Legacy YM

Chapter 48 - Virata's Delusion

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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 equal Brihannala."

This seemed absurd to Virata, but he was too happy to resent it. He made large gifts of precious stones and other wealth to the messengers who brought the good news and ordered public rejoicing. "My success over Susarma is nothing," he proclaimed. "The prince's is the real victory. Let special prayers of thanksgiving be offered at all places of worship. Let all the principal streets are decorated with flags and the citizen´┐Żs go in procession to strains of triumphal music. Make all arrangements to receive, in a befitting manner, my lion-hearted boy."

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Virata sent out ministers, soldiers, and maidens to welcome his son, returning in triumph. When the king retired to his private apartments, he asked Sairandhri to bring the dice. He said to Kanka: "I cannot contain my joy. Come, let us play," and sat down to a game with Yudhishthira.

They talked while they played and naturally, the king was full of his son's greatness and prowess. "See the glory of my son, Bhuminjaya. He has put the famed Kaurava warriors to flight."

"Yes," replied Yudhishthira with a smile. "Your son is indeed fortunate for, without the best of good fortune, how could he have secured Brihannala to drive his chariot?"

Virata was angry at this persistent glorification of Brihannala at the expenses of Uttara. "Why do you, again and again babble about the eunuch?" he cried.

"While I am talking about my son's victory, you expatiate on the charioteering skill of the eunuch, as if that were of any significance." The king's anger only increased when Kanka remonstrated: "I know what I am talking about. Brihannala is no ordinary person. The chariot she drives can never see defeat, and whoever is in it, is sure of success in any undertaking, no matter how difficult."

Now, this perverse flouting could not be borne, and Virata in a passion flung the dice at Yudhishthira's face and followed this up with a blow on Yudhishthira's cheek. Yudhishthira was hurt and blood flowed down his face.

Sairandhri who was nearby, wiped the blood with the edge of her garment and squeezed it into a golden cup. "Why all this fuss? What are you collecting the blood into a cup for?" demanded the angry king, who was still in a passion.

"A Sanyasin's blood may not be split on the ground, O king," replied Sairandhri. "The rains will fail in your land for as many years as there are drops in the blood that is split on the earth. That was why I collected the blood in this cup. I fear you do not know Kanka's greatness."

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Meanwhile the gatekeeper announced: "Uttara and Brihannala have arrived. The prince is waiting for an audience with the king." Virata got up excitedly and said: "Ask him in, ask him in." And Yudhishthira whispered to the sentry: "Let Uttara come alone. Brihannala should stay behind."

He did this to prevent a catastrophe, for he knew Arjuna would be unable to control his anger when he saw the injury on his brother's face. He could not bear to see Dharmaputra hurt by anyone except in fair battle.

Uttara entered and paid due homage to his royal father. When he turned to do obeisance to Kanka be was horrified to see his bleeding face, for now he knew that Kanka was the great Yudhishthira.

"O king," he cried, "who was it that caused hurt to this great one?"

Virata looked at his son and said: "Why all this fuss about it? I struck him for untimely and envious belittling of you when I was in an ocean of delight at the news of your glorious victory. Each time I mentioned you, this unlucky brahmana extolled your charioteer, the eunuch, and gave the victory to him. It was too silly really, and I am sorry I struck him, but it is not worth talking about."

Uttara was overwhelmed with fear. "Alas! You have done great wrong. Fall at his feet right now, father, and pray forforgiveness or we will be destroyed, root and branch."

Virata, to whom all this was inexplicable, stood with a puzzled frown not knowing what to do. But Uttara was so anxious and importunate that he yielded and bowed to Yudhishthira asking for pardon.

Thereafter, embracing his son and making him sit, Virata said: "My boy, you are truly a hero. I am in a fever of impatience to hear all about it. How did you defeat the Kaurava army? How did you recover the kine?"

Uttara hung his head down. "I conquered no army," he said, "and rescued no cows. All that was the work of a god prince. He took up our cause, rescued me from destruction, put the Kaurava soldiers to flight and brought the herd back. I did nothing."

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The king could hardly believe his ears. "Where is that god prince?" he asked. "I must see and thank the hero who rescued my son and beat back my foes. I will give my daughter, Uttara, in marriage to him. Go and fetch him in."

"He has disappeared for the time being," replied the prince, "but I think he will come again either today or tomorrow." Uttara spoke thus because Arjuna was indeed a prince of the gods and had also for the time being disappeared in Brihannala.

In Virata's hall of assembly, all the leading citizens had gathered to celebrate the king's victory and the prince's. Kanka, Valala the cook, Brihannala, Tantripala and Dharmagranthi, who were responsible for the victories, arrived also and entering the hall, to the surprise of everyone, sat among the princes unbid.

Some explained the conduct by saying that, after all, these humbler folk had rendered invaluable service at a critical time and really deserved recognition.

Virata entered the court. On seeing Kanka sanyasin and the cook and the others seated in places reserved for princess and the nobility the king lost his temper and gave loud vent to his displeasure.

When they felt they had enough fun, the Pandavas disclosed their identity to the amazement of all present. Virata was beside himself with joy to think that it was the Pandava princes and Panchali who had been ministering to him all these days in disguise. He embraced Kanka in exuberant gratitude and made a formal surrender of his kingdom and his all to him, of course immediately receiving them back with thanks. Virata also insisted that he should give his daughter in marriage to Arjuna.

But Arjuna said: "No, that would not be proper, for the princess learnt dancing and music from me. I, as her teacher, am in the position of father to her." He, however, agreed to accept her for his son Abhimanyu.

Meanwhile, envoys arrived from the wicked and treacherous Duryodhana with a message for Yudhishthira. "O son of Kunti," they said, "Duryodhana feels very sorry that owing to the hasty action of Dhananjaya, you have to go back to the woods again. He let himself be recognised before the end of the thirteenth year and so, in accordance with your undertaking, you have to dwell in the forest for another twelve years."

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Dharmaputra laughed and said: "Messengers, return quickly to Duryodhana and tell him to make further inquiry. The venerable Bhishma and others learned in the stars will no doubt tell him that full thirteen years had been completed before your forces heard again the twang of Dhananjaya's bow and fled in fear."


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

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