Category Archives: History

The Three Kinds of Swadeshi

  • An Excerpt from Swadeshi and Boycott by Sri Aurobindo

” Now the meaning of Swadeshi and boycott, as we Nationalists understand them, is wider and larger than Swadeshi and boycott as defined by others, owing to the commercial and industrial circumstances of the country. There are three kinds of Swadeshi.  When Swadeshi was first started in Bengal, Lord Minto said at the Commercial Exhibition in Calcutta that he approved of Swadeshi. Our Swadeshi, according to Lord Minto, is the determination to encourage Indian manufacture and the use of Indian goods when they are as good as English manufactures and can be got at a cheaper price.  That is the economic principle preached by English economists. Lord Minto says that if Swadeshi excludes the goods of other countries it ceases to be an honest attempt for the industry of this country.

There is another kind of Swadeshi which is more developed. We shall encourage Indian labour, Indian manufacture, Indian articles, preferring our own goods by giving them a little stimulus. This idea of Swadeshi brings in the principle of preference and protection.

The third kind of Swadeshi adopts the principle of using our own Indian manufactures, our own Indian goods, and not using foreign articles if Indian articles can be had.”

Kanyā haraṇa in Itihāsa

Searching for victims of heroes in itihāsa is an old preoccupation of the enemies of the spirit of old lore (purāṇa vairi-s). That is a way of undermining the qualities that the civilization sees as heroic, and replace in collective psyche their images with icons of lower stature, representatives of qualities that prevent higher civilizational aspirations. While the enterprise is a big one, highlighting victims of heroes of epics helps (a) bring a doubt about their character and loftiness of the heroes (b) highlight defects in collective morality that sees the heroes as heroes.

When epics are not dominant in the collective consciousness, villains of epics can be directly highlighted as martyrs – Mahiśa, Rāvana etc. When epics come more into the fore, as happened recently during the lockdown thanks to the epics telecast on Doordarshan, villains of epics for their moral decrepitude cannot be highlighted by the purāṇa vairi-s because they then start looking like villains themselves.

Though for decades Rāvana was praised and Rāma was called an Aryan invader in some regions, now in most parts that line is not publicly acceptable – a rapist and an abductor of women cannot be called a martyr instead of a villain given the recent public anger for crime against women.

So the purāṇa vairi-s take to a different set of victims. Those that are not inherently negative characters but fell “victims” due to the poor moral compass of the heroes and society that produces those heroes. Sīta, Draupadi etc.

We learned recently that Subhadra was a victim of misogyny, forcefully taken away and married by Arjuna, and that her victimhood is not even mentioned in discourse. So it makes occasion to look at her case.

It is also a good occasion to look at kanyā haraṇa itself. Subhadra was not an isolated case of kanyā haraṇa, in fact kṣatriyas are “permitted” as an alternate method of getting wife, apart from the known brahma and gāndharva modes.

A simple survey of epics reveals easily, the fact that heroes of epics are men who always stood for protecting not just woman but woman’s right to make her choice. That becomes a topic in itself, so we can limit the current topic to kanyā haraṇa.

 

Dharma

Needless to say, it is not an appreciable practice to take a girl by force. Yet, it was a “permitted” thing for kṣatriyas. At this point it needs to be understood that smṛti/dharma ṣāstra is not prescriptive – it does not say “do this, do that”. It says “this is the nature of things, doing this has such result, and this is therefore the most doable or most avoidable thing”.

In that sense if seen, the dharma ṣāstras do not say “kṣatriyas should do this” but “it is a practice among kṣatriyas to do this”.

The different modes of marriage are mentioned in dharma ṣāstra texts. One instance is Manusmṛti (starting from verse 3.27). Brahma is the best mode of marriage. Arṣa, daiva prājāpatya are good modes where there is a family level agreement. Gāndharva is allowed for kṣatriyas where there is a mutual consent between the man and the woman, and no formal approval from parents is sought. Rakshasa is a discouraged mode where the girl is taken by force.

Why would such a marriage be allowed in a civilized society, and why it is sanctioned without prohibition? Why is no penalty imposed on the man? That too in a civilization that has practices  like swayamvara, where woman’s choice is given primary importance? There are multiple reasons for this.

  1. Ultimately it is the woman that is the loser. Bride has no legitimate status if the marriage is not legitimized. The girl can leave the man when she is freed, in case of abduction and captivity. The fate of a girl isolated after abduction is kept in mind, and therefore it is nevertheless listed a marriage while heavily discouraged.
  2. It is also possible that the abduction happens with girl’s consent. Though this is still haraṇa, it is still a right thing.

The possibilities in life are many, and when it comes to the question of which of the choices is “right” and which is not, the pedagogy of dharma  ṣāstras also gives us simple tests: any action that begets negative consequences is not in line with dharma. In cases where there are uphill tasks, facing lot of struggle and suffering but eventually results are positive, the choice is in line with dharma.

Yudhiśṭhira’s choices in dice game are shown to have negative results, and he is shown as expiating for his wrongs. So the lesson there is clear as to whether one should stake property and humans in a dice game, whether one should play without being adept, whether a game should be used to decide anyone’s fate at all.

Kanyā haraṇa episodes also have such lessons, in which case the choice has positive results and in which case it has negative results.

We know of at least three instances of kanyā haraṇa in itihāsa. First is Bhīśma taking the three princesses of Kāśī raja. Second is Kṛṣṇa taking Rukmiṇi. Third is Arjuna taking Subhadra.

These three happened in three different circumstances, and the merit and permissibility of kanyā haraṇa is different in all three.

 

Case 1 – Ambā (Adi Parva Section 102)

Bhīśma wanted brides for his brother Vicitravīrya. Given Vicitravīrya was not known to be a great prince, by character or power or charm, not many kings came  forward to give their daughters.

Bhīśma comes to know of Kāśī raja who announces a swayamvara for this three daughters Ambā, Ambikā and Ambālikā. There is no invite to Hastināpura. Bhīśma took a vow to remain unmarried and childless for life, and he was among the most eligible bachelors in Bharata. Vicitravīrya does not have a good name and gets no invite.

This angers Bhīśma, and he barges into the swayamvara, challengs the court to stand him in a battle if someone wants to stop him from taking the three brides for his brother Vicitravīrya, the heir of Hastināpura throne. Given Bhīśma’s standing as a warrior none could face him. Sālva king challenges Bhīśma to get Ambā his lover, and fails. Bhīśma comes to Hastināpura with the three princesses. Ambikā and Ambālikā get married to Vicitravīrya, soon to be widowed. Ambā reveals her love for Sālva and Bhīśma sends her to Sālva. Sālva having lost her in a fair fight, declines to own up Ambā.

Ambā is left nowhere. She demands that since Bhīśma used his power to get her from her father as well as her lover, he must marry her. Bhīśma is bound by vow, and declines. Then Ambā requests Bhīśma’s teacher Paraśurāma to persuade Bhīśma, he too fails. Ambā does tapas for Rudra, leaves her body, a part of her becomes Ambā river and another part takes rebirth as Sikhandi who becomes the cause of Bhīśma’s death.

This is a kanyā haraṇa, and the wrongs committed here are many:

  1. Woman belongs to the man who won her. This is itself  breached when Bhīśma used his power to win brides for his ineligible and incapable brother. A woman can live with a man who sought and won her, but not with a man who needs proxies to get her. It was not a case where Vicitravīrya sought the girls and stood, while Bhīśma’s power came to rescue.
  2. Bhīśma ignores the fact that Kāśī raja announced a swayamvara and not a contest. Unlike Draupadi or Sīta “swayamvara” which was more a contest and the girl goes to one who clears a test, Kāśī raja announced a self-choice where the girl picks the man she wants to marry. Bhīśma’s show of power to overrule a self-choice is the second wrong.
  3. When Sālva challenged Bhīśma, it does not occur to him whether Ambā could also have been interested. Ambā gets her chance to talk only after reaching Hastināpura.

Eventually since Bhīśma could not break his vow, Ambā’s life is ruined and she became the cause for Bhīśma’s death.

The lessons here are clear: one cannot forcefully take a woman when her interest is elsewhere. Show of power style representation is not acceptable for marriages. Given the negative consequences Bhīśma and Hastināpura has, this case of kanyā haraṇa, its method, motive all stand wrong.

 

Case 2 – Rukmiṇi  

Kṛṣṇa’s story is too famous, but a quick recollection helps conclusions. Vidarbha princess Rukmiṇi has Kṛṣṇa in her heart. Her brother Rukmi a friend of Kṛṣṇa’s enemies, is keen on getting her married to the man he likes and not the man his sister likes.

Rukmiṇi, intent on marrying Kṛṣṇa, sends a messenger. Agni Dyotana, a respected and  learned man, goes to Kṛṣṇa and conveys the longing Rukmiṇi has for Kṛṣṇa, the constraints she has and asks him to take Rukmiṇi from Vidarbha. Kṛṣṇa waits at the outskirts  of capital where Rukmiṇi comes to pray to her deity, comes on a chariot and takes her. The chariot is pursued by Rukmi, Kṛṣṇa stops and instead of killing his to be brother-in-law he shaves Rukmi and dispatches him back to Vidarbha.

This is a classic story of heroism, romance, love. It is not only read with great interest as a story, there is a practice in several regions to chant the episode by girls with the belief they will get married to a suitable and good man.

The antecedent and consequent are also clear: when the girl is interested, go to any length to get her. Yes, this too is a kanyā haraṇa – a stealing of Vidarbha princess from Vidarbha perspective. Yet this is always mentioned only in a positive sense.

 

Case 3 – Subhadra  (Adi Parva sections 221, 222)

Arjuna goes on an expiation exile and as part of it reaches Dwaraka. He sees Subhadra Kṛṣṇa’s sister, and has an instant attraction for her. Kṛṣṇa suggests that Arjuna abducts Subhadra and marries her.

Arjuna picks her, just like Kṛṣṇa picked Rukmiṇi, from outside the temple on a hilltop outside the capital. He reaches Indraprastha and their marriage happens. Yādavas in Dwaraka are enraged and Kṛṣṇa pacifies them saying Arjuna is the best possible groom they can ever hope to get for Subhadra, and they give their acceptance to the marriage.

The difference however, is this was not a case of girl taking the initiative. This was also not a case of Arjuna getting Subhadra’s acceptance before he takes her. This is also not an episode that is as celebrated as Rukmiṇi haraṇa.

Yet, we see no negative effects of this in the epic. It can be argued that since Subhadra knew Kṛṣṇa’s relation with Arjuna she had no hope of getting support and reconciled with life once she knew it was Arjuna who abducted her. This is not a valid argument, because the Yādavas including Balarāma were still around if she really wanted to protest. Yudhiśṭhira the Dharma raja himself would not approve of a match had Subhadra protested her abduction once they reached Indraprastha. To the contrary, it can be argued that Balarāma was in favour of Subhadra’s alliance with Hastināpura and Kṛṣṇa favored Arjuna as a friend and also as a better human and warrior. He sought a better man for his sister and suggested abduction because Subhadra did not make any decision. Possible arguments are many.

One question that arises in the latter argument is what happens to the consent of the girl. What is ignored while asking this question is when the consent did not matter (because the girl did not exercise it, not because the consent was overruled), what matters is getting the right man. Arjuna’s character throughout the epic is blemish less. He declines Ūrvaśī’s advances because he does not see in her a lover but an ancestor. He was the one to get whom as a son-in-law, kings conducted sacrifices and begot daughters. He declines marrying Uttara because he saw in her a student. A man of impeccable character, a man who knew exactly when to advance and when to stop, cannot be blamed for applying force on a woman without realizing where he could cross the line.

There are multiple versions in this story, and according to some accounts Kṛṣṇa advises Arjuna to abduct Subhadra. Some hold that Subhadra also had a liking for Arjuna and she went with him willingly, and was even driving the chariot. The implication in former version is that Arjuna abducted a lady who has not made up her mind (and was not against the alliance either) with the consent of her brother. The implication of the latter version is that this is another romantic story which is made out to be an issue for no reason.

But what is known is that Arjuna arranged for Subhadra’s meeting with Draupadi in a way their relation turns good. What is also known is that Subhadra is not known to have protested. What is also known is that Arjuna got a beautiful as well as affectionate wife in the form of Subhadra, and an illustrious son like Abhimanyu. There is no negative consequence coming out of this “stealing the girl” that came to Arjuna or Pānḍavās due to this that the epic narrates.

Because, unlike Bhīśma’s case, Arjuna wanted to win over his lady. Unlike Ambā’s case, this was also a great match – Arjuna was the best possible groom for a princess in that age, and had love for Subhadra. The bond between Kṛṣṇa and Arjuna, Arjuna’s character, every factor   was in favour of a happy marriage for Subhadra with Arjuna. Unlike Ambā’s case, Subhadra was also not having another man in her mind and was positively inclined to Pānḍavās due to Kṛṣṇa’s relation. From Subhadra’s viewpoint the only misgiving is not taking her acceptance, which, while being a major matter today, was hardly a big issue back then. When matches were arranged by elders barring exceptions, the boy and girl both go with the match arranged by parents. Given this, and given that Kṛṣṇa’s blessing was there, Subhadra had not a major reason to be unpleasant or express it.

 

Conclusion

While there are many other situations, these three reveal a fair diversity of kanyā haraṇa phenomenon along with their correctness, acceptability and consequences in the epic.

To conclude, kanyā haraṇa was not entirely proscribed because there were cases it had merit. At the same time, it was kept as one of the last chosen methods, to be resorted to after exhausting better ways and options.

RAVANA – A Serial Rapist and Tormentor of the Helpless

  • By Dr Rahul A. Shastri

Who was Ravana?

Ravana’s birth-name was Dashanana. His father was Vishravas s/o brahmin sage Pulastya, who is believed to hail from village Bisrakh in Haryana. His mother was Kaikesi, daughter of the Rakshasa King – Sumali. Ravana married Mandodari, the daughter of the divine architect Maya. 

Thus, contrary to what the leftists tell their confused followers, Ravana was neither Dravidian nor a sudra nor oppressed. He was a North Indian brahmin, very well connected and belonged to the royalty. 

What did Ravana do?

Ravana did tapas and got a boon from Brahma that none but humans could kill him. Empowered by this boon, he took away Lanka and Pushpaka Vimana from his cousin Kubera, conquered many regions with the help of his family and even subjugated the devas. 

Marching north he reached Kailasa and threatened Nandi that he would throw Kailasa away with Siva. To carry out this threat he put his hands under the mountain, but Siva put his toe down, trapping Ravana’s hands under the Kailasa. His fingers painfully caught, Dashanana then sang songs praising Siva so loudly, that Siva gave him the name Ravana (which means crying or roaring) and the sword Chandrahasa.

Puffed up by his success, powers and boons, Ravana turned into a bully, serial rapist and eve- teaser, misbehaving even with gods and rishis, earning eighteen curses in the process. It is because of these curses, that some of his atrocities are still known and remembered.

The many rapes by Ravana

When Ravana molested Vedavati who was engaged in penance to obtain Madhava as husband, she cursed that he and his family would be ruined by Lord Narayana on her account. Since he no longer feared gods because of the boon from Brahma, Ravana went on with his depredations. He raped Madanamanjari, wife of Rtuvarman, a tapasvi of Marutta forest, who cursed then that Ravana would be killed by a man.

Finally, he raped his own would-be daughter-in-law, Rambha, betrothed to be wife of his nephew ‘Nalakubara’ s/o Kubera. Furious at this, Nalakubara pronounced this curse

“You, who have become blind with lust, shall not touch a woman who does not reciprocate your love. If you do so your head will be split into seven pieces.”

It is this curse that later kept Sitadevi and many other chaste women safe from Ravana’s depredations, although they still were victim to molestation and insults by him. After this curse, Ravana resorted molestations, humiliation and abductions to cater to his lust, but never committed a rape again.

Rape, Rakshasas and Human Civilization

Rape is a part of Rakshasa culture, and ‘marriage by rape’ is known as ‘rakshasa vivaha’ to the Hindus. Ramayana, which is a story of the destruction of Ravana, is an eternal reminder that rape can have no place in human culture, and that the culture of rapists is bound to be destroyed by divine forces.

Molestations of women by Ravana

Ravana tried to humiliate Punjikadevi, the daughter of Brahma, who reiterated the curse of Nalakubara that he would die with all his ten heads broken if he touched unwilling women. By way of revenge, Ravana took to molesting and misbehaving with women in the presence of their helpless relatives. He humiliated Svahadevi, in the presence of Agni, earning Agni’s curse. When he molested Dvaipayana’s sister in the presence of Dvaipayana, the latter cursed him with humiliation by monkeys. Similar curses were pronounced when he molested Atri’s wife in his presence, and he misbehaved with and humiliated brahmin girls who were bathing in the sea, in the very presence of their mothers.

Once Ravana tried to catch Sulekhadevi, the daughter of Brihaspati after conquering Devaloka. Then Brhaspati cursed that Ravana would die hit by the arrows of Rama.

Some other atrocities of Ravana

Ravana committed innumerable atrocities, some of which are remembered only because of the curses that they fetched him.

He kicked Astavakra, the sage with eight hunches, saying ‘Oh ! handsome fellow ! I shall cure your eight hunches”. This earned him the curse of the sage: “For kicking me, a poor innocent sage, you will be kicked from head to foot and foot to head by monkeys.”

Knowing his perverse proclivities, Vasistha turned down his invitation to teach him Vedas. Owing to this, Vasishsta was imprisoned until the solar King Kuvalayasva rescued him. Vasishta then predicted that Ravana and his family would be destroyed by those born in the solar dynasty.

When Narada refused to explain the meaning of ‘Om’ to him, he threatened to cut off Sri Narada’s tongue, earning the curse, that all his ten heads would be cut off by a man.

Maharsi Maudgalya was once doing the svastika asana, resting his neck on the yogadanda. Seeing him thus, Ravana cut the yogadanda into two with chandrahasa sword. The rishi fell and broke his backbone. This earned Ravana the curse that the chandrahasa (given to him by Siva) would become ineffective.

Once Ravana invited a Vedic brahmin to install the idol of Tripurasundari given to him by Siva. For being late, the brahmin was imprisoned for seven days. This earned him the curse that he would be imprisoned for seven months by a man.

King Anaranya of the solar dynasty sought shelter with him. In our culture, one who takes refuge with us is protected, but Ravana killed Anaranya with a blow on the chest. The dying king cursed him that he would die from the arrows of a prince of the solar dynasty.

Sage Dattatreya had collected water which he consecrated with mantras, in order to bathe the head of his Guru. When Ravana saw this water, he poured it on his own head. Dattatreya cursed him that his head would be polluted by the feet of monkeys.

Conclusion

It can be seen from the above that Ravana was not an admirable character, in spite of his boons, lineage, royal power and worldly success. He was a serial rapist and tormentor of the weak.  Leftists are promoting the worship of such a person by deceiving the Indian masses. Their real aim is to foster divisions among us, to degrade our values and destroy our culture. Why are they doing this? 

Leftists promote divisions because according to their ideology, progress comes only by conflict and not through unity.  To promote conflict, they attack our culture and our values. Why? 

They know that the unity of Indian people comes from our culture and values. It is our culture which teaches us patience in difficulty, compassion for suffering, respect for learning, reverence for elders and traditions, and love for the motherland. These are the values that have held us together for millennia and which we uphold today. To destroy them, to fan the flames of discontent and discord among us, leftists attack our culture. 

Their deceptions about Ravana are part of this greater game plan. May their confused followers know the true nature of Ravana, see through their game plan, and strengthen national unity and the motherland.

References: Puranic Encyclopedia by Vettam Mani 1964, Sanskrit Dictionary .  Shivram Apte

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Did Draupadi Insult Duryodhana and Call him Blind ? A Vlog with references

Those Perpetrating Lies on Draupadi ji Are Continuing Duryodhana’s Legacy

In an earlier post, we had mentioned about how Fake News becomes a global narrative.  This can be observed to certain aspects of our epics also. For example, the popular ( fake ) narrative that was build around the Mahabharata  is that in the Mayasabha Duryodhana falls down into a pond mistaking it for a crystal surface. On seeing this, Draupadi says ” A blind person’s son is blind too ” Or in Hindi  “Andhe ka beta andha”   ” అంధుని పుతృడు, అంధుడే అవుతాడు” in Telugu. This fake narrative was built over centuries to establish that the reason for the Mahabharata war was Draupadi & not the ego of Duryodhana & the injustice of Dhritharashtra.

The reference in Vyaasa Mahabharata states that Bheema & Arjuna do laugh when Duryodhana mistakes the illusions for real. This pulling at each other’s leg has a legacy since childhood esp between Duryodhana & Bhima in what can be termed as sibling rivalry.  However, there is no reference to Draupadi laughter. The reference comes up when Duryodhana in order to make a strong case, at the behest of Shakuni makes up a story in which he includes Draupadi in the people who laughed at him.

Unfortunately, this lie told by Duryodhana has become the popular narrative due to many novels & especially movies that become the source of our education in later years.

  • Ayush Nadimpalli

References : The Mahabharata of Krishna Dwaipayana Vyasa, Volume 1

 

  • Sabha Parva ( Dyuta Upaparva )

  •  Section : XLVI

Vaisampayana said,—“That bull among men, Duryodhana, continued to dwell in that, assembly house (of the Pandavas). And with Sakuni, the Kuru prince slowly examined the whole of that mansion, and the Kuru prince beheld in it many celestial designs, which he had never seen before in the city called after the elephant (Hastinapore). And one day king Duryodhana in going round that mansion came upon a crystal surface. And the king, from ignorance, mistaking it for a pool of water, drew up his clothes. And afterwards finding out his mistake the king wandered about the mansion in great sorrow. And sometime after, the king, mistaking a lake of crystal water adorned with lotuses of crystal petals for land, fell into it with all his clothes on. Beholding Duryodhana fallen into the lake, the mighty Bhima laughed aloud as also the menials of the palace. And the servants, at the command of the king, soon brought him dry and handsome clothes. Beholding the plight of Duryodhana, the mighty Bhima and Arjuna and both the twins—all laughed aloud. Being unused to putting up with insults, Duryodhana could not bear that laugh of theirs. Concealing his emotions he even did not cast his looks on them. And beholding the monarch once more draw up his clothes to cross a piece of dry land which he had mistaken for water, they all laughed again. And the king sometime after mistook a closed door made of crystal as open. And as he was about to pass through it his head struck against it, and he stood with his brain reeling. And mistaking as closed another door made of crystal that was really open, the king in attempting to open it with stretched hands, tumbled down. And coming upon another door that was really open, the king thinking it as closed, went away from it. And, O monarch, king Duryodhana beholding that vast wealth in the Rajasuya sacrifice and having become the victim of those numerous errors within the assembly house at last returned, with the leave of the Pandavas, to Hastinapore.

And the heart of king Duryodhana, afflicted at sight of the prosperity of the Pandavas, became inclined to sin, as he proceeded towards his city reflecting on all he had seen and suffered. And beholding the Pandavas happy and all the kings of the earth paying homage to them, as also everybody, young and old, engaged in doing good unto them, and reflecting also on the splendour and prosperity of the illustrious sons of Pandu, Duryodhana, the son of Dhritarashtra, became pale. In proceeding (to his city) with an efflicted heart, the prince thought of nothing else but that assembly house and that unrivalled prosperity of the wise Yudhishthira. And Duryodhana, the son of Dhritarashtra, was so taken up with his thoughts then that he spoke not a word to Suvala’s son even though the latter addressed him repeatedly. And Sakuni, beholding him absent-minded, said,—‘O Duryodhana, why art thou proceeding thus’?

“Duryodhana replied,—O uncle, beholding this whole earth owning the sway of Yudhishthira in consequence of the might of the illustrious Arjuna’s weapons and beholding also that sacrifice of the son of Pritha like unto the sacrifice of Sakra himself of great glory among the celestials, I, being filled with jealousy and burning day and night, am being dried up like a shallow tank in the summer season. Behold, when Sisupala was slain by the chief of the Satwatas, there was no man to take the side of Sisupala. Consumed by the fire of the Pandava, they all forgave that offence; otherwise who is there that could forgive it? That highly improper act of grave consequence done by Vasudeva succeeded in consequence of the power of the illustrious son of Pandu. And so many monarchs also brought with them various kinds of wealth for king Yudhishthira, the son of Kunti, like tribute-paying Vaisyas! Beholding Yudhishthira’s prosperity of such splendour, my heart burneth, efflicted with jealously, although it behoveth me not to be jealous.’

“Having reflected in this way, Duryodhana, as if burnt by fire, addressed the king of Gandhara again and said,—‘I shall throw myself upon a flaming fire or swallow poison or drown myself in water. I cannot live. What man is there in the world possessed of vigour who can bear to see his foes in the enjoyment of prosperity and himself in destitution? Therefore I who bear to see that accession of prosperity and fortune (in my foes) am neither a woman nor one that is not a woman, neither also a man nor one that is not a man. Beholding their sovereignty over the world and vast affluence, as also that sacrifice, who is there like me that would not smart under all that? Alone I am incapable of acquiring such royal prosperity; nor do I behold allies that could help me in the matter. It is for this that I am thinking of self-destruction. Beholding that great and serene prosperity of the son of Kunti, I regard Fate as supreme and exertions fruitless. O son of Suvala, formerly I strove to compass his destruction. But baffling all my efforts he hath grown in prosperity even like the lotus from within a pool of water. It is for this that I regard Fate as supreme and exertions fruitless. Behold, the sons of Dhritarashtra are decaying and the sons of Pritha are growing day by day. Beholding that prosperity of the Pandavas, and that assembly house of theirs, and those menials laughing at me, my heart burneth as if it were on fire. Therefore, O uncle, know me now as deeply grieved and filled with jealousy, and speak of it to Dhritarashtra.

“Sakuni said.—‘O Duryodhana, thou shouldst not be jealous of Yudhishthira. The sons of Pandu are enjoying what they deserve in consequence of their own good fortune. O slayer of foes, O great king, thou couldst not destroy them by repeatedly devising numberless plans, many of which thou hadst even put to practice. Those tigers among men out of sheer luck escaped all those machinations. They have obtained Draupadi for wife and Drupada with his sons as also Vasudeva of great prowess as allies, capable of helping them in subjugating the whole world. And O king, having inherited the paternal share of the kingdom without being deprived of it they have grown in consequence of their own energy. What is there to make thee sorry for this? Having gratified Hustasana, Dhananjaya hath obtained the bow Gandiva and the couple of inexhaustible quivers and many celestial weapons. With that unique bow and by the strength of his own arms also he hath brought all the kings of the world under his sway. What is there to make thee sorry for this? Having saved the Asura Maya from a conflagration, Arjuna, that slayer of foes, using both his hands with equal skill, caused him to build that assembly house. And it is for this also that commanded by Maya, those grim Rakshasas called Kinkaras supported that assembly house. What is there in this to make thee sorry? Thou hast said, O king, that thou art without allies. This, O Bharata, is not true. These thy brothers are obedient to thee. Drona of great prowess and wielding the large bow along with his son, Radha’s son Karna, the great warrior Gautama (Kripa), myself with my brothers and king Saumadatti—these are thy allies. Uniting thyself with these, conquer thou the whole of the earth.’

“Duryodhana said,—‘O king, with thee, as also with these great warriors, I shall subjugate the Pandavas, if it pleases thee. If I can now subjugate them, the world will be mine and all the monarchs, and that assembly house so full of wealth.’

“Sakuni replied,—‘Dhananjaya and Vasudeva, Bhimasena and Yudhishthira, Nakula and Sahadeva and Drupada with his sons,—these cannot be vanquished in battle by even the celestials, for they are all great warriors wielding the largest bows, accomplished in weapons, and delighting in battle. But, O king, I know the means by which Yudhishthira himself may be vanquished. Listen to me and adopt it.’

“Duryodhana said,—‘without danger to our friends and other illustrious men, O uncle, tell me if there is any way by which I may vanquish him.’

“Sakuni said,—‘The son of Kunti is very fond of dice-play although he doth not know how to play. That king if asked to play, is ill able to refuse. I am skillful at dice. There is none equal to me in this respect on earth, no, not even in the three worlds, O son of Kuru. Therefore, ask him to play at dice. Skilled at dice, I will win his kingdom, and that splendid prosperity of his for thee, O bull among men. But, O Duryodhana, represent all this unto the king (Dhritarashtra). Commanded by thy father I will win without doubt the whole of Yudhishthira’s possessions.’

“Duryodhana said ‘O son of Suvala, thou thyself represent properly all this to Dhritarashtra, the chief of the Kurus. I shall not be able to do so.

Vaisampayana said—“O king, impressed with the great Rajasuya sacrifice of king Yudhishthira, Sakuni, the son of Suvala, having learnt before the intentions of Duryodhana, while accompanying him in the way from the assembly house, and desirous of saying what was agreeable to him, approached Dhritarashtra endued with great wisdom, and finding the monarch deprived of his eye seated (in his throne), told him these words,—‘Know, O great king, O bull of the Bharata race, that Duryodhana, having lost colour, hath become pale and emaciated and depressed and a prey to anxiety. Why dost thou not, after due enquiry, ascertain the grief that is in the heart of thy eldest son, the grief that is caused by the foe?’

“Dhritarashtra said,—‘Duryodhana, what is the reason of thy great affliction. O son of the Kuru race? If it is fit for me to hear it, then tell me the reason. This Sakuni here says that thou hast lost colour, become pale and emaciated, and a prey to anxiety. I do not know what can be the reason of the sorrow. This vast wealth of mine is at thy control. Thy brothers and all our relations never do anything that is disagreeable to thee. Thou wearest the best apparel and eatest the best food that is prepared with meat. The best of horse carries thee. What it is, therefore, that hath made thee pale and emaciated? Costly beds, beautiful damsels, mansions decked with excellent furniture, and sport of the delightful kind, without doubt these all wait but at thy command, as in the case of the gods themselves Therefore, O proud one, why dost thou grieve, O son, as if thou wert destitute.’

“Duryodhana said,—‘I eat and dress myself like a wretch and pass my time all the while a prey to fierce jealousy. He indeed is a man, who incapable of bearing the pride of the foe, liveth having vanquished that foe with the desire of liberating his own subjects from the tyranny of the foe. Contentment, as also pride, O Bharata, are destructive of prosperity; and those other two qualities also, viz., compassion and fear. One who acteth under the influence of these, never obtaineth anything high. Having beheld Yudhishthira’s prosperity, whatever I enjoy brings me no gratification. The prosperity of Kunti’s son that is possessed of such splendour maketh me pale. Knowing the affluence of the foe and my own destitution, even though that affluence is not before me, I yet see it before me. Therefore, have I lost colour and become melancholy, pale and emaciated. Yudhishthira supporteth eighty-eight thousand Snataka Brahmanas leading domestic lives, giving unto each of them thirty slave-girls. Beside this, thousand other Brahmanas daily eat at his palace the best of food on golden plates. The king of Kambhoja sent unto him (as tribute) innumerable skins, black, darkish, and red, of the deer Kadali, as also numberless blankets of excellent textures. And hundreds and thousands and thousands of she-elephants and thirty thousand she-camels wander within the palace, for the kings of the earth brought them all as tribute to the capital of the Pandavas. And, O lord of earth, the kings also brought unto this foremost of sacrifices heaps upon heaps of jewels and gems for the son of Kunti. Never before did I see or hear of such enormous wealth as was brought unto the sacrifice of the intelligent sons of Pandu. And, O king, beholding that enormous collection of wealth belonging to the foe, I can not enjoy peace of mind. Hundreds of Brahmanas supported by the grants that Yudhishthira hath given them and possessing wealth of kine, waited at the palace gate with three thousands of millions of tribute but were prevented by the keepers from entering the mansion. Bringing with them clarified butter in handsome Kamandalus made of gold, they did not obtain admission into the palace, and Ocean himself brought unto him in vessels of white copper the nectar that is generated within his waters and which is much superior to that which flowers and annual plants produce for Sakra. And Vasudeva (at the conclusion of the sacrifice) having brought an excellent conch bathed the Sun of Pritha with sea water brought in thousand jars of gold, all well adorned with numerous gems. Beholding all this I became feverish with jealousy. Those jars had been taken to the Eastern and the Southern oceans. And they had also been taken on the shoulders of men to the Western ocean, O bull among men. And, O father, although none but birds only can go to the Northern region Arjuna, having gone thither, exacted as tribute a vast quantity of wealth. There is another wonderful incident also which I will relate to thee. O listen to me. When a hundred thousand Brahmanas were fed, it had been arranged that to notify this act every day conches would be blown in a chorus. But, O Bharata, I continually heard conches blown there almost repeatedly. And hearing those notes my hair stood on end. And, O great king, that palatial compound, filled with innumerable monarchs that came there as spectators, looked exceedingly handsome like the cloudless firmament with stars. And, O king of men, the monarchs came into that sacrifice of the wise son of Pandu bringing with them every kind of wealth. And the kings that came there became like Vaisyas the distributors of food unto the Brahmanas that were fed. And O king, the prosperity that I beheld of Yudhishthira was such that neither the chief himself of the celestials, nor Yama or Varuna, nor the lord of the Guhyakas owneth the same. And beholding that great prosperity of the son of Pandu, my heart burneth and I cannot enjoy peace.

“Hearing these words of Duryodhana, Sakuni replied,—‘Hear how thou mayest obtain this unrivalled prosperity that thou beholdest in the son of Pandu, O thou that hast truth for thy prowess. O Bharata, I am an adept at dice, superior to all in the world. I can ascertain the success or otherwise of every throw, and when to stake and when not. I have special knowledge of the game. The Son of Kunti also is fond of dice playing though he possesseth little skill in it. Summoned to play or battle, he is sure to come forward, and I will defeat him repeatedly at every throw by practising deception. I promise to win all that wealth of his, and thou, O Duryodhana, shalt then enjoy the same.’”

Vaisampayana continued,—“King Duryodhana, thus addressed by Sakuni, without allowing a moment to elapse, said unto Dhritarashtra,—‘This, Sakuni, an adept at dice, is ready to win at dice, O king, the wealth of the sons of Pandu. It behoveth thee to grant him permission to do so.’

“Dhritarashtra replied,—‘I always follow the counsels of Kshatta, my minister possessed of great wisdom. Having consulted with him, I will inform thee what my judgment is in respect of this affair. Endued with great foresight, he will, keeping morality before his eyes, tell us what is good and what is proper for both parties, and what should be done in this matter.’

“Duryodhana said,—‘If thou consultest with Kshatta he will make thee desist. And if thou desist, O king, I will certainly kill myself. And when I am dead, O king, thou wilt become happy with Vidura. Thou wilt then enjoy the whole earth; what need hast thou with me?’”

Section : XLIX

“Ascertaining the opinion of Vidura, Dhritarashtra the son of Amvika, calling Duryodhana told him again in private—‘O son of Gandhari, have nothing to do with dice. Vidura doth not speak well of it. Possessed of great wisdom, he will never give me advice that is not for my good. I also regard what Vidura sayeth as exceedingly beneficial for me. Do that, O son, for I regard it all as for thy good also. Indeed, Vidura knoweth with all its mysteries the science (of political morality) that the illustrious and learned and wise Vrihaspati, the celestial Rishi who is the spiritual guide of Vasava—had unfolded unto the wise chief of the immortals. And O son, I always accept what Vidura adviseth. O king, as the wise Uddhava is ever regarded amongst the Vrishnis, so is Vidura possessed of great intelligence esteemed as the foremost of the Kurus. Therefore, O son, have nothing to do with dice. It is evident that dice soweth dissensions. And dissensions are the ruin of the kingdom. Therefore, O son, abandon this idea of gambling. O son, thou hast obtained from us what, it hath been ordained, a father and a mother should give unto their son, viz., ancestral rank and possessions. Thou art educated and clever in every branch of knowledge, and hast been brought up with affection in thy paternal dwelling. Born the eldest among all thy brothers, living within thy own kingdom, why regardest thou thyself as unhappy? O thou of mighty arms, thou obtainest food and attire of the very best kind and which is not obtainable by ordinary men. Why dost thou grieve yet. O son, O mighty-armed one, ruling thy large ancestral kingdom swelling with people and wealth, thou shinest as splendidly as the chief of the celestials in heaven. Thou art possessed of wisdom. It behoveth thee to tell me what can be the root of this grief that hath made thee so melancholy.

“Duryodhana replied,—‘I am a sinful wretch, O king, because I eat and dress beholding (the prosperity of the foes). It hath been said that man is a wretch who is not filled with jealousy at the sight of his enemy’s prosperity. O exalted one, this kind of prosperity of mine doth not gratify me. Beholding that blazing prosperity of the son of Kunti, I am very much pained. I tell thee strong must be my vitality, in as much as I am living even at the sight of the whole earth owning the sway of Yudhishthira. The Nipas, the Chitrakas, the Kukkuras, the Karaskaras, and the Lauha-janghas are living in the palace of Yudhishthira like bondsmen. The Himavat, the ocean, the regions on the sea-shore, and the numberless other regions that yield jewels and gems, have all acknowledged superiority of the mansion of Yudhishthira in respect of wealth it containeth. And, O Monarch, regarding me as the eldest and entitled to respect, Yudhishthira having received me respectfully, appointed me in receiving the jewels and gems (that were brought as tribute). O Bharata, the limit and the like of the excellent and invaluable jewels that were brought there have not been seen. And O king, my hands were fatigued in receiving that wealth. And when I was tired, they that brought those valuable articles from distant regions used to wait till I was able to resume my labour. Bringing jewels from the lake Vindu, the Asura architect Maya constructed (for the Pandavas) a lake-like surface made of crystal. Beholding the (artificial) lotuses with which it was filled, I mistook it, O king for water. And seeing me draw up my clothes (while about to cross it), Vrikodara (Bhima) laughed at me, regarding me as wanting in jewels and having lost my head at the sight of the affluence of my enemy. If I had the ability, I would, O king, without the loss of a moment, slay Vrikodara for that. But, O monarch, if we endeavour to slay Bhima now, without doubt, ours will be the fate of Sisupala. O Bharata, that insult by the foe burneth me. Once again, O king, beholding a similar lake that is really full of water but which I mistook for a crystal surface, I fell into it. At that, Bhima with Arjuna once more laughed derisively, and Draupadi also accompanied by other females joined in the laughter. That paineth my heart exceedingly. My apparel having been wet, the menials at the command of the king gave me other clothes. That also is my great sorrow.