Chapter 104 - The Passing Away Of The Three
WHEN Yudhishthira at last gave his consent for Dhritarashtra's retirement to the forest, Dhritarashtra and Gandhari went back to their residence and broke their fast.
Kunti sat with Gandhari and they ate together. Dhritarashtra asked Yudhishthira to sit by him and gave him his last blessings.
Then the old man stepped out and, with his hand resting on Gandhari's shoulder, slowly walked out of the city on his journey to the forest.
Gandhari, who, because her lord and husband was blind, gave up the use of her eyes and wrapped her face with a cloth all her life, placed her hand on Kunti's shoulder and slowly walked along, thus guided.
Kunti had decided in her mind to go with Gandhari to the forest. As she walked on, she was speaking to Yudhishthira: "Son, do not ever let your speech be angry when you speak to Sahadeva. Remember with love Karna who died a hero's death on the battlefield. He was my son, but I committed the crime of not disclosing it to you. Look after Draupadi with unfailing tenderness. Do not ever give cause for grief to Bhima, Arjuna, Nakula and Sahadeva. Keep this ever in mind, son. The burden of the family is now wholly on you."
Dharmaputra had till then believed that Kunti was accompanying Gandhari only for a distance to say goodbye. When he heard her speak thus, he was taken aback and was speechless for a few minutes.
When he recovered from the shock he said: "Mother, not thus! You blessed us and sent us to battle. It is not right you should now desert us and go to the forest."
Yudhishthira's entreaties were however of no avail. Kunti held to her purpose.
"I must join my lord and husband wherever he be now. I shall be with Gandhari and go through the discipline of forest life and soon join your father. Go back unagitated. Return to the city. May your mind ever stand steady on dharma." Thus did Kunti bless her illustrious son and depart.
Yudhishthira stood speechless. Kunti went on her way, looking back occasionally at him and her other sons.
Each with hand on the shoulder of the other, this picture of the three elders of the tribe wending their way to the forest, leaving their sons behind, is painted by the poet so vividly that it fills the reader with solemn grief, as if the parting happened in his own family now.
Dhritarashtra, Gandhari and Kunti spent three years in the forest. Sanjaya was with them. When one day, Dhritarashtra finished his ablutions and returned to their hermitage, the forest had caught fire.
The wind blew and the flames spread everywhere. The deer and the wild boars ran in herds hither and thither, and rushed madly to the pools.
Dhritarashtra told Sanjaya: "This fire will envelop us all. You had better save yourself."
Saying this, the blind old king, Gandhari with her eves blindfolded and Kunti sat down on the ground, the three of them, facing eastwards in yoga posture and calmly gave themselves up to the flames.
Sanjaya, who had been to the blind king, throughout all his days, his only light and was dear to him like life itself, spent the rest of his days in the Himalayas as a sanyasin.
Chapter1 - Ganapati
Chapter2 - Devavrata
Chapter3 - Bhishma's Vow
Chapter4 - Amba And Bhishma
Chapter5 - Devayani And Kacha
Chapter6 - The Marriage Of Devayani
Chapter7 - Yayati
Chapter8 - Vidura
Chapter9 - Kunti Devi
Chapter10 - Death Of Pandu
Chapter11 - Bhima
Chapter12 - Karna
Chapter13 - Drona
Chapter14 - The Wax Palace
Chapter15 - The Escape Of The Pandavas
Chapter16 - The Slaying Of Bakasura
Chapter17 - Draupadi's Swayamvaram
Chapter18 - Indraprastha
Chapter19 - The Saranga Birds
Chapter20 - Jarasandha
Chapter21 - The Slaying Of Jarasandha
Chapter22 - The First Honor
Chapter23 - Sakuni Comes In
Chapter24 - The Invitation
Chapter25 - The Wager
Chapter26 - Draupadi's Grief
Chapter27 - Dhritarashtra's Anxiety
Chapter28 - Krishna's Vow
Chapter29 - Pasupata
Chapter30 - Affliction Is Nothing New
Chapter31 - Agastya
Chapter32 - Rishyasringa
Chapter33 - Fruitless Penance
Chapter34 - Yavakrida's End
Chapter35 - Mere Learning Is Not Enough
Chapter36 - Ashtavakra
Chapter37 - Bhima And Hanuman
Chapter38 - I am No Crane
Chapter39 - Wicked Are Never Satisfied
Chapter40 - Duryodhana Disgraced
Chapter41 - Sri Krishna's Hunger
Chapter42 - The Enchanted Pool
Chapter43 - Domestic Service
Chapter44 - Virtue Vindicated
Chapter45 - Matsya Defended
Chapter46 - Prince Uttara
Chapter47 - Promise Fulfilled
Chapter48 - Virata's Delusion
Chapter49 - Taking Counsel
Chapter50 - Arjuna's Charioteer
Chapter51 - Salya Against His Nephews
Chapter52 - Vritra
Chapter53 - Nahusha
Chapter54 - Sanjaya's Mission
Chapter55 - Not a Needle-Point Of Territory
Chapter56 - Krishna's Mission
Chapter57 - Attachment and Duty
Chapter58 - The Pandava Generalissimo
Chapter59 - Balarama
Chapter60 - Rukmini
Chapter61 - Non-Cooperation
Chapter62 - Krishna Teaches
Chapter63 - Yudhishthira Seeks Benediction
Chapter64 - The First Day's Battle
Chapter65 - The Second Day
Chapter66 - The Third Day's Battle
Chapter67 - The Fourth Day
Chapter68 - The Fifth Day
Chapter69 - The Sixth Day
Chapter70 - The Seventh Day
Chapter71 - The Eighth Day
Chapter72 - The Ninth Day
Chapter73 - The Passing Of Bhishma
Chapter74 - Karna and the Grandsire
Chapter75 - Drona in Command
Chapter76 - To Seize Yudhishthira Alive
Chapter77 - The Twelfth Day
Chapter78 - Brave Bhagadatta
Chapter79 - Abhimanyu
Chapter80 - The Death Of Abhimanyu
Chapter81 - A Father's Grief
Chapter82 - The Sindhu King
Chapter83 - Borrowed Armor
Chapter84 - Yudhishthira's Misgivings
Chapter85 - Yudhishthira's Fond Hope
Chapter86 - Karna And Bhima
Chapter87 - Pledge Respected
Chapter88 - Somadatta's End
Chapter89 - Jayadratha Slain
Chapter90 - Drona Passes Away
Chapter91 - The Death Of Karna
Chapter92 - Duryodhana
Chapter93 - The Pandavas Reproached
Chapter94 - Aswatthama
Chapter95 - Avenged
Chapter96 - Who Can Give Solace?
Chapter97 - Yudhishthira's Anguish
Chapter98 - Yudhishthira Comforted
Chapter99 - Envy
Chapter100 - Utanga
Chapter101 - A Pound Of Flour
Chapter102 - Yudhishthira Rules
Chapter103 - Dhritarashtra
Chapter104 - The Passing Away Of The Three
Chapter105 - Krishna Passes Away
Chapter106 - Yudhishthira's Final Trial