Mahabharata VII

SECTION CLVII

(Hidimva-vadha Parva continued)

“Vaisampayana said, ‘Bhima, beholding Hidimva following them, addressed

her, saying, ‘Rakshasas revenge themselves on their enemies by adopting

deceptions that are incapable of being penetrated. Therefore, O Hidimva,

go thou the way on which thy brother hath gone.’ Then Yudhishthira

beholding Bhima in rage, said, ‘O Bhima, O tiger among men, however

enraged, do not slay a woman. O Pandava, the observance of virtue is a

higher duty than the protection of life. Hidimva, who had come with the

object of slaying us, thou hast already slain. This woman is the sister

of that Rakshasa, what can she do to us even if she were angry?’

“Vaisampayana continued, ‘Then Hidimva reverentially saluting Kunti and

her son Yudhishthira also, said, with joined palms, ‘O revered lady, thou

knowest the pangs that women are made to feel at the hands of the deity

of love. Blessed dame, these pangs, of which Bhimasena hath been the

cause, are torturing me. I had hitherto borne these insufferable pangs,

waiting for the time (when thy son could assuage them). That time is now

come, when I expected I would be made happy. Casting off my friends and

relations and the usage of my race, I have, O blessed lady, chosen this

son of thine, this tiger among men, as my husband. I tell thee truly, O

illustrious lady, that if I am cast off by that hero or by thee either, I

will no longer bear this life of mine. Therefore, O thou of the fairest

complexion, it behoveth thee to show me mercy, thinking me either as very

silly or thy obedient slave. O illustrious dame, unite me with this thy

son, my husband. Endued as he is with the form of a celestial, let me go

taking him with me wherever I like. Trust me, O blessed lady, I will

again bring him back unto you all. When you think of me I will come to

you immediately and convey you whithersoever ye may command. I will

rescue you from all dangers and carry you across inaccessible and uneven

regions. I will carry you on my back whenever ye desire to proceed with

swiftness. O, be gracious unto me and make Bhima accept me. It hath been

said that in a season of distress one should protect one’s life by any

means. He, that seeketh to discharge that duty should not scruple about

the means. He, that in a season of distress keepeth his virtue, is the

foremost of virtuous men. Indeed, distress is the greatest danger to

virtue and virtuous men. It is virtue that protecteth life; therefore is

virtue called the giver of life. Hence the means by which virtue or the

observance of a duty is secured can never be censurable.’

“Hearing these words of Hidimva, Yudhishthira said. ‘It is even so, O

Hidimva, as thou sayest. There is no doubt of it. But, O thou of slender

waist, thou must act even as thou hast said. Bhima will, after he hath

washed himself and said his prayers and performed the usual propitiatory

rites, pay his attentions to thee till the sun sets. Sport thou with him

as thou likest during the day, O thou that art endued with the speed of

the mind! But thou must bring back Bhimasena hither every day at

nightfall.’

“Vaisampayana continued, ‘Then Bhima, expressing his assent to all that

Yudhishthira said, addressed Hidimva, saying, ‘Listen to me, O Rakshasa

woman! Truly do I make this engagement with thee that I will stay with

thee, O thou of slender waist, until thou obtainest a son.’ Then Hidimva,

saying, ‘So be it,’ took Bhima upon her body and sped through the sides.

On mountain peaks of picturesque scenery and regions sacred to the gods,

abounding with dappled herds and echoing with the melodies of feathered

tribes, herself assuming the handsomest form decked with every ornament

and pouring forth at times mellifluous strains. Hidimva sported with the

Pandava and studied to make him happy. So also, in inaccessible regions

of forests, and on mountain-breasts overgrown with blossoming trees on

lakes resplendent with lotuses and lilies, islands of rivers and their

pebbly banks, on sylvan streams with beautiful banks and

mountain-currents, in picturesque woods with blossoming trees and

creepers in Himalayan bowers, and various caves, on crystal pools smiling

with lotuses, on sea-shores shining with gold and pearls, in beautiful

towns and fine gardens, in woods sacred to the gods and on hill-sides, in

the regions of Guhyakas and ascetics, on the banks of Manasarovara

abounding with fruits and flowers of every season Hidimva, assuming the

handsomest form, sported with Bhima and studied to make him happy. Endued

with the speed of the mind, she sported with Bhima in all these regions,

till in time, she conceived and brought forth a mighty son begotten upon

her by the Pandava. Of terrible eyes and large mouth and straight arrowy

ears, the child was terrible to behold. Of lips brown as copper and sharp

teeth and loud roar, of mighty arms and great strength and excessive

prowess, this child became a mighty bowman. Of long nose, broad chest,

frightfully swelling calves, celerity of motion and excessive strength,

he had nothing human in his countenance, though born of man. And he

excelled (in strength and prowess) all Pisachas and kindred tribes as

well as all Rakshasas. And, O monarch, though a little child, he grew up

a youth the very hour he was born. The mighty hero soon acquired high

proficiency in the use of all weapons. The Rakshasa women bring forth the

very day they conceive, and capable of assuming any forms at will, they

always change their forms. And the bald-headed child, that mighty bowman,

soon after his birth, bowing down to his mother, touched her feet and the

feet also of his father. His parents then bestowed upon him a name. His

mother having remarked that his head was (bald) like unto a Ghata

(water-pot), both his parents thereupon called him Ghatotkacha (the

pot-headed). And Ghatotkacha who was exceedingly devoted to the Pandavas,

became a great favourite with them, indeed almost one of them.

“Then Hidimva, knowing that the period of her stay (with her husband) had

come to an end, saluted the Pandavas and making a new appointment with

them went away whithersoever she liked. And Ghatotkacha also–that

foremost of Rakshasas–promising unto his father that he would come when

wanted on business, saluted them and went away northward. Indeed, it was

the illustrious Indra who created (by lending a portion of himself) the

mighty car-warrior Ghatotkacha as a fit antagonist of Karna of unrivalled

energy, in consequence of the dart he had given unto Karna (and which was

sure to kill the person against whom it would be hurled).'”

SECTION CLVIII

(Hidimva-vadha Parva continued)

“Vaisampayana said, ‘Those mighty car-warriors, the heroic Pandavas, then

went, O king, from forest to forest killing deer and many animals (for

their food). And in the course of their wanderings they saw the countries

of the Matsyas, the Trigartas, the Panchalas and then of the Kichakas,

and also many beautiful woods and lakes therein. And they all had matted

locks on their heads and were attired in barks of trees and the skins of

animals. Indeed, with Kunti in their company those illustrious heroes

were attired in the garbs of ascetics. And those mighty car-warriors

sometimes proceeded in haste, carrying their mother on their backs; and

sometimes they proceeded in disguise, and sometimes again with great

celerity. And they used to study the Rik and the other Vedas and also all

the Vedangas as well as the sciences of morals and politics. And the

Pandavas, conversant with the science of morals, met, in course of their

wanderings their grandfather (Vyasa). And saluting the illustrious

Krishna-Dwaipayana, those chastisers of enemies, with their mother, stood

before him with joined hands.’

“Vyasa then said, ‘Ye bulls of Bharata’s race, I knew beforehand of this

affliction of yours consisting in your deceitful exile by the son of

Dhritarashtra. Knowing this, I have come to you, desirous of doing you

some great good. Do not grieve for what hath befallen you. Know that all

this is for your happiness. Undoubtedly, the sons of Dhritarashtra and

you are all equal in my eye. But men are always partial to those who are

in misfortune or of tender years. It is therefore, that my affection for

you is greater now. And in consequence of that affection, I desire to do

you good. Listen to me! Not far off before you is a delightful town where

no danger can overtake you. Live ye there in disguise, waiting for my

return.’

‘Vaisampayana continued, ‘Vyasa, the son of Satyavati, thus comforting

the Pandavas, led them into the town of Ekachakra. And the master also

comforted Kunti, saying, ‘Live, O daughter! This son of thine,

Yudhishthira, ever devoted to truth, this illustrious bull among men,

having by his justice conquered the whole world, will rule over all the

other monarchs of the earth. There is little doubt that, having by means

of Bhima’s and Arjuna’s prowess conquered the whole earth with her belt

of seas, he will enjoy the sovereignty thereof. Thy sons as well as those

of Madri–mighty car-warriors all–will cheerfully sport as pleaseth them

in their dominions. These tigers among men will also perform various

sacrifices, such as the Rajasuya and the horse-sacrifice, in which the

presents unto the Brahmanas are very large. And these thy sons will rule

their ancestral kingdom, maintaining their friends and relatives in

luxury and affluence and happiness.’

“Vaisampayana continued, ‘With these words Vyasa introduced them into the

dwelling of a Brahmana. And the island-born Rishi, addressing the eldest

of the Pandavas, said, ‘Wait here for me! I will come back to you! By

adapting yourselves to the country and the occasion you will succeed in

becoming very happy.’

“Then, O king, the Pandavas with joined hands said unto the Rishi, ‘So be

it.’ And the illustrious master, the Rishi Vyasa, then went away to the

region whence he had come.'”

SECTION CLIX

(Vaka-vadha Parva)

“Janamejaya asked, ‘O first of Brahmanas, what did the Pandavas, those

mighty car-warriors, the sons of Kunti, do after arriving at Ekachakra?’

“Vaisampayana said, ‘Those mighty car-warriors, the sons of Kunti, on

arriving at Ekachakra, lived for a short time in the abode of a Brahmana.

Leading an eleemosynary life, they behold (in course of their wanderings)

various delightful forests and earthly regions, and many rivers and

lakes, and they became great favourites of the inhabitants of that town

in consequence of their own accomplishments. At nightfall they placed

before Kunti all they gathered in their mendicant tours, and Kunti used

to divide the whole amongst them, each taking what was allotted to him.

And those heroic chastisers of foes, with their mother, together took one

moiety of the whole, while the mighty Bhima alone took the other moiety.

In this way, O bull of Bharata’s race, the illustrious Pandavas lived

there for some time.

“One day, while those bulls of the Bharata race were out on their tour of

mendicancy, it so happened that Bhima was (at home) with (his mother)

Pritha. That day, O Bharata, Kunti heard a loud and heart-rending wail of

sorrow coming from within the apartments of the Brahmana. Hearing the

inmates of the Brahmana’s house wailing and indulging in piteous

lamentations, Kunti, O king, from compassion and the goodness of her

heart, could not bear it with indifference. Afflicted with sorrow, the

amiable Pritha, addressing Bhima, said these words full of compassion.

‘Our woes assuaged, we are, O son, living happily in the house of this

Brahmana, respected by him and unknown to Dhritarashtra’s son. O son, I

always think of the good I should do to this Brahmana, like what they do

that live happily in others’ abodes! O child, he is a true man upon whom

favours are never lost. He payeth back to others more than what he

receiveth at their hands. There is no doubt, some affliction hath

overtaken this Brahmana. If we could be of any help to him, we should

then be requiting his services.’

“Hearing these words of his mother, Bhima said, ‘Ascertain, O mother the

nature of the Brahmana’s distress and whence also it hath arisen.

Learning all about it, relieve it I will however difficult may the task

prove.’

“Vaisampayana continued ‘While mother and son were thus talking with each

other, they heard again, O king, another wail of sorrow proceeding from

the Brahmana and his wife. Then Kunti quickly entered the inner

apartments of that illustrious Brahmana, like unto a cow running towards

her tethered calf. She beheld the Brahmana with his wife, son and

daughter, sitting with a woeful face, and she heard the Brahmana say,

‘Oh, fie on this earthly life which is hollow as the reed and so

fruitless after all which is based on sorrow and hath no freedom, and

which hath misery for its lot! Life is sorrow and disease; life is truly

a record of misery! The soul is one: but it hath to pursue virtue, wealth

and pleasure. And because these are pursued at one and the same time,

there frequently occurs a disagreement that is the source of much misery.

Some say that salvation is the highest object of our desire. But I

believe it can never be attained. The acquisition of wealth is hell; the

pursuit of wealth is attended with misery; there is more misery after one

has acquired it, for one loves one’s possessions, and if any mishap

befalls them, the possessor becomes afflicted with woe. I do not see by

what means I can escape from this danger, nor how I can fly hence, with

my wife to some region free from danger. Remember, O wife, that I

endeavoured to migrate to some other place where we would be happy, but

thou didst not then listen to me. Though frequently solicited by me,

thou, O simple woman, said to me, ‘I have been born here, and here have I

grown old; this is my ancestral homestead.’ Thy venerable father, O wife,

and thy mother also, have, a long time ago, ascended to heaven. Thy

relations also had all been dead. Oh why then didst thou yet like to live

here? Led by affection for thy relatives thou didst not then hear what I

said. But the time is now come when thou art to witness the death of a

relative. Oh, how sad is that spectacle for me! Or perhaps the time is

come for my own death, for I shall never be able to abandon cruelly one

of my own as long as I myself am alive. Thou art my helpmate in all good

deeds, self-denying and always affectionate unto me as a mother. The gods

have given thee to me as a true friend and thou art ever my prime stay.

Thou hast, by my parents, been made the participator in my domestic

concerns. Thou art of pure lineage and good disposition, the mother of

children, devoted to me, and so innocent; having chosen and wedded thee

with due rites, I cannot abandon thee, my wife, so constant in thy vows,

to save my life. How shall I myself be able to sacrifice my son a child

of tender years and yet without the hirsute appendages (of manhood)? How

shall I sacrifice my daughter whom I have begotten myself, who hath been

placed, as a pledge, in my hands by the Creator himself for bestowal on a

husband and through whom I hope to enjoy, along with my ancestors, the

regions attainable by those only that have daughters’ sons? Some people

think that the father’s affection for a son is greater; others, that his

affection for a daughter is greater, mine, however, is equal. How can I

be prepared to give up the innocent daughter upon whom rest the regions

of bliss obtainable by me in after life and my own lineage and perpetual

happiness? If, again, I sacrifice myself and go to the other world, I

should scarcely know any peace, for, indeed, it is evident that, left by

me these would not be able to support life. The sacrifice of any of these

would be cruel and censurable. On the other hand, if I sacrifice myself,

these, without me, will certainly perish. The distress into which I have

fallen is great; nor do I know the means of escape. Alas, what course

shall I take today with my near ones. It is well that I should die with

all these, for I can live no longer.'”

SECTION CLX

(Vaka-vadha Parva continued)

“Vaisampayana said, “On hearing these words of the Brahmana, his wife

said, ‘Thou shouldst not, O Brahmana, grieve like an ordinary man. Nor is

this the time for mourning. Thou hast learning; thou knowest that all men

are sure to die; none should grieve for that which is inevitable. Wife,

son, and daughter, all these are sought for one’s own self. As thou art

possessed of a good understanding, kill thou thy sorrows. I will myself

go there. This indeed, is the highest and the eternal duty of a woman,

viz., that by sacrificing her life she should seek the good of her

husband. Such an act done by me will make thee happy, and bring me fame

in this world and eternal bliss hereafter. This, indeed, is the highest

virtue that I tell thee, and thou mayest, by this, acquire both virtue

and happiness. The object for which one desireth a wife hath already been

achieved by thee through me. I have borne thee a daughter and a son and

thus been freed from the debt I had owed thee. Thou art well able to

support and cherish the children, but I however, can never support and

cherish them like thee. Thou art my life, wealth, and lord; bereft of

thee, how shall these children of tender years–how also shall I myself,

exist? Widowed and masterless, with two children depending on me, how

shall I, without thee, keep alive the pair, myself leading an honest

life? If the daughter of thine is solicited (in marriage) by persons

dishonourable and vain and unworthy of contracting an alliance with thee,

how shall I be able to protect the girl? Indeed, as birds seek with

avidity for meat that hath been thrown away on the ground, so do men

solicit a woman that hath lost her husband. O best of Brahmanas,

solicited by wicked men, I may waver and may not be able to continue in

the path that is desired by all honest men. How shall I be able to place

this sole daughter of thy house–this innocent girl–in the way along

which her ancestors have always walked? How shall I then be able to

impart unto this child every desirable accomplishment to make him

virtuous as thyself, in that season of want when I shall become

masterless? Overpowering myself who shall be masterless, unworthy persons

will demand (the hand of) this daughter of thine, like Sudras desiring to

hear the Vedas. And if I bestow not upon them this girl possessing thy

blood and qualities, they may even take her away by force, like crows

carrying away the sacrificial butter. And beholding thy son become so

unlike to thee, and thy daughter placed under the control of some

unworthy persons, I shall be despised in the world by even persons that

are dishonourable, and I will certainly die. These children also, bereft

of me and thee, their father, will, I doubt not, perish like fish when

the water drieth up. There is no doubt that bereft of thee the three will

perish: therefore it behoveth thee to sacrifice me. O Brahmana, persons

conversant with morals have said that for women that have borne children,

to predecease their lords is an act of the highest merit. Ready am I to

abandon this son and this daughter, these my relations, and life itself,

for thee. For a woman to be ever employed in doing agreeable offices to

her lord is a higher duty than sacrifices, asceticism, vows, and

charities of every description. The act, therefore, which I intend to

perform is consonant with the highest virtue and is for thy good and that

of thy race. The wise have declared that children and relatives and wife

and all things held dear are cherished for the purpose of liberating

one’s self from danger and distress. One must guard one’s wealth for

freeing one’s self from danger, and it is by his wealth that he should

cherish and protect his wife. But he must protect his own self both by

(means of) his wife and his wealth. The learned have enunciated the truth

that one’s wife, son, wealth, and house, are acquired with the intention

of providing against accidents, foreseen or unforeseen. The wise have

also said that all one’s relations weighed against one’s own self would

not be equal unto one’s self. Therefore, revered sir, protect thy own

self by abandoning me. O, give me leave to sacrifice myself, and cherish

thou my children. Those that are conversant with the morals have, in

their treatises, said, that women should never be slaughtered and that

Rakshasas are not ignorant of the rules of morality. Therefore, while it

is certain that the Rakshasa will kill a man, it is doubtful whether he

will kill a woman. It behoveth thee, therefore, being conversant with the

rules of morality, to place me before the Rakshasa. I have enjoyed much

happiness, have obtained much that is agreeable to me, and have also

acquired great religious merit. I have also obtained from thee children

that are so dear to me. Therefore, it grieveth not me to die. I have

borne thee children and have also grown old; I am ever desirous of doing

good to thee; remembering all these I have come to this resolution. O

revered sir, abandoning me thou mayest obtain another wife. By her thou

mayest again acquire religious merit. There is no sin in this. For a man

polygamy is an act of merit, but for a woman it is very sinful to betake

herself to a second husband after the first. Considering all this, and

remembering too that sacrifice of thy own self is censurable, O, liberate

today without loss of time thy own self, thy race, and these thy children

(by abandoning me).’

“Vaisampayana continued, ‘Thus addressed by her, O Bharata, the Brahmana

embraced her, and they both began to weep in silence, afflicted with

grief.'”

SECTION CLXI

(Vaka-vadha Parva continued)

“Vaisampayana said, ‘On hearing these words of her afflicted parents, the

daughter was filled with grief, and she addressed them, saying, ‘Why are

you so afflicted and why do you so weep, as if you have none to look

after you? O, listen to me and do what may be proper. There is little

doubt that you are bound in duty to abandon me at a certain time. Sure to

abandon me once, O, abandon me now and save every thing at the expense of

me alone. Men desire to have children, thinking that children would save

them (in this world as well as in the region hereafter). O, cross the

stream of your difficulties by means of my poor self, as if I were a

raft. A child rescueth his parents in this and the other regions;

therefore is the child called by the learned Putra (rescuer). The

ancestors desire daughter’s sons from me (as a special means of

salvation). But (without waiting for my children) I myself will rescue

them by protecting the life of my father. This my brother is of tender

years, so there is little doubt that he will perish if thou diest now. If

thou, my father, diest and my brother followeth thee, the funeral cake of

the Pitris will be suspended and they will be greatly injured. Left

behind by my father and brother, and by my mother also (for she will not

survive her husband and son) I shall be plunged deeper and deeper in woe

and ultimately perish in great distress. There can be little doubt that

if thou escape from this danger as also my mother and infant brother,

then thy race and the (ancestral) cake will be perpetuated. The son is

one’s own self; the wife is one’s friend; the daughter, however, is the

source of trouble. Do thou save thyself, therefore, by removing that

source of trouble, and do thou thereby set me in the path of virtue. As I

am a girl, O father, destitute of thee, I shall be helpless and plunged

in woe, and shall have to go everywhere. It is therefore that I am

resolved to rescue my father’s race and share the merit of that act by

accomplishing this difficult task. If thou, O best of Brahmanas, goest

thither (unto the Rakshasa), leaving me here, then I shall be very much

pained. Therefore, O father, be kind to me. O thou best of men, for our

sake, for that of virtue and also thy race, save thyself, abandoning me,

whom at one time thou shall be constrained to part from. There need be no

delay, O father, in doing that which is inevitable. What can be more

painful than that, when thou hast ascended to heaven, we shall have to go

about begging our food, like dogs, from strangers. But if thou art

rescued with thy relations from these difficulties, I shall then live

happily in the region of the celestials. It hath been heard by us that if

after bestowing thy daughter in this way, thou offerest oblations to the

gods and the celestials, they will certainly be propitious.’

“Vaisampayana continued, ‘The Brahmana and his wife, hearing these

various lamentations of their daughter, became sadder than before and the

three began to weep together. Their son, then, of tender years, beholding

them and their daughter thus weeping together, lisped these words in a

sweet tone, his eyes having dilated with delight, ‘Weep not, O father,

nor thou, O mother, nor thou O sister!’ And smilingly did the child

approach each of them, and at last taking up a blade of grass said in

glee, ‘With this will I slay the Rakshasa who eateth human beings!’

Although all of them had been plunged in woe, yet hearing what the child

lisped so sweetly, joy appeared on their faces. Then Kunti thinking that

to be the proper opportunity, approached the group and said these words.

Indeed, her words revived them as nectar reviveth a person that is dead.'”

SECTION CLXII

(Vaka-vadha Parva continued)

‘Kunti said, ‘I desire to learn from you the cause of this grief, for I

will remove it, if possible.’

“The Brahmana replied, ‘O thou of ascetic wealth, thy speech is, indeed

worthy of thee. But this grief is incapable of being removed by any human

being. Not far from this town, there liveth a Rakshasa of the name of

Vaka, which cannibal is the lord of this country and town. Thriving on

human flesh, that wretched Rakshasa endued with great strength ruleth

this country. He being the chief of the Asuras, this town and the country

in which it is situate are protected by his might. We have no fear from

the machinations of any enemy, or indeed from any living soul. The fee,

however, fixed for that cannibal is his food, which consists of a

cart-load of rice, two buffaloes, and a human being who conveyeth them

unto him. One after another, the house-holders have to send him this

food. The turn, however, cometh to a particular family at intervals of

many long years. If there are any that seek to avoid it, the Rakshasa

slayeth them with their children and wives and devoureth them all. There

is, in this country, a city called Vetrakiya, where liveth the king of

these territories. He is ignorant of the science of government, and

possessed of little intelligence, he adopts not with care any measure by

which these territories may be rendered safe for all time to come. But we

certainly deserve it all, inasmuch as we live within the dominion of that

wretched and weak monarch in perpetual anxiety. Brahmanas can never be

made to dwell permanently within the dominions of any one, for they are

dependent on nobody, they live rather like birds ranging all countries in

perfect freedom. It hath been said that one must secure a (good) king,

then a wife, and then wealth. It is by the acquisition of these three

that one can rescue his relatives and sons. But as regards the

acquisition of these three, the course of my actions hath been the

reverse. Hence, plunged into a sea of danger, am suffering sorely. That

turn, destructive of one’s family, hath now devolved upon me. I shall

have to give unto the Rakshasa as his fee the food of the aforesaid

description and one human being to boot. I have no wealth to buy a man

with. I cannot by any means consent to part with any one of my family,

nor do I see any way of escape from (the clutches of) that Rakshasa. I am

now sunk in an ocean of grief from which there is no escape. I shall go

to that Rakshasa today, attended by all my family in order that that

wretch might devour us all at once'”

SECTION CLXIII

(Vaka-vadha Parva continued)

“Kunti said, Grieve not at all, O Brahmana, on account of this danger. I

see a way by which to rescue thee from that Rakshasa. Thou hast only one

son, who, besides, is of very tender years, also only one daughter, young

and helpless, so I do not like that any of these, or thy wife, or even

thyself should go unto the Rakshasa. I have five sons, O Brahmana, let

one of them go, carrying in thy behalf tribute of that Rakshasa.’

“Hearing this, the Brahmana replied, ‘To save my own life I shall never

suffer this to be done. I shall never sacrifice, to save myself, the life

of a Brahmana or of a guest. Indeed, even those that are of low origin

and of sinful practices refuse to do (what thou askest me to do). It is

said that one should sacrifice one’s self and one’s offspring for the

benefit of a Brahmana. I regard this advice excellent and I like to

follow it too. When I have to choose between the death of a Brahmana and

that of my own, I would prefer the latter. The killing of a Brahmana is

the highest sin, and there is no expiation for it. I think a reluctant

sacrifice of one’s own self is better than the reluctant sacrifice of a

Brahmana. O blessed lady, in sacrificing myself I do not become guilty of

self-destruction. No sin can attach to me when another will take my life.

But if I deliberately consent to the death of a Brahmana, it would be a

cruel and sinful act, from the consequence of which there is no escape.

The learned have said that the abandonment of one who hath come to thy

house or sought thy protection, as also the killing of one who seeketh

death at thy hands, is both cruel and sinful. The illustrious among those

conversant with practices allowable in seasons of distress, have before

now said that one should never perform an act that is cruel and

censurable. It is well for me that I should today perish myself with my

wife, but I would never sanction the death of a Brahmana.’

“Kunti said, ‘I too am firmly of opinion, O Brahmana, that Brahmanas

should ever be protected. As regards myself, no son of mine would be less

dear to me even if I had a hundred instead of the five I have. But this

Rakshasa will not be able to kill my son, for that son of mine is endued

with great prowess and energy, and skilled in mantras. He will faithfully

deliver to the Rakshasa his food, but will, I know to a certainty, rescue

himself. I have seen before many mighty Rakshasas of huge bodies engaged

in combat with my heroic son and killed too by him. But, O Brahmana, do

not disclose this fact to anybody, for if it be known, persons desirous

of obtaining this power, will, from curiosity, always trouble my sons.

The wise have said that if my son imparteth any knowledge, without the

assent of his preceptor, unto any person, my son himself will no longer

be able to profit by that knowledge.’

“Thus addressed by Pritha, the Brahmana with his wife became exceedingly

glad and assented to Kunti’s speech, which was unto them as nectar. Then

Kunti, accompanied by the Brahmana, went unto the son of Vayu (Bhima) and

asked him to accomplish (that difficult task). Bhima replied unto them,

saying, ‘So be it.'”

SECTION CLXIV

(Vaka-vadha Parva continued)

“Vaisampayana said, ‘After Bhima had pledged himself to accomplish the

task, saying, ‘I will do it,’ the Pandavas, O Bharata, returned home with

the alms they had obtained during the day. Then Yudhishthira, the son of

Pandu from Bhima’s countenance alone, suspected the nature of the task he

had undertaken to accomplish. Sitting by the side of his mother,

Yudhishthira asked her in private, ‘What is the task, O mother, that

Bhima of terrible prowess seeketh to accomplish? Doth he do so at thy

command or of his own accord?’ Kunti replied, ‘Bhima, that chastiser of

foes, will at my command, do this great deed for the good of the Brahmana

and the liberation of this town.’

“Yudhishthira said, ‘What rash act hast thou done, O mother! It is

difficult of being performed and almost amounteth to suicide! The learned

never applaud the abandonment of one’s own child. Why dost thou, O

mother, wish to sacrifice thy own child for the sake of another’s? Thou

hast, O mother, by this abandonment of thy child, acted not only against

the course of human practices but also against the teachings of the

Vedas, That Bhima, relying on whose arms we sleep happily in the night

and hope to recover the kingdom of which we have been deprived by the

covetous son of Dhritarashtra, that hero of immeasurable energy,

remembering whose prowess Duryodhana and Sakuni do not sleep a wink

during the whole night and by whose prowess we were rescued from the

palace of lac and various other dangers, that Bhima who caused the death

of Purochana, and relying on whose might we regard ourselves as having

already slain the sons of Dhritarashtra and acquired the whole earth with

all her wealth, upon what considerations, O mother, hast thou resolved

upon abandoning him? Hast thou been deprived of thy reason? Hath thy

understanding been clouded by the calamities thou hast undergone?’

“On hearing these words of her son, Kunti said, ‘O Yudhishthira, thou

needst not be at all anxious on account of Vrikodara. I have not come to

this resolve owing to any weakness of understanding. Respected by him,

and with our sorrows assuaged, we have, O son, been living in the house

of this Brahmana, unknown to the sons of Dhritarashtra. For requiting, O

son, that Brahmana, I have resolved to do this. He, indeed, is a man upon

whom good offices are never lost. The measure of his requital becometh

greater than the measure of the services he receiveth. Beholding the

prowess of Bhima on the occasion of (our escape from) the house of lac,

and from the destruction also of Hidimva, my confidence in Vrikodara is

great. The might of Bhima’s arms is equal unto that of ten thousand

elephants. It was, therefore, that he succeeded in carrying you all, each

heavy as an elephant, from Varanavata. There is no one on earth equal

unto Bhima in might; he may even overcome that foremost of warriors, the

holder of the thunderbolt himself. Soon after his birth he fell from my

lap on the breast of the mountain. By the weight of his body the mass of

stone on which he fell down broke in pieces. From this also, O son of

Pandu, I have come to know Bhima’s might. For this reason have I resolved

to set him against the Brahmana’s foe. I have not acted in this from

foolishness or ignorance or from motive of gain. I have deliberately

resolved to do this virtuous deed. By this act, O Yudhishthira, two

objects will be accomplished; one is a requital of the services rendered

by the Brahmana and the other is the acquisition of high religious merit.

It is my conviction that the Kshatriya who rendereth help unto a Brahmana

in anything acquireth regions of bliss hereafter. So also a Kshatriya who

saveth the life of a Kshatriya achieveth that great fame in this world as

in the other. A Kshatriya rendering help unto a Vaisya also on this earth

certainly acquires world-wide popularity. One of the kingly tribe should

protect even the Sudra who cometh to him for protection. If he doeth so,

in his next life he receiveth his birth in a royal line, commanding

prosperity and the respect of other kings. O scion of Puru’s race, the

illustrious Vyasa of wisdom acquired by hard ascetic toil told me so in

bygone days. It is therefore, that I have resolved upon accomplishing

this.'”

SECTION CLXV

(Vaka-vadha Parva continued)

“Having heard these words of his mother, Yudhishthira said, ‘What thou, O

mother, hast deliberately done, moved by compassion for the afflicted

Brahmana, is, indeed, excellent Bhima will certainly come back with life,

after having slain the cannibal, inasmuch as thou art, O mother, always

compassionate unto Brahmanas. But tell the Brahmana, O mother, that he

doth not do anything whereby the dwellers in this town may know all about

it, and make him promise to keep thy request.’

“Vaisampayana continued, ‘Then, when the night passed away, Bhimasena,

the son of Pandu, taking with him the Rakshasa’s food set out for the

place where the cannibal lived. The mighty son of Pandu, approaching the

forest where the Rakshasa dwelt, began to eat himself the food he

carried, calling loudly to the Rakshasa by name. The Rakshasa, inflamed

with anger at Bhima’s words, came out and approached the place where

Bhima was.

“Of huge body and great strength, of red eyes, red beard, and red hair,

he was terrible to behold, and he came, pressing deep the earth with his

tread. The opening of his mouth, was from ear to ear and his ears

themselves were straight as arrows. Of grim visage, he had a forehead

furrowed into three lines. Beholding Bhima eating his food, the Rakshasa

advanced, biting his nether lip and expanding his eyes in wrath. And

addressing Bhima he said, ‘Who is this fool, who desiring to go to the

abode of Yama, eateth in my very sight the food intended for me?’ Hearing

these words, Bhima, O Bharata, smiled in derision and disregarding the

Rakshasa, continued eating with averted face. Beholding this, the

cannibal uttered a frightful yell and with both arms upraised ran at

Bhima desiring to kill him, there and then. Even then disregarding the

Rakshasa and casting only a single glance at him, Vrikodara, that slayer

of hostile heroes continued to eat the Rakshasa’s food. Filled with wrath

at this, the Rakshasa struck, from behind with both his arms a heavy blow

on the back of Vrikodara, the son of Kunti. But Bhima, though struck

heavily by the mighty Rakshasa, with both his hands, did not even look up

at the Rakshasa but continued to eat as before. Then the mighty Rakshasa,

inflamed with wrath, tore up a tree and ran at Bhima for striking him

again. Meanwhile the mighty Bhima, that bull among men had leisurely

eaten up the whole of that food and washing himself stood cheerfully for

fight. Then, O Bharata, possessed of great energy, Bhima, smiling in

derision, caught with his left hand the tree hurled at him by the

Rakshasa in wrath. Then that mighty Rakshasa, tearing up many more trees,

hurled them at Bhima, and the Pandava also hurled as many at the

Rakshasa. Then, O king, the combat with trees between that human being

and the Rakshasa, became so terrible that the region around soon became

destitute of trees. Then the Rakshasa, saying that he was none else than

Vaka, sprang upon the Pandava and seized the mighty Bhima with his arms.

That mighty hero also clasping with his own strong arms the strong-armed

Rakshasa, and exerting himself actively, began to drag him violently.

Dragged by Bhima and dragging Bhima also, the cannibal was overcome with

great fatigue. The earth began to tremble in consequence of the strength

they both exerted, and large trees that stood there broke in pieces. Then

Bhima, beholding the cannibal overcome with fatigue, pressed him down on

the earth with his knees and began to strike him with great force. Then

placing one knee on the middle of the Rakshasa’s back, Bhima seized his

neck with his right hand and the cloth on his waist with his left, and

bent him double with great force. The cannibal then roared frightfully.

And, O monarch, he also began to vomit blood while he was being thus

broken on Bhima’s knee.'”

SECTION CLXVI

(Vaka-vadha Parva continued)

“Vaisampayana said ‘Then Vaka, huge as a mountain, thus broken (on

Bhima’s knee), died, uttering frightful yells. Terrified by these sounds,

the relatives of that Rakshasa came out, O king, with their attendants.

Bhima, that foremost of smiters, seeing them so terrified and deprived of

reason, comforted them and made them promise (to give up cannibalism),

saying, ‘Do not ever again kill human beings. If ye kill men, ye will

have to die even as Vaka.’ Those Rakshasas hearing this speech of Bhima,

said, ‘So be it,’ and gave, O king, the desired promise. From that day, O

Bharata, the Rakshasas (of the region) were seen by the inhabitants of

that town to be very peaceful towards mankind. Then Bhima, dragging the

lifeless cannibal, placed him at one of the gates of the town and went

away unobserved by any one. The kinsmen of Vaka, beholding him slain by

the might of Bhima, became frightened and fled in different directions.

“Meanwhile Bhima, having slain the Rakshasa, returned to the Brahmana’s

abode and related to Yudhishthira all that had happened, in detail. The

next morning the inhabitants of the town in coming out saw the Rakshasa

lying dead on the ground, his body covered with blood. Beholding that

terrible cannibal, huge as a mountain cliff, thus mangled and lying on

the ground, the hair of the spectators stood erect. Returning to

Ekachakra, they soon gave the intelligence. Then, O king, the citizens by

thousands accompanied by their wives, young and old, all began to come to

the spot for beholding the Vaka and they were all amazed at seeing that

superhuman feat. Instantly, O monarch, they began to pray to their gods.

Then they began to calculate whose turn it had been the day before to

carry food to the Rakshasa. And ascertaining this, they all came to that

Brahmana and asked him (to satisfy their curiosity). Thus asked by them

repeatedly, that bull among Brahmanas, desirous of concealing the

Pandavas, said these words unto all the citizens, ‘A certain high-souled

Brahmana, skilled in mantras, beheld me weeping with my relatives after I

had been ordered to supply the Rakshasa’s food. Asking me the cause and

ascertaining the distress of the town, that first of Brahmanas gave me

every assurance and with smiles said, ‘I shall carry the food for that

wretched Rakshasa today. Do not fear for me.’ Saying this he conveyed the

food towards the forest of Vaka. This deed, so beneficial unto us all,

hath very certainly been done by him.’

Then those Brahmanas and Kshatriyas (of the city), hearing this, wondered

much. And the Vaisyas and the Sudras also became exceedingly glad, and

they all established a festival in which the worship of Brahmanas was the

principal ceremony (in remembrance of this Brahmana who had relieved them

from their fears of Vaka).

SECTION CLXVII

(Chaitraratha Parva)

After this citizens returned to their respective houses and the Pandavas

continued to dwell at Ekachakra as before.

“Janamejaya said, ‘O Brahmana, what did those tigers among men, the

Pandavas, do after they had slain the Rakshasa Vaka?’

“Vaisampayana said, ‘The Pandavas, O king, after slaying the Rakshasa

Vaka, continued to dwell in the abode of that Brahmana, employed in the

study of the Vedas. Within a few days there came a Brahmana of rigid vows

unto the abode of their host to take up his quarters there. Their host,

that bull among Brahmanas, ever hospitable unto all guests, worshipping

the newly-arrived Brahmana with due ceremonies, gave him quarters in his

own abode. Then those bulls among men, the Pandavas, with their mother

Kunti, solicited the new lodger to narrate to them his interesting

experiences. The Brahmana spake to them of various countries and shrines

and (holy) rivers, of kings and many wonderful provinces and cities. And

after this narration was over, that Brahmana, O Janamejaya, also spoke of

the wonderful self-choice of Yajnasena’s daughter, the princes of

Panchala, and of the births of Dhrishtadyumna and Sikhandi, and of the

birth, without the intervention of a woman, of Krishna (Draupadi) at the

great sacrifice of Drupada.

“Then those bulls among men, the Pandavas, hearing of these extraordinary

facts regarding that illustrious monarch (Drupada), and desiring to know

the details thereof, asked the Brahmana, after his narration was

concluded, to satisfy their curiosity. The Pandavas said, ‘How, O

Brahmana, did the birth of Dhrishtadyumna the son of Drupada, take place

from the (sacrificial) fire? How also did the extraordinary birth of

Krishna take place from the centre of the sacrificial platform? How also

did Drupada’s son learn all weapons from the great bowman Drona? And, O

Brahmana, how and for whom and for what reason was the friendship between

Drona and Drupada broken off?’

“Vaisampayana continued, ‘Thus questioned, O monarch, by those bulls

among men, the Brahmana narrated all the particulars about the birth of

Draupadi.'”

SECTION CLXVIII

(Chaitraratha Parva continued)

“The Brahmana said, ‘At that region where the Ganga entered the plains

there lived a great Rishi, devoted to the austerest of penances. Of rigid

vows and great wisdom, he bore the name Bharadwaja. One day, on coming to

the Ganga to perform his ablutions, the Rishi saw the Apsara Ghritachi,

who had come before, standing on the bank after her ablutions were over.

And it so happened that a wind arose and disrobed the Apsara standing

there. And the Rishi beholding her thus disrobed, felt the influence of

desire. Though practising the vow of continence from his very youth, as

soon as he felt the influence of desire, the Rishi’s vital fluid came

out. And as it came out, he held it in a pot (drana), and of that fluid

thus preserved in a pot was born a son who came to be called Drona (the

pot-born). And Drona studied all the Vedas and their several branches.

And Bharadwaja had a friend named Prishata who was the king of Panchalas.

And about the time that Drona was born, Prishata also obtained a son

named Drupada. And that bull amongst Kshatriyas, Prishata’s son, going

every day to that asylum of Bharadwaja, played and studied with Drona.

And after Prishata’s death, Drupada succeeded him on the throne. Drona

about this time heard that (the great Brahmana hero) Rama (on the eve of

his retiring into the weeds) was resolved to give away all his wealth.

Hearing this, the son of Bharadwaja repaired unto Rama who was about to

retire into the woods and addressing him, said, ‘O best of Brahmanas,

know me to be Drona who hath come to thee to obtain thy wealth.’ Rama

replied, saying, ‘I have given away everything. All that I now have is

this body of mine and my weapons. O Brahmana, thou mayest ask of me one

of these two, either my body or my weapons.’ Then Drona said, ‘It

behoveth thee, sir, to give me all thy weapons together with (the

mysteries of) their use and withdrawal.’

“The Brahmana continued, ‘Then Rama of Bhrigu’s race, saying, ‘So be it,’

gave all his weapons unto Drona, who obtaining them regarded himself as

crowned with success. Drona obtaining from Rama the most exalted of all

weapons, called the Brahma weapon, became exceedingly glad and acquired a

decided superiority over all men. Then the son of Bharadwaja, endued with

great prowess went to king Drupada, and approaching that monarch, that

tiger among men, said, ‘Know me for thy friend.’ Hearing this Drupada

said, ‘One of low birth can never be the friend of one whose lineage is

pure, nor can one who is not a car-warrior have a car-warrior for his

friend. So also one who is not a king cannot have a king as his friend.

Why dost thou, therefore, desire (to revive our) former friendship?’

“The Brahmana continued, ‘Drona, gifted with great intelligence, was

extremely mortified at this, and settling in his mind some means of

humiliating the king of the Panchala he went to the capital of the Kurus,

called after the name of an elephant. Then Bhishma, taking with him his

grandsons, presented them unto the wise son of Bharadwaja as his pupils

for instruction, along with various kinds of wealth. Then Drona, desirous

of humiliating king Drupada, called together his disciples and addressed

them, ‘Ye sinless ones, it behoveth you, after you have been accomplished

in arms, to give me as preceptorial fee something that I cherish in my

heart.’ Then Arjuna and others said unto their preceptor, ‘So be

it.’–After a time when the Pandavas became skilled in arms and sure

aims, demanding of them his fee, he again told them these words,

‘Drupada, the son of Prishata, is the king of Chhatravati. Take away from

him his kingdom, and give it unto me.’ Then the Pandavas, defeating

Drupada in battle and taking him prisoner along with his ministers,

offered him unto Drona, who beholding the vanquished monarch, said, ‘O

king, I again solicit thy friendship; and because none who is not a king

deserveth to be the friend of a king, therefore, O Yajnasena, I am

resolved to divide thy kingdom amongst ourselves. While thou art the king

of the country to the south of Bhagirathi (Ganga), I will rule the

country to the north.’

“The Brahmana continued, ‘The king of the Panchalas, thus addressed by

the wise son of Bharadwaja, told that best of Brahmanas and foremost of

all persons conversant with weapons, these words, ‘O high-souled son of

Bharadwaja, blest be thou, let it be so, let there be eternal friendship

between us as thou desirest!’ Thus addressing each other and establishing

a permanent bond between themselves, Drona and the king of Panchala, both

of them chastisers of foes, went away to the places they came from. But

the thought of that humiliation did not leave the king’s mind for a

single moment. Sad at heart, the king began to waste away.'”

SECTION CLXIX

(Chaitraratha Parva continued)

“The Brahmana continued, ‘King Drupada (after this), distressed at heart,

wandered among many asylums of Brahmanas in search of superior Brahmanas

well-skilled in sacrificial rites. Overwhelmed with grief and eagerly

yearning for children, the king always said, ‘Oh, I have no offspring

surpassing all in accomplishments.’ And the monarch, from great

despondency, always said ‘Oh, fie on those children that I have and on my

relatives!’ And ever thinking of revenging himself on Drona, the monarch

sighed incessantly. And that best of kings, O Bharata, even after much

deliberation, saw no way of overcoming, by his Kshatriya might, the

prowess and discipline and training and accomplishment of Drona.

Wandering along the banks of the Yamuna and the Ganga, the monarch once

came upon a sacred asylum of Brahmanas. There was in that asylum no

Brahmana who was not a Snataka, no one who was not of rigid vows, and

none who was not virtuous to a high degree. And the king saw there two

Brahmana sages named Yaja and Upayaja, both of rigid vows and souls under

complete control and belonging to the most superior order. They were both

devoted to the study of the ancient institutes and sprung from the race

of Kasyapa. And those best of Brahmanas were well-able to help the king

in the attainment of his object. The king then, with great assiduity and

singleness of purpose, began to court this pair of excellent Brahmanas.

Ascertaining the superior accomplishments of the younger of the two the

king courted in private Upayaja of rigid vows, by the offer of every

desirable acquisition. Employed in paying homage to the feet of Upayaja,

always addressing in sweet words and offering him every object of human

desire, Drupada, after worshipping that Brahmana, addressed him (one

day), saying, ‘O Upayaja, O Brahmana, if thou, performest those

sacrificial rites by (virtue of) which I may obtain a son who may slay

Drona, I promise thee ten thousand kine, or whatever else may be

agreeable to thee, O first of Brahmanas, truly am I ready to make gifts

to thee.’ Thus addressed by the king, the Rishi replied, saying, ‘I

cannot (perform such rites).’ But Drupada without accepting this reply as

final, once more began to serve and pay homage unto that Brahmana. Then,

after the expiration of a year, Upayaja, that first of Brahmanas, O

monarch, addressing Drupada in sweet tone, said, ‘My elder brother

(Yaja), one day, while wandering through the deep woods, took up a fruit

that had fallen upon a spot the purity of which he cared not to enquire

about. I was following him (at the time) and observed this unworthy act

of his. Indeed, he entertains no scruples in accepting things impure. In

accepting that (particular) fruit he saw not any impropriety of sinful

nature: Indeed, he who observeth not purity (in one instance) is not very

likely to observe it in the other instances. When he lived in the house

of his preceptor, employed in studying the institutes, he always used to

eat (impure) remnants of other people’s feasts. He always speaks

approvingly of food and entertains no dislike for anything. Arguing from

these, I believe that my brother covets earthy acquisitions. Therefore, O

king, go unto him; he will perform spiritual offices for thee.’ Hearing

these words of Upayaja, king Drupada, though entertaining a low opinion

of Yaja, nevertheless went to his abode. Worshipping Yaja who was (still)

worthy of homage, Drupada said unto him, ‘O master, perform thou

spiritual offices for me and I will give thee eighty thousand kine!

Enmity with Drona burneth my heart; it behoveth thee therefore to cool

that heart of mine. Foremost of those conversant with the Vedas, Drona is

also skilled in the Brahma weapon and for this, Drona hath overcome me in

a contest arising from (impaired) friendship. Gifted with great

intelligence, the son of Bharadwaja is (now) the chief preceptor of the

Kurus. There is no Kshatriya in this world superior to him. His bow is

full six cubits long and looks formidable, and his shafts are capable of

slaying every living being. That great bowman, the high-souled son of

Bharadwaja, habited as a Brahmana, is destroying the Kshatriya power all

over the earth. Indeed, he is like a second Jamadagnya intended for the

extermination of the Kshatriya race. There is no man on earth who can

overcome the terrible force of his weapons. Like a blazing fire fed with

clarified butter, Drona, possessed of Brahma might and uniting it with

Kshatriya might, consumeth every antagonist in battle. But (thy) Brahma

force is greater in itself than (Drona’s) Brahma force united with

Kshatriya might. Therefore, as I am inferior (to Drona) in consequence of

my possession of Kshatriya might alone, I solicit the aid of thy Brahma

force, having obtained thee so superior to Drona in knowledge of Brahma.

O Yaja, perform that sacrifice by means of which I may obtain a son

invincible in battle and capable of slaying Drona. Ready am I to give

thee ten thousand kine.’ Hearing these words of Drupada, Yaja said, ‘So

be it.’ Yaja then began to recollect the various ceremonies appertaining

to the particular sacrifice. And knowing the affair to be a very grave

one, he asked the assistance of Upayaja who coveted nothing. Then Yaja

promised to perform the sacrifice for the destruction of Drona. Then the

great ascetic Upayaja spoke unto king Drupada of everything required for

the grand sacrifice (by aid of fire) from which the king was to obtain

offspring. And he said, ‘O king, a child shall be born unto thee, endued,

as thou desirest, with great prowess, great energy, and great strength.’

“The Brahmana continued, ‘Then king Drupada, impelled by the desire of

obtaining a son who was to slay Drona, began, for the success of his

wish, to make the necessary preparations. (And when everything was

complete) Yaja, after having poured libations of clarified butter on the

sacrificial fire, commanded Drupada’s queen, saying, ‘Come hither, O

queen, O daughter-in-law of Prishata! A son and a daughter have arrived

for thee!’ Hearing this, the queen said, ‘O Brahmana, my mouth is yet

filled with saffron and other perfumed things. My body also beareth many

sweet scents; I am hardly fit for accepting (the sanctified butter which

is to give me offspring). Wait for me a little, O Yaja! Wait for that

happy consummation.’ Yaja, however, replied, ‘O lady, whether thou comest

or waitest, why should not the object of this sacrifice be accomplished

when the oblation hath already been prepared by me and sanctified by

Upayaja’s invocations?’

“The Brahmana continued, ‘Having said this, Yaja poured the sanctified

libation on the fire, whereupon arose from those flames a child

resembling a celestial who possessing the effulgence of fire, was

terrible to behold. With a crown on this head and his body encased in

excellent armour, sword in hand, and bearing a bow and arrows, he

frequently sent forth loud roars. And immediately after his birth, he

ascended an excellent chariot and went about in it for some time. Then

the Panchalas in great joy shouted, ‘Excellent, Excellent.’ The very

earth seemed at that time unable to bear the weight of the Panchalas mad

with joy. Then, marvellous to say, the voice of some invisible spirit in

the skies said, ‘This prince hath been born for the destruction of Drona.

He shall dispel all the fears of the Panchalas and spread their fame. He

shall also remove the sorrow of the king.’ And there arose, after this

from the centre of the sacrificial platform, a daughter also, called

Panchali, who, blest with great good fortune, was exceedingly handsome.

Her eyes were black, and large as lotus-petals, her complexion was dark,

and her locks were blue and curly. Her nails were beautifully convex, and

bright as burnished copper; her eye-brows were fair, and bosom was deep.

Indeed, she resembled the veritable daughter of a celestial born among

men. Her body gave out fragrance like that of a blue lotus, perceivable

from a distance of full two miles. Her beauty was such that she had no

equal on earth. Like a celestial herself, she could be desired (in

marriage) by a celestial, a Danava, or a: Yaksha. When this girl of fair

hips was born an incorporeal voice said, ‘This dark-complexioned girl

will be the first of all women, and she will be the cause of the

destruction of many Kshatriyas. This slender-waisted one will, in time,

accomplish the purpose of the gods, and along with her many a danger will

overtake the Kauravas.’ On hearing these words, the Panchalas uttered a

loud leonine roar, and the earth was unable to bear the weight of that

joyous concourse. Then beholding the boy and the girl, the

daughter-in-law of Prishata, desiring to have them, approached Yaja and

said, ‘Let not these know any one else except myself as their mother.’

Yaja, desiring to do good unto the king said, ‘So be it!’ Then the

Brahmanas (present there), their expectations fully gratified, bestowed

names upon the new-born pair, ‘Let this son of king Drupada, they said,

be called Dhrishtadyumna, because of his excessive audacity and because

of his being born like Dyumna with a natural mail and weapon.’ And they

also said, ‘Because this daughter is so dark in complexion, she should be

called Krishna (the dark).’

“The Brahmana continued, ‘Thus were born those twins of the great

sacrifice of Drupada. And the great Drona, bringing the Panchala prince

into his own abode, taught him all weapons in requital of half the

kingdom he had formerly taken from Drupada. The high-souled son of

Bharadwaja, regarding destiny to be inevitable, did what would perpetuate

his own great deeds.'”

SECTION CLXX

(Chaitraratha Parva continued)

“Vaisampayana said, ‘Hearing these words of the Brahmana, the sons of

Kunti seemed to be, as it were, pierced with darts. Indeed, all those

mighty heroes lost their peace of mind. Then the truthful Kunti,

beholding all her sons listless and inattentive, addressed Yudhishthira

and said, ‘We have now lived many nights in the abode of this Brahmana.

We have passed our time pleasantly in this town, living on the alms

obtained from many honest and illustrious persons. O oppressor of foes,

as we have now seen often and often all the agreeable woods and gardens

that are in this part of the country, seeing them again would no longer

give any pleasure. O heroic scion of Kuru’s race, alms also are not now

obtainable here as easily as before. If thou wishest it would be well for

us now to go to Panchala; we have not seen that country, it will, no

doubt, O hero, prove delightful to us. O crusher of foes, it hath been

heard by us that alms are obtainable in the country of the Panchala, and

that Yajnasena, the king thereof, is devoted to Brahmanas. I am of

opinion that it is not good to live long in one place. Therefore, O son,

if thou likest, it is good for us to go there.’

“Hearing these words, Yudhishthira said, ‘It is our duty to obey thy

command, which, besides, must be for our good, I do not, however, know

whether my younger brothers are willing to go.'”

SECTION CLXXI

(Chaitraratha Parva continued)

“Vaisampayana continued, ‘Then Kunti spoke unto Bhimasena and Arjuna and

the twins regarding the journey to Panchala. They all said, ‘So be it.’

Then, O king, Kunti with her sons saluted the Brahmana (in whose house

they had dwelt) and set out for the delightful town of the illustrious

Drupada.’

“Vaisampayana said, ‘While the illustrious Pandavas were living disguised

in the abode of the Brahmana, Vyasa, the son of Satyavati, once went to

see them. Those chastisers of foes, beholding him coming rose up and

stepped onward to receive him. Saluting him reverentially and worshipping

him also the Pandavas stood in silence with joined hands. Thus worshipped

by them the sage became gratified. He asked them to be seated, and

cheerfully addressing them said, ‘Ye slayers of foes, are ye living in

the path of virtue and according to the scriptures? Do ye worship the

Brahmanas? Ye are not, I hope, backward in paying homage unto those that

deserve your homage?’ The illustrious Rishi, after this, spoke many words

of virtuous import, and after discoursing upon many topics of great

interest, he said, ‘An illustrious Rishi, living in a certain hermitage,

had a daughter of tender waist, fair lips, and fine eye-brows, and

possessing every accomplishment. As a consequence of her own acts (in a

past life) the fair maid became very unfortunate. Though chaste and

beautiful, the damsel obtained not a husband. With a sorrowful heart she

thereupon began to practise ascetic penances with the object of obtaining

a husband. She soon gratified by her severe asceticism the god Sankara

(Mahadeva), who became propitious unto her and said unto that illustrious

damsel, ‘Ask thou the boon thou desirest! Blest be thou! I am Sankara

prepared to give thee what thou wilt ask.’ Desirous of benefiting

herself, the maid repeatedly said unto the supreme lord, ‘O give me, a

husband endued with every accomplishment.’ Then Isana (Mahadeva), that

foremost of all speakers, replied unto her, saying, ‘O blessed one, thou

shall have five husbands from among the Bharata princes.’ Thus told, the

maiden said unto the god who had given her that boon, ‘O lord, I desire

to have only one husband through thy grace.’ The god then addressed her

again and said these excellent words, ‘Thou hast, O girl, said full five

times, ‘Give me (a) husband.’ Thou shalt, therefore, in another life have

five husbands!’ Ye princes of Bharata’s line, that damsel of celestial

beauty hath been born in the line of Drupada. The faultless Krishna of

Prishata’s line hath been appointed to be the wife of you all. Ye mighty

ones, go therefore, to the capital of the Panchalas and dwell ye there.

There is no doubt that having obtained her as wife ye shall be very

happy.’

“Vaisampayana continued, ‘Having said so unto the Pandavas, the

illustrious and blessed grandsire then bade them farewell. The great

ascetic then left them and went to the place whence he had come.'”

SECTION CLXXII

(Chaitraratha Parva continued)

“Vaisampayana said, ‘After Vyasa had gone away, those bulls among men,

the Pandavas, saluted the Brahmana and bade him farewell, and proceeded

(towards Panchala) with joyous hearts and with their mother walking

before them. Those slayers of all foes, in order to reach their

destination, proceeded in a due northerly direction, walking day and

night till they reached a sacred shrine of Siva with the crescent mark on

his brow. Then those tigers among men, the sons of Pandu, arrived at the

banks of the Ganga. Dhananjaya, that mighty car-warrior, walking before

them, torch in hand, for showing the way and guarding them (against wild

animals). And it so happened that at that time the proud king of the

Gandharvas, with his wives, was sporting in that solitary region in the

delightful waters of the Ganga. The king of the Gandharvas heard the

tread of the Pandavas as they approached the river. On hearing the sounds

of their foot-steps, the mighty Gandharvas were inflamed with wrath, and

beholding those chastisers of foes, the Pandavas, approach towards him

with their mother, he drew his frightful bow to a circle and said, ‘It is

known that excepting the first forty seconds the grey twilight preceding

nightfall hath been appointed for the wandering of the Yakshas, the

Gandharvas and the Rakshasas, all of whom are capable of going everywhere

at will. The rest of the time hath been appointed for man to do his work.

If therefore, men, wandering during those moments from greed of gain,

come near us, both we and the Rakshasas slay those fools. Therefore,

persons acquainted with the Vedas never applaud those men–not even kings

at the head of their troops–who approach any pools of water at such a

time. Stay ye at a distance, and approach me not. Know ye not that I am

bathing in the waters of the Bhagirathi? Know that I am Angaraparna the

Gandharva, ever relying on my own strength! I am proud and haughty and am

the friend of Kuvera. This my forest on the banks of the Ganga, where I

sport to gratify all my senses, is called Angaraparna after my own name.

Here neither gods, nor Kapalikas, nor Gandharvas nor Yakshas, can come.

How dare ye approach me who am the brightest jewel on the diadem of

Kuvera?’

“Hearing these words of the Gandharva, Arjuna said, ‘Blockhead, whether

it be day, night, or twilight, who can bar others from the ocean, the

sides of the Himalayas, and this river? O ranger of the skies, whether

the stomach be empty or full, whether it is night or day, there is no

special time for anybody to come to the Ganga–that foremost of all

rivers. As regards ourselves endued with might, we care not when we

disturb thee. Wicked being, those who are weak in fighting worship thee.

This Ganga, issuing out of the golden peaks of Himavat, falleth into the

waters of the ocean, being distributed into seven streams. They who drink

the waters of these seven streams, viz., Ganga, Yamuna, Saraswati,

Vitashtha, Sarayu, Gomati, and Gandaki, are, cleansed of all their sins.

O Gandharva, this sacred Ganga again, flowing through the celestial

region is called there the Alakananda, It hath again in the region of the

Pitris become the Vaitarani, difficult of being crossed by sinners, and,

Krishna-Dwaipayana himself hath said so. The auspicious and celestial

river, capable of leading to heaven (them that touch its waters), is free

from all dangers. Why dost thou then desire to bar us from it? This act

of thine is not in consonance with eternal virtue. Disregarding thy

words, why shall we not touch the sacred waters of the Bhagirathi free

from all dangers and from which none can bar us?’

“Vaisampayana continued, ‘Hearing these words of Arjuna, Angaraparna

became inflamed with wrath and drawing his bow to a circle began to shoot

his arrows like venomous snakes at the Pandavas. Then Dhananjaya, the son

of Pandu, wielding a good shield and the torch he held in his hand,

warded off all those arrows and addressing the Gandharva again said, ‘O

Gandharva, seek not to terrify those that are skilled in weapons, for

weapons hurled at them vanish like froth. I think, O Gandharva, that ye

are superior (in prowess) to men; therefore shall I fight with thee,

using celestial weapons and not with any crooked means. This fiery weapon

(that I shall hurl at thee), Vrihaspati the revered preceptor of Indra,

gave unto Bharadwaja, from whom it was obtained by Agnivesya, and from

Agnivesya by my preceptor, that foremost of Brahmanas, Drona, who gave it

away to me.’

“Vaisampayana continued, ‘Saying these words, the Pandava wrathfully

hurled at the Gandharva that blazing weapon made of fire which burnt the

Gandharva’s chariot in a trice. Deprived of consciousness by the force of

that weapon, the mighty Gandharva was falling, head downward, from his

chariot. Dhananjaya seized him by the hair of his head adorned with

garlands of flowers and thus dragged the unconscious Gandharva towards

his brothers. Beholding this, that Gandharva’s wife Kumbhinasi, desirous

of saving her husband, ran towards Yudhishthira and sought his

protection. The Gandharvi said, ‘O exalted one, extend to me thy

protection! O, set my husband free! O lord, I am Kumbhinasi by name, the

wife of this Gandharva, who seeketh thy protection!’ Beholding her (so

afflicted), the mighty Yudhishthira addressed Arjuna and said, ‘O slayer

of foes, O child, who would slay a foe who hath been vanquished in fight,

who hath been deprived of fame, who is protected by a woman, and who hath

no prowess?’ Arjuna replied, saying, ‘Keep thou thy life, O Gandharva! Go

hence, and grieve not I Yudhishthira, the king of the Kurus, commandeth

me to show thee mercy.’

“The Gandharva replied, ‘I have been vanquished by thee, I shall,

therefore, abandon my former name Angaraparna (the blazing vehicle). In

name alone, O friend, I should not be boastful when my pride in my

strength hath been overcome: I have been fortunate in that I have

obtained thee; O Arjuna, that wielder of celestial weapons! I like to

impart to thee the power of (producing) illusions which Gandharvas alone

have. My excellent and variegated chariot hath been burnt by means of thy

fiery weapon. I who had formerly been called after my excellent chariot

should now be called after my burnt chariot. The science of producing

illusions that I have spoken of was formerly obtained by me by ascetic

penances. That science I will today impart to the giver of my life-thy

illustrious self! What good luck doth he not deserve who, after

overcoming a foe by his might, giveth him life when that foe asketh for

it? This science is called Chakshushi. It was communicated by Manu unto

Soma and by Soma unto Viswavasu, and lastly by Viswavasu unto me.

Communicated by my preceptor, that science, having come unto me who am

without energy, is gradually becoming fruitless. I have spoken to thee

about its origin and transmission. Listen now to its power! One may see

(by its aid) whatever one wisheth to see, and in whatever way he liketh

(generally or particularly). One can acquire this science only after

standing on one leg for six months. I shall however, communicate to thee

this science without thyself being obliged to observe any rigid vow. O

king, it is for this knowledge that we are superior to men. And as we are

capable of seeing everything by spiritual sight, we are equal to the

gods. O best of men, I intend to give thee and each of thy brothers a

hundred steeds born in the country of the Gandharvas. Of celestial colour

and endued with the speed of the mind, those horses are employed in

bearing the celestial, and the Gandharvas. They may be lean-fleshed but

they tire not, nor doth their speed suffer on that account. In days of

yore the thunderbolt was created for the chief of the celestials in order

that he might slay (the Asura) Vritra with it. But hurled at Vritra’s

head it broke in a thousand pieces. The celestials worship with reverence

those fragments of the thunderbolt. That which is known in the three

worlds as glory is but a portion of the thunderbolt. The hand of the

Brahmana with which he poureth libations on the sacrificial fire, the

chariot upon which the Kshatriya fighteth, the charity of the Vaisya, and

the service of the Sudra rendered unto the three other classes, are all

fragments of the thunderbolt. It hath been said that horses, forming as

they do a portion of the Kshatriya’s chariot, are, on that account,

unslayable. Again horses which form a portion of the Kshatriya’s chariot,

are the offspring of Vadava. Those amongst them that are born in the

region of the Gandharvas can go everywhere and assume any hue and speed

at the will of their owners. These horses of mine that I give thee will

always gratify thy wishes.”

“On hearing these words of the Gandharva, Arjuna said, ‘O Gandharva, if

from satisfaction for having obtained thy life at my hands in a situation

of danger, thou givest me thy science, and these horses, I would not

accept thy gift.’ The Gandharva replied, saying, ‘A meeting with an

illustrious person is ever a source of gratification; besides thou hast

given me my life. Gratified with thee, I will give thee my science. That

the obligation, however, may not all be on one side, I will take from

thee, O Vibhatsu, O bull in Bharata’s race, thy excellent and eternal

weapon of fire!’

“Arjuna said, ‘I would accept thy horses in exchange for my weapon. Let

our friendship last for ever. O friend, tell us for what we human beings

have to stand in fear of the Gandharvas. Chastisers of foes that we are

and virtuous and conversant with the Vedas, tell us, O Gandharva, why in

travelling in the night-time we have been censured by thee.’

“The Gandharva said, ‘Ye are without wives (though ye have completed the

period of study). Ye are without a particular Asrama (mode of life).

Lastly, ye are out without a Brahmana walking before, therefore, ye sons

of Pandu, ye have been censured by me. The Yakshas, Rakshasas,

Gandharvas, Pisachas, Uragas and Danavas, are possessed of wisdom and

intelligence, and acquainted with the history of the Kuru race. O hero, I

have heard too from Narada and other celestial Rishis about the good

deeds of your wise ancestors. I myself, too, while roaming over the whole

earth bounded by her belt of seas, have witnessed the prowess of thy

great race. O Arjuna, I have personal knowledge of thy preceptor, the

illustrious son of Bharadwaja, celebrated throughout the three worlds for

his knowledge of the Vedas and the science of arms. O tiger in Kuru’s

race, O son of Pritha, I also know Dharma, Vayu, Sakra, the twin Aswins,

and Pandu,–these six perpetuators of Kuru race,–these excellent

celestials and human progenitors of you all. I also know that you five

brothers are learned and high-souled, that ye are foremost of all

wielders of weapons, that ye are brave and virtuous and observant of

vows. Knowing that your understanding and hearts are excellent and your

behaviour faultless, I have yet censured you. For, O thou of Kuru’s race,

it behoveth no man endued with might of arms to bear with patience any

ill usage in the sight of his wife. Especially as, O son of Kunti, our

might increaseth during the hours of darkness, accompanied by my wife I

was filled with wrath. O best of vow-observing men, I have, however, been

vanquished by thee in battle. Listen to me as I tell thee the reasons

that have led to my discomfiture. The Brahmacharya is a very superior

mode of life, and as thou art in that mode now, it is for this, O Partha,

that I have been defeated by thee in battle. O chastiser of foes, if any

married Kshatriya fight with us at night, he can never escape, with life.

But, O Partha, a married Kshatriya, who is sanctified with Brahma, and

who hath assigned the cares of his State to a priest, might vanquish! all

wanderers in the night. O child of Tapati, men should therefore, ever

employ learned priests possessing self-command for the acquisition of

every good luck they desire. That Brahmana is worthy of being the king’s

priest who is learned in the Vedas and the six branches thereof, who is

pure and truthful, who is of virtuous soul and possessed of self-command.

The monarch becometh ever victorious and finally earneth heaven who hath

for his priest a Brahmana conversant with the rules of morality, who is a

master of words, and is pure and of good behaviour. The king should

always select an accomplished priest in order to acquire what he hath not

and protect what he hath. He who desireth his own prosperity should ever

be guided by his priest, for he may then obtain ever the whole earth

surrounded by her belt of seas. O son of Tapati, a king, who is without a

Brahmana, can never acquire any land by his bravery or glory of birth

alone. Know, therefore, O perpetuator of Kuru’s race, that the kingdom

lasteth for ever in which Brahmanas have power.'”

SECTION CLXXIII

(Chaitraratha Parva continued)

“Arjuna said, ‘Thou hast addressed me (more than once) as Tapatya. I

therefore wish to know what the precise significance of this word is, O

virtuous Gandharva, being sons of Kunti, we are, indeed, Kaunteyas. But

who is Tapati that we should be called Tapatyas?’

“Vaisampayana continued, ‘Thus addressed, the Gandharva related to

Dhananjaya, the son of Kunti, the (following) story well-known in the

three worlds.’

“The Gandharva said, ‘O son of Pritha, O foremost of all intelligent men,

I will duly recite to you in full this charming narrative. O, listen with

attention to what I say in explanation of why I have addressed thee as

Tapatya. That one in heaven who pervadeth by his light the whole

firmament had a daughter named Tapati equal unto himself. Tapati, the

daughter of the god Vivaswat, was the younger sister of Savitri, and she

was celebrated throughout the three worlds and devoted to ascetic

penances. There was no woman amongst the celestials, the Asuras, the

Yakshas, the Rakshasas, the Apsaras, and the Gandharvas, who was equal to

her in beauty. Of perfect, symmetrical and faultless features, of black

and large eyes, and in beautiful attire, the girl was chaste and of

perfect conduct. And, O Bharata, seeing her Savitri (the sun) thought

that there was none in the three worlds who, for his beauty,

accomplishments, behaviour, and learning, deserved to be her husband.

Beholding her attain the age of puberty and, therefore, worthy of being

bestowed on a husband, her father knew no peace of mind, always thinking

of the person he should select. At that time, O son of Kunti, Riksha’s

son, that bull amongst the Kurus, the mighty king Samvarana, was duly

worshipping Surya with offerings of Arghya and flower-garlands and

scents, and with vows and fasts and ascetic penances of various kinds.

Indeed, Samvarana was worshipping Surya constantly in all his glory, with

devotion and humility and piety. And beholding Samvarana conversant with

all rules of virtue and unequalled on earth for beauty, Surya regarded

him as the fit husband for his daughter, Tapati. And, O thou of Kuru’s

race, Vivaswat then resolved to bestow his daughter on that best of

kings, viz., Samvarana, the scion of a race of world-wide fame. As Surya

himself in the heavens filleth the firmament with his splendour, so did

king Samvarana on earth fill every region with the splendour of his good

achievements. And all men, O Partha, except Brahmanas, worshipped

Samvarana. Blest with good luck, king Samvarana excelled Soma in soothing

the hearts of friends and Surya in scorching the hearts of foes. And, O

Kaurava, Tapana (Surya) himself was resolved upon bestowing his daughter

Tapati upon king Samvarana, who was possessed of such virtues and

accomplishments.

“Once on a time, O Partha, king Samvarana, endued with beauty (of person)

and immeasurable prowess, went on a hunting expedition to the under-woods

on the mountain-breast. While wandering in quest of deer, the excellent

steed the king rode, overcome, O Partha, with hunger, thirst and fatigue,

died on the mountains. Abandoning the steed, the king, O Arjuna, began to

wander about upon the mountain-breast on foot and in course of his

wandering the monarch saw a maiden of large eyes and unrivalled beauty,

That grinder of hostile host–that tiger among kings–himself without a

companion, beholding there that maiden without a companion, stood

motionless gazing at her steadfastly. For her beauty, the monarch for

some moment believed her to be (the goddess) Sri herself. Next he

regarded her to be the embodiment of the rays emanating from Surya. In

splendour of her person she resembled a flame of fire, though in

benignity and loveliness she resembled a spotless digit of the moon. And

standing on the mountain-breast, the black-eyed maiden appeared like a

bright statue of gold. The mountain itself with its creepers and plants,

because of the beauty and attire of that damsel, seemed to be converted

into gold. The sight of that maiden inspired the monarch with a contempt

for all women that he had seen before. By beholding her, the king

regarded his eye-sight truly blessed. Nothing the king had seen from the

day of his birth could equal, he thought, the beauty of that girl. The

king’s heart and eyes were captivated by that damsel, as if they were

bound with a cord and he remained rooted to that spot, deprived of his

senses. The monarch thought that the artificer of so much beauty had

created it only after churning the whole world of gods Asuras and human

beings. Entertaining these various thoughts, king Samvarana regarded that

maiden as unrivalled in the three worlds for wealth of beauty.

“And the monarch of pure descent, beholding the beautiful maiden, was

pierced with Kama’s (Cupid’s) shafts and lost his peace of mind. Burnt

with the strong flame of desire the king asked that charming maiden,

still innocent, though in her full youth, saying, ‘Who art thou and

whose? Why also dost thou stay here? O thou of sweet smiles, why dost

thou wander alone in these solitary woods? Of every feature perfectly

faultless, and decked with every ornament, thou seemest to be the coveted

ornament of these ornaments themselves! Thou seemest not to be of

celestial or Asura or Yaksha or Rakshasa or Naga or Gandharva or human

origin. O excellent lady, the best of women that I have ever seen or

heard of would not compare with thee in beauty! O thou of handsome face,

at sight of thee lovelier than the moon and graced with eyes like

lotus-petals, the god of desire is grinding me.’

“King Samvarana thus addressed that damsel in the forest, who however,

spoke not a word unto the monarch burning with desire. Instead, like

lightning in the clouds, that large-eyed maiden quickly disappeared in

the very sight of the monarch. The king then wandered through the whole

forest, like one out of his senses, in search of that girl of eyes like

lotus-petals. Failing to find her, that best of monarchs indulged in

copious lamentations and for a time stood motionless with grief.'”

SECTION CLXXIV

(Chaitraratha Parva continued)

“The Gandharva continued, ‘When that maiden disappeared, that feller of

hostile ranks deprived of his senses by Kama (concupiscence) himself fell

down on the earth. And as the monarch fell down, that maiden of sweet

smiles and prominent and round hips appeared again before him, and

smiling sweetly, said unto that perpetuator of Kuru’s race these honeyed

words, ‘Rise, rise, O chastiser of foes! Blest be thou; it behoveth thee

not, O tiger among kings, to lose thy reason, a celebrated man as thou

art in the world.’ Addressed in these honeyed words, the king opened his

eyes and saw before him that selfsame girl of swelling hips. The monarch

who was burning with the flame of desire then addressed that black-eyed

damsel in accents, weak with emotion, and said, ‘Blest be thou O

excellent woman of black eyes! As I am burning with desire and paying

thee court, O, accept me! My life is ebbing away. O thou of large eyes,

for thy sake it is, O thou of the splendour of the filaments of the

lotus, that Kama is incessantly piercing me with his keen shafts without

stopping for a moment! O amiable and cheerful girl, I have been bitten by

Kama who is even like a venomous viper. O thou of swelling and large

hips, have mercy on me! O thou of handsome and faultless features, O thou

of face like unto the lotus-petal or the moon, O thou of voice sweet as

that of singing Kinnaras, my life now depends on thee! Without thee, O

timid one, I am unable to live! O thou of eyes like lotus-petals, Kama is

piercing me incessantly! O large-eyed girl, be merciful unto me! It

becometh thee not, O black-eyed maid, to cast me off; O handsome girl, it

behoveth thee to relieve me from such affliction by giving me thy love!

At first sight thou hast attracted my heart. My mind wandereth! Beholding

thee I like not to cast my eyes on any other woman! Be merciful! I am thy

obedient slave–thy adorer! O, accept me! O beautiful lady, O large-eyed

girl at the sight of thee, the god of desire hath entered my heart, and

is piercing me with his shafts! O thou of lotus-eyes, the flame of desire

burneth within me! O, extinguish that flame with the water of thy love

poured on it! O beautiful lady, by becoming mine, pacify thou the

irrepressible god of desire that hath appeared here armed with his deadly

bow and arrows and that is piercing me incessantly with those keen shafts

of his! O thou of the fairest complexion, wed me according to the

Gandharva form, for, O thou of tapering hips, of all forms of marriage

the Gandharva hath been said to be the best.’

“The Gandharva continued, ‘Hearing those words of the monarch, Tapati

made answer, ‘O king, I am not the mistress of my own self! Be it known

that I am a maiden under the control of my father. If thou really

entertainest an affection for me, demand me of my father. Thou sayest, O

king, that thy heart hath been robbed by me. But thou also hast, at first

sight, robbed me of my heart; I am not the mistress of my body, and

therefore, O best of kings, I do not approach thee; women are never

independent. What girl is there in the three worlds that would not desire

thee for her husband, as thou art kind unto all thy dependents and as

thou art born in a pure race? Therefore, when the opportunity comes, ask

my father Aditya for my hand with worship, ascetic penances, and vows. If

my father bestoweth me upon thee, then, O king, I shall ever be thy

obedient wife. My name is Tapati and I am the younger sister of Savitri,

and the daughter, O bull amongst Kshatriyas of Savitri, of (Sun) the

illuminator of the universe.'”

SECTION CLXXV

(Chaitraratha Parva continued)

“The Gandharva continued, ‘Saying this, Tapati of faultless features,

ascended the skies. The monarch thereupon again fell down on the earth.

His ministers and followers searching for him throughout the forest at

length came upon him lying on that solitary spot, and beholding that

excellent king, that mighty bowman, thus lying forsaken on the ground

like a rainbow dropped from the firmament, his minister-in-chief became

like one burnt by a flame of fire. Advancing hastily with affection and

respect, the minister raised that best of monarchs lying prostrate on the

ground and deprived of his senses by desire. Old in wisdom as in age, old

in achievements as in policy, the minister, after having raised the

prostrate monarch, became easy (in mind). Addressing the king in sweet

words that were also for his good, he said, ‘Blest be thou, O sinless

one! Fear not, O tiger among kings!’ The minister thought that the

monarch, that great feller of hostile ranks in battle, had been lying on

the ground overcome with hunger, thirst, and fatigue. The old man then

sprinkled over the crownless head of the monarch water that was cold and

rendered fragrant with lotus-petals. Slowly regaining his consciousness,

the mighty monarch sent away all his attendants with the exception of his

minister only. After those attendants had retired at his command, the

king sat upon the mountain-breast. Having purified himself duly, the king

sat upon that chief of mountains, and began, with joined palms and

upturned face, to worship Surya. King Samvarana, that smiter of all foes,

thought also of his chief priest Vasishtha, that best of Rishis. The king

continued to sit there day and night without intermission. The Brahmana

sage Vasishtha came there on the twelfth day: that great Rishi of soul

under perfect command knew at once by his ascetic power that the monarch

had lost his senses in consequence of Tapati. And that virtuous and best

of Munis, as soon as he knew this, desirous of benefiting the monarch who

was ever observant of vows, addressed him and gave him every assurance.

The illustrious Rishi, in the very sight of that monarch, ascended upward

to interview Surya, himself possessed of the splendour of that luminary.

The Brahmana then approached with joined hands the god of a thousand rays

and introduced himself cheerfully unto him, saying, ‘I am Vasishtha.’

Then Vivaswat of great energy said unto that best of Rishis, ‘Welcome art

thou, O great Rishi! Tell me what is in thy mind. O thou of great good

fortune, whatever thou demandest of me, O foremost of eloquent men, I

will confer on thee, however difficult it may be for me!’ Thus addressed

by Surya, the Rishi of great ascetic merit, bowing unto the god of light,

replied, saying, ‘O Vibhavasu, this thy daughter, Tapati, the younger

sister of Savitri, I ask of thee for Samvarana! That monarch is of mighty

achievements, conversant with virtue, and of high soul. O

firmament-ranger, Samvarana will make a worthy husband for thy daughter.’

Thus addressed by the Rishi Vibhakara, resolved upon bestowing his

daughter upon Samvarana, saluted the Rishi, and replied unto him, saying,

‘Oh, Samvarana is the best of monarchs, thou art the best of Rishis,

Tapati is the best of women. What should we do, therefore, but bestow her

on Samvarana?’ With these words, the god Tapana, made over his daughter,

Tapati, of every feature perfectly faultless, unto the illustrious

Vasishtha to bestow her upon Samvarana. And the great Rishi then accepted

the girl, Tapati, and taking leave of Surya, came back to the spot, where

that bull amongst the Kurus, of celestial achievements, was. King

Samvarana, possessed by love and with his heart fixed on Tapati,

beholding that celestial maiden of sweet smiles led by Vasishtha, became

exceedingly glad. And Tapati of fair eyebrows came down from the

firmament like lightning from the clouds, dazzling the ten points of the

heavens. And the illustrious Rishi Vasishtha of pure soul approached the

monarch after the latter’s twelve nights’ vow was over. It was thus that

king Samvarana obtained a wife after having worshipped with like the full

moon. And that mighty bowman, that foremost one in Kuru’s race having his

curiosity greatly excited by what he heard of Vasishtha’s ascetic power,

asked the Gandharva, saying, ‘I desire to hear of the Rishi whom thou

hast mentioned as Vasishtha. O, tell me in full about him! O chief of the

Gandharvas, tell me who this illustrious Rishi was that was the priest of

our forefathers.’ The Gandharva replied, ‘Vasishtha is Brahma’s spiritual

(lit, mind-born) son and Arundhati’s husband. Ever difficult of being

conquered by the very immortals, Desire and Wrath, conquered by

Vasishtha’s ascetic penances, used to shampoo his feet. Though his wrath

was excited by Viswamitra’s offence, that high-souled Rishi did not yet

exterminate Kusikas (the tribe whose king Viswamitra was). Afflicted at

the loss of his sons, he did not, as though powerless, though really

otherwise, do any dreadful act destructive of Viswamitra, Like the ocean

transgressing not its continents, Vasishtha transgressed not (the laws

of) Yama by bringing back his children from the domains of the king of

the dead. It was by obtaining that illustrious one who had conquered his

own self that Ikshvaku and other great monarchs acquired the whole earth.

And, O prince of Kuru’s race, it was by obtaining Vasishtha, that best of

Rishis as their priest, that those monarchs performed many grand

sacrifices. And, O best of the Pandavas, that regenerate Rishi assisted

these monarchs in the performance of their sacrifices like Vrihaspati

assisting the immortals. Therefore, look ye for some accomplished and

desirable Brahmana conversant with the Vedas and in whose heart virtue

prevails, to appoint as your priest. A Kshatriya of good lineage,

desirous of extending his dominions by conquering the earth, should, O

Partha, first appoint a priest. He who is desirous of conquering the

earth should have a Brahmana before him. Therefore, O Arjuna, let some

accomplished and learned Brahmana, who has his senses under complete

control and who is conversant with religion, profit and pleasure, be your

priest.'”

Section CLXXVII

(Chaitraratha Parva continued)

“Vaisampayana continued, ‘Hearing this, Arjuna said, ‘O Gandharva, whence

arose the hostility between Viswamitra and Vasishtha both of whom dwelt

in a celestial hermitage? O, tell us all about it.’

“The Gandharva replied, ‘O Partha, the story of Vasishtha is regarded as

a Purana (legend) in all the three worlds. Listen to me as I recite it

fully. There was, in Kanyakuvja, O bull of Bharata’s race, a great king

of worldwide fame named Gadhi, the son of Kusika. The virtuous Gadhi had

a son named Viswamitra, that grinder of foes, possessing a large army and

many animals and vehicles. And Viswamitra, accompanied by his ministers,

used to roam in quest of deer through the deep woods and over picturesque

marascetic penances the propitious lord Vivaswat, by the help of

Vasishtha’s (ascetic power). And Samvarana, that bull among men with due

rites took Tapati’s hand on that mountain-breast which was resorted to by

the celestials and the Gandharvas. The royal sage, with the permission of

Vasishtha, desired to sport with his wife on that mountain. And the king

caused Vasishtha, to be proclaimed his regent in his capital and kingdom,

in the woods and gardens. And bidding farewell unto the monarch,

Vasishtha left him and went away. Samvarana, who sported on that mountain

like a celestial, sported with his wife in the woods and the under-woods

on that mountain for twelve full years. And, O best of the Bharatas, the

god of a thousand eyes poured no rain for twelve years on the capital and

on the kingdom of that monarch. Then, O chastiser of enemies, when that

season of drought broke out, the people of that kingdom, as also the

trees and lower animals began to die fast. And during the continuance of

that dreadful drought, not even a drop of dew fell from the skies and no

corn grew. And the inhabitants in despair, and afflicted with the fear of

hunger, left their homes and fled away in all directions. And the

famished people of the capital and the country began to abandon their

wives and children and grew reckless of one another. The people being

afflicted with hunger, without a morsel of food and reduced to skeletons,

the capital looked very much like the city of the king of the dead, full

of only ghostly beings. On beholding the capital reduced to such a state,

the illustrious and virtuous and best of Rishis, Vasishtha was resolved

upon applying a remedy and brought back unto the city that tiger among

kings, Samvarana, along with his wife, after the latter had passed so

long a period in solitude and seclusion. After the king had entered his

capital, things became as before, for, when that tiger among kings came

back to his own, the god of a thousand eyes, the slayer of Asuras, poured

rain in abundance and caused corn to grow. Revivified by the foremost of

virtuous souls the capital and the country became animated with extreme

joy. The monarch, with his wife, Tapati, once more performed sacrifices

for twelve years, like the lord Indra (god of rain) performing sacrifices

with his wife, Sachi.’

“The Gandharva continued, ‘This, O Partha, is the history of Tapati of

old, the daughter of Vivaswat. It is for her that thou art (called)

Tapatya. King Samvarana begot upon Tapati a son named Kuru, who was the

foremost of ascetics. Born in the race of Kuru, thou art, O Arjuna, to be

called Tapatya.'”

SECTION CLXXVI

(Chaitraratha Parva continued)

“Vaisampayana said, ‘That bull among the Bharatas, Arjuna, hearing these

words of the Gandharva, was inspired with feelings of devotion and stood

shes (???–JBH), killing deer and wild boars. Once on a time, while out

in quest of deer, the king became weak with exertion and thirst. The

monarch arrived in that state at the asylum of Vasishtha, and the blessed

and illustrious Rishi beholding him arrive, reverenced with his homage

that best of men, king Viswamitra. And O Bharata, the Rishi saluted the

monarch by offering him water to wash his face and feet with, and Arghya,

and wild fruits, and clarified butter. For the illustrious Rishi had a

cow yielding anything that was desired of her. When she was addressed,

saying, ‘O give’,–she always yielded the article that was sought. And

she yielded various fruits and corn, wild or grown in gardens and fields,

and milk, and many excellent nutritive viands full of six different kinds

of juice (taste?) and like unto nectar itself, and various other kinds of

enjoyable things, O Arjuna, of ambrosial taste for drinking and eating,

and for licking and sucking, and also many precious gems and robes of

various kinds. With these desirable objects in profusion the monarch was

worshipped. And the king with his minister and troops became highly

pleased. And the monarch wondered much, beholding that cow with six

elevated limbs and the beautiful flanks and hips, and five limbs that

were broad, and eyes prominent like those of the frog and beautiful in

size, and high udders, and faultless make, and straight and uplifted

ears, and handsome horns, and well-developed head and neck.

“And, O prince, the son of Gadhi, gratified with everything and

applauding the cow named Nandini, addressed the Rishi, saying, ‘O

Brahmana, O great Muni, give me thy Naridini in exchange for ten thousand

kine, or my kingdom. Enjoy thou my kingdom (giving me thy cow).’

“Hearing these words of Viswamitra, Vasishtha said, ‘O sinless one, this

cow hath been kept by me for the sake of the gods, guests, and the

Pitris, as also for my sacrifices. I cannot give Nandini in exchange for

even thy kingdom.’ Viswamitra replied, ‘I am a Kshatriya, but thou art a

Brahmana devoted to asceticism and study. Is there any energy in

Brahmanas who are peaceful and who have their souls under perfect

command? When thou givest me not what I desire in exchange even for ten

thousand cows, I will not abandon the practice of my order; I will take

thy cow even by force!’

“Vasishtha said, ‘Thou art a Kshatriya endued with might of arms. Thou

art a powerful monarch. O, do in haste what thou desirest; and stop not

to consider its propriety.’

“The Gandharva continued, ‘Thus addressed by Vasishtha, Viswamitra, O

Partha, then forcibly seized Nandini, that cow (white) like the swan or

the moon, and attempted to take her away, afflicting her with stripes and

persecuting her otherwise. The innocent Nandini then began, O Partha, to

low piteously, and approaching the illustrious Vasishtha stood before him

with uplifted face. Though persecuted very cruelly, she refused to leave

the Rishi’s asylum.’

“Beholding her in that plight, Vasishtha said, ‘O amiable one, thou art

lowing repeatedly and I am hearing thy cries. But, O Nandini, even

Viswamitra is taking thee away by force, what can I do in this matter, as

I am a forgiving Brahmana?’

“The Gandharva continued, ‘Then, O bull in Bharata’s race, Nandini,

alarmed at the sight of Viswamitra’s troops and terrified by Viswamitra

himself, approached the Rishi still closer, and said, ‘O illustrious one,

why art thou so indifferent to my poor self afflicted with the stripes of

the cruel troops of Viswamitra and crying so piteously as if I were

masterless?’ Hearing these words of the crying and persecuted Nandini,

the great Rishi lost not his patience nor turned from his vow of

forgiveness. He replied, ‘The Kshatriya’s might lies in physical

strength, the Brahmana’s in forgiveness. Because I cannot give up

forgiveness, go thou, O Nandini, if thou choosest.’ Nandini answered,

‘Castest thou me away, O illustrious one, that thou sayest so? If thou

dost not cast me off, I cannot, O Brahmana, be taken away by force.’

Vasishtha said, ‘O blessed one, I do not cast thee off! Stay if thou

canst! O, yonder is thy calf, tied with a stout cord, and even now being

weakened by it!’

“The Gandharva continued, ‘Then the cow of Vasishtha, hearing the word

stay, raised her head and neck upward, and became terrible to behold.

With eyes red with rage and lowing repeatedly, she then attacked

Viswamitra’s troops on all sides. Afflicted with their stripes and

running hither and thither with those red eyes of hers, her wrath

increased. Blazing with rage, she soon became terrible to behold like

unto the sun in his midday glory. And from her tail she began to rain

showers of burning coals all around. And some moments after, from her

tail she brought forth an army of Palhavas, and from her udders, an army

of Dravidas and Sakas; and from her womb, an army of Yavanas, and from

her dung, an army of Savaras; and from her urine, an army of Kanchis; and

from her sides, an army of Savaras. And from the froth of her mouth came

out hosts of Paundras and Kiratas, Yavanas and Sinhalas, and the

barbarous tribes of Khasas and Chivukas and Pulindas and Chinas and Hunas

with Keralas, and numerous other Mlechchhas. And that vast army of

Mlechchhas in various uniforms, and armed with various weapons, as soon

as it sprang into life, deploying in the very sight of Viswamitra,

attacked that monarch’s soldiers. And so numerous was that Mlechchha host

that each particular soldier of Viswamitra was attacked by a band of six

or seven of their enemies. Assailed with a mighty shower of weapons,

Viswamitra’s troops broke and fled, panic-stricken, in all directions,

before his very eyes. But, O bull in Bharata’s race, the troops of

Vasishtha, though excited with wrath, took not the life of any of

Viswamitra’s troops. Nandini simply caused the monarch’s army to be

routed and driven off. And driven (from the asylum) twenty-seven full

miles, panic-stricken, they shrieked aloud and beheld not anyone that

could protect them. Viswamitra, beholding this wonderful feat that

resulted from Brahmana prowess, became disgusted with Kshatriya prowess

and said, ‘O, fie on Kshatriya prowess! Brahmana prowess is true prowess!

In judging of strength and weakness, I see that asceticism is true

strength.’ Saying this, the monarch, abandoning his large domains and

regal splendour and turning his back upon all pleasures, set his mind on

asceticism. Crowned with success in asceticism and filling the three

worlds with the heat of his ascetic penances, he afflicted all creatures

and finally became a Brahmana. The son of Kusika at last drank Soma with

Indra himself (in Heaven).'”

SECTION CLXXVIII

(Chaitraratha Parva continued)

“The Gandharva continued, ‘There was, O Partha, a king in this world,

named Kalmashapada, who was of the race of Ikshvaku and was unequalled on

earth for prowess. One day the king went from his capital into the woods

for purposes of hunting, and this grinder of foes pierced (with his

arrows) many deer and wild boars. And in those deep woods the king also

slew many rhinoceroses. Engaged in sport for some length of time, the

monarch became very much fatigued and at last he gave up the chase,

desiring to rest awhile.

“The great Viswamitra, endued with energy, had, a little while ago,

desired to make that monarch his disciple. As the monarch, afflicted with

hunger and thirst, was proceeding through the woods, he came across that

best of Rishis, the illustrious son of Vasishtha, coming along the same

path. The king ever victorious in battle saw that Muni bearing the name

of Saktri, that illustrious propagator of Vasishtha’s race, the eldest of

the high-souled Vasishtha’s hundred sons, coming along from opposite

direction. The king, beholding him said, ‘Stand out of our way.’ The

Rishi, addressing the monarch in a conciliatory manner, said unto him

sweetly, ‘O king, this is my way. This is the eternal rule of morality

indicated in every treatise on duty and religion, viz., that a king

should ever make way for Brahmanas.’ Thus did they address each other

respecting their right of way. ‘Stand aside, stand aside’, were the words

they said unto each other. The Rishi, who was in the right, did not

yield, nor did the king yield to him from pride and anger. That best of

monarchs, enraged at the Rishi, refusing to yield him the way, acted like

a Rakshasa, striking him with his whip. Thus whipped by the monarch, that

best of Rishis, the son of Vasishtha, was deprived of his senses by

anger, and speedily cursed that first of monarchs, saying, ‘O worst of

kings, since thou persecutest like a Rakshasa an ascetic, thou shalt from

this day, became a Rakshasa subsisting on human flesh! Hence, thou worst

of kings! thou shalt wander over the earth, affecting human form!’ Thus

did the Rishi Sakti, endued with great prowess, speak unto king

Kalmashapada. At this time Viswamitra, between whom and Vasishtha there

was a dispute about the discipleship of Kalmashapada, approached the

place where that monarch and Vasishtha’s son were. And, O Partha, that

Rishi of severe ascetic penances, viz., Viswamitra of great energy,

approached the pair (knowing by his spiritual insight that they had been

thus quarrelling with each other). After the curse had been pronounced,

that best of monarchs knew that Rishi to be Vasishtha’s son and equal

unto Vasishtha himself in energy. And, O Bharata, Viswamitra, desirous of

benefiting himself, remained on that spot, concealed from the sight of

both by making himself invisible. Then that best of monarchs, thus cursed

by Saktri, desiring to propitiate the Rishi began to humbly beseech him.

And, O chief of the Kurus, Viswamitra, ascertaining the disposition of

the king (and fearing that the difference might be made up), ordered a

Rakshasa to enter the body of the king. And a Rakshasa of the name of

Kinkara then entered the monarch’s body in obedience to Saktri’s curse

and Viswamitra’s command. And knowing, O chastiser of foes, that the

Rakshasa had possessed himself of the monarch, that best of Rishis,

Viswamitra, then left the spot and went away.

“Shortly after, O Partha, the monarch, possessed by the Rakshasa and

terribly afflicted by him, lost all his senses. At this time a Brahmana

beheld the king in the woods. Afflicted with hunger, that Brahmana begged

of the king some food with meat. The royal sage, Kalmashapada, that

cherisher of friends, answered the Brahmana, saying, ‘Stay thou here, O

Brahmana for a moment. On my return, I will give thee whatever food thou

desirest.’ Having said this, the monarch went away, but the Brahmana

stayed on there. The high-minded king having roved for some time at

pleasure and according to his will, at last entered his inner apartment.

Thus waking at midnight and remembering his promise, he summoned his cook

and told him of his promise unto the Brahmana staying in the forest. And

he commanded him, saying, ‘Hie thee to that forest. A Brahmana waiteth

for me in the hope of food. Go and entertain him with food and meat.’

“The Gandharva continued, ‘Thus commanded, the cook went out in search of

meat. Distressed at not having found any, he informed the king of his

failure. The monarch, however, possessed as he was by the Rakshasa,

repeatedly said, without scruple of any kind, ‘Feed him with human

flesh.’ The cook, saying, ‘So be it,’ went to the place where the

(king’s) executioners were, and thence taking human flesh and washing and

cooking it duly and covering it with boiled rice offered it unto that

hungry Brahmana devoted to ascetic penances. But that best of Brahmanas,

seeing with his spiritual sight that the food was unholy and, therefore,

unworthy of being eaten, said these words with eyes red with anger,

‘Because that worst of kings offereth me food that is unholy and unworthy

of being taken, therefore that wretch shall have himself a fondness for

such food. And becoming fond of human flesh as cursed by Saktri of old,

the wretch shall wander over the earth, alarming and otherwise troubling

all creatures.’ The curse, therefore, on that king, thus repeated a

second time, became very strong, and the king, possessed by a Rakshasa

disposition, soon lost all his senses.

“A little while after, O Bharata, that best of monarchs, deprived of all

his senses by the Rakshasa within him, beholding Saktri who had cursed

him, said, ‘Because thou hast pronounced on me this extraordinary curse,

therefore, I shall begin my life of cannibalism by devouring thee.’

Having said this, the king immediately slew Saktri and ate him up, like a

tiger eating the animal it was fond of. Beholding Saktri thus slain and

devoured, Viswamitra repeatedly urged that Rakshasa (who was within the

monarch) against the other sons of Vasishtha. Like a wrathful lion

devouring small animals, that Rakshasa soon devoured the other sons of

the illustrious Vasishtha that were junior to Saktri in age. But

Vasishtha, learning that all his sons had been caused to be slain by

Viswamitra, patiently bore his grief like the great mountain that bears

the earth. That best of Munis, that foremost of intelligent men, was

resolved rather to sacrifice his own life than exterminate (in anger) the

race of Kusikas. The illustrious Rishi threw himself down from the summit

of Meru, but he descended on the stony ground as though on a heap of

cotton. And, O son of Pandu, when the illustrious one found that death

did not result from that fall, he kindled a huge fire in the forest and

entered it with alacrity. But that fire, though burning brightly,

consumed him not. O slayer of foes, that blazing fire seemed to him cool.

Then the great Muni under the influence of grief, beholding the sea, tied

a stony weight to his neck and threw himself into its waters. But the

waves soon cast him ashore. At last when that Brahmana of rigid vows

succeeded not in killing himself by any means, he returned, in distress

of heart, to his asylum.'”

SECTION CLXXIX

(Chaitraratha Parva continued)

“The Gandharva continued, ‘Beholding his asylum bereft of his children,

the Muni afflicted with great grief left it again. And in course of his

wandering he saw, O Partha, a river swollen with the waters of the rainy

season, sweeping away numberless trees and plants that had grown on its

margin. Beholding this, O thou of Kuru’s race, the distressed Muni

thinking that he would certainly be drowned if he fell into the waters of

that river, he tied himself strongly with several cords and flung

himself, under the influence of grief, into the current of that mighty

stream. But, O slayer of foes, that stream soon cut those cords and cast

the Rishi ashore. And the Rishi rose from the bank, freed from the cords

with which he had tied himself. And because his cords were thus broken

off by the violence of the current, the Rishi called the stream by the

name of Vipasa (the cord-breaker). For his grief the Muni could not, from

that time, stay in one place; he began to wander over mountains and along

rivers and lakes. And beholding once again a river named Haimavati

(flowing from Himavat) of terrible aspect and full of fierce crocodiles

and other (aquatic) monsters, the Rishi threw himself into it, but the

river mistaking the Brahmana for a mass of (unquenchable) fire,

immediately flew in a hundred different directions, and hath been known

ever since by the name of the Satadru (the river of a hundred courses).

Seeing himself on the dry land even there he exclaimed, ‘O, I cannot die

by my own hands!’ Saying this, the Rishi once more bent his steps towards

his asylum. Crossing numberless mountains and countries, as he was about

to re-enter his asylum, he was followed by his daughter-in-law named

Adrisyanti. As she neared him, he heard the sound from behind of a very

intelligent recitation of the Vedas with the six graces of elocution.

Hearing that sound, the Rishi asked, ‘Who is it that followeth me?’ His

daughter-in-law then answered, ‘I am Adrisyanti, the wife of Saktri. I am

helpless, though devoted to asceticism.’ Hearing her, Vasishtha said, ‘O

daughter, whose is this voice that I heard, repeating the Vedas along

with the Angas like unto the voice of Saktri reciting the Vedas with the

Angas?’ Adrisyanti answered, ‘I bear in my womb a child by thy son

Saktri. He hath been here full twelve years. The voice thou hearest is

that of the Muni, who is reciting the Vedas.’

“The Gandharva continued, ‘Thus addressed by her the illustrious

Vasishtha became exceedingly glad. And saying, ‘O, there is a child (of

my race)!’–he refrained, O Partha, from self-destruction. The sinless

one accompanied by his daughter-in-law, then returned to his asylum. And

the Rishi saw one day in the solitary woods (the Rakshasa) Kalmashapada.

The king, O Bharata, possessed by fierce Rakshasa, as he saw the Rishi,

became filled with wrath and rose up, desiring to devour him. And

Adrisyanti beholding before her that the Rakshasa of cruel deeds,

addressed Vasishtha in these words, full of anxiety and fear, ‘O

illustrious one, the cruel Rakshasa, like unto Death himself armed with

(his) fierce club, cometh towards us with a wooden club in hand! There is

none else on earth, except thee, O illustrious one, and, O foremost of

all that are conversant with the Vedas to restrain him today. Protect me,

O illustrious one, from this cruel wretch of terrible mien. Surely, the

Rakshasa cometh hither to devour us’ Vasishtha, hearing this, said, ‘Fear

not, O daughter, there is no need of any fear from any Rakshasa. This one

is no Rakshasa from whom thou apprehendest such imminent danger. This is

king Kalmashapada endued with great energy and celebrated on earth. That

terrible man dwelleth in these woods.’

“The Gandharva continued, ‘Beholding him advancing, the illustrious Rishi

Vasishtha, endued with great energy, restrained him, O Bharata, by

uttering the sound Hum. Sprinkling him again with water sanctified with

incantations the Rishi freed the monarch from that terrible curse. For

twelve years the monarch had been overwhelmed by the energy of

Vasishtha’s son like Surya seized by the planet (Rahu) during the season

of an eclipse. Freed from the Rakshasa the monarch illumined that large

forest by his splendour like the sun illumining the evening clouds.

Recovering his power of reason, the king saluted that best of Rishis with

joined palms and said, ‘O illustrious one, I am the son of Sudasa and thy

disciple, O best of Munis! O, tell me what is thy pleasure and what I am

to do.’ Vasishtha replied, saying, ‘My desire hath already been

accomplished. Return now to thy kingdom and rule thy subjects. And, O

chief of men, never insult Brahmanas any more.’ The monarch replied, ‘O

illustrious one, I shall never more insult superior Brahmanas. In

obedience to thy command I shall always worship Brahmanas. But, O best of

Brahmanas, I desire to obtain from thee that by which, O foremost of all

that are conversant with the Vedas, I may be freed from the debt I owe to

the race of Ikshvaku! O best of men, it behoveth thee to grant me, for

the perpetuation of Ikshvaku’s race, a desirable son possessing beauty

and accomplishments and good behaviour.’

“The Gandharva continued, ‘Thus addressed, Vasishtha, that best of

Brahmanas devoted to truth replied unto that mighty bowman of a monarch,

saying, ‘I will give you.’ After some time, O prince of men, Vasishtha,

accompanied by the monarch, went to the latter’s capital known all over

the earth by the name of Ayodhya. The citizens in great joy came out to

receive the sinless and illustrious one, like the dwellers in heaven

coming out to receive their chief. The monarch, accompanied by Vasishtha,

re-entered his auspicious capital after a long time. The citizens of

Ayodhya beheld their king accompanied by his priest, as if he were the

rising sun. The monarch who was superior to everyone in beauty filled by

his splendour the whole town of Ayodhya, like the autumnal moon filling

by his splendour the whole firmament. And the excellent city itself, in

consequence of its streets having been watered and swept, and of the rows

of banners and pendants beautifying it all around, gladdened the

monarch’s heart. And, O prince of Kuru’s race, the city filled as it was

with joyous and healthy souls, in consequence of his presence, looked gay

like Amaravati with the presence of the chief of the celestials. After

the royal sage had entered his capital, the queen, at the king’s command,

approached Vasishtha. The great Rishi, making a covenant with her, united

himself with her according to the high ordinance. And after a little

while, when the queen conceived, that best of Rishis, receiving the

reverential salutations of the king, went back to his asylum. The queen

bore the embryo in her womb for a long time. When she saw that she did

not bring forth anything, she tore open her womb by a piece of stone. It

was then that at the twelfth year (of the conception) was born Asmaka,

that bull amongst men, that royal sage who founded (the city of)

Paudanya.'”

SECTION CLXXX

(Chaitraratha Parva continued)

“The Gandharva continued, ‘Then, O Partha, Adrisyanti, who had been

residing in Vasishtha’s asylum, brought forth (when the time came) a son

who was the perpetuator of Saktri’s race and who was a second Saktri in

everything. O foremost of Bharatas, that best of Munis, the illustrious

Vasishtha himself performed the usual after-birth ceremonies of his

grandson. And, because the Rishi Vasishtha had resolved on

self-destruction but had abstained therefrom as soon as he knew of the

existence of that child, that child, when born, was called Parasara (the

vivifier of the dead). The virtuous Parasara, from the day of his birth,

knew Vasishtha for his father and behaved towards the Muni as such. One

day, O son of Kunti, the child addressed Vasishtha, that first of

Brahmana sages, as father, in the presence of his mother Adrisyanti.

Adrisyanti, hearing the very intelligible sound father sweetly uttered by

her son, addressed him with tearful eyes and said, ‘O child, do not

address this thy grandfather as father? Thy father, O son, has been

devoured by a Rakshasa in a different forest. O innocent one, he is not

thy father whom thou regardest so. The revered one is the father of that

celebrated father of thine.’ Thus addressed by his mother that best of

Rishis of truthful speech, gave way to sorrow, but soon fired up and

resolved to destroy the whole creation. Then that illustrious and great

ascetic Vasishtha, that foremost of all persons conversant with Brahma,

that son of Mitravaruna, that Rishi acquainted with positive truth,

addressed his grandson who had set his heart upon the destruction of the

world. Hear, O Arjuna, the arguments by which Vasishtha succeeded in

driving out that resolution from his grandson’s mind.’

“The Gandharva continued, ‘Then Vasishtha said, ‘There was a celebrated

king of the name of Kritavirya. That bull among the kings of the earth

was the disciple of the Veda-knowing Bhrigus. That king, O child, after

performing the Soma sacrifice, gratified the Brahmanas with great

presents of rice and wealth. After that monarch had ascended to heaven,

an occasion came when his descendants were in want of wealth. And knowing

that the Bhrigus were rich, those princes went unto those best of

Brahmanas, in the guise of beggars. Some amongst the Bhrigus, to protect

their wealth, buried it under earth; and some from fear of the

Kshatriyas, began to give away their wealth unto (other) Brahmanas; while

some amongst them duly gave unto the Kshatriyas whatever they wanted. It

happened, however, that some Kshatriyas, in digging as they pleased at

the house of particular Bhargava, came upon a large treasure. And the

treasure was seen by all those bulls among Kshatriyas who had been there.

Enraged at what they regarded as the deceitful behaviour of the Bhrigus,

the Kshatriyas insulted the Brahmanas, though the latter asked for mercy.

And those mighty bowmen began to slaughter the Bhrigus with their sharp

arrows. And the Kshatriyas wandered over the earth, slaughtering even the

embryos that were in the wombs of the women of the Bhrigu race. And while

the Bhrigu race was thus being exterminated, the women of that tribe fled

from fear to the inaccessible mountains of Himavat. And one amongst these

women, of tapering thighs, desiring to perpetuate her husband’s race,

held in one of her thighs an embryo endued with great energy. A certain

Brahmana woman, however, who came to know this fact, went from fear unto

the Kshatriyas and reported the matter unto them. And the Kshatriyas then

went to destroy that embryo. Arrived at the place, they beheld the

would-be mother blazing with inborn energy, and the child that was in her

thigh came out tearing up the thigh and dazzling the eyes of those

Kshatriyas like the midday sun. Thus deprived of their eyes, the

Kshatriyas began to wander over those inaccessible mountains. And

distressed at the loss of sight, the princes were afflicted with woe, and

desirous of regaining the use of their eyes they resolved to seek the

protection of that faultless woman. Then those Kshatriyas, afflicted with

sorrow, and from loss of sight like unto a fire that hath gone out,

addressed with anxious hearts that illustrious lady, saying, ‘By thy

grace. O lady, we wish to be restored to sight. We shall then return to

our homes all together and abstain for ever from our sinful practice. O

handsome one, it behoveth thee with thy child to show us mercy. It

behoveth thee to favour these kings by granting them their eye-sight.'”

SECTION CLXXXI

(Chaitraratha Parva continued)

“Vasishtha continued, ‘The Brahmana lady, thus addressed by them, said,

‘Ye children, I have not robbed you of your eye-sight, nor am I angry

with you. This child, however, of the Bhrigu race hath certainly been

angry with you. There is little doubt, ye children, that ye have been

robbed of your sight by that illustrious child whose wrath hath been

kindled at the remembrance of the slaughter of his race. Ye children,

while ye were destroying even the embryos of the Bhrigu race, this child

was held by me in my thigh for a hundred years! And in order that the

prosperity of Bhrigu’s race might be restored, the entire Vedas with

their branches came unto this one even while he was in the womb. It is

plain that this scion of the Bhrigu race, enraged at the slaughter of his

fathers, desireth to slay you! It is by his celestial energy that your

eyes have been scorched. Therefore, ye children, pray ye unto this my

excellent child born of my thigh. Propitiated by your homage he may

restore your eye-sight.’

“Vasishtha continued, ‘Hearing those words of the Brahmana lady, all

these princes addressed the thigh-born child, saying, ‘Be propitious!’

And the child became propitious unto them. And that best of Brahmana

Rishis, in consequence of his having been born after tearing open his

mother’s thigh, came to be known throughout the three worlds by the name

of Aurva (thigh-born). And those princes regaining their eye-sight went

away. But the Muni Aurva of the Bhrigu race resolved upon overcoming the

whole world. And the high-souled Rishi set his heart, O child, upon the

destruction of every creature in the world. And that scion of the Bhrigu

race, for paying homage (as he regarded) unto his slaughtered ancestors,

devoted himself to the austerest of penances with the object of

destroying the whole world. And desirous of gratifying his ancestors, the

Rishi afflicted by his severe asceticism the three worlds with the

celestials, the Asuras and human beings. The Pitris, then, learning what

the child of their race was about, all came from their own region unto

the Rishi and addressing him said:

‘Aurva, O son, fierce thou hast been in thy asceticism. Thy power hath

been witnessed by us. Be propitious unto the three worlds. O, control thy

wrath. O child, it was not from incapacity that the Bhrigus of souls

under complete control were, all of them, indifferent to their own

destruction at the hands of the murderous Kshatriyas. O child, when we

grew weary of the long periods of life alloted to us, it was then that we

desired our own destruction through the instrumentality of the

Kshatriyas. The wealth that the Bhrigus had placed in their house

underground had been placed only with the object of enraging the

Kshatriyas and picking a quarrel with them. O thou best of Brahmanas, as

we were desirous of heaven, of what use could wealth be to us? The

treasurer of heaven (Kuvera) had kept a large treasure for us. When we

found that death could not, by any means, overtake us all, it was then, O

child, that we regarded this as the best means (of compassing our

desire). They who commit suicide never attain to regions that are

blessed. Reflecting upon this, we abstained from self-destruction. That

which, therefore thou desirest to do is not agreeable to us. Restrain thy

mind, therefore, from the sinful act of destroying the whole world. O

child, destroy not the Kshatriyas nor the seven worlds. O, kill this

wrath of thine that staineth thy ascetic energy.'”

SECTION CLXXXII

(Chaitraratha Parva continued)

“The Gandharva said, ‘Vasishtha after this, continued the narration

saying, ‘Hearing these words of the Pitris, Aurva, O child, replied unto

them to this effect:

‘Ye Pitris, the vow I have made from anger for the destruction of all the

worlds, must not go in vain. I cannot consent to be one whose anger and

vows are futile. Like fire consuming dry woods, this rage of mine will

certainly consume me if I do not accomplish my vow. The man that

represseth his wrath that hath been excited by (adequate) cause, becometh

incapable of duly compassing the three ends of life (viz., religion,

profit and pleasure). The wrath that kings desirous of subjugating the

whole earth exhibit, is not without its uses. It serveth to restrain the

wicked and to protect the honest. While lying unborn within my mother’s

thigh, I heard the doleful cries of my mother and other women of the

Bhrigu race who were then being exterminated by the Kshatriyas. Ye

Pitris, when those wretches of Kshatriyas began to exterminate the

Bhrigus together with unborn children of their race, it was then that

wrath filled my soul. My mother and the other women of our race, each in

an advanced state of pregnancy, and my father, while terribly alarmed,

found not in all the worlds a single protector. Then when the Bhrigu

women found not a single protector, my mother held me in one of her

thighs. If there be a punisher of crimes in the worlds no one in all the

worlds would dare commit a crime; if he findeth not a punisher, the

number of sinners becometh large. The man who having the power to prevent

or punish sin doth not do so knowing that a sin hath been committed, is

himself defiled by that sin. When kings and others, capable of protecting

my fathers, protect them not, postponing that duty preferring the

pleasures of life, I have just cause to be enraged with them. I am the

lord of the creation, capable of punishing its iniquity. I am incapable

of obeying your command. Capable of punishing this crime, if I abstain

from so doing, men will once more have to undergo a similar persecution.

The fire of my wrath too that is ready to consume the worlds, if

repressed, will certainly consume by its own energy my own self. Ye

masters, I know that ye ever seek the good of the worlds: direct me,

therefore, as to what may benefit both myself and the worlds.’

“Vasishtha continued, ‘The Pitris replied saying, O, throw this fire that

is born of thy wrath and that desireth to consume the worlds, into the

waters. That will do thee good. The worlds, indeed, are all dependent on

water (as their elementary cause). Every juicy substance containeth

water, indeed the whole universe is made of water. Therefore, O thou best

of Brahmanas, cast thou this fire of thy wrath into the waters. If,

therefore, thou desirest it, O Brahmana, let this fire born of thy wrath

abide in the great ocean, consuming the waters thereof, for it hath been

said that the worlds are made of water. In this way, O thou sinless one,

thy word will be rendered true, and the worlds with the gods will not be

destroyed.’

“Vasishtha continued, ‘Then, O child, Aurva cast the fire of his wrath

into the abode of Varuna. And that fire which consumeth the waters of the

great ocean, became like unto a large horse’s head which persons

conversant with the Vedas call by the name of Vadavamukha. And emitting

itself from that mouth it consumeth the waters of the mighty ocean. Blest

be thou! It behoveth not thee, therefore, to destroy the worlds. O thou

Parasara, who art acquainted with the higher regions, thou foremost of

wise men!'”

SECTION CLXXXIII

(Chaitraratha Parva continued)

“The Gandharva continued, ‘The Brahmana sage (Parasara) thus addressed by

the illustrious Vasishtha restrained his wrath from destroying the

worlds. But the Rishi Parasara endued with great energy–the son of

Saktri–the foremost of all persons acquainted with the Vedas–performed

a grand Rakshasa sacrifice. And remembering the slaughter of (his father)

Saktri, the great Muni began to consume the Rakshasas, young and old, in

the sacrifice he performed. And Vasishtha did not restrain him from this

slaughter of the Rakshasa, from the determination of not obstructing this

second vow (of his grandson). And in that sacrifice the great Muni

Parasara sat before three blazing fires, himself like unto a fourth fire.

And the son of Saktri, like the Sun just emerging from the clouds,

illuminated the whole firmament by that stainless sacrifice of his into

which large were the libations poured of clarified butter. Then Vasishtha

and the other Rishis regarded that Muni blazing with his own energy as if

he were the second Sun. Then the great Rishi Atri of liberal soul

desirous of ending that sacrifice, an achievement highly difficult for

others,–came to that place. And there also came, O thou slayer of all

foes, Pulastya and Pulaha, and Kratu the performer of many great

sacrifices, all influenced by the desire of saving the Rakshasas. And, O

thou bull of the Bharata race, Pulastya then, seeing that many Rakshasas

had already been slain, told these words unto Parasara that oppressor of

all enemies:

‘There is no obstruction, I hope, to this sacrifice of thine, O child!

Takest thou any pleasure, O child, in this slaughter of even all those

innocent Rakshasas that know nothing of thy father’s death. It behoveth

thee not to destroy any creatures thus. This, O child, is not the

occupation of a Brahmana devoted to asceticism. Peace is the highest

virtue. Therefore, O Parasara, establish thou peace. How hast thou, O

Parasara, being so superior, engaged thyself in such a sinful practice?

It behoveth not thee to transgress against Saktri himself who was

well-acquainted with all rules of morality. It behoveth not thee to

extirpate any creatures. O descendant of Vasishtha’s race, that which

befell thy father was brought about by his own curse. It was for his own

fault that Saktri was taken hence unto heaven. O Muni, no Rakshasa was

capable of devouring Saktri; he himself provided for his own death. And,

O Parasara, Viswamitra was only a blind instrument in that matter. Both

Saktri and Kalmashapada, having ascended to heaven are enjoying great

happiness. And, the other sons also of the great Rishi Vasishtha who were

younger than Saktri, are even now enjoying themselves with the

celestials. And, O child, O offspring of Vasishtha’s son, thou hast also

been, in this sacrifice, only an instrument in the destruction of these

innocent Rakshasas. O, blest be thou! Abandon this sacrifice of thine.

Let it come to an end.’

“The Gandharva continued, ‘Thus addressed by Pulastya, as also by the

intelligent Vasishtha, that mighty Muni–the son of Saktri then brought

that sacrifice to an end. And the Rishi cast the fire that he had ignited

for the purpose of the Rakshasas’ sacrifice into the deep woods on the

north of the Himavat. And that fire may be seen to this day consuming

Rakshasas and trees and stones in all seasons.'”

SECTION CLXXXIV

(Chaitraratha Parva continued)

“Arjuna asked, ‘What for, O Gandharva, did king Kalmashapada command his

queen to go unto that foremost of all persons conversant with the

Vedas–the master Vasishtha? Why also did that illustrious and great

Rishi Vasishtha himself who was acquainted with every rule of morality

know a woman he should not have known? O friend, was this an act of sin

on the part of Vasishtha? It behoveth thee to remove the doubts I

entertain and refer to thee for solution.’

“The Gandharva replied, saying, ‘O irrepressible Dhananjaya, listen to me

as I answer the question thou hast asked in respect of Vasishtha and king

Kalmashapada that cherisher of friends. O thou best of the Bharatas, I

have told thee all about the curse of king Kalmashapada by Saktri, the

illustrious son of Vasishtha. Brought under the influence of the curse,

that smiter of all foes–king Kalmashapada–with eyes whirling in anger

went out of his capital accompanied by his wife. And entering with his

wife the solitary woods the king began to wander about. And one day while

the king under the influence of the curse was wandering through that

forest abounding in several kinds of deer and various other animals and

overgrown with numerous large trees and shrubs and creepers and

resounding with terrible cries, he became exceedingly hungry. And the

monarch thereupon began to search for some food. Pinched with hunger, the

king at last saw, in a very solitary part of the woods, a Brahmana and

his wife enjoying each other. Alarmed at beholding the monarch the couple

ran away, their desire ungratified. Pursuing the retreating pair, the

king forcibly seized the Brahmana. Then the Brahmani, beholding her lord

seized, addressed the monarch, saying, ‘Listen to what I say, O monarch

of excellent vows! It is known all over the world that thou art born in

the solar race, and that thou art ever vigilant in the practice of

morality and devoted to the service of thy superiors. It behoveth thee

not to commit sin, O thou irrepressible one, deprived though thou hast

been of thy senses by (the Rishi’s) curse. My season hath come, and

wishful of my husband’s company I was connected with him. I have not been

gratified yet. Be propitious unto us, O thou best of kings! Liberate my

husband.’ The monarch, however, without listening to her cries cruelly

devoured her husband like a tiger devouring its desirable prey. Possessed

with wrath at this sight, the tears that that woman shed blazed up like

fire and consumed everything in that place. Afflicted with grief at the

calamity that overtook her lord, the Brahmani in anger cursed the royal

sage Kalmashapada, ‘Vile wretch, since thou hast today cruelly devoured

under my very nose my illustrious husband dear unto me, even before my

desires have been gratified, therefore shall thou, O wicked one afflicted

by my curse, meet with instant death when thou goest in for thy wife in

season. And thy wife, O wretch, shall bring forth a son uniting herself

with that Rishi Vasishtha whose children have been devoured by thee. And

that child, O worst of kings, shall be the perpetuator of thy race.’ And

cursing the monarch thus, that lady of Angira’s house bearing every

auspicious mark, entered the blazing fire in the very sight of the

monarch. And, O thou oppressor of all foes, the illustrious and exalted

Vasishtha by his ascetic power and spiritual insight immediately knew

all. And long after this, when the king became freed from his curse, he

approached his wife Madayanati when her season came. But Madayanati

softly sent him away. Under the influence of passion the monarch had no

recollection of that curse. Hearing, however, the words of his wife, the

best of kings became terribly alarmed. And recollecting the curse he

repented bitterly of what he had done. It was for this reason, O thou

best of men, that the monarch infected with the Brahmani’s curse,

appointed Vasishtha to beget a son upon his queen.'”

SECTION CLXXXV

(Chaitraratha Parva continued)

“Arjuna asked, ‘O Gandharva, thou art acquainted with everything. Tell

us, therefore, which Veda-knowing Brahmana is worthy to be appointed as

our priest.’

“The Gandharva replied, ‘There is in these woods a shrine of the name of

Utkochaka. Dhaumya, the younger brother of Devala is engaged there in

ascetic penances. Appoint him, if ye desire, your priest.”

“Vaisampayana said, ‘Then Arjuna, highly pleased with everything that had

happened, gave unto that Gandharva, his weapon of fire with befitting

ceremonies. And addressing him, the Pandava also said, ‘O thou best of

Gandharvas, let the horses thou givest us remain with thee for a time.

When the occasion cometh, we will take them from thee. Blest be thou.’

Then the Gandharva and the Pandavas, respectfully saluting each other,

left the delightful banks of the Bhagirathi and went wheresoever they

desired. Then, O Bharata, the Pandavas going to Utkochaka, the sacred

asylum of Dhaumya installed Dhaumya as their priest. And Dhaumya, the

foremost of all conversant with the Vedas, receiving them with presents

of wild fruits and (edible) roots, consented to become their priest. And

the Pandavas with their mother forming the sixth of the company, having

obtained that Brahmana as their priest regarded their sovereignty and

kingdom as already regained and the daughter of the Panchala king as

already obtained in the Swayamavara. And those bulls of the Bharata race,

having obtained the master Dhaumya as their priest, also regarded

themselves as placed under a powerful protector. And the high-souled

Dhaumya, acquainted with the true meaning of the Vedas and every rule of

morality, becoming the spiritual preceptor of the virtuous Pandavas, made

them his Yajamanas (spiritual disciples). And that Brahmana, beholding

those heroes endued with intelligence and strength and perseverance like

unto the celestials, regarded them as already restored, by virtue of

their own accomplishments to their sovereignty and kingdom. Then those

kings of men, having had benedictions uttered upon them by that Brahmana,

resolved to go, accompanied by him, to the Swayamvara of the Princess of

Panchala.'”

SECTION CLXXXVI

(Swayamvara Parva)

“Vaisampayana said, ‘Then those tigers among men–those brothers–the

five Pandavas, set out for Panchala to behold that country and Draupadi

and the festivities (in view of her marriage). And those tigers among

men–those oppressors of all enemies–in going along with their mother,

saw on the way numerous Brahmanas proceeding together. And those

Brahmanas who were all Brahmacharis beholding the Pandavas, O king, asked

them, ‘Where are ye going to? Whence also are ye come?’ And Yudhishthira

replied unto them, saying, ‘Ye bulls among Brahmanas, know ye that we are

uterine brothers proceeding together with our mother. We are coming even

from Ekachakra.’ The Brahmanas then said, ‘Go ye this very day to the

abode of Drupada in the country of the Panchalas. A great Swayamvara

takes place there, on which a large sum of money will be spent. We also

are proceeding thither. Let us all go together. Extraordinary festivities

will take place (in Drupada’s abode). The illustrious Yajnasena,

otherwise called Drupada, had a daughter risen from the centre of the

sacrificial altar. Of eyes like lotus-petals and of faultless features

endued with youth and intelligence, she is extremely beautiful. And the

slender-waisted Draupadi of every feature perfectly faultless, and whose

body emitteth a fragrance like unto that of the blue lotus for two full

miles around, is the sister of the strong-armed Dhrishtadyumna gifted

with great prowess–the (would-be) slayer of Drona–who was born with

natural mail and sword and bow and arrows from the blazing fire, himself

like unto the second Fire. And that daughter of Yajnasena will select a

husband from among the invited princes. And we are repairing thither to

behold her and the festivities on the occasion, like unto the festivities

of heaven. And to that Swayamvara will come from various lands kings and

princes who are performers of sacrifices in which the presents to the

Brahmanas are large: who are devoted to study, are holy, illustrious, and

of rigid vows; who are young and handsome; and who are mighty

car-warriors and accomplished in arms. Desirous of winning (the hand of)

the maiden those monarchs will all give away much wealth and kine and

food and other articles of enjoyment. And taking all they will give away

and witnessing the Swayamvara, and enjoying the festivities, we shall go

wheresoever we like. And there will also come unto that Swayamvara, from

various countries, actors, and bards singing the panegyrics of kings, and

dancers, and reciters of Puranas, and heralds, and powerful athletes. And

beholding all these sights and taking what will be given away to

illustrious ones, ye will return with us. Ye are all handsome and like

unto the celestials! Beholding you, Krishna may, by chance, choose some

one amongst you superior to the rest. This thy brother of mighty arms and

handsome and endued with beauty also, engaged in (athletic) encounters,

may, by chance, earn great wealth.’

“On hearing these words of the Brahmanas, Yudhishthira replied, ‘Ye

Brahmanas, we will all go with you to witness that maiden’s

Swayamvara–that excellent jubilee.'”

SECTION CLXXXVII

(Swayamvara Parva continued)

“Vaisampayana said, ‘Thus addressed by the Brahmanas, the Pandavas, O

Janamejaya, proceeded towards the country of the southern Panchalas ruled

over by the king Drupada. And on their way those heroes beheld the

illustrious Dwaipayana–that Muni of pure soul, and perfectly sinless.

And duly saluting the Rishi and saluted by him, after their conversation

was over, commanded by him they proceeded to Drupada’s abode. And those

mighty chariot-fighters proceeded by slow stages staying for some time

within those beautiful woods and by fine lakes that they beheld along

their way. Devoted to study, pure in their practices, amiable, and

sweet-speeched, the Pandavas at last entered the country of the

Panchalas. And beholding the capital, as also the fort, they took up

their quarters in the house of a potter, Adopting the Brahmanical

profession, they began to lead an eleemosynary life. And no men

recognised those heroes during their stay in Drupada’s capital.

“Yajnasena always cherished the desire of bestowing his daughter on

Kiriti (Arjuna), the son of Pandu. But he never spoke of it to anybody.

And, O Janamejaya, the king of Panchala thinking of Arjuna caused a very

stiff bow to be made that was incapable of being bent by any except

Arjuna. Causing some machinery to be erected in the sky, the king set up

a mark attached to that machinery. And Drupada said, ‘He that will string

this bow and with these well-adorned arrows shoot the mark above the

machine shall obtain my daughter.’

“Vaisampayana continued, ‘With these words king Drupada proclaimed the

Swayamvara. On hearing of them, O Bharata, the kings of other lands came

to his capital. And there came also many illustrious Rishis desirous of

beholding the Swayamvara. And there came also, O king, Duryodhana and the

Kurus accompanied by Kama. There also came many superior Brahmanas from

every country. And the monarchs who came there were all received with

reverence by the illustrious Drupada. Desirous of beholding the

Swayamvara, the citizens, roaring like the sea, all took their seats on

the platforms that were erected around the amphitheatre. The monarch

entered the grand amphitheatre by the north-eastern gate. And the

amphitheatre which itself had been erected on an auspicious and level

plain to the north-east of Drupada’s capital, was surrounded by beautiful

mansions. And it was enclosed on all sides with high walls and a moat

with arched doorways here and there. The vast amphitheatre was also

shaded by a canopy of various colours. And resounding with the notes of

thousands of trumpets, it was scented with black aloes and sprinkled all

over with water mixed with sandal-paste and decorated with garlands of

flowers. It was surrounded with high mansions perfectly white and

resembling the cloud-kissing peaks of Kailasa. The windows of those

mansions were covered with net works of gold; the walls were set with

diamonds and precious costly carpets and cloths. All those mansions

adorned with wreaths and garlands of flowers and rendered fragrant with

excellent aloes, were all white and spotless, like unto the necks of

swans. And the fragrance therefrom could be perceived from the distance

of a Yojana (eight miles). And they were each furnished with a hundred

doors wide enough to admit a crowd of persons; they were adorned with

costly beds and carpets, and beautified with various metals; they

resembled the peaks of the Himavat. And in those seven-storied houses of

various sizes dwelt the monarchs invited by Drupada whose persons were

adorned with every ornament and who were possessed with the desire of

excelling one another. And the inhabitants of the city and the country

who had come to behold Krishna and taken their seats on the excellent

platforms erected around, beheld seated within those mansions those lions

among kings who were all endued with the energy of great souls. And those

exalted sovereigns were all adorned with the fragrant paste of the black

aloe. Of great liberality, they were all devoted to Brahma and they

protected their kingdoms against all foes. And for their own good deeds

they were loved by the whole world.

“The Pandavas, too, entering that amphitheatre, sat with the Brahmanas

and beheld the unequalled affluence of the king of the Panchalas. And

that concourse of princes, Brahmanas, and others, looking gay at the

performances of actors and dancers (large presents of every kind of

wealth being constantly made), began to swell day by day. And it lasted,

O king, several days, till on the sixteenth day when it was at its full,

the daughter of Drupada, O thou bull of the Bharata race, having washed

herself clean entered the amphitheatre, richly attired and adorned with

every ornament and bearing in her hand a dish of gold (whereon were the

usual offerings of Arghya) and a garland of flowers. Then the priest of

the lunar race–a holy Brahmana conversant with all mantras–ignited the

sacrificial fire and poured on it with due rites libations of clarified

butter. And gratifying Agni by these libations and making the Brahmanas

utter the auspicious formula of benediction, stopped the musical

instruments that were playing all around. And when that vast

amphitheatre, O monarch, became perfectly still, Dhrishtadyumna possessed

of a voice deep as the sound of the kettledrum or the clouds, taking hold

of his sister’s arm, stood in the midst of that concourse, and said, with

a voice loud and deep as the roar of the clouds, these charming words of

excellent import, ‘Hear ye assembled kings, this is the bow, that is the

mark, and these are the arrows. Shoot the mark through the orifice of the

machine with these five sharpened arrows. Truly do I say that, possessed

of lineage, beauty of persons, and strength whoever achieveth this great

feat shall obtain today this my sister, Krishna for his wife.’ Having

thus spoken unto the assembled monarchs Drupada’s son then addressed his

sister, reciting unto her the names and lineages and achievements of

those assembled lords of the earth.'”

SECTION CLXXXVIII

(Swayamvara Parva continued)

“Dhrishtadyumna said, ‘Duryodhana, Durvisaha, Durmukha and

Dushpradharshana, Vivinsati, Vikarna, Saha, and Duhsasana; Yuyutsu and

Vayuvega and Bhimavegarava; Ugrayudha, Valaki, Kanakayu, and Virochana,

Sukundala, Chitrasena, Suvarcha, and Kanakadhwaja; Nandaka, and Vahusali,

and Tuhunda, and Vikata; these, O sister, and many other mighty sons of

Dhritarashtra–all heroes–accompanied by Karna, have come for thy hand.

Innumerable other illustrious monarchs all bulls among Kshatriyas–have

also come for thee. Sakuni, Sauvala, Vrisaka, and Vrihadvala,–these sons

of the king Gandhara–have also come. Foremost of all wielders of

weapons–the illustrious Aswatthaman and Bhoja, adorned with every

ornament have also come for thee. Vrihanta, Manimana, Dandadhara,

Sahadeva, Jayatsena, Meghasandhi, Virata with his two sons Sankha and

Uttara, Vardhakshemi, Susarma, Senavindu, Suketu with his two sons Sunama

and Suvarcha, Suchitra, Sukumara, Vrika, Satyadhriti, Suryadhwaja,

Rochamana, Nila, Chitrayudha, Agsuman, Chekitana, the mighty Sreniman,

Chandrasena the mighty son of Samudrasena, Jarasandha, Vidanda, and

Danda–the father and son, Paundraka, Vasudeva, Bhagadatta endued with

great energy, Kalinga, Tamralipta, the king of Pattana, the mighty

car-warrior Salya, the king of Madra, with his son, the heroic

Rukmangada, Rukmaratha, Somadatta of the Kuru race with his three sons,

all mighty chariot-fighters and heroes, viz., Bhuri, Bhurisrava, and

Sala, Sudakshina, Kamvoja of the Puru race, Vrihadvala, Sushena, Sivi,

the son of Usinara, Patcharanihanta, the king of Karusha, Sankarshana

(Valadeva), Vasudeva (Krishna) the mighty son of Rukmini, Samva,

Charudeshna, the son of Pradyumna with Gada, Akrura, Satyaki, the

high-souled Uddhava, Kritavarman, the son of Hridika, Prithu, Viprithu,

Viduratha, Kanka, Sanku with Gaveshana, Asavaha, Aniruddha, Samika,

Sarimejaya, the heroic Vatapi Jhilli Pindaraka, the powerful Usinara, all

these of the Vrishni race, Bhagiratha, Vrihatkshatra, Jayadratha the son

of Sindhu, Vrihadratha, Valhika, the mighty charioteer Srutayu, Uluka,

Kaitava, Chitrangada and Suvangada, the highly intelligent Vatsaraja, the

king of Kosala, Sisupala and the powerful Jarasandha, these and many

other great kings–all Kshatriyas celebrated throughout the world–have

come, O blessed one, for thee. Endued with prowess, these will shoot the

mark. And thou shalt choose him for thy husband who amongst these will

shoot the mark.'”

SECTION CLXXXIX

(Swayamvara Parva continued)

“Vaisampayana said, ‘Then those youthful princes adorned with ear-rings,

vying with one another and each regarding himself accomplished in arms

and gifted with might, stood up brandishing their weapons. And

intoxicated with pride of beauty, prowess, lineage, knowledge, wealth,

and youth, they were like Himalayan elephants in the season of rut with

crowns split from excess of temporal juice. And beholding each other with

jealousy and influenced by the god of desire, they suddenly rose up from

their royal seats, exclaiming ‘Krishna shall be mine.’ And the Kshatriyas

assembled in that amphitheatre, each desirous of winning the daughter of

Drupada, looked like the celestial (of old) standing round Uma, the

daughter of the King of mountains. Afflicted with the shafts of the god

of the flowery bow and with hearts utterly lost in the contemplation of

Krishna, those princes descended into the amphitheatre for winning the

Panchala maiden and began to regard even their best friends with

jealousy. And there came also the celestials on their cars, with the

Rudras and the Adityas, the Vasus and the twin Aswins, the Swadhas and

all the Marutas, and Kuvera with Yama walking ahead. And there came also

the Daityas and the Suparnas, the great Nagas and the celestial Rishis,

the Guhyakas and the Charanas and Viswavasu and Narada and Parvata, and

the principal Gandharvas with Apsaras. And Halayudha (Valadeva) and

Janardana (Krishna) and the chief of the Vrishni, Andhaka, and Yadava

tribes who obeyed the leadership of Krishna were also there, viewing the

scene. And beholding those elephants in rut–the five

(Pandavas)–attracted towards Draupadi like mighty elephants towards a

lake overgrown with lotuses, or like fire covered with ashes, Krishna the

foremost of Yadu heroes began to reflect. And he said unto Rama

(Valadeva), ‘That is Yudhishthira; that is Bhima with Jishnu (Arjuna);

and those are the twin heroes.’ And Rama surveying them slowly cast a

glance of satisfaction at Krishna. Biting their nether lips in wrath, the

other heroes there–sons and grandsons of kings–with their eyes and

hearts and thoughts set on Krishna, looked with expanded eyes on Draupadi

alone without noticing the Pandavas. And the sons of Pritha also, of

mighty arms, and the illustrious twin heroes, beholding Draupadi, were

all likewise struck by the shafts of Kama. And crowded with celestial

Rishis and Gandharvas and Suparnas and Nagas and Asuras and Siddhas, and

filled with celestial perfumes and scattered over with celestial flowers,

and resounding with the kettle-drum and the deep hum of infinite voices,

and echoing with the softer music of the flute, the Vina, and the tabor,

the cars of the celestials could scarcely find a passage through the

firmament. Then those princes–Karna, Duryodhana, Salwa, Salya,

Aswatthaman, Kratha, Sunitha, Vakra, the ruler of Kalinga and Banga,

Pandya, Paundra, the ruler of Videha, the chief of the Yavanas, and many

other sons and grandsons of kings,–sovereigns of territories with eyes

like lotus-petals,–one after another began to exhibit prowess for

(winning) that maiden of unrivalled beauty. Adorned with crowns,

garlands, bracelets, and other ornaments, endued with mighty arms,

possessed of prowess and vigour and bursting with strength and energy,

those princes could not, even in imagination, string that bow of

extraordinary stiffness.

“And (some amongst) those kings in exerting with swelling lips each

according to his strength, education, skill, and energy,–to string that

bow, were tossed on the ground and lay perfectly motionless for some

time. Their strength spent and their crowns and garlands loosened from

their persons, they began to pant for breath and their ambition of

winning that fair maiden was cooled. Tossed by that tough bow, and their

garlands and bracelets and other ornaments disordered, they began to

utter exclamations of woe. And that assemblage of monarchs, their hope of

obtaining Krishna gone, looked sad and woeful. And beholding the plight

of those monarchs, Karna that foremost of all wielders of the bow went to

where the bow was, and quickly raising it strung it and placed the arrows

on the string. And beholding the son of Surya–Karna of the Suta

tribe–like unto fire, or Soma, or Surya himself, resolved to shoot the

mark, those foremost of bowmen–the sons of Pandu–regarded the mark as

already shot and brought down upon the ground. But seeing Karna, Draupadi

loudly said, ‘I will not select a Suta for my lord.’ Then Karna, laughing

in vexation and casting glance at the Sun, threw aside the bow already

drawn to a circle.

Then when all those Kshatriyas gave up the task, the heroic king of the

Chedis–mighty as Yama (Pluto) himself–the illustrious and determined

Sisupala, the son of Damaghosa, in endeavouring to string the bow,

himself fell upon his knees on the ground. Then king Jarasandha endued

with great strength and powers, approaching the bow stood there for some

moment, fixed and motionless like a mountain. Tossed by the bow, he too

fell upon his knees on the ground, and rising up, the monarch left the

amphitheatre for (returning to) his kingdom. Then the great hero Salya,

the king of Madra, endued with great strength, in endeavouring to string

the bow fell upon his knees on the ground. At last when in that

assemblage consisting of highly respectable people, all the monarchs had

become subjects of derisive talk that foremost of heroes–Jishnu, the son

of Kunti–desired to string the bow and placed the arrows on the

bow-string.'”

SECTION CLXL

(Swayamvara Parva continued)

“Vaisampayana continued, ‘When all the monarchs had desisted from

stringing that bow, the high-souled Jishnu arose from among the crowd of

Brahmanas seated in that assembly. And beholding Partha possessing the

complexion of Indra’s banner, advancing towards the bow, the principal

Brahmanas shaking their deer-skins raised a loud clamour. And while some

were displeased, there were others that were well-pleased. And some there

were, possessed of intelligence and foresight, who addressing one another

said, ‘Ye Brahmanas, how can a Brahmana stripling unpractised in arms and

weak in strength, string that bow which such celebrated Kshatriyas as

Salya and others endued with might and accomplished in the science and

practice of arms could not? If he doth not achieve success in this

untried task which he hath undertaken from a spirit of boyish

unsteadiness, the entire body of Brahmanas here will be rendered

ridiculous in the eyes of the assembled monarchs. Therefore, forbid this

Brahmana that he may not go to string the bow which he is even now

desirous of doing from vanity, childish daring, or mere unsteadiness.’

Others replied, ‘We shall not be made ridiculous, nor shall we incur the

disrespect of anybody or the displeasure of the sovereigns. Some

remarked, ‘This handsome youth is even like the trunk of a mighty

elephant, whose shoulders and arms and thighs are so well-built, who in

patience looks like the Himavat, whose gait is even like that of the

lion, and whose prowess seems to be like that of an elephant in rut, and

who is so resolute, that it is probable that he will accomplish this

feat. He has strength and resolution. If he had none, he would never go

of his own accord. Besides, there is nothing in the three worlds that

Brahmanas of all mortal men cannot accomplish. Abstaining from all food

or living upon air or eating of fruits, persevering in their vows, and

emaciated and weak, Brahmanas are ever strong in their own energy. One

should never disregard a Brahmana whether his acts be right or wrong, by

supposing him incapable of achieving any task that is great or little, or

that is fraught with bliss or woe. Rama the son of Jamadagni defeated in

battle, all the Kshatriyas. Agastya by his Brahma energy drank off the

fathomless ocean. Therefore, say ye, ‘Let this youth bend the bow and

string it with ease’ (and many said), ‘So be it.’ And the Brahmanas

continued speaking unto one another these and other words. Then Arjuna

approached the bow and stood there like a mountain. And walking round

that bow, and bending his head unto that giver of boons–the lord

Isana–and remembering Krishna also, he took it up. And that bow which

Rukma, Sunitha, Vakra, Radha’s son, Duryodhana, Salya, and many other

kings accomplished in the science and practice of arms, could not even

with great exertion, string, Arjuna, the son of Indra, that foremost of

all persons endued with energy and like unto the younger brother of Indra

(Vishnu) in might, strung in the twinkling of an eye. And taking up the

five arrows he shot the mark and caused it to fall down on the ground

through the hole in the machine above which it had been placed. Then

there arose a loud uproar in the firmament, and the amphitheatre also

resounded with a loud clamour. And the gods showered celestial flowers on

the head of Partha the slayer of foes. And thousands of Brahmanas began

to wave their upper garments in joy. And all around, the monarchs who had

been unsuccessful, uttered exclamations of grief and despair. And flowers

were rained from the skies all over the amphitheatre. And the musicians

struck up in concert. Bards and heralds began to chant in sweet tones the

praises (of the hero who accomplished the feat). And beholding Arjuna,

Drupada–that slayer of foes,–was filled with joy. And the monarch

desired to assist with his forces the hero if the occasion arose. And

when the uproar was at its height, Yudhishthira, the foremost of all

virtuous men, accompanied by those first of men the twins, hastily left

the amphitheatre for returning to his temporary home. And Krishna

beholding the mark shot and beholding Partha also like unto Indra

himself, who had shot the mark, was filled with joy, and approached the

son of Kunti with a white robe and a garland of flowers. And Arjuna the

accomplisher of inconceivable feats, having won Draupadi by his success

in the amphitheatre, was saluted with reverence by all the Brahmanas. And

he soon after left the lists followed close by her who thus became his

wife.'”

SECTION CLXLI

(Swayamvara Parva continued)

“Vaisampayana said, ‘When the king (Drupada) expressed his desire of

bestowing his daughter on that Brahmana (who had shot the mark), all

those monarchs who had been invited to the Swayamvara, looking at one

another, were suddenly filled with wrath. And they said, ‘Passing us by

and treating the assembled monarchs as straw this Drupada desireth to

bestow his daughter–that first of women,–on a Brahmana! Having planted

the tree he cutteth it down when it is about to bear fruit. The wretch

regardeth us not: therefore let us slay him. He deserveth not our respect

nor the veneration due to age. Owing to such qualities of his, we shall,

therefore, slay this wretch that insulteth all kings, along with his son.

Inviting all the monarchs and entertaining them with excellent food, he

disregardeth us at last. In this assemblage of monarchs like unto a

conclave of the celestials, doth he not see a single monarch equal unto

himself? The Vedic declaration is well-known that the Swayamvara is for

the Kshatriyas. The Brahmanas have no claim in respect of a selection of

husband by a Kshatriya damsel. Or, ye kings, if this damsel desireth not

to select any one of us as her lord, let us cast her into the fire and

return to our kingdoms. As regards this Brahmana, although he hath, from

officiousness or avarice, done this injury to the monarchs, he should not

yet be slain; for our kingdoms, lives, treasures, sons, grandsons, and

whatever other wealth we have, all exist for Brahmanas. Something must be

done here (even unto him), so that from fear of disgrace and the desire

of maintaining what properly belongeth unto each order, other Swayamvaras

may not terminate in this way.’

“Having addressed one another thus, those tigers among monarchs endued

with arms like unto spiked iron maces, took up their weapons and rushed

at Drupada to slay him then and there. And Drupada beholding those

monarchs all at once rushing towards him in anger with bows and arrows,

sought, from fear, the protection of the Brahmanas. But those mighty

bowmen (Bhima and Arjuna) of the Pandavas, capable of chastising all

foes, advanced to oppose those monarchs rushing towards them impetuously

like elephants in the season of rut. Then the monarchs with gloved

fingers and upraised weapons rushed in anger at the Kuru princes, Bhima

and Arjuna, to slay them. Then the mighty Bhima of extraordinary

achievements, endued with the strength of thunder, tore up like an

elephant a large tree and divested it of its leaves. And with that tree,

the strong-armed Bhima, the son of Pritha, that grinder of foes, stood,

like unto the mace-bearing king of the dead (Yama) armed with his fierce

mace, near Arjuna that bull amongst men. And beholding that feat of his

brother, Jishnu of extraordinary intelligence, himself also of

inconceivable feats, wondered much. And equal unto Indra himself in

achievements, shaking off all fear he stood with his bow ready to receive

those assailants. And beholding those feats of both Jishnu and his

brother, Damodara (Krishna) of superhuman intelligence and inconceivable

feats, addressing his brother, Halayudha (Valadeva) of fierce energy,

said, ‘That hero there, of tread like that of a mighty lion, who draweth

the large bow in his hand four full cubits in length, is Arjuna! There is

no doubt, O Sankarshana, about this, if I am Vasudeva. That other hero

who having speedily torn up the tree hath suddenly become ready to drive

off the monarchs is Vrikodara! For no one in the world, except Vrikodara,

could today perform such a feat in the field of battle. And that other

youth of eyes like unto lotus-petals, of full four cubits height, of gait

like that of a mighty lion, and humble withal, of fair complexion and

prominent and shining nose, who had, a little before, left the

amphitheatre, is Dharma’s son (Yudhishthira). The two other youths, like

unto Kartikeya, are, I suspect, the sons of the twin Aswins. I heard that

the sons of Pandu along with their mother Pritha had all escaped from the

conflagration of the house of lac.’ Then Halayudha of complexion like

unto that of clouds uncharged with rain, addressing his younger brother

(Krishna), said with great satisfaction, ‘O, I am happy to hear, as I do

from sheer good fortune, that our father’s sister Pritha with the

foremost of the Kaurava princes have all escaped (from death)!'”

SECTION CLXLII

(Swayamvara Parva continued)

“Vaisampayana said, ‘Then those bulls among Brahmanas shaking their

deer-skins and water-pots made of cocoanut-shells exclaimed, ‘Fear not,

we will fight the foe!’ Arjuna smilingly addressing those Brahmanas

exclaiming thus, said, ‘Stand ye aside as spectators (of the fray)

Showering hundreds of arrows furnished with straight points even I shall

check, like snakes with mantras, all those angry monarchs.’ Having said

this, the mighty Arjuna taking up the bow he had obtained as dower

accompanied by his brother Bhima stood immovable as a mountain. And

beholding those Kshatriyas who were ever furious in battle with Karna

ahead, the heroic brothers rushed fearlessly at them like two elephants

rushing against a hostile elephant. Then those monarchs eager for the

fight fiercely exclaimed, ‘The slaughter in battle of one desiring to

fight is permitted.’ And saying this, the monarchs suddenly rushed

against the Brahmanas. And Karna endued with great energy rushed against

Jishnu for fight. And Salya the mighty king of Madra rushed against Bhima

like an elephant rushing against another for the sake of a she-elephant

in heat; while Duryodhana and others engaged with the Brahmanas,

skirmished with them lightly and carelessly. Then the illustrious Arjuna

beholding Karna, the son of Vikartana (Surya), advancing towards him,

drew his tough bow and pieced him with his sharp arrows. And the impetus

of those whetted arrows furnished with fierce energy made Radheya (Karna)

faint. Recovering consciousness Karna attacked Arjuna with greater care

than before. Then Karna and Arjuna, both foremost of victorious warriors,

desirous of vanquishing each other, fought madly on. And such was the

lightness of hand they both displayed that (each enveloped by the other’s

shower of arrows) they both became invisible (unto the spectators of

their encounter). ‘Behold the strength of my arms.’–‘Mark, how I have

counteracted that feat,’–those were the words–intelligible to heroes

alone–in which they addressed each other. And incensed at finding the

strength and energy of Arjuna’s arms unequalled on the earth, Karna, the

son of Surya, fought with greater vigour. And parrying all those

impetuous arrows shot at him by Arjuna, Karna sent up a loud shout. And

this feat of his was applauded by all the warriors. Then addressing his

antagonist, Karna said, ‘O thou foremost of Brahmanas, I am gratified to

observe the energy of thy arms that knoweth no relaxation in battle and

thy weapons themselves fit for achieving victory. Art thou the embodiment

of the science of weapons, or art thou Rama that best of Brahmanas, or

Indra himself, or Indra’s younger brother Vishnu called also Achyuta, who

for disguising himself hath assumed the form of a Brahmana and mustering

such energy of arms fighteth with me? No other person except the husband

himself of Sachi or Kiriti, the son of Pandu, is capable of fighting with

me when I am angry on the field of battle.’ Then hearing those words of

his, Phalguna replied, saying, ‘O Karna, I am neither the science of arms

(personified), nor Rama endued with superhuman powers. I am only a

Brahmana who is the foremost of all warriors and all wielders of weapons.

By the grace of my preceptor I have become accomplished in the Brahma and

the Paurandara weapons. I am here to vanquish thee in battle. Therefore,

O hero, wait a little.’

“Vaisampayana continued, ‘Thus addressed (by Arjuna), Karna the adopted

son of Radha desisted from the fight, for that mighty chariot-fighter

thought that Brahma energy is ever invincible. Meanwhile on another part

of the field, the mighty heroes Salya and Vrikodara, well-skilled in

battle and possessed of great strength and proficiency, challenging each

other, engaged in fight like two elephants in rut. And they struck each

other with their clenched fists and knees. And sometimes pushing each

other forward and sometimes dragging each other near, sometimes throwing

each other down; face downward, and sometimes on the sides, they fought

on, striking, each other at times with their clenched fists. And

encountering each other with blows hard as the clash of two masses of

granite, the lists rang with the sounds of their combat. Fighting with

each other thus for a few seconds, Bhima the foremost of the Kuru heroes

taking up Salya on his arms hurled him to a distance. And Bhimasena, that

bull amongst men, surprised all (by the dexterity of his feat) for though

he threw Salya on the ground he did it without hurting him much. And when

Salya was thus thrown down and Karna was struck with fear, the other

monarchs were all alarmed. And they hastily surrounded Bhima and

exclaimed, ‘Surely these bulls amongst Brahmanas are excellent

(warriors)! Ascertain in what race they have been born and where they

abide. Who can encounter Karna, the son of Radha, in fight, except Rama

or Drona, or Kiriti, the son of Pandu? Who also can encounter Duryodhana

in battle except Krishna, the son of Devaki, and Kripa, the son of

Saradwan? Who also can overthrow in battle Salya, that first of mighty

warriors, except the hero Valadeva or Vrikodara, the son of Pandu, or the

heroic Duryodhana? Let us, therefore, desist from this fight with the

Brahmanas. Indeed, Brahmanas, however offending, should yet be ever

protected. And first let us ascertain who these are; for after we have

done that we may cheerfully fight with them.’

“Vaisampayana continued, ‘And Krishna, having beheld that feat of Bhima,

believed them both to be the son of Kunti. And gently addressing the

assembled monarchs, saying, ‘This maiden hath been justly acquired (by

the Brahmana),’ he induced them to abandon the fight. Accomplished in

battle, those monarchs then desisted from the fight. And those best of

monarchs then returned to their respective kingdoms, wondering much. And

those who had come there went away saying. ‘The festive scene hath

terminated in the victory of the Brahmanas. The princess of Panchala hath

become the bride of a Brahmana.’ And surrounded by Brahmanas dressed in

skins of deer and other wild animals, Bhima and Dhananjaya passed with

difficulty out of the throng. And those heroes among men, mangled by the

enemy and followed by Krishna, on coming at last out of that throng,

looked like the full moon and the sun emerging from the clouds.

“Meanwhile Kunti seeing that her sons were late in returning from their

eleemosynary round, was filled with anxiety. She began to think of

various evils having overtaken her sons. At one time she thought that the

sons of Dhritarashtra having recognised her sons had slain them. Next she

feared that some cruel and strong Rakshasas endued with powers of

deception had slain them. And she asked herself, ‘Could the illustrious

Vyasa himself (who had directed my sons to come to Panchala) have been

guided by perverse intelligence?’ Thus reflected Pritha in consequence of

her affection for her offspring. Then in the stillness of the late

afternoon, Jishnu, accompanied by a body of Brahmanas, entered the abode

of the potter, like the cloud-covered sun appearing on a cloudy day.'”

SECTION CLXLIII

(Swayamvara Parva continued)

“Vaisampayana said, ‘Then those illustrious sons of Pritha, on returning

to the potter’s abode, approached their mother. And those first of men

represented Yajnaseni unto their mother as the alms they had obtained

that day. And Kunti who was there within the room and saw not her sons,

replied, saying, ‘Enjoy ye all (what ye have obtained).’ The moment

after, she beheld Krishna and then she said, ‘Oh, what have I said?’ And

anxious from fear of sin, and reflecting how every one could be

extricated from the situation, she took the cheerful Yajnaseni by the

hand, and approaching Yudhishthira said, ‘The daughter of king Yajnasena

upon being represented to me by thy younger brothers as the alms they had

obtained, from ignorance, O king, I said what was proper, viz., ‘Enjoy ye

all what hath been obtained. O thou bull of the Kuru race, tell me how my

speech may not become untrue; how sin may not touch the daughter of the

king of Panchala, and how also she may not become uneasy.’

“Vaisampayana continued, ‘Thus addressed by his mother that hero among

men, that foremost scion of the Kuru race, the intelligent king

(Yudhishthira), reflecting for a moment, consoled Kunti, and addressing

Dhananjaya, said, ‘By thee, O Phalguna, hath Yajnaseni been won. It is

proper, therefore, that thou shouldst wed her. O thou withstander of all

foes, igniting the sacred fire, take thou her hand with due rites.’

“Arjuna, hearing this, replied, ‘O king, do not make me a participator in

sin. Thy behest is not conformable to virtue. That is the path followed

by the sinful. Thou shouldst wed first, then the strong-armed Bhima of

inconceivable feats, then myself, then Nakula, and last of all, Sahadeva

endued with great activity. Both Vrikodara and myself, and the twins and

this maiden also, all await, O monarch, thy commands. When such is the

state of things, do that, after reflection, which would be proper, and

conformable virtue, and productive of fame, and beneficial unto the king

of Panchala. All of us are obedient to thee. O, command us as thou

likest.’

“Vaisampayana continued, ‘Hearing these words of Jishnu, so full of

respect and affection, the Pandavas all cast their eyes upon the princess

of Panchala. And the princess of Panchala also looked at them all. And

casting their glances on the illustrious Krishna, those princes looked at

one another. And taking their seats, they began to think of Draupadi

alone. Indeed, after those princes of immeasurable energy had looked at

Draupadi, the God of Desire invaded their hearts and continued to crush

all their senses. As the lavishing beauty of Panchali who had been

modelled by the Creator himself, was superior to that of all other women

on earth, it could captivate the heart of every creature. And

Yudhishthira, the son of Kunti, beholding his younger brothers,

understood what was passing in their minds. And that bull among men

immediately recollected the words of Krishna-Dwaipayana. And the king,

then, from fear of a division amongst the brothers, addressing all of

them, said, ‘The auspicious Draupadi shall be the common wife of us all.’

“Vaisampayana continued, ‘The sons of Pandu, then, hearing those words of

their eldest brother, began to revolve them in their minds in great

cheerfulness. The hero of the Vrishni race (Krishna suspecting the five

persons he had seen at the Swayamvara to be none else than the heroes of

the Kuru race), came accompanied by the son of Rohini (Valadeva), to the

house of the potter where those foremost of men had taken up their

quarters. On arriving there, Krishna and Valadeva beheld seated in that

potter’s house Ajatasanu (Yudhishthira) of well developed and long arms,

and his younger brothers passing the splendour of fire sitting around

him. Then Vasudeva approaching that foremost of virtuous men–the son of

Kunti–and touching the feet of that prince of the Ajamida race, said, ‘I

am Krishna.’ And the son of Rohini (Valadeva) also approaching

Yudhishthira, did the same. And the Pandavas, beholding Krishna and

Valadeva, began to express great delight. And, O thou foremost of the

Bharata race, those heroes of the Yadu race thereafter touched also the

feet of Kunti, their father’s sister. And Ajatasatru, that foremost of

the Kuru race, beholding Krishna, enquired after his well-being and

asked, ‘How, O Vasudeva, hast thou been able to trace us, as we are

living in disguise?’ And Vasudeva, smilingly answered, ‘O king, fire,

even if it is covered, can be known. Who else among men than the Pandavas

could exhibit such might? Ye resisters of all foes, ye sons of Pandu, by

sheer good fortune have ye escaped from that fierce fire. And it is by

sheer good fortune alone that the wicked son of Dhritarashtra and his

counsellors have not succeeded in accomplishing their wishes. Blest be

ye! And grow ye in prosperity like a fire in a cave gradually growing and

spreading itself all around. And lest any of the monarchs recognise ye,

let us return to our tent.’ Then, obtaining Yudhishthira’s leave, Krishna

of prosperity knowing no decrease, accompanied by Valadeva, hastily went

away from the potter’s abode.'”

SECTION CLXLIV

(Swayamvara Parva continued)

“Vaisampayana said, ‘When the Kuru princes (Bhima and Arjuna) were

wending towards the abode of the potter, Dhrishtadyumna, the Panchala

prince followed them. And sending away all his attendants, he concealed

himself in some part of the potter’s house, unknown to the Pandavas. Then

Bhima, that grinder of all foes, and Jishnu, and the illustrious twins,

on returning from their eleemosynary round in the evening, cheerfully

gave everything unto Yudhishthira. Then the kind-hearted Kunti addressing

the daughter of Drupada said, ‘O amiable one, take thou first a portion

from this and devote it to the gods and give it away to Brahmanas, and

feed those that desire to eat and give unto those who have become our

guests. Divide the rest into two halves. Give one of these unto Bhima, O

amiable one, for this strong youth of fair complexion–equal unto a king

of elephants–this hero always eateth much. And divide the other half

into six parts, four for these youths, one for myself, and one for thee.’

Then the princess hearing those instructive words of her mother-in-law

cheerfully did all that she had been directed to do. And those heroes

then all ate of the food prepared by Krishna. Then Sahadeva, the son of

Madri, endued with great activity, spread on the ground a bed of kusa

grass. Then those heroes, each spreading thereon his deer-skin, laid

themselves down to sleep. And those foremost of the Kuru princes lay down

with heads towards the south. And Kunti laid herself down along the line

of their heads, and Krishna along that of their feet. And Krishna though

she lay with the sons of Pandu on that bed of kusa grass along the line

of their feet as if she were their nether pillow, grieved not in her

heart nor thought disrespectfully of those bulls amongst the Kurus. Then

those heroes began to converse with one another. And the conversations of

those princes, each worthy to lead an army, was exceedingly interesting

they being upon celestial cars and weapons and elephants, and swords and

arrows, and battle-axes. And the son of the Panchala king listened (from

his place of concealment) unto all they said. And all those who were with

him beheld Krishna in that state.

“When morning came, the prince Dhristadyumna set out from his place of

concealment with great haste in order to report to Drupada in detail all

that had happened at the potter’s abode and all that he had heard those

heroes speak amongst themselves during the night. The king of Panchala

had been sad because he knew not the Pandavas as those who had taken away

his daughter. And the illustrious monarch asked Dhristadyumna on his

return, ‘Oh, where hath Krishna gone? Who hath taken her away? Hath any

Sudra or anybody of mean descent, or hath a tribute-paying Vaisya by

taking my daughter away, placed his dirty foot on my head? O son, hath

that wreath of flowers been thrown away on a grave-yard? Hath any

Kshatriya of high birth, or any one of the superior order (Brahmana)

obtained my daughter? Hath any one of mean descent, by having won

Krishna, placed his left foot on my head? I would not, O son, grieve but

feel greatly happy, if my daughter hath been united with Partha that

foremost of men! O thou exalted one, tell me truly who hath won my

daughter today? O, are the sons of that foremost of Kurus,

Vichitravirya’s son alive? Was it Partha (Arjuna) that took up the bow

and shot the mark?'”

SECTION CLXLV

(Vaivahika Parva)

“Vaisampayana said, ‘Thus addressed Dhrishtadyumna, that foremost of the

Lunar princes, cheerfully said unto his father all that had happened and

by whom Krishna had been won. And the prince said, ‘With large, red eyes,

attired in deer-skin, and resembling a celestial in beauty, the youth who

strung that foremost of bows and brought down to the ground the mark set

on high, was soon surrounded by the foremost of Brahmanas who also

offered him their homage for the feat he had achieved. Incapable of

bearing the sight of a foe and endued with great activity, he began to

exert his prowess. And surrounded by the Brahmanas he resembled the

thunder-wielding Indra standing in the midst of the celestials, and the

Rishis. And like a she-elephant following the leader of a herd, Krishna

cheerfully followed that youth catching hold of his deer-skin. Then when

the assembled monarchs incapable of bearing that sight lose up in wrath

and advanced for fight, there rose up another hero who tearing up a large

tree rushed at that concourse of kings, felling them right and left like

Yama himself smiting down creatures endued with life. Then, O monarch,

the assembled kings stood motionless and looked at that couple of heroes,

while they, resembling the Sun and the Moon, taking Krishna with them,

left the amphitheatre and went into the abode of a potter in the suburbs

of the town, and there at the potter’s abode sat a lady like unto a flame

of fire who, I think, is their mother. And around her also sat three

other foremost of men each of whom was like unto fire. And the couple of

heroes having approached her paid homage unto her feet, and they said

unto Krishna also to do the same. And keeping Krishna with her, those

foremost of men all went the round of eleemosynary visits. Some time

after when they returned, Krishna taking from them what they had obtained

as alms, devoted a portion thereof to the gods, and gave another portion

away (in gift) to Brahmanas. And of what remained after this, she gave a

portion to that venerable lady, and distributed the rest amongst those

five foremost of men. And she took a little for herself and ate it last

of all. Then, O monarch, they all laid themselves down for sleep, Krishna

lying along the line of their feet as their nether pillow. And the bed on

which they lay was made of kusa grass upon which was spread their

deer-skins. And before going to sleep they talked on diverse subjects in

voices deep as of black clouds. The talk of those heroes indicated them

to be neither Vaisyas nor Sudras, nor Brahmanas. Without doubt, O

monarch, they are bulls amongst Kshatriyas, their discourse having been

on military subjects. It seems, O father, that our hope hath been

fructified, for we have heard that the sons of Kunti all escaped from the

conflagration of the house of lac. From the way in which the mark was

shot down by that youth, and the strength with which the bow was strung

by him, and the manner in which I have heard them talk with one another

proves conclusively, O monarch, that they are the sons of Pritha

wandering in disguise.’

“Hearing these words of his son, king Drupada became exceedingly glad,

and he sent unto them his priest directing him to ascertain who they were

and whether they were the sons of the illustrious Pandu. Thus directed,

the king’s priest went unto them and applauding them all, delivered the

king’s message duly, saying, ‘Ye who are worthy of preference in

everything, the boon-giving king of the earth–Drupada–is desirous of

ascertaining who ye are. Beholding this one who hath shot down the mark,

his joy knoweth no bounds. Giving us all particulars of your family and

tribe, place ye your feet on the heads of your foes and gladden the

hearts of the king of Panchala mid his men and mine also. King Pandu was

the dear friend of Drupada and was regarded by him as his counterself.

And Drupada had all along cherished the desire of bestowing this daughter

of his upon Pandu as his daughter-in-law. Ye heroes of features perfectly

faultless, king Drupada hath all along cherished this desire in his heart

that Arjuna of strong and long arms might wed this daughter of his

according to the ordinance. If that hath become possible, nothing could

be better; nothing more beneficial; nothing more conducive to fame and

virtue, so far as Drupada is concerned.’

“Having said this, the priest remained silent and humbly waited for an

answer. Beholding him sitting thus, the king Yudhishthira commanded Bhima

who sat near, saying, ‘Let water to wash his feet with and the Arghya be

offered unto this Brahmana. He is king Drupada’s priest and, therefore,

worthy of great respect. We should worship him with more than ordinary

reverence.’ Then, O monarch, Bhima did as directed. Accepting the worship

thus offered unto him, the Brahmana with a joyous heart sat at his ease.

Then Yudhishthira addressed him and said, ‘The king of the Panchalas

hath, by fixing a special kind of dower, given away his daughter

according to the practice of his order and not freely. This hero hath, by

satisfying that demand, won the princess. King Drupada, therefore, hath

nothing now to say in regard to the race, tribe, family and disposition

of him who hath performed that feat. Indeed, all his queries have been

answered by the stringing of the bow and the shooting down of the mark.

It is by doing what he had directed that this illustrious hero hath

brought away Krishna from among the assembled monarchs. In these

circumstances, the king of the Lunar race should not indulge in any

regrets which can only make him unhappy without mending matters in the

least. The desire that king Drupada hath all along cherished will be

accomplished for his handsome princess who beareth, I think, every

auspicious mark. None that is weak in strength could string that bow, and

none of mean birth and unaccomplished in arms could have shot down the

mark. It behoveth not, therefore, the king of the Panchalas to grieve for

his daughter today. Nor can anybody in the world undo that act of

shooting down the mark. Therefore the king should not grieve for what

must take its course.’

“While Yudhishthira was saying all this, another messenger from the king

of the Panchalas, coming thither in haste, said, ‘The (nuptial), feast is

ready.'”

SECTION CLXLVI

(Vaivahika Parva continued)

“Vaisampayana continued, ‘The messenger said, ‘King Drupada hath, in view

of his daughter’s nuptials prepared a good feast for the bride-groom’s

party. Come ye thither after finishing your daily rites. Krishna’s

wedding will take place there. Delay ye not. These cars adorned with

golden lotuses drawn by excellent horses are worthy of kings. Riding on

them, come ye into the abode of the king of the Panchalas.’

“Vaisampayana continued, ‘Then those bulls among the Kurus, dismissing

the priest and causing Kunti and Krishna to ride together on one of those

cars, themselves ascended those splendid vehicles and proceeded towards

Drupada’s place. Meanwhile, O Bharata, hearing from his priest the words

that Yudhishthira had said, king Drupada, in order to ascertain the order

to which those heroes belonged, kept ready a large collection of articles

(required by the ordinance for the wedding of each of the four orders).

And he kept ready fruits, sanctified garlands, and coats of mail, and

shields, and carpets, and kine, and seeds, and various other articles and

implements of agriculture. And the king also collected, O monarch, every

article appertaining to other arts, and various implements and apparatus

of every kind of sport. And he also collected excellent coats of mail and

shining shields, and swords and scimitars, of fine temper, and beautiful

chariots and horses, and first-class bows and well-adorned arrows, and

various kinds of missiles ornamented with gold. And he also kept ready

darts and rockets and battle-axes and various utensils of war. And there

were in that collection beds and carpets and various fine things, and

cloths of various sorts. When the party went to Drupada’s abode, Kunti

taking with her the virtuous Krishna entered the inner apartments of the

king. The ladies of the king’s household with joyous hearts worshipped

the queen of the Kurus. Beholding, O monarch, those foremost of men, each

possessing the sportive gait of the lion, with deer-skins for their upper

garments, eyes like unto those of mighty bulls, broad shoulders, and

long-hanging arms like unto the bodies of mighty snakes, the king, and

the king’s ministers, and the king’s son, and the king’s friends and

attendants, all became exceedingly glad. Those heroes sat on excellent

seats, furnished with footstools without any awkwardness and hesitation.

And those foremost of men sat with perfect fearlessness on those costly

seats one after another according to the order of their ages. After those

heroes were seated, well-dressed servants male and female, and skilful

cooks brought excellent and costly viands worthy of kings on gold and

silver plates. Then those foremost of men dined on those dishes and

became well-pleased. And after the dinner was over, those heroes among

men, passing over all other articles, began to observe with interest the

various utensils of war. Beholding this, Drupada’s son and Drupada

himself, along with all his chief ministers of state, understanding the

sons of Kunti to be all of royal blood became exceedingly glad.'”

SECTION CLXLVII

(Vaivahika Parva continued)

“Vaisampayana said, ‘Then the illustrious king of Panchala, addressing

prince Yudhishthira in the form applicable to Brahmanas, cheerfully

enquired of that illustrious son of Kunti, saying, ‘Are we to know you as

Kshatriyas, or Brahamanas, or are we to know you as celestials who

disguising themselves as Brahmanas are ranging the earth and come hither

for the hand of Krishna? O tell us truly, for we have great doubts! Shall

we not be glad when our doubts have been removed? O chastiser of enemies,

have the fates been propitious unto us? Tell us the truth willingly!

Truth becometh monarchs better than sacrifices and dedications of tanks.

Therefore, tell us not what is untrue. O thou of the beauty of a

celestial, O chastiser of foes, hearing thy reply I shall make

arrangements for my daughter’s wedding according to the order to which ye

belong.’

“Hearing these words of Drupada, Yudhishthira answered, saying ‘Be not

cheerless, O king; let joy fill thy heart! The desire cherished by thee

hath certainly been accomplished. We are Kshatriyas, O king, and sons of

the illustrious Pandu. Know me to be the eldest of the sons of Kunti and

these to be Bhima and Arjuna. By these, O king, was thy daughter won amid

the concourse of monarchs. The twins (Nakula and Sahadeva) and Kunti wait

where Krishna is. O bull amongst men, let grief be driven from thy heart,

for we are Kshatriyas. Thy daughter, O monarch, hath like a lotus been

transferred only from one lake into another. O king, thou art our revered

superior and chief refuge. I have told thee the whole truth.’

“Vaisampayana continued, ‘Hearing those words, the king Drupada’s eyes

rolled in ecstasy. And. filled with delight the king could not, for some

moments answer Yudhishthira. Checking his emotion with great effort, that

chastiser of foes at last replied unto Yudhishthira in proper words. The

virtuous monarch enquired how the Pandavas had escaped from the town of

Varanavata. The son of Pandu told the monarch every particular in detail

of their escape from the burning palace of lac. Hearing everything that

the son of Kunti said, king Drupada censured Dhritarashtra, that ruler of

men. And the monarch gave every assurance unto Yudhishthira, the son of

Kunti. And that foremost of eloquent men then and there vowed to restore

Yudhishthira to his paternal throne.

“Then Kunti and Krishna and Bhima and Arjuna and the twins, commanded by

the king, to reside there, treated by Yajnasena with due respect. Then

king Drupada with his sons, assured by all that had happened, approaching

Yudhishthira, said, ‘O thou of mighty arms, let the Kuru prince Arjuna

take with due rites, the hand of my daughter on this auspicious day, and

let him, therefore, perform the usual initiatory rites of marriage.’

“Vaisampayana continued, ‘Hearing these words of Drupada, the virtuous

king Yudhishthira replied, saying, ‘O great king, I also shall have to

marry.’ Hearing him, Drupada said, ‘If it pleaseth thee, take thou the

hand of my daughter thyself with due rites. Or, give Krishna in marriage

unto whomsoever of thy brothers thou likest.’ Yudhishthira said, ‘Thy

daughter, O king, shall be the common wife of us all! Even thus it hath

been ordered, O monarch, by our mother. I am unmarried still, and Bhima

also is so amongst the sons of Pandu. This thy jewel of a daughter hath

been won by Arjuna. This, O king, is the rule with us; to ever enjoy

equally a jewel that we may obtain. O best of monarchs, that rule of

conduct we cannot now abandon. Krishna, therefore, shall become the

wedded wife of us all. Let her take our hands, one after another before

the fire.’

‘Drupada answered, ‘O scion of Kuru’s race, it hath been directed that

one man may have many wives. But it hath never been heard that one woman

may have many husbands! O son of Kunti, as thou art pure and acquainted

with the rules of morality, it behoveth thee not to commit an act that is

sinful and opposed both to usage and the Vedas. Why, O prince, hath thy

understanding become so?’ Yudhishthira said in reply, ‘O monarch,

morality is subtle. We do not know its course. Let us follow the way

trodden by the illustrious ones of former ages. My tongue never uttered

an untruth. My heart also never turneth to what is sinful. My mother

commandeth so; and my heart also approveth of it. Therefore, O king, that

is quite conformable to virtue. Act according to it, without any

scruples. Entertain no fear, O king, about this matter.’

“Drupada said, ‘O son of Kunti thy mother, and my son Dhrishtadyumna and

thyself, settle amongst yourselves as to what should be done. Tell me the

result of your deliberations and tomorrow I will do what is proper.’

“Vaisampayana continued, ‘After this, O Bharata, Yudhishthira, Kunti and

Dhrishtadyumna discoursed upon this matter. Just at that time, however,

the island-born (Vyasa), O monarch, came there in course of his

wanderings.'”

SECTION CLXLVIII

(Vaivahika Parva continued)

“Vaisampayana said, ‘Then all the Pandavas and the illustrious king of

the Panchalas and all others there present stood up and saluted with

reverence the illustrious Rishi Krishna (Dwaipayana). The high-souled

Rishi, saluting them in return and enquiring after their welfare, sat

down on a carpet of gold. And commanded by Krishna (Dwaipayana) of

immeasurable energy, those foremost of men all sat down on costly seats.

A little after, O monarch, the son of Prishata in sweet accents asked the

illustrious Rishi about the wedding of his daughter. And he said, ‘How, O

illustrious one, can one woman become the wife of many men without being

defiled by sin? O, tell me truly all about this.’ Hearing these words

Vyasa replied, ‘This practice, O king, being opposed to usage and the

Vedas, hath become obsolete. I desire, however, to hear what the opinion

of each of you is upon this matter.’

“Hearing these words of the Rishi, Drupada spoke first, saying, ‘The

practice is sinful in my opinion, being opposed to both usage and the

Vedas. O best of Brahmanas, nowhere have I seen many men having one wife.

The illustrious ones also of former ages never had such a usage amongst

them. The wise should never commit a sin. I, therefore, can never make up

mind to act in this way. This practice always appeareth to me to be of

doubtful morality.

“After Drupada had ceased, Dhrishtadyumna spoke, saying ‘O bull amongst

Brahmanas, O thou of ascetic wealth, how can, O Brahmana, the elder

brother, if he is of a good disposition, approach the wife of his younger

brother? The ways of morality are ever subtle, and, therefore, we know

them not. We cannot, therefore, say what is conformable to morality and

what not. We cannot do such a deed, therefore, with a safe conscience.

Indeed, O Brahmana, I cannot say, ‘Let Draupadi become the common wife of

five brothers.’

“Yudhishthira then spoke, saying, ‘My tongue never uttereth an untruth

and my heart never inclineth to what is sinful. When my heart approveth

of it, it can never be sinful. I have heard in the Purana that a lady of

name Jatila, the foremost of all virtuous women belonging to the race of

Gotama had married seven Rishis. So also an ascetic’s daughter, born of a

tree, had in former times united herself in marriage with ten brothers

all bearing the same name of Prachetas and who were all of souls exalted

by asceticism. O foremost of all that are acquainted with the rules of

morality, it is said that obedience to superior is ever meritorious.

Amongst all superiors, it is well-known that the mother is the foremost.

Even she hath commanded us to enjoy Draupadi as we do anything obtained

as alms. It is for this, O best of Brahmanas, that I regard the

(proposed) act as virtuous.’

“Kunti then said, ‘The act is even so as the virtuous Yudhishthira hath

said. I greatly fear, O Brahmana, lest my speech should become untrue.

How shall I be saved from untruth?’

“When they had all finished speaking, Vyasa said, ‘O amiable one, how

shall thou be saved from the consequence of untruth? Even this is eternal

virtue! I will not, O king of the Panchalas, discourse on this before you

all. But thou alone shalt listen to me when I disclose how this practice

hath been established and why it is to be regarded as old and eternal.

There is no doubt that what Yudhishthira hath said is quite conformable

to virtue.’

“Vaisampayana continued, ‘Then the illustrious Vyasa–the master

Dwaipayana–rose, and taking hold of Drupada’s hand led him to a private

apartment. The Pandavas and Kunti and Dhrishtadyumna of Prishata’s race

sat there, waiting for the return of Vyasa and Drupada. Meanwhile,

Dwaipayana began his discourse with illustrious monarch for explaining

how the practice of polyandry could not be regarded as sinful.'”

SECTION CLXLIX

(Vaivahika Parva continued)

“Vaisampayana said, ‘Vyasa continued, ‘In days of yore, the celestials

had once commenced a grand sacrifice in the forest of Naimisha. At that

sacrifice, O king, Yama, the son of Vivaswat, became the slayer of the

devoted animals. Yama, thus employed in that sacrifice, did not (during

that period), O king, kill a single human being. Death being suspended in

the world, the number of human beings increased very greatly. Then Soma

and Sakra and Varuna and Kuvera, the Sadhyas, the Rudras, the Vasus, the

twin Aswins,–these and other celestials went unto Prajapati, the Creator

of the universe. Struck with fear for the increase of the human

population of the world they addressed the Master of creation and said,

‘Alarmed, O lord, at the increase of human beings on earth, we come to

thee for relief. Indeed, we crave thy protection.’ Hearing those words

the Grandsire said, ‘Ye have little cause to be frightened at this

increase of human beings. Ye all are immortal. It behoveth you not to

take fright at human beings.’ The celestials replied, ‘The mortals have

all become immortal. There is no distinction now between us and them.

Vexed at the disappearance of all distinction, we have come to thee in

order that thou mayest distinguish us from them.’ The Creator then said,

‘The son of Vivaswat is even now engaged in the grand sacrifice. It is

for this that men are not dying. But when Yama’s work in connection with

the sacrifice terminates, men will again begin to die as before.

Strengthened by your respective energies, Yama will, when that time

comes, sweep away by thousands the inhabitants on earth who will scarcely

have then any energy left in them.’

“Vyasa continued, ‘Hearing these words of the first-born deity, the

celestials returned to the spot where the grand sacrifice was being

performed. And the mighty one sitting by the side of the Bhagirathi saw a

(golden) lotus being carried along by the current. And beholding that

(golden) lotus, they wondered much. And amongst them, that foremost of

celestials, viz., Indra, desirous of ascertaining whence it came,

proceeded up along the course of the Bhagirathi. And reaching that spot

whence the goddess Ganga issues perennially, Indra beheld a woman

possessing the splendour of fire. The woman who had come there to take

water was washing herself in the stream, weeping all the while. The

tear-drops she shed, falling on the stream, were being transformed into

golden lotuses. The wielder of the thunderbolt, beholding that wonderful

sight, approached the woman and asked her, ‘Who art thou, amiable lady?

Why dost thou weep? I desire to know the truth. O, tell me everything.’

“Vyasa continued, ‘The woman thereupon answered, ‘O Sakra, thou mayest

know who I am and why, unfortunate that I am, I weep, if only, O chief of

the celestials, thou comest with me as I lead the way. Thou shall then

see what it is I weep for.” Hearing these words of the lady, Indra

followed her as she led the way. And soon he saw, not far off from where

he was, a handsome youth with a young lady seated on a throne placed on

one of the peaks of Himavat and playing at dice. Beholding that youth,

the thief of the celestials said, ‘Know, intelligent youth, that this

universe is under my sway.’ Seeing, however, that the person addressed

was so engrossed in dice that he took no notice of what he said, Indra

was possessed by anger and repeated, ‘I am the lord of the universe. The

youth who was none else than the god Mahadeva (the god of the gods),

seeing Indra filled with wrath, only smiled, having cast a glance at him.

At that glance, however, the chief of the celestials was at once

paralysed and stood there like a stake. When the game at dice was over,

Isana addressing the weeping woman said, ‘Bring Sakra hither, for I shall

soon so deal with him that pride may not again enter his heart.’ As soon

as Sakra was touched by that woman, the chief of the celestials with

limbs paralysed by that touch, fell down on the earth. The illustrious

Isana of fierce energy then said unto him, ‘Act not, O Sakra, ever again

in this way. Remove this huge stone, for thy strength and energy are

immeasurable, and enter the hole (it will disclose) where await some

others possessing the splendour of the sun and who are all like unto

thee.’ Indra, then, on removing that stone, beheld a cave in the breast

of that king of mountains, within which were four others resembling

himself. Beholding their plight, Sakra became seized with grief and

exclaimed, ‘Shall I be even like these?’ Then the god Girisha, looking

full at Indra with expanded eyes, said in anger, ‘O thou of a hundred

sacrifices, enter this cave without loss of time, for thou hast from

folly insulted me.’ Thus addressed by the lord Isana, the chief of the

celestials, in consequence of that terrible imprecation, was deeply

pained, and with limbs weakened by fear trembled like the wind-shaken

leaf of a Himalayan fig. And cursed unexpectedly by the god owning a bull

for his vehicle, Indra, with joined hands and shaking from head to foot,

addressed that fierce god of multi-form manifestations, saving, ‘Thou

art, O Bhava, the over-looker of the infinite Universe!’ Hearing these

words the god of fiery energy smiled and said, ‘Those that are of

disposition like thine never obtain my grace. These others (within the

cave) had at one time been like thee. Enter thou this cave, therefore,

and lie there for some time. The fate of you all shall certainly be the

same. All of you shall have to take your birth in the world of men,

where, having achieved many difficult feats and slaying a large number of

men, ye shall again by the merits of your respective deeds, regain the

valued region of Indra. Ye shall accomplish all I have said and much more

besides, of other kinds of work.’ Then those Indras, of their shorn glory

said, ‘We shall go from our celestial regions even unto the region of men

where salvation is ordained to be difficult of acquisition. But let the

gods Dharma, Vayu, Maghavat, and the twin Aswins beget us upon our

would-be mother. Fighting with men by means of both celestial and human

weapons, we shall again come back into the region of Indra.’

“Vyasa continued, ‘Hearing these words of the former Indras, the wielder

of the thunderbolt once more addressed that foremost of gods, saying,

‘Instead of going myself, I shall, with a portion of my energy, create

from myself a person for the accomplishment of the task (thou assignest)

to form the fifth among these!’ Vishwabhuk, Bhutadhaman, Sivi of great

energy, Santi the fourth, and Tejaswin, these it is said were the five

Indras of old. And the illustrious god of the formidable bow, from his

kindness, granted unto the five Indras the desire they cherished. And he

also appointed that woman of extraordinary beauty, who was none else than

celestial Sri (goddess of grace) herself, to be their common wife in the

world of men. Accompanied by all those Indras, the god Isana then went

unto Narayana of immeasurable energy, the Infinite, the Immaterial, the

Uncreate, the Old, the Eternal, and the Spirit of these universes without

limits. Narayana approved of everything. Those Indras then were born in

the world of men. And Hari (Narayana) took up two hairs from his body,

one of which hairs was black and the other white. And those two hairs

entered the wombs of two of the Yadu race, by name Devaki and Rohini. And

one of these hairs viz., that which was white, became Valadeva. And the

hair that was black was born as Kesava’s self, Krishna. And those Indras

of old who had been confined in the cave on the Himavat are none else

than the sons of Pandu, endued with great energy. And Arjuna amongst the

Pandavas, called also Savyasachin (using both hands with equal dexterity)

is a portion of Sakra.’

“Vyasa continued, ‘Thus, O king, they who have been born as the Pandavas

are none else than those Indras of old. And the celestial Sri herself who

had been appointed as their wife is this Draupadi of extraordinary

beauty. How could she whose effulgence is like that of the sun or the

moon, whose fragrance spreads for two miles around, take her birth in any

other than an extraordinary way, viz., from within the earth, by virtue

of the sacrificial rites? Unto thee, O king, I cheerfully grant this

other boon in the form of spiritual sight. Behold now the sons of Kunti

endued with their sacred and celestial bodies of old!’

“Vaisampayana continued, ‘Saying this, that sacred Brahmana Vyasa of

generous deeds, by means of his ascetic power, granted celestial sight

unto the king. Thereupon the king beheld all the Pandavas endued with

their former bodies. And the king saw them possessed of celestial bodies,

with golden crowns and celestial garlands, and each resembling Indra

himself, with complexions radiant as fire or the sun, and decked with

every ornament, and handsome, and youthful, with broad chests and

statures measuring about five cubits. Endued with every accomplishment,

and decked with celestial robes of great beauty and fragrant garlands of

excellent making the king beheld them as so many three-eyed gods

(Mahadeva), or Vasus, or Rudras, or Adityas themselves. And observing the

Pandavas in the forms of those Indras of old, and Arjuna also in the form

of Indra sprung from Sakra himself, king Drupada was highly pleased. And

the monarch wondered much on beholding that manifestation of celestial

power under deep disguise. The king looking at his daughter, that

foremost of women endued with great beauty, like unto a celestial damsel

and possessed of the splendour of fire or the moon, regarded her as the

worthy wife of those celestial beings, for her beauty, splendour and

fame. And beholding that wonderful sight, the monarch touched the feet of

Satyavati’s son, exclaiming, ‘O great Rishi, nothing is miraculous in

thee!’ The Rishi then cheerfully continued, ‘In a certain hermitage there

was an illustrious Rishi’s daughter, who, though handsome and chaste,

obtained not a husband. The maiden gratified, by severe ascetic penances,

the god Sankara (Mahadeva). The lord Sankara, gratified at her penances,

told her himself. ‘Ask thou the boon thou desirest’ Thus addressed, the

maiden repeatedly said unto the boon-giving Supreme Lord, ‘I desire to

obtain a husband possessed of every accomplishment. Sankara, the chief of

the gods, gratified with her, gave her the boon she asked, saying, ‘Thou

shall have, amiable maiden, five husbands.’ The maiden, who had succeeded

in gratifying the god, said again, ‘O Sankara, I desire to have from thee

only one husband possessed of every virtue?’ The god of gods,

well-pleased with her, spake again, saying, ‘Thou hast, O maiden,

addressed me five full times, repeating, ‘Give me a husband.’ Therefore,

O amiable one, it shall even be as thou hast asked. Blessed be thou. All

this, however, will happen in a future life of thine!’

“Vyasa continued, ‘O Drupada, this thy daughter of celestial beauty is

that maiden. Indeed, the faultless Krishna sprung from Prishata’s race

hath been pre-ordained to become the common wife of five husbands. The

celestial Sri, having undergone severe ascetic penances, hath, for the

sake of the Pandavas, had her birth as thy daughter, in the course of thy

grand sacrifice. That handsome goddess, waited upon by all the

celestials, as a consequence of her own acts becomes the (common) wife of

five husbands. It is for this that the self-create had created her.

Having listened to all this, O king Drupada, do what thou desirest.'”

SECTION CC

(Vaivahika Parva continued)

“Vaisampayana said, ‘Drupada, on hearing this, observed, O great Rishi,

it was only when I had not heard this from thee that I had sought to act

in the way I told thee of. Now, however, that I know all, I cannot be

indifferent to what hath been ordained by the gods. Therefore do I

resolve to accomplish what thou hast said. The knot of destiny cannot be

untied. Nothing in this world is the result of our own acts. That which

had been appointed by us in view of securing one only bridegroom hath now

terminated in favour of many. As Krishna (in a former life) had

repeatedly said, ‘O, give me a husband!’ the great god himself even gave

her the boon she had asked. The god himself knows the right or wrong of

this. As regards myself, when Sankara hath ordained so, right or wrong,

no sin can attach to me. Let these with happy hearts take, as ordained,

the hand of Krishna with the rites.’

“Vaisampayana continued, ‘Then the illustrious Vyasa, addressing

Yudhishthira the just, said, ‘This day is an auspicious day, O son of

Pandu! This day the moon has entered the constellation called Pushya.

Take thou the hand of Krishna today, thyself first before thy brothers!’

When Vyasa had said so, king Yajnasena and his son made preparations for

the wedding. And the monarch kept ready various costly articles as

marriage presents. Then he brought out his daughter Krishna, decked,

after a bath, with many jewels and pearls. Then there came to witness the

wedding all the friends and relatives of the king, ministers of state,

and many Brahmanas and citizens. And they all took their seats according

to their respective ranks. Adorned with that concourse of principal men,

with its yard decked with lotuses and lilies scattered thereupon, and

beautified with lines of troops, king Drupada’s palace, festooned around

with diamonds and precious stones, looked like the firmament studded with

brilliant stars. Then those princes of the Kuru line, endued with youth

and adorned with ear-rings, attired in costly robes and perfumed with

sandal-paste, bathed and performed the usual religious rites and

accompanied by their priest Dhaumya who was possessed of the splendour of

fire, entered the wedding hall one after another in due order, and with

glad hearts, like mighty bulls entering a cow-pen. Then Dhaumya,

well-conversant with the Vedas, igniting the sacred fire, poured with due

mantras libations of clarified butter into that blazing element. And

calling Yudhishthira there, Dhaumya, acquainted with mantras, united him

with Krishna. Walking round the fire the bridegroom and the bride took

each other’s hand. After their union was complete, the priest Dhaumya,

taking leave of Yudhishthira, that ornament of battles, went out of the

palace. Then those mighty car-warriors,–those perpetuators of the Kuru

line,–those princes attired in gorgeous dresses, took the hand of that

best of women, day by day in succession, aided by that priest. O king,

the celestial Rishi told me of a very wonderful and extraordinary thing

in connection with these marriages, viz., that the illustrious princess

of slender waist regained her virginity every day after a previous

marriage. After the weddings were over, king Drupada gave unto those

mighty car-warriors diverse kinds of excellent wealth. And the king gave

unto them one hundred cars with golden standards, each drawn by four

steeds with golden bridles. And he gave them one hundred elephants all

possessing auspicious marks on their temples and faces and like unto a

hundred mountains with golden peaks. He also gave them a hundred female

servants all in the prime of youth and clad in costly robes and ornaments

and floral wreaths. And the illustrious monarch of the Lunar race gave

unto each of those princes of celestial beauty, making the sacred fire a

witness of his gifts, much wealth and many costly robes and ornaments of

great splendour. The sons of Pandu endued with great strength, after

their wedding were over, and after they had obtained Krishna like unto a

second Sri along with great wealth, passed their days in joy and

happiness, like so many Indras, in the capital of the king of the

Panchalas,'”

SECTION CCI

(Vaivahika Parva continued)

“Vaisampayana said, ‘King Drupada, after his alliance with the Pandavas,

had all his fears dispelled. Indeed, the monarch no longer stood in fear

even of the gods. The ladies of the illustrious Drupada’s household

approached Kunti and introduced themselves unto her, mentioning their

respective names, and worshipped her feet with heads touching the ground.

Krishna also, attired in red silk and her wrists still encircled with the

auspicious thread, saluting her mother-in-law with reverence, stood

contentedly before her with joined palms. Pritha, out of affection,

pronounced a blessing upon her daughter-in-law endued with great beauty

and every auspicious mark and possessed of a sweet disposition and good

character, saying, ‘Be thou unto thy husband as Sachi unto Indra, Swaha

unto Vibhavasu, Rohini unto Soma, Damayanti unto Nala, Bhadra unto

Vaisravana, Arundhati unto Vasishtha, Lakshmi unto Narayana! O amiable

one, be thou the mother of long-lived and heroic children, and possessed

of everything that can make thee happy! Let luck and prosperity ever wait

on thee! Wait thou ever on husbands engaged in the performance of grand

sacrifices. Be thou devoted to thy husbands. And let thy days be ever

passed in duly entertaining and reverencing guests and strangers arrived

at thy abode, and the pious and the old; children and superiors. Be thou

installed as the Queen of the kingdom and the capital of Kurujangala,

with thy husband Yudhishthira the just! O daughter, let the whole earth,

conquered by the prowess of thy husbands endued with great strength, be

given away by thee unto Brahmanas at horse-sacrifice! O accomplished one

whatever gems there are on earth possessed of superior virtues, obtain

them, O lucky one, and be thou happy for a full hundred years! And, O

daughter-in-law, as I rejoice today beholding thee attired in red silk,

so shall I rejoice again, when, O accomplished one, I behold thee become

the mother of a son!’

“Vaisampayana continued, ‘After the sons of Pandu had been married, Hari

(Krishna) sent unto them (as presents) various gold ornaments set with

pearls and black gems (lapis lazuli). And Madhava (Krishna) also sent

unto them costly robes manufactured in various countries, and many

beautiful and soft blankets and hides of great value, and many costly

beds and carpets and vehicles. He also sent them vessels by hundreds, set

with gems and diamonds. And Krishna also gave them female servants by

thousands, brought from various countries, and endued with beauty, youth

and accomplishments and decked with every ornament. He also gave them

many well-trained elephants brought from the country of Madra, and many

excellent horses in costly harness, cars drawn by horses of excellent

colours and large teeth. The slayer of Madhu, of immeasurable soul, also

sent them coins of pure gold by crores upon crores in separate heaps. And

Yudhishthira the just, desirous of gratifying Govinda, accepted all those

presents with great joy.'”

SECTION CCII

(Viduragamana Parva)

“Vaisampayana said, ‘The news was carried unto all the monarchs (who had

come to the Self-choice of Draupadi) by their trusted spies that the

handsome Draupadi had been united in marriage with the sons of Pandu. And

they were also informed that the illustrious hero who had bent the bow

and shot the mark was none else than Arjuna, that foremost of victorious

warriors and first of all wielders of the bow and arrows. And it became

known that the mighty warrior who had dashed Salya, the king of Madra, on

the ground, and who in wrath had terrified the assembled monarchs by

means of the tree (he had uprooted), and who had taken his stand before

all foes in perfect fearlessness, was none else than Bhima, that feller

of hostile ranks, whose touch alone was sufficient to take the lives out

of all foes. The monarchs, upon being informed that the Pandavas had

assumed the guise of peaceful Brahmanas, wondered much. They even heard

that Kunti with all her sons had been burnt to death in the conflagration

of the house of lac. They, therefore, now regarded the Pandavas in the

light of persons who had come back from the region of the dead. And

recollecting the cruel scheme contrived by Purochana, they began to say,

‘O, fie on Bhishma, fie on Dhritarashtra of the Kuru race!’

“After the Self-choice was over, all the monarchs (who had come thither),

hearing that Draupadi had been united with the Pandavas, set out for

their own dominions. And Duryodhana, hearing that Draupadi had selected

the owner of white steeds (Arjuna) as her lord, became greatly depressed.

Accompanied by his brothers, Aswatthaman, his uncle (Sakuni), Karna and

Kripa the prince set out with a heavy heart for his capital. Then

Duhsasana, blushing with shame, addressed his brother softly and said,

‘If Arjuna had not disguised himself as a Brahmana, he could never have

succeeded in obtaining Draupadi. It was for this disguise, O king, that

no one could recognise him as Dhananjaya. Fate, I ween, is ever supreme.

Exertion is fruitless; fie on our exertions, O brother! The Pandavas are

still alive!’ Speaking unto one another thus and blaming Purochana (for

his carelessness), they then entered the city of Hastinapura, with

cheerless and sorrowful hearts. Beholding the mighty sons of Pritha,

escaped from the burning house of lac and allied with Drupada, and

thinking of Dhrishtadyumna and Sikhandin and the other sons of Drupada

all accomplished in fight, they were struck with fear and overcome with

despair.

“Then Vidura, having learnt that Draupadi had been won by the Pandavas

and that the sons of Dhritarashtra had come back (to Hastinapura) in

shame, their pride humiliated, became filled with joy. And, O king,

approaching Dhritarashtra, Kshattri said, ‘The Kurus are prospering by

good luck!’ Hearing those words of Vidura, the son of Vichitravirya,

wondering, said in great glee, ‘What good luck, O Vidura! What good

luck!’ From ignorance, the blind monarch understood that his eldest son

Duryodhana had been chosen by Drupada’s daughter as her lord. And the

king immediately ordered various ornaments to be made for Draupadi. And

he commanded that both Draupadi and his son Duryodhana should be brought

with pomp to Hastinapura. It was then that Vidura told the monarch that

Draupadi had chosen the Pandavas for her lords, and that those heroes

were all alive and at peace, and that they had been received with great

respect by king Drupada. And he also informed Dhritarashtra that the

Pandavas had been united with the many relatives and friends of Drupada,

each owning large armies, and with many others who had come to that

self-choice.

“Hearing these words of Vidura, Dhritarashtra said, ‘Those children are

to me as dear as they were to Pandu. Nay, more. O listen to me why my

affection for them now is even greater! The heroic sons of Pandu are well

and at ease. They have obtained many friends. Their relatives, and others

whom they have gained as allies, are all endued with great strength. Who

amongst monarchs in prosperity or adversity would not like to have

Drupada with his relatives as an ally?’

“Vaisampayana continued, ‘Having heard these words of the monarch, Vidura

said, ‘O king, let thy understanding remain so without change for a

hundred years!’ Having said this Vidura returned to his own abode. Then,

O monarch, there came unto Dhritarashtra, Duryodhana and the son of

Radha, Karna. Addressing the monarch, they said, ‘We cannot, O king,

speak of any transgression in the presence of Vidura! We have now found

thee alone, and will, therefore, say all we like! What is this that thou

hast, O monarch, desired to do? Dost thou regard the prosperity of thy

foes as if it were thy own, that thou hast been applauding the Pandavas,

O foremost of men, in the presence of Vidura? O sinless one, thou actest

not, O king, in the way thou shouldst! O father, we should now act every

day in such a way as to weaken (the strength of) the Pandavas. The time

hath come, O father, for us to take counsel together, so that the

Pandavas may not swallow us all with our children and friends and

relatives.'”

SECTION CCIII

(Viduragamana Parva continued)

“Vaisampayana said, ‘Dhritarashtra replied saying, I desire to do exactly

what you would recommend. But I do not wish to inform Vidura of it even

by a change of muscle. It was, therefore, O son, that I was applauding

the Pandavas in Vidura’s presence, so that he might not know even by a

sign what is in my mind. Now that Vidura hath gone away, this is the

time, O Suyodhana (Duryodhana), for telling me what thou hast hit upon,

and what, O Radheya (Karna), thou too hast hit upon.’

“Duryodhana said. ‘Let us, O father, by means of trusted and skilful and

adroit Brahmanas, seek to produce dissensions between the sons of Kunti

and Madri. Or, let king Drupada and his sons, and all his ministers of

state, be plied with presents of large wealth, so that they may abandon

the cause of Yudhishthira, the son of Kunti. Or, let our spies induce the

Pandavas to settle in Drupada’s dominions, by describing to them,

separately, the inconvenience of residing in Hastinapura, so that,

separated from as, they may permanently settle in Panchala. Or, let some

clever spies, full of resources, sowing the seeds of dissension among the

Pandavas, make them jealous of one another. Or, let them incite Krishna

against her husbands. She has many lords and this will not present any

difficulty. Or, let some seek to make the Pandavas themselves

dissatisfied with Krishna, in which case Krishna also will be

dissatisfied with them. Or, let, O king, some clever spies, repairing

thither, secretly compass the death of Bhimasena. Bhima is the strongest

of them all. Relying upon Bhima alone, the Pandavas used to disregard us,

of old. Bhima is fierce and brave and the (sole) refuge of the Pandavas.

If he be slain, the others will be deprived of strength and energy.

Deprived of Bhima who is their sole refuge, they will no longer strive to

regain their kingdom. Arjuna, O king, is invincible in battle, if Bhima

protecteth him from behind. Without Bhima, Arjuna is not equal to even a

fourth part of Radheya. Indeed, O king, the Pandavas conscious of their

own feebleness without Bhima and of our strength would not really strive

to recover the kingdom. Or, if, O monarch, coming hither, they prove

docile and obedient to us, we would then seek to repress them according

to the dictates of political science (as explained by Kanika). Or, we may

tempt them by means of handsome girls, upon which the princess of

Panchala will get annoyed with them. Or, O Radheya, let messengers be

despatched to bring them hither, so that, when arrived, we may through

trusted agents, by some of the above methods, cause them to be slain.

Strive, O father, to employ any of these (various) methods that may

appear to thee faultless. Time passeth. Before their confidence in king

Drupada–that bull amongst kings–is established we may succeed, O

monarch, to encounter them. But after their confidence hath been

established in Drupada, we are sure to fail. These, O father, are my

views for the discomfiture of the Pandavas. Judge whether they be good or

bad. What, O Karna, dost thou think?'”

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