend but not wise or even wise but not stable-minded, should not be taken as a consutant minister. A thorough test shall be done for his abilities. Materialisation of benefits and protection of plans rest on ministers. A king is said to be of the best policies of virtue, benefits and desires, if his consultants too come to know of them only after their being implemented. Is there any doubt in frution of aims of such a king who maintains his plans so secret? One who imprudently opts to attempt at uncommendable goals falls victim to their unhappy results and may have to forego his life too. It is for one's good to undertake only the worthy deeds and refusal of their undertaking is just for one's sufferings. Just as a braahmana of no vedic study is eneligible to participate in rituals, so is a man unfit to participate in regal consultations if he is not wellversed with the six (attack,truce,campaign,awaiting proper time, causing difference among enemies and joining with a stronger alley) ways of royal policies. This entire earth comes under his control, who is well aware of his status, development and decrease, who knows the proper moment to adopt the six policies and most importantly, who does not disdain others' merits and conduct. For a king whose pleasure or displeasure has its own result, who often reviews his actions and whose self-confidence is a treasure for him, the earth just yields all wealth. "

" A king should feel pleasure in being a king formally. He should enjoy the wealth alongwith his followers and dependents but shouldn't take everything for himself alone. A braahmana knows about another braahmana ;a husband knows about his wife; a king knows about his ministers; but only a king can understand or estimate another king. If an enemy deserving killing is captured, he should be put to death lest he should surely cause trouble within no time. In case the captured enemy himself is stronger, he should be conciliated with."

" One shoudn't be stubbornly angry ( anger should be controlled in their cases) with the gods, kings, braahmana s, elders, children and the sick. A wise man should not engage in unreasonable disputes, in which only the unwise find interest . Such an abstinence brings good name and avoids troubles. The subjects don't accept such a king whose anger causes no fear or sympathy causes no favour, just like the women don't accept a eunuch husband."

" Only wisdom does not guaranree wealth or foolishness alone causes poverty. The ups and downs occuring in life are better perceived(that actions alone bring their fruits) by a wise man but not others. An unwise man always derides those who are great by knowledge, character, age, wisdom, wealth and birth. Calamities swarm up around one who is unwise, jealous, harsh-toungued, too touchy and whose conduct is unbecoming of his status. An honest generousity, non-violation of established systems and a sweet tounge will win everyone to one's side. An honest, able, greatful, intelligent and sincere king, though weak in treasury, will always have support of all others around.

Courage, self-control,passion-free mind, purity of thought,pity, a smooth talk and sincerity towards friends, these seven are the fuel for expansion of wealth. A king who cannot allow share to his followers, who is cruel,ungreatful and shameless is surely a bad one and is to be abandoned at once. One who incurs the wrath of his faithful followers all because of his own follies,cannot even freely sleep at night, feeling as unsafe as in a house with a snake in it. Like one does the gods, one should always keep those people in good spirits Whose detriment strikes at the safety of one's own present and future prosperity ( the original word is 'yogakshema '. yoga=new wealth acquring, kshema=safety of existing one.). Any interests in the hands of women, the careless,the ruiined and the crooked are almost gone. When a woman,a gambler or an inexperienced is in the command, they are as sure to sink in troubles as a stone-raft in a river. I reckon such people as the learned, who are always ready to help in times of need and keep themselves away at other times. The other category are only promoters of crowd and noise. A man falling for the praises of gamblers,bards and harlots are sure to lose his everything and life too."

" You deserted such great heroes as Paandavas and installed your son Duryodhana in the command of our great wealth and kingdom. You will surely see him fall from his position as the Demon Bali from the leadership of the three worlds."

Dhritharaashtra said, " Vidura! A man is just a puppet in the hands of the God, not a master of his own good or bad. I am myself helpless. Go on talking to me, I am interested in listening."

Vidura did not say anything about his response but continued. "O King! Even Brihaspathi becomes a laughing stock and gets his wisdom insulted if he speaks unfit to the occasion. Some people become dear to us by giving something to us, some become dear by talking appealingly pleasing to us and some other by his strength or strategic help. Anyway, a dear one is a dear one always. Once we consider a person as our dear one, we will see all his actions as good ones. But if we stamp a man is our hostile, we abhor all his actions as unworthy; we refuse to notice his goodness,wisdom or scholarship."

" Sir, The very day Duryodhana was born , I told you that you should abandon him, as deserting him alone would save your hundred sons and attaching to himself would cost you your hundred sons. No rise entailing fall shall be reckoned as a rise and no fall resulting in rise in due course shall be seen as a fall either. A fall just doesn't necessarily mean a decrease in wealth. But a true fall is that unwanted addition too, which destroys the whole lot. Some people are rich in wealth and some in merits. You always keep away those rich in wealth but poor in merits."

Dhritharaashtra heard Vidura's direct advice of abandoning his son and said, " Vidura, What you say is passed by the learned and brings good in the end. But I cannot throw away my son. Let virtue save its followers."

Vidura went on talking.

" A humble one of excellent merits will never allow the existence of even a minute source of troubles to the beings in general. Some people always intently engage themselves in finding faults with others, troubling others and creating differences among others. Even meeting such people is a sin, talking to them is source of danger. Never should there be giving and taking with such ones which results in the worst. Those who are selfish,shameless,adamant and promotors of differences are disdained by all and such people shall be avoided in friendship. And people infested with other deridable traits are to be avoided too. Detachment from detestable fellows reduces affinity towards them and with that any luring little benefit or pleasure from their company too disappears. A loathsome fellow once thrown away, will always try to harm and he is not satisfied with minor harms. He is keen at destroying due to his spitefulness. A wise man should keenly estimate his company with such unscrupulous and cruel elements and avoid for good. A person wishing for his prosperity and welafre of his family , shall take care of his kinsmen who are in troubles. That brings him limitless benefits. When it is said that kinsmen shall be guarded eventhough they are of mean merits, what to talk of those like Paandavas who are endowed with every merit and still pray for your grace ! Kindly be good to them and allow at least a few villages to them for their maintenance. Thus will you gain a good name . You being the elder of the family shall command your sons for the good of the clan. It is my duty, as a wellwisher, to tell you what is good to you all. A man aspiring to good shall not maintain enemity with kinsmen. There should be dining,chatting, pleasing and enjoying pleasures with kinsmen but not mutual enemity. It is true that kinsmen will save or kill too. The good ones do the first thing and others do the second. Be good to the good Paandavas. With them on your side, you will become invincible to your foes. A person suffering plights despite having rich kinsmen who neglect him, leaves the blame on those kinsmen, just as an animal does on a hunter by being killed from his poisoned arrows. You will surely lament in future at least, by hearing them or your sons killed in the war. Don't forget this. In our uncertain life, we should refrain in the beginning itself from doing such follies which cause us smoulder later in a lonely room. Of course, leaving Shukra or the like, every common man is subject to mistake but learning a lesson from such mistakes is only seen in the wise."

Similarly, It is your eldership that shall correct the sins previously done by Duryodhana towards the Paandavas. You will become purified and honorable to the learned if you install Paandavas in their former position. He is blessed with best permanent fame who honours the counselling of the learned , estimates the results of their adoption and then decides his policies. Sometimes, advice of even the wisest goes futile, as what is taught is not comprehended or what is comprehended is not implemented. One who doesn't make an effort of painful results, always prospers. And a fool who fails to remember and review his earlier follies, is bound to sink in unfathomable mud of troubles."

" A wise man conscious of guarding his benefits shall always take care of these six sources of ruining his strategies. Arrogance,slothfulness,incomprehension,his own outward countenance,trust in an unworthy minister and an uncapable emissary. One who is good at sealing these six leaks excels in attaining the three ends(dharma,artha,kaama) and outplays his foes. Even the likes of Brihaspathi too, cannot understand virtue and benefits without studying and learning from the learned."

"That falls in the sea is lost, that taught to an unmindful listener is lost, that studied by a mean fellow is lost and an oblation without fire is lost. A wise man should choose to make friends with similar people, only after repeatedly testing them through thought and deeds, in person and by others too. Humility avoids infamy; prowess staves danger; forgiveness kills anger and custom (if adopted) avoids misbehaviour. One's nobility shall be tested from his dress, native place, household, customs, food habbits and comforts he enjoys. Even a renounced fellow won't refuse what comes by itself; then what to talk of a desirous one? "

"One should always see to tie up with an honoured scholar, a virtueful one, an amiable one, a person rich in friends,a sweet-toungued one and a true friend. Whether of a noble birth or not,the one who knows his limits , who is virtue-bound, soft-hearted and shy of mean deeds will ameliorate a hundred nobles. Friendship between such people stands firmly, whose thoughts,intellects and talents are concordant with each other. A wise man should avoid friendship with such one who is crooked, unwise and dangerous like a grass-covered well, as company with such people doesn't last long. Also to be avoided are proud,adament,cruel,criminal,hasty and unvirtueful people. A true friend is one who is greatful,virtueful,truthful, devoted, master of sensories, aware of limits and un deserting."

"The ability to absolutely refrain one's senses form their objects is as wonderful as winning against death. But, too more a freedom to the senses beyond the necessary level will ruin even the gods. The learned people say that gentleness towards all,being free of envy,forgiveness,courage and revering the friends, are the things that nourish the longevity. Through a determined mind and an acceptable means, does an uncontemptible person strive to regain the interests he lost. One planning for the future , firmly deciding about present jobs and marking the past tasks for completion, will never lose his interests. One is pulled away by what one thnks,says and does;hence one shall always think of good things. Touching the auspicious things, company of allies, erudition, efforts, sincerity and frequently visiting the good people, bring prosperity. Effortfulness is the base of wealth,auspiciousness and accumulation of benefits; a man of efforts enjoys limitless pleasures. tolerance is always and everywhere the best and beneficial companion for an able man in all his efforts. An incompetent one tolerates everything due to his inability but an able one does for the sake of virtue; and for one equipoised to good and bad, tolerance is always the best (whether he is able or not). Subject to virtue and benefits, one may heartily enjoy any pleasures but should not be blindly attached to them."

" Fortune(wealth,power,fame etc) doesn't stay with the plaintive, the reckless,the atheists, the slothfull, the non-mettlesom and the sensory-ridden. It also keeps away, as if afraid to reach, from those who are too gentle, too generous, too punctilious, too valorous and too much confident of themselves. It is not bound to be with those of too many merits or those of too many demerits. It has neither affinity to merits nor love to demerits. It behaves madly, like a blind cow, staying where she chooses to."

" A man of rectitude and shy of losing it is often seen as uncapable and the mean class try to corner him."

" Vedic study is for worshipping Agni; education is for character and behaviour; a wife is for sensual appeal and offspring ; and, monies are for alms and enjoyment."

If unjust earnings are used for rituals to gain status in the next world, the doer's spirit will not get the intended yields due to the sinful earning. A composed person remains stable even in dense forests or in unknown terrains or in the face of grave dangers or amidst troubles or right under a fierce attack. Initiative, self-control, capability,carefulness,courage, unforgetfulness and assessment before attempt are the base for prosperity and welfare. Penance is the power of sages, ultimate realisation is the power of thinkers(about the universal soul), violence is the power of the evil and forgiveness is the power of the noble class."

" The eight things that will not break a religious resolution are, (in-take of) water, roots, fruits,milk, sacrificial hacatombs,medicines, (deviation due to) a cause of a braahmana , and preceptor's direction."

"Simply put, the ultimate virtue is that, one should not inflict on others what one sees bad to oneself. Wanton actions are just unrighteous."

" We should win anger with placidity, bad with good, miserliness with generousity and untruthfulness with truthfulness. One shouldnot believe in an unchaste woman, a cheater,a coward,a lazy one,a wrathful one,an egotist,an ungreatful one and an atheist. Fame, longevity,strength and reputation - these four will flourish in one who is in the practice of bowing to and serving the elders. O king! Let your mind not be after such an object that can be achieved through utmost strain,or through violation of code of virtue or through bowing to the enemy. one devoid of culture(education), coition not resulting in offspring, starving people and an anarchaic state are pitiable. A long walk i.e. journey is old age (trying) to the corpulent, heavy rains are old age (slacken them, making the cliffs fall) to the hills , want of carnal pleasures is old age (horrible) to women and biting words are old age (tormemting) to the mind. Non-recital is the filth to Vedas, having no strict code is filth to braahmana , the Baahleeka land is filth to the earth and separation (from husband) is filth to women. Silver is impurity in gold,lead is impurity in silver and sediment is an impurity to lead."

"One cannot win over sleep by sleeping, women by their enjoying, fire by supplying fuel and wine by its ample drinking. Successful is his life, who satisfies his allies with giving, enemies with fighting in the war and family with provisions."

" King! Those with a hundred live, those with a thousand too live. Shed greed (on wealth). There is no way that one cannot live. One won't get deluded if one understands that all the women,wealth,cattle and food in the world together cannot satisfy a single man's greed. I invoke to you again, my King, to see Paandavas and your sons equally, if you are unbiased."

Vidura stressed the need of making peace with the Paandavas but seeing Dhritharaashtra unmindful to answer , he continued.

" Fame comes to such a gentleman who won't get proud, despite being honoured by the noble people , but instead humbly goes on with his best effrots for success. It is blessing of the graceous noble people that bestows success and pleasures. He who voluntarily refrains himself from efforts that promise high yields but at the cost of righteousness, will shed all his grief like a snake moulting its skin and sleeps heartily."

" Getting benefit through untrue means, slandering about the king and troubling the preceptor with untrue behaviour are all as sinful as slaying of a braahmana . Jealousy is synonym to death, talking beyond limits costs fortunes."

"The three enemies to learning are hurry, boasting and disregard towards teachers. Laxity, pride,fickleness,trifling, hotheadedness, and greediness are the seven vices that harm a true student. How can a pleasure seeker learn (educate) and how can a learner seek pleasure? A pleasure seeker should abandon learning and a learning-seeker should not mind pleasures."

" Fire is never satisfied with fuel,ocean with in-flowing rivers, death with the whole lot of beings and a lustful woman with men."

" Greed kills mental composition, time (age) kills strength, anger kills prosperity, miserliness kills fame, negligence kills cattle whereas O King, one annoyed braahmana kills the entire state."

" Goats, bell-metal,silver, remedies(antedotes) to poison,a bird,a vedic scholar, an elderly kinsman and an impoverished noble, these should always be available with your household. Manu prescribed that a householder should keep these items ready to use in worshipping the gods and braahmanas; goat, ox,sandal wood, harp, mirror,honey, ghee, iron, copper,conch, ox-gall and a saalagraama ( a smooth stone, considered to be a form of Vishnu)."

" King! This is the best and ultimate of the righteous paths, never should one give up virtue either due to fears,or lusts or dangers even to the very life itself. Virtue is eternal, pleasure and trouble are transient; the soul is eternal but its cause (to take manifeatation) is temporal. You give up the temporal things and strive for the eternal one. Be blissful with that achievement."

"Think, O King! Many great kings who ruled over the entire prosperous earth had succumbed to death leaving their powers and pleasures. People drag out of their houses the corpse of even a labouriously brought up son, wail bitterly for him until they get dishevelled but finally throw him on the pyre like a wood. The elements of a dead man's body go to fire or birds, riches yo some other, while he is accompanied to the next world by but two things, his virtues and sins. All the sons,kins and friends leave a dead man and go like the birds abondoning a tree that lost its flowers and fruits. One should accumulate virtues with effort, as a dead man is accompanied only by his deeds. Beyond this world, both above and below, there is a great dark hell that totally decieves the senses. Beware of that , my King! May that not hit upon you!

" The soul is a river. It springs from the truth (Brahma). Steadiness is its shores. Mercy is its waves. A righteous one bathes in it and becomes virtuesome. A virtuous soul means a soul free from greed. Life is like a river. The five senses are its water. Desire and anger are alligators in it. Use the raft of steadiness (not to deviate from virtue) and pass the dangers of re-birth. He who respectfully prays for advice in respect of adoptable and unadoptable deeds, from his kinsmen who are elder to him by age,learnning,knowledge and virtues, will never commit a mistake. Hunger and lust are to be controlled by steadiness, hands and feet are to be guarded by the eyes, ears and eyes are to be guarded by the mind and finally, the mind and speech are to be guarded by right deeds.If you can listen,understand and truly practice this, you will attain the best fame and will never have to be afraid of anything here or after."

"A braahmana doesn't fall from the path of Brahma's world provided he bathes and offers everyday, performs(sacrifices) and recites(vedas) daily, avoids undeserved food (offered by the unfit people), speaks only truth and obeys his preceptors. A kshathriya attains the heaven by learning the vedas, worshipping the fire, performing sacrifices, ruling the people, staking himself for the cause of cows or braahmana s and throwing his life in war. A vyshya goes to the heaven after his death if he recites vedas,learns scriptures, helps braahmana s or kshathriya s or other refugees with his finances and performs sacrifices inhaling the smokes from the three fires. A shoodra burns all his sins and rejoices in the heaven after this life if he helps the other three orders respectfully, with no agony at their pleasures. Thiese are the duties of the people of the four orders. And also listen the reason for my telling this to you now. Your nephew Yudhishthira is about to slide off from kshathriya 's path (of ruling), whom You must reestablish therein. "

Thus discoursing on general and specific issues, Vidura concluded. After listening all this, Dhritharaashtra said, " Vidura! You have been teaching me thisway everyday. You are true too in your teachings and my mind appreciates them too. I think of following your word in respect of Paandavas but the moment I see my son Duryodhana, my mind reverts back to its original status. After all, destiny is unsurpaasable to any creature. It always overridingly prevails over human efforts which are just futile."

END OF PRAJAAGARA PARVA

* * * * *

*** 4. SANATHSUJAATHA PARVA ***

SAGE SANATHSUJAATHA'S DISCOURSE TO DHRITHARAASHTRA IN THE NIGHT

( This parva is of a very high value due to its philsophical depth, but young readers may find it a bit hard to follow. Yet, going through this content helps a lot in developing one's thoughts. Tried best to keep as simple as possible.)

Dhritharaashtra asked Vidura. " Vidura! If you have any more to tell, please go on. I wish to hear more of these wonderful things from you ."

Vidura said, " The eternal sage Santhsujaatha teaches that there is nothing such as death. That best learned sage will clarify your doubts about the general and secret issues that lay in your heart."

Dhritharaashtra querried. Don't you know that what you said that sage will tell me? If you possess that knowledge, please you tell me yourself."

Vidura answered. " Not that I don't know. Though that subject is within my knowledge, I being a shoodra born cannot venture to take up its teaching. A braahmana born can discourse even on the most secretive subjects by which the gods will not grudge him. That is the reason for my not doing it by myself."

Then Dhritharaashtra asked. " How can I see that great divine sage with my mortal status?"

Then Vidura prayed and invoked to sage Sanathsujaatha of very noble codes who understood his requested and manifested before him promptly. Both Vidura and Dhritharashtra stood up, bowed to him and offered the regular respects according to procedure. When the sage pleasantly rested himself in the offered seat, Vidura told him, " O supreme divine sage! I am unable to answer a problem that is persisting upon this king's mind. I pray to you to kindly grace that upon him, as you are the only one that can do that. By listening from you about it, he may get rid of all the mortal attachments like loss and gain, dear and disliked, old age and death, fear and anger, thirst and hunger,pride and flourishing, repugnance and laxity, desire and annoyance, or fall and rise."

Dhritharaashtra again bowed to Sanathsujaatha,approving Vidura's words and privately asked him wishing to learn the supreme subject. " Revered Sir, I heard that you are of the opinion that there is no death at all. But it is said that the gods and demons undertook avowed studies (of knowledge) for avoiding death. Which of these two can be true ? "

The sage Sanathsujaatha answered. " you asked me if there is not a thing named death at all or it can be obviated with penance etc. Listen to avoid any confusion about these two questions. These two cases are true this way. The learned say that ignorance (of true knowledge) is verily death. I say that miscomprehension ( of true knowledge) is death and proper comprehension is deathlessness. The demons were subject to death due to their ignorance whereas the gods attained the very supreme soulhood due their true knowledge. Death cannot appear physically like a tiger and eat the beings, as it has no form at all. Some others say that a certain Yama, different from the said ignorance, but seen as resident in the soul himself, is death. This Yama rules in the world of the pitris, awarding good to the good and bad to the bad. It is at the behest of this Yama that death occurs to the mortals in the form of anger,greed and errors. These cause ego and that makes one adopt imprudent paths resulting in not attaining union (with soul). Those who fail to unite with the soul fall to death and go to Yama'a abode. Their senses and life too go(relieve from body) with them. That is why death is described as Maranam (relieving). And they fall again from that place ( on to earth). This continues untill attainment of knwoledge. As long as a being does the deeds, it is affected by attachnemt with their results and that takes him to heaven but real death is not surpassed altogether. Due to miscomprehension of the path of uniting with the soul, he goes on taking various births, attached to the obligation of enjoyments ( of results of his deeds). The fate of the being that follows the untrue senses(i.e. their objects) constantly deceives the very senses of that being. Such a deceived being with unruly soul thinks only of the objects and remain attached to them. The very thinking of the objects firstly kills the being. Desire and anger deliver the next blow. All these factors together entrust the being to death. Those with stable mind and contained senses will overcome such death. Also, such people concentrate on the supreme being, grossly unmindful of the upsurging desires. Thus becoming enlightened and victorious over desires, they defy that death or ignorance ( in the form of Yama). Usually a man who follows desires will ruin himself by their persuit. He who sheds them off will also shed off any traces of sorrow in him. These desires are nothing but pitch darkness with no ray of light. They are as horrible as a hell to the beings. But people who fall in their control blindly run after them for pleasures, like a drunkard in an uneven path. One should never give place to luring objects (of the senses)but uproot the thoughts of desires as if demolishing them.The so called death can no way harm him like a figure of tiger made of grass . Just understand that the death or Yama is nothing but you yourself, resident of your body and engrossed by lust,anger and illusion. He who is aware of that death coming from within, who is not afraid of it but takes recourse to true knowledge, will as totally destroy that death as death itself does poor mortals."

Dhritharaashtra asked Sanathsujaatha. " Sage! They say that holier (than Indra's etc) abodes can be attained by the thread-bearers (i.e. braahmana , kshathriya , vyshya ) through performance of sacrifices and the Vedas too speak of the supremacy of such abodes. If that is the case truly, why won't people go for those deeds ( such as sacrifices, without toiling for the difficult true knowledge. i.e., when deeds give salvation, why should one take pains for knowledge?)?

Sanathsujaatha answered. " Yes. A man without total true knowledge can attain those higher regions through persuit of deeds and the Vedas too approve that. Such an attainment is only for enjoyment of the results of the deeds. But, a man with no desires, identifying himself with the supreme soul, follows the best course (i.e. of yoga) avoiding the others and attains salvation. Simply put, deeds are steps to knowledge; one with desires enjoys the results of his deeds at divine abodes and takes birth in another form; the one above the desires absorbs with the supreme soul itself, thereby having no further birth. The first one is salvation step-by-step and the other, straight salvation. Both are approved by Vedas."

Dhritharaashtra asked another question. " Sir, Who controls (makes him enter bodies of beings) this self-origined and eternal soul ? If he himself does so systematically, what is his aim or interest or delight from that? Pray, explain this fully."

The sage replied. " A great confusion occurs by the thinking that the soul-being and supreme soul are exactly the same.( one may originate from the other but their properties are different and incomparable.). Soul-beings come from the conjunction of the supreme soul with the enjoyable objects. But that noway belittles the supreme soul's greatness. The omnipotent and eternal supreme soul causes what appears as this entire creation through his illusory power. The Vedas also speak of such supreme soul and such power . Again, Vedas are the standard that upholds the oneness of such power and its possesser. The supreme-soul has no object in doing all this as he is free from all desires and passions. Know that the soul-being, soul-supreme, the seeming universe and its cause i.e. the illusion, are all one and the same, the supreme soul."

Dhritharaashtra asked again. " Sage! Some observe devoted practice of their duty-bound actions for salvation, but some don't ( adopting renounciation straight away). Then, you kindly tell me, does the practised duty remove the sin (caused by lapse of pescribed duties) or the sin overrides the virtue of that practising?"

The sage answered. " Both practising and renunciation are useful in persuing salvation. The first one gives knowledge which leads to the eternal Brahma. The second one develops piety, holiness and virtue. But,if one abondoned one's duties out of negligence or sinfulness, one will onl gather sin. By either of these courses, one will enjoy the fruits of his deeds and acquires another life fitting to his earlier deeds. But, one who is possessed with true knowledge, will beat this cycle of deeds and births by adopting pure (dharma) virtue. Since virtue is that powerful, its follower will attain the aimed salvation."

Dhritharaashtra asked. " O learned one! Kindly tell me about the eternal abodes that these thread-bearer classes attain through their dutiful deeds. Also tell me about the other one i.e. the permanent salvation. Enough with these result oriented deeds."

Sanathsujaatha replied. " Such braahmana s who successfully try hard to exceed others in strict adherence to regulated life or yoga, as the strong people vying with others for supremacy, will reach the Brahma's abode and add glory to it. Those who excel in performance of sacrifices etc, attain knowledge through that and will reach the heaven. The staunch follwers of vedas say that prompt practising of vedic sacrifices is the best. Though their external observations give scope to enlightenment of the inner self, such people need not be too much regarded, though not deridable."

" A truly learned man should live on food and water from a braahmana with whom they are as abundant as grass in rainy season, but should not extort one without them or should not subject himself to the toils of thirst and hunger. Such one is great, who doesn't give proud declarations about oneself even at a place of dire dangers or troubles,never claiming superiority over others. The other kind are not. For these people, the eligible food is from such householder who does not mind a boastful one and who does not resort to eat food without first offering to braahmana s and guests. The renouncing class, if live on their own talents, resemble an avaricious dog that eats its own vomitings. The scholars consider such braahmana as a true braahmana (having true knowledge), who conceals his yogic life, feeling like living alone even though he actually lives among his kins. If devoid of such quality, can a braahmana ever reach the true,eternal,omnipresent,pure,constant and undual supreme soul? Rather than such a braahmana , even a kshathriya will be blessed with that realisation of the supreme soul. He is as bad as having committed all sins, who misunderstands the soul - which is quite different from his physical form - to be the very physical body itself. He who is relentless in search of true knowledge, who doesn't aspire to anything from others, who is amiable to all, who neither has nor causes troubles, who is well learnt but never claims to be so, will be able to perceive the unreachable things, to attain the ultimate and to comprehend the true knowledge. Those who are not rich in mortal wealth but rich in divine wealth and practice of duty-bound deeds are indomitable and insurmountable to others. In fact, they are to be understood as the form of the very untimate supreme soul(brahma). Even if someone could propitiate and win all the 'svishtakrith'(favouring) gods, he is no match to the possessor of true knowledge, as such person is still in persuit of something 'not permanent'. A truly honoured one is he who is honoured by gods eventhough he doesn't persue anything (of material benefit, through sacrifices etc). Such a knoledgeable intellect never minds his being honoured or dishonoured since he is beyond passions like love and hatred. He only feels that the world honours him as per its nature as casually as the eyes wink. The unrighteous and guileful people, just due to their ignorance, won't respect the respectable, but instead show disrespect to them. As they are, pride and forgiveness cannot stay together in a common object. The learned well know that pride limits its possessor to this world and forgiveness takes its possessor to the other(higher) world. O king! Fortune(in the form of wealth,power,might etc) is the source of cheer and pleasure in this world, but it robs (a yogi's) fortunes of the other world. But the fortune that pertains to knowledge (of supreme soul) is not in the reach of non-intellectuals. And the ways ,which the learned prescribed describing them as various and difficult to guard, to reach that divine fortune are truth, sincerity,modesty,forbearance,purity and studies, as these won't inculcate or kindle ignorance."

Dhritharaashtra asked the sage. " Revered sir! will you kindly explain about the true aspects of ascetism ? First of all, what is this 'mounam'(=procedurally adopted ascetic life) or ascetism for? Basically what is meant by this mounam (ascetism), does it mean abstinence of speech or concentration on supreme soul? How is this mounam (ascetism) identified? Will an ascetic reach the state of abstained senses? How is this mounam (ascetism) performed?"

The sage Sanathsujaatha answered. " Mounam is such a status which the vedas (=words) together with mind cannot attain but return from it. Thus, that position beyond the capabilities of word and mind is called 'mounam' (ascetism). As such, attaining the status beyond word and mind is the aim of ascetism. Becoming abstinate to the business of word and mind is the meaning of 'mounam'. From that status, one would ignore both the external and internal materials ( of the world). As I said earlier, an ascetic reaches that stage which is beyond words and mind. That source, from which the vedas and usual sounds (words of the world) emanated, shines as the form of the Divine sound ( 'Om' or 'Pranava'). Thus, the way of performing 'mounam' is to invoke to the divine sound 'Om' for reaching status beyond word and mind.

Dhritharaashtra asked, " Will the study and recital of the three vedas Rik, Yajus and Saama, save the reciter ( or their scholar) from his sins? "

Sanathsujaatha answered. " I tell you the truth, Neither the Rik, nor the Yajus, nor the Saama will save an indiscrete fellow from his sinful deeds. The vedas never give a pass-over to an untrue sinner from his unrighteous deeds. Instead, they desert hm at his last moments, just like the grown-up chcks of a bird fly off from their nest ( A sinner cannot think of the vedas at the moment of his death, thereby foregoing the benefits offered by dedication to them.)."

Dhritharaashtra asked, " Sir, if Vedas cannot save one that is not righteous, as you said, then what is the validity of the age-old sayings of the Vedic braahmana s ( who claim that vedas ennoble their devotees with godliness) ? "

The divine sage clarified. " All this visible world occurs with the form and name of the ultimate soul. All the vedas well define and describe this world as such. Despite that link between the world and the supreme soul, the vedas also say that the supreme soul is quite diferent from this world. Penance(thapas) and sacrifice(yajna) are both told as instruments to reach that supreme soul (brahma). With these two, a learned one acquires virtue , with virtue he overcomes his sins, and then he (=his soul) shines with true knowledge. With that true knowledge, one attains the supreme soul. Otherwise, one becomes a persuer of objects of the senses. As a result of that, he goes to the other world gathering all his worldly deeds and their results, enjoys the fruits of his deeds and again takes birth ( to complete the balance of enjoyment of results of his deeds. Thus, vedas only show the way to knowledge, but they alone cannot bestow salvation.). In case of normal penance , the fruits are enjoyed in the next world (the cycle does not end there.), but in case of essential penance coupled with true knowledge, the fruits are awarded in this world itself (in the form of salvation). "

Dhritharaashtra again asked the sage, " Sir, How is it that the same deed, penance(thapas), can be fully fruitful for some(at times) and otherwise for some others (at times)? "

Sanathsujaatha said, " This penance (thapas) done without a trace of desire ( for things other than salvation) is called pure penance ( kevala thapas), meaning 'penance aiming for salvation'. If polluted with desires, that is known as 'accomplished penance'(samriddha-thapas). If done for vanity or wordly praise, that penance is called 'unaccomplished penance' (ridha-thapas). Thus, depending on the degree its purity, penance has different results. All that you are asking me is about penance and that is all about penance too. The true scholars of vedas have earlier attained the supreme goal, owing to their true penance. "

Dhritharaashtra asked. " Sir, You said that penance should be pure, i.e. without stains of any kind. What in fact is a stain to penance? Kindly explain me that , by which I will be knowing about the eternal secret of knowledge."

Sanathsujaatha answered. "King! Our ancestral code-makers mentioned in their codes about the impurities to penance. Anger etc are twelve and traits of cruelty ( cruel qualities) are thirteen. Similarly, merits of penance are also mentioned by them. They are virtue etc, numbering to twelve. Those twelve avoidable traits of men are anger, desire,greed.fancy,selfishness,mercilessness,jealousy,pride,sorrow,cupidity,envy and aversion. Each of these keenly awaits an opening in us to conquer and destroy just like a hunter crouches in waiting for his preys. The thirteen types of cruel people are : a boaster,a libertine, a proud one, an angry one, an unstable one and an unprotective one - these(six) shamelessly stick to their sinful deeds even in the worst moment; a licentious(affected with too much lust) one, an arrogant one, a lamenter of the given endowments, a miser, an extorter, a self-assuming one and a hater of true women - these (seven) are another group of cruel people (thus thirteen stains of penance are mentioned). Now, the twelve meritorious qualities of a true observer of penance are , virtue,truth, forbearance, abstinence, to be free of envy, shyness (of bad deeds), tolerance, to be free from jealousy, sacrifice,alms, courage and true studies. He who is rich in all these twelve qualities can rule the entire world. Or, possessor of three or two or even one of these qualities is said to have something good of his own.

"The undecaying thing, salvation, rests on three qualities- Self-restrain,sacrifice(renunciation) and attentiveness(towards the thought of supreme soul). All the learned scholars of the supreme soul express that these three should be lead by truthfulness.

"Now , I will explain about these three qualities a little bit clearly. The first one, self-restrain. Self-restrain has eighteen possible flaws - deviations in prescribed and adopted acts, untruthfulness, envy, lust, thrust (for money etc),desire,anger, sorrow, greed,miserliness, slandering,jealousy, violence,grief(about unworthy losses), disinterestedness(towards righteous deeds), lack of attentiveness(in duties),reviling and self-superiority. One with forbearance free of these flaws is considered a true self-resraint by the learned. These very eighteen flaws are components of pride ( arrogance) too. Besides these eighteen, pride has another six components , which are nothing but converses of components of sacrifice. Thus the trait pride ( arrogance='mada') has twenty four components in all.

"Let us see what the second one, sacrifice(renunciation=thyaaga),is. Sacrifice is of six types, all being great, but the third is difficult to achieve. One overcomes all his sorrows with that, as its being achieved means dispelling of all dualities. The first form of renunciation(=sacrifice) is 'not to elate when rich with fortunes'. The second one is 'to sincerely perform vedic duties and social(public) good with no attachment to their results'. The third one, as I said, the difficult one to achieve, is 'total abandonent of interests in pleasures'. The point to note is that, abandoning the objects for want of them or after satiatingly enjoying them are no great things, but a total keeping away of the luring objects altogether is really great. Though potent and resourceful, sometimes, one might face failure in one's acts, but that should not give rise to sorrow or (if sorrow occurs at all,)to distress therefrom. Thus the thirs type is wide and various in its nature, hence its greatness. The fourth type is 'not to feel dejected for unwanted or unhappy occurances'. The fifth type is ' not to entreat even such dearest as wife and son, for worldly things, even in calamitious situations. The sixth type of sacrifice is ' to give away to the eligible one whatever that is asked for'. This endows good to the sacrificer. This six-way sacrifice makes one attentive, which is the third quality I mentioned.

" Now, to the third quality, attentiveness towards one's right duties. This is of eight types. Truthfulness, steady meditation (on supreme soul),absorbing the senses with the supreme soul, logical approach, disinclination towards wordly affairs,not grasping others' property, celibecy and not amassing wealth etc.

" The absence of these eight components of attentiveness amounts to unattentiveness, which, therefore, is of eght types and that should be avoided too. Thus, the twenty four flaws of pride, six types of renunciation, eight types of attentiveness are explained. By sticking on to self-restrain,renunciation and attentiveness, simaltaneously avoiding pride and unattentiveness, one will become free from the vices of his five sensories and mind, and from the afflictions they bring, both present and possible.

" O King! Be truthful at heart. The whole universe rests on truth. The learned say that those three qualities I talked about rest on truth itself. In truth , lies immortality itself. The Lord Brahma ordained that the people in this world should observe penance only after cleansing off their stains and flaws. For, truth is the best code of the learned and noble. Only such penance, free from these flaws I told, and rich in the merits I mentioned, shall become successful. This is a brief explanation for your question regarding the fruitfulness or otherwise of certain penances."

After listening to the very vivid explanation of the sage, Dhritharaashtra asked again. " Sir, All the four vedas and the mythology (=puraanam) say that the supreme soul itself is the universe(=creation). Some claim the vedas to be four, some to be three, some to be two, some to be one and some say that there is nothing as veda at all. Of all these various schools of thought, which should I reckon as true ? "

(This question is difficult to comprehend. This is about various understandings about soul (=brahma) as various purushas that are to be understood for knowing about the supreme soul. Here veda means 'knowable'. Other details in commentary books.) Sanathsujaatha said. "King! There is only one thing to be known and there is only one truth to perceive. But, ignorance lead to the diversity in its vision. Someone, not all, follows to the truth. Without understanding the truth as such ( as one and only one), people feel that they are learned. And their alms, sacrifices and studies are done due to their fancy to those(=their results in the form of wordly or heavenly pleasures). Those who fail from the path of truth will have objects of mean goals and perform sacrifices etc, but all the while showing the truth(=veda) itself as their standard for their deeds. Those sacrifices are attained by some through mental meditation, by some through vocal dedication and by some through actual performances (each being superior to its next one). One who accomplishes his supreme object(=true knowledge) will shine in the upper regions(=worlds). If the intention of attaining the supreme object is waivering, one should stabilize it by performing various observances with avowal, thereby verbally becoming 'avowed'(=deekshitha,vow=deeksha). But , truth(=true knowledge) is the best and the lone observance for the truly learned. The fruit of true knowledge is direct(leading to salvation) but the fruit of penance is indirect (passing through heavenly benefits etc). A braahmana who simply studies more and more, will remain as a mere pedant. Hence, never think that one is a braahmana (=knowing the truth about the soul)just by his staunch recitals. Learn that, one who only doesn't fall off the track of truth is a real braahmana . The vedas which are recited by sage Atharva and other groups of sages are great and sacred. But, a mere study and knowing of their meaning doesn't ensure the attaining of supreme soul, which is possible only by understanding the true nature and status of the supreme soul. In fact, O king, the vedas are an independent means of ataaining the (knowledge of)supreme soul. The true seekers of the truth through the truly learned can surely attain that through a true study of the vedas, because the vedas are the only way to the truth. To speak really, there is hardly one who knows the vedas correctly. If at all there is one, he cannot be said to know the 'knowable' by that achievement alone. Only such one who successfully stands in the path of absolute truth is said to know that supreme soul. To sum up, knowledge of the supreme soul or truth confers the knowledge of the 'other' things, different from the soul too; but mere knowledge of the 'other' things does not confer the knowledge of the 'knowable' or truth. Though the 'knowable' is beyond the vedas themselves, the eminent knowers of the vedas and their true object can know the ultimate 'knowable'. The vedas are helpful in showing us the right path towards the truth, just as a land mark like a tree in noticing the thin line of crescent in the sky on the first lunar day. I consider such one as a true braahmana (=knowing the supreme soul), who himself is free from any confusion and who can dispel all confusions of others, who can discourse about and who can interpret correctly about the supreme soul. It is foolish to search for the supreme soul in the east,south,west or north,or above or below, or along or across, as it is not subject to directions and locations. But, it should be looked for in its counter-components(=which are 'not' 'that', nethi=na+ithi= 'not this') with good effort. Thus surpassing the vedas too, a dedicated persuer will attain that supreme lord of the universe. One should have the vision of that supreme thing by withdrawing (into oneself) the business of speech,body and mind. Thus, you can see the one that is established within yourself. One cannot become a sage by meditation or control of speech, or by taking to hermitage. Only he that knows himself or the soul is a real sage. A true possessor of the true knowledge is the only interpreter or comentator (in respect of the soul), as he alone is capable of instructing about all matters concering with its knowledge. He that experiences the visible world becomes a visionary of its entire components and their true status. Such a one who knows all the things and their status becomes a real 'knower' of the supreme thing and becomes the best of the knowledgeable too. Thus, O king, I tell you clearly,those who practise the virtue etc should also see and experience the supreme soul, attaing knowledge step-by-step, with the aid of the vedas. ( step1 : The universe is from the supreme soul,i.e. something is there. Step 2: The universe is an illusion, i.e. something appears to be there. Step 3: The universe is a myth i.e. there is nothing. Step 4 : I am the supreme soul i.e. the supreme soul is the only thing that exists. ).

End of Chapter 43

Dhritharaashtra asked : "Sir, You have been telling me many great things. You possess the comprehensive knowledge of the supreme being. Kindly grant my request and elucidate to me about that ultimate topic that is surely difficult to achieve just by wish."

Sanathsujaatha smiled and said. " King! The thing about which you ask as if in a rejoicing mood, is not reachable in a haste. That occurs when the mind absorbs in thought and no intentions and no alternations exist.And that is attainable only through a strict and steadfst practice of the ascetic prescriptions." ( In this context, ascetism and study mean austere life of ascetism or a 'student-ascetism' i.e. ' brahmacharyam' , brahma=soul or veda, char=study or comprehend. There is no exactly equivallant English word.)

Dhritharaashtra asked. " Sir! You say that the ultimate knowledge about the 'knowable' is eternal, exists in the soul itself if one can see it,reachable through practice of ascetism and vedic study, yet not obtainable like other normal things. Then, how to attain that unobtainable immortality of knowledge, through such a practice?"

Sanathsujaatha said, " King! I will tell you about that unmanifested and eternal knowledge which the learned gain through their ascetic practice and vedic studies. In fact, that knowledge is the one, gaining which the learned leave this birth-and-death cycle and the one that shines in the men of true knowledge. " Dhritharaashtra asked, " Sir, If that knowledge is gained through ascetism and vedic study, kindly tell me how that ascetism and study or practice are to be oserved?"

Sanathsujaatha answered. " Those who approach a true preceptor and practise ascetism as instructed by him, serving him sincerely asif they are in the mother's womb, will become the masters of the science of the soul. And they go to the highest abode getting free from the birth cycles. Such people, who win over the desires in this world itself, experience the stabilty and show indiscrimination towards all dualities, can attain excellence and can pull off the soul from their mortal body as easily as plucking out a grass of blade from a stalk. The birth given by the parents in the form of mortal body is naturally temporal but the birth that is given by a preceptor in the form of knowledge is ever-young, is immortal and is a holy one. A teacher brings about realisation of the soul upon (the people of ) all the four orders with his discourses on true knowledge, paving way to the emanicipation of their souls. Hence everybdy should be greatful to him, treating him like parent, not ever losing faith in him."

" A disciple should bow to his teacher always, should persue his studies with piety and carefulness. He should not nourish pride or entertain anger. Sticking to these rules and attaning vedic knowledge by adhering to a disciple's code, is the first postulate of ascetism (brahmacharyam). A studentshould be ready to please the teacher by thought, by word and by deed and win his heart even at the cost of wealth and life. He should treat the teacher's wife and son too with the same degree of respect as towards his teacher himself. This is the second postulate of student-ascetism. A student should always remember his teacher's conferment of knowledge onto him, should always greatfully think of its possible benefits to him, should always feel as nourished by him and should always show pleasant reverence to him. This is the third postulate of student-ascetism. A student should not leave his teacher (for becoming a householder) without offering him due gift of remuneration. And he should not feel ego in presenting that gift of remuneration and should not mention about it anywhere. This is the fourth postulate of student-ascetism. A student acquires a quarter of his knowledge through his teacher (through instruction), a quarter from his own perusal (study), a quarter from his co-students (through discussions) and a quarter in course of time (through actual experience). The learned say that the student-ascetism, which comprises the tweleve components of virtue etc and with other aspects as its strength, will be fruitful only with the company of a teacher and his instruction about knowledge of the 'knowable'. A student, after obtaining knowledge from his teacher should offers him gifts of renumeration per his ability. He should behave similarly with the teacher's son ( and other students). Doing thus, one treads on the path of the good men. He thence nourishes in all respects, gets fame, begets sons and grandsons, reaps fruit from everyone everywhere and is idolised by others who will adopt his path of ascetism."

It is from this ascetism that the gods attained immortality, the sages attained the abode of Brahma, the Gandharvas and the Apsarasas attained their beauty of form, the Sun obtained his power to make the day and the other gods got their intended powers depending on their prayers, like different seekers getting different results from the heavenly gem that grants the wants. He who fulfils the ascetism of the four postulates and ennobles his body by subjecting it to fast penances, will attain purity of mind and wins over mortality in the end. People who adhere purely and sincerely to their ordained acts will attain the higher abodes for a term of definite period, not for ever. But, the learned one through this ascetism (brahmacharyam) will attain the ultimate supreme soul and all; there is no other way for emanicipation."

Dhritharaashtra asked. " Sir, How is the eternal and constant form of the supreme soul visualised or experienced by its attainer? Is it white? Red? Blue? Black? Or grey?"

Sanathsujaatha answered. " That (brahma=supreme soul) appears shining as white, red, blue, black or orange. That is not found in the earth, nor in the sky, nor in the waters of the seas,nor in the stars, nor in the lightnings,nor in the clouds,nor in the wind,nor in the sun, nor in the moon,nor in the gods,nor in the vedas like rik,yajus,saama and atharva, nor in special hymns like rathantharam and baarhadratham, nor in performances like mahaavratham.That is beyond the boundless darkness(ignorance). Even Yama absorbs with that in the end. Its form is minuter than that of an edge of a blade and greater than that of the mountains. That is the base for all. That is unchangeable. That simply is the entire universe. That is the ultimate divine status. That is enjoyable. All the beings come from that and absorb in it. That is free from vice of dualities etc, that is the greatest, that is the visible universe, that is delightful and in that is the entire creation contained, though the scholars describe that in various toungues. The learned say that those who know that will become immortal."

Sanathsujaatha continued. " Sorrow, anger, greed,desire,pride, laxity,envy,fancy,selfishness, attachment, jealousy and loathsomeness are the twelve strong defects that ruin the men. Even any one of these alone can destroy a man. When possessed with many of these, a man loses his senses and adopts umvirtuous deeds. A man of desires, a merciless one, a man of harsh tounge, a blabberer, a man of anger-struck mind and a boaster; these six types of people are cruel in nature and cannot retain their interests (due to their irreverence to them) even if they could attain them."

" A licentious(affected with too much lust) one, an arrogant one, a lamenter of the given endowments, a miser, an extorter, a self-assuming one and a hater of true women - these (seven) are another group of cruel people (thus thirteen types of cruelty are mentioned). The twelve great meritorious qualities of a true observer of penance are , virtue,truth, forbearance, abstinence, being free from envy, shyness (towards bad deeds), tolerance, being free from jealousy, forgiveness,alms, courage and true studies. He who possesses all these twelve qualities will rule the entire world. One devoid of one or two or three of these, is said to have nothing of his own at all. Self-restrain, renunciation and attentiveness(lack of laxity or deliquence) are the three and only three important qualities required for people in search of emanicipation, as emanicipation itself rest on these three. Whether true or not, pointing out at others' flaws is not good to a braahmana ( true learner). Those who resort to that will fall in the hell.

" Now I will tell you the eighteen components of the bad trait pride (or arrogance, 'mada'), which I mentioned while talking about self-restrain. Loathsomeness to the world (by inclining towards unaaceptable acts), going against the ordained codes, jealousy, untruthfulness,too much of desire, abnormal anger, being addicted to vices, accusing others unnecessarily, ear-biting, misusing of wealth or resources, quarrelsomeness, envy, cruelty to other beings, animosity towards uthers, dissatisfaction, unruly wording and malevolance are those eighteen components of pride. A learned man should never give way to pride as it is the worst detested by noble people.

" Friendship has six qualities. A true friend delights when good befalls on his friends; grieves for friends incurring undesirable occurances; gives away with pure mind whatever that his friends ask him for, be it unfit to ask or be it the most favourite to him including wealth,wife or son (this is the zenith of 'sacrifice'); doesn't take advantage (to gain something back) of his earlier favours done to his friends; doesn't fall back upon his friends (keeps himself to himself); and foregoes even his own interests for their sake. A man possessing wealth and merits thus becomes a sacrificer (forgoer for others) and such a person can easily restrain his five senses from their objects. Thus, a penance becomes comprehensive with this great quality, but however ripe this quality may be, if a person loses his intellectual strength, his penance will be fruitful only to the extent of winning the higher abodes. It is this intellectual strength that fructifies the sacrifices(yajnas). And from the control on the intellectual intentions, one achives the mental sacrifices(best), another achieves verbal sacrifices(medium) and another achives actual sacrifices(common). The one with such intentions (i.e. the person)is occupied by the one without them (i.e. knowledge) , more so in case of a person of the knowledge of the soul, I tell you, O king (i.e. attaining the status beyond intellect gives way to knowledge and its establishment). This great thing that leads to the knowledge (brahma) is the only thing fit to be taught to the students who are interested in it. All other things are but the varieties of the vocal skills of the learned. Everything is based on this inference and those with that inference become emanicipated.

"O king! One cannot win the true knowledge just by doing the holy acts, may he give oblations or may he perform sacrifices. A man devoid of that knowledge will not attain salvation just through such acts. Nor can he attain the bliss of its meditation in his last moments. One should alone and lonely concentrate upon the supreme soul. No activities of the faculties of mind be allowed. Thus absorbing the business of body, speech and mind, one attains the state of not falling subject to either praise or derision (i.e. wins over all dualities). Adopting a steady and stringent adherence to the different steps of 'knowing the knowable' as I explained you all this while, O king, one sees, experiences and absorbs with the paramount (brahma), here in this world itself.

[ Note : In the following paragraphs, many metaphorical and allusive references are used. The original wording is too formidable to understand. Translation is kept as simple as possible without loss to original sense.]

"The original seed of all this universe is known as Mahaa-yashas , which is a great luminance that shines with blazes. All the senses follow this. The sun shines due to this. It is this eternal supreme-soul (of paramount power) that the learned ( yogis) see (or,experience with their super-sensory perceptions).

"From this original seed does the Brahma (creator) arises and flourishes. This exceeds all the luminous bodies in shining and scalds them with its light and heat, which it emanates from itself. It is this eternal supreme-soul (of paramount power) that the learned ( yogis) see (or,experience with their super-sensory perceptions).

" The creature and the god (=super-soul or Eeshvara) are stationed in the body formed with the five elements and the five sensors. The supreme soul holds these two within the being's consciousness. It is this eternal supreme-soul (of paramount power) that the learned ( yogis) see (or,experience with their super-sensory perceptions). ( To sum up, the supreme-soul holds the 'jeeva' or creature and 'eeshvara' or super-soul together in the body formed with the five elements and responding to the five senses.).

" This original seed of the universe holds the creature (jeeva), super-soul(eeshvara),the earth, the sky and all the directional points and rather the entire universe. From this seed do emante all the great unfathomable seas and rivers ( seas=desires). It is this eternal supreme-soul (of paramount power) that the learned ( yogis) see (or,experience with their super-sensory perceptions).

" The steeds of the (five) senses, which act due to the earlier acts of the creature, take the conscious creature in its perishable car of the body whose wheels are nothing but the earlier deeds (of the creature) that are unperishable (untill their results are enjoyed)), towards the supreme soul. It is this eternal supreme-soul (of paramount power) that the learned ( yogis) see (or,experience with their super-sensory perceptions).

" The supreme-soul has no comparison or similies to describe. None can see it with his eye, nor can feel through his mind or heart or intellect. Those who know that, will become emanicipated and immortal. It is this eternal supreme-soul (of paramount power) that the learned ( yogis) see (or,experience with their super-sensory perceptions).

" Those who perceive the terrible brook (of ignorance) established in the (path of the) supreme soul, having twelve associations (with twelve groups - mind etc,reminiscence etc,ear etc, hearing etc,toungue etc, speaking etc, sound etc, sky etc,life-air (praana) etc, breathing etc, rites etc and holy deeds etc )and being under the protection of the very gods (givers of sources of enjoyment), are firmly bound to that brook, enjoying its content (worldly pleasures)and move up and down (in cycles of birth and death). It is this eternal supreme-soul (of paramount power) that the learned ( yogis) see (or,experience with their super-sensory perceptions).

" The creature is like a honey-bee. He accumulates deeds for himself, results of which are half experienced by him in the upper worlds (by eating off the moon's traces) and for experiencing the remaining, he takes birth on the earth again. The supreme soul, the ruler of the universe, arranged for due share (of the oblations) for every creature for its deeds (sacrificial performances). It is this eternal supreme-soul (of paramount power) that the learned ( yogis) see (or,experience with their super-sensory perceptions).

" The unwinged ones resting on the Ashvaththa tree of golden leaves, get wings and fly off as they desire. This means that, various beings that have no assumptions(life, speech etc) originally, fall into the mortal life and get the assumptioms like life, speech, senses etc. They do many deeds like enjoying the pleasures and as per their culture and fate, they take different births ( until they attain emanicipation). All this is caused by the unperceivable supreme-soul . It is this eternal supreme-soul (of paramount power) that the learned ( yogis) see (or,experience with their super-sensory perceptions).

" They the derive the whole from the whole, they make out the whole from the whole, they deduct the whole from the whole,yet the entire whole remains (even after deduction of its entire whole from it). This means : the creatures or beings are formed from the supreme soul, but nothing is lost from the supreme soul because of that, the entire supreme soul remains unchanged; The creatures thus formed flourish from the supreme-soul, but still the supreme soul remains unaltered, as entire as it was before; when the creatures perish too, the supreme soul loses nothing but still remains as entire as it was earlier. It is this eternal supreme-soul (of paramount power) that the learned ( yogis) see (or,experience with their super-sensory perceptions).

" It is this supreme soul that the wind comes from and rests in always. From that do spread, the fire (the consumer) the moon (the consumable) and the life-air (praana). What not? everything comes from that. We cannot express that ( as it is beyond speech) . It is this eternal supreme-soul (of paramount power) that the learned ( yogis) see (or,experience with their super-sensory perceptions).

" Apaana ( one of the five components of life-air in our body) absorbs with Praana ( one of the five components of life-air ), praana absorbs with mind, mind absorbs with intellect and the intellect absorbs with the supreme soul ( This is a sequential path of yogic meditation). It is this eternal supreme-soul (of paramount power) that the learned ( yogis) see (or,experience with their super-sensory perceptions).

" The swan while flying around above the waters, doesn't lift its fourth foot. If that upper-oriented one is understood, there is neither mortality nor otherwise. This means, the supreme soul has four quadrants of which three (named vishva, thyjasa and praajgna) are engaged in the creating, running and destroying (here, no order is meant for those quadrants and these functions) of the universe, while the undisclosed fourth one (called thureeya i.e. The Fourth)that underspreads itself through the other three, is the soul and supreme soul itself, which is the real thing to be kbown, the 'knowable' . It is this eternal supreme-soul (of paramount power) that the learned ( yogis) see (or,experience with their super-sensory perceptions).

" The toe-sized inner-soul (different from this material body )is a person (of entirity) who linked himself with this mortal body and due to that, shuttles between here(sleep, or this world) and there (awakeness, or upper world). This means, the supreme soul is present in each being in its toe-sized heart itself, with his entirity. The ignorant canot see that blazing Lord who is perceivable through meditation and worship. It is this eternal supreme-soul (of paramount power) that the learned ( yogis) see (or,experience with their super-sensory perceptions).

" Whether the beings are equipped with practice ( of yoga ) or not, the supreme-soul equally shines within them both. So equally does he shine within both the emanicipated and the others. But the emanicipated will enjoy the unparalleled bliss of unity with that supreme soul. It is this eternal supreme-soul (of paramount power) that the learned ( yogis) see (or,experience with their super-sensory perceptions).

" The one with the eternal knowledge prevails in both the worlds with his power (of concept of unity with the supreme soul). Then it makes no difference whether the oblations (deeds) are done or not. May this enlightenment, O king, not cause you to feel about the wordly differences. Such a state is nothing but prajgnaana or brahma ( true knowledge of supreme soul) itself, and that is attained only by its persistent and devoted seekers . It is this eternal supreme-soul (of paramount power) that the learned ( yogis) see (or,experience with their super-sensory perceptions).

" The person of entirity of such ( as described above) nature i.e. the supreme soul, swallows off the mortal being ( emanicipates the being ). He who knows that entity of entireness will never be at loss of the benefit of his interests of knowledge ( i.e. isalvation). It is this eternal supreme-soul (of paramount power) that the learned ( yogis) see (or,experience with their super-sensory perceptions).

" Even if one has thousands of thousands of wings and flys of with the speed of the mind (for any duration of time ), he should only end with the very destination of that microcosmic super soul that stays in his toe-sized heart ( i.e.supreme soul) within himself. It is this eternal supreme-soul (of paramount power) that the learned ( yogis) see (or,experience with their super-sensory perceptions).

" The 'form' of the supreme soul is never within the reach of the eye ( or any other sensor). A perfectly clean mind without even the slightest trace of the simplest blemish can only 'see' that. He who never entertains sorrow or grief even minutely in his mind can have such a pure state of mind. This means, only a pure mind free from wordly links absorbed in yogic practice, can perceive the supreme soul. It is this eternal supreme-soul (of paramount power) that the learned ( yogis) see (or,experience with their super-sensory perceptions).

" Either by instructions or on their volition, (the mortal) people resort to conceal their misdeeds like the snakes ( which harm and hide). Others, due to their ignorance, mistake them to be true and right and try to follow them. And that lands them in misleading to the bad track which causes undesirable results. Hence, company should be choosed carefully. Only good company (teachers or others) can lead us to the supreme soul. It is this eternal supreme-soul (of paramount power) that the learned ( yogis) see (or,experience with their super-sensory perceptions).

" I (the supreme soul) am in no case the mortal body that is made of material and infested with senses. So, no case of mortality to me (that is applicable only to the perishable body). Hence, no case of birth too. Where is then the question of emanicipation (when both birth and death are absent)? Both the true existence and the misperceived existence come from the same origin, the supreme soul. It is this eternal supreme-soul (of paramount power) that the learned ( yogis) see (or,experience with their super-sensory perceptions).

" Though there is ( clear) difference in the results of the deeds of the creatures, yet the supreme soul has no effects of any deeds, bad or good, upon it. It is nothing but the paramount neutrality (uninclined to any duality). Such supreme soul is to persued by everyone (brahma-seeker) through a stubborn practice of yoga. It is this eternal supreme-soul (of paramount power) that the learned ( yogis) see (or,experience with their super-sensory perceptions).

" A true knowledgeable one's mind is never engaged in feelings about derision or praise. He never minds whether the recitals are done or not or the oblations (deeds) are done or not. His alert mind quickly attains that state of perceiving the supreme soul. It is this eternal supreme-soul (of paramount power) that the learned ( yogis) see (or,experience with their super-sensory perceptions).

" Thus, he who perceives his own soul in all the beings, will not grieve about others who are engaged in wordly bonds. In fact, what can he feel sorry for, when he cannot see anything except the supreme soul itself? Just like a thirsty person in a water-abundant place can take as much water and only as much water as is sufficient to quench his thirist, a learned one too can extract as much knowledge from the vedas as is required for knowing the 'knowable'. ( It also means that the vedas can become as redundant to a truly enlightened one as a water-room in an inundated place). The supreme soul is stationed in the toe-sized abode of heart of each being. But he cannot be seen. He is not 'born'. He is active day and night. He is free from aflictions like fear and faftigue. By knowing him, an enlightened man remains calm and becomes free from vice. "I" am the father, "I" am the mother, "I" am the son , "I" am the grandfather and "I" am the great-grand-old-man. "I" am the soul of everything that is (present) and that is not (past and future). You are all in me but neither you are mine nor "I" am yours. The soul is my source and it is my station too. I am firmly established without any deviations. I am like the fibers in the fabric. I am beyond 'birth'. I am active always. By knowing me, an enligtened one becomes free from all blemishes of the wordly bonds. The learned know that the supreme soul is minuter than the minute atom, that it prevails in every being with its divine vision and that it resides in the heart of each being. Such supreme soul is to be sought by all the learned who desire salvation."

As the sage was thus talking to Dhritharaashtra, that night came to its close. Sage Sanathsujaatha blessed him and Vidura and vanished from there.

END OF SANATHSUJAATHA PARVA

7:43 PM 4/21/2013

5. YAANASANDHI PARVA

The next morning, all the kings and their men went to Dhritharaashtra's court hall, curious to hear Sanjaya's report of the Paandavas' response of justice and righteousness.

SANJAYA'S REPORT TO DHRITHARAASHTRA

The large hall was coated with white colour.Its front yard was covered with golden sheets. Sandal water was sprinkled in the hall to fragrant the air with pleasant smell. Many seats, some made of gold, some made of tusks, some made of silver, some made of wood, all studded with gems and stones were arranged all over the hall. Every seat was covered with fine cloth.

Dhritharaashtra entered the hall with Vidura and sat in his chair. Bheeshma.Drona,Kripa, Shalya,Krithavarma, Jayadratha,Ashvaththaama,Vikarna,Somadathha,Baahlika and Yuyuthsu all followed him and sat in their seats. The reckless Duryodhana entered the hall followed by Dushshaasana, Chithrasena, Shakuni, Durmukha, Dussaha,Karna,Ulooka andVivimshathi. With the stalwarts entering it like the gods do Indra's court, the hall appeared like a great cave with a herd of lions. They all sat in their seats.

The door-man announced arrival of Sanjaya by his chariot and obtained permission for his entrance. Sanjaya jumped from his chariot and went into the house, full of great kings. He approached Dhritharaashtra, bowing and declaring himself. He paid his respects to all the elgible people there and said . " Sirs, I met the Paandavas and talked to them. They all bowed to all the elders here, wished their friends here and blessed the youngsters. All were inquired about, per their age and status. Kngs! Allow me to report the response of the Paandavas to the message sent through me by our king Dhritharaashtra."

Dhritharaashtra said, " Sanjaya ! Come on and report to me among all these kings about what the indefatigable Arjuna, the stalwart in wars, said to you in Krishna's presence with Yudhishthira's approval."

Sanjaya thus permitted to report, began . " Sirs! The fearless Arjuna, sitting with Krishna, spoke to me like this with his eyes becoming more and more reddened, while all the Paanchaalas and Maathsyas cheerfully listened to his speech as the gods do that of Indra.

(Arjuna said.)

" Sanjaya! Go and tell Duryodhana these words of me while he is amidst all the Kouravas. Tell him before his foolish charioteer friend Karna, who always vies with me for battle and whose days are nearing their end. Tell him in the presence of all his supporter kings that were gathered to fight us. Tell him all my words before all his associates, advisors, generals and friends.

" There have been the earlier sins of the Kouravas, the fruits of which are still not enjoyed by them. With those as they are, they are now to stand in battle against Bheema, Arjuna, Krishna, the twins, Saathyaki, Dhrishtadyumna, Shikhandi and above all Yudhishthira, whose mere intention can burn the heaven to ashes. If Duryodhana wishes to fight with all these, our target is just accomplished. I privately pray, ' Duryodhana, do not return our kingdom. simply for the benefit of the Paandavas, you prefer war with us and choose it.'

" Just as our Yudhishthira on the exile rested in the forest on a painful bed with sorrow and grief, Duryodhana too will rest in a more painful death bed, bereft of all his dear and near ones. What the wicked Duryodhana has usurped , with cheating and injustice, Yudhishthira is now going to win back with his knowledge,penance,prowess, righteousness and forbearance. Our king Yudhishthira has been till now bearing with the cruel and wicked deeds of the worthless Duryodhana, with his obedience, piety and virtuousness as his weapons. When such tolerant and forgiving Yudhishthira too becomes agitated and lets his long-held anger loose unto the Kouravas, then will the foolish Duryodhana surely repent his folly of choicing war with us.

" When Yudhishthira is seen flashing around in the battle field razing the enemy forces like a blazing fire over a dry forest in a hot summer day, then will the foolish Duryodhana surely repent his folly of choicing war with us.

" When he sees the mace-wielding Bheema in his chariot, vomiting venomous anger, then will the foolish Duryodhana surely repent his folly of choicing war with us. When Bheema falls upon his enemies from the forefront like the death himself, unbeholdable even to his own men, killing the forces in lots and lines,then the arrogant Duryodhana will remember his own words. When he sees the herds of elephants knocked down with their heads broken by Bheema with his terrible mace, making them look like pots pouring out blood, then will the foolish Duryodhana surely repent his folly of choicing war with us. When the terrific Bheema goes on killing the Kouravas with his mace, like a lion consuming poor cows, then will the foolish Duryodhana surely repent his folly of choicing war with us. When the temerarious Bheema advances in the horrid war, all alone in his chariot, killing the car-fighters, pounding the soldiers with his mace, knocking down the tuskers and driving away the forces, looking like one cutting the trees with an axe, then will the foolish Duryodhana surely repent his folly of choicing war with us. When he witnesses his armies ruined by Bheema like a group of huts burnt down by the flames, as badly beaten as a ripe field hit by a lightning, devoid of its leaders, trembling with terror and loking to retreat, then will the foolish Duryodhana surely repent his folly of choicing war with us.

" When Nakula runs his car throwing arrows from eithe side, showing his expertise in wonderful fighting and cutting off the heads of the warriors in their chariots, then will the foolish Duryodhana surely repent his folly of choicing war with us. When Nakula, who was to suffer for years in the forests though he befits pleasures, runs against the Kouravas like a serpent vomiting venum,then will the foolish Duryodhana surely repent his folly of choicing war with us.

" When he sees Sahadeva swiftly running in the war-field on his chariot of smooth run and noiseless axles, tossing the heads of warriors with his arrows into the air, appearing everywhere in the terrifc war, then will the foolish Duryodhana surely repent his folly of choicing war with us. When Sahadeva advances towards the wicked gambler Shakuni, dispelling away all the interceptors, then will the foolish Duryodhana surely repent his folly of choicing war with us.

" When the five sons of Droupadi, young in age but no less than anyone in valour, collectively dart forward not minding their lives, showing prowess unexpected of their age and falling upon the Kouravas as a group of terrible snakes, then will the foolish Duryodhana surely repent his folly of choicing war with us.

" When our young Abhimanyu, his valour far exceeding his age, as rich in all asthras as Indra himself, equal to none other than Krishna in warfare and in crushing the enemies - flashes onto the enemies cracking their defences, then will the foolish Duryodhana surely repent his folly of choicing war with us.

When the Prabhadrakas attack the Kouravas with their mighty force and drive them with their troops out of the war-field, then will the foolish Duryodhana surely repent his folly of choicing war with us.

When all the kings, called by Yudhishthira and standing by him not even caring for heir lives, run into the enemy lines, then will the foolish Duryodhana surely repent his folly of choicing war with us.

" When the old warriors Drupada and Viraata move around with their huge forces in the war, guaging at the Kouravas and their armies asif consuming them, then will the foolish Duryodhana surely repent his folly of choicing war with us. When the angry veteran Drupada exhibits his skill in asthras showering arrows from his chariot, chopping off the heads of the young opponents , then will the foolish Duryodhana surely repent his folly of choicing war with us. When Viraata with his Maathsya forces advances into the enemy's ranks knocking them down, then will the foolish Duryodhana surely repent his folly of choicing war with us.

" When Viraata's eldest son (Shvetha), desperate to do anything for the Paandavas, drives his chariot right onto the enemies, then will the foolish Duryodhana surely repent his folly of choicing war with us. When Shikhandi pierces through the opponent chariots with his own group , straight towards the lead fighter of the Kouravas, Bheeshma, then will the foolish Duryodhana surely repent his folly of choicing war with us. Take it from me Sanjaya, it is sure that Shikhandi will kill the grandsire and it is surer that the Kouravas will no more stand in the fight.

" When he sees Dhrishtadyumna of prowess beyond measure, in the lead of our armies with his Srinjaya troops, having the invincible Krishna as his forerunning protector, driving away the Kouravas in all directions and all the while targeting Drona who himself taught him all the asthras and warfare, then will the foolish Duryodhana surely repent his folly of choicing war with us.

" And one more word Sanjaya! Tell your king not to keep hopes on his kongdom anymore, because we have Saathyaki on our side. Saathyaki, the greatgrandson of Shini, wields as big a bow as a palm tree. He knows all the supreme asthras. His efficiency in the asthras is equal to that of Krishna.He is second to none in battles. His mere appearance in the forefront makes the enemies run away like the cattle scenting a lion. He can powder even the hills with his arrows. His golden car with four white steeds shines in the battlefield like the sun in the sky. When that dextrous Saathyaki corners all the opponent warriors with his powerful arrows,then will the foolish Duryodhana surely repent his folly of choicing war with us.

" When he sees the gem-studded golden chariot given by gods, drawn by white steeds and bearing Hanumaan banner,occupied by me and Krishna , then will the foolish Duryodhana surely repent his folly of choicing war with us. When he sees the divine chariot, the Gaandeevam, the conch Devadaththam and steeds from the gods, the unemptying quivers, of all, me and Krishna together in it, then will the foolish Duryodhana surely repent his folly of choicing war with us. When he hears the sounds of the twangs of the string of my Gaandeevam, as terrific as a lightning's sound, then will the foolish Duryodhana surely repent his folly of choicing war with us. When that arrogant fellow sees his troops running helter-skelter like a herd of frightened cows, dreading my arrows, then will the foolish Duryodhana surely repent his folly of choicing war with us. When he sees my arrows fly and fall all over like the bolts from the clouds, killing the armoured warriors in their thousands, piercing into their bones and pivotal points, knocking down the elephants and horses with the men on them, then will the foolish Duryodhana surely repent his folly of choicing war with us. When he sees the missiles of his men aimed at me fall in the midway, broken into pieces by my unerring arrows, then will the foolish Duryodhana surely repent his folly of choicing war with us. When my wide edged arrows chop off the heads of the young fighters like the birds plucking off the fruits from the top of the trees, then will the foolish Duryodhana surely repent his folly of choicing war with us. When he sees my arrows knock down the mounted men from their tuskers, chariots and horses, then will the foolish Duryodhana surely repent his folly of choicing war with us. When he sees his brothers fall dead even before they were hit by our weapons and all his men at their wit's end, then will the foolish Duryodhana surely repent his folly of choicing war with us. When I run in the field like the death itself with its wide-opened mouth, showering a contiuous flow of blazing arrows, throwing away his chariots and soldiers hither and thither, then will the foolish Duryodhana surely repent his folly of choicing war with us. Seeing his forces killed, devoid of all his lead men, with no cahriots or tuskers around, the little remaining too thirsty and tired, wailing; with hair, bones and flesh lying all around, looking like the semi-finished destruction of the universe by the Lord, then will the foolish Duryodhana surely repent his folly of choicing war with us. When I burn down all the Kouravas like a great fire, just as the Lord destroying all the wicked elements at the end of an era to bring forth another era, then will the foolish Duryodhana surely repent his folly of choicing war with us.

" With all his glory lost, with all his brothers slain, with all his followers killed, with all his arrogance subdued to the basest level, with his helpless anger burning within, fallen and trembling, then will the foolish Duryodhana surely repent his folly of choicing war with us.

" Once at the end of my morning worships of the gods, a braahmana spoke to me, 'Arjuna, Your future task is very tough. You shall fight your rivals. May lord Indra walk before you taming your enemies. And may Krishna guard your rear with his chariot drawn by his steeds Sugreeva etc.' Incidentally I happened to choose this great Krishna to help in the war. All this seems to me like destined by the gods for me. Krishna can award victory to anyone just by his wish to do so, what of fighting at all? Neither the gods nor the demons can stand before him, what to talk of mortals? He who believes to defeat Krishna in fight, can swim across the terrible oceans alone; can blow off a great fire with his hands; can stop the course of the sun and the moon; and can snatch the ambrosia of the gods from them with his might . What happens to the Great White Hill ( Kylaasa) if anyone tries to break it with his hand? Nothing happens to the hill, but the hand will smash into pieces with its fingers and nails. So is to fight against Krishna. Krishna's valour and prowess are well-known all over the countries. He alone went to Vidarbha and took away his lover princess Rukmini defeating all his arch rivals like Shishupaala and Jaraasandha. He defeated the sons of Nagnajith in Gaandhaaram to liberate Sudarshana captured by them. He killed the Paandya king and defeated the Kalinga king. When he won the city of Vaaraanasi, there was no one to save it from him even for many years. The king of the foresters Ekalavya, deemed unbeatable, remains fallen from his attacks. Even when he was a boy, he killed the wicked Kamsa amidst his own men of Bhojas and the Vrishnis with the aid of his brother Balaraama and gave the kingdom to their king Ugrasena. He fought with the mysterious Saalva flying in the sky with his magical flier Soumbha and caught hold of his tremendous missile like a toy with both the hands. Which mortal can stand before him? Naraka of the Praagjyothisha grabbed the ear-ornaments of Adithi but even the gods could not get them back from him when they approahed Krishna for help. He promised them and proceeded against the offender. He killed there six thousand defending bonds of Mura, killed him and the demon Ogha too. Then he entered the city and fought with Naraka and killed him. Returning with the ornaments of the mother of the gods, he was praised by all the gods who gifted him with indefatigability and normal paassage in the sky and in the waters. With such great one with us, we are sure of our victory. But the foolish Duryodhana thinks that he can win against Krishna too. He always tries to win over him from us. He dreams that we fall out with Krishna and Krishna's love towards us is disturbed. He will learn the facts in the coming war.

" I believe that those who stand on Duryodhana's side are already killed by the virtue itself. They have cheated us for thirteen years. They made us suffer twelve year- exile in the forests and one-year concealed exile , all ubjustified. How can such unvirtuous fellows live and happily enjoy the throne even as we are here alive after all those stringent troubles? If at all they win us in the coming war helped even by the gods with Indra, it only means that the unrighteousness prevails over righteousness and there is nothing such as good in the world. The unwise Duryodhana should understand that our troubles are not due to his greatness but as a result of our misfortune. Lest, he should know it through their destruction by me with Krishna's help. If the deeds are not without their results (good or bad) and if the good deeds never remain fruitless, an impartial estimation of Duryodhana's deeds of snatching our share then and refusing to restore it to us now, only suggests that his defeat is just the right thing. I tell you on your face, Kouravas! Choose war and you will not remain. Barring war, you may survive; but otherwise, not a single one of you will be alive. I am going to kill all the Kouravas with Karna and win their entire kingdom and wealth. May they all enjoy their favourite pleasures in the remaining short period of their life!

" From all those inferred by our learned and virtuous braahmana s, who are experts in astrology and omens, from their study of stars and auguries, it is clear that Kouravas will meet their end Paandavas will flourish. Krishna himself assured Yudhishthira that his win is certain at any cost. I repeat Sanjaya, my vision never fails, war means annihilation of Kouravas ! My bow Gaandeevam bends by itself without my touching it. My shining sword slides out of the sheath by itself like a serpent casting off its skin. The deities on my banner often cry out, 'Arjuna, when do you get your chariot ready?'

" We hear at night, unpleasant howlings of the foxes and shrieks of deer, peacocks,crows and cranes. Comets are falling frequently from the sky. Many birds herd around the flag of my chariot. It is sure that a destructive war is ensuing in which I will destroy all the kings standing against us. They will see me dart the great asthras like Sthoonaakarnam, Paashupatham, Braahmyam etc which I obtained from Indra and other gods. I stand in the war with the determination of a total destruction of the Kouravas and I will be pacified only after doing that. Tell them my decision and intention clearly. See Duryodhana's foolishness in his efforts to win against us, by whom all the victorious stalwarts of today stand !

" I bow to the grandsire Bheeshma, my preceptors Drona and Kripa and to Ashvaththaama too and then I step into the warfield with a view to regaining our due share. Let us hope that what is decided by the elders Bheeshma, Drona,Kripa and Vidura will take place finally. May the Kouravas live long by that! "

DIFFERENCES AMONG KOURAVA STALWARTS

Thus Sanjaya literally reported Arjuna's words to the house of Kouravas who all intently listened to him. Then Bheeshma told Duryodhana . " Listen to me, Naarada told me an incident occurred at Brahma's abode. once in the long past, Brihaspathi, Shukra,Indra, Agni, maruths, vasus, aadithyas, Saadhyas, the septet of sages, Vishvaavasu with all the Gandharvas and apsaras went to Brahma's abode to worship him. They all bowed to the creator and stood in waiting. There were two resplendent personalities asif swallowing others' resplendence with rheir halo, the great Nara and Naaraayana. Brihaspathi wondered and asked Brahma. " Lord, who are these two? They won't come and bow to you." Brahma amswered him . " They are the very Nara and Naaraayana who support this earth and sky with their powers. They excelled in every penance and valour. They are actually one and the same thing but got divided into two powerful entities for the benefit of the world and its beings. All the gods and divine beings homour them. The demons dread them the most." Listening that, Indra went to them with all the gods and worshipped them. After some time, there occurred a war between the gods and the demons. When the gods were facing defeat, Indra went to Nara and Naaraayana for asking their help in the war which they granted. They soon stood in the field on behalf of the gods. Nara killed many thousands of the demons named Poulomas and Kaalakhanjas. Nara stood in his moving chariot and cut off Jambha's head when he ran towards Nara to swallow him. Naaraayana too killed many strong demons in that war, awarding a great win to the gods. Our sages say that Nara was born as Arjunaand Naaraayana was born as Krishna to take the burden of bad elements off from the earth. The single powerful element that looks like two is invincible even to the gods and demons together. They would take up the responsibility of cleansing the earth of the unwanted elements by taking part in the wars that occur every now and then. The divine sage Naaarada many a time told this about them. This Arjuna, the incarnation of Nara, killed a band of sixty thousand demons named Nivvathakavachas of Hiranyapura on the shores of the sea. Krishna's valorous deeds and his prowess are personally witnessed by all of us too. Is it for our good to fight against such supernatural powers? My boy, Duryodhana, you will surely remember my words when you behold Krishna with his divine weapons discus, mace and conch joined by Arjuna with his amazing asthras, both standing in the same vehicle. If you fail to see the truth in my words, it only means that our end is sure in a short time. Unfortunately for you, you stick to the misleading guidance of only these three useless fellows; Karna of the low origin and cursed by Parashuraama himself, the gambler Shakuni and your sinner brother Dushshaasana. It is time you had realised your mistake and mended your way."

Karna was angry with Bheeshma for his abusive references to him. He roared at the veteran. " Grandsire! The words you spoke about me are not those usable by one who wishes to live long. I am bound to my duty. I never swerved from the path of a kshathriya . What find do you blame me with? The Kouravas never saw any flaw in me. I never resorted to any detriment to these Kouravas. I am determined to kill all the Paandavas for the pleasure of the Kouravas. How can we make peace with them whom we have been opposing long since? I always go for what ever is good to the King Dhritharaashtra. So am I with his son Duryodhana since it is he who rules now."

Bheeshma heard Karna's words and again spoke to Dhritharaashtra. " Listen carefully, Dhritharaashtra! This Karna who always boasts of himself is not equal even to the sixteenth part of the celebrated Paandavas. You must know that this rougue charioteer's company with yoursons is bringing destruction to all of our clan. Depending on this worthless fellow, your foolish son derided and antagonised with the Paandavas of divine origin. Did this boaster achive anything as any one of them did earlier? What did he do in return when Arjunaadvanced and killed his brother right before his eyes in the battle of Viraata ? Wasn't he present there when Arjunadefeated all of us and proudly cut off our turbains? Where did he go when the Gandharvas took your son prisoner in the fight? He only bellows now in our court before us, but weren't it Bheema and Arjuna with their brothers that liberated your son from the spiteful Gandharvas? When will you and your sons understand that all his claims are just a vanity? "

After Bheeshma spoke thus, Drona said to Dhritharaashtra, approving Bheeshma's words. " King! You had better follow the veteran Bheeshma's words. It is not good for you to follow the words of those who are driven by desire and who cause loss to the safely existing interets. I believe that it is better for us if we make truce with the Paandavas before a war is declared. What Sanjaya reported as Arjuna's words are not far from truth. I well know that Arjunais able to do exactly what he said in his message. Nowhere in the three worlds can we see a bow-man like him. Consider the benefits of truce than the losses from the feud."

When the two old wellwishers spoke so clearly, Dhritharaashtra half-heard and half-left their words. As if nothing was heard, he turned to Sanjaya and began to ask about the Paandavas. The moment the old king was seen clearly sidelining Bheeshma and Drona, unmindful of their advice, the courtiers lost hopes on their lives.

Dhritharaashtra thus turning a deaf year to Bheeshma and Drona, asked Sanjaya. " Sanjaya! What did Yudhishthira say after learning that these many kings are gathered here in our favour with their mighty forces? What are his plans amd movements in readiness to war? Who are there standing before him in support of his actions and ready to do as ordered by him, his brothers and his sons? And who advise him to make peace with us and who goad him for waging war against us? Originally Yudhishthira is a votary of righteousness and piety but some people around him are bad and poisoning his mind."

Sanjaya answered. " Dear King! Besides his four brothers, the Paanchaalas stand ready before Yudhishthira who commands every one. The forces of Paanchaalas stand ready to serve him, surrounding him stationed in his court hall like a sun in the sky. Right from the common man to the nobles, everybody blesses him. All the women folk of the braahmana s, kshathriya s and vyshya s come in groups to visit him in his readiness to war. The Kekayas and the Maathsyas too stand in obedience before him to serve for his cause."

Dhritharaashtra querried. " Sanjaya! Yudhishthira must be knowing what the strength and power of our forces are. For him, the only supporters are Dhrishtadyumana and Drupada with their forces. Then, relying on whom and whose strength did Yudhishthira get ready for war against us?"

Sanjaya heard that question from his king and he bacame senseless for a moment. He heaved a long sigh and fell almost unconcious on the floor. Vidura reported it to the blind king. " Sir, Sanjaya fell unconscious,out of his senses and weak in movements."

In a while, Sanjaya came to his senses and recovered slowly. Then he spoke to Dhritharaashtra. " King! I have carefully observed the Paandavas, troubled by their incognito life at Viraata's. Listen with whom your party is to fight in the coming war. With the valorous Dhrishtadyumana are the Paandavas ready to fight against you.

He who never deviates from the right path or lets down truthfulness either due to anger or fear or greed, he who is the standard of virtue for the virtueful, with that Yudhishthira are the Paandavas ready to fight against you.

He who has no match in muscle power; he who subdued all the kings in obedience to his elder brother; he who defeated the kings of Kaashi, Anga, Magadha and Kalinga territories; he whose strength of the hands saved his four brothers and mother from the burning wax-house at Vaaranaavatham; he who was their saviour from the demon Hidimba; he who was their resource when Jayadratha abducted Droupadi in the forests; he who went to mount Gandhamaadanam in quest of Droupadi's pleasure and many killed Yakshas and Gandharvas there; he whose shoulders are as strong as a thousand tuskers; with that Bheema are the Paandavas ready to fight against you.

He who defeated Indra in a direct fight with Krishna's help for appeasing Agni at the Khaandavam forest; he who pleased Lord Shiva himself with his valour in a hand-to-hand fight in the forest; he who won the praises of all the lords of the directions, with that archer Arjuna are the Paandavas ready to fight against you.

" He who won the entire West for his brother; he who brought all the Mlechcha provinces in to his brother's control; he who excels not only in handsomeness but in prowess too, with that Nakula are the Paandavas ready to fight against you.

" He who had undertaken a victorious campaign in the South for his brother; he who defeated the kings of Kaashi, Anga, Kalinga and Magadha; he whose match in valour among the mortals could only be either Ashvaththaama, Dhrishtakethu, Rukmi or Pradyumna; with that Sahadeva, the youngest of the Paandavas, are the Paandavas ready to fight against you.

" He who was born as daughter of Kaashi king first, went on penance determined to kill Bheeshma and died; he who was later born as a daughter of Drupada but turned into a man per a godsend chance; he who knows the nature of both men and women; he who made the kalingas bite the dust; he who knows as much as any one in warfare and asthras; he who ws made a man by a Yaksha for killing Bheeshma, with that Shikhandi are the Paandavas ready to fight against you.

" The five Kekaya brothers are exceedingly valorous. They all stood with Yudhishthira for his cause. with those kekayas are the Paandavas ready to fight against you. He who is known for his swiftness in archery, he who wields a long bow with his long hands, with that Saathyaki are the Paandavas ready to fight against you. He who became a shelter to the Paandavas in the moment of their direst need , with that Viraata are the Paandavas ready to fight against you. He who fights mounting on a hill-like elephant, with that Kaashiraaja of Vaaranaasi are the Paandavas ready to fight against you. The Paandavas ready to fight against you with the five young sons of Droupadi who are invincible and are as spiteful towards the Kouravas as venomous snakes. They stand in the war with their fearless young son Abhimanyu, who is a match to Krishna in prowess and to Yudhishthira in mercy. They stand in the war with the war-spirited king of Chedi state, Dhrishtakethu, Shishupaala's son, who cares nobody in battle , that came to the Paandavas with an Akshouhini of army and his brothers Sharabha and Karakarshana. Jarasandha's son Sahadeva and Jayathsena, these two warriors stood on behalf of the Paandavas. The Paanchaala king Drupada too stood with them with all his armies, ready to give away his life for them. Still there are many other kings from the East and the North that stood in support of Yudhishthira. Needing not a mention , above all, Krishna stood with them. My King! wih these did Yudhishthira get ready for war.

Dhritharaashtra responded to Sanjaya's listing of supporters of the Paandavas. " Every one of those you mentioned is powerful and virile. But I reckon all of them on one side and Bheema alone on the other side. I am so terribly afraid of the irate and impatient Bheema that I could not sleep at nights too and remain sighing in fear and grief like a deer afraid of a lion. I see none on our side who can stop the strong, fierce and audacious attacker who bears long grown animosity in his heart against the Kouravas. Bearing of strong enemity with my sons due to their misdeeds towards him, mad with anger, terribly swift and enthusiastic in battles, exceeding everybody in might, he wields his eight-edged iron mace like Yama and corners my sons in war and kills every one of them like a lion running among small animals. I feel in my mind as if such a form of him hangs before me. Even in his childhood, he was not obedient to my word. He alone would tease all my sons like a strong elephant crushing petty animals in the forest. I was agitated hearing Bheema beat my sons who would be thoroughly thrashed by him every time . They were always troubled by his strength. That was in fact the seed of all this feud. I imagine Bheema running madly onto my son's forces knocking down the elephants, horses and soldiers in a flash. He is match to Drona and Arjunain asthras and as powerful as the wind in might and swiftness. His anger is as fierce as that of Lord Shiva. Vyaasa himself told me this many times about Bheema .Sanjaya, tell me, who amongst our fighters can beat hom in the battle? We heard that he killed many Yakshas and demons. How can any mortal stand before him? I think that I should be happy over the fact that he did not kill my sons by now itself. He is naturally angry with my sons, added to that, they have troubled him more than enough. He was subjected to many illtreatments by me myself too in the past. Then, what to tell about his fury out of his anger against us? Cruel, irascible and ferrocious with a frowned askance, a span taller than Arjuna, overcoming tuskers in strength, he will raze my men beating with his long iron rod. I am at loss as to how he will be placated. How can my sons escape from his terrific eight-edged club that flashes in his hand like a lightning killing a hundred in a single stroke? Will my boys stand the attack of that terrible figure that jumps around, waving the mace in his hands, licking the corners of mouth, leaping towards the approaching elephants,breaking their heads, driving them in every direction, roaring fiercely, making way through the thick lines of enemies, knocking the men from their cars and vehicles, powdering the cars and carts, razing everything in his way like an over-flowing river uprooting all the trees on its banks, chasing and killng the opponents like a tusker felling the trees in a forest? We know how strong and valorous the Magadha king Jaraasandha was. He tamed all the kings and dictated terms to all the provinces. It was sheer luck that only the Kurus due to Bheeshma's power and theYaadavasdue to Krishna's shrewd policies were out of his control. Even such a great powerful king of no match in strength was killed by Bheema with Krishna's help, in his own place in a hand-to-hand fight. Need any more be mentioned? Surely he will let loose his long restricted anger on my sons and chases them to death from his mace. Even without a weapon like a mace or bow, even without a chariot or elephant, even without a helmet or an armour, even if he chooses to fight with his bare hands, who can stand before him? Bheesahma, Drona and Kripa very well know his strength as much as I do. Yet, they will stand before him in the war according to the code of heroes and choose to sacrifice their lives in return to our serving their needs. It is them and others that will perish for the Kouravas that I lament Sanjaya. I see that what Vidura was pleading against has come! My grief knows no bounds. They say that realisation kills grief but I don't think so. Conversely, I feel that grief overpowers realisation, at least in the case of householders like us engaged in bonds with wives,children and wealth, if not in case of sages too. What can be my recourse now, with this great troube before? Consider what may, it seems that the end of Kouravas is certain. The dice game itself seems to be the beginning of that. All this was done by my throne-mongering foolish son. It is as impossible for him to escape as for the rim of a wheel from its turning. What shall I do? How shall I deal ? What is my rescue? Sanjaya, all these indiscrete idiots will die in the hands of the mace-wielding Bheema who, with Arjunaas his aide, can consume them like a forest fire in summer aided by wind, burning the trees. How can I afford to hear the wailing the women folk bereft of their husbands? Cannot death grace me with its visit? I am a gone man."

Dhritharaashtra continued his expressing of fears, about Arjuna this time.
" Yudhishthira himself is such a virtuous one who never lies. When a hero like Arjunais with him, can't he win the three worlds? I cannot reckon at least one person amongst our stalwarts who can face Arjunain the battles. Who can stand before his showers of sharp and swift arrows that straight pierce into the hearts of the opponents? Only Drona and Karna may have any chance of facing him with any success. Yet, even these two heroes too, I believe, are not sufficient. Karna is defectively prone to error and Drona is too old to stand to bear Arjuna who makes no mistake and knows no fatigue. Though there may be hundreds of fighters who know many or all the asthras and are able to win the three worlds. We hear them sometimes win and sometimes lose, but never have we heard of Arjuna's losing against any one, earning the epithet 'Vijaya'(=victorious) to himself. At an age of only thirty three years, he could satisfy Agni with burning of Khaandava forest, defeating Indra himself. How can anyone expect other than victory to one whose charioteer is verily Krishna himself? The terrible combination of the three elements, Arjunathe fighter, Krishna the charioteer and Gaandeevam the bow, all the three matchless in their class, is invincible and only invincible. Such a great Arjunais now angry with my foolish sons, who and whose more foolish followers fail to see the burning bolt falling on their heads. His missiles are surely going to annihilate my son's armies. I feel as if Arjunais driving away my armies helter-skelter with his arrows. I am going to hear the bad news of falling of all of our heroes. Alas! Sanjaya, destruction staves at us. You yourself described how various kings are firmly supporting the Paandavas for their victory. Besides the Paanchaalas , Kekayas,Mathsyas,Magadhas and Vathsas, the omnipotent Krishna is on their side with his mind to their success. Saathyaki is as celebrated as Arjuna. I heard that his shooting of missiles is like sowing of seeds in the fields. Dhrishtadyumna is en expert in every facet of warfare. He isgoing to be a menace to our people. I am more worried about Yudhishthira's anger than about valour of Bheema or Arjunaor the twins. Shrewd, obedient to elders, efficient, amiable, pleasing, courageous and discrete, Yudhishthira is already a winner almost. Added to that, friends, relatives and supporters standing for him now are abundant in number, none among them being ignorable. Yudhishthira was insulted and illtreated by me for which he won't rest until seeing the end of all my sons. He is now a blazing flame that never subsides before consuming everything around. I feel war with him is not advisable for us, as it means a comprehensive destruction. Let us make peace with him which is the only way for our safe survival. Her me, you all senseless mongers of war! if you too like my proposal, make efforts for truce.

Sanjaya answered to Dhritharaashtra's sorrowful speech. " Sir! You spoke the truth in saying that Arjuna's Gaandeevam is going to sweep out all the kshathriya warriors from this earth. But I am at loss to understand why you, though wise, always fall pray to your crooked son's plans though fully knowing what Arjunais. Even this repentance too is not going to be stable in you, I feel. A true father should be judiciously disposed towards his sons and towards his nephews under his protection. He should only guide them to the proper course. A detrimental father is not a father at all. Though being elder in the lead position of the clan, you were as childish as enjoying the victory of your sons in the unfair dice game then, cheering at the win of each stake. You even ignored your sons throwing harh words at the Paandavas. You childishly enjoyed their going on the exile too. You only felt happy that your sons could get the entire kingdom, but failed to see the future dange that it entailed. In fact, all this kingdom of Kuru and JAangala was earned by their father Paandu. Later it was expanded and stabilised by Paandavas who simply gave it off to you. You enjoyed their wealth and kingdom feeling as if they were earned by your own powers, but eventually turned traitrous to them verily. And what did they do to you in return? They saved your helplessly imprisoned son from the Gandharvas in the forest. Arjuna's divine missiles can make the seas themselves dry , then what to talk of any mortal in flesh and blood to stand against him? Arjunais the best of archers, Gaandeevam is the best of bows, Krishna is the best of all, as is his Sudarshanam in weapons. The banner of Hanuman on Arjuna's chariot is dazling to the eyes. Thus equipped, Arjunaacts as Yama to our armies leaving none alive. All this earth is now theirs. He, whose generals are Bheema and Arjuna, only wins. Now, the Mathsyas,Paanchaalas,Kekayas, Saalvas and Shoorasenas have no allegiance to you any more. Instead they openly deride you. They all turned obedient to Yudhishthira, won by his qualities and they stake their everything to teach a lesson to your sons. Duryodhana and your other sons will see their forces crushed by Bheema and meet their end in his hands. It is impossible that they can win Arjunaand Bheema. Really, your son tormented the Paandavas who never deserved it. Even today, he hates the righteous Paandavas. He is by all means fit to be corrected along with his erring allies. Never feel sorry for him. Didn't Vidura and I tell you the same thing even as back as on the day of dice game? All this lamenting about your sons and their indecent acts on one hand and your insincere sympathy towards Paandavas on the other with feigned helplessness, is all futile now."

Then Duryodhana interlocuted. He spoke to his father first.

" Father! You need not be afraid of anybody. Don't trouble yourself with concern about us. We are able to crush the enemies with our strength. First listen to this. I had this information long back through my spies. When the Paandavas went on their exile, Krishna came to see them with a very large force. The Kekayas, Dhrishtakethu,Dhrishtadyumna and many other kings were with him. They all met the Paandavas in the forests not far away from their capital Indrarastham. They attended on the exiled Yudhishthira, clad in stag skins. After many deliberations, they accused us of cheating and prevailed upon Yudhishthira to proceed against us to clinch back their kingdom from us by demolishing you, us and all our clan with our followers and supporters. After I received reports of that incident, I sensed defeat and danger to my men and I immediately consulted with my eldres Bheshma, Drona and Kripa. I told them, ' It is reported that Krishna is instigating the Paandavas against us to wage a war for regaining their lost kingdom. I believe that the Paandavas wouldn't fail their commitment of completing their term of exile, but I am worried about Krishna's plans to dethrone and uproot us for getting the entire kingdom to the Paandavas. He aims at a total demolition. I was told that he opined that all of us deserve killing except Vidura and our father. You kindly advise me asto ehat at present is the best course for us. Surrender, retreat or stake our lives and fight them out? Fight means a comprehensive annihilation of us, because all the tributories are still in their favour and the subjects are not yet heartily faithful to us. Even some of our own men are against us. Surrenderring to them is flawlessly safe and it assures peace and pleasures to us. But, I am worried about my dear father who has taken many pains for my sake and who is going to face deep troubles due to my deeds. You are all aware that we antagonised them for our interests but they are aiming at destruction of my father. What shall I do now?'

" Understanding my apprehensions and their grave effects on me, our teacher Drona said, 'Don't dread the foes even if you have troubled them. They are not able enough to win us in the war. Any one of us can win all the kings together. Didn't you hear of what happened when Bheeshma's father died? All his enemies made a combimed attack on him but he singly defeated them all. Then all the kings surrendered to him acknowledging their defeat and future allegience to him. When such great Bheeshma is with you to tackle the enemies in the war, you need not fear. Let them come onto you, we will cure their audacity with our missiles.'

" king! That was the opinion of our heroes then. Now, the situation is totally different. We have been long since enjoying control over all the kings and territories. Our enemies have the minimum of their resources. With their depleted energies, they cannot stand before us in war. We could gather all the kings who have determination for my victory. They are ready to jump into the seas or walk through the flames for my sakes. Seeing you weep like this singing the mythical fame and power of the enemies, they all laught at you within. Each of these believes that he can alone win against the Paandavas. Don't worry yourself with fears. and my armies, they are so strong that even Indra or Brahma cannot stand before them. Yudhishthira is very much afraid of my armies and my strength. It is for this reason that he is ready to forego his entire share, preparing to satisfy with just five villages for the five of them. now to your fears about Bheema. You only imagine him to be a great hero. None was before, none is now and none will be in future, equal to me in mace-fight. I am not afraid of Bheema or any other. I have served Balarrama as disciple with devotion to master the ins and outs of the art of mace-fight. I am as powerful as Balaraama in that faculty. Not only Bheema, even Arjunaand Krishna too know that I have no match in it. The shot of my mace can break even the Himaalaya mountain into pieces. Bheema can never bear that. It is my long-cherished desire to see Bheema before me with the mace in his hand. With a single stroke, I will knock him down dead. May all your fears about that worthless fellow vanish! Once I killed Bheema, all my archers, equal or superior to Arjuna, will finish his life in a short while. After that, who are there to fight? Bheeshma, Drona, Kripa, Ashvaththaama,Karna, Bhoorishravas, Naraka, Shalya and Jayadratha, any one of them can singly kill Arjuna. When combined, he is a matter of few minutes for them. He will be blown away like a dry leaf in the showers of arrows of my heroes Bheema, Drona, Kripa and Ashvaththaama. You fail to notice the greatness of our stalwarts. The grandsire Bheeshma is invincible even to the gods. We see none that cam kill him in wars. His father gave him a boon that he can die only at his will. Our preceptor Drona was born to sage Bharadvaaja from his pitcher. Kripa was born to sage Sharadvaan from the reed stalks. I understand that he is immortal. Ashvaththaama, whose mother, father and uncle all are from non-umblical births, is with us. And Karna, as I feel, is equal to Bheeshma and Drona put together. The great sage Parashuraama himself certified that Karna was equal to him. Karna's divine-powered ear rings were begged for by Indra for the sake of his wife Shachi and in return, he awarded Karna with a terrific unerring Shakthi. As long as that is with Karna, Arjuna's being killed with that is sure. Also, the Samshapthaka troops of the Thrigartha brothers are determined that either they should kill Arjunaor Arjunashould kill them. How can Arjunaescape? When all the kings are thus enthusiastic in winning for us, why do you entertain mean fears? Can you name any other good fighter in the enemy's side, barring the five brothers, Dhrishtadyumana and Saathyaki? These seven are the essence of that side. But the list of our heroes is unending. Bheeshma, Drona, Kripa, Ashvaththaama, Karna, Somadaththa, Baahlika, Naraka, Shalya, The two Avanthi brothers Vinda and Anuvunda, Jayadratha, Dushshaasana, Durmukha, Dussaha, Shrithaayu, Chithrasena,Purumithra, Vivimshathi, Shala, Bhoorishravas and Vikarna, with many unmentioned. We have eleven Akshouhinis and they have only seven. Brihaspathi said that an army exceeding the opponent's army by one-third will always win. Our armies are greater than theirs by more than one-third. Why shall I lose then? Dear King! I see many defects in the enemy side and many merits on our side. You too comprehend the inferiority of Paandavas and superiority of ours to hold yourself from the misconcept that they are stronger and more powerful than us.

" Saying thus to his father to counter his fears, then Duryodhana asked Sanjaya with a view to knowing the moods and spirits of his enemies.

" Sanjaya! Gathering his seven Akshouhinis against our eleven, how is Yudhishthira? What are his contemplations? what is he plaaning with all his follower kings? "

Sanjaya answered. " King! Yudhishthira is very much desirous of war and he is extremely happy. Bheema, Arjunaand The Twins too are very eager and enthused about the war. Arjunaordered his men to prepare his divine chariot for the war, with a view to showing the powers of his chariot and assessing his own foreseeing. We all saw the amazing chariot shining like a cloud with lighting on it. Then Arjunameditated for a long while and said pleasing for himself. " Sanjaya! I forecast the future results. We are going to win." In fact, my King, I too felt the same as he said."

Duryodhana then questioned him. " Sanjaya! You are very much exaggerating the Paandavas who met with defeat in the dice game. But, tell me, of what kind are the horses and banner of Arjuna's chariot?"

Sanjaya answered. " Vishvakarma, the sculptor of the gods and Thvashta had created many divine forms for Indra. They graced Arjuna that many such forms, small and big, of high value would be stationed in his chariot for frightening his enemies. The god Hanuman himself honoured Arjuna, out of his love towards Bheema, that his form with many fearsome deities would be appearing on his banner. The magical power of the banner is such that it appears so great as occupying a yojana (4 kose or approximately 12800 meters) in every direction. It is not hindered even by obstructions such as trees. That is the power that its creator vested with it. Just as the rain-bow in the sky is not of a single color, it also is of many different colours that I cannot tell. Thus did its creator made it look in many forms. Just like the smoke from the fire reels up into the sky with many different clours got from the fire, the banner too is designed in such a way that it stretches high into the sky with many a colour on it. Also, the chariot has no weight imposed on it by the presence of the banner or Hanuman and his deities, nor is it held up by any obstacle in its way. The chariot is drawn by one hundred celestial horses gifted by the Gandharva chief Chithrasena to Arjuna. They can run as normally in the sky or waters as they can run on the land. The wonderful thing is that the number of the horses will remain hundred by replenishing for the dead ones instantly with new ones. That was the boon Chithrasena gave to Arjuna.

" Yudhishthira's chariot too is drawn by similar horses as Arjuna's, shining as white as ivory and they very well suit to his prowess. Bheema's steeds are as fast as the wind. Sahadeva's car bears horses of lapwing colour, gifted to him by his pleased brother Arjuna. Nakula's horses were gifted to him by Indra. They beat the wind in swiftness and power. With those, his chariot shines like Indra's. The horses yoked the chariots of their youngsters like Abhimanyu and the junior Paandavas too are gifted by the celestials and as such, are as strong and powerful as Arjuna's."

Dhritharaashtra asked Sanjaya. " Whom did you see there that are ready to fight against my sons for the interest of the Paandavas?"

Sanjaya answered. " The lead person Krishna from the Vrishnis and Andhakas is there. Also from the same clan, Saathyaki and Chekithaana are there. The last two brought an akshouni each with them. They both are valorous and known for their heroic pride. The paanchaala king Drupada came to the Paandavas with his ten sons Sathyajith and others under the leadership of Dhrishtadyumna himself. He brought an Akshouhini with him. He and his son Shikhandi encourage everybody and surpass all others in glory. King Viraata came with his two sons Shankha and Uththara and also alongwith his brothers Sooryadaththa, Madiraaksha and others. The deceased Magadha king Jaraasandha's son Sahadeva and the deceased Chedi king Shishupaala's son Dhrishtakethu both brought an Akshouhini each. The five Kekaya brothers, all with red flags, came to the Paandavas with an Akshouhini. I have seen these stalwarts there among those lots of kings gathered to fight against your son on behalf of the Paandavas. The prime leader of their composite forces is Dhrishtadyumna. He masters the knowledge of the arrays of armies that are within the knowledge of mortals, demons and divines.

Also, they have decided the individual targets for each of their lead fighters. Bheeshma is the target of Shikhandi who will be protected by Viraata and his forces. Shalya was given as Yudhishthira's share but some people there expressed that it was an unequal match. Duryodhana, his brothers, his sons, the eastern kings and the southern kings are Bheema's targets. Karna, Ashvaththaama, Vikarna and Jayadratha are Arjuna's share. Any others remaining or any other unbeatable ones of our side too are added to Arjuna's target. The five Kekaya brothers will face the other Kekaya forces that stood on our side. Their target includes Maalavas, Shaalvakas and the lead Thrigartha fighters who are known as samshapthakas. Remaining sons (other than those killed by Bheema) of Duryodhana, Dushshaasana's sons and Kosala king Brihadbala are made as Abhimanyu's target. The five Junior Paandavas of golden flags, will attack Drona along with Dhrishtadyumna. The yaadava chief Chekithaana likes to have duel with Somadaththa. Saathyaki will face the Bhoja chief Krithavarma on our side. Sahadeva selected your brother-in-law Shakuni as his target. Ulooka and the Saarasvatha group fall to Nakula's share. And every king this side is given as target to some one of their side. Thus the Paandavas divided our forces into their indivdual targets. You may haste decide what is good to be done soon in time."

Dhritharaashtra began to lament again. " Sanjaya! My gambler sons will not survive this danger of war with Bheema. All the kings seem to have been consecrated by Yama for destruction. They will surely fall in the fire of Gaandeevam, like locusts falling in flames, and burn to ashes. It appears as if the revenging Paandavas have shatterd our army. Who can revive it into fighting again? All on their side are as furious and glorious as the fire and the sun. My foolish son wishes to fight against such ones, who are lead by Krishna and Yudhishthira, who are protected by Arjuna and Bheema, from whom even Indra cannot relieve their kngdom unless they give on their volition, who comprise Nakula, Sahadeva, Dhrishtadyumna, Saathyaki, Drupada, Dhrishtakethu, Uththamoujas, Yudhaamanyu, Shikhandi, Kshathradeva, Uththara, Kashi king, Chedi king, Mathsya king, Srinjayas, paanchaalas, prabhadrakas and Babhru. My evil son prefers war with them despite my crying against it."

Duryodhana again talked to his father ." Both we and Paandavas are from the same clan and same origin. Both are humans, both are from the same land. Then, why do you think that they alone are going to win? Grandsire Bheeshma, Drona, Kripa, Karna,Ashvaththaama, Jayadratha, Somadaththa and many others, all together are invincible even to Indra and gods. What to talk of Paandavas,then? The kings stand on my side staking their very lives, are competent enough to defeat the Paandavas. They all will corner the Paandavas like the hunters take the young cubs of deer into their catches. The Paandavas will be driven in all direction by my chariots and showers of arrows from them. "

Dhritharaashtra did not heed his son's words. He continued to talk to Sanjaya. " Sanjaya! My son prattles that he can win against the Paandavas, but it is sure that he won't be able to stand before Yudhishthira. Bheeshma himself knows of what kind the strength of the righteous Paandavas and their stronger sons is. That is the reason for this great soul's advising truce with them. But, let it be Sanjaya, tell me more about the Paandavas' action. First of all, tell me who constantly goad them to the war against us, like infusing fuel into the flames?"

Sanjaya said, " Sire! It is Dhrishtadyumna that keeps on provoking them always. He says, ' Don't be afraid of war. Go for it. I alone will answer all the kings on the kourava side and their followers in the coming war, like a big whale eating out the fish in the sea. I will halt their stalwarts like Bheeshma,Drona, Kripa,Karna Shalya and Duryodhana, like the coast staving off the waves.' Yudhishthira too admires him approvingly and says to him, ' All the Paandavas as well as the Paanchaalas know what your prowess is. You are the one to take us safe out of this war. I know you to be bound to the kshathriya code. You alone in fact are able to tackle the Kouravas and their supporters. Whatever you do will be for our good. No doubt you are valorous, heroic and brave. You are the saviour of those who are helpless in wars. It is said that a valorous saviour of the helpless in wars is to be bought even at the cost of a thousand people. You are such a fitting one for us,surely.'

With Yudhishthira saying thus to him, Dhrishtadyumna looked at me, an already frightened one, and said. " Sanjaya! You go haste and report my words to the heroes of Duryodhana and others there. Speak to Bheeshma, to Drona, to his son, to Karna, to Jayadratha, to Dushshaasana, to Vikarna and verily to Duryodhana too. ' You had better not opt to fight Yudhishthira. May Arjunanot kill you all! Offer Yudhishthira his share of kingdom and seek his grace for your lives. Nowhere on this earth can you find a hero as Arjuna, the dextrous archer. His chariot , bow, horses and all other accessories are divine and no mortal can win against him. Do not think of war, for your good."

Then Dhritharaashtra talked to his son in a pleading mood. " My son! Yudhishthira has been righteous and valorous since his childhood. Why do you foolish people wish enemity with them unmindful of my cryings? Boy, do not opt for war. The policy-makers never admire war as advisable under whatsoever circumstances. Isn't half the kingdom sufficient to you to live luxuriously with all your followers? Give the Paandavas their due share. All the elders wish the same thing , peace with the mighty and good Paandavas. You see all your armies. You all are nearing your end, but you are not aware of that. Asto the war, I do not like that. Bheeshma does not approve that. Drona is against it. Ashvaththaama too does not support that choice. Baahlika doesn't wish that. Nor does Sanjaya, nor does Somadaththa, nor does Shala, nor does Kripa, nor does Purumithra, nor does Sathyavratha,nor does Jaya or Jayadratha. All those, on whom we fall back for support in times of trouble from others, are against war. You too should like that option. I know that your choice of war is not made on your own, but it is a result of misleading provocations by Karna, Shakuni and Dushshaasana."

Duryodhana was angry this time. He haughtily answered. " I did not get ready for this war relying upon you or Bheeshma or Drona or Ashvaththaama or Sanjaya or Kripa or Baahlika or Kaambhoja or Sathyavratha or Purumithra or Bhoorishravas or any other either. I and Karna both took up the vow of sacrifice of war. Yudhishthira will be the sacrificial goat. My chariot will be the altar. My knife and mace will be the scoop and the spoon. My armour will be the hall. My four steeds will be the four performers. My warriors will be the holy reeds. My fame will be the oblation . Thus will I perform the sacrifice to please the god of death Yama and destroy all the enemies snatching all their wealth and fame. Father! We three, me, Karna and Dushshaasana will kill the Paandavas and rule the entire earth free from opposition. Or, they will kill me and enjoy the pleasures of kingdom. I determined to stake all that is mine; my kingdom, my body, my life and my wealth. But I will never stay together with the Paandavas. No question of half the kingdom my father, not even such a minute part of the land that can hold the tip of a sharp needle,will be given to them. This is my decision. "

Dhritharaashtra became more nervous. He talked half to his son and half to the courtiers. " I have already lost hopes on my sons. It is about you all that I am worried, as you are follwing him to your own destruction. The Paandavas will jump into you like tigers into the herds of deer and kill the best of you by their choice. I imagine the kourava army disheveled in the hands of Saathyaki like a lady in the hands of an assailant. He will shower arrows like sowing seeds to fulfil Arjuna's wishes. Bheema will be in the forefront of them whom they all resort to, like a fort. My son! why don't you listen to my words in the right time? You will remember my words when you see your huge elephants hit by Bheema's mace and fall dead like broken mountains,with their broken heads, tusks and sides. When you dread Bheema's attack in the war, then you will remember my words. When Bheema rages like a fire and burns down all your armies of chariots, elephants and horses in to ashes, then will you remember my words. There is a grave danger staring at you, unless you make peace with the Paandavas. You will go for peace at least after tasting the strokes of Bheema's mace and falling prey to him. When you see all your destroyed forces like a forest felled down, then you will remember my words." Thus shedding his burden to some extent by talking to the courtiers like this, Dhritharaashtra again asked Sanjaya about the Paandavas.

" Tell me my wise Sanjaya, what did the great duo Krishna and Arjuna talk to you? I am eager to listen to that.

Sanjaya answered. " Listen my king, how I met them and what they spoke to me. I went to their mansion to see them with my hands folded and head bent low. I obtained entrance into their inner apartments and stood obediently before them, looking at their feet. That private place of theirs bars access to the youngsters like The Twins or Abhimanyu. There I saw Krishna and Arjuna alongwith their dear queens Droupadi and Sathya. They both were in a jolly mood after sipping their wine. Both were rich in garments, garlands and ornaments. And both were anointed with sandal paste. There was a very large golden seat studded with stones and covered with many smooth silk clothes. Krishna placed his feet in Arjuna's lap as Droupadi and Sathya were looking on. Arjuna showed me the golden foot-rest to sit upon, but I touched it respectfully with my palm and sat on the floor before them. When Arjuna withdrew his feet from the foot-rest, I could see his well-featured feet with all the best lines on his soles. Seeing those two towering personalities at one place in private made me shudder with fear. Our Duryodhana is not wise enough to see the true forms of those two who are as great as Indra and Vishnu, partly because of his reliance on association with Bheema and Drona and partly because of faith in Karna's braggings. I then felt that the aims of Yudhishthira, at whose command those two generals are, are only sure to come true.

" They both graced me with food and drink and comforted me . I held my joined hands at my forehead and conveyed your message to them. Then Arjunaprompted Krishna to speak amd Krishna sat upright like a rising rainbow. He spoke to me like this in a smooth, clear, true and nice tone, but firm and curt all the while, like a warning to all of us. ' Sanjaya! Tell Dhritharaashtra my words in the presence of Bheeshma and Drona . you first salute all the elders and greet all the youngers in the names of both of us and only then proceed with my message. ' O Kouravas! Be haste in performing any sacrifices of your choice, pleasing the learned with gifts. Enjoy the company of wives and sons. Give alms to the eligible ones. Meet your dear ones and do what you wish to do for them. A great danger awaits you, as our king Yudhishthira is eager to come out victorious. My heart is still heavy with my indebtedness to Droupadi for her crying in the hall, calling me,though away from her. You incurred the enemity of Arjuna whose bow is Gaandeevam and whose companion is me myself. Who wishes to face Arjunastanding with me, barring Indra or one who wishes to perish? I see no one among the gods, demons or mortals,that can fight against him with success. He who can defeat Arjuna, can lift the earth with his hands, can scald all the beings in the world and can knock down the gods too. We heard of the great wonder that took place in Viraata city. He alone could hold all your heroes and made them show their backs in battle. No more examples need be given to illustrate his prowess, swiftness,courage,stability and strength which are not seen in others in such a scale.' Thus did Krishna speak like a roaring cloud, making Arjunaboil within with anger. After Krishna concluded his speech, Arjuna began to talk."

Then Dhritharaashtra interrupted Sanjaya's words. He thoughtfully spent a few moments comparing the strenghts and weaknesses of his sons and Paandavas, with a view to assessing his son's winning chances. Then he spoked to Duryodhana.

" My son! We see in the world that one's love towards one's sons is very strong. Everyone wishes to do the best of his abilities to his sons. Similarly, all beneficiaries are ready to do something of their ability in return to their benefactors. The gods Yama, Vaayu, Indra and Ashvis will be affectionate to the Paandavas as they are the sources of their births. They will be really angry with us and try to save the Paandavas from our heroes like Bheeshma,Kripa and Drona. Likewise, Lord Agni was once favoured greatly by Arjuna through the burning of Khaandava forest. So, Agni too might help Arjunain the coming war against us. Though mortals by birth, Paandavas themselves are superhuman in powers. Added to that, if the gods stand by them tor help, how can we fare against them together? Leaving all this apart, Arjunais my nightmare. His bow Gaandeevam is divine and has no match in the world. His two ever-full quivers are divine too. The Hanumaan banner too is divine with unhindered passage everywhere like the smoke into the sky. His chariot is the only of its kind in this world. Its rims sound like a lightning sending waves of fear into the spines of the enemies. The entire world treats him as the best archer and all the kings agree that he is ever victorious. He can send five hundred arrows in succession at a go but his movements cannot be seen distinctly in that action. He is considered equal to the thousand-handed Arjuna, the son of Krithaveera. Not only normal archers but even our best bowmen like Bheeshma, Drona,Kripa, Asvaththaama, Shalya or any unbiased ones agree with that. I often feel as if Arjunawere destroying our armies with his great bow and arrows in the battle. Due to this worst alarm in my heart day and night, I couldn't often sleep well too, worrying about our safety. As far as I could think, Paandavas are far superior to us. I prefer peace with them. Going into war against them is only for our destruction. I strongly opine that it is safe for us to opt for peace with them and it is my sincere advice to you too."

Duryodhana turned haughty and furious over his father's words. He spoke to his father in any angry tone . " O great king! You unwisely think that the gods are going to help the Paandavas making them invincible. May such fears of you vanish! In the very first place, gods derive their godliness verily by not having and not being affected by mortal feelings like desire, hatred, fear, attachment,greed and treachery. I heard this from the great sage Vyaasa, Naarada and Parashuraama too. Gods never behave like mortals yielding to anger or desire or partiality or relations hatred or greed. If the gods like Yama, Vaayu, Indra ,Ashvis and Agni are on their side, they wouldn't have so suffered their troubles at all. Gods always tend to keep their godliness but they never wish to condescend to human affairs. If they do so at all, their impure attempts will not succedd at all. Hence you may safely drop the ideas of gods helping them and their being superior to us only because of that. I too possess supernatural powers. I dislike telling about myself because I know that it is disgraceful,but I am to tell these words to you only to dispel your baseless fears. I can enchant the pervading fire and extinguish it. Learn that I too have the supernatural might that you speak the gods and the Paandavas have.With my magical powers, I can stop the falling hills and reset the breaking terrain , right before all the people. With my uncanny powers, I can stop the rain of stones with gales that torment the entire world. I can run my chariots and soldires on the waters by making them stone-hard with my unusual powers. Whenever I go around with my forces, my horses can go wherever I wish them to go, without any obstruction. In my land, the harmful creatures like snakes will not harm my subjects, as I bind them under my powers. The clouds rain regularly in my land. My people are righteous and they don't know the nuisances like famine. Even the gods you named or demons or other celestials cannot save from me the one that incurrs my wrath. Never did my intention of benefiting my friends or harming my foes fail in the past. Never did my expectations go wrong. Never did it so happen different from what I spoke. You will shortly hear that the Paandavas, Mathsyas, Paanchaalas, kekayas, Saathyaki and Krishna are defeated by me. They all will lose their forms as the rivers lose theirs by flowing into the sea. Understand that I am as good as Bheeshma ,Drona, Kripa or Shalya at warfare and asthras. My powers, my strength, my abilities and my forces are far superior to those of the Paandavas. Never bother with the fears that they win us."

Having said so impatiently, he went on talking to Sanjaya about the Paandavas' activities. So was Dhritharaashtra too.

But, Karna suddenly intervened disregarding their inquiries with Sanjaya. He spoke out pleasing Duryodhana in his usual tone. " My friend! I presented myself before sage Parashuraama as a braahmana and learnt higher excercises of archery including the Brahma asthra. People say that he cursed me with loss of all my learning from him after knowing that I had lied to him that I was a braahmana . In fact, though my folly was grave , the sage didn't curse me though he could have burnt the entire earth with seas on it. He only imposed that I would not recollect that knowledge at the crucial moment.But, I pleaded him later and my conduct with him made his heart sympathetic towards me and he graced that I would be proficient in all that he taught me. Thus my asthras are with me and I am verily still alive. I will bear the burden of the coming war. It is my duty and responsibility. Leave it all to me. With the grace of that great sage, I will obliterate in a moment, the Paandavas with all their sons, grandsons and followers like Paanchaalas, Mathsyas and Karooshas. I will leave before you everyone , defeated with my prowess in archery. Let your grandsire stay with you. So be Drona and all other kings. I will myself go with our principal forces and kill the Paandavas. Mine is that task. "

Bheeshma said to Karna then. " Karna! Why do you boast here , you fellow nearing your end! Don't you know or do you forget that all the Kouravas too are killed once you, the main hero of Kouravas, are killed ? You and your supporters had better keep your toungues under control at least by remembering what Arjunahad done at Khandava with Krishna as his aide. What do you boast of your asthras for, when Krishna is on the otherside? You are clearly proud of your shakthi missile given by Indra. But, you will see it falling broken and powdered by Krishna's discus. And the serpent missile that your are very sure of killing Arjuna with, will also fall shattered into pieces by Arjuna's arrows. And any other missiles of your possession will meet with the same fate in Krishna's hands. He can tackle you, your likes or your superiors too in their thousands, in battles."

Karna angrily responded to the old stalwart's words. He said in a loud voice. " Maybe, Krishna is as great as Bheeshma said or even a bit more than that, no doubt. But, grandsire should know the result of his unwarranted harsh words to me. I lay aside my weapons. Grandsire! You will not seem me with you in the war. After your fall, all these kings here will see me victorious." Saying this, Karna left the house.

Bheeshma laughed aloud and said to Duryodhana. " See Duryodhana, Karna is a man of his words. A while ago he said that all the burden of the war was his. Now he lays down his arms! He claims to bear the burden of war! To speak the truth, he lost all his power, might and righteousness, the moment he lied to Parashuraama about his lineage. On the other side, there is Bheema. He will pierce into our arrays with his. You all will see the destructions he is going to make. But, I assure you,I will kill the enemies in their thousands and lakhs with Avanthis, kalingas, Baahlika and Jayadratha as my aides."

With Karna leaving the hall declaring his laying off of arms and Bheeshma jeering at him, Duryodhana said to Bheeshma. " Grandsire! When we and Paandavas are similar mortals, what makes you always say that they alone are going to win? We are very much their equals, if not superiors, in age, might,strength, forces, abilities, knowledge of warfare, skill, swiftness, talent or training. How can they exceed us? And I opted for this war not that I have trust in you or Drona or Kripa or Baahlika or other kings. Me myself, Duryodhana and Karna will blot out the enemies. When my men surround and knock their supporters one by one like pulling a helpless deer by ropes in the waters, with all their forces deformed, then will they and their Krishna shed their burden of pride. After returning victorious, I will perform many great sacrifices, pleasing the braahmana s with gifts of gold, cows and horses. Our victory is assured whether or not you all wish."

Then Vidura started to speak to Dhritharaashtra.

" King! The senior scholars who have well seen the course of the world opine that forbearance ( Dama) is the foremost quality, especially for a braahmana . Generousity, forgiveness and fruitfulness are his, whose penance, knowledge and alms are lead by self-restrain. Forbearance nourishes power. It is the best of the human traits. A sinless man with nourished power reaches the ultimate goal. The intolerant are naturally a source of great fear for people just like wild beasts. It is to subdue such fearsome elements that Brahma created kshathriya s in the world. In all the four orders of life, forbearance is the best policy. I will tell you its identifications. A self-restraint has qualities such as patience, courage, harmlessness,equanimity, equitability, control on senses, stability, gentleness, shyness(towards bad deeds), steadfastness, softness, humility, satisfaction, attentiveness and sincerity. And he is not subject to the inferior qualities such as desire, greed, arrogance,anger, sluggishness, boasting, pride, jealousy and sorrow. A tolerant (self-restraint) is devoid of covetousness; is easily satisfied; is not obsessed with desires. He is of worthy cgaracter, pure-minded and as deep as the sea. He is honoured here and will attain high status in the next world too. He who is not a source of concern for others and for whom others are not a cause of concern, is said to be one with matured thoughts and knwoledge. He who is friendly to all, whom no one dreads, whose intellect is whole, such person is really temporate. Self-restraint people are content with what they get from their conduct which itself comes from their earlier deeds and from emulating the foregoers. Or, he renounces the deeds and accepts whatever he gets in the course of time, keeping his senes always under control and enjoying his true knowledge. As the flying birds have no base to rest in the sky, so is the path of a man content with knowledge (not switching to wordly aspects), not seen by us. One who opts for salvation by resigning from householder's life will reach exalted abodes from where there is no return. "

After stressing the importance of tolerance and peace-loving, Vidura continued. " My king! We here an episode from our elders, which illustrates both the strength of unity and danger of internal rifts.

" A bird hunter once laid a net on the ground in a forest for capturing birds and hid himself in the vicinity waiting for his victims. Two birds unfortunately fell into the trap but they managed to fly off into the sky with the net itself. The hunter om the ground patiently followed the course of the birds in the sky, wherever they went. A hermit who had just completed his morning rituals saw the running hunter and asked him in surprise. ' Man! It is wonderful to me! The birds fly in the sky and you run on the ground. What is the use from this? '

"The hunter replied to the hermit, 'Sir! there are two birds with the same net borne by them. When they will fight - and I am sure they will do sooner or later - they fell down and I will capture them.' The two birds really had a fight between themselves after while and fell on the ground with the net. While the birds were engared in a bitter fight,the hunter slowly approached them and caught hold of the birds and his net too.

" Similarly my King, relatives too will fall to their enemies like those birds, if they engage themselves in mutual fights. Eating, talking, visiting and wishing are apt to do with relatives, but never should they fight among themselves. Those who maintain frendly terms and serve the elders will be unseizable to their enemies like a forest inhabited by lions. Those who are rich with fortunes, yet live like orphans, will have to lose their wealth to their enemies,now or later. Just like many torches falling severally, divided kinsmen too will die out, but when united, they blaze out a fierce fire.

" Also, here this too. I saw this myself on the Gandhamaadanam, when I went there with some physicians and forest hunters for some special medicinal herbs. The mountain was full of shrubs and the Gandharva.html">Saadhyas and Gandharvas were moving around on it. At an unreachable place in a deep valley, we all saw a big bee-hive as big as a large pot. The local people told us that it was guarded by ferrocious serpents as it was very dear to their Lord Kubera. The herb experts told us that the honey in that hive was so powerful that who take it would remain ever young and a blind one drinking that honey can get back his eye-sight too.

" The hunters with us heard those wods and they at once ran greedily for it despite our prohibiting and fell into the serpent-full valley and met their tragic end.

" Just like the hunters, your son too wishes to rule the entire earth. He sees the honey alone but not the annexed danger of fall. Duryodhana desires war with Arjuna. But, never did I see in him a match to Arjuna, either in valour or prowess. Arjuna singlehandedly won the entire earth. Bheeshma, Drona and others were all defeated by him in Viraata city. You see yourself what Arjunais and what Karna and others are. An angry Drupada and a ferrocious Viraata with Arjunawill annihilate our entire side like fire aided by the wind. Victory is not that sure to any one in wars. Hence I advise you to honour and bring Yudhishthira into your fold."

Dhritharaashtra did not speak anything in reply to Vidura , but in stead, he talked to his son again.

" My son! Understand what I say. You are following the wrong course thinking it to be right, like an ignorant wayfarer. How can you wish to put off the great power of the five Paandavas who are like the five elements of the universe with their inherent and inseparable powers? Yudhishthira has been a strict follower of virtue all his life. You cannot beat him without meeting your end. Bheema is an unmatched man of might with no equals to him in fights of all types. He is like Yama in the wars.You claim to be able to oppose him like a tree claims against a fierce wind. Arjunais the best of archers in the world like Meru among the mountains. Which sane man wishes war against him? Dhrishtadyumna of the Paanchaalas throws missiles onto the enemies like Indra discharging his bolt onto the demons. Whom won't he put to the ground for the sake of the Paandavas? The invincible Saathyaki is the fiercest among the Vrishnis and Andhakas who adore him as their hero. He supports the Paandavas to any point and he will surely destroy your forces. Then, Krishna, above all. Even all the universes pit together cannot counterbalance his predence in the othe rside. No wise man invites war against him. He loves Arjuna so much that he treats him dearer than all his relatives, wives, entire kingdom, wealth and even himself. Even the entire world cannot stand against the side on which the great Krishna and the terrible Arjunastand together. My boy! Follow my words. Honour Bheeshma's word. Listen to what Drona,Kripa,Vikarna and Baahlika say. All these are as respectable to you as me myself and all are equally afectionate to you. Moreover, they all know what is right and what is wrong. Do not blindly rely on your forces. What happened at Viraata city? Didn't your forces leave the seized cows and run helter-skelter in fright driven off by Arjuna? One person defeating many famous fighters then is still talked of among warriors as a wonder in fughts. When Arjunaalone could do that much, what can we imagine if he comes with all his brothers and Krishna? Don't forget that they are your very cousins. Make up your mind to concede their share and live happily with yours. "

Speaking this to his son, Dhritharaashtra again asked Sanjaya . " Sanjaya! Tell me the remaining part. I like to hear What Arjunasaid after Krishna's speech."

Sanjaya answered. " After hearing Krishna's harsh speech, Arjuna talked to me like this. 'Sanjaya! You go to your king and ask in my name all the people there about their welfare. You suitably inquire and wish our grandfather Bheeshma, teachers Drona and Kripa, Dhritharaashtra, Karna, Baahlika, Ashvaththaama, Somadaththa, Shakuni, Dushshaasana, Shala, Purumithra, Vivimshathi, Vikarna, Chithrasena, king Jayathsena, Vinda and Anuvinda of Avanthi state, Durmukha, Jayadratha, Dussaha, Bhoorishravas, Bhagadaththa, Jalasandha and all other kings whom the adamant and foolish Duryodhana gathered to offer as oblations into the fire of Paandavas. Tell your wicked and jealous Duryodhana amidst them in my name as my word.'

" Having said to me thus, Arjunacontinued Sir, with his eyes reddened. ' Sanjaya! You have heard Krishna's words. Reporting them to Dhritharaashtra and his sons, add my words too. Tell them in their full house. 'You all sincerely try and see that I need not perform such a sacrifice of war in which, the fire and smoke is provided by the clash of my missiles, the sounds of the rims of the wheels of my car will be the sacred chantings, my bow will be the ladle, my ashtras and their usage will be the ritual procedures and you all will be the victims of sacrifice. Unless you concede the share of Yudhishthira, my sharp arrows will send you all to the abode of Yama, with your elephants, horses and warrioors.'

"Then I bowed to them, took leave from both of them and fast ran here to report their grave messages to you."

Duryodhana did not relish Sanjaya's words. All other people were silent. Seeing the situation not encouraging, all the kings rose to leave. After they all left, Dhritharaashtra, strongly desirous of his son' victory, again started conversing with Sanjaya about the activities and plans of Paandavas,about his own course to follw then, about what others decided and about other related topics.

"Sanjaya!" Dhritharaashtra asked with anxiety. " You assess and tell me the strength and weakness of either side, as you fully know about both the sides.Which side do you consider better? Which do you feel is inferior? As you are aware of the thoughts of people on both the sides and as you better know what is virtue and what is not, please tell me asto who will remain neutral too. "

Sanjaya did not tell what he was asked about but he simply answered, " Sir, I cannot tell you anything privately. My word might make you jealous and angry. Kindly call for your father, sage Vyaasa and your queen Gaandhaari too. They are not subject to jealousy and can even bring you out of its fold. In their presence, I will tell you about the Krishna and Arjuna, which will answer your querry."

Hearing Sanjaya's words, Dhritharaashtra sent for Gaandhaari and prayed to Vyaasa for an appearance. Gandhaari came to the hall and Vyaasa too appeared there. Vidura brought them both to Dhritharaashtra and arranged seats for them. Vyaasa knew the thoughts of both Sanjaya and Dhritharaashtra. He told Sanjaya, " Sanjaya! Tell Dhritharaashtra what all you truly know about Krishna and Arjuna."

Thus obtaing sage Vyaasa's accord, Sanjaya began to tell about Krishna and Arjuna. " King! The unparalleled masters of archery, Krishna and Arjuna are honoured even by the greatest. They are not products of parents' lust. They descended to the mortal world for the good of the worlds. They are as pious and great as the supreme soul.

" Krishna's disc is as wide as a fathom and it takes the size as he thought needded for it. Its course is mysterious. It now aims at Kouravas side with a destructive glance. It is most favouring to the Paandavas. It knows the strong and the weak of both sides. It shines like a solid fire. with it, Krishna killed, as easily as sporting, very great and horrible foes like Naraka, Kamsa, Shambara and Shishupaala. He can control the earth or the sky simply by his wishing to do so. You have asked me many times about the comparative strength of both the sides. I will tell you briefly, listen now. If you keep the entire world on one side and Krishna alone on the other side, Krishna exceeds the world by his strength. He can burn the worlds to ashes just with a wish to do so, but even the entire worlds cannot harm him in the least. Where goodness,virtue, shyness (of mean deeds) and sincerity stay, there stays Krishna and where Krishna stays, there stands victory . He runs the course of the earth, sky and space as if it is a funny sport to him. He is using the Paandavas as a pretext to convince the world, for the destruction of your unruly and unrighteous sons. The force and energy for the life of the world come from Krishna and it is he that runs the perpetual cycles of Time (The universal factor of control), ages (regular and repetetive divisions of course of time) and Universes (their creation,existence and destruction). He is the sole master of time, death, movables and immovables in the creation, I tell you the truth, my king. Yet, he appears like doing many deeds like a cultivator of crops, finally uprooting all. He takes all the world into the mystic shroud of his deceptive powers which only such men that surrender to him can overcome."

Dhritharaashtra asked. "Sanjaya! How could you have the realisation about Krishna, the lord of the universe? And why couldn't I realise him as what he is? Explain me this seeming paradox?"

Sanjaya answered. " King! You didn't possess the required knowledge for that attainment, whereas I am rich in that, due to the grace of the great people like sage Vyaasa. One devoid of proper knowledge or one stained with dense ignorance cannot know him truly. With my knowledge, I understand him to be the source of all the beings but with no source for himself.I recognise him as the lord of birth, growth and death of all the beings in the universe. I know him to be associated with three types of bonds between a soul-being and its form ( gross, minute and basic bodies of the beings)."

Dhritharaashtra asked. " Sanjaya, Of what nature is your steadfast devotion to Krishna through which you have realisation of Krishna's true stature as associated with three bonds of the being?"

Sanjaya answered. " Sir! I am cautious about the trap of the divine deceptive force. I do not perform any acts of virtue without their dedication to the lord. I keep my mind clean and pure. I 'see' him with my devotion and through codes and scriptures that describe him."

Then Dhritharaashtra told Duryodhana. " My son! Did you listen to Sanjaya's words? He spoke truth. He is our wellwisher. Be wise enough to save yourself by taking refuge with Krishna."

Duryodhana bluntly answered. "Let Krishna be the lord of this universe, let him be dear friend to Arjuna, let him destroy the worlds too for proving his friendship with him . I care not him the least."

Then Dhritharaashtra woefully said to Gaandhaari. " Your son is bound by jealousy, anger, greed and pride. He chooses the wrong path unmindful of advice from all the wellwishers."

Then Gaandhaari too spoke to her son. " Duryodhana! You are too greedy of wealth! Why don't you abide by the elders' words? Your obsession with kingdom ignores your very parents too. Causing this much anguish and pain to me and your father, at the same time adding to the pleasure of your enemies, you will recollect your father's words when you find yourself fallen down from Bheema's shots."

Then Vyaasa told Dhritharaashtra. " King! Learn that you are dear to Krishna. Sanjaya is your confidant. He will lead you into the right path. Those who are discontent with their possessions and who are slaves to their feelings like anger and pleasure, will suffer by many troubles owing to their own follies. Such people are like blind people lead by blind people. They are forcibly driven by their deeds into the control of Yama again and again, thus falling into the cycle of birth and death. The path of true knowledge which all the learned adopted, is the only way to take you to the supreme Lord. A wise and learned follower of that course will overcome mortality (death and birth). "

Having said this to Dhritharaashtra, Vyaasa vanished. Gaandhaari too left for her palace. Dhritharaashtra continued conversing with Sanjaya. He asked, " Sanjaya! As sage Vyaasa told me, the path to Krishna is the best and brings the ultimate goal of life. Tell me about that safe path that is free from fear from anything. I too will choose to follow that course to reach him."

Sanjaya said. " A man of uncontrolled mind can never reach Krishna who has his control on everything. The best way to contain one's mind is just to hold one's senses from their pleasures. True knowledge is the outcome of succesful restriction of the provoked senses, attentive maintenance of that restriction, and harmlessness. King! Be carefully devoted to controlling of your senses. Detach your intellect from pleasures and paasions thereby stabilising its sticking to the right track of true knowledge. The scholars say that knowledge is nothing but controlling of the senses. That is the path that the ancient learned had trod to achieve the ultimate end. Krishna is never within the reach of the people with untamed sensors. He will grace upon those who understand him through doctrines and excercise concentration of mind and intellect upon him."

Dhritharaashtra said. " Sanjaya! Tell me more about ( the lotus-eyed) Krishna. Tell me about his names and acts, learning which I shall move nearer to that supreme lord."

Sanjaya said, " King! I have heard of his names and their meaning to some extent. I will try to tell you just as much as I know, because Krishna or his greatness has no bounds." And he began to define some of Krishna's names.( Note :- Here, Krishna's names and their derivation are explained. Needless to say that the components of each derivative name are only Samskritham words and hence the phonic connection between the components and their derivative is apparently clear only in the original text but not in other lanhuages. I gave the original components in brackets to have a clear idea of the composition. It will be clear after a few sentences.)

" Because of his shrouding (vasana) all the beings with his illusory power and because of his being the residence (vasu) of all gods(deva), he is known as Vaasudeva. Due to his all-pervading (vesht) power, he is Vishnu. He is attainable through penance of speech-control (mouna), meditation (dhyaana) and perseverance in that meditation(yoga).Hence the name Maadhava. As he is container (ha)of all elementary properties (madhu), he is named Madhuha or Madhusoodana. The two words 'krish'(existence)and 'na'(bliss) derive his name Krishna, meaning 'abode of bliss'. Because his abode(dhaama) is supreme(pundareeka) beyond any effects or decay or destruction, he is Pundareekaaksha. As he is fearful (ardana) to wicked people (dasyu jana), he is Janaardana. Since power (sathva) never abandons him and he is never short of power,he is called Sathvatha or Saathvatha. Since his glory(bha) is proclaimed through vedas by sages(rishis), he is Aarshabha and hence Vrishabhekshana (vrisha= virtue, bha=propounder,eekshana=vision)by being attainable through virtue only. He is Aja as he is not born (ja) or he doesn't bear. Since he is autoilluminous among the supernatural powers exceeding all others, he is called Aneekajith (aneeka=groups, jith=winner). From his restraining (dama) of his own self and others, he is Daama. Also, as his form (udara=stomach) is very(uth) resplendent (ara,from the verb richch), he is known as Daamodara. As he is the source and master(eesha) of bliss(hrish), he is Hrisheekesha. for his two huge(mahaa) hands(baahu) support the earth and the sky, he is named Mahaabaahu. As he never(jaathu) falls (kshee) low(adho) in powers or status, he is Adhokshaja. Since he is the leader and final abode(ayana) for the mortals(nara), he is Naaraayana. He provides(puru) the content of every thing in the creation, he is the support (sadana) of everything and he is the greatest(uththama) in the universe as he himself is both cause and effect . So, he is called Purushoththama. Since he issues knowledge to all(sarva), he is called Sarva. As he is stationed in truth(sathya), as truth (sathya) lies in him and as he is bryond Brahma's abode (sathya), he is called Sathya. He is called Jishnu as he conquers(ji) everything. He remains eternal (shashvath) having no(a) end (antha) and hence he is Anantha. For he runs(vind) the senses(go), he is named Govinda.He deceives mortals by projecting the untrue as true.

"Thus diversely visioned by the sages, Krishna is a stable place for virtue. Such a great person will be coming to us, wishing our good, out of his graceful pity towards us." Sanjaya concluded.

On hearing that Krishna would come to the Kouravas, Dhritharaashtra said to Sanjaya, feeling a deep devotion. " Sanjaya! I wish I had my eyes. Those who can see will be able to behold, in person, the resplendent figure of Krishna that makes all the directions bright with its shining. He will speak in our hall, the message of Paandavas that brings safety to all, that is advisable to all those who wish to live and that is unstoppable to those whose end is nearing. It is really going to be wonderful! The sole leader of yaadavas, the tormenter of the enemies, the reliever of the fame of the arrogant and the hero that needs no one for help even for a gigantic task, is coming to us uninvited! Let all our men see him with us, speaking plain and true words that may probably convince our fellows. I take refuge with him, who is the sage of the sages, who is the best of the learned, who is the nearest way to those trying for the ultimate, who is like an ocean for speech, who never deviates from virtue and who is the protector of the entire world of beings. May the supreme god of innumerable heads and hands, the eternal source with no beginning or end, the holder of all powers, the best of the supernaturals, grace me with his mercy that saves anybody from any plight." And he dispersed Sanjaya and Vidura too to retire into his mansion.

END OF SEVENTY FIRST CHAPTER

END OF YAANASANDHI PARVA

6. BHAGAVADYAANA PARVA

PAANDAVAS AND DROUPADI TALK TO KRISHNA

There at Upaplaavyam City, after Sanjaya had left, Yudhishthira called for a meeting for consultations. He first talked to Krishna.

" Krishna! Endeared to friends! Now is the time for the real friends to help their dear friends. I could see no one other than you to help us at this moment. Feeling your help as our strength, we will tackle Duryodhana and his gathered associates. We, Paandavas, are just your wards always,like your entire Vrishni clan to you, whom you have been always guarding from troubles. Save us too from our present trouble."

Krishna answered Yudhishthira. " King! I am here at your service. Please order me what you require. I will do what all you say."

Yudhishthira went on talking to Krishna. " you too listened what Sanjaya conveyed to me as Dhritharaashtra's message. Sanjaya is a close confidant of Dhritharaashtra and he also knows that an envoy should speak the true meaning of his sender, lest he should deserve death. Thus we can rely on Sanjaya's words as Dhritharaashtra's true message to us. The old king wishes to gain peace with us without a mention of giving back our kingdom to us. He has become so greedy of his son's welfare and supremecy that he sinfully resorted to turn partial in his son's favour. Due to his doting to his unwise son, he is unable to take his right path and became selfish, ignoring his responsibility towards us. He is not ready to reentrust our kingdom to us after thirteen years of exile, as was agreed upon. Without my share of the kingdom, how can I support my mother, brothers and associates? Though having the strength of your guard and the support of powerful friends like Kaashi king, Chedi king, Mathsyas and Paanchaalas too in my favour, I am just asking for five places (towns) for us. Avisthalam, Vrikasthalam, Maakandi,Vaaranaavatham and one more town, five in all, for five of our brothers are enough for us. Let us have five towns or cities for our livelihood. May our clan not die because of our disputes. If Duryodhana mistakes himself to be the true ruler of this empire and refuses to honour their words too, rejecting our request, what else can be sadder, Krishna! If the elder of an honoured clan is afflicted with greed, the greed affects his intellect and an affected intellect kills his shame. A shameless man deviates from path of virtue and that destroys his fortunes. Destroyed fortunes make a man deprived of his wealth and in fact, lack of wealth is death to a man, especially to a kshathriya . All the kinsmen, friends and braahmana s (seekers of things) go away from an unwealthy man like the birds leaving a tree with no leaves,flowers or fruits. The fact that my kinsmen will leave me due to my misfortune is like the very death to me. Even Shambara didn't mention a more miserable condition than being uncertain of the day's first food. Money is said to be life as everything rests in money itself. Those with moneys really live and those without are as bad as dead. One who is deprived of his wealth is at the same time deprived of his virtue, benefits and desires too. Falling into such misery, some met their death, some resorted to remote villages, some went to forests, some retired from life itself turning into mendicants, some went mad, some surrendered to their foes and some became slaves. Though death is certain to all beings and it is a natural and unavoidable end of every one, poverty is really deadlier than death, since money is the basic source for attaining virtue and benefits. Also, the state of a wealthy man's turning poor is more miserable than poverty since birth. One thus becoming poor by his own folly or misfortune, blames all the gods but never himself, for his plights. All his learning fails to stave such state for him. Once in poverty and hence a victim of distress, one turns angry with his servants and friends and finds fault with them. Yielding to anger, he (fails to see between fit and unfit deeds) swerves from his true path and that makes him commit cruel deeds. Cruelty brings impurity and impurity leads to sin and sin throws one into the hell which is the ultimate camp of the sinful. So, unless one realises about this chain of reasons, he is sure to fall into hell. Realisation comes only from prudence. One with prudence will overcome troubles, as a prudent man follows the doctrines rightly, a right follower of doctrines sticks to virtue, a man of virtue possesses shame (to do unfit deeds) as his ornamental trait, a man of shame abstains from sin, a sinless man is blessed with fortune and a man of fortune is a real man. A man following virtue, possessing calm mind and involving in his efforts to attain benefits will neither tread away from that virtue nor goes for a sin. A man of no shame or a man of imprudence is neither masculine nor feminine. He has no eligibility to perform deeds of virtue, just like a condemned one. A man of shame satisfies gods, his manes and his own self too. He thus equals immortals and that is the zenith of holy deeds.

" Krishna! You have yourself seen how I lost my kingdom and passed through many difficulties all these years. We are by no means supposed to forego our kingdom. It is even better if we die in our efforts to regain that. The first option to attain that goal of rehaining our kingdom is to make peace with the Kouravas, put an end to our enemity and peacefuly enjoy our share. The alternative option is the cruel beginning of destruction - the war. Choosing this option, we should kill the Kouravas and conquer the empire now under their control. It is said that killing of unrelated and disdainable people itself is bad. Then, what to talk of having to kill people like those who are verily our kins and whose associates too are our kins,elders and teachers? Their killing is the most henious. Then, what is the merit in war? We are poor kshathriya s and the code of kshathriya s is hard and cruel. But that is our right duty. Though better than that, others' duties are not follwable to us. A shoodra is right in serving others, a vyshya is right in trading, a braahmana is right in begging, but we, the kshathriya s, live by killing! Fish kills another fish, dog fights with another dog and a kshathriya too kills another kshathriya for his living. Krishna, see how the code is defined!

" As to the war, it entails sin. Lives will be at stake. Yet, we should fight according to the war policies, win or loss being uncertain. No one can get victory or loss in the war per his will or wish as similarly as life and death. Whether trouble or pleasure, only the time will bring it to men. And as we know, Krishna, war has its own unpredictable results. A single person may kill many or many may kill one or a common fighter may kill a mighty warrior or a nondescript fellow may defeat a famous hero. Both the sides won't win or both the sides won't lose. But, retreat results in insult, loss and damages. War is surely a source of sin. Who doesn't hit back when hit by others? For a severely hit one, victory is no better than defeat. Yet, defeat in the war is more biting than death. Even after winning, one should be agraid of dangers from the remaining enemies whose bitter berievement of the dear ones can force them for revenge against the winner. The brave heroes of martial code, the knowers of right and fitting path and the royally desperate people will simply die in the war or out of its consequences, but the less heroic and common class fellows survive . Even a comprehensive win too is not convincing, for one's own guilty conscience (for having killed many people) always bothers. The surviving enemies always aim at the total destruction of thr winners and thus war gives rise to war and unrest is the only result. He who never minds win or loss and settles in peace with his enemies will sleep undisturbed. But, one in feud with others spends sleepless nights as if sleeping in a house infested with snakes. Unless one side is totally annihilated, we cannot expect the enemity to subside. How can enemity uproot enemity? Instead, it only nourishes it like the fuel nourishes the fire with its consumption. Either death or resignation from persistence for revenge only can assure peace. Though the annihilation of enemies is not against our code, it is surely cruel a path. At the same time, we cannot forego our kingdom by not opting for war for the sake of establishing peace , since that surely results in our loss but the enemy's keeping quiet is uncertain.

" Thus we have two ends to attain. One, we should have our kingdom back; two, we don't want destruction of our clan. In these circumstances, if we can attain peace by pleading with them, that will be a better course. When all the pleadings and conciliatory efforts fail, then even those against war can opt for that very war, with no alternative choice before them. In such a state of helplessness, showing prowess is not an act of cruelty and it attracts no blame. The experienced describe the war as very much like a fight among dogs. Waving of body parts, growling, grumbling and counter-grumbling, fierce movements, grinning and then follows a fght. The stronger dog will win and enjoy the piece of meat. No difference in case of fight among humans too. A strong and powerful one should either ignore or blot out his enemy, but pleading for peace deminutes his caliber.

" In our case, Krishna, our uncle Dhritharaashtra is our elder and an aged one too. We should respect him. But he is too much doting on his son. His great partiality towards his son will not make him reckon our pleadings. With this being the situation, what do you think is the best course for us Krishna, so that we are not deprived of our virtue or benefit? Barring you, whom can I resort to, in a great dilemma like this? Is there any dear wellwisher other than you, with a full knowledge of all our affairs and with a thorough awareness of our interests?"

Krishna listened to Yudhishthira's vivid speech and answered. " Dear king! I will go to the Kouravas for the sake of securing both your and their interests. Maybe, I can be successful in saving the angry Kouravas, Paandavas and Srinjayas from the face of death. If I can secure peace between you and them without any loss to you, that will be a great achievement and my birth on this earth will be truly fruitful."

Yudhishthira said expressing his concern. " I dislike your going to the Kouravas. Wicked by nature, Duryodhana will not listen to your gentle words though they are full of sense and reason. All the kings gathered there were in his favour and wish to please him. I am against your landing among them. Don't you know that we cannot enjoy wealth or divinity or even Indra's throne if your safety is at peril?"

Krishna smiled at him and said. " Yudhishthira! Do not worry about me. Not even the Kouravas and all the kings on their side together can stand against me like the poor animals before a lion, in case that occurs at all. If they resort to do any unworthy attempt at me, I will destroy all of them and their followers on the spot in an instant. I very well know about Duryodhana and his sinfulness. Yet, I should go there. It is not altogether that useless. Firstly, we will be not to blame. All the people there and the newcomers will know our sincerity. Secondly, our efforts may bring our desired results too. Either way, it is a fetching thing to us."

Yudhishthira consented. "As you like, Krishna. May good come upon all. I wish to see you back safe and successful. you are a friend and brother to us. You are dear to Arjunaand me too. Your friendliness is undoubted. Go to the Kouravas for peace. You know us and you know them too. You know better what to speak and how to speak. Speak freely as you wish and as you see you need at the hour, gentle or harsh but right and good to all."

Krishna then again talked to Yudhisthira. " O King! I heard Sanjaya's words and your words too now. Your mind looks at virtue and righteousness but their minds stick to enemity and hatred. People of all the orders say that a kshathriya should not adopt ascetism till the end or renunciation even. Brahma ordained that a kshathriya should win or meet his end in a battle but a pitiable way is unbecoming of him. I feel dear King, that humiliation of begging for five villages is not fitting to your status. Nor is it possible for you to follow that course. You show your prowess and destroy your enemies.

" Though the Kouravas are cruel and greedy, you have spent many years with them in a friendly manner and improved their wealth and strength too. I see that they would no way treat you with fair equality, since it is clear that they consider themselves superior to you, seeing Bheeshma, Drona and Kripa on their side. As long as you remain soft to them and spare their mischiefs, they will so long be trying to cheat you and snatch your wealth. The Kouravas won't come to terms with you either out of sympathy or out of sense of righteousness. Did they feel sorry for you even when you were cheated by them and driven to forests with nothing at your disposal? They are not even ashamed of their deridable means they resorted to in robbing a soft, generous and restraint person like you of your kingdom through cheating in dice game, right in the presence of grandsire Bheeshma, Drona, Kripa, Vidura, braahmana s, kings and other citizens of the city. Aren't these two reasons enough for you to settle your score with them, my king? Don't you remember with which uncomparible words did Duryodhana jeer at you in the full hall with his brothers? The boastful fellow would often say to his brothers, ' Paandavas have nothing of their own now. In due course, their lineage too will disappear. With them disposed of like that, all the people will honour and serve me with fear and devotion.' He is known to have uttered such mean talk about you many times amidst his own men, boasting of himself at the same time.

" On the dice game day, the cruel Dushshaasana caught hold of your crying queen Droupadi by her hair and dragged her into the court hall . Within the hearing of all the elders like Bheeshma, Drona and others, he called her 'a cow' again and again. All your valourous brothers, though their blood was boiling within them, humbly obeyed your orders of patience and remained quiet, bound by virtue, with no action whatsoever against the rougues. All the people present there were heartly sympatheic to you and scolded and cursed the Kouravas for their acts against an innocent gantle king. for a man of high birth, public scolding is as bad as death. Thus Duryodhana is already a dead man for he incurred curses of people in public court. Now, it is just as easy for you to demolish him as knocking down a tree of fully damaged roots. Don't be too kind to such a malicious person. A bad and cruel person is liable to be killed by anyone, like a snake. Then, why don't you see them fit to be killed? My king! Don't hesitate. Decide to kill him and proceed for that goal.

" I too gladly approve of your respecting our elders like Bheeshma and Dhritharaashtra. But in case of Duryodhana, I challenge that I can convince anybody in the world, if he doubts that Duryodhana is not good. Anyway, that you wish me to go there for peace with them, I will obey your orders. I will go there and highlight your qualities righteousness and their misdeeds before all of their associates and followers. On listening to my detailed account of their wrongful acts and your forgiveness, all the kings gathered there will learn that you are an innocent, right,true and just person wronged by the cruel,greedy and ungrateful Kouravas. Thus I will see that all the public from boys to old people would know of their misdeeds. Even the kings that stood by them for the war too, will understand how inhuman the Kouravas were to you and hoe peace-loving you are this day too, thereby seeing no flaw in your conduct with them. We will then decide our course after making Duryodhana stand guilty in the minds of all the people. I will beg the Kouravas for peace on your behalf without causing detriment to your intersts. At the same time, I will observe and assess their movements. I will have a comprehensive estimate of their strength and readiness to war and return to you for your win.

"Though I like to go to them as you preferred, my king, I believe that war is inevitable with your foes as I see a lot of omens that portend a sure war . Birds and animals are crying horribly. The faces of horses and elephants appear horrendous in the evenings. The flames of the fire are assuming various horrid colours . These hard omens wouldn't have occurred at all Unless the lord of death has made his camp here with a view to bringing the end of men, horses and elephants with their weapons, armours and cars. May all your warriors get their horses,elephants and cars ready with a determination for war. You go on procuring all the equipments required for a large-scale war. It is sure that the evil Duryodhana, as long as he is alive, will not be ready to return to you your well-flourished kingdom that he obtained through deceitful game of dice."

BHEEMA OPTS FOR PEACE WITH THE KOURAVAS AND KRISHNA GOADS HIM

Yudhishthira did not speak anything in response to Krishna's war-favouring words. Bheema then started to speak to Krishna. He said, " Krishna! You adopt such a way as to bring the Kouravas to piece. Speak only along such lines as to convince them for peace. But, don't trouble or frighten them with indications of war. You very well know that Duryodhana is wicked by nature, as cruel as a demon, angry, arrogant, obstinate, hater of good, proud of wealth, not a far-sighted fellow, sharp-tounged, derider of others, incorrigible, greed-driven and of all, he always burns with hatred against us. Such a stubborn one will never yield but prefers even death to it. He never mends his way or never changes his wrong stand. He is not approachable even to his own men whom he often hurts in their hearts. He never minds virtue. Vileness rules his mind. He is a slave to his anger. His wicked nature attracts him towards sin and he sticks to sin. He is as dangerous as a snake in the grass. You are aware of his forces, strength, nature, conduct and behaviour. I feel that attaining peace with such a one is very ver difficult. Yet, you should not speak harshly to him. Be soft and establish peace between us.

" In the beginning, we and the Kouravas lived together like the gods under Indra's leadeship, happy with all the kinsmen. Now, due to Duryodhana's greed and jealousy, all the kourava clan is going to ruin itself like a forest from fire in summer. We heard of eighteen notorious kings who caused the destruction of their own clans with friends and relatives. Kali in the Asura dynasty, Mudaavartha in the Hyhaya dynasty, Janamejaya in the Neepa dynasty, Bahula in the Thaalajangha dynasty, Vasu in the Krimi dynasty, Ajabindu in the Suveera dynasty, Rushardhika in Suraashtra dynasty, Arkaja in Valeeha dynasty, Dhouthamoolaka in Cheena dynasty, Hayagreeva in Videha dynasty, Varaya in Mahoujas dynasty, Baahu in Sundaravamsha dynasty, Purooravas in Deepthaakaha dynasty,Sahaja in Chedi and Mathsaya dynasties, Vrishadhvaja in Praveera dynasty, Dhaarana in Chandravathsa dynasty, Vigaahana in Makuta dynasty and Nandivega in Shama dynasty were said to be the destroyers of their dynasties. It seems that Duryodhana is going to be the cause of destruction of our race. But, why should we go rude just because he was doing that way? Let us keep low and do as he wishes, for the sake of our clan and its people. So, I wish you to be gentle in your dealing with him. You yourself are valourous but do not lead the way to war. Try to establish peace. That is what our king wishes. It is my word and Arjuna's too, as he is very kind and generous. In the kourava hall, tell our grandsire and other courtiers as my word - ' May our fraternity flourish. May Duryodhana be placated.'

Krishna listened to Bheema's words which were in a strange tone as Bheema was never known to have spoken in such a way in respect of the Kouravas. Krishna smiled and said to him as if rekindling his supressed spirits like a wind does to a dying fire. "Bheema! What a strange word from you! You seem to be full of pity with the Kouravas. It looks like a fire turning cool or a hill becoming light. All these years you have been talking of chances of war with them, always desirous of putting them to rout. You would always sigh hot as fire, burnt within with anger, never peaceful, looking like a fire with emitting smokes. You would often keep yourself aloof from others, day and night, laughing within yourself, sitting alone with your chin resting on your folded knees and with eyes closed. You would uproot the trees like an elephant in rut and run here and there with your sprightly strides shaking the earth under your feet. You would remain alone, sighing all the while like a man tired with a burden of heavy loads. You would corrugate the brows and lick the lips as if to bite them off. People would often fear that you became mad with uncontrollable anger with the Kouravas. And many a time did you shout amidst all your brothers, brandishing your terrible mace , 'I will kill all the Kouravas with this mace. I will powder Duryodhana's thighs with this very mace. This is as true as the Sun God's revolving around the Meru mountain.'

" You, such a resolute seeker of war with the Kouravas, now talk of peace with them! Are you awake or asleep? Are you not quite healthy in body and mind? Alas! Unworthy fear entered your mind at the time of preparing for war and made you a coward. Or, do you see any bad omens in your sleep, which push you for not opting for war? What an unseemly disregard to your strength and manliness? Fear subdued you and that makes your mind weak and wavering. Bheema, they say that human mind is as unstable as a feather in a wind. Your unexpected change of mind and strange speech is going to drown all the Paandavas in the river of troubles. Really, I am wonderd to hear such words from you as strange as a mountain walking. I tell you, Bheema, to remind yourself what you and your achievements were in the past. O gallant one! Get ready for the war. Don't be driven by untimely mercy on undeserving people. This way of life as you expressed is never fit to a kshathriya , especially to you. You only befit what is acquired with strength and power but not through means far from valour."

Bheema heard Krishna's jeering words and responded like a class horse does to the whip.

" Krishna! You understand my words in an entirely different sense. What my words meant is not what you comprehended. You have seen me long enough to know that I am true to my thoughts and my valour in war is true to my promises. Or can't you assess me properly, confused like a man caught in deep waters? How can one who knows me can throw words like these at me? Listen , Krishna! My powers and strength are not comparable with those of others. It is surely low to speak of one's own self, but I wish only to answer your impertinent and facetious comments about me. If I am really angry, I can crush the stable earth that holds all the beings and the high sky together, to make a single lump and support it with my bare hands . Can you show one person in this entire world who can escape safe after falling between these huge and strong hands of mine? Even the mountain Himavaan, the ocean and Indra, all three together too, cannot save the one that I clasped with my hands. What made you taunt me with these imbecile comments? My strength and valor are not unknown to you. Still, if you fail to see them, like one failing to see the light of a midday sun, I will surely make you aware of them in the coming war, by showing how I crush with my feet and inter all the Kouravas and their supporters. I just spoke casually to rebuff your jeers but in real war, You can see me doing more than what I said. You yourself wil see the elephants, horses, warriors and chariots, crushed into lumps and broken into pieces by my attack. All the world will see the best of the fighters pulled and dragged by me. You said fear possessed me. All the three worlds standing together against me cannot make me feel fear. Even the greatest war cannot make me tired or reduce my valour. But, I opt to go for peace, only out of pity and aversion to destruction of our clan. Let me suffer all the troubles, but may not our kinsmen be ruined because of us."

Krishna then laughed and said to Bheema. " You are now Bheema, the real Bheema. I just wanted to know your true thoughts and spoke like that, but not with a view to mocking or jeering you. Nor do I deride you or your great valour. Fully knowing you, your strength, your achievements and your intentions , how can I insult you with mean remarks? I know that you are capable of doing a thousand times more than what you said of you. By all means,your befits your acclaimed clan that has been much acclaimed by theworld. Now, that you have spoken your true thoughts, let us talk about what we should do presently.

" Bheema! It is general that we cannot conclude regarding the courses of mortal and divine acts as well as regarding their results. Both fruitfulness and futility of those two are equally unexpectable. Don't we often see that the results expected or decided even by the learned and wise too turn out to be otherwise, just as the speed and course of the wind. A perfectly logical act, well planned and well executed is sometimes seen made futile by destiny. Some acts of god too, like rain, cold, heat,thirst and hunger, of which the humans are by no way doers, are seen overcome by human efforts. And it is sometimes seen that even the acts of pure human involvement i.e. different from the destined ones, too are hindered from giving their results. Even the doctrines support this view. But, it is true that the world cannot exist without acts. Result, of course, is dependent of both the destiny and human efforts. We should see this while going for an action. This comprehension about acts and results will not make one unhappy or happy at the foil or success of one's efforts. Bheema, this is what I actually wanted to tell you. We cannot assure the one particular result of victory alone from war with our enemies. We should not lose our nerve in case of unwanted results.

" Tomorrow, I will go to Dhritharaashtra and try for peace between you and them, wothout loss of your justified interests. If my efforts are successful, I will gain great fame, your desire will be fullfilled and they all too will live safe, with their best to them. Or, if they turn a deaf ear to my words and persist in their wrong path, there wil occur a great destructive war, in which you are going to play the lead role with Arjunaas your associate while the other warriors support you. I am any way doing the job of Arjuna's charioteer to satisft his long cherished desire, but not that I don't want to fight. What all I said after listening your denigrating words was only to ignite your spirits and to know your heart."

Thus Krishna brought an excited Bheema to his normal state and turned to Arjuna and asked. " Arjuna, what do you say about our course to be followed? "

Arjuna replied. " Yudhishthira has already told you all that need be told. But I wish to say something after hearing your words. You appear to be of the opinion that truce is not possible either because of Dhritharaashtra's greed or possible humiliation to us from that. And you also said that desired result from human efforts is not that assured unless destiny favours.Though what you said is true, I don't see it impossible for you to achieve peace between them and us. You are the foremost wellwisher of them and us. You are our lead person as Brahma is to the gods. If you go there and try your best for peace, I think it will surely be achieved.

" When our acts bring good and desirble results, then only we can appreciate our acts. If we resort to war with them and bring about a total destruction of all of us, thereby with no enjoyment in rest of our life, won't you surely depricate that ? Thus, you too want peace and pleasure to us, hence try by all means to establish peace between us. That is the only best course and you are the only one that can achieve that.

" Or, unfortunately, if you decide that he befits the other treatment, it will surely fall upon him. Either our desire or your choice, let whatever you wish to happen may happen. At any rate, I don't opine that Duryodhana doesn't deserve killing. Your view is that he is best fit to be killed for his jealousy about Yudhishthira's fame and wealth, for his wicked plans to snatch our fortune, for the way he adopted the mean means of dice game to grab our kingdom though we are not to blame for playing that game as a course of kshathriya conduct that a challenge for a gambling should not be disregarded even in the face of death,for the cruelty shown in driving us out of our country into the forests and for the insult he inflicted upon our queen Droupadi in the full hall. Though we have tolerated all his indecent acts for a long time, all our patience went waste like seeds sown in a desert. I do not believe that he behaves properly with us even now. So, Krishna, if you feel conciliation goes with him, you go for that. Or, if you feel that he comes around through severe and hard punishment, you decide that way. It is upto you to bring good to us through whatever means you deem fit to us, truce or war. No further discussion will be needded after you conclude rightly."

END OF CHAPTER SEVENTY EIGHT

" Krishna very cautiously responded to Arjuna's words . " Arjuna! You are in true as much as in saying that I look for the welfare of you and Kouravas both. It will be only my effort to settle peace between you. I will be just like a farmer tilling the field, wetting it and making ready for sowing. But what happens if there will be no rain at all? No crop and no yield. Similarly, if destiny does not favour, what will my efforts come to? Don't we see the ruining of all human efforts for want of destiny's support? Both human effort and destiny together play their role in the success of the former. On my part, I will do the human effort but cannot say anything about destiny and its course. Nor am I a master of it. As far as Duryodhana is considered, he doesn't care either for the world or for virtue. He is never ashamed of his such behaviour too. His evil counsellors Dushshaasana, Karna and Shakuni still further foment his malices. He will never part with even a part of the kingdom. Yudhishthira will never withdraw his claim on his kingdom. In this context, in what way will it be useful to beg for five villages from him? Maybe, his refusal of Yudhishthira's small request earns him the wrath of the world and everybody may learn him to be deserving killing. In fact, he is a killable fellow not only in my view alone, but in the view of all because of his envy towards your fame and wealth, his harmful plots to grab your kingdom and his misbehaviour with Droupadi. He took to enemity with me because of your relations with me. Yet, I did not mind his sinful acts. You are well aware of what Duryodhana is, of what Yudhishthira desires and of what good I want to do for Yudhishthira. Despite knowing fully about Duryodhana and my intentions too, why do you say that I do not go for peace? Not that I decide them for killing, you yourself did so when you defeated all of them in Viraata city. Didn't you know how Duryodhana adamantly refused to listen to Bheeshma's words for peace? Like that, he is going to lend a deaf year to my pleadings too. Yet, I will try my best to convince him for peace by conciliatory means, as it is my duty to do what Yudhiahthira ordered me to do. If my efforts fail, then we will think and decide about our actions against the rude Duryodhana."

Hearing Krishna's tactful reply to Arjuna, Nakula spoke. " Krishna! Yudhishthira showed his exprtise in talking as he told you many things in many ways. Bheema spoke for peace out of his obedience to Yudhishthira but talked of his strength as a hero for his pleasure. Arjunatold his opinion. You heard all their words and often spoke your mind too. Keeping all this aside, you can prefer what you felt is good at the time of your talking to the Kouravas. One's goal is according to one's opinion and one's opinions themselves change with time. But we should do what is proper at the moment. It is often seen that we wish the things to be one way but the things turn out some other way. Men are not of constant thoughts either. See our case for example. We were of one thought while in the forests, of a different thought while incognito and of some other different thought after completion of the entire exile term. ( Then, we were of the only opinion to have our empire back after completion of exile , but now we seek peace for fear of destruction of our clan. The Kouravas too, were of one thought about us when we were in the forests and when we returned to claim our share, they were of a different thought. They agreed to refund our share after our return, maybe, due to their false belief that we would never return at all, but after we staked our claim, they refuse to comply with the earlier agreement) .

But, Krishna, we never showed any interest in regaining our kingdom before the exile is over. We placed our stake only after correct and complete meeting of the terms. With your blessings and support, we could secure these seven Akshouhinis on our side for our cause. I wish you speak first softly and then harshly before the Kouravas. Who in this world is not afraid of seeing armed any of these stalwarts on our side, Yudhishthira, Bheema, Arjuna, Sahadeva, me, you, Balaraama, Saathyaki, Viraata with his sons, Drupada with his followers, Dhrishtadyumna, Kaashi king, Dhrishtakethu to name a few? So, what I feel is, just your going there will surely be enough to accomplish your desired results for Yudhishthira. The elders like Vidura, Bheeshma, Drona and Baahlika will prevail upon the evil Duryodhana for peace. When you are the speaker and Vidura is the listner, you two can reinstate any failing cause. I have no doubts in your success."

Then spoke Sahadeva, brief and straight. " Krishna! What Yudhishthira spoke is according to the eternal virtue. But I prefer and wish war, even if Kouravas agree for peace with us. I say that you must lead the course to war alone. Otherwise, how can we get rid of the burden of insult of having seen Droupadi in such a plight right before us in the king's hall? And how can we satisfy our long-pending anger against our evil-doer Duryodhana without seeing him killed? Let Yudhishthira, Bheema and Arjuna stick to the virtue they learnt and believed. For myself, I tresspass such virtue and wage a war with Kouravas."

Sahadeva's brief and strong saying filled joy in Saathyaki and he exclaimed in excitement. "Wise Sahadeva correctly spoke the truth. Only Duryodhana's being killed will make him feel satisfied and that only placates my anger too. Didn't you too become angry and aggrieved when you first saw Paandavas in barks, subsisting somehow in the forests? Not only me, but all the warriors approve Sahadeva's opinion."

Even as Saathyaki was speaking in praise of Sahadeva's words, roars and crys rose high in the hall. All the audience applauded Saathyaki with claps and praises.

After the noise subsided, Droupadi talked to Krishna with her anger burning her from inside. " Krishna! I like what Saathyaki and Sahadeva said. What a poor stand Bheema took at this hour?" Then she began to sob and spoke amidst sobbing. " Krishna! It is not unknown to you how Paandavas were deprived of their throne by the evil Duryodhana and his similar counsellors through immoral means. Even recently too, you have heard what Sanjaya brought as message from Dhritharaashtra and Yudhishthira's reply to that. He told Sanjaya to request Duryodhana for award of five places,Avisthalam, Vrikasthalam, Maakandi, Vaaranaavatham and any other one, for our livelihood. There has been no accordance from Duryodhana even for that low proposal from our peace-mongering Yudhishthira. If Duryodhana wishes peace without having to concede our kingdom to us, you shouldnot at all go there. It is very clear to anybody that Kouravas are not amiable enought to bring around with conciliation or compromise. Our doctrines say that such an enemy not caring for these two ways shall be attacked and killed for the sake of one's safety. Barring braahmana s who are respected and honoured, a kshathriya is justifed in killing another kshathriya who was too greedy. Leaving a deserving wrong-doer free is as sinful as Killing an innocent. To escape from this sin, Krishna, you at least shall go for war along with Paandavas, Srinjayas and Yaadavas. Hence war is the only recourse for us against them.

" Krishna! Your affection prompts me tell you again and again. Can there be any other woman on this earth like me? I was born to King Drupada out of the sacrificial fire. I am sister to the great Dhrishtadyumna and you fondle me more than he. I entered the house of the Kurus as daugter-in-law of king Paandu and wife of five great heroes. I begot five brave sons who are as dear as Abhimanyu to you. Having been such a royal lady, I was dragged by hair into the court hall right before my five husbands even as you are on this earth. With you, Paandavas andYaadavasall alive, I was called a slave in thathall. As these five heroes didn't speak or move to protect me, my mind invoked to you for protection. When the old king allowed me a boon, I asked for freedom of my husbands with their cars and weapons, and they were thus set free. Bheeshma and Dhritharaashtra did not mind my relation with them and made me a slave in public. You are aware of all my troubles . Now too, Krishna , it is upto you to save me and my honour. It is a blame to Arjuna's bowmanship and Bheema's strength if Duryodhana remains alive even for a while. If I am really dear to you, you aim your full anger at the Kouravas."

Saying this and losing her control on herself, Droupadi briskly stood up and walked to Krishna. With her left hand, she held to him the long, black and curled plaits of her scented hair that looked like a large curled snake waving in the air. With tears flowing down her cheeks and voice getting tremulous with sobs, she spoke further. " Krishna, See this. This is the hair that was held and dragged by Dushshaasana. Don't forget to think of this all the while talking to the Kouravas about peace. If Bheema and Krishna turn cowards, let them, my dear brother. I have still my old father king Drupada and my five brave sons. And there is Abhimanyu to stand in the lead. They will fight the Kouravas for my honour. How I can feel pleasant untill I see Dushshaasana's hand cut and fallen in the dust? I have borne an unbearable fire of grief and insult for thirteen long years awaiting the time for my heroes to take revenge and please me! But at the stroke of the hour, Bheema talks cool, piercing my heart with his unworthy words. And he calls this virtue!"

Speaking out her heart with sorrow and insult, an aggrieved Droupadi burst out into a loud crying, wetting her bosm with the flow of her warm tears as if emiting out her liquified anger.

Krishna was very much moved by her pitiful words. He comforted her with his soothing consolatory words. " Sister! I am aware of everything. Don't weep. Shortly you will see the women of the Kouravas wailing in grief. With their men killed and relatives annihilated, the women whose husbands have been a target of your anger, will be soon seen helplesly weeping. I will achieve that for you,at the will of destiny, at the order of Yudhishthira and and with the help of all his brothers. If the Kouravas don't listen to my words, their corpses will be seen rolling on the ground eaten by dogs and foxes. My words never fail, may the Himaalaya shake, or may the earth break, or may the sky fall, or may the stars drop. I swear to you my dear sister, in a short span you will see your husbands relieve the earth of their enemies and get back their fortune."

Arjuna spoke as a conclusion. " Krishna! You are a common close relative of both Paandavas and Kouravas. You are as eligible as able to work out ways for rapprochement between us bringing good to both the sides. You talk whatever you feel fit to our cousin Duryodhana for achieving peace. If he wisely obeys your true and good words for his benefit, it will be for their welfare. If on the other hand, he chooses to disregard your word, he will meet his fate."

Krishna answered him, " Yes, I will go there to achieve what follows virtue, what brings good to them and what at the same time doesn't harm your interest and status."

With that the house was dispersed.

KRISHNA GOES TO THE KOURAVAS AS AMBASSADOR OF THE PAANDAVAS

Next morning, as the rosy son rose above the line of horizon, on that day of favoring star to Krishna, during the month of Kaarthika ( tenth lunar month and 27 th i.e.Revathi star), at a pleasant hour , Krishna the best of the soft heroes, set out on his famous journey. He woke up early, bathed, worshipped the gods with regular ritual rites, propitiated the gods Agni and Son, touched an ox on its back, prostrated to braahmana s, listened to their blessing chants and moved. He thought of Yudhishthira's words and said to Saathyaki. " Order for my chariot with its full equipment. Load it with my bow, disc, mace, quivers, sword and all other weapons. We are going to wicked Duryodhana who is accompanied by equally wicked ones Karna and Shakuni. Though strong, one shall not underestimate even a weaker enemy."

Taking his orders, Krishna's men swiftly worked and made the chariot ready. The vehicle had two wheels as shining as the sun and moon in the sky. It looked like a resplendent fire, flying in the sky. It was carved with designs like moon, crescent, flowers, birds and animals. Various bright gems were embedded all over it. All its parts were covered with golden plates. A sheet made of tiger-skin was spread all over its spacious coushions. Four freshly washed fast steeds Shybya, Sugreeva, Meghapushpa and Valaahaka were yoked to it. A huge banner of Garuda was flown on its top. Small bells were hung along the edges of the banner. With all those accessories, the chariot looked similar to the montain Meru. Krishna mounted that chariot which had been a cause of pride and power to the yaadavas. Saathyaki follwed him into the car and it moved ahead with a rhythmic noise of the wheels and hoofs.

Then, in a moment, the sky became clear of the clouds. The wind blew soft and pleasant. The dust subsided. Some animals and some birds like swans and peacocks rightwardly moved around Krishna's chariot giving pleasing sounds and walked along it too for a while. The flames of the fire, on being offered the oblations, rose high, free from smoke and curled around rightwardly. Many great sages of mortal and divine status like Vasishtha, Vaamadeva, Bhooridyumna, Gaya, Kratha, Shukra, Naarada, Vaalmeeka, Maruth, Kushika and Bhrigu appeared and circumambulated Krishna's vehicle. Thus getting farewell from the honoured sages, Krishna set out for Hasthipuram.

Yudhishthira and his brothers walked alongwith Krishna's chariot. Also came along Chekithaana, Dhrishtakethu, Drupada, Kaashi king, Shikhandi, Dhrishtadyumna with his sons, Viraata with Kekayas, all wishing his success in his efforts. Then, Yudhishthira embraced Krishna and spoke to him before all the kings walking with him. "Krishna! You are the Lord of that is mobile or immoblie in this universe. You never step away from the path of virtue either due to fear or greed or desire or benefit. Your mind never thinks of inkustice. It is stable and never gets lured. you know which is virtue and which is justice. Losten to my few words now.

" I am sad about our dear mother Kunthi. Since our childhood, she took many pains in taking care of us and saving us from many troubles. She always engages herself in the worship of gods, braahmana s and guests. She observes fasting and undertakes many ritual vows (vratham). she has suffered many worries for our sake. She guarded us from dangers from Duryodhana. Please inquire her well being soon after seeing her. Bow to her and enbrace her in our name. What a series of troubles did she suffer for a long time! Does she befit those troubles Krishna, given her nature and stature? We were to leave her and go to the forests even as she was crying for us. Can I ever have the happy moment of consoling her and assuring her of happiness? If she sustains all the burden of her great worries and if seen alove by you, my dear Krishna, first console her in my place. Also, tell our elder Dhritharaashtra that I bowed to him in respect. And, convey my obedient bowings to all the elders and other honourable people there like Baahleeka, Bheeshma, Somadaththa, Vidura, Drona, Kripa, Ashvaththaama and other Kouravas."

Saying this to Krishna, Yudhishthira circumambulated him and walked back. Then Arjunatalked to his friend Krishna as he walked along the moving chariot. " Krishna! It has become clear to everybody about what we concluded in our discussions about our claim on half the empire. If the Kouravas listen to the reason and shed their blunt persistence to offer us our half share back, with due honour and respect to Yudhishthira, they all will be saving themselves from a great danger. But, if the adamant and wicked Duryodhana chooses the other option, I will knock down their heads and see the end of all those with him. "

Bheema heard Arjuna's heroic words and he was filled with joy. Soon his joy gave place to his anger on the Kouravas. The very meaning of Arjuna's words made him shiver with exciteemnt and anger. Turning uncontrollable, he roared again and again making the horses tremble with fear. All the warriors around too were excited and they all admired Bheema. Then Arjunatook leave from Krishna and walked back. All the other kings too took leave from Krishna and turned back . With all the people around having gone, Krishna's charioteer Daaruka whipped the horses. The horses gallopped ahead as if swallowing the road before them.

After some time, Krishna saw a group of resplendent sages standing on either side of his road. Soon, he ordered his driver to stop. He dismounted his vehicle, went to them, bowed respectfully and asked with a pleasing tone. " Honourable sages! Are you all well? Is your penance going on without any hIndrance? Are all the people in the world well ? Do the people of the other three orders stand by the words of the braahmana s? Do you have any cause tobe served? Whither are you bound to? Can I be of any service to ypur goodselves? What made you come down onto the earth ? "

The sages too blessed and honoured Krishna duely. Sage Parashuraama came forward, embraced Krishna and answered " Krishna! Our beloved Lord! All these great sages and braahmana s of great intellect, wish to see you on person. They are desirous of seeing the enormous congregation of kings at Hasthipuram. They wish to see and hear you speak words of virtue and justice. Your meeting with such great personalities as Bheeshma. Vidura and Drona and speaking with them amidst the group of eminent kings, is an object of their interest. We all wish to see the beautiful scene of your presence among the kings. We wish to listen the dialogue between you and them that exposes what virtue is and what truth is. We all wish your journey smooth and comfortable. We take leave now and will see you soon in the Kouravas' court."

Krishna granted leave to the sages and he himself obtained leave from them and proceeded further in his way. Ten valorous warriors in their chariots followed him. One thousand horsemen and one thousand soldiers walked behind him. Numerous servants walked behind carrying loads of food of all varieties and other things of necessity in the way.

Janamejaya asked Vyshampaayana. " Sir, kindly explain me in detail how Krishna's journey continued ."

Vyshampaayana answered. " Listen, my dear king. At the time of resumption of Krishna's journey, there occurred many omens both earthly and divine in nature in all the states. There were lightnings and flashes in the sky even without atrace of any clouds. Soon a great rain downpoured, still the sky with no clouds in it. The great seven rivers Sindhu etc that normally flow towards the east, then flowed in the reverse direction. The directions seemed to have interchanged. Nothing was intelligible to common people. Many great fires rose up at several places. Wells and water pots squirted out jets of water fluently. Dense gloom covered all over and the dust rose so devastatingly that the directions were obscured. There was a loud voice from the sky but no form of its source was seen. A heavy gale in south-west direction with thundering sounds blew in Hasthipuram, uprooting many grooves of big trees. But whereever Krishna reached, the bad omens ceased there and a pleasant and fragrant wind blew right-ward. There were showers of flowers. Lotuses blossomed and expanded in plenty. The roads were smooth and even , free from thorns. All that looked like a wonder to the people. The great lord was welcomed everywhere with the vedic chanting of the braahmana s and with honorary offerings of honey and curd. The women all along the path came to see the Lord who was a beloved one to all and showered fragrant forest flowers on him with their cupped hands.

Thus travelling enjoyably, Krishna went on watching green belts of fields with multiple crops grown abundantly in them, various cattle, many fine villages and many rich towns. From the city of Upaplaavya and villages around, the folks came to see Krishna in person. Those citizens of the area who were well protected by the kings of Bharatha race without making them feel even a trace of any trouble from other rulers around, stood alongside Krishna's way. Thus he reached the city of Vrikasthalam by the time the sun turned red and hung low in the west.

There , he ordered his men to stop. He dismounted, ordered his chariot to be released and worshipped the sun god as to be usually done in the evening. Daaruka let the steeds lose, washed them and left free for resting. Krishna told his men, " We will stay here this night and leave tomorrow morning on Yudhishthira's work." His men bowed and quickly made arrangements for raising tents and cooking various foods. By that time, all the prominent braahmana s of the city of Vrikasthalam ran to Krishna , obtained his audience, blessed him and invited him to their houses offering all that they had in their wealthy houses. Krishna respected their request, went with them to visit their hoouses and came back to his camp along with all of them. He offered delicious foods to the braahmana s . After feeding them to their satisfaction, Krishna himself had his food and stayed there with them for that night comfortably."

Sage Vyshampaayana continued his narration to king Janamejaya.

" There, at Hasthipuram, Dhritharaashtra learnt through his informers about Krishna's coming to their place. He was very happy about that and spoke to Bheeshma respectfully, simaltaneously addressing Drona, Vidura, Sanjaya and Duryodhana with his advisors. " We heard a wonderful news. I was informed that all the folks , youngsters and women too, have been talking gathering into groups at the roads and houses, that none other than the valourous hero Krishna is about to come to us to discus the cause of Paandavas. Krishna is essentially an honourable guest to us always and we should respect him in every way. He is the lord of the universe and the existence of the universe is vested in him. Strength, stability,wisdom and power are his elementary qualities. He is the manifestation of the great virtue itself. His worship brings us good and his dishonour brings us perils. If we can satisfy him with our services, we are sure to achieve whatever we wish and to shine among the races of braahmana s. Duryodhana! I order you to make arrangements for Krishna's welcoming and honouring. Order for making resting camps with all royal facilities, all along his course. You should do that in such a way that he pleases with you. What do you say, dear father, Bheeshma?"

Bheeshma and all others accepted Dhritharaashtra's words and appreciated his intentions as the best for the hour. Duryodhana understood the consensus of the elders in the hall and ordered his men to build beautiful camping houses along Krishna's route. At every possible halting place of Krishna, magnificient halls were built with stunning beatifications and pleasing luxuries. Many chairs made of gold and gems, valuable jewels, finest clothes, many maids, all varieties of cosmetics and innumerable kinds of delicious foods were arranged at every camp with a view to impress Krishna. Especially at Vrikasthalam, Duryodhana built a marvellous mansion adorned with gems and stones. And after doing all those arrangements as ordered by his father, Duryodhana reported the completion of the task to Dhritharaashtra. But, Krishna, on his way, didn't even care so much as to see those camping halls and proceeded to the Kouravas' place.

END OF CHAPTER SEVENTY EIGHT

Dhritharaashtra was talking to Sanjaya again at Hasthipuram. " Vidura! we heard that Krishna is now at Vrikasthalam and comes here tomorrow morning. He is the leader of such powerful clans as Yaadavas, Vrishnis, bhojakas, saathvathas and aahukas. He is famous for his power and strength eversince he was a child. All the vrishnis and andhakas obey his wise policies as the gods do those of their mentor Brihaspathi. I will honour and worship him. O wise Vidura. Let me tell you truly and in detail.

" I will offer him sixteen golden chariots, each yoked with four well-built and same coloured steeds of Baahlikam breed. I will offer eight strong and powerful rutty tuskers whose tusks are as strong and long as a plough alongwith eight attendants to each of those. I will offer him a hundred servants and and a hundred beautiful maidens too. I will offer him the lot of eighteen thousand woollen garments gifted to us by the kings of hilly regions. I will offer him thousands of deer skins brought from china country, to his satisfaction. Do you see this clear gem? This shines both in day and at night spreading its rays all around.I will give this to Krishna, for it is only he that befits it. We have a beautiful cart harnessed with mules that can run forteen yojanams (yojanam=8 miles) in a day. I will offer that to Krishna. I will offer him vehicles, servants and other things equal to eight times of those in his possession. All my sons except Duryodhana and all my grandsons, all dressed and ornamented well, shall go by their best chariots to welcome Krishna. Thousands of maids rich in their attire and jewels shall go forward by foot ,to greet him. And those girls and women that might go out from the city to se Krishna, shall do so with no veils over their heads.Lest, he should feel that we treated him like an unknown one. In fact, all the population of our city, boys, girls, men, women, young and aged shall go and visit Krishna just as they do the sun god directly. I order for raising of high-masted arches, towers and flags all along his path. The roads through which he might pass shall be kept clean without dust and sprinkled with frafrant waters.

" Dushshaasana's mansion is more beautiful than Duryodhana's. It has majestic edifices and parks with flowers of all seasons. Let it be decorated to its best level and filled with supplies of all kinds of things and materials. Either in Dushshaasana's or Duryodhana's or my mansion, whatever that appeals to Krishna's eye should be gifted to him."

Vidura did not swallow Dhritharaashtra's words. He said, " King! You are now liked by all! You have become the best among the people of the three worlds. Everybody will praise and respect you. Given what you have just spoken, and given your age and present circumstances, it means that you are as unmoving as ever , even at this age. People will believe that virtue lies in you as naturally as the bright curve in the moon or the hot light in the sun or the great waves in the sea. Be cautious alongwith your dear ones, in guarding your good qualities, as the people were many a time pleased with them. Stick to sincerity. Do not adopt meanness and destroy all your lineage. In fact, Krishna is fit for being gifted with the entire earth, not just what you have said to offer as your presentations to him as your guest. But, my dear king, I surely know your hidden intention, verily through your external acts. I stake upon my honour, my king, you wished to offer all these to Krishna, not just as a matter of custom or not out of your love towards Krishna. Is this true or tricky or deceptive? You didn't wish to forego five small towns to Paandavas to make peace with them, but you are ready to offer these many valuables to Krishna ! Who believes you Sir? You are just trying to entice Krishna with these paltry gifts. And you believe that you can this way alleniate him from Paandavas. My dear king, let me tell you the truth, you cannot separate Krishna from Arjuna, either by bribing or by slandering about the Paandavas or by making any other efforts. I know Krishna's divinity. I know Arjuna's devotion to him too. I know that Arjunais as dear as life to Krishna and neither can leave his dear cousin. Krishna will not care so much as to see what you give, except a routine welcome, a foot-wash and a fond enquiry of welfare. So, try to offer him such a suitable hospitality , with which he might be pleased with you. He comes here with a view to doing good to us and you too try to please him by serving his purpose. His aim is to set up peace between the Paandavas and your son. You are the father and they are your sons. You are the elder and they are your wards. Behave with them like a father and they will behave with you like sons. The best thing you can do to please Krishna is to do as he says."

Listening to Vidura's words, Duryodhana spoke to his father. " I agree with Vidura about what he said of Krishna. He is so fond and so attached to the Paandavas that it is impossible to sever him from them. For that reason, it is of no use offering him this and that as gifts. The handsome and valourous Krishna deserves honour not only from us but from any one in the three worlds, I know that beyond any doubt. But, present context and place are unfit for honouring him. If we show our respect to him as towards a guest, he might think that we are doing so out of our fear from him or Paandavas. Isn't that a great insult to me? A true Kshathriya shall never do such an act that brings him disgrace or insult. So, honouring Krishna or offering him numerous valuable gifts are not to be thought of at all. Enemity that has begun and grown cannot be subsided with this small gesture of respect."

Bheeshma heard Duryodhana's adamant words and said to Dhritharaashtra, "Dhritharaashtra! Whether you honour him or not, Krishna never minds it. He will not be pleased or displeased with that. But, you are not proper in meaning insult or disregard to him, for Krishna doesn't deserve such a misbehaviour. Nobody can stand in his way to alter his intentions or effect the results desired by him.He is able to achieve what he really meant to. You will be only right in doing what he says to do. Truely, he will speak only as per virtue and justice. Take his arrival as an opportunity to come out of the crisis of enemity with the Paandavas. I repeat, you and your men shall speak to me nicely and in all sincere respect to please him."

Duryodhana answered Bheesma, still in his aggressive mood. " Grandsire! There is no alternative to my enjoying the entire empire and the Paandavas' living in the forests. As long as I live, there will not be any question of sharing the lands with them. Listen what fine job I have decided to do. I will bind and imprison Krishna who is the utmost resort of the Paandavas. Once Krishna is taken imprisoned, all the Vrishnis and Paandavas will have to be under my command and that stabolizes my control over the entire lands. As Krishna is arriving verily tomorrow morning, you all may tell your thoughts about seeing that he will not escape."

Hearing Duryodhana's idea about trapping Krishna, Duryodhana and his followers were all worried. The old king repremanded his son. " Duryodhana, you have been the king for a long while. Never should you speak like this. It is quite against the virtue of a king. Krishna is our dear wellwisher and relative by marriage. He is free of any guilt. More particularly,he is coming here as an ambassador. How can you think of harming him, who has not any enemity with us?"

Bheeshma could not tolerate Duryodhana's arrogant words and his father's light consideration of it. He angrily spoke to the blind king. " Old king! Your son has lost his senses completely. He turns a deaf year to the advice of his wellwishers but he opts himself for his destruction. You too disregrd the words of your sincere wellwishers and blindly follow your sinful son who is bent on ill-doing. The moment your foolish and arrogant son reaches Krishna with bad intent, you understand my words Dhritharaashtra, Krishna's unsupressible anger will smash your son and his supporters in a flash. I don't wish to hear any more unworthy words of your senseless son." Saying this, the old warrior rose up and briskly walked out of the hall.

There at the town of Vrikasthalam, Krishna woke up before dawn. He worshipped the sun god,performed the morning rituals, obtained leave from the braahmana s and resumed his journey to Hasthipuram. The people of the town all gathered around him and saw him off. As Krishna neared Hasthipuram, a large party came forward to meet him greeting and welcoming. The group comprised Bheeshma, Drona, Kripa, Bheeshma and Dhrithraashtra's sons except Duryodhana. All the citizens of the city, some by various vehicles and some by foot, came to see Krishna. Krishna was respectfully taken inti the city by the welcoming group. All the streets were well decorated in honour of Krishna. The main route was majestically adorned and gems well spread all along. All the residents came out of their houses to see Krishna. Not a man, not a woman, not a child, none remained at home. As Krishna's chariot passed by, the people stood on the ground shouted out slogans in his praise. All the tall buildings of the city seemed to be wilting under the weight of the ladies that climbed there to see the Lord. The horses of Krishna's chariot couldn't progress at all, due to the swarming public on the main roads.

Thus received by the rulers and the subjects, Krishna proceeded to Dhritharaashtra's mansion. He passed through the three great enclosures of the palace and reached Dhritharaashtra's conference hall where the old king sat surrounded by all his stalwarts, ready to receive Krishna. Soon after learning Krishna's arrival, Dhritharaashtra rose up and walked ahead and joined Bheeshma and Drona to welcome Krishna. Kripa, Somadaththa, Baahlika and other elders too left their chairs in honour of Krishna and went to wish him. Krishna spoke obediently to Bheeshma first and then procedurally bowed or wished or smiled or talked to every one of them as per their age and status. After all the normal enquires of welfare were made with all, Dhritharaashtra asked Krishna to take the special golden chair made for him with fine cushions. After Krishna rested himself in his seat, all his followers were too offered places. Dhritharaashtra's priests offered a bull, drinknig water and honey-curd mixture as an honour to their celebrated guest, which Krishna royally accepted.

Thus received in a warm tone, Krishna sat there for sometime, talking to his relatives and other people there in a sportive mood. After a good while, Krishna rose up and took leave from Dhritharaashtra. Coming out from the king's mansion, he announced that he would go to Vidura's house and reached there in a few minutes.

KRISHNA WITH VIDURA AND KUNTHI

Vidura was beside himself with joy seeing the much-wanted unexpected guest at his place. He welcomed Krishna with all the auspicious materials and payed heartful respects to him. He could only say, " Krishna! What bliss I fell in my heart seeing you here! I can't express it in words. You, the soul of all the souls should only know it better."

After offering all the hospitality to Krishna, Vidura inquired him about Paandavas' welfare. Krishna explained him about the actions of Paandavas and their present status. Spending with Vidura upto noon, Krishna went to see his paternal aunt Kunthi in the afternoon ( Remeber, she was living in Vidura's house since the exile of her sons) .

On verily seeing Krishna after a very long time, as resplendent as a cool sun, Kunthi ran to him. She twined her hands around Krishna's neck and wept aloud bitterly, reminiscing about her dear sons and their extraordinary plights. She showered tears from her eyes and her voice choked as she tried to speak. She contained herself with great effort and ordered her maids to bring the necessary things to offer to Krishna. After the formal hospitalities were over and Krishna sat comfortably in his chair, she talked to him with a sobbing voice.

" Krishna! My sons who are your dear cousins, have since childhood been obedient to elders. They are fond to one another. Their fraternity is beyond comparison. Such ideal brothers were deceitfully deprived of their justified share of our empire. Though fit to rule people, they were driven to the forests by their cunning enemies who are but their cousins too! My dear sons, who respect the braahmana s always, who never yielded to such base feelings as anger or pleasure, who never slipped from the path of truth, left me here even as I was weeping and went to the forests. They took away my heart with them. Since then I am here in body but my mind was there with them always. Krishna, how could my sons spend these many years in the forests that they never deserve to live in? Deprived of the company of their father and me, how could they live in such place inhabitated by wild animals like tigers, lions and tuskers? How did they pass their long exile without my fondling them even once ? They were used to sleep in their luxurious beds in the top balconies of their palaces and to wake up from the sounds of conches, drums, flutes, neighings of horses, screamings of elephants, coupled with the sounds of chanting of braahmanas and songs of the heralds. And they were wont to offer various valuable gifts like garments,gems and jewels to learned scholars who would bless them in return. But , alas! Such fondled sons of me, have long since slept on the floor in the forest and waken up from the sounds of wild animals. Do you think that they are really fit to undergo such troubles, Krishna!

" My eldest son Yudhishthira, famous for his virtue and truth, is fit to be the ruler of all the three worlds together. His character is supreme. He has no one such as enemy at all. He is pleasing to look at. He is surely the best among his clan either by wisdom or by behaviour. How is he now Krishna?

" Bheema is as strong as ten thousand tuskers. He is as fast as the wind. He would be always impatient with the cruel Kouravas. Yet, his mind is clear of any sinful thoughts. He as much respects his elder brother as he loves his younger brothers. He is equal to Indra in valour and to Vaayu in muscular power. when he is angry, he is comparable only to Lord Shiva. His anger consumed such fearsome opponents as Baka, Hidimba and Keechaka with his brothers. He has no match among the fighters. But, he would suppress his anger in his mind and remain calm out of his respect towards Yudhishthira. The enemies dread even his sight in the field. Tell me Krishna, how is my son, such Bheema, now?

" And, the best of the archers, Arjuna, Krishna, you too know, is as skilled as the ancient Kaarthaveeryaarjuna of thousand hands. With his two hands, Arjuna can send five hundred arrows at a stretch , as the king Kaarthaveerya did with his thousand hands. He is equal to the sun in resplendence, to a sage in self-control, to the goddess earth in patience and to Indra in valour. It was his power and valour that brought the vast empire to the Kurus. His prowess is the back-bone to Paandavas' fame. Can there be one in the world who can fight him and return alive? He is your dearest cousin and friend too. How is he now Krishna?

" What about Nakula, Krishna! I couldn't stay without him even for a wink , but I have been away from him for thirteen years, yet I am alive! He is gentle and handsome in looks. At the same time, his valour is so great that he is expert in every warfare. All his brothers dearly love him as their very lives. I fondly brought him up with my own hands. Is he well, Krishna? Can I see my dear Nakula again safe and comforted?

" Krishna, my youngest son, Sahadeva, is kind to all beings. He is bound to the service of his brothers. He strictly follows the virtue. He is an expert of all the doctrines about virtues, interests and desires. He is a celebrated archer as his brother. All his brothers honour him for his wisdom. He was always fond of serving me. How is he now, Krishna?

" Leave all of these, Krishna. Droupadi is more dearer to me than my sons. She came from a high family. She has all the good qualities that a woman can dream of. Though she was the daughter of a great king, accustomed to get what she wanted to her satisfaction, she chose to follow her husbands to the forests, even foregoing the company of her dear sons in the cities. Despite having five powerful husbands as frightening as the fire, poor Droupadi was to suffer many miseries and insults. It is fourteenth year since I saw her, Krishna! Seeing such a queen Droupadi suffer these many troubles, can any one believe that one's good deeds bring good to one? I was to see with my own eyes, her being dragged into the public hall. How can Yudhishthira or Bheema or Arjunaor The Twins be dear to me or Droupadi after allowing such insult to fall upon her? All the Kouravas and their courtiers kept looking at a cruel fellow forcibly dragging her to the presence of elder men when she was in her periods. Not even Baahlika, Somadaththa or Dhritharaashtra or Kripa did speak. Vidura was the only exception. He openly condemned the inhuman act. What is caste or wealth worth Krishna, when character is low? Vidura alone outstands among the Kouravas with his pious character and virtueful behaviour standing tall in the world."

Vyshampaayana continued to Janamejaya. " Thus, O king! the old royal lady poured out her hidden agony before Krishna. She continued to talk mentioning all her disasters, shaken by waves of anger and sorrow, without an order or control.

" Krishna! Was it ever for good for anyone to go after hunting or gambling? Could any one among the earlier kings who resorted to those , get benefit from them? So may be the case of my sons, who gambled and lost their empire. But, what burns my heart more is Droupadi's unimaginable insult in the open hall in the hands of Dhritharaashtra's sons. Troubles are not new to me, Krishna. I have passed through many difficulties like being driven out of the capital with my sons, fleeing to the forests, exile of my sons, deprivation of empire and many more. Are we ever going to get comforts again? It is fourteenth year of our troubles from Duryodhana. It seems our sins didn't come to an end as we don't see good times in near future. I swear before you Krishna, I never felt any difference between my sons and Dhritharaashtra's sons. With the strength of that truth, I fervently hope that the coming war will make my sons victorious with you, for their own behaviour and character shall make them invincible, if ever such thing as virtue truly exists. Truly speaking, Krishna, why should I blame Duryodhana or me myself? I should blame my father himself. He gave me in adoption to his childless friend Kunthibhoja even when I was a playful child , just as a rich man donates his wealth to a poor man. Thus I was equally discarded by my father and father-in-law too. what is the use of my sorrowful life at all? On the day Arjunawas born to me, the divine voice declared that he would win the entire earth, defeat the Kouravas in a great war and enjoy pleasures with his brothers executing three Ashvamedha sacrifices. I don't blame that divine voice too. I always trust in virtue and in you, for your are the base of virtue. Isn't it the virtue that bears the universe? Krishna, If there is really a thing named virtue at all, you will be achieving all that the divine voice proclaimed. My widowhood is not a source of my sorrow, nor is the loss of wealth, nor is the enemity with the kinsmen. It is separation from my sons and Droupadi for this long time that eats into my courage. For full thirteen years did I not see my dear five sons and brave Droupadi. Krishna! people offer obsequies to their dead ones. But, me and my sons are alive physically but we are dead to each other practically. We can noway please each other. how can my mind turn peaceful until I see my sons?

" Krishna! Tell Yudhishthira that the virtue he has been sticking to all the while is becoming useless. Let him not waste further time on it. Of what worth is life supported by unworthy means of begging to others? Death is rather preferable to that shameful living. Tell the great Arjunaand the mighty Bheema that such moment has come which a braahmana woman desires her sons to make use of. Caution them that they would be doing the unworthiest thing if they let go waste this much awaited moment. Warn them that I would have to be permanently away from them if they choose to do otherwise. Isn't it right if we opt to forego even our life in case of dire necessity? Tell as my word to The Twins that they should choose a heroic earning rather than a base living. Krishna, don't you agree that a true braahmana 's mind is pleased with what he earns from his power and prowess? You tell Arjunato honour Droupadi's advice too. You know that Bheema and Arjunatogether can smash even the gods. It is in fact their insult that their queen Droupadi was brought into the open hall. Dushshaasana and Karna used abusive words against her which she was to listen and bear helplessly. What else can be more painful to the heart, Krishna? Right before all the elders, Duryodhana disregarded Bheema and threw words at him. Bheema since then nourished a grudge in his heart which he has kept long enough unserved and his grudge shall not go waste without seeing the end of all its sources. What shall I lament about my dear boy, Droupadi was to bear such a chagrin and I was to see it myself, with my invincible Arjunaand mighty Bheema still allve? when Droupadi could not find a protector from among her five husbands, it was you that came to her rescue. Despite having you besides Balaraama and Pradyumna, I was to become like an orphan bearing insults and living in others' homes."

Thus pouring out lamentations, she leaned against Krishna's shoulder and wept for a long while arousing pity in the hearts of the viewers. Krishna soothingly consoled her speaking in a smooth voice and patting her on her head. " Dear aunt! I can understand your grief and your concern about your sons and Droupadi. Who in this world is equal to you, daughter of Shoora and wife of celebrated Paandu? You were born in a great clan and entered another equally great clan like from a lake to another lake. You were equally honoured at your father's and at your husband's place. wife of a hero and mother of heroes, you have the ability to withstand the pleasures and troubles equally. You know every thing. Your sons are masters of disturbances like sleep, anger,fear,cold and heat. They don't mind them but aim at higher status that befits their heroism. As you know, the base men look for mean pleasures, moderate men look for normal pleasures, but the best men look for the best fruits, caring not the troubles they must face. Your sons too, aiming at the best, are in the phase of passing the troubles. they are all shortly going to reach their target. They conveyed to you through me, their bowings and their welfare. The time for you to see them safe, victorious and happy, is about to come soon. Please contain yourself for a little more of time."

Thus comforted by Krishna, Kunthi at last regained her senses overcoming the grief and its effect on her. She said to him, " Krishna! You are free to do as you think is good for my sons, guarding the virtue and its followers. I know that you are the one to do so and I know your power and abilities too. I know where you are from and how true ypu are to your words. Asto my sons, their thoughts and deeds either of policies or valour, you are the ultimate recourse. You are their mentor, guide and saviour. I am confident that what you say will surely become true."

Seeing Kunthi relieved and comforted,Krishna bowed to her and obtained leave to go to Duryodhana's palace.

END OF CHAPTER NINETY

KRISHNA MEETS DURYODHANA AT HIS PALACE

Krishna's chariot arrived at Duryodhana's palace in a few minutes. He dismounted before the main gate of the palace which resembled Indra's mansion in the heaven with its beauty and majestic seats. The gate keepers bowed to him and showed in. Krishna walked through the three outer circuits with their keepers showing him in everywhere without obstruction. After reaching the inner hall, he mounted the tall palace that looked like a watery cloud and stood as high as a hill top, shining with the gems and stones studded in its walls. There, he saw Duryodhana sitting with his brother Dushshaasana, friend Karna and many other kings around. Duryodhana too, on seeing Krishna coming to him, stood up from his seat and walked towards him to greet, alongwith his followers. Krishna responded to their wishings as per their age and sat on a beautiful golden bed spread with soft cushions and pillows. Duryodhana presented a cow, honey-curd mixture and water in his honour as a routine worship of a guest and offered all his wealth and empire to Krishna. All the kings and their friends sat around Krishna. After a friendly and casual talk to one another for a while, Duryodhana invited Krishna to dine with them. But Krishna declined the invitation. Duryodhana looked at Karna and asked Krishna, apparently softly but heard at heart. "Krishna! What made you decline the great foods, drinks and garments secured especially for you? You helped both the Kouravas and Paandavas. You wish good to either side. You are relative to us by marriage too. You know all the customs and systems. Can I know the reason behind your refusal of our offer?"

Krishna held Duryodhana's hand by his own hand and answered with brevity in a clear and pitched voice. "Ambassadors should eat (with those they meet to talk) or accept (their) offerings only after their mission is accomplised. You may honour me and my hands after my entrusted work here is done."

Duryodhana insisted. " Krishna! It is improper on your part to behave with us like this. We should honour you suitably first. The work you purposed here might or might not be accomplised. It is out of our control. With this,I fail to understand why you refuse our fond hospitality and worship. You have no enemity with us. We are not waging any war against you either. Kindly understand all this. You shouldn't have spoken as you did."

Krishna regarded him and his followers and said to him laughing. " I never step away from the path of virtue either due to desire or hastiness or arrogance or greed or on some other pretext. Eating with others happens either out of love or due to adversity. Neither you have love towards me nor I am in a trouble. Then, how can I eat with you? King! You have been hating the sincere and affectionate Paandavas without any valid reason except your jealousy. But the anger of the Paandavas against you is not reasonless. They stand by virtue. Can any one blame them? Duryodhana, he that hates them hates me too and he that loves them loves me too. Know it from me, there is coalescence between the virtueful Paandavas and me. The learned say that he who is slave to his anger and greed, he who antagonises with others indiscretely and he who hates men of good qualities for no reason, is the worst one among the men in the world. If one grudges with his kinsmen of commendable merits due to his jealousy, such a man of weak mind yielding to anger cannot maintain his wealth for longer. On the other hand, those who do good to their nice kinsmen despite their disliking them, will have long sustained fortunes. As you hate the Paandavas who are as dear to me as my life, you are like an enemy to me. You know that one should not eat together with one's enemies and should not offer food to them either. As you all are infested with ill-feelings, I dislike food from any of you except Vidura whom I hold free of ill-thinking."

Saying thus, Krishna left that palace of an impatient Duryodhana and again went to Vidura's house to sojourn. Drona, Kripa, Baahlika, Bheeshma and many elders of the Kurus approached him and respectfully prayed to accept their humble hospitality. But Krishna only said, " I am greatful to you all for your affection towards me. Let me stay here. It is as good as staying with you." With his polite refusal, they all went back silently.

Then Vidura led Krishna into his palace and worshipped him with all formalities. He ordered for preparation of many delicious foods,drinks,fruits and sweets. And he offered all those to Krishna with devotion. Krishna first called braahmana s and served the foods to them till their satisfaction, presenting them with gifts too. Then he enjoyed Vidura's foods with his followers like Indra with gods attending around.

While Krishna was relaxing after dinner that night , Vidura neared him and spoke to him privately. " Krishna! I cannot express in words the pleasure I have from seeing you with me here in my house. That must have been clear to to you yourself, as you are the inner soul of all the beings. But,Krishna, between ourselves, I cannot appreciate your coming here. You know Duryodhana to be an abstinate, arrogant and disobedient fellow who never minds virtue or elders. He cannot follow the true and beneficial path. He considers himself the best. Doesn't do good to others. Doesn't remember good done to him either. Doesn't confide with any one except Karna and wicked Shakuni. He is accustomed to violate truth always. He is bound to desires and his mind rules over him. He does the things the way he thinks right. He is infested with many more such bad qualities. Given his arrogance and recklessness, he will not care your word of good. He will not go for peace but only looks for war relying on the valour of Bheeshma, Drona, Karna, Kripa and Jayadratha. Kouravas and Karna are of the strong belief that Paandavas cannot stand before the veterans Bheeshma and others. Seeing the armies gathered, he is more proud of his strength. With the belief that Karna alone can defeat Paandavas, he and his brothers concluded that victory is theirs. They decided that nothing should be given to Paandavas. In these circumstances, what is the use of your teaching for peace? He never accepts it. All your efforts for bringing peace with good intention will go waste before them as uselessly as a fine music before the deaf. I feel that you had better not talk to them at all, because I don't like see your words go waste amidst those ignorant and adamant rogues. Nor do I like your going amidst them who can resort to any unworthy or cruel act. As they are not wont to listen to the elders and as they all are havily proud of their wealth and strength,they won't reckon your advice. Even though you explain about Yudhishthira's strength, armies and powers, he will not care, as he is of such belief that his armies and generals are invincible even to the gods. How can we expect that he would listen to you when he thinks that he has already possessed the entire empire without the question of any opponent at all? It is impossible that he opts for peace. Also, all those kings that were earlier defeated by you or the Paandavas formed as a group and they all joined him in support, due to their hatred against you. They are all ready to lay their lives with pleasure for the Duryodhana's cause. I know that you are the supreme power and even the gods cannot do anything to you. I know your courage and intelligence too. Yet, I speak out of my affetion and devotion to you, I wish you not land alone, amidst those bad and hostile groups, especially when it is very clear that your efforts for peace will not bear any fruit at all."

Krishna intently listened to Vidura's concerned speech and said to him. " Vidura, you are wise and learned. You exactly spoke how a wise and learned well-wisher should soeak to his dear one. I must be greatfulto your words of parental consern. All you said is right, righteous, virtue-bound and fit to the hour too. But, listen the reason behind my coming here.

" I came here fuly aware of the wickedness of the Kouravas and the enemity of the kings with me and Paandavas. When the entire world is at the point of destruction of its warriours, elephants and horses, isn't it a great achievement to one who can avoid it? One trying to the best levels for a good cause will attain the virtues of its success even if one fails in it. Similarly, wishing harm within and trying for good externally will not bring success. So, I will sincerely put efforts to save all the Kouravas and the Srinjayas by trying to avoid the possible great war betwen them. Though Duryodhana and Karna are the root cause of this danger, the entire braahmana race is at stake. That prompts me to come forward to save them. A man who is able to save his men from peril should try for that, else he should become sinful. A true wellwisher is one who relentlessly tries to subside the clashes among his kinsmen. It is not wrong even to go to the extent of fighting with his own dear ones to avoid their danger. Thus, Duryodhana is to be counselled alongwith his men for desisting from war. On my part, I will be all true in presenting my words of advice that brings good not to the Paandavas and Kouravas alone, but to all the braahmana s too. If I do not try to my possible levels to bring peace between these two groups, even a common man may say in future that Krishna did not show interest in saving them though he was capable of doing that. This my effort of coming here and talking to the for conciliation will avoid that scandal against me. If Duryodhana cares for my true and virtuous advice for peace, he will be ever happier. Else, the idiot will meet his destiny. Even the Paandavas will appreciate me if my efforts of peace failed only due to Duryodhana's adamance. I consider myself lucky and happy if only I could secure peace between Paandavas and Kouravas without loos of either party's interest. Asto the fear you expressed about harm to me from the Kouravas, you may ignore it. All the Kouravas and their followers coming together, cannot do to me more than a band of rabbits can do to a lion."

Thus went their discussions and deliberations long into the night when Krishna sent Vidura to sleep and he himself too slept peacefully. Early in the morning before the sun came above the horizon, the bards sang and blew the conches gently to wake him up. Krishna woke up and observed all the morning rituals like bathing, worshipping the sun god and offering oblations to the fire god.

Then Duryodhana and Shakuni came to invite Krishna to the royal hall. They submitted that king Dhritharaashtra with his men like Bheeshma and other kings are awaiting Krishna in his hall. Krishna regarded them with honor. Then he called the braahmana s, bowed to them, obtained their blessings and offered them many valuable gems as gifts. Knowing Krishna ready to start, his charioteer Daaruka appeared and bowed. Obtaining Krishna's permission, he brought the chariot yoked with four steeds. On its banner was the figure of Garuda as if touching the sky. With that high flagged banner and the golden arches around, the chariot shone like a rising sun. The car was adorned with carvings of tigers, lions,boars, bulls,many birds and elephants all over its pillars, staafs and walls. Golden lines of garlands hung on all its sides with tiny bells hanging all along. Its maker Vishvakarma built it with such a skill that its well sculpted base, pillars, staffs, arches and windows were all studded with pearls, rubies and other gems all over. Seeing his chariot brought ready, Krishna circumambulated the fire altar and the braahmanas, obtained their blessings, wore the Kousthubham ornament on his chest and mounted his vehicle amidst cheers of all his followers guarding him all-round. Vidura too followed Krishna and mounted the same chariot. Duryodhana and Shakuni mounted another car and followed Krishna. Saathyaki, Krithavarma and other Yaadavas followed them by their chariots. Many elephants, horses and chariots walked behind.

Hundreds of armed regal guards lead Krishna's vehicle making way to it. The road was sprinkled with scented water and covered with flowers. Numerous conches and drums were beaten. The bards were singing and the girls were dancing before his car. Five hundred tuskers and thousands of chariots followed him in the procession. All the people of the city came out of their houses to see Krishna going in the high way. The roads were full of the citizens including women and children. The tall buildings along the road seemed bent with the heavy loads of women mounted on them, eagerly waiting for Krishna to come. The women showered flowers and parched grain on Krishna in his honour. Thus pleasing the citizens with his looks, Krishna slowly proceeded to the royal hall. As he neared it, the courtiers herd the sounds of conches and drums mixed with the roaring sound of the wheels of Krishna's chariot. The entire hall was filled with joy that Krishna was about to arrive. Meanwhile, Krishna reached the main gate of the mansion and dismounted his vehicle. All his followers blew the conches and beat the drums. The sounds seemed rending the sky. Krishna held Vidura's and Saathyaki's hands and walked into the palace shadowing all the Kouravas with his resplendence. Karna and Duryodhana walked before and Krithavarma with other Yaadavas walked behind Krishna. Hearing Krishna's entrance into the hall, Dhrithraashtra stood up from his chair alog with Bheeshma and others. All the kings in the court too stood up seeing the old king stand. As Krishna walked forward, Dhritharaashtra, with Bheeshma and Drona, moved forward to greet him. Krishna smilingly wished them and others around. Duryodhana ordered his men to place a special golden throne for Krishna. All the kourava elders paid all the formal respects to Krishna. Then Krishna observed that nmaarada and some other sages were standing in the sky waiting for descent. Then he spoke gently to Bheeshma. "Grandsire, many divine sages are there waiting to descend to see our hall. Thay all may be quickly welcomed and honoured with proper seating and worship. With them unseated, we cannot sit." Bheeshma too saw the sages in the sky near the entrance. He urged his servants to bring sufficient chairs for them. The servants brought many golden chairs and placed them in the hall at appropriate places. Seeing all the sages welcome and seated in their seats, Krishna took his seat. dhshshaasana showed Saathyaki to his seat and Vivimshathi took Krithavarma to his. Duryodhana and Karna , with stern faces, both sat in one seat, not much away from Krishna. Vidura sat in his bejewelled chair spread with white covers, adjoining Krishna's. Shakuni alongwith his followers sat at a place.

KRISHNA TALKS TO THE KOURAVAS

All the courtiers were ardently looking at Krishna whom they saw after a very long time. Their eyes did not satiate in seeing him, like one is never satiated with nectar. Everybody was looking at Krishna in silence as of waiting for him to speak. In the huge majestic hall, Krishna with his yellow attire shone like a sapphire studded in gold. In that full but calm hall, Krishna began to talk to Dhritharaashtra in a clear and loud voice with his fine white teeth shining as he spoke and with his words as pleasing to the listners as a rainy clound at the end of a hot summer.

" King! Nothing is unknown to you. I came to beg you for securing peace between your sons and Paandavas, without destruction of your lineage and other kings. I wish to tell you one more word of good to you, not that you don't know that, but just as a matter of subject. All the kings of your lineage were known for their virtue, piety, grace, mercy,sincerity, forgiveness and truth. Such a great race of you doesn't deserve disgrace, more specifically because of you. You are of the pivotal role in your clan and unfortunately you have also been a pivotal one in the overt and covert harmful activities adopted by your sons. They have been behaving cruelly, without respect towards virtue, kingly interests and the elders. They are loaded with greed and became incorrigible. They hate their very near kinsmen Paandavas, who should have in fact been the dearest to them. Please be good enough to note that. Though the rift started only between the two branches of the tree of your clan, it is now looming all over the whole kshathriya race. If you ignore, the entire world will become ruined. If you don't want to destroy your own clan, you can easily subside this. I don't think that peace is that impossible to be established between these two sides. I opine that you and I together can set up piece. You convince your sons and It is my responsibility to convince the Paandavas. You order your sons for peace and they and their followers should abide by it, only for their good. That will be beneficial to you, me and my senders too. You think and decide yourself if hatred and feud can bring any good to anyone. Don't you accept that taking Paandavas with you is good to you? I will explain how it is beneficial to you. Once you take them in, the entire kuru race will be behind you. Under the able protection of the Paandavas, you will permanently settle safe with both virue and benefits at your disposal. You cannot find such people anywhere even if you search the worlds. Even Indra with gods cannot win you with the Paandavas. What to talk of mortals then? Imagine a side that comprises Bheeshma, Drona, Kripa,Karna, vivimshathi,Ashvaththaama, vikarna, Somadaththa, Baahlika, sudakshina, Yudhishthira, Bheema, Arjuna, The Twins, Saathyaki and yuyuthsu. Can any one of good senses even dream to face this group? Don't lose the chance of enjoyng the service of such a combined batch of renowned warriors. With both the Paandavas and Kouravas serving you, you will rule the entire earth. No one will dare to look at you. Kings equal and above in status will become yours and work for you. you will happily enjoy the fruits of this great empire with your sons and grandsons as you have been doing now. you will see all the kings subdued in your favour and live with peaceful happiness all the while, if you join the Paandavas with you, who will, as they did in the past, earn provinces and expand your power.

" My dear king! On the other hand, if war occurs, only destruction results. Destruction of your sons, warriors, elephants, horses and people from all over. What good will you get or what virtue will you achieve, if your sons are killed in the war or if the Paandavas are killed either? Tell me, what pleasure does that result bring to you ? Both the sides consist of valorous heroes of invincible powers. Pacify these two dangerous armed groups jumping for war and save all them from peril. If war breaks out, we won't see either your sons or the Paandavas after that. Nor can we see again their supporting warriors who will totally kill one another. You see all the kings gathered here with the aim of killing one another. Unless cooled down, they will bring a devastating destruction of the people of the earth. My king, care for my words and save all these from death. If you alone agree to my proposal, the whole world will be in safety. Let all the gathered kings eat and drink together with joy and leave for their places, well honoured and facilitated by you. May they all forget their anger and enemity and see their families safe and happy.

And one word about the Paandavas. They lost their father in their childhood. Eversince, you have been their guardian. You brought them up alongwith your sons treating them with equal love and affection. Now too, it is upto you to take care of them, especially for they are in troubles. May you not forego your virtue or benefits. Paandavas bow to you and convey their brief message thus. ' Father! Abiding by your word, we underwent many serious troubles alongwith our followers. We dwelled in the forests for full twelve years and one year incognito in a town. All the while we were of the belief that you wouldn't fail your word which all the learned know. Full of scholars of virtue, your court does not deserve any unvirtueful act. Where injustice and untruth defeat virtue and truth right before the scholars of both, it is for the ill-luck of such silent onlookers. If a threatened virtue is not protected by them, then virtue itself will destroy them like a river in spate uproots the trees on its banks.'

" King! Paandavas always observed virtue and they are ever bound to it. what they said is true and justified. What can you do other than returning their share? Let these kings in this hall tell! If you believe that I speak truth,bound by virtue and justice, you let down your anger and greed. Give Paandavas their patternal share of the empire and settle a treaty between both the sides to save all. Yudhishthira doesn't entertain any enemity or feud with anyone. He always adopts virtue and justice. Driven out to a distant place or burnt within the house, he always looked at you as his saviour. Even when you sent him away to Indraprastham, he stayed there with his brothers and sons without blaming you. He only brought all the kings under your fold but he never did any offence against you. When he was living there on his own, you employed a wicked trick through Shakuni to snatch his kingdom and wealth. Though deprived of his kingdom uncermoniously, though forced to see Droupadi dragged into hall and insulted like that, he never swerved from the right path. See his greatness!

King! I am a neutral person and I wish welfare of you and the Paandavas equally. I humbly advise you not to mistake between what is good and what is bad to you. Stick to virtue and truth to secure your safety and save your people too. Control your greed-driven sons. Punish them if needded. Paandavas are all prepared to serve you as earlier or to stand in the war field. You choose what is better for you. It depends on your wisdom asto which shall be their choice."

Krishna's logical and true speech won the hearts of all the kings in the court. They all appreciated it within their hearts. None among them came forward to speak in answer to his dominating speech.

ELDERS AND SAGES TRY TO CONVINCE DHRITHARAASHTRA AND DURYODHANA

PARASHURAAMA EXPLAINS ABOUT POWERS OF KRISHNA AND ARJUNA (DAMBHODBHAVA'S EPISODE

With all the courtiers sitting silent and pleased with Krishna's words thinking that none can come forthwith to answer, sage Parashuraama talked to Dhritharaashtra.

"Dhritharaashtra! I wish to tell you an episode of ancient times. You may listen to it and adopt its message if you find it fit to you. We heard of an eminent king named Dambhodbhava, who ruled the entire earth. Eversince waking up in the morning, he would ask all the braahmanas and kshathriyas 'Is there any one in the world who can equal or excel me in fighting, be he a braahmana or kshathriya or vyshya or a shoodra ?' Thus claiming his supremacy in strength, the arrogant king wandered around the world, obsessed with the thought of finding an equal hand. Many a time, the learned and fearless sages warned him to desist from such bad habbit of boasting about himself, but he persisted in his questioning them as usual. Once some scholarly braahmanas bacame angry with him for his proud words and told him. ' There are two men who had won many a war. You can never be equal to those great men.' The king again asked the braahmanas, ' Where are the two heroes? Where were they born? What do they do? Who are they?' The braahmana s answered, 'The great sages Nara and Naarayana. We heard that they descended to the mortal world. They are now engaged in amazing penances on the Gandhamaadanam mountain.'

" Dambhodbhava could not tolerate the information and he soon gathered a huge army full of six wings ( usual four wings plus camels and carts) and set out to mount Gandhamaadanam. He reached that horrendous mountain and inquired here and there about the place of Nara and Naaraayana. At last, he found them, two emaciated forms showing nerves out and exposed to cold and sun. He reached them, touched their feet in reverence, declared himself and inquired their welfare. The sages too honoured him, asked him to sit, offered water and roots and asked him about the purpose of his visiting them. He took up his usual question. ' I won the entire earth with my prowess. I killed all my enemies. I couldn't find a matching hand. I was told about you and came to this mountain seeking war with you. This has been my long-pending desire and I request you for this hospitality.'

The sages answered, 'King! This is a hermitage where anger or greed or pride or cruelty have no place. What to talk of a fight here, then? You may seek your choice elsewhere.' Despite their calm and cool reply, the king kept on repeating his words inviting them to fight with him. After many replies to ward off the king that went futile, sage Nara took a fistful of grass and said to Dambhodbhava. 'You a mean and war-obsessed kshathriya ! Come with all your weapons and make all your forces ready. Start fighting! I will permanently relieve you of the burden of desire towards war.' Dambhodbhava replied.'Sage! If you feel this is the right weapon against us, I will fight against this weapon itself. Anyway, I am here just to fight.' Saying this, the king ran forward with his soldiers and showered arrows on the sage from all the sides to kill him. The sage did not care the continuous fall of the body-rending sharp arrows and rebuffed them all with his blades of grass. The sage then sent onto the king a fierce asthra named Aysheekam which was unretaliatable.With that great ashthra, the sage, who was a good marksman, hit into their eyes, noses and ears. The king saw the blue sky looking white by being covered with the white grass sent by the sage's asthra. He fell on the feet of the sage and begged for his safety. The kind sage looked at the praying king and said to him,'Be just and Stick to virtue. Persue the true knowledge. A true king should not do such deeds as you did now. Even though the other man is inferior or superior to you, it should make no difference in your treatment to him. Never again give place to pride or arrogance and deride others without ascertaining their relative strength or weakness. Be obedient, wise, humble, soft and nice in your ruing the people and win their hearts. You are permitted to go. We tell you, king, seek for the true knowledge from the learned braahmanas in your lands.'

Parashuraama continued. ' Thus meeting the end of his pride, the king returned and stayed wise thereafter. Thus did the sage Nara accomplish many gigantic and super-human tasks in the past. Naaraayana is superior to him by many qualities and merits. Those Nara and Naaraayana took birth as mortals in the form of Arjuna and Krishna. It is never wise to goad them for war. So, before the asthras are moutned onto the string of the great bow Gaandeevam, you drop your pride and seek refuge with Arjuna. He is the best at the use of all the eight types of divine asthras in archery, Kaakudeekam, Shukam, Naakam, Akshisantharjanam, Santhaanam, Narthakam Ghoram and Aasyamodakam ( These are alternatively named Prasvaapanam, Mohanam, Naakam, Thraasanam, Divyam, Pyshaacham, Raakshasam and Yaamyam respectively. Their effects are given in next sentences). Any mortal hit with these asthras is bound to fall dead. There are eight human vices that these eight asthras correspond to, desire, anger,greed, fancy, arrogance, pride, envy and ego. And due to the shots of these asthras, the victims turn mad, lose senses, fall drowsy, jump around, puke out, urinate, laugh and weep. Arjuna has as his ally Krishna, who is none other than the maker and ruler of this universe and who is master of all the deeds. As such, he is invincible in wars. Who, indeed, dares to come forward to fight against that marvellous hero Arjunaof the Hanumaan baaner, who has no match in the three worlds. Arjua's powers are numerous but Krishna's are still many more than those. And you too, very well know what Arjuna is and what he did in the past. O King! You must understand that those heroic sages Nara and Naaraayana are now born as Arjuna and Krishna. If you understand this, you won't have anything against me or my words. If you really look for a way to your safety and prosperity and if you are sincere in securing good to all, calm yourself and go for peace with the Paandavas. Your dynasty has been wellknown for its excellence. Let it be preserved. May good befall upon you. Think about what I said, even for your own benefit at least."

After Parashuraama concluded his speech, sage Kanva spoke to Duryodhana in the hall.

SAGE KANVA RELATES GARUDA'S EPISODE

"Duryodhana! The creator of the universe has no transformations and has no ending. Similar are the the divine sages Nara and Naaraayana. Lord Vishnu is tHe supreme among the divines. He is the master, he is the eternal one and he is the endless one. In comparison with him, all other things in the universe are of temporal existence as these all have the end points of time of their lives. The Sun, The Moon, The Earth, The Water, The Wind, The Fire, The Sky, The Planets, The Stars and others all disappear during the destruction of the universe. And they are created again in the normal process of creation. Coming to the mortal beings like humans, birds and animals, their life spans are very very momentary. Since the life span itself is very short, it is appropriate for the mortals to peacefully enjoy the right pleasures when they are young and to get ready for the fruits of their good or bad deeds when they come of a ripe age. This is the way all the ancient kings adopted. You too, king, follow them and do as they did. Do'nt be driven by your fancy to war. You make peace with Yudhishthira. Let both the Kouravas and the Paandavas rule the land . You are not going lose anything from that.'

'One more word, Duryodhana. It seems that you rely too much on your might. It is not always good to believe that you are mighty. Mightier than the mighty exist always. All the Paandavas are as strong, mighty and powerful as the divines. Might is not really a might among the mightier ones. That makes your might less than theirs. In this context, I opine that the episode of Maathali is the right one to relate to you. Listen what happened when he was searching for a suitable husband to his daughter.'

" You might have heard, Maathali is the favourite charioteer of Indra, the lord of the gods. Ha had a daughter named Gunakeshi who excelled all the other celestial ladies in beauty. When she grew up ready to marriage, he and his wife Sudharma talked to each other about her marriage. Maathali said to his wife, 'Having a daughter is really a testing thing to a man from an honoured family with majestic customs and decent conduct. A girl always makes three families tense at the same time, her father's, her mother's and her husband's (due to their concern that whether she would get a good husband or if she would bring any blemish to her parents by not behaving properly in the husband's house). With my knowledge, I could not find a proper husband for her to my satisfaction, either in the world of the celestials or in that of the mortals.'

Thus not satisfying with the humans or sages or gods or other celestials, one night, he said to his wife. "As I could not find a suitor to our girl in the world of humans or gods, I prefer to search in the world of the serpents (Paathaalam). Maybe, I can find there, one to my satisfaction .' Saying thIs, he kissed his daughter, bade to his wife and left for serpents' world through the earth.

In his way sage Naarada accosted him and asked. 'Oh, Indra's driver! Where are you going? On Indra's mission or some personal purpose? ' Maathali explained his case to him. Naarada said again, ' Very nice purpose. I too am going to see the Lord of waters Varuna. Let us go together. As we pass through the world of the serpents, I will explain about all those we see. Probably, we may find the one of your choice.'

Maathali agreed for that and they both went onto the under-world and saw its Lord Varuna who welcomed and honoured them as grandly as honouring Indra himself. They accepted the respects and told him about the purpose of their coming there. Varuna permitted them to go around his world. Naarada thouroughly knew about the people in that world and he described to Maathali about every one they saw.He said, ' Haven't you seen Varuna and his place! He enjoys this wealthy and luxurious world with his sons and grandsons. See the handsome one there ! He is Varuna's son Pushkara. He is very learned, wise, pious and is of a nice conduct. This handsome fellow was loved and married by Chandra(Moon)'s daughter. Of course, his second daughter named Jyothsna or Kaali, next only to goddess Lakshmi in beauty, married the Sun god himself, who, as you too know, is the eldest of Adithi's sons ( Some took the meaning that Chandra's daughter married Pushkara but she had earlier chosen the Son god as her husband, but this commentary doesn't look that proper). See over there, the beautiful palace of goddess Vaaruni (a drink named sura). The gods derive their epithet 'suras' only after attaining her. How do you like this,full of wealth everywhere?

' This side, you can see the powerful weapons of the demons who later lost their status. See how they shine as if illuminating the surroundings. These enormous weapons were said to be returning to their bearers after hitting their targets. Subsequently, the gods won these from the demons. These great weapons were employed both by the gods as well as all races of the demons like Raakshasas and Dythyas. Next to these, this is the great lake of Lord Varuna, where an ever-burning fire blazes huge and high. This fire was so powerful that it could obstruct Lord Vishnu's discus too. And this is a great bow made of a (gaandi=khadga or a diamond too) rhinoceros' spine. This bow has power enough to destroy the entire world. This is always protected by the gods very carefully. It is from this that the yet another great bow Gaandeevam derived. This is said to acquire as much strength as is required by its bearer, equalling to a hundred thousand normal bows. This was the first fierce weapon created by the creator. This can tame even the untamable too. This weapon enjoyed its staus of being with many great rulers among the gods and demons. This is protected by a number of Lord Varuna's sons. That is Lord Varuna's parasol placed in the hall meant for it. It sheds cool water all around, like a cloud. The moon-white water that flows down from its edge is obscured by a great darkness thus becoming invisible to others. And there are many more other wonderful things here to see , but that will hamper your present purpose. Shall we move to yet another place in our search?'

Kanva continued.
"Naarada took Maathali to another place and began to tell about it. ' This is the city in central position of the world of the serpents. This is called Paathaalam. Demons of the races Daanavas and Dythyas live here. Any earthly beings brought here by the flowing waters, will be struck with terror and they yell aloud with fear. Here lies the great fire, named Badaba, of the demons, blazing always by consuming the water but held under control by the power of the gods. Here did the gods drank their ambrosia and became immortal. They also kept safe the remaining ambrosia here itself. It is from here that the emaciation and waxing of the moon are not seen (The moon always looks full rom that region). It is here that Lord Vishnu took the form of Hayagreeva (horse-headed) and restored the stolen Vedas. Even now, at every full-moon day, his reciting of the vedas can be heard. This place is referred to as 'Paathaalam' because all forms of water(jalam) fall(path) here from the moon etc. The celestial tusker Ayraavatha, sucks water from this place with his trunk and fiils the clouds with that for the benefit of the world, which later, Indra causes to fall on the earth as rain. At this place, many whales and other aquatic creatures in various forms move around here, sucking the moon's light as their food. And here, Maathali, the people suffer their death in the day from the Sun's heat and revive in the night. The moon rising here every night touches the people with his rays and vivifies them. At this place, the unvirtuous demons deprived of their power and status by Indra, spend their time under punishment. At this place, the Lord of Lords observed the greatest penances for the good of the all the beings in the creation. A penance called 'govratham' prescribes that its observer should live wherever that he gets a chance to sleep, should eat whatever that comes by to him and should wear whatever that befalls upon him. This is the place after death for those braahmana s who spent their lives in dedicated recital of the vedas and in observing the 'govratham'. The divine elephants Ayraavana, Vaamana, Kumuda and Anjana are the descendents of the elephant Supratheeka from here. See the gigantic egg that lies there still. This is said to have been here since the creation. Sonce then, it has neither broken nor moved. I heard nobody tell about its origin or nature. Nobody knows about it. It is also said that this egg releases a great fire out of it at the time of destruction of the universe, which will consume the entire creation .You look carefully if you can find one of good qualities to suit your daughter. If found, we will select and convince him.'

Maathali answered, " No, I cannot find here the one I liked. Let us go elsewhere quickly.'

" Naarada took him to another place and told. " This is the city called Hiranyapuram. This is the abode of many demons called Dythyas and Daanavas who are experts in all sorts of sorceries. The demon sculptor Maya constructed this with all his skill in Paathaalam. Its inhabitants are so powerful that Indra or Yama or Kubera or Yama cannot tame them. The powerful sects of demons Kaalakhanjas, Nyrrithas born from Vishnu's foot and Yaathudhaanas born from Brahma's foot live here excelling in their magical powers. This is also the residence of the terrible demons Nivaathakavachas, whom, as you too know, even Indra could not disturb. Don't you remember how you, your son Gomukha, Indra and his son Jayantha too were harassed by them many a time? These are the mansions of the great demon chiefs. Though all these appear to be built with earth, rock and stone, they are in fact studded with gems like cat's eyes, rubies, topazes, pearls and diamonds. They all shine as white as sun's stones and tower as high as hills. With their windows as bright as flaming fire, these palaces appear like bright sun in the sky. None in fact can describe these buildings to correctly answer their appearance. See the magnificient play grounds and resting halls of the demons. All the beds, seats and utensils are studded with gems. You see how beautiful the hills are with their cascades, resembling dark clouds. The trees here give all flowers and fruits in all the seasons and they can move from place to place on their own too. Can you find any one suiting your requirements or shall we go elsewhere?'

" Maathali replied. " You very well described the wealth of the demons here. But I am from the wing of the gods. Gods and demons are always at bad terms with each other, though they are cousins actually. Given this bare fact, how can I have marriage relations with opponents of gods? Also, I so much know the cruelty of these demons as I know your soul's purity. Better we go to another place.'

" Naarada lead Maathali to a different location abd told about that place. " This is the abode of the famous bird races. They subsist on serpents and they can fly to any heights easily. Having their origin in Kashyapa, these races multiplied their population very fast. All these are descendents of Garuda's six sons named Sumukha, sunaama, Sunethra, Suvarchas Suruk and Subala. All of them are rich, powerful, interested in nourishing fortunes and all bear the mark of Shreevathsa ( a curvy spot). These are kshathriyas by profession. Merciless by nature, they eat the snakes. Due to their culture of killing their own kins, they never attain the status or quality of a Braahmana. But, their race is regarded as noble, due to Lord Vishnu's patronage to them. They always consider Vishnu as their supreme Lord and keep on worshipping him in their minds. I will tell you the names of some of the prominent ones among them. Suvarnachooda, Naagaashi, Daaruna, Chandathundaka, Anila, Anala, Vishaalaaksha, Kundali, Pankajith, Vajravishkambha, Vynatheya, Vaamana, Vaathavega, Dishachakshu, Nimesha, Animisha, Thriraava, Saptharaava,Vaalmeeki,Dveepaka, Dythyadveepa, Sariddeepa, Saarasa, Padmakethana, Sumukha, Chithrakethu, Chithrabarha, Anagha, Meghahrith, Kumuda, Daksha, Sarpaantha, Sahabhojana, Gurubhaara, Kapotha, Sooryanethra, Chiraanthaka, Vishnudharma, Kumaara, Paribarha, Hari, Susvara, Madhuparka, Hemavarna, Maalaya, Maatharishva, Nishaakara, Divaakara and many others. I only named a few chiefs, per their strength and prominence. If you couldn't find any one here suitable to your daughter, we shall go to another place and search.'

As Maathali did not select any one from the bird races, Naarada took him to yet another place and said. 'This is the seventh world of the lower ones, called Rasaathalam. Here lies the first cow of the world Surabhi which originated from Brahma's face while he took the ambrosia and emmitted out its essence. She later became mother of all the cow races in the world. The udder of this cow always sheds sweet milk that comes from the earth's extract, having in it the essence of all the six tastes (sweet,pungent,bitter,sour,salt and astringent). The flow of its shedding milk first formed a large lake on the earth and afterwards became the milk-sea. The white foam of the milk-sea lies spread all along its coast. The great sages named Phenapas, immursed in their deep penances,live in the foam subsisting on the foam itself whom even the gods dread for their penance and power. The four daughters (calves) of this mother-cow take care of four directions of the world; Suroopa in the east, Hamsika in the south, Vishvaroopa in the west and Sarvakaamadugha in the north. It is the mixture of milks of these cows that the gods and the demons once in the past poured in the milk-sea and churned it with the mount Mandhara as their churning staff. Their great labour then derived from the milk sea such great things as Vaaruni(wine), goddess Lakshmi, ambrosia, the divine horse Uchchyshravas and the gem Kousthubham. This cow gives in the form of its milk, the foods Sudha or Svadha or ambrosia , to their respective takers. That is the reason why there has been an ancient saying among the residents of this world which even the learned approve of, 'The pleasure in life at Rasaathalam is not possible even in the heaven or in the world of the serpents or in any flier of the celestials.'

" Then Naarada began to introduce and describe the nagas to Maathali. ' Maathali, See here, this is the city named Bhogavathi, as prosperous as your Indra's Amaraavathi. This is riled by the serpent lord Vaasuki. There is that great serpent lord Shesha, who bears the heavy earth on his head with the power of his world renowned penance. He is like the white mountain Kylaasa of lord Shiva. He shines with his divine ornaments, with his thousand heads and thousand hoods. All his tongues flickering like flames cause fear to look at them. He is uncomparable in physical strength.

' In this region, the (serpents) Naagas who are sons of Surasa live happily without any fear from any one. They are crores and crores in number, all frightful to see, with the marks of circle or svasthika or tumbler on their wide hoods. They all have long bodies and huge hoods as large as a hillock. Some have three heads, some have five ,some have seven, some have ten, some have hundred, some have five hundred and some have as many as a thousand. Though it is not possible to refer to them all, I will mention a few of them for your consideration. Vaasuki, Thakshaka, Karkotaka,Dhananjaya, Kaaleeya, Nahusha, Kambala, Ashvathara, Baahyakunda, Mani, Aapoorana, Khaga,Vaamana, Elaputhra, Kukura, Kukuna, Aaryaka, Nandaka, Kalasha, Pothaka, Kylaasaka, Pinjaraka, Ayraavatha, Sumanomukha, Dadhimukha, Shankha, Nanda, Upanandaka, Aaptha, Kotaraka, Shikhi, Nishthoorika, Thiththiri, Hasthi, Bhadra, Kumuda, the twins Maalyapindaka, Padma and Padma, Pundareeka, Pushpa, Mudgaraparnaka, Karaveera, Peetharaka, Samvriththa, Vriththa, Pindaara, Bilvapathra, Mooshikaada, Shireeshika, Dileepa, Shankhasheersha, Jyothishka, Aparaajitha, Kouravya, Dhritharaashtra, Kuhura, Kushaka, Virahas, Dhaarana, Subaahu, Mukhara, Jaya, Badhira, Andha, Vishundi, Virasa, Surasa and many more, all descendents of sage Kashyapa. Maathali, if you like any one of these here, we will move the topic with them.'

Kanva continued.

"In the meantime, Maathali was concentratedly looking at a particular young man among them. He felt happy and asked Naarada. 'Sage! Who can this young man be? Of the Aaryaka's or of the Kouravya's family? He is handsome and nice to look at. Who are his father and mother? Which serpent family is he an ornament to? With his form and qualities, he impresses me. I feel he is a fitting husband to my little daughter Gunakeshi.'

Naarada knew that Maathali was pleased with that young man and he told about the young man's family.' He comes from the clan of Ayraavatha. Aaryaka and Vaamana are his patternal and maternal grandfathers. His father Chikura was recently killed by Garuda.' Maathali said to Naarada .'Sir, I like him to be my dear daughter's husband. Please make an effort to help me in giving my daughter in marriage to this handsome Naaga youngster.'

Naarada took Maathali to Aaryaka. After receiving their respectful welcome, Naarada said to him. " Aaryaka! This is Indra's charioteer Maathali, you might know. He is a close associate of Indra and is nearly as great as him. He dextrously controls , as if by his thoughts, Indra's chariot yoked by a thousand horses in the wars with the demons. Indra just hits at his opponents with his weapons only after they were first defeated with this man's skillful driving of the chariot. He has a beautiful daughter named Gunakeshi, of excellent character, possessing truth and obedience as her prime qualities. He is touring the three worlds in search of a suitable husband for her. He saw Your grandson Sumukha and liked him very much, thereby selecting him for his daughter. If you too like this alliance, Aaryaka, be quick and accept the girl for the boy. May the blessed Gunakeshi adore your family to see it prosperous, as Lakshmi did Vishnu's and Svaaha did Agni's. Though we are aware that Sumukha had lost his father, we select him due to his piety, purity and character as also due to our respect towards you and Ayraavatha. As such an honourable person as Maathali has himself approached you, you may kindly honour his request.'

Aaryaka was both sad and happy at the same time. He replied to Naarada, 'Iam very happy that my grandson is your choice as suitor to your girl and very sad too due to my son's death. Your word is absolutely folowable to us. Who rejects an alliance with Indra's close associate? But, I am worried about something out of our control. Sumukha's father was eaten by Garuda since when we are all sad. While going, Garuda threatened us and vowed that he would eat Sumukha too in a month. Every one among us knows that his words will come true. With such a doom around the corner, how I can accept an innocent girl as his wife?'

Then, Maathali said to Aaryaka, ' I decided that your grandson Sumukha shall be my daughter's husband. Let this boy come with us both and visit Indra. I will confirm about his life span and try to ward off Garuda's threat. Please allow your grandson to come with us. We will do whatever we can do for your good.' Aaryaka agreed to the suggestion and he himself went with them alongwith Sumukha.

By the time they went to see Indra, he was with Lord Vishnu. Naarada obtained audience and explained about Maathali's case. Vishnu heard that all and said to Indra, 'You give him ambrosia and make him immortal, equalling the gods. That settles te desire of Maathali and his wellwisher Naarada. Sumukha too will be happy from your grant.' But Indra thought of Garuda's valour and replied, 'I prefer you yourself should do that.' Vishnu again said, ' Indra, You are the ruler and protector of all the mobile and immobile beings in the three worlds. Lord, who can attempt to alter your order?'

Thus encouraged by Vishnu, Indra decreed a long life for Sumukha but did not give the ambrosia. With that the young Naaga(serpent) Sumukha became really a Sumukha ( of a nice face) and bowed to the Lords in great obedience.

Kanva continued. " Garuda came to know that Indra had granted long life to Sumukha. He grew very infurious and at once flew to Indra, shaking the entire world with the wind from his wings. He straight away asked Indra, 'Sir, What is that you did against me in favour of that Naaga fellow? My food is gone because of you. You have earlier allowed me to do as I like but now you yourself stood in the way, deviating from your own promise. Snakes are destined my natural food by the great creator himself. what makes you obstruct me? I have selected this Naaga and promised my family that I would make a feast to them with his meat. If you do thus, I won't kill any snake any more. That leads to the starving deaths of me and my family members amd my dependent servents too. Will that make you happy? How dare you play fun with an independent hero lke me? Or, maybe, I deserve this insult from you, Indra. What else can one get by becoming someone's servant, despite one's abilities to rule the three worlds! As you are installed as the ruler of three worlds, what have I to do with Vishnu? I too am born to sage Kashyapa and my mother too is Daksha's daughter. My might too is unbearable to anyone and I too did a lot in killing the demons as you did. The demons like Shruthasree, Shruthasena,/a>, Vivasvaan, Rochanaamukha, Prasritha and Kaalakaaksha were my victims. You chose to insult me just because I stand as a mark on the banner of your brother Vishnu and carry him wherever he goes. Can you name another person whos is mightier than me and who is capable of carrying weights as me, who can bear the weight of Vishnu and his followers? Today, with your insulting act, my food is snatched away. And my prestige too was spoiled by you and your brother, this Vishnu. Do you consider yourself to be the strongest of all the mighty sons of Adithi? I can easily carry you off just with a quill of my wing. You think with a cool mind, asto who of us is stronger! '

Indra was all the while silent at Garuda's words. But, hearing the bird king's sharp rebuke of unbearable denigration to Indra, Vishnu was angry and said to Garuda arousing fear in that fearless one. ' Garuda, you boast about yourself that you are the strongest. In fact, you are a very very weak one. It is unfit on your part to speak high of yourself right before me. Even the three worlds uniting together too cannot bear my weight. You prate that you are bearing me on your shoulders. But, the truth is the other way round. It is my strength that bears me and you too. Come here, try to bear the weight of my left hand alone. If you are any successful, your bragging can be commendable.' Saying this, the Lord kept his left hand on Garuda's shoulder. Garuda couldn't bear that weight and became perturbed, losing control over his senses. He felt as if his shoulder was crushed under the weight of the entire earth with all its mountains. He gaped his beak, his body sank down and his wings shed their quills, wilting under the pressure of the single hand which the Lord very lightly placed so as not to harm the bird. The bird king then bowed to the Lord and confessed, " My Lord, I am as if powdered under the weight of your arm that has the strength of all the worlds. I am your poor banner mark and a petty bird. It is my ignorance of your real strength that made me so boastful. Kindly pardon me for my unwise boasting, blind with ny little might which I foolishly thought to be the greatest.'

Lord Vishnu pardoned his carrier and warned him not to behave like that again in future. He then flung the snake Sumukha with his big toe onto Garuda's chest. Since then, Garuda kept friendship with that snake. Sumukha was overwhelmed with joy. He married Gunakeshi and went home happily with his grandfather Aaryaka. Both Maathali and Naarada too bowed and thanked the two Lords and took their leave from them."

Kanva continued to Duryodhana. " Thus, O Prince, even that great Garuda was to shed his pride defeated by Vishnu's power. Similarly, you too will remain as you are now, only until you don't see the mighty Paandavas standing in the battle field. Bheema, the son of Vaayu is the best fighter and Arjuna, son of Indra is the best archer. Who can stand aganst them? With what power can you even gaze at such gods as Yama, Vaayu, Indra and Ashvis joined with Vishnu? Hence, war is not good to you. Make peace with the Paandavas. Use Krishna as a means of saving all your clan. This divine sage Naarada was the eyewitness to what I have told you just now about Vishnu's greatness. Vishnu, indeed, is such a one."

Duryodhana sighed like a hiss and frowned at the sage Kanva for his remarks. He looked at Karna and burst into a laugh. He cared not a bit to the sage's good advice and replied to him, slapping on his thigh with his hand. " Sage! Why the Lord has created me, what my destiny has in store for me and what is ordained to happen, will happen any way. I will behave just that way. What is your speech worth , then? "

END OF CHAPTER ONE HUNDRED AND FIVE

Janamejaya was wondered. He asked Vyshampaayana, " Sir, When Duryodhana was so much sticking to the evil alone,so much greedy about others' wealth, so much close to the wicked, so much willing to self-destruction, so much antagonising with his kins, so much troubling his own people, so much deriding his wellwishers and so much causing pleasure to his enemies by his wrong track, I wonder why the elders and affectionate people like Vyaasa or Bheeshma didn't try to correct him for the sake of good to all?"

Vyshampaayana said. " No. Every body tried to convince him. Vyaasa told. Bheeshma told. And many others told him to desist from his evil path. Listen in detail. After sage Kanva spoke and Duryodhana derided his words, Naarada began to speak to Duryodhana.

SAGE NAARADA RELATES GALAVA'S EPISODE

Naarada said, " Duryodhana! People who listen to their wellwishers are rare. So rare is beneficient wellwisher too. Even own kinsmen cannot be of help where a wellwisher can be. I see you should listen to what your wellwishers told you now. Obstinacy is not good. It is very dangerous. Elders quote this episode to illustrate how obstinacy brings troubles, showing sage Gaalava as an example.

"Once when sage Vishvaamithra was in his deep and severe penances, Yama (Dharma) wanted to test the firmness of his commitment. He took up a guise like one of the Seven Sages, Vasishta and approached Vishvaamithra. He feigned hunger and begged for food. Vishvaamithra too very quickly started cooking food for him. But Yama did not wait till its completion. He took food from other sages and ate it. Just then Vishvaamithra brought him fresh and hot food. Yama said, 'I have eaten already. You may wait.' Simply saying thus, he left off. Vishvaamithra remained there, carrying the pot of food, as still as a post, just consuming the air for his support. At that time, a sage named Gaalava approached to serve him out of his respect to him and wishing good to him. Thus passed a time of one hundred years. Then, Yama again came in the same guise as of Vasishtha to take his food. He saw Vishvaamithra standing there still, holding the rice pot on his head and subsisting only on the air. He accepted the food that was still as fresh and hot as when it was cooked. He ate it and blessed him simply with these words. 'I am satisfied. O Brahmarshi!' And he went away. With the power of Yama's blessings, Vishvaamithra's kshathriyahood was gone and he attained braahmanahood. Vishvaamithra was very pleased about his promotion. He was also pleased with the services of Gaalava rendered to him. He told him, 'Dear one! I permit you to leave the hermit. You may go free as you like.' Gaalava asked his teacher, 'Sir, what do you propose to be given by me as the customary gift to you at this time of my closing ceremony? Elders say that one that offers presentments to the teachers will get good results of his deeds. So honourable Sir, please tell me what I should please you with now.' Vishvaamithra replied to him that all the services done to him till then were as good as a gift and no additional presents need be mentioned. But Gaalava again asked the same question only to get the same reply. Despite Vishvaamithra's denying any gifts, Gaalava was persistent in asking the same question. That made the irasible sage infuriated. He ordered, ' If you are so much intent in presenting me with a gift, bring me eight hundred moon-white horses, each black in only one ear.'

"With that stringent imposition by his mentor, Gaalava could not sit, sleep or eat quietly. He waned to skin and bones consumed by the burden of his dues to his teacher. He always thought, 'I have no rich friends. Nor have I moneies of my own. How can I bring eight hundred horses? This very thought of horses kills my appetite and sleep. Ineterest to live itself is getting faded. A useless felloe like me who failed to please his teacher is unfit to live on the earth. I shall go to the end of the earth or the shores of the sea and kill myself there unknown. Being indebted to the teacher from whom my purpose was served is very bad. Promising to give something and failig it is still worse than that. A person of false promise will have all his penances and sacrifices go waste. with no money and with debt hanging on my head, I see no way to pass through this. I am surely getting the sin of a liar. A liar will not beget fame or children or higher worlds. Besides becoming a liar, I am forced to become an ungreatful one too, for my duty of pleasing my dear teacher will remain undone. A sinful and ungreatful one cannot serve his own purpose. Besides, the results of all his virtueful activities will be ruined. Rather than bearing the blemish of being a liar, ungreatful and a debtor, I had better leave this useless body. Or, I can try one chance. Till now, I have not asked the gods for anything for my own. I take refuge with the supreme Lord Vishnu whose power supports this entire creation and within whose command it rests. I have no other way out.'

"As Gaalava was thinking like that in various ways, he happened to see the bird-lord Garuda landing before him. He said to Gaalava, ' You are my dear friend. You are well loved by all your friends. Such a friend as you is fit to get his cause served by your able friends. As I can help you in your cause, I am here to support you. In fact, I have already once mentioned your case with my Lord Vishnu who allowed me to help you in this affair. I will take you to anywhere you wish to go, Gaalava, please come on, quick.'

Gaalava replied with a sad voice. ' It is of immense pleasure to see such an eminent friend as you here for my help. I was ordered by my teacher to bring eight hundred white horses all with one black ear. I have neither money nor rich friends to acquire this great thing. Even a big quantity of money too cannot assure to find such horses. That made me sad and I decided to end my life.'

'Garuda heard his words and said laughing, ' You are not that wise in thinking of suicide. The time of your death is not at your wish, as time itself is the form of the Lord whom you cannot beckon to you whenever you desire. You should have thought of me earlier. There is always a way to do any thing. Let me tell you an idea. Let us search the four directions thouroughly first. If we find such horses anywhere, we will think of a proper way to acquire them. Do not worry about how to go around the four directions. I can carry you anywhere in a moment. You might know my might in carrying and speed in flying. First, I will briefly tell you about what is where in all the four directions. Them you choose which direction we shall first take.'

Having given that assurance to Gaalava, Garuda began to describe the locations in the four directions. 'Gaalava, let me tell you first about the direction east. In this side does the sun god first rises. The Saadhya gods do their penances here. It is from this direction that the sun god stimulates the intellect which pervades the entire world. All the components of the sacrifices for its promulgation originate from here. All the oblations given through them move over the whole world. This is the point of entry to the heaven and to the two ways of the higher worlds. Here in the past, the daughters of Daksha gave birth to various beings. All the Kashyapa's offspring too developed here. All the gods did coronate Indra here on the throne of the heaven. the gods too did their penance here. This direction has been inhabitted by the gods early in the time, hence its name poorva (lit.= early or first). for this reason, this direction is considered the best among all the directions amd all the divine oriented sacrifices are done facing east. The creator of the world forst sang the hymns of the vedas in this direction. The sun god here first taught the hymn of Saavithri to the vedic learners. The sun delivered the vedas named yajus here itself ( to the sage Yaajnyavalka). The creeper Soma obtained a decree that it shall be drunk in sacrifices. Here, the propitiated fire god accepts the oblations in the form of ghee, milk etc which are nothing but its source. From here, Varuna went to Paathaalam and acquired fortunes. the great ancient sage Vasishtha was born here, became famous here and left his body too here. The thousands of sounds from the Pranava 'OAM' wave out everywhere from here (This means that all the branches of vedas from the oam derived in this direction). Some sages named Dhoomapas(lit. smoke-consumers) inhale the smokes coming from the sacrifices. Here, Indra consecrated the wild animals like the boar, for being consumed in sacrifices as offerings to the gods. Here, every morning, the rising sun punishes the ungreatful ones among the humans and demons. This direction is the way to attain any of the three worlds and to all comforts too. This is all briefly about the east.'

'Garuda continued to describe the direction of south. 'Gaalava! The second direction is named south (dakshina). It is referred to as 'dakshina'(literaly,gift), because of its once being given as gift by Sun god to his mentor, as a part of his sacrificial performance. This is the place where the Pithris of all the three worlds, who accept and eat the offered food while it was hot, dwell along with the group of Vishva gods both being worshipped in the sacrifices and both enjoying equal share in the oblations. This direction is the second way to the vedas and it pertains to the Pithris(first being the east, pertaining to the gods).Here, the time is measured with such a minute unit as thruti and lava. All the divine sages, royal sages and sages from the region of Pitris together live here with no fear about anything. Here is decided about the virtue, truth and deeds of all the beings in the creation. This is the place for the results of life-time deeds of the dead. This is the place every one should come but no one can easily understand about it due to the enclosure of dark ignorance. Here were created a number of demons of abnormal qualities who are visible only to unvirtueful ones. Here, in the caves of the mountain Mandara and in the hermits of the sages, the Gandharvas sing their fascinating songs. It was told that a king named Ryvatha was once captivated by those Saama songs for such a long time during which all his family, counsellors and kingdom were gone and he took to the forests. Here, the Manu named Saavarni and Yavakreetha's son both dictated a custom that even the sun god cannot override. Here, the demon chief Raavana performed his great penance and asked the gods to give him immortality. Here, the demon Vrithra developed enemity with Indra. Here, all the lives of the dead come together and again get divided into five to enter new bodies. Here, the sinful are boiled in oil and water. Here is a river named Vytharani swarmed by those sinful people bound to the hell. Here, the beings leave for the heaven or the hell depending on their deeds in their lives. This is the place reaching which the sun showers sweet waters on the earth (i.e. when the sun enters the constellation of cancer marking his course of the southern part of his elliptical path, that time is the starting of rainy season too). Again, after reaching the northern side, he causes due and ice on the earth. In this region, once I wandered hungry, when I found a gigantic elephant and tortoise fighting fiercely with each other. Here was once the sage named Chakradhanus, also known as Kapila, who burnt king Sagara's sixty thousand sons into ashes with his angry looks. Here, a group of braahmana s named Shivas, learnt the vedas to their roots to become Saadhyas and attain salvation. Here, you can see the place named Bhogavathi, the abode of serpents like Thakshaka, Ayraavatha and ruled by Vaasuki. Here, at the time close of time, a great darkness covers the entire region, which either the fire or the sun cannot ward off. Shall we go along this direction or another one? Gaalava, I will tell you now about the direction of west.

'This direction of west is under rule of the Lord of waters, Varuna. This is the first and the only resting place of Sun god. He lets his rays down at the end of the day, hence the name 'Paschimam' (west, lit=last or later). this is the kingdom of aquatic beings where Kashyapa installed Varuna as ruler to protect them. HEre, the Moon god (Soma) consumes the six tastes of Varuna's waters and becomes young at the beginning of the month's first half (lighter half) to dispel the darkness in the nights. Here, the demons imprisoned by Lord Vaayu (wind god) slept here panting in pain. Here, a mountain named Astha (sun-set mountain) embraces its dear Sun god at the end of the day, from whence the dusk emanates. From here, after the close of the day, the night comes bringing sleep alongwith it, as if to consume half the life period of the beings. Here, in the past, Indra destroyed the foetus in the womb of sleeping Dithi, the mother of demons, wherefrom the Maruth gods (seven in number) were born. From here, mount Mandara extends upto the roots of mount Himavaan, whose roots can never be traced even after a search of a thousand years. Here, the Mother Cow, Surabhi ( Kaamadhenu = cow that gives what we desire) gives sweet milk, lying on the shores of a lake with golden lotuses beside a golden hill. Here, in the middle of the sea, the trunk of Raahu (the serpent) is seen. It swallows the moon and the sun on select full-moon nights and half-moon nights respectively. Here, the ever young sage Suvarnaroma sings but he is never seen or felt by anyone, though his voice is heard aloud all over. HEre, Harimedhas' daughter Dhvajavathi stood still in the air in the sky, when the sun god ruled her to stand still in the sky. Here, either in day or night, the air,water, air or sky remain only pleasant. From here, the path of Sun god runs horizontal. The light of all the stars merge into the Sun here. These stars first go with the moon for twenty eight nights, then similarly go with the son too and come out from him. This is the source of all the rvers that fill the seas. Here in the abode of Lord Varuna, all the waters of the three worlds stay. This is the place of the great serpent chief Anantha, Lord Vishnu, sage Mareecha's son sage Kashyapa and Agni's (fire) friend Vaayu (wind). This is a brief description of the direction west. Do you wish to go this direction first? Now, let me tell about north.

Garuda said, 'Gaalava! This direction is named Uththara (north, lit= great or higher) since this is the way attaining which the beings pass over (uth+thar) their sins. Its power of enabling the beings to pass over their sins gave its name to it. This is the place of all the gold (wealth) and it is referred to as 'madhyama' (middle) also, since it lies between east and west. A non-virtueful one or an untrue one or a non-restraint one cannot attain this path. In this direction, at a place named 'badari' (or badarika hermitage), the great sages Nara (none other than Arjuna) and Naaraayana (=Krishna), as well as Brahma,live. Here, in the regions of mount Himavaan, Lord Shiva dwells with Paarvathi (i.e. 'purusha' with 'prakrithi'), appearing as frightfully resplendent as the fire at the end of the time. That Lord is not visible to any of the sages or gods or even to Indra or Gandharvas or Yakshas or Saadhyas, except to Nara and Naaraayana. The Lord Vishnu of innumerable eyes,feet and heads alone can see him with his mysterious power (maaya). Here, moon god was made ruling deity of the braahmana s. Here, Kubera too was made chief of Yakshas, Gandharvas and Raakshasas. Here, Lord Shiva held and bore on his head , river Ganga falling from the heavens and let it pass onto the world of the mortals. Here, Paaravthi observed her penances with an aim to marry Lord Shiva. Here lies the beautiful garden Chythraratham and also the abode of the sages Vykhaanasas. Here lies river Mandaakini and mount Mandara. The garden of Sougandhikam flowers lies here under protection of the Yakshas. Here lie, the celestial trees like Santhaana, the deity Shaadvalam and the banner Vyjayanthi. Here, the self-restraint (yoga-bound) and unrestrictedly moving siddhas move around by their fliers which provide them whatever they need. In this direction are The Seven Sages and Lady Arundhathi. The star ( rather constellation, the fifteenth, in which the sun lies for thirteen days) Svaathi rises from here. Here, Brahma performs his sacrifices to stay eternal. The celestial bodies Sun, Moon and stars revolve around here and keep guard of the entrance of Ganga. This is the place of the great sages named 'Dhaamas', whose outline or components cannot be seen. Nor can their penance be estimated by anyone. Here, a number of containers of food items (they appear like that) move around, freely enjoyable by the eligible people. It is not possible to anyone to go further in this icy domain as the advancing people will be lost in those ices. This direction was not comprehensively trodden by any one except Nara and Naaraayana, who are beyond scales and measures. Here lies the mount Kylaasa, the abode of Kubera. Here were born the ten 'Apsaras' (divine damsels) named Vidyuthprabhas. While Lord Vishnu was occupying the three worlds with his three paces, he kept his foot here in this direction, whence its name 'Vishnupadam'(lit=Vishnu's foot) too. Here, at a place named 'Usheerabeeja', king Maruththa performed his sacrifices beside a golden lake. Here did the sage Jeemootha find a pious golden mine on the very slants of mount Himavaan. He donated all that treasure to the braahmana s and prayed that the treasure may be named after him as Jymootham. And it was since called so. This is the place where all the Lords of the cardinals cry out in the morning and in the evening, 'Who needs what? Who needs what?' Thus, this direction is called 'Uththara', true to its name,great in all aspects.

'Thus, Gaalava, I told you about the things existing in all the four directions. Now, tell ne your choice, which way do you prefer to go? I am ready to carry you on my shoulders to show you the entire earth.' Garuda concluded.

END OF CHAPTER ONE HUNDRED AND FIVE

Naarada continued.
After hearing the descriptions of the four directions, Gaalava replied to Garuda. ' My good luck favoured me by showing an able friend like you to help in my difficult task. As you mentioned that the gods dwell in the eastern side where the two eyes of virtue (= sun and moon) preside and both virtue and truth rule over there, I wish to go that way first. I will have a chance of beholding all the gods.'

Garuda agreed to what Gaalava said and asked him to mount on his shoulders. Gaalava secured himself on Garuda's huge neck and the latter began to fly in the high skies at an enormously great speed. Agitated by the height and speed, Gaalava cried out,'Garuda! Your flying form appears like that of the sun of innumerable rays in the morning. I see many trees uprooted by the winds of your wings and flying with you, which look as if they started alongwith you. You appear as if you are pulling with you the entire earth with its forests, rivers and hills. When you fly over the sea, the wind from your speed makes its waters turbulent. All the aquatic animals in it are tossed up high and they look quite concerned with terror. The roaring noise of the sea itself frightens and deafens me, added to that your unbearable speed makes me swoon. I cannot distinguish the sides or the sun or the sky or the earth. I only feel a great darkness out of which your two eyes appear like two great shining gems. I feel as if many batches of sparks emerge from your body blinding my sight. I pray, great bird-king, to reduce your speed. I have not that much great thing to do that requires this great speed. I am a helpless fellow wandering in search of a way to keep my word given to my teacher. Keep in mind that your ghastly pace may bring upon you the sin of murder of a poor braahmana .'

Garuda laughed at his fears and answered as he continued to fly. 'Do not worry. Death will not come to you untimely. It makes its entry only at the time destined for it by the almighty. Here is a mountain named Rishabha near the sea. We will stop here for a while and resume after food and rest.' Saying this, Garuda landed on the summit of the Rishabha mountain. They saw an old woman named Shaandili immursed in her penance and bowed to her. She welcomed and comforted them with seats. After a while, she gave them cooked rice consecrated with offering hymns. They ate it to their satisfaction and slept hard. After sometime, Garuda woke up to resume his journey. As he tried to fly, he saw that many quills of his wings were fallen. He remained with hands and face like a lump of meat. Gaalava saw his friend's plight and worried. He asked, ' Garuda, I wonder at this. Did you think of any ill? The flaw you committed must be surely a great one, to bring you to this state.' Garuda replied. 'I thought nothing bad. I only thought that this lonely old woman must be taken to the Lord Vishnu where she can live safe. That might be my contempt towards this great woman. I will appologize to her.' Then he went to Shaandili and prayed. 'Mother! I thought so out of my concern about you and your lonliness. My concern towards you lead me to disrespect you by underestimating your powers. I beg you to kindly pardon me and make me normal.' She replied to Garuda. 'Do not fear. You meant insult to me which I cannot bear. He who insults me shall drop down from his status. I am free from any vice and my practice of good customs brought me his power. Practice of good customs results in gaining wealth, virtue and all good fruits. That eradicates all vices. Never look down me or any other women. Can any one look down women for his good? May your wings become as usual and may your strength return to you.' Soon Garuda's wings became normal and his might too improved. They both bowed to Shaandili and obtained leave from her to resume their journey.

They both searched at many places in the east but could not find the required horses. In stead they ran into Vishvaamithra, who cautioned Gaalava,'Sage! It is time you brought what you yourself committed to bring for me. I have been waiting for you for long and I will still wait for you.'

Gaalava was only too sad hearing his teacher's words. Garuda consoled him and said. 'Come on Gaalava. Let us not stop. We will continue our search. You cannot rest untill you free yourself from your teacher's debt.'

Naarada continued.
Garuda told Gaalava. 'Listen, sage. You too know this but your troubled mind misses even the obvious things. Money is all importaint. It is made of gold hence it is verily named 'gold'. Agni(fire) created it in the earth and Vaayu (wind) purified it. It is named so (dhanam) because it supports (dha=support). It stands eternal in all the three worlds, because it is the way to get required things. Also, not all the people can acquire the money. Money is guarded by the presiding deities of the stars Poorvabhaadra and Uththrabhaadra ( 25th and 26th stars)i.e. by Ajykapaath and Ahirbudhnya, besides by Kubera. If men worship Agni on Fridays coinciding with these two stars, Kubera will grace them with money. It is that difficult to get money. I suggest you to request any good king for money. Look for one that doesn't trouble his subjects for our demand. One such king occurs to my mind. He is Nahusha's son Yayaathi. He belongs to the race of kshathriya s from the Moon god (of Chandra's lineage). He is a friend of mine too. Let os go and request him. He is wealthy too. He may honour your request and my word. Maybe, you can meet your teacher's demand this way.'

They both discussed like that and went to Yayaathi at once. The king welcomed and honoured them suitably. After the usual inquiries and responses were over, Garuda told the king about their visit and its purpose. ' King Yayaathi! This sage Gaalava is my friend. He served Vishvaamithra as his teacher for a hundred years and at the time of leaving asked him to name the gift to be given to him customerily at the time of concluding the service. Irated with repeated requests despite denying any gift, the teacher imposed that eight hundred white steeds all with one black ear should be the gift. Unable to meet the demand, he sunk into sadness. I came to help him but I too could not do anything till now. Then I thought of you and brought him to you with high hopes for help. O king! Help this poor braahmana in deep trouble. Freeing himself with your help from his teacher's debt, he will peacefully go for his penances. All that will be to your share too. Already rich in penances, you will be still richer in them. You will win so many higher abodes as many hairs in the body of a horse. This man is fit to take the alms and you are fit to donate too. Let the donation be like water poured through a pious conch.'

Yayaathi intently listened to Garuda's words. He thought within himself again and again for a good while. At last, that great king who had thousands of sacrificial performances with his name, slowly said to Garuda. 'Garuda, You are my friend. You know me well. I admit that this sage Gaalava is the best for any donation. I am glad that you skipped many kings of the Sun race and came to me for help. To speak the truth before you, I am not as rich as I was earlier. At present, I cannot fulfil your wish. But I least like to send you with empty hands. One in want, coming hopefully to me and returning in despair, is a great curse on my clan. Showing an empty hand to an entreater is the worst sin in the world. A man with unserved entreaties is like a dead one and his fate shadows those who did not satisfy his requests, for generations together. In the present conditions of my low fortunes, this is what I propose. I have a daughter named Maadhavi. She as beautiful as a goddess. Many gods and demons wished her hand but were denied. She was blessed that she can establish continuity of four clans. I give her to you. You may offer her to richer kings who may give anything in return as impost, not to talk of a paltry eight hundred horses. I too will see grandchildren from her to my pleasure.'

Gaalava agreed. He obtained leave from Yayaathi and took the girl with him. Garuda too, consoled Gaalava that some means of acquiring the horses was at hand and left for his abode, bidding farewell to him. Gaalava went with that girl thinking about kings that can offer the required return for the girl. He picked king Haryashva of Ayodhya kingdom. He was rich in monies and hrains. He had a mighty army too. He loved his subjects. He was engaged in peance for their good. Gaalava went and saw him. Straightaway he told the king, 'King! This is my daughter Maadhavi. She will beget children to continue the lineage. Will you take her in marriage, giving me my quoted things in return? It depends on whether you are ready to pay the way I need.'

King Haryashva heard the words thinking deeply and heaved a long sigh. He said to Gaalava, 'This girl is of a perfect form. In all accordance with the rules of physiognomy, she is erect in six places (interpretation is various i.e. back of two palms, two feet and two breasts; or, breasts, buttocks and eyes; or, breast, stomach,forehead,shoulders,hands, and face; or buttocks,forehead, thighs and nose), thin(=fine or smooth) in seven places (skin,fingers of hands, their nodes, fingers of feet, their nodes, hair and teeth. Some say five only, namely, nodes,hair on body, hair on head, nails and skin), red in five places (palms, soles,inner jaws, lower lip and eye-corners) and deep in three aspects (voice,navel and intellect). With these features, she is coveted by the gods and Gandharvas too. She will bear many children too, not ordinary ones, but one who can become an emperror. O braahmana , tell your return price keeping my wealth in view.'

Gaalava replied. ' If you can offer me eight hundred white horses all with one black ear, this girl can become mother of your children, like the Arani to the fire.' Haryashva heard the price and became dull. Having fallen for the girl already, he said to the sage, 'I have only two hundred horses of your description. Other horses are in their thousands. You may take as many of them as you like. Or, if you are particularly interested only in such peculiar horses, let me marry this girl for the two hundred I have with me. I shall return this girl to you after I beget one son from her. You may respect my request.' Hearing the king's words, Maadhavi told Gaalava. 'Sir, a sage blessed me that I would become a virgin after every delivery of a child. You may give away me to this king and earn two hundred horses. That way, I will deliver four sons as I was blessed and you will get your eight hundred horses as you choiced. I think this is the best way to satisfy your teacher's demand. That is all I can say, you may decide as you wish.'

Then Gaalava said to the king. 'I agree to your proposal. You pay one-fourth of the presceibed price and have this girl as your wife. You beget one son from her and entrust her back to me.' Accordingly, the king married the girl and had one son named Vasumanas from her. He later grew up to be a very good ruler who performed many sacrifices offering huge gifts to the participants. Gaalava returned to Haryashva and said. ' King, I am glad that you have had a son like a rising sun. It is time for me to go to another king for my horses. Please entrust my girl to me. Let the two hundred horses be with you here. I will return at my convenience and take them with me.' King Haryashva too, due to his truthfulness and due to his not having more such horses, gave the girl back to Gaalava. Maadavi became a virgin again by the power of her boon and left the king to follow Gaalava. Gaalava then said to Maadhavi. 'Dear daughter, I know a king named Divodaasa, son of Bheemasena and ruler of Kaashi provinces. He is very truthful and righteous. Please follow me. Do not be sad about this.'

And Gaalava went to king Divodaasa. After the usual respects were over, Gaalava explained his case and proposed that the king may beget one son from the girl. Divodaasa replied, 'Sage! I have heard of this already. No need not of elaboration. Since I heard about this, I have been awaiting this chance. I am glad that you have come to me from that king. It seems this is what is destined to happen. Asto the horses, I too can give you only two hundred, as those are all that I have with me. Let me too have one son from this girl and return to you.'

Gaalava agreed and did accordingly. Divodaasa procedurally married Maadhavi. The king spent with her for his pleasure as Sun did with Prabhaavathi, as Agni did with Svaaha, as Indra did with Shachi, as Chandra did with Rohini, as Yama did with Dhoomorna, as Varuna did with Gouri, as Kubera did with Riddhi, as Vishnu did with Lakshmi,as Samudra (The Sea God) did with Ganga, as Brahma did with Sarasvathi, as Shakthi(Vasishtha's son) did with Adrishyanthi, as Vasishtha did with Akshamaala (Arundhathi?), as Chyavana did with Sukanya, as Pulasthya did with Sandhya, as Agasthya did with Lopaamudra, as Sathyavaan did with Saavithri, as Bhrigu did with Puloma, as Kashyapa did with Adithi, as Jamadagni did with Renuka, as Vishvaamithra did with Hymavathi, as Brihaspathi did with Thaara, as Shukra did with Shathaparva, as Purooravas did with Oorvashi, as Richeeka did with Sathyavathi, as Manu did with Sarasavathi, as Dushyantha did with Shakunthala, as Dharma did with Dhrithi, as Nala did with Damayanthi, as Naarada did with Sathyavathi(different from the one mentioned just above), as Jarathkaaru did with Jarathkaaru, as Pulasthya did with Pratheechi, as Oornaayu did with Menaka, as Thumburu did with Ramya, as Vaasuki did with Shathasheersha, as Dhananjaya did with Kumaari, as Raama did with Seetha and as Krishna did with Rukmini.

As the king was spending time with her, she bore a son to him, named Prathardana. Then Gaalava came to the king, thanked him for his help and asked the king to return Maadhavi so that he might approach another king for the rest of the horses. King Divodaasa stood by his word and returned the girl to Gaalava. Gaalava left the horses with the king himself, with a word to take them when needded. Maadhavi, again became a virgin as earlier and followed Gaalava, leaving the king and his wealth.

Galava sincerely went in search of a suitable king to get the horses from and went to king Usheenara of the Bhoja city (of Usheenara province). He told the king, 'King ! This girl is Maadhavi, daughter of Yayaathi, adopted by me for my cause. She will bear you two sons like the Sun and the Moon to bring fame to your lineage. And the price you have to pay for this girl is four hundred white horses each black in one ear. All these I need is for my teacher, but not for my own, as I have nothing to do with horses. If you have a chance to afford, go for it soon. I see that you have no sons. One without sons cannot do good to his manes and he is sure to fall in the hell. No heavenly abodes for him.'

Usheenara heard his words and said approvingly, 'Sage! You spoke truth. I have no sons. I am eager to get them too. Destiny is almighty. I have heard of your affair and my mind too stuck with that. But, as to the horses, I have only two hundred answering your description, though other horses are abundant. Let me give those two hundred special horses to you and marry this girl. Like the other two kings, I too will marry her for the benefit of having only one son from her. The price I offered is also as that they did to you earlier. I tell you, Gaalava, all this is for my subjects, not for my selfish interests. I cannot spend the monies of my people for me, thereby throwing myself into the hell. So, I pray you to accept the two hundred horses and give this girl to me. I will get one son from her and return her to you.'

Gaalava accepted the king's pleadings, gave away the girl to him and went to the forests. Usheenara experienced pleasures of his choice with Maadhavi, once in his parks, once on the caves of hills, once in the woods and once in the rivers, once in the brooks, once in the palaces, once in the balconies, once in the inner apartments and once in the open terraces. As time passed, Maadhavi bore her a son, who later became famous as Shibi. Learning about the birth of Usheenara's son , Gaalava came to him, took the girl, kept the horses with the king and left with Maadhavi,who, as usual became a virgin again and followed him.

As Gaalava was going alongwith Maadhavi in search of another king that can give him more such horses, he accosted Garuda in the way. Garuda smiled at him and asked, ' I think your task is accomplished.' Gaalava answered, 'Not completely . One-fourth of the target yet remains unachieved. I am now trying to complete the rest of the work.'

Garuda said again. ' I admire your perseverance. Making an effort is always commendable, but in your present case, efforts will not matter any more, because it is impossible to achieve any further in this. Listen the full details. Once a long time ago, in the city of Kaanyakubja, sage Richeeka asked king Gaadhi for the latter's daughter Sathyavathi in marriage. Gaadhi demanded Richeeka to bring one thousand white horses all with one black ear as a marriage-price of the girl. Richeeka agreed and went to Varuna. He obtained those horses from there and gave to Gaadhi and married his daughter. Later, Gaadhi performed a Pundareeka sacrifice and gave away all the horses as gifts to braahmana s. The three kings you have seen till now bought two hundred horses each from the braahmana s. The remaining four hundred were carried away by the spating waters of river Vithastha, while in transport across it. Thus the entire number of such horses now existing is only six hundred in all, making it impossible to procure any more. The best and the only thing for you to do now is simply presenting the available six hundred horses to Vishvaamithra and offering this girl Maadhavi as a complement for the remaining two hundred steeds. He will surely honour your prayer and accept. That makes you free from your burden.' Gaalava had no option. He gathered all the horses from the three kings and went to Vishvaamithra alongwith Garuda and Maadhavi. He prostrated before his teacher and humbly represented, 'Sir, I made my best efforts all thes years to bring what you orderd me to. But these are all I could collect. Only six hundred in number. For the remaining two hundred, I offer this girl Maadhavi, a virgin even after bearing three sons to three great kings. She was blessed that she can get four sons to establish continuity of four dynasties. I pray you Sir, you may beget one son from her. Let that make my gift of eight hundrded steeds complete and free me from my commitment to you. That allows me to go on peacefully with my penances.'

Vishvaamithra regarded Gaalava, Garuda and the beautiful girl. He said, ' Why did not you, Gaalava, tell about this girl in the beginning itself? I would have got all four sons myself to develop my lineage. As you request, I accept this girl in place of the remaining two hundred horses. Let these horses be kept around my hermitage. I will have one son from this girl. I permit you to leave now. You are free from any debt to me.' Gaalava and Garuda bowed to the sage and left. Vishvaamithra enjoyed many pleasures with Maadhavi for a long time and got a son named Ashtaka . Soon after his birth, the sage bestowed upon him all the knowledge and the horses too. Vishvaamithra then called Gaalava and entrusted Maadhavi back to him, he himself choosing to resume his penances in the forests.

Gaalava was immensely pleased with her and said, 'Girl, You have had four sons, one a hero of valour, one a hero of alms, one a hero of piety and virtue and one a hero of sacrifices (Note: Note these qualities attributed to her sons. These will be referred to, very soon.). You restored and established four great dynasties besides me myself. Your father is assured of higher worlds because of you. I will now give you back to your father.' Saying this, Gaalava thanked Garuda and went to Yayaathi with the girl. Praising Yayaathi for his help in his cause, Gaalava entrusted Maadhavi to him and retired to the forests for penances.

Naarada continued. 'Thus getting back Maadhavi from Gaalava, Yayaathi decided to find a good husband for her. He took her by a chariot to the hermitages near the confluence of the rivers Ganga and Yamuna. He called his sons Yadu and Pooru and allocated to them the duty of seeing her married. They two took their sister with a garland in her hand and roamed around that area. they came across many Naagas, Yakshas, humans and people of many other races too. Many sages and kings were seen. When asked to choose one among them, she denied and chose to retire to the forest as a hermit to procure virtue and penance. She dismounted the chariot, bowed to all her relatives, retired to her choiced place in the forest and took up severe penances. She observed fasting, took up many regulations, undertook many penitentiary measures and began to live like an animal. She ate a little fresh grass and drank a little pure water from the brooks. she freely moved around in dense forests full of lions, tigers and tuskers, avoiding conflagrations. Thus living in the forests like a deer, she amassed great virtue and penance for her. Her brothers Yadu and Pooru too expanded their lineage and performed many sacrifices. All the deeds of the brothers and their sister made Yayaathi rich in virtue, not in ths world alone but in the next one too. Yayaathi lived for a very long time thereafter and went to heaven after the end of his life.

Naarada continued. 'Yayaathi lived in the heaven for many thousands of years enjoying divine pleasures. As time passed, he grew proud of his amassed virtues that made him stay in the heaven for such along period. His mind and senses became less sensible and he resorted to insult all humans, kings,sages and gods right before the kings and sages in the heaven. Indra learnt about Yayaathi's taking a pride in his status. All the royal sages in the heaven reprehended him for his unseemly feelings in such a place as heaven. All at once started asking one another, 'Who can this man be? Which king's son is he? How did he stay here? what achievements brought him here? What penance was observed by him? How is he placed here? Is there anyone here who knows him?' They asked all the gate guards, flier guards and hall-keepers but none could tell his identity as Yayaathi's folly made their knowledge defunct. In a flash, all Yayaathi's powers were gone. He became like a dumb one. He was shaken in his chair and began to fall off from there. His heart burnt with fear and grief. His senses died out. His garments dis-hevelled, his garlands faded, his crown and bracelets slipped off and other ornaments fell scattered. He could not see the gods in the heaven and he himself was not visible to them either. He went on falling down onto the earth. He thought at last, 'What could be my fault? What unvirtueful thoughts did my mind entertain? Why am I falling down?' As he was falling down so, being witnessed by all the Saadhyas and Apsaras, one of the heaven guards empowered to throw down the ones with diminished virtues said to him, 'King! You became very proud and arrogant. You unduely insulted everybody here. That pride deprived you of your heaven. You are out of sensibility. You shall fall at once.'

Yayaathi then said, 'If I must fall at all, may I fall amidst good people.' He uttered those words thrice and continued to fall, thinking about his future all the while. At the same time on the earth, four kings, Prathardana, Vasumanas, Shibi and Ashtaka were performing a sacrifice called Vaajapeya in the Nymisha forest to propitiate Indra. The smole from their altar reached the heaven, resembling the Ganga descending to the earth. Yayaathi smelt the smoke and fell down amidst them, sliding along the line of smoke as if climbing down a ladder. The four resplendent kings saw the man falling before them and asked him,'Who are you? Which country do you rule? You do not look like an ordinary human. Are you a Yaksha or Gandharva or Raakshasa or god ? What made you come here? What do you need?' Yayaathi replied. 'Gentlemen! I am Yayaathi. My virtues decayed and I was to fall down from the heaven to the earth. While falling, I wished that I should fall amidst good people. It seems my wish has not become futile.' - Then the kings said to him. 'Let what you wished become true. You may accept all of our virtues and results of our sacrifice too.' But Yayaathi replied to them,'No.I am not a braahmana to accept things offered by others. I never like to destroy others' virtues.'

Naarada continued. 'Meanwhile, there came Maadhavi, wandering around like an animal. All the four kings stood up, bowed to her and said,' What shall we do for you, mother? We, all four of your sons, are at your command.' Maadhavi was pleased with their words and kissingly touched them on their heads. She looked at her father Yayaathi and bowed to him. She said, 'Dear father! These are your grandsons(original: douhithras=daughter's sons) and my sons, but not outsiders.I am your daughter Maadhavi, observing the penance of living like an animal. These grandsons of youwill restore you to your higer worlds. It is customary that the people from later generations restore higher abodes to their manes. Besides their virtues, you may take half of what I have amassed. Every body is entitled to a share in the possessins of their children. It is in fact for that reason that people wish to have grandchildren through their daughters.'

At that time, Gaalava too came there. He wished the king with reverence.Learning the context,he too offered, 'You take one-eighth of my accrued virtues and ascend to the heaven.' As soon as the virtueful persons recognised Yayaathi and talked to him, he began to rise above towards heaven. He appeared clad in divine garments, adorned with garlands and ornaments. His feet did not touch the earth, but remained above it. He became pleased and his grief was gone. Then the four kings bowed to their mother and said to their grandfather in a loud and clear voice, reverberating the entire forest, meaning his regaining of the heaven.

First, Vasumanas said, 'Whatever I have acquired through my alms and donations made to the eligible people without attracting even the slightest blemish from anyone, all that I offer to you to make you ascend to the heaven again. You may get what a generous and pious person gets.' With those words Yayaathi rose higher into the sky.

Next, Prathardana said,' Whatever virtue I have acquired from my righteous and worthy involvements in wars with great heroes and from my victories therein, whatever fame befitting a true kshathriya that I have had in this world, all that may take you to the heaven again.' With his sacrificing offer, Yayaathi went still higher.

Then Shibi said,' I have never lied before in my life, even in the case of children,women, jovial talks, wars, hardships or dire necessities. If it were true, the power of that truth may take you to heaven. I never prefer empire or pleasures or benefits or my very life to truth. With the power of thet truth, you go back to heaven. My truthboundedness pleased Indra,Agni and Yama. With the power of that truth, you reach heaven again.' Yayaathi went stil higher towards the heaven.

Then, the performer of many sacrifices,Ashtaka, said to Yayaathi, who himself had many sacrifices in his name, 'I have performed many sacrifices like Pundareeka, Gomedha, Vaajapeya and many others, in their hundreds. May the fruits of all those sacrifices befall upon you! Not a gem, not a money, not a garment, not a piece of wealth that I did not use in my sacrifices does exist. The power of that grand performance of sacrifices shall take you to back to the heaven.' With those words, Yayaathi went still higher and higher.

Then, all the four kings said in one voice, 'We, all four of your grandsons, who truly followed the code of kshathriya s, who stuck to the vrtue at all times and who sincerely wish to send you back to heaven at the cost of our virtues, say, you shall ascend to the heaven!' As they spoke like that, Yayaathi went higher and higher towards the heaven. Finally, he reached back the heaven.

Thus, the four virtueful grandsons saw to it that their grandfather regained his lost place in the heaven. As Yayaathi reentered heaven, divine flowers were showered on him. Divine air blew over him pleasantly. the apsaras danced and sang while the drums and pipes accompanoed. All the sages and gods welcomed,wished and honoured him with an eternal place in the higher abodes. Having attained such a place through his grandsons, Yayaathi shone resplendently outshadowing the others in the heaven.

Then Brahma told him as if pleasing him with his words, 'You have followed all the four quadrants of virtue in the human world, by performing all the required deeds there. Your fame in that world and your place in this world too, are etrnal and permanent. It was because of your own folly that you destroyed your virtue, whereby all the heaven-dwellers forgot you, whence your fall from here. Your daughter and her sons lifted you up again to place you here for ever. Now, you will not lose your place here.'- 'Sir, I have a little doubt in my mind. Only you can clarify that and so I ask you. My virtues are results of good ruling of my subjects for many thousands of years and performance of many sacrifices on a grand scale. How could that great quantity of virtue became consumed in a relatively shorter period? You know what my virtues earned for me. How could all that get destroyed?' Brahma replied,'You truly said that you earned higher abodes. But what ruined your status are your pride and your ego. That was why the heaven-dwellers tainted you with unworthy qualities and expelled you from heaven. Learn, king, this world cannot be attained or retained with Arrogance or pride or might or violence or tricks or mischief. Never should you deride or insult anyone, may he be inferior, equal or superior to you. those who quote this story of your fall and rise will come over all their troubles whatsoever.'

Naarada thus concluded the story of Yayaathi and continued to talk to Duryodhana. 'My boy! Thus did the ancient king Yayaathi trouble himself with his bad quality of pride. Gaalava too suffered heavily from his bad quality of obstinacy. You should listen to the word of your elders and wellwishers. Shed your pride and anger. Make peace with your cousins Paandavas. Do not be persistent. Persistence is the source of self-destruction. Adopting enemity with the mightier ones lands you in danger. Whatever one gives or does or observes or sacrifices or offers as oblations, does not go futile. It neither perishes nor decays. None but its doer shall eat its fruits too. This episode I told you is of great prominence as it is about the most learned and about those who got ridden of anger, affection and selfishness. A true understanding of this will bring the entire world into your enjoyment.' Naarada concluded.

END OF CHAPTER ONE HUNDRED AND TWENTY THREE

KRISHNA PLEADS WITH DURYODHANA FOR PEACE

Hearing Naarada's clear speech against enemity, Dhritharaashtra spoke to him. 'Sage! You just talked right . It is in fact what I too wish for. But, Sir, alas, I am helpless and unable.' And the old king then said to Krishna. 'Krishna! You spoke verily the justice. Your words are in accordance with virtue and justice, showing care about both this world and the next one too. But, my evil sons do not care me at all. I am not independent to decide the things. Nor do I appreciate what is happening around. Duryodhana is the worst son a parent can ever have. He does not abide by my words or my queen's words either. He is always against words of good people like Bheeshma, Vidura and many other. I pray you my dear Krishna, to try to convince my disobedient,cruel and ill-willing son who always flouts the principles of safe conduct of royal policies.'

Krishna heard the cunning words of the old king but said nothing against him. He straight spoke to Duryodhana in a tender but firm voice. ' Duryodhana! Please listen to my words for the benefit of you and your associates. You are clever and intelligent, born in a clan of a high order. You are well learned and you posssess many good qualities. You are now opting to do what only such people as of low birth, low intellect and no shame will do. In this world, we see the conduct of the gentlemen to be bound by virtue and benefits, whereas that of the ill-cultured is seen to be otherwise. It is pitiable that such an unworthy conduct is found in you very often. The result of such conduct is simply terrible unvirtuousness which leads to your destruction that is unwarranted, undesirable but unavoidable once started. Hence, if you make yourself wise enough to stave the harm from your brothers, sons, subjects and friends, you will be safeguarding yourself from resorting to such unworthy act which brings disgrace to you all.'

'Paandavas are wise, heroic, self-restraint, learned and enthusiastic. It is apt for you to go for peace with them. Your father Dhritharaashtra, grandfather Bheeshma, teachers Kripa and Drona, elders Baahleeka and Somadaththa, friend Ashvaththaama, brothers Vikarna and Vivimshathi, besides all your kinsmen and dear ones like and support that proposal. You honour your father's word. Any man even in a great trouble will listen to his father's advice because a father always says good to his sons. As your father wishes peace with Paandavas, may it please you and your followers too. That brings good to you and to the entire world as such.'

If one hears guidance from one's wellwishers but disregards it, that will cause one suffer later like a malignant fruit eaten. He who makes the blunder of neglecting good advice and turns indecisive at the needy moment,will lose all his benefits and repent when it is too late. On the other hand, he who changes his wrong stand in favour of a good advice from his true wellwishers, will see his pleasures increased. And he who adamantly refuses to adopt such a good advice and gets carried away by detrimental advice, will fall an easy prey to his foes. He who derides words of good people and follows those of bad ones, will soon face serious troubles, causing grief to his own people . Discarding able kinsmen and adopting incompetent outsiders will take one into grave dangers wherefrom no one can extricate. The empire cannot stay with such one who goes by wicked people, ignores good friends, hates own wellwishers and cleaves onto undesirable people. What is the logic in your abandoning the able Paandavas and depending on low,unworthy,ignorant and incompetent fellows for your protection? Can there be anyone other than you who leaves Paandavas that excel even Indra and look at others for support?'

'It is known all over that you have harmed the Paandavas since childhood. you have deceived and insulted them many times. But, they bear no anger against you and are still for affectionate relations with you. You too are better to have the same disposition towards them who are but your dear prominent cousins. Do not be lead away by anger alone. A wise man aims at attaining virtue, benefits and desires, all three together. In case achieving all the three is impossible, he will try for the first two. When an option is to be excercised for only one among the three , a wise man goes for the first one, an average man opts for the second one. Only a man of poor intellect will choose the third. A man yielding to his sensories due to his low intellect and running after desires and benefits,will not prosper. He who wishes to pursue these two too, should adopt virtue itself all the while, because no benefits or desires can come true beyond virtue. Duryodhana! The wise say that virtue is the route to all the three goals. One adopting the virtue will develop like the fire in a dry bush. But, you, very unwisely wish to retain the great empire through unworthy means. He who plays foul with true people will be just pared down by his own sins like a forest felled down by axes (whose handles come from the trees of the forest itself).'

'We should not spoil the mind of those people whom we don't want to bear insult. And the mind stays looking for good only as long as it remains unspoiled. No wise man shall insult even an unworthy one in the world, what to talk of such great ones as Paandavas? A person influenced by envy cannot see reason and he is ready to discard even the most established standards in the world too!'

'Duryodhana! Joining with the Paandavas is far better for you than going with unworthy people. Once you begin enjoying life with them, all your aspirations will come true. In fact, the empire you now enjoy was first earned by Paandavas but you wish to avoid them and go with useless people for your safety and protection. With your fortunes under the care of poor Dushshaasana, Durvishaha, Karna and Shakuni, you dream of supremacy! None of these is a match to anyone of the Paandavas in wisdom or valour or awareness about virtue and benefits. You might think that your warriors may stand against the Paandavas.Listen, now. Not all the kings standing on your side and you together too cannot see an angry Bheema's face in the war. And all your armies together, lead by your stalwarts Bheeshma, Drona,Karna, Kripa, Bhoorishravas, Ashvaththaama, Jayadratha and others, is insufficient to fight against Arjunaalone. He is invincible even to the mortals, Gandharvas,gods and demons all put together. Of the entire group of heroes here, search for one man who can meet Arjunain war and yet go home safe! Why do you stake all your people? As a matter of test, you name one person from your side that can win Arjuna whose defeat willbe Paandavas' defeat! Who can win him who defeated Indra for Khaandavaprastham? We heard the great wonder that happened at Viraata city. The debacle of all your great hands in the hands of Arjunaalone when he ably retrieved the cows. You very childishly dream of winning against Arjunawho satisfied the great Lord Shiva himself in a hand-to-hand fight. who can stand against Arjuna with me at his help in the war, may he be Indra himself? He who can win Arjuna, can lift the earth with his hands and can burn down with his anger all the people in the worlds and can dethrone the gods too. Think of your brothers, sons and relatives. May not all these perish due to your adamance. May the Kouravas love long. May no insult be inflicted upon them. May you not become notorious of bringing destruction of your clan. The Paandavas will make your father the king and you youreself will be the crown-prince. Do not be foolish to throw off the nearing fortune. Give half the empire to the Paandavas and enjoy your half freely and safely. Making peace with Paandavas as advised by your wellwishers is the only way to your wellbeing.' Krishna concluded his speech that was marked with his charming voice of lovely intonations.

ELDERS PREVAIL UPON DURYODHANA FOR PEACE

After Krishna, Bheeshma took on and spoke to Duryodhana who was much annoyed by that time. 'My boy! Krishna taught you with a view to bringing good to you and your people. You must agree to it. Do not be a slave to your harmful anger. Disregarding his words, you will never attain good or benefit or prosperity. what he said is quite according to virtue and justice. Follow that and avoid destruction of your people. The fame of our race rose high excelling all other kings. Your imprudence now causes it to collapse right in your father's life-time. With your limitless egotism, you are about to kill all your brothers, sons and friends. Do not overrule what your father or wise Vidura says for your benefit. Do not be the cause of ruining of your clan. Do not throw your old mother and father into deep grief.'

Then, Drona spoke to Duryodhana, who, by that time, became more angry and impatient. 'King! Both Krishna and Bheeshma spoke for your wellfare. They both are learned, wise and competent to decide which brings what good to you. Go by their words which make your place and wealth secure. Do not attach yourself with imbecile people. It is not safe to insukt Krishna due to your indiscretion. Understand that all these who encourage you for enemity with Paandavas will never be able to stand at the needy hour for you. These are all worthless against them and all that these can do is to leave the burden of winning on others and run away. do not look for killing your brothers, sons and others. Learn that the side with Krishna and Arjunatogether is just invincible. If you do not now care the advice of your best wellwishers Krishna and Bheeshma, you will surely have to repent later. As sage Parashuraama told you, Arjunais that great and Krishna is still greater, either being impossible to be one even by the gods. I am sorry that the words of people like us who wish your wellfare is going uncared. This is all that I can say. It does not look nice if I tell you again and again. Think wisely and act as you wish.'

Soon after Drona's words, Vidura looked at Duryodhana who was fully loaded with wrath,and spoke. ' Duryodhana! Let me speak my good words to you, whether you care them or not. I am not sorry about you, but I pity your ripe old parents. Due to their sin of giving birth to a family-destructor like you and due to their helplessness of being verily under your care, they are going to lose all their sons and followers thereby remaining alone and destitute, as pitiable as birds deprived of their wings. It is sure that they will have to wander around like mendicants. If you cannot choose the right path and if you do not listen to the right advice too, what else can happen to the family?'

Still Duryodhana remained calm, boiling within with anger, surrounded by his brothers and many kings. Dhritharaashtra then called him and spoke. 'My son! Please listen to Krishna's words. That brings you good and permanent safety. If he turns our favourite, we can have all our desires served and excel all other kings. Krishna has come to you like a boat to cross the river of trouble. Use this advantage. Go with him to Yudhishthira for peace and make all your clan happy. It seems the best way for us now. do not throw away this chance. If you so stubbornly choose to neglect Krishna who is hard trying for your good, you will only meet with defeat and destruction.'

Seeing Duryodhana still disagrreably silent, Bheeshma and Drona again talked to him, unable to supress their agony. 'Boy! Do not be blind to the facts. Even as Krishna and Arjuna are not ready (for fighting), even as the Gaandeevam is not stringed, even as otherwise soft Yudhishthira does not throw his angry glance at our armies, even as the ferrocious Bheema does not appear before us wielding his great bow, even as he is not seen cutting across our ranks, even as his mace does not fall upon the heads of our fighters smashing them down like the fruits from a tree, even as their stalwarts like Nakula,Sahadeva, Dhrishtadyumna, Viraata, Drupada,Shikhandi, Dhrishtakethu and Saathyaki do not lift their weapons against us, even as their priest Dhoumya does not begin offering our armies as oblations in the sacrifice of war, even as their sharp arrows do not pierce deep into the tender bodies of our young fighters, even as their various weapons do not plant into the bodies of our men,let this destructive internal enemity come to an end. May we all see you respectfully bowing to king Yudhishthira. May he embrace you affectionately with his hands. May he pat you on your shoulder with his fine hand. May he seat you beside him and fondly stroke your back with his palm. May the tall and mighty Bheema embrace you with his long and strong hands showering love upon you. May you receive the respects of Arjunaand The Twins with love. May all the kings seeing you with the Paandavas be joyful and happy to their hearts. May the fraternity of you and the Paandavas become wellknown . Share the empire with them and live free from fear.'

Duryodhana suppressed his wrath and heard all the words of the elders withholding his mind. He then spoke to Krishna with his every word coated with anger and pride.'Krishna! You should assess the things properly before you speak. Why do you particularly scold me ? you sold yourself to the Paandavas for their cunning obedience. That makes you biased against me without caring for the truth. Even my father, grandfather,Vidura and Drona all are with one mind in deriding me. But, for myself, I do not see even a minute fault from my side. Then, I cannot understand why you all blame me. If the Paandavas willfully chose to gamble and lost therein to Shakuni, why am I to blame? Even so, we had returned to them whatever they had lost to us in the game. When they themselves played again and lost forcing themselves to go the forests on exile, how can that be our folly? Now, those weak fellows acquired some men and declared war against me showing some petty pretext. Given what had happened to them, all from their own deeds, what was our harm to them? What valid reason can they establish for their coming to kill us? We are not the ones to bow even to Indra from fear or due to threats. Which true kshathriya in this land will surrender to enemy for his life? I cannot see any kshathriya among us who will not go ready to kill his enemies in the wars. You yourself are a famous killer of enemies. As you know, going for war is the right duty of a true kshathriya . We too stick to that accepted duty. If we fall klled in the war, that too will ensure heaven to us. In case we fell in the war without surrendering to the enemies, then no one will lament our deaths. As taught by the learned Maathanga, one should always try to win. Trying to win is the natural quality of a man. One should never bend low before anyone. Rather, severing relations is better than that. Krishna, A person like me bows either to the braahmana s or other people eligible according to the code of conduct, but not to the foes out of fear. when I was young and powerless, my father had, either due to ignorance or pity or fear, allowed the Paandavas a share of the empire,which they otherwise never befit to claim. But, now, with me in my place, they cannot expect anything. Do you think we should go begging around when Dhritharaashtra is alive alright? Krishna, too much talking is not needded. As long as I am alive, I will not concede to the Paandavas even such a minute part of land as the tip of a sharp needle can cover.'

Duryodhana's arrogant words reddened Krishna's eyes with anger. He answered him in a sharp voice.'You ignorant! You say you are ready to fall in the war! Yes, you will have it. A great war of your choice is nearing. Stand steady with your men. You stupid! How dare you say you have never harmed the Paandavas? Let you and all your kngs here may hear this! When Paandavas were with flourishing wealth, you blazed with jealousy and planned a deceitful game of dice with them. Who can say that cheating the true and sincere kinsmen is not an offence of conduct? O my dear learnd one, Gambling spoils the intellect of even the good people and brings harm to the vulnerable ones. You plotted with crooked hands and chose to adopt such a low means ignoring all cultured customs, to snatch the wealth of Paandavas. Can we see anyone in the world who dragged his brother's wife into an open hall and threw his dirty tongue as you did to Droupadi then? born in a high clan, possessing all the high qualities, chaste to the core, dearer than life to Paandavas, she was so insulted by you. All these people in this house know what Dushshaasana said to the exiled Paandavas. Which man of a nice conduct behaves like you with his generous and friendly kins? You, your friend Karna and your brother Dushshaasana threw many unmentionable words at them. Even prior to that, you plotted against them during their stay at Vaaranaavatham and tried to burn them alive when they were asleep in their palace. Luckily for them, your plan did not bear fruit. Just due to your harmful persecution, they and their mother were forced to live guised in a braahmana 's house in Ekachakram. Even when they were living together with you here in childhood, you served poison to Bheema and made him bitten by snakes. You have tried as many cruel plans as you could to kill them secretely, but you were always unsuccessful. Having been ever so spiteful and harmful towards them, and having sinfully made those many attempts to kill them, how can you bluff in this hall that you have not hated or harmed them ? you are now adamantly turning down the pleadings of your grandfather,father and teachers. Now you happily refuse to concede the share to Paandavas, but you will forcibly concede the same, after seeing yourself defeated, alone and deprived of all your wealth and power. Even though it is clearly beneficial to either side to go for peace , you still refuse to see the strength in it. What is this, if not stupidity? You will not see good days if you discard your wellwishers and stand by your unethical counsels. You are ruining the name and fame of your clan as a whole.'

The entire audience remained silent at Krishna's harsh rebuke. Then Dushshaasana said to his brother, 'Unless you accede to Krishna's proposal of peace with Paandavas, it seems that these three old men Bheeshma, Drona and our father will bind you, me and Karna to entrust to the Paandavas.' Duryodhana heard his brother's words and stood up to walk out of the hall. Breathing heavily like a hissing snake, looking as if emitting fire from his reddened eyes, he was about to walk off, unmindful of Vidura, Dhritharaashtra, Baahlika, Kripa,Somadaththa, Bheeshma, Drona, Krishna and others. All his brothers and followers moved with him. Bheeshma observed his shameless and unregal behaviour to his dismay. He said to Krishna, 'He who drops virtue and benefits to cling to his obstinacy, will soon be seen in troubles jeered at by his foes. This wicked prince fell slave to his greed and anger with his undue claim to the empire. All his followers and counsels blindly support him. Krishna, dear, it seems all these kshathriyas neared their end.' Even as he was talking like that, Duryodhana left the hall with his men.

Krishna then said to all the elders, as his reply to Bheeshma's words, glancing at them all with his wide eyes. 'All these elders of this hall are at fault for not trying to force their erring king to correct himself. In this context, I will suggest you to adopt one measure which I think is the best for the present and futire too. I speak out openly before you all but it is upto you to agree to it or not. You all knew how my uncle Kamsa imprisoned his old father Ugrasena and snatched the throne. All the relatives abhored the cruel and arrogant Kamsa. Then, I resolved to do good to all the Vrishnis and killed Kamsa in fighting. again, Ugrasena was made their king and all the Bhojas are happy ever since. Also, we heard that, in the remote past when there was a rift between the demons and the gods which lead to a war threatening the entire world with destruction, the impartial Brahma proclaimed, ', The gods Aadithyas, Vasus and Rudras shall stay in the heaven. All demons like Dythyas, Daanavas and Asuras shall face the defeat and stay away, as they turned unvirtuous and cruel. The coming war sees the destruction of all races like demons,gods, Gandharvas,Naagas and mortals too. I order Yama to contain the demons and entrust them to Varuna.' Listening to that command, Yama chained all the demons and kept them under Varuna's custody. Varuna stationed them at Paathaalam under his control since then. Like in these two examples, the wrongdoers shall be punished now too. I entreat all te elders here to hand over Duryodhana, Dushshaasana, Karna and Shakuni to the Paamdavas. It is said by the policy makers that a single person should be foregone for the sake of a family, a family for the sake of a village, a village for te sake of a province and the entire world too for one's own sake. King Dhritharaashtra, You arrest Duryodhana and make peace with Paandavas. May all the kshathriya s not perish because of your failure in your duty.'

Dhritharaashtra heard these words but did not say anything in response to Krishna. He urged Vidura,'Go and bring queen Gaandhaari here. I will try to convince with the help of that wise and farsighted lady. Maybe, she can correct him and make it possible to honour Krishna's word. Let us see if there is a chance for pacifying the greed-stricken fellow and remove the terrible trouble that arose from his misconduct.'

Krishna did not miss to see the old king's cunning silence to his words and his clever trick to pass the burden onto his queen. Yet, he did not speak anything. Meanwhile, Vidura brought queen Gaandhaari to the King and seated her beside her husband. Dhritharaashtra spoke to her, 'Gaandhaari, Your son is very adamant in accepting the peace proposal. He is morbidly possessed with greed and does not even care for his life. He floted my word and Krishna's word too and left the hall with his fellows.'

Gaandhaari replied to her husband, 'Please call him here. He is really infested with malady of greed for the empire.How can an unvirtuous fellow acquire it or holds it succesfully even if acquired? King, In fact you are to blame in this case. you dote too much on him even quite clearly knowing his wickedness and always follow his mind. You have placed the throne in the hands of a greedy, ignorant and cruel fellow whose counsels are all as worthless as he. It is not that easy to control him now. You are reaping the fruit of your own misdeed of putting your bad son on the throne. How can true king remain silent seeing the rift between his own men? your foes will laught at you seeing severing relations with your own dear kins. When it is clearly possible to overcome the dispute with the kins either by truce or conciliation, who opts for a war as the very first measure? Anyway, as you order, I wil try to persuade him from destruction.' Dhritharaashtra sent Vidura to bring Duryodhana to his mother. Vidura brought him and his troup back into the hall. Duryodhana was still as angry as he was when he left the hall. He went to his mother, panting like a trodden snake and bowed to her.

Gaandhaari took her son near her and spoke to him in an affectionate tone but in a clear repremanding mood. 'Son! What is this adamance? Please follow my words that will bring safety and security in the days to come to you and all your people . Do not make a contempt of what your father, grandfather, Vidura, teachers and Krishna told you to do. Obeying to their words will be the biggest honour that you can show to all of us. It is not possible to gain or hold or enjoy the empire if you go by your own mind. One that yields to one's senses can never be a ruler for lomg time. Only a restraint ruler can stay on the throne. The primary task of a king is to tame his two powerful internal enemies, lust and anger, which always divert him from the corse of virtue and benefits. A king of uncontrolled mind cannot retain even such a great position as that of the Cardinal Lords. A seeker of empire shall first keep his senses under his control, for securing virtue and benefits. Once the senses are contained, the intellect flourishes like a fire from consumption of firewood. Untamed senses can cause capital damage to their abode, like untamed steeds can cause harm to a poor rider. A king wishing to win his followers' hearts before winning against his own senses first and wishing to win his opponents before first winning over his own followers, will be a laughng stock. If you grade your own mind as your first opponent and win against it first, you can next win your people and later your opponents. That should be the sequence of success. Wealth and fortune will stay with such a king who is a master of his own senses as well as of his followers, who ably requites the disobedient and who acts after due delibration. The two abominable traits lust and wrath are like two bigh fish caught ia net of weak holes. These two always override the intellect which a wise man should be always aware of. These are so cunning in nature that they can rise up even in the mind of a person devoid of any passions. It is said that the gods prevent the entry into heaven for a man with these two qualities. The way to a long rule for a king is simply his success in overcoming his anger,lust,greed,pride and deceipt. A king wishing to successfully maintain his virtue, benefits and upper hand over enemies, shall first control his own sensories. Even in the exceptional case of acquiring empire, a king yielding to these bad qualities cannot have any confidants or dependable supporters.'

She continued. 'Your best option is to join with the wise and mighty Paandavas and enjoy the empire alongwith them peacefully. As all these elders told you, Krishna and Arjuna are invincible. Krishna is a common wellwisher to both the sides. If pleased, he blesses you both with favours. Disregarding the word of our learned and impartial common wellwishers who sincerely care for our interests, you will be pleasing only your foes. If you choose war, it saves neither virtue nor benefits nor favours. What to talk of peaceful pleasures, then? Earlier too, our elders like Bheeshma, Baahlika, your father and Vidura presented a share to the Paandavas only apprehending an unwarranted rift with them. It is the fruits of their act that you have been enjoying all these years in the form of a vast empire built by them free from foes. I advise you to give their due half of the empire to Paandavas if you wish to rule your half safely with your friends. That half is sufficient to you and your friends to live happily and uxuriously. Do not turn a deaf ear to the advice of elders. Enemity with such mighty ones as Paandavas deprives you of your every comfort. Enough with the destructive animosity that you had borne against them out of your greed for these past thirteen years. It is time you shed your wrath and make peacewith them giving their share. If you wish to settle with them only in war, your friend Karna or your brother Dushshaasana are not worth your trust to win them. If a war occurs at all, what can be the result? You cannot expect to win the Paandavas in a flash with no inflictions on your side. Total destruction of entire people can be the only result from a war in which Bheeshma, Drona, Kripa, Karna, Bheema, Arjuna, Yudhishthira and Dhrishtadyumna participate from either side. May your feud not see the end of our clan. May your unjustified ambition not detroy the world. Also, be aware that neither Bheeshma, nor Kripa nor Drona either, will be all sincere in fighting against the Paandavas. Their minds are known to all. They are equipoised to you and Paandavas either in view of affection or relation. The additional aspect that keeps their minds with the Paandavas is their righteousness. Maybe, they will stand in the field to repay your debt, but they can never even behold Yudhishthira to achieve your goal. Understand that greed is the worst cause of harm to anyone and shed it off first. go for peace. Live with peace.'

DURYODHANA PLOTS TO CAPTURE KRISHNA

Gaandhaari thus vividly prevailed upon her son but he paid no heed to her words. In stead, he again left the hall and began consulting with his confidants Karna,Shakuni and Dushshaasana. They talked among temselves,'It appears that our grandfather and father together will decide to entrust us to Krishna. Krishna too will lose no time in obliging to that. We will outplay them by moving ahead of them. We ourselves will first chan down Krishna, even before they begin their work. Learning Krishna's binding, Paandavas will become despirited and weak. As Krishna is the root of Paandavas' strength and pride, his imprisonment will leave them and their associates Somakas thouroughly daunted. Let us do that quick, care not for our father's warnings.'

A very observant Saathyaki eyed upon their movements and he scented about what the quartet was planning to do. He quickly went to Krithavarma outside the hall and cautioned him, 'Stand ready with the forces at the main gate. I will caution Krishna too and return.' Saying that, he rushed back to Krishna and hinted about his observations. And then he declared to Dhritharaashtra and Vidura with a smile in his face, 'In utter disregard to virtue, benefits and desires, these fools are tryinf to do the most abhorable thing. Lead by their anger, greed and lust, these are resorting to unworthy and harmful acts. Dhritharaashtra's senseless sons are trying to bind verily Krishna himself, as unwisely as one trying to tie a fierce fire with one's garments.'

Vidura was bewildered hearing those words. He said to Dhritharaashtra within the hearing of everybody,'King! It is clear that all your sons have come to their end. Lest, they should not try this unworthy act. They are trying to confine the invincible Krishna himself! Is there any doubt that they will just become like the locusts falling in the fire? This great hero Krishna can smash them all in a flash like a lion does the deer,if he so desires, but he never swerves from the path of virtue. He will never condescend to a mean act. Our life still remains a little. That is why he is refraining from punishing us. If he is looked upon just as an ordinary kshathriya like others, they all will visit Yama's abode today itself. All our heroes will be thrown at all sides like the blades of grass are thrown by a gale. Did not we hear what happened where to those many kings who faced him earlier?'

Dhritharaashtra shuddered at the news of is son's blunder. Before he could respond, Krishna said to him. 'King! your sons are coming to bind me. You just permit me and see who will bind whom, they will do me or I will do them. It is a petty task for me to teach them a lesson, but this is not the place and time for that whence I prefer not. Loaded with greed for Paandavas' empire, your sons stake their own interests too. If this is what they opt to do, Yudhishthira's task is almost done. If I now take all these and their friends at once and remand to Yudhishthira, is it an injustice? Yet, I choose not to do so in your presence, just to respect your status. Let Duryodhana do as he likes, but simply for your sake alone, I spare your son for his misdeeds against me.'

By then, Dhritharaashtra could comprehend what was happening. He soon sent Vidura to bring Duryodhana before him. Vidura went out and brought an unwilling Duryodhana with his followers into the hall. Dhritharaashtra said to him in a rebuking tone. 'You foolish and evil one! What are you trying to do with your idiotic fellows? will you join those unworthy ones and resort to do unworthy things? What you try do is done only by those who bring blame to the clan. Not a wise or learned one will approve this. How dare you attempt to capture this invincible hero Krishna himself? He is unbearable even to the gods and demons coming together. You wish to walk against such a one foolishly, like a child trying to reach his hand to the moon? You do not understand that he is beyond all the humans, Gandharvas, Naagas,Raakshasas and gods. You might catch the air with your hand, might reach your hand to the moon, might bear the earth by your head, but you can never win Krishna with your might. You at once go to Krishna and appologize to him for your mistake.'

KRISHNA'S UNIVERSAL MANIFESTATION DISPLAYED

Duryodhana said nothing in response. Vidura told him, 'Boy! What do you think is Krishna? Didn't you hear about the fate of those who attacked Krishna earlier? The city of Vaaraanasi was totally burnt by him once. In Nirmochana city of Naraka, he smashed six thousand of Mura's demons. Dyumathsena and Dvivida both were killed by him when they attacked him from the flier Soumbha. Even Naraka could not capture him in his city of Praagjyothisham.In stead, Krishna himself killed him and married all the thousands of girls kept in Naraka's jails. Even in his childhood, Krishna killed many dangerous demons like Poothana, Baka, Arishta, Dhenuka and Keshi. Many stalwarts like Kamsa, Danthavakthra, Shishupaala, Baana and Jaraasandha were either killed or defeated by him. Even the gods like Varuna and Agni cannot excel him. Indra himself lost to him while Krishna forcibly brought the Paarijaathm tree from the heaven. He is none other than the Lord Vishnu himself, who killed the two great powerful demons Madhu and Kytabha when the whole world was in its deluge. He is that Lord who killed the demon Hayagreeva too. He is the maker and doer of all the things and actions in the creation. No one can make him do anything. He can simply do all that he wants to do. If you fail to see him as the Lord Himself and if you attempt to insult this form of divine prowess, you will perish with your ones like the flies jumping into flames.'

With Vidura thus explaining to Duryodhana and trying to stop him from his attempts, Krishna simply called him and said. 'Duryodhana, you ignorant! You see me to be single and venture to capture me. If you can see, here with me are , not the Paandavas alone, but even the vrishnis, andhakas,the sages and gods too!' Saying this, Krishna burst into a loud laughter.

In the face and body of that laughing Krishna, all the celestials and mortals were seen in the forms of minute blazing sparks. His form assumed numerous hands and faces. Frightening flames of fire with smoke and sparks flared into all directions from his furious faces, noses and eyes. Countless dazzling sparks emerged from the roots of each of his hair all over. Many weapons with blinding resplendence, like discus, mace, bow, sword, conch and plough were seen upheld by his hands. Lord Brahma appeared in his forehead; Lord Shiva appeared in his chest; the Cardinal Lords appeared in his hands; Agni, Aadithyas,, Rudras,, Saadhyas, Ashvis, Vishvas, Maruths, Indra,Yakshas, Gandharvas, Raakshasa and Vasus appeared unified in his faces; Balaraama and Arjuna appeared in his shoulders; Bheema, Yudhishthira and The Twins appeared in his back; all the Andhakas and Vrishnis with Pradyumna in their lead appeared before him, wielding various weapons; and all the divine divices appeared held by his hands.

Krishna's never-before-heard dreadful form manifested like that, made all the Kouravas and the kings shudder with fright. They shut their eyes in utter fear. Only the sages, Bheeshma, Drona, Vidura and Sanjaya could behold that universal manifestation of Krishna who graced them with supernatural vision to see that. With that unparrellel wonder hoisted in the hall by Krishna, the celestials beat their drums and showered flowers on him. Dhritharaashtra could understand what was happenning. He prayed to Krishna, 'Lord. I know you to be the source and final goal of everything in the universe. I wish to see only your form once and to turn as usual again. May you please to grace me too!' Krishna granted his request and allowed him that divine vision. Dhritharaashtra obtained his eyes with supernatural vision and saw Krishna's universal manifesatation to his satisfaction. Soon his eyes became normal. All the people in the court saw the king get and lose his eyes and wondered. All the kings and sages exalted him with the vedic hymns. The earth seemed to have shaken and seas seemed like whirling. The courtiers wondered and became frightened too.

Krishna withdrew his awful form and assumed his normal one. He obtained permission from the sages like Naarada to leave. They agreed and themselves too left. Then, Krishna took Saathyaki's arm into his and rose up to go. The turbulent hall came to normalcy again. All the Kouravas walked behind Krishna like the gods behind Indra. Krishna did not care much for the group of kings and went out like a fire with smoke around. Krishna's charioteer Daaruka brought his famous chariot and kept it ready for mounting. Saathyaki and Krithavarma too came ready to follow, mounting their vehicles. As Krishna was about to mount his chariot, Dhritharaashtra said to him. 'Krishna, You have yourself personally seen how helpless I was in convincing my arrogant sons. Nothing happened out of your view. Right before you, I tried all my energy to make them mend their way, but it all went futile. What more can I do? All my efforts to bring peace to the Kouravas became useless. I never mean any harm to the Paandavas. you and all these kings have witnessed how hard I tried to settle peace. You may appreciate my inability and helplessness.'

Krishna then said to all the elders there, ' Sir, did you all hear these words? You too witnessed what has happened in the hall. Duryodhana has been arrogant and his father says that he is not able enough to correct him. What is the use of my stay here anymore? I request you all to grant me leave to go. What the time has in store to run, may happen.' With those last words of caution, Krishna mounted his chariot. All the lead persons of the Kouravas like Bheeshma, Drona, Kripa, Vidura, Baahlika, Dhritharaashtra, Ashvaththaama, Vikarna Yuyuthsu etc followed him by foot for a little while. Dhritharaashtra bade him farewell and went back with some of them. Krishna's chariot moved forward with its jingling bells and clinking wheels. Other chariots too moved alongwith it. Bheeshma, Drona, Karna and some others followed Krishna. Slowly , they reached Kunthi's palace.

END OF CHAPTER ONE HUNDRED AND THIRTY ONE

KUNTHI PUTS A WORD TO HER SONS

Krishna entered Kunthi's mansion and bowed to her. After her comforting him with affection, he briefly apprised her of the developments in the hall of Kouravas. ' Aunt, I have tried to my best possible levels to convince them for peace. I told them many ways. But they refused to heed to my good words. Even the sages tried their word, but that went futile too. It seems that those kshathriya s at Duryodhana's command are nearing their end. If you permit me, I will soon go to your sons and wait for their command. What do you want me to tell them as your word? You are a learned lady. Let me hear from you what you wish to tell them.'

Kunthi replied without any hesitation. ' Krishna, Tell Yudhishthira as my word like this - 'My son! The virtue to which you stuck to all the while is really great. But it is becoming belittled now. Do not let it go waste. Just like a dry reciter of veda without knowing its meaning, your mind looks only one facet of virtue. You wake up and be aware of that virtue, for upkeeping of which you were created by the Lord. The creator created the kshathriya s from his hands, who should live by their valour, undaunted in excercising their harsh power in ruling the people. We hear that once Kubera was pleased with a king named Muchukunda and offerd him the entire earth to rule, but he refused to accept the gift, expressing that he was inclined to enjoy only such empire that he could acquire through his own valour. Kubers wondered atthe king's words. And the king later acquired the entire earth through his own prowess, following his kshathriya virtue and ruled it for long time. Mind to adopt that virtue now. A true protective king is eligible to one-fourth of his people's virtuuous achievements. If the king follows virtue, he achieves godlihood but he goes to hell if he fails from its path. A king's excercise of his control over his subjets makes them stand in the path of virtue and punishes the erring ones. If his rule is perfectly excercised, his reign becomes like the age Kritha and he attains the heaven to stay there forever. Similarly, depending on the levels of perfection of his rule, his reign becomes like the ages Thretha, Dvaapara or Kali, awarding him the proportional results. By effecting a rule with Thretha qualities, the king enjoys the heaven for a lomg time but not permanently; by effecting a rule with Dvaapara qualities, he enjoys for his good deeds and suffers for his bad ones too; by effecting a rule with Kali qualities, te king goes only to the hell to suffer there for ever. Never hesitate about whether the time makes the kings or the king makes the time. Surely, the king is the cause of the respectibe times.

'Think of the path trodden by the earlier kings upto your forefathers. The way you now wish to adopt does not compare with that one. Due to your too soft a heart and undue pity, you could not retain any results from having born as a ruling king. Neither I nor your father, nor your grandfather, ever wished you to become like this. I always wished you to excel others in sacrifices, alms, penance, valour, intellect, prowess and greatness. But, you chose your own way that is not that worthy to you. The gods well worshipped will award you with wealth and wellbeing. That is why the kshathriya parents and the gods wish that their sons should excel in performance of sacrifices and ruling. You, having born in a high clan, now suffer from want of food and shelter. A braahmana has right to beg others, a vyshya can amass wealth, a shoodra can serve others, but a kshathriya can only win from others for his sake. Either begging, or crop-raising or serving is prohibitted for you. You should subsist only on your valour. You should by all means regain your father's share of the empire, be it through comciliation or enticing or presenting or valour. You should be the one to give, not the one to ask. If you turn out to be a king famous for your alms, what else need I wish ? You will be a real kshathriya only when you acquire your empire and guard all your subjects from their troubles and satisfying them with alms and donations. In fact, that is precisely what the subjects too desire from a true king. Even after having you as my son, even as you were famous for your taming the foes, I am now poised to be miserable in the shelter of others, looking for food from them. Follow the code of kshathriya s, go for war against your foes and fight alongwith your brothers. Do not bring disgrace to your forefathers. Do not destroy your virtues and fall in the unworthy track alongwith your brothers.

' Krishna, Our elders quote an ancient episode of dialogue between queen Vidula and her son . Relate this to your cousins and encourage them. If you have any thing more to tell, you may do so.'

And she continued. 'Krishna! Once there lived a coronated queen named Vidula. She was well learned, wellversed with state administration, conversant with all doctrines of science, restraint , farsighted and very discrete too. She was well admired by all the kings of her time due to her knowledge and talent.

'Once her son, named Sanjaya, was defeated by king of Sindhu and returned home dejected. As he lay in his bed all sunk in depression, his mother, queen Vidula went to him and scoffed him for his meek and cowardly behaviour. She addressed to him in a sharp tone. ' You, unfit to be my son! Whence did you come with neither my qualities nor your father's? You have no resolution, no indignation, no goal at all. You live like a eunuch in the guise of a man. You look to remain depressed till the end of your life. Won't you prepare yourself to attain the lost glory? Do not denigrate yourself. Never think that a state or its administration is a petty thing. Shed your fears first. Do not remain just defeated and lying in the bed like this. Rise , my son, rise to proceed against the foes. Your shamelessness pleases your enemies and discourages your sipporters. A small rivulet, a rat's palm and a fool are equally pusilanimous, becoming content with even with a small stuff. It will be even better if you meet your end by trying to pluck the fangs of a deadly snake, rather than accepting degeat and remaining alive. You should not withdraw from the path of valour, even in the face of death. You should look for an opening in your enemies either overtly or covertly,as keenly a kite does for one. Why di you stay as a corpse, fallen like one struck by the bolt? You contemptible one! Never choose the lowest path, but always choose the best one to live. you stand roaring at the enemies, but do not lie weak and afraid. do not die nondescript, live famous. Opt to live like a flaming torch, even for a little while, rather than to exist long but useless like a husk-fire. No prince is admired if he is soft and meek. He should follow his accepted code to the core, should stay in the war till the end and thus meet the standards of the virtue that he should possess by nature. A truly learned one never minds if he is successful or otherwise, but he never ceases from making his best efforts, not caring even for his life. Assume your manliness you lost due to your fear. win for your virtue or die valorous. With this mean act, your fame and heaven both are at loss. and your wordly wealth too is at stake. Why should you live at all, then? One should try to hit at the enemy even in one's last moments! Even with the very base disturbed, one should never give scope to hopelessness. A class horse never drops from the race. Do not remain a useless fellow. Determine to revive the fame of your family which sunk low due to your own misbehaviour. He whose excellence is not exalted by all, is just no more fit than to be reckoned for a mere counting. If a man cannot make his mark in wealth, alms, sacrifices, truth,fame and valour, in what way is he different from his mother's excreta? A man becomes a man only by outstanding the others either from his knowledge, penance, wealth or valour. You should not look at such ways of living that befit the mean and the low, but consider only those that suit your birth and status. If your enemies know that you are depressed, weak and in want of necessities, that itself makes them happier and stronger. One who becomes satisfied even with obtention of a scanty substance is a low grade fellow and no linsmen wish to stand with him for fear of mean living. Your refraining yourself from the path of the valourous will make us destitute and we will be driven out of our own land. Sanjaya, It is my misfortune that you are my son. You lacked courage, dignity and prowess and resorted to unbecoming acts causing plesure to the foes and pain to the kins. May no woman of any class, not to mention a kshathriya woman, beget a worthless son like you who stained your clan with your shameless stand. You must flare up and raze the enemies but should not remain like a smoking torch with no fire in it at all. You are reckoned as a man only if you jump onto your enemies and show your courage even for a moment, without tolerating their supremacy over you. One that bears the blame and shys away is neither a man nor a woman. Mean satisfaction and undue pity kill the fortunes. An unambitious man acquires no great goals. Save yourself from the disgrace hanging upon you. Stabilize your heart and go against the enemies again and again, untill you suceed. A man is called so because he does not bear with his enemies ( The original words 'para' and 'vishaha' meaning 'enemy' and 'intolerating' respectively, derive the word 'purusha'=man from them). The one who lives otherwise is looked upon as a woman. The subjects of a land will be glad with their ruler even if he was kiled in his valorous fight with his enemies. He who does not mind his personal pleasures but concentrates on the safety of his wealth for the benefit of others, will soon gladden his people. Hence, Sanjaya, go haste, be valorous, be fitting to your birth, fall upon your enemies and defeat them or die galllant.

' Hearing the scintilating words of his mother, her son Sanjaya asked her. ' Mother! Why do you blame me and push into danger? Supposing the event of my death in the war, what is all this world for you? Why all these ornaments and pleasures in my absence? What do you enjoy and what do you please yourself with, without me, your dear son?'

Vidula answered, without lessening her tone. ' May our enemies have the abodes (in the next world) that the indolent befit and may our people get the abodes (in the next world) that fit the esteemed. Do not try to tread the path of those who lose everyone and depend on others for their sustenance. May all the learned and the braahmana s live upon you like the gods do on Indra. His is a true life, to whom all the people will have recourse, like all the birds have to a tree bearing full fruits. His is a true life, whose valour brings fortunes to his followers, like Indra's does to the gods. He who relies upon his iwn strength and thereby successfully leads his life and makes his people happy, is admired in this world and will be welcomed in the next one too. In the present situation, if you choose not to show your manliness, you will surely fall down into the path of the low souls. A kshathriya trying just to live somehow but not displaying his true valour to his best levels is treated as a thief. You turn a deaf ear to the wirds of encouragement and advice, like an ill man desirous of dying rejecting a good medicine. You should always keep an eye on your chances of taking advantage over your enemy. The Sindhu king is not all that comfortable now. His subjects and counsels are unhappy with him but they are helpless to do anything except awaiting his downfall. This is the right time to proceed against him. If you still delay, all your earlier associates who helped you to their best levels too might conclude that you remain like this for ever and may leave you as well. Gather your friends and assistants. Go around forts on the hills or in the forests. Wait for a good chance and pounce upon your foe. He is simply a mortal but not one without death or old age. We named you Sanjaya (=well wining one) but your behaviour defeats the meaning of your name. Be true to your name, my son. Do not be a one with unsuitable name. When you were very young, a learned braahmana told me, 'this young boy will one day sink into a great trouble but soon emerges victorious and prosperous.' I trusted in those words. And my trust in those words encourages me to provoke you to go for victory. I am not going to tire even if I may have to repeat these words to you again and again. You will always be successful if your policies of achieving the ends satisfy and please your people too. Sanjaya! Be well determined that you may either win or lose in the war just like your forefathers, but you should be able to treat both with equal spirit. At the same time,a defeat shall not eat into your courage. Shambara said that not being sure of today's food is the worst situation one van have. Ha also said that sordid poverty is a second name to death and it is more painful than death of husband or son. Asto me, I was born in a high family, entered an equally high family, like a swan coming from a lake into another lake. I attained all ends. I ruled a country. My husband honoured me duely. My people and families saw me moving royally with my maids clad in my fine silks, fully adorned with ornaments and garlands. If you can afford to see such a queen as me and your wife both thin and sick due to your failures, is there any worth and purpose to your life? If you are to see your servants, workers, mentors, priests and conductors (of ritual performances) leave us for want of employment with us and go elsewhere for their subsistence, what are you worth living? If I am not to see you taking up the path of our code as you did earlier, how can my mind be calm and peaceful? It seems you take it very easy about our having to lose our earlier fortunes and remain worthless. I am not worried about my own luxuries. It rends my heart if I am to say 'no' to any braahmana that comes to me and prays for something. Never did I or my husband face such a bad situation. We are the ones to command others and we are the ones to support others. The moment I find myself dependent on others, I will soon renounce such life, rather. I prevail upon you, my dear son, to realise yourself. Act in a fitting manner. Be a shelter to us who are presently helpless, be a saviour to us who are utterly nonplussed now. All those enemies of you are vulnerable to you if you resolutely fight. Or, if you opt to remain timid like this, you are not worth living at all. Rather than living distressed and sinful, you had better die in the field. A true kshathriya attains fame even by killing one hero before he himself is killed. Indra became the Lord of the three worlds by killing just one great opponent, Vrithra. In the battle, the enemies will be mentally demoralised if one man from the other side advances, challenges, puts them to rout and kills even one notable hero of them. And their surrendering is only a matter of time. A true kshathriya desires either kingdom howevermuch damaged it is or a heroic death, but not a third thing. A wise winner never lets go the remains of his defeated enemies. War is like a heaven or nectar as you lose or win. Now that your kingdom is under threat, you select one of these two courses. Fall upon your enemies like a burning torch. Kill them by sticking to your code and prove your worth . I never wish to see you poorer than wretched, causing your own men to lament and making your foes to be happy at your downfall, being jeered at by your opponents. Prepare yourself to enjoy the life with your wives, the Souveera princesses, but not to yield to the Sindhu princesses, damaging your manliness. If a young man like you, rich in learning, high by race, good in form and known all over for his royal qualities, resorts to a thing like retreating from the war like an untamed bull from the yoke, it no less insult than death. What can be more painful to me than seeing you try to please your enemies or follow them obediently? Never before has been such a one born in this family. Being a kshathriya , you are not fit to foloow and obey and others. All ourforefathers and their ancestors too time and again stressed about the kshathriya code imposed by Brahma upon us. My son, I fully understand what it is. A kshathriya aware of his code, should never yield to or obey others either due to fear or for want of livelihood. Rather choose to ruin yourself for nothing but never yield to others. Efforts should continue until success yields. Efforts are the essence of human duty. One should move around royally like an elephant. The only person you can bow to is a braahmana of eternal knowledge, for its obtention from him. A true and fearless kshathriya should excercise his powers and prowess to control all the other three orders and to punish the erring among all the four orders. Be with or without associates, but be always bound by your code and duty.'

Vidula's long speech pierced into her son's heart. He responded, 'Mother! Your heart seems to be made of iron. You are so merciless on me. You persistently talk only about valour and heroism. How cruel a kshathriya code is! A mother drives her own son into the face of enemies as if she is driving some one's ! You throw such disgracing words at me, your only son. If I am killed by my enemies in the war, what interests you in the world?'

Queen Vidula replied. 'My son! Two great and powerful things, virtue and benefits, are to be always followed by men, through any stage of life. Because , it is these two things that award men any status. It is time for you to show your valour. In the face of such a moment, you fail to realise your duty. You sink into fears and divert from your right path. If I too fail from my duty of making you realise what you are and what your duty is, my affection towards you will be as worthless as that of a (female) donkey on her son. Leave that path of fools that is derided by the right-minded people. Do not deviate from the right track laid down by the right ones which was trodden by many learned ones. Or, if you tangle yourself in the web of ignorance (that body is the soul; body gone, sole gone) like the common stock people, how can I appreciate you? If any one on the earth is pleased with a son or grandson or great-grandson who never strives to attain glory throuh right means, what is the benefit of his having children at all? Doing the unworthy things and skipping the worthy things, man becomes worthless and such a worthless one cannot win either this world or the next one. A kshathriya is created to fight and to win or die thereby. Either by winning or dying, he goes to the heaven and equals Indra. Also, the pleasure derived by a kshathriya by killing his enemies is many times greater than that available in the heaven in Indra's abode too. A person provoked or insulted by his enemies should feel incised and attack them in as many ways as possible to kil them. Without either killing the enmies or himself falling killed in the field, how can a kshathriya feel satisfied? A king should always deride low status. For one who feels elated with a small status is sure to get that destructive small status. A king devoid of his desired wealth will not shine in the world. In stead, he will go without any identity of himself like a river falling into the sea.'

The queen's son said to his mother. 'Mother! This way of your thoughts is not nice, especially in respect of your son. you should only show mercy on me like on a dumb or dull fellow.'

The mother immediately answered. 'This is the prime reason for my goading you. You appear to be thinking about caring for your body, but not honour. That makes me feel pity about you and it prompts me again and again to provoke your spirits for your good. I can appreciate you only if you see the end of all the Sindhu heroes and return to me with victory which you wrongly conclude as impossible to you.'

The son asked. ' Mother! Victory is really impossoble to me now. I have neither a strong treasury nor a good strength of followers. Thus realising my helpless stand, I dropped my hopes on my kingdom, like a sinful fellow losing hopes on heaven. O my learned mother! I pray you to show a way for me if you can find one. I will strictly follow your directions and bring happiness to you.'

Queen Vidula was pleased with her son's motive. She said, ' Boy! Never should you deride yourself. Fortunes come and leave you. Existing things go off and new things do come. One should never be unwisely haste in one's efforts of attaining his benefits. Efforts of anyone can have only two results, either success or failure. Success is not always assured. The learned people know that their success is not assured but they go on making their sincere efforts. They may see success or not. But, on the other hand, those, who never make an effort at all fearing that they might not succeed, will never have a chance of tasting succeess. A man of that wisdom that success or failure are not within our own will, will never care for his rise or fall or his opponent's rise or fall. Our primary duty is only to stick to our sincere efforts with a steady mind-set, believing in the god and performing the auspicious deeds. A wise king rises quickly and wealth comes to him as the sun comes to the east in the dawn. You have seen enough of the world and I have told you many scintilating words to you. Rise and show your prowess, making me happy. You should concentrate your thoughts on your goal. Gather all such ones who were earlier insulted and dropped, who were angry with you, who are ambitious of wealth and power, who are in a low status now, who are proud of their qualities and who compete with you. Bring them into your fold through one way or other. If you can acquire forces like this, you will be able to win even large troups like a strong gale sweeping the clouds away. Be timely in actions, be generous to your ones and speak pleasantly with them. That makes them bonded to you with fidelity and they will be ready for your service. The moment your opponent knows that you are desperate, he dreads you as badly as he dreads a snake hidden in his house. In case your opponent is too stron to you to defeat, cool him down with sweet words making him less angry with you, thereby bringing his spirits low. You can hit at him at an appropriate moment. If you can find a place for yourself like this, your wealth grows up naturally and wealth brings friends and followers that will never desert. In the contrary, a wealthless one is deserted by his own men. They won't have faith or confidence in him . They in turn hate him too. And one point to keep in mind always is that, one should never dream of getting his kongdom, with his own men hating him.'

'Son, hear me carefully. This is very important. As the first rule, a king shall never be afraid of anything, even in the face of dire danger or destruction. As a second rule, a frightened king shall not appear so. A fearing king sends fear into the minds of his counsels and followers too. His state, subjects and armies too get weak and helpless, by seeing their king timid. That may lead to the possibility of some leaving him and some joing his enemies. Those who were discontent earlier will now join his opponents to get even with him. Only the helpless, the weak and the truly faithful ones will remain with him, lamenting over the past alongwith him, like the cows remaining with their tied up calves.'

' You have still some dependable friends who were earlier pleased by you with honours. They still love you and your state. They are still ready to stand by you in your present troubled state too. Go and gather them all. Do not be afraid. Make sure that they won't leave you. And one more word. We have a great treasury, kept safely somewhere, as a means in times of need. I know that bit you don't. I will show it for your present use. With that money and those true friends, you can regain what you have lost, be it your land or be it your glory. Because, a small band of true and faithful follwers can make even the impossible things probable. I speak all this that harsh, only to see how you will respond and how you will show your power to your enemies. Sanjaya, my son, get up and go. Yours is victory.'

Queen Vidula concluded and her son was filled with joy and courage from her words. He spoke vehemently. 'Mother! I was infatuated with your admirable speech. I wished to hear more and more from you and that is why I kept silent mostly, putting a word or two now and then. I am still desirous of hearing such great words from you. I am now going against the Sindhu king to tame and defeat him. I will return victorious for your happy blessings.'

Kunthi continued to Krishna. ' Thus goaded by his mother Vidula's sharp words, prince Sanjaya was provoked like a whipped horse. He ran into the battle field not caring for his life and defeated all his enemies. His victorious return made Vidula happy and proud.

'Krishna! This is a great episode named 'Jaya'. The counsels of a king who was troubled by his enemies shall recite this to him. This revitalizing episode uproots fears and stimulates courage. A king wishing to obtain victory shall hear this. If a pregnant woman hears this, she will give birth to a valourous, generous and learned son rich in penances. In particular, a kshathriya woman after hearing its recital will deliver a great hero who will defeat all his enemies, who will punish the erring, who will safeguard the right people and who is never defeatd.'

Kunthi continued. ' Krishna! Remind Arjunaas my word. When he was born in the hermitage, all the women were sitting around me when the heavenly voice announced within the hearing of all, 'Kunthi, this son of you will equal Indra. He will defeat all the Kouravas attacking him together with Krishna'a help. With his brother Bheema, he will put the enemies to route. He will win the entire earth and his fame will spread to the heaven. He will regain the lost parental share of the empire. He will make his brother perform three Ashvamedha sacrifices.' Kishna, you too know that Arjunais really that great a hero. He is bound by truth and his prowess has no match. If there is something named justice or virtue, the words of the divine voice shall come true. I do not doubt it or blame it with false declaration, as I have the faith that you will see my sons get to their right destination. I bow to the great thing virtue which bears the entire universe.

' Tell one more word to Arjunaand ever angry Bheema . 'This is the time for such performance which a true kshathriya woman wants her sons to do. Men of honour will never sink low when enemity with others occurs to them.' You know Krishna that Bheema would not rest before seeing the Kouravas fall dead from his shots. Also, tell my dear daughter- in-law Droupadi, who is a well-learned, righteous and virtueful one. 'Dear Droupadi, the way you behaved with my sons was really excellent and correct. Let your virtuefulness save you always.' And tell the twins, 'You deserve the benefits earned only through such means as befitting a kshathriya . Do not look just for living, but look for living properly and in a fitting manner. How can any one spare those who threw indecent words against Droupadi right before you all?'

'Krishna! I am not that much worried for the loss of empire of my sons in the dice game or their going on exile , as I feel insulted about the disgrace caused to Droupadi in the open hall. Still more incising to my heart is that she was spoken to in a low manner by Dhritharaashtra's sons. It was up to you to take care of her dignity, though her five husbands were all the while present right there. Finally, insist upon Arjunaand Bheema to follow Droupadi's word in respect of affairs with enemies. Aren't you sure that Arjuna, the best of the bowmen and bhema, the best mace fighter can kill even the gods if they turn really angry? Rather to say, Droupadi's insult is their insult in fact. Krishna, Tell them that I am well here, looking forward for their victory. Inquire the welfare of my sons, Droupadi and their sons too. May you pass through safe path, my dear Krishna.'

Thus the old queen poured out her agony once again and stopped talking. Krishna bowed and circumambulated to her and took leave from Vidura. He came out of the palace and bade farewel to the elders like Bheeshma who were following him till then. They went back to Dhritharaashtra. After the elders left , he called Karna to him. He fondly invited him into his chariot and started off, followed by Saathyaki. Other chariots of the retinue followed. All the people there were wondering why he was taking Karna with him. They also talked among themselves about Krishna's wonderful deeds in the hall and sadly derided what had happened in the court. They all felt that things should not have happened like that and were worried that Duryodhana's arrogance and ignorance backed by his cunning father's greedy partiality were leading to destruction of the entire kshathriya race itself.

BHEESHMA AND DRONA AGAIN ADVISE DURYODHANA FOR PEACE

Bheeshma and Drona heard Kunthi's speech to Krishna and returned to Dhritharaashtra's court where he and Dhritharaashtra were still talking to their men. They said to Duryodhana, though fully aware of his disliking their words, "Duryodhana! Did you hear of what Kunthi spoke to Krishna? How fierce and powerful her words were, though all the while bound by virtue! Surely, Paandavas will do as directed by their mother, with the great Krishna's aid and guidance, as he himself approves their efforts. Never will they keep quiet unless you offer them their due share of the empire. You harassed them and insulted Droupadi in open hall, but they pardoned all your harmful acts. Especially, with Arjunaenriched with many powerful divine weapons, divine chariot and of all the great bow Gaandeevam and ever-full quivers, Yudhishthira will never step back. With a determined Bheema and The Twins of supernatural prowess waiting for his orders, Yudhishthira has nothing to worry about. Above all, with Droupadi's continuous and powerful provokation, he will never relax from his efforts. Needless to say that Krishna's help to him is more than anything. Truly speaking, it has been our very recent experience that we all six were defeated by Arjunain Viraata city. He chopped off your bow then, remember. We heard that he killed the ferrocious demons Nivaathakavachas in the war with the great asthra of Paashupatham. You, your Karna and others, all wearing weapons and armours, were captured by the Gandharvas when Arjunawas your extricator. All these incidents are enough for us to believe that war with him is not for our good. You shed your anger and hatred. Make peace with Paandavas who are just your dear cousins. That gives you the greatness of saving not only yourself but all the people from the mouth of death. You go to your cousin Yudhishthira who is elder to you,affectionate to you, sweet-tounged and bound to virtue always. Fortunately for us, he is still not yet frowing at us, thereby allowing us a fine chance to acquire safe peace. You approach him with all your fellows and bow to him as you did earlier, long back. May Yudhishthira take you into his both hands with affection. The mighty Bheema of lionly-built may embrace you cardially. The archer of unparallelled skill, Arjunamay bow to you in reverence and be embraced by you. Let us see the Twins bow to you and greeted by you fondly. Let the royal relatives of both the sides like Krishna be pleased with seeing you both united. May all the kings gathered for the war of mutual killing embrace one another in a friendly mood and go back to their places with pleased hearts to see a long and happy future for them. Listen to our words, Duryodhana! Do not opt for war disregarding your wellwishers who ward you off from it. War means a total destruction of all the kashathriyas. It is evident from the awful omens that are seen for many days. The stars are not in our favour. Animals and birds show bad omens that indicate destruction of rulers. Particularly on our side, there are very bad omens seen everyday. Burning comets are falling on our armies. Animals are not in good spirits. They appear as if crying. Eagles are flying over our camps. Our city too looks different from its earlier state. Foxes howl at all sides and the cardinals are seen like burning. Respect your father's words and listen to our advice. We are all for your good but either peace or destruction is at your disposal now. Unless you heed to the words of your wellwishers, you will have to later lament when you see your armies harassed by Arjuna's arrows. You will remember my words when you hear the twangs of Gaandeevam or roars of Bheema in the war field. Though my words do not please your ears or mind now, you will take them to be true when what I said happens to you."

Duryodhana remained just silent,looking sideways with a frowned forehead, as the two elders spoke. Seeing him displeased and unwilling to hear such words, Bheema and Drona looked at each other. Bheeshma said, " We will have to fight against Arjuna(note: The original word is 'paartha' which can mean Yudhishthira too.-Tr) who is true, just, magnanimous and obedient to us. What else can be more painful to us?"

Drona responed in no less a sad tone. " Yes. That is what makes me sad too. Though I love Arjunaand my son Ashvaththaama equally, my favour inclines towards Arjuna. It is my very training that made Arjuna exceed all the other archers in the world. Yet, I am to fight with that boy who is dearer to me than my son, purely because of my adopting this kshathriya profession. What a cruel profession it is! Duryodhana! Listen to my words. One who is treacherous to his friends, an evil one, a god-hater, a cheater and an adamant one will never receive respect like an idiot in vedic sacrificial rituals. A sinful fellow always inclines to do bad deeds despite being warned by his true friends and a virtueful fellow always inclines towards good deeds despite being enticed by evil fellows. To speak the truth, you are not true with Paandavas. You troubled tem a lot. You harassed them. You insulted them in many ways many times. You are burnt with jealousy with them. All these faults from you are enough to cause and increase enemity. Yet, they do not bear any grudge against you. They still love you as their dear cousin. Why do you lose this best chance of attaining safety by sgaring the empire with them? You only choose to disregard good words from me, your father, your grandsire and Krishna too. You utterly fail to see what is good to you. Just at the sight of the armies gathered for you, you gain courage and wish to cross the mighty power of Paandavas like trying to swim across the river Ganga full of aligators and in a full spate in a rainy season. Just like a mean fellow feeling ownership on used dresses and flowers given by others, you too feel proud in enjoying Yudhishthira's empire which you got by chance. Who can win him whether in the woods or on the throne, as long as he is flanked by his brothers and Droupadi? With all the kings at his call, Yudhishthira can even exceed Kubera in power. Even if he gets entire wealth of Kubera, he is not going to concede his half share to you, as a matter of justice. One more word, Duryodhana. Never think that we are prevailing upon you for peace, for our interests or benefits. We have lived our lives to the end. We performed all that is to be performed, like recitals, alms, sacrifices and pleasing the braahmana s with gifts. We both have nothing to gain or lose by peace or war. It is all about you. You have a long future ahead. You stake your life, people and wealth by choosing war. What do you get from enemity with Paandavas, except a self-destructive war? Droupadi, known for her chastity, conduct, penances and observations, always prays for Yudhishthira's win. How can you defeat him? Krishna is his advisor, Arjunais his agent, Bheema is his fighter and all the braahmana s of great penance are his wellwishers. How can you defeat him? He himself is known for his virtue and penances. How can you defeat him? I repeat my words, as is the much needded duty of a true wellwisher advising his king who is about to sink in troubles. Never go for war against them. Make peace with them for the benefit of your entire clan. Do not fall into awkward destruction alongwith sons,brothers, friends and armies."

As Duryodhana did not answer or pay any attention to the old duo, they kept silent. Dhritharaashtra too, did not care much to their words. In stead, he ordered for dispersal of the house, save Sanjaya.

KRISHNA TALKS TO KARNA PRIVATELY

After all the courtiers left,he turned towards Sanjaya and asked him. " I heard that Krishna took Karna with him in full view of all the kings and princes when he left us. What did he talk to him? What could he have employed against Karna? Was he friendly or harsh in his words? Tell me what happened there."

with Dhritharaashtra's diverting the attention to another topic, Sanjaya became sure that neither the old king nor his son was ready to go for peace. But, he answered his king's question.

(Note: Here, the original text is a bit confusing. The text implies that Krishna talked to Karna within the hearing of Sanjaya and others. Then, how can that be a secret? The position was that no one knew about Karna's birth secret except Bheeshma, Vyaasa and Krishna. Also, Krishna started his words as if Karna already knew about that, as he directly says that Paandu was to be his father, even without mentioning about his birth to Kunthi from Sun god. This may be tolerable to some extent, because it can be supposed that Karna might have had a hint about his birth fromm Son god, on the occasion of his convincing not to part with his mail and ear-rings. Also, the text shows that Sanjaya related their 'private' conversation to Dhritharaashtra in his open court hall, which means that the matter had become public. That too contradicts with the original position of affairs. However, I adopted the text as it is, but added a few sentences before Sanjaya's relating and in the beginning of Krishna's speech to make it clear for the young readers-Tr).

" King! Krishna talked to Karna in various ways. He told , he cautioned, he warned and he threatened too. But , all he spoke was within virtue. Listen as I relate to you in detail. Thus starting from Vidura's house, Krishna took Karna with him in his chariot. after reaching the outskirts of the city, Krishna stopped at a place and took Karna aside alone. He said to him. ' Karna! You are a learned one. You served braahmana scholars of rich knowledge of vedas. You prayed them obediently for the true knowledge. You are a master of all the codes and scriptures. You know the intricate aspects of all such codes too. It is well within your knowledge that the father of a virgin's son will be the one who marries his mother.(Note: Here, we should know a bit about ancient Indian law of marriages. If a virgin begets a son before her marriage he is called Kaaneena i.e. 'virgin's son'. Or, if she is carrying at the time of her marriage and delivers afterwards, he is called Sahodha i.e. 'borne with'. The scriptures rule that he who marries the woman shall be the father of such sons.- Tr). You were born to Kunthi while she was in her foster father Kunthibhoja's house. She begot you by the grace of none other than the Sun god. She was to forego you due to her virgin status then, fearing a scandal. The sootha Adhiratha obtained you and brought up as his son. But, you are not really a sootha by birth. According to our scriptures, you shall be the son of Paandu, husband of your mother Kunthi. And, according to the same scriptures, you are entitled to claim the throne of Paandu too. O great man! See us from your maternal side and Paandavas from your paternal side. You come with me to Paandavas, your real brothers. They all will proclaim you as their elder brother and you will become the king. They all will touch your feet in reverence and wait upon you. all the five Junior Paandavas and valourous Abhimanyu too will serve you. All the kings and princes that came to work for the Paandavas as well as the Vrishnis and Yaadavas too will bow at your feet. Princes and Princesses will bring sacred water, seeds and herbs in gold, silver and earthen pots for the occasion, as all the learned braahmana s perform the rites of your coronation. At that sixth phase of the day,(=At that sixth yaama, 'yaama' means a phase of the day spanning three hours. Day has four yaamas and night has four. In an entire day of 24 hours from sun-rise to sun-rise, there are 8 yaamas in all.Of course, there is another system of counting the day as of three yaamas only, each yaama spanning four hours. Coronation function of kings is usually held around or after midnight i.e. in sixth yaama from sunrise.Some people misinterpreted the word 'sixth' as 'Droupadi will marry you as her sixth husband'. That is wrong. The original words 'shashte kaale' are both in locative case, meaning 'in sixth time' or 'in sixth unit of time' i.e. sixth phase of the entire day and night. Also, it is a custom to celebrate the coronation in the evening time too. Again, it is another custom to count the days as of thirty ghatikas and the night as of thirty ghatikas, each ghatika spaning present day twenty four minutes. Than also, 'sixth time' means 'one sixth of thirty ghatikas' or last five ghatikas i.e. late evening. In either case, it only means 'at that hour of coronation', but not 'Droupadi will marry you as her sixth husband'. Further, at many places, e.g. in Aashvamedhika parva, the words 'shashthe kale' are used to indicate evening time. -Tr ),Droupadi too will visit to see you being coronated. Their great priest Dhoumya will ignite the fire and offer oblations for your benefit. All the Paandavas, their five sons, Paanchalas, Chedis and I will crown you and see you on the throne. After you became their king, Yudhishthira will be your assistant and Prince. He will follow you in your chariot bearing the white fan for you. The mighty Bheema will carry your white parasol above your head. Arjunawill drive your royal chariot that has a tiger-skin cover, sets of jingling bells and yoked with white steeds. Abhimanyu will be ever attending you waiting upon for your orders. The twins, the Paanchaalas, the Chedis,the Dashaarnas, the Yaadavas and all of us will walk behind you as our king. The aandhras, The Dravidas, The Kunthalas, the Thaalacharas, the Choochupas, the Venupas and many other kings will walk before you in obedience. May the bards and heralds sing your fame as the Paandavas proclaim your victory everywhere. Dear Karna! Please come with me to your five great brothers and join them to shine like the moon with the stars. Enjoy the entire empire without any opponent, always being benefited by the oblations and observations of the priests. O Son of Kunthi! Make your mother pleased at the sight of her eldest son's ruling the empire. May your friends flourish and foes destroy. Let your fraternity with your younger brothers Paandavas be praised by the entire world. Come wih me to them for your benefit.'

'Karna replied to him. 'Krishna! It is true that you told all this to me just out of your intimacy,love, friendship and wellwishing towards me. I know what all you told about my birth. As my real mother Kunthi bore me from the grace of Sun God when she was still a virgin but abandoned me fearing damage to her prestige, I should be in fact the son of Paandu, as you told. I agree to that, as it is what our scriptures say. But, due to my being abandoned as a new born baby, I happened to fall into the hands of my foster father Adhiratha, who is a sootha by caste. He found me and brought home with love. He and his wife Raadha brought me up with natural love and affection as their own son. She fed me with her milk. She cleaned my excretions and washed my body. she never felt that I was not her son. She as much cared for me as a natural mother can do for her own son. How can I desert her without repaying her debt of raising me up ? If I do so, what is the use of all my knowledge and constant interest in the scripts and codes? Adhiratha says me as his son and I too loved him as my father. He conducted all the rituals right from naming to marriage, as any father does for his sons. He made me named Vasushena by the braahmana s. When I grew up, he brought me wives from his caste, all the while considering me to be his son. I begot sons from them and grandsons too from my sons. My mind is bound by their relations. I cannot forego them even for the benefit of lots of fortune or the entire world even. I have performed many sacrifices with the soothas and gave and brought girls in marriage from among them. Thus I am destined to stay with them till the end. I cannot desert them for my selfish benefits.

' Karna continued. ' Krishna! For the last fourteen years, I have been enjoying the royal life with Duryodhana from his patronage. It has been as if it were my own kingdom. Duryodhana nurtured enemity with Paandavas and prepared for war against them, trusting inme and my prowess. He believed that I am the match to Arjunafrom that side. His hopes of defeating Arjunain a hand-to-hand fight rest on me alone. I cannot disappoint him by wasting all his aspirations based on me. I wish not to leave him either out of fear or desire or greed or compulsions. Also, if I will not meet Arjunain a duel, that equally brings disgrace to me and Arjuna. No doubt, you mean my good in your prevailing upon me, but I cannot accept. Since the Paandavas always obey your word, they will surely receive me into them and treat me well with high respect.

' Krishna! I have a small request to you. Please keep this secret only between you and me. I prefer that. If Yudhishthira knows that I am his elder brother, he will renounce the throne for me. If I have to take the throne, I will be compelled to concede the flourished empire to Duryodhana, because he is my king and I cannot rule before him. I cannot endorse Yudhishthira's foregoing the empire, as I sincerely believe that he is the right person to become the ruler. He is going to be the king anyway, Keishna. How can it be otherwise for him whose efforts are carried out by Bheema, Nakula,Sahadeva, Junior Paandavas, Dhrishtadyumna, Saathyaki, Uththamoujas, Yudhaamanyu, Drupada,Chekithaana, Chedi king (Dhrishtakethu), Shikhandi, five Kekaya brothers, Kunthibhoja,Bheema's uncle Shyenajith, Shankha and above all whose guide is veriky yourself !

'Karna went on speaking. ' Krishna! I am not that ignorant. I know that Paandavas will win. Duryodhana is causing a sacrifice of war to happen. ( The following sentences compare a war to a sacrifice and these sentences contain technical jargon words related to ancient Indian vedic ritual 'yajgna'. Better get those words explained by masters of that subject. I give the original words within brackets. -Tr) In that, the war field will be the altar. You will be the prime superintendent (=Adhvaryu)and chief conductor (=Veththa)too. A well prepared Arjunawill be the performer of oblations(=hotha). His great Gaandeevam will be the ladle(=Sruk).The valour of the heroes will be the fuel ghee(=Aajyam). Arjuna's asthras like Ayndram, Paashupatham, Braahmam, Sthoonaakarnam etc will be the hymns(=manthras). Abhimanyu, who equals or probably exceeds his father, will be the chanter (=udgaatha) of the saama hymns. Bheema, killing herds of elephants and roaring like a lion, will be another chanter. The virtuous Yudhishthira will be the supervising priest (=brahma). The clamour of the conches and drums will be the invoker of the gods (=Subrahmanya). The Twins will do the slaying (=Shamithram)of the scapegoat. The lines of chariots will be the binding poles (=yoopa). Various arrows shot will be the juice-pots(=Soma kalashas) and the bows will be the jugs (=pavithrams). Swords will be the cooking vesels(=Kapaalas) and Heads will be the porridges (=purodaashas). Blood will be the material of oblations (=havis). Weapons such as shakthi will be the select firewoods (=idhmas) used to kindle the fire in the altar. Maces will be the circuits (=paridhis) that keep the burning firewood in place. The disciples of Kripa and Drona will be the participants (=sadsyas). Arrows issued by Arjuna, Drona and Ashvaththaama will be the spoons (=paristhomas) to pick up the juice(=Soma). Saathyaki will do the job of deputy supervisor(=prathiprasthaatha). Duryodhana will be the performer (=deekshitha) of the sacrifice. His army will be his consort (=pathni wife of the performer). The gaint demon Ghatothkacha will do the killing (=shaamithram) of scapegoats in one phase (=athiraathram, also means midnight. Note, demons are more powerful at nights)of the sacrifice. Dhrishtadyumna, who emanated from the altar fire, will be the the remuneration (=dakshina). My falling at the shots of Arjunawill be the supplementary performance (=punashchiththi). Bheema's drinking of blood from Dushshaasana's chest will be the drinking (sooyam) of Soma juice. Killing of Bheeshma and Drona by the Paanchaalas will be the intermissions (=avasaanas). Bheema's killing of Duryodhana will be the consummation (=samaapthi). The weeping and wailing of Gaandhaari, her widowed daghters-in-law and their widowed dauhters-in-law, will be the concluding ablution (=avabhritha) in that sacrifice.

'May the learned and valourous kshathriya s not die useless at home. Let them stake their lives in the war in the holy field of Kurukshethram and make their way to the heaven. It is upto you how you will grace the kshathriya s with that chance. Please bring Arjunato fight against me. As long as the hills and rivers exist on the earth, may the people talk of this coming great war, wherever they meet. May the scholars quote about this in their teachings. I must confess to you, Krishna that, my heart often burns at the thought of my indecent words thrown at the Paandavas to please Duryodhana. Let my repentence wash my sin off. I once again pray you not to reveal this secret to Yudhishthira.'

'Krishna listened to Karna's long speech. He laughed and said to him. ' Karna! I pity you. You fail to grasp the chance of becoming the ruler of a great empire. You reject the oppertunity of ruling the entire earth offered by me. There is not even the least doubt about victory of Paandavas. Arjuna's victorious and terrible banner of Hanumaan looks high in the sky. The celestial sculptor Vishvakarma built it with his uncanny magical powers as great as Indra's banner itself. On that banner, he stationed many terrible deities, celestial in origin and victory-granting in nature. That can be seen from a distance of one full yojana(=8 miles), when hoisted. It will not be hindered by trees or poles or hills. It shines in the sky like a flaming fire above. When you see the issue of great asthras like Ayndram, Agni and Vaayavyam etc from Arjuna's Gaandeevam, your dice, may it be the kritha or thretha or dvaapara, will not stand to save you (Here, almost all scholars took these three words to be the names of the three ages and commented that 'the qualities of those ages will not be seen then , except the prevalance of the last age kali. You wil lose, moksha,dharma,artha and kaama too.' But I humbly differ from them. More appropriate interpretation can be that the names indicated the dice with scores of 4,3 and 2, used in gambling. Elsewhere, reference to the dice was made with these names.Probably, Krishna was ridiculing Karna that winning against Arjunais not as easy as winning in a deceitful gamble. -Tr). when you see the penance-rich Yudhishthira standing in the war field as unbeholdable as a midday sun,protecting his vast army and driving hie enemy forces, then your kritha or thretha or dvaapara will not save you. When you see the ferrocious Bheema chopping the elephants in your forces, ripping open Dushshaasana's chest, drinking blood therefrom and dancing with cruel joy terrifying your side, then your kritha, thretha or dvaapara will not save you. When you see Bheeshma, Drona, Kripa, Duryodhana and Jayadratha rush with great speed to fight but stand helpless obstructed by Arjuna, then your kritha, thretha or dvaapara will not save you. When The Twins drive their chariots, like two tuskers agitating a pond,deep into your ranks and make them run helter-skelter with the showers of their arrows, then your kritha, thretha or dvaapara will not save you. Karna, let your mind prevail. Go back and tell Bheeshma, Drona and Kripa that the new moon day is seven days away from today. Elders say that Indra is the presiding deity of that day. Let the war preparations be done on that day. Also, tell all the kings that have come to the war that I will accomplish their desire. May the kings and princes under Duryodhana's control wield their weapons bravely and pave their way to the heaven.'

Sanjaya continued to Dhritharaashtra. ' Sir, Karna thus rejected Krishna's enticement of empire but said to him in reverence. 'Krishna! You know everything. But you are trying to win me with your words. Nothing of what you said fails to happen. War between Paandavas and Kouravas is imminent. It is going to be deadly one too. Our defeat is certain. The entire world seems to be at its end. The cause for all this is the quartet; I, Duryodhana,Dushshaasana and Shakuni. All the kings and their sons on Duryodhana's side will fall dead in the field. Many omenous dreams, preternatural portents and frightening omens occur. All those clearly indicate the fall of Kouravas and victory of Paandavas. The planet Shani (=Saturn) troubles the star of Rohini (4 th of the 27 stars. Or, this can mean the star of Uththra-proshthapada, the 26 th too.) indicating destruction of population. The planet Angaaraka (=Mars) is moving retrograde in the star Jyeshtha (the 17 th star) and is about to reach the star Anooraadha( 16 th star), indicating destruction to the great alliance of our friends. The star chithra (14 th one) is attacked by a planet too. It indicates destruction of the ruling classes. The spot in the moon is not clearly visible. Raahu ( a planet that causes eclipse to moon and sun) is approaching the Sun. Burning comets are falling from the sky with thundering noise, shaking the earth. The elephants are wailing and the horses are shedding tears. The animals are becoming averse to gross,fodder and water. Our elders say that all such omens mean terrible devastation of the population. In Duryodhana's army, we see that the refuses of men, elephants and horses are anamoulously high, as compared with their in-take. Birds and animals move around them in left-ward direction. Voices from invisible sources are often heard. The sounds of heavily beaten trumpets too are very feeble. Water sources like wells and tanks deliver noises like a bellowing bull. showers of blood and flesh occur many times. The out-line of the clouds in the sky looks like a city with edifices and towers. Clear circuit is seen around the sun. A black cover is seen around the circuit when the sun rises and sinks. Birds of one eye, one leg and one wing are flying around droppings their dung on the soldiers. Birds of black neck and red feet are running towards the rising and setting sun. That means defeat to the forces. We hear that the animals in Paandavas' camp are active and happy; the right-ward movements of birds and animals occur very frequently; nice and desirable birds like peacocks and swans flock over their troups;their trumpets sound without being beaten. That indicates their victory.'

Karna went on. ' Krishna! It is said that the colours of the four directions east,south,west and north are red, gray,brown and white. But here all the directions appear as if they are burning. I understand that a great danger is indicated by that. In recent times, I am getting omenous drems too. In those dreams, I saw Yudhishthira ascending a thousand-pillared palace alongwith his brothers.They all appeared clad in white garments and white turbains and sitting in fine chairs. I saw you wielding numerous weapons with blood all over your body. I saw Yudhishthira standing upon a huge lot of bones eating pudding cooked with milk and ghee from a golden pot. I saw Yudhishthira eating earth given by you. Isn't it a sure sign of his getting the entire earth shortly? I saw Bheema standing on a high hill with his mace in his hand, looking as consuming the entire world. I never doubt that hhe will kill all of us in a terrible war. How can't virtue win against sin? I know that, Krishna. I saw Arjunaand you resplendently mounted on a white elephant. I saw Nakula, Sahadeva and Saathyaki mounted on a human carrier, all adorned with various ornaments hanging around their necks and wearing white turbains on their heads. On the other hand, hear what I saw in my dreams about our people. I saw Ashvaththaama, Kripa and Krithavarma with red turbains. I saw Bheeshma and Drona mounted on a camel-drawn cart sometimes along with me and sometimes alongwith Duryodhana. I saw us all walking towards the south. It is definite that we are all soon going to meet our end . I repeat, Krishna, I and all the batches of the kings with me, are going to fall into the fire of Gaandeevam. Nothing is to be doubted in that.'

Krishna was displeased with Karna's words. He rebukingly said to him. ' Karna! It seems like the world is about to perish. Otherwise, how cannot you appreciate my word of well-wishing to you and all others too? When a terrific disaster to people is about to occur, probably the good senses cannot prevail and what is bad and dangerous looks like a nice thing. Of all, the wise Karna himself turns a deaf ear to my fond advice for safety and prosperity!'

Karna did not answer to that remark. In stead, he took leave from Krishna saying, 'Dear Krishna! I hope to meet you again either alive surviving this ensuing destruction of kshathriya s or in the heaven after repaying my debt to my Lord Duryodhana. Kindly permit me to go. Do not forget to keep this secret from Yudhishthira.'

Sanjaya continued to Dhritharaashtra. ' King! Then Karna embraced Krishna with loveful regard and dismounted his chariot. He was not in his earlier good spirits. Then Krishna ordered his driver to run fast. Saathyaki and others followed him.'

Hearing the report of Krishna's conversation with Karna, Dhritharaashtra sank into deep thoughts for a long while. At last, he sent away Sanjaya too and retired into his mansion.

KUNTHI MEETS KARNA

After Krishna left unsuccessful in his mission of truce, Vidura went to Kunthi at home and talked to her sadly. 'O Lady of good sons! You are aware that I was always against war between Paandavas and Duryodhana. But, alas, Duryodhana did not at all care for my entreatings! There, your son Yudhishthira, though powerful, wants only peace due to his pity with his kinsmen, even at this moment of his standing ready for war at Upaplaavyam, as if he is weak, despite his having at his disposal such great heroes as his brothers Bheema, Arjunaand The Twins with Krishna and Saathyaki besides the support of many other strong kings. Here, this old king, blind to the facts and virtue, does not opt for peace with them but trods the wrong path driven by his partiality towards his sons. He relies on the wicked minds of Shakuni, Karna, Dushshaasana and Jayadratha, with a tendancy towards severing from the Paandavas. For those who do misdeeds against virtue and yet claim to have done right, their misdeeds will soon award their results . Everybody is sad that Kouravas are trying to show their unvirtueful deeds as virtueful ones.But, seeing Krishna return with no favourable result, your sons will plunge into action. And that will cause destruction of the Kouravas. Burdened with the thoughts of this unhappy development, I can't sleep a wink either in day or at night.

Kunthi heard his words and she too felt sad. She smouldered within herself. She sighed and thought within herself. "shame with this wealth and empire! Isn't it for this unworthy thing that kin and kith are prepared to kill one another? Even the dearest will be kiled in this unwanted war. What else is more painful than the fact that the Chedis, Paanchaalas and Yaadavas together with Paandavas will fight with Kouravas, none of whom are alliens to the other. War will bring destruction but desiting from war will bring insult. A wealthless man is better dead than alive,but a victory attained at the cost of all the dear relatives is not a real victory at all. Thinking about all these conflicting aspects, my heart is filled with grief. My poor sons lost all their wealth to their wicked cousins and suffered many difficulties in the forests for many years. Even after all those miseries, they have no chance of regaining their due share of the empire without resorting to bloodshed and risking the lives of themselves and their dear ones. Is there any way to avoid danger to their lives? I see threat to them from the kourava stalwarts like Bheeshma, Drona and Karna. Others might not cause much trouble to them. But, of these, Bheeshma is their fond grandsire and he will not be that cruel towards them. Drona too is very affectionate to my sons, especially to Arjuna. As such, he too will not heartily fight with them. These two elders will not harm my sons. But, Karna is different. Due to his bondage to Duryodhana, he became bad. He hates my sons and is always ready to harm them for the pleasure of his friend. His blind following of his wicked king made him jealous of my sons. He failed to see the truth and justice. His firm commitment to Duryodhana for killing my sons sends waves of fear into my spine. He is not a man to fail from his promise. It is highly improbable that he changes his stand of fighting against my sons for Duryodhana's cause. Yet, it may be useful if I meet him somehow and reveal his birth secret to him. I will tell him all about my childhood days at Kunthibhoja's house, my serving of the terrible sage Durvaasas to his satisfaction, his awarding me that strange chant, my childish curiousity to test the power of the chant and the sage, my fanciful interest in thinknig whether I would be at fault or not if I invoke that chant, my tender mind's taking control over my senses, my imprudent inviting of the sun god, his forcibly gifting me a son, my helpless option of leaving the new-born in the river, the identification of the baby with the natural mail and ear-rings and about his real relation to Paandavas. Cannot his knowledge of this secret soften his mind and won't he listen to my advice of joining his brothers at this crucial moment to avoid death of all the innocent people? Let me see if it works. If my effort bears fruit, all my sons including Karna and even the Kouravas will be safe. I must try to convince him."

Kunthi had thus thought in various lines and she finally decided that it would be best to see Karna and reveal the long-held secret that was known to herself and only a few divine personalities. Next morning, she went to see Karna at the time of his offering prayers to the sun god on the banks of the river Ganga (Note: It is believed that Hasthipuram, roughly corresponding to our present day Delhi, was on the banks of the river Yamuna. Bhaagavatham also says the same thing.But,here it is clearly mentioned as 'Ganga'.). From a good distance from his place, she could clearly hear the loud voice of her son chanting the vedic hymns. She neared him and saw him immursed in his worship, facing east and with his hands raised above his head. She stood behind him waiting for his concluding. Karna stood like that and chanted the hymns until the midday sun heated his back. Till then, Kunthi sheltered herself in the shade of his upper garment, like a lotus root wilting in the sun. At the end of his worship, Karna turned back to go and saw her, much to his surprise. He at once bowed to her in reverence and said declaring himself, still in surprise. 'Queen! I am Karna, son of Raadha and Adhiratha. I bow to you. What brought you here and what do you order me to do?'

Kunthi answered, 'Dear boy Karna! You are my son, Kunthi's son. Raadha is not your mother. Nor is Adhiratha your father. you are not born in this sootha caste. Learn it all clearly from me. You are born to me when I was a virgin. I bore you in my womb and gave birth to you when I was living in my foster-father Kunthibhoja. None other than the sun god who is the source of light to the entire world is your father. It was with his grace that you were born with a natural mail and ear-rings. You were gifted with undefeatable valour and resplendence too. But, due to some unavoidable circumstances, you happened to join the wicked Duryodhana, as you were then not aware of your source and identity. A person of divine birth like you doesn't befit to serve such fellow. My son, you are aware that the best duty of a son is to please his parents who rest their hopes on them. All this empire that Duryodhana now enjoys is what Arjuna earned earlier from his valour and prowess for Yudhishthira's sake. Now, you are fit to grab that from this undeserving fellow and enjoy in your own name. May the entire Bhaaratha race see the fraternal union of Karna and Arjuna with happiness and may the enemies regard it with fear. If you and Arjuna both join each other and kins like Balaraama and Krishna, what in the world will be imposssible to you? Karna, you will shine like Brahma on the sacrificial dias with the gods when you are with your five brothers. Having been endowed with all the good qualities and gifted with unmatched valour, you are not proper to be referred to as a sootha's son. Listen to my true words for your good and live safe with all your brothers who will honour you like they do me."

Soon after Kunthi said those words to Karna, he heard a fatherly voice from the sun in the sky. " True, Karna! Your mother Kunthi spoke the truth. Follow your mother's word. That will bring good to you."

Karna listened the words of both Kunthi and Son god. But, neither his mother's nor his father's words did disturb his mind even in the least. He could not ignore his bounded duty. He replied to Kunthi, " O kshathriya mother! I cannot accede to your word as that just leads me to the hell. First of all, when I was born to you, you did not declare me to the world. In stead, you threw me away, thereby making me forego my kshathriyahood at all. Deprived of my regal origin and kshathriya ceremonial performances , I was to become and live like a sootha. No rival could have done me such harm as what you did. All my fame and greatness were wasted by your timid and selfish act. You never showed this love and concern towards me at the needded hour, throwing me away to my fate. You never behaved like a mother towards me. Now, when you fear danger to your beloved sons from me, you come to me and tell all these things as if for my good."

Karna continued. " Leave all these things. I have my own reasons not to obey your word. It is known all around the world that Arjunais a matchless warrior. And it is equally well-known that I am considered to be a match to him in the coming war. Who in the world is not afraid of Arjuna with Krishna in his chariot? If I join him now, days before the expected war, doesn't everybody impute that I changed sides just out of fear from them? I don't like to be stamped as a coward. Known as a sootha all these years, if I suddenly declare Paandavas as my brothers and join them, will the world recognize me as a kshathriya ? In stead, I will be called the worst traitor. Neither fits my stature. Also, Kouravas honoured me and treated me as one of their brothers. They allowed me full freedom with them, they shared all their wealth and status with me and they give me such prominence as the gods give to Indra. They relied on my strength to defeat the enemies in the coming war. In their confidence of facing the Paandavas, I am the prime source. They look upon me as a ship to cross the ocean of war. How I can destroy their hopes built on me? This is in fact the time much waited upon by Duryodhana's dependents to repay their debt to him. I should stand for his cause even at the stake of my life. Those who live on others and get benefited from them raising their hopes of timely assistance but leave them at the needdy hour, will lose both this world and the other one. I never like to be a traitor to my friend and king Duryodhana. It is a fact that I will fight against your sons for Kouravas, using all my strength and power at my disposal, I sincerely tell you the truth. With a view to guarding my stature and character that befit the men of gratitude and sincerity, I summarily refuse to follow your word."

"Do not take offence that I disrespected your words. Your efforts and purpose in coming to me shall not go fruitless. Take my word, I will not kill Yudhishthira, Bheema or The Twins, even if I get a clear chance to do so in the war. But no exception to Arjuna. It is in him that I see a probable match to me in the entire force of Yudhishthira. A duel between us is imminent. Either I should kill him or he should kill me. If I kill him, my fame will reach the heaven. If he kills me, I too will reach the heaven. You will remain with your five sons in any case, five with me if Arjunafalls or five with him if I fall."

Kunthi heard all his words trembling with grief. At last, she fondly embraced him and said, "What can I do my son, if you are so intransigent? May the time bring what it shall bring. It seems Kouravas are going to perish. Let it be as you said. It is destiny that prevails finally. Never forget your word given about sparing your four brothers in the war. May good befalls upon you." Karna too replied similary and bowed to her. They both then went on their respective ways.

END OF CHAPTER ONE HUNDRED AND FORTY SIX

KRISHNA BACK AT THE PAANDAVAS

After dropping Karna, Krishna went back to to the Paandavas at Upaplaavyam. They welcomed him with anxiety and curiousity. He talked at length to them about the incidents occured at the Kouravas' hall and went to his mansion to take rest. Yudhishthira dispersed the hall and performed the eveniing rituals. But, he could not hold himself from thinking about Krishna's mission. He called all his brothers and sent for Krishna. As Krishna arrived, Yudhishthira invited him with due respect and said after the usual honours. "Krishna, I wish to know what you told Dhritharaashtra and his son in their court. Please tell me in detail."

Krishna replied, " Yudhishthira! I went to the Kouravas and talked to Dhritharaashtra's counselling about his welfare. I talked to him advisingly,pleadingly,cautioningly and threateningly too. But, he didn't care at all."

Yudhishthira querried in dispair. " When Duryodhana did not reckon your word, what did our grandather Bheeshma speak? What did our teacher Drona speak? What did our father Dhritharaashtra speak? What did mother Gaandhaari speak? What did our learned uncle Vidura who is always with concern towards us, speak to the adamant Duryodhana? And what did the elderly kings present in the court speak? I am sure that the arrogant Duryodhana would not mind the words of you or Bheeshma or Dhritharaashtra, as his mind is polluted with greed and jealousy. His egotism and foolishness would not let him see the reason. I wish to know from you what they said and what he replied. We trust in you. You are our guide and leader. You order us to take our timely action."

T Krishna said. " Yudhishthira, I will tell you what happened in their court. When I conveyed your message for peace, Duryodhana laughed at that. Bheeshma grew angry with him for that and said to him, 'Duryodhana! Listen to me and do as is good for our clan. My father king Shanthanu was very famous. I was his only son. He thought of begetting more sons, as a man of only son is said to be as pitiable as a man of no sons at all. He was worried about amplification of his lineage and fame. I understood his thoughts and brought our mother Sathyavathi as his queen. While doing so, I took a tremondous vow to remain a bachelor for ever and never to become the king of our empire. You might have heard about that. Till now, I am bound to that word and live peacefully, guarding the kings and the kingdom. My father got sons from Sathyavathi and died later. After his death, I installed my younger half-brother Vichithraveerya on the throne and served him with humility, as I promised earlier. I defeated manykings and brought suitable queens for him. You might have heard of that too. During that occasion, I was to fight with Parashuraama who stood for the cause of Amba. Though my teacher lost to me, our citizens took my brother away out of fear from Parashuraama and hid him securely. Later, Vichithraveerya engaged too much with his wives and died of pulmanory desease. As the empire became kingless, Indra did not let rains in our lands. People were hit by droughts famines and ran to me in their groups. They submitted to me that I should become their king for their sake in the absence of any successors and save the suffering population from their troubles. I was not moved by the applications of the people as I was fast bent on guarding my word that I should be never a king as promised at the time of my father's marriage with Sathyavathi. But the people and my mother Sathyavathi alongwith our priests and employees prevailed upon me with their opinion, though I never yielded. They time and again insisted upon my taking up the throne and save the kingdom that had been built and guarded from the time of Pratheepa. I bowed to my mother and begged her not to press me further in that regard, as I held that vow especially for her sake and for the sake of my father's honour. Then I prayed to sage Vyaasa alongwith my mother and requested him for gracing sons to Vichithraveerya's wives. The sage kindly granted our prayer and begot three sons to extend our lineage. Of them, your father could not become king due to his being blind. Paandu became the king and ruled the kingdom to the pleasure of the subjects. He expanded the empire in te four directions and humbly offered it all to Dhtitharaashtra. Thus, Paandavas are the sons of the real king and they are entotled to claim the entire empire. Do not go for a family rift. Concede their half share to them. As long as I am here, no one is a claimant to the crown. Listen to my advice. Live together with them. Do not disregard my word , for the sake of my honour, at least. I have no disparity between you and them. Both are equally dear to me. I always wish peace between you and them. Further, this is what your father, mother and Vidura too want. Regard elders and refrain yourself from leading to destruction of all.'

Krishna continued to the Paandavas. After your grandfather spoke to Duryodhana like that, your teacher Drona said to him in the presence of all the kings . 'Duryodhana! Your grandfather Bheeshma stood for the protection of your lineage as his father Shanthanu himself did. King Paandu too, as a truly obedient brother , left the empire to your father and Vidura. While Vidura took care of all the regal administration, management of employees and protection of the servants, guarding of the treasury etc with your father sittng on the throne, Paandu went on campaigns in all directions to expand your empire. After settling your father on the throne, he went to the forests with his wives. The subjects respected Dhritharaashtra as their king, like they earlier did Paandu himself. Bheeshma took care of the relations with other kings and receiving tributes from them. Vidura always accompanied your father serving him like servant, even fanning him with a fan. Now, Duryodhana, coming from such a lineage of well-praised fraternity wonderfully established among brothers, how can you afford to break that custom of your clan? Unite with your cousins and share the empire and luxuries with them. Understand that I speak like this not out of fear of anything or out of partiality someone or wishing any favour to me from anyone. I have been well provided for by Bheeshma and as such, I never expect any thing for my support either from you or from Paandavas. Realise that Drona will be with Bheeshma always. You do as Bheeshma told you. Given to myself, you are all my students and I am teacher to you and them similarly. I love Arjunaas I do my son Ashvaththaama. Why to speak a lot? In a nut-shell, where virtue lies, there victory goes.'

"Yudhishthira! After Drona said these words, Vidura looked at Bheeshma and said. ' Father! Please hear me. It is you who protected this clan from a near end. But you do not care for my words. Who is this Duryodhana in this dynasty, who is but a spoiler of it? You let his word prevail, even knowing him to be greedy, cruel, ungreatful and rude. Because of the unseemly deeds of this idiot that disregards the words of his learned father and overrides all the doctrines, the entire clan is at its destruction. O real ruler of the Kurus! It is upto you to protect all these ones of your race. You installed me and Dhritharaashtra in the posts as a painter installs the figures. You are like the Brahma among the gods, who can install and remove anybody at his choice. If your good senses do not prevail owing to the ensuing disaster, let us retire to the forests with Dhritharaashtra. Or, confine this unworthy fellow Duryodhana and guard the empire under the rule of the Paandavas. O great one! Be kind enough to notice that a devastating destruction is around the corner. And it will consume the Kouravas , the Paandavas and all the kings too!'

" Having said this, Vidura remained silent. Then your mother Gaandhaari talked to him angrily, but bound to justice and virtue, expressing her concern over the danger about to happen to the family. She said to her son in the presence of the kings in the full house, ' You have been always wrong. I will point out your folly and that of your followers right now in the presence of these kings and the saints in this hall. You stake your claim upon somene's empire. Our empire has been ruled by the elders by the established rules and practice of succession to the throne. This is the long-standing custom in our lineage. How can you now find a way against it and try to acquire other's kingdom? As long as Bheeshma is here, your father and Vidura are just workers under him, though he stays away from the throne, bound by his own vow. Without any dispute, all this empire belonged to Paandu. After him, his sons should succeed him to the throne. Similarly it should pass on to their sons and grandsons. You have no right to claim it as yours. What your grandfather says is good to you all. He is true and noble, always standing by justice and virtue. We should all obey his word if we are desirous of sticking to virtue and securing our kingdom. Either your father or Vidura will speak only with his consent or approval. We should go by what the elders and wellwishers decide according to virtue and justice to bring us good for a long time to come. Let Yudhishthira rule his entitled empire by himself, under the guidance of your father and with Bheeshma in the lead post. '

Krishna continued. " Then Dhritharaashtra too tried to convince his son right in the open court. He said, 'My son! Listen to me. Do so if you respect me. Soma (Moon god) was the origin of our dynasty. Sixth to him was Yayaathi, Nahusha's son. Yayaathi's eldest son was Yadu, born to him from Devayaani, daughter of sage Shukra. Pooru was Yayaathi's youngest son, born to him from Sharmishtha, daughter of demon chief Vrishaparva. Yadu was valourous but he derided all the kings. He won the earth upto its four ends and livet at Hasthipuram. He was the originator of the Yaadava dynasty. His father Yayaathi cursed him and other sons standing by him, for their not obeying his orders, making them ineligible to the throne. Finally, the king gave the kingdom to his youngest but obedient son Pooru. Thus, though eldestof the sons, a proud and arrogant fellow does not deserve the throne. Though younger, one abiding by the elders' word will be the king. In the same way, my great-grandfather Pratheepa too, had three sons. The eldest son Devaapi was a brave gentleman who was always waiting upon his father in service to him. He was known to be pious and righteous but he had a skin desease.All the subjects and braahmana s loved him for his good qualities like mercy, justness and affection to the people. He and his two younger brothers Baahlika and Shanthanu very much loved one another became famous for their ideal fraternity. At an appropriate time, king Pratheepa arranged for coronation of his eldest son Devaapi, as he was legally eligible to suceed the throne. Even though the king made all the arrangements, the scholars and other common subjects of the state objected their king's efforts stating that the gods would not accept a man of desease to become the king. Pratheepa could not go against the public will despite his love and sympathy to Devaapi. Thus, Devaapi could not become king due to his desease, though the people loved him otherwise. He could not see his father grieving for him and retired to forests for penance. Baahlika left his father's house and became ruler of his maternal uncle's rich kingdom. With Devaapi leaving the throne and Baahlika going away, Shanthanu was the one to become king and he came to the throne with the assent of Baahlika. Again, in my case, I was not made the king though I was the eldest son to my father due to my being blind. Though younger, Paandu was chosen to be the king. And he ruled the empire but he did all the things in my name out of his respect towards me. Clearly, I was ineligible to the throne. When I myself have no right to the throne, how can you have? Having never been a prince or a ruler, you just wish to grab someone's kingdom. After Paandu, this empire should go to his sons. As a matter of right, the just and great prince Yudhishthira shall be the ruler of this entire empire. He is to be the leader of our clan and protector of our race. He is merciful, sympathetic, true and just. He is aware of all the customs and systems, beloved one to the people and restraint. He has the ability and power to administer the state to the satisfaction of everybody. But, you are only greedy. you never loved your cousins. In stead, you hated them always and tried to harm them too. By what law or custom can you claim yourself to be eligible to the empire that should naturally go to Yudhishthira as an inheritence? You shed your greed and stupidity and offer half the empire to Paandavas with due respect and honour. Then only can you and your brothers live safe on this earth.'

Krishna said to Yudhishthira. " As Bheeshma, Drona, Dhritharaashtra, Vidura and Gaandhaari all rebuked him and prevailed upon him for peace, Duryodhana was very angry. He looked at everybody with reddened eyes and walked out of the court followed by his associate kings who were prepared even to die for him. He repeatedly ordered them to get ready and move on to Kurukshethram on that very day of Pushya star (=the eighth star). As he was not convinced by conciliation, I tried the conceding policy too. I told him very clearly, 'Paandavas will forego their entire share of the empire. They will remain common men. As is advocated by Bheeshma, Vidura and your father, let them have five villages for their sustinence. It is your father's bounden duty to take care of them.' Still he persisted on his ugly stand. As conciliatin and concessions both failed, I tried the policy of breach too. I talked at length about your supernatural strengths and their sinful deeds, so as to create a disgusting opinion about them in the minds of others. I established their wrong deeds before the full house and made the kings less favourable to them. Again and again, I pointed out their follies like deceitful gambling and trying to insult Droupadi. I carelessly spoke to Duryodhana in a harsh way, least caring for Karna or Shakuni, with a purpose to create fear in their minds. My speech brought about a good change in the minds of the kings who were till then blindly supporting them. The hearts of all the elders and neutrals were successfully won. Once again, I changed my tone and spoke to him convincingly in a pleading manner praying for peace. When all my efforts failed, I even tried to threaten them by displaying some superhuman manifestations that would terrify anyone. I did all this only with a view to avoiding destruction of your great dynasty. But my labours mattered not a pin. Duryodhana is bent on war. Out of the four regal policies prescribed by our scholars to settle with the enemy, I tried the first(conciliation), the second(concession) and the third (creating rift among them), but all became futile before Duryodhana's adamance. The only thing now remained to be employed is the fourth one i.e. force. I see that that is the only way you should adopt against him. All the kngs standing on his side reached Kurukshethram with a mind to kill or die. There are eleven Akshouhinis on their side. Bheeshma is their army-chief. Yudhishthira! I have reported to you about what the elders like Bheeshma, Drona, Vidura, Dhritharaashtra and Gaandhaari advised Duryodhana and how he disregarded their words. All my efforts for peace went in vain. This is what has happened there in their court. They will not give you your share without a war. They are all prepared to die and stood ready to fight with you. On our part, we tried to the best of our levels to avoid destruction. We sincerely did our duty to the fullest satisfaction of ourselves. Noone can blame us for anything. Now, it is upto you and your brothers to decide what to do."

Krishna thus reported about his mission to the Kouravas and sat there waiting for Yudhishthira's reaction.

END OF BHAGAVADYAANA PARVA

7. SYNYANIRYAANA PARVA

FINAL PREPARATIONS AND APPOINTMENT OF GENERALISSIMO ON EITHER SIDE

Yudhishthira listened Krishna's words intently. He thought for a long while. Then he said in despair, 'What! Did the fool behave like that! I know him to be adamant and arrogant but I thought that the advice elders all together might affect his find in favour of peace. But what you said proves that my hopes are lost. Krishna, what do you advise us to do at this point of time, so that we should not deviate from the code and justice? You fully know my mind and my brothers' too, as well as Duryodhana's. You are aware of the intentions of Karna and Shakuni too. You heard from Bheeshma, Vidura and our mother Kunthi too. In view of all these, tell me freely, what should be my next course?"

Krishna answered him in a voice that reached the farthest end of the hall. " I have told clearly already. Yet, I repeat for you and your listners. I have tried all my possible ways of tuning him to the peace. But, all those were in vain before his wicked mind. HE cared neither me, nor Bheeshma,nor Drona nor his parents. He does not mind virtue or justice. Nor does he see what is beneficial and what is troublesome. He feels that you are all just won, with Karna on his side. To top all, he ordered to confine me in his court! Of course, I foiled his efforts. Finally, Bheeshma and Drona both kept silent as their words did not have any effect on him. But, Vidura despite his being disregarded time and again, continued to prevail upon him for peace. But, what is it for? Shakuni, Karna and Dushshaasana, all as idiotic as Duryodhana himself, wished to please him and talked irreverently about you. Why need I reproduce all that the fool talked ? To sum up, he is a rogue. He is wholely unfair with you.He bears such sinful mind against you that none of you or your followers bears against him. We too need not buy peace at the cost of our share in the kingdom. War is the only thing to follow."

All the kings heard his words and kept looking silently at Yudhishthira, as if waiting for his word. He too understood their moods. He sunk into a deep thought for a good time. at last, he heaved a long sigh and said to Bheema and Arjuna, agrrieving at the need of killing those never deserve it. " See the turn of the things!You too heard from Krishna about the developments in the Kouravas' court. I think you all understood his report. As we feared, our mission for peace failed and there is no hope or scope for a peaceful settlement. What I wished to avoid even at the cost of suffering the exile and many troubles, is now befalling on us despite our best efforts to avert it. All our previous and present efforts went waste and the unwanted thing forces itself upon us. We are but helpless to stop it anymore. How can we go for a war against those whom we should never think of killing? How can we win without having te sin of killing our teachers and grandsire? Can a victory at that cost be a true victory at all?"

Arjunaanswered his brother. "We heard from Krishna, the messages of Vidura and mother Kunthi. You fairly understood what they meant. I believe they never speak against virtue or justice. It does not add to your glory if you withdraw now." Krishna smiled and approved Arjuna's words.

But , Yudhishthira again fell into his thoughts. After a long thought, he spoke to his brothers in Krishna's presence. " Dear brothers! We follow Krishna's word finally. We must prepare ourselves for the war. Send for announcing for preparations."

His words filled joy in the hearts of the onlookers. The hall was full of approvals and admirations of the courtiers. After the noise subsided, Yudhishthira again spoke. " As Krishna said, they have eleven Akshouhinis on their side against which we have our seven Akshouhinis with us. Most of our army has reached us but some more will join us at the battle field Kurukshethram. I have already selected leaders for these seven armies. Let me name them; Drupada, Viraata, Dhrishtadyumna, Shikhandi, Saathyaki, Chekithaana and Bheema (This should be Sahadeva, the Magadha king, as it will be mentioned in the following chapters. Might be error of scribes. - Tr) will lead these seven divisions. They all won't care for their lives in wars. All of them are as good at vedas as at warfare. They can fight against any one with any weapon and from any vehicle. Their character is well known. They are decent and moralistic. But, among these seven, we should appoint one our the chief general. Who can lead all the others? Who can create fear in our enemies? Who can stand against the grandsire who is like a burning fire in wars? Sahadeva, you tell your choice asto who can be selected for this crucial position."

Sahadeva answered, ' My choice is Viraata. He is our close relative. He treats our pleasures and troubles as his own. He is powerful and valorous. He cares nobody in wars. He can withstand Bheeshma's terrific attacks. He is our principal aide with whose support we are tryig to fight for our share. He is well respected by others due to his age and position."

Hearing Sahadeva's words, Nakula said. "Brother! I suggest Drupada as the chief general. He is elder than many. He is superior to many in power and strength. He is well learned and a man of high character. He is a co-student of Drona while learning vedas and archery from sage Bharadvaaja. He is a master of all kinds of asthras and shasthras. Of all, he always competes with the mighty Drona and Bheeshma who are principal rivals now. Flanked by sons and grandsons, he resembles a vast tree with hundreds of branches. He undertook severe penances alongwith his wife to beget a son who can kill Drona. I believe that he can rebuff our two principal opponents Bheeshma and Drona."

After The Twins expressed their views, Arjunasid to Yudhishthira. "King! I consider Dhrishtadyumna as the best person for this job. He was born young by birth, as a gift of the well served braahmana s, from the flames of sacrificial fire all alongwith divine chariot, horses, armour, bow and sword. He resembles a lion by his form, walk, roar, courage and valour. Well built and handsome, he withstands all kinds of weapons. He looks like a tusker in rut while in wars. He was born for the purpose of killing Drona. I believe him to be able to bare Bheeshma's firing arrows that fall like bolts and fly like winged serpents, which the great Parashuraama alone could sustain. Barring this young hero Dhrishtadyumna, no other can absorb the severity of Bheeshma or Drona. Dextrous with all weapons and enriched with knowledge of various arrays of the troops, he looks the best choice for me. Also, the sight of a young opponent with equal status as theirs, will a bit demoralise those senior stalwarts. "

Bheema said, "Shikhandi seems to be the right one for this. The sages and the learned say that he was born for the very purpose of killing Bheeshma. His knowledge of asthras and efficiency in their excellent usage make him look like Raama in the wars. I cannot find one that can defeat him when he stands armed and ready fight in his chariot. Except him, no other warrior can kill Bheeshma in a duel. By all means, I suggest him to be our chief."

Yudhishthira heard all their opinions and said, "Boys! Krishna best knows about the strengths and weaknesses of all the people in the world. He also knows everybody's mind. He is the source and base of our victory. If we are to loose, that too will be only due to him. Our lives, luxuries, empire, existence and otherwise, all rest in him. He is the doer of all the deeds and he is the driving force behind everyone. Whomever he chooses, he shall be our chief general, may he be young or old, may he be an expert in asthras or not. His word is my word. Let Krishna speak out. We will appoint the one of his choice. the night is running out. We shall spend rest of the night here and start tomorrow morning after performing all the necessary rituals like worshipping the arms and tieing the war-bands etc. Krishna, please tell us whom you think is the best fit."

Krishna looked at Arjunaand answered Yudhishthira . "King! all those you mentioned are truly valorous warriors. All are near and dear relatives to me. Each of them is a good leader of the armies. They are capable of defeating even the gods under Indra's command, not to mention these petty Kouravas who are already half-dead from their greed and covetousness. As all my efforts for a conciliation utterly failed, war is the only choice for us. May you group and deploy your armies firmly. I heartily believe that Kouravas will be defeated. Can they even stand before Arjuna? Once they saw before them Bheema, the Twins, Saathyaki with Dhrishtadyumna, Abhimanyu, Droupadi's five sons,Viraata, Drupada and your other generals,they will shudder with fear. Our army is strong and formidable. It can crush the army of the Kouravas. I have no doubt in your victory. Any of your generals can be chosen as the chief. But, I think young Dhrishtadymna shall be our chief general."

As Krishna spoke thus, all the kings in the hall gladly expressed their approval. Many of the kings ordered their generals to get the armies reday to move. Yudhishthira formally declared Dhrishtadyumna as the chief general. He called him near himself, blessed and embraced him. Then, the court was dispersed and everybody went to rest.

(Note: In the following chapters, many names of weapons of ancient time are mentioned. Except for some common words like khadga-sword, ashva-horse etc, exact English equivalent words are not found for many words e.g. Bhindipaala, rishti,shakthi etc. Also, the material mentioned as war equipment is strange to now-a days people, we cannot have a clear idea of their right usage those days. The best way is to ask for clarification from a native scholar. In this document, I tried to hint as much as possible. -Tr)

Early in the next morning, Yudhishthira went to the performance stage with his brother and Krishna . All the prominent kings, princes and warriors followed them. The priests performed the rituals required to be done at the time going for war. Yudhishthira performed all the oblations. He and others donated gold and cows to the braahmana s. Yudhishthira presented the principal warriors and kings with many gifts of honour. The soldiers and their leaders worshipped their weapons. All of them wore the rist-bands as a symbolic expression of dedication to war and aspiration to victory. The noises of people shouting 'Victory to our king!', vehicles moving around, elephants screaming, horses neighing coupled with the ear-rending noises of the beating drums, blowing conches and horns, filled the sky as if all the directions were resonating with them. Yudhishthira arranged for the proper protection of the station at Upaplaavyam, by installing various physical structures and suitably manning them with brave soldiers. He securely lodged the royal harems there. Droupadi and other royal ladies were left at the city of Upaplaavyam itself. All arrangements for transport and communications from that city to war-camp were made. After completing all the ground preparations, Yudhishthira consulted with Krishna and passed orders to move the troups.

When the orders of moving were given, the troups started walking like the waves of the ocean. The vast army looked like an ocean with the chariots, elephants, horses and soldiers spreading over a great area as they moved.Every where was the noise of people calling one another, shouting for something, running to and fro, wearing of armours, wielding of the arms and hailing of their kings. The moving army looked like river Ganga in its full spate. Bheema and The Twins walked in its lead. Abhimanyu, Droupadi's sons, Dhrishtadyumna, the Prabhadrakas and the Paanchaalas followed them. The ear-rendng noises resembled the sound of a whirling sea on a full moon day. Amidst the army comprising heroes that can crush their opponents, Yudhishthira proceeded in royal style. Every force, strong and weak, was taken with him. Carts, tents, bands of dancers and singers, groups of physicians, treasury bearers, carriers of projecting arms and merchants of goods followed the army.

Many kings sitting in their golden chariots with blazing banners followed Yudhishthira, praising him and hailing his victory. The five Kekaya brothers, Dhrishtakethu, Kaashi Prince, Shrenimaan, Vasudaana and Shikhandi all clad in golden armours and ornaments follwed him. Viraata, Drupada(Note: In the original, the names were repeated indicating the same person at more places.I skipped the duplication. -Tr),Sudharma, Kunthibhoja and Dhrishtadyumna's sons walked in the rear side of the army, protecting it from behind. Anaadhrishti, Chekithaana,Saathyaki and Magadha prince Sahadeva walked on either side of Krishna and Arjuna.

They neared the battle field Kurukshethram. The warriors with their shouts and weapons in hands looked like a herd of bellowing bulls. Entering the pious area of Kurukshethram, all the heroes blew their conches. Of all, the sounds from Krishna's Paanchajanyam and Arjuna's Devadaththam were terrible to hear like the sounds of lightning. The sounds made all the soldiers feel encouraged. VArious noises like blows of conches, beats of drums and screams of animals created a frightening clamour as if filling the space and churning the seas.

The troups reached the banks of the river Hiranvathi and halted at a place that was rich in water, grass and wood and that was free of sand, stones and mud. There, Yudhishthira ordered his generals for raising camps for the troups. Avoiding places like funeral grounds, hermitages, pilgrim centers and temples, the land was clered of shrubs and trees. Locations for all the prominent people were marked and tents were made at suitable places for the kings, princes, generals and soldiers. Dhrishtadyumna and Saathyaki both took up the task of getting the tents set up, under Krishna's guidance and instructions. Krishna also ordered for digging ditches around the entire army camp. A sufficient force was installed for its security too. Then, he ordered for raising beautiful tents for the Paandavas and similar ones for the kings too. All the wide and large tents looked like divine fliers resting on the earth. Abundant stock of wood, water, food and other eatables were stored in every tent. Innumerable builders, sculptors, repairers and physicians who were paid fabulous salaries were made available everywhere. Ample quantities of bows, arrows, quivers, swords, armours, spears, axes,stcks,maces and javelines were piled in each tent. Honey, ghee, fragrant resins (sarjarasa= yakshadhoopa=resin of Sarja tree, i.e. a kind of cent), fodder, horse gram, coal and husk were also stored everywhere. Mechanical equipment used to throw stones and fire at enemies were kept prepared and their operators were positioned with them to move at orders. All the elephants with their metal shields of sharp tipped nails on them looked like moving hills as hundreds and hundreds of fighters moved around them.

Receiving the information that the Paandavas camped at Kurukshethram, many kings who were their friends, associates and supporters joined them with their armies full of chariots, elephants,horses,soldiers and war equipment. All of them were known for their decent conduct, famous rule, performance of sacrifices and gifts given to braahmana s."

Sootha said to the group of sages listening to his story.

"Thus hearing about Yudhishthira's raising a huge army and setting out for a campaign of war against Duryodhana, Janamejaya asked Vyshampaayana with curiousity. " Sir, You told that Yudhishthira camped at Kurukshethram with his brothers and a huge army under Krishna's protection. As you said, his army comprised heroes like Viraata, Drupada, their sons, Kekayas and many powerful kings like the gods around Indra. The Paandavas, Krishna, Viraata, Drupada, Dhrishtadyumna, Shikhandi, Yudhaamanyu, Abhimanyu etc were all such great heroes that each of them were able enough to defeat even the gods fighting under Indra's leadership. Knowing about Yudhishthira's advances, what did Duryodhana do? What did he plan to stand against his formidable cousins? Please tell me in detail, what either party did and what exactly happened at the Kurukshethram."

Vyshampaayana answered. "Listen, my boy. What happened then at Kurukshethram has no parallel till now. I will elaborate you all the incidents with every detail. That will interest you surely."

Sootha went on. "Having said this, Vyshampaayana continued his narration to Janamejaya. He said.

"After Krishna left him, Duryodhana called Karna, Dushshaasana and Shakuni for consulting.He called all the supporting kings too. In the conference, he said to them, 'Krishna returned to the Paandavas with his mission unsuccessful. Clearly, he was not in our favour. Surely, he must have given a bad report about us and instigated them for war against us. All that he wants is my enemity with them and both Bheema and Arjunajust go by his word. Yudhishthira naturally obliges Bheema. Moreover, all of them were earler harmed by me too. Both Viraata and Drupada were our foes since long. Those two are their relatives and now their generals too. Those old kings also abide by Krishna's word. We heard that Paandavas are moving their forces to Kurukshethram. At this juncture, we too should proceed. By all means, a great and terrible war is imminent. We need prepare for that. Order for the necessary preparations without leaving even a small thing unattended. Now, instruct your people to set up camps at this end of Kurukshethram. Let large tents enough to accomodate us all be built quickly. Take care that they are supplied with sufficient quantities of food,water, wood and arms. Make them comfortable and defendable. Keep high banners on all of them. Arrange for protection of water sources and guarding of supply routes. Let roads from the city to the camps be laid and install guards along them. Announce that we move tomorrow.Haste. "

The kings were happy at the news and expressed their joy over that. They stood up from their chairs and clapped in support of the decision. Their well-ornamented long and strong hands flew in the air like iron bars. They set right their crowns, upper garments and loin cloths. To the pleasure of Duryodhana, they all became jubilant and hailed for his victory. They all obeyed his orders, took leave and got proclaimed them all over. All the soldiers too were filled with war spirit. Everybody was pleasantly eager to march to the war.

Early in the next morning, preparations for march were begun. Riders of elephants made them ready. Horsemen brought their horses ready. Drivers of the chariots prepared their chariots with steeds and equipment. soldiers carried their various weapons and titles on their bodies. Armours, weapons and vehicles were brought and loading was done quickly under the guidance of able generals. The whole city looked like in a festival. The vast army with its turbulent movements exactly resembled a sea in swelling on a full-moon day, as the men moving around in hurry appeared like the whirls, the cars, elephants and horses appeared like the sharks, sounds of conches and drums appeared like the splashes of the waves, stores of treasury looked like the gems, variously coloured armours and ornaments appeared like the waves, shimmering swords looked like the surf, tall eddifices looked like the hills, market streets looked like the lagoons and the heroes looked like the stimulating moon.

The entire army was graded into three levels. vanguard, rearguard and center. The armies started gathering the weapons and equipments for loading and transport to the field. They prepared and procured banners, flags, bows, arrows, spears, javelines, quivers, spare parts of chariots, armours, covers of elephants and horses, ropes, metal wires, beds, rugs,iron rods,goads, hair-catchers(a stick with gum at the end, to catch enemy's hair and pull him), snake-pots(pots with snakes inside, to be thrown among the enemies to frighten and confuse them),oils, jaggery,sand ( these three are mixed and boiled to throw at the enemies to hurt them severely), powdered scents from resins (from the tree Sarja), iron weapons with bells at the edges,iron balls, boiled jaggery (to pour on enemies to burn them), clasping swords, tridents, iron maces, long pestles, wax(bees wax= left over of honey in the hiney comb. this used to ignite fire etc.), metal bars, tipped sticks, plough-shaped sticks ( to pull the enemy by his neck), sickles, axes, poisoned spears, winnowers, sifters, armours with pointed tips on them, saws,chistles, stcks with hidden iron bars in them, horns, tanned skins of tigers and leopards,hoes, oiled clothes ( to burn them and apply the soot on wounds to cure),ghee (clarified butter, to use in medicines), ornamentations with gold lining to the cars, elephants and horses, carts, bullocks and many more war equipments.

The soldiers proudly wore their titles on their bodies. many tied amulets to their arms. All were clad in iron and gold armours. Some of them were experts in riding the elephants, some in riding the horses, some in driving the chariots and some in driving the carts. All the chariots, elephants and horses were fully equipped and adorned. Every chariot ( car of horses or car, to say simply) was manned with minimum of four people, one to take care of the horses under the yoke, two excellent wheel guards and the mounted warrior who himself was wellversed with horses. The large chariots adorned with golden plates and garlands looked like formidably walled villages by their width, storage and equipment. Similarly, the elephants too were adorned with covers with golden designs and chains with jingling bells at the ends around their necks. With the coverage and ornamentation, the huge animals looked like walking hills. On the back of the elephants, spacious seats (lika a tray, with four walls and seats within) were mounted which carried a minimum of seven fighters with their weapons. Two persons held goads to drive the animal, two wielded bows, two held long swords and one held trident or bar. Horses with their riders cladin armours and ornaments were in their thousands. The riders held their weapons, banners and equipment. The horses were well controled and moved with dicipline. Foot soldiers were from many countries, with many cultures, with various dresses and languages. Their weapons and ornaments were diverse in nature and look. They wore golden threads and necklaces.

As a matter of general rule, the deployment of different wings of the armies was instructed for regular and diciplined movement with even distribution of the animals and vehicles. In some wings, each chariot was backed by ten elephants, each elephant by ten horses and each horse by ten soldiers. In some wings, each chariot was backed-up by fifty elephants, each elephant by hundred horses and each horse by seven soldiers to protect from the rear and to restore the broken lines. In some other wings, the armies were divided into batches of different sizes with composition of different numbers of cars, elephants and horses in each, like sena (a unit containing 500 E, 500 C),prithana(a unit ten times sena), vaahini (a unit ten times prithana), paththi (a unit of 55 soldiers), senaamukham (three times a paththi),gulmam (a unit three times senaamukham) and gana ( a unit three times gulmam). Several such batches of Duryodhana's armies were rady to marched towards Kurukshethram as soon as the orders would be given(Here, the number of animals or soldiers given against the names of batches differ from that detailed in aadi-parva. Please refer to the link Akshouhini. But, here it only means that all these names of the batches are taken as synonyms to the word 'army' or 'force'. Do not get confused that these are definitions of those names, as is done in aadi-parva. -Tr).

Duryodhana thus made ready his huge army of eleven Akshouhinis. He selected eleven best fighters of his side as independent leaders of those eleven Akshouhinis . He invited Kripa, Drona, Shalya, Jayadratha, Sudakshina, Krithavarma,Ashvaththaama, Karna, Bhoorishravas, Shakuni and Baahlika to his place and honoured them all. He prayed to them for their sincere support and appointed them the leaders of the armies. Also, he would meet them in person and request or exalt them to please their hearts. All the appointed stalwarts and their followers were with one mind to secure his victory. Thus winning the hearts of major leaders, Duryodhana thought about appointment of the chief general. He went to his grandfather Bheeshma alongwith many elderly kings and his followers. First, he bowed to him in respect and after receiving the grandsire's blessings, he spoke to him with folded hands. "Dear grandfather! Even a huge and strong army gets broken in the war, like a group of ants, unless it is well lead protected by an able chief. No two people think the same way. And, the leaders of the armies usually vie with one another. That leads to undecisiveness and weakening. We hear an ancient episode regarding this which emphasizes the need of a general chief for an army in wars. When the mighty kings of Hyhaya race were once attacked by braahmana s aided by vyshya s and shoodra s too, there occured a fight between those kings and the remaining three sects. Each time, the allied forces of the three sects suffered defeats in the hands of the single group of kings. Wondering at their failure against the kings, the braahmana s directly asked the kshathriya s themselves asto why they were to lose to the kings despite their united attacks. The sincere kshathriya s replied in true words, 'Every one of you goes independently and does as he likes in the war. But, we, though strong and valorous, abide by one able leader of our choice. That made all the diference.' Then the braahmana s chose a wise and able person among them to be their leader and won against the kshathriya s. Thus, it is essential for us to have a chief general to lead our armies to victory. and he should be an expert, wellwisher, strong, powerful, valorous and sincere. You are as wise as the great sage Shukra in knowledge, policies and warfare. None can stand before you. Youalways wish my good. You never slip from the path of virtue and justice. You please be my chief general. As is the sun for the luminous bodies, as is the moon for the plants,as is Kubera for the Yakshas, as is Indra for the gods, as is Meru for the mountains, as is Garuda for the birds, as is Kumaara for the army of the gods, as is Agni for the Vasus, so are you for us all. Under your protection, we will be invincible even to the gods. You kindly lead us like Kumaara did the gods and we all will follow you like the calves following a bull."

Bheeshma said in reply. "Yes, my boy. You spoke the truth.It is true that there is no one in the world that can stand against me in war. But, Arjunais the only exception. Besides his skill, the intelligent and excellent hero has many divine asthras in his repertoire. Yet, it is doubtful that he freely fights against me. It is my duty to advise both of you for good. I am bound to fight for you, as was vowed by me long back in favour of the throne and empire. At the same time,though I am capable of desroying all the opponents of any strength and any skills,I will not kill the Paandavas, as they are as dear to me as you yourselves are. This is my first condition to accept your offer. The second condition is that either Karna should fight first or I should fight first. He always vies me with in these affairs. I promise that I will kill ten thiusand strong warriors each day, as long as I am in the war. If you agree for these two terms, I will take the responsibility you wish to entrust to me."

Before Duryodhana spoke anything, Karna himself said, "I accept grandsire's condition about my involvement in war. I will not fight as long as he is in the war. I shall fight Arjunaonly after Bheeshma's fall. "

Duryodhana was gladthat both the heroes aceepted each other's conditions. He then appointed Bheeshma as his Chief General and proclaimed it in the house. All the required rituals were performed for the grand old man's taking up the post. He was bathed and ablutions were done according the the scriptures. Huge gifts were given to the braahmana s. Drums were beaten and conches were blewn. All the surrounding warriors cheered and hailed Bheeshma for his victory.

At that moment, many bad omens occured. The clear sky rained lumps of blood. Lightnings struck at many places. Screams of the elephants rose very high. Voices were heard but their source was not seen. Many comets fell in every directions. Foxes howled with wailing voices. Most of the people there lost their hearts at those terrific bad omens. But Duryodhana orderd the priests to perform rituals to avert the omens. Later, all the required performances were done and final orders to march were given. With Bheeshma in the lead, Duryodhana moved with his huge army and his brothers. The troups reached Kurukshethram where a fine place rich in water, wood and grass was selected for raising tents. Enormous tents for the king and his followers were made. Suitable tents were made for the generals, soldiers, other workers and oter people.

Then Janamejaya asked Vyshampaayana. " Sir! Ganga's son Bheeshma was a well-known champion of many wars. He was the great-grandfather of our lineage. He was like a high-flag among the kshathriya s. As wise as Brihaspathi, as patient as mother earth,as profound as an ocean,as stable as a mountain, as scalding as the sun to his enemies, as great as Brahma, as fierce to the enemies as Indra, he must have surely been a cause of worry to Yudhishthira. After hearing Bheeshma's installation as the chief general, what did he do? What did Bheema and Arjuna say? How did Krishna respond? "

Vyshampaayana ansswered. "Listen, king. After receiving the news of Bheeshma's installation as chief general, Yudhishthira called his brothers and Krishna. He said to them, "As Krishna told us earlier, Bheeshma was made their chief. It means that our very first attacker will be Bheeshma himself. Kep the forces prepared and ready. Be cautious. We too, as was already decided, will appoint our seven generals and chief general."

Krishna appluded his words. " Yudhishthira! You spoke the right word for the moment. I wish you proceed with your scheme. I appreciate your enthusiasm. Appoint the generals and chief."

As Krishna thus encouraged, Yudhishthira felt happy. He invited the seven selected champions Drupada, Viraata,Shikhandi, Dhrishtadyumna,Saathyaki, Magadha king Sahadeva and Chekithaana. He honoured them all praising their valour and declared them as generals for the seven Akshouhinis. And he called Dhrishtadyumna. Declaring him as the chief general, he embraced himand said, " Young hero! You are made our chief general. You were born from the altar fire for the soul purpose of killing Drona. Make us all happy with your valourous performance." With dhrishtadymna bowing and accepting the honour of responsibility, Yudhishthira performed the formal rituals of ablutions and bathing(anointing and washing with pious waters. This process, done while crowning a king or proclaiming as chief, is called 'abhishekam', meaning 'pouring water over'or 'bahing with holy water chanting hymns of vedas'.) of the new chief. Besides Yudhishthira appointed Arjunaas the overall general of all these seven leaders. Finally, he entrusted to Krishna, the responsibility of safeguarding Arjunaall the while, besides performing his job as Arjuna's driver. Witnessing the ongoing incidents, all the spectators in the court were filled with joy and confidence. They shouted, clapped and whistled in pleasure. Everybody hailed victory for Yudhishthira and his chief general. War spirit was seen in its fullest extent in everyoone.

BALARAAMA GOES ON PILGRIMAGE, RUKMI HAS NO PLACE IN THE WAR

At that moment of glee and merriment, the messengers announced arrival of Balaraama. Yudhishthira at once sent suitable people to receive him in. In a few minutes, Balaraama entered the hall, with his long and stout hands from his broad shoulders swinging like the trunk of an elephant. His tall figure was conspicuously visible from amidst his yaadava followers like Akroora,Gada, Saamba,Uddhava, Pradyumna,Chaarudeshna and others. With his white body clad in black garments, looking like the walking Kylaasa mountain, he walked in with sprightly steps. As soon as he entered, Yudhishthira, Bheema, Arjuna, The Twins, Krishna and other kings in the hall stood up in his honour. Yudhishthira went a few steps to invite him. He bowed to him, touched his hand with his, seated him in a nice chair and honoured with all the procedural offers. Balaraama too bowed to elders like Viraata and Drupada and inquired about the well-being of all the people there. After all the members in the hall took their seats, Balaraama looked at every one, finally fixing his guage on Krishna. Then he talked to Yudhishthira.

"King Yudhishthira! A terrific war is baout to start. That looks unstoppable too. It will lead to destruction of lakhs of men and animals (elephants and horses). I think this is ordained by destiny. I always keep worrying with the painful thought of whether I can see you all again safe and happy after this evil war. The kshathriya race as a whole seems to running for its end.The earth is going to be filled with mud of blood and flesh. Since long before all these efforts for the war were made, I have been prevailing upon Krishna that we should not take sides when kinsmen are fighting among themselves. If at all he wants to take a place in the war, I told him many times, to help Duryodhana too, since both you and the Kouravas are equal relatives to us. But he did not mind my words. He was all attached to Arjunaand joined you for him. I strongly believe that victory goes to your side. That is Krishna's aim too. I cannot go against my dear younger brother to join the Kouravas. Nor can I join you like him to kill my dear diciple Duryodhana. As you all know, both the matchless mace fighters Bheema and Duryodhana are my dear students. My affection towards them is equal. So, to avoid the unwanted and painful involvement, I decided to take up a pilgrimage along the banks of river Sarasvathi. I cannot remain witnessing the destruction of Kouravas right before my eyes."

Having spoken like this in a pitiful mood, Balaraama took leave from the house and stood up to go. The Paandavas sent him off respectfully, by following him for a few paces and bidding farewell. They all returned to their places and continued their talks about their task.

In the meantime, the ruler of Southern provinces of Bhoja state upto Kunthi area, named Rukmi, ruler of Vidarbha provinces and son of Bheeshmaka, arrived there. He was a great hero of wars. He was the elder brother of Krishna's wife Rukmini. When, many years before, Rukmi decided to give Rukmini in marriage to Shishupaala of Chedi country, who was in fact Krishna's cousin like the Paandavas, Rukmini did not like the suitor and sent a secret emmisary for Krishna. Krishna obliged the prayer and forcibly took away Rukmini,right in the full view of all the kings, who attacked him en mass but were thoroughly defeated. But, Rukmi did not tolerate Krishna's adacity and he chased him and challenged for a fight. Krishna defeated him, but did not kill out of his love towards his new wife. In stead, he shaved Rukmi's head into five different turfs and left alive. Rukmi took a vow that he would not enter his city before killing Krishna. Accordingly, he built a city for himself at the same place and ruled from that city. It became prosperous and was known as Bhojakatam. He later, went to mount Gandhamaadanam and learnt the entire four quadrants of archery from a Kimpurusha dwelling there. Rukmi became well known among the kshathriya s for his valour. He was a close associate of Indra, fom whom he obtained te divine bow named Vijayam. In those days, there were only three divine bows in the possession of the mortals. One was Arjuna's Gaandeevam which he got from Agni while he helped the latter in burning the Khaandavaprastham. The second one was Shaargnam, which Krishna took from the custody of Naraka after killing him, alongwith his wealth and the sixteen thousand ladies in his prisons. The third one was Indra's bow named Vijayam which Rukmi obtained from a celestial named Druma.

With that divine bow Vijayam in hands and his huge army behind him, he set out as if to frighten the entire world and went to see Yudhishthira. He entered their camp,well resplendent like a morning sun with his crown, ornaments, armour, bow,quivers sword and hand-gloves. Paandavas too, out of their bond to Krishna, invited his brother-in-law with respect and honoured him well. After the formal inquiries and respects were over, Rukmi said to Arjuna, before all the kings and princes in the hall. "Arjuna! Tell me if you are afraid of your enemies. I am here to help you, to the bitter dismay of your enemies. You might have heard of me, that no one was my equal and my bow vijayam is the greatest in the world due to its divine origin. I will kill those of your opponents whom you name as my share, be it Bheeshma or Drona or Kripa or Karna. Or, if you wish me to do so, I will kill all of them together too and will see that you get your land from the Kouravas."

Thus spoken to by him proudly amidst all the kings before Yudhishthira and Krishna, Arjunasmiled at him and replied in a friendly tone. "My dear friend! Having been born in the race of Kurus, that too, being son of Paandu, claiming Kripa and Drona as my teachers in archery, having been blessed with many divine asthras by the Lords like Indra, Yama,Varuna and Agni, how can a person like me be afraid at all of anybody? I have nothing to fear now. What had I to dread in the past too, in fact? When I alone defeated all the kings in Droupadi's marriage, whohelped me? When I fought against Indra for helping Agni burn the Khaandavaprastham forst, whose help did I take? When I went on campaign to the north, who was my assistant? When I defeated the terrible Gandharvas for freeing Duryodhana from them, who was my second? When I killed the ferrocious tribes of demons Nivaathakavachas and Kaalakeyas for the gods, was there anybody to help me? When I defeated Duryodhana himself and his five great heroes, single-handedly, who was beside me to help? Having had such an excellent track of known valour and prowess, holding the divine Gaandeevam with the ever-full quivers still in my hands,all the while in possession of such equipment as a divine car, divine steeds and divine banner, why should I feel fear and why should I seek help of anybody? Will it not be a destruction of my name, fame, valour and power? I am not afraid of anybody or anything. I do not want you or your help in war. You can go anywhere you like and you can stay anywhere you like. We do not want you here."

Thus receiving a gentle but strong rebuke from Arjuna, Rukmi went straight to Duryodhana with his army. There too, he boastfully offered his help saying that he would save the Kouravas from the Paandavas if Duryodhana asked to do so. A naturally arrogant Duryodhana could not tolerate his proud posing and rejected his offer outright. Rukmi returned to his country without having a place in the war. Thus, only two heores, Balaraama and Rukmi were away from that great war without involving in it. ( Note: The irony is that , later , after many years, a small difference occured between these two personalities over a dice game and Balaraama killed Rukmi on the spot ! - Tr).

Hearing how Rukmi and Balaraama were out of the war,Janameja asked Vyshampaayana. " Sir, this is very interesting. With both the sides ready with their armies with upheld weapons, what happened there at Kurukshethram? "

Vyshampaayana answered. " At those tense moments, a day or two before the war was to begin, Dhritharaashta called Sanjaya and asked. " Sanjaya! Come on, Tell me in detail what has happened in both the army camps. After all, destiny prevails, I think. Our human efforts make no differene in the course of the things guided by the god. See me. I am fully aware of the demerits of war that bring downfall to the wealth, empire and subjects. I clearly know my son to be unrighteous. Yet, I could not correct him and prevent from resorting to the evil dice game of cheating. Nor could I do what could have been for the good of me , my sons and all! Sanjaya, My mind is able enough to see between good and bad but my fondness to Duryodhana reverses it. At thia stage, let what happens may happen. Sacrificing lives in the war is anyway honourable to the kshathriya s."

Sanjaya heard the old king's question and answered without any hesitation. " King! Your question has its answer in itself. Having all the errors in you from the beginning, you cannot now blame your son. I wish to tell you Sir, that one that suffers the results of one's own evil deeds should not pass the blame onto the god or time. He who resorts to all the detestable low deeds shall deserve killing by everybody. It was due to your negligence and partiality that the just Paandavas were to suffer those hardships that they otherwise never deserve. Now, the result of your indifference has come in the form of a terrible war that accounts for the lives of men, elephants and horses. You compose yourself and remain calm to hear from me what has happened there at the battle field. A mortal is not a master of his good and bad. He is a helpless dependent like a puppet that is played by one with its strings. We see the behaviour of people to be of three kinds; some are driven by the destiny, some are driven by their earlier deeds and some are driven by their mind and will. Anyway, a great unpleasant occurence is ahead. Be calm and collected and listen to my reports."

END OF CHAPTER ONE HUNDRED AND FIFTY NINE

END OF SYNYANIRYAANA-PARVA

8. ULOOKA-DOOTHAAGAMANA-PARVA

DURYODHANA SENDS ULOOKA TO THE PAANDAVAS

Sanjaya told Dhritharaashtra. " Sir! After the Paandavas camped along the banks of Hiranvathi river, your sons too camped near Kurukshethram with all preparations. Duryodhana ordered all his generals and other important men to arrange for lodging, security and protection of the camp, placement of guards at required places and for supplies to the camps. After receiving reports that everything was in order, he sat for consultation with Karna, Shakuni and Dushshaasana. After exchanging his ideas with theirs, he called for Shakuni's son Ulooka alone and said to him in a private place.

"Ulooka! Go the Paandavas now. Before all their supporters like Paanchaalas and Mathsyas,tell them these words as mine.

" First, speak to Yudhishthira like this, right before Krishna. 'O righteous Yudhishthira! That moment of the much awaited war between us has come. It is going to be truly terrific by its course and by its results too. This is time for you to bring into reality all that you proudly boasted off with too much reliance on Krishna, as Sanjaya elaborately reported to us. Try to perform as vowed by all your brotehrs. You are a first rated pretender in fact. We have been thinking all the while that you are peace-loving and very kind to others. I wonder how you could endeavour to proceed for achieving undeserving benefits through such an undesirable means as war, gathering your brothers and the Paanchaalas? How could you resort to stake the lives of all your kins friends for the sake of your poor kingdom? Your outwardly gentle appearance consealing your inner cruelty reminds me of an apisode quoted by sage Naarada to my father about the demon king Prahlaada addressing the gods when he lost his throne of heaven to them. He said, 'O Gods! If one outwardly claims holding of virtue of high standards but privately commits severe sins, that is called 'cat's penance'.'

" Naarada further explained about that cat's penance. ' Once an old and weak cat stood motionless on the banks of Ganga, with hands raised above his head, looking as if in a deep meditation. He did not hurt any being to gain confidence of others and always claimed to have renounced the world for penance. Over a long period of time, some birds developed trust in his sayings and they visited him everyday and praised his soft nature. Seing the birds evincing trust in him, the cat felt happy at his success and believed that his efforts bore fruit at last. After some more time, as its news spread wide, some rats came to see the wonderful cat that never hurt a bird or any being for its food. They saw the effortful cheater and believed him to be a true undertaker of penance. They discussed among themselves that it would be useful for them if they entrust the cat with the care of the young and old ones as they were really large in number. they decided so and went to the cat. They prayed him, 'O elder one! we are all under your guard. You are no less than an uncle to us. Please be good enough to take care of our kids and the invalid in our absence. That gives us freedom to move as we need. You are known for your virtue and justice. You are the only refuge to us. You protect all like Indra does the gods.' The cat heard their words and replied posing all sincerity, 'I tink it is impossible to carry out these two different tasks of my penence and your protection. Yet, I should oblige your word. But you should do me one favour. I am already weak and my pennance made me still weaker. I have no energy to walk at all. You should take me to the bank of the river everyday for my bathing. If you agree for this, I am ready to do what youasked.' The innocent rats believed the cunning cat's suave words and agreed to its suggestion. The cruel cat made use of the trust of the rats and started to eat the rats secretely. Gradually it became stronger and its body grew nicely. As the cat grew in form and energy, the rats fell in their numbers. Then a clever rat named Dindika said to their group, 'You all await us at the river bank. I will come there with uncle.' All the rats afrred and did so. The cat with no knowledge of the plan of the rats, ate the poor rat Dindika. With dindika missing, all the rats gathered and discussed. After a few days, a wise old rat named Kolika said, 'It seems our uncle is really not a penance doer. He poses that job to deceive others like us. If he really eats only roots and fruit, how can his excrement contains hair in it? Eversince our joing him with us, he has been growing and we have been reducing in number. Alarmingly, Dindika is missing for the last seven or eight days after accompanying uncle to the river. It is very clear that this cat is cruel and it kills all of us in no time, if we ares till here.' Hearing those words, the rats took to their heals. The cheater cat too went away.

" Yudhishthira, you too are observing false gentlehood, similar to that cat-penance. Claiming to be protector of your kins, you are behaving like the cat among the rats. What you say is different from what you do. All your vedic knowledge and restraint are only to deceive others. You shed that mask of gentleness and do as a true kshathriya should do. Then you will be really virtuous. Acquire the empire through your valour and then endow to the braahmana s and satisfy your manes. If you are really bound to your duty towards your mother, come forward to wipe of the tears of your mother who has been suffering the insult of staying in the house of your foes for many years. We refused to concede even five villages to you, only to goad you to the war. Because of you, we kept Vidura away. Remember his help to you in the case of wax house and be manly enough to stand in the war, at least to repay his debt. What message did you send to us through Krishna? ' I am ready either to the war or to truce.' The time for war as you choiced has come. I did all this all these tears just to bring this chance for us. If you are true to your words, come and stand in the war. In fact, what else is dearer to a kshathriya , other than a war? Claiming to be a kshathriya , you never opted for war, but your fame looks too big to your stature. Though you are born in the same clan as we, though you learnt archery and asthras from the same teachers Kripa and Drona as we did, though you are of our class by all means, you depend on the unworthy Krishna."

Duryodhana continued. " Ulooka, Say to Krishna like this. "Krishna! You come ready to fight against us for your and tour Paandavas' sake. You may try the same trick you did in my hall, this time tt, but in the war field and with Arjunabeside you. such tricks, magics and tricks might go humourously in a talking hall, but in war field those will only add to the anger and strength of an armed hero. Cannot we too fly into the sky, reach Indra's heaven or go deep into Paathaalam ? Cannot we too show many forms from our bodies? But, all these cheap things will never serve the purpose of victory. The god's will prevails all over. What did you say to Sanjaya? Remember? 'I will see the Kouravas killed in the war and fetch your empire to the Paandavas.' Wasn't it ? You also challenged me with your cheap threatening like ' You are going to fight against Arjuna with whom I too will be there.' Prove your words and show your and his valour too.Stand in the war and become fit to be called a man. He who knows his enemies well , fights against them with manly courage and torments them by thouroughly defeating them, is only said to live a real life of a true man. We see your fame unduly high in the world. That proves for us that there are some eunuchs with manly features too. A monarch like me shall not resort to wage a war against you who are a mere servant of king Kamsa."

" Ulooka! Then say these words to the morose Bheema, who is like a bull in strength and wisdom, an expert in eating but not fighting.

" Bheema! It is said that you lived as a cook in Viraata's city naming yourself as Valala. Was not it due to my greatness? You spoke ferrocious vows in our full hall. Aren't they going to be futile like a crazy man's talk? You may drink Dushshaasana's blood, if you can at all. Now has come the moment of test to your boasting of killing all of us in the war. You are the one to be the first for eaing or drinking, but not fighting. Whither a war? And whither a glutton? Anyway, come on to fight us and prove to the world that you too are a man. All your prating in the hall will go waste with a single blow of my mace that will send you reeling to the ground to fall dead on your mace.'

"Tell Nakula, ' Do not forget your devotion and reverence to your elder brother Yudhishthira or your strong hatred towards me or the starnge insult that your Droupadi met in my hall before me and you all.'

"Ulooka, Say this to Sahadeva. 'Keep in mind how I tormented you all these years. Prepare for the war and come.'

"Ulooka! Say this to those two old kings Drupada and Viraata. 'Eversince the creator started his creation of the kings and their servants, no good king did find a meritorious servant and no meritorious servant did serve a good king. But, now, after many ages have gone, that deficiency to the creation is cured as you too found Yudhishthira as your king. What a combination of an unfit king and useless servants! You all together come and fight against us to kill us and save yourselves the Paandavas.'

" Ulooka! Then address Dhrishtadyumna and say, 'This is the time for you too! You too deserve the same fruit as your patrons. You will learn what is good for you, the moment you meet Drona in the war.Come on with Paandavas and your friends to achieve your tough task.'

" Say this to Shikhandi. ' You need not fear in the war! Our grandfather will not kill you treatinh you as a woman. You can freely fight with the invincible Bheeshma. Given this advantsge, show your valour in the war. We will see what a man you are.'

Then Duryodhana burst into a loud laugh and said to Ulooka. " Tell these words clearly to Arjuna. ' Arjuna! Bring to your mind all the troubles you suffered till today. Deprivation of kingdom, exile to the forests, insults and suffering of Droupadi, everything. This is the time for which a kshathriya woman bears children.Who in the world will not burn with anger, if he is thrown out of his place wnd wealth and put to severe troubles for a long time? A man true to his race and never willing to harm others or their fortunes shall really flare up with anger at a person like me who occupied his empire and enjoyed it. Now, come on with your men and show us what your asthras and your skill with them are worth. Exhibit your valour and manliness to satisfy your anger. Try to materialize what you spoke in the hall then. A man of high words but no deeds is but a prater. Try to regain your status and empire from the control of your enemies. In fact, these two are the best purposes for a war for a kshathriya . We defeated you in the gambling. We dragged your wife into the full hall.We drove you to the forests for twelve years. We forced you to live as Viraata's servants for a full year. Won't you yet find a good reason to become annoyed with us? aim your anger at your enemies who jeered at you time and again. Showing anger at the needy timefor a good reason is simply manliness. We are eager to see your skill in the war and your ability to stand against us. The weapons are well worshiped. Kurukshethram is dry, free of mud.Your elephants and horses are strong and fit. You gathered some men too. Come with Krishna tomorrow to fight. How can you prate about yourself, not yet meeting Bheeshma in the war, like a fool boasting about climbing mountain Gandhamaadanam even as sitting in his house? Stop boasting. Boasting doesn't make you a hero. Become a hero with deeds alone but not with shouts. Karna is unbearable in the wars. Shalya is matchless among the mighty warriors. Drona is an exceptional expert both in vedas and archery, having seen the highest levels of knowledge of both. He is a steadfast fighter and his movements in the enemy ranks are never stoppable to anyone. He excels even Indra in fighting skills. You wish to win such a hero just out of your crazy fancy. We never heard that winds moved mount Meru. If your blabbering is to be taken serious, we have to believe that the wind blows up Meru or the sky falls on the earth or the cycle of time reverses too. Who in the world, being fond of his life though, may it be Arjunaor any one, can approach Bheeshma or Drona in the war and yet return home safe? Can any one aimed and hit by these two, still remain touching the earth with his feet ? Just like a frog in the well that can never understand what the sea is, you too cannot even imagine what my army is like. It is fully protected by numerous terrible kings, as formidable as the army of the gods. My army is full of forces from the four corners of the world, from the east, from the south, from the west, from the north, comprising kaambhojas, khashas, shaalvas, mathsyas, central Kurus, mlechchas, pulindas, dravidas,andhras and kaanchyas. My huge army is like a deep sea with the strong forces. Its speed is as dangerous and as unbearable as that of Ganga. You mean creature! You wish to attack me amidst my elephant forces stationed in the middle of such a great army? I know that your chariot is gifted by Agni. I know that your quivers are everful too. I well know that your Hanuman banner is a divine one. I still better know that Krishna is your guide. I am aware of your palm-tree long Gaandeevam too. And I still better know that there is not an archer to match you. Knowing all these things pretty well, I have been enjoying your empire! Arjuna, Do not boast. Become a man without boasting. If boasting is the means of winning the targets, who in the world cannot be successsful? Who is poor in boasting,to say? Tricks and pretence will not win for a man. God alone will take care of our things. I have been enjoying the empire for thirteen years leaving you aggrieved in forests. Now too, I will continue my enjoyment, but, this time, killing you and all your relatives. When you were won as slaves in the game, where was your Gaandeevam and Where was Bheema's might? Of what use was Arjuna with the Gaandeevam or Bheema with the mace then? It fell all upon the poor Droupadi to relieve you from your slavery under us. The woman from Prishatha's clan was to free you, the great heroes of no refuge , from our bond. Was my sord true that you are all eunuchs? Bheema was to work as a cook under Viraata. You yourself wore the plaits of hair like a true eunuch in Viraata's city. In stead of bearing anger against your enemies like a true kshathriya , you chose to teach dance to the girls. We do not concede you even an inch of the land, just out of fear from you or Krishna. Come with him and see what we have for you. No tricks, no magics no threats or no cheating will guard you. Know that such acts only make a true fighter's anger manifold. Hundreds of Arjunas or Thousands of Krishnas coming together will run away helter skelter hit by my unerring arrows. Your preparing to fight against Bheeshma is no wiser than hitting your head against a hill or trying to swim acroos the sea. what do you think of my army? It is an ocean. Kripa is the large fish in it, Vivimshathi is the snakes in it. Brihadbala is its tides. Bhoorishravas is its whales. Bheeshma is its waves. Drona is its crocodiles. Karna is its sharks. Shalya is is its whirls. Sudarshana (Kaambhoja king) is is its fire (mythology says that there is a flaming fire beneath the sea with a horse's face, vomitting flames from the face. Badaba=female horse. Details in Ourva's episode.). Sushena is the elephants wandering in it. Chithraayudha is the aligators in it. Jayadratha is the hills in it. Durmarshana is the waters in it. Shakuni is the brooks from its hills. After entering the unfathomable heap of weapons of myarmy, after becoming vexed with your efforts to overcomr it, after seeing yourself entangled init, after seeing all your people perished in it, then your mind will lament about your decision. Then, your hopes on the kingdom will subside, like an impure fellow's hopes to reach the heaven. Like the heaven to a man of no penance and virtue, kingdom to you too is unreachable. "

Duryodhana concluded his message and sent Ulooka to the Paandavas.

Sanjaya continued to Dhritharaashtra. " King! Thus sent by your son, Ulooka reached Paandavas' camp and obtained audience with Yudhishthira. He saidto the king, 'Yudhishthira! You are learned and know what an emissary speaks. I am to deliver Duryodhana's message to you, exactly as he said it. I hope you will not be annoyed with my duty of an envoy after hearing his words."

Yudhishthira smiled and said. "Nothing to worry. Speak out without any hesitation or fear. Tell us what your greedy and unwise king sent through you."

With that permission, Ulooka spoke to Yudhishthira, in the presence of all his brothers, mathsyas, Srinjayas, Krishna, Drupada, his sons, Viraata and all other kings.

(Note: the following sentences are a major repetition of the sentences in the previous chapter. But I choose to put them here again, for the repetition too, looks beautiful to the reader. - Tr)

'Our magnanimous king Duryodhana from amidst all his heroes, sent these words to you. ' We defeated you in the gambling. We dragged your wife into the full hall.We drove you to the forests for twelve years. We forced you to live as Viraata's servants for a full year. Bring to your mind the insult, loss of kingdom, exile and Droupadi's sufferings. And behave like a man. What did the poor bheems vow? Let him drink Dushshaasana's blood, if he can. The weapons are well worshiped. Kurukshethram is dry, free of mud.Your elephants and horses are strong and fit. You gathered some men too. Come with Krishna tomorrow to fight. How can you prate about yourself, not yet meeting Bheeshma in the war, like a fool boasting about climbing mountain Gandhamaadanam even as sitting in his house? Stop boasting. Boasting doesn't make you a hero. Become a hero with deeds alone but not with shouts.Karna is unbearable in the wars. Shalya is matchless among the mighty warriors. Drona is an exceptional expert both in vedas and archery, having seen the highest levels of knowledge of both. He is a steadfast fighter and his movements in the enemy ranks are never stoppable to anyone. He excels even Indra in fighting skills. You wish to win such a hero just out of your crazy fancy. We never heard that winds moved mount Meru. If your blabbering is to be taken serious, we have to believe that the wind blows up Meru or the sky falls on the earth or the cycle of time reverses too. Who in the world, being fond of his life though, may it be Arjunaor any one, can approach Bheeshma or Drona in the war and yet return home safe? Can any one aimed and hit by these two, still remain touching the earth with his feet ? Just like a frog in the well that can never understand what the sea is, you too cannot even imagine what my army is like. It is fully protected by numerous terrible kings, as formidable as the army of the gods. My army is full of forces from the four corners of the world, from the east, from the south, from the west, from the north, comprising kaambhojas, khashas, shaalvas, mathsyas, central Kurus, mlechchas, pulindas, dravidas, andhras and kaanchyas. My huge army is like a deep sea with the strong forces. Its speed is as dangerous and as unbearable as that of Ganga. You mean creature! You wish to attack me amidst my elephant forces stationed in the middle of such a great army?'

And then he said to Arjuna, accentuating each word. 'I am told to say these words to you - 'I know that your chariot is gifted by Agni. I know that your quivers are everful too. I well know that your Hanuman banner is a divine one. I still better know that Krishna is your guide. I am aware of your palm-tree long Gaandeevam too. And I still better know that there is not an archer to match you. Knowing all these things pretty well, I have been enjoying your empire! Arjuna, Do not boast. Become a man without boasting. If boasting is the means of winning the targets, who in the world cannot be successsful? Who is poor in boasting,to say? Tricks and pretence will not win for a man. God alone will take care of our things. I have been enjoying the empire for thirteen years leaving you aggrieved in forests. Now too, I will continue my enjoyment, but, this time, killing you and all your relatives. When you were won as slaves in the game, where was your Gaandeevam and Where was Bheema's might? Of what use was Arjuna with the Gaandeevam or Bheema with the mace then? It fell all upon the poor Droupadi to relieve you from your slavery under us. The woman from Prishatha's clan was to free you, the great heroes of no refuge , from our bond. Was not my word true that you are all eunuchs? Bheema was to work as a cook under Viraata. You yourself wore the plaits of hair like a true eunuch in Viraata's city. In stead of bearing anger against your enemies like a true kshathriya , you chose to teach dance to the girls. We do not concede you even an inch of the land, just out of fear from you or Krishna. Come with him ans dee what we have for you. No tricks, no magics no threats or no cheating will guard you. Know that such acts only make a true fighter's anger manifold. Hundreds of Arjunas or Thousands of Krishnas coming together will run away helter skelter hit by my unerring arrows. Your preparing to fight against Bheeshma is no wiser than hitting your head against a hill or trying to swim acroos the sea. what do you think of my army? It is an ocean. Kripa is the large fish in it, Vivimshathi is the snakes in it. Brihadbala is its tides. Bhoorishravas is its whales. Bheeshma is its waves. Drona is its crocodiles. Karna is its sharks. Shalya is its whirlpools. Sudarshana (Kaambhoja king) is is its fire (mythology says that there is a flaming fire beneath the sea with a horse's face, vomitting flames from the face. Badaba=female horse. Details in Ourva's episode.). Sushena is the elephants wandering in it. Chithraayudha is the aligators in it. Jayadratha is the hills in it. Durmarshana is the waters in it. Shakuni is the brooks from its hills. After entering the unfathomable heap of weapons of myarmy, after becoming vexed with your efforts to overcomr it, after seeing yourself entangled init, then your mind will lament about your decision. Then, your hopes on the kingdom will subside, like an impure fellow's hopes to reach the heaven. Like the heaven to a man of no penance and virtue, kingdom to you too is unreachable. "

END OF CHAPTER ONE HUNDRED AND SIXTY ONE

PAANDAVAS' RESPONSE TO ULOOKA

Paandavas and their followers heard Ulooka's speech. the already incised hearts of the Paandavas burnt with anger at the ugly speech. Even the kings and other warriors in the hall were besides themselves with wrath. They could not tolerate his ugly words addressed to the Paandavas and their supporters, especially those addressed to Arjuna. Dhrishtadyumna, Shikhandi, Saathyaki, the five Kekaya brothers, demon ghatothkacha, Junior Paandavas, Abhimanyu,Dhrishtakethu,not to say The Twins and Bheema, all rose up from their seats and swung their hands at him with anger. Their well ornamented and sandal-smeared hands flung in the air like flying serpents. Everyone of them shouted at the outsider as if to consume him with their anger. Yudhishthira and Arjunacontained their anger, but Arjuna's forehead bore beads of sweat all over which he wiped off again and again. Krishna too was angry. He understood how angry Bheema was but he simply smiled at Ulooka and said to him. "Go back to your kind tell him , 'We heard your message and understood it thouroughly. May you reach what you are walking towards. You will surely get suitable result of this misadventure too. May you and your supporters get what befits you all. You are very foolish in thinking that I am not a fighter but just Arjuna's driver and that saves you from my clasp. I have agreed to Arjuna's request and Yudhishthira's word and took up this job as a token of my affection to Paandavas. Very soon, you will see the effect of my presence with Paandavas. Neither Yudhishthira, nor Bheema, nor Arjunanor The Twins care you or your fellows. Never think that Bheema's vows are just words. Take it granted that Bheema will drink Dushshaasana's blood. Even if you run along the three worlds or hide in the earth or whereever you may go, you will see there Arjuna's car driven by me.'"

Bheema could not hold his wrath. Even as Krishna was talking to Ulooka, he rose up from his seat, gnashing his teeth and licking the corners of his lips. As his eyes flushed and bulged with anger, he roared at Ulooka, making the walls of the hall reverberate with his thundering voice. 'You worthless idiot! We heard from you, your king Duryodhana's words as if spoken to timid people to encourage them. You go to your wicked king and convey my response to him before his dear friend Karna and your father in his full hall. 'We have borne with all your misdeeds just out of our reverence to our elder brother and suffered many troubles. Never think that it was all due to your greatness. Yet, our brother sent Krishna to you for a peaceful settlement, but you rejected it, forced by the god of death. If you are prepared to see Lord Yama, stand in the war. That is just one day away. I vowed to kill you and all your brothers. That is going to happen and there is nothing to think otherwise about it. May the sea cross its shore, may the mountains break into pieces, but my word never fails. Even if you bring to your help the lords like Yama, Kubera or Rudra, Paandavas will do as they vowed. I am going to taste Dushshaasana's blood as I said earlier. Any of your kshathriya s trying to hinder me then, even with Bheeshma before him, will fall dead hit by my shots and becomes a guest to Yama's abode. I repeat, what I said in the hall will happen exactly as what I said in the hall, I swear upon my honour. May you hide in the stomuch of an eagle or may you hide in your city of Hasthipuram,I will do as I said. I will tear open your brother's chest and drink his blood. I will smash your thighs with my mace and kick on your head with my foot in Yudhishthira's presence. I will be death god himself to all of you. I will please my entire side with my action in the war.' He spoke thus and sat down in his chair , still unable to control himself, rubbibg his palms.

Then Sahadeva too burst out at Ulooka, " You son of a cheating gambler! convey my manly response to your wicked father in the full court of your king. 'Had you not been Dhritharaashtra's relative by marriage, there would not have been any differences between us and the Kouravas. You seem to have been born solely for the purpose of destruction of Dhritharaashtra's clan but all the kshathriya race as a whole too. You are such a sinful and spiteful fellow bringing destruction to your own clan and others too.' Ulooka! Your father has been putting his efforts to harm us eversince we met. I am going to see the end of that rogue's games. I will kill you first right before his eyes and then kill you too in the full view of your king and all your heroes. That will settle the trouble for all."

The entire hall applauded the response of Bheema and Sahadeva. Then Arjunaspoke to Bheema with a smile. " Bheema! None of your enemies is present here before you now. All the fools are presently safe at their home. Anyway, they are going to meet their end in no time. Why do you need speaking harsh words to this poor Ulooka, who is just a messenger of words? His only work is to pipe out what his senders told him to say."

Saying this to Bheema to placate his anger, Arjunasaid to his followers like Dhrishtadyumna and others. "You all directly heard what the rogue Duryodhana sent to say to us. There is jeering at all of us including Krishna and other elders too, especially with reference to me. Naturally all of you became agitated from its hearing because of your love and affection towards us. With your support and Krishna's help, I do not care even if the entire kshathriyas in the world stand against us. With your permission, I wish to respond to Duryodhana's message in a fitting manner. Of course, all his rude wording will be answered tomorrow morning with my Gaandeevam. It is eunuchs that answer just with words."

All the kings in the hall wondered at his cool and decent words and praised him for his composition and maintenence of temperment. Then Arjunapacified everyone in the house ina such manner as was fit to their age and status. After calming down the noisy house, he asked Yudhishthira. "King! No king should allow any insult to himself. Nor should he condescend to respond to unworthy fellows. Yet, refraining from giving a suitable answer too is not commendable. You need not intervene with this, but with your nod, I will, as your servant, send an answer to his sender."

Then he looked at Ulooka with his eyes flaming with anger. While licking the corners of his lips with the edge of his tounge and looking at his brothers and Krishna, he placed his hand on Ulooka's shoulder and spoke to him in a calm but stressing voice."Boy, Ulooka! Go back to the one who sent you here. And relate my answer to that ungreatful fellow that brought blemish to the clan as a whole. 'O unworthy fellow! You have always been wicked towards us. He who is confident of his own strength and challenges his foes relying on his own powers and proves his challenge right, is the only one that befits the manly description of a kshathriya . Though you call yourself to be a kshathriya , you shield yourself behind the respectable and the others and then pose a challenge to us. This is deridable. You declare yourself reliant on your own strength and your followers and then challenge Paandavas. That will make you a true kshathriya . Having no strength of his own and relying on others' strength to prepare for war against others is really the nature of a eunuch. Clearly depending on others to fight with us, how can you boast before us? One dependent on others is not a man at all, what to talk of his kshathriyahood? Isn't it your ignorance that you behave like a coward but choose to jer at us who challenged you with our own strength? You place the old and hoonourable Bheeshma in the guard of you and your brothers and still speak boastfully. We could easily see through your cheap plans. Your imbecile thought is that we do not kill our old grandsire out of pity or respect. Understand that Bheeshma, whose protections gives you courage to lose your tongue at us, will be the first one that I am going to kill, as you, your Karna and all other champions see helplessly. Just an assurance from Bheeshma that he would kill all the Paanchaalas and Srinjayas even without Drona's help, gave you blind confidence. And you believe that you won against us and obtained the empire into your control forever. Your arrogance makes you blind to our power and the coming danger to you from that, as caused by your own follies. As a fitting reply to your meaningless dependence, I will kill the old Bheeshma first before all your fellows. Make arrangements to safeguard him from me in tomorrow's war. Seeing Bheeshma caged under showers of my arrows, you will experience the result of your boastings. The sight of Bheeshma's falling from his chariot will teach you a lesson. Also, Bheema's vow regarding your cruel and impious brother Duryodhana too is going to come true. In a short while, you are going to reap the unhappy fruit of your pride, arrogance,anger, cruelty, ungreatfulness, greed, overstepping of the path of virtue, going against the words of the elders, failing the terms of wagger with us, over reliance on the armies, showing oral rudeness to us and what not. When me and Krishna are truly angry with you, how can you foolish fellow keep hopes on life or kingdom or any other thing? Seeing the fall of Bheeshma, Drona and your dear Karna, you will become hopeless towards your brothers, sons and kingdom. Hearing the news of death of your brother and sons in Bheema's hands, you will bring to your mind all your earlier sinful deeds done to us.' And Ulooka, tell him that I don't repeat my words. It is sure to happen as what I vowed earlier." The courtiers clapped in pleasure at Arjuna's dignified response.

Nakula then said to Ulooka. "Go and tell Duryodhana that I agreed to what he said to me through you. I will do as he told me to do. His rude jeering at us for our troubles that were caused by himself, will fetch the fitting result to him. He will shortly lament about his behaviour along with his sons, brothers and relatives."

Viraata and Drupada said to Ulooka. "We always wish to be slaves to a nice person of a commendable character who sticks to virtue. The war that starts tomorrow will shows whether we are slaves are not and what your power is."

Shikhandi said to Ulooka. "Tell your king as my words. 'Duryodhana! It is known that you are cruel and wicked bent on doing sinful deeds. You will see me do the unbelievable deed in the war. Whose strength you heavily depend upon and whom you place before you for protection in the war, that old Bheeshma will from his car hit by my arrows. I was born for killing that old man and I will do that right before you and all your fighters.'"

Dhrishtadyumna said to Ulooka. " These are my words to your Duryodhana. Convey without dropping a word. 'I am going to kill your prime protector Drona whom you believe to be your winner. You will see me do that feat unimaginable to others. That is my duty towards my family and the purpose of my birth.'"

Then, finally, Yudhishthira spoke to Ulooka. "Go to Duryodhana and tell these words to him as my answer. 'All the world knows my character and behaviour as well as yours too.You can never compete with me in character or behaviour. I am well aware of what your nature is and what mine is. I am equally aware that you and I are as different from each other as truthfulness is from cheating. I never wish harm even to an insect. How can you blame me with intention of killing my kinsmen? It is everybody's knowledge that all this is due to your greed and lack of wisdom. Your jealousy brought this moment of destruction to all. It is verily to avoid that unwanted possibility that I sent for truce with cessation of just five villages to us. The more I wanted to save you from trouble, the more you forced yourself to your end. Besides rejecting the pleadings of none other than Krishna for peace, you choose to descend to boast of yourself. What is the need of prating at this juncture? Come with your supporters and stand in the war. The war will show who are men and who are eunuchs.' Ulooka! It is your pleasure if you leave now or stay here. We too are your close relatives.May good come to you." Yudhishthira's brief but straight answer concluded the response of their team.

Sanjaya continued to Dhritharaashtra.

" Ulooka then took leave from Yudhishthira and returned to Duryodhana. He clearly reported the response of all the five Paandavas, Krishna, Viraata, Drupada, Shikhandi and Dhrishtadyumna. Duryodhana did not mind those words. He instructed Dushshaasana.Karna and Shakuni to pass orders to the generals that all the armies should be arrayed in their ranks by sun-rise. Karna accordingly sent messengers to the respective leaders. The messengers ran on their horses and camels along and across the lines of the tents and pronounced their king's orders of standing ready by sun-rise.

There, at the Paandavas' camp, after Ulooka left, Yudhishthira ordered Dhrishtadyumna to move the forces. Their huge army, full of elephants, horses,chariots and soldiers moved to the field as if shaking the earth under its weight. Heroes like Bheema and Arjunastood in its guard on all sides. The chief general Dhrishtadyumna walked in the lead. He declared to his men asto who should take up with whom in the war. He allocated Arjunafor defeating Karna, Bheema for Duryodhana, Dhrishtakethu for Shalya, Utthamoujas for Kripa, Nakula for Ashvaththaama, Shybya for Krithavarma, Saathyaki for Jayadratha, Shikhandi in the forefront for Bheeshma, Sahadeva for Shakuni, Chekithaana for shala, Junior Paandavas for the Thrigarthas, Abhimanyu for Vrishasena and Shasha group of kings. He added that Abhimanyu is a bit superior to his father in warfare. Finally, amidst the cheers of his men, he took Drona as his share. Thus indicating the primary role of each one in the war and also hinting asto who should aid whom in case of need, he arranged his forces in the required form and stood ready for fighting for Paandavas' victory in the war."

END OF CHAPTER ONE HUNDRED AND SIXTY FOUR

END OF ULOOKA-DOOTHAAGAMANA-PARVA

9. RATHAATHIRATHA-SANKHYAANA-PARVA

BHEESMA GRADES THE WARRIORS ON EITHER SIDE

(Note: This chapter describes how Bheeshma graded the fighters on either side according to the standards of their abilities. The basic technical word used is 'ratha'. It means both 'a chariot' and 'a chariot fighter'. But, here, in this context of gradation of fighters, it means 'a chariot fighter'.Based on this word, the derivative words Artha-ratha , samaratha, mahaaratha and athiratha are used. For the easy understanding of youth, I use the following words as equivalent to these words. 'A semi-skilled fighter' for the word 'artharatha'; 'a skilled fighter for the word 'ratha'; 'a grand fighter' for the word 'mahaaratha' and 'a super grand fighter' for the word 'athiratha'. Ratha or samaratha means a fighter who is wellversed with warfare of all types and can fight against an equal hand. mahaaratha means a fighter who can stand against eleven thousand chariot fighters. Athiratha means one that is wellversed not only with warfare but asthras too and can fight against any number of opponents. Details can be seen in the link 'athiratha'. -Tr)

After hearing about Ulooka's return from Paandavas, Dhritharaashtra asked Sanjaya. "After knowing Arjuna's response to Duryodhana's message through Ulooka, I fear as if Arjunareally killed my father Bheeshma. In fact, who can stand against that ace archer with Krishna's support? What did my sons do learning his response? What did the learned and talented Bheeshma himself do after learning Arjuna's response? What did he do after being requested for leadership of my son's armies? I wish to know what the senior fighter of greatest skill did to encourage my sons? "

Vyshampaayana continued to Janamejaya.
Sanjaya said to Dhritharaashtra. "After Duryodhana honoured him with leadership, Bheeshma said to him as if pleasing him. 'Offering respects to the leader of army of gods, Kumaara, I will be chief general of your army. no doubt, I know all about the various arrays of the army and leading both the the waged and hired forces. I am considered to be as an expert as Brihaspathi in the matters of leading the campaigns, running the wars and retaliating to the opponent's strategies and asthras. with my thorough expertise in the arrays known to mortals, Gandharvas and divines, I will make the pandavas bewildered. I will sincerely protect your army and carry on the war systematically. Do not entertain any fears in your mind.'

( See the link Athiratha. In ancient times, fighters, especially archers mounting on their chariots, are classified into four grades varying with their valour,prowess, abilities and skills. An unskilled or semi-skilled fighter mounted on the chariot is an Ardha-ratha . A skilled and able archer mounting a chariot, who can fight against one fighter of his class is a Samaratha or simply Ratha. A valorous archer who can fight against eleven thousand bowmen at the same time is termed Mahaaratha. A chariot-mounted fighter who can fight against any number of archers of any class at the same time is named Athiratha. In this translation, we used the terms unskilled fighter, skilled fighter, grand fighter and super-grand fighter to mean Ardharatha, Samaratha, Mahaaratha and Athiratha,just to be appealing to the young generation.- Tr) Duryodhana said to his grandfather. " Grandsire! Really, I am never afraid of any one amongsst mortals or celestials. What to speak of that, when you are leading us in the war and when the war-loving Drona is on our side with you? Having you two stalwarts to fight for my victory, I do not hesitate in capturing even Indra's abode. But, grandsire, I have a small curiosity. I wish to know about the classes of the heroes on either side. Who come under experts(=ratha)? Who are grand fighters(mahaaratha)? Who can be super-grand-fighters(=athiratha)? Are there any unskilled or semi skilled(=artharatha) class? you are the senior most of all the fighters and you equally know about both the sides, being grandfather to us and them. Alongwith these kings, I wish to hear from you about the class of the fighters ."

Bheeshma said. " Well, my boy! there are thousands of hundreds of warriors on either side. Though it is impossible to name each one, I will name the most prominent ones on either side. Listen and understand for pleasure or information or assessment. first about those on your side. You are a super-grand fighter (Athiratha). All your brothers are grand-fighters (Mahaarathas). You all are experts in fighting from the chariot or elephant or horse and with bow or sword or mace or any other weapon. You can bear others' shots and you can hit at them too. All are well trained by Kripa and Drona in archery and warfare. All your brothers bear a grudge against Paandavas and will fight with all their might to kill Paanchaalas. Me, your chief, will fight with them killing thousands of fighters. I should not describe myself. You know what my class is. Krithavarma is a super-grand fighter. He will bring success to you, no doubt. He cannot be shaken even by the great experts. He has great weapons, He can aim even the farthes targets. Shalya, the Madra king, is a super-grand fighter. He vies with Krishna in every war. He joined you leaving his own nephews. He will fight with the Paandavas as if floating the enemies in the showers of his arrows that fall like the waves of the sea. Bhoorishravs, son of Somadaththa, is your cousin and friend. He is a leader of group of grand-fighters. Enemy forces coming before him will fall shot and dead. Jayadratha, the Sindhu king, I think is equal to two expert fighters. As he was insulted by Paandavas while abducting Droupadi, he grudges with them . On that occasion, he observed severe penance and prayed to Lord Shiva and obtained a boon from him that he can fight against the Paandavas. With that added strength and that insult burning his mind, he will fight with all his might making unbelievable advancements. The Kambhoja king Sudakshina is an expert fighter. You will see him exhibit his valour like Indra. his huge army falls like a herd of locusts in the war. The Maahishmathi king, Neela, clad in a black armour, is with you with his troups of chariots. He has old enemity with Sahadeva among the Paandavas. He will fight for you bitterly. I think he is an expert fighter. The Avanthi princes vinda and Anuvinda are grand-fighters. both of them are known for their valour and their fond interest in wars. They jump at the chance of war. Both can eminently fight with bow,mace,javeline,spear or sword. Their movements in the war look like those of death god among the opponents.They will put all their energy for you.

Bheeshma continued. " The five Thrigartha brothers are super-grand fighters in my view. As they were defeated in the hands of Paandavas in Viraata city, they bear bitter enemity with them. They will disrupt the enemies' formations like strong crocodiles do the waters of a lake. As Bheema inflicted a severe insult on them at viraata city and Arjuna crushingly defeated them during his Raajasooya campaign, they have strong desire to win them. No doubt, they will attack the enemy fiercely in the lead of Sathyaratha and kill the best of the archers. Your son Lakshmana and Dushshaasana's sons both are grand expert fighters. both the young men are fast and quick in wars. Interested in heroic deeds, they will do well in the war. The king Dandadhaara is a grand expert fighter. He will fight with his mighty army for you. the kosala king Brihadbala is a grand expert fighter. His speed in war is unbearable. He is interested in your benefit and fights for you to the pleasure of his people. The son of sage sharadvaan, Kripa, your first teacher of archery , is a leader of group of super grand expert fighters. Like kumaara, he is invincible to any one.He will move among the armed ranks of the enemy like a forest fire. He will fight for you not even caring for his life. Surely, he is going to have a share in your victory. Your maternal uncle Shakuni is an expert fighter. His troups are known for their speed in attacking. with the strange weapons they use and with their lightning movements, he and his men will severely fight with Paandavas in your interest.

Drona's son Ashvaththaama exceeds every archer in the world. He is steadfast in wars. He fights in a wonderful manner. Like Arjuna's, his arrows too fly like a single arrow, one touching the previous one. Though I reckon him as a super grand expert fighter, it is not possible to assess his true class. He can raze the three worlds if he is angry enough. He is a mixture of anger and valour. He attained many divine asthras from his father Drona. Yet, there is a very big flaw in him. He loves his life too much. Though there is not any one on either side who can equal him, this greatest demerit in him makes me uncertain in classifying him as expert or super grand expert. Given his valour, asthras and prowess, he can singly defeat even the gods or break the mountains with his hands. He moves around in the enemies like god Yama himself. It is sure that the opponents will not stand his shots or asthras. I believe that he is going to conclude this war of the bhaarathas.

" His father Drona is a leader of group of leaders of groups of expert fighters. This son of sage bharadvaaja will exhibit his highest supernatural skills in the war. I have no doubt in saying that he will burn down the paandava army like a fire of valour fanned by the winds of asthras and flared by the grass of enemy troups. He is the teacher of almost all the coronated kings on both the sides. He will see the end of the Srinjayas. But, he is fond of his best student Arjuna whom he loves more than his son Ashvaththaama. He always praises Arjuna for his character and prowess. He can singly destroy the entire population of mortals, Gandharvas and celestials too. But, in no case will he kill Arjuna for his affection on him.

Bheeshma continued. " King Pourava is a grand expert fighter. Since he has enemity with the Paanchaalas, he will burn them down for you, tormenting them with his large army. Sathyashravas is an expert fighter. Karna's son Vrishasena is a grand expert fighter. He too will raze enemies like his father. King Jalasandha of the Madhu clan, is a grand expert, He fights as fiercely from the chariot as from an elephant. He will not care for his life while fighting for you. Fearlesss and committed, he and his troups will fight wonderfully with the enemies. Baahleeka, one of your generals is a super grand expert fighter. Though of advanced years, he never rests or takes aback in the wars. He moves as swiftly as the wind and demolishes the enemy formations with his wonderful movements. Witnessing his fighting will boost your spirits. He will do his best efforts to please you in the war. the demon chief Alambusha is a grand expert fighter. With his demon troups,he will fight with the Paandavas bitterly due to his earlier feud with them. His uncanny powers add to his strength. The praagjyothisham ruler Bhagadaththa is a grand expert fighter. He is known for his elephant-mounted fighting too. Once he fought with Arjuna for many days. Neither could have a clear win. In the end, this great warrior made friends with him out of his respect towards Indra. He will fight from his ferrocious elephant Supratheeka like Indra does from his Airaavatha."

END OF CHAPTER ONE HUNDRED AND SIXTY SEVEN

Bheeshma continued. "The two Gaandhaara youth Achala and Vrishaka are grand expert fighters. Both are strong fighters for your cause. Due to their relation with you, they will fight dedicatedly and destroy the enemies.

And your thick friend, counsel and general Karna who always encourages you to antagonise with Paandavas. He is a hard fighter in wars, but is arrogant, proud and boastful.As he lost his natural mail and ear rings, his strength decimated. Cursed by Parashuraama, he lost his asthras. Due to a braahmana 's curse, his performance in the war will be affected. with all these reasons behind, I opine that he is neither an expert nor a grand expert fighter. I consider him to be a semi-skilled fighter. I also believe that he cannot return alive once fell into Arjuna's sight."

Drona too supported Bheeshma's view. "Bheeshma! you said right. Though Karna jumps into every war at his chance, he repeatedly loses and runs away without any shame. He fumbles many a time and as such, I too consider him a semi-skilled fighter."

Karna's eyes bulbed up red with anger at those words belittling his talent in fighting. He furiously spoke to Bheeshma and Duryodhana. "Grandsire! It has been your habbitual act to insult me every time for no reason. I have been bearing all that for Duryodhana's sake, but you keep on thinking that I am a useless fellow. In fact, you are an unskilled fighter in my view. Taking advantage of the king's belief in you, you speak as you like, with the confidence that the world will swallow your words. You appear to be a wellwisher of the Kouravas, but in reality, you are a traitor. You are always against them but our king cannot see that. will any wise man in the lead do like this at a moment like this? Amidst all the kings of high character, you choose to degrade me just out of your grudge against me. won't the world honour your word and treat me as an unskilled one? you do not recognize that your disparity against me is leading to a rift among ourselves at an unwanted moment. Despite your ripe old age, you could not win over hatred and partiality. Either old age or white hairs or wealth or man-power or status cannot confer the eligibility of grading the kshathriyas. a kshathriya is to be reckoned by his strength and valour, a braahmana is to be reckoned by his power of penance and chants, vyshyas are to be reckoned by their wealth and shoodras are to be reckoned by their age. Just because our king asked you respecting your age, you began to speak as you like, classifying us without any reasonable ground and without assessing the my real strength. Driven by favour and hatred, you are allowing scope for split among us. Duryodhana! Be careful and observe cautiously. This old man is harming your interests. Leave him at once. You know that even the own army once split cannot be reunited. Then what to speak of one like this formed from a confluence of various armies coming from different places? Bheeshma's discouraging words deflated the spirits of our generals some of whom disagree with his wrong view. What is Bheeshma's capacity and what is the task of impartial classification of the warriors? In what way can this decrepit and dull man nearing his death befit war or its pressures or planning for it? It is said that words of old people should be respected. But very ripe old people should be dropped since they are as imbecile as children. This proud old man always vies with everyone in the world. His shortsightedness does not allow him to consider any man worthy. I am capable of defeating the entire army of the Paandavas single-handedly. All the Paandavas and Paanchaalas will run helter skelter hit by my shots. Even if I achieve this feat, all the fame will go to Bheeshma, because he is the chief general now, as the general is usually admired for victory, but not the fighters. I will not fight as long as Bheeshma is alive. I will step into the war with my men only after his fall. Then, I will defeat all the people whom he graded as Mahaarathas."

Bheeshma too responded sharply. "Son of a sootha! This war has been awaited and planned for many years by Duryodhana. All its burden is kept on my shoulders. At this tense moment, I am not supposed to promote differences among us. That is the sole reason for your still remaining alive now. Young fellow! Even though I am ripe old as you said, cannot I see the end of both your fighting spirit and your life now itself? The sense of right duty forces me to disregard your prating. Even long before you were born, the very great Parashuraama himself could not deter me with his shower of terrible asthras. What can you do now to me ? It is an accepted rule that one should not tell about one's own strength. But your arrogance makes me hot enough to tell you a little bit about myself . When all the kings on the earth attacked me en mass during the selection of daughters of Kaashi king, I drove them all and brought the girls for my brother. I have defeated and chased to the corners of the earth, many thousands of heores equal to and more than you too. All this trouble to the Kouravas is a plain result of your friendship with them. Be a man and face this destruction. Be bold enough to face Arjuna in the war with whom you claim to be an equal hand. Let us see if you will come safe out of Arjuna's hands in this terrible war."

As the two main stalwarts were severely angry at each other, Duryodhana intervened. "Grandfather! plese see me. Our task ahead is gigantic. Please concentrate your mind on that task that brings me good. You both are determined to work hard for my success and victory. either of you is going to play your great role in my welfare. I wish to hear about the warriors on Paandavas side too. Who among them are grand fighters and who are super grand fighters? I wish to know their strengths and weaknesses against those of ours. We are going to meet them in the field tomorrow morning itself."

Bheeshma became normal and continued." This is about grades of your prominent fighters. Now you may listen to the grades of the fighters on the Paandavas side if you are interested. May all the kings with you too listen. Yudhishthira himself is a super grand fighter. He will move across our ranks like a fire in the forest, no doubt. Bheema is equal to eight super grand fighters. He has no match in fighting with either a bow or a mace. He has the strength of ten thousand elephants. In valour, he exceeds all the mortals. The Twins are grand fighters. They are like the Ashvis both in form and prowess. They all are taller than ordinery men by a full span. they appear like tall sal trees among others. They are dignified, decent, virtuous, well-built like lions, strong as tigers and rich in penances. All are exceptional experts in fights and standing against rush and roughness of the war. All of the four younger ones undertook victorious campaigns in each direction. They are skillful in employing all weapons. The weapons they use are not even wieldable to others. Even when they were young, they exceeded you in weaponery, fighting, wrestling, usage of every weapon, hitting the targets and display of skills. Now, entering our army with anger and vigour, they will raze down our troups. Better avoid war with them. Each of them is capable of defeating all the kings. That was evident to you during their raajasooyam. Droupadi's insults and their troubles from you will make them blind with wrath and they will move like Lord Shiva in our troups. Arjuna, aided by Krishna, has no match from either side. None among the Naagas or demons or Yakshas or gods that lived or are living, is a match to him. What to mention of mortals, then? I have never heard a hero equal to him from among the present or past ones. His divine chariot is ready with Krishna in it and with Arjunaas the fighter from it. His Gaandeevam is of divine origin. His steeds are as swift as the wind and are of divine origin too. his armour is invisible and unbreakable. His quivers are never empty. His asthras comprise those like Ayndra, roudra, koubera vaaruna and the like. His other weapons like mace and the bolt are terrible even to behold at them. He fought alone and killed sixty thousand demons of terribly ferrocious powers at Hiranyapuram. Who can be a match to him? He will enrage to destroy our forces in full. when he advances showering arrows from his chariot, either me myself or Drona can have a chance to go against him and hinder him. No third man is found, from either side. He comes with the help of Krishna like a cloud at the end of summer. He is young and skillful whereas we both are old and less agile."

Hearing Bheeshma's words about Arjuna, all the kings present there reminisced to Arjuna's earlier achievements. Their minds became dull. Their bodies became depleted as if they were presently witnessing his deeds again.

Bheeshma continued. " Duryodhana! I consider the Junior Paandavas to be grand fighters. Viraata's son Uththara too is a grand fighter. Abhimanyu is either equal to Arjunaand Krishna or a bit more than both together. He is a leader of group of leaders. He knows many asthras, fights in many wonderful ways, fast in wars and decent. Thinking about his fathers' sufferings caused by you, he will show his prowess to his best level. The fearless Saathyaki from the yaadavas is a terrible fighter. He is the leader of group of leaders. The paanchaala youths Udhaamanyu and Uththmoujas are both grand fighters. They came with thousands of elephants and chariots to fight for the Paandavas. they will not care for their lives for the sake of Paandavas. They all are excited with war-spirit and encouraging one another to show their prowess for the victory of the Paandavas. the very senior kings Viraata and Drupada are difficult to stop in wars. They both are grand fighters in my view. Though they are very old by age, they are bold and sincere to the heroic code. They will make their best efforts for the Paandavas because they are related to them . Both relation and friendship together will make them hard bound for their cause. It is very natural that even a commonplace fellow can become spiritted and show prowess beyond his normal level, given a true cause and suitable encouragement. Here, these two kings of well-known valour have these two elements and that makes them put their fullest sincere efforts for the Paandavas. I strongly believe that the two stalwarts are of one mind in standing ready to die for their kins. They came with one Akshouhini each. Really, it will be difficult to tackle these two desperately advancing warriors.

Bheeshma went on. " The paanchaala prince Shikhandi is a grand fighter. He will show his valour in the war, wiping out the ranks standing before him. He is surrounded by Paanchaalas and prabhadrakas.with his big troups, he will harm us greatly. Their chief general, young Dhrishtadyumna, is a super grand fighter. He is verily a disciple of Drona. His large fleet of chariots is often referred to as a sea by the war-lovers. He will fight appearing like Lord Shiva during his destruction activity. But Dhrishtadyumna's son Kshathradharma is a semi-skilled fighter, because he never underwent any serious training or practice since his childhood. Shishupaala's son and the Chedi Prince Dhrishtakethu is a grand fighter. He is a relative to the Paandavas both by maternally and by marriage too. With his sons around him, he will perform the deeds of great fighters with natural ease. Kshathradeva is a grand fighter. He is known for his many victories and he is a strict follower of the kshathriya code. The paanchaala heroes Jayantha, Amithoujas and Mahaaratha are grand fighters. They all fight like elephants in rut. Aja and bhoja both are grand fighters. They will kill our troups employing their maximum prowess. The five Kekaya brothers are all experts in asthras, swift in weaponery, skilled at all types of fighting and are fast in wars. I consider them all grand fighters. Kaashika, sukumaara, Neela, Sooryadaththa, Shankha and Madiraashva are all grand fighters. Each of them is well equipped, well acquainted with asthras and a decent fighter. I consider Vaardhakshemi a grand fighter. Chithraayudha is a super grand fighter. He is Arjuna's friend and excels at wars. Chekithaana and Sathyadhrithi are grand fighters. Vyaaghradaththa and Chandrasena are grand fighters. Senabindu, also known as Krodhahantha is equal to Krishna or Bheema. He will show his prowess in the war killing our soldiers. He enjoys wars.You can reckon him as you do me or Drona or Kripa. The Kaashi king is an expert of asthras. He is a grand fighter. Drupada's young son Sathyajith is fond of wars. He too is a super grand fighter like Dhrishtadyumna. With a view to bring victory to Paandavas, he will show his valour to the maximum level. the Paandya king is a grand fighter. He is one of the notable stalwarts on that side. He is a friend of the Paandavas. Shrenimaan and Vasudaana are super grand fighters. They are known for their many victories over their enemies. Rochamaana fights against his enemies like a celestial. He is a grand fighter. Purujith is Bheema's relative. He is a super grand fighter. He is skilled at every fighting. He fights in wonderful ways. All his followers are experts of all types of warfare. He fights with us like Indra did with the demons. He will exhibit all his powers in the war as he is committed for the victory of his nephews. Bheema's son, demon Ghatothkacha is an expert of the demonic illusive warfare. He enjoys fighting. He has many demons under his control together with whom he will devastate our troups. He is a leader of group of leaders.

" Duryodhana! These are the grand fighters, super grand fighters or semiskilled fighters on either side, mentioned just as a matter of reference. There are still many more kings from many lands standing with Krishna for the cause of Paandavas. I only mentioned the prominent ones. All these stalwarts will lead Yudhishthira's troups with Arjuna protecting them like Indra protecting the gods. It is with them that we should fight. They are of valour and mysterious powers.Yet, I will fight with them to win or die. You will see me going against Arjuna, Krishna and other stalwarts on their side with their troups. As long as I am alive, I will thwart their attacks on us."

Bheeshma continued . " But, there is one exception. I will not fight with the Paanchaala hero Shikhandi, even though he runs at me with his weapons held in his hands. It is my vow not to kill a woman or a woman-turned man. As Shikhandi is a woman-turned man, I do not fight with him. Maybe, you might have heard his story of becoming a man from being a woman before . Barring him, I will kill any one I face in the war, except the Paandavas whom I never wish to kill.

END OF CHAPTER ONE HUNDRED AND SEVENTY TWO

END OF RATHAATHIRATHA-SANKHYAANA-PARVA

10. AMBOPAAKHYAANA-PARVA

EPISODE OF AMBA

Sootha continued his narration to the sages in the Nymisha forest.

Vyshampaayana went on relating the story of Mahaabhaaratham to Janamejaya.

Duryodhana heard Bheeshma telling that he would not kill Shikhandi and asked his grandfather. "Grandfather! You said at the beginning that you would kill all the Paanchaalas and Somakas. But, you say that you would not kill Shikhandi even if he attacks you. Why don't you kill him in the war? Can we know the reason behind that?"

Bheeshma began to tell the past incidents that would answer Duryodhana's question. He said while all the kings and warriors were listening with interest. "