One day, after the nuptials were duly celebrated, Krshna spoke to the heroes and kings assembled at the court of Virata, saying how Yudhisthira had been defeated by a trick at the game of dice, robbed of his ancestral kingdom, and sent into exile for thirteen years. The Pandava had fulfilled their vow, and were entitled to their kingdom; and he advised that a capable ambassador be sent to persuade the Kurus to restore to them their Rightful share.
He pointed out that their relations were the same with the sons of Kuru and Pandu; and if the chief among the Kurus sought peace on equal terms, no injury should be done a number of princes thought that the Kauravas would listen only if an appeal to justice were supported by a large army; and so they summoned the assistance of their allies in the cause of the Pandavas. At the same time Drupada sent his own priest, ripe in wisdom and age, to the court of the Kauravas.
The Assistance of Krshna: Soon after Krsna returned to Dwarka, and Dhananjaya (Arjuna) followed him there to seek his assistance. In the meanwhile Duryodhana, having come to know of the preparations for war, also set out for the city of Dwarka; and both Arjuna and he came to see Krshna as he lay asleep. Duryodhana, who entered first, sat down near his head, while Arjuna stood near his feet; and so when Krsna awoke, he saw Arjuna standing before him. He welcomed the two princes; and, after due greetings, Duryodhana besought his assistance in the forthcoming war, pointing out that Krshna's relations with the two parties were the same, and he (Duryodhana) had approached him first. Krsna admitted the truth of what he had said, but pointed out that he had seen Dhananjaya first; who, besides, being the younger of the two, should be assisted first. But he was willing to help both. He had a large army of Gopas, each of whom was capable of slaying him (Krshna), while he himself would not fight. Let the princes make a choice. Let the army belong to the one, and he himself, alone, not fighting, to the other; and he asked Dhananjaya to make the selection first. Then the son of Kunti chose Krsna, even though he was not to fight; while Duryodhana gladly chose the army of the Gopas.
Balarama's Neutrality: Duryodhana then went to seek the assistance of Balarama who, however, decided to remain neutral in this struggle.
Krtavarman: He then went to Krtavarman, who gave him an army numbering an Aksauhin; and the Kuru hero returned home with a light heart causing his friends to rejoice.
Krshna and Arjuna: After Duryodhana had taken his departure, Janardana (Krshna) said to Arjuna, "Knowing that I shall not take any part in the battle, why have you chosen me?" Arjuna replied, "There is no doubt that you can slay all of them: so also can I. But I am a seeker after fame, and I wish to have you as my charioteer." "It is fitting, O son of Prtha" said Krshna, "that you should measure yourself with me. I shall act as your charioteer. Let your desire be fulfilled."
The Part of Salya: Salya, the king of Madra, and the brother of Madri, the lord of an Aksauhini, having heard the news of hostility between the two parties, went to help the Pandavas. But Duryodhana met him on the way and welcomed and honoured him; and when the king of Madra was pleased, begged of him a boon that he should become the leader of his army. Salya agreed, but desired to see Yudhisthira before accompanying Duryodhana to his capital.
Salya and the Pandavas: Salya then proceeded to see the sons of Kunti and told them all about his meeting with Duryodhana and the promise he had made. Yudhisthira accepted the situation with a good grace; only he asked Salya to do one thing for the Pandavas.
When the two heroes, Karna and Arjuna, meet in battle, "you will, without doubt, be the charioteer of Karna. Protect Arjun, and do that which will kill the energy of the son of Suta." Salya readily agreed and, bidding farewell to the sons of Kunti, he went with his army to Duryodhana.
The force of Pandavas and Kauravas: Thus the two parties mustered their forces; and on the side of the Pandavas were assembled seven Aksauhinis, brought together by the seven princes; Yudhisthira; Yuyudhana of the Satvata race; Dhrstaketu, the king of Cedi; Jayatsena, the son of Jarasandha, the prince of Magadha; Pandya; Drupada and Virata; while eleven Aksaunis were assembled on the side of the Kurus, brought together by Bhagadatta; Bhurisravas; Salya; Krtavarman; Jayadratha; Saudakshina; Nila; the two kings of Avanti; the Kaikeya princes; and three armies of a miscellaneous sort.