Chapter X - 35 Home | Index | Previous | Next

"Alas, that we lived to hear this, what a fate! O, destiny, how could you treat the world so cruelly?" the brothers lamented together. "Lord, why have you deserted the Pandavas thus? Why this breach of trust? We have survived to hear this news; this is the result of the accumulation of sin during many generations", they asked and asserted. Each one was submerged in his own grief, in his own despair. The hall was filled with gloomy silence.

It was Dharmaraja who braved it first. Wiping the tears that filled his eyes, he questioned Arjuna in pathetic tones, "Have you news of the condition of the parents, and of Nanda and Yasoda and of the other Yadavas? Tell us about them. They must be broken with the grief of separation from the Lord. When we too have been reduced to this helpless depth, what can we say of them? They must be sunk in unfathomable despair. How can they keep body and breath together? Why refer to individuals? The entire city of Dwaraka must have sunk in the sea of inconsolable grief."

Dharmaraja was sobbing with sorrow as he pictured to himself those scenes. Seeing him in this condition, Arjuna said, "Brother! The people of Dwaraka are far more lucky than ourselves. We are the least fortunate. We are the only hardened beings that have withstood the shock of the news of the departure of Vaasudeva from this world. The rest left the world even before news came of His departure."

At this Dharmaraja exclaimed, "Hari, Hari, O God! What is it you said now? What is this catastrophe? I do not understand anything... Did the sea rise and engulf Dwaraka? Or, did any wild barbarian horde invade and overwhelm the city and slaughter the population? Arjuna, tell us what happened. Put an end to our frightful surmises, which raise up awful pictures." Dharmaraja held the hand of Arjuna and turned his face up in an attempt to make him answer his queries.

Arjuna said, "No, no sea got furious and swallowed Dwaraka; no ruler led his army against that city. Wickedness and vileness grew madly wild among the Yadavas themselves and excited their strife and hate to such an extent that they slaughtered one another with their own weapons." Dharmaraja asked him, "Arjuna, there must be some overpowering force that urged the Yadava clan, young and old, to sacrifice themselves in this holocaust. No effect can happen without a cause, isn't it?" and, waited to listen to the details of what had actually led to the slaughter.

Arjuna paused a little to overcome the grief surging within him and then, he began his account of the events. The other three brothers drew near and heard the tragic tale. "I learnt that day that not even the tiniest event can happen unless willed by Vaasudeva. I got fully convinced of this. He is the Suthradhari, the holder of the strings that move the puppets and make them act their roles; but, He seats Himself among the spectators and pretends He is unaware of the plot or story or cast. The characters cannot deviate a dot from His directions; His will guides and determines every single movement and gesture. The varying emotions and events on the stage by which the drama unrolls itself affect the hearts of those who witness the play but, they do not cause a ruffle in the heart of the Suthradhari."