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"Drupada said, 'Of beings those that are endowed with life are superior. Of living beings those that are endowed with intelligence are superior. Of intelligent creatures men are superior. Of men the twice-born are superior. Of the twice-born, students of the Veda are superior. Of students of the Veda those of cultured understanding are superior. Of cultured men practical persons are superior. And finally, of practical men those knowing the Supreme Being are superior. You, it seems to me, are at the very top of those that are of cultured understanding. You are distinguished both for age and learning. You are equal in intellect to either Sukra or Vrihaspati, the son of Angiras. You know what kind of man the chief of the Kuru race is, and what kind of man also is Yudhishthira, the son of Kunti. It was with Dhritarashtra's knowledge that the Pandavas were-deceived by their opponents. Though instructed by Vidura he yet follows his son! Sakuni advisedly challenged Yudhishthira to a gambling match although the latter was unskilled in gambling while the former was an adept in it. Unskilled in play, Yudhishthira was guileless

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and firm in following the rules of the military order. Having thus cheated the virtuous king Yudhishthira, they will, by no means, voluntarily yield up the kingdom. If you speak words of righteousness unto Dhritarashtra, you will certainly gain the hearts of his fighting men. Vidura also will make use of those words of yours and will thus alienate the hearts of Bhishma, and Drona, and Kripa, and others. When the officers of state are alienated and fighting men are backward, the task of the enemy will be to gain back their hearts. In the meantime, the Pandavas will, with ease and with their whole hearts, address themselves in preparing the army and in collecting stores. And when the enemy's adherents are estranged, and while you are hanging about them, they will surely not be able to make adequate preparations for war. This course seems expedient in this wise. On your meeting with Dhritarashtra it is possible that Dhritarashtra may do what you say. And as you are virtuous, you must therefore act virtuously towards them. And to the compassionate, you must descant upon the various hardships that the Pandavas have endured. And you must estrange the hearts of the aged persons by discoursing upon the family usages which were followed by their forefathers. I do not entertain the slightest doubt in this matter. Nor need you be apprehensive of any danger from them, for you are a Brahmana, versed in the Vedas; and you are going thither as an ambassador, and more specially, you are an aged man. Therefore, I ask you to set out without delay towards the Kauravas with the object of promoting the interests of the Pandavas, timing your departure under the (astrological) combination called Pushya and at that part of the day called Jaya.'

"Vaisampayana continued, 'Thus instructed by the magnanimous Drupada, the virtuous priest set out for Hastinapura (the city called after the elephant). And that learned man, well-versed in the principles of the science of politics, started with a following of disciples towards the Kurus for the sake of promoting the welfare of Pandu's sons.'

Next: Section VII