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p. 81


"Vaisampayana said, 'At the time the Parthas entered the city, thousands upon thousands of the citizens came out to behold the sight. The well-adorned squares and streets, with crowd swelling at each moment looked beautiful like the ocean swelling at the rise of the moon. The large mansions that stood on the street-sides, decked with every ornament and full of ladies, seemed to shake, O Bharata, with their weight. With soft and modest voices they uttered the praises of Yudhishthira, of Bhima and Arjuna, and of the two sons of Madri. And they said, 'Worthy of all praise art thou. O blessed princess of Panchala, that waitest by the side of those foremost of men even like Gautami by the side of the (seven) Rishis. Thy acts and vows have borne their fruits, O lady!' In this strain, O monarch, the ladies praised the princess Krishna. In consequence of those praises, O Bharata, and their speeches with one another, and the shouts of joy (uttered by the men' ), the city became filled with a loud uproar. Having passed through the streets with such behaviour as befitted him, Yudhishthira then entered the beautiful palace (of the Kurus) adorned with every ornament. The people belonging to the city and the provinces, approaching the palace, uttered speeches that were agreeable to his ears, 'By good luck, O foremost of kings, thou hast vanquished thy enemies, O slayer of foes! By good luck, thou hast recovered thy kingdom through virtue and prowess. Be, O foremost of kings, our monarch for a hundred years, and protect thy subjects virtuously like Indra protecting the denizens of heaven.' Thus adored at the palace-gate with blessed speeches, and accepting the benedictions uttered by the Brahmanas from every side, the king, graced with victory and the blessings of the people, entered the palace that resembled the mansion of Indra himself, and then descended from his car. Entering the apartments, blessed Yudhishthira approached the household gods and worshipped them with gems and scents and floral wreaths. Possessed of great fame and prosperity, the king came out once more and beheld a number of Brahmanas waiting with auspicious articles in their hands (for pronouncing benedictions on him). Surrounded by those Brahmanas desirous of uttering benedictions on him, the king looked beautiful like the spotless moon in the midst of the stars. Accompanied by his priest Dhaumya and his eldest uncle, the son of Kunti cheerfully worshipped, with due rites, those Brahmanas with (gift of) sweets, gems, and gold in profusion, and kine and robes, O monarch, and with diverse other articles that each desired. Then loud shouts of 'This is a blessed day' arose, filling the entire welkin, O Bharata. Sweet to the ear, that sacred sound was highly gratifying to the friends and well-wishers (of the Pandavas). The king heard that sound uttered by those learned Brahmanas and that was as loud and clear as the sound of a flock of swans. He listened also to the speeches, fraught with melodious words and grave import, of those persons well conversant with the Vedas. Then, O king, the peal of drums and the delightful blare of conchs, indicative of triumph, arose. A little while after when the Brahmanas had become silent, a Rakshasa of the

p. 82

name of Charvaka, who had disguised himself as a Brahmana, addressed the king. He was a friend of Duryodhana and stood therein the garb of a religious mendicant. With a rosary, with a tuft of hair on his head, and with the triple staff in his hand, he stood proudly and fearlessly in the midst of all those Brahmanas that had come there for pronouncing benedictions (upon the king), numbering by thousands, O king, and all of whom were devoted to penances and vows. That wicked wight, desirous of evil unto the high-souled Pandavas and without having consulted those Brahmanas, said these words unto the king.'

"Charvaka said, 'All these Brahmanas, making me their spokesman, are saying, 'Fie on thee! Thou art a wicked king. Thou art a slayer of kinsmen. What shalt thou gain, O son of Kunti, by having thus exterminated thy race? Having slain also thy superiors and preceptor, it is proper for thee to cast away thy life.' Hearing these words of that wicked Rakshasa the Brahmanas there became deeply agitated. Stung by that speech, they made a loud uproar. And all of them, with king Yudhishthira. O monarch, became speechless from anxiety and shame.'

"Yudhishthira said, 'I bow down to you and beseech you humbly, be gratified with me. It doth not behove you to cry fie on me. I shall soon lay down my life.' 1

"Vaisampayana continued, 'Then all those Brahmanas, O king, loudly said, 'These are not our words. Prosperity to thee, O monarch!' Those high-souled persons, conversant with the Vedas, with understanding rendered clear by penances, then penetrated the disguise of the speaker by means of their spiritual sight.' And they said, 'This is the Rakshasa Charvaka, the friend of Duryodhana. Having put on the garb of a religious mendicant, he seeks the good of his friend Duryodhana. We have not, O thou of righteous soul, said anything of the kind. Let this anxiety of thine be dispelled. Let prosperity attend upon thee with thy brothers.'

"Vaisampayana continued, 'These Brahmanas then, insensate with rage, uttered the sound Hun. Cleansed of all sins, they censured the sinful Rakshasa and slew him there (with that very sound). Consumed by the energy of those utterers of Brahma, Charvaka fell down dead, like a tree with all its sprouts blasted by the thunder of Indra. Duly worshipped, the Brahmanas went away, having gladdened the king with their benedictions. The royal son of Pandu also, with all his friends, felt great happiness.


82:1 Pratyasanna-vyasaninam is explained by Nilakantha as 'I stand near these distressed brothers of mine' (for whose sake only I am for accepting sovereignty). This is certainly very fanciful. The plain meaning is, 'I am about to lay down my life.'

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