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Published by: pavika on Apr 18, 2011
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WHEN the Pandavas set out for the forest,
there arose a great clamor of lamentation
from people who thronged the streets and
climbed the roofs and towers and trees to
see them go.
The princes, who, of yore, rode in
jewelled chariots or on lordly elephants to
strains of auspicious music, now walked
away from their birthright on weary feet,
accompanied by weeping crowds. On all
sides cries arose of: "Fie and Alas! Does
not God see this from His heaven?"
The blind Dhritarashtra sent for Vidura
and asked him to describe the departure of
the Pandavas into exile. Vidura replied:
"Yudhishthira, the son of Kunti, went with
his face covered with a cloth. Bhima went
behind with his eyes lowered on his arms.
Arjuna proceeded scattering sand on his
path. Nakula and Sahadeva besmeared
their bodies with dust and closely





dishevelled hair covering her face and her
eyes streaming with tears. Dhaumya, the
priest, went along with them singing the
Sama hymns, addressed to Yama, the
Lord of Death."

When he heard these words, Dhritarashtra
was filled with ever-greater fear and
anxiety than before. He asked: "What do
the citizens say?"
Vidura answered: "O great king, I shall
tell you in their own words what the
citizens of all castes and creeds say: 'Our
leaders have left us. Fie on the elders of
the Kuru race who have suffered such
things to happen! The covetous
Dhritarashtra and his sons have driven
away the sons of Pandu to the forest.'
While the citizens blame us thus, the
heavens are vexed with cloudless
lightning, and the distressed earth quakes,
and there are other evil portents."
While Dhritarashtra and Vidura were
conversing thus, the sage Narada suddenly
appeared before them. Narada declared:
"Fourteen years from this day the
Kauravas will become extinct as the result
of the crime committed by Duryodhana"
and vanished from sight.
Duryodhana and his companions were
filled with fear and approached Drona
with a prayer never to abandon them,
whatever happened.
Drona answered gravely: "I believe with
the wise that the Pandavas are of divine
birth and unconquerable. Yet my duty is
to fight for the sons of Dhritarashtra who
rely on me and whose salt I eat. I shall
strive for them, heart and soul. But destiny
is all-powerful. The Pandavas will surely
return from exile, burning with anger. I
should know what anger is, for I
dethroned and dishonored Drupada on
account of my anger towards him.
Implacably revengeful, he has performed
a sacrifice so that he might be blessed
with a son who would kill me. It is said
Dhrishtadyumna is that son. As destiny
would have it, he is the brother-in-law and
fast friend of the Pandavas. And things are
moving as foreordained. Your actions
tend in the same direction and your days

are numbered. Lose no time in doing good
while you may; perform great sacrifice,
enjoy sinless pleasures, give alms to the
needy. Nemesis will overtake you in the
fourteenth year. Duryodhana, make peace
withYudhishthira this is my counsel to
you. But, of course, you will do what you
Duryodhana was not at all pleased with
these words of Drona.
Sanjaya asked Dhritarashtra: "O king,
why are you worried?"
The blind king replied: "How can I know
peace after having injured the Pandavas?"
Sanjaya said: "What you say is quite true.
The victim of adverse fate will first
become perverted, utterly losing his sense
of right and wrong. Time, the all
destroyer, does not take a club and break
the head of a man but by destroying his
judgment, makes him act madly to his
own ruin. Your sons have grossly insulted
Panchali and put themselves on the path
of destruction."
Dhritarashtra said: "I did not follow the
wise path of dharma and statesmanship
but suffered myself to be misled by my
foolish son and, as you say, we are fast
hastening towards the abyss."
Vidura used to advise Dhritarashtra
earnestly. He would often tell him: "Your
son has committed a great wrong.
Dharmaputra has been cheated. Was it not
your duty to turn your children to the path
of virtue and pull them away from vice?
You should order even now that the
Pandavas get back the kingdom granted to
them by you. Recall Yudhishthira from
the forest and make peace with him. You
should even restrain Duryodhana by force
if he will not listen to reason."
At first Dhritarashtra would listen in sad
silence when Vidura spoke thus, for he
knew Vidura to be a wiser man than
himself who wished him well. But

gradually his patience wore thin with
repeated homilies.
One day, Dhritarashtra could stand it no
longer. "O Vidura," he burst out, "you are
always speaking for the Pandavas and
against my sons. You do not seek our
good. Duryodhana was born of my loins.
How can I give him up? What is the use
of advising such an unnatural course? I
have lost my faith in you and do not need
you anymore. You are free to go to the
Pandavas if you like." Then, turning his
back on Vidura, he retired to the inner
Vidura sorrowfully felt that the
destruction of the Kuru race was certain
and, taking Dhritarashtra at his word,
drove in a chariot with fleet horses to the
forest where the Pandavas lived.
Dhritarashtra was filled with anxious
remorse. He reflected thin himself: "What
have I done? I have only strengthened
Duryodhana, while driving the wise
Vidura to the Pandavas."
But later he called for Sanjaya and asked
him to bear a repentant message to Vidura
imploring him to forgive the thoughtless
words of an unhappy father and to return.
Sanjaya hurried to the hermitage where
the Pandavas were staying and found
them clad in deer-skin and surrounded by
He also saw Vidura there and conveyed
Dhritarashtra's message adding that the
blind king would die broken-hearted if he
did not return.
The soft-hearted Vidura, who was dharma
incarnate, was greatly moved and returned
to Hastinapura.
Dhritarashtra embraced Vidura and the
difference between them was washed
away in tears of mutual affection.
One day, the sage Maitreya came to the
court of Dhritarashtra and was welcomed
with great respect.

Dhritarashtra craved his blessing and
asked him: "Revered sir, you have
certainly met my beloved children, the
Pandavas, in Kurujangala. Are they well?
Will mutual affection abide in our family
without any diminution?"
Maitreya said: "I accidentally met
Yudhishthira in the Kamyaka forest. The
sages of the place had come to see him. I
learnt of the events that took place in
Hastinapura, and I marvelled that such
things should have been permitted while
Bhishma and yourself were alive."
Later, Maitreya saw Duryodhana who was
also in the court and advised him, for his
own good, not to injure but to make peace
with the Pandavas who were not only
mighty themselves but related to Krishna
and Drupada.
The obstinate and foolish Duryodhana
merely laughed, slapping his thighs in
derision and, tearing the ground with his
feet and without granting an answer,
turned away.
Maitreya grew angry and looking at
Duryodhana said: "Are you so arrogant
and do you slap your thighs in derision of
one who wishes you well? Your thighs
will be broken by a Bhima's mace and you
will die on the battlefield." At this
Dhritarashtra jumped up, fell at the feet of
the sage and begged forgiveness.
Maitreya said: "My curse will not work if
your son makes peace with the Pandavas.
Otherwise it will have effect," and strode
indignantly out of the assembly.

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