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glory about the sequel, O best of ascetics, of king Dhrita-
rashLra's residence in the woods.^**

Section XXXVI.

Janamejaya said,— "Having seen his sons and grandsons
with all their friends and followers, what, indeed, did that ruler
of men, viz., Dhritarashtra, and king Yudhishthira also, do ?"*

Vai^ampayana said, — "Beholding that exceedingly wonder-
ful sight, viz., the reappearance of his children, the royal sage,

80 MAHAT5HARATA. [Futvadar^aacc

Dhritarashtra, became divested of his grief and returned (from
the banks of the Bhrigirathi) to his retreat.^ The common
people and all the great Rishis, dismissed by Dhritarashtra,
returned to the places the}' respectively wished.^ The high-
souled Pandavas, accompanied by their wives, and with a
small retinue, went to the retreat of the high-souled monarch.*
Then Satyavati's son, who was honoured by regenerate Rishis
and all other persons, arrived at the retreat, addressed Dhrita-
rashtra, saying,'^ — '0 mighty-armed Dhritarashtra, son of
Kuru's race, listen to what I say ! Thou hast heard diverse,
discourses from Rishis of great knowledge and sacred deeds,^
of wealth of penances and excellence of blood, of conversance
with the Vedas and their branches, of piety. and years, and of
great eloquence !'' Do not set thy mind again on sorrow. He
that is possessed of wisdom is never agitated at ill luck. Thou
hast also heard the mysteries of the deities from Narada of
celestial form '® Thy children have all attained, through ob-
servance of Kshatriya practices, to that auspicious goal which
is sanctified by weapons. Thou hast seen how they move
about at will in great happiness.'-^ This Yudhishthira of great
intelligence is awaiting thy permission, with all his brothers
and wives and kinsmen .^° D) thou dismiss him. Let him go
back to his kingdom and rule it ! They have passed more
than a month in thus residing in the woods." The station of
sovereignty should always be well guarded, O king ! thou
of Kuru's race, kingdom has many foes !'^^ Thus addressed
by Vyasa of incomparable energy, the Kuru king, well veiled
in words, summoned Yudhishthira and said unto him,'^ — O
Ajata9atru, blessings on thee ! Do thou listen to me, with
all thy brothers • Through thy grace, king, grief no longer
stands in my way.'* I am living as happily, son, with
thee here as if I were in the city called after the elephant.
With thee as my protector, learned one, I am enjoying all
agreeable objects.'^'' I have obtained from thee all those ser-
vices which a son renders to his sire. I am highly gratified
with thee. I have not the leist dissit isfaction with thee, O
mighty-armed one. Go now, son, without tarrying here
any longer !^^ Meeting with thee, my penances are being

Parva.] acramavasika part a. 81

riackened. This my body, endued with penances, I have been
able to sustain only in consequence of my meeting with
thee !**^ These two mothers of thine, subsisting now upon
fallen leaves of trees, and observing vows similar to mine, will
not live long.^^ Duryodhana and others, who have become
denizens of the other world, have been seen by us, through
the paissance of Vyasa's penances and through (the merit of )
this my meeting with thee.^'* O sinless one, the purpose of
my life has been attained. I now wish to set myself to the
practice of the austerest of penances. It behooveth thee to
grant me permission. -° On thee now the obsequial cake, the
fame and achievements, and the race of our ancestors, rest.

mighty armed one, do thou then depart either tomorrow or
this very day. Do not tarry, son !-^ O chief of Bharata's
race, thou hast repeatedly heard what the duties are of kings.

1 do not see what more I can say unto thee. I have no longer
any need with thee, thou of great puissance !'""

Vaicampayana continued,— "Unto the (old) monarch who
said so, king Yudhishthira replied,— '0 thou that art conversant
with every rule of righteousness, it behooveth thee not to cast
me off in this way. I am guilty of no fault !^^ Let all my
brothers and followers depart as they like. With steadfast
vows I shall wait upon thee and upon these two mothers of
mine !'-* Unto him Gandhari then said, — '0 son, let it not be
so. Listen, the race of Kuru is now dependant on thee ! The
obsequial cake also of my father-in-law depends on thee !
Depart then, sou !-^ We have been sufficiently honoured
and served by thee ! Thou shouldst do what the king says.
Indeed, son, thou shouldst obey the behests of thy sire I'"^*

Vaicampayana continued, — "Thus addressed by Gandhciri,
king Yudhishthira, rubbing his eyes which were bathed in
tears of affection, said these words of lament.-^ 'The king
casts me off, as also Gandhiiri of great fame. My heart, how-
ever, is bound to thee. How shall I, filled as I am with grief,
leave thee ?^* I do not, however, at the same tiir.e, venture
to obstruct thy penances, righteous lady ! There is nothing

* The Ilengal reading -Oiaiiah' is iLCorrect. It should be 'punal:.'— T.

[ n ]

S2 TviAHABHARATA. [ Futradargana

higher than penances. It is by penances that one attains to
the Supreme.^^ queen, my heart no longer turns as of old
towards kingdom. My mind is wholly set upon penances
now.^® The whole Earth is empty now. auspicious lady,
she does not please me anylonger ! Our Idnsmen have been
reduced in number. Our strength is no loiTger what it was
before.^^ The Panchalas have been -wholly exterminated.
They exist in name only. auspicious lady, I do not behold
any one that may assist at their re-establishment and growth.^''
All of them have been consumed to ashes by Drona on the
field of battle. Those that remained were slain by Drona's
son at night.^^ The Chedis and the Matsyas, who were our
friends, no longer exist. Only the tribes of the Vrishnis are
all that remain, Vasudeva having upheld them.^* Behold-
ing only the Vrishnis I wish to live. My desire of life, how-
ever, is due to my wish of acquiring merit and not wealth
■or enjoyment. Do thou cast auspicious looks upon us all. To
•obtain thy sight will be difficult for us.^° The king will
commence to practice the most austere and unbearable of
;.penances !' Hearing these words, that lord of battle, the
mighty-armed Sahadeva,^*^ with eyes bathed in tears, address-
ed Yudhishthira, saying, — '0 chief of Bharata's race, I dare not
leave my mother !^^ Do thou return to the capital soon. I
shall practice penances, puissant one ! Even here I shall
emaciate my body by penances,^® engaged in serving the feet
of the king and of these my mothers !' Unto that mighty-
armed hero, Kunti, after an embrace, said, — 'Depart, O son !
Do not say so l^'* Do my bidding ! Do all of you go hence.
Let peace be yours ! Ye sons, let happiness be yours 1^" By
your stay here, our penaiices Avill be obstructed. Bound by
the ties of my affection for thee, I shall fall off from my high
penances !*^ Therefore, son, leave us. Short is the period
that we have of life, thou of great puissance !'^- By these
and diverse other speeches of Kunti, the minds of Sahadeva
and king Yudhishthira were composed. Those foremost ones
of Kuru's race, having received the permission of their mother
as also of the (old) monarch, saluted the latter and began to
take his leave. *^


"Yudhishthira said, — 'Gladdened by .^auspicious blessings,
we shall return to the capital. Indeed, O king, having re-
ceived thy permission, we shall leave this retreat, freed from
every sin !'" Thus addressed by the high-souled king Yu-
dhishthira the just, that royal sage, viz., Dhritarashtra, bless-
ed Yudhishthira and gave him permission.*^ The king com-
forted Bhima, that foremost of all persons endued with great
strength. Endued with great energy and great intelligence,
Bhima showed his submissiveness to the king.*** Embracing
Arjuna and clasping those foremost of men, viz., the twins
also, and blessing them repeatedly, the Kuru king gave them
permission to depart.*^ They worshipped the feet of Gandhari
and received her blessings also. Their mother Kunti then
smelt their heads, and dismissed them. They then circumam-
bulated the king like calves, when prevented from sucking,
their dams. Indeed, they repeatedly walked round him, look-
ing steadfastly at hira.**^"*® Then all the ladies of the Kaurava
household, headed by Draupadi, worshipped their father-in-law
according to the rites laid down in the scriptures, and took
his leave.^** Gandhari and Kunti embraced each of them, and
blessing them bade them go. Their mothers-in-law instructed
them as to how they should conduct themselves. Obtaining
leave, they then departed, with their husbands." Then loud
sounds were heard, uttered by the charioteers that said,— 'Yoke,
yoke,'— as also of camels that grunted aloud and of steeds that
neighed briskly.^^ King Yudhishthira, with his wives and.
troops and all his kinsmen, set out for Hastinapura."^*

Section XXXVII.
( Ndraddgamana Parva.)

Vai(;ampayana said, — "After two years had elapsed from
the date of the return of the Pandavas (from the retreat of
their sire), the celestial Rishi, Narada, king, came to Yu-
dhishthira.* The mighty-armed Kuru king, that foremost of

* 'Niipara pradakbhinam cbakru' is the construction. 'Nivarana'
has 'snanapunat' understood after it. — T,

84 MAHABHARATAi [NavacUyamand

speakers, viz., Yudhishthira, having duly worshipped him,
caused him to take a seat. After the Rishi had rested awhile,
the king asked him, saying," — It is after a long time that I
behold thy holy self arrived at my court. Art thou in peace
and happiness, learned BjTihmana?^ What are those coun-
tries which thou hast passed t Jn-ough ? What shall I do to
thee ? Do thou tell me ! Thou art the foremost of recrene-
rate ones, and thou art our highest refuge I'*

"Narada said, — 'I have not seen thee for a long while.
Hence it is that I have come to thee from my ascetic retreat.
I have seen many sacred waters, and the sacred stream Ganga
also, king !'°

"Yudhishthira said, — 'People dwelling on the banks of
Ganga report that the high-souled Dhritarashtra is practising
the austerest of penances.® Hast thou seen him there ? Is
that perpetuater of Kuru's race in peace? Are Gandhari and
Pritha.. and the Suta's son Sanjaya also, in peace V How, in-
deed, is it faring with that royal sire of mine ? I desire to
hear this, holy one, if thou hast seen the king (and knowesfc
of his condition) !'•*

"Narada said, — 'Listen, king, with calmness to me as I
tell thee what I have heard and seen in that ascetic retreat."
After thy return from Kurukshetra, delighter of the Kurus,
thy sire, O king, proceeded towards Gangadwara.^" That in-
telligent monarch took with him his (sacred) fire, Gandhari
and his daughter in-law Kunti, as also Sanjaya of the Suta
caste, and all the Yajakas.^^ Possessed of wealth of penances,
thy sire set himself to the practice of severe austerities. He
held pebbles of stone in his mouth and had air alone for
his subsistence, and abstained altogether from speech.^' En-
gaged in severe penances, he was worshipped by all the as-
cetics in the woods. In six months the king was reduced to
only a skeleton.^^ Gandhari subsisted on water alone, while
Kunti took a little food at intervals of a month. Sanjaya,
O Bbarata, lived, eating a little every sixth day.^* The
sacred fire, O monarch, (belonging to the Kuru king) was
duly worshipped by the sacrificing assistants that were with
him, with libations of clarified butter poured on it. They

Parva.] acramavasika parva. 85

did this whether the king saw the rite or not.'^' The kinc
had no fixed habitation. He became a Avanderer through those
woods. The two queens, as also Saiijaj'a, followed him.-^^
Sanjaya acted as the guide on even and uneven land. The
faultlc-s Pritha, O king, became the eye of Gandhari," One
day, that best of kings proceeded to a spot on the margin of
Ganga. He then bithed in the sacred stream and finishing
his ablutions turned his face towards his retreat. ^^ The wind
rose high. A fierce forest-conflagration set in. It began to
burn that forest all around.^" When the herds of animals were
being burnt all around, as also the snakes that inhabited that
region, herds of wild boars began to take themselves to the
nearest marshes and waters.-'' When that forest was thus
afflicted on all sides and such distress came upon all the living
creatures residing there, the king, who had taken no food, was
incapable of moving or exerting himself at all.-^ Thy two
mothers also, exceedingly emaciated, were unable to move.
The king, seeing the conflagration approach him from all
sides,"^ addressed the Suta Sanjaya, that foremost of skillful
charioteers, saying, — 'Go, Sanjaya, to such a place where
the fire may not burn thee '-^ As regards ourselves, we shall
suffer our bodies to be destroyed by this fire and attain to the
highest goal.' Unto him, Sanjaya, that foremost of speakers,
said,-* — '0 king, this death, brought on by a fire that is not
sacred, will prove calamitous to thee ! I do not, however,
see any means by which thou canst escape from this conflagra-
tion."" That which should next be done should be indicated
by thee !' Thus addressed by Sanjaya the king once more
said,-*^ — 'This death cannot be calamitous to us, for we have
left our home of our own accord. Water, fire, wind, and
abstention from food,*-^ (as means of death), are laudable for
ascetics. Do thou, therefore, leave us, O Sanjaya, without
any delay.' Having said these words to Sanjaya, the king
concentrated his mind.-^ Facing the east, he sat down, with
Gandhari and Kunti. Beholding him in that attitude, San-

* 'VikaroLanam' is emaciation of the body by abstention from all
food.— T.

86 MAHABHARATA, [Mdrudagctmana

jaya walked round him.'^^ Endued with intelligence, Sanjaya
said, — 'Do thou concentrate thy soul, puissant one !' The
son of a Rishi, and himself possessed of great wisdom, the king
acted as he was told.^** Restraining all the senses, lie remained
like a post of wood. The highly blessed Gandhari, and thy
mother Pritha too, remained in the same attitude.^^ Then thy
royal sire was overtaken by the forest-conflagration. Sanjaya,
his minister, succeeded in escaping from that conflagration.^-
I saw him on the banks of Ganga in the midst of ascetics.
Endued with great energy and great intelligence, he bade them
farewell and then started for the mountains of Himavat.^'*
Even thus the high-souled Kuru king met with his death, and
it was even thus that Gandhari and Kunti, thy two mothers,
also met with death, monarch.^* In course of my wander-
ings at will, I saw the bodies of that king and those two-
queens, Bharata.^^ Many ascetics came to that retreat,,
having heard of the end of king Dhritarashtra. They did not
at all grieve for that end of theirs.^^ There, best of men, I
heard all the details of how the king and the two queens, O-
son of Pandu, had been burnt.^^ O king of kings, thou shouldst
not grieve for him. The monarch, of his own will, as also
Gandhari and thy mother, obtained that contact with fire.'^^

Vai^ampayana continued, — "Hearing of the exit of Dhrita-
rashtra from this world, the high-souled Pandavas all gave way
to great grief ''^ Loud sounds of wailing were heard within
the inner apartments of the palace. The citizens also, hearing
of the end of the old king, uttered loud lamentations.*" '0 fie'
cried king Yudhishthira in great agony, raising his arms aloft.
Thinking of his mother, he wept like a child. All his brothers
too, headed by Bhimasena, did the same.*^ Hearing that
Pritha had met with such a fate, the ladies of the royal house-
hold uttered loud lamentations of grief'*- All the people
grieved upon hearing that the old king, who had become child-
less, had been burnt to death and that the helpless Gandhari
too had shared his fate.*^ When those sounds of wailing
ceased for a while, king Yudhishthira the just, stopping his
tears by summoning all his patience, said these words,""



Section XXXVIII.

"Yudhish thira said, — 'When such a fate overtook that
high-souled monarch who was engaged in austere penances,
notwithstanding the fact of his having such kinsmen as our-
selves all alive,^ it seems to me, regenerate one, that the end
of human beings is difficult to guess. Alas, who would have
thought that the son of Vichitraviryya would thus be burnt
to death 1^ He had a hundred sons each endued with mighty-
arms and possessed of great prosperity ! The king himself had
the strength of ten thousand elephants. Alas, even he has
been burnt to death in a forest-conflagration !^ Alas, he who
had formerly been fanned with palm leaves by the fair hands of
beautiful women was fanned by vultures with their wings after
he had been burnt to death in a forest-conflagration !* He who
was formerly roused from sleep every morning by bands of
Sutas and Magadhas had to sleep on the bare ground through
the acts of my sinful self !^ I do not grieve for the famous
Gandhari who had been deprived of all her children. Observ-
ing the same vows as her husband, she has attained to
those very regions which have become his." I grieve, howe\er,
for Pritha who, abandoning the blazing prosperity of her sons,
became desirous of residing in the woods !^ Fie on this sover-
eignty of ours, fie on our prowess, fie on the practices of
Kshatriyas ! Though alive, we are really dead ;® foremost
of superior Brahmanas, the course of Time is very subtle and
difficult to understand, inasmuch as Kunti, abandoning sover-
eignty, became desirous of taking up her abode in the forest !^
How is it that she who was the mother of Yudhishthira, of
Bhima, of Vijaya, was burnt to death like a helpless creature !
Thinking of this I become stupified.^" In vain was the deity
of fire gratified at Khandava by Arjuna ! Ingrate that he is,
forgetting that service he, has burnt to death the mother of
his benefactor!" Alas, how could that deity burn the mother
of Arjuna ! Putting on the guise of a Brahmana, he had
formerly come to Arjuna for soliciting a favour ! Fie on the
deity of fire ! Fie on the celebrated success of Partha's
shafts !^- This is another incident, holy one, that iippears

8S MAHAnTiARATA. [Naradagamcina

to me to be productive of greater misery, for that lord of
Earth met with death by union with a fire that was not
sacred ! How could such a death overtake that royal sage of
Kuru's race who, after having ruled the whole Earth, was en-
gaged in the practice of penances ! In that great I'orest there
were fires that had been sanctified with mantras. Alas, my
father has made his exit from this world, coming in con-
tact with an unsanctified nre !'^"^* I suppose that Pritha,
emaciated and reduced to a form in which all her nerves be-
came visible, must have trembled in fear and cried aloud,
saying, — O son Yudhi^shthira ! — and awaited the terrible ap-
proach of the conflagration 1^^ She must have also said, —
O Bhima, rescue me from this danger ! — when she, mv mother,
was surrounded on all sides bv that terrible confiaoration !^*
Among all her sons, Sahadeva was her dailing. Alas, that
heroic son of Mfidravati did not rescue her ;'^" Bearing these
lamentations of the king, all those persons that were present
there began to weep, embracing each other. In fact, the five
sons of Pandu were so stricken with grief that they resembled
jivinof creatures at the time of the dissolution of the universe.^*
The sound of lamentations uttered by those weej)ing heroes,
filling the spacious chambers of the palace, escaped therefrom
and penetrated the very welkin.""

Section XXXIX.

"Narada said, — 'The king has not been burnt to death by
an unsanctified fire. I have heard this there. I tell thee,
O Bharata, such has not been the fate of Vaichitraviryya.^ It
has been heard by us that when the old king endued with
greit intelligence and sub.-iisting an air alone entered the woods
(after his return from Gangadwfira), he caused his sacrificial
fires to be duly ignited. Having perforn.ed his sacred rites
therewith, he abandoned them all.- Then the Yajaka Brah-
iiiauas he had with hiin cast oft' those fires in a solitary part
of the woods and went away as they liked on oilier erands,
foremost one of Bharata's racf." The fire thus cast off
grew iu the woods. It then produced a gei;eral cuutiagration

Farva.] acramayasika parya. S9

in the forest. Even this is what I have heard from the as-
cetics dwelling on the banks of Ganga.* United with that
(sacred) fire of his own, O chief of the Bharata«, the king,
as I have already said unto thee, met with death on the
banks of Ganga.* O sinless one, this is what the ascetica
have told me, those, viz., whom I saw on the banks of the
sacred Bhagirathi, Yudhishthira.* Thus, O lord of Earth,
king Dhritarashtra, coming into contact with his own sacred
fire, departed from this world and attained to that high goal
that has been his7 Through service rendered by her to her
seniors, thy mother, O lord of men, has attained to vory
great success. There is not the slightest doubt of this.' It
behooveth thee, king of kings, to now discharge the rites of
water to their honour, with all thy brothers. Let, therefore,
the necessary steps be taken towards that end.' "'

Vai9ampayana continued, — "Then that lord of Earth, that
foremost of men, that upholder of the burthens of the P5,n-
davas, went out, accompanied by all his brothers as well as
the ladies of his household.^" The inhabitants of the city as
also those of the provinces, impelled by their loyalty, also
went out. They all proceeded towards the bq,nk3 of Ganga,
every one clad in only a single piece ol raiment." Then all
those foremost of men, having plunged into the stream, placed
Yuyutsu at their head, and began to offer oblations of water
unto the high-souled king. And they also gave similar obla-
tions unto Gandhari and Pritha, naming each separately and
mentioning their families.'* Having finished those rites thafe
cleanse the living, they came back but without entering their
capital took up their residence outside of it. They also des-
patched a number of trusted people well conversant with the
ordinances relating to the cremation of the dead, to Ganga-
dwara where the old king had been burnt to death." The
king, having rewarded those men beforehand, commanded
them to accomplish those rites of cremation which the bodies
of Dhritarashtra and Gandhari and Kunti still awaited.*"

* The verb 'anvacat' from root 'fas' can govern two objectives,
Here th« two objective« t,v 'purushan' ftttd 'krityani.'— T.

[ 12 ]


On the twelfth day, the king, properly purified, duly per-
formed the ^raddhas of his deceased relations, which were
characterised by gifts in abundance.^^ Referring to Dhrita-
rashtra, Yudhishthira made many gifts of gold and silver, of
kine and costly beds." Uttering the names of Gandhari and
Pritha, the king, endued with great energy, made many ex-
cellent gifts.^^ Every man received what thing he wished
and as much of it as he wished. Beds and food, and cars and
conveyances, and jewels and gems, and other wealth were
given away in profusion.^^ Indeed, the king, referring to his
two mothers, gave away cars and conveyances, robes and
coverlets, various kinds of food, and female slaves adorned
with diverse ornaments.^^ Having thus made many kinds of
gift in profusion, that lord of Earth then entered his capital
called after the elephant."" Those men who had gone to the
banks of Ganga at the command of the king, having disposed
of (by cremation) the remains of the king and the two queens,
returned to the city."^ Having duly honoured those remains
with garlands and scents of diverse kinds and disposed of
them, they informed Yudhishthira of the accomplishment of
their task."^ The great Rishi Narada, having comforted king
Yudhishthira of righteous soul, went away to where he liked.^'
Even thus did king Dhritarashtra make his exit from this
•world after having passed three years in the forest and ten
and five years in the city.^* Having lost all his children in
battle, he had made many gifts in honour of his kinsmen,
relatives, and friends, his brethren and own people.^^ King
Y'udhishthira, after the death of his uncle, became very cheer-
less. Deprived of his kinsmen and relatives, he somehow bore
the burthen of sovereignty.**

One should listen with rapt attention to this A(jramavasika
Parvan, and having heard it recited, one should feed Brah-

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