(1500 BC? / Kalpi, Jalaun, Uttar Pradesh / India)

Mahabharata, Book Iii - Yudhishthir Emperor

Thus removed the hapless hindrance, now the holy sacrifice
Was performed with joy and splendour and with gifts of gold and rice,

Godlike Krishna watched benignly with his bow and disc and mace,
And Yudhishthir closed the feasting with his kindliness and grace.

Brahmans sprinkled holy water on the empire's righteous lord,
All the monarchs made obeisance, spake in sweet and graceful word:

'Born of race of Ajamidha! thou hast spread thy father's fame,
Rising by thy native virtue thou hast won a mightier name,

And this rite unto thy station doth a holier grace instil,
And thy royal grace and kindness all our hope and wish fulfil,

Grant us, king of mighty monarchs, now unto our realms we go,
Emperor o'er earthly rulers, blessings and thy grace bestow!'

Good Yudhishthir to the monarchs parting grace and honours paid,
And unto his duteous brothers thus in loving-kindness said:

'To our feast these noble monarchs came from loyal love they bear.
Far as confines of their kingdoms, with them let our friends repair.'

And his brothers and his kinsmen duteously his hest obey,
With each parting guest and monarch journey on the home ward way.

Arjun wends with high-souled Drupad, famed for loftywarlike grace,
Dhrishta-dyumna with Virata, monarch of the Matsya race,

Bhima on the ancient Bhishma and on Kuru's king doth wait,
Sahadeva waits on Drona, great in arms, in virtue great,

With Gandhara's warlike monarch brave Nakula holds his way,
Other chiefs with other monarchs where their distant kingdoms lay.

Last of all Yudhishthir's kinsman, righteous Krishna fain would part,
And unto the good Yudhishthir opens thus his joyful heart:

'Done this glorious rajasuya, joy and pride of Kuru's race,
Grant, O friend! to sea-girt Dwarka, Krishna now his steps must trace.'

'By thy grace and by thy valour,' sad Yudhishthir thus replies,
'By thy presence, noble Krishna, I performed this high emprise,

By thy all-subduing glory monarchs bore Yudhishthir's sway,
Came with gifts and costly presents, came their tributes rich to pay,

Must thou part? my uttered accents may not bid thee, friend, to go,
In thy absence vain were empire, and this life were full of woe,

Yet thou partest, sinless Krishna, dearest, best belovéd friend,
And to Dwarka's sea-washed mansions Krishna must his footsteps bend!'

Then unto Yudhishthir's mother, pious-hearted Krishna hies,
And in accents love-inspiring thus to ancient Pritha cries:

'Regal fame and righteous glory crown thy sons, reveréd dame,
Joy thee in their peerless prowess, in their holy spotless fame,

May thy sons' success and triumph cheer a widowed mother's heart,
Grant me leave, O noble lady! for to Dwarka I depart.'

From Yudhishthir's queen Draupadi parts the chief with many a tear,
And from Arjun's wife Sabhadra. Krishina's sister ever dear,

Then with rites and due ablutions to the gods are offerings made,
Priests repeat their benedictions, for the righteous Krishna said,

And his faithful chariot-driver brings his falcon-bannered car,
Like the clouds in massive splendour and resistless in the war,

Pious Krishna mounts the chariot, fondly greets his friends once more,
Leaves blue Jumna's sacred waters for his Dwarka's dear-loved shore,

Still Yudhishthir and his brothers, sad and sore and grieved at heart,
Followed Krishna's moving chariot, for they could not see him part,

Krishna stopped once more his chariot, and his parting blessing gave,
Thus the chief with eyes of lotus spake in accents calm and brave:

'King of men! with sleepless watching ever guard thy kingdom flair,
Like a father tend thy subjects with a father's love and care,

Be unto them like the rain-dropp nourishing the thirsty ground,
Be unto them tree of shelter shading them from heat around,

Like the blue sky ever bending be unto them ever kind,
Free from pride and free from passion rule them with a virtuous mind!'

Spake and left the saintly Krishna, pure and pious-hearted chief,
Sad Yudhishthir wended homeward andhis heart was filled with grief.

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