Mahabharata I



Om! Having bowed down to Narayana and Nara, the most exalted male being,

and also to the goddess Saraswati, must the word Jaya be uttered.

Ugrasrava, the son of Lomaharshana, surnamed Sauti, well-versed in the

Puranas, bending with humility, one day approached the great sages of

rigid vows, sitting at their ease, who had attended the twelve years’

sacrifice of Saunaka, surnamed Kulapati, in the forest of Naimisha. Those

ascetics, wishing to hear his wonderful narrations, presently began to

address him who had thus arrived at that recluse abode of the inhabitants

of the forest of Naimisha. Having been entertained with due respect by

those holy men, he saluted those Munis (sages) with joined palms, even

all of them, and inquired about the progress of their asceticism. Then

all the ascetics being again seated, the son of Lomaharshana humbly

occupied the seat that was assigned to him. Seeing that he was

comfortably seated, and recovered from fatigue, one of the Rishis

beginning the conversation, asked him, ‘Whence comest thou, O lotus-eyed

Sauti, and where hast thou spent the time? Tell me, who ask thee, in


Accomplished in speech, Sauti, thus questioned, gave in the midst of that

big assemblage of contemplative Munis a full and proper answer in words

consonant with their mode of life.

“Sauti said, ‘Having heard the diverse sacred and wonderful stories which

were composed in his Mahabharata by Krishna-Dwaipayana, and which were

recited in full by Vaisampayana at the Snake-sacrifice of the high-souled

royal sage Janamejaya and in the presence also of that chief of Princes,

the son of Parikshit, and having wandered about, visiting many sacred

waters and holy shrines, I journeyed to the country venerated by the

Dwijas (twice-born) and called Samantapanchaka where formerly was fought

the battle between the children of Kuru and Pandu, and all the chiefs of

the land ranged on either side. Thence, anxious to see you, I am come

into your presence. Ye reverend sages, all of whom are to me as Brahma;

ye greatly blessed who shine in this place of sacrifice with the

splendour of the solar fire: ye who have concluded the silent meditations

and have fed the holy fire; and yet who are sitting–without care, what,

O ye Dwijas (twice-born), shall I repeat, shall I recount the sacred

stories collected in the Puranas containing precepts of religious duty

and of worldly profit, or the acts of illustrious saints and sovereigns

of mankind?”

“The Rishi replied, ‘The Purana, first promulgated by the great Rishi

Dwaipayana, and which after having been heard both by the gods and the

Brahmarshis was highly esteemed, being the most eminent narrative that

exists, diversified both in diction and division, possessing subtile

meanings logically combined, and gleaned from the Vedas, is a sacred

work. Composed in elegant language, it includeth the subjects of other

books. It is elucidated by other Shastras, and comprehendeth the sense of

the four Vedas. We are desirous of hearing that history also called

Bharata, the holy composition of the wonderful Vyasa, which dispelleth

the fear of evil, just as it was cheerfully recited by the Rishi

Vaisampayana, under the direction of Dwaipayana himself, at the

snake-sacrifice of Raja Janamejaya?’

“Sauti then said, ‘Having bowed down to the primordial being Isana, to

whom multitudes make offerings, and who is adored by the multitude; who

is the true incorruptible one, Brahma, perceptible, imperceptible,

eternal; who is both a non-existing and an existing-non-existing being;

who is the universe and also distinct from the existing and non-existing

universe; who is the creator of high and low; the ancient, exalted,

inexhaustible one; who is Vishnu, beneficent and the beneficence itself,

worthy of all preference, pure and immaculate; who is Hari, the ruler of

the faculties, the guide of all things moveable and immoveable; I will

declare the sacred thoughts of the illustrious sage Vyasa, of marvellous

deeds and worshipped here by all. Some bards have already published this

history, some are now teaching it, and others, in like manner, will

hereafter promulgate it upon the earth. It is a great source of

knowledge, established throughout the three regions of the world. It is

possessed by the twice-born both in detailed and compendious forms. It is

the delight of the learned for being embellished with elegant

expressions, conversations human and divine, and a variety of poetical


In this world, when it was destitute of brightness and light, and

enveloped all around in total darkness, there came into being, as the

primal cause of creation, a mighty egg, the one inexhaustible seed of all

created beings. It is called Mahadivya, and was formed at the beginning

of the Yuga, in which we are told, was the true light Brahma, the eternal

one, the wonderful and inconceivable being present alike in all places;

the invisible and subtile cause, whose nature partaketh of entity and

non-entity. From this egg came out the lord Pitamaha Brahma, the one only

Prajapati; with Suraguru and Sthanu. Then appeared the twenty-one

Prajapatis, viz., Manu, Vasishtha and Parameshthi; ten Prachetas, Daksha,

and the seven sons of Daksha. Then appeared the man of inconceivable

nature whom all the Rishis know and so the Viswe-devas, the Adityas, the

Vasus, and the twin Aswins; the Yakshas, the Sadhyas, the Pisachas, the

Guhyakas, and the Pitris. After these were produced the wise and most

holy Brahmarshis, and the numerous Rajarshis distinguished by every noble

quality. So the water, the heavens, the earth, the air, the sky, the

points of the heavens, the years, the seasons, the months, the

fortnights, called Pakshas, with day and night in due succession. And

thus were produced all things which are known to mankind.

And what is seen in the universe, whether animate or inanimate, of

created things, will at the end of the world, and after the expiration of

the Yuga, be again confounded. And, at the commencement of other Yugas,

all things will be renovated, and, like the various fruits of the earth,

succeed each other in the due order of their seasons. Thus continueth

perpetually to revolve in the world, without beginning and without end,

this wheel which causeth the destruction of all things.

The generation of Devas, in brief, was thirty-three thousand,

thirty-three hundred and thirty-three. The sons of Div were Brihadbhanu,

Chakshus, Atma Vibhavasu, Savita, Richika, Arka, Bhanu, Asavaha, and

Ravi. Of these Vivaswans of old, Mahya was the youngest whose son was

Deva-vrata. The latter had for his son, Su-vrata who, we learn, had three

sons,–Dasa-jyoti, Sata-jyoti, and Sahasra-jyoti, each of them producing

numerous offspring. The illustrious Dasa-jyoti had ten thousand,

Sata-jyoti ten times that number, and Sahasra-jyoti ten times the number

of Sata-jyoti’s offspring. From these are descended the family of the

Kurus, of the Yadus, and of Bharata; the family of Yayati and of

Ikshwaku; also of all the Rajarshis. Numerous also were the generations

produced, and very abundant were the creatures and their places of abode.

The mystery which is threefold–the Vedas, Yoga, and Vijnana Dharma,

Artha, and Kama–also various books upon the subject of Dharma, Artha,

and Kama; also rules for the conduct of mankind; also histories and

discourses with various srutis; all of which having been seen by the

Rishi Vyasa are here in due order mentioned as a specimen of the book.

The Rishi Vyasa published this mass of knowledge in both a detailed and

an abridged form. It is the wish of the learned in the world to possess

the details and the abridgement. Some read the Bharata beginning with the

initial mantra (invocation), others with the story of Astika, others with

Uparichara, while some Brahmanas study the whole. Men of learning display

their various knowledge of the institutes in commenting on the

composition. Some are skilful in explaining it, while others, in

remembering its contents.

The son of Satyavati having, by penance and meditation, analysed the

eternal Veda, afterwards composed this holy history, when that learned

Brahmarshi of strict vows, the noble Dwaipayana Vyasa, offspring of

Parasara, had finished this greatest of narrations, he began to consider

how he might teach it to his disciples. And the possessor of the six

attributes, Brahma, the world’s preceptor, knowing of the anxiety of the

Rishi Dwaipayana, came in person to the place where the latter was, for

gratifying the saint, and benefiting the people. And when Vyasa,

surrounded by all the tribes of Munis, saw him, he was surprised; and,

standing with joined palms, he bowed and ordered a seat to be brought.

And Vyasa having gone round him who is called Hiranyagarbha seated on

that distinguished seat stood near it; and being commanded by Brahma

Parameshthi, he sat down near the seat, full of affection and smiling in

joy. Then the greatly glorious Vyasa, addressing Brahma Parameshthi,

said, “O divine Brahma, by me a poem hath been composed which is greatly

respected. The mystery of the Veda, and what other subjects have been

explained by me; the various rituals of the Upanishads with the Angas;

the compilation of the Puranas and history formed by me and named after

the three divisions of time, past, present, and future; the determination

of the nature of decay, fear, disease, existence, and non-existence, a

description of creeds and of the various modes of life; rule for the four

castes, and the import of all the Puranas; an account of asceticism and

of the duties of a religious student; the dimensions of the sun and moon,

the planets, constellations, and stars, together with the duration of the

four ages; the Rik, Sama and Yajur Vedas; also the Adhyatma; the sciences

called Nyaya, Orthoephy and Treatment of diseases; charity and

Pasupatadharma; birth celestial and human, for particular purposes; also

a description of places of pilgrimage and other holy places of rivers,

mountains, forests, the ocean, of heavenly cities and the kalpas; the art

of war; the different kinds of nations and languages: the nature of the

manners of the people; and the all-pervading spirit;–all these have been

represented. But, after all, no writer of this work is to be found on


“Brahma said. ‘I esteem thee for thy knowledge of divine mysteries,

before the whole body of celebrated Munis distinguished for the sanctity

of their lives. I know thou hast revealed the divine word, even from its

first utterance, in the language of truth. Thou hast called thy present

work a poem, wherefore it shall be a poem. There shall be no poets whose

works may equal the descriptions of this poem, even, as the three other

modes called Asrama are ever unequal in merit to the domestic Asrama. Let

Ganesa be thought of, O Muni, for the purpose of writing the poem.’

“Sauti said, ‘Brahma having thus spoken to Vyasa, retired to his own

abode. Then Vyasa began to call to mind Ganesa. And Ganesa, obviator of

obstacles, ready to fulfil the desires of his votaries, was no sooner

thought of, than he repaired to the place where Vyasa was seated. And

when he had been saluted, and was seated, Vyasa addressed him thus, ‘O

guide of the Ganas! be thou the writer of the Bharata which I have formed

in my imagination, and which I am about to repeat.”

“Ganesa, upon hearing this address, thus answered, ‘I will become the

writer of thy work, provided my pen do not for a moment cease writing.”

And Vyasa said unto that divinity, ‘Wherever there be anything thou dost

not comprehend, cease to continue writing.’ Ganesa having signified his

assent, by repeating the word Om! proceeded to write; and Vyasa began;

and by way of diversion, he knit the knots of composition exceeding

close; by doing which, he dictated this work according to his engagement.

I am (continued Sauti) acquainted with eight thousand and eight hundred

verses, and so is Suka, and perhaps Sanjaya. From the mysteriousness of

their meaning, O Muni, no one is able, to this day, to penetrate those

closely knit difficult slokas. Even the omniscient Ganesa took a moment

to consider; while Vyasa, however, continued to compose other verses in

great abundance.

The wisdom of this work, like unto an instrument of applying collyrium,

hath opened the eyes of the inquisitive world blinded by the darkness of

ignorance. As the sun dispelleth the darkness, so doth the Bharata by its

discourses on religion, profit, pleasure and final release, dispel the

ignorance of men. As the full-moon by its mild light expandeth the buds

of the water-lily, so this Purana, by exposing the light of the Sruti

hath expanded the human intellect. By the lamp of history, which

destroyeth the darkness of ignorance, the whole mansion of nature is

properly and completely illuminated.

This work is a tree, of which the chapter of contents is the seed; the

divisions called Pauloma and Astika are the root; the part called

Sambhava is the trunk; the books called Sabha and Aranya are the roosting

perches; the books called Arani is the knitting knots; the books called

Virata and Udyoga the pith; the book named Bhishma, the main branch; the

book called Drona, the leaves; the book called Karna, the fair flowers;

the book named Salya, their sweet smell; the books entitled Stri and

Aishika, the refreshing shade; the book called Santi, the mighty fruit;

the book called Aswamedha, the immortal sap; the denominated

Asramavasika, the spot where it groweth; and the book called Mausala, is

an epitome of the Vedas and held in great respect by the virtuous

Brahmanas. The tree of the Bharata, inexhaustible to mankind as the

clouds, shall be as a source of livelihood to all distinguished poets.”

“Sauti continued, ‘I will now speak of the undying flowery and fruitful

productions of this tree, possessed of pure and pleasant taste, and not

to be destroyed even by the immortals. Formerly, the spirited and

virtuous Krishna-Dwaipayana, by the injunctions of Bhishma, the wise son

of Ganga and of his own mother, became the father of three boys who were

like the three fires by the two wives of Vichitra-virya; and having thus

raised up Dhritarashtra, Pandu and Vidura, he returned to his recluse

abode to prosecute his religious exercise.

It was not till after these were born, grown up, and departed on the

supreme journey, that the great Rishi Vyasa published the Bharata in this

region of mankind; when being solicited by Janamejaya and thousands of

Brahmanas, he instructed his disciple Vaisampayana, who was seated near

him; and he, sitting together with the Sadasyas, recited the Bharata,

during the intervals of the ceremonies of the sacrifice, being repeatedly

urged to proceed.

Vyasa hath fully represented the greatness of the house of Kuru, the

virtuous principles of Gandhari, the wisdom of Vidura, and the constancy

of Kunti. The noble Rishi hath also described the divinity of Vasudeva,

the rectitude of the sons of Pandu, and the evil practices of the sons

and partisans of Dhritarashtra.

Vyasa executed the compilation of the Bharata, exclusive of the episodes

originally in twenty-four thousand verses; and so much only is called by

the learned as the Bharata. Afterwards, he composed an epitome in one

hundred and fifty verses, consisting of the introduction with the chapter

of contents. This he first taught to his son Suka; and afterwards he gave

it to others of his disciples who were possessed of the same

qualifications. After that he executed another compilation, consisting of

six hundred thousand verses. Of those, thirty hundred thousand are known

in the world of the Devas; fifteen hundred thousand in the world of the

Pitris: fourteen hundred thousand among the Gandharvas, and one hundred

thousand in the regions of mankind. Narada recited them to the Devas,

Devala to the Pitris, and Suka published them to the Gandharvas, Yakshas,

and Rakshasas: and in this world they were recited by Vaisampayana, one

of the disciples of Vyasa, a man of just principles and the first among

all those acquainted with the Vedas. Know that I, Sauti, have also

repeated one hundred thousand verses.

Yudhishthira is a vast tree, formed of religion and virtue; Arjuna is its

trunk; Bhimasena, its branches; the two sons of Madri are its full-grown

fruit and flowers; and its roots are Krishna, Brahma, and the Brahmanas.

Pandu, after having subdued many countries by his wisdom and prowess,

took up his abode with the Munis in a certain forest as a sportsman,

where he brought upon himself a very severe misfortune for having killed

a stag coupling with its mate, which served as a warning for the conduct

of the princes of his house as long as they lived. Their mothers, in

order that the ordinances of the law might be fulfilled, admitted as

substitutes to their embraces the gods Dharma, Vayu, Sakra, and the

divinities the twin Aswins. And when their offspring grew up, under the

care of their two mothers, in the society of ascetics, in the midst of

sacred groves and holy recluse-abodes of religious men, they were

conducted by Rishis into the presence of Dhritarashtra and his sons,

following as students in the habit of Brahmacharis, having their hair

tied in knots on their heads. ‘These our pupils’, said they, ‘are as your

sons, your brothers, and your friends; they are Pandavas.’ Saying this,

the Munis disappeared.

When the Kauravas saw them introduced as the sons of Pandu, the

distinguished class of citizens shouted exceedingly for joy. Some,

however, said, they were not the sons of Pandu; others said, they were;

while a few asked how they could be his offspring, seeing he had been so

long dead. Still on all sides voices were heard crying, ‘They are on all

accounts welcome! Through divine Providence we behold the family of

Pandu! Let their welcome be proclaimed!’ As these acclamations ceased,

the plaudits of invisible spirits, causing every point of the heavens to

resound, were tremendous. There were showers of sweet-scented flowers,

and the sound of shells and kettle-drums. Such were the wonders that

happened on the arrival of the young princes. The joyful noise of all the

citizens, in expression of their satisfaction on the occasion, was so

great that it reached the very heavens in magnifying plaudits.

Having studied the whole of the Vedas and sundry other shastras, the

Pandavas resided there, respected by all and without apprehension from

any one.

The principal men were pleased with the purity of Yudhishthira, the

courage of Arjuna, the submissive attention of Kunti to her superiors,

and the humility of the twins, Nakula and Sahadeva; and all the people

rejoiced in their heroic virtues.

After a while, Arjuna obtained the virgin Krishna at the swayamvara, in

the midst of a concourse of Rajas, by performing a very difficult feat of

archery. And from this time he became very much respected in this world

among all bowmen; and in fields of battle also, like the sun, he was hard

to behold by foe-men. And having vanquished all the neighbouring princes

and every considerable tribe, he accomplished all that was necessary for

the Raja (his eldest brother) to perform the great sacrifice called


Yudhishthira, after having, through the wise counsels of Vasudeva and by

the valour of Bhimasena and Arjuna, slain Jarasandha (the king of

Magadha) and the proud Chaidya, acquired the right to perform the grand

sacrifice of Rajasuya abounding in provisions and offering and fraught

with transcendent merits. And Duryodhana came to this sacrifice; and when

he beheld the vast wealth of the Pandavas scattered all around, the

offerings, the precious stones, gold and jewels; the wealth in cows,

elephants, and horses; the curious textures, garments, and mantles; the

precious shawls and furs and carpets made of the skin of the Ranku; he

was filled with envy and became exceedingly displeased. And when he

beheld the hall of assembly elegantly constructed by Maya (the Asura

architect) after the fashion of a celestial court, he was inflamed with

rage. And having started in confusion at certain architectural deceptions

within this building, he was derided by Bhimasena in the presence of

Vasudeva, like one of mean descent.

And it was represented to Dhritarashtra that his son, while partaking of

various objects of enjoyment and diverse precious things, was becoming

meagre, wan, and pale. And Dhritarashtra, some time after, out of

affection for his son, gave his consent to their playing (with the

Pandavas) at dice. And Vasudeva coming to know of this, became

exceedingly wroth. And being dissatisfied, he did nothing to prevent the

disputes, but overlooked the gaming and sundry other horried

unjustifiable transactions arising therefrom: and in spite of Vidura,

Bhishma, Drona, and Kripa, the son of Saradwan, he made the Kshatriyas

kill each other in the terrific war that ensued.’

“And Dhritarashtra hearing the ill news of the success of the Pandavas

and recollecting the resolutions of Duryodhana, Kama, and Sakuni,

pondered for a while and addressed to Sanjaya the following speech:–

‘Attend, O Sanjaya, to all I am about to say, and it will not become thee

to treat me with contempt. Thou art well-versed in the shastras,

intelligent and endowed with wisdom. My inclination was never to war, not

did I delight in the destruction of my race. I made no distinction

between my own children and the children of Pandu. My own sons were prone

to wilfulness and despised me because I am old. Blind as I am, because of

my miserable plight and through paternal affection, I bore it all. I was

foolish alter the thoughtless Duryodhana ever growing in folly. Having

been a spectator of the riches of the mighty sons of Pandu, my son was

derided for his awkwardness while ascending the hall. Unable to bear it

all and unable himself to overcome the sons of Pandu in the field, and

though a soldier, unwilling yet to obtain good fortune by his own

exertion, with the help of the king of Gandhara he concerted an unfair

game at dice.

‘Hear, O Sanjaya, all that happened thereupon and came to my knowledge.

And when thou hast heard all I say, recollecting everything as it fell

out, thou shall then know me for one with a prophetic eye. When I heard

that Arjuna, having bent the bow, had pierced the curious mark and

brought it down to the ground, and bore away in triumph the maiden

Krishna, in the sight of the assembled princes, then, O Sanjaya I had no

hope of success. When I heard that Subhadra of the race of Madhu had,

after forcible seizure been married by Arjuna in the city of Dwaraka, and

that the two heroes of the race of Vrishni (Krishna and Balarama the

brothers of Subhadra) without resenting it had entered Indraprastha as

friends, then, O Sanjaya, I had no hope of success. When I heard that

Arjuna, by his celestial arrow preventing the downpour by Indra the king

of the gods, had gratified Agni by making over to him the forest of

Khandava, then, O Sanjaya, I had no hope of success. When I heard that

the five Pandavas with their mother Kunti had escaped from the house of

lac, and that Vidura was engaged in the accomplishment of their designs,

then, O Sanjaya, I had no hope of success. When I heard that Arjuna,

after having pierced the mark in the arena had won Draupadi, and that the

brave Panchalas had joined the Pandavas, then, O Sanjaya, I had no hope

of success. When I heard that Jarasandha, the foremost of the royal line

of Magadha, and blazing in the midst of the Kshatriyas, had been slain by

Bhima with his bare arms alone, then, O Sanjaya, I had no hope of

success. When I heard that in their general campaign the sons of Pandu

had conquered the chiefs of the land and performed the grand sacrifice of

the Rajasuya, then, O Sanjaya, I had no hope of success. When I heard

that Draupadi, her voice choked with tears and heart full of agony, in

the season of impurity and with but one raiment on, had been dragged into

court and though she had protectors, she had been treated as if she had

none, then, O Sanjaya, I had no hope of success. When I heard that the

wicked wretch Duhsasana, was striving to strip her of that single

garment, had only drawn from her person a large heap of cloth without

being able to arrive at its end, then, O Sanjaya, I had no hope of

success. When I heard that Yudhishthira, beaten by Saubala at the game of

dice and deprived of his kingdom as a consequence thereof, had still been

attended upon by his brothers of incomparable prowess, then, O Sanjaya, I

had no hope of success. When I heard that the virtuous Pandavas weeping

with affliction had followed their elder brother to the wilderness and

exerted themselves variously for the mitigation of his discomforts, then,

O Sanjaya, I had no hope of success.

‘When I heard that Yudhishthira had been followed into the wilderness by

Snatakas and noble-minded Brahmanas who live upon alms, then, O Sanjaya,

I had no hope of success. When I heard that Arjuna, having, in combat,

pleased the god of gods, Tryambaka (the three-eyed) in the disguise of a

hunter, obtained the great weapon Pasupata, then O Sanjaya, I had no hope

of success. When I heard that the just and renowned Arjuna after having

been to the celestial regions, had there obtained celestial weapons from

Indra himself then, O Sanjaya, I had no hope of success. When I heard

that afterwards Arjuna had vanquished the Kalakeyas and the Paulomas

proud with the boon they had obtained and which had rendered them

invulnerable even to the celestials, then, O Sanjaya, I had no hope of

success. When I heard that Arjuna, the chastiser of enemies, having gone

to the regions of Indra for the destruction of the Asuras, had returned

thence successful, then, O Sanjaya, I had no hope of success. When I

heard that Bhima and the other sons of Pritha (Kunti) accompanied by

Vaisravana had arrived at that country which is inaccessible to man then,

O Sanjaya, I had no hope of success. When I heard that my sons, guided by

the counsels of Karna, while on their journey of Ghoshayatra, had been

taken prisoners by the Gandharvas and were set free by Arjuna, then, O

Sanjaya, I had no hope of success. When I heard that Dharma (the god of

justice) having come under the form of a Yaksha had proposed certain

questions to Yudhishthira then, O Sanjaya, I had no hope of success. When

I heard that my sons had failed to discover the Pandavas under their

disguise while residing with Draupadi in the dominions of Virata, then, O

Sanjaya, I had no hope of success. When I heard that the principal men of

my side had all been vanquished by the noble Arjuna with a single chariot

while residing in the dominions of Virata, then, O Sanjaya, I had no hope

of success. When I heard that Vasudeva of the race of Madhu, who covered

this whole earth by one foot, was heartily interested in the welfare of

the Pandavas, then, O Sanjaya, I had no hope of success. When I heard

that the king of Matsya, had offered his virtuous daughter Uttara to

Arjuna and that Arjuna had accepted her for his son, then, O Sanjaya, I

had no hope of success. When I heard that Yudhishthira, beaten at dice,

deprived of wealth, exiled and separated from his connections, had

assembled yet an army of seven Akshauhinis, then, O Sanjaya, I had no

hope of success. When I heard Narada, declare that Krishna and Arjuna

were Nara and Narayana and he (Narada) had seen them together in the

regions of Brahma, then, O Sanjaya, I had no hope of success. When I

heard that Krishna, anxious to bring about peace, for the welfare of

mankind had repaired to the Kurus, and went away without having been able

to effect his purpose, then, O Sanjaya, I had no hope of success. When I

heard that Kama and Duryodhana resolved upon imprisoning Krishna

displayed in himself the whole universe, then, O Sanjaya, I had no hope

of success. Then I heard that at the time of his departure, Pritha

(Kunti) standing, full of sorrow, near his chariot received consolation

from Krishna, then, O Sanjaya, I had no hope of success. When I heard

that Vasudeva and Bhishma the son of Santanu were the counsellors of the

Pandavas and Drona the son of Bharadwaja pronounced blessings on them,

then, O Sanjaya, I had no hope of success. When Kama said unto Bhishma–I

will not fight when thou art fighting–and, quitting the army, went away,

then, O Sanjaya, I had no hope of success. When I heard that Vasudeva and

Arjuna and the bow Gandiva of immeasurable prowess, these three of

dreadful energy had come together, then, O Sanjaya, I had no hope of

success. When I heard that upon Arjuna having been seized with

compunction on his chariot and ready to sink, Krishna showed him all the

worlds within his body, then, O Sanjaya, I had no hope of success. When I

heard that Bhishma, the desolator of foes, killing ten thousand

charioteers every day in the field of battle, had not slain any amongst

the Pandavas then, O Sanjaya, I had no hope of success. When I heard that

Bhishma, the righteous son of Ganga, had himself indicated the means of

his defeat in the field of battle and that the same were accomplished by

the Pandavas with joyfulness, then, O Sanjaya, I had no hope of success.

When I heard that Arjuna, having placed Sikhandin before himself in his

chariot, had wounded Bhishma of infinite courage and invincible in

battle, then, O Sanjaya, I had no hope of success. When I heard that the

aged hero Bhishma, having reduced the numbers of the race of shomaka to a

few, overcome with various wounds was lying on a bed of arrows, then, O

Sanjaya, I had no hope of success. When I heard that upon Bhishma’s lying

on the ground with thirst for water, Arjuna, being requested, had pierced

the ground and allayed his thirst, then, O Sanjaya, I had no hope of

success. When Bayu together with Indra and Suryya united as allies for

the success of the sons of Kunti, and the beasts of prey (by their

inauspicious presence) were putting us in fear, then, O Sanjaya, I had no

hope of success. When the wonderful warrior Drona, displaying various

modes of fight in the field, did not slay any of the superior Pandavas,

then, O Sanjaya, I had no hope of success. When I heard that the

Maharatha Sansaptakas of our army appointed for the overthrow of Arjuna

were all slain by Arjuna himself, then, O Sanjaya, I had no hope of

success. When I heard that our disposition of forces, impenetrable by

others, and defended by Bharadwaja himself well-armed, had been singly

forced and entered by the brave son of Subhadra, then, O Sanjaya, I had

no hope of success. When I heard that our Maharathas, unable to overcome

Arjuna, with jubilant faces after having jointly surrounded and slain the

boy Abhimanyu, then, O Sanjaya, I had no hope of success. When I heard

that the blind Kauravas were shouting for joy after having slain

Abhimanyu and that thereupon Arjuna in anger made his celebrated speech

referring to Saindhava, then, O Sanjaya, I had no hope of success. When I

heard that Arjuna had vowed the death of Saindhava and fulfilled his vow

in the presence of his enemies, then, O Sanjaya, I had no hope of

success. When I heard that upon the horses of Arjuna being fatigued,

Vasudeva releasing them made them drink water and bringing them back and

reharnessing them continued to guide them as before, then, O Sanjaya, I

had no hope of success. When I heard that while his horses were fatigued,

Arjuna staying in his chariot checked all his assailants, then, O

Sanjaya, I had no hope of success. When I heard that Yuyudhana of the

race of Vrishni, after having thrown into confusion the army of Drona

rendered unbearable in prowess owing to the presence of elephants,

retired to where Krishna and Arjuna were, then, O Sanjaya, I had no hope

of success. When I heard that Karna even though he had got Bhima within

his power allowed him to escape after only addressing him in contemptuous

terms and dragging him with the end of his bow, then, O Sanjaya, I had no

hope of success. When I heard that Drona, Kritavarma, Kripa, Karna, the

son of Drona, and the valiant king of Madra (Salya) suffered Saindhava to

be slain, then, O Sanjaya, I had no hope of success. When I heard that

the celestial Sakti given by Indra (to Karna) was by Madhava’s

machinations caused to be hurled upon Rakshasa Ghatotkacha of frightful

countenance, then, O Sanjaya, I had no hope of success. When I heard that

in the encounter between Karna and Ghatotkacha, that Sakti was hurled

against Ghatotkacha by Karna, the same which was certainly to have slain

Arjuna in battle, then, O Sanjaya. I had no hope of success. When I heard

that Dhristadyumna, transgressing the laws of battle, slew Drona while

alone in his chariot and resolved on death, then, O Sanjaya, I had no

hope of success. When I heard that Nakula. the son of Madri, having in

the presence of the whole army engaged in single combat with the son of

Drona and showing himself equal to him drove his chariot in circles

around, then, O Sanjaya, I had no hope of success. When upon the death of

Drona, his son misused the weapon called Narayana but failed to achieve

the destruction of the Pandavas, then, O Sanjaya, I had no hope of

success. When I heard that Bhimasena drank the blood of his brother

Duhsasana in the field of battle without anybody being able to prevent

him, then, O Sanjaya, I had no hope of success. When I heard that the

infinitely brave Karna, invincible in battle, was slain by Arjuna in that

war of brothers mysterious even to the gods, then, O Sanjaya, I had no

hope of success. When I heard that Yudhishthira, the Just, overcame the

heroic son of Drona, Duhsasana, and the fierce Kritavarman, then, O

Sanjaya, I had no hope of success. When I heard that the brave king of

Madra who ever dared Krishna in battle was slain by Yudhishthira, then, O

Sanjaya, I had no hope of success. When I heard that the wicked Suvala of

magic power, the root of the gaming and the feud, was slain in battle by

Sahadeva, the son of Pandu, then, O Sanjaya, I had no hope of success.

When I heard that Duryodhana, spent with fatigue, having gone to a lake

and made a refuge for himself within its waters, was lying there alone,

his strength gone and without a chariot, then, O Sanjaya, I had no hope

of success. When I heard that the Pandavas having gone to that lake

accompanied by Vasudeva and standing on its beach began to address

contemptuously my son who was incapable of putting up with affronts,

then, O Sanjaya, I had no hope of success. When I heard that while,

displaying in circles a variety of curious modes (of attack and defence)

in an encounter with clubs, he was unfairly slain according to the

counsels of Krishna, then, O Sanjaya, I had no hope of success. When I

heard the son of Drona and others by slaying the Panchalas and the sons

of Draupadi in their sleep, perpetrated a horrible and infamous deed,

then, O Sanjaya, I had no hope of success. When I heard that Aswatthaman

while being pursued by Bhimasena had discharged the first of weapons

called Aishika, by which the embryo in the womb (of Uttara) was wounded,

then, O Sanjaya, I had no hope of success. When I heard that the weapon

Brahmashira (discharged by Aswatthaman) was repelled by Arjuna with

another weapon over which he had pronounced the word “Sasti” and that

Aswatthaman had to give up the jewel-like excrescence on his head, then,

O Sanjaya, I had no hope of success. When I heard that upon the embryo in

the womb of Virata’s daughter being wounded by Aswatthaman with a mighty

weapon, Dwaipayana and Krishna pronounced curses on him, then, O Sanjaya,

I had no hope of success.

‘Alas! Gandhari, destitute of children, grand-children, parents,

brothers, and kindred, is to be pitied. Difficult is the task that hath

been performed by the Pandavas: by them hath a kingdom been recovered

without a rival.

‘Alas! I have heard that the war hath left only ten alive: three of our

side, and the Pandavas, seven, in that dreadful conflict eighteen

Akshauhinis of Kshatriyas have been slain! All around me is utter

darkness, and a fit of swoon assaileth me: consciousness leaves me, O

Suta, and my mind is distracted.”

“Sauti said, ‘Dhritarashtra, bewailing his fate in these words, was

overcome with extreme anguish and for a time deprived of sense; but being

revived, he addressed Sanjaya in the following words.

“After what hath come to pass, O Sanjaya, I wish to put an end to my life

without delay; I do not find the least advantage in cherishing it any


“Sauti said, ‘The wise son of Gavalgana (Sanjaya) then addressed the

distressed lord of Earth while thus talking and bewailing, sighing like a

serpent and repeatedly tainting, in words of deep import.

“Thou hast heard, O Raja, of the greatly powerful men of vast exertions,

spoken of by Vyasa and the wise Narada; men born of great royal families,

resplendent with worthy qualities, versed in the science of celestial

arms, and in glory emblems of Indra; men who having conquered the world

by justice and performed sacrifices with fit offerings (to the

Brahmanas), obtained renown in this world and at last succumbed to the

sway of time. Such were Saivya; the valiant Maharatha; Srinjaya, great

amongst conquerors. Suhotra; Rantideva, and Kakshivanta, great in glory;

Valhika, Damana, Saryati, Ajita, and Nala; Viswamitra the destroyer of

foes; Amvarisha, great in strength; Marutta, Manu, Ikshaku, Gaya, and

Bharata; Rama the son of Dasaratha; Sasavindu, and Bhagiratha;

Kritavirya, the greatly fortunate, and Janamejaya too; and Yayati of good

deeds who performed sacrifices, being assisted therein by the celestials

themselves, and by whose sacrificial altars and stakes this earth with

her habited and uninhabited regions hath been marked all over. These

twenty-four Rajas were formerly spoken of by the celestial Rishi Narada

unto Saivya when much afflicted for the loss of his children. Besides

these, other Rajas had gone before, still more powerful than they, mighty

charioteers noble in mind, and resplendent with every worthy quality.

These were Puru, Kuru, Yadu, Sura and Viswasrawa of great glory; Anuha,

Yuvanaswu, Kakutstha, Vikrami, and Raghu; Vijava, Virihorta, Anga, Bhava,

Sweta, and Vripadguru; Usinara, Sata-ratha, Kanka, Duliduha, and Druma;

Dambhodbhava, Para, Vena, Sagara, Sankriti, and Nimi; Ajeya, Parasu,

Pundra, Sambhu, and holy Deva-Vridha; Devahuya, Supratika, and

Vrihad-ratha; Mahatsaha, Vinitatma, Sukratu, and Nala, the king of the

Nishadas; Satyavrata, Santabhaya, Sumitra, and the chief Subala;

Janujangha, Anaranya, Arka, Priyabhritya, Chuchi-vrata, Balabandhu,

Nirmardda, Ketusringa, and Brhidbala; Dhrishtaketu, Brihatketu,

Driptaketu, and Niramaya; Abikshit, Chapala, Dhurta, Kritbandhu, and

Dridhe-shudhi; Mahapurana-sambhavya, Pratyanga, Paraha and Sruti. These,

O chief, and other Rajas, we hear enumerated by hundreds and by

thousands, and still others by millions, princes of great power and

wisdom, quitting very abundant enjoyments met death as thy sons have

done! Their heavenly deeds, valour, and generosity, their magnanimity,

faith, truth, purity, simplicity and mercy, are published to the world in

the records of former times by sacred bards of great learning. Though

endued with every noble virtue, these have yielded up their lives. Thy

sons were malevolent, inflamed with passion, avaricious, and of very

evil-disposition. Thou art versed in the Sastras, O Bharata, and art

intelligent and wise; they never sink under misfortunes whose

understandings are guided by the Sastras. Thou art acquainted, O prince,

with the lenity and severity of fate; this anxiety therefore for the

safety of thy children is unbecoming. Moreover, it behoveth thee not to

grieve for that which must happen: for who can avert, by his wisdom, the

decrees of fate? No one can leave the way marked out for him by

Providence. Existence and non-existence, pleasure and pain all have Time

for their root. Time createth all things and Time destroyeth all

creatures. It is Time that burneth creatures and it is Time that

extinguisheth the fire. All states, the good and the evil, in the three

worlds, are caused by Time. Time cutteth short all things and createth

them anew. Time alone is awake when all things are asleep: indeed, Time

is incapable of being overcome. Time passeth over all things without

being retarded. Knowing, as thou dost, that all things past and future

and all that exist at the present moment, are the offspring of Time, it

behoveth thee not to throw away thy reason.’

“Sauti said, ‘The son of Gavalgana having in this manner administered

comfort to the royal Dhritarashtra overwhelmed with grief for his sons,

then restored his mind to peace. Taking these facts for his subject,

Dwaipayana composed a holy Upanishad that has been published to the world

by learned and sacred bards in the Puranas composed by them.

“The study of the Bharata is an act of piety. He that readeth even one

foot, with belief, hath his sins entirely purged away. Herein Devas,

Devarshis, and immaculate Brahmarshis of good deeds, have been spoken of;

and likewise Yakshas and great Uragas (Nagas). Herein also hath been

described the eternal Vasudeva possessing the six attributes. He is the

true and just, the pure and holy, the eternal Brahma, the supreme soul,

the true constant light, whose divine deeds wise and learned recount;

from whom hath proceeded the non-existent and existent-non-existent

universe with principles of generation and progression, and birth, death

and re-birth. That also hath been treated of which is called Adhyatma

(the superintending spirit of nature) that partaketh of the attributes of

the five elements. That also hath been described who is purusha being

above such epithets as ‘undisplayed’ and the like; also that which the

foremost yatis exempt from the common destiny and endued with the power

of meditation and Tapas behold dwelling in their hearts as a reflected

image in the mirror.

“The man of faith, devoted to piety, and constant in the exercise of

virtue, on reading this section is freed from sin. The believer that

constantly heareth recited this section of the Bharata, called the

Introduction, from the beginning, falleth not into difficulties. The man

repeating any part of the introduction in the two twilights is during

such act freed from the sins contracted during the day or the night. This

section, the body of the Bharata, is truth and nectar. As butter is in

curd, Brahmana among bipeds, the Aranyaka among the Vedas, and nectar

among medicines; as the sea is eminent among receptacles of water, and

the cow among quadrupeds; as are these (among the things mentioned) so is

the Bharata said to be among histories.

“He that causeth it, even a single foot thereof, to be recited to

Brahmanas during a Sradha, his offerings of food and drink to the manes

of his ancestors become inexhaustible.

“By the aid of history and the Puranas, the Veda may be expounded; but

the Veda is afraid of one of little information lest he should it. The

learned man who recites to other this Veda of Vyasa reapeth advantage. It

may without doubt destroy even the sin of killing the embryo and the

like. He that readeth this holy chapter of the moon, readeth the whole of

the Bharata, I ween. The man who with reverence daily listeneth to this

sacred work acquireth long life and renown and ascendeth to heaven.

“In former days, having placed the four Vedas on one side and the Bharata

on the other, these were weighed in the balance by the celestials

assembled for that purpose. And as the latter weighed heavier than the

four Vedas with their mysteries, from that period it hath been called in

the world Mahabharata (the great Bharata). Being esteemed superior both

in substance and gravity of import it is denominated Mahabharata on

account of such substance and gravity of import. He that knoweth its

meaning is saved from all his sins.

‘Tapa is innocent, study is harmless, the ordinance of the Vedas

prescribed for all the tribes are harmless, the acquisition of wealth by

exertion is harmless; but when they are abused in their practices it is

then that they become sources of evil.'”



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