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(Bhagwat Yana Parva)

"Janamejaya said, 'When good Sanjaya (leaving the Pandava camp) went back to the Kurus, what did my grandsires, the sons of Pandu, then do? O foremost of Brahmanas, I desire to hear all this. Tell me this, therefore.'

"Vaisampayana said, 'After Sanjaya had gone, Yudhishthira the just, addressed Krishna of the Dasarha race--that chief of all the Sattwatas, saying, 'O thou that art devoted to friends, the time hath come for friends to show their friendship. I do not see any other persons besides thee that can save us in this season of distress. Relying on thee, O Madhava, we have fearlessly asked back our share from Duryodhana who is filled with immeasurable pride and from his counsellors. O chastiser of foes, thou protectest the Vrishnis in all their calamities, do thou now protect the Pandavas also from a great danger, for they deserve thy protection.'

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"Divine Krishna said, 'Here am I O mighty-armed one. Tell me what thou desirest to say, for I will, O Bharata, accomplish whatever thou wilt tell me.'

"Yudhishthira said, 'Thou hast heard what the intention is of Dhritarashtra and his own. All that Sanjaya, O Krishna, said unto me hath certainly the assent of Dhritarashtra. Sanjaya is Dhritarashtra's soul, and spoke out his mind. An envoy speaketh according to his instructions, for if he speaketh otherwise he deserveth to be slain. Without looking equally on all that are his, moved by avarice and a sinful heart, Dhritarashtra seeketh to make peace with us without giving us back our kingdom. Indeed, at Dhritarashtra's command we spent twelve years in the woods and one additional year in concealment, well-believing, O lord, that Dhritarashtra would abide firmly by that pledge of ours. That we did not deviate from our promise is well-known to the Brahmanas who were with us. The covetous king Dhritarashtra, is now unwilling to observe Kshatriya virtues. Owing to affection for his son, he is listening to the counsels of wicked men. Abiding by counsels of Suyodhana, the king, O Janardana, actuated by avarice and seeking his own good, behaveth untruthfully towards us. What can be more sorrowful, O Janardana, than this, that I am unable to maintain my mother and my friends? Having the Kasis, the Panchalas, the Chedis, and the Matsyas, for my allies and with thee, O slayer of Madhu, for my protector, I prayed for only five villages, etc., Avishthala, Vrikasthala, Makandi, Varanavata, with any other, O Govinda, as the fifth;--Grant us, we said, five villages or towns, O sire, where we five may dwell in union, for we do not desire the destruction of the Bharatas.--The wicked-minded son of Dhritarashtra, however, regarding the lordship of the world to be; in him, doth not agree to even that. What can be more sorrowful than this? When a man born and brought up in a respectable family, covereth the possessions of others, that avarice of his destroyeth his intelligence; and intelligence being destroyed, shame is lost; and loss of shame leadeth to diminution of virtue; and loss of virtue bringeth on loss of prosperity, Destruction of prosperity, in its turn, ruineth a person, for poverty is a person's death. Kinsmen and friends and Brahmanas shun a poor man as birds avoid, O Krishna, a tree that beareth neither Rower nor fruits. Even this, O sire, is death to me that kinsmen shun me, as if I were a fallen one like the breath of life quitting 'a dead body. Samvara said that no condition of life could be more distressful than that in which one is always racked by the anxiety caused by the thought--I have no meat for today, what will become of me tomorrow?--It is said that wealth is the highest virtue, and everything depends on wealth. They that have wealth are said to live, whereas those that are without wealth are more dead than alive. They that by violence rob a man of his wealth not only kill the robbed but destroy also his virtue, profit and pleasure. Some men when overtaken by poverty choose death; others remove from cities to hamlets others retire into the wood; while others, again, become religious mendicants

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to destroy their lives. Some for the sake of wealth are driven to madness; others for wealth, live under Subjection to their foes; while many others, again, for the sake of wealth, betake themselves to the servitude of others. A man's poverty is even more distressful to him than death, for wealth is the sole cause or virtue and pleasure. The natural death of a person is not much regarded, for that is the eternal path of all creatures. Indeed, none among created beings can transgress it. O Krishna, a man who is poor from birth is not so much distressed as one, who, having once possessed great prosperity and having been brought up in luxury, is deprived of that prosperity. Having through his own fault fallen into distress, such a person blameth the very gods with Indra and his own self. Indeed, knowledge of even the entire scriptures faileth to mitigate his pains. Sometimes he getteth angry with his servants, and sometimes he cherisheth malice towards even his well-wishers. Subject to constant anger, he loseth his very senses, and his senses being clouded, be practiseth evil deeds. Through sinfulness such a person contributeth to a fusion of castes. A fusion of castes leadeth to hell and is the foremost of all sinful acts. If he is not awakened in time, he goeth, certainly, O Krishna, to hell., and, indeed, wisdom is the only thing that can awaken him, for if he obtaineth back the eye of wisdom, he is saved. When wisdom is regained, such a man turneth his attention to scriptures; and attention to scriptures aideth his virtue. Then shame becometh his best ornament. He that hath shame hath an aversion against sin, and his prosperity also increaseth; and he that hath prosperity truly becometh a man. He that is ever devoted to virtue, and hath his mind under control, and always acteth after deliberation, never inclineth towards unrighteousness and never engageth in any act that is sinful. He that is without shame and sense is neither man nor woman. He is incapable of earning religious merit, and is like a Sudra. He that hath shame gratifieth the gods, the Pitris, and even his own self, and by this he obtaineth emancipation, which indeed, is the highest aim of all righteous persons.'

'Thou hast, O slayer of Madhu, seen all this in me with thy own eyes. It is not unknown to thee, how, deprived of kingdom, we have lived these years. We cannot lawfully abandon that prosperity (which had been ours). Our first-efforts will be such that, O Madhava, both ourselves and the Kauravas, united in peace, will quietly enjoy our prosperity. Otherwise, we shall, after slaying the worst of the Kauravas, regain those provinces, although success through bloodshed by destruction of even despicable foes that are related to us so dearly is the worst of all fierce deeds, O Krishna. We have numerous kinsmen, and numerous also are the revered seniors that have taken this or that other side. The slaughter of these would be highly sinful. What good, therefore, can there be in battle? Alas, such sinful practices are the duties of the Kshatriya order! Ourselves have taken our births in that wretched order! Whether those practices be sinful or virtuous, any other than the profession of arms would be censurable for us. A Sudra serveth; a Vaisya 

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liveth by trade; the Brahmana have choosen the wooden bowl (for begging), while we are to live by slaughter! A Kshatriya, slayeth a Kshatriya; fishes live on fish; a dog preyeth upon a dog! Behold, O thou of the Dasarha race, how each of these followeth his peculiar virtue. O Krishna, Kali is ever present in battle-fields; lives are lost all around. It is true, force regulated by policy is invoked; yet success and defeat are independent of the will of the combatants. The lives also of creatures are independent of their own wishes, and neither weal nor woe can be one's when the time is not come for it, O best of the Yadu's race. Sometimes one man killeth many, sometimes many and united together kill one. A coward may slay a hero, and one unknown to fame may stay a hero of celebrity. Both parties cannot win success, nor both be defeated. The loss, however, on both sides may be equal. If one flieth away, loss of both life and fame is his. Under all circumstances, however, war is a sin. Who in striking another is not himself struck? As regard the person, however, who is struck, victory and defeat, O Hrishikesa, are the same. It is true that defeat is not much removed from death, but his loss also, O Krishna, is not less who winneth victory. He himself may not be killed, but his adversaries will kill at least some one that is dear to him, or some others and thus the man, O sire, deprived of strength and not seeing before him his sons and brothers, becometh indifferent, O Krishna, to life itself. Those that are quiet, modest, virtuous, and compassionate, are generally slain in battle, while they that are wicked escape. Even after slaying one's foes, repentance, O Janardana, possesseth the heart. He that surviveth among the foes giveth trouble, for the survivor, collecting a force, seeketh to destroy the surviving victor. In hopes of terminating the dispute, one often seeketh to exterminate the foe. Thus victory createth animosity, and he that is defeated liveth in sorrow. He that is peaceful, sleepeth in happiness, giving up all thoughts of victory and defeat, whereas he that hath provoked hostility always sleepeth in misery, with, indeed, an anxious heart, as if sleeping with a snake in the same room. He that exterminates seldom winneth fame. On the other hand, such a person reapeth eternal infamy in the estimation of all. Hostilities, waged over so long, cease not; for if there is even one alive in the enemy's family, narrators are never wanted to remind him of the past. Enmity, O Kesava, is never neutralised by enmity; on the other hand, it is fomented by enmity, like fire fed by clarified butter. Therefore, there can be no peace without the annihilation of one party, for flaws may always be detected of which advantage may be taken by one side or other. They that are engaged in watching for flaws have this vice. Confidence in one's own prowess troubleth the core of one's heart like an incurable disease. Without either renouncing that at once, or death, there can be no peace. It is true, O slayer of Madhu, that exterminating the foe by the very roots, may lead to good result in the shape of great prosperity, yet such an act is most cruel. The peace that may be brought about by our renouncing the kingdom is hardly different from death,

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which is implied by the loss of kingdom, in consequence of the design of the enemy and the utter ruin of ourselves. We do not wish to give u the kingdom, nor do we wish to see the extinction of our race. Under these circumstances, therefore, the peace that is obtained through eve humiliation is the best. When these that strive for peace by all means without of course wishing for war, find conciliation fail, war becomes in evitable, and then is the time for the display of prowess. Indeed, when conciliation fails, frightful results follow. The learned have noticed all this in a canine contest. First, there comes the wagging of tails, then the bark, then the bark in reply, then the circumambulation, then the showing of teeth, then repeated roars, and then at last the fight. In such a contest, O Krishna., the dog that is stronger, vanquishing his antagonist, taketh the latter's meat. The same is exactly the case with men. There is no difference whatever. They that are powerful should be indifferent to avoid disputes with the weak who always bow down. The father, the king, and he that is venerable in year, always deserve regard. Dhritarashtra, therefore, O Janardana, is worthy of our respect and worship. But, O Madhava, Dhritarashtra's affection for his son is great. Obedient to his son, he will reject our submission. What dost thou, O Krishna, think best at this juncture? How may we, O Madhava, preserve both our interest and virtue? Whom also, besides thee, O slayer of Madhu, and foremost of men, shall we consult in this difficult affair? What other friend have we, O Krishna, who like thee is so dear to us, who seeketh our welfare so, who is so conversant with the course of all actions, and who is so well-acquainted with truth?'

"Vaisampayana continued, 'Thus addressed, Janardana replied unto Yudhishthira the just, saying, 'I will go to the court of the Kurus for the sake of both of You. If without sacrificing your interests I can obtain peace, O king, an act of great religious merit will be mine, productive of great fruits. I shall then also save from the meshes of death the Kurus and the Srinjayas inflamed with wrath, the Pandavas and the Dhritarashtras, and, in fact, this entire earth.'

"Yudhishthira said, It is not my wish, O Krishna, that thou wilt go to the Kurus, for Suyodhana will never act according to thy words, even if thou advisest him well. All the Kshatriyas of the world, obedient to Duryodhana's command, are assembled there. I do not like that thou, O Krishna, shouldst proceed into their midst, If any mischief be done to thee, O Madhava, Jett alone happiness; nothing, not even divinity, nor even the sovereignty over all the gods will delight us.'

"The holy one said, 'I know, O monarch, the sinfulness of Dhritarashtra's son, but by going there we will escape the blame of all the kings of the earth. Like other animals before the lion, all the kings of the earth united together are not competent to stand still before me in battle when I am enraged. If, after all, they do me any injury, then I will consume all the Kurus. Even this is my intention. My going thither, O

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[paragraph continues] Partha, will not be fruitless, for if our object be not fulfilled, we shall at least escape all blame.'

"Yudhishthira said, 'Do, O Krishna, as it pleaseth thee. Blessed be thou, go then to the Kurus. I hope to behold thee return successful and prosperous. Going unto the Kurus, make thou, O Lord, such a peace that all the sons of Bharata may live together with cheerful hearts and contentedly. Thou art our brother and friend, dear to me as much as to Vibhatsu. Such hath been our intimacy with thee that we apprehend no neglect of our interest from thee. Go thou, there for our good. Thou knowest us, thou knowest our antagonists, thou knowest what our purposes are, and thou knowest also what to say. Thou wilt, O Krishna, say unto Suyodhana such words as are for our benefit. Whether peace is to be established by (apparent) sin or by any other means, O Kesava, speak such words as may prove beneficial to us.'

Next: Section LXXIII