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(Viduragamana Parva continued)

"Vaisampayana said, 'After Drona had ceased, Vidura spoke, saying, 'O monarch, thy friends without doubt, are saying unto thee what is for thy good. But as thou art unwilling to listen to what they say, their words scarcely find a place in thy ears. What that foremost one of Kuru's race, viz., Bhishma, the son of Santanu, hath said, is excellent and is for thy good. But thou dost not listen to it. The preceptor Drona also hath said much that is for thy good which however Karna, the son of Radha, doth not regard to be such. But, O king, reflecting hard I do not find any one who is better a friend to thee than either of these two lions among men (viz., Bhishma and Drona), or any one who excels either of them in wisdom. These two, old in years, in wisdom, and in learning, always regard thee, O king, and the sons of Pandu with equal eyes. Without doubt, O king of Bharata's race, they are both, in virtue and truthfulness, not inferior to Rama, the son of Dasaratha, and Gaya. Never before did they give thee any evil advice. Thou also, O monarch, hast never done them any injury. Why should, therefore, these tigers among men, who are ever truthful, give thee wicked advice, especially when thou hast never injured them? Endued with wisdom these foremost of men, O king, will never give thee counsels that are crooked. O scion of Kuru's rate, this is my firm conviction that these two, acquainted with all rules of morality, will never, tempted by wealth, utter anything betraying a spirit of partisanship. What they have said, O Bharata, I regard highly beneficial to thee. Without doubt, O monarch, the Pandavas are thy sons as much as Duryodhana and others are. Those ministers, therefore, that give thee any counsel fraught with evil unto the Pandavas, do not really look to thy interests. If there is any partiality in thy heart, O king, for thy own children, they who by their counsel seek to bring it out, certainly do thee no good. Therefore, O king, these illustrious persons endued with great splendour, have not I think, said anything that leadeth to evil. Thou, however, dost not understand it. What these bulls among men have said regarding the invincibility of the Pandavas is perfectly true. Think not otherwise of it, O tiger among men. Blest be thou! Can the handsome Dhananjaya, the son of Pandu, using the right and the left hand with equal activity, be vanquished in battle even by Maghavat himself? Can the great Bhimasena of strong arms possessing the might of ten thousand elephants, be vanquished in battle by the immortals themselves? Who also that desireth to live can overcome in battle the twins (Nagula and Sahadeva) like unto the sons of Yama himself, and well-skilled in fight? How too can the eldest one of the Pandavas in whom patience, mercy, forgiveness, truth, and prowess always live together, be vanquished? They who have Rama (Valadeva) as their ally, and Janardana

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[paragraph continues] (Krishna) as their counsellor, and Satyaki as their partisan, have already defeated everybody in war. They who have Drupada for their father-in-law, and Drupada's sons--the heroic brothers, viz., Dhristadyumna and others of Prishata's race for their brothers-in-law, are certainly invincible. Remembering this, O monarch, and knowing that their claim to the kingdom is even prior to thine, behave virtuously towards them. The stain of calumny is on thee, O monarch, in consequence of that act of Purochana. Wash thyself of it now, by a kindly behaviour towards the Pandavas. This kindly behaviour of thine, O monarch, towards the Pandavas will be an act of great benefit to us, protecting the lives of us all that belong to Kuru's race, and leading to the growth of the whole Kshatriya order! We had formerly warred with king Drupada; if we can now secure him as an ally, it will strengthen our party. The Dasarhas, O king, are numerous and strong. Know where Krishna is, all of them must be, and where Krishna is, there victory also must be! O king, who, unless cursed by the gods, would seek, to effect that by means of war which can be effected by conciliation? Hearing that the sons of Pritha are alive, the citizens and other subjects of the realm have become exceedingly glad and eager for beholding them. O monarch, act in a way that is agreeable to them. Duryodhana and Karna and Sakuni, the son of Suvala, are sinful, foolish and young; listen not to them. Possessed of every virtue thou art I long ago told thee, O monarch that for Duryodhana's fault, the subjects of this kingdom would be exterminated.'"

Next: Section CCVIII