The Mahabharata of Krishna-Dwaipayana Vyasa, Volume 4 eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 1,319 pages of information about The Mahabharata of Krishna-Dwaipayana Vyasa, Volume 4.
In six months the king was reduced only to a skeleton.  Gandhari subsisted on water alone, while Kunti took a little every sixth day.  The sacred fire, O monarch, (belonging to the Kuru king) was duly worshipped by the sacrificing assistants that were with him, with libations of clarified butter poured on it.  They did this whether the king saw the rite or not.  The king had no fixed habitation.  He became a wanderer through those woods.  The two queens, as also Sanjaya, followed him.  Sanjaya acted as the guide on even and uneven land.  The faultless Pritha, O king, became the eye of Gandhari.  One day, that best of kings proceeded to a spot on the margin of Ganga.  He then bathed in the sacred stream and finishing his ablutions turned his face towards his retreat.  The wind rose high.  A fierce forest-conflagration set in.  It began to burn that forest all around.  When the herds of animals were being burnt all around, as also the snakes that inhabited that region, herds of wild boars began to take themselves to the nearest marshes and waters.  When that forest was thus afflicted on all sides and such distress came upon all the living creatures residing there, the king, who had taken no food, was incapable of moving or exerting himself at all.  Thy two mothers also, exceedingly emaciated, were unable to move.  The king, seeing the conflagration approach him from all sides, addressed the Suta Sanjaya, that foremost of skilful charioteers, saying,—­’Go, O Sanjaya, to such a place where the fire may not burn thee.  As regards ourselves, we shall suffer our bodies to be destroyed by this fire and attain to the highest goal.’  Unto him, Sanjaya, that foremost of speakers, said,—­’O king, this death, brought on by a fire that is not sacred, will prove calamitous to thee.  I do not, however, see any means by which thou canst escape from this conflagration.  That which should next be done should be indicated by thee.’  Thus addressed by Sanjaya the king once more said,—­’This death cannot be calamitous to us, for we have left our home of our own accord.  Water, fire, wind, and abstention from food,[61] (as means of death), are laudable for ascetics.  Do thou, therefore, leave us, O Sanjaya, without any delay.  Having said these words to Sanjaya, the king concentrated his mind.  Facing the east, he sat down, with Gandhari and Kunti.  Beholding him in that attitude, Sanjaya walked round him.  Endued with intelligence, Sanjaya said,—­’Do thou concentrate thy soul, O puissant one.’  The son of a Rishi, and himself possessed of great wisdom, the king acted as he was told.  Restraining all the senses, he remained like a post of wood.  The highly blessed Gandhari, and thy mother Pritha too, remained in the same attitude.  Then thy royal sire was overtaken by the forest-conflagration.  Sanjaya, his minister, succeeded in escaping from that conflagration.  I saw him on the banks of Ganga in the midst of ascetics.  Endued with great energy and great intelligence, he
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The Mahabharata of Krishna-Dwaipayana Vyasa, Volume 4 from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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