You are at Vedic Scriptures Library >> Mahabharat >> Book 5
THE MAHABHARATA UDYOGA PARAVA
“Vaisampayana continued, ‘Thus addressed by Krishna, Dhananjaya the son of Kunti selected Kesava who was not to fight on the battle-field, even Narayana himself, the slayer of foes, increate, born among men at his own will,–the foremost of all Kshatriyas and above all the gods and the Danavas. And Duryodhana selected for himself that entire army (composed of the Narayanas). And, O descendant of Bharata, having obtained those troops numbering thousands upon thousands, he was exceedingly delighted, although he knew that Krishna was not on his side. And having secured that army possessed of terrible prowess, Duryodhana went to the son of Rohini of great strength, and explained to him, the object of his visit. The descendant of Sura in reply addressed the following words to Dhritarashtra’s son, ‘Thou shouldst remember, O tiger among men, all that I said at the marriage ceremony celebrated by Vitrata. O thou delighter of the race of Kuru, for thy sake I then contradicted Krishna and spoke against his opinions. And again and again I alluded to the equality of our relationship to both the parties. But Krishna did not adopt the views I then expressed; nor can I separate myself from Krishna for even a single moment. And seeing that I cannot act against Krishna even this is resolution formed by me, viz., that I will fight neither for Kunti’s sons nor for you. And, O bull of the Bharatas, born as thou art in Bharata’s race that is honoured by all the kings, go and fight in accordance with the rules of propriety.’
“Vaisampayana continued, ‘Thus addressed, Duryodhana embraced that hero wielding a plough for his weapon of battle, and although knowing that Krishna had been taken away from his side, he yet regarded Arjuna as already vanquished. And the royal son of Dhritarashtra then went to Kritavarman. And Kritavarman gave him a body of troops numbering an Akshauhini. And surrounded by that military host, terrible to behold, the Kaurava marched forth delighting his friends. And after Duryodhana had departed, Krishna, the Creator of the world, clad in yellow attire, addressed Kiritin, saying, ‘For what reason is it that you have selected me who will not fight at all?’
“Thereupon Arjuna answered, ‘I question not that you are able to slay them all. I also am alone capable of slaying them, O best of men. But you are an illustrious person in the world; and this renown will accompany you. I also am a suitor for fame; therefore, you have been selected by me. It hath been always my desire to have you for driving my car. I, therefore, ask you to fulfil my desire cherished for a long time.’
“Vasudeva’s son thereupon said, It beseems thee well, O Kunti’s son, that thou measurest thyself with me. I will act as thy charioteer; let thy wish be fulfilled.’
“Vaisampayana continued, ‘Then with a glad heart, Kunti’s son, accompanied by Krishna as well as by the flower of the Dasarha race, came back to Yudhishthira.’
And hundreds and thousands of foremost of Kshatriyas were the leaders of his troops, dressed and decorated in the manner of their native land. And he proceeded by slow marches, giving rest to his troops, towards the place where the Pandava was. And the creatures of the earth felt oppressed and the earth trembled under the tread of his troops. And king Duryodhana, hearing that magnanimous and mighty hero was on his way, hastened towards him and paid him honours, O best of the Bharata race and caused finely decorated places of entertainment to be constructed at different spots for his reception, on beautiful sites, and whither many artists were directed to entertain the guests.
And those pavilions contained garlands and meat and the choicest viands and drinks, and wells of various forms, capable of refreshing the heart, and tanks of various forms, and edibles, and roomy apartments. And arriving at those pavilions, and waited upon like a very god by the servants of Duryodhana located at different spots, Salya reached another house of entertainment resplendent as a retreat of the celestials. And there, greeted with choice creature-comforts fit for beings superior to man, he deemed himself superior even to the lord himself of the gods and thought meanly of Indra as compared with himself. And that foremost of Kshatriyas, well-pleased, asked the servants, saying, ‘Where are those men of Yudhishthira, who have prepared these places of refreshment? Let those men who made these be brought to me. I deem them worthy of being rewarded by me. I must reward them, let it so please the son of Kunti!’ The servants, surprised, submitted the whole matter to Duryodhana. And when Salya was exceedingly pleased and ready to grant even his life, Duryodhana, who had remained concealed, came forward and showed himself to his maternal uncle. And the kind of the Madras saw him and understood that it was Duryodhana who had taken all the trouble to receive him. And Salya embraced Duryodhana and said, ‘Accept something that you may desire.’
“Duryodhana thereupon said, ‘O thou auspicious one, let thy word be true, grant me a boon. I ask thee to be the leader of all my army.’
“Vaisampayana continued, ‘And hearing this, Salya said, ‘Be it so! What else is to be done?’ And the son of Gandhari repeated again and again, ‘It is done.’ And Salya said, ‘O Duryodhana, O best of men, go to thy own city. I shall proceed to pay a visit to Yudhishthira, the subduer of foes. O king, I shall speedily come back, O ruler of men. That best of men, Pandu’s son Yudhishthira, must, by all means, be visited by me.’ And bearing this Duryodhana said, ‘O king, O ruler of the earth, having seen the Pandava, come speedily back. I depend entirely upon thee, O king of kings. Remember the boon that thou hast granted me.’ And Salya answered, ‘Good betide thee! I shall come speedily back. Repair to thy own city, O protector of men.
‘ And then those two kings Salya and Duryodhana embraced each other. And having thus greeted Salya, Duryodhana came back to his own city. And Salya went to inform the sons of Kunti of that proceeding of his. And having reached Upaplavya, and entered the encampment, Salya saw there all the sons of Panda. And the mighty-armed Salya having met the sons of Panda, accepted as usual water for washing his feet, and the customary gifts of honour including a cow. And the king of the Madras, that slayer of foes, first asked them how they were, and then with great delight embraced Yudhishthira, and Bhima, and Arjuna, and the sons of his sister the two twin-brothers. And when all had sat down, Salya spoke to Yudhishthira, the son of Kunti, saying, ‘O tiger among kings, O thou delighter of the race of Kuru, is it all well with thee? O best of victors, how fortunately hast thou spent the term of thy residence in the wilderness, O king, O lord of monarchs, it was an exceedingly hard task that thou hast performed by dwelling in the wilderness together with thy brothers and this noble lady here.