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"Vaisampayana said, 'As he of Vrishni's race was proceeding to Dwaraka, those foremost princes of Bharata's race, those chastisers of foes embraced him and fell back with their attendants. Phalguna repeatedly embraced the Vrishni hero, and as long as he was within the range of vision, he repeatedly turned his eyes towards him. With great difficulty, the son of Pritha withdrew his gaze that had fallen on Govinda. The unvanquished Krishna also (did the same). The indications that were manifested on the occasion of that high-souled one's departure, I shall now detail. Do thou listen to me. The wind blew with great speed before the car, clearing the path of sand-grains and dust and thorns. Vasava rained pure and fragrant showers and celestial flowers before the wielder of Saranga. As the mighty-armed hero proceeded, he came upon the desert ill supplied with water. There he beheld that foremost of ascetics, named Utanka, of immeasurable energy. The hero of large eyes and great energy worshipped that ascetic. He was then worshipped by the ascetic in return. Vasudeva then enquired after his welfare. That foremost

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of Brahmanas, viz., Utanka, politely accosted by Madhava, honoured him duly and then addressed him in these words.--'O Saurin, having repaired to the mansions of the Kurus and the Pandavas, hast thou succeeded in establishing a durable understanding between them such as should exist between brothers? It behoves thee to tell me everything. Dost thou come, O Kesava, after having united them in peace,--them that are thy relatives and that are ever dear to thee, O foremost one of Vrishni's race? Will the five sons of Pandu, and the children of Dhritarashtra, O scorcher of foes, sport in the world in joy with thee? Will all the kings enjoy happiness in their respective kingdoms, in consequence of the pacification of the Kauravas brought about by thee? Has that trust, O son, which I had always reposed on thee, borne fruit with regard to the Kauravas?'

"The blessed and holy one said, 'I strove my best at first, for bringing about a good understanding, in regard to the Kauravas. When I could not by any means succeed in establishing them on peace, it happened that all of them, with their relatives and kinsmen, met with death. It is impossible to transgress destiny by either intelligence or might. O great Rishi, O sinless one, this also cannot be unknown to thee. They (the Kauravas) transgressed the counsels which Bhishma and Vidura gave them referring to me. 1 Encountering one another they then became guests of Yama's abode. Only the five Pandavas constitute the remnant of the unslain, all their friends and all their children having been slaughtered. All the sons of Dhritarashtra also with their children and kinsmen, have been slain.' When Krishna had said these words, Utanka, filled with wrath, and with eyes expanded in rage, addressed him in these words.

"Utanka said,--'Since, though able, O Krishna, thou didst not rescue those foremost ones of Kuru's race, who were thy relatives and, therefore, dear to thee, I shall, without doubt, curse thee. Since thou didst not forcibly compel them to forbear, therefore, O slayer of Madhu, I shall, filled with wrath, denounce a curse on thee. It seems, O Madhava, that though fully able (to save them), thou wert indifferent to these foremost of Kurus who, overwhelmed by insincerity and hypocrisy have all met with destruction.'

"Vasudeva said, 'O scion of Bhrigu's race, listen to what I say in detail. Do thou accept my apologies also. O thou of Bhrigu's race, thou art an ascetic. After having heard my words relating to the soul, thou mayst then utter thy curse. No man is able, by a little ascetic merit, to put me down. O foremost of ascetics, I do not wish to see the destruction of all thy penances. Thou hast a large measure of blazing penances. Thou hast gratified thy preceptors and seniors. 2 O foremost of regenerate ones, I know that thou hast observed the rules of Brahmacharyya from the days of thy infancy. I do not, therefore, desire the loss or diminution of thy penances achieved with so much pain.'"


95:1 Mahyam is equal to 'mam uddisya' i.e., referring to my divine nature.

95:2 An ascetic loses his penances by cursing another rightly or wrongly. Hence, forgiveness was always practised by the Brahmanas who were ascetics. A Brahmana's strength consisted in forgiveness. The more forgiving he was, the more powerful he became.

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