102. YUDHISHTHIRA RULES
MAN pursues madly the object of
his desire until it is got. When it is in his possession, he is soon satisfied,
but he becomes the slave of ever-fresh longings and fresh griefs and finds no
Although to fight and to kill his
enemies is a Kshatriyas dharma, what joy can one gets out of power and position
and wealth acquired by slaughter and grief inflicted on brothers and near
relations? It was this that Arjuna pointed out in his powerful plea before
Krishna when the battle commenced. Krishna in answer, explained the principles
of man's activities and the proper discharge of one's duties. But, what Arjuna
felt and argued had also a great deal of force and there was more truth in it
than appeared on the surface.
The Pandavas defeated the
Kauravas and became the unquestioned sovereigns of the land. They took up their
duties and discharged them according to dharma. But, they found not in victory,
the joy that they had expected.
"When the Pandavas won and
obtained the kingdom, how did they treat Dhritarashtra?" asked king
Janamejaya, and Vaisampayana, who recited Vyasa's Mahabharata to the king,
tells the story.
The Pandavas with the utmost
respect treated Dhritarashtra, who was plunged in a sea of grief. They tried to
make him happy. They did nothing to make him feel humiliated. Yudhishthira
issued no orders except with his approval. Gandhari, whose hundred sons had
disappeared like dream-gold, was looked after by Kuntidevi with loving and
sisterly devotion and Draupadi dutifully ministered to them both, with equal
Yudhishthira furnished Dhritarashtra's
house with rich seats and beds and decorations and all else that was wanted. He
sent from the royal kitchen most dainty and palatable dishes prepared for him.
Kripacharya, lived with Dhritarashtra and kept him company. Vyasa comforted him
with instructive stories of olden times, calculated to assuage his sorrow.
In the administration of affairs
of the State, Yudhishthira consulted Dhritarashtra and conducted himself so as
to give him the feeling that in truth the kingdom was ruled on his behalf and
that he, as the eldest member of the family, was still the supreme authority.
Yudhishthira was most careful in
his speech, never to allow himself to say anything to cause pain to the
bereaved old man. The princes, who came to Hastinapura from all parts of the
world, gave Dhritarashtra the same honors; as they did of old, as if he were
still the emperor.
The women attendants gave
Gandhari no occasion to feel her fallen estate. Yudhishthira had instructed his
brothers most strictly that nothing should be done to cause the slightest pain
to their uncle, who had lost all his sons.
The brothers, with perhaps the
exception of Bhima, followed this injunction faithfully. Dhritarashtra too
conducted himself lovingly towards the Pandavas. He showed no ill will towards
them even as they showed him no unkindness. The Pandavas behaved
unexceptionably towards their old uncle. After a time, however, Bhima began on
occasions to give cause for offence. He would sometimes, in impatience,
countermand the old man's instructions. He would let fall in Dhritarashtra's
hearing words like "Those perverse cousins of ours have themselves to
thank for their destruction."
It was not possible for Bhima to
forget or forgive Duryodhana, Karna or Duhsasana. Gandhari felt intensely
grieved when she noticed that Bhima uttered words, which pained Dhritarashtra.
She was, however, a noble and enlightened soul. Whenever she felt pained at
what Bhima said, she would look at Kunti and find peace. For Kunti was a
veritable embodiment of dharma and inspired forbearance. Fifteen years passed
in this manner.