Mahabharata – Adi Parva – Arjunvanvasa Parva – 213-218
– 213 –
Departure of Arjuna, for the forest
1Vaishampayana said: Having made that rule (amongst themselves), the Pandavas continued to live there (at Khandhavaprastha). They brought under their sway many kings by their prowess of arms.
2Krishna (Draupadi) became obedient to all the five sons of Pritha, those five best men of immeasurable energy.
3She became exceedingly happy in her five heroic husbands as the Sarasvati in elephants; and they (the Pandavas) also were exceedingly happy in her.
4In consequence of the illustrious Pandavas being virtuous, all the Kurus, being free from sin and becoming very happy, grew in prosperity.
5O king, O best of monarchs, many days after (it so happened) that a robber stole some kine of a certain Brahmanas.
6When his wealth (kine) was thus stolen, the Brahmana lost his senses in anger; and coming to Khandavaprastha, he thus reproved the Pandavas.
7The Brahmans said: O Pandavas, despicable and wicked wretches are robbing away my kine in your dominion. Parsue the robbers.
8Alas! the sacrificial ghee of a peaceful Brahmana is being carried away by crows. Alas, the wretched jackal is invading the empty cave of a lion!
9A king, who takes the sixth part of the produce, but does not protect his subjects, is called by all men as the most sinful in all the worlds.
10The wealth of a Brahmana is being taken away by thieves; virtue is going to be destroyed. Take me up by the hand, for I am in great grief.
11Vaishampayana said: Thus were the Pandavas reproved by the Brahmana weeping in bitter grief. The son of Kunti, Dhananjaya (Arjuna) heard his (weeping) words.
12-13As soon as he heard it, the mighty-armed hero told the Brahmana, “Don’t fear”. But in the room where the arms of the illustrious Pandavas were, Dharmaraja Yudhishthira was then sitting with Krishna (Draupadi). The Pandavas (Arjuna) was, therefore, unable to enter the room or to go (with the Brahmana).
14Being repeatedly urged by the weeping words of the Brahmana, the son of Kunti (Arjuna) pondered in sorrow.
15Arjuna said: “Alas, this ascetic Brahmana’s wealth is being rubbed! It is certainly my duty to dry up his tears.
16If I do not protect him who is weeping at our gate, the king (Yudhishthira) will be touched by sin for my indifference.
17Our own irreligiousness will also be talked all over the kingdom and we shall certainly incur a great sin.
18There is no doubt that if I enter (the room) disregarding the king, I shall not truthfully behave towards that enemiless monarch.
19-20If I enter (the room) where the king is, an exile in the forest will be my lot. But I must overlook every thing. I do not care if I am to incur sin by disregarding the king. I care not if I am to go to the forest and die there. Virtue is superior to body and it lasts after the body perishes.
21-22aO king, having resolved this, the son of Kunti Dhananjaya (Arjuna) entered the room and talked with the king (Yudhishthira).
22b-23Bringing the bow, he cheerfully told the Brahmana, O Brahmana, come soon, so that those wretched thieves may not go far off. I shall accompany you and restore to you your wealth that has fallen into the hands of the robbers.”
24He then went away, armed with bow-cased in mail, riding on the chariot and holding the standard. Piercing those thieves with arrows, he took back that wealth (kine).
25-26Thus helping the Brahmana by returning to him his kine and winning great renown, the Pandava. The heroic Savyasachi Dhananjaya returned to the city. He then bowed to all the elders and was in return congratulated by them all.
27-28aHe then said to Dharmaraja (Yudhishthira), “O Lord, give me permission to observe the vow. The rule that was established by us has been violated by me on my seeing you.
28b-30I shall go into exile to the forest, for we made this rule.” Suddenly hearing those most painful words uttered (by Arjuna), Yudhishthira, was afflicted with grief and sad in an agitated voice, “Why?” Then Yudhishthira thus spoke in grief to his vowobserving brother Gudakesha (curly haired) Dhananjaya (Arjuna), “O sinless one, if I am an authority worthy of regard, listen to what I say-
31O hero, I know full well why you entered the room and did what you thought would be disagreeable to me. But I have not felt any displeasure for it.
32The younger brother may enter the room in which his elder brother sits with his wife. There is no fault to be found in this. If the elder brother enters the room where his younger brother is with his wife, then he acts against the rules of propriety.
33O mighty-armed hero, therefore, desist from your purpose. Do what I say. Your virtue has suffered no diminution and you have not also shown any disregard towards me.
34Arjuna said: I have heard from you that the virtue should not be practiced by quibbling. I shall not waver from truth. Truth is my weapon.
35Vaishampayana said: Having obtained the king’s permission, he made preparations to live in the forest. He went away to dwell in the forest for twelve years.