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caves, elephants and steeds for its alligators and whirlpools, the
sound of Mridangas for its deep roars, and clothes and wealth
and precious stones for its waves, deluged the Earth."'^* It
was even in this way, king, that that monarch made gifts
for the advancement in the other world of his sons and grand-
sons and Pitris as also of himself and Gandhari.^ At last

* The usual way in which gifts are raade at the present day on occa-
sions of Craddhas and marriages or other auspicious rites very nearly
resembles what is described here. Instead of dedicating: each gift with
mantras and water and making it over to the receiver, all the articles
in a heap are dedicated with the aid of mantras. The guests are
then assembled, and are called up individually. The Adhyaksha oi*
superintendent, according to a list prepared, names the gifts to be made
to the guest called up. The tellers actually make them over, the scribes
noting them down. — T.

t Each gift that was indicated by Dhritarashtra was multiplied tere
times at the command of Yudhishthira.— T.

36 MAHABHARATA. [Acramavasd

when he became tired with the task of making gifts in such
profusion, that great Gift-sacrifice came to an end." Even
thus did that king of Kuru's race perform his Gift- sacrifice.
Actors and mimes continually danced and sang on the occasion
and contributed to the merriment of all the guests. Food and
drink of diverse tastes were given away in large quantities."
Making gifts in this way for ten days, the royal son of Am-
vika, O chief of Bharata's race, became freed from the debts
he owed to his sons and grandsons."*^

Section XV.

Vaigampayana said,—" The royal son of Amvika, viz.,
Dhritarashtra, having settled the hour of his departure for the
woods, summoned those heroes, the Pandavas,^ Possessed of
great intelligence, the old monarch, with Gandhari, duly ac-
costed those princes. Having caused the minor rites to be
performed, by Brahmanas conversant with the Vedas, on that
day which was the day of full moon in the month of Kar-
tika,^ he caused the fire which he worshipped daily to be taken
up. Leaving his usual robes he wore deer-skins and barks, and
accompanied by his daughters-in-law, he set out of his man-
sion.* When the royal son of Vichitraviryya thus set out, a
loud wail was uttered by the Pandava and the Kaurava ladies
as also by other women belonging to the Kaurava race.'* The
king worshipped the mansion in which he had lived with fried
paddy and excellent flowers of diverse kinds. He also honour-
ed all his servants with gifts of wealth, and then leaving that
abod9 set out on his journey .« Then, son, king Yudhish-
thira, trembling all over, with utterance choked by tears,
said these words in a loud voice, viz.,—'0 righteous mon-
arch, where dost thou go?'— and fell down in a swoon.«
Arjuna, burning with great grief, sighed repeatedly. That
foremost of Bharata princes, telling Yudhishthira that he should
not behave in that manner, stood cheerlessly and with heart
plunged into distress.^ Vrikodara, the heroic Phalguna, the
two sons of Madri, Vidura, Sanjaya, Dhritarfishtra's son by
his Vai9ya wife, and Kripa, and Dhaumya, and other Brah-

Parva.] acramavasika parva. 37

manas, all followed the old monarch, with voices choked in
grief.® Kunti walked ahead, bearing on her shoulders the
hand of Gandhari who walked with her bandaged eyes. King
Dhritarashtra walked confidently behind Gandhari, placing his
hand on her shoulder,*^ Drupada's daughter Krishna, she of
the Sattwata race, Uttara the daughter-in-law of the Kau-
ravas, who had recently become a mother, Chitrangada, and
other ladies of the royal household, all proceeded with the old
monarch.^^ The wail they uttered on that occasion, king,
from grief, resembled the loud lamentations of a swarm of
she-ospreys. Then the wives of the citizens, — Brahman as and
Kshatriyas and Vaigyas and Cudras, — also came out into the
streets from every side.^^ At Dhritarashtra's departure, O
king, all the citizens of Hastinapore became as distressed as
they had been, O monarch, when they had witnessed the de-
parture of the Pandavas in former days after their defeat at
the match at dice.*^ Ladies that had never seen the sun or
the moon, came out into the streets on that occasion, in great
grief, when king Dhritarashtra proceeded towards the great

Section XVI.

VaiQampayana said, — "Great was the uproar, at that time,
king, of both men and women standing on the terraces of
mansions or on the Earth.* Possessed of great intelligence,
the old king, with joined hands, and trembling with weakness,
proceeded with difficulty along the principal street which was
crowded with persons of both sexes.^ He left the city called
after the elephant by the principal gate, and then repeatedly
bade that crowd of people to return to their homes.^ Vidura
had set his heart on going to the forest along with the king.
The Suta Sanjaya also, the son of Gavalgani, the chief minis-
ter of Dhritarashtra, was of the same heart.* King Dhrita-

* As Dhritarashtra was blind, his queen Gandhari, whose devotion
to her lord was very great, had, from the days of her marriage, kept
her eyes bandaged, refusing to look on the world which her lord could
not see. — T.

38 MAHABHARATA. [A^ramavdsci

rashtra, however, caused Kripa and the mighty car-warrior
Yuyutsu to refrain from following him. He made them over
into Yudhishthira's hands.^ After the citizens had ceased
following the monarch, king Yudhishthira, with the ladies of
his household, prepared to stop, at the command of Dhrita-
rashtra.* Seeing that his mother Kunti was desirous of retir-
ing into the woods, the king said unto her, — 'I shall follow the
old monarch. Do thou desist !^ It behooveth thee, queen,
to return to the city, accompanied by these thy daughters-in-
law ! This monarch proceeds to the woods, firmly resolved to
practice penances !'^ Though king Yudhishthira said these
words unto her, with his eyes bathed in tears, Kunti, how-
ever, without answering him, continued to proceed, catching
hold of Gandhari.^

"Kunti said, — '0 king, never show any disregard for Saha-
deva. He is very much attached to me, monarch, and to
thee also always l^^ Thou shouldst always bear in mind Kama
who never retreated from battle. Through my folly that hero
has been slain in the field of battle.^^ Surely, my son, this
heart of mine is made of steel, since it does not break into a
hundred pieces at not seeing that child born of Surya.^^
When such has been the case, chastiser of foes, what can
I now do ? I am very much to blame for not having pro-
claimed the truth about the birth of Surya's child.^^ O crusher
of foes, I hope thou wilt, with all thy brothers, make excel-
lent gifts for the sake of that son of Surya.^* mower of
foes, thou shouldst always do what is agreeable to Draupadi.
Thou shouldst look after Bhimasena and Arjnna and Nakula
and Sahadeva. The burthens of the Kuru race have now
fallen on thee, king !^^ I shall live in the woods with Gan-
dhari, besmearing my body with filth, engaged in the perform-
ance of penances, and devoted to the service of my father-in-
law and mother-in-law !' "*^^

* Nilakantha explains that as Dliritarashtra is Pandu's elder brother,
therefore, Kunti regards him as Pandu's father. Queen Gandhari there-
fore, is Kunti's m©ther-iu-lawt The eldest brother is looked upon as a
father.— T.

Farva.] acramavasika parva. 89

VaiQampayana continued, — " Thus addressed by her, the
righteous-souled Yudhishthira, with passions under complete
control, became, with all his brothers, plunged into great dis-
tress. Endued with great intelligence, the king said not a
word.^^ Having reflected for a little while, king Yudhishthira
the just, cheerless and plunged in anxiety and sorrow, ad-
dressed his mother, saying,^^ — 'What, indeed, is this purpose
of thine ? It behooves thee not to accomplish it. I can never
grant thee permission ! It behoves thee to show us compas-
sion !^^ Formerly, when we were about to set out of Hastina-
pore for the woods, thou of agreeable features, it was thou
who, reciting to us the story of Vidula's instructions to her
son, excited us to exertion. It behoves thee not to abandon
us now '^'^ Having slain the kings of Earth, I have won
sovereignty, guided by thy words of wisdom communicated
through Vasudeva.^^ Where now is that understanding of
thine about which I had heard from Vasudeva ? Dost thou
wish now to fall away from those Kshatriya practices about
which thou hadst instructed us 1^^ Abandoning ourselves, this
kingdom, and this daughter-in-law of thine who is possessed
■of great fame, how wilt thou live in the inaccessible woods ?
Do thou relent !'"^ Kunti, with tears in her eyes, heard these
words of her son, but continued to proceed on her way. Then
Bhima addressed her, saying,^* — 'When, Kunti, sovereignty
has been won, and when the time has come for thee to enjoy
that sovereignty thus acquired by thy children, when the
duties of royalty await discharge by thee, whence has this
desire got hold of thy mind ?^^ Why then didst thou cause
us to exterminate the Earth ? For what reason wouldst thou
leave all and wish to take up thy abode in the woods ?^^ We
were born in the woods. Why then didst thou bring us from
the woods while we were children ? Behold, the two sons of
Madri are overwhelmed with sorrow and grief I" Relent,
mother ! thou of great fame, do not go into the woods now !
Do thou enjoy that prosperity Avhich, acquired by might, has
become Yudhishthira's today !'^^ Firmly resolved to retire
into the woods, Kunti disregarded these lamentations of her
sons.*^ Then Draupadi with a cheerless face, accompanied by

40 MAHABHARATA. [A^rainavdsa

Subhadra, followed her weeping mother-in-law who was jour-
neying on from desire of going into the woods.^** Possessed of
great wisdom and firmly resolved on retirement from the world,
the blessed dame walked on, frequently looking at her weeping
children.^^ The Pandavas, with all their wives and servitors,
continued to follow her, Restrainii g then her tears, she ad-
dressed her children in these words.' "^^

Section XVII.

"Kunti said, — 'It is even so, mighty-armed son of Pandu,
as thou say est ! Ye kings, formerly when ye were cheerless,
it was even in this way that I excited you all.^ Yes, seeing
that your kingdom was wrested from you by a match at dice,
seeing that you all fell from happiness, seeing that you were
domineered over by kinsmen, I instilled courage and high
thoughts into your minds'.^ Ye foremost of men, I encourag-
ed you in order that they that were the sons of Pandu might
not be lost, in order that their fame might not be lost !^ You
are all equal to Indra ! Your prowess resembles that of the very
gods. In order that you might not live, watching the faces of
others, I acted in that way !** I instilled courage into thy
heart in order that thou who art the foremost of all righteous
persons, who art equal to Vasava, might not again go into
the woods and live in misery !^ I instilled courage into your
hearts in order that this Bhima who is possessed of the strength
of ten thousand elephants and whose prowess and manliness
are widely known, might not sink into insignificance and
ruin.^ I instilled courage into vour hearts in order that this
Vijaya, who was born after Bhimasena, and who is equal unto
Vasava himself, might not be cheerless.^ I instilled courage
into your hearts in order that Nakula and Sahadeva, who are
always devoted to their seniors, may not be weakened and
rendered cheerless by hunger.^ I acted in that way in order
that this lady of well-developed proportions and of large ex-
pensive eyes might not endure the wrongs inflicted on her in

* To live watching the faces of others is to livf in dependance on
others.— T.

Parva.] acramayasika parya. 41

the public hall without being avenged." In the very sight of
you all, O Bhima, trembling all over like a plantain plant,
during the period of her functional illness, and after she had
been won at dice,^*' Dus^asana, through folly, dragged her as
if she were a slave ! All this was known to me. Indeed, the
race of Pandu had been subjugated (by foes) !^^ The Kurus,
viz., my father-in-law and others, were cheerless when she,
desirous of a protector, uttered loud lamentations like a she-
osprey.^* When she was dragged by het fair locks 1t)y the
sinful Dus^asana v/ithout little intelligence, I was deprived of
my senses, O king.^^ Know, that for enhancing your energy,
I instilled that courage into your hearts by reciting the worda
of Vidula, my sons !^* I instilled courage into your hearts,
O my sons, in order that the race of Pandu, represented by
my children, might not be lost l^^ The sons and grandsons of
that person who brings a race to infamy never suceeed in at-
taining to the regions of the righteous. Verily, the ancestors
of the Kaurava race were in danger of losing those regions of
felicity which had become theirs !** As regards myself, O my
sons, I have, before this, enjoyed the great fruits of that sover-
eignty which my husband had acquired. I have made large
gifts. I have duly drunk the Soma juice in sacrifice.*^^ It
was not for my own sake that I had urged Vasudeva with the
stirring words of Vidula. It was for your sake that I had
called upon you to follow that advice.^^ O my sons, I do not
desire the fruits of that sovereignty which has been won by my
children. O thou of great puissance, I wish to attain, by my
penances, to those regions of felicity which have been acquired
by my husband.^^ By rendering obedient service to my father-
in-law and mother-in-law both of whom wish to take up their
abode in the woods, and by penances, I desire, O Yudhish-
thira, to waste my body.^^ Do thou cease to follow me, O
foremost one of Kuru's race, along with Bhima and others.

* It has been pointed out before that 'mahadana' means gifts of such
things as elephants, horses, cars and other vehicles, boats, &c. The
giver wins great merit by making them, but the receiver incurs demerit
by acceptance, unless he happens to be a person of exceptional energy.
To this day, acceptors of such gifts are looked upon as fallen men. — T.

[ 6 ]

4i2 MAHABHARATA. [Agvamavcisa

Let thy understanding be always devoted to righteousness!
Let thy mind be always great !' "^^

Section XVIII.

Vai^ampayana said. — "Hearing these words of Kunti, the
sinless Pandavas, O best of kings, became ashamed. They,
therefore, desisted, along with the princess of Panchala, from
following her.*^ Beholding Kunti resolved to go into the
woods, the ladies of the Panda va household uttered loud
lamentations.^ The Pandavas then circumambulated the king
and saluted him duly. They ceased to follow further, having
failed to persuade Pritha to return.^ Then Amvikas son of
great energy, viz., Dhritarashtra, addressing Gandhari and
Vidura and supporting himself on them, said,* — 'Let the royal
mother of Yudhishthira cease to go with us ! What Yudhish-
thira has said is all very true.^ Abandoning this high pros-
perity of her sons, abandoning those high fruits that may be
hers, why should she go into the inaccessible woods, leaving
her children like a person of little intelligence ?* Living in
the enjoyment of sovereignty, she is capable of practising pen-
ances and observing the high vow of gifts. Let her, therefore,
listen to my words.^ O Gandhari, I have been much gratified
with the services rendered to me by this daughter-in-law of
mine. Conversant as thou art with all duties, it behooveth
•thee to command her return.'^ Thus addressed by her lord,
•the daughter of Suvala repeated unto Kunti all those words of
the old king and added her own words of grave import.^ She,
however, failed to cause Kunti to desist inasmuch as that
chaste lady, devoted to righteousness, had firmly set her heart
upon a residence in the woods.^** The Kuru ladies, under-
standing how firm her resolution was regarding her retirement
into the woods, and seeing that those foremost ones of Kuru's
race {viz., their own lords), had ceased to follow her, set up a
loud wail of lamentation.^^ A.fter all the sons of Pritha and

* The words that Kunti spoke were just. The oppositiou her sona
•offered was unreasonable. Hence, their shame. — X*

Parva.] acramavasika parva^ 43

all the ladies had retraced their steps, king Yudhishthira of
great wisdom continued his journey to the woods.^^ The Pan-
davas, exceedingly cheerless and afflicted with grief and sorrow
accompanied by their wives, returned to the city, on their
cars.^* At that time the city of Hastinapura, with its entire
population of men, both old and young, and women, became
cheerless and plunged into sorrow. No festivals of rejoicing
were observed." Afflicted with grif, the Panda vas were with-
out any energy. Deserted by Kunti, they were deeply afflict-
ed with grief, like calves destitute of their dams.^^ Dhrita-
rashtra reached that day a place far removed from the city.
The puissant monarch arrived at last on the banks of the
Bhagirathi and took rest there for the night." Brahmanas
conversant with the Vedas duly ignited their sacred fires in
that retreat of ascetics. Surrounded by those foremost of
Brahmanas, those sacred fires blazed forth in beauty. The
sacred fire of the old king was also ignited." Sitting near
his own fire, he poured libations on it according to due rites,
and then worshipped the thousand-rayed sun as he was on the
point of setting.^^ Then Vidura and Sanjaya made a bed for
the king by spreading some blades of Ku9a grass. Near the
bed of that Kuru hero they made another for Gandhari.^^ In
close proximity to Gandhari, Yudhishthira's mother Kunti,
observant of excellent vows, happily laid herself down.*®
Within hearing distance of those three, slept Vidura and
others. The Yajaka Brahmanas and other followers of the
king laid themselves down on their respective beds."^ The
foremost of Brahmanas that were there chaunted aloud many
sacred hymns. The sacrificial fires blazed forth all around.
That night, therefore*, seemed as delightful to them as a Brah-
mi night.*"^ When the night passed away, they all arose from
their beds and went through their morning acts. Pouring
libations then on the sacred fire, they continued their journey.^®
Their first day's experience of the forest proved very painful
to them of grieving hearts, — them who were grieved by the

* 'Brahmi night' implies a night in course of which sacred hymns are
sung, — T.

41 MAHABHARATA. [Acrctmavasa

inhabitants of both the city and the provinces of the Kuru

Section XIX.

Vaigarapayana said, — "Following the advice of Vidura, the
king took up his abode on the banks of the Bhagirathi which
were sacred and deserved to be peopled with the righteous.^
There many Brahmanas who had taken up their abode in the
woods, as also many Kshatriyas and Vai9ya3 and Cudras,
came to see the old monarch.* Sitting in their midst, he
gladdened them all by his words. Having duly worshipped
the Brahmanas with their disciples, he dismissed them all.*
As evening came, the king, and Gandhari of great fame, both
descended into the stream of the Bhagirathi and duly per-
formed their ablutions for purifying themselves.* The king
and the queen, and Vidura and others, Bharata, having
bathed in the sacred stream, performed the usual rites of reli-
gion.^ After the king had purified himself by a bath, the
daughter of Kuntibhoja led him, who Avas to her as her father-
in-law, gently led both him and Gandhari from the water into
the dry bank.* The Yajakas had made a sacrificial altar there
for the king. Devoted to truth, the latter poured libations then
on the fire.'^ From the banks of the Bhagirathi the old king,
with his followers, observant of vows and with senses restrained,
then proceeded to Kurukshetra.® Possessed of great intelli-
gence, the king arrived at the retreat of the royal sage Cata-
yupa of great wisdom and had an interview with him." Cata-
yupa, O scorcher of foes, had been the great king of the
Kekayas. Having made over the sovereignty of his kingdom
to his son he had come into the woods.^° Catayupa, received
king Dhritarashtra with due rites. Accompanied by him, the
latter proceeded to the retreat of Vyasa.*^ Arrived at Vyasa's
retreat, the delighter of the Kurus received his initiation into
the forest mode of life. Returning he took up his abode in
the retreat of Catayupa.^" The high-souled Catayupa instruct-
ed Dhritarashtra in all the rites of the forest mode, at the
command of Vyasa." In this way the high-souled Dhrita-

Parva.] acramavasika parva. 45

rashtra set himself to the practice of penances, and all his
followers also to the same course of conduct.** Queen Gan-
dhari also, monarch, along with Kunti, assumed barks of
trees and deer-skins for her robe, and set herself to the observ-
ance of the same vows as her lord." Restraining their senses
in thought, words, and deeds, as well as by eye, they began
to practise severe austerities." Divested of all stupefaction of
mind, king Dhritarashtra began to practise vows and penances
like a great Rishi, reducing his body to skin and bones, for his
flesh was all dried up, bearing matted locks on head, and his
person clad in barks and skins.*^ Vidura, conversant with the
true interpretations of righteousness, and endued with great
intelligence, as also Sanjaya, waited upon the old king with
his wife. Both of them with souls under subjection, Vidura
and Sanjaya also reduced themselves, and wore barks and


Section XX.

Vai9ampayana said, — "Those foremost of ascetics, viz. Na-
rada and Parvata and Devala of austere penances, came there
to see king Dhrisarashtra.* The Island-born Vyasa with all
his disciples, and other persons endued with great wisdom and
crowned with ascetic success, and the royal sage Catayupa of
advanced years and possessed of great merit, also came.^ Kunti
worshipped them with due rites, O king ! All those ascetics
were highly gratified with the worship offered to them.* Those
great Rishis gladdened the high-souled king Dhritarashtra with
discourses on religion and righteousness.* At the conclusion of
their converse, the celestial Rishi Narada, beholding all things
as objects of direct perception, said the following words.^

"Narada said, — 'There was a ruler of the Kekayas, possess-
ed of great prosperity and perfectly fearless. His name was
Sahasrachitya and he was the grandfather of this Catayupa.'
Resining his kingdom to his eldest son endued with a large
measure of righteousness, the virtuous king Sahasrachitya re-
tired into the woods.' Reaching the other end of blazing
penances, that lord of Earth, endued with great splendour,

46 MAHABHARATA. [Avramavasd

attained to the region of Purandara where he continued to
live in his company.' On many occasions, while visiting the
region of Indra, king, I saw that monarch, whose sins had
all been burnt off by penances, residing in Indra's abode.^
After the same manner, king Cailalaya, the grandfather of
Bhagadatta, attained to the region of Indra by the power
alone of his penances.*° There was another king, O monarch,
of the name of Prishadhra who resembled the wielder of the
thunder-bolt himself. That king also, by his penances pro-
ceeded from the Earth to Heaven.^* In this very forest, O
king, that lord of Earth, viz., Purukutsa, the son of Mandha-
tri, attained to high success.^^ That foremost of rivers, viz.,
Narraada, became the consort of that king. Having undergone
penances in this very forest, that ruler of Earth proceeded to
Heaven." There was another king, highly righteous, of the
name of Ca^aloman. He too underwent severe austerities in
this forest and then ascended to Heaven.^* Thou also, O
monarch, having arrived at this forest, shalt, through the grace
of the Ishnd-born, attain to a goal that is very high and that
is diflficult of attainment.^^ Thou also, O foremost of kings,
at the end of thy penances, become endued with great pros-
perity and, accompanied by Gandhari, attain to the goal
reached by those high-souled ones.'^ Dwelling in the presence
of the slayer of Vala, Pandu thinks of thee always. He will,
O monarch, certainly assist thee in the attainment of pros-
perity." Through serving thee and Gandhari, this daughter-
in law of thine, possessed of great fame, will attain to residence
with her husband in the other world. ^® She is the mother of
Yudhishthira who is the eternal Dharma. We behold all this,

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