Stri Parva 1 - The lamentation of the women
Dhritarashtra was shattered after hearing the news of the death of his sons. Vidura then consoled him, saying that all those who were dead were Indra’s guests. He told him the soul cast aside its body just like a person casts away clothes. Vidura told the king that those who followed Dharma would be liberated. He asked the king to stop grieving.
When Dhritarashtra fainted, unable to bear his grief, Vyasa consoled him. He told him that the evil done by his sons led to this result. He asked him to treat the Pandavas like his children. Then Dhritarashtra, along with the women, decided to go to the battlefield to see the bodies of his slain sons.
Kripa, Kritavarma, and Ashwatthama came to meet Dhritarashtra. They informed the king that they had attacked the Pandava camp at night and that Ashwatthama had killed everyone in the camp. Taking the king’s permission, Kripa left for Hastinapura, Ashwatthama to Vyasa’s ashrama, and Kritavarma to Dwaraka.
Yudhishtira and the Pandavas, accompanied by Krishna, arrived there. The women lamented asking the Pandavas why they killed their relatives. They also asked them what they would do without Abhimanyu and Draupadi’s sons, who were killed.
Dhritarashtra embraced Yudhishtira and then asked for Bheema. He was boiling with rage since Bheema had killed all his sons. Knowing his anger, Krishna had brought an iron statue and pushed it towards the king. No sooner did Dhritarashtra embrace the statue than it shattered into pieces. Weeping in grief, Dhritarashtra fell to the ground.
Sanjaya consoled him and told him that Bheema was not dead. Krishna then told Dhritarashtra that his failure to act on the advice of the wise one led to this situation. Dhritarashtra then embraced Bheema and blessed all the Pandavas.
The Pandavas then went to Gandhari. Vyasa reached before them, knowing that Gandhari intended to curse the Pandavas. He asked her why she blessed Duryodhana, saying that dharma would win. He also reminded her that Dharma was with the Pandavas and so they won. Gandhari agreed her sons died because they had committed evil acts.
She angrily questioned why Bheema killed Duryodhana by hitting him below the waist. Bheema then bowed before the queen and apologized. He recounted the evil deeds of Duryodhana and said they had to fulfill their vow.
Gandhari then questioned Bheema about how he could drink Dushasana’s blood. Bheema then assured her that the blood did not pass his lips. Gandhari then wept, asking why they did not spare at least one son to take care of them in their old age. She then summoned Yudhishtira.
… to be continued