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p. 192


"The holy one said, 'That, indeed, which should be said by a person of great wisdom: that, indeed, which should be said by one possessed of great foresight; that indeed, which should be said by one like thee to a friend like me; that indeed, which is deserving of thee, being consistent with virtue and profit, and truth; that, O Vidura, hath been said by thee, father and mother-like, unto me. That which thou hast told me is certainly true, worthy of approbation and consistent with reason. Listen, however, with attention, O Vidura, to the reason of my coming. Well knowing the wickedness of Dhritarashtra's son and the hostility of the Kshatriyas that have sided with him. I have still, O Vidura, come to the Kurus. Great will be the merit earned by him who will liberate from the meshes of death the whole earth, with her elephants, cars and steeds, overwhelmed with a dreadful calamity. If a man striving to the best of his abilities to perform a virtuous act meets with failure, I have not the least doubt that the merit of that act becomes his, notwithstanding such failure. This also is known to those that are conversant with religion and scripture, that if a person having intended mentally to commit a sinful act does not actually commit it, the demerit of that act can never be his. I will sincerely endeavour, O Vidura, to bring about peace between the Kurus and the Srinjayas who are about to be slaughtered in battle. That terrible calamity (which hangs over them all) hath its origin in the conduct of the Kurus, for it is directly due to the action of Duryodhana and Karna, the other Kshatriyas only following the lead of these two. The learned regard him to be a wretch who doth not by his solicitation seek to save a friend who is about to sink in calamity. Striving to the best of his might, even to the extent of seizing him by the hair, one should seek to dissuade a friend from an improper act. In that case, he that acteth so, instead of incurring blame, reapeth praise. It behoveth Dhritarashtra's son, therefore, O Vidura, with his counsellors, to accept my good and beneficial counsels that are consistent with virtue and profit and competent to dispel the present calamity. I will, therefore, sincerely endeavour to bring about the good of Dhritarashtra's sons and of the Pandavas, as also of all the Kshatriyas on the face of the earth. If while endeavouring to bring about the good (of my friends), Duryodhana judgeth me wrongly, I shall have the satisfaction of my own conscience, and a true friend is one who assumeth the functions of an intercessor when dissensions break out between kinsmen. In order, again, that unrighteous, foolish, and inimical persons may not afterwards say that though competent, still Krishna did not make any attempt to restrain the angry Kurus and the Pandavas from slaughtering one another I have come here. Indeed, it is to serve both parties that I have come hither. Having striven to bring about peace, I will

p. 193

escape the censure of all the kings. If after listening to my auspicious words, fraught with virtue and profit, the foolish Duryodhana accept them not, he will only invite his fate. If without sacrificing the interests of the Pandavas I can bring about peace among the Kurus, my conduct will be regarded as highly meritorious, O high-souled one, and the Kauravas themselves will be liberated from the meshes of death. If the sons of Dhritarashtra reflect coolly on the words I shall utter--words fraught with wisdom, consistent with righteousness, and possessed of grave import,--then that peace which is my object will be brought about and the Kauravas will also worship me (as the agent thereof). If, on the other hand, they seek to injure me, I tell thee that all the kings of the earth; united together, are no match for me, like a herd of deer incapable of standing before an enraged lion.'

"Vaisampayana continued, 'Having said these words, that bull of the Vrishni race and delighter of Yadavas, then laid himself down on his soft bed for sleep.'"

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