Legends & Myths of India: Krishna the Peace-maker

The Mahabharata is an ancient Sanskrit epic poem that tells the story of the kingdom of Kurus. It’s based on a real war that took place in the 13th or 14th century B.C. between the Kuru and Panchala tribes of the Indian subcontinent. It is regarded as both a historical account of Hinduism’s birth and a code of ethics for the faithful. It is India’s longest epic poem. This story was found in Legends & Myths of India by William Radice, and is the Mahabharata’s climax. Enjoy, continue to read and explore. 

“As the Mahabharata approaches its climax – the great battle of Kurukshetra between the Kauravas and Pandavas – Krishna’s role as an intermediary and would-be peace-maker between the two sides becomes ever more important. When war breaks out, Krishna offers Duryodhana (leader of the Kauravas) a choice: one side can have his army, the other can have him as an ally. Duryodhana opts for the army, so Krishna becomes an ally of the Pandavas, and takes on the relatively humble role of charioteer to Arjuna, the Pandava commander-in-chief. On the eve of the battle he recites to Arjuna the Bhagavadgita, the famous poem in Sanskrit literature, in which he tries to reconcile Arjuna philosophically to the conflict by urging him to pursue ‘right action’ without thought of reward. (It appalls Arjuna and his brothers that they should be fighting against cousins, and that both sides will have to kill their kith and kin.)  

“Krishna recites the Bhagavadgitan when it is clear that the battle is inevitable. Previously, he has tried to persuade the Kauravas to make peace. In this extract, his attempt to persuade Duryodhana to give up the war is backed by Gandhari (mother of the Kauravas); by Drona (tutor to the Pandavas and the Kauravas in their boyhood); and by Vidura (the minister at the court of King Dhritarashtra who tipped off Yudhishthira about Duryodhana’s plot to burn the Pandavas alive: see p. 260 in Myths & Legends of India [hyperlink]). Even the perpetually weak and vacillating King Dhritarashtra tries. But Duryodhana remains unmoved – even when Krishna reveals his true divine form, miraculously enabling the blind Dhritarashtra to see it alone with everyone else. 

Krishna The Peace-Maker pp. 537-62

“Just before this extract, Duryodhana has said that he  

‘Will not let the Pandavas have 

So much land 

As can be covered by the point of 

A sharp needle’ 

“It is Yudhishthira’s decision to reconquer his lost kingdom with the help of the king of Virata (whom the Pandavas helped when his kingdom was invaded by another king) that has precipitated the final, all-out war. 

“Krishna pondered this statement (continued Vaisampayana); then 

The Dasha hero said to Duryodhana 

In the Kuru assembly: 

“ ‘You are eager for a hero’s bed. 

You will have it. 

You and your friends have only to wait 

For the massacre. 

“ ‘Fool! You think you have not been 

Guilty of any 

Misconduct with the Pandavas. O rajas, 

Listen and judge –  

“ ‘You were jealous of the mahatma 

Pandava brothers 

And conspired with Sakuni to manipulate 

A dice-game. 

“ ‘Why else, my friend, would the unsuspecting, 

Honest and intelligent 

Pandavas agree to participate in the 

Devious dice-game? 

“ ‘O vastly wise one, gambling is know  

To steal the honest 

Man’s intelligence, and produce dissensions 

And misunderstandings. 

“ ‘You and your scheming followers planned 

This disaster 

Through gambling; you never consulted 

Men of character. 

“ ‘Who but you would have molested  

your brothers’ wife 

The way you did after Draupadi was dragged 

Into the sabha? 

“ ‘She is noble-born, full of patience, 

Honored by them 

Like life itself. You dared insult 

The Pandavas’ queen! 

“ ‘The Kurus know how Duhsasana mocked 

The Pandavas publicly 

In the sabha as they were preparing to 

Go into exile. 

“ ‘What kind of a man is this who 

Insults his kinsmen, 

Specially those honored for dharma, goodness 

And unselfishness? 

“ ‘You, Karna and Duhsasana expressed 

Your feelings t hen 

In words that suit only ruthless and 

Cultureless men. 

“ ‘You tried your best to kill the Pandavas 

And their mother 

By arson when they were in Varanavata 

But you failed. 

“ ‘You have always treated the sons of  

Pandu perfidiously – 

And yet you assert you have not harmed 

Those mahatmas! 

“ ‘If you refuse to grant them their 

Paternal share, 

They will take it after divesting you 

Of your glory. 

“ ‘In spite of your repeated acts 

Of humiliation, 

Cruelty and wickedness, you pretend 

To be different! 

“ ‘Your mother and father, Bhishma, Drona 

And Vidura urge 

You to make a peaceful settlement. 

You are adamant. 

“ ‘Peace will bring you profit; peace 

Will profit both. 

But your minuscule intelligence cannot 

Understand this. 

“ ‘You cannot possibly succeed by ignoring  

Your well-wishers. 

What you plan to do smells of adharma 

And infamy.’” 

“The Dasarha hero said this to Durodhana, 

Then Duhsasana 

Loudly addressed himself to the Kuru- 

Surrounded Duryodhana: 

“ ‘If you refuse peace terms with 

The sons of Pandu, 

The Kauravas will tie you and hand you 

Over to Yudhishthira. 

“ ‘Your father, Bhishma and Drona 

Will turn us 

Over – Karna, you and me – to  

The sons of Pandu.’” 

Dhritarashtra’s son Duryodhana heard this 

From his brother 

And was infuriated. He rose, sighing 

Like a huge snake. 

Vidura, Dhritarashtra, maharaja Bahlika 

Kripa, Somadatta, Bhishma, Drona, Krishna – 

“Brushing them all aside, the shameless, 

Ill-minded, proud, 

Disrespected, disrespectful-to-the-respect-worthy 

Duryodhana stalked out. 

“Seeing him march out, his brothers 

Also walked out, 

Followed by the whole assembly of 

Courtiers and rajas. 

“The abrupt exit of Duryodhana 

And his brothers 

From the sabha made Santanu’s son 

Bhishma exclaim: 

“ “Ill-wishers find enormous amusement 

In the spectacle of 

An angry man ruined by his rejection 

Of dharma-and-artha. 

“ ‘The ill-minded son of Dhritarashtra 

Is confused over 

Means and ends, and filled with pride, 

Anger and greed. 

“ ‘The time has come for the doom 

Of the Kshatriyas, 

For the kings and courtiers have foolishly 

Followed his example.’” 

“The lotus-eyed Dasarha hero Krishna 

Heard Bhishma’s comment, 

And said to all the followers of 

Bhishma and Drona: 

“ ‘The great failing of Kaurava elders 

Is that they do not 

Use force to prevent this proud and 

Wicked king. 

“Chastisers of your foes! It is time 

You took action. 

Faultless men, listen to these beneficial  

Words of mine. 

“ ‘My suggestions are motivated to 

Seek your good. 

If you find them agreeable, 

Act on them. 

“ ‘The son of the elderly raja Ugrasena 

Of Bhoja was an 

Ill-minded voluptuary. He usurped the throne 

And then was killed. 

“ ‘I killed Ugrasena’s son Kamsa in 

A fierce battle 

For the good of my race. His friends 

Had deserted him. 

“ ‘Ahuka’s son Ugrasena was honored 

And reinstalled 

King; he annexed the Bhoja territory 

To his kingdom. 

“ ‘Forsaking one – Kamsa – for the good 

Of the many, 

The Yadavas, Andhakas and Vrishnis 

Found happiness. 

“ ‘The supreme god Brahma thought at the  

Time when the 

Gods and anti-gods were arming themselves 

For battle, 

“ ‘When the world split into two camps 

And faced ruin – 

The Creator and Ruler of the 

Worlds thought: 

“ ‘The Adityas, Vasus, Rudras and  

Other heaven-dwellers 

Will defeat in battle the Daityas, Danavas, 

And anti-gods. 

“ ‘In their fanatic warfare, the gods, 

Anti-gods, humans, 

Gandharvas and Rakshasas will indiscriminately 

Slaughter each other. 

“ ‘And so great Brahma said 

To Dharma: ‘Tie up  

The Daityas and Danavas and hand them 

Over to Varuna.’ 

“ ‘Dharma carried out the order of  

The Creator and 

Tunred over the trussed Daityas and Danavas 

To Varuna. 

“ ‘Dharma carried out the order of 

The Creator and 

Turned over the trussed Daityas and Danavas 

To Varuna. 

“ ‘Made captive by Dharma’s power and 

Varuna’s noose, 

The lord of waters keeps the Danavas 

In the ocean. 

“ ‘Neutralis Duryodhana, Karna and 

Sakuni similarly, 

And Duhsasana, and turn them over 

To the Pandavas. 

“ ‘Sacrifice a man for a family, 

Sacrafice a family for a village 

Sacrifice a village for the world, 

Sacrifice the world for the Atman. 

“ ‘Silence Duryodhana, O raja; make peace 

With the Pandavas. 

This will save the Kshatriya race 

From extinction.’” 

* 

“These words of Krishna (Vaisampayana  

continued) made 

Dhritarashtra say hurriedly to all-dharma- 

Knowing Vidura: 

“ ‘Child, go to vastly wise Gandhari; 

Bring her here. 

Together she and I will try to influence 

Stubborn Duryodhana. 

“ ‘If she is able to persuade ill-minded, 

Ill-Atmaned Duryodhana, 

We might be able to implement the  

Peace-plan of Krishna. 

“ ‘Perhaps her words on peace may lead 

Her foolish son, 

Blinded by greed and misguidance, to 

The right path. 

“ ‘If she is able to avert the awful 

Impending calamity 

Of Duryodhana’s making, lasting happiness 

May still be ours.’” 

Vidura followed the raja’s instruction 

And returned 

With Gandhari, who was gifted 

With foresight. 

“ ‘Dhritarashtra said: ‘Your ill-Atmaned son, 

Gandhari, refuses 

To obey me. Greed will destroy his  

Prosperity and life. 

“ ‘He is so disrespectful and ill-Atmaned 

That he staled out of 

The sabha with his friends, ignoring  

All his well-wishers.’ 

“The raja’s daughter, renowned Gandhari, 

Heard Dhritarashtra, 

And wanting her son’s welfare, said 

To her husband: 

“ ‘Summon your son here. He lusts for 

Royal power. 

How can one without dharma-and-artha 

Rule a kingdom? 

“ ‘Yet far-from-humble Duryodhana has got 

The near-unattainable. 

Your fondness for him, Dhritarashtra, is  

To blame for this. 

“ ‘You know his unrighteous inclinations, 

Yet pamper him; 

And he, propped by you, indulges in 

Kama and greed. 

“ ‘It is too late now for force: je 

Will not change. 

Having left the kingdom to that 

Ill-Atmaned fool, 

“ ‘Who has crooked advisers who play 

On his greed, 

You are no reaping the fruits. 

Be firm now 

Your enemies are laughing at this 

Family break-up. 

“ ‘Maharaja, if a crisis can be solved 

By conciliation 

Or by gifts, what is the point of 

Using force?’ 

Orderd by Dhritarashtra, and requested 

By Gandhari, 

Vidura went and returned with the 

Excitable Duryodhana. 

“his eyes copper-red with anger, sighing  

Long snake-sighs, 

Duryodhana came to listen to his 

Mother’s words. 

“when her wrong-path-treading son 

Entered, Gandhari, 

Motivated by a desire for peace, 

Rebuked him: 

“ ‘My son Duryodhana, listen to me, 

I wish the good 

Of you and your followers. My advice 

Is not difficult. 

“ ‘Duryodhana, best of the Bharatas, accept 

What your father, 

Bhishma, Drona, Kripa and Vidura 

Have advised you. 

“ ‘You could not show me, your father, 

Bhisma and others 

Headed by Drona greater honor than 

By agreeing to peace. 

“ ‘My vastly wise son, you cannot rule 

A kingdom by 

The strength of kama, nor win, cherish 

And enjoy it. 

“ ‘An indiscipline man cannot really 

Enjoy a kingdom; 

Only the disciplined and intelligent 

Can protect a kingdom. 

“ ‘Kama and anger are obstacles to 

A man’s prosperity. 

First these two; only then does a raja 

Conquer the earth. 

“ ‘The ill-Atmaned can hope to gain 

The massive authority 

Of royalty, but governing a kingdom 

Is another matter. 

“ ‘The greatness-seeker first trains his senses 

On artha-and-dharma. 

Self-discipline feeds intelligence, as 

Fuel feeds fire. 

“ ‘Undisciplined, the senses can destroy a  

Person, as ill-trained 

Horses can run off with a driver 

Who is incompetent 

“ ‘The man who, without governing his Atman, 

Tries to govern 

His ministers, or the man who, without  

governing his ministers, 

Tries to govern his enemies, is soon 

Subdued by others. 

“ ‘That man succeeds who considers first 

His Atman as foe 

And governs it; and then governs ministers 

And enemies. 

“ ‘Prosperity always favors the man 

Who disciplines 

His senses, controls his enemies, 

Wields the rod 

Of justice against criminals, and acts 

After deep reflection. 

“ ‘Kama and anger are slippery fish in 

The body-net; 

They can be permanently trapped only 

By wisdom. 

“ ‘No matter how eligible a person may 

Be for heaven, 

Heaven’s doors are shut if he has 

Kama-and-anger. 

“ ‘A king who has totally conquered 

Kama-and anger, 

Greed, pride and selfishness, is fit 

For world-lordship. 

“ ‘Kings who are eager to obtain dharma- 

And-artha, and wish 

To defeat their enemies, should first 

Control their senses. 

“ ‘The king whose kama-and-anger 

Makes him deceive 

Him and others, soon finds nobody 

On his side. 

“ ‘My son, seek the friendship of the  

Wise, heroic, foe- 

Punishing Pandavas, and enjoy this 

Earth with them. 

“ ‘What Santanu’s son Bhishma and Drona 

Have said about 

The chariot-heroes Arjuna and Krishna being 

Invincible is true. 

“ ‘Seek the protection of the strong-armed, 

Effortlessly exerting 

Krishna. If Krishna is pleased, both sides 

Will be happy. 

“ ‘enemies are ecstatic over the man 

Who rejects 

The advice of wise and noble and 

Learned friends.  

“ ‘My son, how can war breed good? 

It violates 

Dharma-and-artha, so how can it 

Lead to happiness? 

Even victory is not permanent. Do not 

Contemplate war. 

“ ‘Afraid of dissensions, my wise son, 

Your father, Bhishma, 

And Bahlika gave the Pandavas 

Their kingdom’s share. 

“ ‘The fruits of that decision are yours –  

You enjoy the earth 

Without obstacles, all the thorns having 

Been already removed. 

“ ‘Give the sons of Pandu their rightful 

Half-share, my son, 

If you wish to enjoy the kingdom 

With your ministers. 

“ ‘Surely half the world is enough to 

Sustain you and 

Your ministers. Follow your well-wishers 

And gain respect. 

“ ‘A fight with the prosperous Pandavas, 

Who are disciplined 

And intelligent, can lead only to loss 

Of your happiness. 

“ ‘Pacify your angry well-wishers, and 

Govern your kingdom 

After returning to the sons of Pandu 

Their rightful share. 

“ ‘They have endured enough misery for 

Thirteen years. 

Vastly wise one, curb your kama-and- 

Anger-fed feelings. 

“ ‘You are not worthy of possessing the 

Pandavas’ wealth, 

Nor are Karna and your irascible 

Brother Duhsasana. 

“ ‘Anger-inflamed Bhishma, Drona, Kripa, 

Karna, Bhima, 

Arjuna and Dhrishtadyumna will go 

To their doom.  

“ ‘My son, don’t let your anger spell 

Kaurava doom; 

Don’t let this entire earth be 

Cruelly massacred. 

“ ‘Your hope that Bhishma, Drona, Kripa, 

And others will 

Fight on your side is like to 

Be disappointed. 

“ ‘They know their Atmans and have the 

Same affection for 

You and the Pandavas. The Pandavas 

Have greater dharma. 

“ ‘They may out of loyalty to give 

Their lives for you –  

But they will never be able to face 

Yudhishthira with honor. 

“ ‘Greed does not bring prosperity to 

Any person; 

My bull-among-the-Bharatas’ son,  

Curb your greed.’ 

* 

“Duryodhana ignored the sensible advice 

Of his mother; 

He rose restless-Atmaned and strode 

To his room. 

“Coming out of the sbha, he went 

To consult 

Subala’s son, Raja Sakuni, the expert at dice. 

“The decision arrived at by the four – 

Duryodhana, Karna, 

Subala’s son Sakuni, and Duhsasana 

Was as follows: 

“ ‘Krishna is no waster of time. 

His purpose seems 

To be to seize us with Dhritarashtra’s 

And Bhishma’s help. 

“ ‘But we will strike first and, like 

Indra seizing 

The son of Virochana, seize tiger-among- 

Men Krishna. 

“ ‘When the Pandavas learn of Krishna’s  

Seizure, they will 

Become as depressed and helpless as 

Fangless snakes. 

“ ‘Strong-armed Krishna is everyone’s 

Refuge and guardian. 

When the boon-granting hero 

Is captured, 

“ ‘The sons of Pandu and the Somakas 

Will be helpless. 

Let us without any delay imprison 

Quick-acting Krishna, 

“ ‘Despite the protests of Dhritarashtra, 

And proceed with 

The battle-plan.’ This treacherous move 

Of the scoundrels 

“was guessed by the wise Satyaki. 

His inkling 

Of it made him go to Hridika’s 

Son Kritavarman; 

“He said to Kritavarman: ‘Hurry, 

Get an armor- 

Clad troop of soldiers, and wait at 

The sabha-gate, 

“ ‘While i get the message to fluently 

Exerting Krishna.’ 

He entered the sabha like a lion 

Entering a cave, 

“And divulged his suspicion first to 

Mahatma Krishna, 

Then to Dhritarashtra and, finally, 

To Vidura. 

“He smiled and said: ‘They are 

About to embark 

On an act that violates dharma, 

Artha and Kama. 

“ ‘The fools are about to try to do 

The impossible 

They have devised this most 

Malignant plan. 

“ ‘Kama and anger and greed have 

Overpowered them, 

And they seek to kill treacherously 

The lotus-eyed one. 

“ ‘Even as children and madmen try to 

Seize fire with 

Their clothes.’ Satyaki’s words made  

Vastly wise Vidura 

“Say to strong-armed Dhritarashtra in 

The Kaurava assembly: 

‘Kala is now ready to swallow 

Your sons, O king. 

“ ‘They are bent on doing what is 

Impossible; and,  

If possible, shameful. Conspiring against 

The lotus-eyed one, 

“ ‘The younger brother of Indra, they want 

To seize him, 

Who is an invincible, unchallengeable  

Tiger-among-men.  

“ ‘They will perish like moths in 

A blazing fire. 

If Krishna wishes, he can, in the 

Midst of battle,  

“ ‘Angrily consign them to Yama, like 

A lion scattering 

An elephant herd. But such a karma 

Is not ordained, 

“ ‘ Because Purushottama Krishna never goes 

Against dharma. 

Once Krishna burnt down Varanasi 

And the horses, 

Chariots and elephants of the city’s king 

And his followers; 

“ ‘So the conch-mace-and-chakra-wielder, 

As Lord Kala, 

Will burn down Hastinapapura and all 

Its Kauravas. 

“ ‘When the-joy-of-the-Yadavas Krishna 

Became prominent, 

Furious Indra attempted to subjugate him, 

But Indra failed. 

“ ‘The anti-god Mura devised six thousand 

Powerful nooses 

To trap Krishna near Nirmocana, but 

Krishna broke free. 

“ ‘This is the same Krishna that strode 

Up to Saubha, 

Smashed the hill, and killed Dyumatsena 

And his followers. 

“ ‘The Kauravas are old, so lotus0eyed 

Krishna, thinking 

Of dharma, does his best to forgive 

Their ill karma. 

“ ‘If the Kauravas and other rajas 

Are intent on 

Imprisoning Krishna, they will become guests 

In Yama’s realm. 

“ ‘The Kauravas are to charka0weilding 

Krishna like 

So many blades of grass tossed in 

A strong wind.’ 

When Vidura had finished, Krishna 

Faced Dhritarashtra 

And said, so that all standing near 

Could hear him: 

‘Raja, if your impulsive sons want 

To imprison me, 

“ ‘Let them try their best1 O ruler 

Of the earth, 

I can diagnose their anger and 

Cure them too. 

“ ‘But I will not do an action that  

Is blameworthy 

And wrong. Your sons will lose all 

By being greedy. 

“ ’Their criminal intent gives Yudhishthira 

An edge over them. 

I can, if I wish, immobilize them 

And their followers, 

“ ‘and turn them over to Yudhishthira –  

An easy-enough task. 

But I will refrain from doing 

Anything censurable. 

“ ‘Let Duryodhana, fired by wickedness 

And anger, 

Do exactly as he wishes before you, 

O maharaja. 

“ ‘I give this freedom to your sons.’ 

When Dhritarashtra 

Heard this, he called Vidura and 

Said to him: 

‘Summon wicked and greedy Duryodhana 

To my presence,  

With all his friends, ministers, brothers 

And followers. 

I will try to bring him back to the right path.’ 

“So Vidura brought Duryodhana again 

To the sabha 

With his brothers and rajas, though 

He was unwilling. 

“Raja Dhritarashtra said to Duryodhana, 

Duhsasana and 

Karna and all the other rajas 

Accompanying them: 

“ ‘Unfeeling Duryodhana! You have sought 

The help of low –  

Minded followers in the commission of 

A criminal act – 

“ ‘An act condemnable and shameful, 

An impossible act! 

Only a family-dishonoring man like you 

Would think of it. 

“ ‘You and your vicious followers have  

planned to imprison 

The invincible lotus-eyed one, whom none 

Dares challenge. 

“ ‘Even the Indra-led gods cannot harm 

Him, O Duryodhana. 

You are like a little child crying for the moon. 

“ ‘You know very well that neither 

Gods, anti-gods, 

Humans, Gandharvas, nor Nagas can 

Defeat Krishna. 

“ ‘Imprisoning Krishna is like grasping 

Air, or clutching 

The moon, or holding the earth 

On one’s head.’ 

“When Dhritarashtra finished, Vidura looked  

Straight at the 

Tempestuous son of Dhritarashtra, Duryodhana, 

And said to him: 

“ ‘Duryodhana, listen to me carefully. 

At Saubha’s gate 

The Danava-lord named Dvivida 

Showered Krishna 

With what seemed an irresistible  

Volley of stones. 

“ ‘He thought violence would be the way 

To destroy Krishna; 

He tried and failed; now you wish 

To try violence. 

“ ‘Naraka and all his Danavas failed 

In Pragjyotisha 

To capture Krishna; and now you wish 

To try violence. 

“ ‘six thousand great anti-gods in 

Nirmochana failed 

With their nooses; and now you wish 

to try violence. 

“ ‘When only a baby, he killed the 

Ogress Putana; 

As a child, he liefted Govardhana hill 

To protect the cows. 

“ ‘He killed the vicious Arishta, Dhenuka, 

The powerful CHanura, 

Asvaraja, and the enormously wicked 

King Kamsa. 

“ ‘He killed in battle Jarasamdha, Vakra, 

Heroic Sisupala, 

And Bana; many other rjas were also  

Killed by him. 

“ ‘Raja Varuna and the inexhaustibly energetic 

God of fie 

Were humbled by him, and Indra stealing  

The paradise-flower. 

“ ‘He killed Madhu and Kaitabha as 

They reposed on 

The ocean; in another birth he 

Killed Hayagriva. 

“ ‘He is the all-creator, himself 

Not created. 

He is male power. He can do whatever  

He wishes. 

“ ‘ You cannot comprehend this amazingly  

Powerful cow-herd; 

He has the fierce clear energy of an 

Uncontrollable snake. 

“If you try to harm strong-armed, 

Untiring Krishna, 

You will perish like moths flying into a fire.’ 

* 

“ ‘WHen Vidura finished (continued Vaisampayana),  

Krishna, slayer 

Of enemy-hosts, said to Dhritarashtra’s 

Son Duryodhana: 

“ ‘Small-minded fool@ You think I 

Am alone, 

And so it is easy for you to 

Capture me. 

“ ‘Here are the Pandavas! the Andhakas 

The Vrishnis! 

The Adityas! The Rudras! The Vasus! 

The maharishis!’ 

“As he said this, foe-slaying Krishna 

Laughed loudly; 

His laughter made his mahatma body 

Shake like lightning. 

“Gods rushed out fo his thumb! 

They flowed like fire! 

Brahma sat on his forehead! 

Rudra appeared on his chest! 

“The Lokapala guardians of the universe on his arms! 

Agni from his mouth! 

Adityas 

Sadhyas 

Vasus 

Asvins 

Maruts  

Indra 

The Visvadevas 

Yakshas 

Gandharvas 

Rakshasas! 

Balarma from one arm! 

Arjuna from the other! 

Bow-armed Arjuna on his right! 

Plough-weilding Balarama on his left! 

“Behind him:
Bhima 

Yudhishthira 

Madri’s twin sons! 

“Behind them: 

Andhakas 

Vrishnis 

Led by pradyumna 

And other chiefs 

With upraised arms! 

Conch 

Chakra 

Mace 

Skti-missile 

Sarnga-bow 

Plough 

Nandaka-javelin- 

“And other weapons 

Appeared brandished 

In blazing splendor 

In Krishna’s hands! 

“From his two eyes 

Tow ears 

And nose 

Like spark-emitting smoke 

Appeared Siva! 

“From the pores of his skin 

Sparks 

Like sunbursts! 

Seeking mahatma 

Krisnahs 

Awesome  

Atman, 

“The rajas 

Bewilderd 

Closed their eyes – 

All except 

Drona 

Bhishma 

Wise Vidura 

“And Sanjaya. 

Because they had tapas 

They received celestial vision 

From Krishna. 

“Krishna’s magnificent form 

Filled the sabha! 

Divine drums sounded, 

Flowers fell. 

Dhritarashtra said: ‘Favor me, O lotus0eyed one! 

O excellent Yadava, worker for the good 

Of the world! 

“ ‘Illustrious one, 

Restore me my sight! 

I wish to see you, 

I wish to see nothing else. 

“Strong-armed Krishna said to Raja 

Dhritarashtra: ;Delighter 

Of the Kauravas, I grant sight to 

Your sightless eyes.’ 

“Maharaja, wonder of wonders! for 

Dhritarashtra regained 

His sight to have a vising of the 

Universal Form. 

“The kings, awestruck by the restoration  

Of sight to 

Dhritarashtra, along with the rishis 

Praised Krishna. 

“And the earth shook. 

And the oceans heaved. 

And the rulers of the earth 

Were dumbfounded with wonder. 

“Foe-chastising tiger-among-men Krishna 

Indrew his magnificent, 

Celestial, auspicious and prosperous, 

Radiant multi-form. 

“Krishna took Satyaki’s hand and 

Kritavarman’s hand, 

And, with the permission of the rishis, 

Left the place. 

“In the ensuing commotion, the rishis,  

Narada and others 

Disappeared. The hubbub subsided. It was 

A weird happening. 

“the Kauravas, and the assembled rajas, 

Seeing Krishna leave, 

Followed him as the gods follow Indra 

Of a thousand sacrifices. 

“But unimaginable-Atmaned Krishna 

Ignored the mandala 

Of following kings and left like a  

Smoke-rich fire. 

“His white massive chariot, carved in 

Gold and tinkling 

With bells, with wheels that resounded 

Like storm-clouds, 

“Covered with white tiger skins, and 

Pulled by magnificent 

Horses, among them Saibya, was brought up 

By Daruka. 

 “He saw the son of Hridika, the 

Great chariot-hero 

Kritavarman, a respected Vrishni, sitting  

In the chariot. 

“Foe-chastising Krishna was about 

To depart 

When maharaja Dhritarashtra said 

To him: 

“ ‘You have seen what power I have 

Over my sons. 

Krishna, nothing is now hidden 

From you. 

“ I want peace for the Kurus, 

I will struggle 

For it. I implore you not to think 

Badly of me. 

“I harbored no malice towards the 

Sons of Pandu. 

YOu know how I treid to dissuade 

My son Duryodhana.

“The Kauravas, these rajas, these  

Rulers of earth –  

They are witness to my sincere desire 

For peace.’

“Strong-armed Krishna (said Vaisampayana) 

Said to Dhritarashtra, 

To Duryodhana’s grandfather Bhishma, Vidura 

Bahlika and Kripa:

“ ‘You have personally seen what happened 

In the assembly 

Of the Kurus – how the uncouth fool 

Left his seat, 

“ ‘and how the world-ruler Dhritarashtra 

Confesses to his 

Powerlessness. With your permission, I 

Return to Yudhishthira.’ 

“The excellent bowmen-heroes – all 

Splendid Bharatas –  

Followed finest-of-men Krishna 

To his chariot. 

“They included Bhishma, Drona, Kripa, 

Vidura, Dhritarashtra, 

Bahlika, Asvatthaman, Vikarna, and the 

Chariot-hero Yuyutsu. 

“While the Kauravas looked, Krishna 

Took his large, 

White, sweetly tinkling chariot to his 

Father’s sister.” 

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