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Vaisampayana said,--"Then the vanquished sons of Pritha prepared for their exile into the woods. And they, one after another, in due order, casting off their royal robes, attired themselves in deer-skins. And Dussasana, beholding those chastisers of foes, dressed in deer-skins and deprived of their kingdom and ready to go into exile, exclaimed 'The absolute sovereignty of the illustrious king Duryodhana hath commenced. The sons of Pandu have been vanquished, and plunged into great affliction. Now have we attained the goal either by broad or narrow paths. For today becoming superior to our foes in point of prosperity as also of duration of rule have we become praiseworthy of men. The sons of Pritha have all been plunged by us into everlasting hell. They have been deprived of happiness and kingdom for ever and ever. They who, proud of their wealth, laughed in derision at the son of Dhritarashtra, will now have to go into

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the woods, defeated and deprived by us of all their wealth. Let them now put off their variegated coats of mail, their resplendent robes of celestial make, and let them all attire themselves in deer-skins according to the stake they had accepted of the son of Suvala. They who always used to boast that they had no equals in all the world, will now know and regard themselves in this their calamity as grains of sesame without the kernel. Although in this dress of theirs the Pandavas seem like unto wise and powerful persons installed in a sacrifice, yet they look like persons not entitled to perform sacrifices, wearing such a guise. The wise Yajnasena of the Somake race, having bestowed his daughter--the princess of Panchala--on the sons of Pandu, acted most unfortunately for the husbands of Yajnaseni--these sons of Pritha are as eunuchs. And O Yajnaseni, what joy will be thine upon beholding in the woods these thy husbands dressed in skins and thread-bare rags, deprived of their wealth and possessions. Elect thou a husband, whomsoever thou likest, from among all these present here. These Kurus assembled here, are all forbearing and self-controlled, and possessed of great wealth. Elect thou one amongst these as thy lord, so that these great calamity may not drag thee to wretchedness. 'The sons of Pandu now are even like grains of sesame without the kernel, or like show-animals encased in skins, or like grains of rice without the kernel. Why shouldst thou then longer wait upon the fallen sons of Pandu? Vain is the labour used upon pressing the sesame grain devoid of the kernel!'

"Thus did Dussasana, the son of Dhritarashtra, utter in the hearing of the Pandavas, harsh words of the most cruel import. And hearing them, the unforbearing Bhima, in wrath suddenly approaching that prince like a Himalayan lion upon a jackal, loudly and chastisingly rebuked him in these words,--Wicked-minded villain, ravest thou so in words that are uttered alone by the sinful? Boastest thou thus in the midst of the kings, advanced as thou art by the skill of the king of Gandhara. As thou piercest our hearts hear with these thy arrowy words, so shall I pierce thy heart in battle, recalling all this to thy mind. And they also who from anger or covetousness are walking behind thee as thy protectors,--them also shall I send to the abode of Yama with their descendants and relatives."

Vaisampayana continued,--Unto Bhima dressed in deer-skins and uttering these words of wrath without doing any thing, for he could not deviate from the path of virtue, Dussasana abandoning all sense of shame, dancing around the Kurus, loudly said, 'O cow! O cow!'

Bhima at this once more said,--Wretch darest thou, O Dussasana, use harsh words as these? Whom doth it behove to boast, thus having won wealth by foul means? I tell thee that if Vrikodara, the son of Pritha, drinketh not thy life-blood, piercing open thy breast in battle, let him not

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attain to regions of blessedness, I tell thee truly that by slaying the sons of Dhritarashtra in battle, before the very eyes of all the warriors, I shall pacify this wrath of mine soon enough.'"

Vaisampayana continued,--"And as the Pandavas were going away from the assembly, the wicked king Duryodhana from excess of joy mimiced by his own steps the playful leonine trade of Bhima. Then Vrikodara, half turning towards the king said, Think not ye fool that by this thou gainest any ascendency over me slay thee shall I soon with all thy followers, and answer thee, recalling all this to thy mind. And beholding this insult offered to him, the mighty and proud Bhima, suppressing his rising rage and following the steps of Yudhishthira, also spake these words while going out of the Kaurava court, 'I will slay Duryodhana, and Dhananjaya will slay Karna, and Sahadeva will slay Sakuni that gambler with dice. I also repeat in this assembly these proud words which the gods will assuredly make good, if ever we engage in battle with the Kurus, I will slay this wretched Duryodhana in battle with my mace, and prostrating him on the ground I will place my foot on his head. And as regards this (other) wicked person--Dussasana who is audacious in speech, I will drink his blood like a lion.

"And Arjuna said,--O Bhima, the resolutions of superior men are not known in words only. On the fourteenth year from this day, they shall see what happeneth.

"And Bhima again said,--'The earth shall drink the blood of Duryodhana, and Karna, and the wicked Sakuni, and Dussasana that maketh the fourth.'

"And Arjuna said,--'O Bhima, I will, as thou directest, slay in battle this Karna so malicious and jealous and harsh-speeched and vain. For doing what is agreeable to Bhima, Arjuna voweth that he will slay in battle with his arrows this Karna with all his followers. And I will send unto the regions of Yama also all those other kings that will from foolishness fight against me. The mountains of Himavat might be removed from where they are, the maker of the day lose his brightness, the moon his coldness, but this vow of mine will ever be cherished. And all this shall assuredly happen if on the fourteenth year from this, Duryodhana doth not, with proper respect, return us our kingdom.'"

Vaisampayana continued,--"After Arjuna had said this, Sahadeva the handsome son of Madri, endued with great energy, desirous of slaying Sakuni, waving his mighty arms and sighing like snake, exclaimed, with eyes red with anger--'Thou disgrace of the Gandhara kings, those whom thou thinkest as defeated are not really so. Those are even sharp-pointed arrows from whose wounds thou hast run the risk in battle. I shall certainly accomplish all which Bhima hath said adverting to thee with all thy followers. If therefore thou hast anything to do, do it before that

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day cometh. I shall assuredly slay thee in battle with all thy followers soon enough, it thou, O son of Suvala, stayest in the light pursuant to the Kshatriya usage.'

"'Then, O monarch hearing these words of Sahadeva, Nakula the handsomest of men spake these words,--'I shall certainly send unto the abode of Yama all those wicked sons of Dhritarashtra, who desirous of death and impelled by Fate, and moved also by the wish of doing what is agreeable to Duryodhana, have used harsh and insulting speeches towards this daughter o Yajnasena at the gambling match. Soon enough shall I, at the command of Yudhishthira and remembering the wrongs to Draupadi, make the earth destitute of the sons of Dhritarashtra.'

Vaisampayana continued,--"And those tigers among men, all endued with long arms, having thus pledged themselves to virtuous promises approached king Dhritarashtra."

Next: Section LXXVII