CXXXIX Vaisampayana said, Thus addressed by them, Duryodhana, contracting the space between his eye-brows, became cheerless, and with face bent down began to cast oblique glances. And he said not a word in reply. Beholding him cheerless, those bulls among men, Bhishma and Drona, looking at each other, once more addressed him, and said these words' Bhishma said, What can be a matter of greater grief to us than that we shall have to light against that Yudhishthira who is devoted to the service of his superiors, destitute of envy, conversant with Brahma, and truthful in speech' Drona said, My affection for Dhananjaya is greater than that which I bear for my son Aswatthaman. There is greater reverence also and humility towards me in that Ape-bannered hero than in Aswatthaman. Alas, in observance of the Kshatriya duties, I shall have to light even against that Dhananjaya who is dearer to me than my son. Fie on the Kshatriya profession. That Vibhatsu who hath no other bowman in the world as his equal, hath, through my grace, acquired this superiority over all bowmen. He that hateth his friends, he that is of wicked disposition, he that denieth Godhead, he that is crooked and deceitful, never obtaineth the worship of the righteous, like an ignorant person present at a sacrifice.
Though dissuaded from sin, a sinful man would still wish to commit sinful acts; while he that is righteous, though tempted by sin, would not yet abandon righteousness. Though thou hast conducted thyself with falsehood and deceit towards them, the Pandavas are still desirous of doing what is agreeable to thee. As regards thyself, O thou best of the Bharatas, all thy faults are calculated to bring about disasters on thee. Thou hast been addressed by the eldest of the Kurus, by me, by Vidura, and by Vasudeva. Thou dost not yet understand what is beneficial for thyself. I have a large force, with this conviction thou desirest to pierce the Pandava host, abounding with heroes, like the current of the Ganga piercing the ocean abounding with sharks and alligators and makaras. Having obtained Yudhishthira's prosperity like the cast off robes or garlands of another, thou regardest it as thy own. If the son of Pritha and Pandu stayeth even in the woods with Draupadi, and surrounded by his armed brothers, who is there, even in the possession of a kingdom, that is competent to vanquish him? In the presence of even that Ailavila Kuvera under whose command all the Yakshas live as servants, Yudhishthira the Just, shone with splendour. Having proceeded to Kuvera's abode and having procured wealth therefrom, the Pandavas are now desirous of attacking thy swelling kingdom and winning sovereignty for themselves.
As regards us two, we have made gifts, poured libations on fire, studied the scriptures, and gratified the Brahmanas by presents of wealth. The allotted periods of our life have also run out. Know that our work has been done. As regards thyself however, giving up happiness, kingdom, friends, and wealth, great will be thy calamity if thou seekest war with the Pandavas. How canst thou vanquish the son of Pandu, when Draupadi who is truthful in speech and devoted to rigid vows and austerities, prayeth for his success? How wilt thou vanquish that son of Pandu who hath Janardana. for his counsellor, and who hath for a brother that Dhananjaya who is the foremost of wielders of weapons? How wilt thou vanquish that son of Pandu, of severe austerities, who hath for his allies so many Brahmanas, endued with intelligence and mastery over their senses? In accordance with what a prosperity-wishing friend should do when he sees his friends sinking in an ocean of distress, I again tell thee, there is no necessity for war. Make peace with those heroes for the sake of prosperity to the Kurus.
Do not court defeat, with thy sons, counsellors, and the army