(Viduragamana Parva continued)
“Vaisampayana said, ‘Hearing these words of Vidura, Drupada said, ‘It is even so as thou, O Vidura of great wisdom, hast said. Venerable one, I too have been exceedingly happy in consequence of this alliance. It is highly proper that these illustrious princes should return to their ancestral kingdom. But it is not proper for me to say this myself.
If the brave son of Kunti viz., Yudhishthira, if Bhima and Arjuna, if these bulls among men, viz., the twins, themselves desire to go and if Rama (Valadeva) and Krishna, both acquainted with every rule of morality, be of the same mind, then let the Pandavas go thither.
For these tigers among men (Rama and Krishna) are ever engaged in doing what is agreeable and beneficial to the sons of Pandu.’
“Hearing this, Yudhishthira said, ‘We are now, O monarch, with all our younger brothers, dependent on thee. We shall cheerfully do what thou art pleased to command.’
“Vaisampayana continued, ‘Then Vasudeva said, ‘I am of opinion that the Pandavas should go. But we should all abide by the opinion of king Drupada who is conversant with every rule of morality.’
“Drupada then spoke, ‘I certainly agree with what this foremost of men, thinketh, having regard to the circumstances. For the illustrious sons of Pandu now are to me as they are, without doubt, to Vasudeva. Kunti’s son Yudhishthira himself doth not seek the welfare of the Pandavas so earnestly as, Kesava, that tiger among men.’
“Vaisampayana continued, ‘Commanded by the illustrious Drupada, the Pandavas, then, O king, and Krishna and Vidura, taking with them Krishna, the daughter of Drupada, and the renowned Kunti, journeyed towards the city called after the elephant, stopping at various places along the way for purposes of pleasure and enjoyment. King Dhritarashtra, hearing that those heroes had neared the capital sent out the Kauravas to receive them. They who were thus sent out were, O Bharata, Vikarna of the great bow, and Chitrasena, and Drona that foremost of warriors, and Kripa of Gautama’s line.
Surrounded by these, those mighty heroes, their splendour enhanced by that throng slowly entered the city of Hastinapura. The whole city became radiant, as it were, with the gay throng of sight-seers animated by curiosity. Those tigers among men gladdened the hearts of all who beheld them. And the Pandavas, dear unto the hearts of the people, heard, as they proceeded, various exclamations with the citizens, ever desirous of obeying the wishes of those princes, loudly uttered.
Some exclaimed, ‘Here returns that tiger among men, conversant with all the rules of morality and who always protects us as if we were his nearest relatives.’ And elsewhere they said, ‘It seems that king Pandu–the beloved of his people–returneth today from the forest, doubtless to do what is agreeable to us.’ And there were some that said, ‘What good is not done to us today when the heroic sons of Kunti come back to our town? If we have ever given away in charity, if we have ever poured libations of clarified butter on the fire, if we have any ascetic merit, let the Pandavas, by virtue of all those acts stay in our town for a hundred years.’
“At last the Pandavas, on arriving at the place, worshipped the feet of Dhritarashtra, as also those of the illustrious Bhishma. They also worshipped the feet of everybody else that deserved that honour. And they enquired after the welfare of every citizen (there present). At last, at the command of Dhritarashtra they entered the chambers that had been assigned to them.
“After they had rested there for some time, they were summoned (to the court) by king Dhritarashtra and Bhishma, the son of Santanu. When they came, king Dhritarashtra addressing Yudhishthira, said, ‘Listen, O son of Kunti, with thy brothers, to what I say. Repair ye to Khandavaprastha so that no difference may arise again (between you and your cousins). If you take up your quarters there no one will be able to do you any injury. Protected by Partha (Arjuna), like the celestials by the thunderbolt, reside ye at Khandavaprastha, taking half of the kingdom.’
“Vaisampayana continued, ‘Agreeing to what Dhritarashtra said, those bulls among men worshipping the king set out from Hastinapura. And content with half the kingdom, they removed to Khandavaprastha, which was in unreclaimed desert. Then those heroes of unfading splendour, viz., the Pandavas, with Krishna at their head, arriving there, beautified the place and made it a second heaven. And those mighty car-warriors, selecting with Dwaipayana’s assistance a sacred and auspicious region, performed certain propitiatory ceremonies and measured out a piece of land for their city.
Then surrounded by a trench wide as the sea and by walls reaching high up to the heavens and white as the fleecy clouds or the rays of the moon, that foremost of cities looked resplendent like Bhogavati (the capital of the nether kingdom) decked with the Nagas. And it stood adorned with palatial mansions and numerous gates, each furnished with a couple of panels resembling the out-stretched wings of Garuda. And it was protected with gateways looking like the clouds and high as the Mandara mountains. And well-furnished with numerous weapons of attack the missiles of the foes could not make slightest impression on them. And they were almost covered with darts and other missiles like double-tongued snakes. The turrets along the walls were filled with armed men in course of training; and the walls were lined with numerous warriors along their whole length. And there were thousands of sharp hooks and Sataghnis (machines slaying a century of warriors) and numerous other machines on the battlements. There were also large iron wheels planted on them. And with all these was that foremost of cities adorned.
The streets were all wide and laid out excellently; and there was no fear in them of accident. And decked with innumerable mansions, the city became like unto Amaravati and came to be called Indraprastha (like unto Indra’s city). In a delightful and auspicious part of the city rose the palace of the Pandavas filled with every kind of wealth and like unto the mansion of the celestial treasurer (Kuvera) himself. And it looked like a mass of clouds charged with lightning.
“When the city was built, there came, O king, numerous Brahmanas well-acquainted with all the Vedas and conversant with every language, wishing to dwell there. And there came also unto that town numerous merchants from every direction, in the hope of earning wealth. There also came numerous persons well-skilled in all the arts, wishing to take up their abode there. And around the city were laid out many delightful gardens adorned with numerous trees bearing both fruits and flowers.
There were Amras (mango trees) and Amaratakas, and Kadamvas and Asokas, and Champakas; and Punnagas and Nagas and Lakuchas and Panasas; and Salas and Talas (palm trees) and Tamalas and Vakulas, and Ketakas with their fragrant loads; beautiful and blossoming and grand Amalakas with branches bent down with the weight of fruits and Lodhras and blossoming Ankolas; and Jamvus (blackberry trees) and Patalas and Kunjakas and Atimuktas; and Karaviras and Parijatas and numerous other kinds of trees always adorned with flowers and fruits and alive with feathery creatures of various species. And those verdant groves always resounded with the notes of maddened peacocks and Kokilas (blackbirds). And there were various pleasure-houses, bright as mirrors, and numerous bowers of creepers, and charming and artificial hillocks, and many lakes full to the brim of crystal water, and delightful tanks fragrant with lotuses and lilies and adorned with swans and ducks and chakravakas (brahminy ducks). And there were many delicious pools overgrown with fine aquatic plants. And there were also diverse ponds of great beauty and large dimension.
And, O king, the joy of the Pandavas increased from day to day, in consequence of their residence in that large kingdom that was peopled with pious men.
“Thus in consequence of the virtuous behaviour of Bhishma and king Dhritarashtra towards them, the Pandavas took up their abode in Khandavaprastha. Adorned with those five mighty warriors, each equal unto Indra himself, that foremost of cities looked like Bhogavati (the capital of the nether kingdom) adorned with the Nagas. And, O monarch, having settled the Pandavas there, the heroic Krishna, obtaining their leave, came back with Rama to Dwaravati.'”