On the occasion of Satrayaga, Sooti, the story teller, told Saint Sounaka and other sages and saints, the story of Maha Bharata as told by Saint Vaisampayayana to King Janamejaya, on the occasion of sarpa yaga.

“O Saint Vaisampayana, what was the behaviour of Pandavas towards Dhritarashtra, after Dharmaja was enthroned as King and Emperor of Kuru Dynasty. What was the behaviour of Dhritarashtra and Gandhari towards Pandavas as they lost all their kith and kin and all riches in the battle with Pandavas.” asked King Janamejaya.

Saint Vaisampayana told thus: “O King Janamejaya! Both Dharmaja and his brothers looked after Dharitarashtra and Gandhari with greatest regard and respect. Dharmaja was meeting Dhritarashtra daily and was eqnuring about his welfare. Vidura and Yuyutsa also were serving Dhritarashtra. They were supplying anything and everything required by Dhritarashtra and Gandhari in no time.Daily Dharmaja was meeting Dhritarashtra and receiving instructions with regard to day to day administration. Vidura and Yuyutsa also were serving Dhritarashtra and arranging everything required by them.

Dhritarashtra and Gandhari also were showering love and affection towards Pandavas. Kunti was enquiring daily about the welfare of Gandhari. Droupadi. Subhadra,Chitrangada and Uloopi also were serving their mother in law, Gandhari and were giving valuable presents to her. Dharmaja was personally enquiring whether sumputous food is catered to Dhritarashtra and Gandhari.

With the permission of Dharmaja, Dhritarashtra was making several endowments, constructing temples and choultries, digging tanks etc. He was distributing land to Brahmins. Even the kings who visited Dharmaja first visit Dhritarashtra and then visit Dharmaja. Dharmaja also was very happy with this arrangement. Dharmaja was making all arrnangements to Dhritarashtra and Gandhari so that they may not worry any longer about the death of their sons.

Not only that, Dharmaja gave directions to his brothers, ministers, generals that none shall cause any kind of hardship either by words or deeds, either to Dhritarashtra or Gandhari and the same respect and regard rendered to Dharmaja shall be extended to Dhritarashtra also. The directions of Dharmaja were being followed by his brothers, ministers and servants scrupulously.

But Bhimasena was not at all pleasent in his heart about Dhritarashtra. But for the sake of his brother, Dharmaja, he was pretending love and affection towards Dhritarashtra. Because, with the sight of Dhritarashtra, Bhimasena remembers all the woes they suffered during 12 years in forests and one year in Virata kingdom. His heart was burning. But beholding the face of Dharmaja, he was controlling his anger.

But Dharmaja was quite different. While performing the annual ceremonies for Suyodhana and others, Dharmaja encouraged Dhritarashtra to make several Danas and charities to Brahmins. Dhritarashtra was enjoying more royal pleasures than before. Dharmaja never spoke a single word about the misdeeds committed by Dhritarashtra and his sons. Those who know about the mentality of Dharmaja also did not dare to discuss about the misdeeds of Dhritarashtra and his sons. Even the people of Hastinapura also were not showing any difference between Dharmaja and Dhritarashtra.

Dhritarashtra and Gandhari were forgetting gradually the rememberances of their sons and were showering love and affection upon Dharmaja. But Dhritarashtra also could not tolerate the presence of Bhimasena because Bhimasena brutally killed his sons in war. Though Dhritarashtra and Bhimasena were inimically disposed towards each other, in their minds, their outward appearance was friendly. But Bhimasena at times bursts out. He speaks now and then to the hearing of Dhritarashtra and Gandhari thus: “I killed all the sons of this blind wretch. None survived. Those foolish Kouravas waged war against us. Whoelse knows about me will never fight with me. I wantonly killeld Duyodhana and Dussasana brutally. I praise the God, Almighty, who helped me in this regard.”

Strangely, the behaviour of Bhimasena was not known either to Dharmaja, Arjuna or Kunti. But Nakula and Sahadeva were enjoying the words of Bhimasena and always supported him. But they never expressed their support to Bhimasena, openly having afraid of Dharmaja. Having heard the pungeant words of Bhimasena, Dhritarashtra and Gandhari were suffering in their heart as they are helpless.

In this manner, 15 years have elapsed. One day, Dhritarashtra assembled his friends and relatives. He invited all pandavas to that assembly. He addressed them thus: “ Gentlemen! you know pretty well that my sons, grandsons, their relatives died in war due to me alone. My son, Suyodhana was cruel, greedy and caused much hardship to Pandavas. Still I made him the Emperor of this Kuru kingdom. When Krishna came down to settle the matter amicably, I never heed his words due to the love and affection towards my son, Suyodhana. Not only Krishna, Bhishma, Drona, Vidura and Sanjaya also advised me not to resort to war and give away the due share in Kingdom to Pandavas. Even my wife, Gandhari scolded me. I foolishly refused to hear those advices. Now I am suffering for my mis deeds. My sons opted for war. They never returned from war field. As they attained Veera Svarga, I never worried about them.” said Dhritarashtra.

He called Dharmaja near to him and said: “O Dharmaja! I am spending my last days happily with your love and affection. I am enjoying all royal pleasures. I made several charities during the obsequies of my sons, so as to enable them to attain higher regions. O Dharmaja!as a result of my mis deeds and undue love and affection towards my sons, yourself, your brothers and your wife Droupadi suffered several woes. Your wife Droupadi was insulted in open assembly. Therefore yourself and your brothers are justified in killing my sons who were inimically disposed towards you and your brothers. I cannot find fault with you. Forgetting all those things, you are showing love, affection and respect towards me.

In this connection, I tell you one thing. You are the king of this kingdom. None in the kingdom shall do anything without informing you. Hence I am informing you. I am aged. My life is coming to an end. A kshatriya shall either die in war or by performing Tapas. As there is no war, second option is suitable to me. Several of my ancestors retired to forests, performed Tapas and attained salvation. Hence myself and my wife Gandhari will retire to forests to perform Tapas. Kindly permit me to retire to forests.” said Dhritarashtra.

After patiently hearing those words, Dharmaja said thus: “O my paternal uncle! while yourself and your wife suffer in forests by consuming leaves and roots, how can I enjoy the royal pleasures. Will the rule of this kingdom is enjoyable by me? Thou you appear to be satisfied, I know you are not happy here. You are still lamenting for the death of your sons. I do not require this kingdom without you. You are my father, mother, teacher and God. If you retire to forests, how can I live in Hastinapura.

Let us do one thing. Let Yuyutsa, your last son, be enthroned as King of Kuru Kingdom. All of us retire to forests. Yuyutsa is your own son equivalent to Suyodhana. He is the legal heir for this throne. O my paternal uncle! I also lost all my sons, friends and relatives. I am unable to come out of that grief. If you also retire to forests, who else will console me. This kingdom is yours. Who am I to permit you? You still remember the misdeeds of your sons but I forgot them long back. Any how, all of them were destined to die. None is responsible for their death. For me, Kunti and Gandhari are equally affectionate. In such a case, how can I stay in Hastina without you and my aunt. Still if you intend to retire to forests, let me also follow you. Kindly dont object. O my paternal uncle and mother Gandhari! I promise to say if you retire to forests keeping sorrows in mind, I never enjoy these royal plealsures. Kindly forget the past and be happy. Leave the idea of retiring to forests.” prayed Dharmaja by falling on the feet of Dhritarashtra.

“O Dharmaja! I do not say you have not served me. But I am aged. I have become old. Atleast, at this age, cannot I perform Tapas and attain salvation. How long I rule this earth. A ruler inherits a share in the sins committed by his subjects. I have to get rid of that share of sins inherited by me.” said Dhritarashtra.

Then, beholding Kripa Acharya, Vidura and Sanjaya Dhritarashtra said: “Kindly advise Dharmaja to permit me to retire to forests. I am tired. I have to retire.” so saying he fell down on his seat.
Then Gandhari said thus: “O Dharmaja! your uncle is right. He is aged and old. He intends to retire to forests. Daily he is thinking about this, forgetting taking food and water. Hence, kindly permit him to retire to forests.” said Dandhari.

Meanwhile, Dhritarashtra regained consciousness. Dhritarashtra reiterated his request to retire to forests. Meanwhile, saint Vyasa arrived there. All of them saluted him, offered Arghyam and Padyas and suitable seat tosit.

Vyasa said thus: “ O Dharmaja! Dhritarashtra is right. Permit him to retire to forests and perform Tapas. He is aged. He lost his kith and kin. Such person naturally desires to retire to forests to perform Tapas. Even Gandhari suppressed her grief caused by the death of her one hundred sons. She is also in need of mental peace. Hence I have come here. Let them go to forests. They attain salvation. That is their final goal. O Dharmaja! none can deny the fact that you have served them all these fifteen years with greatest devotion.. Atleast, let them have freedom at this advanced age. Kshatriyas are destined to die either in war or performing tapas. But dying with diseases and sorrows is equival to hell on earth.” said Vyasa.

Dharmaja could not tell anything. “O great Saint Vyasa! your word is final and we are bound by it. Who am I to permit them? But formally, I am permitting them to retire to forests. Having been satisfied with the words of Dharmaja, Vyasa said thus: “Dharmaja! your father, King Pandu, kept his blind brother, Dhritarashtra, on throne and got performed several Yajnas and Yagas in the name of Dhritarashtra. He ruled this kingdom on behalf of Dhritarashtra. Your father served Dhritarashtra devoutedly. You also followed the foot steps of your father and extended the Kuru kingdom. Forgetting all the woes suffered by all of you at the hands of Dhritarashtra and his sons, you served Dhritarashtra and Gandhari all these years. Dhritarashtra enjoyed royal pleasures all these years. Now he intends to retire toforests to perform tapas. So let him retire to forests.” so saying Vyasa left that place.

Then Dharmaja told Dhritarashtra thus: “O my paternal uncle! you can do as you like. I have no objection.” said Dharmaja. Next day, preparations started for the journey of Dhritarashtra to forests. Dhritarashtra called Dharmaja to a lonely place and told him some morals thus:

“O Dharmaja! So far I have been advising you. Still you have to learn more. Ruling the kingdom shall be done in a virtuous manner. It is a difficult task. You have to respect elders and educated and extend them financial help for their sustenance. You have to regard the words spoken to by elders. You have to control your sense organs. If you control your sense organs, they will protect you. You have to appoint ministers, after verifying their antecedents. Mostly, only those who are able to control their sense organs, and who are far from corruption, shall be appointed as Ministers. For a king, there may be several enemies. You have to observe their movements with the help of spies. You have to strengthen the law and order wing and also the local administration. You have to appoint trusted people as your personal staff. Safety of ladies and children is the most concerned task in administration. You have to make necessary arrangements for the safety of women and children.

Whatever be the decision you take, it shall be taken only after consulting all your ministers. But such decisions shall be kept confidential till they are made public. While you are discussing important matters with your ministers, you shall not allow even deaf and dumb persons also in the vicinity. All the decisions you take shall be confidential. The loss you sustain is irrepairable if the decisions are leaked out. Hence you have to instruct your ministers to keep the minutes of the meetings strictly confidential.

Highly educated, honest and virtuous people are tobe appointed as judges. While awarding sentences to the culprits, the nature of the offence, the circumtsnces in which it was committed and the gravity of the office shall be taken into consideration. The King shall wake up early in the morning. After finishing morning rituals and divine worship, he has to tally the income and expenditure incurred on the previous day. In the evening he has to meet the people to hear their grievances. During nights, King has to meet the spies and collect the secret information and analyze it. In case of emergency, all the problems shall have to be solved immediately, without delay and without showing any laziness.

You have to earn money only through legal and proper means. You have to find out persons who cause harm and hardship to the community and punish them severely and all their attempts to unstable the government shall be foiled. The king has to encourage efficient and honest officials and award them incentives and also honor them in public, so that others also follow the same path. The King has to appoint the Chief of Army after verifying his antecedents, his verocity, his truthfulness and his love and devotion towards the King.

Everybody commits mistakes. Nobody is above board. You also may commit mistakes. But dont reveal your mistakes to your subordinates. But try to point out the mistakes committed by your subordinates and allow them to rectify those mistakes so that they may be more careful in future. Try to catch efficient and virtuous persons working with your enemy and try to turn them to your side, by giving valuable presentations and incentives, so that they may work with you efficiently.

Generally, kings develop enmity with the neighbouring kings. You have to be more careful with those kings who are inimically disposed towards to you. They may declare war against you while you are not vigilant and not prepared for war. If the enemy is more powerful than you, always try to make friendship with him. If the enemy is weak, attack him and conquer him and make him your subordinate.

War is of two kinds. The first is surrounding the fort and stop all essential supplies into the fort. The second method is directly attacking the enemy with your forces. In the former, loss of army personnel is minimum. According the circumstnaces obtaining at that time, you have to choose any one of the above methods. But you have to keep your army strong always. If you got any information that there was a conspiracy in the neighboring kingdom to dethrone the King, try to create rifts and differences between them and conquer the kingdom and make it subordinate to you. Give your enemy a long rope to commit mistakes and while he was with overconfidence and not vigilant, wage war against him and conquer him.

Before attacking your enemy, first you have to assess his strength, his army strength, his plans, his friends, his enemies and his trusted ministers, by collecting full information through your spies, and then contrive a plan to conquer him. Generally, kings has two kinds of forces. First is his own forces. Second the forces of his friends. Therefore, you have to keep your forces strong always and also keep friendly relations with your friends, so that they may come to your rescue with their forces while you are in need.

Whenever you conquer another kingdom, see that the public are not against you. You have to respect them and create confidence in them that they are safe at your hands. In such a case, your reputation in your enemy kingdom also increases.

O Dharmaja! a king has to read and study all kinds of sciences and shall be an expert. You have to impose taxes upon public, without causing any kind of hardship to public. Such a king enjoys pleasures on earth and heaven.

O Dharmaja! so far you have heard several morals through Vyasa, Bhishma and Sri Krishna. Out of love and affection towards you, I also spoke some political skills to the best of my knowledge. I know you are aware of all these things. Always worship elders. You attain wealth and prosperity always.” said Dhritarashtra to Dharmaja, some skills in political science.

“O my paternal uncle! Now my grand father Bhishma is no more. Krishna has gone to Dwaraka. Except you none are there to put me on right track. I will follow all the principles taught by you scrupulously.” said Dharmaja.

Then both Dhritarashtra and Dhrmaja retired to their respective inner apartments. Gandhari asked Dhritarashtra about his plans to retire to forests. “O Gandhari! Permissions of Vyasa and Dharmaja are obtained to retire to forests. We will start immediately. But before retiring to forest, I intend to perform some charities and endowments to brahmins and poor so that our sons may attain higher regions.” said Dhritarashtra.

Before departure to forests, Dhritarashtra intended to take the pemission of the citizens of Hastinapuram. Dharmaja ordered to arrange a meeting with all the important citizens of Hastinapura. Dhritarashtra along with Gandhari attended the meeting. Dhritarashtra addressed the meeting thus:

“O citizens of Hastinapura! So far you are under the rule of Kouravas. As I have become old, I intend to retire to forests to perform Tapas. I request all of you to grant me leave to retire to forests. I seek your blessings. As you are all aware, Hastinapura was ruled by King Santana. Later, Bhishma, son of Santana, was safeguarding the interests of Hastinapura. Bhishma made Vicitraveerya as King. I am the son of Vicitraveerya. As I was born blind, my brother, King Pandu, ruled Hastinapura, on my behalf. As my sons were bad and greedy, they were killed in the war. In fact I am the root cause for this disaster. Kindly excuse me. Kindly permit me to retire to forests. My wife, Gandhari also has become old. She lost all her children during this old age. Having regard to our old age, kindly permit us to retire to forests. Now Dharmaja is your king and emperor. Hereinafer you have to obey the orders of Dharmaja. I hope your interests are safeguarded at the hands of Dharmaja. O citizens of Hastinapura! so far, I enjoyed all kinds of plealsures. Kindly permit us to retire to forests.” prayed Dhritarashtra.

Having heard these words, all the citizens of Hastinapura wept with tearful eyes. Dhritarashtra continued to say: “ Even Vyasa, Dharmaja also permitted us to retire to forests. I am seeking your permission.” said Dhritarashtra.

On behalf of all citizens, one important person rose to his feet and said thus: “O King Dhritarashtra! I am speaking on behalf of all citizens of Hastinapuram, with their permission. So far, none of the Kings in Kuru Dynasty never resorted to untoward acts. All were virtuous kings. Even your son Suyodhana also did not commit any untoward act. Hence you need not worry. We all give you a great send off. But we are unable to digest the fact that you are retiring to forests. We feel that you are amidst us alwlays. Your grandfather, Santana, your father Vicitraverya and your son Suyodhana ruled us to our pleasure. None found fault with any of them. War was destined to happen and it happened. Bhishma, Drona, Karna, Kripa, Asvathama, Salya, Suyodhana, Bhima, Arjuna, Nakula Sahadeva, Drupada, Virata and Dharmaja fought with each other. Some were killed some survived. The entire Kshatriya clan perished. None is responsible for this disaster. As they always followed dharma, all attained higher regions. There is no doubt about it. Dharmaja, with the help of his brothers, is capable of ruling the three regions. Our interests are safe at the hands of Dharmaja. Dharmaja possess greatest foresight. Dharmaja never harm his own enemy. He never cause harm to us even in his dream. Pandavas do not have bad qualities like egoism, aggrandizement, greediness, hatredness etc. Kunti and Droupadi look after us as their own children by showering their love and affection towards us. Therefore we are all safe in the hands of Pandavas. You need not worry about uts. You can retire to forests as you like .” said the representative of the citizens of Hastinapuram.

In that manner, Dhritarashtra took leave from the citizens of Hastinapura. Next day, Dhritarashtra send for Vidura and expressed his desire to perform Sradha Karmas to his sons and relatives who died in war and perform dana and dharma on that occasion. Vidura carried that information to Dharmaja in the presence of his brothers. On hearing the desire of Dhritarashtra, Bhimasena was enraged with great wrath. But Arjuna pacified Bhimasena.

“Bhima! Be calm. He is our paternal uncle. He is in advanced age. Bhishma, Drona and several of his sons and relatives died in war. He intends to perform Sradha Karmas to them. He is requesting us in this regard. If we refuse to grant permission, it carries bad name to our clan. Besides that, Dharmaja already granted permission. Remember one thing. In the past, we requested Dhritarashtra for our due half share in the kingdom. Now he is begging us to perform Sradha Karmas. Cannot we do that much? Therefore, it is just and proper to allow him to do Sradha Karmas. Kindly keep quiet.” said Arjuna.

Dharmaja praised Arjuna for his virtuous behaviour. But Bhimasena cannot endorse his words. “O brother Arjuna! All these fifteen years, he has been performing Sradha Karmas and made several Danas and Dharmas. Is it not sufficient? Cannot we perform Sradha Karmas for Bhishma and others. Let him go to forests immediately. Dhritarashtra is crook and wicked. Even the Pitaras do not accept his Sradha Karmas. O brother Arjuna! have you forgotten all woes caused by this wicked crook? While we were suffering in forests, what were these elders viz., Bhishma, Bahlika and others doing? Why did they not resist? Why did they not avert this crook Dhritarashtra from doing such atrocities? Are these our relatives? No. They are not at all our relatives. We need not perform Sradha Karmas to such relatives. Heavens wont fall if higher regions are not attained by them. There is nothing wrong in our mother performing Sradha Karma to her eldlest Son, Karna.

Have you forgotten the insult meted out by Droupadi in open assembly and also the miserable woes we suffered in forests for twelve long years. We lived in forests like animals. You are now calling him as paternal uncle. The same paternal uncle was sitting on the throne on that day in open assembly. He witnessed the whole incident as silent spectator. Is he our paternal uncle? Even Bhishma, Drona, Bahlika and others were also present in the assembly. What they were doing? Why cannot they raise their voice, condemning the action of Duryodhana. Did they not remember about this relationship on that day? Vidura was also present there and he was aware of everything. With which face he has come here, to speak on behalf of Dhritarashtra? ....”

While Bhimasena was vehemently continuing his harsh words, Dharmaja intervened and stopped him from talking further. Arjuna said:

“Brother Bhimasena! cool down. Dhritarashtra is our paternal uncle. He is to be respected. Kindly dont speak another word ill of him. Our brother, Dharmaja, ordered to fulfil the desire of our paternal uncle. Dont dispute it, as we have to follow it.” said Arjuna.

Turning towards Vidura, Arjuna said: “Vidura! Dharmaja has acceded to the request of Dhritarashtra. Suitable arrangements may be made. Dhritarashtra can perform Sradha Karmas, as per his wish, in his own way. Kindly inform Dhritarashtra accordingly” said Arjuna.

Beholding Vidura, Dhrmaja said: “O Vidura! our paternal uncle is at liberty to perform Sradha Karmas by spending any amount of wealth. It is agreeable to all of us. Kindly inform this to our uncle. O Vidura! Bhimasena has not forgotten all woes suffered by him in the forest. Hence he talked like that. Kindly request Dhritarashtra not to keep those words in mind.” said Dharmaja.

Vidura went to Dhritarashtra and informed the desire of Dharmaja and also the harsh words spoken to by Bhimasena.
“O brother Dhritarashtra! you can perform Sradha Karmas to Bhishma etc. You can give away gold, diamonds, villages, horses, cows etc. as charity to brahmins so that all those who died in war may attain higher regions. Dont keep the words spoken by Bhimasena in min as you know much about his nature.” said Vidura.

Dhritarashtra was very happy. On Kartika Pournami, he performed Sradha Karmas. Dharmaja supplied items made up of gold, silvler, diamonds, horses, cows and villages, for being given to brahmins during Sradha Karma. Next day, i.e, Asvayuja Sudha Padyami, Dhritarashtra performed a Yajna called Udavaseeyam. He informed Pandavas and others that he was ready to go forests. Himself and Gandhari left all silk garments, ornaments etc and wore clothes made up of natural fibre. While brahmins were walking in front of them with sacred fire, Dhritarashtra and Gandhari walked out of Hastinapura.

At that time, Kunti arrived there. She could not control her sorrow. She was walking along with Gandhari. Dharmaja also was walking along with them with tearful eyes. Behind them, Subhadra, Droupadi, Chitrangada, Uloopi, Uttara and other womenfolk were proceeding. Some are crying aloud. All the inmates of Hastinapura stood on either side of the streets and were weeping. Dhritarashtra arrived at the main entrance of Hastinapuram. He requested all those following him to stop. Vidura and Sanjaya already decided to follow Dhritarashtra. When Kripacharya and Yuyutsa tried to follow Dhritarashtra, he averted them from coming to forests. Dhritarashtra consoled Dharmaja and other womenfolk. All of them saluted Dhritarasthra and Gandhari and took leave from them.

At that time, Dharmaja told Kunti thus: “O mother Kunti! Dhritarashtra is equal to my father. He is retiring to forests. I intend to follow him to forests to serve him. Kindly take back all the women folk to inner apartments.” said Dharmaja.

“O my son Dharmaja! You have to rule this Kingdom. Your paternal uncle never allow you to come to forests. Hence you go back to Hastina along withe the womenfolk. I will follow them to forests. Instead of you, I will serve them. You are young, you cannot serve them. I am a lady and capable of serving them. Hence I follow them to forests. Me and Gandhari lived together all these years in Hastinapura. Without her, how can I remain in Hastinapuram.” said Kunti.

When Pandavas tried to pacify her, she told Dharmaja thus: “O Dharmaja! I decided to follow them to forests. My decision is final. Dont speak any more about. I never heed anybody’s words. Kindly look after Nakula and Sahadeva carefully. Dont forget my eldest son Karna. I committed a great sin by concealing his birth secret. No day is passed for me without remembering Karna. Make innumerable charities in the name of Karna. Yourself and your brothers always remember your eldest brother, Karna. O Dharmaja! you regard Droupadi with equal affection. Permit me to go.” said Kunti.

Unable to change the mind of Kunti, Dharmaja stood with tears. “O mother Kunti! I do not know why you have taken this sudden decision. How can you expect me to send you to forests. Since our child hood you are our guide. Now also without you how can we rule this Kingdom. If you retire toforests, whoelse guides us. O mother! Without you and Krishna, how can we grow upto this stage. How can you stay in forests forgetting us and your daughers in law.” said Dharmaja as a last request.

Kunti did not give any reply and was proceeding along with Gandhari. Bhimasena could not control himself. He fell on the feet of Kunti and averted him from proceeding further. “O mother! what is this. Tell me the reason why you are leaving all of us. As per your request only, we fought with our brothers and killed them and got back our kingdom. It is time for us to enjoy royal plealsures. But you are retiring to forests. Is it proper on your part. What you intend to do in forests, do them here only. You perform charities as you like. O mother! It is you who instigated us to fight for the kingdom. As per your wish, we fought and regained our Kingdom. Now you are leaving us. Is it proper.” Bhimasena told Kunti.

Kunti thought of speaking some harsh words, so that they may go back. To the hearing of Pandavas, she spoke to her maid servant thus: “Yes, It is correct. Unale to control my anger for the insult meted out by Droupadi in the open assembly,I spoke to Krishna, instigating them to fight. Being a mother of five great warriors, how can I tolerate their woes.” so saying she dragged Droupadi before Dharmaja and said: “Look at her. She is beautiful, soft spoken. A person who has to worship Droupadi as mother, that wretch, Dussaasana, dragged her to open assembly by holding her tuft. You tolerated it. But I could not tolerate. I could not remain as a silent spectator while the name and fame of Kuru clan was being destroyed. Hence I instigated you with pungeant words to fight the war. Is it wrong? Why Bhimasena is talking like that as if I was at fault. If Bhima speaks like that, what can I do.” said Kunti.

Bhimasena bowed his head shamefully, with tearful eyes. Motherly affection flown out of Kunti heart. She hugged Bhima and said: “Just for fun, I said like that. Dont worry. I never intended to insult you. I have seen you performing Asvamedha Yaga. For a mother of five sons, it is sufficient. I am happy. I never aspire any more in this life. Nothing remains to enjoy. I am vexed with this royal pleasures. Hence I intend to retire to forests and spend rest of my life in meditation. But I cannot do it lonely. Now my sister, Gandhari is my companion. Hence I follow her. Kindly send me happily to forests. Kindly go back along with your women to Hastinapura.” said Kunti.

Beholding this from a distance, Vidura told everything to Dhritarashtra. Dhritarashtra called Sanjaya and told him to inform Kunti to accede to the request of Dharmaja. Sanjaya accordingly informed Kunti about the wish to Dhritarashtra. But Kunti was adament. Beholding Pandavas and Droupadi etc. she said: “Why you are all standing here. I am going to forests. Go back to your respective inner apartments.” said Kunti.

All realised that Kunti never change her decision. All of them went round her and saluted her. To bid farewell to Kunti, Pandavas followed her to some distance. The chariots proceeded further. Pandavas, Droupadi, Subhadra and other women folk returned back to Hastinapura.

Dhritarashtra, Gandhari, Kunti, Vidura, Sanja and brahmins arrived the banks of Ganga. The stayed there for that night. Next day morning, all of them crossed Ganga and entered Kurukshetra. Saint Satayoopa, having heard about the arrival of Dhritarashtra, arrived there to meet him. He has taken all of them to his Ashram. Beholding the peaceful atmosphere in that Ashram, Dhritarashtra decided to remain there by constucting Ashrams. Accordingly Ashrams were erected on the banks of Ganga. They were spending their time in meditation and Tapas. They were consuming fruits, roots etc. vegetarian food. Dhritarashtra spent most of his time in deep meditation.” said Vaisampayana to Janamejaya the story of Maha Bharata.

Maha Bharata,
Ashramavasa parva,
first chapter completed.
Om tatsat. Om tatsat. Om tatsat.