Wednesday, 21 March 2012

Krishna meets kauravas and sets the tone for negotiations! Mahabharata 116

The next morning Krishna leaves  for Hastinapura from Vrukshasthala. Bheeshma, Drona and many more meet him half way and escort him to Hastinapura. The city is fully decorated. People throng the roads  slowing down Krishna's horses. The upper floors of buildings, full of people, seems to sway with their weight.

 Krishna first visits Dritharashtra to pay his respects, exchanges pleasantries. Then moves on to meet Vidhura.  Enjoys Vidhura's hospitality and after giving a detailed account of Pandavas' welfare, goes to meet his aunt Kunti. As soon as she sets her eyes on Krishna the past  memories come flooding back to her and she tearfully cries! 'My children who were used to sleeping on a bed of soft feathers and waking in the morning to auspicious music and chants, were compelled to lie on deer skin and to wake up to the growls of wild animals.'  Krishna consoles her with 'Your children will soon defeat their enemies and you will see them again with their kingdom and wealth.'

Krishna later arrives at the palace of Duryodhana, comparable in splendour to Indra's abode. After crossing three sectors, climbs a building as tall as a hill and sees Duryodhana seated in the midst of thousands of kings. Dussasana, Karna and Sakuni are seated close to him. As soon as  Krishna enters, the kaurava and his ministers, get  up to show respect. After Krishna is seated on an attractively furnished golden throne, all  the kauravas bow to him. Duryodhana invites him to join them for a meal. But Krishna declines. Duryodhana is upset and begins softly but ends being harsh in his questions. 'Why did you refuse the food that was specially made for you, Janardhana? You have helped us both, you are also close to us and a relative. You are aware of  the  requiste niceties.  Hence let me know the reason?'

Krishna replies in all seriousness, 'Suyodhana. Envoys should enjoy the hospitality  only after they have done their job! That is the accepted way and I will  enjoy your hospitality only after I have accomplished my work.' Duryodhana does not agree, 'It is not right to behave with us this way, Krishna. Whether the work is done or not, we wanted you to join us and you have refused! You must tell me why? We have no fight with you or enmity. Hence it is not correct to speak in this manner!'

Krishna decides to be frank, 'Duryodhana! We eat at others home out of love and affection! Or if you are in trouble. You have no affection for me and I am not in any trouble. You are the elder, still you hate the pandavas, who are endowed with all the good qualities, without reason. It is as if you hate me, as we are both one! Anyone, because of desire and anger, hates people of good quality out of ignorance, is a vile man. The food that is offered by them  is not worthy to eat. I believe eating at Vidhura's place is right for me' and leaves for Vidhura's home. Bheeshma, Drona and others go to meet him at Vidhura's and invite him. Krishna talks to them well and sends them back graciously and eats with Vidhura and enjoys the tasty meal.

After dinner, Vidhura addresses Krishna 'I think it was not good that you came. Duryodhana has no concern for dharma, has no respect for elders,  is short tempered , arrogant and egoistic. He believes that he is very smart and knows everything. Such a person will not listen to advice even if it has merit and is superior. He is feeling happy with the army that is with him and has decided that only Karna will be able to defeat the enemies. You have come to establish friendship and peace between kauravas and pandavas. But he has made up his mind not to give them anything. It is no use talking to such a person. For them there is no distinction between good and bad. Speaking sense to them is like playing music in front of a deaf man. I do not like it that you will be in midst of evil men with bad intentions! These  people  are young, impatient and ignorant and good sense will not sink into their minds. Madhava, I am telling you all this as I have the same regard for you as I have for the pandavas. I spoke to you with the same affection and with respect.'

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