40.SRI KRISHNA'S HUNGER
WHILE the Pandavas were dwelling in
the forest, Duryodhana celebrated a great
sacrifice with much pomp and splendor.
He wanted to perform the Rajasuya
sacrifice, but the brahmanas told him that
he could not do that while Yudhishthira
and Dhritarashtra were alive and advised
him to perform the sacrifice known as the
He accepted this advice and celebrated the
Vaishnava with great splendor. But when
the ceremony was over, the citizens began
to talk among themselves that
Duryodhana's sacrifice had not come up to
even a sixteenth part of Yudhishthira's
Rajasuya in magnificence.
The friends of Duryodhana, on the other
hand, praised him and the sacrifice he had
celebrated and likened it to those
performed by Yayati, Mandhata, Bharata
Court flatterers were not sparing with
their praise. Karna told Duryodhana that
his Rajasuya had been only postponed till
the Pandavas should be defeated and slain
in battle and repeated that his part would
be the slaying of Arjuna.
"Till I have slain Arjuna," said he, "I shall
not take meat or wine, nor will I refuse the
prayer of anyone who asks me for
anything." Such was the solemn vow
taken by Karna in the assembly.
The sons of Dhritarashtra were delighted
to hear this vow of the great hero Karna
and shouted in joy. They felt as if the
Pandavas had been slain already.
Spies conveyed to the Pandavas in the
forest the news of the oath taken by
Karna. Yudhishthira was greatly
concerned, for he had a great opinion of
Karna had been born with divine armor
and was undoubtedly a mighty hero. One
morning, just before the hour of
awakening, Yudhishthira had a dream.
Many of our dreams come either in the
beginning or at the end of our sleep. He
dreamt that the wild beasts of the forest
came and appealed to him piteously not to
destroy them altogether, but to move on to
some other forest.