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"Sanjaya said, 'Having heard these joyful words of king Yudhishthira, Govinda of virtuous soul, that delighter of the Yadus, then addressed Partha. The latter, however, having at the instance of Krishna addressed those words unto Yudhishthira, became exceedingly cheerless for having committed a trivial sin. Then Vasudeva, smiling, said unto the son of Pandu, "What would have been thy condition, O Partha, if, observant of virtue thou hadst slain the son of Dharma with thy sharp sword? Having only addressed the king as thou, such cheerlessness hath possessed thy heart. If thou hadst slain the king, O Partha, what wouldst thou have done after that? Morality is so inscrutable, especially by persons of foolish understanding. Without doubt great grief would have been thine in consequence of thy fear of sin. Thou wouldst have sunk also in terrible hell in consequence of the slaughter of thy brother. Gratify now this king of virtuous behaviour, this foremost of all practisers of virtue, this chief of Kuru's race. Even this is my wish. Gratifying the king with devotion, and after Yudhishthira will have been made happy, we two will proceed against the car of the Suta's son for fighting him. Slaying Karna today with thy keen shafts in battle, do thou, O giver of honours, give great happiness to Dharma's son. Even this, O mighty-armed one, is what I think to be suitable to this hour. Having done this, thy purpose will be achieved." Then Arjuna, O monarch, in shame, touched king Yudhishthira's feet with his head. And he repeatedly said unto that chief of the Bharatas, "Be pleased with me, Forgive, O king, all that I have said from desire of observing virtue and from fear of sins.'"

"Sanjaya said, 'Beholding Dhananjaya, that slayer of foes, lying weeping at his feet, O bull of Bharata's race, king Yudhishthira the just raised his brother. And king Yudhishthira, that lord of the earth, then embraced his brother affectionately and wept aloud. The two brothers, of great splendour, having wept for a long while, at last became freed from grief, O monarch, and as cheerful as before. Then embracing him once more with affection and smelling his head, the son of Pandu, exceedingly gratified, applauded his brother Jaya and said, "O thou of mighty arms, in the very sight of all the troops, my armour, standard, bow, dart, steeds, and arrows, were cut off in battle, O great bowman, by Karna with his shafts, although I exerted myself with care. Thinking of and seeing his feats in battle, O Phalguna, I lose my energies in grief. Life itself is no longer dear to me. If thou dost not slay that hero in battle today, I will cast away my life breaths. What use have I with life?" Thus addressed, Vijaya, replied, O bull of Bharata's race, saying, "I swear by Truth, O king, and by thy grace, by Bhima, O best of men, and by the twins, O lord of the earth, that today I shall slay Karna, in battle, or, being myself slain by him fall down on the earth. Swearing truly, I touch my weapons." Having said these words unto the king, he addressed Madhava, saying, "Without doubt, O Krishna, I will slay Karna in battle today. Aided by thy intelligence, blessed be thou, the slaughter of that wicked-souled one is certain." Thus addressed, Keshava, O best of kings, said unto Partha, "Thou art competent, O best of the Bharatas, to slay the mighty Karna. Even this hath ever been my thought, O mighty car-warrior, as to how, O best of men thou, wouldst slay Karna in battle." Endued with great intelligence, Madhava once more addressed the son of Dharma, saying, "O Yudhishthira, it behoveth thee to comfort Vibhatsu, and command him to slaughter Karna of wicked soul. Having heard that thou hadst been afflicted with shafts of Karna, myself and this one came hither, O son of Pandu, for ascertaining thy plight. By good luck, O king, thou wert not slain. By good luck thou wert not seized. Comfort thy Vibhatsu, and bless him, O sinless one, with thy wishes for his victory.'"

"'Yudhishthira said, "Come, Come, O Partha, O Vibhatsu, and embrace me, O son of Pandu. Thou hast told me beneficial words that deserved to be said, and I have forgiven thee. I command thee, O Dhananjaya, go and slay Karna. Do not, O Partha, be angry for the harsh words I said unto thee.'"

"Sanjaya continued, 'Then Dhananjaya, O king, bowed unto Yudhishthira by bending his head, and seized with his two hands, O sire, the feet of his eldest brother. Raising him and embracing him closely, the king smelt his head and once more said these words unto him, "O Dhananjaya, O thou of mighty arms, I have been greatly honoured by thee. Do thou ever win greatness and victory.'"

"'Arjuna said, "Approaching Radha's son today that is proud of his might, I shall slay that man of sinful deeds with my shafts in battle, along with all his kinsmen and followers. He who, having bent the bow strongly, afflicted thee with his shafts, I say, that Karna, will obtain today the bitter fruit of that act of his. Having slain Karna, O lord of the earth, I shall today come back from the dreadful battle to pay thee my respects by walking behind thee. I tell thee this truly. Without having slain Karna I shall not come back today from the great battle. Truly do I swear this by touching thy feet, O lord of the universe.'"

"Sanjaya continued, 'Unto the diadem-decked (Arjuna) who was speaking in that way, Yudhishthira, with a cheerful heart, said these words of grave import, "Do thou obtain imperishable fame, and such a period of life as accordeth with thy own desire, and victory, and energy, and the destruction of thy foes. Let the gods grant thee prosperity. Obtain thou all these to the measure desired by me. Go quickly to battle, and slay Karna, even as Purandara slew Vritra for his own aggrandisement."'"

Next: Section 72