Mahabharata Stri Parva Chapter 15

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Mahabharata Stri Parva Chapter 15

Vaishampayana said, "Hearing these words of Gandhari, Bhimasena, looking like one in fright, said these words for soothing her, 'Be the act righteous or unrighteous, it was done by me through fear and for the object of protecting my own self. It behoveth thee therefore, to forgive me now. Thy mighty son was incapable of being slain by anybody in a fair and righteous battle. It was for this that I did what was unfair. Duryodhana himself had formerly vanquished Yudhishthira unrighteously. He used always to behave guilefully towards us. It was for this that I had recourse to an unfair act. Thy son was then the sole unslain warrior on his side. In order that that valiant prince might not slay me in the mace-encounter and once more deprive us of our kingdom, I acted in that way. Thou knowest all that thy son had said unto the princess of Pancala while the latter, in her season, was clad in a single piece of raiment. Without having disposed of Suyodhana it was impossible for us to rule peacefully the whole earth with her seas. It was for this that I acted in that way. Thy son inflicted many wrongs on us. In the midst of the assembly he had shown his left thigh unto Draupadi. For that wicked behaviour, thy son deserved to be slain by us even then. At the command, however, of king Yudhishthira the just, we suffered ourselves to be restrained by the compact that had been made. By this means, O queen, thy son provoked deadly hostilities with us. Great were our sufferings in the forest (whither we were driven by thy son). Remembering all this, I acted in that way. Having slain Duryodhana in battle, we have reached the end of our hostilities. Yudhishthira has got back his kingdom, and we also have been freed from wrath.' Hearing these words of Bhima, Gandhari said, 'Since thou praisest my son thus (for his skill in battle), he did not deserve such a death. He, however, did all that thou tellest me. When Vrishasena, however, had deprived Nakula of his steeds, O Bharata, thou quaffedst in battle the blood from Duhshasana's body! Such an act is cruel and is censured by the good. It suits only a person that is most disrespectable. It was a wicked act, O Vrikodara, that was then accomplished by thee! It was undeserving of thee.' Bhima replied, saying, 'It is improper to quaff the blood of even a stranger, what then need be said about quaffing the blood of one's own self? One's brother, again, is like one's own self. There is no difference between them. The blood, however, (that I am regarded to have quaffed) did not, O mother, pass down my lips and teeth. Karna knew this well. My hands only were smeared with (Duhshasana's) blood. Seeing Nakula deprived of his steeds by Vrishasena in battle, I caused the rejoicing (Kaurava) brothers to be filled with dread. When after the match at dice the tresses of Draupadi were seized, I uttered certain words in rage. Those words are still in my remembrance, I would, for all years to come, have been regarded to have swerved from the duties of a Kshatriya if I had left that vow unaccomplished. It was for this, O queen, that I did that act. It behoveth thee not, O Gandhari, to impute any fault to me.

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