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The Mahabharata of Krishna-Dwaipayana Vyasa
Searched have we through the solitary wilderness abounding with deer and other animals and overgrown with trees and creepers of diverse kind. Searched have we also in arbours of matted woods and plants and creepers of every species, but we have failed in discovering that track by which Pritha’s son of irrepressible energy may have gone. Searched have we in these and other places for their foot-prints. Searched have we closely, O king, on mountain tops and in inaccessible fastnesses, in various kingdoms and provinces teeming with people, in encampments and cities. No trace have yet been found of the sons of Pandu. Good betide thee, O bull among men, it seems that they have perished without leaving a mark behind. O foremost of warriors, although we followed in the track of those warriors, yet, O best of men, we soon lost their footprints and do not know their present residence. O lord of men, for some time we followed in the wake of their charioteers. And making our inquiries duly, we truly ascertained what we desired to know. O slayer of foes, the charioteers reached Dwaravati without the sons of Pritha among them.
O king, neither the sons of Pandu, nor the chaste Krishna, are in that city of Yadavas. O bull of the Bharata race, we have not been able to discover either their track or their present abode. Salutations to thee, they are gone for good. We are acquainted with the disposition of the sons of Pandu and know something of the feats achieved by them. It behoveth thee, therefore, O lord of men, to give us instructions, O monarch, as to what we should next do in the search after the sons of Pandu. O hero, listen also to these agreeable words of ours, promising great good to thee. King Matsya’s commander, Kichaka of wicked soul, by whom the Trigartas, O monarch, were repeatedly vanquished and slain with mighty force, now lieth low on the ground with all his brothers, slain, O monarch, by invisible Gandharvas during the hours of darkness, O thou of unfading glory. Having heard this delightful news about the discomfiture of our enemies, we have been exceedingly gratified, O Kauravya. Do thou now ordain what should next be done.’”
They will then return like mighty elephants with temporal juice trickling down, or like snakes of virulent poison. Filled with wrath, they will, without doubt, be inflicters of terrible chastisement on the Kurus. It behoveth ye, therefore, to make such efforts without loss of time as may induce the sons of Pandu, acquainted as they are with the proprieties of time, and staying as they now are in painful disguise, to re-enter the woods suppressing their rage. Indeed, adopt ye such means as may remove all causes of quarrel and anxiety from the kingdom, making it tranquil and foeless and incapable of sustaining a diminution of territory.’ Hearing these words of Duryodhana, Kama said, ‘Let other spies, abler and more cunning, and capable of accomplishing their object, quickly go hence, O Bharata. Let them, well-disguised, wander through swelling kingdoms and populous provinces, prying into assemblies of the learned and delightful retreats of provinces. In the inner apartments of palaces, in shrines and holy spots, in mines and diverse other regions, the sons of Pandu should be searched after with well-directed eagerness.
Let the sons of Pandu who are living in disguise be searched after by well-skilled spies in large numbers, devoted to their work, themselves well-disguised, and all well-acquainted with the objects of their search. Let the search be made on the banks of rivers, in holy regions, in villages and towns, in retreats of ascetics, in delightful mountains and mountain-caves.’ When Karna ceased, Duryodhana’s second brother Dussasana, wedded to a sinful disposition, then addressed his eldest brother and said, ‘O monarch, O lord of men, let those spies only in whom we have confidence, receiving their rewards in advance, once more go after the search. This and what else hath been said by Karna have our fullest approval. Let all the spies engage themselves in the search according to the directions already given.
Let these and others engage in the search from province to province according to approved rules. It is my belief, however, that the track the Pandavas have followed or their present abode or occupation will not be discovered. Perhaps, they are closely concealed; perhaps, they have gone to the other side of the ocean. Or, perhaps, proud as they are of their strength and Courage, they have been devoured by wild beasts; or perhaps, having been overtaken by some unusual danger, they have perished for eternity. Therefore, O prince of the Kuru race, dispelling all anxieties from thy heart, achieve what thou wilt, always acting according to thy energy.’”
Why, then, should not (Yudhishthira) the son of Pritha possessing a knowledge of policy, be able to restore the prosperity of his brothers who are so obedient and devoted and high-souled? It is for this that they are carefully waiting for the arrival of their opportunity. Men such as these never perish. This is what I see by my intellect. Do, therefore, quickly and without loss of time, what should now be done, after proper reflection. And let also the abode which the sons of Pandu with souls under control as regards every purpose of life, are to occupy, be now settled.
Heroic and sinless and possessed of ascetic merit, the Pandavas are difficult to be discovered (within the period of non-discovery). Intelligent and possessed of every virtue, devoted to truth and versed in the principles of policy, endued with purity and holiness, and the embodiment of immeasurable energy, the son of Pritha is capable of consuming (his foes) by a glance alone of his eyes. Knowing all this, do what is proper. Let us, therefore, once more search after them, sending Brahmanas and Charanas, ascetics crowned with success, and others of this kind who may have a knowledge of those heroes!’”