43. DOMESTIC SERVICE
"O BRAHMANAS, we have been deceived by the sons of Dhritarashtra, cheated out of our kingdom and reduced to poverty. Still we have passed these years cheerfully with joy in the forest. The thirteenth year of exile has come, and with it the time for us to part from you. For we have to spend the next twelve months undiscovered by the spies of Duryodhana. God knows when the day will dawn which will see us together again, without fear or concealment. Now, bless us before we go. And may we escape the notice of those who may wish to betray us to the sons of Dhritarashtra, either through fear or hope of reward." So spoke Yudhishthira to the brahmanas who were living with the Pandavas till then. His voice shook with emotion as he spoke these words. Dhaumya consoled him. He said: "Parting, is hard, and the dangers are many and great. But you are too wise and learned to be shaken or daunted. You must disguise yourselves. Indra, the Lord of gods, when pested by the demons, disguised himself as a brahmana and lived unknown in the country of Nishadha. Safely concealed thus, he managed to destroy his enemies. You must also do likewise. Did not Mahavishnu, the Lord of the Universe, become a child in the womb of Aditi, suffer human birth, and take away from Emperor Bali his kingdom for the salvation of the world? Did not Lord Narayana, the refuge of men, enter into the weapon of Indra to defeat Vritra, the asura king? Did not the Fire god hide himself in the waters for the sake of the gods? Does not the moon keep out of sight every day? Did not Lord Vishnu, the all-pervading God, descend as the son of Dasaratha and spend long years, suffering many sorrows for the sake of killing Ravana? The greatest souls in the past have sanctified disguise for a good purpose. You will, likewise, conquer your enemies and win prosperity." Yudhishthira took leave of the brahmanas and gave the members of his retinue leave to go home.