Mahabharata Udyoga Parva - Translation by KM Ganguly

Mahabharata Adiparva

Section CLXI

(Uluka Dutagamana Parva)

"Sanjaya said, 'After the high-souled Pandavas, O king, had encamped by the side of the Hiranwati, the Kauravas also fixed their camps. And king Duryodhana having strongly posted his troops and paid homage to all the kings (on his side) and planted outposts and bodies of soldiers for the protection of warriors, summoned those rulers of men, viz., Karna and Dussasana and Sakuni, the son of Suvala, and began O Bharata, to consult with them. And king Duryodhana, O Bharata, having (first) consulted with Karna, and (next), O monarch, with Karna and his (own) brother Dussasana, and Suvala's son all together, then summoned, O bull among men, Uluka and bringing him into his presence in private, told him, O king, these words, 'O Uluka, O son of an adept at dice, repair thou unto the Pandavas and the Somakas. And repairing thither, repeat these my words (unto Yudhishthira) in the hearing of Vasudeva. That terrible battle between the Kurus and the Pandavas which had been expected from a long time back has, at last come. Those boastful words which Sanjaya brought to me, in the midst of the Kurus and which thou hadst, with Vasudeva and thy younger brothers, uttered in deep roar,--the time, O son of Kunti, hath at last come for making them good. Do ye achieve, therefore, all which ye have pledged yourselves to achieve. Unto the eldest son of Kunti thou must say, as my words, the following, 'Virtuous as thou art, how canst then, with all thy brothers, with the Somakas, and the Kekayas, set thy heart upon unrighteousness? How canst thou wish the destruction of the universe, when, as I think thou shouldst be the dispeller of the fears of all creatures. O bull of Bharata's race, this sloka sung of old by Prahlada when his kingdom had been wrested from him by the gods, hath been heard by us,--Ye gods, that person whose standard of righteousness is always up, but whose sins are always concealed is said to adopt the behaviour of the cat (in the story).' I will here repeat to thee, O king, this excellent story recited by Narada to my father. A wicked cat, O king, once on a time took up his abode on the banks of the Ganges, abandoning all work and with his hands upraised (after the manner of a devotee). Pretending to have purified his heart, he said unto all creatures these words, for inspiring confidence in them, viz.,--I am now practising virtue. After a long time, all oviparous creatures reposed trust in him, and coming unto him all together, O monarch, they all applauded that cat. And worshipped by all feathery creatures, that devourer of feathery creatures, regarded his purpose already accomplished, as also the purpose of his austerities. And after some more time, the mice went to that place. And these also all beheld him to be a virtuous person engaged in the observance of vows, and proudly exerting himself in a grand act. And having arrived at that settled conviction, they entertained the following wish, O king,--'Many foes we have. Let this one, therefore, become our maternal uncle, and let him always protect all the old and young ones of our race. And going at last to the cat, all of them said, 'Through thy grace we desire to roam in happiness. Thou art our gracious shelter, thou art our great friend. For this, all of us place ourselves under thy protection. Thou art always devoted to virtue, thou art always engaged in the acquisition of virtue. O thou of great wisdom, protect us, therefore, like the wielder of the thunderbolt protecting the celestials.' Thus addressed, O king, by all the mice, the cat answered them, saying, 'I do not see the consistency of these two, viz., my ascetic pursuits and this protection (that I am called upon to grant). I cannot avoid, however, doing good to you agreeably to your request. You all, at the same time, should always obey my words. Staying as I am in the observance of a severe vow, I am weakened by my ascetic practices. I do not, therefore, see the means of my moving from place to place. Ye all should, therefore, bear me hence every day to the river-side.' Saying, 'So be it,' the mice then, O bull of Bharata's race, made over all their old and young ones to that cat. Then that sinful creature of wicked soul, feeding on mice, gradually became fat and of good complexion and strong in his limbs. And thus while the mice began to be reduced in number, the cat began to grow in vigour and strength. Then all the mice, coming together, said unto one another, 'Our uncle is daily growing stout, while we are being daily reduced (in number)!' Then a certain mouse endued with wisdom, named Dindika, said, O king these words unto the large swarm of mice gathered there, 'Go all of ye to the river-side together. I will follow ye, accompanying our uncle.' 'Excellent, Excellent,' they said, and applauded that one of their number. And they all did just as those words of grave import spoken by Dindika seemed to indicate. The cat, however, not knowing all this, ate up Dindika that day. All the mice then, without losing much time, began to take counsel of one another. Then a very old mouse, named Kilika, said these just words, O king, in the presence of all his kinsfolk, 'Our uncle is not really desirous of earning virtue. He hath, like a hypocrite, become our friend when in reality he is our enemy. Indeed, the excreta of a creature that liveth only upon fruits and roots never containeth hair of fur. Then again, while his limbs are growing, our number is decaying. Besides, Dindika cannot be seen for these eight days.' Hearing these words, the mice ran away in all directions. And that cat also of wicked soul returned to whence he came. O thou of wicked soul, thou too art a practiser of such feline behaviour. Thou behavest towards thy kinsmen after the manner of the cat (in the story) towards the mice. Thy speech is of one kind, and thy conduct is of another. Thy (devotion to) scripture and thy peacefulness of behaviour are only for display before men. Giving up this hypocrisy, O king, adopt the practices of a Kshatriya and do all that one should do as such. Art thou not virtuous, O bull among men? Acquiring the earth by means of the prowess of thy arms, make gifts, O best of the Bharatas, unto the Brahmanas and to the means of thy deceased ancestors as one should. Seeking the good of that mother of thine who hath been afflicted with distress for a series of years, dry up her tears, and confer honours on her by vanquishing (thy foes) in battle. Thou hadst with great abjectness, solicited only five villages. Even that was rejected by us, for how could we bring about a battle, how could we succeed in angering the Pandavas, was all that we sought. Remembering that it was for thee that the wicked Vidura was driven (by us) and that we had tried to burn you all in the house of lac, be a man now; at the time of Krishna's setting out (from Upaplavya) for the Kuru court, thou hadst through him communicated this message (to us), viz.,--Hear, O king, I am prepared for either war or peace! Know, O monarch, that the hour hath come for battle. O Yudhishthira, I have made all these preparations in view of that. What doth a Kshatriya regard as a more estimable accession (of good fortune) than battle? Born thou hast beer in the Kshatriya order. Known also thou art in the world. Having obtained weapons again from Drona and Kripa, why, O bull of the Bharata race, dost thou rely on Vasudeva who belongeth to the same order of life as thyself and who is, not superior to thee in might.'

'Thou must also say unto Vasudeva in the presence of the Pandavas these words,--For thy own sake, as also for the sake of the Pandavas, withstand me in battle to the best of thy power! Assuming once more that form which thou hadst assumed before in the Kuru court, rush thou with Arjuna against me (on the field)! A conjuror's tricks or illusions may (sometimes) inspire fright. But as regards the person that stands armed for fight, such deceptions (instead of inspiring fight) only provoke anger! We also are competent, by our powers of illusion, to ascend to heaven or the firmament, or penetrate into the nether region, or the city of Indra! We also can display various forms in our own body! The great Ordainer bringeth all creatures to subjection by a flat of His will (and never by such conjuror's tricks)! Thou always sayest, O thou of Vrishni's race, these words, viz.,--Causing the sons of Dhritarashtra to be slain in battle, I will confer undisputed sovereignty on the sons of Pritha!--These words of thine were brought to me by Sanjaya. Thou hadst also said, 'Know, ye Kauravas that it is with Arjuna, having me for his second, ye have provoked hostilities!' Truthfully adhering to that pledge, put forth thy energy for the Pandavas and fight now in battle to the best of thy power! Show us that thou canst be a man! He is said to be truly alive, who, having ascertained (the wight of his) foes inspireth grief in them by resorting to true manliness! Without any reason, O Krishna, great hath been thy fame spread in the world! It will, however, presently be known that there are many persons, in the world that are really eunuchs though possessed of the signs of manhood. A slave of Kansa, especially as thou art, a monarch like me should not cover himself in mail against thee!

'Say (next) repeatedly, from me, O Uluka, unto that stupid, ignorant, gluttonous Bhimasena, who is even like a bull though divested of horns, these words, viz.,--O son of Pritha, a cook thou hadst become, known by the name of Vallabha, in the city of Virata! All this is evidence of thy manliness! Let not the vow thou hadst made before in the midst of the Kuru court be falsified! Let Dussasana's blood be drunk if thou art able! O son of Kunti, thou often sayest,--Speedily shall I slay Dhritarashtra's sons in battle!--The time for accomplishing it hath now come! O Bharata, thou deservest to be rewarded in cookery! The difference, however, is very great between dressing food and fighting! Fight now, be a man! Indeed, thou shalt have to lie down, deprived of life, on the earth, embracing thy mace, O Bharata! The boast in which thou hadst indulged in the midst of thy assembly is all vain, O Vrikodara!

'Say, O Uluka, unto Nakula, from me, these words, viz.,--Fight now, O Bharata, patiently! We desire, O Bharata, to behold thy manliness, thy reverence for Yudhishthira, and thy hatred of myself! Recall to mind the sufferings in their entirety that Krishna had suffered!

'Next, thou must say these words of mine unto Sahadeva in the presence of the (assembled) monarchs,--Fight in battle now, to the best of thy power! Remember all your woes!

'Say next, from me, unto both Virata and Drupada, these words, viz.,--Since the beginning of the creation, slaves, endued even with great accomplishments, have never been able to fully understand their masters. Nor have affluent kings been always able to understand their slaves! This king deserveth no praise,--possibly, under such a belief, ye have come against me! United together, fight ye, therefore, against me for achieving my death, and accomplish the objects ye have in view, as also those that the Pandavas have!

Say also, from me, unto Dhrishtadyumna, the prince of Panchalas, these words, viz.,--The hour hath now come for thee, and thou also hast come for thy hour! Approaching Drona in battle thou wilt know what is best for thee! Achieve thou the business of thy friend! Accomplish that feat which is difficult of accomplishment!

'Tell, next, repeatedly from me, O Uluka, unto Sikhandin, these words, viz.,--The mighty-armed Kaurava, foremost of all bowmen, Ganga's son (Bhishma), will not slay thee, knowing thee to be only a female! Fight now without any fear! Achieve in battle what canst to the best of thy power! We desire to behold thy prowess!'

"Vaisampayana continued, 'Having said this, king Duryodhana laughed aloud. And addressing Uluka again, he said, 'Say once more unto Dhananjaya in the bearing of Vasudeva these words, viz.,--O hero, either vanquishing us rule thou this world, or vanquished by us lie thou down on the field (deprived of life)! Recalling to thy mind the sufferings occasioned by your banishment from the kingdom, the woes of your sojourn in the woods, and 'he affliction of Krishna, be a man, O son of Pandu! That for which a Kshatriya lady bringeth forth a son is now arrived! Displaying, therefore, in battle, thy might, energy, courage, manliness, and great dexterity and speed in the use of weapons, appease thy wrath! Afflicted with woe, and dispirited and exiled (from home) for a long time, and driven from his kingdom, who is there whose heart would not break? Who is there, well-born, and brave, and uncovetous of other's wealth, that would not have his wrath excited when his kingdom descending from generation to generation is attacked? Realise in deeds those high words that thou hadst said! One that only boasts without being able to do anything is regarded as a worthless man by those that are good. Recover thy kingdom and those possessions that are now owned by thy foes! Even these two are the purposes which a person desirous of war hath in view. Exert, therefore, thy manliness! Thou wert won (as a slave) at dice! Krishna was caused by us to be brought into the assembly! One that regardeth himself a man should certainly display his wrath at this! For twelve long years hadst thou been exiled from home into the woods, and one whole year hadst thou passed in Virata's service! Remembering the pangs of banishment from the kingdom and of thy sojourn in the woods, as also those which Krishna had suffered, be thou a man! Display thy wrath towards those that repeatedly utter harsh words at thee and thy brothers! indeed, wrath (such as that) would consist in manliness! Let thy anger, thy might and prowess, and knowledge, and thy lightness of hand in the use of weapons, be exhibited? Fight, O son of Pritha, and prove to be a man! The incantations in respect of all thy weapons have been performed. The field of Kurukshetra is free from mire. Thy steeds are hale and strong. Thy soldiers have received their pay. With Kesava, therefore, as (thy) second, fight (with us)! Without encountering Bhishma as yet, why dost thou indulge in such boasts? Like a fool, who, without having ascended the Gandhamadana mountains, boasts (of his would-be feat), thou, O son of Kunti, art indulging in a similar bragging, be a man! Without having vanquished in battle the invincible Karna of the Suta race, or Salya, that foremost of persons, or Drona, the first of all mighty warriors and equal unto the lord of Sachi in battle, how canst thou, O Partha, covet for thy kingdom? He that is a preceptor of both Vedic lore and bowmanship, he that hath crossed both those branches of learning, he that is foremost in battle and imperturbable (as a tower), he whose might knoweth no diminution, that commander of armies, Drona of great effulgence,--him, O Partha, thou wishest in vain to conquer! It is never heard that the Sumeru peak hath been crushed by the wind. Yet even the wind will bear away Sumeru, heaven itself will fall down on the earth, the very Yugas will be altered in respect of their course, if what thou hast said unto me becometh true! What man is there, desirous of life, be it Partha or any body else, who having approached that grinder of foes, would be able to return home with sound body? What person is there, treading upon the earth with his feet, who, encountered by Drona and Bhishma and struck with their arrows, would escape from the battle with life? Like a frog having its abode in a well, why art thou not able to realise the might of this vast army of the assembled monarchs, invincible, looking like the very celestial host, and protected by these lords of men, as the heavenly host by the gods themselves,--protected that is, by the kings of the East, the West, the South and the North, by the Kamvojas, the Sakas, the Khasas, the Salwas, the Matsyas, the Kurus of the middle country, the Mlechchhas, the Pulindas, the Dravidas, the Andhras, and the Kanchis,--this host of many nations, ready for battle, and resembling the uncrossable current of the Ganga. O thou of little understanding, how canst thou, O fool, venture to fight with me when stationed in the midst of my elephant-host? Thy inexhaustible quivers, thy car given thee by Agni, and thy celestial banner, O Partha, will all, O Bharata, be tested by us in battle! Fight, O Arjuna, without bragging! Why dost thou indulge in too much boast! Success in battle resulteth from the method in which it is fought. A battle is never gained by bragging. If, O Dhananjaya, acts in this world succeeded in consequence of vauntings, all persons would then have succeeded in their objects, for who is there that is not competent to brag? I know that thou hast Vasudeva for thy ally. I know that thy Gandiva is full six cubits long. I know that there is no warrior equal to thee. Knowing all this, I retain thy kingdom yet! A man never winneth success in consequence of the attributes of lineage. It is the Supreme Ordainer alone who by his fiat of will maketh things (hostile) friendly subservient. For these thirteen years, I have enjoyed sovereignty while ye were weeping. I shall continue to rule in the same way, slaying thee with thy kinsmen. Where was thy Gandiva then, when thou wert made slave won at stake? Where, O Falguni, was Bhima's might then? Your deliverance then came neither from Bhimasena, armed with mace, nor from you armed with Gandiva, but from the faultless Krishna. It was she, the daughter to Prishata's house, that delivered you all, sunk in slavery, engaged in occupations worthy only of the low, and working as servitors. I characterised you all as sesame seeds without kernel. That is true. For, did not Partha (some time after) bear a braid when living in Virata's city? In the cooking apartments of Virata, Bhimasena was fatigued with doing the work of a cook. Even this, O son of Pritha, is (evidence of) my manliness! Flying from an encounter with hips and braids and waist-bands, thyself binding thy hair, wert engaged in teaching the girls to dance? It is thus that Kshatriyas always inflict punishment on Kshatriyas! From fear of Vasudeva, or from fear of thyself, O Falguni, I will not give up the kingdom! Fight with Kesava as thy ally! Neither deception, nor conjuror's tricks, nor jugglery, can terrify the armed man addressed for fight. On the other hand, these provoke only his wrath. A thousand Vasudevas, a hundred Falgunis, approaching me whose arms and weapons never go for nothing, will surely fly away in all directions. Encounter Bhishma in combat, or strike the hill with thy head, or cross with the aid of thy two arms alone the vast and deep main! As regards my army, it is a veritable main with Saradwat's son as its large fish, Vivingsati as its huge snake, Bhishma as its current of immeasurable might, Drona as its unconquerable alligator, Karna and Salwa and Salya its fishes and whirlpools, the ruler of the Kamvojas its equine head emitting fire, Vrihadvala its fierce waves, Somadatta's son its whale, Yuyutsu and Durmarshana its waters, Bhagadatta its gale, Srutayus and Hridika's son its gulfs and bays, Dussasana its current, Sushena and Chitrayuda its water-elephants (hippopotamus) and crocodile, Jayadratha its (submarine) rock, Purumitra its depth, and Sakuni its shores! When having plunged into this surging ocean with its inexhaustible waves of weapons, thou wilt, from fatigue, be deprived of senses and have all thy relatives and friends slain, then will repentance possess thy heart! Then also will thy heart turn away from the thought of ruling the earth, like the heart of a person of impure deeds turning away from (hope of) heaven. Indeed, for thee to win a kingdom to rule is as impossible as for one not possessed of ascetic merit to obtain heaven!'"