|Chapter II - 8||Home | Index | Previous | Next|
Yudhishtira was not satisfied; he wanted to hear more from them of the excellences of the character of the prince. The Pundits were encouraged by this yearning. They said, "O king, You seem to be eager to know about some more aspects of the child's fortune. We shall only be too glad to answer any specific question that you may feel inclined to put us."
Noting their enthusiasm, Yudhishtira came forward and asked them, "During the regime of this prince, will there be any great war? If war is inevitable, will he achieve victory? "No", said the Pundits, He will not be pestered by any foe. He knows no failure or defeat in any undertaking of his. This is absolutely true, an unshakeable truth."
Hearing this, Yudhishtira and the brothers Bhima, Arjuna, Nakula and Sahadeva looked at each other and shared great joy. Meanwhile, Yudhishtira began to speak. He had said, "If that is so...", but, before he could complete the sentence, he hung his head and was plunged in thought. The Pundits noticed it; they said, "You seem to be anxious to know something more. You have only to ask, we shall readily answer all questions." "Of course", said Yudhishtira, "I am happy at all the answers you have given. He will be virtuous, famous, triumphant over all, loving and kind, treating all equally; he will perform many Yajnas and Yagas; he will have no enemies; he will bring honour to the dynasty and restore its reputation. All this gives me great joy. But..., I would like to know also, how he will meet his end." The brothers saw Yudhishtira getting rather upset at the anxiety which agitated him over this problem. His voice had faltered a bit, when he put the question.
They consoled him and said, "Why worry about that at this stage? The end has to come some day, some way. It is something that cannot be avoided. Something will cause it; some circumstance will bring it about. Birth involves the contingency of death. We are afraid, the extreme joy of this incident has queered your line of thought a bit. We think this much is enough. We shall leave the rest in the realm of doubt; let us not probe further. Let us leave it to God."
But, Yudhishtira could not somehow give up his desire to know how such a virtuous ideal prince would end his career on earth. He imagined it must be a truly wondrous finale to a glorious life. So he wanted the astrologers to tell him about it.
The scholars set about the calculations again and took a pretty long time over it. Watching this, the king became excited; he hastened them and pressed for a quick answer. They gave the reply. "This prince will give up his kingdom as the result of a sage's curse". Yudhishtira wondered how such a paragon of virtue can ever invoke upon himself the curse of a sage. He was shocked at the possibility.
Meanwhile, the Pundits said, "Our calculations show that he will be bitten by a serpent." Yudhishtira lost heart at this news. All his joy evaporated in a moment. He became very sad and dispirited.