The next day, Kṛṣṇa left from Vṛkasthaḻa and headed towards Hastināpura. Bhīṣma, Droṇa and other older Kauravas received him on the way. The entire city was decorated. The path was filled with hordes of people and the crowd slowed down Kṛṣṇa’s horse. A large number of people had gathered on rooftops and it seemed as though the buildings would collapse because of their weight! Kṛṣṇa visited Dhṛtarāṣṭra at his palace, paid his respect to the King and to the other elders. After spending some time chatting with the Kauravas, he went to Vidura’s house.
Draupadī was pained listening to the coward speech of Dharmarāja, to which he had given a dhārmic garb. She was also annoyed looking at Bhīma who seemed to have lost his vigour. Fortunately, however, Sahadeva’s words gave her some solace. With tears in her eyes, she pleaded with Kṛṣṇa, “Janārdana! If the Kauravas refuse giving us our share of the land and try to strike a compromise, please don’t accept it. They are not worthy of our compassion. A greedy kṣatriya should be vanquished by another. I again and again need to pose the same question to you.
Bhīmasena said, “I suggest you speak to the Kauravas and try to ensure peace between us. Don’t scare them with the prospect of a war even as you start speaking! Let us try to bring things under control using the path of sāma, i.e. reconciliation through peaceful means. Don’t get agitated with them. Duryodhana is a greedy person and is full of malice. He is adamant and will not give up his stance even if he has to give up his life. It's difficult to strike a chord of harmony with such a person. He has no concern for dharma and doesn't care for his friends.
The night was spent in their conversation. The next morning the Kauravas and their nobles assembled in the king’s court, curious to hear the message Sañjaya had brought for them. Bhīṣma, Drona and the other elders entered the court along with Dhṛtarāṣṭra, while Karṇa and Śakuni accompanied Duryodhana. Sañjaya entered the court, sought the permission of Dhṛtarāṣṭra and narrated all that transpired when he met Yudhiṣṭhira and Śrīkṛṣṇa. He made their message known to the court.
Dhṛtarāṣṭra asked, “What was Arjuna’s reply to Kṛṣṇa’s words?”
Accordingly, Sañjaya went to Upaplavya to meet the Pāṇḍavas. He was welcomed with great respect and was treated with dignity. He inquired about their well-being and exchanged pleasantries. He conveyed Dhṛtarāṣṭra’s message of peace to the assembly, which consisted of the Pāṇḍavas, the Srañjayas, Kṛṣṇa, Sātyakī, Virāṭa, and several others. He requested them not to pave way for a destructive war.
In another part of the country, Śalya, the king of Madra, was on his way along with army and his sons, who were both mahārathas. He was acting as per the wishes of the Pāṇḍavas and Duryodhana happened to notice this. With a view to entice the entourage, he erected delightful pleasure houses on their path. He arranged to host them with myriad luxuries. Śalya was enchanted looking at the marvellous arrangements. He said, “Who built these magnificent rest-houses?
After Abhimanyu’s wedding, the kings who were on the side of the Pāṇḍavas assembled in Virāṭa’s court. Among those who had gathered were the Pāṇḍavas, their children, Drupada, Virāṭa, Balarāma, Kṛṣṇa, Vāsudeva, Sātyaki, and several others. Śrīkṛṣṇa spoke first. “The Pāṇḍavas have fulfilled their oath and have successfully completed their thirteen-year forest exile and one year of living incognito. Now we’ll have to think what would work the best for Duryodhana and them. It should adhere to dharma.
Three days after these happenings, the five Pāṇḍavas had their bath, wore fine white-coloured clothes, adorned themselves, proceeded to Virāṭa’s sabhā with Yudhiṣṭhira in the lead, and perched themselves on the royal seats reserved for kings. As usual, Virāṭa entered the sabhā to carry out his official duties, and the sight that he beheld! Seated there were the five of them, brilliant as burning fire. He saw Yudhiṣṭhira, who was seated like Indra among the devatas, and said in disdainful tone, “Were you not the one with whom I used to play dice?
Prince Uttara, adorned with garlands and fragrant perfumes, came in a procession on the royal path; he greeted the citizens of the city and the married woman, receiving their blessings and adoration. In great grandeur and filled with delight, he came to the door of the palace and brought the good news to his father. The doorkeeper-sentinels rushed inside and told King Virāṭa, “Mahārāja!