Vidura, true and ever devoted to him. There is
nothing that the learned Vidura doth not know.
As his, so ours art thou. Make no difference between
him and us. We are as much thine as his.
O, protect us as the learned Vidura ever protecteth
us. I know that this house, so inflammable, hath
been contrived for me by Purochana at the command
of Dhritarashtra’s son. That wicked wretch
commanding wealth and allies pursueth us without intermission.
O, save us with a little exertion from the impending
conflagration. If we are burnt to death here,
Duryodhana’s most cherished desire will be satisfied.
Here is that wretch’s well-furnished arsenal.
This large mansion hath been built abutting the high
ramparts of the arsenal without any outlet. But
this unholy contrivance of Duryodhana was known to
Vidura from the first, and he it was who enlightened
us beforehand. The danger of which Kshattri had
foreknowledge is now at our door. Save us from
it without Purochana’s knowledge thereof.’
On hearing these words, the miner said, ‘So
be it,’ and carefully beginning his work of
excavation, made a large subterranean passage.
And the mouth of that passage was in the centre of
that house, and it was on a level with the floor and
closed up with planks. The mouth was so covered
from fear of Purochana, that wicked wretch who kept
a constant watch at the door of the house. The
Pandavas used to sleep within their chambers with arms
ready for use, while, during the day, they went a-hunting
from forest to forest. Thus, O king, they lived
(in that mansion) very guardedly, deceiving Purochana
by a show of trustfulness and contentment while in
reality they were trustless and discontented.
Nor did the citizens of Varanavata know anything about
these plans of the Pandavas. In fact, none else
knew of them except Vidura’s friend, that good
(Jatugriha Parva continued)
“Vaisampayana said, ’Seeing the Pandavas
living there cheerfully and without suspicion for
a full year, Purochana became exceedingly glad.
And beholding Purochana so very glad, Yudhishthira,
the virtuous son of Kunti, addressing Bhima and Arjuna
and the twins (Nakula and Sahadeva) said, ’The
cruel-hearted wretch hath been well-deceived.
I think the time is come for our escape. Setting
fire to the arsenal and burning Purochana to death
and letting his body lie here, let us, six persons,
fly hence unobserved by all!’
“Vaisampayana continued, ’Then on the
occasion of an almsgiving, O king, Kunti fed on a
certain night a large number of Brahmanas. There
came also a number of ladies who while eating and
drinking, enjoyed there as they pleased, and with
Kunti’s leave returned to their respective homes.
Desirous of obtaining food, there came, as though impelled
by fate, to that feast, in course of her wanderings,
a Nishada woman, the mother of five children, accompanied
by all her sons. O king, she, and her children,