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p. 399


(Viduragamana Parva continued)

"Vaisampayana said, 'Thus addressed by Duryodhana, Karna said, 'It doth not seem to me, O Duryodhana, that thy reasoning is well-founded. O perpetuator of the Kuru race, no method will succeed against the Pandavas. O brave prince, thou hast before, by various subtle means, striven to carry out thy wishes. But ever hast thou failed to slay thy foes. They were then living near thee, O king! They were then unfledged and of tender years, but thou couldst not injure them then. They are now living at a distance, grown up, full-fledged. The sons of Kunti, O thou of firm resolution, cannot now be injured by any subtle contrivances of thine. This is my opinion. As they are aided by the very Fates, and as they are desirous of regaining their ancestral kingdom, we can never succeed in injuring them by any means in our power. It is impossible to create disunion amongst them. They can never be disunited who have all taken to a common wife. Nor can we succeed in estranging Krishna from the Pandavas by any spies of ours. She chose them as her lords when they were in adversity. Will she abandon them now that they are in prosperity? Besides women always like to have many husbands, Krishna hath obtained her wish. She can never be estranged from the Pandavas. The king of Panchala is honest and virtuous; he is not avaricious. Even if we offer him our whole kingdom he will not abandon the Pandavas. Drupada's son also possesseth every accomplishment, and is attached to the Pandavas. Therefore, I do not think that the Pandavas can now be injured by any subtle means in thy power. But, O bull amongst men, this is what is good and advisable for us now, viz., to attack and smite them till they are exterminated. Let this course recommend itself to thee. As long as our party is strong and that of the king of the Panchalas is weak, so long strike them without any scruple. O son of Gandhari, as long as their innumerable vehicles and animals, friends, and friendly tribes are not mustered together, continue, O king, to exhibit thy prowess. As long as the king of the Panchalas together with his sons gifted with great prowess, setteth not his heart upon fighting with us, so long, O king, exhibit thy prowess. And, O king, exert thy prowess before he of the Vrishni race (Krishna) cometh with the Yadava host into the city of Drupada, carrying everything before him, to restore the Pandavas to their paternal kingdom. Wealth, every article of enjoyment, kingdom, there is nothing that Krishna may not sacrifice for the sake of the Pandavas. The illustrious Bharata had acquired the whole earth by his prowess alone. Indra hath acquired sovereignty of the three worlds by prowess alone. O king, prowess is always applauded by the Kshatriyas. O bull amongst Kshatriyas, prowess is the cardinal virtue of the brave. Let us, therefore, O monarch, with our large army consisting of four kinds of forces, grind Drupada

p. 400

without loss of time, and bring hither the Pandavas. Indeed, the Pandavas are incapable of being discomfited by any policy of conciliation, of gift, of wealth and bribery, or of disunion. Vanquish them, therefore, by thy prowess. And vanquishing them by thy prowess, rule thou this wide earth. O monarch, I see not any other means by which we may accomplish our end.'

"Vaisampayana continued, 'Hearing these words of Radheya, Dhritarashtra, endued with great strength, applauded him highly. The monarch then addressed him and said, 'Thou, O son of a Suta, art gifted with great wisdom and accomplished in arms. This speech, therefore, favouring the exhibition of prowess suiteth thee well. But let Bhishma, and Drona, and Vidura, and you two, take counsel together and adopt that proposal which may lead to our benefit.'

Vaisampayana continued, "'Then king Dhritarashtra called unto him, all those celebrated ministers and took counsel with them.'"

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