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Mahabharata

Mahabharata

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Published by Ashish Pandey
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Published by: Ashish Pandey on May 30, 2010
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10/26/2011

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WHEN news of the incidents that took
place during the swayamvara at Panchala
reached Hastinapura, Vidura was happy.
He immediately went to Dhritarashtra and
said: "O King, our family has become
stronger because the daughter of Drupada
has become our daughter-in-law. Our stars
are good."
Dhritarashtra thought in his blind
fondness for his son that it was
Duryodhana, who had also gone to take
part in the swayamvara, that had won
Draupadi. Under this mistaken impression
he replied: "It is indeed, as you say, a
good time for us. Go at once and bring
Draupadi. Let us give Panchali a joyous
welcome."
Vidura hastened to correct the mistake. He
said: "The blessed Pandavas are alive and
it is Arjuna who has won the daughter of
Drupada. The five Pandavas have married
her jointly according to the rites enjoined
by the sastras. With their mother

Kuntidevi they are happy and well under
the care of Drupada."
At these words of Vidura, Dhritarashtra
felt frustrated but concealed his
disappointment. He said to Vidura with
apparent joy: "O Vidura, I am delighted at
your words. Are the dear Pandavas really
alive? We have been mourning them as
dead! The news you have now brought is
balm to my heart. So the daughter of
Drupada has become our daughter-in-law.
Well, well, very good."
Duryodhana's jealousy and hatred
redoubled when he found that the
Pandavas had somehow escaped from the
wax palace and after spending a year
incognito had now become even more
powerful on account of the alliance with
the mighty king of Panchala. Duryodhana
and his brother Duhsasana went to their
uncle Sakuni and said in sorrow: "Uncle,
we are undone. We have been let down by
relying on Purochana. Our enemies, the
Pandavas, are cleverer than ourselves, and
fortune also seems to favor them.
Dhrishtadyumna and Sikhandin have
become their allies. What can we do?"
Karna and Duryodhana went to the blind
Dhritarashtra. Duryodhana said: "You told
Vidura that better days were ahead of us.
Is it good time for us that our natural
enemies, the Pandavas, have so waxed in
strength that they will certainly destroy
us? We could not carry out our plot
against them and the fact that they know
about it is an added danger. It has now
come to this, either we must destroy them
here and now or we shall ourselves perish.
Favor us with your counsel in this matter."
Dhritarashtra replied: "Dear son, what you
say is true. We should not, however, let
Vidura know our mind. That was why I
spoke to him in that manner. Let me now
hear your suggestions as to what we
should do."

Duryodhana said: "I feel so distracted that
no plan occurs to me. Perhaps, we may
take advantage of the fact that these
Pandavas are not born of one and the
same mother and create enmity between
the sons of Madri and those of Kunti. We
can also try to bribe Drupada into joining
our side. That he has given away his
daughter in marriage to the Pandavas will
not stand in the way of our making him an
ally. There is nothing that cannot be
accomplished by the power of wealth."
Karna smiled and said: "This is but futile
talk."
Duryodhana continued: "We should
somehow make sure that the Pandavas do
not come here and demand of us the
kingdom that is now in our possession.
We may commission a few brahmanas to
spread convenient rumours in Drupada's
city and severally tell the Pandavas that
they would meet with great danger if they
were to go to Hastinapura. Then the
Pandavas would fear to come here and we
shall be safe, from them."
Karna replied: "This too is idle talk. You
cannot frighten them that way."
Duryodhana continued: "Can we not
create discord among the Pandavas by
means of Draupadi? Her polyandrous
marriage is very convenient for us. We
shall arouse doubts and jealousies in their
minds through the efforts of experts in the
science of erotics. We shall certainly
succeed. We can get a beautiful woman to
beguile some of the sons of Kunti and
thus make Draupadi turn against them. If
Draupadi begins to suspect any of them,
we can invite him to Hastinapura and use
him so that our plan prospers."
Karna laughed this also to scorn. He said:
"None of your proposals is any good. You
cannot conquer the Pandavas by
stratagem. When they were here and were
like immature birds with undeveloped
wings, we found we could not deceive

them, and you think we can deceive them
now, when they have acquired experience
and are moreover under the protection of
Drupada. They have seen through your
designs. Stratagems will not do hereafter.
You cannot sow dissensions among them.
You cannot bribe the wise and honorable
Drupada. He will not give up the
Pandavas on any account. Draupadi also
can never be turned against them.
Therefore, there is only one way left for
us, and that is to attack them before they
grow stronger and other friends join them.
We should make a surprise attack on the
Pandavas and Drupada before Krishna
joins them with his Yadava army. We
should take the heroic way out of our
difficulty, as befits kshatriyas. Trickery
will prove useless." Thus spoke Karna.
Dhritarashtra could not make up his mind.
The king, therefore, sent for Bhishma and
Drona and consulted them.
Bhishma was very happy when he heard
that the Pandavas were alive and well as
guests of King Drupada of Panchala,
whose daughter they had married.
Consulted on the steps to be taken,
Bhishma, wise with the ripe knowledge of
right and wrong, replied:
"The proper course will be to welcome
them back and give them half the
kingdom. The citizens of the state also
desire such a settlement. This is the only
way to maintain the dignity of our family.
There is much loose talk not creditable to
you about the fire incident at the wax
house. All blame, even all suspicion, will
be set at rest if you invite the Pandavas
and hand over half kingdom to them. This
is my advice."
Drona also gave the same counsel and
suggested sending a proper messenger to
bring about an amicable settlement and
establish peace.
Karna flew into a rage at this suggestion.
He was very much devoted to

Duryodhana and could not at all bear the
idea of giving a portion of the kingdom to
the Pandavas. He told Dhritarashtra:
"I am surprised that Drona, who has
received wealth and honors at your hands,
has made such a suggestion. A king
should examine critically the advice of his
ministers before accepting or rejecting it."
At these words of Karna, Drona, his old
eyes full of anger, said: "O wicked man,
you are advising the king to go on the
wrong path. If Dhritarashtra does not do
what Bhishma and myself have advised,
the Kauravas will certainly meet with
destruction in the near future."
Then Dhritarashtra sought the advice of
Vidura who replied:
"The counsel given by Bhishma, the head
of our race, and Drona, the master, is wise
and just and should not be disregarded.
The Pandavas are also your children like
Duryodhana and his brothers. You should
realise that those who advise you to injure
the Pandavas are really bent upon the
destruction of the race. Drupada and his
sons as well as Krishna and the Yadavas
are staunch allies of the Pandavas. It is
impossible to defeat them in battle.
Karna's advice is foolish and wrong. It is
reported abroad that we tried to kill the
Pandavas in the wax house, and we should
first of all try to clear ourselves of the
blame. The citizens and the whole country
are delighted to know that the Pandavas
are alive and they desire to see them once
again. Do not listen to the words of
Duryodhana. Karna and Sakuni are but
raw youths, ignorant of statesmanship and
incompetent to advise. Follow Bhishma's
advice."
In the end Dhritarashtra determined to
establish peace by giving half the
kingdom to the sons of Pandu. He sent
Vidura to the kingdom of Panchala to
fetch the Pandavas and Draupadi.

Vidura went to the city of King Drupada
in a speedy vehicle taking along with him
many kinds of jewels and other valuable
presents.
Vidura rendered due honor to King
Drupada and requested him on behalf of
Dhritarashtra to send the Pandavas with
Panchali to Hastinapura.
Drupada mistrusted Dhritarashtra, but he
merely said: "The Pandavas may do as
they like."
Vidura went to Kuntidevi and prostrated
himself before her. She said: "Son of
Vichitravirya, you saved my sons. They
are, therefore, your children. I trust you. I
shall do as you advise." She was also
suspicious of Dhritarashtra's intentions.
Vidura thus assured her: "Your children
will never meet with destruction. They
will inherit the kingdom and acquire great
renown. Come, let us go." At last Drupada
also gave his assent and Vidura returned
to Hastinapura with the Pandavas, Kunti,
and Draupadi.
In jubilant welcome of the beloved
princes who were returning home after
long years of exile and travail, the streets
of Hastinapura had been sprinkled with
water and decorated with flowers. As had
been already decided, half the kingdom
was made over to the Pandavas and
Yudhishthira was duly crowned king.
Dhritarashtra blessed the newly crowned
Yudhishthira and bade him farewell with
these words: "My brother Pandu made this
kingdom prosperous. May you prove a
worthy heir to his renown! King Pandu
delighted in abiding by my advice. Love
me in the same manner. My sons are
wicked and proud. I have made this
settlement so that there may be no strife or
hatred

between

you.

Go

to
Khandavaprastha and make it your
capital. Our ancestors Pururavas,
Nahusha, and Yayati ruled the kingdom
from there. That was our ancient capital.

Re-establish that and be famous." In this
manner Dhritarashtra spoke affectionately
to Yudhishthira.
The Pandavas renovated that ruined city,
built palaces and forts, and renamed it
Indraprastha. It grew in wealth and beauty
and became the admiration of the world.
The Pandavas ruled there happily for
thirty-six years with their mother and
Draupadi, never straying from the path of
dharma.

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