Not a Needle Point of Territory – Krishna and Duryodhana’s Conversation (Udyog Parva)

Krishna went to Hastinapur to seek peace with the Kuru Kingdom. The conflict over kingdom and property has arisen a situation of war between the Pandavas and Kauravas, Krishna gives one last chance to Duryodhana to check if Peace is an option.

Krishna: Forget half kingdom, give us five villages and we will go away happily.

Duryodhana: Forget five villages, not a needle point of territory I will give to them.

The following poem beautifully illustrates the conversation between Krishna and Duryodhana

Krishna’s Speech in Hastinapur

Silent sat the listening chieftains in Hastina’s council hall,
With the voice of rolling thunder Krishna spake unto them all:

“Listen, mighty Dhrita-rashtra, Kuru’s great and ancient king,
Seek not war and death of kinsmen, word of peace and love I bring!

‘Midst the wide earth’s many nations Bharats in their worth excel,
Love and kindness, spotless virtue, in the Kuru-elders dwell,

Father of the noble nation, now retired from life’s turmoil,
Ill beseems that sin or untruth should thy ancient bosom soil!

For thy sons in impious anger seek to do their kinsmen wrong,
And withhold the throne and kingdom which by right to them belong,

And a danger thus ariseth like the comet’s baleful fire,
Slaughtered kinsmen, bleeding nations, soon shall feed its fatal ire!

Stretch thy hands, O Kuru monarch! prove thy truth and holy grace,
Man of peace! avert the slaughter and preserve thy ancient race.

Yet restrain thy fiery children, for thy mandates they obey,
I with sweet and soft persuasion Pandu’s truthful sons will sway.

‘Tis thy profit, Kuru monarch! that the fatal feud should cease,
Brave Duryodhan, good Yudhishthir, rule in unmolested peace,

Pandu’s sons are strong in valour, mighty in their arméd hand,
INDRA shall not shake thy empire when they guard the Kuru land!

Bhishma is thy kingdom’s bulwark, doughty Drona rules the war,
Karna matchless with his arrows, Kripa peerless in his car,

Let Yudhishthir and stout Bhima by these noble warriors stand,
And let helmet-wearing Arjun guard the sacred Kuru land,

Who shall then contest thy prowess from the sea to farthest sea,
Ruler of a worldwide empire, king of kings and nations free?

Sons and grandsons, friends and kinsmen, will surround thee in a ring,
And a race of loving heroes guard their ancient hero-king,

Dhrita-rashtra’s lofty edicts will proclaim his boundless sway,
Nations work his righteous mandates and the kings his will obey!

If this concord be rejected and the lust of war prevail,
Soon within these ancient chambers will resound the sound of wail,

Grant thy children be victorious and the sons of Pandu slain,
Dear to thee are Pandu’s children, and their death must cause thee pain!

But the Pandavs skilled in warfare are renowned both near and far,
And thy race and children’s slaughter will methinks pollute this war,

Sons and grandsons, loving princes, thou shalt never see again,
Kinsmen brave and car-borne chieftains will bedeck the gory plain!

Ponder yet, O ancient monarch! Rulers of each distant State,
Nations from the farthest regions gather thick to court their fate,

Father of a righteous nation! Save the princes of the land,
On the armed and fated nations stretch, old man, thy saving hand!

Say the word, and at thy bidding leaders of each hostile race
Not the gory field of battle but the festive board will grace,

Robed in jewels, decked in garlands, they will quaff the ruddy wine,
Greet their foes in mutual kindness, bless thy holy name and thine!

Think, O man of many seasons! When good Pandu left this throne,
And his helpless loving orphans thou didst cherish as thine own,

‘Twas thy helping steadying fingers taught their infant steps to fame,
‘Twas thy loving gentle accents taught their lips to lisp each name,

As thine own they grew and blossomed, dear to thee they yet remain,
Take them back unto thy bosom, be a father once again!

Unto thee, O Dhrita-rashtra! Pandu’s sons in homage bend,
And a loving peaceful message through my willing lips they send:

Tell our monarch, more than father, by his sacred stern command
We have lived in pathless jungle, wandered far from land to land,

True unto our plighted promise, for we ever felt and knew,
To his promise Dhrita-rashtra cannot, will not be untrue!

Years of anxious toil are over and of woe and bitterness,
Years of waiting and of watching, years of danger and distress.

Like a dark unending midnight hung on us this age forlorn,
Streaks of hope and dawning brightness usher now the radiant morn!

Be unto us as a father, loving not inspired by wrath,
Be unto us as a teacher, pointing us the righteous path,

If perchance astray we wander, thy strong arm shall lead aright,
If our feeble bosom fainteth, help us with a father’s might!

This, O king! the soft entreaty Pandu’s sons to thee have made,
These are words the sons of Pandu unto Kuru’s king have said,

Take their love, O gracious monarch! Let thy closing days be fair,
Let Duryodhan keep his kingdom, let the Pandavs have their share.

Call to mind their noble suffering, for the tale is dark and long
Of the outrage they have suffered, of the insult and the wrong,

Exiled into Varnavata, destined unto death by flame,
For the gods assist the righteous, they with added prowess came,

Exiled into Indra-prastha, by their toil and by their might
Cleared a forest, built a city, did the rajasuya rite,

Cheated of their realm and empire and of all they called their own,
In the jungle they have wandered and in Matsya lived unknown,

Once more quelling every evil they are stout of heart and hand,
Now redeem thy plighted promise and restore their throne and land!

Trust me, mighty Dhrita-rashtra! trust me, lords who grace this hall,
Krishna pleads for peace and virtue, blessings unto you and all,

Slaughter not the arméd nations, slaughter not thy kith and kin,
Mark not, king, thy closing winters with the bloody stain of sin,

Let thy sons and Pandu’s children stand beside thy ancient throne,
Cherish peace and cherish virtue, for thy days are almost done!”

Duryodhana’s Speech

Silent sat the proud Duryodhan wrathful in the council hall,
Spake to mighty-arméd Krishna and to Kuru warriors all:

“Ill becomes thee, Dwarka’s chieftain, in the paths of sin to move,
Bear for me a secret hatred, for the Pandavs secret love,

And my father, wise Vidura, ancient Bhishma, Drona bold,
Join thee in this bitter hatred, turn on me their glances cold!

What great crime or darkening sorrow shadows o’er my bitter fate,
That ye chiefs and Kuru’s monarch mark Duryodhan for your hate,

Speak, what nameless guilt or folly, secret sin to me unknown,
Turns from me your sweet affection, father’s love that was my own?

If Yudhishthir, fond of gambling, played a heedless reckless game,
Lost his empire and his freedom, was it then Duryodhan’s blame,

And if freed from shame and bondage in his folly played again,
Lost again and went to exile, wherefore doth he now complain?

Weak are they in friends and forces, feeble is their fitful star,
Wherefore then in pride and folly seek with us unequal war,

Shall we, who to mighty INDRA scarce will do the homage due,
Bow to homeless sons of Pandu and their comrades faint and few,

Bow to them while warlike Drona leads us as in days of old,
Bhishma greater than the bright-gods, archer Karna true and bold?

If in dubious game of battle we should forfeit fame and life,
Heaven will ope its golden portals for the Kshatra slain in strife,

If unbending to our foemen we should press the gory plain,
Stingless is the bed of arrows, death for us will have no pain!

For the Kshatra knows no terror of his foeman in the field,
Breaks like hardened forest timber, bonds not, knows not how to yield,

So the ancient sage Matanga of the warlike Kshatra. said,
Save to priest and sage preceptor unto none he bends his head!

Indra-prastha which my father weakly to Yudhishthir gave,
Nevermore shall go unto him while I live and brothers brave,

Kuru’s undivided kingdom Dhrita-rashtra rules alone,
Let us sheathe our swords in friendship and the monarch’s empire own,

If in past in thoughtless folly once the realm was broke in twain,
Kuru-land is re-united, never shall be split again!

Take my message to my kinsmen, for Duryodhan’s words are plain,
Portion of the Kuru empire sons of Pandu seek in vain,

Town nor village, mart nor hamlet, help us righteous gods in heaven,
Spot that needle’s point can cover not unto them be given!”

 
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