51. SALYA AGAINST HIS NEPHEWS
SALYA, the ruler of Madradesa, was the brother of Madri, the mother of Nakula and Sahadeva. He heard that the Pandavas were camping in the city of Upaplavya and making preparations for war. He collected a very big army and set off towards that city to join the Pandavas. Salya's army was so large that where it halted for rest, the encampment extended over a length of nearly fifteen miles. News of Salya and his marching forces reached Duryodhana. Deciding that Salya should somehow be persuaded to join his side, Duryodhana instructed his officers to provide him and his great army with all facilities and treat them to sumptuous hospitality. In accordance with Duryodhana's instruction, several beautifully decorated rest houses were erected at several places on the route, at which Salya and his men were treated to wondrous hospitality. Food and drink were lavishly provided. Salya was exceedingly pleased with the attentions paid to him but assumed that his nephew, Yudhishthira, had arranged all this. Salya's army marched on, the earth shaking beneath their heavy strides. Feeling very pleased with the hospitality, he called the waiting attendants one day and said to them: "I must reward you all who have treated me and my soldiers with so much love and attention. Please tell Kunti's son that he should let me do this, and bring me his consent." The servants went and told their master, Duryodhana, this. Duryodhana, who was all the time moving unobserved with the party waiting on Salya and his soldiers, at once took this opportunity to present himself before Salya, and say how honored he felt at Salya's acceptance of the Kaurava hospitality. This amazed Salya whom till then had no suspicion of the truth, and he was also touched by the chivalry of Duryodhana in lavishing kingly hospitality on a partisan of the Pandavas. Greatly moved, he exclaimed, "How noble and kind of you! How can I repay you?" Duryodhana replied: "You and your forces should fight on my side.