(Sambhava Parva continued)
"Vaisampayana said, 'The godlike Rishis, wise in counsels, beholding the death of Pandu, consulted with one another, and said, 'The virtuous and renowned king Pandu, abandoning both sovereignty, and kingdom came hither for practising ascetic austerities and resigned himself to the ascetics dwelling on this mountain. He hath hence ascended to heaven, leaving his wife and infant sons as a trust in our hands. Our duty now is to repair to his kingdom with these his offspring, and his wife.'
"Vaisampayana continued, 'Then those godlike Rishis of magnanimous hearts, and crowned with ascetic success, summoning one another, resolved to go to Hastinapura with Pandu's children ahead, desiring to place them in the hands of Bhishma and Dhritarashtra. The ascetics set out that very moment, taking with them those children and Kunti and the two dead bodies. And though unused to toil all her life, the affectionate Kunti now regarded as very short the really long journey she had to perform. Having arrived at Kurujangala within a short time, the illustrious Kunti presented herself at the principal gate. The ascetics then charged the porters to inform the king of their arrival. The men carried the message in a trice to the court. And the citizens of Hastinapura, hearing of the arrival of thousands of Charanas and Munis, were filled with wonder. And it was soon after sunrise that they began to come out in numbers with their wives and children to behold those ascetics. Seated in all kinds of cars and conveyances by thousands, vast numbers of Kshatriyas with
their wives, and Brahmanas with theirs came out. And the concourse of Vaisyas and Sudras too was as large on the occasion. The vast assemblage was very peaceful, for every heart then was inclined to piety. And there also came out Bhishma, the son of Santanu, and Somadatta or Valhika and the royal sage (Dhritarashtra) endued with the vision of knowledge and Vidura himself and the venerable Satyavati and the illustrious princess of Kosala and Gandhari accompanied by the other ladies of the royal household. And the hundred sons of Dhritarashtra, decked with various ornaments, also came out.
"The Kauravas, then, accompanied by their priest, saluted the Rishis by lowering their heads, and took their seats before them. The citizens also saluting the ascetics and bowing down unto them with touching the ground, took their seats there. Then Bhishma, setting that vast concourse perfectly still, duly worshipped, O king, those ascetics by offering them water to wash their feet with and the customary Arghya. And having done this, he spoke unto them about the sovereignty and the kingdom. Then the oldest of the ascetics with matted locks on head and loins covered with animal skin, stood up, and with the concurrence of the other Rishis, spoke as follows, 'You all know that that possessor of the sovereignty of the Kurus who was called king Pandu, had, after abandoning the pleasures of the world, repaired hence to dwell on the mountain of a hundred peaks. He adopted the Brahmacharya mode of life, but for some inscrutable purpose the gods have in view, this his eldest son, Yudhishthira, was born there, begotten by Dharma himself. Then that illustrious king obtained from Vayu this other son--the foremost of all mighty men--called Bhima. This other son, begotten upon Kunti by Indra, is Dhananjaya whose achievements will humble all bowmen in the world. Look here again at these tigers among men, mighty in the use of the bow, the twin children begotten upon Madri by the twin Aswins. Leading in righteousness the life of a Vanaprastha in the woods, illustrious Pandu hath thus revived the almost extinct line of his grandfather. The birth, growth, and Vedic studies of these children of Pandu, will, no doubt, give you great pleasure. Steadily adhering to the path of the virtuous and the wise, and leaving behind him these children, Pandu departed hence seventeen days ago. His wife Madri, beholding him placed in the funeral pyre and about to be consumed, herself ascended the same pyre, and sacrificing her life thus, hath gone with her lord to the region reserved for chaste wives. Accomplish now whatever rites should be performed for their benefit. These are (the unburnt portions of) their bodies. Here also are their children--these oppressors of foes--with their mother. Let these be now received with due honours. After the completion of the first rites in honour of the dead, let the virtuous Pandu, who had all along been the supporter of the dignity of the Kurus, have the first annual Sraddha (sapindakarana) performed with a view to installing him formally among the Pitris.'
"Vaisampayana continued, 'The ascetics with Guhyakas, having said this unto the Kurus, instantly disappeared in the very sight of the people. And beholding the Rishis and the Siddhas thus vanish in their sight like vapoury forms appearing and disappearing in the skies, the citizens filled with wonder returned to their homes.'"