“Soota continued ‘Vyaasa has fully represented the greatness of the house of Kuru, the principles of Dharma of Gaandhari, the wisdom of Vidura, and the constancy of Kunti. The noble Rishi (Veda Vyaasa) has also described the divinity of Vaasudeva (Sri Krishna), the Dharma of Paandavas, and the evil practices of the sons and followers of Dhritarashtra.
“Vyaasa executed the compilation of the (Maha)Bharata, exclusive of the episodes originally in twenty-four thousand (24,000) verses; and so much only is called by the learned as the (Maha)Bharata. Afterwards, he (Veda Vyaasa) composed a summary (of Mahabharata) in one hundred and fifty (150) verses, consisting of the introduction with the chapter of contents. This he (Veda Vyaasa) first taught to his son Shuka; and afterwards he gave it to others of his disciples who were possessed of the same qualifications (as his son Shuka).
“After that he executed another compilation, consisting of six hundred thousand (600,000) verses. Of those, thirty hundred thousand (300,000 verses) are known in the world of Devas; fifteen hundred thousand (150,000 verses) in the world of Pitris (Pitris means ancestors); fourteen hundred thousand (140,000 verses) among Gandharvas, and one hundred thousand (100,000 verses of Mahabharata are) in the regions of mankind.
“(Devarishi) Naarada recited them (Mahabharata verses) to Devas, (Rishi) Devala to Pitris, and (Rishi) Shuka published them to Gandharvas, Yakshas, and Raakshasaas; and in this (human) world they (Mahabharata verses) were recited by (Rishi) Vaishampaayana, one of the disciples of Vyaasa, a man of Dharmic principles and the first among all those knowledgeable with Vedas. Know that I, Soota, have also repeated one hundred thousand verses.
“Yudhishthira is a vast tree, formed of Dharma and virtue; Arjuna is its (that tree’s) trunk; Bhimasena – its branches; the two sons of Maadri (Nakula and Sahadeva) are its full-grown fruit and flowers; and its (the tree’s) roots are (Sri) Krishna, (Lord) Brahma, and Brahmanas.
“(King) Paandu, after having brought under many countries by his knowledge and skills, took up his residence with Munis in a certain forest as a sportsman (hunting being the sport), where he brought upon himself a very severe misfortune for having killed a deer (that was) coupling with its mate, which served as a warning for the behaviour of the princes of his (Kuru) house as long as they lived. Their mothers (wives of King Paandu), in order that the Dharma of Upanishads might be fulfilled, admitted as substitutes (for the actual husband Paandu) to their embraces the Devas Dharma, Vaayu, Shakra (Lord Indra), and the divinities the twin Ashwins (Ashwini Devas). When their children (the Paandavaas) grew up, under the care of their two mothers (Kunti and Maadri), in the society of Rishis, in the middle of sacred group of trees and holy Tapaswi Ashrama of men of Dharma, they were guided by Rishis into the presence of (King) Dhritarashtra and his sons, following as students in the habit of Brahmachaaris, having their hair tied in knots on their heads. They (Rishis) said, ‘These our pupils are as your sons, your brothers, and your friends; they are Paandavaas.’ Saying this, the Munis disappeared.
“When the Kauravaaaas saw them introduced as Paandavaas, the distinguished class of citizens shouted exceedingly for joy. However, some said, they were not the sons of Paandu; others said, they were; while a few asked how they could be his (Paandu’s) children, seeing he had been so long dead. Still on all sides voices (Asariri in Sanskrit) were heard crying, ‘They (Paandavaas) are on all accounts welcome! Through divine sight we see the family of Paandu! Let their welcome be announced!’ As these acclamation (of Asariri) stopped, the praise of invisible spirits, causing every point of the sky to resound, were tremendous. There were showers of sweet-scented flowers, and the sound of shells (Shanka in Sanskrit) and kettle-drums (Dhundhubi in Sanskrit). Such were the wonders that happened on the arrival of the young princes (Paandavaas). The joyful noise of all the citizens, in expression of their satisfaction on the occasion, was so great that it reached the very heavens in magnifying praise.
“Having studied the whole of Vedas and various other Shaastraaas, the Paandavaas resided there, respected by all and without fear from any one.
“The main men were pleased with the purity of Yudhishthira, the courage of Arjuna, the submissive attention of Kunti to her superiors, and the humility of the twins, Nakula and Sahadeva; and all the people rejoiced in their heroic virtues.
“After a while, Arjuna obtained the virgin Krishna (known as Draupadi) at the Swayamvara, in the middle of an assembly of Rajas, by performing a very difficult feat of archery. From this time, he (Arjuna) became very much respected in this world among all bowmen; and in battlefields also, like the Sun, he was hard to see by enemy-men. Having defeated all the neighbouring princes and every considerable tribe (Gana in Sanskrit), he accomplished all that was necessary for the Raja (his eldest brother Yudhishthira) to perform the great yagna called Rajasooya.
“Yudhishthira, after having, through the wise advise of Vaasudeva (Sri Krishna) and by the courage of Bhimasena and Arjuna, slain Jarasandha (the king of Magadha) and the proud Chaidya (popularly known as Shishupala), acquired the right to perform the grand yagna of Rajasooya abounding in supply, offering and filled with exceeding the usual limits of merits.
“Duryodhana came to this (Rajasooya) yagna; and when he saw the vast wealth of Paandavaas scattered all around, the offerings, the precious stones, gold and jewels; the wealth in cows, elephants, horses; the curious textures, garments, and mantles; the precious shawls, furs and carpets made of the skin of Ranku (deer); he was filled with jealously and became exceedingly displeased.
“When he saw the hall of Sabha elegantly constructed by Maayaa (the Asura chief architect) after the fashion of a Devasabha, he was inflamed with anger. Having moved in confusion at certain architectural deceptions within this building, he was made fun by Bhimasena in the presence of Vaasudeva (Sri Krishna), like one of low descent (of family).
“It was represented to Dhritarashtra that his son (Duryodhana), while consuming of various objects of enjoyment and diverse precious things, was becoming thin, weak, and pale. Dhritarashtra, sometime after, out of affection for his son (Duryodhana), gave his approval to their playing (with Paandavaas) at dice. Vaasudeva (Sri Krishna) coming to know of this, became exceedingly angry. Being dissatisfied, he did nothing to prevent the disputes, but overlooked the gaming and various other terrible unjustifiable transactions arising therefrom: and in spite of Vidura, Bhishma, Drona, and Kripa – the son of Sharadwana, He (Sri Krishna) made Kshatriyas kill each other in the terrific war that resulted.
“Dhritarashtra hearing the ill news of the success of Paandavaas (in the Bharata war) and recollecting the aims of Duryodhana, Karna, and Shakuni, thought for a while and addressed to Sanjaya the following speech:–
‘O Sanjaya, be there (and listen) to all I am about to say, and it will not be good for you to treat me with disrespect. You are well-versed in Shaastraas, intelligent and provided with knowledge. My inclination was never to war, not did I delight in the destruction of my (Kuru) race. I made no distinction between my own children and the children of Paandu. My own sons were open to disobedience and disliked me because I am old. As I am blind, because of my miserable situation and through fatherly affection, I tolerated it all. I was foolish to alter the thoughtless Duryodhana ever growing in foolishness. Having been a spectator of the riches of the mighty Paandavaas, my son (Duryodhana) was made fun for his uneasiness while ascending the sabha. Unable to bear it all and unable himself to overcome Paandavaas in the (battle)field, and though a soldier, unwilling yet to obtain good fortune by his own effort, with the help of the king of Gaandhara (Shakuni) he jointly arranged an unfair game at dice.
‘Hear, O Sanjaya, all that happened thereupon and came to my knowledge. When you have heard all I say, recollecting everything as it happened, you shall then know me for one with a divine eye.
‘O Sanjaya, when I heard that Arjuna, having bent the bow, had pierced the strange mark and brought it down to the ground, and bore away in victory the young woman Krishna (popularly known as Draupadi), in the sight of the assembled princes, then I had no hope of success.
‘O Sanjaya, when I heard that Subhadra (Sri Krishna’s sister) of Madhu kula had, after forcible seizure been married by Arjuna in the city of Dwaraka, and that the two heroes of Vrishni kula (Sri Krishna and Balarama the brothers of Subhadra) without disliking it had entered Indraprastha as friends, then I had no hope of success.
‘O Sanjaya, when I heard that Arjuna, by his divine arrow preventing the downpour by (Lord) Indra, the king of Devas, had pleased Agni by making over to him the forest of Khaandava (Khaandava vana), then I had no hope of success.
‘O Sanjaya, when I heard that the five Paandavaas with their mother Kunti had escaped from the house of lac (Jaatugriha in Sanskrit), and that Vidura was engaged in the accomplishment of their designs (to escape), then I had no hope of success.
‘O Sanjaya, when I heard that Arjuna, after having pierced the mark in the arena had won Draupadi, and that the brave Paanchaalas had joined Paandavaas, then I had no hope of success.
‘O Sanjaya, when I heard that Jarasandha, the foremost of the royal line of Magadha, and blazing in the middle of the Kshatriyas, had been slain by Bhima with his bare arms alone, then I had no hope of success.
‘O Sanjaya, when I heard that in their general campaign Paandavaas had conquered the chiefs of the land and performed the grand Rajasooya yagna, then I had no hope of success.
‘O Sanjaya, when I heard that Draupadi, her voice choked with tears and heart full of pain, in the season of impurity (menstrual season) and with but one (piece of) cloth on, had been dragged into sabha and though she had protectors, she had been treated as if she had none, then I had no hope of success.
‘O Sanjaya, when I heard that the wicked wretch Duhshaasana, was trying to strip her of that single cloth, had only drawn from her person a large heap of cloth without being able to arrive at its end, then I had no hope of success.
‘O Sanjaya, when I heard that Yudhishthira, beaten by Saubala (Shakuni) at the game of dice and deprived of his kingdom as a consequence thereof, had still been attended upon by his brothers of incomparable skills, then I had no hope of success.
‘O Sanjaya, When I heard that the virtuous Paandavaas weeping with pain had followed their elder brother (Yudhishthira) to the wild (forest) and exerted themselves variously for the mitigation of his discomforts, then I had no hope of success.
‘O Sanjaya, when I heard that Yudhishthira had been followed into the wilderness by Snaatakas and noble-minded Brahmanas who live upon alms (Bhiksha in Sanskrit), then I had no hope of success.
‘O Sanjaya, when I heard that Arjuna, having, in fight, pleased the Devon ke Dev – Tryambaka (Lord Shiva) in the disguise of a hunter, obtained the great weapon Paashupata, then I had no hope of success.
‘O Sanjaya, when I heard that the Dharmavaan and famous Arjuna after having been to Devaloka, had there obtained divine weapons from (Lord) Indra Himself then I had no hope of success.
‘O Sanjaya, when I heard that afterwards Arjuna had vanquished Kaalakeyas and Paulomas (who were) proud with the boon they had obtained and which had rendered them (Kaalakeyas and Paulomas) invulnerable even to Devas, then I had no hope of success.
‘O Sanjaya, when I heard that Arjuna, the punisher of enemies, having gone to Indraloka for the destruction of Asuras, had returned from there successful, then I had no hope of success.
‘O Sanjaya, when I heard that Bhima and the other sons of Pritha (popularly known as Kunti) accompanied by Vaishravana (Lord Kubera) had arrived at that country which is inaccessible to man then I had no hope of success.
‘O Sanjaya, when I heard that my sons, guided by the advise of Karna, while on their journey of Ghoshayatra, had been taken prisoners by Gandharvas and were set free by Arjuna, then I had no hope of success.
‘O Sanjaya, when I heard that Dharma (the God of justice) having come under the form of a Yaksha had proposed certain questions to Yudhishthira then I had no hope of success.
‘O Sanjaya, when I heard that my sons had failed to discover Paandavaas under their disguise while residing with Draupadi in the territory of Virata (kingdom), then I had no hope of success.
‘O Sanjaya, when I heard that the main men of my side had all been defeated by the noble Arjuna with a single chariot while residing in the territory of Virata, then I had no hope of success.
‘O Sanjaya, when I heard that Vaasudeva (Sri Krishna) of the race of Madhu, who covered this whole earth by one foot, was heartily interested in the welfare of Paandavaas, then I had no hope of success.
‘O Sanjaya, when I heard that the king of Matsya (the king of Virata), had offered his virtuous daughter Uttara to Arjuna and that Arjuna had accepted her for his son (Abhimanyu), then I had no hope of success.
‘O Sanjaya, when I heard that Yudhishthira, beaten at dice, deprived of wealth, exiled and separated from his connections, had assembled yet an army of seven Akshauhinis (i.e. 1,53,090 chariots; 1,53,090 elephants; 4,59,270 cavalry; 7,65,450 infantry), then I had no hope of success.
‘O Sanjaya, when I heard (Devarishi) Naarada, declare that (Sri) Krishna and Arjuna were Nara and Narayana and he (Devarishi Naarada) had seen them together in Brahmaloka, then I had no hope of success.
‘O Sanjaya, when I heard that (Sri) Krishna, anxious to bring about peace, for the welfare of mankind had travelled to Kurus, and went away without having been able to fulfil His purpose, then I had no hope of success.
‘O Sanjaya, when I heard that Karna and Duryodhana resolved upon imprisoning (Sri) Krishna displayed in Himself the whole universe, then I had no hope of success.
‘O Sanjaya, when I heard that at the time of His (Sri Krishna’s) departure, Pritha (popularly known as Kunti) standing, full of sorrow, near His chariot received consolation from (Sri) Krishna, then I had no hope of success.
‘O Sanjaya, when I heard that Vaasudeva (Sri Krishna) and Bhishma – the son of Shantanu, were the advisers of Paandavaas and Drona – the son of Bharadwaja, pronounced blessings on them (Paandavaas), then I had no hope of success.
‘O Sanjaya, when Karna said to Bhishma – I will not fight when you are fighting – and, quitting the army, went away, then I had no hope of success.
‘O Sanjaya, when I heard that Vaasudeva (Sri Krishna) and Arjuna and the bow Gandiva of immeasurable capacity, these three of dreadful energy had come together, then I had no hope of success.
‘O Sanjaya, when I heard that upon Arjuna having been taken hold by hesitation on his chariot and ready to sink, (Sri) Krishna showed him all the worlds within His body, then I had no hope of success.
‘O Sanjaya, when I heard that Bhishma, the destroyer of enemies, killing ten thousand charioteers every day in the field of battle, had not slain any among Paandavaas then I had no hope of success.
‘O Sanjaya, when I heard that Bhishma, the Dharmaputra of Ganga, had himself indicated the means of his defeat in battlefield and that the same were accomplished by Paandavaas with joyfulness, then I had no hope of success.
‘O Sanjaya, when I heard that Arjuna, having placed Shikhandi before himself in his chariot, had wounded Bhishma of infinite courage and invincible in battle, then I had no hope of success.
‘O Sanjaya, when I heard that the aged hero Bhishma, having reduced the numbers of the race of Shomaka to a few (numbers), overcome with various wounds was lying on a bed of arrows, then I had no hope of success.
‘O Sanjaya, when I heard that upon Bhishma’s lying on the ground with thirst for water, Arjuna, being requested, had pierced the ground and quenched his thirst, then I had no hope of success.
‘O Sanjaya, when Vaayu together with (Lord) Indra and Surya united as allies for the success of the sons of Kunti, and the animals of prey (by their inauspicious presence) were putting us in fear, then I had no hope of success.
‘O Sanjaya, when the wonderful warrior Drona, displaying various modes of fight in the field, did not slay any of the superior Paandavaas, then I had no hope of success.
‘O Sanjaya, when I heard that the Mahaarathaa Samshaptakas of our army appointed for the overthrow of Arjuna were all slain by Arjuna himself, then I had no hope of success.
‘O Sanjaya, when I heard that our arrangement of forces, impenetrable by others, and defended by Bharadwaja (Drona) himself well-armed, had been singly forced and entered by the brave son of Subhadra (Abhimanyu), then I had no hope of success.
‘O Sanjaya, when I heard that our Mahaarathaas unable to overcome Arjuna, with jubilant faces after having jointly surrounded and slain the boy Abhimanyu, then I had no hope of success.
‘O Sanjaya, when I heard that the blind Kauravaaaas were shouting for joy after having slain Abhimanyu and that immediately Arjuna in anger made his celebrated speech referring to Saindhava (popularly known as Jayadratha), then I had no hope of success.
‘O Sanjaya, when I heard that Arjuna had vowed the death of Saindhava (Jayadratha) and fulfilled his vow in the presence of his enemies, then I had no hope of success.
‘O Sanjaya, when I heard that upon the horses of Arjuna being tired, Vaasudeva (Sri Krishna) releasing them made them drink water and bringing them back and re-energising them continued to guide them as before, then I had no hope of success.
‘O Sanjaya, when I heard that while his horses were tired, Arjuna staying in his chariot checked all his attackers, then I had no hope of success.
‘O Sanjaya, when I heard that Yuyudhaana of Vrishni kula (popularly known as Saatyaki), after having thrown into confusion the army of Drona rendered unbearable in skills owing to the presence of elephants, went back where (Sri) Krishna and Arjuna were, then I had no hope of success.
‘O Sanjaya, when I heard that Karna even though he had got Bhima within his power allowed him to escape after only addressing him in insulting terms and dragging him with the end of his bow, then I had no hope of success.
‘O Sanjaya, When I heard that Drona, Kritavarma, Kripa, Karna, the son of Drona (Ashwatthaama), and the valiant king of Madra (Shalya) suffered Saindhava (Jayadratha) to be slain, then I had no hope of success.
‘O Sanjaya, when I heard that the Shakti astra given by (Lord) Indra (to Karna) was by Maadhava’s (Sri Krishna’s) plot caused to be hurled upon Raakshasaa Ghatotkacha of frightful appearance, then I had no hope of success.
‘O Sanjaya, When I heard that in the encounter between Karna and Ghatotkacha, that Shakti was hurled against Ghatotkacha by Karna, the same which was certainly to have slain Arjuna in battle, then I had no hope of success.
‘O Sanjaya, when I heard that Dhristadyumna, crossing the laws of battle, slew Drona while alone in his chariot and resolved on death, then I had no hope of success.
‘O Sanjaya, when I heard that Nakula, the son of Maadri, having in the presence of the whole army engaged in single combat with the son of Drona (Ashwatthaama) and showing himself equal to him drove his chariot in circles around, then I had no hope of success.
‘O Sanjaya, when upon the death of Drona, his son (Ashwatthaama) misused the weapon called Narayana (astra) but failed to achieve the destruction of Paandavaas, then I had no hope of success.
‘O Sanjaya, when I heard that Bhimasena drank the blood of his brother Duhshaasana in the battlefield without anybody being able to prevent him, then I had no hope of success.
‘O Sanjaya, when I heard that the infinitely brave Karna, invincible in battle, was slain by Arjuna in that war of brothers mysterious even to Devas, then I had no hope of success.
‘O Sanjaya, when I heard that Dharmavaan Yudhishthira, overcame the heroic son of Drona (Ashwatthaama), Duhshaasana, and the fierce Kritavarma, then I had no hope of success.
‘O Sanjaya, when I heard that the brave king of Madra (Shalya) who ever dared (Sri) Krishna in battle was slain by Yudhishthira, then I had no hope of success.
‘O Sanjaya, when I heard that the wicked Saubala (Shakuni) of magic power, the root of the gaming and the enmity, was slain in battle by Sahadeva, the son of Paandu, then I had no hope of success.
‘O Sanjaya, when I heard that Duryodhana, spent with tired, having gone to a lake and made a refuge for himself within its waters, was lying there alone, his strength gone and without a chariot, then I had no hope of success.
‘O Sanjaya, when I heard that the Paandavaas having gone to that lake accompanied by Vaasudeva (Sri Krishna) and standing on its shore began to address insultingly my son who was incapable of putting up with insults, then I had no hope of success.
‘O Sanjaya, when I heard that while, displaying in circles a variety of strange modes (of attack and defence) in an encounter with clubs (Gada in Sanskrit), he was unfairly slain according to the advice of (Sri) Krishna, then I had no hope of success.
‘O Sanjaya, when I heard the son of Drona (Ashwatthaama) and others by slaying the Paanchaalas and the sons of Draupadi in their sleep, committed a horrible and infamous action, then I had no hope of success.
‘O Sanjaya, when I heard that Ashwatthaama while being pursued by Bhimasena had discharged the first of weapons called Aishika, by which the embryo in the womb (of Uttara) was wounded, then I had no hope of success.
‘O Sanjaya, when I heard that the weapon Brahmashira (discharged by Ashwatthaama) was repelled by Arjuna with another weapon over which he had pronounced the word “Shasti” and that Ashwatthaama had to give up the jewel-like outgrowth on his head, then I had no hope of success.
‘O Sanjaya, when I heard that upon the embryo in the womb of Virata’s daughter (Uttara) being wounded by Ashwatthaama with a mighty weapon, Dwaipaayana (Rishi Veda Vyaasa) and (Sri) Krishna pronounced curses on him (Ashwatthaama), then I had no hope of success.
‘Alas! Gaandhari, without children, grand-children, parents, brothers, and relatives, is to be pitied. Difficult is the task that has been performed by Paandavaas; by them has a kingdom been recovered without a rival.
‘Alas! I have heard that the war has left only ten alive: three of our side, and the Paandavaas, seven, in that dreadful conflict eighteen Akshauhinis (3,93,660 chariots; 3,93,660 elephants; 11,80,980 cavalry; 19,68,300 infantry) of Kshatriyas have been slain! All around me is utter darkness, and a fit of faint attacks me; consciousness leaves me, O Soota (Sanjaya), and my mind is distracted.’
“Soota said, ‘Dhritarashtra, lamenting his fate in these words, was overcome with extreme pain and for a time deprived of sense; but being revived, he addressed Sanjaya in the following words:
‘After what has come to pass, O Sanjaya, I wish to put an end to my life without delay; I do not find the least advantage in cherishing it any longer.’
“Soota said, ‘The wise son of Gavalgana (Sanjaya) then addressed the distressed lord of Earth (Dhritarashtra) while thus talking and lamenting, sighing like a snake and repeatedly tainting, in words of deep meaning.
‘O Raja (Dhritarashtra), you have heard of the greatly powerful men of vast efforts, spoken of by Vyaasa and the wise (Devarishi) Naarada; men born of great royal families, magnificent with worthy qualities, versed in the science of divine weapons, and in glory emblems of (Lord) Indra; men who having conquered the world by justice and performed yagnas with fit offerings, obtained fame in this world and at last succumbed to the rule of time.
‘Such were Shaivya; the valiant Mahaarathaa; Srinjaya, great amongst conquerors. Suhotra; Rantideva, and Kakshivanta, great in glory; Balhika, Damana, Saryati, Ajita, and Nala; Vishwaamitra, the destroyer of enemies; Ambarisha, great in strength; Marutta, Manu, Ikshaku, Gaya, and Bharata; Rama, the son of Dasharatha; Sashavindu, and Bhagiratha; Kritaveerya, the greatly fortunate, and Janamejaya too; and Yayaati of good actions who performed yagnas, being assisted therein by Devas themselves, and by whose yagnakund and yagna stambha this earth with her habited and uninhabited regions has been marked all over.
‘These twenty-four Rajas were formerly spoken of by Devarishi Naarada to Shaivya when much pained for the loss of his children. Besides these, other Rajas had gone before, still more powerful than they, mighty charioteers noble in mind, and resplendent with every worthy quality.
‘These were Pooru, Kuru, Yadu, Sura and Vishwasrawa of great glory; Anuha, Yuvanaswu, Kaakutstha, Vikrami, and Raghu; Vijava, Virihorta, Anga, Bhava, Shweta, and Bripadguru; Ushinara, Shata-ratha, Kanka, Duliduha, and Druma; Dambhodbhava, Para, Vena, Sagara, Sankriti, and Nimi; Ajeya, Parasu, Pundra, Shambhu, and holy Deva-Vridha; Devahuya, Supratika, and Brihad-ratha; Mahatsaha, Vinitatma, Sukratu, and Nala, the king of the Nishadas; Satyavrata, Santabhaya, Sumitra, and the chief Subala; Janujangha, Anaaranya, Arka, Priyabhritya, Chuchi-vrata, Balabandhu, Nirmardda, Ketusringa, and Brhidbala; Dhrishtaketu, Brihatketu, Driptaketu, and Niramaya; Abikshit, Chapala, Dhurta, Kritbandhu, and Dridhe-shudhi; Mahapurana-sambhavya, Pratyanga, Paraha and Sruti.
‘O Chief (Dhritarashtra), these and other Rajas, we hear enumerated by hundreds and by thousands, and still others by millions, princes of great power and wisdom, quitting very abundant enjoyments met death as your sons have done! Their heavenly actions, valour, and generosity, their magnanimity, faith, truth, purity, simplicity and mercy, are published to the world in the records of former times by sacred poets of great learning. Though endued with every noble virtue, these have yielded up their lives.
‘Your sons were evil-minded, inflamed with passion, greedy, and of very evil-disposition. O Bharata (Dhritarashtra), you are versed in Shaastraaas and are intelligent and wise; they never sink under misfortunes whose understandings are guided by Shaastraaas. O prince, you are familiar with the gentleness and severity of fate; this anxiety therefore for the safety of your children is unsuitable. Moreover, it is your duty not to grieve for that which must happen: for who can avert, by his wisdom, the rule of fate? No one can leave the way marked out for him by fate.
‘Existence and non-existence, pleasure and pain all have Time for their root. Time creates all things and Time destroys all creatures. It is Time that burns creatures and it is Time that extinguishes the fire. All states, the good and the evil, in the three worlds, are caused by Time. Time cuts short all things and creates them anew. Time alone is awake when all things are asleep: indeed, Time is incapable of being overcome. Time passes over all things without being retarded. Knowing, as you do, that all things past and future and all that exist at the present moment, are the offspring of Time, it is your duty not to throw away your reason.’
“Soota said, ‘The son of Gavalgana (Sanjaya) having in this manner administered comfort to the royal Dhritarashtra buried with grief for his sons, then restored his mind to peace. Taking these facts for his subject, Dwaipaayana (Veda Vyaasa) composed a holy Upanishad (Mahabharata) that has been published to the world by learned and sacred poets in the Puranas composed by them.
“The study of the (Maha)Bharata is an act of Dharma. He that reads even one foot, with belief, has his sins entirely washed away. Herein Devas, Devarishis, and clean Brahmarishis of good actions, have been spoken of; and likewise Yakshas and great Uragas (Naagaas). Herein also has been described the eternal Vaasudeva (Sri Krishna) possessing the six attributes (Gnana, Vairagya, Aishwarya, Balaa, Sri and Keerthi). He is the true and Dharmavaan, the pure and holy, the eternal Brahma, the supreme soul, the true constant light, whose divine actions wise and learned recount; from whom has proceeded the non-existent and existent-non-existent universe with principles of generation and progression, and birth, death and re-birth. That also has been treated of which is called Adhyatma that consumes of the attributes of the five elements. That also has been described who is Purusha being above such labels as ‘undisplayed’ and the like; also that which the foremost Yatis exempt from the common destiny and endued with the power of meditation and Tapas see dwelling in their hearts as a reflected image in the mirror.
“The man of faith, devoted to Dharma, and constant in the exercise of Dharma, on reading this section is freed from sin. The believer that constantly hears recited this section of the Bharata, called the Introduction (Anukramanika in Sanskrit), from the beginning, falls not into difficulties. The man repeating any part of the introduction in the two twilights (Sandhya in Sanskrit) is during such act freed from sins contracted during the day or the night. This section, the body of the Bharata, is truth and nectar. As butter is in curd, Brahmana among Dwijas, the Aaranyaka among Vedas, and nectar among medicines; as the sea is eminent among receptacles of water, and the cow among four-legged creatures; as are these (among the things mentioned) so is the Bharata said to be among histories.
“He that causes it, even a single foot thereof, to be recited to Brahmanas during a Sraaddha, his offerings of food and drink to the spirit of his ancestors become inexhaustible.
“By the aid of history and the Puranas, the Veda may be explained; but the Veda is afraid of one of little information lest he should it. The learned man who recites to other this Veda of Vyaasa reaps advantage. It may without doubt destroy the sin of killing the embryo and the like. He that reads this holy chapter of the moon, reads the whole of the (Maha)Bharata, I suppose. The man who with respect daily listens to this sacred work acquires long life and renown and ascends to heaven.
“In former days, having placed the four Vedas on one side and the (Maha)Bharata on the other, these were weighed in the balance by Devas assembled for that purpose. As the latter weighed heavier than the four Vedas with their mysteries, from that period it has been called in the world Mahabharata (the great Bharata). Being esteemed superior both in substance and gravity of meaning it is denominated Mahabharata on account of such substance and gravity of meaning. He that knows its meaning is saved from all his sins.
“Tapa is innocent, study is harmless, the directions of Vedas prescribed for all the tribes (of humanity) are harmless, the acquisition of wealth by effort is harmless; but when they are abused in their practices it is then that they become sources of evil.’”