Mahabharata Asramavasika Parva - Translation by KM Ganguly

Mahabharata Adiparva

Section VIII

"Yudhishthira said, 'O lord of Earth, I shall do as thou biddest me. O foremost of kings, I should be further instructed by thee. Bhishma has

ascended to Heaven. The slayer of Madhu has departed (for Dwaraka). Vidura and Sanjaya also will accompany thee to the forest. Who else, therefore, than thee will teach me? Those instructions which thou imparted today, desirous of doing good to me, I shall certainly follow, O lord of Earth. Be thou assured of this, O king.'

"Vaisampayana continued, 'Thus addressed by king Yudhishthira the just, of great intelligence, the royal sage, Dhritarashtra, O chief of the Bharatas, wished to obtain the king's permission (about his retirement to the forest). And he said, 'Cease, O son, great has been my toil.' Having said these words, the old king entered the apartments of Gandhari. Unto that husband of hers who resembled a second Lord of all creatures, while resting on a seat, Gandhari of righteous conduct, conversant with the opportuneness of everything, said these words, the hour being suited to them,--'Thou hast obtained the permission of that great Rishi, viz., Vyasa himself. When, however, wilt thou go to the forest, with the permission of Yudhishthira?'

"Dhritarashtra said, 'O Gandhari, I have received the permission of my high-souled sire. With the permission of Yudhishthira (next obtained), I shall soon retire into the woods. I desire, however, to give away some wealth capable of following the status of Preta, in respect of all those sons of mine who were addicted to calamitous dice. Verily, I desire to make those gifts, inviting all the people to my mansion.' 

"Vaisampayana continued, 'Having said so (to Gandhari), Dhritarashtra sent for Yudhishthira. The latter, at his uncle's command, brought all the articles necessary. Many Brahmanas residing in Kuru-jangala, and many Kshatriyas, many Vaisyas, and many Sudras also, came to Dhritarashtra's mansion, with gratified hearts. The old king, coming out of the inner apartments, beheld them all, as also his subjects assembled together. Beholding all those assembled citizens and inhabitants of the provinces, and his well-wishers also thus gathered together, and the large number of Brahmanas arrived from diverge realms, king Dhritarashtra of great intelligence, O monarch, said these words,--'Ye all and the Kurus have lived together for many long years, well-wishers of each other, and each employed in doing good to the other. What I shall now say in view of the opportunity that has come, should be accomplished by you all even as disciples accomplish the biddings of their preceptors. I have set my heart upon retiring into the woods, along with Gandhari as my companion. Vyasa has approved of this, as also the son of Kunti. Let me have your permission too. Do not hesitate in this. That goodwill, which has always existed between you and us, is not to be seen, I believe, in other realms between the rulers and the ruled. I am worn out with this load of years on my head. I am destitute of children. Ye sinless ones, I am emaciated with fasts, along with Gandhari. The kingdom having passed

to Yudhishthira, I have enjoyed great happiness. Ye foremost of men, I think that happiness has been greater than what I could expect from Duryodhana's sovereignty. What other refuge can I have, old as I am and destitute of children, save the woods? Ye highly blessed ones, it behoves you to grant me the permission I seek. Hearing these words of his, all these residents of Kurujangala, uttered loud lamentations, O best of the Bharatas, with voices choked with tears. Desirous of telling those grief-stricken people something more, Dhritarashtra of great energy, once more addressed them and said as follows.'"