Chapter IX - 32 Home | Index | Previous | Next

"Perhaps, you suspect that I am afraid of anything happening to me, personally. No, I shall never be agitated by anything that might happen to me, for, this body is a bubble upon the waters, it is a composite of the five elements waiting to be dissolved back into its components. The dissolution must happen some day; it is bound to fail, to fall, to fester, to be reduced to ash or mud. I do not pay heed to its fate."

"My only worry is about one particular matter. I shall disclose it to you, without any attempt to conceal the seriousness. Listen. It is now more or less seven months since our brother Arjuna left for Dwaraka. Yet, we have not heard anything about the welfare and well-being of the Lord of Dwaraka. He has not sent any messenger or message regarding, at least, his reaching Dwaraka. Of course I am not worried in the least about Arjuna and his reaching or not reaching Dwaraka. I know that no foe can stand up against him. Moreover, if anything untoward had happened to him, certainly, Sri Krishna would have sent the information to us; of this there is no doubt. So, I am confident that there is no reason to be nervous about him."

"Let me confess that it is about the Lord Himself that I am feeling worried; with every passing minute, anxiety is increasing. My heart is suffering unbearable agony. I am overwhelmed by the fear that He may leave this world, and resume His permanent abode. What greater reason can there be for sorrow?"

"If this catastrophe has actually come about, I shall not continue to rule over this land, widowed by the disappearance of the master. For us Pandavas, this Vaasudeva was all our five vital airs put together; when He departs, we are but corpses, devoid of vitality. If the Lord is upon the earth, such ominous signs dare not reveal themselves. Injustice and iniquity can have free play only when He is absent; I have no doubt about this. My conscience is clear about it; something tells me that is the truth."

When Dharmaraja asserted thus, the brothers fell into the depth of grief. They lost all trace of courage. Bhima was the first who recovered sufficiently to speak! He mustered some courage, in spite of the wave of sadness that smothered him. He said, "For the reason that Arjuna has not returned or that we have not heard from him, you should not picture such a dire calamity and start imagining catastrophe. There must be some other reason for Arjuna's silence; or else, Krishna Himself might have neglected to inform us. Let us wait, seek further light; let us not yield to the fantasies that a nervous mind might weave. Let us not clothe them with the vesture of truth. I am encouraged to speak like this, for, one's nervousness is often capable of shaping such fears."

But, Dharmaraja was in no mood to accept this. He replied: "Whatever you say, however skilfully you argue, I feel that my interpretation is correct. Or else, how can such an idea arise in my mind? My left shoulder is registering a shiver, see! This is a sign confirming my fear that this has actually happened. You know it is a bad omen, if the left shoulder shivers for men and the right, for women. Now, this thing has taken place in my body, and it is a bad omen. Not merely the shoulder, my entire being - mind, body, intelligence - all are in a shiver. My eyes grow dim and I am fast losing vision. I see the world as an orphan, having been deprived of its guardian and Lord. I have lost the faculty of hearing. My legs are shaking helplessly. My limbs have been petrified. They have no life in them."