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The Mahabharata of Krishna-Dwaipayana Vyasa

SECTION XXVIII

“Vaisampayana said, ‘Then that grandsire of the Bharatas, Bhishma the son of Sutanu, conversant with the Vedas, acquainted with the proprieties of time and place, and possessing a knowledge of every duty of morality, after the conclusion of Drona’s speech, applauded the words of the preceptor and spake unto the Bharatas for their benefit these words consistent with virtue, expressive of his attachment to the virtuous Yudhishthira, rarely spoken by men that are dishonest, and always meeting with the approbation of the honest. And the words that Bhishma spake were thoroughly impartial and worshipped by the wise. And the grandsire of the Kurus said, ‘The words that the regenerate Drona acquainted with the truth of every affair hath uttered, are approved by me.

I have no hesitation in saying so. Endued with every auspicious mark, observant of virtuous vows, possessed of Vedic lore, devoted to religious observances, conversant with various sciences, obedient to the counsels of the aged, adhering to the vow of truth, acquainted with the proprieties of time, observant of the pledge they have given (in respect of their exile), pure in their behaviour, ever adhering to the duties of the Kshatria order, always obedient to Kesava, high-souled, possessed of great strength, and ever-bearing the burthens of the wise, those heroic ones can never wither under misfortune. Aided by their own energy, sons of Pandu who are now leading a life of concealment in obedience to virtue, will surely never perish. It is even this that my mind surmiseth.

Therefore, O Bharata, I am for employing the aid of honest counsel in our behaviour towards the sons of Pandu. It would not be the policy of any wise man to cause them to be discovered now by means of spies,[21] what we should do unto the sons of Pandu, I shall say, reflecting with the aid of the intellect. Know that I shall say nothing from ill will to thee. People like me should never give such counsels to him that is dishonest, for only counsels (like those I would give) should be offered unto them that are honest. Counsels, however, that are evil, should under no circumstances be offered. He, O child, that is devoted to truth and obedient to the aged, he, indeed, that is wise, while speaking in the midst of an assembly, should under all circumstances speak the truth, if the acquisition of virtue be an object with him. I should, therefore, say that I think differently from all those people here, in respect of the abode of Yudhishthira the just in this the thirteenth year of his exile.

The ruler, O child, of the city or the province where king Yudhishthira resides cannot have any misfortune. Charitable and liberal and humble and modest must the people be of the country where king Yudhishthira resides. Agreeable in speech, with passions under control, observant of truth, cheerful, healthy, pure in conduct, and skilful in work must the people be of the country where king Yudhishthira resides. The people of the place, where Yudhishthira is, cannot be envious or malicious, or vain, or proud, but must all adhere to their respective duties. Indeed, in the place where Yudhishthira resides, Vedic hymns will be chanted all around, sacrifices will be performed, the last full libations will always be poured, [22] and gifts to Brahmanas will always be in profusion. There the clouds, without doubt, pour abundant rain, and furnished with good harvest the country will ever be without fear.

There the paddy will not be without grain, fruits will not be bereft of juice, floral garlands will not be without fragrance, and the conversation of men will always be full of agreeable words. There where king Yudhishthira resides, the breezes will be delicious, the meetings of men will always be friendly, and cause of fear there will be none. There kine will be plentiful, without any of them being lean-fleshed or weak, and milk and curds and butter will all be savoury and nutritious. There where king Yudhishthira resides, every kind of corn will be full of nutrition and every edible full of flavour. There where king Yudhishthira resides, the objects of all the senses, viz.,–taste, touch, smell, and hearing, will be endued with excellent attributes.

There where king Yudhishthira resides, the sights and scenes will be gladdening. And the regenerate ones of that place will be virtuous and steady in observing their respective duties. Indeed, in the country where the sons of Pandu may have taken up their abode during this thirteenth year of their exile, the people will be contented and cheerful, pure in conduct and without misery of any kind. Devoted to gods and guests and the worship of these with their whole soul, they will be fond of giving away, and filled with great energy, they will all be observant of eternal virtue. There where king Yudhishthira resides, the people, eschewing all that is evil, will be desirous of achieving only what is good.

Always observant of sacrifices and pure vows, and hating untruth in speech, the people of the place where king Yudhishthira may reside will always be desirous of obtaining what is good, auspicious and beneficial. There where Yudhishthira resides, the people will certainly be desirous of achieving what is good, and their hearts will always incline towards virtue, and their vows being agreeable they themselves are ever-engaged in the acquisition of religious merit. O child, that son of Pritha in whom are intelligence and charity, the highest tranquillity and undoubted forgiveness, modesty and prosperity, and fame and great energy and a love for all creatures, is incapable of being found out (now that he hath concealed himself) even by Brahmanas, let alone ordinary persons. The wise Yudhishthira is living in close disguise in regions whose characteristics I have described. Regarding his excellent mode of life, I dare not say anything more. Reflecting well upon all this, do without loss of time what thou mayst think to be beneficial, O prince of the Kuru race, if indeed, thou hast any faith in me.'”

SECTION XXIX
“Vaisampayana said, ‘Then Saradwata’s son, Kripa said, ‘What the aged Bhishma hath said concerning the Pandavas is reasonable, suited to the occasion, consistent with virtue and profit, agreeable to the ear, fraught with sound reason, and worthy of him. Listen also to what I would say on this subject. It behoveth thee to ascertain the track they have followed and their abode also by means of spies,[23] and to adopt that policy which may bring about thy welfare.


O child, he that is solicitous of his welfare should not disregard even an ordinary foe. What shall I say, then, O child, of the Pandavas who are thorough masters of all weapons in battle. When, therefore, the time cometh for the reappearance of the high-souled Pandavas, who, having entered the forest,[24] are now passing their days in close disguise, thou shouldst ascertain thy strength both in thy own kingdom and in those of other kings. Without doubt, the return of the Pandavas is at hand. When their promised term of exile is over, the illustrious and mighty sons of Pritha, endued with immeasurable prowess, will come hither bursting with energy.

Do thou, therefore, in order to conclude an advantageous treaty with them, have recourse to sound policy and address thyself to increase thy forces and improve the treasury. O child, ascertaining all these, reckon thou thy own strength in respect of all thy allies weak and strong.[25] Ascertaining the efficiency, and weakness, and indifference of thy forces, as also who amongst them are well-affected and who are disaffected, we should either fight the foe or make treaty with him. Having recourse to the arts of conciliation, disunion, chastisement, bribery, presents and fair behaviour, attack thy foes and subdue the weak by might, and win over thy allies and troops and by soft speeches. When thou hast (by these means) strengthened thy army and filled thy treasury, entire success will be thine. When thou hast done all this, thou wilt be able to fight with powerful enemies that may present themselves, let alone the sons of Pandu deficient in troops animals of their own. By adopting all these expedients according to the customs of thy order, thou wilt, O foremost of men, attain enduring happiness in due time!'”

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