|Chapter XIV - 50||Home | Index | Previous | Next|
Parikshith could not be assuaged. He said, "Grandpa! Are you now discarding the throne and the kingdom and placing them on my head. Well, be with me for some years more, teach me the art of government and the principles, and then, you can leave. I was happy and free, romping and roaming with no trace of care, for I was confident I had grandfather to guard me, though I had lost my father. Now, if you too desert me, what will be my fate? You were the centre of all my hopes, the support on which I relied. And, you are plunging me suddenly into despair and deserting me." He wept aloud, rending the hearts of all who saw and heard. He rolled on the ground, holding the feet of the elders.
Arjuna lifted him up with both hands and embraced him. He kept him on his shoulders and fondled him. He wiped the strings of pearly tears that rolled down his cheeks. He could not arrest his own tears while doing so. Turning to the Brahmins standing around gazing at all this, Arjuna asked them why they were only silent witnesses, not attempting to console the boy.
They were really too full of grief themselves to think of assuaging Parikshith. They said, "The sharp words this child is lisping are wounding us like arrows; his anguish is petrifying us. What can we tell him? How can we console him? What can instil courage into him now?"; and they too were overcome with grief.
Kripacharya, the teacher of the family, succeeded at last in suppressing his grief; he wiped off the tears from his own eyes with the ends of his garment; he spoke to Arjuna thus: "What do you want us to tell this boy? We do not feel like saying anything. We are struck dumb. You are this day renouncing the empire which you gained after a victory for which rivers of blood flowed, for which millions laid down their lives, for which you strove for years. You have not ruled over it for a thousand years, no, not even for a couple of centuries, or even for seventy years. Who can say what lies in the womb of time? Of course, the actions of the great will have some inner purpose. Pardon us; you are our overlords; you know best." Kripacharya stood with head bent, for he was heavy with grief.
Dharmaraja came forward a few steps and addressed the Acharya. "Every act of mine was according to the command of Krishna, as you know. I dedicated all my activity to Him. I played my role as He dictated. I did not desire or retain any individuality. All my duties and obligations have faded out with the departure of the Lord. Of what use is the survival of Dharmaraja alone, now? I cannot continue on this land even for a minute, since Kali has come to sway. It is your duty now to guard this boy, guide and train him so that he may be secure on the throne. Preserve the adherence to Dharma; continue the dynastic traditions; maintain the honour and fair name of the line. Love him and foster him as your own son." Thus saying, he placed the hands of Parikshith in the hands of Kripacharya. All those who were there, including Dharmaraja and the Acharya were in tears that moment.