Mahabharata – Sabha Parva – Dyuta Parva 46-73
– 46 –
Vow of Yudhishthira
1Vaishampayana said: When that best of sacrifices, Rajasuya, ever difficult of accomplishment, was completed, Vyasa, surrounded by his disciples, came before him (Yudhishthira).
2On his arrival he soon rose from his seat, surrounded by his brothers, and worshipped his grandfather (Vyasa) with offering him a seat and water to wash his feet.
3When the illustrious (Rishi) took his seat on a best seat made of gold, he said to Dharmaraja Yudhishthira “to take his seat”.
4When the king was seated surrounded by his brothers, the illustrious Vyasa, the skillful speaker, thus spoke.
5“O son of Kunti, you grow in prosperity for good fortune; you have acquired the imperial dignity which is very difficult to be acquired. O perpetuator of the Kuru race, all the Kurus have grown in prosperity for your sake.
6O king, with your permission I shall (now) go. I have been duly worshipped”. Having been thus addressed by Krishna Dharmaraja Yudhishthira, (Vyasa).
7Saluted his grandfather by touching his feet and thus spoke to him, “O foremost of all men, a very great doubt has arisen in my mind.
8-9O best of the twice-born, there is none else except you who can remove it. The illustrious Rishi Narada said that three kinds of portents, namely celestials, atmospherical and terrestrial, happen (if Rajasuya sacrifice is performed). O grandsire, have these portents been removed by the fall of the Chedi king?
10Vaishampayana said: Having heard these words from the king, the son of Parashara, the lord Krishna Dvaipayana, Vyasa, thus spoke to him.
11“O king, for thirteen years those portents will produce great results. O king, they may even cause the destruction of all the Kshatriyas.
12O best of the Bharata race, O descendant of Bharata, in course of time, making you the sole cause, the assembled Kshatriya kings will all be destroyed for the fault of Duryodhana and the prowess of Bhima and Arjuna.
13-15O king of kings, in your dream you will see towards the end of this night Vrishadhvaja (Bull-marked), Nilkantha (blue throated), Bhava, Sthanu, (deep in mediation) Kapali, (drinking from human skull), Tripurantaka (slayer to Tripura), fierce and terrible Pashupati (the lord of creatures), Mahadeva (the god of gods), Umapati, (the husband of Uma) Hara, Sharva, Vrisha, Shuli, (holding the trident) Pinaki (armed with Pinaka bow), attired in skin, Shiva, tall and white as the cliff of the Kailasa, seated on his bull and always gazing towards the direction, presided over by the Pitris (South).
16Do not be grieved for it, for none can rise superior of Time.
17Be blessed. I shall now (go towards the Kailasa mountain). Rule the earth with vigilance and steadiness and bear patiently all privations”.
18Having said this, the illustrious Krishna Dvaipayana, Vyasa, accompanied by his disciples, who always followed the dictates of the Vedas, went towards the Kailasa mountain.
19On the departure of the grandfather (Vyasa), the king became afflicted with grief and anxiety. He continuously sighed and reflected on what the Rishi said.
20He said to himself, “what the great Rishi has said must came to pass. How can fates be warded off by human exertions?
21Thereupon, the greatly effulgent Yudhishthira thus spoke to all his brothers. “O best of men, you have heard what Dvaipayana (Vyasa) has said.
22Hearing his words, my firm resolve is to die, when I have been ordained to be the cause of the destruction of all the Kshatriyas.
23O children, if Time has willed it, what need is there for me to live?” To the king who was thus speaking replied Falguni (Arjuna).
24“O king, do not yield yourself to the great depression which destroys one’s reason. O great king, mustering fortitude, do what is beneficial”.
25Thereupon Yudhishthira, ever devoted to truth, thinking all the while the words of Dvaipayana (Vyasa), spoke thus to all his brothers.
26“O children, O blessed ones, listen to the vow I make from this day. For what other purpose am I to live for thirteen years?
27I shall not speak a harsh word to my brothers or to any of the kings of the earth. I shall remain obedient to my relatives and practice virtue.
28If I live in this way, making no distinction between my own sons and those of others, there will be no disagreement in the world. Disagreement is the cause of war.
29O best of men, I shall keep war at a distance, and I shall ever do what is agreeable to others. Thus no evil reputation will touch me in the world.”
30Having heard these words of their elder brother, the Pandavas, ever engaged in doing what is agreeable to Dharmaraja (Yudhishthira), approved of them.
31O king, Dharmaraja (Yudhishthira), having thus taken the vow with his brothers in that assembly, gratified the Pitris and the celestial.
32O best of the Bharata race, on the departure of all the Kshatriya kings, he (Yudhishthira), surrounded by his brothers, performed the usual auspicious rites.
33Yudhishthira then with his ministers entered his excellent palace. O great king, Duryodhana and the son of Subala, Shakuni, (then) lived in that charming Sabha (assembly hall).