Stree Parva
First chapter.

In Naimisaranya, Soota, the story teller, told Saint Sounaka and other sages and saints, the story of Mahabharata as told by Vaisampayana to Janamejaya.

“On hearing from Sanjaya that his son, Suyodhana, was beaten below the waist and killed by Bhiamsena, what were the feelings of Dhritarashtra. You told me that the three warriors, Asvathama, Kripacharya and Kritavarma proceeded to Hasti-napura. For what purpose they proceeded to Hastinapura? Whom they met? From Hastina, where they have gone? After the departure of Asvathama to Vyasa Ashram, what happened to the other two? How could Dharmaja tolerate the deaths of his own sons? What he has done in retaliation? Kindly tell me.” asked Janamejaya. Vaisampayana continued to tell the story of Mahabharata.

On hearing from Sanjaya that all his one hundred sons perished in the battle field, Dhritarashtra was afflicted with great grief and fell down like a tree cut at the root.

Beholding Dhritarashtra, Sanjaya said: “ O King Dhrita-rasthra! why are you grieving. Grief does not serve any purpose. Shed the grief and think wisely. Nearly 18 akshouhini strong army perished in this 18 days great war. Your fathers, grand fathers, brothers, friends, were killed. You have to perform funeral ceremonies to all of them. Let us go to the battle field” said Sanjaya.
Dhritarashtra was beating his head with both hands and lamenting for the deaths of his sons.

“Sanjaya! All my sons are dead. All my riches have gone. For whose sake I have to remain in this world. Shall I have to live at the mercy of others. Sanjaya! When Krishna came down to Hastinapura to effect mediation between brothers, he tried to convince me to give half share to Pandavas. Bhishma, Drona and others also expressed their concern about my welfare. But, with an evil mind, I paid a deaf ear to their wise advices. I refused to divide the kingdom and give half share to Pandavas. Now I am reaping the consequences.

I lost all my sons, relatives and friends. I remained here only to perform their funerals. Sanjaya! really I am a fool. Knowing fully well about future, I refused to give their half share. As a result, I lost my own kith and kin. No Sanjaya. This calamity is not of this birth. It is carried forward from my previous births. Sanjaya! why should I perform their funerals? Dharmaja is there to perform them. Pandavas killed all my sons for the sake of discharing their promises. Let them do this also.” said Dhritarashtra in a great distressed mood.

“O King Dhritarashtra! You are wise and learned. You have heard many Sastras and Puranas. Still, you are lamenting like an ordinary man. You just now said that you did not hear the advices of your well wishers. Tell me, Who are your well wishers? Karna, Sakuni and Dussaasana. Yourself and your sons followed their ill advises and landed in greatest trouble.

Your son, Suyodhana, was always wielding his sword for fighting, but never applied his mind towards the welfare of the society. He never heed the advices of his Minister, Vidura. You never controlled him. You never kept him in right order. You never tried to restrain your sons from indulging in wicked deeds. In fact you lost control over your sons. Instead of controlling your wicked son, you also fell in his trap. Hence you both refused to hear the advices of Vidura, who was your well wisher. Now you are blaming others. What is the use? There is no use of repenting for your own making.. Therefore, shed the grief. You are crying aloud for help as if a person, sitting in the midst of fire, crying for help. Everybody will laugh at you. Therefore, stop crying and do the need ful.” said Sanjaya.

Meanwhile, Vidura arrived there. “King Dhritarashtra! you have done what all you can do. Now you are leisurely crying and lamenting for the deaths of your sons. Get up and stop crying.” said Vidura. Dhritharashtra stopped crying.

“O King Dhritashtra! Raise and fall are common in a man’s life. If you try for new tastes, you may lose the original taste. Life is sure to end in death. Every union will end in separation. This is natural. Nobody can escape from these natural events.While grabbing the lives of humans, Yama never discriminate between rich and poor, hero and coward etc. Everybody is destined to die. Some may die in war field, and others may die in their homes. Whereever he is, he cannot escape death. Therefore, lamenting for death is foolish act.

All your sons died in the battle field and attained higher regions and are enjoying heavenly pleasures. But you are lamenting for their death. It is not proper. You are learned and wisest of all. There is nothing which you donot know. After taking birth, childhood, youth, glamour, nature and the things of pleasure in nature are all uncertain. Nothing will remain for ever. Why should you grieve for those uncertain things.
Wise will never feel grief. Therefore, shed your grief and think about future. O King Dhritarasthra! the power of thinking of ordinary people is too little. Hence, they cannot withstand even for a smallest suffering. They feel sorrow if they lose what they have or if they could not get what they do not have. Their wisdom will perish and they will resort to all untoward acts. But wise will never feel likes and dislikes. They treat the entire outside world equally.” said Vidura.

On hearing the words of Vidura, Dhritarashtra consoled himself. “Vidura! my grief has been dispelled with your wise and excellent words. You told me that wise and learned will treat the entire world equally and free themselves from mental grief and the bereavement of objects that are dear. How is it possible? How can they live in the outside world without likes and dislikes. Kindly tell me” asked Dhritarashtra. Vidura continued to say:

“O King Dhritarashtra! This ‘samsara’ (outside world) is like a plaintain tree. It is very weak and without any strength. But human beings are always entangled in this Samsara and are subjected to eternal sorrow. The human body is like a house. When the house is destroyed, he will move to another house. It is nothing but changing from soiled clothes to new clothes. Hence this body is not eternal.

A pot maker, while making pots, put some mud on the pot-making-wheel and turns it speedily. The pot may break at any stage while making it. Or even if it is made, it may break while it is burnt. Or it may break while we are using it. We cannot say when this earthen pot will break. Our human body also is similar to an earthen pot. By the physical and bilogical combination of father and mother, a foetus will be formed in the womb of mother. At that stage itself, it may abort. Or while the foetus is taking the shape of a child, or at the time of delivery of child, or even after the birth, life may be terminated. While the child is growing up into youth and even in middle age or at old age, at any time, any moment, with or without any cause, death may happen. Therefore, human beings are nearing their death at every moment. None can say that death will be caused in a specific manner. Hence, it is unwise to lament for the death. Wise are always aware that this Samsara (outside world) is full of sorrows and will never entangle into it. Therefore, dont grieve for those who are dead.” said Vidura.

“Vidura! I do not understand why this Samsara is full of sorrows. How can we keep aloof of it. Kindly tell me.” asked Dhritarashtra. Vidura continued to say:

“O King Dhritarashtra! I already told you that this body is formed by the physical and biological combination of father and mother. While the child was in the mother’s womb, Prana will enter into it. The child will be turning around in the mother’s womb and suffer a hell. At the time of delivery, the child will reach at the entrance of uterus. With great difficulty, the child will enter into this world.

During the child hood, the child does not know good and bad, clean and dirt, wise and unwise. He will commit many untowards acts during childhood. Some time will elapse during child hood. He will enter into the stage of youth. At this stage, he or she is interested in making love, expressing passion, enjoying lust and desires and are always entangled in worldly pleasures. He will always be craving for sexual pleasures, as a result, both pleasures and sorrows will affect. He may commit many untoward, illegal and immoral acts to fullfill his desires. Then he will enter into old age. His strength and power will diminish gradually. He could not reconcile with his old age. Still he may commit several untowards things. He will be afflicted with many diseases. At last, Death will take away his life. He will suffer a lot while leaving this body. With this, his present birth will come to an end.

Therefore, O King Dhritarashtra, it is very clear that this Samsara (outside world) does not yield any pleasure at any stage. Besides that, it is full of sorrows. To achieve petty pleasures, one will kill another. Leaving Dharma, he will indulge in Adharma. Wise and learned will always follow a righteous and virtuous path and attain eternal pleasures. I will tell you an anecdotee, which I heard it from elders.

In a wild forest, a Brahmin was travelling. In that forest, tigers, lions, elephants and other wild animals surrounded him. He began to run hither and thither. Some thieves tried to catch him. With the fear of death, he turned back and began to run. Meanwhile a frightful woman stood there, stretching her arms to embrace him. That large forest was also encompassed by many five-headed snakes of dreadful forms.

There was a pit whose mouth was covered with many hard creepers and herbs. The Brahmin, while running, fell into that invisible pit. He became entangled in those clusters of creepers that were interwoven with one another. He continued to hang there, feet upwards and head downwards. While he was in that posture, he saw a large and mighty snake within the pit. He also saw an elephant above the pit. The elephant has six faces and twelve feet. The elephant was approaching the pit. There was a huge tree near the pit, with full of ripe fruits, and flowers. Above the small branches of the tree, roved many bees for drinking the honey gathered in their honey comb. Some honey was falling down drop by drop into the mouth of the Brahmin. Even in that distressful situation, he was drinking the honey and his thirst could not be appeased. Unsatisfied with those drops of honey, the Brahmin desired for more. He continued to hope for existence. A number of black and white rats were eating away the roots of that huge tree.

He has forgotten all his woes and distress and was drinking the drops of honey and was enjoying. There was a fear from the beasts in the forest; from that fierce woman in the outskirts of the forest; from that snake at the bottom of the well; from that elephant near its top; from the fall of tree through the action of the rats; and lastly from those bees flying about for tasting the honey. In that plight, he continued to dwell, deprived of his senses, in that wilderness, without losing, at any time, the hope of prolonging his life.” said Vidura.

“Vidura! I could not understand what you say. Kindly tell me in detail about the fate of that brahmin” asked Dhritarashtra. Vidura contiued to say:

“O King Dhritarashtra! elders will narrate the above story to teach virtuous path and inculcate the desire for attaining Moksha. The incidents in this story are quite similar to human life. I will tell in detail. The forest in which the Brahmin was travelling is Samsara. The wild animals are diseases. The woman of gigantic personality is old age. The five headed elephant is our five sense organs. The snake within the well is Lord Yama. The creeper by which Brahmin was hanging head downwards is desire for life. The six faced elephant is one year with six seasons, and its twelve feet are twelve months. The rats, black and white, eating away the stem of the tree, are day and night, that are continuously lessening the periods of life of all creatures. Those that have been described as bees are our desires. The drops of honey are the plesures derived from the gratification of our desires and to which men are seen to be strongly addicted. Inspite of all these distresses, human being will always be craving for those pleasures and wanted to live in this world for ever.

The brahmin in this story is Jeeva. The forest is bondage of samsara. The wise will never entangle into this bondage. They will stay aloof and enjoy the eternal happiness. If at all they fell into this Samsara accidentally, they will immediately come out of it. O King Dhritarasthra! human being will always be craving for wordly sensual pleasures and forgets himself by dipping in this drainage pit. Soon after he lost his strength and power of energy, several diseases will overpower him. Meanwhile, he will become old. He lost his beauty and his body will become unfit to enjoy sensual pleasures. Atlast , he will meet a tragic death.

O King Dhritarashtra, our body itself is a chariot. Our wisdom is our charioteer. Our five sense organs are five horses. Our thoughts are reins. If the reigns are not strong, the horses will drag the chariot to an unknown destination. With our wisdom, we have to control the horses and save ourselves from the great distress. Since the day of our birth, we will be under the control of Yama. Our life is full of distresses. Virtuous people will use medicine called wisdom and put an end to their distresses and sorrows and keep the chariot under their control. The wise and learned, holding the reins of virtuous thoughts, control the chariot and drive it in a right path. He never frightens for death. At last they will attain Moksha. Therefore, O King Dhrita-rasthra! shed down your distress, sorrow and grief, and perform rituals to your sons, relatives and friends who died in this great war and allow them to go to higher regions in heaven.” said Vidura.

Even after hearing carefully and devotedly what has been said by Vidura, Dhritarashtra was lamenting for the death of his sons. Meanwhile, Veda Vyasa arrived there. Vidura and Sanjaya prostrated before him. Dhritarashtra was informed about the arrival of Veda Vyasa. Dhritarashtra saluted Veda Vyasa with trembled hands.

“O Saint Veda Vyasa! Look at my fate. I do not know why I am still alive. All my riches have gone. All my sons are dead. All my relatives and friends have perished in war. But I am still alive. My life is not leaving my body. I do not know what to do.” said Dhritarashtra in a distressed mood.

“O King Dhritarashtra! I have come here to console you. You are learned and wise. It is not proper on your part to lament like this for the death of your sons. These bodies are not eternall. Everybody who takes birth shall have to die one day or other. None can escape death. If you know this truth, you will not lament for the death of your kith and kin.

Now we will come to the point. Do you mean to say that the enmity between your sons and sons of Pandu arose without yout knowledge? Is your son not responsible for this great massacre? The entire Kuru clan was destroyed on account of your son. Why should you lament for your own fault? While the dice game was played, Vidura advised you to intervene and stop the game. You paid a deaf ear to his advice. You are reaping the consequences. Therefore dont worry for the past deeds. Think about future.

Anyhow, I will tell you a divine secret. Listen carefully. Once I attended a divine meeting. Indra, other divine bodies, saint Narada and other sages and saints were present there.

Bhoodevi also arrived there and asked Indra thus: “O divine bodies! Once you have shown much enthusiasim and promised to lessen my burden. For some reason or other, you have forgotten your promises. My burden is increasing day by day. Kindly lessen my burden.” prayed Bhoodevi.

Sri Maha Vishnu who was present there answered her: “O Bhoodevi! The time has come to lessen your burden. King Dhritarashtra will beget 100 children, the elder being Suyodhana. Suyodhana will lessen your burden. On account of him, there will be a great war called Kurukshetra war in which all the kings in the entire world will participate and perish. Suyodhana along with his hundred brothers will die. Your burden will be completely lessened.” said Maha Vishnu.

Having satisfied with his words, Bhoodevi went away. As per the words of Maha Vishnu, with “Kali Amsa”, Duryodhana was born as your son. He was wicked, greedy, covetous, and wrathful. He bears enmity with one and all. He committed many untoward deeds in the company of his brother Dussaasana, his uncle Sakuni and friend Karna. All this was done at the will of divine bodies. Therefore, you need not grieve for his death.

It appears you are entertaining a doubt in your mind whether Pandavas will respect you or not. You need not worry about it. No harm will be caused to you on account of Pandavas. Out of greediness, your son refused to give a due share in the kingdom to Pandavas. But Pandavas never attempted to cause harm either to you or to your sons. Besides that, they tried their level best to settle the matter amicably, by making a request for five villages for their sustenance. I also advised you and your son to settle the matter peacefully. But your son refused to hear our advice and reaped the consequences. Therefore, you need not grieve for the death of such wicked persons.

Dharma Raja bears compassion, love, affection not only towards human beings but also towards birds and animals. You know about his nature. Dharmaja has no grudge against you. Treat Pandavas as your sons and respect them. You are wise and learned. Burn your grief in the fire of your wisdom. Be peaceful and happy.” said Veda Vyasa.

“O Saint Veda Vyasa! with your immortal words, my mind has become peaceful. I will develop love and affection towards Pandavas. I will treat them as my own sons.” said Dhritarashtra. Veda Vyasa blessed Dhritarashtra and went away.

Dhritarashtra turned towards Sanjaya and said: “O Sanjaya! make arrangements to go to battle field. Let Gandhari and her daughters-in-law and other ladies make arrangements to go to battle field.”

Accordingly, Sanjaya made all arrangements for their travel. Gandhari could not even stand. Her legs were trembling. Her daughters-in-law were weeping with great grief. Kunti was consoling all of them. All of them were proceeding towards the battle field. Other ladies in Hastinapura who lost their husbands in the great battle also were proceeding to the battle field to identify the dead bodies of their husbands. They were all weeping loudly. Most of the males in Hastinapura died in the battle. None were there to console them. In every house, sounds of weeping, grieving were heard.

Beholding this, Vidura remained speachless. He never thought that the war will have such severe and dreadful consequences.

Meanwhile, Asvathama, Kritavarma and Kripacharya arrived there in the opposite direction. Beholding Dhritarashtra, Asvathama said:

“O King Dhritarashtra! your son Suyodhana, fought as a real hero and died in the battle field and attained higher regions in heaven. Except myself , Kripacharya and Kritavarma, the entire Kuru army was destroyed in the battle.” said Asvathama.

Beholding Gandhari, Kripacharya could not control his grief. “O Gandhari! your sons fought with great heroism and died in the battle field. None of your sons showed their back in the battle field. You need not grieve for their heroic death. Even this great victory did not bring Pandavas, any pleasure or happiness.

Bhimasena, without following any of the war principles, mercilessly hit Suyodhana below his waist and killed him. We three could not control our anger. Asvathama entered the camps of Pandavas and killed all the sons of Pandavas, Dhrishta-dyumna, Sikhandi and other Panchala kings, their entire army along with elephants and horses. Five Pandavas could not be killed by him. Krishna might have concealed them in an unknown place. Therefore, the victory of pandavas is nullified.Had Pandavas been there in their respective places, we would have killed all of them and would have fulfilled the last desire of Suyodhana.

Having known that we all three killed their sons and relatives, Pandavas might have been vigorously searching for us. Kindly permit us to leave.”so saying Krpiacharya, Kritavarma and Asvathama left that place on their respective chariots.

After proceeding for a distance, Kripacharya returned back to Hastinapura and Kritavarma left for Dwaraka. Asvathama proceeded towards Vyasa Ashram.

O King Janamejaya! I already told you what had happened between Asvathama and Pandavas at Vyasa Ashram.” told saint Vaisamyapayana. Saint Vaisampayana continued to tell further.

Then Dhritarashtra along with womenfolk proceeded towards the battle field. Dharmaja and Krishna received information about the arrival of Dhritarashtra. Dharmaja along with his brothers and Sri Krishna proceeded towards Dhritarashtra to receive him. Dharmaja’s mind was filled with great anguish that Dhritarashtra was coming to battle field, mourning for the death of all his sons. He was going by walk to meet Dhritarashtra. Satyaki, Bhima, Arjuna, Nakula Sahadeva, Droupadi and Krishna accompanied him. Beholding Dharmaja, the womenfolk of Kourava family raised hue and cry. They began to abuse Dharmaja: “Oh! he is Dharma Raja! Does he know Dharma at all! Has he got compassion, kindness or pity towards others. Mercilessly he massacred his fathers, uncles, brothers, sons, preceptors in battle. Has he got any mercy towards them?” they cursed him. Some of them went against Dharmaja and chastised him. “How can you kill your own preceptor who taught you all sciences.?” . Some of them caught hold of him: “How can you kill the husband of your own sister, Jayadharadha? How cruel you are? Come on. Have this kingdom. Rule this burial ground for ever” several cursed Dharmaja. Dharmaja did not open his mouth. Taking advantage of that some more accosted him: “O Dharmaja! On account of you only Abhimanyu was killed. All the sons of Droupadi were killed at dead of night. You swallowed all your brothers-in-law only to save your own life. Are you so selfish?” they all scolded Dharmaja. Bearing all thoses curses and rebukes, Dharmaja approached Dhritarashtra. The aide of Dhritarashtra informed him that Dharmaja was before him. Dhritarashtra could not control his grief. He hugged Dharmaja and bursted out. Dharmaja said that Bhimasena, Arjuna, Nakula and Sahadeva are waiting for his blessings. On hearing the name of Bhimasena, Dhritarashtra’s face became wild. The entire blood in his body flowed into his face. It became reddish. His heart was burning with great wrath. Dhritarashtra was about to hug Bhimasena. Having expected this development in advance, Krishna got ready an iron idol resembling Bhimasena’s height and weight. Immediately, Krishna dragged Bhimasena out and pushed the iron idol before Dhritarashtra. Dhritarashtra hugged that iron idol with great force and that huge iron idol was crushed into pieces. Some pieces pierced in tothe body of Dhritarashtra, causing simple injuries. Dhritarashtra’s face was glowing with great satisfaction that he could kill the killer of his own sons. But he concealed his feelings in his mind and was pretending sorry for the death of Bhimasena. Sri Krishna patted Dhritarashtra and said: “O King Dhritarashtra! You need not worry about the death of Bhimasena . You hugged an iron idol resembling Bhimasena. Bhimasena is safe. Knowing your intention in advance, I saved Bhimasena by pushing an iron idol before you. O King Dhritarashtra! after all, Bhimasena is nothing before you and your strength. Not only Bhimasena, none in this world could match you in vigour and valour. In the great distress caused by the death of your sons, you tried to kill Bhimasena. But his death is not in your hands. O King Dhritarashtra! even if you kill all the five Pandavas, will your sons return back from heaven. Unnecessarily, you might have been blamed for killing Bhimasena.” said Krishna. Dhritarashtrabowed his head with shame. Krishna continued to say: “O King Dhritarashtra! Youhave studied, Vedas, Upanishads and all Puranas and digested the essense of those scriptures. But, you strill remain ignorant and is blaming others. Myself, Bhishma, Drona, Vidura and other wise and learned adivsed you many a time. You have not heard our words. What had happened is nothing but your own making. If Bhimasena and Arjuna were in the battle field, who else will gain victory. Your mind is not under your control. You are unable to control your mind. Had you chastised your son at right time and kept him in right and virtuous path, this calamity would not have happened. Having known that, on the pretext of winning in the dice game, your sons were trying to disrobe your own daughter-in-law, Droupadi, you did not try to avert that untoward incident. But your heart is burning with great wrath for Bhimasena’s accomplishment of his promises by killing your sons. Is it proper on your part? Kindly remember your sons’ greediness, covetousness and mischievous behaviour, shed your anger.” said Sri Krishna. “Krishna! what you said is totally true and correct. In a great grief caused by the death of all my sons, I misbehaved with Bhimasena. I am feeling ashamed of it. I became wise with your wise teachings. I will respect Pandavas as my own sons.” said Dhritarashtra. Then Dhritarashtra hugged all pandavas and blessed them with long life. Then he advised Pandavas to take the blessings of Gandhari. Pandavas headed by Dharmaja came near Gandhari seeking her blessings. Her heart also was bruning with great wrath on account of the death of her sons. She was about to curse Dharmaja. Meanwhile, Veda Vyasa arrived there. All prostrated before that great saint. Veda Vyasa advised Gandhari thus: “O Gandhari! it is not proper to curse Dharmaja. Shed your anger and be peaceful. While your son was going for war, he sought your blessings. Remember the words with which you blessed your son. “Where there is Dharma there is victory”. It has become true. In the 18 days war,Pandavas acquired victory. As per your words, Dharma gained victory. Therefore Pandavas are virtuous. Therefore, shed your hatredness and try to find the virtues in Pandavas. Past is past. There is no use of keeping those things in mind. Bless Pandavas as your sons..” said Veda Vyasa. On hearing the words of Veda Vyasa, Gandhari remained peaceful. “O Saint Veda Vyasa! I never bore grudge against Pandavas. I never intended any harm to them. With the great grief caused by the death of my sons, I talked like that. Pandavas are not only sons of Kunti, my sons also. I know the character and conduct of my son, Suyodhana. With ill advises of my brother, Sakuni and his friend karna, Suyodhana waged this war by which the entire Kuru clan was destroyed. Provoked by my son, Suyodhana, Pandavas fought in the battle and killed by sons. I never felt for that. But, in the very presence of Sri Krishna, Bhimasena hit my son below the waist, against all war principles. Is it just and proper? As a mother of a son, will it not cause distress to my mind? Killing and dying in war in common and natural. But killing a warrior against war principles is nothing but betrayal.” said Gandhari. On hearing these words, Bhimasena who was standing there shivered. He fell on the feet of Gandhari and said: “O mother Gandhari! Kindly excuse me. I do not know whether it is dharma or adharma. But I did not as a measure of self-defence. Suyodhana is more stronger and skilful in mace war. I know that I cannot win the battle with him. Hence I resorted to that course. O mother Gandhari! kindly think for a while. Is it proper on the part of Suyodhana to insult Dharmaja in open assembly? Is it proper on the part of Suyodhana to drag Droupadi to open assembly and order to disrobe her. Is it proper on his part to offer his thigh to Droupadi. Unable to control my great wrath, I promised to hit his thighs in the war. I fulfilled my promise. You know pretty well that for Kshatriyas, fulfilling ones own promises, is the utmost dharma. I discharged my promise in this manner. I would have broke the thighs on Suyodhana in the open assembly itself. But I remained silent unable to violate Dharmaja’s word. Hence we went to forests and suffered there for 12 long years. O mother Gandhari! I never meant to wage war against Suyodhana. You will not find fault with me if you hear the words spoken to by me at the time when Sri Krishna was sent an emissary to Kuru assembly. “Suyodhana! We are all brothers. There may be differences amongst us. But we should not give scope for others to point their finger against us. Let us heed to the words of elders and divide the kingdom. Let us enjoy our respective shares and feel happy.” But your son, Suyodhana, never paid any heed to our words. He developed enmity against us. Hence an avoidable war has become inevitable. To regain his share in the kingdom, Dharmaja fought the war. To discharge the promises made by me in the open assembly, I participated in the war. As duty bound, we fought. O mother, Gandhari! you are wise and learned. You have to decide whether we are right or wrong?” said Bhimasena. Gandhari thought for a while. “My son Bhimasena! what you said may be correct. But, you would have killed my son in fair fight, without contravening the war principles. Anyhow, you have done it. Leave it. Vrikodara! (a person with wolf-like stomache), killing enemy in the battle is natural. Will anybody drink the blood of a human being? You did it. As an wolf, you sucked the blood of my son, Dussaasana! Is it Dharma!” asked Gandhari “O mother Gandhari!I am not such a cruel animal. I never drank any human blood. Of course, with the great wrath generated by disrobing Droupadi, I made promise in the open assembly that I will drink the blood of Dussasana by breaking his chest. To discharge that promise, I broke the chest of Dussasana and just touched my lips to his blood. I never drank the blood like a Rakshasa. O mother Gandhari! I am also a human being, but not a Rakshasa. There is one more thing to be clarified. While I was killing Dussaasana, the prominent heroes in Kuru army surrounded me with their forces. Had I kept quiet, they would have cut me into pieces. As a measure of self defence, I acted like a demon by applying the blood over my face and body and pretended like drinking his blood with both hands. In fact I never drank his blood. O mother Gandhari! I know that it is a great sin to taste the blood of a co-human being Am I such a fool to drink the blood of my brother. O mother, trust me, I never drank the blood of Dussaasana.” prayed Bhimasena. Gandhari was not satisfied with his explanation “O Bhimasena! I got 100 sons. You have all my 100 sons mercilessly, without leaving atleast one son, to look after this blind parents.Dont you find a single son amongst the hundred, who did not cause harm to you. Cannot you discharge your promises by leaving atleast one of my sons! Will he come in the way of your brother Dharmaja, in ruling the entire Kuru kingdom? Where is Dharmaja? Where is he? Let him come before me.” shouted Gandhari with anger. Dharmaja with shivering hands stood before Gandhari “O mother Gandhari! I am here. I am before you. I am the sinner who killed your hundred sons. I am wicked. I am evil minded. O mother Gandhari! dont forgive me. Destroy me in the fire of your curses. O mother! not only your sons, I caused the sacrifice of all the kings on the earth in the battle field. Do as you like. I am here to bear it. O mother Gandhari! why for this kingdom without my sons, brotehrs,relatives and friends Why for this life in this body? Why for all these royal pleasures for thsi wretch?” Dharmaja wept loudly. Gandhari remained speechless. She sighed and looked down. Her looks from underneath the mask she tied around her eyes, fell upon the toe and fingers of Dharmaja’s feet and with the power of those looks, they became reddish. Beholding this, theother brothers of Dharmaja went aside. In a moment, Gandhari remained peaceful. She put her hand on the head of Dharmaja and blessed him. “My dear son Dharmaja! Go and meet your mother Kunti and take her blessings” said Gandhari. Having a sigh of relief, Pandavas went near their mother, Kunti and sought her blessings While retiring to forests, Pandavas left Kunti in Hastinapura. After long lapse of 13 years, they met their mother in the battle field. She heard that her sons underwent untold woes and miseries during their 13years exile Her mind was filled with great sorrow. Later, she learnt that she lost all her grand sons in the battle. She was afflicted with great grief. On seeing her sons, after 13 years, her motherly love and affection flowed down in the shape of tears. She hugged her sons and wept. “O my sons, do you remember this poor mother after thirteen long years. are you safe. whereever you are I also prayed God for your welfare.” Beholding Droupadi as an embodiment of sorrow and grief, Kunti hugged her and wept “O Droupadi! where are my grnad sons. Where is Abhimanyu? Where have they gone? Why they have not come to see me? Tell me Tell me” she shook Droupadi in a great grief. With the words of her mother-in-law, the grief of Droupadi rose to the hilt. She fell down like a tree cut at the root. Kunti, controlled her grief, lifted Droupadi and hugged her and consoled. Kunti took Droupadi to Gandhari for her blessings. Droupadi fell on the feet of Gandhari. Not it is for Gandhari to console both Kunti and Droupadi. “Drouadi! console yourself. Even Pandavas are lamenting for the loss of their sons. Look at your mother-in-law Kunti. She is also grieving for the lost of her grand children. O Drouadi! we both are sailing in the same boat. I lost all my sons. You also lost your sons Predecting this calamity, Vidura advised my son, Suyodhana, many a time to behave properly. Even myself could not control my sons and avert their wicked deeds. We cannot do anything. Everything is in the hands of fate. Time decided our fate. Console yourself” Gandhari consoled Droupadi.