“The citizens then sent to Dhritarashtra to inform him that the Pandavas along with (Duryodhana’s) counsellor Purochana had been burnt to death. King Dhritarashtra, on hearing the evil news of the death of the Pandavas, wept in great sorrow. And he said, ’King Pandu, my brother of great fame, hath, indeed, died today when those heroic sons of his together with their mother have been burnt to death. Ye men, repair quickly to Varanavata and cause the funeral rites to be performed of those heroes and of the daughter of Kuntiraj! Let also the bones of the deceased be sanctified with the usual rites, and let all the beneficial and great acts (usual on such occasions) be performed. Let the friends and relatives of those that have been burnt to death repair thither. Let also all other beneficial acts that ought, under the circumstances, to be performed by us for the Pandavas and Kunti be accomplished by wealth.’
“Having said this, Dhritarashtra, the son of Ambika, surrounded by his relatives, offered oblations of water to the sons of Pandu. And all of them, afflicted with excessive sorrow, bewailed aloud, exclaiming, ’O Yudhishthira! Oh prince of the Kuru race!’—While others cried aloud, ’Oh, Bhima!—O Phalguna!’—while some again,—’Oh, the twins!—Oh, Kunti!’—Thus did they sorrow for the Pandavas and offer oblations of water unto them. The citizens also wept for the Pandavas but Vidura did not weep much, because he knew the truth.
“Meanwhile the Pandavas endued with great strength with their mother forming a company of six going out of the town of Varanavata arrived at the banks of the Ganga. They then speedily reached the opposite bank aided by the strength of the boatmen’s arms, the rapidity of the river’s current, and a favourable wind. Leaving the boat, they proceeded in the southern direction finding their way in the dark by the light of the stars. After much suffering they at last reached, O king, a dense forest. They were then tired and thirsty; sleep was closing their eyes every moment. Then Yudhishthira, addressing Bhima endued with great energy, said, ’What can be more painful than this? We are now in the deep woods. We know not which side is which, nor can we proceed much further. We do not know whether that wretch Purochana hath or hath not been burnt to death. How shall we escape from these dangers unseen by others? O Bharata, taking us on thyself, proceed thou as before. Thou alone amongst us art strong and swift as the wind.’
“Thus addressed by Yudhishthira the just, the mighty Bhimasena, taking up on his body Kunti and his brothers, began to proceed with great celerity.’”
(Jatugriha Parva continued)