Chapter XIII - 47 Home | Index | Previous | Next

When the citizens and others came to know that Kunthi Devi had died as soon as she heard the news of Krishna's departure from the world, they wept even louder; for, the grief at losing Krishna was far greater than the grief at the loss of the Dowager queen. Many behaved as if they had grown suddenly insane; many beat their heads on the walls of their houses; they felt miserable and forlorn.

It was as if petrol was poured on a fire. In the flood of unbearable anguish, born out of the double loss, Dharmaraja was the only calm soul. He consoled the queens; he spoke softly and assuringly to each; he told them that there was no meaning in lamenting the loss of the mother or the departure of the Lord. Each of them had their course according to a predetermined plan. "It only remains for us now to fulfil our destiny through appropriate steps," he said.

Dharmaraja called Arjuna near him and said, "Arjuna! Dear brother! Let us not delay any further: The Funeral rites of mother must be begun immediately; we must have Parikshith crowned emperor; we must leave Hasthinapura this night itself; every moment appears an age to me." Dharmaraja was filled with extreme detachment. But, Arjuna was filled with even more renunciation. He lifted the mother's head from his lap and placed it on the floor. He ordered Nakula and Sahadeva to make preparation for the coronation of Parikshith. He gave instructions to others, ministers, officers etc., on the arrangements that had to be made, in view of the decision of the king and the princes. He was very busy, indeed. Bhima busied himself with the arrangements for the funeral of the mother.

The ministers, citizens, priests, Gurus, were full of wonder, admiration and sadness at the strange developments and incidents in the palace. They were sunk in grief and despair, but they had to keep it all to themselves. They were also affected by a strong wave of detachment. Struck with wonder, they exclaimed, "Ah, His paternal uncle and aunt left the palace all of a sudden; the news of Krishna's departure fell like a thunderbolt on the head already distracted by this calamity; then quite soon, the mother passed away; ere the corpse is removed from where she fell, Dharmaraja is preparing for the coronation! And, the emperor is planning to give up everything - power, riches, status, authority - and to move into the forest with all his brothers! Only these Pandavas can have such steady courage and renunciation. No one else is capable of this boldness."

Within minutes, the funeral rites were gone through; the Brahmins were called in; Dharmaraja decided to have the coronation ceremony in quite a simple style. The subordinate rulers and tributary kings were not to be invited nor could invitation be given to citizens and kinsmen an Indraprastha.

Of course, a coronation in the Bharatha dynasty, seating a ruler on the sacred lion throne of that line, was usually a grand affair. The date would be fixed months ahead, the auspicious moment chosen with meticulous care; and elaborate preparations on a magnificent scale would follow. But, now, in a matter of minutes, everything was got ready with whatever material was available and whoever was near at hand. Parikshith was given a ceremonial bath, the crown jewels were put on him, and he was brought to the throne by the Brahmins and the ministers. He was placed on the throne and, while Dharmaraja was placing the diamond studded diadem on his head with his own hands, every one in the hall wept in distress. The imperial authority that had to be assumed to the joyous acclamation of the people was imposed on the boy to the accompaniment of groans and sobs.