Mahabharata – Adi Parva – Bakavadha Parva – 157-164
– 157 –
Lamentations of the Brahmana
1Janamejaya said: O best of twice-born, what did the Pandavas, those great car-warriors, the sons of Kunti, do when they went to Ekachakra?
2Vaishampayana said: These great car-warriors, the sons of Pandu, going to Ekachakra, lived for a short time in a Brahmana’s house.
3-4O king, they saw many beautiful woods and countries, rivers and lakes, as they roamed about bagging their bread. O account of their many accomplishments they became (great) favourites of all men.
5They offered to Kunti every night all the food (that they got during the day) and it (the food) was divided (by Kunti) and they each ate separately the share of each.
6Those heroes, those chastisers of foes, with their mother, ate half of the food collected, the greatly strong Bhima alone ate the other half.
7O best of the Bharata race, the illustrious men thus passed some days in that country.
8One day, when those best of men went out food, Bhima (alone) was (at home) with Pritha (his mother
9O descendant of Bharata, Kunti heard loud and heart-rending lamentations in the house of the Brahmana.
1-12O king, seeing them weeping and piteously lamenting, she could not bear it from her compassion and form her goodness of heart. Being sorry in mind, the amiable Pritha spoke to Bhima these words full of compassion. “O son, our grief being gone we were happily living in this Brahmana’s house, unknown to Dhritarashtra’s son and much respected by him.
13O son, I always think what might be good for the Brahmana and what good I can do to him, as men who live in others, house (ought to) try to do.
14O child, he is truly a man who pays back the benefit received. Such an act is never destroyed. One should do more (good) than others do him.
15This Brahmana has certainly fallen into a great distress. If we can be of any help to him (in his present distress), we should by (somewhat) repay his services.
16Bhima said: Learn what distress and from what cause that distress has befallen him. Having learnt it, I shall try to remove it (his distress), however difficult its achievement may be.
17Vaishampayana said: O king when those two (Kunti and Bhima) were thus talking, they heard a cry of sorrow proceeding from the Brahmana and his wife.
18As the Kamadhenu (the all-boon giving cow) runs at her tethered calf, so Kunti ran in all hurry to the inner apartment of the high- souled Brahmana.
19She saw there the Brahmana, his wife, his son and his daughter, all sitting with cast-down faces.
20The Brahmana said: Fie on the life in this world which is hollow as the read. It is full of misery; it is a slave to others; it is based on great sorrow.
21To live is to suffer great misery; to live is to suffer great diseases. Life is certainly a record of sorrows.
22The soul is one, but it has to serve Dharma, Artha and Kama. By simultaneous pursuit of these, great misery is occasioned.
23Some say salvation is our highest object of attainment, but it can never be attained. The acquisition of wealth is hell; it is attended with misery.
24Great misery is for those that desire wealth, greater for him who has (already) acquired it. Great affection is engendered on the acquired wealth; and when it goes away, the misery is great.
25I do not see by what means I can escape from this danger and how can I fly away (from this place) with my son and wife?
26O Brahmani, (wife), remember, I tried to go to some other place where we could be happy, but you did not listen to my words.
27When I repeatedly asked you to go, you, O foolish woman, said, “I am born here; I have grown old here; this is my ancestral homestead.”
28Your father is dead, your old mother died long ago. Your friends and relatives are also dead, why do you (then) desire to live here?
29From you affection towards your relatives and friends, you did not then listen to my words. The great misery for the loss of a relative and friend has now come to us.
30Oh, how can I bear it? The time has come for my own death. I shall not be able to live like a. cruel wretch by abandoning my own relatives and friends.
31You are always my help-mate in all virtuous acts, you are like a mother to me. The gods have given you to me as my friend; you are my chief stay.
32-36You were made by my parents as a partner of my domestic life; you are nobly-born and of good disposition; you are a mother of children; you are ever devoted to me; you are innocent, ever constant to your vows; you have chosen and wed me in due rites, how can I abandon you for the sake of saving my own life? How shall I be able to abandon my own son? (He is) a child of tender years, having no beard (yet on his chin). How shall I sacrifice my daughter whom I have begotten myself, who has been given to me by the illustrious creator for bestowing her on a husband and through whom I am to enjoy, along with my ancestors, these regions attainable by those only who possess daughter’s sons.
37Some men think that father’s affection for his son is greater; others (think that father’s affection) for his daughter (is greater); but mine is equal.
38How can I abandon the innocent girl upon whom rests the region of internal bliss and my own lineage and perpetual happiness?
39If I sacrifice myself and go to the other world, I shall still be repentant, for being abandoned by me, they would not be able to live.
40To abandon any of these (my wife son or daughter) will be a cruel and most wicked act. If I sacrifice myself, they will (also) die without me.
41The distress into which I have fallen is great; I do not know the means of escape (from it). Alas! What means shall I adopt with my friends and relatives! It is better that I should die with them; I am unable to live (any longer).