Mahabharata Aswamedha Parva - Translation by KM Ganguly

Mahabharata Adiparva

Section II

"Vaisampayana said, "Thus addressed by the intelligent king Dhritarashtra Yudhishthira, possessed of understanding, became calm. And then Kesava (Krishna) accosted him,--'If a person indulges excessively in sorrow for his departed forefathers, he grieves them. (Therefore, banishing grief), do thou (now) celebrate many a sacrifice with suitable presents to the priests; and do thou gratify the gods with Soma liquor, and the manes of thy forefathers with their due food and drink. Do thou also gratify thy guests with meat and drink and the destitute with gifts commensurate with their desires. A person of thy high intelligence should not bear himself thus. What ought to be known hath been known by thee; what ought to be done, hath also been performed. And thou hast heard the duties of the Kshatriyas, recited by Bhishma, the son of Bhagirathi, by Krishna Dwaipayana, Narada and Vidura. Therefore thou shouldst not walk the way of the stupid; but pursuing the course of thy forefathers, sustain the burthen (of the empire). It is meet that a Kshatriya should attain heaven for certain by his (own) renown. Of heroes, those that came to be slain never shall have to turn away (from the celestial regions). Renounce thy grief, O mighty sovereign. Verily, what hath happened was destined to happen so. Thou canst in no wise see those that have been slain in this war.--Having said this unto Yudhishthira, prince of the pious, the high-spirited Govinda paused; and Yudhishthira answered him thus, 'O Govinda, full well do I know thy fondness for me. Thou hast ever favoured me with thy love and thy friendship. And, O holder of the mace and the discus. O scion of Yadu's race, O glorious one, if (now) with a pleased mind thou dost permit me to go to the ascetic's retreat in the woods, then thou wouldst compass what is highly desired by me. Peace find I none after having slain my grand-father, and that foremost of men, Karna, who never fled from the field of battle. Do thou, O Janarddana, so order that I may be freed from this heinous sin and that my mind may be purified. As Pritha's son was speaking thus, the highly-energetic Vyasa, cognisant of the duties of life, soothing him, spoke these excellent words, My child, thy mind is not yet calmed; and therefore thou art again stupefied by a childish sentiment. And wherefore, O child, do we over and over again scatter our speech to the winds? Thou knowest duties of the Kshatriyas, who live by warfare. A king that hath performed his proper part should not suffer himself to be overwhelmed by sorrow. Thou hast faithfully listened to the entire doctrine of salvation; and I have repeatedly removed thy misgivings arising out of desire. But not paying due heed to what I have unfolded, thou of perverse understanding hast doubtless forgotten it clean. Be it not so. Such ignorance is not worthy of thee. O sinless one, thou knowest all kinds, of expiation; and thou hast also heard of the virtues of kings as well as the merits of gifts. Wherefore then, O Bharata, acquainted with every morality and versed in all the Agamas, art thou overwhelmed (with grief) as if from ignorance?'"