VIDURA AND THE PANDAVAS
Trusted envoys told their kings assembled in Drupadas court how Draupadi of Panchala married the Pandavas. They also told the kings the identities of each of the Pandavas. The kings were surprised to learn that the Pandavas remained humble in the guise of Brahmans. The kings and the people of the city were all surprised for kings and people of all countries had heard that Kunti and her sons had perished in the fire at the house of lac. They thought that it was a rebirth for the Pandavas. They disparaged Bhishma and Dhrtarashtra for having attempted to kill through Purocana the Pandavas who were known for their adherence to dharma, good conduct, and zeal in fulfilling the wishes of their mother.
Vaishampayana told Janamejaya that after the svayamvara of Draupadi, Karna, Sakuni and the sons of Dhrtarashtra deliberated on the course they should adopt. Sakuni said that there was a class of enemies who had to be weakened and another who had to be harassed. But in the case of the sons of Kunti, all those warriors, Kshatriyas, must be wiped out, he opined. He warned them that if they went back after their failure in the contest their minds would certainly be pained later. It was the place and the time to capture the Pandavas. If they did not do so the world would laugh at them, he warned. He held Drupada on whom the Pandavas depended was a weak king.
Karna said that it was the appropriate time for the Kauravas to attack Drupada and the Pandavas, as Sisupala, the powerful ruler of Cedi, with whom Drupada had an alliance was not aware that the Pandavas were yet alive. The Kauravas did not expect the Yadavas to support the former. Before they became invincible and before they came to a decision about their future course of action, the Pandavas should be attacked and killed, Sakuni, the strategist, suggested.
The view of polity of Somadatta's son
If the Pandavas who escaped from the house of lac were let free, it would pose a great threat to the Kauravas, he warned. If the Yadava (Sisupala) and other kings arrived to help and the Pandavas stayed for a long time in Pancala and got sure footing there it would be like standing between two great elephants for the Kauravas. Before the troops of the Pandavas pounced on them they should be killed, Sakuni advised. The Kauravas, Karna and Sakuni and their allies should together attack that town, he told Duryodhana. But the son of Somadatta counselled against that move. Somadattas father, Bahlika, was a brother of Santanu. He stayed away from the intrigues of that city. Somadatta and his son were sober scholars who knew the science of polity and the intricacies of political affairs intimately.
Though there are several interpolations made in the text of the epic, Mahabharata, from time to time, down the ages, it is not advisable to treat the outline of the principles of interstate relations presented by Somadattas son as an interpolation. [It of course has suffered at the hands of hacks.] According to this scholar, Rajan, Amatya, Mitra, Kosa, Desa, Durga and Sena (King, Ministry, Ally, Treasury, Country, Fort, and Army) are the seven organs (angas) of the state (rajyam). He held ally to be next in importance only to the ministry. The Kautilyan school of Arthasastra gave it the least importance.
Somadatta's son gives the treasury more importance than Kautilya and other scholars who place it after the fort (durga) in importance. He uses the conventional term, desa, instead of the term, janapada to indicate the areas outside the capital. The polity of Somadattas son reflects the partially plutocratic state that depended more on political alliances than on its inherent strength emanating from its native population. It asks the king to take into account the strength and weaknesses of his supporters (paksha) and those of others (para). After examining the advantages of place and time of action, he should resort to the six policies (shadguna), peace (samdhi), hostility (vigra), movement of mobilised forces (yana), static position (asana), dual policy (dvaidibhava), and seeking protection of his equal (samasraya). Somadattaputra did not envisage the conqueror or any other king seeking protection of a superior power.
Like the school of Kautilya, he advised the king to watch the three aspects, stagnation, growth and deterioration on his side (svapaksha) and those of others (parapaksha). But he did not insist that every one of the seven organs of his and the others states should be scrutinised with respect to these three aspects. The king should examine the trends with respect to these three levels (neutral, ascending, descending) of the land and commonalty (bhumi), allies (mitra) and power (sakti). The enemy should be attacked when he is cornered by the afflictions caused by lust (kama) and gambling.
Somadattaputra noticed that with respect to the above factors, the Pandavas had friends and wealth and many exploits to their credit and because of their good deeds were popular among the native people (jana). Arjuna by his handsome personality attracted the eyes and minds of all beings even at the level of bare existence (pranis). His sweet words won for him the ears of the commoners (manushyas). The native people (jana) sided with Arjuna not merely because he signified fortune but also because he accomplished whatever they desired. The sweet words of Partha were never impolitic or self-centred or false. The son of Somadatta said that he did not see any one capable of forcibly destroying those Pandavas who were full of good traits (gunas) and had all marks (lakshana) of royalty.
Somadattaputra who was acquainted with the politico-economic code (Arthasastra) noticed that the Pandavas excelled in all the three powers (saktis), prabhu (ability to command the expanded core society), mantra (benefit of political counsel) and utsaha (personal zeal and mass enthusiasm). Yudhishtira would act at the appropriate time in the matters of basic strength (mulabala) and strength acquired through friends (mitra-bala). Somadattas son must have observed his approach from closer quarters. He felt that Yudhishtira knew how to calmly resort to the four means, persuasion (sama), gift (dana), rift (bheda) and coercion (danda) at the appropriate time to score over the opponents. As Dharmaraja, Yudhishtira, the son of Pandu would use wealth to buy the enemies and friends and armies and maintain his basic strength in order and rule over the commoners, according to Somadattaputra.
Vaishampayana did not consider getting political strength through economic power as obnoxious. Somadattas son said that one for whom Balarama and Krshna were ever enthusiastic could not be conquered even by Indra and other nobles (devas). If the Kauravas sought their benefit they should arrive at a treaty of peace (samdhi) with the Pandavas, even if they did not like his view, he said. He said that Drupadas capital was well fortified and manned and the people were loyal to their king. He had been generous to the citizens and the people outside. If the kings attacked him the Yadavas would rush to their rescue. Somadattaputra exhorted Duryodhana and others to arrive at a treaty of peace with the Pandavas and return to their states.
Karna conceded that the counsel given by Somadattas son was based mainly on the science of policy (nitisastra) and politico-economic theory (arthasastra). He was not envious of that counsel but would suggest that his views too might be heard. The commoners (manushyas) should never entertain diverse opinions on any tasks that they had undertaken to perform, he said. If they had differences in their outlooks no task of them would be fulfilled, he pointed out. They would not be able to capture the city of Drupada by marching against it or staying put or by harassing it. A huge battle was not advisable, Karna said. Before the Yadavas occupied positions to the rear, they had to be destroyed. He noticed that the kings assembled were eager to fight. He encouraged them to destroy the fortifications and fill the moats.
Karna suggested that announcements be made offering huge gifts to those who killed the elephants, horses and soldiers of the enemy and destroyed his chariots. He declared that those who were after joy and comfort, children and the old and those who did not want to fight should not be harmed. None should move without orders. He encouraged the kings and their soldiers to fight for their glory. He said that the wind and the omens were favourable. After hearing Karnas exhortation the kings who followed Duryodhana proceeded to chase the enemies in battle.
As the two armies clashed, the Pandavas came out of the city on their chariots with their bows. Their sight unnerved the kings supporting Duryodhana while it encouraged Drupadas army. In the battle Bhima and Arjuna, along with Drshtadyumna and Sikhandi trounced the enemies who were led by Duryodhana, Karna, Jayadratha and Sakuni. As the Kauravas and their supporters retreated, the army of Drupada returned to the fortified city. The Pandavas sent messengers to Krshna to report that they were safe. Krshna too reached Panchala to greet his aunt, Kunti, and give suitable gifts to Draupadi and the Pandavas.
Duryodhana returned to Hastinapura with his brothers and Karna, Sakuni, Asvattama and Krpacharya. His brother, Duhsasana argued that as no Kshatriya could perform the tough feat and win Draupadi, Arjuna who won her must have been superior to Kshatriyas, that is, must have been a noble. He also argued that human effort was of no use and that the views of the nobles (daivam) were superior to it. [The later annotator was putting across to his audience the attitude towards god (divine pleasure) that the defeated adopt.] The escape of the Pandavas from the house of lac signified the failure of the efforts, zeal and intellect of the Kauravas, Duhsasana felt. He told Sakuni that the Pandavas had proved that they were cleverer than them and had no fear of death.
The Kauravas abused Vidura and feared Drshtadyumna and Sikhandi, sons of Drupada, as they returned to Hastinapura. Vidura (who had the status of a kshatta, reliever of pains) told Dhrtarashtra that his sons had arrived to prosper. The king thought that they had succeeded in winning Draupadi. Vidura explained that he meant the sons of his brother, Pandu, by the term, sons. He described to the king how the Pandavas won Draupadi in the svayamvara contest and married her, duly honoured by Drupada. The king, Dhrtarashtra hid his disappointment and complimented the Pandavas and Drupada who belonged to the lineage of Uparicara of the Matsyas who was noted for his noble conduct and scholarship and was a revered king.
He pretended that he had the same affection for the sons of Pandu as he had for his sons. He also pretended that he had been uneasy since he heard that the Pandavas had perished in the forest fire. Vidura wished that his brother, Dhrtarashtra, should always treat the success of the Pandavas as that of his sons. The king hoped that his lordship over all the lunar (soma, chandra) lineages would be stabilised by the acquisition of a powerful ally, Drupada. Drupada too was a Somaka.
Dhrtarashtra did not know then that his sons had assaulted Drupadas fort and had been beaten back. After Vidura went home, Duryodhana and Karna met the king alone and told him not to consider the success and prosperity of his enemies as his. They held that they should plan to ensure that the power of the Pandavas should be checked so that the king and his sons and their troops were not swallowed by their enemies.
Since Vyasa and Vaishampayana strongly disliked the approaches of Dhrtarashtra and his sons, they described the king as a blind man and his sons as vicious. Admirers of the Pandavas have presented Suyodhana (a good warrior) and Susasana (a good administrator) as Duryodhana, a vicious warrior and Duhsasana, an administrator who resorted to improper methods. Dhrtarashtra confessed to his sons and Karna that as he did not want Vidura to know his plans he had spoken in the vein he did.
Duryodhana proposed that they should through able and trusted counsellors (Brahmans) who would not reveal their purpose but would accomplish the task, create rift between the sons of Kunti and those of Madri. Else they should through offer of huge wealth draw to their side Drupada and his sons and ministers. Or the counsellors should make the Pandavas to stay in Pancala itself. They should explain to the Pandavas the dangers in living in Hastinapura.
Some clever persons who were experts in the four means should disturb the friendship among the Pandava brothers. They should isolate Draupadi from them. As it was a polyandrous marriage it was easy to disturb their unity, the Kaurava said. They should create differences between the Pandavas and Draupadi, Duryodhana suggested. Through secret spies who were experts in strategy they should cause the death of Bhimasena who was the strongest among the Pandavas. Because of Bhimas support Yudhishtira had ignored the Kauravas, he felt. After Bhimas death, Yudhishtira would be weakened and would refrain from trying to get back the kingdom. Duryodhana held that Arjuna could not have stood against Karna but for Bhimas backing. In the absence of Bhima the other Pandavas would not make efforts at war, he calculated.
Duryodhana and Nitisastra
Duryodhana also suggested an alternative. If the Pandavas reached Hastinapura and came under the Kings command the Kauravas and the king might begin to harass them using the methods sanctioned by the science of policy (nitisastra). This was a valid peaceful (sama) method. If the Pandavas spoke arrogantly the proud sons of Drupada might be induced to quarrel (bheda) with them.
Each of the Pandavas might be enticed by beautiful girls, making Draupadi dislike them all. Duryodhana suggested that Karna be sent to invite them to Hastinapura. After they came near reliable persons could destroy them through tricks. He asked the king to decide before it became too late which method was the best. He felt that before the Pandavas developed close attachment to Drupada they should be destroyed. It would not be possible after they got his support, Duryodhana feared.
Karna did not find Duryodhanas suggestions proper. According to him they would not be able to score over the Pandavas by such tricks and methods. Duryodhana had failed to do so in the past when they were fledglings and were close at hand. Now they were grown up and away in another country. As they were strong there they could not be afflicted by lust (kama) and other weaknesses. Besides they had the support of unseen (adrshta) forces. [This term is not to be interpreted as being lucky.]
They were desirous of getting their ancestral kingdom. It was impossible to create rift among them. As they loved the same wife they would not quarrel with each other. [Polyandrous marriage was a source of strength for the Pandavas.] She had married them when they were weak and now that they are powerful she could not be expected to dislike them. Karna held that women liked to have many husbands. Krshna had gained many husbands and it was not possible to separate her from them.
Drupada was honest and not one who was after wealth. He would not abandon the Pandavas even if he were to lose his kingdom. So too was his son, Drshtadyumna. Hence the Pandavas could not be defeated by any of the (four) means (sama, dana, bheda, danda), he opined. Karna suggested that the Pandavas should be conquered in war before they got rooted. The Kauravas should go to war with them when the former was strong and the army of Drupada was weak. He advised Duryodhana (son of Gandhari) to launch the attack before the Pandavas became strong in vehicles, friends and offspring. They should be attacked before Drupada resolved to enter the battle in their support and before Krshna took his Yadava army to Pancala in their support. Karna warned that Krshna would sacrifice not only wealth and comforts but also even his state for the Pandavas.
Karna's emphasis on prowess
Karna pointed out that it was through prowess that Bharata became an emperor (chakravarti) over the bhumi (social world of commonalty) and Indra conquered the three social worlds (lokas) (commonalty, nobility and frontier society). Prowess is the special trait of Kshatriyas. Use of valour was the svadharma prescribed for warriors (suras). Karna insisted that they should lead their four-fold army (elephants, chariots, cavalry and infantry) and harassing Drupada should bring the Pandavas to Hastinapura. They could not be captured by peaceful methods (sama) or by gifts (dana) or by rift among friends (bheda), he averred. They had to be killed through valour. Karna found no other way for Duryodhana to become a ruler. Dhrtarashtra lauded him for his counsel as a brave warrior but advised that he and Duryodhana should deliberate with Bhishma, Drona and Vidura and arrive at the best decision. Vaishampayana told Janamejaya that the king invited Bhishma and the classes (varga) of ministers (of both cabinet rank and other ranks) for deliberation.
Bhishma said that he was against enmity with the sons of Pandu and that he treated Dhrtarashtra and Pandu alike and the sons of Kunti and those of Gandhari alike. It was his duty to protect the sons of Pandu and so was it the duty of Dhrtarashtra. It was the duty of Duryodhana and other Kauravas also. He did not approve their quarrelling with the Pandavas. He proposed that they should enter into peace with the Pandavas and give them half the kingdom. They too had inherited it from their father (Pandu), grandfather (Vichitravirya) and great-grandfather (Santanu). Like Duryodhana they too looked at their kingdom as ancestral property. If they were not eligible for it Duryodhana too was not eligible for it, he pointed out.
Bhishma's Counsel on Dharma
Any challenge to the eligibility of the Pandavas would affect Duryodhana too adversely. It would affect also all those who belonged to the Bharata lineage. [Vaishampayana implied that Janamejaya too would be declared ineligible to be the ruler of Hastinapura and the Kuru state.] Bhishma pointed out that Duryodhana had come in possession of the kingdom wrongly. The order of precedence favoured the Pandavas in Bhishmas view.
According to the positive policy (naya) as opined by the nobles, giving half the kingdom to them was the just solution. This was also the wish of all the peoples (jana), he pointed out. All decisions had to be approved by the ruling elite (devas) and the commoners (manushyas). Bhishma declared that it would not be to the liking of the ruling elite to do otherwise. He was cautioning the king against overruling this opinion. Such contrary action would bring the king and his sons, bad name.
Bhishma urged him to do what would bring him fame. Fame was mans strength. The life of a man who had lost his fame was said to be useless, he pointed out to Duryodhana. A man lives only until his fame lasts. This was the kuladharma, orientation of the Kuru clan. Bhishma was taking into account the silent refusal of the Kauravas to identify with the Santanu and Bharata legacies and asserting that they were Kurus who had a historic and natural right to rule the Kuru country. They were denying this right to the Pandavas. Bhishma took care not to reveal that Duryodhana had attempted to burn the Pandavas and their mother and said that it was fortunate that they had escaped death in the fire.
But Bhishma pointed out that the escape of the Pandavas had undone the error of the Kauravas. The social world (loka) (of nobles) would have held Duryodhana guilty and not Purocana if the Pandavas had died. He warned Duryodhana that even Indra (the head of the nobility) who wielded the powerful weapon, vajra, would not be able to annex the half share of their ancestral kingdom when the Pandavas were alive. For they all adhered to dharma and thought alike.
When the kingdom belonged to both the Pandavas and the Kauravas Duryodhana was trying to keep the former out. It was against the principles of the social laws, dharma. If Duryodhana desired to honour dharma, Bhishmas desire and his own welfare he should give the Pandavas half the kingdom, he counselled the Kaurava leader.
Drona on Dharma and Artha
Drona endorsing Bhishmas stand told the king, Dhrtarashtra, (who was the head of the state and the judiciary as Maharaja) that the confidantes were invited for deliberations on state issues were required to state what accorded with socio-cultural (dharma) and politico-economic (artha) codes and with the ways of getting fame (that kings desired). He said that according to the ancient (puratana) social code (dharma) the Pandavas had to be given their share.
Addressing the king as Bharata and thereby indicating that the state that he ruled had come down to his lineage from Chakravarti Bharata, Drona said that a commoner (manushya) who spoke softly should be sent to Drupada with rich gifts. He should keep his purpose secret and tell Drupada that association with him had led to greatness (of the Kuru country and its king and people).
The envoy should tell Drupada and his son, Drshtadyumna, that Dhrtarashtra and his son, Duryodhana were happy to be associated with him. He must convey the kings greetings to the Pandavas and Kunti and please them. The envoy should then talk to Drupada about their return to Hastinapura. After Drupada permitted the Pandavas to go, Duhsasana and Vikarna might be sent with the Kuru army to bring them. The Pandavas honoured by Dhrtarashtra and with the permission of the board (varga) of ministers, might take charge of their fathers kingdom. This was the just way that Dhrtarashtra should follow with respect to his and Pandus sons, Drona said.
Karna charged that even after receiving wealth and honour from the king, Dhrtarashtra, his confidantes, Bhishma and Drona, were not giving counsel that would benefit the king. One, who without revealing the evil that he had in his mind spoke as though it was for his good, could not practise the policy of the noble leaders (satpurushas), Karna said. Karna held that when one faced difficulties in carrying out his purposes, friends were of no avail whether the purposes were to help or to harm others. Whether one got enjoyment or suffered depended on fate, he argued. Whether one had perfect knowledge or not, was young or old, had assistance or not he obtains everywhere every thing in accordance with his fate, he argued. Karna was convinced that destiny could not be annulled.
Karna drew attention to the highly austere king of Rajagrha in Magadha who depended on his ministers while he was engaged in severe fasting. But his minister, Mahakarni, appropriated all power and wealth and women of the king and thought of taking over the kingdom also. But he failed because destiny had nominated that austere sage as the king. Karna was denying any role to human (manushya) effort as well as to the will of the nobles (devas) and attributed all events to destiny. He told the king that if destiny had nominated him as the king even if all the people were active to deprive him of it he would not lose it. But if it were not so destined he would not obtain that kingdom, he said.
Vidhi, rules legislated earlier
Acts that were within the framework of the rules and laws that were legislated earlier and which could not be overruled later by bodies of legislature (like sabha and samiti or paura and janapada) whether of the nobles (devas) or of the commoners (manushyas) were referred to as ones guided by vidhi. In the political lexicon vidhi did not imply fate or destiny even as daivam did not imply divine intent.
According to the socio-political constitution, Brahma, certain duties that were to be performed by an individual and the scheme of rewards and penalties had been determined and they could not be amended or taken liberties with by any individual or social body.
Karna urged the king to find out the suitability or unsuitability of his ministers and know whether the words uttered (vak) were of the bad persons or of good persons. Drona was incensed and said that Karna spoke like that with some evil intent. Karna was against the Pandavas, he charged. Drona claimed that he was speaking for the good of the Kuru clan. He asked Karna what was better than his suggestion. He warned that if the Kauravas acted contrary to what he had said in their interest they would be soon destroyed.
Vidura's Counsel to Dhrtarashtra
Vidura told the king that his kinsmen were bound to tell him what was in his interest. But if he did not like what they said their counsel would not stand. He told the king that Bhishma, son of Santanu and a senior Kaurava, had told him what was desirable and good for him. But the king had not accepted it. Drona too said many times what was good for him. Karna son of Radha (a charioteer) did not consider that too to be good counsel. Vidura said that Dhrtarashtra could have no reliable counsellor who was better than Bhishma and Drona. Both were senior to him in age and were superior (to Karna and others) in wisdom and education. They treated him and the sons of Pandu alike.
In Vidura's view, these two counsellors were undoubtedly not inferior to Rama, son of Dasaratha, and Gaya (patron of Manu Vaivasvata) in their commitment to the social laws based on dharma and those based on truth (satya). [The two, Rama and Gaya, might have been alive when these deliberations took place in Hastinapura. They were among the prominent personages who had died intestate.]
Refuting Karna, Vidura said that Bhishma and Drona had not in the past said any thing harmful. They had not harmed Dhrtarashtras interests in any way. Why would not the two great leaders (purusha sreshtas) who had never been defeated, counsel him for his good when he was king and was not guilty, Vidura asked? Vidura did not give out his suspicion about Dhrtarashtras hand in the attempt to burn the Pandavas to death, an attempt, which he had frustrated.
Vidura assured the Kuru ruler that the two scholars, Bhishma and Drona, who were very great men and knew dharma and were not greedy for wealth, would not speak in favour of one of the two groups. He asked Dhrtarashtra to treat the Pandavas as his sons like Duryodhana and others. If the ministers who knew the facts counselled anything harmful to the Pandavas they would not be thinking of his good.
If Dhrtarashtra had great affection for his sons, the ministers who exposed that hidden affection would not be doing him good, Vidura said. Hence it was the two highly powerful and great persons, Bhishma and Drona, were not speaking openly, he pointed out. He told Dhrtarashtra that what they said about the invincibility of the Pandavas was true. Even Indra would not be able to defeat Dhananjaya (Arjuna) who could cast arrows with both hands. Bhima was mighty and was a terror to the rakshasas. He had killed with bare arms Hidimba and Baka who was equal to Ravana in strength. The nobles (devas) would not be able to overcome him when he fought with valour. Yudhishtira, Nakula and Sahadeva too were great fighters. Vidura pointed out to the king that the Pandavas enjoyed the support of Balarama, Krshna, Satyaki, Drupada and Drshtadyumna and his brothers and Sisupala of Cedi and that it was impossible to defeat them.
The Pandavas had been from the beginning claimants to their territory, he pointed out to the king. Hence the king should act correctly according to social and political laws, dharma. He warned the king that because of the action of Purocana he was bearing a stain of infamy. By favouring the Pandavas he could get rid of that stain, Vidura suggested. It would save and protect the lives of the members of his clan (kula) and work for the prosperity of the kshatriya community (jati). [Vidura was not describing the kshatriyas as a class, varna.] He recommended alliance with Drupada who had not harmed Dhrtarashtra in the past. He warned against antagonising the Yadavas. He pointed out that one whom Krshna supported would win and he supported the Pandavas. [This is obviously a later interpolation.]
What could be done with kind words should not be done in a spirit of enmity, Vidura counselled. The people of the capital and the rural areas had learnt that the Pandavas were alive and were eager to see those mighty men, Vidura told him. He should fulfil their wish, Vidura advised. He held that Duryodhana, Karna and Sakuni were engaged in sinful activities and were crooked and young. The king should not follow their suggestions, Vidura said. He recalled his earlier warning to Dhrtarashtra that Duryodhanas crime would destroy all the people.
Vidura took care to praise the king and not to openly condemn him. Dhrtarashtra too was shrewd and did not want to oppose Vidura who knew his hand in the attempt to eliminate the sons of their brother, Pandu. He praised and thanked Bhishma (son of Santanu) and Drona for their valuable advice that was in accordance with the laws based on truth (satya). He agreed that the great warriors, Pandavas, were according to the social laws (dharma) his sons even as they were the sons of Pandu.
Laws based on Satya vis--vis laws based on Dharma
Vaishampayana, the chronicler, drew a subtle distinction between the two sets of laws, the puritanical laws of the Vedic period based on satya which were mandatory and the more lenient laws, dharma, of the post-Vedic period which were based on consensus and compromise. Dhrtarashtra had no reservations on going by the latter for they did not carry threat of deposition for non-conformity. He agreed that his sons and the sons of Pandu had undoubtedly equal claims to the kingdom. The puritanical laws based on truth (satya) would not accept any one except the natural son, aurasa, as bound to fulfil the duties left unfulfilled by his father. None of the other eleven types of sons were sons (putra).
Then he despatched Vidura to bring Krshna, who appeared like an aristocratic lady (devata), the Pandavas and Kunti. He said that it was fortunate that the Pandavas and Kunti were alive and Purocana was dead. He said that he was happy that the Pandavas had won Draupadi. Dhrtarashtra took care to give Vidura the impression that he recognised the latter as a Bharata, as one who had a share in the legacy left behind by Bharata. Vaishampayana told Janamejaya that under the orders of Dhrtarashtra, Vidura went with rich gifts to Draupadi, Pandavas and Drupada.
Vidura knew the procedures detailed in the treatise on Rajadharma. He knew the social laws (dharma) and was an expert in all codes (sastra). He took care to approach Drupada with respect due to a powerful king and to a sambandhi (a brother by marital relations). The former was a political alliance and the latter a social alliance. Vidura took care that no faux pas diluted either relation. Drupada received him with due honour.
Vidura conveyed to Drupada and his ministers, the greetings from Dhrtarashtra and his sons, ministers and kinsmen. He told Drupada that Dhrtarashtra was happy with his alliance with the latter. He also conveyed the greetings from the great scholar, Bhishma, son of Santanu. Vidura also said that he was conveying greetings from his friend and scholar, Drona, son of Bharadvaja. Vidura knew that Drupada was no friend of Drona but had to follow propriety. Drupada too knew it to be so. Dhrtarashtra and other Kauravas were grateful for securing alliance with him, Vidura said. Drupada knew that it was nothing more than a formality.
Vidura added that they valued his friendship more than acquisition of kingdoms. Then he requested Drupada to send the Pandavas with him to Hastinapura, as the Kauravas were eager to receive them. Drupada must have been laughing within himself. Besides the Pandavas and Kunti who had been away from the capital would be eager to return, he said. The Kaurava women wanted to see Pancali, he said. The people of the city and the country too were expecting them, he said. Vidura asked Drupada to permit the Pandavas to go there immediately with their wife. He would send messengers to Dhrtarashtra to report their coming after Drupada permitted the sons of Kunti, Kunti and Krshna to go. (Ch.225 Adiparva)
Drupada told Vidura that he agreed with the views of the latter but it was improper for him to ask the Pandavas to go. They and Krshna and Balarama who knew social laws, dharma, might decide when the Pandavas should leave and act accordingly. Krshna and Balarama, the great leaders, cared for the desires of the Pandavas and their welfare, he said. Yudhishtira submitted that they would do as directed by the king under whom they were functioning then.
Krshna vis-a-vis Yudhishtira: Strategy and Morality
Krshna agreed with Drupadas stand and asked what Drupada who knew all dharmas (social and political) opined. Drupada replied that he would accept whatever Krshna thought was the appropriate step to be taken then. Krshna was in the same position as he was with respect to the Pandavas, Drupada pointed out. Yudhishtira could not think in the same way as Krshna did about the interests of the Pandavas, he said, suggesting that they should follow Krshna, who was an expert in strategy rather than Yudhishtira who stuck to morality.
Then Vidura went to meet Kunti and pay his regards to her. He was Vicitraviryas son and Kuntis brother-in-law. She thanked him for arranging for the escape of his sons, the Pandavas, from the house of lac and his counsel on safety hidden in allegories. Kunti said that she did not know how to protect them further and asked Vidura to take charge of their further career. Vidura assured her that they would soon get their kingdom and be happy with their relatives.
Then the Pandavas and Kunti and Draupadi and Krshna took leave of Drupada who had gifted the Pandavas a huge army and riches to his sons-law and daughter and went to Hastinapura. Vaishampayana told Janamejaya, a Bharata, that Dhrtarashtra (son of Ambika) received them with due honour. He had deputed the archers, Vikarna and Chitrasena, and the best of the archers, Drona and Krpa, a disciple of Gautama to receive them as they entered the town. The citizens too came out to welcome them. Of course they condemned Dhrtarashtra for having sent Kunti and the Pandavas away from the town and were happy that they had returned. They praised Yudhishtira who protected them even as he protected dharma. It was like the return of Pandu himself from the forest. Then the Pandavas saluted Dhrtarashtra, Bhishma and other elders and greeted all the citizens. Then as directed by Dhrtarashtra they went to their house.
FROM HASTINAPURA TO INDRAPRASTHA
While the Pandavas went to meet Dhrtarashtra and Bhishma, the wives of the sons of Dhrtarashtra escorted Draupadi who had come like a second Lakshmi, guardian and distributor (goddess) of wealth, and as Indrani, the consort of Indra (the chief of the house of nobles with control over the army and the treasury), to Gandhari. Vaishampayana implied that Arjuna would have the status of a noble and be the official, Indra. He also hinted that Duryodhanas wife, a daughter of the king of Kasi, would be senior to Draupadi. Though Gandhari (daughter of Subala and wife of Dhrtarashtra) received Krshna properly she feared that the latter would be the cause of the death of her sons. She advised Vidura to arrange for the accommodation of the Pandavas, Kunti and Draupadi in Pandus house.
Hastinapura an economic state
The kinsmen and the citizens and the leaders of the guilds of workers, samghas, welcomed this acknowledgement of the status of the Pandavas as a separate political authority. It appears Hastinapura gave importance to the people of the city by inviting their representatives (paura) to important state and domestic functions of the rulers. The leaders of the guilds too were invited.
The Hastis were technocrats. But the commoners of the rural areas do not appear to have been given such importance. It was an economic state as well as a political state and not an elitist or feudal state. Economic states were dominated by technocrats and plutocrats while political states were directed by intelligentsia on behalf of the commonalty. States could be dominated by liberal aristocrats or by authoritarian feudal lords.
Bhishma, Drona, Krpa, Karna, Bahlika and Somadatta were directed by Dhrtarashtra to install the Pandavas in their position as successors to Pandu. These officials were in charge of Aditya, the central administrative authority who welcomed the kings from abroad and entered into treaties with them on behalf of the state. Dhrtarashtra nominated Vidura to look after the duties of the Pandavas while they were enjoying their new life. He wanted to avoid clashes with them. If the Pandavas had not been shunted to Khandavaprastha, they would have been in charge of the portfolios held by Dharma, Vayu, Indra, Nasatya and Dasra, that is, social laws, open space and moors, treasury and army, agriculture and labour.
Dhrtarashtra later told Yudhishtira that Pandu developed the kingdom under his direction. He emphasized that Pandu did all his exploits under his direction and not independently and so too Yudhishtira should follow his instructions. He acknowledged that his sons were sinners and egotistic, proud and selfish and advised Yudhishtira and his brothers to go to Khandavaprastha. There the Pandavas guarded by Arjuna (like the nobles guarded by Indra) would be safe. None would be able to harm them there, he said. He would give them half the kingdom if they would go to Khandavaprastha. If Krshna agreed it could be done, Dhrtarashtra said. The Pandavas agreed to the proposal made by Dhrtarashtra in his capacity as arbitrator and legislator, maharaja. Then they entered into deliberations with Krshna.
Coronation of Yudhishtira as King of Khandavaprastha
Meanwhile Dhrtarashtra directed Vidura to arrange immediately for the coronation of Yudhishtira, son of Kunti and a descendant of Ajamida as king. Brahmans (jurists), prominent citizens and leaders of guilds (samghas), ministers and kinsmen were invited to attend the programme. Dhrtarashtra tried to give the impression that he was giving the kingdom to Yudhishtira in gratitude to the help that Pandu had rendered him. He did not acknowledge that Yudhishtira had a right to it. Bhishma, Drona, Krpa and Vidura agreed with him.
Krshna declared that Yudhishtira deserved to be crowned and urged Dhrtarashtra to do so immediately. The chronicler told Janamejaya that as told by Krshna, Krshna Dvaipayana conducted the ceremony in accordance with the code (sastra). In the presence of Krpa, Drona, Bhishma, Dhoumya, Vyasa, Krshna, Bahlika and Somadatta and the Brahmans (jurists) who knew all the four Vedas, Yudhishtira was crowned.
Kings (rajans) did not have the same status and power, immunities and privileges, as the nobles (devas) had. The nobles elected one from among them as the head of their assembly (sabha). In the Atharvan polity, the rajanyas who were powerful chieftains and members of the electoral-college elected one from among them as the king. In Hastinapura Yudhishtira was nominated by Dhrtarashtra as the head (King) of half of the kingdom. When he was crowned, the kings who had been similarly crowned honoured him. Vaishampayana suggests that no constitutional body elected Yudhishtira as king. This was the normal feature in many states. The born aristocrats must not have elected even Indra from among their ranks. He might not have belonged to any of the traditional groups of nobles but was approved and honoured by them. But he had to be honoured by them if he were to have rational legitimacy.
Yudhishtira acquired this rational legitimacy when his equals honoured him on his coronation as king. His being granted charismatic legitimacy when the citizens applauded him on his entry into the palace followed this rational legitimacy. But traditional legitimacy was not fully endorsed as he acquired his kingdom only in gratefulness to his father and not as having legitimately inherited it.
As Yudhishtira crowned himself in accordance with the provisions of the social laws, dharma, as dharmaraja the sons of Gandhari and their kinsmen felt unhappy. Dhrtarashtra who saw their mood advised Yudhishtira in the presence of Krshna and the Kurus to immediately go away to Khandavaprastha where Pururavas, Nahusha and Yayati (the ancestors of Puru) had resided and ruled from as their capital. The sages had once destroyed it, as Pururavas was greedy. Dhrtarashtra advised Yudhishtira to develop that town (pura) and the country (desa) around it.
Khandavaprastha as Social Welfare State
Dhrtarashtra spoke in a rational manner despite his inability to hide his partiality for his sons. He expected the members of the new classes (varnas), Brahmanas, Kshatriyas, Vaisyas and Shudras, selected on the basis of their natural traits (gunas, sattva, rajas and tamas) who reserved the right to select the regime of their liking, opting to migrate to Yudhishtiras capital because of their devotion to the latter. He expected even the other people who were at the bare subsistence level (pranis, beings who but breathed) to move to that city as it would be a social welfare state. Dhrtarashtra expected the Pandavas to develop that region that was then lying neglected economically as it had the necessary natural resources. As the citizens of Hastinapura prepared to accompany the Pandavas to their new capital, Duryodhana and Sakuni announced a ban on emigration.
Indraprastha, City of Aristocrats and Technocrats
Guided by Krshna, the Pandavas decorated Khandavaprastha like an urban enclave of the aristocrats (devapura). Krshna, guardian of the commonalty (lokanatha) expressed his wish that the nobles headed by Indra should undertake to develop the town and the latter deputed Visvakarma, the architect (who could construct the residential quarters and other buildings for the different ranks and sectors of the larger society) to build the city of Indraprastha that looked like such an enclave in the terrain (bhumi) of the commoners (manushyas). In other words, in Indraprastha, the commoners had all the comforts that the nobles had. It was a town modelled on the city of Amaravati (the city of the immortals) of (Sakra) Indra, as desired by Krshna.
Visvakarma (architect) took care not to introduce the features of that exclusive urban enclave of Amaravati of the aristocrats while designing Indraprastha. The commoners would not be barred from entering any area including that where aristocrats lived. It was modelled on the fortified city of Bhogavati (the city of affluence) of the technocrats (nagas) though the nobles met the expenses of construction. Its grandeur gave it the impression of the city of Kubera (the chief of the plutocrats).
Capital of an Affluent Economic State
Vaishampayana told Janamejaya that Indraprastha attracted the best of the scholars (Brahmans) who knew the Vedas and the languages of different countries (were linguists). The scheme of four classes (varnas) envisaged that the intellectuals (Brahmans), warriors-cum-administrators (Kshatriyas), merchants (Vaisyas) and workers (Shudras) would be free to move to any country of their choice and ply their vocation there. Besides the Brahmans, traders and artisans from different countries settled in Indraprastha to earn wealth, Vaishampayana said. It was the capital of an affluent economic state. The city accommodated all the four classes (varnas) and the artisans who had a status higher than the workers and were later distinguished as mixed classes (samkaravarnas). (Vide Foundations of Hindu Economic State for the demography of the Kautilyan town, nagara.) Yudhishtira, the first of the Pauravas (descendants of Puru) and the other Pandavas entered the city with eminent scholars after Vyasa and their counsellor, Dhoumya sanctified it, while the people gave the king a rousing reception.
Sakuni, Karna, Krpa, Bhishma and Dhrtarashtra and his sons felicitated the Pandavas who resided in Khandavaprastha, the old area of that city. Vaishampayana emphasised that the modified city looked like that of an affluent society of the captains of industry and technology(nagas). After seeing off Visvakarma and Vyasa, Yudhishtira asked Krshnato guide them on what they were expected to do. It was because of him they were able to get that town which was in ruins. Krshna told the Pandavas that by their prowess they had secured a large state in accordance with dharma. It was their ancestral property and nothing could prevent them from getting it.
Narada's Counsel to Yudhishtira as Dharmaraja
Krshna advised Yudhishtira to bear the duties of the state and the duties prescribed in the code of dharma and administer the social world (loka) as the native people (jana) desired. He asked the king to protect the Brahmans (jurists and scholars) and keep them happy. He then asked them to act according to Naradas advice. Narada was an expert in political economy and was an outstanding diplomat. After saluting Kunti and taking leave of the Pandavas he went with Balarama to Dwaraka. Kunti praised him as the guardian (natha) of the orphans and of the poor. Only because he thought about their welfare her sons were alive, she said. They too had no guardian.
Janamejaya was curious to know what his co-parceners (dayadas) and prominent personages (purushasreshtas), the Pandavas did after they took over state power at Indraprastha. How did they conduct themselves with respect to their wife, Draupadi? Was there no mutual conflict amongst them especially with respect to her? Before answering these questions, Vaishampayana said that Yudhishtira who stood by the laws based on truth (satya) after getting the state (rajyam) administered the country (desa) along with his brothers without deviating from the social and political laws (dharma) that were based on consensus. The Pandavas did not deviate from the rigorous laws based on satya and the liberal ones based on dharma.
The Pandavas resided in Indraprastha after putting down the enemies. One day while these chiefs belonging to the Bharatas were seated on their thrones and conducting the economic affairs (vyavahara) based on civil laws, of the city, Narada (who was an expert in civil laws) came to meet Yudhishtira who had the status of Dharmaraja (a king who functioned in accordance with the social and political laws, dharma, that were based on consensus). Narada, whom all beings (pranis) at the basic level of the society (where there were no social distinctions) worshipped, was a great tapasvi who was constantly on the search through intuition, for truth behind the manifest events. He knew all the then latest findings recorded in the concluding portions of the Vedas (that is, in Vedantas) and had mastered the Vedas and their branches.
Narada never gave up his quest for truth and knew the socio-political constitution (brahma) and was interested in strategy (yukti) and the science (sastra) of state policy (rajaniti). Narada knew what wealth was distinct from and superior to that of the aristocrats. He knew perfectly all the social laws (dharmas) and had a pure soul (was a pure individual not thinking of his physical interests, not attached to any social group). He had given up desires and restrained his five senses and was a Brahman (intellectual and jurist) free from rage and deceit. Travelling through the open space (akasa) occupied by the great sages, he reached the palace of the Pandavas. On his way he saw in the plains (bhumi) many countries (desas) and houses.
His adherence to his duties (dharma) made liberal nobles (devas) feudal lords (asuras) and commoners (manushyas) revere him. He belonged to the cadre of sages (rshis), like these, to the Vedic core society. Vaishampayana noted that Narada had systematised the rights and duties (dharma) for the sinners who were not performing their duties and for the different cadres of beings (pranis) who belonged to the subaltern and not to the organised society. Before prescribing them the duties suitable to them he gave them counsel based on the Vedas.
The chronicler lauded Narada as one who knew the three Vedas (Rg, Yajur and Sama) and as an expert in the sciences (sastras) of Nyaya and Dharma, jurisprudence and socio-cultural laws. He omits Atharvaveda indicating that Narada did not belong to the school of Brahmavadis of Angirasa, Atharvacharya, Bhrgu, Sukra and Kashyapa. He considered Narada to be an advocate of dharmasastra rather than arthasastra. But Narada did not overlook the importance of conventional economy (varta) and polity (dandaniti).
Vaishampayana says that Narada arrived as a second Brhaspati at the assembly (sabha) of nobles of Dharmaraja (Yudhishtira) who gave his verdicts on the basis of the social laws (dharma). That is, Narada would help Yudhishtira to determine issues pertaining to civil and economic transactions (vyavahara) [that Yudhishtira was then trying to wrestle with on the basis of the principles and ideals adopted by dharmasastra] by resorting to the theorems advocated by Brhaspati who was pragmatic in approach.
Vaishampayana then dilated on the talents of Narada in different academic disciplines and skills. Narada identified two aspects of dharma, one that was relevant to the economic and other activities (pravrtti) of man and the other to his withdrawal from them (nivrtti) to be able to attain salvation. He had mastered varnasrama dharma. Yudhishtira went forward to receive that sage. He gave that devarshi (a sage who had access to the assembly of nobles) a high seat and placed his country at his disposal. Then he asked Draupadi to offer her respects to that sage. After blessing her he asked her to withdraw while he counselled the Pandavas on how to conduct themselves with respect to their spouse so that they did not quarrel among themselves. They had to arrange for themselves a suitable system.
Narada related to them an episode involving the two intimate brothers, Sunda and Upasunda, who were feudal lords (asuras) and killed each other because of the apsaras, Tilottama. He advised the Pandavas that they should protect their affection for and friendship with one another. Yudhishtira wanted to know whose sons the two asuras (Sunda and Upasunda) were and why they became enemies and how they killed each other out of love for the same girl. He wanted to know whose daughter the apsaras (Tilottama) and girl belonging to the aristocracy (devakanya) was. He wanted to know whether she belonged to the cadre of apsarases or to devas. He expected the sage to narrate the incidents as they happened. (Ch.228 Adiparva)
Sunda and Upasunda were the sons of Nikumba, a powerful feudal warlord and aide of Hiranyakasipu. They were contemporaries of Virocana, son of Prahlada. The two asura youths were engaged in strenuous search (tapas) for secret powers that would enable them to conquer all the three social worlds (lokas), nobility, commonalty, and industrial frontier society (divam, prthvi and antariksham). Their experiments in secluded mountain caves in the Vindhyas came to the notice of the nobles (devas) who tried to interrupt them. The intruding nobles and their womenfolk were kept back by the armed guards (rakshas). The youths could not be enticed or induced to give up their quest.
Constitution (Brahma) and Restrictions on Feudal Lords (Asuras)
The jurist (Brahma) who governed all the social sectors (as prabhu, overlord) in an impartial manner and with brotherliness (bandhu) appeared before them and asked them what they wanted. The two feudal chieftains prayed that they should be permitted knowledge of creating illusions and weapons and the right to appear in any form and mingle with all sectors of the larger society and also immunity from death (sentence). In other words they wanted to be treated on par with the nobles (devas). The jurist who interpreted the socio-political constitution (brahma) told the young warlords that they could exercise all the rights and powers including acquisition of wealth that the nobles had, except enjoying immunity from death (sentence).
Earlier the liberal lords (devas) and the feudal warlords (asuras) were on par but the defeat of the latter in the prolonged conflict between the two sections of the ruling class led to their being deprived of this immunity. The asuras would not be allowed to conquer all the three social worlds (lokas), Brahma declared. Sunda and Upasunda then on behalf of the feudal lords (asuras) sought protection against being attacked by any sector of the larger society comprising the three social worlds (lokas, nobles, commoners and frontier society).
The constitution did give them that protection, Brahma said but it did not guarantee that no social sector would collapse as a result of internal rivalries and conflicts. The asuras were not exempt from this threat the two young chieftains knew and hence did not ask for immunity against death caused by such mutual conflict. Brahma (the socio-political constitution) did not allow them (or any other cadre) to secure total control over the larger society and total exemption from death. The feudal lords who had been banished from the core society of nobles and commoners (devas and manushyas) and kept out of the industrial frontier society of forests and mountains would be free to move about safely everywhere provided they gave up their quest for total power. If their orientations and authority over the rural areas suffered a setback it would be because of internal rivalries amongst them.
The jurist and interpreter of the constitution (brahma) of the Vedic epoch returned to his enclave (loka) of jurists who followed the codes based on truth (satya). [It is unsound to hold that Brahma was the god who determined the destinies of men and other beings.] It was an epoch when the laws based on dharma had not yet superseded the laws based on truth (satya). Sunda and Upasunda returned to their country as invincible rulers and kept their people (jana) happy. The two were confident that their diarchy could not be weakened as they lived together and thought alike.
This complacency induced them to seek lordship over all the three social worlds (lokas) in violation of the provisions of the then constitution that ensured autonomy for the commoners as well as nobles, for the agrarian core society as well as the industrial frontier society. The two youths, Sunda and Upasunda, took leave of their friends and elders and ministers and led their army around in all areas to prove their invincibility.
When they threatened the aristocrats and entered their exclusive enclave (devaloka), the latter sought the protection of the constitution and the council of jurists (brahmaloka). The social world of nobles led by Indra did not put up resistance. The two warlords then attacked the plutocrats (yakshas) and their guards (rakshas) of the frontier society and the weak individuals who moved about in the open areas and the operators of mines (nagas) and the communities of aliens residing in isolated islands.
Then they targeted the commonalty (bhumi). The two feudal lords told their troops that the Rajarshis and their counsellors (Brahmans) through their sacrifices and offerings were contributing to the increase in the influence and power and wealth of the nobles (devas) and hence should be killed. At one stage when the asuras withdrew from the polity of the core society, it was agreed upon that like the nobles (devas) and sages (rshis) the retired feudal lords (pitrs) should be treated as non-economic sectors of the society and maintained through voluntary contributions by the commoners (manushyas), especially by the rich among them.
Rajarshi in the new constitution
The new constitution that placed a dynamic intellectual at the head of this polity as Rajarshi guided by Atharvan scholars (Brahmans) modified this arrangement. The asuras were replaced by retired elders as pitrs, eligible for a share in the voluntary contribution (yajna). The feudal lords viewed this change as an attempt to starve them out though they had laid down arms and accepted governance by civil polity.
This change in social policy worked against the assurance given the socio-political constitution (brahma) that they would be free to pursue their peaceful way of life without interference by the state or by any other sector of the larger society. The introduction of the Rajarshi constitution was viewed as a breach of the assurance that the head of the constitution bench (Brahma) had given to the feudal lords (asuras) who had consented to give up coercive methods.
While the asura troops killed the Brahman counsellors (whether they performed sacrifices or officiated as priests at sacrifices performed by others), the two chieftains went towards the southern seashores. Even the curses of the sages could not negate the immunity that the jurist (Brahma) had proclaimed for the feudal lords, who did not use violence against the harmless. The Brahman counsellors (priests) and the sages had to give up their social and personal activities and withdraw from the scene as the asuras asserted their rights with vehemence. Their withdrawal led to the ruin of the social world of commonalty. The troops of the asuras destroyed the abodes of the sages and killed those who had hid themselves in mountain caves.
The institutions of sacrifice (yajna) and study of Vedas collapsed with the resurgence of the feudal order. All economic activities connected with the duties pertaining to the nobles (devakarya), to marriage and generosity came to a standstill. The world was littered with skeletons of the dead, as starvation could not be warded off. The nobles (devas) and the seven sages and the heads of the two large socio-political sectors (Soma and Surya) and the nine minor sectors (navagrahas) and the leaders of the non-combatant (nakshatra) sections of the commonalty were deeply pained at this development. Sunda and Upasunda conquered the peoples in all directions and settled in Kurukshetra as rulers. This development should have taken place during the tenure of the sixth Manu, Chakshusha.
All the sages who were members of the nobility (devarshis) and the scholars who had attained perfection in their endeavours (siddhas) and also the sages (rshis) who were experts in socio-political constitution (brahma) were distressed by this great suffering of the masses. Compassion for the commoners led these persons who had restrained their anger, and had conquered their mind and senses, to the academy of the jurists (brahmaloka). They saw the head of that academy (Brahma) seated surrounded by nobles.
Samkara's Rajarshi constitution and the five Vedic officials
According to Narada, in that assembly the great socio-political thinker, Samkara who had the status of Isvara, the charismatic benefactor, especially of the people of the social periphery and the Vedic officials, Agni, who represented the commonalty, Vayu who represented the people of the open space, Soma who spoke for the intellectuals and others of the forests (antariksham), Surya (Aditya) who headed the Kshatriya army-cum-administration and Indra who headed the house of nobles were present. Also present were sages of Brahmaloka like the vanaprasthas and valakhilyas. They were all reporting to Brahmadeva the hardships they were put to by Sunda and Upasunda. It is significant that in that assembly, Varuna, Mitra and Yama were not present. These were prominent members of the Vedic governing body and could take into custody the offenders.
According to the legend, Brahma asked Visvakarma to create a beautiful woman whom all would desire and that he created Tilottama who had the essence of all gems and jewels. Visvakarma produced before Brahma a woman who looked like a rich commoner (manushya). She asked Brahma (whom she addressed as Lokesvara, the benefactor of the social world of commonalty) what her mission was. Brahma directed her to entice the two asura lads and create mutual enmity between the two! When she went round them before leaving on her mission, even Indra and Bhagavan lost themselves to her beauty. [Some have treated the term Bhagavan as a reference to Samkara who was the head of an academy.] Only Brahma who knew that she was the handiwork of an artisan did not fall to her beauty.
The two feudal lords lived without enemies and without anxiety having conquered the plains (bhumi) and annexed the three social worlds (lokas). They appropriated the best of the wealth of the nobles (devas), the free middle class (gandharvas), the plutocrats (yakshas), the kings and the forest guards (rakshasas) on the periphery and lived happily. It was then that Tilottama entered their lives and the two quarrelled over who should have her as wife. The duel with maces ended in the two generals (suryas) killing each other. The men and women who followed the two feudal warlords (asuras) left the scene to merge in the subaltern of unruly and uncivilised fallen class (patalaloka).
Brahma, the jurist, then appeared on the scene and told Tilottama that she could move about freely in all the social worlds (lokas) where Aditya had jurisdiction, that is, in the areas under the core society of nobles and commoners. It implied that she would not be free to mingle amongst the populace of the forests and mountains, which came under the jurisdiction of Soma or in the open space that was under Vayu.
The jurist also made Indra have jurisdiction over all the three social worlds. Earlier he could speak only for the nobles (devas). Narada was drawing attention to the absorption in the core society, of the class of apsarases and gandharvas who could earlier as members of a social universe (jagat) wander in all areas without being settled anywhere. This middle class of gandharvas and apsarases, free men and women, could come into its own only after feudalism was thwarted and a liberal aristocracy came to power. Narada advised the Pandavas to ensure that no enmity arose amongst them because of Draupadi.