|Chapter XII - 45||Home | Index | Previous | Next|
When her mind was thus torn with anguish an old female attendant came in and informed her that Dharmaraja, accompanied by Arjuna, was on the way to her apartments. Kunthi was agitated by fear at what they might tell her, joy that she was meeting Arjuna after a long absence, and eagerness to hear the news of the Yadavas. It made an amalgam of expectancy. She was quaking because she was unable to contain this anxiety.
Dharmaraja came in and fell at her feet; he stood silent. Arjuna could not raise himself from her feet, for a long time. It was Kunthi who spoke to him, words of consolation. "Poor fellow! How did you manage to be away from me for such a long time?" She caressed him lovingly, but even before she spoke words of blessing or questioned about his health and welfare, she asked "Arjuna! I heard you arrived last night; is it true? Why did you not come to me during the night? How can a mother who knows that her son has returned from a long absence, sleep in peace without seeing him? Well, I am glad you have come at least now, with the break of dawn. Tell me the news. Are your father-in-law, mother-in-law and grandfather quite well? My brother Vasudeva, is very old now; how is he? Is he moving about? Or is he bedridden as I am? Is he being nursed as I am, dependent for everything on others?" She was holding the hands of Arjuna and her eyes were fixed on his face. Suddenly she asked, "What is this I see, my son? How did you grow so dark? Why have your eyes bloated and reddened like this?"
"I understand! Dwaraka is far away and the long jungle journey has told upon you. The dust and the sun have affected you; the exhaustion of the road is written on your face. Let it go. Tell me what my Shyamasundar, my Krishna has asked you to tell me. When is He coming here? Or, has He no desire to see me? Did He say anything? Of course, He is Vaasudeva, He can see all from wherever He is. When am I to see Him again? Will this ripe fruit be on the tree, until He comes?"
She asked questions many times and answered them herself many times. She provided no opening for either Arjuna or Dharmaraja to say what they wanted. From Arjuna's eyes, tears flowed without hindrance. Kunthi observed this strange phenomenon. She drew Arjuna closer to herself and had his head on her shoulder. "Son, Arjuna, what has happened? Tell me. I have never seen tears in your eyes. Did Gopala find fault with you and send you away, because you are unfit to be with Him? Did any such terrible calamity happen to you?" She was overwhelmed with grief but she was trying her best to console her son.
Just then, Dharmaraja hid his own face with both hands and groaned amidst sobs, "Mother! You speak of our Vasudeva still? It is ten days since He left us. He has gone back to His own abode. All the Yadavas have died." Even as he was speaking thus, Kunthi opened her eyes wide, asking, "What? My Gopala... my Nandanandana... the treasure of my heart... heart... has He widowed the earth? O Krishna... Krishna..." and, as if going to seek Him, that very moment, she passed away.