"Vaisampayana said, Then prince Duryodhana, along with his brothers began to gradually win over the people to his side by grants of wealth and honours. Meanwhile, some clever councillors, instructed by Dhritarashtra, one day began to describe (in court) the town of Varanavata as a charming place.
And they said,
'The festival of Pasupati (Siva) hath commenced in the town of Varanavata.
The concourse of people is great and the procession is the most delightful of all ever witnessed on earth.
Decked with every ornament, it charmed the hearts of all spectators.'
Thus did those councillors, instructed by Dhritarashtra, speak of Varanavata, and whilst they were so speaking, the Pandavas, O king, felt the desire of going to that delightful town. And when the king (Dhritarashtra) ascertained that the curiosity of the Pandavas had been awakened, the son of Ambika addressed them, saying,
'These men of mine often speak of Varanavata as the most delightful town in the world. If therefore, ye children, ye desire to witness that festival, go to Varanavata with your followers and friends and enjoy yourselves there like the celestials.
And give ye away pearls and gems unto the Brahmanas and the musicians (that may be assembled there).
And sporting there for some time as ye please like the resplendent celestials and enjoying as much pleasure as ye like, return ye to Hastinapura again.'
"Vaisampayana continued, 'Yudhishthira, fully understanding the motives of Dhritarashtra and considering that he himself was weak and friendless, replied unto the king, saying, 'So be it.'
Then addressing Bhishma, the son of Santanu, the wise Vidura, Drona, Valhika, the Kaurava, Somadatta, Kripa, Aswatthaman, Bhurisravas, and the other councillors, and Brahmanas and ascetics, and the priests and the citizens, and the illustrious Gandhari, he [Page 306] said slowly and humbly,
'With our friends and followers we go to the delightful and populous town of Varanavata at the command of Dhritarashtra. Cheerfully give us your benedictions so that acquiring prosperity, therewith we may not be touched by sin.'
Thus addressed by the eldest of Pandu's sons, the Kaurava chiefs all cheerfully pronounced blessings on them, saying,
'Ye sons of Pandu, let all the elements bless you along your way and let not the slightest evil befall you.'
"The Pandavas, having performed propitiatory rites for obtaining (their share of) the kingdom, and finishing their preparations, set out for Varanavata.'"