48. VIRATA'S DELUSION
AFTER defeating Susarma, king of
Trigarta, Virata returned to his capital
amidst the acclamations of the citizens.
When he reached his palace, he saw that
Uttara was not there and the womenfolk
told him with much elation that Uttara had
set out to conquer the Kauravas.
They had not a doubt that their hand some
prince could conquer the whole world.
But the king's heart sank within him at the
news, for he knew the impossible task
which the delicately nurtured prince had
taken on himself with no better following
than a eunuch.
"My dearly loved son must be dead by
now," he cried, overwhelmed with
anguish. He then bade his ministers
collect and send as strong a force as could
be got together for rescuing Uttara if he
was still alive and bring him back. Scouts
also were immediately despatched to find
out Uttara's whereabouts and fate.
Dharmaputra, now disguised as the
sanyasin Kanka, tried to comfort Virata by
assuring him that the prince could come to
no harm, since Brihannala had gone as his
charioteer. "You do not know about her,"
said he. "I do. Whosoever fights from a
chariot driven by her, can be sure of
victory. Further, the news of Susarma's
defeat must have reached there and the
Kauravas must have retreated."
Meanwhile courtiers arrived from the field
of battle with the glad news that Uttara
had defeated the Kaurava forces and
recovered the kine.
This seemed too good to be true, even to
the fond father, but Yudhishthira
smilingly reassured him. Said he: "Have
no doubts, O king. What the messengers
say must be true. When Brihannala went
out as charioteer, success was certain.
There is nothing extraordinary in your
son's victory. I happen to know that even
Indra's charioteer or Krishna's cannot
This seemed absurd to Virata, but he was
too happy to resent it.