Mahabharata Udyoga Parva - Translation by KM Ganguly

Mahabharata Adiparva

Section CXXIV

"Dhritarashtra said, 'O holy one, it is even so as thou, O Narada, sayest. My wish also is precisely such, but, O holy one, I have no power (to carry them out)!'

"Vaisampayana continued, 'The Kuru king, having said these words unto Narada, then addressed Krishna and said, 'Thou hast, O Kesava, told me that which leadeth to heaven, what is beneficial to the world, consistent with virtue, and fraught with reason. I am not, however, O sire, independent. Duryodhana never doth what is agreeable to me. Do thou, therefore, O mighty-armed Krishna, O best of persons, strive to persuade that foolish and wicked son of mine, who disobeyeth my commands. O mighty-armed one, he never listeneth to the beneficial words, O Hrishikesa, of Gandhari, or of wise Vidura, or of other friends headed by Bhishma, all of whom seek his good. Do thou, therefore, thyself counsel that crooked, senseless, and wicked-souled prince, of evil disposition and sinful heart. By doing this, O Janardana, thou shalt have done that noble act which a friend should ever do.' Thus addressed, he of Vrishni's race, conversant with the truths of virtue and profit, approached nearer to the ever-wrathful Duryodhana and said unto him these sweet words, 'O Duryodhana, O best of the Kurus, listen to these words of mine, uttered especially for thy good, as also, O Bharata, for that of thy followers, Thou art born in a race that is distinguished for its great wisdom. It behoveth thee to act righteously as I indicate. Possessed of learning and endued with excellent behaviour, thou art adorned with every excellent quality. They that are born in ignoble families, or are wicked-souled, cruel, and shameless, they only, O sire, act in the way that seemeth acceptable to thee. In this world, the inclinations of those only that are righteous seem to be consistent with the dictates of virtue and profit. The inclinations, however, of those that are unrighteous seem to be perverse. O bull of Bharata's race, the disposition that thou art repeatedly manifesting is of that perverse kind. Persistence in such behaviour is sinful, frightful, highly wicked, and capable of leading to death itself. It is besides, causeless, while, again, thou canst not, O Bharata, adhere to it long. If by avoiding this which is productive only of woe, thou wilt achieve thy own good, if, O chastiser of foes, thou wilt escape from the sinful and disreputable deeds of thy brothers, followers, and counsellors, then, O tiger among men, make peace, O bull among the Bharatas, with the sons of Pandu who are all endued with great wisdom and great bravery with great exertion and great learning an all of whom have their souls under complete control. Such conduct will be agreeable to and conducive to the happiness of Dhritarashtra who is endued with great wisdom, of grandsire (Bhishma), Drona, the high-souled Kripa, Somadatta, wise Vahlika, Aswatthaman, Vikarna, Sanjaya, Vivingsati, and of many of thy kinsmen, O chastiser of foes, and many of thy friends also. The whole world, O sire, will derive benefit from that peace. Thou art endued with modesty, born in a noble race, hast learning and kindness of heart. Be obedient, O sire, to the commands of thy father, and also of thy mother, O bull of Bharata's race. They that are good sons always regard that to be beneficial which their fathers command. Indeed, when overtaken by calamity, every one recollects the injunctions of his father. Peace with the Pandavas, O sire, recommend itself to thy father. Let it, therefore, O chief of the Kurus recommend itself to thee also with thy counsellors. That mortal who having listened to the counsels of friends doth not act according to them, is consumed at the end by the consequences of his disregard, like him who swalloweth the fruit called Kimpaka. He that from folly doth not accept beneficial counsels, unnerved by procrastination and unable to attain his object, is obliged to repent at last. He, on the other hand, who having listened to beneficial counsels accepteth them at once, abandoning his opinion, always winneth happiness in the world. He that rejects the words of well-meaning friends, regarding those words as opposed to his interest, but accepts words that are really so opposed, is soon subjugated by his foes. Disregarding the opinions of the righteous he that abideth by the opinions of the wicked, soon maketh his friends weep for him in consequence of his being plunged into distress. Forsaking superior counsellors he that seeketh the advice of inferior ones, soon falleth into great distress and succeedeth not in saving himself. That companion of the sinful, who behaveth falsely and never listeneth to good friends, who honoureth strangers but hateth those that are his own, is soon, O Bharata, cast off by the Earth. O bull of Bharata's race, having quarrelled with those (the sons of Pandu), thou seekest protection from others viz., those that are sinful, incapable, and foolish. What other man is there on earth besides thee, who, disregarding kinsmen, that are all mighty charioteers, and each of whom resembleth Sakra himself, would seek protection and aid from strangers? Thou hast persecuted the sons of Kunti, from their very birth. They have not been angry with thee, for the sons of Pandu are indeed virtuous. Although thou hast behaved deceitfully towards the Pandavas from their very birth, yet, O mighty-armed one, those distinguished persons have acted generously towards thee. It behoveth thee, therefore, O bull of Bharata's race, to act towards those principal kinsmen of thine with equal generosity. Do not yield thyself to the influence of wrath. O bull of Bharata's race, the exertions of the wise are always associated with virtue, profit, and desire. If, indeed, all these three cannot be attained, men follow at least virtue and profit. If, again, these three are pursued separately, it is seen that they that have their hearts under control, choose virtue; they that are neither good nor bad but occupy a middle station, choose profit, which is always the subject of dispute; while they that are fools choose the gratification of desire. The fool that from temptation giveth up virtue and pursueth profit and desire by unrighteous means, is soon destroyed by his senses. He that speaketh profit and desire, should yet practise virtue at the outset, for neither profit nor desire is (really) dissociated from virtue. O king, it hath been said that virtue alone is the cause of the three, for he that seeketh the three, may, by the aid of virtue alone, grow like fire when brought into contact with a heap of dry grass. O bull of Bharata's race, thou seeketh, O sire, by unrighteous means this extensive empire, flourishing with prosperity and well-known to all the monarchs of the earth. O king, he that behaveth falsely towards those that live and conduct themselves righteously, certainly cutteth down his own self, like a forest with an axe. One must not seek to confound his understanding whose overthrow one doth not like, for, if one's understanding is confounded, one can never devote his attention to what is beneficial. One that hath his soul under control never, O Bharata, disregardeth anybody in the three worlds,--no, not even the commonest creature, far less those bulls among men, the sons of Pandu. He that surrendereth himself to the influence of anger loseth his sense of right and wrong. Rank growth must always be cut off. Behold, O Bharata, this is the proof. At present, O sire, union with the sons of Pandu is better for thee than thy union with the wicked. If thou makest peace with them, thou mayst obtain the fruition of all thy wishes. O best of kings, while enjoying the kingdom that has been founded by the Pandavas, thou seekest protection from others, disregarding the Pandavas themselves. Reposing the cares of thy state on Dussasana, Durvisaha, Karna, and Suvala's son, thou desirest the continuance of thy prosperity, O Bharata. These, however, are far inferior to the Pandavas in knowledge, in virtue, in capacity for acquiring wealth, and in prowess. Indeed, O Bharata, (let alone the four I have mentioned) all these kings together, with thee at their head, are incapable of even looking at the face of Bhima, when angry, on the field of battle. O sire, this force consisting of all the kings of the earth is, indeed, at thy elbow. There are also Bhishma, and Drona, and this Karna, and Kripa, and Bhurisrava, and Somadatta, and Aswatthaman, and Jayadratha. All these together are incapable of fighting against Dhananjaya. Indeed, Arjuna is incapable of being vanquished in battle even by all the gods, Asuras, men, and Gandharvas. Do not set thy heart for battle. Seest thou the man in any of the royal races of the earth, who having encountered Arjuna in battle can return home safe and sound? O bull of Bharata's race, what advantage is there in a universal slaughter? Show me a single man who will defeat that Arjuna, by defeating whom alone victory may be thine? Who will encounter that son of Pandu in battle, who had vanquished all the celestials with the Gandharvas, Yakshas and Pannagas at Khandavaprastha? Then also the marvellous account that is heard of what happened at Virata's city, touching that encounter between one and many, is sufficient proof of this, Hopest thou to vanquish in battle Arjuna who when excited with rage is invincible, irresistible, ever-victorious, and undeteriorating Arjuna, that hero, who gratified the God of gods, Siva himself in fight? With myself again as his second when that son of Pritha will rush to the field of battle against an enemy, who is there that is competent to challenge him then? Can Purandara himself do so? He that would vanquish Arjuna in battle would support the Earth on his arms, consume in rage the whole population of the Earth, and hurl the very gods from heaven. Look at thy sons, thy brothers, kinsmen, and other relatives. Let not these chiefs of Bharata's race all perish on thy account. Let not the race of Kauravas be exterminated or reduced. O king, let not people say that thou art the exterminator of thy race and the destroyer of its achievements. Those mighty car-warriors, the Pandavas (if peace be made) will install thee as the Yuvaraja, and thy father Dhritarashtra, that lord of men, as the sovereign of this extensive empire. Do not, O sire, disregard the prosperity that is awaiting thee and is sure to come. Giving to the sons of Pritha half the kingdom, win thou great prosperity. Making peace with the Pandavas and acting according to the counsels of thy friends, and rejoicing with them, thou art sure to obtain what is for thy good for ever and ever.'"