The Mahabharata (English)

by Kisari Mohan Ganguli | 1,056,585 words | ISBN-10: 8121505933

The English translation of the Mahabharata is a large text describing ancient India. It is authored by Krishna-Dwaipayana Vyasa and contains the records of ancient humans. Also, it documents the fate of the Kauravas and the Pandavas family. Another part of the large contents, deal with many philosophical dialogues such as the goals of life. Book...

Section XLIX

Janamejaya said,—"O you foremost of all conversant with the Vedas, how did that game at dice take place, fraught with such evil to the cousins and through which my grand-sires, the son of Pandu, were plunged into such sorrow? What kings also were present in that assembly, and who amongst them approved of the gambling match and who amongst them forbade it?

O sinless one, O chief of regenerate ones, I desire you to recite in detail all about this, which, indeed, was the cause of the destruction of the world."

Sauti said,—"Thus addressed by the king, the disciple of Vyasa, endued with great energy and conversant with the entire Vedas, narrated everything that had happened."

Vaisampayana said,—"O best of the Bharatas, O great king, if you desirest to hear, then listen to me as I narrate to you everything again in detail.

"Ascertaining the opinion of Vidura, Dhritarashtra the son of Amvika, calling Duryodhana told him again in private—

'O son of Gandhari, have nothing to do with dice. Vidura does not speak well of it. Possessed of great wisdom, he will never give me advice that is not for my good. I also regard what Vidura says as exceedingly beneficial for me.

Do that, O son, for I regard it all as for your good also. Indeed, Vidura knows with all its mysteries the science (of political morality) that the illustrious and learned and wise Vrihaspati, the celestial Rishi who is the spiritual guide of Vasava—had unfolded unto the wise chief of the immortals. And O son, I always accept what Vidura advises.

O king, as the wise Uddhava is ever regarded amongst the Vrishnis, so is Vidura possessed of great intelligence esteemed as the foremost of the Kurus. Therefore, O son, have nothing to do with dice. It is evident that dice sows dissensions. And dissensions are the ruin of the kingdom. Therefore, O son, abandon this idea of gambling.

O son, you have obtained from us what, it has been ordained, a father and a mother should give unto their son, viz., ancestral rank and possessions. You are educated and clever in every branch of knowledge, and hast been brought up with affection in your paternal dwelling.

Born the eldest among all your brothers, living within your own kingdom, why regardest you thyself as unhappy?

O you of mighty arms, you obtainest food and attire of the very best kind and which is not obtainable by ordinary men. Why dost you grieve yet.

O son, O mighty-armed one, ruling your large ancestral kingdom swelling with people and wealth, you shinest as splendidly as the chief of the celestials in heaven. You are possessed of wisdom. It behoves you to tell me what can be the root of this grief that has made you so melancholy.

"Duryodhana replied,—

'I am a sinful wretch, O king, because I eat and dress beholding (the prosperity of the foes). It has been said that man is a wretch who is not filled with jealousy at the sight of his enemy’s prosperity.

O exalted one, this kind of prosperity of mine does not gratify me. Beholding that blazing prosperity of the son of Kunti, I am very much pained. I tell you strong must be my vitality, in as much as I am living even at the sight of the whole earth owning the sway of Yudhishthira.

The Nipas, the Citrakas, the Kukkuras, the Karaskaras, and the Lauha-janghas are living in the palace of Yudhishthira like bondsmen. The Himavat, the ocean, the regions on the sea-shore, and the numberless other regions that yield jewels and gems, have all acknowledged superiority of the mansion of Yudhishthira in respect of wealth it contains.

And, O Monarch, regarding me as the eldest and entitled to respect, Yudhishthira having received me respectfully, appointed me in receiving the jewels and gems (that were brought as tribute). O Bharata, the limit and the like of the excellent and invaluable jewels that were brought there have not been seen.

And O king, my hands were fatigued in receiving that wealth. And when I was tired, they that brought those valuable articles from distant regions used to wait till I was able to resume my labour. Bringing jewels from the lake Vindu, the Asura architect Maya constructed (for the Pandavas) a lake-like surface made of crystal.

Beholding the (artificial) lotuses with which it was filled, I mistook it, O king for water. And seeing me draw up my clothes (while about to cross it), Vrikodara (Bhima) laughed at me, regarding me as wanting in jewels and having lost my head at the sight of the affluence of my enemy. If I had the ability, I would, O king, without the loss of a moment, slay Vrikodara for that.

But, O monarch, if we endeavour to slay Bhima now, without doubt, ours will be the fate of Sisupala. O Bharata, that insult by the foe burns me.

Once again, O king, beholding a similar lake that is really full of water but which I mistook for a crystal surface, I fell into it. At that, Bhima with Arjuna once more laughed derisively, and Draupadi also accompanied by other females joined in the laughter. That pains my heart exceedingly. My apparel having been wet, the menials at the command of the king gave me other clothes. That also is my great sorrow.

And O king, hear now of another mistake that I speak of. In attempting to pass through what is exactly of the shape of a door but through which there was really no passage, I struck my forehead against stone and injured myself. The twins Nakula and Sahadeva beholding from a distance that I was so hit at the head came and supported me in their arms, expressing great concern for me.

And Sahadeva repeatedly told me, as if with a smile,—

'This O king, is the door. Go this way!'

And Bhimasena, laughing aloud, addressed me and said,—

'O son of Dhritarashtra, this is the door. And, O king I had not even heard of the names of those gems that I saw in that mansion. And it is for these reasons that my heart so aches."

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