14.THE ESCAPE OF THE PANDAVAS
AFTER taking reverential leave of the elders and embracing their comrades, the Pandavas proceeded to Varanavata. The citizens accompanied them a part of their way and returned unwillingly to the city. Vidura pointedly warned Yudhishthira in words intelligible only to the prince: "He alone will escape from danger who forestalls the intentions of an astute enemy. There are weapons sharper than those made of steel. And the wise man who would escape destruction must know the means to guard against them. The conflagration that devastates a forest cannot hurt a rat which shelters itself in a hole or a porcupine which burrows in the earth. The wise man knows his bearings by looking at the stars." Though they had started on their journey in sunshine of joy, they now proceeded in a dark cloud of sorrow and anxiety. The people of Varanavata were very happy to learn of the coming of the Pandavas to their city and welcomed them. After a brief stay in other houses while the palace specially meant for them was being got ready, they moved into it under Purochana's guidance. It was named "Sivam" which means prosperity, and that was the name which, in ghastly irony, was given to the deathtrap. Yudhishthira diligently examined the whole place bearing in mind Vidura's warning and verified that the building was without a shadow of doubt constructed with combustible material. Yudhishthira told Bhima: "Though we know very well that the palace is a trap of death, we should not make Purochana suspect that we know his plot. We should get away at the right moment but escape would be difficult if we gave room for any suspicion." So they stayed in that house to all appearance free from care.