“Hearing these words of Vidura, Dhritarashtra said, ‘Those children are to me as dear as they were to Pandu. Nay, more. O listen to me why my affection for them now is even greater! The heroic sons of Pandu are well and at ease. They have obtained many friends. Their relatives, and others whom they have gained as allies, are all endued with great strength.
Who amongst monarchs in prosperity or adversity would not like to have Drupada with his relatives as an ally?’
“Vaisampayana continued, ‘Having heard these words of the monarch, Vidura said, ‘O king, let thy understanding remain so without change for a hundred years!’ Having said this Vidura returned to his own abode. Then, O monarch, there came unto Dhritarashtra, Duryodhana and the son of Radha, Karna. Addressing the monarch, they said, ‘We cannot, O king, speak of any transgression in the presence of Vidura! We have now found thee alone, and will, therefore, say all we like! What is this that thou hast, O monarch, desired to do?
Dost thou regard the prosperity of thy foes as if it were thy own, that thou hast been applauding the Pandavas, O foremost of men, in the presence of Vidura? O sinless one, thou actest not, O king, in the way thou shouldst! O father, we should now act every day in such a way as to weaken (the strength of) the Pandavas. The time hath come, O father, for us to take counsel together, so that the Pandavas may not swallow us all with our children and friends and relatives.'”
(Viduragamana Parva continued)
“Vaisampayana said, ‘Dhritarashtra replied saying, I desire to do exactly what you would recommend. But I do not wish to inform Vidura of it even by a change of muscle. It was, therefore, O son, that I was applauding the Pandavas in Vidura’s presence, so that he might not know even by a sign what is in my mind. Now that Vidura hath gone away, this is the time, O Suyodhana (Duryodhana), for telling me what thou hast hit upon, and what, O Radheya (Karna), thou too hast hit upon.’
“Duryodhana said. ‘Let us, O father, by means of trusted and skilful and adroit Brahmanas, seek to produce dissensions between the sons of Kunti and Madri. Or, let king Drupada and his sons, and all his ministers of state, be plied with presents of large wealth, so that they may abandon the cause of Yudhishthira, the son of Kunti.
Or, let our spies induce the Pandavas to settle in Drupada’s dominions, by describing to them, separately, the inconvenience of residing in Hastinapura, so that, separated from as, they may permanently settle in Panchala. Or, let some clever spies, full of resources, sowing the seeds of dissension among the Pandavas, make them jealous of one another.
Or, let them incite Krishna against her husbands. She has many lords and this will not present any difficulty. Or, let some seek to make the Pandavas themselves dissatisfied with Krishna, in which case Krishna also will be dissatisfied with them. Or, let, O king, some clever spies, repairing thither, secretly compass the death of Bhimasena. Bhima is the strongest of them all. Relying upon Bhima alone, the Pandavas used to disregard us, of old. Bhima is fierce and brave and the (sole) refuge of the Pandavas. If he be slain, the others will be deprived of strength and energy. Deprived of Bhima who is their sole refuge, they will no longer strive to regain their kingdom. Arjuna, O king, is invincible in battle, if Bhima protecteth him from behind. Without Bhima, Arjuna is not equal to even a fourth part of Radheya. Indeed, O king, the Pandavas conscious of their own feebleness without Bhima and of our strength would not really strive to recover the kingdom. Or, if, O monarch, coming hither, they prove docile and obedient to us, we would then seek to repress them according to the dictates of political science (as explained by Kanika).
Or, we may tempt them by means of handsome girls, upon which the princess of Panchala will get annoyed with them. Or, O Radheya, let messengers be despatched to bring them hither, so that, when arrived, we may through trusted agents, by some of the above methods, cause them to be slain. Strive, O father, to employ any of these (various) methods that may appear to thee faultless. Time passeth. Before their confidence in king Drupada–that bull amongst kings–is established we may succeed, O monarch, to encounter them. But after their confidence hath been established in Drupada, we are sure to fail.
These, O father, are my views for the discomfiture of the Pandavas. Judge whether they be good or bad. What, O Karna, dost thou think?'”
(Viduragamana Parva continued)
“Vaisampayana said, ‘Thus addressed by Duryodhana, Karna said, ‘It doth not seem to me, O Duryodhana, that thy reasoning is well-founded. O perpetuator of the Kuru race, no method will succeed against the Pandavas. O brave prince, thou hast before, by various subtle means, striven to carry out thy wishes. But ever hast thou failed to slay thy foes.
They were then living near thee, O king! They were then unfledged and of tender years, but thou couldst not injure them then. They are now living at a distance, grown up, full-fledged. The sons of Kunti, O thou of firm resolution, cannot now be injured by any subtle contrivances of thine. This is my opinion. As they are aided by the very Fates, and as they are desirous of regaining their ancestral kingdom, we can never succeed in injuring them by any means in our power.
It is impossible to create disunion amongst them. They can never be disunited who have all taken to a common wife. Nor can we succeed in estranging Krishna from the Pandavas by any spies of ours. She chose them as her lords when they were in adversity. Will she abandon them now that they are in prosperity? Besides women always like to have many husbands, Krishna hath obtained her wish. She can never be estranged from the Pandavas.
The king of Panchala is honest and virtuous; he is not avaricious. Even if we offer him our whole kingdom he will not abandon the Pandavas. Drupada’s son also possesseth every accomplishment, and is attached to the Pandavas. Therefore, I do not think that the Pandavas can now be injured by any subtle means in thy power. But, O bull amongst men, this is what is good and advisable for us now, viz., to attack and smite them till they are exterminated. Let this course recommend itself to thee.
As long as our party is strong and that of the king of the Panchalas is weak, so long strike them without any scruple. O son of Gandhari, as long as their innumerable vehicles and animals, friends, and friendly tribes are not mustered together, continue, O king, to exhibit thy prowess. As long as the king of the Panchalas together with his sons gifted with great prowess, setteth not his heart upon fighting with us, so long, O king, exhibit thy prowess. And, O king, exert thy prowess before he of the Vrishni race (Krishna) cometh with the Yadava host into the city of Drupada, carrying everything before him, to restore the Pandavas to their paternal kingdom. Wealth, every article of enjoyment, kingdom, there is nothing that Krishna may not sacrifice for the sake of the Pandavas.
The illustrious Bharata had acquired the whole earth by his prowess alone. Indra hath acquired sovereignty of the three worlds by prowess alone. O king, prowess is always applauded by the Kshatriyas. O bull amongst Kshatriyas, prowess is the cardinal virtue of the brave. Let us, therefore, O monarch, with our large army consisting of four kinds of forces, grind Drupada without loss of time, and bring hither the Pandavas. Indeed, the Pandavas are incapable of being discomfited by any policy of conciliation, of gift, of wealth and bribery, or of disunion. Vanquish them, therefore, by thy prowess. And vanquishing them by thy prowess, rule thou this wide earth. O monarch, I see not any other means by which we may accomplish our end.’
“Vaisampayana continued, ‘Hearing these words of Radheya, Dhritarashtra, endued with great strength, applauded him highly. The monarch then addressed him and said, ‘Thou, O son of a Suta, art gifted with great wisdom and accomplished in arms. This speech, therefore, favouring the exhibition of prowess suiteth thee well. But let Bhishma, and Drona, and Vidura, and you two, take counsel together and adopt that proposal which may lead to our benefit.’ Vaisampayana continued, “‘Then king Dhritarashtra called unto him, all those celebrated ministers and took counsel with them.'”