Shanti parva

In Naimisaaranya, on the occasion of Satra Yaga, the Sootamahamuni, story teller, told Sounaka and other sages and saints, the story of Mahabharata, as told by Vaisampayana to Janamejaya.

In that manner, Dharmaja and his brothers performed Udaka Kriya (offering holy waters) to all his relatives and friends, who died in war. They erected tents on the banks of Ganges and remained there till they were relieved of Asoucha. Dhritarashtra, Vidura along with their wives also remained there for a period of one month.

At that time, Saint Vyasa, Saint Narada, Devala, Kanva and other sages and saints arrived there. Dharmaja along with his brothers and wife welcomed them and offered them Arghyam and Padyam and comfortable seats.

Beholding Dharmaja, Narada said thus: “O Dharmaja! You are fortunate to have Krishna always by your side. With the help of Arjuna, you rule the entire Kuru Kingdom. Even during the Kurukshetra war, you did not forget your virtues and dharma. Your virtues and your dharma acquired this great victory to you. I hope you are happy with this victory” said Narada.

Dharamaja told Narada thus: “O Saint Narada! With the kind looks of Sri Krishna, with the blessings of Brahmins, with the mighty prowess, vigour and valour of Bhima and Arjuna, I acquired this victory. But I am deprived of my brothers, relatives, friends, teachers, fathers, in particular Abhimanyu and the sons of Draupadi. Having lost all kith and kin, can we consider this as a victory? Besides that, having known that Karna, who was a close friend of Suyodhana from the beginning, was my elder brother, my heart is burning.

My mother, Kunti told me that she had gone to Karna and after revealing him about his birth secret, requested him to join us. At that time, Karna told my mother, Kunti: “Amma, Kunti! Till now I am with Suyodhana. Suyodhana regarded me as his close friend only to attack Arjuna. If I discard him, what will the world think about me? Hence I cannot join Pandavas. But during war, I will spare the lives of all Pandavas, except Arjuna. Even if they are caught by me, I will never do any harm to them. This much I assure you ” said Karna.

Because my mother, Kunti hid all these facts from us, we could not recognize Karna as our elder brother. Otherwise, all this would not have happened. Not only that, in the Kuru assembly, while Karna was talking harshly against us, I did not get angry upon him. At times, it struck my mind that Karna resembles my mother, Kunti. But I did not attach much importance. My entire wrath against Suyodhana cools down beholding the face of Karna.

O Saint Narada! Once I scolded Arjuna not to show his face to me without killing Karna. I killed Karna with my own hands. O Saint Narada! Kindly tell me the reason why the chariot wheels of Karna sunk in the battle field” asked Dharmaja.

Narada told Dharmaja thus: “O Dharmana! While your mother, Kunti, was unmarried, with the power of a mantra, Sun God appeared before your mother and blessed her with a son. She gave birth to Karna, without losing her virginity. She left that boy in the river. A chariot driver found that boy, took him to his house and brought him up. Hence Karna was called as son of Soota. From the beginning, Karna bore grudge against you. He could not tolerate while everybody was praising the prowess of Bhima and Arjuna and the wisdom and intelligence of Nakula and Sahadeva. Later he developed friendship with Suyodhana.

One day, Karna requested Drona to teach him Brahma Astra and make him equal to Arjuna. Drona said that Brahma Astra could not be taught to non-Brahmins and non-kshatriyas. Karna went back to his abode. Next day, he approached Parasurama who was staying upon Mahendra Hill. Karna introduced himself as Brahmin and joined as his student. Karna was learning the art of archery from Parasurama.

One day, while Karna was practicing archery skills, one of his arrows struck a cow belonging to a Brahmin and the cow died. That brahmin cursed him that his chariot wheel will sink into the ground during war. Later, Karna learned all Astras including Brahma Astra. One day, Parasurama was sleeping with his head on the lap of Karna. At that time, a frightful insect bit the lap of Karna and made a hole. Through that hole, blood started oozing Though the pain was unbearable, with the fear that Parasurama will be disturbed from sleep, Karna bore that pain with great patience. The blood which had come out of the wound touched the body of Parasurama. Parasurama woke up and enquired him what had happened. Karna told Parasurama what had happened. Parasurama looked at that insect with great anger. That insect was turned into a demon. “O Saint Parasurama! I am relieved of my curse. I am a demon. Once I ravished the spouse of Saint Bhrigu who cursed me to remain as an insect. With your blessings, I am relieved of my curse.” so saying the demon disappeared.

Beholding Karna, Parasurama said: “O Karna! The patience and restraint shown by you is the characteristic of a Kshatriya but not of a brahmin. Tell me who are you?”

Karna shivered. “O Saint Parasurama! I am not a brahmin. I am the son of a Soota” said Karna.

“Karna, you deceived me by telling that you are a Brahmin and learnt all Astras from me including Brahma Astra. Hence, those Astras including Brahma Astra will not dwell in your remembrance during war.” cursed Parasurama. Karna returned back to Suyodhana and told him what had happened.

Dharmaja! Your brother, Karna was an expert in telling lies indiscriminately. Listen what had happened later. Chitrangada, King of Kalinga, proclaimed Svayamvara to his daughter, Subhangi. Sisupala, Jarasandha, Rukmi and other kings attended that function. Suyodhana along with Karna also went there. During Svayamvara, Subhangi, accompanied by her maid, was passing before all the kings. Subhangi did not garland any of the kings. She passed through Suyodhana and Karna. Suyodhana was enraged with great wrath. He ordered that Subhangi should be caught and kept in his chariot. Suyodhana abducted her with force. All the kings who attended the function rebelled against Suyodhana. Suyodhana and Karna fought with those kings. Karna with his archery skills vanquished all those kings. Suyodhana brought Subhangi to Hastinapura.

Bearing grudge against Karna, Jarasandha invited Karna for a dual fight. There was a fierce fight between Karna and Jarasandha. Karna defeated Jarasandha in that dual fight. Jarasandha, having been pleased with the prowess of Karna, gave the City of Malini to Karna.

Unable to digest the vigour and valour of Karna, Indra, approached Karna under the guise of a Brahmin, and begged him for his shield and ear rings. Karna gave away his shield and ear rings to Indra. Thus Karna was deprived of his shield and ear rings.

Therefore, Dharmaja! Karna was killed for all those reasons. Firstly he was afflicted with the curse of brahmin and also with the curse of Parasurama. Indra grabbed his shield and ear rings by deception. Announcement made by Bhishma, grading Karna as Ardha Radha. Salya’s non cooperation during war. All these culminated together and resulted in the killing of Karna by Arjuna.

While these are the weak points of Karna, Parama Siva, Indra, Yama, Varuna, Drona, Kripacharya endowed Arjuna great celestial Astras. Hence Arjuna could kill Karna, otherwise, it was impossible for Arjuna to vanquish Karna.” said Narada.

Having heard the words spoken by Narada, Dharmaja suffered with great distress. Mother Kunti tried to console Dharmaja. “O my son Dharmaja! When I revealed the birth secret of Karna and invited him to our side, Sun God appeared and confirmed what I said was correct. Still Karna did not leave Suyodhana. I do not know why you are worrying for him.” said Kunti.

Dharmaja looked at his mother, Kunti, contempteously and cursed: “O mother Kunti! Because of your maintaining secrecy about the birth of Karna, all this has happened. From today, the womenfolk will be deprived of their power of maintaining secrecy.” cursed Dharmaja.

Then Dharmaja told Arjuna: “Arjuna! What for is this kingdom without any kith and kin. Let us go elsewhere and live by alms. Then only my mind will remain peaceful. Arjuna! We killed all our brothers. Does it not amount to killing ourselves? Is this Kshatriya Dharma,only to ruin ourselves? Is it not just and proper for us to retire to forests and live peacefully by eating leaves and roots, shedding our hatred towards others? Hence, let us again go to forests. For the sake this kingdom we fought with each other like dogs and killed our kith and kin and ruined our clan. Now we are leading a wicked life.

Arjuna! I do not want to rule this Kuru Kingdom. I do not care even to rule the entire universe. My paternal uncle could not control his son, Suyodhana and did not even try to put him in a right path. As a result, that wretch caused this mass destruction. Of course, our anger subsided by killing Suyodhana. But my mind is filled with great sorrow What can I do? I resorted to this war for the sake of this kingdom. I committed great sin. Unless I discard this kingdom acquired by waging this war, my mind will not remain in peace. Hence I decided to retire to forests and spend rest of my life amidst great sages and saints.” said Dharmaja.

With these words of Dharmaja, Arjuna was enraged with great wrath. But he subsided his anger and brought a smile on his face.

“O brother Dharmaja! Have we heard such words before? We fought this war and acquired great victory. Having forgotten that, you are now intending to retire to the forests. We never grabbed this kingdom from others by illegal means like Suyodhana. We got this Kingdom in a virtuous manner. Is it proper on your part to leave this kingdom which was acquired by us victoriously? If you really intend to retire to forests and live a peaceful life, why did you wage war against our enemies and killed akshouhinis of army. Having killed so many people and acquired this victory, if you retire to forests, leaving this kingdom, you will be called a coward. Nobody will praise you for your deeds.

If you feel that we are inflicted with great sin by fighting this war, you can perform suitable Yajnas and Yagas to get rid of that sin. The root for all the Dharmas is wealth. Without wealth, a man cannot survive. You have to think about it also. If you are wealthy, so many relatives will come to you of their own accord. So many friends will come near to you. By acquiring wealth, you will get vigour and valour. Wealth will show right path and make you wiser. Therefore, of all the four dharmas, Ardha is great. Such wealth in the form of kingdom was acquired by us in a righteous manner. It is our duty to enjoy that wealth.

You are saying that you have killed your cousin brothers. Devatas and Rakshasas are cousins. Devatas killed their cousins, Rakshasas. Without killing cousins and enemies, how can we acquire kingdom?

Vedas also preach like this: “Exhibiting prowess, killing enemies, acquiring wealth and kingdom, performing Yajnas and Yagas and satisfying divine bodies and attaining higher regions after death are the characteristics of a Kshatriya.”

Our ancestor-emperors viz, Dilipa, Nruga, Ambareesha, Sagara, Nahusha, Mandhata etc., followed the same path and attained higher regions after their death. Now you are the emperor in their order. Is it just to relinquish the emperorship? You follow the order of your ancestors, perform Yajnas and Yagas and attain higher regions; otherwise, how can you acquire that purity? By performing Asvamedha Yaga only, those emperors acquired that purity.” said Arjuna.

Even after hearing the words spoken by Arjuna, Dharmaja could not convince himself. “Arjuna!, my mind is not convinced to rule this Kingdom. In this universe, there is no other wealth equal to contentment. What will give us more pleasure in this world than leaving these materialists and retiring to forest? I would choose hearing the preaching of sages and saints; keeping good relations with others without picking up quarrels; accepting praises and curses equally. Is it not great in treating equally those who stab us and those who applied chandan? Maintaining silence as dumb; visiting the ashrams of sages and accepting alms given by them as a feast and be contended with them, will definitely give me more happiness.

On the other hand, if we follow the path of Karma, what would you derive except collecting sins? By the grace of God, I attained this knowledge and wisdom which is eternal. That is the only path for attaining salvation. I cannot leave that path.” said Dharmaja.

Having heard these words, Bhimasena came forward and said: “Brother Dharmaja! You are bound to perform Karma, acceptable by Vedas. Without performing those karmas, is it proper on your part to follow the path of Jnana? Having seen the mass massacre of all our kith and kin in the battle, you might have got angry and hatred on this Kingdom. Had you exhibited this anger, jealousy and detachment before the war you would have saved several lives of our relatives, friends, kings etc., We also would have lost hope on this kingdom and retired to the forests along with you. The Maha Bharata War would not have happened and this mass massacre would have been averted. Having made several promises to kill our enemies, if you decide to retire to forests, what will others think about you? Will not everybody heckle you?

In the past, a person of your nature, having dug a well left that place without consuming the water; having climbed the tree for a honey, he left that tree without tasting the honey; having got served many eatables in the plate, he left the plate without eating them. Such person also discarded a beautiful lady who fell in love with him. You are also behaving in the same manner, by discarding this kingdom acquired by us with our vigour and valour and retiring to forests. Of course, you know everything. Brother Dharmaja! Beholding us retiring to forests along with you, everybody will laugh at us saying that “these fools are walking behind Dharmaja without stopping him.” Will you deprive us of all the royal pleasures by retiring to forests? If salvation will be attained by discarding Karmas, the trees standing in the forests which are not performing any Karma, should attain salvation. But it is not so. The same will apply to you also.

Brother Dharmaja! Relinquishing Karmas is not the solution. We have to perform karmas but we have to relinquish the fruits of such Karmas. We have to perform Nishkama Karma by devoting the fruits of such Karmas to God. Then only you will get salvation. The detachment from Karmas will be attained by you automatically. Therefore, you will never attain salvation by simply retiring to forests.” said Bhimasena.

Then Arjuna told Dharmaja thus: “Dharmaja! Kindly listen to this story:

In the ancient past, some unmarried brahmins abandoning their customs and practices prescribed for their caste, left for the forest. Indra, in the form of a bird, approached them and told them that the path they have chosen was wrong. Those brahmins requested that bird to show them the right path. Then Indra said thus:

“ According to Vedas, in the animals the Cow, in sounds the Mantras, in metals gold; in humans Brahmin; were considered to be the best.. The duty of Brahmin was to learn Mantras and discharge the duties prescribed to him. Even if by negligence, anger or sorrow, they did not discharge their duties, it would amount to greatest sin. Most of the illiterate were spoiling themselves without knowing anything about Sanyasa. One who follows Grihastha Dharma, worships guests, divine bodies and Pitaras, and he will attain higher regions after death. One who discharges his duties in the outside world and devotes the fruits of those duties to God, he will enjoy eternal pleasure.” said Indra. Having heard the words of Indra, the Brahmins realized their mistake. They went back to their homes, got married and discharged their duties assigned to them.

Therefore, Dharmaja! You should also rule the kingdom to the satisfaction of one and all, perform Yajnas and Yagas and attain higher regions” said Arjuna.

Then Nakula also said thus: “Brother Dharmaja! Brahmins are getting rid of their sins by learning Vedas. There is no use of retiring to forests, neglecting your duty of performing Yajnas and Yagas. If we acquire wealth without aspiring for any fruits and utilise that wealth for performing Yajnas and Yagas and charities to Brahmins, it will become ‘Karma without attachment’. Without getting rid of desires, anger, likes and dislikes, even if we retire to forests and perform Tapas, it will be of no use. If we weigh Grihastashram on one side and Brahmacharya, Vanaprastha and Sanyasa on otherside, Grihastashram will weigh more than other Ashrams. Vedas are echoing that if Kshatriyas do not acquire wealth and perform Yajnas and Yagas, they will attain sin.

Eswara enlightens the entire world. He established Ashrama Dharmas. Karma yoga is his creation. Because of the anguish caused by this war, how can you forget Varna Ashrama Dharmas established by Eswara. You are telling that due to the violence caused by war, we are inflicted with sin. Do you mean to say that our fore fathers and Emperors have ruled this kingdom without resorting to wars and violence? Did they not attain higher regions after death? You also will never be tainted with any sin on account of this war and you will attain higher regions.

The general public will always seek protection under the rule of a kshatriya. It is the duty of every Kshatriya to protect the general public in his kingdom. Failure to discharge that duty is sinful. Making charities is the Kshatriya Dharma. You have to make charities to those who are fit to receive that charity. Leaving all these Dharmas, how can you retire to forests?” said Nakula.

Then Sahadeva also spoke few words: “O brother Dharmaja! Will any body attain Moksha simply by leaving his desires for the sake of others? You have to relinquish your sensual pleasures and discharge the Kshatriya Dharma. By relinquishment of desires and bondage you will attain Moksha. Even if you retire to forests, leaving this Kingdom, you have to secure your daily needs from others and you have to develop love and affection towards them. That is the root cause for worldly pleasures.

Brother Dharmaja! you are my brother, my sister, my mother, my father and my God father. Kindly listen to my words. I am speaking these words with utmost devotion towards you. I do not know whether they are true or not. Kindly trust me.” said Sahadeva.

Dharmaja patiently heard what had been said by Nakula and Sahadeva. Now it was the turn of Draupadi.

“If I am permitted, I will also say a few words” said Draupadi. Dharmaja nodded his head. Draupadi spoke thus:

“Kindly remember the days when we spent in forests . While your brothers were against you, you consoled them by saying that on completion of Ajnatavasa, you will kill Suyodhana and acquire kingdom and enjoy the royal pleasures. You have fulfilled your words. You killed your enemies and acquired the kingdom. Now, you are going back on your word given to your brothers and retiring to forests. Is it just on your part?

King will never be with a weak heart. He has to protect righteous people by punishing the wrong doers and culprits. Lord Brahma created Kshatriya to protect the universe. King is nothing but God in human form. If such a king is inefficient and useless, wrong doers and culprits will raise their heads. Hence God endowed the King with penal law to punish the criminals and culprits. It is the duty of a king to punish even a Brahmin, if he is a wrong doer.

You have discharged your duty as a King by killing Suyodhana, Dussaasana and others. While with a single garment on my body, Dussaasana dragged me to open assembly. Suyodhana showed his lap . Karna made pungent remarks against me.You have punished all of them with death. How can it be a sin? You need not worry about it.

It is the duty of a Kshatriya to punish the following: those who administer poison to others; set fire to the houses of others; disclose political secrets to enemies; murderers; a person who lusts another’s wife; and those who kill his own kith and kin. Kauravas committed the above wrongs. Hence you punished them. If you do not punish them knowing fully well that they are wrong doers, it will be a sin. By punishing wrong doers, King will protect righteous people. If a king, who is expected to rule the kingdom, follows the path of non-violence, it will amount to violation of Kshatriya Dharma. Therefore shed all your doubts from your mind and rule this Kingdom and protect the people.

O King Dharmaja! Will there be any lady like me on earth who has suffered great woes. Did I ever discard my Grihastha Dharma. Kauravas dug their own grave. Why should you feel sorry for that! I need not tell you about the rules of war. In the past, Brihaspati and Sukra manifested War Rules to the entire universe. You have followed those war rules. You need not worry about it.” said Draupadi.

Arjuna again continued to say: “If the King had a soft corner towards culprits and wrong doers, even Sanyasis also will follow the wrong path and resort to all kinds of mischiefs. There will be chaos. People will loot money and property of others. Wives will be abducted by others. The king will certainly have to bear that sin. Therefore, punishing the criminals cannot be considered to be violence. Rudra, Govinda, Indra and Guha who punished the criminals were not afflicted with any sin. Therefore, by punishing criminals and wrong doers, Adharma will vanish and Dharma will flourish.

Brother Dharmaja! even the common people will resort to violence in their day to day life. In the fruits we are consuming daily, there are several invisible insects which are being killed by us. While we are digging the roots for our consumption, several insects will die. How can we consider it as sin? For our survival, we have to consume food. While preparing our food, we have to resort to violence. Have you forgotten the fact that even the God arranged one life as a prey for another life. Therefore, any violence committed without causing any harm or injury to others is equal to non-violence.

Punishing the enemies does not amount to violence. We regained the Kingdom acquired by our father, King Pandu. How can it be unjust? Whether we fought the war, justly or unjustly, God only knows. Therefore leave that matter and rule the Kingdom.” said Arjuna.

There is no change in Dharmaja. Having lost patience, Bhimasena spoke to Dharmaja thus:

“Brother Dharmaja! You are aware of all Dharmas. We are not so great to preach sermons to you. But I lost my patience. Hence I am repeating once again. Discarding the Kingdom acquired by just means amounts to cowardice. The people will look at you as a coward and belittle you. As a result of wicked dice game, we suffered a lot in forests and Virata kingdom and were subjected to several insults. You believed truth. We followed you. We killed all those who were responsible for our woes. You attained great victory, name and fame. We regained our kingdom. Now you want to discard it.

Brother Dharmaja! Tell me, why did we fight this dreadful war? To wreak vengeance against those who were responsible for our woes and insults during Aranya Vasa and Ajnata Vasa. We have taken a decision to fight according to the advice of Sri Krishna. We fought the war. Didnt you know at that time that either we or Kauravas will be killed in the war? Why you are feeling sorry for the demise of our enemies.

Therefore, brother Dharmaja! Rule this Kingdom. That is the only option left to you.” said Bhimasena in a firm voice.

After hearing the words of Bhimasena patiently, Dharmaja said thus:

“You are all affected with vanity, desires, fear. Hence you are forcing me to rule this Kingdom. But elders say that ruling of a kingdom is filled with sorrow and distress. Every king, at the end, will certainly go to hell. Therefore, hell is certain to a king. Where is happiness and peace in ruling the kingdom? You will never find happiness in enjoying sensual pleasures. If you renunciate worldly pleasures, that happiness is eternal. Do you mean to say that the sages and saints who are living in forests, consuming leaves and roots, are fools?

The wrong doers will always entangle in these sensual pleasures. The wise will never look at them and live peacefully. In this context, it is pertinent to remember the words of King Janaka. He said that the person who has no desires does not require any wealth. He feels as if he possesses all wealth. Janaka said that “even if the city of Mithila is burnt, I feel as if nothing has happened.” We all respect King Janaka. Let us respect his words also. One who renunciates the worldly pleasures will look at those who are grieving for worldly pleasures, as if one at the hill top looks at the people at the bottom of the hill.” said Dharmaja.

For that Arjuna gave a fitting reply: “Brother Dharmaja! You quoted the saying of King Janaka. But I will tell about the conversation between the same Janaka and his wife. When Janaka intended to renunciate this world and retire to forests, his wife told him thus:

“My dear husband! If you retire to forests, leaving this kingdom, who will look after the guests, divine offerings, offerings to your Pitaras? To become a Sanyasi, you have to shave your head, wear saffron robes and go round each and every house for alms. The householders who offer you food and alms will get Punya. Therefore, the householder who gives food and alms to a begger will get more Punya than the begger who receives it. Dont you know this much!

The wise and learned who know about Vedas will always depend on Kings for their sustenance. If a king like you renunciates this kingdom, who will look after them? Is it just on your part to ruin their lives? What you are going to derive by abandoning your wife and children and retiring to forests? You, being a king, shall look after the needs of the people. Can such a king retire to forests, abandoning the people? Therefore, what you are doing is nothing but contravention of your own Dharma. I dont think you will get Moksha by retiring to forests.” said the wife of Janaka.

After the hearing the words of Arjuna, Dharmaja told him thus: “Arjuna! Vedas prescribed the righteous karmas to be followed by humans. Same Vedas preached that by renunciation of Karma, one will attain higher regions. Wise men will choose a better path among the two. If we do virtuous deeds, we will attain divine pleasures. What you say is to be followed in the outside world. It is also just and proper. But, wise and learned and conversant with Vedas cannot say that my path is wrong. You were born with the blessings of Indra and Bhimasena with the blessings of Vayu. With the proximity of Sri Krishna, his influence is upon you.

Of course, you both possess great vigour and valour. But you are not conversant with Dharma, Vedas and holy scriptures. Those who are conversant with scriptures will say that this Samsara is useless and tasteless. One who renunciates the desires and abandons karma and lives with clean mind will attain eternal happiness. One who always craves for wealth and worldly pleasures cannot feel that happiness. Even after being conversant with Vedas and scriptures, those who are deprived of wisdom will always preach that the path of Karma is good. They themselves will be entangled in Karmas and cannot attain eternal happiness.

But those who are wise and learned will say that Sama, Dama, and Tyaga are the roots for attaining eternal happiness. People like me will be accept it.” said Dharmaja.

Then Saint Devasthana, who was present there, said to Dharmaja thus: “Dharmaja! Arjuna is right in saying that wealth and valuables are required for a happy life. There are several steps of yoga to attain Moksha. Acquring wealth and prosperity for enjoying worldly pleasures is wrong. But acquiring wealth for performing Yajnas, Yagas and charities is not wrong. Besides, you attain moksha. Therefore, rule the country, acquire wealth and prosperity, perform Yajnas, Yagas and make charities to the poor and needy.

Lord Siva performed a yajna called Sarvamedha. Brahma and other divine bodies also performed several Yajnas. Maruts attained name and fame by performing several Yajnas. Once Brihaspati told Indra thus:
“O Indra! Dont allow desires and anger to enter in your mind. Observe abstinence from desires and anger. Shed your sorrow. Be cheerful and make others happy. Observing both Karma and renunciation of Karma cannot be said to be good. While doing Karma, you have to devote the fruits of that Karma to God. That is the greatest Dharma of all.”

Therefore, Dharmaja! observe good and bad equally; dont intend to cause harm to anybody; observe Kshatriya Dharma and rule the country. All your ancestors followed the above principles and ruled the country. Later, they retired to forests. You also follow the same path.” said saint Devasthana.

Again Arjuna spoke thus: “Brother Dharmaja! According to Kshatriya Dharma, we fought the war. Those kings who died in war attained higher regions. Even the children know that Kshatriya Dharma is harsh. King does not commit any sin. A King has to rule the country but not to depend on others for his sustenance. Now you are the king in Kuru clan. The minds of Kings should be rock hard. Therefore, shed your sorrow and agree to rule the country. Fighting the war, killing of enemies, and their attainment of higher regions are all of God’s will. You should not feel sorry for that. You are conversant of all Dharmas. Be brave. Rule this Kuru Kingdom to the satisfaction of one and all.” said Arjuna.

But there appears to be no change in Dharmaja. He kept quiet. Then Saint Vyasa told Dharmaja thus:

“O Dharmaja! Every letter spoken to by Arjuna is true. Of all Dharmas, Grihastha Dharma is the best, not only for human beings, but also for all the living beings. Especially, for Kshatriyas, except Grihastha Dharma, all other Dharmas viz., tapas, controlling senses, brahmacharya are not acceptable. Abstaining from earning, neglecting to protect his people, fleeing away from battle field are greatest sins for Kshatriya. You are conversant with Vedas. Follow the path shown by Vedas. Rule this country.

Dharmaja! you have learnt Vedas, scriptures, Sastras and Puranas from your preceptors. Dont you know about Varnaashrama Dharma. There is no other Dharma for a ruler except to punish wrong doers and protect righteous people. King Sudyumna followed the above Dharma and attained Moksha. I will tell his story.

In the ancient past, on the banks of River Bahuda, two brahmin brothers called Sankha and Likhita were living. Each followed his own Dharma. In their Ashram, there were many fruit bearing trees. One day, while Sankha went out, Likhita plucked some fruits from the tree in the Ashram of Sankha and was about to eat them. Meanwhile Sankha arrived and asked Likitha from where he got those fruits. Likhita replied that he plucked them from a tree in the Ashram of Sankha. Then Sankha told Likhita. “Your act amounts to theft. Please go to the King and seek suitable punishment for your crime.” said Sankha.

Accordingly Likhita went to King Sudyumna and sent word to the king about his arrival. King Sudyumna along with his ministers arrived there. Likitha requested the King to punish him for stealing fruits from his brother’s ashram. The King was surprised for his honesty. In fact, the King did not want to punish him as he fairly admitted his crime. As Likhita himself admitted the offence and requested for punishment, King Sudyumna ordered that his two hands be cut. Likhita blessed King Sudyumna and went away. The sentence was executed. Likhita went to Sankha and showed him his severed hands. Sankha was very happy.

“Likhita! nobody should contravene Dharma. Your life is purified. You go to River Bahuda and offer Deva Tarpanam and Pitru Tapanam. Likhita! consumption of arrack, feeling lust for teacher’s wife, stealing the wealth of Brahmins are said to be great sins. Whoever commits any one of the above crimes, even if he is a Brahmin, he should be punished. Anyone who is punished by King, will attain higher regions. You also received punishment from King. You are purified. You have to feel happy.” said Sankha.

Likhita went to River Bahuda and had a holy dip and offered Deva Tarpanam and Pitru Tarpanam in the river. Immediately both of his hands were restored. Likhita ran back to Sankha and showed his hands.

“You need not feel astonished. Your hands are restored due to the power of my Tapas and also Divine blessings. You are plainhearted. Hence you got the blessings of God. Even the King who punished you also will get higher regions.” said Sankha.

Hence, Dharmaja! You also rule this Kingdom and attain higher regions. The words spoken to by your brothers are sacred like Vedas. Ruling the Kingdom and punishing culprits is the duty of King. Leave your sorrow. Rule this Kingdom, acquire wealth, perform Yajnas and Yagas.That is your Dharma.

O Dharmaja! Your wife and your brothers, as per your wish, spent 12 years in forests and one year in exile and they suffered many woes. Now, it is your duty to fulfil their wish and rule the kingdom. Dont cause much hardship, to your kith and kin, and also to divine bodies and Pitaras, by retiring to forests.

You are conversant with Law. Those who rule the kingdom as per the wish of the people will attain higher regions. Collect 1/6th share from the people as tax. Rule the people as your own children. This will show the right path for Moksha. If a king with great pride and aggrandizement, under the influence of kama and krodha, rules the people as an autocrat, that king will attain 1/4th share of all the sins committed by the people.

Vanquishing enemies is the duty of Kshatriya. Entering into a pact of compromise with sinful rulers is wrong.A King should never part with part of his kingdom under any peace pact. Fighting with the enemy and defending the kingdom is the duty of a king. Therefore you need not worry for fighting with Suyodhana for the sake of your kingdom.

It is your foolishness to think that this great war had happened for not entering into peace pact with Suyodhana. In the ancient past, King Hayagriva fought with his enemies and conquered them, punished the wrong doers and protected the righteous people and ruled the country peacefully. He performed many Yajnas and Yagas and attained higher regions, after death. Therefore, wars will never do harm to Kings. It is the duty of Kshatriya either to kill the enemy or to be killed by the enemy. Similarly punishing wrong doers and protecting righteous people is his Dharma. You need not entertain any doubt that punishing culprits will amount to violence. Employ efficient staff and rule the country.” said Vyasa.

Inspite of all the preachings made by Veda Vyasa, there is no change in the mind of Dharmaja. Arjuna got enraged. But he suppressed his anger and stood behind Dharmaja. Dharmaja spoke to Vyasa thus:

“O Saint Vyasa! in these 18 days of war, several lost their husbands, sons and brothers. Their lamentations, sorrows and weepings are breaking my heart. I could not find peace. How can I rule this country?” asked Dharmaja.

Veda Vyasa told Dharmaja thus: “Dharmaja! You are speaking as if you have control over pleasures and sorrows in this world. If you drive away sorrows from your mind, will they vanish? If you invite pleasures, will they enter? In this universe, every body shall have to undergo pleasures and sorrows, according to their good and bad deeds done by them in their previous birth. Even then, these pleasures or sorrows are not eternal. They will be coming and going. Sorrow follows pleasure and pleasure follows sorrow. Even for a wretch, if his time is good, he will be blessed with great wealth and prosperity. Even for a righteous person, if his time is bad, he will have to undergo unbearable poverty and misery. If one’s time is bad, even Mantras and Tantras will never work.

Rain, heat, darkness and moonlight are all creations of God. Blossom of lotus flowers and other flowers to plants and trees, bearing fruits etc., will happen in their respective seasons only. Births and deaths, ups and downs, raise and fall are all bound by time. One should not feel sorry for them.

In the past, King Senajit lost his son. But he never lamented like you. He consoled himself and got rid of that sorrow. I will tell you what he said:

“In this universe, some make others to suffer. Some are made to suffer by others. All this happens according to their time. One should not feel that his suffering was caused by others or he made others suffer. He should not either feel pleasure or sorrow on account of those sufferings. Lamenting for the loss of wealth, wife, children, relatives is ignorance. There may be several reasons for our sorrow and fright. Wise and learned will never feel for sorrow and fright. Pleasures or sorrows are not eternal. We should not feel happy for pleasures and feel sorry for sorrows. One who does not know anything or one who knows everything will never feel for pleasures or sorrows. One, who does not know, does not know, that he does not know, only feels pleasure and sorrow, time and again.” said King Senajit.

Those words will apply to you also in this situation. Dharmaja! Follow Kshatriya Dharma and rule this country. One, who is remembered even after his death, is a virtuous person. Therefore, be a virtuous person.” said Veda Vyasa.

But Dharmaja was not convinvinced with those words.

“O Saint Vyasa! Inspite of your preachings, I could not forget Abhimanyu, sons of Draupadi, Karna, Virata, Drupada and Dhrishtaketu. I lost my mental peace. While I was young, I sat on the lap of my grand father, Bhishma, and he fed me with his own hands. He was killed in this war. After his fall on a bed of arrows, he looked at me painfully, while the arrows shot byArjuna were piercing into his body. I cannot forget those looks of Bhishma. It is so painful that a great warrior, who vanquished Parasuma, is now lying on bed of arrows.
For the sake of this wretched kingdom, I spoke a blatent lie that Asvathama was dead, when my preceptor Drona enquired me about his son’s death, swith a fond hope that I will always tell truth. I destroyed his faith reposed on me. Am I not sinful? I deceived even my preceptor.

O Saint Vyasa! tell me about the punishment I have to receive for killing my preceptor for this wretched kingdom. Will this kingdom, acquired after the death of my elder brother, Karna, give me pleasure or happiness?
I sent Abhiamnyu into a blazing fire, Padmavyooha. Subhadra and Arjuna were able to tolerate my cruelty. Otherwise, Arjuna would have cut me into pieces.

I am unable to tolerate the grief of Draupadi who sacrificed her five children to this, otherwise avoidable, war. Am I not responsible for this mass massacre? Please allow me to retire to forests and live peacefully, inviting my death.” said Dharmaja in a great distressed mood.

Veda Vyasa continued to say: “O Dharmaja! You are a kshatriya. But you are thinking like a Brahmin. You are unable to put an end to your grief. Kindly listen to my words carefully. The entire unvierse is filled with duals. Any rise is bound to fall. Births are bound to have death . Sorrow follows pleasure. It cannot be taken for granted that all friends are true to their friendship; all enemies will do harm; only righteous people will enjoy pleasures; and all pleasures will be derived from wealth. It is all our illusion. You have to discharge your duty in this universe for what you were created by Brahma. You cannot act as you like.

Videha kingdom was ruled by King Janaka. He was not so wise at that time. Once he lost his kith and kin. He was afflicted with great grief. He decided to leave his kingdom. At that time, one Brahmin, called Ashmaka, arrived. King Janaka received him with due honours and offered him arghyam, padyam and a suitable seat. King Janaka asked him thus:

“O Brahmin Ashmaka! What is the reason for a person possessed of wealth and relations, getting accessed to pride and aggrandizement whereas the same person gets afflicted with great grief when he is deprived of them. Kindly tell me.” asked King Janaka.
Asmaka told thus: “King Janaka! When a man is entangled in Samsara, it is quite natural to be influenced by pleasure and sorrow. They will scatter his mind. The only remedy is the awareness that there are no more pleasures or more sorrows in this universe. Even the King and Emperor who rules this earth has no power to avoid old age and death. Therefore, whatever happens in our life, the mind should not be deluded.

In everybody’s life, happiness and misery, good house, good food will be available in course of time. One should not feel happy when everything is available and feel misery if he is deprived of them .Doctors who are conversant with medical science, will give medicines to cure our diseases. But some diseases are not cured. The doctor himself may be inflicted with the same disease. Therefore, nothing is in our hands. Everything is predestined. We have to make our own trials.

High birth, health, beauty, prosperity and objects of enjoyment are all subject to our virtuous deeds done in our past life. The indigent, although they may not desire it, have many children. The affluent are seen to be childless. The poor will have great appetite and they can digest any kind of food whereas the affluent cannot digest all types of food.

Lusting other ladies, playing dice game and consuming liquor and hunting animals were banned by elders. But several are addicted to those vices. The reason is God’s will. You cannot specify any reason for our likes and dislikes. Wife and children are nothing but logs of wood, floating in a river. They will be joining and separating according to the flow of water.

Human being will have several births. In those numerous births, he may have several mothers, wives and children and relatives. For whom should he lament? The only remedy is to have awareness that this birth and the body are not eternal.

The time cycle is like a great ocean. In this ocean, births and deaths are moving like crocodiles. For a human being birth and death are unavoidable. Being aware of this truth, one should shed his grief. O King Janaka! Even our body itself was borrowed, which should be returned back, at the time of our death. In those circumstances, how can you say that your wife and children, friends and relatives are eternal? Even if you lament for years together, nobody will return back. Therefore, King Janaka! Shed your grief for the dead. Rule your kingdom. Then only you will get name and fame” said Ashmaka.

With the words of Ashmaka, King Janaka gave up the idea of abandoning his Kingdom. Therefore King Dharmaja! The same words will apply to you also. Give up the idea of retiring to forests and rule of the Kingdom.”said Veda Vyasa.

Dharmaja kept quiet without giving any reply. Then Arjuna told Krishna thus: “O Krishna! Having lost all his sons, brothers, relatives and friends, Dharmaja’s mind is perturbed. Please console him with your soft words.” said Arjuna. Sri Krishna went near Dharmaja, holding his hands, said thus:

“Dharmaja! Why you are perturbed like this? All your friends and relatives fought the war and adorned heaven. The royal pleasures are nothing but a dream. Can you say that anybody on this earth can remain eternal? Kings and Emperors like Marut, Suhotra, Anga, Sibi, Sri Rama, Bhagiratha, Dilipa, Mandhata, Pridhu, Yayati, Ambareesha, Sasi Bindu, Gaya, Ranti Deva and Bharata have all ruled this earth. They performed many Yajnas and Yagas. But all of them left this world. They never made this earth as their permanent abode. Similarly, Parasurama, son of Jamadagni, fought with Kshatriyas 21 times and conquered the entire earth and gave the same as charity to Kashyapa. Even that Parasurama is not now alive. You have heard all these stories long back. Still you are ignorant.” said Sri Krishna.

Dharmaja spoke Krishna thus: “Krishna! I desire to hear the story of Srunjaya. Kindly tell me.” asked Dharmaja. Krishna told Dharmaja thus:

“Dharmanandana! You have heard about Narada only through Vyasa. You have not heard anything about Parvata. I will tell you in detail.

Parvata was the sister’s son of Narada. Once upon a time Narada and Parvata came down to earth., they both came to an agreement. One should tell to the other, about all the thoughts passing in his mind, without hiding any of them, failing which, they will be subjected to the curse of the other.

One day they came to the house of Srunjaya and decided to stay there for some days. Srunjaya deputed his daughter, Sukumari, to serve Narada and Parvata. Accordingly she was serving them. Narada fell in love with Sukumari but did not reveal it to Parvata. With his divine vision, Parvata came to know about it.

“Narada! you deceived me by hiding your love towards Sukumari. I am cursing you. Soon after you marry her, you will have monkey face.” cursed Parvata.

Narada grew angry. “I am also cursing you. You will lose the right of entering the heaven” cursed Narada.

Parvata went away. Narada married Sukumari and his face was transformed into monkey face. Inspite of his monkey face, Sukumari was living with Narada happily. One day Parvata came to Narada and requested him to take back his curse.

“You have cursed me first. So you have to take back your curse” said Narada.

Parvata and Narada have taken back their curses and. Dharmaja! Rest of the story, Narada will tell” said Krishna.

Narada continued his study. “Dharamaja! We remained with Srunajaya for some time. Some years have elapsed. We were about to return back to heaven. I desired to help Sunjaya. I blessed him with a son who is more powerful than Indra.

Parvata thought that the son of Srunjaya may cause harm to Indra . Parvata said that the son of Srunjaya will survive half of his life.

I grew angry. “Srunjaya! dont worry. Whenever you apprehend any danger from Indra, make all trials to save your son. If it is beyond your control, I will save your son. I am blessing your son with one more boon. Every thing that comes out of the body of your son, viz., sweat, urine, saliva etc. will become gold. Hence he will be called as Suvarnashteevi.” . Then I went away.

Later Srunjaya begot a son. What all that was coming out of his body was becoming gold. The entire house of Srunjaya was filled with gold. One day, some miscreants kidnapped the son of Srunjaya, took him into a deep forest and killed him. They cut the body of the boy but did not find any gold. They left the body in the forest and fled away.

Srunjaya searched for his son and found the dead body in the forest. Srunjaya invoked me. I went there and brought the child back from Yama Loka.

Indra was waiting for an opportunity to kill Suvarnashteevi. He launched his vajrayudha to kill Suvarnashteevi. Vajrayudha, in the form of a tiger,killed Suvarnashtivi. Srunjaya came to know about this. He again thought about me. I again restored life to Suvarnashteevi. Suvarnashteevi, after the death of Srunjaya, ruled this earth for thousands of years.

Therefore, Dharmaja! You also rule this earth by leaving your adamant attitude.” said Narada. Dharmaja kept quiet.

Again Veda Vyasa told Dharmaja thus: “Dharmaja! Is there any Dharma for Kshatriya other than welfare of society? If you rule the country, sacred duties of brahmins will be performed accurately, without which, a lot of hardships will be caused to society. If the King performs the sacred duties he will get higher regions or else he will be afflicted with great sin. Therefore, protection of people is your utmost duty.” said Vyasa.

It appears there is a slight change in the adamant attitude of Dharmaja. “O Saint Veda Vyasa! What you said is correct. But with utmost greediness, I resorted to war. I committed mass massacre. I killed those who should not be killed. My heart is burning. But not heeding to your words also does not seem to be just. I am unable to decide what to do” said Dharmaja.

Veda Vyasa told Dharmaja thus: “Dharmaja! Who are you to decide what is to be done or not to be done. Nothing is in our hands. Everything is preordained. If a tree is cut with an axe, no sin will be attached to axe. If you are aware that you are discharging your duty as ordained by God, you will never be inflicted with any sin. Do your duty. Leave the result to God. All the wise will discharge their duties as ordained by Vedas in the name of God. Hence they will not be tainted with any sin.

If you think that because of killing your own kith and kin, you are afflicted with sin, you can perform Yajnas and Yagas and get rid of that sin. But, do not abandon the kingdom and welfare of the people, being afraid of the sin.” said Vyasa.

Dharmaja told Vyasa thus: “O Saint Vyasa! in this war, our sons, grand sons, brothers, fathers, grand fathers, uncles, preceptors, in-laws, friends, sons-in-law, brothers-in-law, several kings, emperors were killed. Their womenfolk are grieving for their husbands, sons, brothers etc. Some have put an end to their lives. I am responsible for their deaths. Having committed all these sins, how can I rule this kingdom, as an innocent person? How can my grieving heart agree for ruling the country? I have no other alternative but to retire to forests and leave this world.”said Dharmaja.

Again Vyasa tried to convince Dharmaja. “O Dharmaja! Keep your grief aside for a while and listen to my words carefully. Those who died in the battle did not sacrifice their lives selflessly. They fought the battle, in a selfish manner, for the sake of kingdom and for their name and fame. How you are responsible for their deaths? How will you be tainted with any sin on account of their killings? How can you know why their deaths occurred? Yama alone knows whom to kill and when to kill. Accordingly he will be taking away the lives of human beings. Lamenting for their deaths, as if you have killed them, is foolishness. We are acting like puppets in this world. God is making us to act.

If you are really interested in their future, enthrone the sons of the kings who were killed in the battle and make
them successors to their respective kingdoms. With this, the widows of the kings killed in the battle, will feel happy. If some kings do not have sons, their daughters may be installed as their successors to their respective kingdoms. (We observe that this method is being followed now a days also. Whenever any M.L.A or M.P is dead, his son, daughter or wife will be elected as his successor, unopposed).

O Dharmaja! You need not worry about the mass massacre. In the Dev-Danava war, Devendra killed danavas brutally and mercilessly and their blood flowed into rivers. Those Danavas are none other than the cousins of Devatas. But, all the sages and saints praised and acclaimed in one voice, the prowess of Indra. They offered a major share to Indra in the Yajnas and Yagas performed by them. That Indra is now ruling the heaven. In the same manner, you killed your cousins in the war and discharged your Dharma. As Indra, you are also fit to rule this kingdom. You can also perform Yajnas and Yagas, like Indira. In particular, you perform Ashvamedha yaga. To perform Ashvamedha Yaga, ruling the kingdom is a prerequisite. Therefore, rule the kingdom.” said Veda Vyasa.

At last, Dharmaja relinquished his grief. “O Saint Vyasa! Kindly tell me, the sin will be inflicted for each deed in detail.” asked Dharmaja. Veda Vyasa told Dharmaja, the niceties of Dharma.

Sleeping at the time of sunrise and sunset;
Not honoring guests;
Lusting other ladies;
Disregarding the teacher;
Setting fire to village (arson);
Teaching Vedas for money;
Selling the land given by God;
Refrain from protecting servants;
Deceiving others;
Setting fire to forests;
Abandoning his own dharma and following other dharmas,
Dereliction of duty assigned to him;
Cruelty towards animals;
Stealing the wealth of brahmins;
Killing brahmins;

All these are considered to be greatest sins.

O Dharmaja! Some acts and deeds may appear to be great sins but they are only accusations. They are as follows:

Killing a person, even if he is a brahmin, who pounces upon him with a sword and killing a person to protect the property of a brahmin is not a sin.
Administering wine or liquor to save one’s life is not a sin.
It is not a sin to tell a lie in the following circumstances:
In case of danger to life,
While the wealth and property of brahmins are stolen;
While acting as mediators for marriages;
While protecting preceptors;
While talking with ladies; to protect his own life and While proctecting his own life;
If anybody’s brother is a wretch and wrongdoer or renunciates this world, he can marry his brother’s wife and look after her.

For the sake of protecting cows, burning of forest is not a wrong thing.

Similarly, sacrificing animals during Yajnas;
Making charities to a person who is not fit to receive;
Pardoning a servant who committed a crime is not an offence.

Dharmaja! now I will tell the remedies for the above wrongs. Listen carefully.

To get rid of the sin committed by killing a Brahmin, or for stealing the property of Brahmins, one should proclaim to one and all about his crime, live by alms, eating once a day, observing brahmacharya, sleeping on ground, for a period of 12 years. Otherwise, he may perform Krichama Vrata for six months. Otherwise, one should perform Chandrayana Vrata for three years. Otherwise, one should eat once a month, for a period of 12 months. Otherwise, one should perform Ashvamedha Yaga and give one lakh cows or one hundred horses to Brahmins.

To get rid of the sin committed by consuming alcohol, he should consume the boiled alcohol or he should jump into fire, closing his eyes or renunciate this world or perform Brihaspati Yaga or give away all his landed property to others.

To get rid of the sin committed by lusting the wife of his teacher, one should embrace highly heated and burning iron idol of a lady, or cut his male organ and kill himself, or should die for the sake of his teacher or give away all his property and wealth to brahmins.

To get rid of the sin committed by stealing gold from brahmins, one should give away the same quantity of gold to that brahmin.

To get rid of the sin committed by speaking lies, one should make him happy against whom he told the lies.

To get rid of the sin committed by speaking against his teacher, he should offer Guru Dakshina to the teacher.

To get rid of the sin committed by lusting others’ wives, one should perform Krichama Vrata for one year.

(Krichama Vrata means, he should eat once in a day during day time for three days, once in a day during night time for three days, only eating what was given by others, unasked for, for three days and spending three days without eating anything.
(See Commentary on Maha Bharata Sahnti Parva published by TTD).

To get rid of the sin committed for lusting ladies who are not of marriageable order, one should wear wet clothes and sleep in ashes for six months.

A lady who had sexual intercourse with a male, will get rid of that sin soon after she gets the immediate next period.

To get rid of the sin committed by cutting a tree or animal, one should keep fasting for three days.

To get rid of any unknown sins, taking limited food, chanting Gayatri morning and evening is sufficient.

To get rid of the sins committed in the previous births, one should make charities.

But he who has no belief in God and Vedas, who has no devotion, humility and humbleness will not get rid of their sins by doing anything.

Dharmaja! You believe God and Vedas. You got devotion, humility and humbleness in abundance. You will get rid of all your sins by performing Yajnas and Yagas. Besides that, you killed the warriors in battle only in self defence not otherwise. Therefore, it is not a sin. The compassion and repentance generated in your mind erases all your sins. Your mind has become pure. You need not perform any Tapas. You rule this kingdom according to Kshatriya Dharma.” said Veda Vyasa.

“O Saint Veda Vyasa! What are the food items to be consumed and what are not to be consumed. Please tell” asked Dharmaja.

Veda Vyasa said thus: “Dharmaja! One should not consume the milk of horse, camel and donkey. One should not consume breast milk, as they are intended for infants. One should not consume the milk of cow within ten days of the cow giving birth to calves. One should not consume food in the house, where death occurred; where child was born; food given by Talari; food given by a prostitute; food given by a man who is depending on the earnings of a lady; food given by those who are eking their livelihood by singing and dancing; food given by a gambler, food given by a flower vendor; food given by a person who was married earlier to his elder brother and also the food given by a person who is depending on others by praising and flattering. One should not consume preserved and spoiled food.

One should consume Pulagam, Payasam and food prepared with gingili oil only after offering to God.

Those who are in Grihastha Ashram shall not consume food without devoting to God, without offering food to divine bodies and Pitaras and guests.

Those who are in Grihastha Ashtram shall remain unattached to wife and children. They should not immerse in their love and affection.

Dharmaja! I will tell about some who are not fit to receive charities. They are singers, dancers, comedians, wrong doers, impotent, cheaters, one who does not read Veda, low class people, one who are always indulging in harming others.

Poor and needy are fit to receive charities. Though you are interested in making charities, no useful purpose will be served by making charities to those who are not fit to receive. Giving charities to unworthy people amounts to giving a beautiful girl in marriage to an impotent; pouring ghee in ashes, keeping water in a broken pot etc. If you make charities to a fit person, you will enjoy pleasures both in this world and heaven.

Therefore, Dharmaja! Consider my words and do the needful.” said Veda Vyasa.

“O Veda Vyasa! I am very much satisfied with your preachings. My heart is filled with great joy. As per your directions, I will give up the idea of retiring to forests and rule the kingdom according to Kshatriya Dharma. You have showered your blessings upon me. But, to my mind it appears that, observing Kshatriya Dharma and practicing natural Dharma are one against the other. Kindly tell me about Kshatriya Dharma, Varna Ashrama Dharma etc.”

Veda Vyasa told saint Narada : “Dharmaja should approach Bhishma to get his doubts clarified. Bhishma will tell him about all Dharmas.” said Vyasa. Narada accepted the proposal of Veda Vyasa.

Then Vyasa told Dharmaja: “O Dharmaja! Bhishma is eldest and oldest in Kuru clan. Bhishma is adorable even by Indra. He is free from wickedness. He learnt secrets of archery from Parasurama. He is virtuous. He was born to sacred Ganga. There are no Dharmas unknown to Bhishma. He learnt intricacies of Dharma from Saints Chyavana, Markandeya and Vasishta. He got a boon from his father to leave this world as per his wish. He is now retaining his life in his body till the entry of Uttarayana. Dharmaja! Bhishma likes you very much. You approach him. He will preach you about Jnana and Dharma. This is our wish. Dont waste time. Uttarayana is fast approaching. Bhishma may end his life at any moment.” said Vyasa.

“O saint Vyasa! I have killed my friends and relations in this battle. How can I stand before him. I am the root cause for his fall. How can I ask him to preach Dharma.” said Dharmaja.

Sri Krishna told Dharmaja thus: “Dharmaja! Why should you think like that? You are approaching Bhishma as per the wish of Veda Vyasa. But it is not an immediate necessity. First you proceed to Hastinapura. The entire Hastinapura City, your brothers, citizens are waiting for your arrival. Make an entry into Hastinapura and make them happy.”
` After carefully listening to the preachings of Saints Vyasa, Narada, Devala, and Sri Krishna, Dharmaja gave up his grief and was inclined to hold the reigns of Kuru Kingdom. Dharmaja prostrated before all the Saints and sought their blessings. All the saints retired to their respective places.

Then Dharmaja worshipped Brahmins and divine bodies. Dharmaja gave an audience to all the kings assembled there and received the gifts offered by them.

Next day morning, after taking oil bath, Dharmaja adorned with white robes, valuable jewellery, he mounted a chariot with sixteen white horses. Bhima was the charioteer. Arjuna was holding white umbrella. Nakula and Sahadeva were standing with Vinjamaras (fans). Sri Krishna and Satyaki were by his side.Vidura and Kunti were following Dharmaja in their resepective vehicles. Dharmaja left for Hastinapuram.

The people of Hastinapura decorated the city with green mango leaves. They tied plantain trees to the poles. They decorated their houses with green leaves and flowers and decorated pots. All the people, young and old, were wearing new clothes. A festive mood prevailed in Hastinapuram.

Dharmaja entered the main street of Hastinapuram. The citizens of Hastinapura were gazing at Pandavas curiously. Everybody was praising Pandavas. Dharmaja arriveds at the main gate. Brahmins, virtuous ladies welcomed him at the main gate. Dharmaja got down the chariot. Along with Dhritarashtra and Dhoumya, Dharmaja entered the inner apartments. He worshipped the divine bodies. He invited brahmins and gave many cows and gold as charity.
At that time, Charvaka, a friend of Suyodhana, in the attire of brahmin, arrived there and mingled with other Brahmins. Charvaka addressed Dharmaja thus:

“O Dharmaja! the entire brahmin community authorised me as their representative to say a few words. You have committed greater sins. You are unfit to rule this kingdom. You have killed ruthlessly your fathers, brothers and sons. You killed your own preceptor. What fors are you living? Every body is hating you and cursing you. You are enjoying the royal pleasures, after killing all your relatives. You are inflicted with great sin” Charvaka rebuked Dharmaja.

On hearing the words of Charvaka, Dharmaja with folded hands prayed the Brahmins: “O sacred Brahmins! Kindly dont accuse me. Only on the advice of Vyasa and Narada, I have agreed to rule this kingdom.” said Dharmaja.

Brahmins with folded hands prayed Dharmaja: “O King Dharmaja! We do not know who he is. We have no connection with him. You rule this kingdom according to Kshatriya Dharma. May God Bless you.” said Brahmins.

With their divine vision, they realised that that Brahmins was Charvaka, a demon, a friend of Suyodhana. “O King Dharmaja! He is not a brahmin. He is Charvaka, a friend of Suyodhana. His barkings will not affect you or your name and fame. With the help of your brothers, you rule this kingdom.” said the Brahmins.

Then they looked at Charvaka with harsh looks. With the power of their looks, Charvaka was reduced to ashes. Dharmaja asked Krishna about Charvaka. Sri Krishna told Dharmaja thus:

“O Dharmaja! in Kritayuga, a rakshasa, called Charvaka, performed great Tapas. Brahma appeared before him. Charvaka asked for a boon that he will not be frightened with anybody in this universe. Brahma agreed but with a rider. “You should not cause displeasure to brahmins. If you do like so, that will be your last day.” said Brahma and disappeared. Today, he deceived brahmins and caused displeasure to them. Hence he was reduced to ashes.” said Sri Krishna.

Then all arrangements were made for the coronation festival.

On an auspicious day, Dharmaja sat in a golden chair, facing east. Satyaki and Sri Krishna sat in front of him. On either side of Dharmaja, Bhimasena and Arjuna sat in golden chairs. Behind Dharmaja, Nakula and Sahadeva occupied their respective seats. By their side, Kunti sat. Dhritarashtra and Gandhari were made to sit on golden chairs. To his east, sat Vidura and Dhoumya. Kripacharya sat by the side of Dhoumya.

Dharmaja worshipped goddess earth with white flowers and rice, gold and silver. Kings of several countries, highest officials, business men, Vysya dignitaries, social workers, agriculturists, villagers, singers, comedians, etc. assembled there. Dharmaja gave them gold and silver and honoured them.

With the permission of Sri Krishna, Dhoumya occupied a seat on the northeastern corner. There a big golden throne was installed, covered with Tiger skin.A crown was kept and worshipped. Golden vessels were filled with Holy waters brought from holy rivers. The conch was purified with cow milk, cow curd, cow urine etc., Brahmins were chanting the hymns from four Vedas. Dhoumya escorted Dharmaja to the Golden throne. Sacred fire was placed in front of Dharmaja and a divine yajna was performed.

The auspicious moments arrived.

Sri Krishna lifted the worshipped Crown and kept it on the head of Dharmaja saying “Dharmaja! You are now the king and emperor of this Kuru Kingdom”.

Dharmaja was enthroned as King and Emperor of Kuru Kingdom.

Dhritarashtra sprinkled holy waters with mango leaves on Dharmaja. Then all assembled there, according to their respective protocol, sprinkled holy waters on Dharmaja with mango leaves.

Conchs were blown, trumpets were beaten and their sounds rose to the sky. In this manner, Dharmaja was enthroned as King and Emperor of Kuru Kingdom. On that occasion, Dharmaja gave cows, gold and silver to Brahmins, poor and needy.

Dharmaja addressed the gathering: “I appeal to all of you to regard and respect Dhritarashtra as before. He is my father, my preceptor, my God. You have to follow his directions scrupulously.”

Then Dharmaja dismissed the assembly. Dhritarashtra and Gandhari were sent into the inner apartments. Citizens and villagers were permitted to leave the assembly. Kripacharya was also permitted to leave.

Then Dharmaja made arrangments for the smooth administration.

Bhimasena was installed as Yuva Raja. Vidura was appointed as Chief Minister. Sanjaya was appointed to look after legal affairs. Nakula was deputed to look after army and their maintenance, salaries etc., (Chief of Army Staff). Arjuna was appointed as chief of foreign affairs. Dhoumya was appointed to look after religious affairs. Sahadeva was appointed as personal secretary and chief body guard to Dharmaja. Other portfolios were entrusted to the eligible persons.

Dharmaja ordered Yuyutsa, Vidura and Sanjaya to go round the city of Hastinapura and look after the welfare of the citizens. They were directed to supervise all the social welfare programmes.

With the permission of Brahmins, Dharmaja performed with great devotion, all ceremonies and funeral rituals to all the dead. Several charities were made in their name. Through Dhritarashtra, he performed all funeral rituals to Suyodhana and his brothers.

Dharmaja ordered for construction of many choultries, temples, water supply tanks and dug many lakes in the names of those who were dead. Numerous cows were given to Brahmins as charity.

Dharmaja praised Krishna thus: “O Krishna! With your kindness I am made the King and Emperor of Kuru kingdom. You have always been protecting us at all times. Otherwise we would not have acquired the Kuru kingdom, name and fame. You are the beginning, middle and end of this creation. Even Vedas could not describe you. After all we are nothing before you. By chanting your name, we will get rid of all our sins. We will be purified.” Dharmaja praised Krishna with his thousand names. Krishna was very much satisfied with his praises.

Dharmaja turned towards his brothers and said: “Bhimasena, Arjuna, Nakula and Sahadeva! On account of me, you all suffered in the forests for 12 years and one year in exile. You fought for my sake. You lost your kith and kin. You made me the King and Emperor of the Kuru Kingdom. Now you enjoy the royal pleasures along with me. I request you to safeguard the interests of the king, his ministry, his treasury, his capital Hastinapura, his army, his people and kings who favour us.” said Dharmaja.

Then Dharmaja allotted official residences to his brothers.

“Bhimasena! you occupy the palace of Suyodhana. Arjuna! You can occupy the palace of Dussasana. Nakula and Sahadeva will occupy the palaces of Durmarshna and Durmukha. Yuyutsa, Vidura, Sanjaya and Dhoumya will occupy palaces of their choice. My paternal uncle, Dhritarashtra will remain in his own palace as before. Sri Krishna and Satyaki will be our State Guests with all State honours. They will stay in the palace of Arjuna.” said Dharmaja.

Then Dharmaja retired to his inner apartment.” said Vaisampayana to Janamejaya in the story of Mahabharata.

Then Janamejaya asked Saint Vaisamyapana: “O Saint Vaisampayana! After the coronation ceremony, what had happened? What was the behaviour of Dharmaja? How long Krishna stayed in Hastinapura? Tell me in detail” asked Janamejaya.Vaisampayana continued to tell Janamejaya the remaining Maha Bharat story.