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15-Aashramvaas Parv, 15-20 of 39
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Dhritraashtra Goes to Forest

Vaishampaayan Jee said - "After this Dhritraashtra, at the time of his leaving, called Paandav and Braahman performed necessary rites on Kaarttik Poornimaa. They took off their usual robes and wore deer skins and barks. Accompanied by his daughters-in-law and Gaandhaaree, as he got out of his palace, all Paandav and Kaurav women started weeping loudly. Yudhishthir weeping loudly said to the king - "O king, Where do you go?" and fell down in a swoon. Arjun was also sad, he was sighing repeatedly. All followed Dhritraashtra. Kuntee was walking with Gaandhaaree and Dhritraashtra was following Gaandhaaree placing his hand on her shoulder. Wives of all citizens also came out of their houses and followed them wailing."

Vaishampaayan Jee further said - "As he was going out of the city he repeatedly bade them to go back to their homes. Vidur and Sanjaya were going to forest along with Dhritraashtra, but he forbade Kripaa and Yuyutsu to follow him. After some time the citizens stopped following them, and then Yudhishthir also stopped at the command of Dhritraashtra. Kuntee also wanted to go to woods, Yudhishthir said to her - "I will follow the old king, you be at home with your daughters-in-law." But Kuntee continued with Gaandhaaree. She said to king - "Take care of Sahadev, he is specially attached to me. Karn was slain only because of my foolishness. I will live with Gaandhaaree in the forest serving them."

Yudhishthir was very sad seeing Kuntee going to forest, he said to her - "I can never give you permission to accompany the great uncle. When we were leaving Hastinaapur for exile you told us the story of Vidulaa's instruction to her son, you cannot leave us now. I won the kingdom by the instructions of yours to Vaasudev, now where are those instructions?" Bheem said - "When we have got the kingdom, your time to enjoy has come, then why do you want to leave us? Why do you want to live in forest?" Then Draupadee and Subhadraa also requested her to come back but she continued her journey. Paandav also continued to follow her, and she also continued walking, frequently looking at her weeping children. Then she spoke to them.

Kuntee said - "At that time I encouraged you because you were cheerless, your kingdom was snatched by cheating. I encouraged you so that Paandu's sons are not lost, his fame is not lost. You all are like Indra. You should not depend on others that is why I acted in that way. Because you were very discouraged at that time that is why I encouraged you. I did not tell the story of Vidulaa for me, but for you. Now I want to do penance, please do not stop me, always be righteous and keep your mind great."

When they could not stop Kuntee, they stopped following Dhritrashtra and bade him farewell. Dhritraashtra said to Vidur and Sanjaya - "Let Kuntee go back to palace. Why she should leave her children like this? She can observe penance living there also." Gaandhaaree also enforced her husband's words but failed to convince Kuntee. So Paandav and all others came back to city and Dhritraashtra, Gaandhaaree, Kuntee, Vidur and Sanjaya proceeded to forest. All were sad and cheerless.

On that day Dhritraashtra etc arrived on the banks of Bhaageerathee and took rest for the night. Dhritraashtra did Sandhyaa worship there and Vidur and Sanjaya made bed of a few Kush grass for him. Near him lay Gaandhaaree and near Gaandhaaree lay down Kuntee. Within hearing distance lay down Vidur and others. Braahman sang many hymns during that night, so that night seemed like a Braahmee night. Next day they again continued their journey.

Vaishampaayan Jee said - "According to advice of Vidur Dhritraashtra decided to stay on the banks of Bhaageerathee. Many people of all orders came to see him there. He gladdened them by his words. Then they proceeded towards Kurukshetra and came to the dwelling place of Satayup (he was the King of Kaikaya Desh). He also gave his kingdom to his son and came to woods to live. Then both proceeded towards Vyaas Jee's place. There Dhritraashtra was initiated to the mode of forest life. All, including Gaandhaaree and Kunte, wore deer skins and bark and engaged themselves in severe penance."

Vaishampaayan Jee further said - "One day Devarshi Naarad, Parvat and Deval came to see Dhritraashtra. Vyaas Jee and Satayup also came there. Those Rishi discoursed Dhritraashtra etc on religion and righteousness. After that Naarad Jee said - "There was a great king of Kaikaya Desh, his name was Sahastrachitya. He was the grandfather of this Satayap. After giving his kingdom to his eldest son he retired to forest. After severe penance he reached Swarg and lived there with Indra. In the same way the grandfather of Bhagadatt, Shailaalaya attained the regions of Indra after observing penance. There was another king Prishadhra who also went to Swarg on the basis of his penance. Another King Purukuts also went to Swarg. Even Narmadaa became his wife. Thus this king will also attain the highest regions after his penance. Kuntee will also go to her husband. Vidur will enter Yudhishthir and Sanjaya will also go to Heaven."

Dhritraashtra worshipped Naarad Jee. Satayup said to Naarad Jee - "I wish to ask you one thing. It is about Dhritraashtra. You know everything, what the diverse goals are of human beings. You have just described the goals of kings. You have not said that what regions will this king attain. I wish to hear that from you and the time when he will attain it." Naarad Jee said - "Having been at my will to Indra's Lok, I have seen Paandu. A talk is going on there about him and his penance, I heard Indra saying that he still has three years of his life remaining. After that he, along with Gaandhaaree, will go to the region of Kuber. He, adorned with celestial ornaments, will go there on a Vimaan moving at his will. He is the son of a Rishi, he is highly blessed. He has cleared all his sins by this penance. What you asked is a mystery of Devtaa, because of my affection to you I told this to you. You all have cleared all your sins." Hearing this Dhritraashtra got very happy. All Rishi went back to their abodes.


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Created by Sushma Gupta On 05/27/04
Modified on 04/08/13