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"Dhritarashtra said, 'They say, O Sanjaya, that the Pandavas have arrived at Upaplavya. Go thou and enquire after them. Thou must greet Ajatasatru in the following words, 'By good luck it is that (emerged from the woods) thou hast reached such a city. And to all of them thou must say, O Sanjaya, these words. Are ye well, having spent that harassing period of sojourn, ye who were unworthy of such harassment?' In no time will they be appeased towards us, for though treated treacherously (by foes), yet they are righteous and good. In no case, O Sanjaya, have I ever met with any untruthfulness on the part of the Pandavas. It was by their own valour that they had won all their prosperity, and (yet) they were ever dutiful to me. Though I scrutinized their conduct, I could never find fault with them,--no, not even a single fault for which we might blame them. They always act mindful of virtue and wealth; they never give way to love of sensual enjoyments, or cold, or hunger, or thirst; they subdue steep and laziness and wrath and joy and heedlessness. The sons of Pritha, mindful of both virtue and wealth, are ever pleasant to all. On proper occasions they part with their wealth to friends. Friendship with them never loses its ardour on account of length of time; for they bestow honours and wealth on every one according to his deserts. Not a soul in the race of Ajamida ever entertains hatred for them excepting this vile, capricious, dull-headed Duryodhana, and excepting also the still more mean-minded Karna. These two always enhance the energy of those high-souled ones who have been divested of both friends and happiness. Enterprising and brought up in every indulgence, Duryodhana reckons all that to be well-done. It is childish on Duryodhana's part to think that it is possible to rob the Pandavas of their just share so long as they are alive. It is wise to yield to Yudhishthira his due share before the war,--to him whose steps are followed by Arjuna and Krishna and Bhima and Satyaki and the two sons of Madri and the warriors of the Srinjaya race. That wielder of the Gandiva, Savyasachin, seated on his car, would alone be able to devastate the whole world. And likewise the victorious and high-souled Krishna, the lord of the three worlds, incapable of defeat is able to do the same. What mortal would stand before him who is the one worthiest person in all the worlds and who discharges his multitude of arrows that roar like the clouds, covering all sides, like flights of swiftly-coursing locusts? Alone on his car, holding the Gandiva, he had conquered

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the northern regions as also the Kurus of the north and brought away with him all their wealth. He converted the people of the Dravida land to be a portion of his own army. It was Falguna, the wielder of the Gandiva, who defeating in the Khandava woods all the gods together with Indra, made offerings to Agni, enhancing the honour and fame of the Pandavas. Of all wielders again of the mace, there is none equal to Bhima; and there is none also who is so skilful a rider of elephants. On car, they say, he yields not to even Arjuna; and as to might of arms, he is equal to ten thousand elephants. Well-trained and active, he who hath again been rendered bitterly hostile, would in anger consume the Dhartarashtras in no time. Always wrathful, and strong of arms, he is not capable of being subdued in battle by even Indra himself. Of great heart, and strong, and endued with great lightness of hand, the two (twin) brothers, sons of Madri, carefully trained by Arjuna, would leave not a foe alive, like to a pair of hawks preying upon large flocks of birds. This our army, so full, to tell thee the truth, will be nowhere when it will encounter them. In their side will be Dhrishtadyumna, endued with great activity,--one who is regarded as one of the Pandavas themselves. The chief of the Somaka tribe, with his followers, is, I have heard, so devoted to the cause of the Pandavas that he is ready to lay down his very life for them. Who would be able to withstand Yudhishthira who hath the best of the Vrishni tribe (Krishna) for his leader? I have heard that Virata, the chief of the Matsyas, with whom the Pandavas had lived for some time and whose wishes were fulfilled by them, old in years, is devoted, along with his sons to the Pandava cause, and hath become an adherent of Yudhishthira. Deposed from the throne of the Kekaya land, and desirous of being reinstated thereon, the five mighty brothers from that land, wielding mighty bows, are now following the sons of Pritha ready to fight. All who are valiant among the lords of the earth have been brought together and are devoted to the Pandava cause. I hear that they are bold, worthy, and respectful,--they who have allied themselves to the virtuous king Yudhishthira from feelings of attachment to him. And many warriors dwelling on the hills and inaccessible fastnesses, and many that are high in lineage and old in years, and many Mlechcha tribes also wielding weapons of various kinds, have been assembled together and are devoted to the cause of the Pandavas. And there hath come Pandya also, who, hardly inferior to Indra on the field of battle, is followed when he fights by numberless warriors of great courage. Remarkably heroic and endued with prowess and energy that have no parallel, he is devoted to the Pandava cause. That same Satyaki who, I have heard, obtained weapons from Drona and Arjuna and Krishna and Kripa and Bhishma, and who is said to be equal to the son of Krishna, is devotedly attached to the Pandava cause. And the assembled kings of the Chedi and the Karusha tribes have all taken the part of the Pandavas with all their resources. That one in their midst, who, having been endued with blazing beauty, shone like

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the sun, whom all persons deemed unassailable in battle and the very best of all drawers of the bow on earth, was slain by Krishna in a trice, by help of his own great might, and counting for naught the bold spirit of all the Kshatriya kings. Kesava cast his eyes on that Sishupala and smote him, enhancing the fame and honour of the sons of Pandu. It was the same Sishupala who was highly honoured by those kings at whose head stood the king of the Karusha tribe. Then the other kings, deeming Krishna unassailable when seated on his car drawn by Sugriva and other steeds, left the chief of the Chedis and ran away like small animals at the sight of a lion. And it was thus that he, who, from audacity had sought to oppose and encounter Krishna in a combat hand to hand, was slain by Krishna and lay down lifeless, resembling a Karnikara tree uprooted by a gale. O Sanjaya, O son of Gavalgana, what they have told me of the activity of Krishna in cause of Pandu's sons, and what I remember of his past achievements, leave me no peace of mind. No foe whatsoever is capable of withstanding them, who are under the lead of that lion of the Vrishni tribe. My heart is trembling with fear upon learning that the two Krishnas, are seated on the selfsame car. If my dull-headed son forbear to fight with those two, then may he fare well,--else those two will consume the race of Kuru as Indra and Upendra consume the Daitya hosts. Dhananjaya is, I conceive, equal to Indra, and the greatest of the Vrishni race, Krishna, is the Eternal Vishnu himself. The son of Kunti and Pandu, Yudhishthira, is virtuous and brave and eschews deeds that bring on shame. Endued with great energy, he hath been wronged by Duryodhana. If he were not high-minded, the would in wrath burn the Dhritarashtras. I do not so much dread Arjuna or Bhima or Krishna or the twin brothers as I dread the wrath of the king, O Suta, when his wrath is excited. His austerities are great; he is devoted to Brahmacharya practices. His heart's wishes will certainly be fulfilled. When I think of his wrath, O Sanjaya, and consider how just it is, I am filled with alarm. Go thou speedily on a car, despatched by me, where the troops of the king of the Panchalas are encamped. Thou wilt ask Yudhishthira about his welfare. Thou wilt repeatedly address him in affectionate terms. Thou wilt also meet Krishna, O child, who is the chief of all brave men and who is endued with a magnanimous soul. Him also thou wilt ask on my part as to his welfare, and tell him that Dhritarashtra is desirous of peace with Pandu's sons. O Suta, there is nothing that Yudhishthira, the son of Kunti, would not do at the bidding of Krishna. Kesava is as dear to them as their own selves. Possessed of great learning, he is ever devoted to their cause. Thou wilt also enquire about the welfare of all the assembled sons of Pandu and the Srinjayas and Satyaki and Virata and all the five sons of Draupadi, professing to be a messenger from me. And whatsoever also thou mayst deem to be opportune, and beneficial for the Bharata race, all that, O Sanjaya, thou must say in the midst of

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those kings,--everything, in sooth, that may not be unpalatable or provocative of war.'

Next: Section XXIII