“Dhritarashtra said. ’O Yudhishthira, art thou in peace and happiness, with all thy brothers and the inhabitants of the city and the provinces? Are they that live in dependance on thee also happy? Are they ministers, and servitors, and all thy seniors and preceptors also, happy? Are those also that live in thy dominions free from fear? Dost thou follow the old and traditional conduct of rulers of men? Is thy treasury filled without disregarding the restraints imposed by justice and equity? Dost thou behave as thou shouldst towards foes, neutrals, and allies? Dost thou duly look after the Brahmanas, always making them the first gifts (ordained in sacrifices and religious rites)? What need I say of the citizens, and thy servants, and kinsmen,—are they foes, O chief of Bharata’s race, gratified with thy behaviour? Dost thou, O king of kings, adore with devotion the Pitris and the deities? Dost thou worship guests with food and drink, O Bharata? Do the Brahmanas in thy dominions, devoted to the duties of their order, walk along the path of righteousness? Do the Kshatriyas and Vaisyas and Sudras also within thy kingdom, and all thy relatives, observe their respective duties? I hope the women, the children, and the old, among thy subjects, do not grieve (under distress) and do not beg (the necessaries of life). Are the ladies of thy household duly honoured in thy house, O best of men? I hope, O monarch, that this race of royal sages, having obtained thee for their king, have not fallen away from fame and glory.’
“Vaisampayana continued, ’Unto the old king who said so, Yudhishthira, conversant with morality and justice, and well-skilled in acts and speech, spoke as follows, putting some questions about his welfare.’
“Yudhishthira said, ’Doth thy peace, O king, thy self-restraint, thy tranquillity of heart, grow? Is this my mother able to serve thee without fatigue and trouble? Will, O king, her residence in the woods be productive of fruits? I hope this queen, who is my eldest mother, who is emaciated with (exposure to) cold and wind and the toil of walking, and who is now devoted to the practice of severe austerities, no longer gives way, to grief for her children of mighty energy, all of whom, devoted to the duties of the Kshatriya order, have been slain on the field of battle. Does she accuse us, sinful wretches, that are responsible for their slaughter? Where is Vidura, O king? We do not see him here. I hope this Sanjaya, observant of penances, is in peace and happiness.
“Vaisampayana continued, ’Thus addressed, Dhritarashtra answered king Yudhishthira, saying,—’O son. Vidura is well. He is performing austere penances, subsisting on air alone, for he abstains from all other food. He is emaciated and his arteries and nerves have become visible. Sometimes he is seen in this empty forest by Brahmanas.’ While Dhritarashtra was saying this Vidura was seen