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(Jatugriha Parva continued)

"Vaisampayana said, 'About this time, the learned Vidura had sent into those woods a man of pure character and much trusted by him. This person going to where he had been directed, saw the Pandavas with their mother in the forest employed in a certain place in measuring the depth of a river. The design that the wicked Duryodhana had formed had been, through his spies, known to Vidura of great intelligence, and, therefore, he had sent that prudent person unto the Pandavas. Sent by Vidura unto them, he showed the Pandavas on the sacred banks of the Ganga a boat with engines

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and flags, constructed by trusted artificers and capable of withstanding wind and wave and endued with the speed of the tempest or of thought. He then addressed the Pandavas in these words to show that he had really been sent by Vidura, 'O Yudhishthira, he said, "listen to these words the learned Vidura had said (unto thee) as a proof of the fact that I come from him. Neither the consumer of straw and the wood nor the drier of dew ever burneth the inmates of a hole in the forest. He escapeth from death who protecteth himself knowing this, etc.' By these credentials know me to be the person who has been truly sent by Vidura and to be also his trusted agent. Vidura, conversant with everything, hath again said, 'O son of Kunti, thou shalt surely defeat in battle Karna, and Duryodhana with his brothers, and Sakuni.' This boat is ready on the waters, and it will glide pleasantly thereon, and shall certainly bear you all from these regions!'

"Then beholding those foremost of men with their mother pensive and sad he caused them to go into the boat that was on the Ganga, and accompanied them himself. Addressing them again, he said, 'Vidura having smelt your heads and embraced you (mentally), hath said again that in commencing your auspicious journey and going alone you should never be careless.'

"Saying these words unto those heroic princes, the person sent by Vidura took those bulls among men over to the other side of the Ganga in his boat. And having taken them over the water and seen them all safe on the opposite bank, he uttered the word 'Jaya' (victory) to their success and then left them and returned to the place whence he had come.

"The illustrious Pandavas also sending through that person some message to Vidura, began, after having crossed the Ganga, to proceed with haste and in great secrecy.'"

Next: Section CLII