I will narrate another story to demonstrate how an enemy should never be trusted even if he appears to be soft and is gentle in his speech. There lived a king by name Brahmadatta in the city of Kāmpilya. A bird by name Pūjini had built its nest in his palace and had lived there for a long time. The queen gave birth to a son and on the same day the bird too had an offspring. The bird brought fruits from the sea shore and fed the royal child and its own. The kid grew up well as he consumed the fruit which was like amṛta.
It is good character that is more important than physical strength. Noble character leads to honesty, dhārmic outlook, strength and wealth. In the past, Prahlāda won over Indra and ruled the three worlds, merely because of his unblemished character. Indra disguised himself as a brāhmaṇa, went to Prahlāda and lived as a student with him. He received noble characteristics as a boon from Prahlāda, for having served him with sincerity. As soon as Indra left, a radiant mūrti came out of Prahlāda’s body.
In the activities related to the protection of his people, a king must only take help from people who are courageous, devoted, loyal, respected, hailing from a good family, those with health and strong bodies, good students, those who keep company of noble persons, those with self-respect, those who don’t look upon others with disdain, well-educated, experienced in worldly affairs, those with an eye on their legacy and the hereafter, those who always adhere to dharma, saintly people, and those who are resilient and stable; only such people should be appointed by the king.
Bhīṣma began his instruction to Yudhiṣṭhira on rāja-dharma (the art and science of governance).
On a chosen day, Dharmarāja sat on a new chariot drawn by sixteen white steeds. Bhīma was the charioteer; Arjuna held a white umbrella; Nakula and Sahadeva fanned him with cāmaras (feathered fans). Yuyutsu, Sātyaki, and Kṛṣṇa were seated in different chariots that went behind Yudhiṣṭhira. Kuntī, Draupadī, Subhadrā, and other women received gifts from Vidura and set out on their own chariots. Dhṛtarāṣṭra and Gāndhārī went in front of everyone else, sitting on a palanquin. Behind them came decorated elephants, horses, foot soldiers, and bards, all of whom entered the city.
Dharmarāja walked past all the women who were shouting at him, went to the old king Dhṛtarāṣṭra, and bowed down to him. The others too called out their own names and saluted the king. Dhṛtarāṣṭra embraced Dharmarāja without any affection. He asked, “Where is Bhīmasena?” His anger was getting invigorated by winds of rage and it seemed as though he would burn Bhīma to death. Kṛṣṇa, who knew Dhṛtarāṣṭra’s heart, was already prepared for such a situation. He pulled Bhīma back and pushed an iron image of Bhīma towards the king.
Starting from the first day of the war, Sañjaya went to the battlefield from the capital city every day and reported the day’s events to Dhṛtarāṣṭra. As the old king heard that Duryodhana was killed along with his entire army, he was engulfed in sorrow and sat motionless like a stone, unable to speak or think anything. He appeared like a huge tree that had lost all its leaves, branches, and fruits with only a part of its stump left behind. Sañjaya tried to console him with the words – “You don’t have to be morose and miserable at this hour, O king! It serves no purpose.
Duryodhana was alive catching on to his last few breaths. He had trouble breathing and was being eaten alive by foxes, wolves and other wild animals. He was trying his best to shoo them away and hold on to his last moments. Kṛpa and Aśvatthāmā were touched looking at his sad state. Aśvatthāmā said – ‘O dear king! You are Balarāma’s student! How did that mere cook get a chance to beat you up so much? Time and Fate are very powerful. What kind of a man is Dharmarāja – did he simply stand around looking at you getting kicked in an adhārmic manner?
Aśvatthāmā, Kṛpa and Kṛtavarma left Duryodhana and by sunset reached a forest in the vicinity. They fed their horses with water, gulped down sips from a river nearby and rested below a banyan tree. In no time, the Sun went down the horizon and night, like a nurse of the entire world night enveloped the place. The sky that was decked with stars and looked like a saree decorated with flowers. Rākṣasas started roaming around the forest in the darkness. Humans were consumed by deep slumber.