The Desperate Decision

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Sadly gathering his troops, Duryodhana, evidently immersed in gloomy thoughts, left for Hastinapura. However, along the way he decided to stop in a lonely place and, getting off his horse, he sat down in a yoga position. It was then that Karna arrived, who had been forced to flee during the fight.

“Friend, I see that you are alive and still leading your troops. This means that you have succeeded in imposing upon the mighty Gandharvas, against whom even the Devas have a hard time getting the better of. Glory to you, Duryodhana; today you performed a enterprise that will be praised by poets in the millennia to come.”

But Duryodhana immediately disillusioned him.

“You are wrong, my friend. If I am here right now I have to thank the only people in the world to whom I would never have wanted to accept such a favor. I did not defeat the Gandharvas; the Pandavas did it for me. And that’s not all. Can you believe that Yudhisthira, has restored my freedom? He told me: ‘Go away, cousin, and stop being evil as you have always been.’ Do you understand? They released me out of pity. What humiliation!”

Duryodhana paused for a moment, as if to put his thoughts in order. Meanwhile Karna was stunned.

Then he resumed:

“I will never be able to endure such a thing. You haven’t seen them fight! The fact that they have succeeded where we have failed is yet another unequivocal proof of their superiority. They dominate us, there is no doubt, just as Bhishma, Drona, Vidura and Kripa love to repeat with nagging insistence. I cannot live in a world where they get glories and I the defeats, so I have decided to abandon today this useless body with which I cannot get what I want. My brother Duhssasana will succeed me to the throne and you will be as close to him as you have been to me. Goodbye, my dear friend.”

The insistence and arguments of his brothers and friends did not make him change his mind. The Kurava decided to deprive himself of food until he died, and, locking himself in, no longer responded.

At that moment the asuras, on their planets, became alarmed. Duryodhana was their main envoy on Earth and out of frustration, he was about to leave the mission. They immediately celebrated a great sacrifice during which they called Duryodhana and convinced him not to leave his body.

After a few days he abandoned his purpose and resumed command of the troops, returning to Hastinapura.


This is a section of the book “Maha-bharata, Vol. 1”.

To buy the complete book, click above

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