Vasudeva said, “O messenger Sanjaya! In the same manner that I want to save the Pandavas from destruction and bestow wealth, success and prosperity upon them and win their love and affection, I also want to be a well-wisher to King Dhrutharashtra of many sons and see them rise.
Messenger! I also desire that there is only peace between both the sides. “O sons of Kunti! Reconcile with the Kauravas and make peace with them” is the only thing that I repeat to the Pandavas. I hear the same sweet words from the lips of King Yudhishtira and I also believe this to be right.
Sanjaya! Even though King Yudhishtira has expressed reiterating the need for peace with matters of the kingdoms, it appears that this will be very arduous. Dhrutharashtra along with his sons have become very attached to the kingdom and is desirous of taking it for themselves. Under such circumstances, how can the dissension between Kauravas and Pandavas not escalate?
Sanjaya! You know very well that there cannot be any omission of dharma on the part of Myself and Yudhishtira and therefore, what is the basis for your questions about the supposed omission of dharma by Yudhishtira and doubt over abidance in dharma when the sons of Pandu especially Yudhishtira are so eager and enthusiastic to observe dharma and follow the guidelines of grihasthashram as prescribed in the scriptures?
There are different opinions held by those who are well-versed in the Vedas and scriptures on the tenets of grihasthashram and their observance as well as on the subject of renunciation even though they have been laid down very clearly in the scriptures.
There are opinions which mention that one can take the path of karma yoga even while observing grihasthashram and attain the heavenly worlds but there are others who say that one should renunciate karma and take refuge in jnāna to attain liberation. Even a well-versed scholar cannot be satisfied in this universe unless he partakes food and drink and therefore, there are certain rules in place even for wise brahmans to partake food and drink to satisfy his basic needs and requirements.
The fruits of those sciences and knowledge that lead to accumulation of karma are only discernible but those of other sciences and knowledge are not. The fruits of karma is only evident here in both the science and knowledge and in karma itself. A thirsty man quenches his thirst only after drinking water and not by knowing about it and therefore, to perform one’s rightful duties while observing and following the principles of grihasthashram as laid down in the scriptures is considered to be the best.
Sanjaya! The method and path of jnāna is also to take karma into consideration and along the same path and hence, even in the path of jnāna, karma is present. Those who exclude karma and consider that renunciation of karma is the best way are said to be weak and their story/path is meaningless.
The devathas are glorified in the heavenly worlds because of karma. Vayudev embraces karma to envelop the whole universe and Suryadev also sets aside laziness and takes part day and night through karma to rise everyday.
Chandra also gives up laziness and attains maasa, paksh and nakshatra yoga through karma. Similarly Jaataveda/Agnidev also performs duties and karma for the universe bereft of laziness and spreads his radiance and brilliance and acquires his inflammability.
Prithvidevi also is devoid of laziness and carries the weight and burden of this mighty earth on the foundation of karma. The rivers also set aside laziness and quench the thirst of all the animals and beings with the waters flowing rapidly.
Those who are bereft of lassitude and observe Brahmacharya with the desire to attain the most coveted stature amongst devathas, they like the resplendent mighty Indra who also gives up laziness and takes the path of karma also send timely showers of rain downwards spreading in all directions in the wide expanse of space.
Indra renunciated those things that bring pleasure and which are dear to the mind to engage in his rightful duty and on the strength of that has attained the most coveted position among the devathas. Being aware, he observed and adopted the principles of satya, dharma, indriyasayam, sahiṣṇutā, samadarshithā and practised the behaviour that is most excellent and dear to all. Indra attained the supreme position of the King of the devathas because he was endowed with the superior exalted qualities.
Similarly, Brihaspati also gave up pleasure to instead follow the appropriate guidelines and practices with equanimity and austerity and self-restraint and kept all his sensory organs under control observing Brahmacharya. He attained the honourable stature of the Guru of the devathas because of the influence of these fine qualities. All the stars in space are radiant because of the influence of these fine qualities. Rudra, Aditya and Vasu and other devathas of the universe have attained their might and brilliance on the strength of their karma.
Messenger! Yamaraja, the son of Viśravas namely Kubera, Gandharva, Yaksha and other Apsaras are residing in the heavenly worlds because of their different karmas. Even Maharshis who observe and practice Brahmacharya and are endowed with Brahmajnāna dazzle in the heavenly worlds on the strength of their karma.
Sanjaya! You are well-aware of this supreme famous dharma of exalted brahman, kshatriya, vaishya and the entire universe. You are the foremost jnāni among jnānis and therefore, how can you also spread the cobwebs to satisfy the selfish desires of the Kauravas?
King Yudhishtira remains constantly immersed in the Self in self-introspection and self-study besides studying the Vedas and scriptures. Similarly, He also remains an active participant in Ashwamedha and Rajasuya and other yagnas. He is adorned with a bow and wears an armour. There is no dearth of elephants, horses and other vehicles, chariots and knowledge of weapons for Him.
These sons of Kunti are capable of devising another solution to take back the kingdom without killing the Kauravas and hence, please understand that we are eager to bestow Bhimasena with the undiscovered accolades through the Arya purushas for exhibiting extraordinary loyalty and dedication to upholding and protecting dharma.
Pandavas are apt in the karma, duties and tenets of war of their ancestors and if they fall to their death while performing their rightful duty, then their death will be considered to be excellent.
If you feel that peace is the right way, then please tell me which is better of the two – to follow the principles of the war and abide by their dharma as they are kings or to run away from war? If you have something to say about the subject of kshatriya dharma, then I am eager to hear it.
Sanjaya! See the karma of the first namely brahman as well of the other four varnas and then see the individual karma of the different varnas. Then see the karma of the Pandavas and thereafter, whatever is your thought and understanding of the same, you either praise or criticize.
Brahmans should study the Vedas and scriptures, perform yagnas and charitable acts and visit sacred and important kshetras of worship, should impart knowledge to their students and perform yagnas for people and accept dhāna only as per the principles laid down in the scriptures.
Likewise, kshatriyas should also study the Vedas and scriptures, perform yagnas and charitable acts and should not appeal for any object. They should neither perform another’s yagna nor should they take up the duty of teaching. This is the ancient dharma mentioned in the Dharma shastras for kshatriyas.
Besides this, kshatriya should be cautious and aware of dharma and protect the people, perform charitable acts, perform yagnas, study all the Vedas and scriptures and get married and observe a daily routine of doing good deeds and remain in grihasthashram. Thus, that dharmātma obeys the dharma of kshatriyas accumulating good and will go to Brahmaloka as per his desire and wish.
Vaishyas should study the Vedas and scriptures, engage in farming the land, protecting cows and earn a living through profession/business and should maintain caution to protect the dharma. They should adore Brahmans and kshatriyas and obey dharma accumulating good and remain in grihasthashram.
Sudras should serve the Brahmans and offer salutations to them and should not study the Vedas and scriptures. They are forbidden from performing yagnas. They should always be earnest and hardworking striving for their well-being bereft of laziness. Thus, is the ancient dharma of sudras.
A king has to be cautious and upon understanding the different varnas has to engage them in the dharma of the different varnas accordingly. He should not become attached to the pleasures of desirous objects and should look upon and treat all the subjects with equanimity and should never indulge in evil desires.
If a king thinks that the presence of an exalted virtuous person will be in the best interest of the kingdom, then he should surrender the virtues and vices of all the subjects to him and should ascertain if there is any wrongdoing of any kind happening in the kingdom from him.
When a cruel and evil man is eyeing the wealth and prosperity of another and is desirous of taking it away from him, he will put together an army incurring the wrath of the Creator and this is how opportunity for war is created between kings. Kavacha, astrashastra and dhanush have been contrived for this war only.
The King of the devathas namely Indra has invented this kavacha, astrashastra and dhanush to kill these marauders.
Kings receive goodwill only by killing thieves and looters. Sanjaya! The vice of marauding/looting in the Kauravas is emanating swiftly which is not good. They are scholars in adharma and do not know anything about dharma.
King Dhrutharashtra has joined with his sons and suddenly is bent upon snatching the rightful kingdom of the Pandavas attained on dharma from their ancestors. The rest of the Kauravas are also following them. They are not looking at the ancient raja dharma.
In both the scenarios of a thief who hides in a corner attempting to steal and likewise launches a frontal attack to loot are matters to be condemned. Sanjaya! You tell me what is the difference between the sons of Dhrutharashtra and those thieves and marauders?
Duryodhana is one who is quick to anger and behaves accordingly and he wants to take away the kingdom because of his greed. He accepts this as dharma but that portion belongs to the Pandavas which has been kept as a deposit with the Kauravas for the time being. Sanjaya! How can the Kauravas who are animus to us take our portion from us?
Messenger! If we are to be killed in the battle while trying to attain this portion of the kingdom, then that is desirable. It is better to expect the kingdom of our ancestors rather than seek another. Sanjaya! You should elaborate on the ancient dharma of the kings in detail in the congregation of kings in the Kaurava sabha.
All those called to fight by Duryodhana are foolish kings who have become deluded by their strength and are staring at the jaws of death. Sanjaya! The exceedingly evil deeds of the Kauravas must be brought to the notice of the entire sabha by you.
The dear glorious wife of the Pandavas, namely Draupadi who is endowed with virtue and ethics was brought into the sabha when she was menstruating in such a shameful manner but Bheeshma and other leaders of the Kauravas ignored her distress and embarrassment.
If everyone from a child to an elderly person from the Kauravas had stopped Dusshaasana, then King Dhrutharashtra would have acted in manner extremely dear to Me and even his sons would have received their heartfelt wishes and desires.
Dusshaasana dragged Draupadi against all norms of grace, respect and etiquette into the sabha witnessed by a large congregation of family members. Draupadi pleaded mercifully with everyone there but found none to protect her with the exception of Vidura.
There were many monarchs assembled there at that time but they did not object to this grave injustice because of their cowardice. At one time, Vidura objected to this gross injustice explaining his dharma to the foolish Duryodhana trying to convince him with words in accordance with dharma.
Sanjaya! You want to forget the injustice that occurred during the game of dice in the sabha and teach the son of Pandu, Yudhishtira about dharma? Draupadi did an extraordinarily punishing and pure thing that day in the sabha which is that she saved both the Pandavas and herself from an enormous crisis similar to how a boat is saved from drowning in the unfathomable waters of the ocean.
Krishnaa/Draupadi was standing near her family but still Suta putra, Karna insulted her by saying, “Yāgyaseni! There is no other option for you now but to become a daasi and go to Duryodhana’s mahal. Pandavas have lost themselves in the gamble and that means that they are no longer your husbands. Bhāvini! Now, you accept another as your husband”.
The words that came out of Karna were indeed very grievous like arrows of cruel words meant to hurt the body. They entered through the ears penetrating into the bones and pierced the heart of Arjuna. Those same arrows of cruel words which are meant to injure and hurt causing pain is still piercing the heart of Arjuna.
When the Pandavas were getting ready to leave for the forest wearing the dark deer skin, then Dusshaasana said many hurtful things to them, “All these eunuchs are destroyed now and will fall into the pit of hell forever.”
The King of Gandhar, Shakuni had cunningly told Kuntinandan, Yudhishtira while playing the game of dice that now that you have lost your youngest brother, what else do you have? Therefore, now you put Drupadnandini, Draupadi at stake and continue to gamble.
Sanjaya! How many can I count? You are well aware of how many more similar condemnable words were said during the game of dice and I want to go to Hastinapura to settle this deteriorating situation Myself.
If without destroying the selfishness of the Pandavas, I am successful in negotiating a reconciliation/pact with the Kauravas, then I will consider that a supreme, pure, great and progressive work has been achieved and even the Kauravas will escape the jaws of death.
I will go over there and on the basis of Shukraniti, enunciate words of dharma and artha that will quell violent acts. Will the sons of Dhrutharashtra ponder over My words? Will the leaders of the Kauravas honour Me accordingly when I am in their midst?
Sanjaya! If it does not happen like that and the Kauravas behave in an inimical manner, then understand this that all the evil sons of Dhrutharashtra will lose to Arjuna who sits in the chariot and Bhimasena who is wearing his armour in readiness for war and will burn for their own evil acts.
When the Pandavas lost in the game of dice, Duryodhana had uttered many terrifying and harsh words at that time and therefore, Bhimasena who is ever cautious and watchful will take the gada in his hand at the time of war and remind Duryodhana of those words.
Duryodhana is like a colossal tree of angry disposition, Karna is that tree’s branch, Shakuni is the stem and Dusshaasana is the rich complete fruits-flowers of the tree. The ignorant King Dhrutharashtra is its root.
Yudhishtira is the mighty inestimable tree of dharma. Arjuna is the branch of that tree, Bhimasena is the stem and Mādrinandan, Nakul and Sahadeva are the prosperous wholesome fruits-flowers. I, Vedas and Brahman are this tree’s root.
Sanjaya! King Dhrutharashtra along with all his sons is one forest and Pandavas is the tiger residing in that forest. A forest protected by lions is not destroyed and likewise the lion that is protected by the forest will also not get destroyed and therefore, that forest should not be obliterated.
The reason is that the tiger that leaves the forest is killed and in the absence of the tiger the forest is destroyed very easily by people. Hence, the tiger should protect the forest and in return the forest should protect the tiger.
Sanjaya! The sons of Dhrutharashtra are like creepers and Pandavas are like the Shāla vriksh. No creeper can grow without taking support of some mighty tree.
The sons of Kunti who annihilate enemies are willing to do seva for Dhrutharashtra and are willing to go to war. Now whatever is the duty of King Dhrutharashtra, he should follow that accordingly.
O Wise Sanjaya! The mighty Pandavas who observe and follow dharma scrupulously are ready for peace and reconciliation and are also equally competent in war. Please understand both these positions and inform King Dhrutharashtra accordingly of these.”
[Sanjaya-yāna Parva – Lord Krishna replying to Sanjaya and cautioning Dhrutharashtra – Chapter 29 of Udyoga Parva – Slokas 1 –58]