“Sakuni said,—O thou foremost of victorious persons, I will snatch (for thee) this prosperity of Yudhishthira, the son of Pandu, at the sight of which thou grievest so. Therefore, O king, let Yudhishthira the son of Kunti be summoned. By throwing dice a skilful man, himself uninjured, may vanquish one that hath no skill. Know, O Bharata, that betting is my bow, the dice are my arrows, the marks on them my bow-string, and the dice-board my car.
“Duryodhana said,—’This Sukuni skilled at dice, is ready, O king, to snatch the prosperity of the son of Pandu by means of dice. It behoveth thee to give him permission.
“Dhritarashtra said,—’I am obedient to the counsels of my brother, the illustrious Vidura. Consulting with him, I shall tell what should be done in this matter.
“Duryodhana said,—’Vidura is always engaged in doing good to the sons of Pandu. O Kaurava, his feelings towards us are otherwise. He will, therefore, without doubt, withdraw thy heart from the proposed act. No man should set himself to any task depending upon the counsels of another, for, O son of Kuru’s race, the minds of two persons seldom agree in any particular act. The fool that liveth shunning all causes of fear wasteth himself like an insect in the rainy season. Neither sickness nor Yama waiteth till one is in prosperity. So long, therefore, as there is life and health, one should (without waiting for prosperity) accomplish his purpose.’
“Dhritarashtra said,—’O son, hostility with those that are strong, is what never recommendeth itself to me. Hostility bringeth about a change of feelings, and that itself is a weapon though not made of steel. Thou regardest, O Prince, as a great blessing what will bring in its train the terrible consequences of war. What is really fraught with mischief. If once it beginneth, it will create sharp swords and pointed arrows.’
“Duryodhana replied,—’Men of the most ancient times invented the use of dice. There is no destruction in it, nor is there any striking with, weapons. Let the words of Sakuni, therefore, be acceptable to thee, and let thy command be issued for the speedy construction of the assembly house. The door of heaven, leading us to such happiness, will be opened to us by gambling. Indeed, they that betake to gambling (with such aid) deserve such good fortune. The Pandavas then will become thy equals (instead of, as now, superiors); therefore, gamble thou with the Pandavas.