Mirth and song and nuptial music waked the echoes of the night,
Youthful bosoms throbbed with pleasure, lovelit glances sparkled bright,
But when young and white -robed USHAS ope’d the golden gates of day,
To Virata’s council chamber chieftains thoughtful held their way,
Stones inlaid in arch and pillar glinted in the glittering dawn,
Gay festoons and graceful garlands o’er the golden cushions shone!
Matsya’s king, Panchala’s monarch, foremost seats of honour claim,
Krishna too and Valadeva, Dwarka’s chiefs of righteous fame,
By them sate the bold Satyaki from the sea-girt western shore,
And the godlike sons of Pandu,-days of dark concealment o’er,
Youthful princes in their splendour graced Virata’s royal hall,
Valiant sons of valiant fathers, brave in war, august and tall,
In their gem-bespangled garments came the warriors proud and high,
Till the council chamber glittered like the star-bespangled sky
Kind the greetings, sweet the converse, soft the golden moments fly,
Till intent on graver questions all on Krishna turn their eye,
Krishna with his inner vision then the state of things surveyed,
And his thoughts before the monarchs thus in weighty accents laid.
‘Known to all, ye mighty monarchs! May your glory ever last,
‘True to plighted word Yudhishthir hath his weary exile passed,
Twelve long years with fair Draupadi in the pathless jungle strayed,
And a year in menial service in Virata’s palace stayed,
He hath kepthis plighted promise, braved affliction, woe, and shame,
And he begs, assembled monarchs, ye shall now his duty name.
For he swerveth not from duty kingdom of the sky to win,
Prizeth hamlet more than empire, so his course be free from sin,
Loss of realm and wealth and glory higher virtues in him prove,
Thoughts of peace and not of anger still the good Yudhishthir move!
Mark again the sleepless anger and the unrelenting hate
Harboured by the proud Duryodhan driven by his luckless fate,
From a child, by fire or poison, impious guile or trick of dice,
He hath compassed dark destruction by deceit and low device!
Ponder well, ye gracious monarchs, with a just and righteous mind,
Help Yudhishthir with your counsel, with your grace and blessings kind,
Should the noble son of Pandu seek his right by open war,
Seek the aid of righteous monarchs and of chieftains near and far?
Should he smite his ancient foemen skilled in each deceitful art,
Unforgiving in their vengeance, unrelenting in their heart?
Should he rather send a message to the proud unbending foe,
And Duryodhan’s haughty purpose seek by messenger to know?
Should he send a noble envoy, trained in virtue, true and wise,
With his greetings to Duryodhan in a meek and friendly guise?
Ask him to restore the kingdom on the sacred Jumna’s shore
Either king may rule his empire as in happy days of yore? ‘
Krishna uttered words of wisdom pregnant with his peaceful thought,
For in peace and not by bloodshed still Yudhishthir’s right he sought.