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The Mahabharata of Krishna-Dwaipayana Vyasa
And she said, ‘Arise, arise! Why dost thou, O Bhimasena, lie down as one dead? Surely, he that is not dead, never suffereth a wicked wretch that hath disgraced his wife, to live.’ And awakened by the princess, Bhima of mighty arms, then rose up, and sat upon his couch overlaid with a rich bed. And he of the Kuru race then addressed the princess–his beloved wife, saying, ‘For what purpose hast thou come hither in such a hurry? Thy colour is gone and thou lookest lean and pale. Tell me everything in detail. I must know the truth. Whether it be pleasurable or painful, agreeable, or disagreeable, tell me all. Having heard everything, I shall apply the remedy. I alone, O Krishna, am entitled to thy confidence in all things, for it is I who deliver thee from perils again and again! Tell me quickly what is thy wish, and what is the purpose that is in thy view, and return thou to thy bed before others awake.’”
That vile and wicked wretch, O Bharata, known by the name of Kichaka, who is the brother-in-law of king Virata and the commander of his forces, every day, O tiger among men, addresses me who am residing in the palace as a Sairindhri, saying, ‘Do thou become my wife.’–Thus solicited, O slayer of foes, by that wretch deserving to be slain, my heart is bursting like a fruit ripened in season.
Censure thou that elder brother of thine addicted to execrable dice, through whose act alone I have been afflicted with such woe. Who else, save him that is a desperate gambler, would play, giving up kingdom and everything including even myself, in order to lead a life in the woods? If he had gambled morning and evening for many years together, staking nishkas by thousand and other kinds of substantial wealth, still his silver, and gold, and robes, and vehicles, and teams, and goats, and sheep, and multitudes of steeds and mares and mules would not have sustained any diminution. But now deprived of prosperity by the rivalry of dice, he sits dumb like a fool, reflecting on his own misdeeds. Alas, he who, while sojourning, was followed by ten thousand elephants adorned with golden garlands now supports himself by casting dice.
That Yudhishthira who at Indraprastha was adored by kings of incomparable prowess by hundreds of thousands, that mighty monarch in whose kitchen a hundred thousand maid-servants, plate in hand, used every day to feed numerous guests day and night, that best of liberal men, who gave (every day) a thousand nishkas, alas, even he overwhelmed with woe in consequence of gambling which is the root of all evil, now supporteth himself by casting dice. Bards and encomiasts by thousands decked with ear-rings set with brilliant gems, and gifted with melodious voice, used to pay him homage morning and evening. Alas, that Yudhishthira, who was daily waited upon by a thousand sages of ascetic merit, versed in the Vedas and having every desire gratified, as his courtiers,–that Yudhishthira who maintained eighty-eight thousands of domestic Snatakas with thirty maid-servants assigned unto each, as also ten thousand yatis not accepting anything in gift and with vital seed drawn up,–alas, even that mighty king now liveth in such guise.
That Yudhishthira who is without malice, who is full of kindness, and who giveth every creature his due, who hath all these excellent attributes, alas–even he now liveth in such guise. Possessed of firmness and unbaffled prowess, with heart disposed to give every creature his due, king Yudhishthira, moved by compassion, constantly maintained in his kingdom the blind, the old, the helpless, the parentless and all others in his dominions in such distress. Alas, that Yudhishthira becoming a dependant and a servant of Matsya, a caster of dice in his court, now calls himself Kanka. He unto whom while residing at Indraprastha, all the rulers of earth used to pay timely tribute,–alas, even he now begs for subsistence at another’s hands.
He to whom the kings of the earth were in subjection,–alas, even that king having lost his liberty, liveth in subjection to others. Having dazzled the entire earth like the sun by his energy, that Yudhishthira, alas, is now a courtier of king Virata. O Pandu’s son, that Pandava who was respectfully waited upon in court by kings and sages, behold him now waiting upon another. Alas, beholding Yudhishthira a courtier sitting beside another and breathing adulatory speeches to the other, who can help being afflicted with grief? And beholding the highly wise and virtuous Yudhishthira, undeserving as he is of serving others, actually serving another for sustenance, who can help being afflicted with grief? And, O hero, that Bharata who was worshipped in court by the entire earth, do thou now behold him worshipping another. Why then, O Bharata, dost thou not regard me as one afflicted with diverse miseries, like one forlorn and immersed in a sea of sorrow?’”
When the king of kings in joy maketh thee fight with elephants, and the women of the inner apartments (of the palace) laugh all the while, then I am sorely distressed. When thou fightest in the inner apartments with lions, tigers, and buffaloes, the princess Kaikeyi looking on, then I almost swoon away. And when Kaikeyi and those maidservants, leaving their seats, come to assist me and find that instead of suffering any injury in limbs mine is only a swoon, the princess speaks unto her women, saying, ‘Surely, it is from affection and the duty begot of intercourse that this lady of sweet smiles grieveth for the exceedingly powerful cook when he fights with the beasts. Sairindhri is possessed of great beauty and Vallava also is eminently handsome. The heart of woman is hard to know, and they, I fancy, are deserving of each other. It is, therefore, likely that the Sairindhri invariably weepeth (at such times) on account of her connection with her lover. And then, they both have entered this royal family at the same time. And speaking such words she always upbraideth me. And beholding me wroth at this, she suspects me to be attached to thee.’ When she speaketh thus, great is the grief that I feel.
Indeed, on beholding thee, O Bhima of terrible prowess, afflicted with such calamity, sunk as I already am in grief on account of Yudhishthira. I do not desire to live. That youth who on a single car had vanquished all celestials and men, is now, alas, the dancing master of king Virata’s daughter. That Pritha’s son of immeasurable soul, who had gratified Agni in the forest of Khandava, is now living in the inner apartments (of a palace) like fire hid in a well. Alas, the bull among men, Dhananjaya, who was ever the terror of foes, is now living in a guise that is despaired by all. Alas, he whose mace-like arms have been cicatrized in consequence of the strokes of his bow-string, alas that Dhananjaya is passing the days in grief covering his wrists with bracelets of conchs. Alas, that Dhananjaya the twang of whose bow-string and the sound of whose leathern fences made every foe tremble, now entertains only gladdened women with his songs. Oh, that Dhananjaya whose head was formerly decked with a diadem of solar splendour, is now wearing braids ending in unsightly curls. O Bhima, beholding that terrible bowman, Arjuna, now wearing braids and in the midst of women, my heart is stricken with woe. That high-souled hero who is master of all the celestial weapons, and who is the repository of all the sciences, now weareth ear-rings (like one of the fair sex).