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(Viduragamana Parva continued)

"Vaisampayana said, 'Asked by Dhritarashtra to give his opinion, Bhishma replied, 'O Dhritarashtra, a quarrel with the Pandavas is what I can never approve of. As thou art to me, so was Pandu without doubt. And the sons of Gandhari are to me, as those of Kunti. I should protect them as well as I should thy sons, O Dhritarashtra! And, O king, the Pandavas are as much near to me as they are to prince Duryodhana or to all the other Kurus. Under these circumstances a quarrel with them is what I never like. Concluding a treaty with those heroes, let half the land be given unto them. This is without doubt, the paternal kingdom of those foremost ones of the Kuru race. And, O Duryodhana, like thee who lookest upon this kingdom as thy paternal property, the Pandavas also look upon it as their paternal possession. If the renowned sons of Pandu obtain not the kingdom, how can it be thine, or that of any other descendant of the Bharata race? If thou regardest thyself as one that hath lawfully come into the possession of the kingdom, I think they also may be regarded to have lawfully come into the possession of this kingdom before thee. Give them half the kingdom quietly. This, O tiger among men, is beneficial to all. If thou actest otherwise, evil will befall us all. Thou too shall be covered with dishonour. O Duryodhana, strive to maintain thy good name. A good name is, indeed, the source of one's strength. It hath been said that one liveth in vain whose reputation hath gone. A man, O Kaurava, doth not die so long as his fame lasteth. One liveth as long as one's fame endureth, and dieth when one's fame is gone. Follow thou, O son of Gandhari, the practice that is worthy of the Kuru race. O thou of mighty arms, imitate thy own ancestors. We are fortunate that the Pandavas have not perished. We are fortunate that Kunti

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liveth. We are fortunate that the wretch Purochana without being able to accomplish his purpose hath himself perished. From that time when I heard that the sons of Kuntibhoja's daughter had been burnt to death, I was, O son of Gandhari, ill able to meet any living creature. O tiger among men, hearing of the fate that overtook Kunti, the world doth not regard Purochana so guilty as it regardeth thee. O king, the escape, therefore, of the sons of Pandu with life from that conflagration and their re-appearance, do away with thy evil repute. Know, O thou of Kuru's race, that as long as those heroes live, the wielder of the thunder himself cannot deprive them of their ancestral share in the kingdom. The Pandavas are virtuous and united. They are being wrongly kept out of their equal share in the kingdom. If thou shouldst act rightly, if thou shouldst do what is agreeable to me, if thou shouldst seek the welfare of all, then give half the kingdom unto them.'"

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