Legacy YM

Chapter 97 - Yudhishthira's Anguish


THE Pandavas performed the til and water ceremonies for the peace of the souls of the dead warriors and camped on the bank of the Ganga for a month.

One day, Narada appeared before Yudhishthira. "Son, through Krishna's grace, the valor of Arjuna and the power of your dharma, you were victorious and you are the sovereign lord of the land. Are you happy?" he asked.

Yudhishthira replied: "Bhagavan, it is true the kingdom has come into my possession. But my kinsmen are all gone. We have lost sons that were dear. This victory appears to me but a great defeat. O Narada, we took our own brother for an enemy and killed him, even Karna who stood rooted like a rock in his honor and at whose valor the world wondered. This terrible act of slaying our own brothers was the result of our sinful attachment to our possessions. Karna, on the other hand, kept the promise he gave to our mother and abstained from killing us. Oh! I am a sinner, a low fellow who murdered his own brother. My mind is troubled greatly at this thought. Karna's feet were so much like our mother's feet. In the large hall, when that great outrage was committed and my anger rose, when I looked at his feet, which were so much like Kunti's feet, my wrath subsided. I remember that now and my grief increases."

So saying, Yudhishthira heaved a deep sigh. Narada told him all about Karna and the curses that had been pronounced on him on various occasions.

Once, when Karna saw that Arjuna was superior to him in archery, he approached Drona and entreated him to teach him how to wield the Brahmastra. Drona declined saying it was not open to him to instruct any but a brahmana of faultless conduct or a kshatriya who had purified himself by much penance. Thereupon, Karna went to the Mahendra hills and deceived Parasurama by saying that he was a brahmana and became his disciple. From him he obtained instruction in archery and the use of many astras.


One day, when Karna was practising with his bow in the forest near Parasurama's asrama, a brahmana's cow was accidentally hit and killed. The brahmana was angry and uttered a curse on Karna: "In battle, your chariot wheels will stick in the mud and you will be done to death, even like this innocent cow which you have killed."

Parasurama was exceedingly fond of Karna and taught him all the archery he knew and instructed him fully in the use and the withdrawing of the Brahmastra.

One day, however, he discovered that the disciple was not a brahmana. It happened tha an an insect bit a hole into Karna's thigh when one afternoon the teacher had fallen asleep on Karna's lap. Karna bore the acute pain quietly and did not stir, lest the master should wake up. The warm blood trickling from the wound woke up Parasurama. When he saw what had happened, he was angry.

"You are a kshatriya; otherwise you could not have borne this physical pain without stirring. Tell me the truth. You are not a brahmana. You have deceived your teacher. Fool! When your hour comes, your knowledge of astras will fail you and what you have learnt from me through deception will not avail you."

Parasurama's wrath against kshatriyas is well known and, when he discovered that Karna was a kshatriya, he cursed him thus in his anger.

Karna was free in making gifts. One day, Indra, who was Arjuna's father, came in the garb of a brahmana and begged of Karna for a gift of the divine earrings and armor with which he had been born. Karna took them out and gave them away accordingly. From that time, Karna's strength was reduced.

"Karna's pledge to his mother Kunti that he would not kill more than one of the five of you, Parasurarna's curse, the anger of the brahmana whose cow was killed by Karna, the way in which his charioteer Salya depressed him by underrating his valor and Vasudeva's stratagems, these combined to bring about Karna's end. Do not grieve believing that you alone caused his death." Thus said Narada, but Yudhishthira was not consoled by these words.


"Do not blame yourself, son, for Karna's, death," said Kunti. "His father, the sun lord himself, pleaded with him. He begged of him to give up the wicked-hearted Duryodhana and join you. I too tried hard. But he would not listen to us. He brought his end on himself."

"You deceived us, mother" said Yudhishthira, "by hiding the secret of his birth from us. You became thus the cause of this great sin. May women never be able to keep a secret henceforth."

This is the poet's story of how Yudhishthira cursed all women in his anguish over having killed his own elder brother. It is a common notion that women cannot keep secrets. And this story is a beautiful conception illustrating that popular belief.

It may be that in worldly affairs, it is an advantage to be able to keep secrets. But it is not great virtue from the point of view of moral character, and women need not grieve over an incapacity of this kind, if indeed Kunti's legacy still persists.

The affectionate temperament natural to women may perhaps incline them to openness. But some women do keep secrets very well indeed, and not a man possess this ability either. It is a fallacy to attribute the differences that arise out of training and occupation on nature itself and imagine some qualities as peculiar to a sex.

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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