Sacred Texts  Hinduism  Mahabharata  Index  Previous  Next 

p. 274


"Yudhishthira said, 'Thou hast said, O grandsire, that behaviour is the first (of requisites for a man). Whence, however, does Hope arise? Tell me what it is. This great doubt has taken possession of my mind. There is no other person than thee, O subjugator of hostile towns, who can remove it. O grandsire, I had great hope in respect of Suyodhana that when, a battle was about to ensue (in consequence of his own obstinacy), he would, O lord, do what was proper. In every man hope is great. When that hope is destroyed, great is the grief that succeeds, and which, without doubt, is equal to almost death itself. Fool that I am, Dhritarashtra's wicked-souled son, Duryodhana, destroyed the hope I had cherished. Behold, O king, the foolishness of my mind! I think that hope is vaster than a mountain with all its trees. Or, perhaps, it is vaster than the firmament itself. Or, perhaps, O king, it is really immeasurable. Hope, O chief of the Kurus, is exceedingly difficult of being understood and equally difficult of being subdued. Beholding this last attribute of Hope, I ask, what else is so unconquerable as this?'

"Bhishma said, 'I shall narrate to thee, O Yudhishthira, in this connection, the discourse between Sumitra and Rishabha that took place in olden times. Listen to it. A royal sage of the Haihaya race, Sumitra by name, went out a hunting. He pursued a deer, having pierced it with a straight shaft. Possessed of great strength, the deer ran ahead, with the arrow sticking to him. The king was possessed of great strength, and accordingly pursued with great speed his prey. The animal, endued with fleetness, quickly cleared a low ground and then a level plain. The king, young, active and strong, and armed with bow and sword and cased in mail, still pursued it. Unaccompanied by anybody, in chasing the animal through the forest the king crossed many rivers and streams and lakes and copses. Endued with great speed, the animal, at its will, showing itself now and then to the king, ran on with great speed. Pierced with many shafts by the king, that denizen of wilderness, O monarch, as if in sport, repeatedly lessened the distance between itself and the pursuer. Repeatedly putting forth its speed and traversing one forest after another, it now and then showed itself to the king at a near point. At last that crusher of foes, taking a very superior shaft, sharp, terrible, and capable of penetrating into the very vitals, fixed it on his bowstring. The animal then, of huge proportions, as if laughing at the pursuer's efforts suddenly distanced him by reaching a point full four miles ahead of the range of the shaft. That arrow of blazing splendour accordingly fell on the ground. The deer entered a large forest but the king still continued the chase.'"

Next: Section CXXVI