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THE MAHABHARATA ADI PARVA
This is without doubt, the paternal kingdom of those foremost ones of the Kuru race. And, O Duryodhana, like thee who lookest upon this kingdom as thy paternal property, the Pandavas also look upon it as their paternal possession. If the renowned sons of Pandu obtain not the kingdom, how can it be thine, or that of any other descendant of the Bharata race? If thou regardest thyself as one that hath lawfully come into the possession of the kingdom, I think they also may be regarded to have lawfully come into the possession of this kingdom before thee. Give them half the kingdom quietly.
This, O tiger among men, is beneficial to all. If thou actest otherwise, evil will befall us all. Thou too shall be covered with dishonour. O Duryodhana, strive to maintain thy good name. A good name is, indeed, the source of one’s strength. It hath been said that one liveth in vain whose reputation hath gone. A man, O Kaurava, doth not die so long as his fame lasteth. One liveth as long as one’s fame endureth, and dieth when one’s fame is gone. Follow thou, O son of Gandhari, the practice that is worthy of the Kuru race. O thou of mighty arms, imitate thy own ancestors. We are fortunate that the Pandavas have not perished.
We are fortunate that Kunti liveth. We are fortunate that the wretch Purochana without being able to accomplish his purpose hath himself perished. From that time when I heard that the sons of Kuntibhoja’s daughter had been burnt to death, I was, O son of Gandhari, ill able to meet any living creature. O tiger among men, hearing of the fate that overtook Kunti, the world doth not regard Purochana so guilty as it regardeth thee. O king, the escape, therefore, of the sons of Pandu with life from that conflagration and their re-appearance, do away with thy evil repute. Know,
O thou of Kuru’s race, that as long as those heroes live, the wielder of the thunder himself cannot deprive them of their ancestral share in the kingdom. The Pandavas are virtuous and united. They are being wrongly kept out of their equal share in the kingdom. If thou shouldst act rightly, if thou shouldst do what is agreeable to me, if thou shouldst seek the welfare of all, then give half the kingdom unto them.’”
This is eternal virtue. Send, O Bharata, unto Drupada without loss of time some messenger of agreeable speech, carrying with him a large treasure for the Pandavas. And let the man go unto Drupada carrying costly presents for both the bridegrooms and the bride, and let him speak unto that monarch of thy increase of power and dignity arising from this new alliance with him. And, O monarch, let the man know also that both thyself and Duryodhana have become exceedingly glad in consequence of what hath happened. Let him say this repeatedly unto Drupada and Dhrishtadyumna. And let him speak also about the alliance as having been exceedingly proper, and agreeable unto thee, and of thyself being worthy of it. And let the man repeatedly propitiate the sons of Kunti and those of Madri (in proper words). And at thy command, O king, let plenty of ornaments of pure gold be given unto Draupadi. And let,
O bull of Bharata’s race, proper presents be given unto all the sons of Drupada. Let the messenger then propose the return of the Pandavas to Hastinapura. After the heroes will have been permitted (by Drupada), to come hither, let Duhsasana and Vikarna go out with a handsome train to receive them. And when they will have arrived at Hastinapura, let those foremost of men be received with affection by thee. And let them then be installed on their paternal throne, agreeably to the wishes of the people of the realm. This, O monarch of Bharata’s race, is what I think should be thy behaviour towards the Pandavas who are to thee even as thy own sons.’
‘After Drona had ceased, Karna spake again, ‘Both Bhishma and Drona have been pampered with wealth that is thine and favours conferred by thee! They are also always regarded by thee as thy trusted friends! What can therefore be more amusing than that they both should give thee advice which is not for thy good? How can the wise approve that advice which is pronounced good by a person speaking with wicked intent but taking care to conceal the wickedness of his heart? Indeed, in a season of distress, friends can neither benefit nor injure. Every one’s happiness or the reverse dependeth on destiny. He that is wise and he that is foolish, he that is young (in years) and he that is old, he that hath allies and he that hath none, all become, it is seen everywhere, happy or unhappy at times. It hath been heard by us that there was, of old, a king by name Amvuvicha.
Having his capital at Rajagriha, he was the king of all the Magadha chiefs. He never attended to his affairs. All his exertion consisted in inhaling the air. All his affairs were in the hands of his minister. And his minister, named Mahakarni, became the supreme authority in the state. Regarding himself all powerful, he began to disregard the king. And the wretch himself appropriated everything belonging unto the king, his queens and treasures and sovereignty. But the possession of all these, instead of satisfying his avarice, only served to inflame him the more. Having appropriated everything belonging to the king, he even coveted the throne. But it hath been heard by us that with all his best endeavours he succeeded not in acquiring the kingdom of the monarch, his master, even though the latter was inattentive to business and content with only breathing the air.
What else can be said, O king, than that monarch’s sovereignty was dependent on destiny? If, therefore, O king, this kingdom be established in thee by destiny, it will certainly continue in thee, even if the whole world were to become thy enemy! If, however, destiny hath ordained otherwise, howsoever mayest thou strive, it will not last in thee! O learned one, remembering all this, judge of the honesty or otherwise of thy advisers. Ascertain also who amongst them are wicked and who have spoken wisely and well.’
But know, O Karna, what I have said is for the good of all and the prosperity of the Kuru race. If thou regardest all this as productive of evil, declare thyself what is for our good. If the good advice I have given be not followed, I think the Kurus will be exterminated in no time.’”