have passed more than a month in thus residing in
the woods. The station of sovereignty should
always be well guarded. O king, O thou of Kuru’s
race, [thy] kingdom has many foes.’ Thus
addressed by Vyasa of incomparable energy, the Kuru
king, well-versed in words, summoned Yudhishthira and
said unto him,—’O Ajatasatru, blessings
on thee! Do thou listen to me, with all thy brothers.
Through thy grace, O king, grief no longer stands in
my way. I am living as happily, O son, with thee
here as if I were in the city called after the elephant.
With thee as my protector, O learned one, I am enjoying
all agreeable objects. I have obtained from thee
all those services which a son renders to his sire.
I am highly gratified with thee. I have not the
least dissatisfaction with thee, O mighty-armed one.
Go now, O son, without tarrying here any longer.
Meeting with thee, my penances are being slackened.
This my body, endued with penances, I have been able
to sustain only in consequence of my meeting with thee.
These two mothers of thine, subsisting now upon fallen
leaves of trees, and observing vows similar to mine,
will not live long. Duryodhana and others, who
have become denizens of the other world, have been
seen by us, through the puissance of Vyasa’s
penances and through (the merit of) this my meeting
with thee. O sinless one, the purpose of my life
has been attained. I now wish to set myself to
the practice of the austerest of penances. It
behoveth thee to grant me permission. On thee
now the obsequial cake, the fame and achievements,
and the race of our ancestors, rest. O mighty-armed
one, do thou then depart either tomorrow or this very
day. Do not tarry, O son. O chief of Bharata’s
race, thou hast repeatedly heard what the duties are
of kings. I do not see what more I can say unto
thee. I have no longer any need with thee, O thou
of great puissance.’
“Vaisampayana continued, ’Unto the (old)
monarch who said so, king Yudhishthira replied,—’O
thou that art conversant with every rule of righteousness,
it behoveth thee, not to cast me off in this way.
I am guilty of no fault. Let all my brothers
and followers depart as they like. With steadfast
vows I shall wait upon thee and upon these two mothers
of mine.’ Unto him Gandhari then said,—’O
son, let it not be so. Listen, the race of Kuru
is now dependant on thee. The obsequial cake
also of my father-in-law depends on thee. Depart
then, O son. We have been sufficiently honoured
and served by thee. Thou shouldst do what the
king says. Indeed, O son, thou shouldst obey the
behests of thy sire.’
addressed by Gandhari, King Yudhishthira, rubbing
his eyes which were bathed in tears of affection, said
these words of lament. ’The king casts
me off, as also Gandhari of great fame. My heart,
however, is bound to thee. How shall I, filled
as I am with grief, leave thee? I do not, however,
at the same time, venture to obstruct thy penances,