XCI Vaisampayana said, With Pritha's leave and having walked round her, the chastiser of foes, Govinda, also called Sauri, went to Duryodhana's palace that was furnished with great wealth, adorned with beautiful seats, and was like unto the abode of Purandara himself. Unobstructed by the orderlies-in-waiting, that hero of great fame crossed three spacious yards in succession and then entered that mansion looking like a mass of clouds, high as the summit of a hill, and blazing forth in splendour. And he there beheld Dhritarashtra's son of mighty arms seated on his throne in the midst of a thousand kings and surrounded by all the Kurus. And he also beheld there Dussasana and Karna and Sakuni, the son of Suvala, seated on their respective seats by the side of Duryodhana. And on that scion of Dasarha's race entering the court, Dhritarashtra's son of great fame rose up from his seat with his counsellors for honouring the slayer of Madhu.
And Kesava then greeted Dhritarashtra's sons and all his counsellors as also all the kings that were present there, according to their respective ages. And Achyuta of Vrishni's race then took his seat on a beautiful seat made of gold and overlaid with carpet embroidered with gold. And the Kuru king then offered unto Janardana a cow, and honey and curds and water, and placed at his service palaces and mansions and the whole kingdom. And then the Kauravas, with all the kings there present, worshipped Govinda on his seat and resembling the sun himself in splendour. The worship being over, king Duryodhana invited him of Vrishni's race, that foremost of victors, to eat at his house, Kesava, however did not accept the invitation. The Kuru king Duryodhana seated in the midst of the Kurus, in a gentle voice but with deception lurking behind his words, eyeing Karna, and addressing Kesava, then said, Why, O Janardana, dost thou not accept the diverse kinds of viands and drinks, robes and beds that have all been prepared and kept ready for thee? Thou hast granted aid to both sides; thou art engaged in the good of both parties. Thou art again the foremost of Dhritarashtra's relations and much loved by him. Thou, O Govinda, also knowest fully, and all things in details, both religion and profit. I, therefore, desire to hear, O bearer of the discus and the mace, what the true reason is of this thy refusal'
Vaisampayana continued, The high-souled Govinda, of eyes like lotus leaves, then raising his mighty right arm, and in a voice deep as that of the clouds, replied unto the king in excellent words fraught with reasons, words that were clear, distinct, correctly pronounced, and without a single letter dropped, saying, Envoys, O king, eat and accept worship only after the success of their missions. Therefore, O Bharata, after my mission becomes successful, thou mayest entertain me and my attendants' Thus answered, Dhritarashtra's son again said unto Janardana, It behoveth thee not, O Kesava, to behave towards us in this way, Whether thou becomest successful, or unsuccessful, we are endeavouring to please thee, O slayer of Madhu, because of thy relationship with us. It seems, however, that all our efforts. O thou of Dasarha's race, are fruitless. Nor do we see the reason, O slayer of Madhu, in consequence of which, O foremost of men, thou acceptest not the worship offered by us from love and friendship. With thee, O Govinda, we have no hostility, no war. Therefore, on reflection, it will seem to thee that words such as these scarcely become thee' Vaisampayana continued, Thus addressed by the king, Janardana of Dasarha's race, casting his eyes on Dhritarashtra's son and ah his counsellors, replied, saying, Not from desire, nor from wrath, nor from malice, nor for gain, nor for the sake of argument, nor from temptation, would I abandon virtue. One taketh another's food when one is in distress.
At present, however, O king, thou hast not inspired love in me by any act of thine, nor have I myself been plunged into distress. Without any reason, O king, thou hatest, from the moment of their birth, thy dear and gentle brothers, the Pandavas, endued with every virtue. This unreasonable hatred of thine for the sons of Pritha ill becometh thee. The sons of Pandu are all devoted to virtue. Who, indeed, can do them the least injury? He that hateth them, hateth me; he that loveth them, loveth me. Know that the virtuous Pandavas and my own self have but a common soul. He, who, following the impulses of lust and wrath, and from darkness of soul, hateth and seeketh to injure one that is possessed of every good quality, is regarded as the vilest of men. That wrathful wretch of every good quality, is regarded as the vilest of men. That wrathful wretch of uncontrolled soul, who, from ignorance and avarice hateth his kinsmen endued with every auspicious quality, can never enjoy his prosperity long.
He, on the other hand, who, by good offices, winneth over persons endued with good qualities, even if he beareth aversion of them within his heart, enjoyeth prosperity and fame for ever and ever. Defiled by wickedness, all this food, therefore, deserveth not to be eaten by me. The food supplied by Vidura alone, should, I think, be eaten by me' Having said this unto Duryodhana who was ever incapable of bearing anything against his own wishes, Kesava of mighty arms then came out of that blazing palace of Dhritarashtra's son. And the high-souled Vasudeva of mighty arms, coming out of that mansion, directed his steps towards the abode of the illustrious Vidura. And while that mighty-armed one staying within Vidura's abode, thither came unto him Drona, and Kripa, and Bhishma, and Vahlika, and many of the Kauravas. And the Kauravas that came there addressed Madhava, the heroic slayer of Madhu, saying, O thou of Vrishni's race, we place at thy disposal our houses with all the wealth within them' The slayer of Madhu, of mighty energy, answered them saying, Ye may go away. I am much honoured by these your offers' And after all the Kurus had gone away, Vidura, with great care entertained that unvanquished hero of Dasarha's race with every object of desire.
And Kunti then placed before the illustrious Kesava clean and savoury food in abundance. Therewith the slayer of Madhu first gratified the Brahmanas. Indeed, from that food he first gave a portion, along with much wealth, unto a number of Brahmanas conversant with the Vedas, and then with his attendants, like Vasava in the midst of the Marutas, he dined on what remained of the clean and savoury food supplied by Vidura